Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tales Within Tales - Sabrina Guerrieri (Pasolini, the Nights and Postmodernism)

Many thanks to Haitham Alsarraf (http://www.amazon.com/Mr.-Haitham-Alsarraf/e/B00OJ2UKSC) for passing this along -

"Tales within Tales" is a recent article on Pasolini, the Nights and postmodernism at Reorient, an online magazine. It is written by Masters student Sabrina Guerrieri and does a fine job at suggestively tying together notions of postmodernity with Pasolini's treatment of the Nights.

"Sometimes I ask myself (without the least anxiety) if by chance this trilogy [to] which I am giving myself body and soul is not a form of political disengagement and … indifference. But I know intimately that my recent works are political precisely because they do not want to be so … The interruption of meaning is not only more honest, it is more universal than the meaning itself.

Such a statement suggests that Il Fiore, through the interruption of meaning, is an attempt to bring Pasolini’s spectators to a politico-cultural alertness. Identifying himself with those on the margins of society, he sought stories that explored the non-normative — those of characters such as queers, prostitutes, immigrants, and peasants. Although the entire Trilogy of Life has been argued to be a celebration of pre-capitalist/non-industrialised societies, Il Fiore, in particular, with its emphasis on the ‘non-West’, provided Pasolini with a potential point of resistance to the cultural hegemony of the economic centre. ‘My polemic was against the culture of the dominant Eurocentric class’, Pasolini explicitly stated. He was well aware of the fabrication of Orientalist representations within the popular imaginary – that is, of the ‘East’ as a society still on the borders of consumer culture and not yet homologated by the forces of neo-capitalism."

You can read the entire article here - http://www.reorientmag.com/2014/12/thousand-and-one-nights/

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Geico's Literal Genie (2014)

picture from blog.geico.com
Geico's latest attack on the senses is their "everyone knows that...but did you know" series. Geico is an insurance company based in the US known for an English accented lizard mascot and tongue-in-cheek ad campaigns.

Here they have a Genie (series debut in 2014) granting "literal" wishes, and, according to Geico's blog, this completes their "did you know" campaign:

and has evidently evolved into Genie and Me the mini-sitcom...
here is "Couch":

and "Laundry:

and finally (?) - "Kitchen":

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ali Baba - Louie Ramirez

Here is the song "Ali Baba" (1972) by Louie Ramirez (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louie_Ramirez), part of the soundtrack to the film Chef (2014).

"I refuse to open My Sesame"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Lego Genie Minifigure Series 6

Here is Lego's Genie from their Minifigure Series 6 (2012).

And a little about him from their website - http://www.lego.com/en-us/minifigures/characters/genie-d69d645d10b64e00bb35e948372af608

"“I’ll grant your wish…your wish for bricks!”

Rub the magic lamp and this friendly Genie will pop out to grant your wishes*…as long as they have to do with LEGO® bricks! Want a big enough pile of pieces to build a perfect full-scale model of the Great Wall of China? No problem! Looking for that long-lost LEGO Castle set you left in the playground when you were 5 and never saw again? Your wish is his command!

There’s only one limitation on the Genie’s incredible magical powers: he doesn’t do instruction booklets. He’ll give you all the bricks you could possibly want, but it’s up to you to figure out what to do with them. Ask him why, and he’ll just tell you that building steps are another genie’s department!
(*wish-granting requires use of imagination)"

Sunday, November 9, 2014


November brings yet another new version of The 1001 Nights. This one is a Young Adult Fantasy retelling called The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh.

It is set to be a two volume series to be released in May of 2015, published by Putnam.

You can read the first chapter at Bustle - http://www.bustle.com/articles/47450-the-wrath-and-the-dawn-by-rene-ahdieh-an-arabian-nights-retelling-is-coming-in-may

From their website - "In Ahdieh’s 2015 novel, the evil ruler is the Caliph, a murderous 18-year-old king, and his tale-spinning wife is 16-year-old Shahrzad, or Shazi. Every night, as Shazi knows, the Caliph takes a new teenage bride, and every dawn he kills her in favor of another. But like her namesake, Shazi uses her wits and cunning to try to outsmart the Caliph and exact revenge."

