View from the Top Floor of Sama Beirut

 

So, the Sama Beirut tower in the Sodeco region is done construction, and these are 3 photos taken from its top floor by my good friend Elie Koueik, one of the engineers on the project. More to come soon hopefully!unnamed

 

See that tiny building with the “SS”? That’s the Sodeco Square “tower”…

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Remember SKYBAR Sundays? Well, Meet O1NE’s Fridays.

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So, after years of trademark SKYBAR nights, the Beirut rooftop, began to appreciate the evolving audio culture of Beirut’s party animals. With a focus on more underground, music-oriented acts like HVOB, Sunday became the it-night last summer, with the posh club turning into a chillaxed, apres-beach spot with shorts and flip flops on grass platforms and comfortable beds and sofas.

Of course, you won’t be wearing flip flops and shorts to the O1NE, cause it’s winter, but the door policy and dress code won’t be as strict as a normal O1NE night. Smart casual (not sure what that is), and walk-ins are welcome, and names that are on the lineup of the “Deep in the House” series include the Loulou Players this Friday, Sharam Jey next week and Hush the one after!

With O1NE being the only permanent winter mega-club these days, it’s refreshing to see them heeding to the crowd’s wishes and focusing on the deeper side of electronic music we’re all passionate about. I’ll be checking it out this Friday and posting on Instagram all about it.

Check out the O1NE FB page here.

And here’s a taste of what’s coming

This Weekend is Massive: Uberhaus Presents Solomun at the Bus Station Hangar

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This Independence weekend, we won’t be celebrating officially cause there’s no president to preside over the ceremony of reviewing our troops… But, that’s ok, it means roads won’t be closed and you can party as long as you want. It embodies the essence of all that is good in Lebanon: everything is broken, but somehow we manage to pull through it all ok.

SOLOMUN for Uberhaus’ 3rd Anniversary

You’re not allowed to miss this night. More than seventy tables have been booked and confirmed, at a venue that is even larger than The Garten… So, it most definitely is the biggest party happening this weekend, this month, maybe even this year.

The venue is coming together beautifully, and I didn’t share photos cause I think it’s nicer to discover it for yourself amid the disused bus carcasses in the massive hangar in Mar Mikhael.

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Solomun’s specially crafted underground set will be supported by local favorites Romac and Technophile. Can’t wait. If you still haven’t RSVPed, do it!

Dave Seaman at b018 Friday CANCELED, postponed till 2015!

GUESS WE’LL HAVE TO WAIT :'(

3 Things Abou Faour Needs To Do

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6 days out of 7, I am a harsh critic of the Lebanese government and its institutions. But, on that 7th day, I look for a public sector or institution that’s actually doing their job, and try to support what they’re doing. It was hard trying to classify Health Minister Wael Abou Faour’s recent actions into good or bad though, and for several reasons.

Why not punish the corrupt ministry employees and inspectors?

We don’t trust the government. Why should we? When we’re not being let down without basic needs like water and electricity, we’re being hunted down and humiliated by incompetent law enforcement and a corrupt judiciary. But, once in a blue moon, a good person has the misfortune of being in government, to name a few, Ziad Baroud and Dimyanos Qattar. Assuming Abou Faour is one of those “good” folks (definitely doesn’t compare to folks like Ziad Baround given his prime loyalties lie with Druze leader Walid Junblatt, and not the Lebanese public), we need him to prove it.

Before launching his firebrand, emotional, all-over-the-place smear campaign against businesses that have allegedly not met the ministry’s standards, Abou Faour needs to fire each and every inspector that has worked there for the past two decades. Why? Well, if all these places are violating food safety standards, it must have been happening for quite a while, not suddenly last week. So, who falsified the reports for all those years (for bribes most probably)? Are they still in the ministry? If so, why should I trust anything that comes out of it if it’s festering with this much conscienceless corruption that endangers taxpayers’ health and lives?

Fire your corrupt employees first sir, then maybe we can start trusting you more readily.

Why Not Publish the Details?

Be transparent. Go against the norm of hiding information from taxpayers and making it a crime for them to obtain this information. Free it, let us know who, how, when, where and why the samples were handled. Allegations that unfit transport and handling could’ve compromised the samples, and it is a legitimate concern anywhere in the world. Get a second opinion, share with us the lab details and let the Lebanese taxpayers help peer-review what they eat’s lab results.

Why Is the List Incomplete?

When parts of Lebanon are excluded in anything, the first thing that pops to mind is a hidden agenda. Are all restaurants in Metn/Kesserwen violating, but none in Abou Faour’s home districts? Why give priority to rural areas, and leaving out Beirut where most of the Lebanese population lives and works or at least visits regularly? The speculations range from “he’s protecting his area” to “the ministry is waiting for bribes from Beirut establishments before it publishes the rest of the list”.

