Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sinbad on Sky 1

British television channel Sky 1 has begun production for a 13 part series based on Sinbad the Sailor.

A mix of 24 and Lost featuring Sinbad adventures?  Sounds like a recipe for something I guess.  I wonder who will hit the screen as Sinbad first, The Rock (in the upcoming 3D Arabian Nights)?  Or the as yet unchosen Sky1 version?

Here are a slew of related articles and clips:

"Sky1 is has commissioned a multimillion-pound remake of Sinbad the Sailor, to be produced by Primeval makers Impossible Pictures, which it promises will have "the ambition of Lost and the pace of 24".

The commission is one of a slate of new shows unveiled today by the Sky1 director of programmes, Stuart Murphy, who is keen to shed a reputation for relying on foreign imports and "shifting the budget around to put terrestrial levels of spend behind our commissioned shows". Sinbad, which will start photography in Malta in February, is a 13-part series that features a 21-year-old Sinbad fleeing from his home in Basra, Iraq."

From Sky1's initial announcement:

" Breaking news (Tuesday 3 August, 2010):

Today  we are announcing a brand new 13 part hour long series called Sinbad. It's from the Emmy® and BAFTA® winning Impossible Pictures (Primeval). The new production promises a 21st century take on the classic 8th century iconic hero, Sinbad, reinvigorating the hero’s adventures for a contemporary audience.

On the run from his home town of Basra and under a curse for a killing that led to the death of his much-loved brother, the streetwise Sinbad finds himself cast out to sea. Surviving a violent and magical storm, both Sinbad and his intriguing fellow ship-mates are forced to band together to face their inner demons, hopes, loves and fears. Our flawed hero embarks on an epic and emotional quest to rid himself of the curse and embrace his destiny. When mystical meets muscle anything can happen.

Elaine Pyke, Head of Drama at Sky 1 HD commented: “Our Sinbad is 21, reckless, utterly charming and cursed. Mysticism, magic, monsters and high octane action adventure, this Sinbad is always exciting and sometimes challenging. This unique series will have the ambition of Lost, the pace of 24 and take the viewer to visually stunning locations on both sea and land. Sky’s Sinbad will be a multi-layered series for today’s prime time audience.”

Sinbad is part of Sky1's multi-million pound HD drama investment fund. The search is now on to find an actor to play the iconic role!"


from Impossible Pictures:

SINBAD. Hero or Villain? On the run from his home town of Basra and under a curse for a killing that led to the death of his much-loved brother, the streetwise SINBAD finds himself cast out to sea. Surviving a violent and magical storm, both SINBAD and his intriguing fellow ship-mates are forced to band together to face their inner demons, hopes, loves and fears. Our flawed hero embarks on an epic and emotional quest to rid himself of the curse and embrace his destiny. When mystical meets muscle anything can happen….


Times of Malta (Malta is the location of the shooting):

"Sinbad will be shot in Malta for Sky1 next year, marking the first time an entire series of a television production is being filmed on the island.

Usually, only individual episodes, or parts of them, are filmed here, Malta Film Commissioner Luisa Bonello pointed out.

The series is being produced by Impossible Pictures, a multi-award-winning independent television production company for Sky1 and BBC Worldwide."


From The National, Abu Dhabi (scouts are looking for Middle Eastern actors for the show)

"DUBAI // Dozens of Emiratis and expatriates are vying for the lead role in a 13-part television series about Sinbad the Sailor for the British channel, Sky1.

Their self-taped video auditions as the Basra-born seafarer form part of a worldwide casting call that ends this week. The producers are looking for actors who look "Middle Eastern/Arabic", are 21 years old and fit.

"There's a good chance" someone from the region will be picked because he has to look the part, said Gemma Sykes, a casting associate with Hubbard. "Ideally we want someone who looks like they're from Basra and has that sort of sensibility.""

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

J. Del Pozo - Eau De Parfum - Arabian Nights

For those of you who not only want to read the Nights but want to smell like them, here is a cologne from J. Del Pozo called Arabian Nights.

From 1001 Nights


Quotes from the website:

"The Name
Inspired by the legends book “1001 Nights”.
The warmth of the desert sunset.
The mystery of the nights.
The name transports us to the legendry world of the nights in Arabia."

"Arabian Nights Man
A man with power, pride, passion and sensitivity to beauty
A man in search for uniqueness.
A man of all times and ages."

(available in the Middle East and part of Spain)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Aladdin's Hookah Lounge - San Diego

I'm sure there are a million restaurants and hookah lounges around the world named Ali Baba and Aladdin.  Here's one in my hometown I happened to be walking past yesterday, send me pictures from yours and I'll be happy to post them!