From Publisher's Weekly - "Stacey Barney at Putnam has also pre-empted Renee Ahdieh's YA novel, The Wrath and the Dawn. The book, the first of a duet, is a reimagining of The Arabian Nights, where the wits of one girl are the only thing standing between a vulnerable kingdom and its ruthless boy-king. The acquisition was a six-figure, three-book deal for world English rights, brokered by Barbara Poelle at the Irene Goodman Agency."

Link - http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-book-news/article/59662-rights-report-week-of-october-21-2013.html

Author's site - http://reneeahdieh.com/

Sunday, October 26, 2014

more citations of this blog

In my field blogs generally are thought to mean time wasted not publishing in "legitimate" journals - this is understandable even though there are so many high quality academic online creations. It's unfortunate too, for many reasons outside the scope of this post. 

My blog is useful for me for gathering all of the Nights related materials I almost always randomly come across. It has been a constant inspiration for my legitimate publications and useful in my teaching. It has also been a place of global collaboration of all things Nights-esque. It's fairly safe to say that the role of a blog in the academy, however, remains far under the scope of legitimacy.

The MLA though, among other groups, has started to include digital humanities criteria for judging whether things like a blog are worthwhile. It has yet to catch on at any substantial level. The future, however, is certainly bright for the growth and centralization of online resources serving the humanities.

You can find MLA guidelines for evaluating digital work here - http://www.mla.org/guidelines_evaluation_digital

My blog has been cited in several peer reviewed academic writings and now a book from folklorist Christina Bacchilega (it might not seem like much but there are estimations that most peer-reviewed humanities articles are only cited 10% of the time – this article suggests 93% of humanities articles remain uncited anywhere else - alex-reid.net/2011/03/on-the-value-of-academic-blogging.html).

Here is the passage from the book –

            “The fact that websites are doing more than providing a wealth of folktale and fairy-tale primary texts to those who can access the Internet is further brought home by the multiplying of online publications, like the English-language Cabinet de Fees and Fairy Tale Review (both of which have issues also available in print); discussion forums such as SurLaLune’s, which in the October 2000-June 2011 period had 3,761 average visits per day and 23,391 total posts on over six hundred different topics; blogs, including Breezes from Wonderland by Harvard-based fairy-tale scholar Maria Tatar and the one Michael Lundell has maintained since 2007, The Journal of [the] 1001 Nights; and Facebook groups like Fairy Tale Films Research” (10).

Bacchilega, Christina. Fairy Tales Transformed?:  Twenty-First-Century Adaptations and the Politics of Wonder. Detroit:  Wayne State UP, 2013.

Here is a complete list of other mentions, elsewhere, of this blog -


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cuentos del Mundo's Arabian Nights (2014)

Pedro Alonso Pablos writes from Spain where he is producing an Arabian Nights animated series. The series has been included in an animation compendium called "Tales of the World" ("Cuentos del Mundo", in Spanish) and has been released through the VOD Spanish portal http://www.filmin.es for Spain. It is available for rent or to subscribers of that website. Filmin is an independent VOD page in Spain backed by Almodovar's production company and financed in part by the Spanish Government.

Three episodes are currently available, many more to come. 

English version (featuring minor dialogue editing by myself!) is also coming soon and to be released through Amazon video.

IMDB:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4025596/

Watch at filmin (fee): https://www.filmin.es/serie/cuentos-del-mundo

About Cuentos del Mundo:  La serie consta de tres capítulos, el primero dedicado a cuentos occidentales, el segundo es una selección de tres cuentos del compendio "Las Mil y Una Noches", y el tercero son dos cuentecitos íntegramente creados por Pedro. En total más de 20 minutos de animación que han consumido grandes recursos, temas musicales originales para cada pieza y años de trabajo.

Here is the trailer:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

1001 Nights around the Fire Ring

Sara Barker announces an upcoming fireside reading of stories from The 1001 Nights, this Saturday October 25 in Arlington, Virginia. She has also successfully funded (via kickstarter) a larger upcoming project on the Nights (info below).
upcoming reading - 
1001 Nights around the Fire Ring!
WSC Avant Bard
Saturday, October 25, 2014 from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)
Arlington, VA

Many of us tell stories to understand our lives. Shahrazad tells them to save hers...
One Thousand and One Nights at the Lubber Run Fire Ring

Join WSC Avant Bard Theatre at 7:30 pm on Saturday, October 25 at Lubber Run’s Fire Ring for a theatrical reading of selections from One Thousand and One Nights,*adapted for the stage by Hanan al-Shaykh and Tim Supple, and directed by WSC Avant Bard company member Lynn Sharp Spears, who brought her thrilling rendition of Beowulf to the Lubber Run Fire Ring last year!