I like Abou Faour, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he isn’t as crooked as many of his colleagues. However, it still does look fishy, and why give people an excuse to speculate? Why half-ass such a divisive and controversial issue?

My Thoughts

Like with any attempt to reform, Lebanese officials are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. If the minister hadn’t done something, we’d still be repeating the broken tune orchestrated by tabloid TV shows that “our food is killing us”. When the minister did act, regardless if it was the ideal response or not, many voices of dissent, even among his fellow ministers. fought back kicking and screaming.

So, perhaps Abou Faour should’ve been more traditional in his handling, and instead of the hysteria-fueling press conference series, maybe actually shut down the places that are violating health codes, making them pay fines or even prosecuting if malicious intent was proven in court.

On the other side of this scandal, Roadster Diner has pulled off a marketing feat for every book, class and lecture about how to manage a crisis like being labeled as non-compliant with simple health codes: they fed off the seemingly spontaneous support of their fans which started hashtags like #TrustRoadster and #ItrustRoadster with tweets and photos of them eating at RD despite one of their branches being on the list. Roadster then did something epic: riding on this wave of support from folks, they announced that they’re going to donate the necessary funds to open a new, state of the art lab for the Health Ministry. It was a stroke of brilliance really, in which they conceded being under the authority of the ministry (unlike many, more macho businesses) but also gently pointed out that maybe the resources at the ministry at the moment do not live up to the aspirations of the Lebanese taxpayer.

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Lastly, and in support to his Excellency’s efforts, Roadster diner management has decided to fully equip a new testing lab to support speeding up the process of testing for all companies including ourselves. Details of where and how are to be left to his Excellency’s preference, which may be a new branch for Al Fanar institute or another new location.

[source: RD Facebook page]

Conclusion

I support the minister, even if I think it was a tad-bit overboard and sloppy. I think RD is an example to follow in how to manage a crisis like this. I think it’s troubling many of us Lebanese taxpayers would so readily trust a business accused of endangering the safety of our food, more than we do a vital governmental ministry, and I think that’s where Abou Faour’s priorities should lie: cleaning and restoring the health of his own ministry from the gargantuan corruption, before launching such a vicious campaign on so many restaurants and grocery stores.

Epic Posters by AUB Secular Club + My Endorsement

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Elections at AUB have always been important. From the Civil War times, to the Syrian Occupation and up until this day. They’re important because they’ve been peaceful for many years, festive even. They’re important because no side ever wins decisively, and end up counting on independents or are forced to work with each other to get things done. You know, a proper election not the kind that elected these 128 thieves in our parliament.

This year, it is doubly important. With our piece of shit parliament extending for itself, and the priests that control other universities in Lebanon canceling elections there, this is one of the few electoral processes in Lebanon that is still happening.

It goes without saying that I am not supporting any of the pathetic political sides of fans and loyalists to the MPs who have extended for themselves, the kind the posters depict perfectly: the micro-penis compensation convoys, the absurd tire burning daily sessions and the barbed wire the MP thieves hide behind in Downtown Beirut. We don’t want any of that, and any supporter of any political party with MPs in this parliament, is just that: a supporter of this festering system of corruption, no accountability and lies.

That’s why, I encourage my readers who go to AUB to vote for the Secular Club instead. They’re honest, hard-working people who run brilliant campaigns on comprehensive platforms that build on impressive achievements. You can check out their candidates and platform here.

So, keep the filthy MPs, their disgusting convoys that beat citizens up, the road-blockers, election-cancelers, the thieves and the cowards outside of AUB’s main gate. Make us proud. Let’s give Lebanon an example of how elections can be done, and what type of people to elect.

The Official Halloween Parties List

Friday October 31

Olivier Giacomotto at b018

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Musically, this is the absolute best party for Halloween in Beirut. Olivier Giacomotto is a god, and he’s supported by one of our local heroes Ziad Ghosn on the night. Excitement!? Costumes are mandatory, and so is dancing to this track:

in your costumes. Party starts 1:00AM, so go wherever you were going and then descend into the underground club that is b018 ^^

RSVP here

DECADEATH: Hallowood, City of Demons

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The production value of this party gets better year after year. The St. Georges Hotel is already creepy, add to that all the props they guys at Mix are gonna add, and you’ll have a legit haunted house to party in (think of the sets you see at the entrance of 80’s night, x100). The music will be Rodge’s signature medley of crowd-pleasers from across the last few decades. Make sure your costume is up to par, so the decorations don’t outdo you :P Tickets are for $40 for the first 500, then $45 and $75 for seated tables.

RSVP here

7 Deadly Sins with Agents of Time by 6th Sense Productions

10417599_339457136225658_5564511463264850072_nThe guys at 6th Sense take costumes seriously, and they’ve assembled a jury of 7 local designers and artists to decide which costume is the best. Winner gets a ticket to Berlin! Judges are Rabih Salloum, Hady Beydoun, Poly, Souad Eid, Daniele Kirijian, Hassan Idriss & Maria Prince and Diane Ferjane.

