Here's a 1001 Nights blog I just discovered but can't figure out who the author is. Unfortunately they also seem to have stopped posting but what's up there is really nicely done -
“From a new work, ‘Chateaubriand’s Travels in Greece, Palestine, &c. in 1806 & 1807,’ we extract the following interesting passages, descriptive of various scenes”
It was midnight when we arrived at the kan of Menemen. I perceived at a distance a great number of scattered lights : it was a caravan making a halt. On a nearer approach I distinguished camels, some lying, others standing, some with their load others relieved from the burden. Horses and asses without bridles were eating barley out of leather buckets; some of the men were still on horseback, and the women, veiled, had not alighted from their dromedaries. Turkish merchants were seated cross-legged on carpets in groups round the fires, at which the slaves were busily employed in dressing pilau. Other travellers were smoking their pipes at the door of the kan, chewing opium, and listening to stories. Here were people burning coffee in iron pots ; the hucksters went about from fire to fire offering cakes, fruit and poultry for sale. Singers were amusing the crowd; imans were performing their ablutions, prostrating themselves, rising again and invoking the prophet; and the camel-drivers lay snoring on the ground. The place was strewed with packages, bags of cotton, and couffs of rice. All these objects, now distinct and reflecting a vivid light, now confused and enveloped in a half shade, exhibited a genuine scene of the Arabian Nights. It wanted nothing but the caliph Haroun al Raschid, the vizir Giaffar, and Mesrour, the chief of the black eunuchs."
"Travels in Greece, &c." National Intelligencer, 15 Apr. 1813. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.
Here's a great and hilarious review of Disney's live action car wreck Aladdin (2019).
And some clips:
"The director of the latest “Aladdin” is a middle-aged white Brit, Guy Ritchie, but the diversity of his cast is quite in keeping with the tangled roots of the tale. We have an African-American, Will Smith, as the Genie, and a Cairo-born Coptic Canadian, Mena Massoud, as Aladdin. Princess Jasmine, whom he woos, is played by Naomi Scott, whose Ugandan mother is of Gujarati Indian descent. Marwan Kenzari, a Dutch-Tunisian actor, takes the part of the dastardly vizier, Jafar. The show is deftly stolen, like a bracelet slipped from a wrist, by the Iranian-American Nasim Pedrad, famed for her impersonations on “Saturday Night Live,” which run all the way—and it’s a hell of a way—from Kim Kardashian to Christiane Amanpour. Here, Pedrad plays Jasmine’s handmaiden, Dalia, who, in an unprecedented twist, has a crush on the Genie. Good luck with that."
"Yet Ritchie has made significant alterations. First, he has modified the law of sultanic succession by giving women the right to rule. Second, by some cunning spell, he has taken all the fun from the earlier Disney film and—abracadabra!—made it disappear. The big musical numbers strain for pizzazz. The action sequences are a confounding rush, which is a grave drawback amid the alleys of the bazaar. And Jafar is about as frightening as the rug, though the fault, I’d suggest, lies less with the actor than with Disney, which is busy rebooting its cartoons with human performers and hoping that we won’t notice the difference. But the Jafar of 1992 derived his power from the ease with which he swelled and stretched, like a sort of evil taffy. Animation, in other words, became him. Ritchie tries to repeat the trick with C.G.I., to graceless and cumbersome effect."