Come discover the extraordinary tales that kept Shahrazad alive for 1001 nights! The tales will be enlivened by musical accompaniment in this special staged reading under the stars; picnic baskets and blankets are strongly encouraged.

Admission is free but please RSVP.

WSC Avant Bard is proud to produce One Thousand and One Nights as part of the Gaurav Gopalan FREE Reading Series. Visit http://wscavantbard.org/ to help support WSC Avant Bard.

*Parental Advisory: mature themes and content

info from the kickstarter site - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1843894291/1001-nights-help-bring-this-fascinating-new-play-t
WSC Avant Bard is proud to produce One Thousand and One Nights as part of the Gaurav Gopalan FREE Reading Series. Visit http://wscavantbard.org/ to help support WSC Avant Bard.

*Parental Advisory: mature themes and content

Help WSC Avant Bard bring to life the US premiere of a theatrical retelling of 1001 Nights, adapted by Hanan al Shaykh & Tim Supple!

1001 Nights Performers:
Bette Cassatte
Maggie Clifton
Christian Gibbs
Eryn Gleason
Sha Golanski
Theodore Hadjimichael
Stephen Krzyzanowski
Brooke Mulkins
Autumn Seavey Hicks
Gillian Shelly
Gabriel Swee
Annette Wasno
Chuck Young
Halah Zenhom

1001 Nights Musicians:
Manko Eponymous
Erik Sharar
Jason Wilson

Three members of WSC Avant Bard -- a theatre company that produces shows in and around Washington, DC -- have a dream of bringing a magical piece of theatre to the US. Director Lynn Sharp Spears, Stage Manager Maggie Clifton, and Actor Sara Barker discovered the existence of a new stage version of One Thousand and One Nights while searching for the next play to stage around the Lubber Run Park Fire Ring - a twice yearly tradition for the company. Lynn had great success directing a staged reading of Beowulf around the fire ring and they were looking for something similarly epic. Sara thought that One Thousand and One Nights would make for a splendid staged reading around the fire ring and was thrilled to discover that as recent as 2011 the stories from One Thousand and One Nights had been freshly adapted by celebrated Lebanese author Hanan al Shaykh and dramatized for the stage by British director Tim Supple. The production had its European premiere at the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival. WSC Avant Bard believes its high time this magical play have its US premiere! The first step is producing a staged reading, so the three WSC Avant Bard members are raising funds to provide the actors and musicians involved a small stipend for their talent and time.

Here are a few words about the new adaptation from Tim Supple: "We want to give audiences in the theatre an experience of the One Thousand and One Nights as they are in the original Arabic texts, before they were discovered and translated by the West; and before they were exoticized and adapted for children. When you read the Arabic originals, you find stories that are erotic and brutal; that are about destiny, love, marriage, and power; about the fundamental processes of social existence. These stories are remarkable and surprising; and complex and important."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Arabian Nights (Everyman's Library)

A new edited collection of stories from the Nights has been published by Everyman (2014). It is a selection of stories collected by Wen-chin Ouyang. The stories are culled from Burton, Lane, Scott and Payne. Although I haven't received my copy yet it seems like an interesting text that would possibly make for a good intro reader. There seem to be hundreds of versions of the Nights coming out every week.

Here's an overview of the book's genesis by The National (Abu Dhabi) - http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/new-anthology-of-the-arabian-nights-has-controversial-subtext

from the article:

"“There is a large group of people who now see The Arabian Nights as a western rather than Arabic classic,” says the anthology’s editor, Wen-chin Ouyang. “And it is very possible that Aladdin and the Magic Lamp and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves were European inventions from writers wanting to pen ‘Oriental tales’. They were then translated into Arabic and became part of this ever-growing compendium of stories by the 19th century. The story of Sindbad is really interesting, for example. Is it originally a Turkish folk tale, or a Turkish translation of an Oriental tale? There’s still work to be done on that.”