The lineup is also particularly epic, with Ralph & Hicham, Tatyana and Michael D joining Agents of Time for the first time in Beirut!

The venue is in Centre Sofil, and tickets are for $35.

RSVP here.

The Circus of Freaks II at Art Lounge

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It’s all about freak shows this seasons (AHS fans), and you’re being summoned to The Circus of Freaks in Karantina! The lineup at Art Lounge includes Pablo Abou Zeid, G-Mohris, Bachir Salloum and Omar Mahasneh. Apart from the awesome lineup, there will be a live, freaky show by the folks behind Arts & Melon! Tickets are for 50,000 LBP

RSVP here

3rd Annual Halloween Night Ride!!!

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Imagine a whole lot of people looking scary as hell riding a bicycle convoy through Beirut’s hottest hotspots, from Gemmayzeh, to Mar Mikhael, Badaro, Tayoune, Mathaf, Sodeco, Downtown and Hamra and finally back to Martyr’s Square. It’s fucking epic, and you can browse the different places before you decide where you wanna go after the ride, since it starts at 8 and ends around 11:30PM. Cycling Circle has been doing this for 3 years now, and make sure you’re all geared up and at Cyclo Sport at 8:00PM sharp!

RSVP here

Saturday November 1

I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SAT

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The guys at C U NXT SAT are keeping the lineup at The Grand Factory secret, but I’m sure it’ll include our favorite residents and maybe a guest from abroad? Tickets start at $20 at 10:00PM and star going up the later you show up. Tables are $33 per person including 3 drinks, with discounted prices till 11PM at the bar. All in all, the elevator is enough to spook you out, so, imagine the actual venue. It’s also a good price, without the Halloween price mark-up.

RSVP Here

Parties I’ll Definitely Be At

b018’s, MixFM’s, C U NXT SAT’s and the bike ride!

6 Reasons Why You’re Stupid if You Bought iDoser

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I can’t believe how Lebanon’s Fox News, MTV, had the entire country collectively forget they’re educated and the Internet exists. My favorite part was the exorcism-like reaction of allegedly “under the influence” kids. Second favorite part was that “200,000 kids in Turkey were addicted to it”. Here are several reasons why you’re stupid if you’re one of the folks that paid $4.99 for iDoser (which is number 1 in the App Store’s Top Paid Charts in Lebanon).

1- Don’t You Listen to Music?

Did it really take an app with such a shitty logo to make you realize that music does have an effect on your brain? Haven’t you ever felt sad when you listen to a song, happy when you listen to another, excited, horny, ecstatic, relaxed? Yes, you have. Electronic music fans such as myself will especially relate, since often lyrics are absent, and one cannot associate the change in mood/emotions to the lyrics of a song. It’s just the music, the sounds, the frequencies.

2- Haven’t You Ever Pretend-Meditated by Saying “Ohmmmmm”?

You might be trying to be funny, but Buddhist monks and practitioners of different types of yoga and meditation techniques know that a sound at a certain frequency helps the brain get into a meditative, relaxed state. Other than the chants, there are the bonshos (Buddhist bells) and the singing bowls, which vibrate at a certain frequency that also eases our brain waves down from their alert state, to the calmer, meditative ones.

3- Do You Own Studio-Grade Stereo Headphones?

You do realize that the idea behind a binaural beat is that one ear’s frequency is slightly different than the other’s. A laptop’s speaker won’t do, and your stock headphones and iPhone earphones aren’t nearly as good enough to be able to detect the subtle 10-30 Hz discrepancy between each side. So, unless you’re a music producer, odds are whatever track you’re paying for, is just noise.

4- Placebo Effect is Real

We’ve all done it or had it been done to us. Giving someone non-alcoholic beer and watch them get “wasted” a few bottles later, telling your naive friend that the arguileh was actually laced with drugs and they suddenly become “high”. Telling your kid that the water has “medicine” in it, and to drink two sips only, and then they suddenly feel good enough to go to school. The list goes on and on.

Some research shows that even after knowing you’re getting a placebo, your body does react favorably. That’s because the more “primitive” parts of your brain think it’s legit, and the “more advanced” parts in your cortex can’t really tell them it’s not. Think of phobias (real ones, not ghinej). No matter how much a person suffering from a phobia can rationally consider it harmless, when faced with the actual phobia, they will react unfavorably. (You can fix that by either exposing it to them gradually, or extremely all at once, that way, your “primitive” brain will understand, “oh hey, I didn’t die. Must be harmless”).

5- Why Does It Cost So Much Money?

