Category Archives: Uncategorized

UpRise 2011 – London’s Anti-Racism Festival

UpRise is a multicultural festival in London celebrating anti-racism through poetry, debates, storytelling, art, talks and walks. The theme this year was about taking a look at “our community and our planet as Home”. As a grassroots one day event, UpRise was a colorful event spanning over 14 venues in the heart of the Dalston district in Hackney, Greater London. Here’s a glimpse of the festival…

The Garden Venue

With a map of the festival in my hands, I begin my journey by following a trail exploring various venues of the festival. My first stop brings me here at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and I'm welcomed by a colorful painted wall that fits with the spirit of the event.

The map in my hands tells me I shall find music and poetry performances on the top of this building.

In this green environment of Dalston's Garden, a disco shed plays host to music while kids and adults alike take part in face painting, soap carving and other joyful activities.

On one side of the roof, visitors of the festival enjoy drinks and converse.

On the other side of the roof, poetry and music delight the ears.

Beyonder performs a poetic act on the Lyrix Organix stage.

The London Jazz Orchestra played at The Patio, in the cultural center of Hackney in Greater London.

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Strauss Kahn copies Clinton barefaced

In his first interview since he’s back in France, Strauss Kahn repeated Clinton’s apology concerning the Monica Lewinsky scandal word for word.

See this:

Many french journalists have accused Strauss Khan of preparing his come-back to politics, delivering a finely-prepared speech instead of honestly answering questions.

According to a survey, 53% of French nationals wanted Strauss-Kahn to confirm his withdrawal from politics before the interview which was broadcasted on TF1 last Sunday. But apart from not taking part in next year’s presidential elections, he didn’t mention quitting the game.

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2012: why not think positive?

2012 is approaching. Visions of the end of the world, catastrophic events, or the apocalyptic doom may immediatly come to your mind when the year 2012 is mentionned. But 2012: A time for change is a documentary that will give you a different vision of the year that is coming.

Nostradamus, the Mayan prophecy, the Free Masons, and a number of infamous astrologers all point to 2012 as a defining moment of change. If the 90’s were characterized by a rising fear of the year 2000, the world has witnessed a rising fear of the date of December 21st, 2012. With the help of the “doomsday theories”, the media has been quite successful at dramatizing our future.

2012 – the hype about how the end is near?

Early in 2007, an article titled “Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse?” was published in USA Today. In it G. Jeffrey MacDonald wrote: “Since November, at least three new books on 2012 have arrived in mainstream bookstores. A fourth is due this fall.” Not only many websites have been created for the occasion but a great many videos on Youtube have been dedicated to these quite pessimistic predictions. Many movies have also been inspired by the theories. 2012 and I am Legend are just a couple of famous examples. Documentary series on The History Channel as well as on Discovery Channel have given a focus on this same issue: Decoding the Past (2005), End of days (2006), Seven Signs of the Apocalypse (2007), and  2012 Apocalypse (2009) [click on the links to view parts of these documentaries].

In reaction to this phenomenon and to calm people down, articles have been written about how largely over hyped the whole issue has been [read this MSNBC article for example]. However, as journalist Benjamin Radford wrote in an article published on FoxNews.com, “while many authors and 2012 ‘experts’ are playing up the doomsday scenario, others believe that the year will bring not disaster but a new era of global harmon”.

Think again, what if 2012 wasn’t what you’re always being told?

Indeed, behind this big wave of gloomy narratives being presented to us, hides a few who are trying to convey a more optimistic message. This was the subject of a book by author Daniel Pinchbeck who wrote  2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, published in spring 2006. Pinchbeck then collaborated with New york-based director João Amorim to turn this book into a Documentary Film titled 2012: A Time for Change, which is due to be released in festivals and selected venues throughout 2011.

I don’t mean to advocate that the views expressed in 2012: A Time for Change are completely original. As movie critic John Hartl wrote in The Seattle Times, it is indeed “a thought-provoking examination of some of the same issues explored in ‘Avatar’, ‘Crude’ and Hollywood’s bigger-budget 2009 disaster epic, ‘2012’. But while the negative theories about 2012  have largely populated our screens, 2012: A Time for Change does offer a refreshing take on what may (or may not) be coming to us.

Instead of scaring its audience, in his review of the film, Sander Hicks explains how 2012: A Time for Change offers “a vision that asserts that human creativity, scientific innovation and a new vision of spirituality are powerful forces creating a huge paradigm shift,  here and now, taking us off the path of death, into new life.” Emmy-award nominee João Amorim provides his audience with a lot of optimism for 2012.

Why not think positive for a change?

Neil Genzlinger gave a rather negative review of the film, which he published in the New York Times. He accused it of being naive and proclaimed that the interviewees, which included celebrities like Sting and David Lynch, don’t “seem to acknowledge that the planet has almost seven billion people on it or have room in their worldview for annoying facts of life like brutal dictators, ethnic hatred, entrenched poverty and plain old greed”.

I don’t totally disagree with this view but it seems to me that, in our modern societies, we are confronted with these “facts of life” in our everyday life through the news and other media that I have mentionned above. Instead of pointing out to all the problems in the world, 2012: A Time for Change offers a different perspective that provides a window to the viewer that is overwhelmed with doom.

See the trailer here. If you want to host a screening, buy the DVD or  see when the film is going to be screened in a theatre near you, go to the 2012: A Time for Change website.

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To all 2010 graduates…

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The academic year is coming to an end and a lot of us are about to graduate and move on with work in lives.

Back in 2005, Steve Jobs delivered a speech to Stanford’s graduates. His very inspiring words are a call to move forward by confronting your most innermost fear and to connect the dots by looking backwards. I’d like to share his speech with you here…

OFFICIAL LAUNCH: OFFBEATLONDON.CO.UK

In the most recent weeks, me and my team have been working in the making of an online magazine offering a chance to explore the quirkiest sides of London.

After much hard work, OFFBEATLONDON.CO.UK has finally launched. And a few weeks after its release, it’s now getting ready to launch its third (but maybe last?) issue today.

CHECK IT OUT and tell us what you think.

Click away and explore:

The Pub in a Public Toilet

The Aviary Art at the Barbican

– Upcoming: Tyburn Convent: Execution and peace of mind.

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Catching up on Challenging Perceptions

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I would like to apologize for the lack of writing these past months.

Thank you for your comments and all your support. I am getting back to work to challenge your perceptions… keep on checking the blog for new articles every 2-3 days.

cheers.