You’d bet on Ouyang to do it. Her love of The Arabian Nights reads like a literary adventure all of its own: growing up in Libya, she first read it in Chinese – but her school friends had never heard of this world of genies, ebony horses or fairies. What’s more, in Libya, there wasn’t an Arabic version to be found in libraries, universities or bookshops. Finally, a friend smuggled her a copy of Alf Layla Wa Layla (The Thousand and One Nights) with the warning : “My mother says good girls are not allowed to read it.” This edition was such hard work to read, Ouyang gave up.""

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Haruki Murakami's "Scheherazade"

photo art by Merlin (at link below)

The 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature is set to be announced tomorrow and Murakami's odds, according to an English betting company, is 1/4. The Prize Committee has always been known to surprise, however.

The New Yorker recently published Murakami's story "Scheherazade" and you can read it online here:

Here is the magazine's interview with Murakami about the story - 

"Each time they had sex, she told Habara a strange and gripping story afterward. Like Queen Scheherazade in “A Thousand and One Nights.” Though, of course, Habara, unlike the king, had no plan to chop off her head the next morning. (She never stayed with him till morning, anyway.) She told Habara the stories because she wanted to, because, he guessed, she enjoyed curling up in bed and talking to a man during those languid, intimate moments after making love. And also, probably, because she wished to comfort Habara, who had to spend every day cooped up indoors.

Because of this, Habara had dubbed the woman Scheherazade. He never used the name to her face, but it was how he referred to her in the small diary he kept. “Scheherazade came today,” he’d note in ballpoint pen. Then he’d record the gist of that day’s story in simple, cryptic terms that were sure to baffle anyone who might read the diary later."

Sunday, October 5, 2014

"The Prince and the Tortoise" - Fairy Tale Comics

A rarely found Nights story, “The Prince and the Tortoise,” appears in graphic form in the newly recently published book Fairy Tale Comics. The book is edited by Chris Duffy who has been the editorial brains behind significant reboots of series like Nickelodeon Magazine and several key DC Comics titles. The story is illustrated by well-known comic artist Ramona Fradon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramona_Fradon) and written by Chris Duffy.

“The Prince and the Tortoise” first appears in the Nights in the Mardrus translation. According to The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia “This tale does not feature in the standard Arabic manuscripts of the Arabian Nights. According to Chauvin, Mardrus appropriated the tale from Yacoub Artin Pacha’s Contes populaires de la vallee du Nil” (Vol 1: 330).

The story concerns a prince who must choose a bride by shooting an arrow into the city and marrying an eligible daughter living in the house the arrow hits. Of course there are issues. The arrow strikes the same house multiple times but it’s not a daughter who lives there but a tortoise.

The prince decides to go ahead with the marriage. His two brothers marry human women. The three couples must then compete for their father the King’s favor and all sorts of hijinks follow involving the tortoise. I won’t spoil the story or the end but it’s happily ever after.

The book Fairy Tale Comics also contains many standard fairy tales rendered by contemporary graphic and comic book artists. These include two of my favorites, Jaime Hernandez (here doing “Snow White”) and Gilbert Hernandez (“Hansel and Gretel”), who pen the fantastic adult graphic series Love and Rockets. The book overall is a great addition to the continuation of fairy tales and is perfect for kids. My daughter reads it constantly and it’s the first exposure she’s had to many canonical fairy tales.

If you are interested you can buy it (with no financial reward to myself by the way) on Amazon here -

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thomas Barger's 1001 Nights

This is a rare one of a kind version of the Nights that a family member has. It was a gift upon retirement to Thomas Barger, ex-CEO of Aramco and one of that company's founders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Barger).

It is a sixteen volume version of Richard F. Burton's Alf Layla in a wooden treasure chest box. Each volume is bound in leather and each one is stamped with Barger's name in Arabic. The Saudi Arabian publisher is marked on one of the pages below. It is stamped 1964 KHAYATS Beirut. Just wanted to share the pictures -

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.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spielberg's Munich and the Nights

 Steven Spielberg's film Munich (2005) also contains references to The 1001 Nights (why not!). I couldn't find a clip of the particular scene. The movie, about a group of Israeli assassins targeting and attempting to kill 11 people throughout Europe and Lebanon and elsewhere, tries to complicate notions of country/government/revenge. The group's targets, according to Israeli intelligence, were all part of the 1972 Olympic killings of Israeli athletes. The movie is based on real events.

