The light dusting of snow on the roofs and on the leaves of confused budding plants lightly fall through sepia skies. The otherworldly glow of the final throes of a dying sunlight lights up this sleepy town. In summer the air is crisp and nature revels in its expected garden state while in winter thick snow covers the hills with a hand of white as skiers fill its ski slopes gliding from where the air is icy and brittle and serenity flows calmly unnoticed to where mechanical lifts are busy getting people from one place to another, two separate worlds a couple of minutes apart.
Over the years, El Lady Madonna has carved out a special position on the local and Arab music scene with her spectacular shows and upbeat stage presence. Years before Lady Gaga was notoriously famous for her music and specially fashion sense, we in Lebanon, had our own fashionista.
“Service a3l Hamra?” (service to Hamra?)
“Barbara the beautiful
Had praise of lute and pen:
Her hair was like a summer night
Dark and desired of men.
Her feet like birds from far away
That linger and light in doubt;
And her face was like a window
Where a man’s first love looked out.
Her sire was master of many slaves
A hard man of his hands;
They built a tower about her
In the desolate golden lands,
Sealed as the tyrants sealed their tombs,
Planned with an ancient plan,
And set two windows in the tower
Like the two eyes of a man…”
(The Ballad of St. Barbara by Gilbert Keith Chesterton)
To eternally perform, to create a role, practicing the dreams of a life, is a talent that they share with their public. Revolutionary works, purposefulness, in that moment the viewer and the artists are entwined. Their realty in the grasp of the setting, the performers drift between reality and fiction. Their courage floods in waves as the artists voice powers underneath opaque blue skies. Light dangling from one building to the other in between broken down stairs and rooftops overlooking the sea. On this night we are all but one, rich, poor, young, and old. We are humans existing in a realm created by this wondrous group of artists taking us on an unusual journey through the passageways of the neighborhood.
Lazy afternoon rays shaft through spring’s full trees. The wind cuts laterally leaving the sea. Through deck lattice, the grass weaves a tartan plaid. Electric lines, old stone two stories houses, and blossoming crops create a setting where weavers weave as their fingers entwine baskets to collect what is left from our land.
No matter what happens,
No matter the forsaken grief that envelopes your heart and your being as you endeavor to live
Always remember to walk in the valley of life and to acknowledge all who have walked here and all who are yet to tread upon this sacred ground
We all must make this trek
But to all who have tread before us and to all who are yet to promenade through in the wake of what trailblazing we leave behind
We must always remember to walk in the valley of life, to keep it alive, for it holds a collective memory of a nation.
Sea born mist hangs low, one can almost smell November in the vineyards. The grape leaves curl in fall colors and the sun has no warmth anymore, only last year’s vintage to shake the chill. Summer’s essence is held in a glass. Earths vocation and fruit lay sweetly in a bottle. You can still feel the summer’s Mediterranean sun in the bouquet of last year’s wine. This familiar scent of earth, water, and grapes is the scent of home.
As a business model, the art gallery occupies a unique position. Functioning as the bridge between art’s existence as a commercial enterprise and its role as a philosophical pursuit, a gallery, unlike other businesses, has a measure of success that is completely divorced from its financial earnings: by championing important artists, and putting on daring and provocative shows, they can become part of art history even if they never generate a massive profit.
What happened to this place that once stood tall? Served as a palace of intellectual growth, or perhaps a gateway from one place to another time, one world to another realm, connecting minds and hearts.