BEIRUT

Culture

Art, music and muscle cars, cheek by jowl

BEIRUT: For most people who profess an interest in it, culture means “high culture” – generally the work of writers, painters, playwrights and musicians who scuttle through the shallow puddles of visual and performing art.

Those at the more popular fringes of visual and performing art – hip-hop and graffiti artists, for instance – keep at least one foot in the deep well that is popular culture, coursing through a rich and varied soup that includes stuff like bodybuilding, pimped-out automobiles and laser epilating devices.

Pop culture enthusiasts may be happy to learn that 6th Sense Productions has planned a full day of these events, scheduled for next Saturday on a patch of land alongside DEMCO Steel, out Dora way.

Organizers represent “Urban Culture” as a pop culture, pop art extravaganza that includes everything from music to crafts and street art to dance.

The program includes a daylong exercise in live painting – a form that blends visual art and performance – to be conducted by tattoo artist, graphic designer and graffiti artist Hady Beydoun. The artist is keeping the subject of his work close to his chest for the moment, but it’s expected the result will be amazing, since Beydoun is renowned for his finely detailed work and eccentric use of color.

No street art confection would be complete without capoeira. The form emerged from the slave culture of 16th-19th century Brazil, where weaponless indentured laborers needed a way to defend themselves.

Combining acrobatics with music, this highly performative martial art pivots around efforts to `strike an opponent’s head while avoiding being kicked.

Capoeira has found a dedicated following in the Greater Beirut area, and Cavalo Capoeira team promises to treat its local audience with a series of energetic battles over the course of the day. Workshops will be scheduled as well.

A different sort of urban acrobatics is Parkour, a discipline whose proponents claim is all about getting from a point A to a point B as efficiently as possible.

If that doesn’t sound so acrobatic, you need only spend a few minutes with Ariel Zeitoun’s feature-length doc “Yamakasi,” following the antics of seven Parkour-ists.

Parkour academy Adrenaline-Freerun Leb – which sees free running is a “lifestyle rather than a sport” – will stage do a free running Parkour tour during “Urban Culture.”

For those more interested in the sounds of the city, “Urban Culture” includes a slate of local performers who are adept at the form called “beatbox.” This unique vocal form was born when rappers demonstrated that they didn’t need acoustic or electronic percussion, as they could make the needed rhythmic and percussive sounds using their pipes.

The good folks at 6th Sense Productions haven’t precisely said who they’ll have on hand to beatbox for the masses, but they will be reinforced with a host of local DJs – including Elias El Asmar, Abdalla Kassem and Rami O – promising a range of styles from reggae, Top-40 hits to electronica.

If this all sounds too high brow for you, car lovers too will find some diversion. Muscle Cars Invasion and the Official Mustang Club Lebanon, will give Dora residents a chance to catch a glimpse of some rare American automobiles.

Well-behaved pets will be welcomed too, as BETA (Beirut Ethical Treatment of Animals) has planned something fun for your furry friends.

“Urban Culture” will take place on June 7 next to DEMCO Steel. Entrance fee at the gate: LL25,000. The event is open to all.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 03, 2014, on page 16.

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