The group's first target is Wael Zwaiter (aka Zuaiter - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wael_Zwaiter) in Rome. Zwaiter was a Palestinian translator working for the PLO and the Libyan Embassy who was also translating the Nights into Italian. The film shows Zwaiter at a cafe in Rome giving a lecture about the Nights and storytelling before heading to his apartment building and being shot in front of an elevator inside.

The real life Zwaiter was killed while holding a copy of the Nights. He did not finish his Italian translation. In the film his lecture was also a book reading of his finished product, however.

Here is the sequence of his killing (no mention of the Nights here though):

Zwaiter is also considered by some to have been wrongly targeted and to have had no connection with the 1972 Oympic killings.

Here is a video (in English) about him and his killing, it shows the copy of the Nights he had with a bullet hole in it (looks like the Bulaq version):

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pushkin and the Nights

Alexander Pushkin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Pushkin) needs little introduction, but I've not heard of his relationship with the Nights until today. Apparently a lot of his Russian folktales were actually riffs on the Nights.

The following is from Roman Jakobson's excellent essay/chapter "On Russian Fairy Tales" (there is a symbol above the "s" in Puskin that I cannot duplicate here in blogger) -

"Puskin could not confine himself to the remarkable achievements with which he crowned the century-old triumphal way of Russian poetry, and during the last period of his brief life-span (1799-1837) he tried to enrich modern Russian fiction by laying a foundation of native prose. From this quest emerges his interest in folk tales. He knew the folk tales thoroughly and recorded them, but, strange as it may seem, his own imitations of fairy tales are based, for the most part, on French translations of the Arabian Nights, the brothers Grimm or Washington Irving, rather than on Russian folklore. Likewise, it is curious that none of Puskin's fairy tales are composed in prose and that most of them are in a metre foreign to the Russian tale. Most surprising of all, he none the less succeeded in capturing the spirit and tone of the Russian folk tale. For instance, in his famous Tale of the Golden Cockerel Puskin simply retells Irving's Legend of the Arabian Astrologer [itself from?], and he does it in trochaic tetrameter, alien to Russian folk tales; yet both Russian and American readers, willy-nilly, associate this pastiche with Russian folklore" (188).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs (Ferdinand Zecca, 1905)

Here is the short silent Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs from France (Ferdinand Zecca, 1905). Other release dates I've seen have included 1902.

More on Zecca - http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0954087/

Monday, February 17, 2014

1001 Nights Souq Bahrain

Bahrain is going to get Arabian Nighted. Every Friday and Saturday until May 31, the Al Areen Palace and Spa will host a costumed Arabian bazaar where you can buy jewelry, perfume and other things while presumably engaging with a sense of the Nights created by the decorated stalls, costumed performers and other elements.

21st century touches include ATV riding and jumpy houses.

From their website - http://1001nightssouq.com


"A Brand New type of retail experience TOTALLY THEMED retail sales area with non-stop family entertainment that will be a day out for all the family, where they can shop, eat, drink, be entertained and fascinated."

"The “1001 Nights Souq”, an Aladdin-style medieval themed market complete with authentic stalls and vendors role-playing medieval characters will be launched on March 7.

Thousands of items will be on sale, including silver jewellery, perfumes, incense, fancy candles, clay pots, brass trays, ornaments, spices, nuts and candies, leather goods and handmade items.

The market will cover several distinct areas such as retail market stalls, staging area where lively performances from entertainers will be featured, camel rides, horse rides and carriages, children’s play area, falconers, strolling musicians, Moroccan style water seller, acrobatics, magicians, jugglers, fire eaters, etc. A living museum including – blacksmith, calligraphy, brass decoration and other artesan products will also be included."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sinbad The Fifth Voyage (2014)

Here is the trailer for the new film Sinbad The Fifth Voyage ("Inspired by the Arabian Nights!") from Giant Flick Films. Many thanks to Paul for passing this on.