From 1001 Nights

Sunday, February 20, 2011

arabian nights in new jersey

This Feb 25-27 the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is hosting an event they call Arabian Nights featuring performances of Nielsen's Aladdin Suite, Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, and Behzad Ranjbaran's Seemorgh. 

From their website:

Nights of adventure and intrigue await as Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade and Nielsen’s Aladdin Suite weave a spell with vivid orchestral color. Ranjbaran’s exciting music, based on an 11th-century Persian epic poem, fuses ancient and modern sounds."

Here's a commercial for the event, interesting to note that the conductor says "Arabian Nights is such an enchanting phrase, one that captures Persian stories and exotic music."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mr Magoo in 1001 Arabian Nights

Here are a couple of pictures relating to the film 1001 Arabian Nights starring Mr. Magoo, including the cover of the film's soundtrack, recently spotted for sale on ebay.

From 1001 Nights

From 1001 Nights

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ethel Johnston Phelps - The Maid of the North

I came across a mention of The Maid of the North, a book which is a collection of retouched fairy and folktales by author Ethel Johnston Phelps. 

The last chapter retells the basic frame story of Scheherazade and offers Phelps' feminist take on the story.

Some selected clips:

"So Scheherazade began a story.  She told it so skillfully that the Sultan became absorbed in the story in spite of himself.  Then, as the night grew late, she broke off at the most exciting part of the tale.  Yawning, she said, “I am too sleepy to remember what happens next.  But I will think of it tomorrow and finish the tale tomorrow if Your Highness wishes.”"


"Rather than force Scheherazade to change her admirable character, I would suggest another ending.  Freed at this point by the Sultan’s death (for I loyally believe Scheherazade could have produced another thousand tales if necessary), acclaimed by the grateful citizens of Samarkand, she did what any clever storyteller would do:  Using her earlier education provided by the best tutors, she of course wrote down for posterity a more polished version of her one thousand and one tales."


Phelps, Ethel Johnston.  The Maid of the North:  Feminist Folk Tales From Around The World.  New York:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston.  1981.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Anushka Ravishankar - The Storyteller: Tales from the Arabian Nights

Another new Nights translation has been published, this time from Indian children's literature author Anushka Ravishankar.

The Hindu newspaper writes a review (excerpt below):

Through the sands of time


"As it turns out, Cinderella was Persian. So if you would permit us to change one of the most enduring images of your childhood, she wasn't blue-eyed, and she wasn't blonde. 

Anushka Ravishankar should know. At the launch of her latest book The Storyteller: Tales from the Arabian Nights, she tells us how she almost spent a thousand and one sleepless nights wondering how to reinvent the stories, while staying true to the original. “Because they've been told, retold, televised, and made into films,” she said. “But like they say, if you can't make it your own, then don't attempt it.” And it was while reading through many versions of “The Nights” that she came across a Yasmene, her two step-sisters, and a prince determined to marry a woman who can wear a particularly petite silver anklet.

The framing story of “The Nights” is the one of the clever Scherazade, who offers to marry King Schariar, a man who, once hurt in love, has decided that all women are the same, and now has his brides executed each morning. On the night of their marriage, Scherazade begins a story, and stops at a crucial moment. The king, eager to know the ending, postpones her execution by a day. And so it goes, for 1,001 nights.

“Those were sexist, racist times; and these are violent stories. There is plenty of derogatory language, and appalling references to slaves. There are people being sizzled in boiling oil, stabbed and beheaded — not the kind of thing you would want in a children's book,” she smiles, explaining that she had to be very careful with what she included. “We like to think that those were more regressive times than now, but that need not be necessarily true. For instance, I found many educated, independent women in these stories, which surprised me.”

When she began writing, she tried to use unusual stories from “The Night” — we've all heard of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad. “But as I read, I realised that these were indeed the best stories, which is why they've been retold so many times.”"

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Call for Papers - MLA 2012

Call for Papers at the 2012 MLA Convention in Seattle

Manuscripts & Sources of The 1001 Nights

Unconfirmed special session proposal on the sources or manuscripts of The 1001 Nights. Papers examining, in detail, one specific version of the Nights will be especially considered.

Abstracts by 11 March 2011; Michael Lundell (

Please pass along to anyone who might be interested!

Ali Baba - Arabic Cartoon - علي بابا والاربعون حرامي

Here is an Arabic version of Ali Baba & the 40 Thieves.

From: Heykayat 3almyih حكايات عالمية ~ علي بابا والاربعون حرامي