Tuesday, August 26, 2014

1001 Tacos Arabes

 al pastor at Al Tizoncito

Just returned from Mexico City DF where the street food scene was incredible.

The history of tacos al pastor (pork tacos cooked vertically on a spit, usually with a pineapple on top) is disputed but is said to come from Mexico City or Puebla or thereabouts, created by Lebanese immigrants bringing their shawarma skills with them.

The latest taco craze in the city are "tacos arabes" or Arabic tacos. Taco meat and fillings in pita bread.

At one amazing restaurant, Al Tizoncito on Tamaulipas 122 in Condesa, has them called "Sherezadas" after our herione. They also claim to be the birthplace of al pastor. Regardless, they serve up the best pastor I've ever had, on tortilla or Sherezada style.

A Nights related (and worthy) food story of shawarma turning into tacos turning back into shawarma?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Miami Icons: Opa-locka City Hall, an Arabesque Dream in the Face of Urban Decay"

More on Opa-locka Florida – the city based on The Arabian Nights – from Miami New Times, apharisto ya Pedro -

"Miami Icons: Opa-locka City Hall, an Arabesque Dream in the Face of Urban Decay

picture by Karli Evans

 San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge. St. Louis has the Arch. Las Vegas has its retro welcome sign. It seems like every city has an iconic structure to represent itself to the rest of the world. Every city but Miami, that is. The Magic City is full of architectural gems, and maybe that's why no one building has come to define it. But that's left this town without a symbol of its own. In our Miami Icons series, we're aiming to fix that. Today, writer Abel Folgar argues that Opa-locka's City Hall is the perfect metaphor for Miami.


Founded in 1926 by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss and fashioned by a bizarre penchant for the One Thousand and One Nights, Opa-locka is the largest architectural example of the Moorish Revival style in the west, with the city hall building being the flagship that arrows out to other structures in the city. The 1926 Great Miami Hurricane effectively destroyed South Florida, and the newly minted City of Opa-locka was not exempt. But a large majority of the buildings survived -- the mettle with which dreams are built."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Muppet Show - Arabian Nights Episode - Season 5 Episode 18

With many thanks to Soren here is The Muppet Show's take on the Nights with the exceptional Marty Feldman as Scheherazade!

The Muppet Show, Season 5, Episode 18, 1980. Guest starring Marty Feldman.

Monday, June 2, 2014

1001 Dark Nights

1001 Dark Nights is a series of 12 books being released this year (one per month). They are written by 12 different popular authors. The books have a loose associated with the Nights and seem like they are being marketed as steamy romances akin to the 50 Shades of Grey series but also have a vampire one, a cowboy book and one with detectives.

Shayla Black, author of the volume Forever Wicked, describes her book at USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/story/happyeverafter/2014/02/13/1001-dark-nights-novella-collection-graham-folsom-adrian/5444107/). She describes the story as "When her billionaire husband blackmailed her for a honeymoon, she stole his heart" and about her hero - "Jason Denning is one sexy, clever Dominant who's determined to win back his wife."

The publisher's website has more details - http://www.1001darknights.com/

Friday, May 30, 2014

An Nowfara Cafe Damascus Syria

A picture I took on one of my last nights in Damascus in the summer of 2008. It's of Abu Shady the "hakawati" of Damascus. Every night he would sit on his raised seat and provide stories for the entertainment of the cafe. Many stories were from the Nights. In the top right corner of the photo is a hanging reproduction of a painting called Safie, One of the Three Ladies of Baghdad by William Clarke Wontner (1900). It was a detail I hadn't seen before. I hope An-Nowfara Cafe and Abu Shady are well and hope for peace for Syria.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Salesman Paul Brennan lost in Opa Locka's 1001 Streets

The 1969 film Salesman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salesman_%28film%29) is something you should run out and rent immediately. It is a beautifully shot documentary following several door-to-door Bible salesmen in the 1960s. In one sequence one of the salesmen, Paul Brennan, gets lost in the city of Opa Locka, Florida and thus in its 1001 Nights built layout. You can see a lot of the street names here and get a glimpse of the Orientalized city hall. At the end of this clip he tells his coworkers he was lost in the "Muslim district".

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tales Through Time: The Incredible Journey of The 1001 Nights

I'll be giving a 1001 Nights lecture/presentation at the new San Diego Public Library this Wednesday evening. Please come!

Facebook event - https://www.facebook.com/events/878628298819845/

"Tales Through Time: The Incredible Journey of The 1001 Nights"

Professor Michael Lundell discusses the origins, significance, and lasting influence of one the great works of world culture, “One Thousand and One Nights” (aka “The Arabian Nights”), the collection of stories and folktales compiled during the Islamic Golden Age. Take a magic carpet ride with Scheherazade, Aladdin, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and Sindbad the Sailor.

When: Wednesday, May 21, 2014 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Central Library / Mary Hollis Clark Conference Room 151 330 Park Blvd., San Diego, CA 92101

Part of the Muslim Journeys project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.