Some of the exaggerated accents by the actors in the clip are particularly interesting ("Sunbod"?). The effects seem like a mix of Harryhausen inspired monsters and costumed actors with model sets ala Godzilla. AKA "Epic!"

Sinbad The Fifth Voyage was released February 7 of this year in limited screenings in the USA.

Patrick Stewart stars as a narrator.

More information (including "behind the scenes" video clips) at - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1403862/

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ali Baba - San Juan Puerto Rico

Was strolling through a rainy summer afternoon last year in San Juan Puerto Rico's Condado district as we all must do at some point. Came across this on the sidewalk, it's a Turkish/Mediterranean restaurant that is apparently quite good. They were closed that day, but will have to try it next time.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

World's Largest Sand Sculpture - 1001 Arabian Nights in Kuwait

Thanks to Aziz for letting me know about this. As part of the P2BK (Proud to be Kuwaiti) event at the Remal International Festival they have built the world's largest sand sculpture display based on stories from The 1001 Nights.

They open today, after some delays. There was a rare rain storm during construction that moved things back a bit.

The company overseeing the project is The Sand Sculpture Company, like them on facebook for access to hundreds of pictures, some of which I've posted here - https://www.facebook.com/sandsculpturecompany

Read more about the festival at Kuwait Times - http://news.kuwaittimes.net/sandtastic-worlds-largest-sand-sculpture-park-kuwait/

The festival's facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/remalfestival

A video (in Arabic) with great shots of the sand sculptures:

More on the construction of the sculpture from The Nelson Daily - thenelsondaily.com/news/selkirk-college-instructor-helps-bring-1001-arabian-nights-life-through-sand-28024

And from Victoria News - http://www.vicnews.com/news/229019141.html

Black Bagdad - John H. Craige

Black Bagdad: The Arabian Nights Adventures of a Marine Captain in Haiti is a book by John H. Craige about his time spent in the US Military in Haiti. It was written/published in the early 1930s.

It is interesting to me because of its overt connections to the Nights alongside Western depictions of race/culture/strangeness/other.

Text below from the book selling website - http://www.scuttlebuttsmallchow.com/bgdad1.html

"A.L. Burt Company, NY & Chicago, 1933. By arrangement with Minton Balch & Co., VG+/VG--. Second Impression (April 1933).

This was one of the first books to bring voodoo to the attention of the outer world. Jacket blurb (ca. 1933): "No one has seen Haiti more intimately than Capt Craige of the U.S. Marine Corps. For a number of years he was loaned to the Haitian Government and served as a white officer of the black troops of that republic. His first duty was in a wild & mountainous interior district nearly half as large as the State of New Jersey. Here the inhabitants shuffled on the sides of their feet. Some of them had peanut-heads and could not straighten their knee-joints.

Captain Craige learned their language, on which he is an authority. He went to their dances, attended their funerals, studied their weird, primitive religion,-- the voodoo. The natives called him Papa Blanc, White Father. Then he was called to take charge of the Police Force of Port au Prince, capital of Haiti. He found the city a black Bagdad full of happenings & tales as fantastic, exciting & beautiful as any Scheherazade related of the days of Haroun al Raschid. Voodoo rites, cannibalism, black magic, *wangas* were all part of his daily routine.

He tells the story in distinguished prose that carries the reader breathless from the opening paragraph to the last sentence. That a Marine officer could write such a book is remarkable, but Captain Craige is a remarkable man. In his youth he studied divinity and is acquainted with the classical tongues as well as several of the languages of western Europe. His adult life as described in a "Profile" in the *New Yorker* sounds like the exploits of a modern D'Artagnan: he has been a professional gambler, a gold miner in Alaska, heavy-weight champion of France, a sailor, a newspaper man, to mention only a few of his non-military activities. He has served under the flags of Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua & Honduras, as well as the Stars & Stripes-- and he still carries a Mexican bullet around with him. At present Captain Craige is in charge of the publicity bureau of the Marine Corps."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Life of Edward William Lane (1877) by Stanley Poole-Lane

 image info - Edward William Lane by Richard James Lane, plaster statue, 1829, 37 1/2 in. (953 mm) high, Given by the sitter's grand nephew, Stanley Lane Poole, 1893, NPG 940 - http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitLarge/mw03752/Edward-William-Lane

Here, for free, in many formats to download or read online, is the book Life of Edward William Lane (1877) - https://archive.org/details/lifeedwardwilli00lanegoog

The biography was written by Lane's nephew Stanley Poole-Lane, a professor and "Egyptologist" who spent a great deal of time editing and re-publishing his uncle's works, including several editions of Lane's Arabian Nights.