Inno, come on. $4.99, then in-app purchases as expensive as $30? Really? For a sound? Why didn’t anyone upload them onto SoundCloud or Zippyshare for free? And do you really need to buy a booklet to “learn how to get high”, I mean, come on. I’m sure you didn’t read a manual before you got drunk or high for the first time… You don’t need to, that’s the point, it’s natural (cat people, think cat nip. And lotsa other animals like to get drunk and high btw)

6- If it Sounds Too Good to be True, it Probably Isn’t

Sure, getting high on an mp3 song seems awesome, but come on, really. I can’t believe I’m writing this =P How did they do their research? How did they figure out what “sex” feeling sounds like, or what “ecstasy” sounds like. Where’s the research to back that up, the experiments, etc. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and a bunch of reviews online by junkies doesn’t qualify.

Conclusion: Sounds Do Have An Affect, and You Know That Already

I can go back to many moments in life, where my state of consciousness was altered far beyond any drug I’ve ever taken (where it’s legal, not in Lebanon police people reading this). It starts like a cold sweat, then a tingling sensation right at the base of my neck which slowly creeps up, numbing my scalp and finding its way down to my eyes and face. It’s an amazing sensation, and just when the music is just right, I do feel that, and I do get into a trance where nothing and no one else exists but parts of my body and the music pounding it. I’d even go as far as confirming that I’ve experienced some form of synesthesia, where I “see” sounds, and “feel” colors, etc. When you can feel the music, visualize it in your brain as a colorful cloud of matter bending to the will of each frequency and sound. Does it mean I can download an app and press play to get high? To get to an altered state? No. I can do that with my own playlist, on my own bed, with my own headphones if my mindset is just right, relaxed and meditative.

I will admit though, it took almost 18 months for me to properly master my ability to willfully enter into a meditative state, and my personal opinion is that it’s something you can’t be taught. If someone is explaining to you how to meditate, you’ll be thinking of that when you’re trying to meditate, thus, ruining the whole point of thinking of “nothing”. Think when you’re in a car’s passenger seat, and you’re looking out the window, but you aren’t actually seeing anything in particular in those deafening moments of silence: that’s what meditation should be like.

As for the sounds that actually have a real physical impact on our bodies, that too is well-cataloged, but the thing is, they’re not within our audible range, and thus, speakers and headphones are not designed to be able to transmit those frequencies. Examples are frequencies that some police forces blast at a crowd to disorientate them and make them feel nauseated, and thus controlling a crowd without using physical force, rubber bullets or tear gas canisters (or live bullets and chemicals if you’re a dick Arab dictator).

WARNING

The Lebanese authorities might use this fabricated scandal to further push their agenda of censoring the Internet. Day in, day out, dozens of websites get illegally banned in Lebanon without informing the taxpayers, for absurd, dumbass reasons. Example? This blog was banned once for “facilitating prostitution via the Internet”. Yes, apparently, the authorities mistook me for a pimp, and then hastily changed the verdict when I was like: “lolwut?!” given that they banned my site where I uncovered and bashed an illegal prostitution ring online in Lebanon), but kept the actual “da3ara” sites untouched…

Don’t fall for the lies. If they truly cared about the wellbeing of the taxpayers, they’d stop torturing them in police stations before “banning mp3 drugs”.

Akh, this post ta33abne nafisyan. I can’t believe this has to be elaborated in 2014…

Tram on Bliss in 1963

AUB Tram

How awesome would it be if you could take the Tram from upper to lower campus? From other parts of Beirut? Imagine finishing class and being able to grab a wagon for happy hour in Mar Mikhail…

Photo via /r/Lebanon

Mabrook La Lebnen: Fatdouche No Longer a Lawyer

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There are several grievous crimes Fattouche committed. Apart from hitting, or attempting to hit, and insulting a public employee, he’s the evil mastermind behind the parliament’s two extensions. But, he crossed way too many lines for the Beirut Bar Association with his disgusting press conference the other day.

  1. He discussed publicly the case of one of his client, the wife of Tourism Minister Michel Paharaon, for no apparent reason other than to shift focus to the “adultery” claim his wife filed through Fattouche. This violates the client-lawyer confidentiality, and was an insult to the core of a lawyer’s profession
  2. He assaulted and insulted an employee of the Justice Ministry.
  3. He bashed and shamed the chief of the Beirut Bar Association

All the above probably contributed to his name being crossed off the Bar Association’s roster. Now, the decision hasn’t been published yet, so we’re not sure for how long we’re rid of Fattouche in courts, but, it could be anywhere from 3 to 5 years, or even more given the circumstances and intense public outrage.

I’m glad the lawyers in Lebanon decided to give Fattouche the boot. That syndicate has taken several brave decisions and positions in the past couple of years when it comes to women’s rights, LGBT rights, torture in prisons and many other crucial human rights issues. This is another one of these admirable decisions in my honest opinion, and looking forward to see the disgraced MP and lawyer face the full force of the law.