The biography pays particular attention to Lane's time in Egypt and his Arabic related publications and research.

more reading -

Stanley Poole-Lane at Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Lane-Poole

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Arthur Rimbaud - "Conte" ("Tale")

Here is Rimbaud's Nights inspired poem "Conte," from Illuminations (1946, New Directions, translated by Louise Varese)


A Prince was vexed at having devoted himself only to the perfection of ordinary generosities. He foresaw astonishing revolutions of love and suspected his women of being able to do better than their habitual acquiescence embellished by heaven and luxury. He wanted to see the truth, the hour of essential desire and gratification. Whether this was an aberration of piety or not, that is what he wanted. Enough worldly power, at least, he had.

All the women who had known him were assassinated; what havoc in the garden of beauty! At the point of the sword they blessed him. He did not order new ones.–The women reappeared.

He killed all those who followed him, after the hunt or the libations.–All followed him.

He amused himself cutting the throats of rare animals. He set palaces on fire. He would rush upon people and hack them to pieces.–The throngs, the gilded roofs, the beautiful animals still remained.

Can one be in ecstasies over destruction and by cruelty rejuvenated! The people did not complain. No one offered him the benefit of his views.

One evening he was proudly galloping. A Genie appeared, of ineffable beauty, unavowable even. In his face and in his bearing shone the promise of a complex and multiple love! of an indescribable happiness, unendurable even. The Prince and the Genie annihilated each other probably in essential health. How could they have helped dying of it? Together then they died.

But this Prince died in his palace at an ordinary age, the Prince was the Genie, the Genie was the Prince.–There is no sovereign music for our desire.


Un prince était vexé de ne s'être employé jamais qu'à la perfection des générosités vulgaires. Il prévoyait d'étonnantes révolutions de l'amour, et soupçonnait ses femmes de pouvoir mieux que cette complaisance agrémentée de ciel et de luxe. Il voulait voir la vérité, l'heure du désir et de la satisfaction essentiels. Que ce fût ou non une aberration de piété, il voulut. Il possédait au moins un assez large pouvoir humain.

Toutes les femmes qui l'avaient connu furent assassinées : quel saccage du jardin de la beauté ! Sous le sabre, elles le bénirent. Il n'en commanda point de nouvelles. - Les femmes réapparurent.
Il tua tous ceux qui le suivaient, après la chasse ou les libations. - Tous le suivaient.

Il s'amusa à égorger les bêtes de luxe. Il fit flamber les palais. Il se ruait sur les gens et les taillait en pièces. - La foule, les toits d'or, les belles bêtes existaient encore.

Peut-on s'extasier dans la destruction, se rajeunir par la cruauté ! Le peuple ne murmura pas. Personne n'offrit le concours de ses vues.

Un soir, il galopait fièrement. Un Génie apparut, d'une beauté ineffable, inavouable même. De sa physionomie et de son maintien ressortait la promesse d'un amour multiple et complexe ! d'un bonheur indicible, insupportable même ! Le Prince et le Génie s'anéantirent probablement dans la santé essentielle. Comment n'auraient-ils pas pu en mourir ? Ensemble donc ils moururent.
Mais ce Prince décéda, dans son palais, à un âge ordinaire. Le Prince était le Génie. Le Génie était le Prince.

La musique savante manque à notre désir.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Arabian Nights Bibliography Updated

I received this update on a listserv I am a member of and would like to share it. It's an exceptional online bibliography, now updated, with Nights related articles/books and etc., in several languages.

"This is to inform you that the Arabian Nights Bibliography, available online since several years, has recently been substantially updated.


As a further service to the scholarly community, we now offer to supply scans of items listed in the Bibliography, most of which are available here.

In the future, we aim to link pdf-scans to specific out-of-copyright items.

As always, any suggestions to make the Bibliography (and our service) better will be greatly appreciated.

Best regards, UM

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Marzolph"