The fifth annual Arabic Culture Night this evening offers the Notre Dame community an opportunity to explore foreign cultures through student performances entirely in Arabic. Ghada Bualuan, director of the Undergraduate Studies of the Department of Classics and Program of Arabic Languages, said the event offers an important dimension to the study of Arabic beyond learning in the classroom. “We do teach culture in classrooms, but this is a small cultural experience to engage [students] with the culture so they can connect,” she said. “Culture is not only history and civilizations that they read in class, but it’s also the language they speak, the songs they sing, the poetry they recite.” This years’ program offers a special focus on the Arab Spring protests, she said. Senior Joe Dufour, president of Arabic Club, said multiple performances address this significant international development. “This year the biggest influence has been the Arab Spring,” he said. “We incorporated this major political, cultural and social event.” Dufour said his contribution, “The Dictator,” is a ten-minute play that addresses the revolutions of last year in a lighthearted manner. “The Arab Spring was very big this year, and we thought it would be relevant to do a satirical play on life under dictatorship,” he said. “It has a powerful message in addition to being comedic.” Bualuan said the poetry readings selected for tonight will also address the Arab Spring with controversial Syrian poetry. “It’s the poetry of revolution,” she said. One poem was banned in Syria because it spoke against the dictator, a harsh regime, and a lack of freedom of speech and expression,” she said. “The other poem is a cry calling Arabs to unite together.” Students participating in the event have taken leadership in writing, choreographing and film editing, involving themselves with the event more than ever before, Dufour said. Dufour also said solo and duet vocal performances will showcase the advanced language ability of students. “To have three students singing in Arabic, which is hard enough to speak, but to sing and do it well, is amazing,” he said. Bualuan said she hopes both students and families enjoy the event. “We try to reach out to the community because there is a large community of native Arabs in Michiana,” she said. Even those who do not speak Arabic or study the Middle East can appreciate tonight’s performances, Bualuan said. “Anyone who has any interest in the Middle East, is intrigued by the culture and politics of the Arab World or just wants to get a better sense of what it means to be Arab should come,” she said. “Arabs never cease to produce music, literature and other forms of culture infused with life experiences in time of prosperity and in hardship.” She said the interconnectedness of societies is best learned from immersion in another culture. “We all share the same humanity. We all seek happiness, peace and fulfillment,” Bualuan said. “We want people to connect with … what they’re feeling, facing and what challenges they have.” The Arabic Culture Night will begin tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Jordan Auditorium at Mendoza. Admission is free.
What better place to beat the summer heat than the coolest spot in town? Dozens of stage stars strut their stuff every week at 54 Below; here’s just a taste of the venue’s recently announced sets. Mark your calendars for some memorable nights at the intimate supper club! TAMIKA LAWRENCE “The Slay: A Rock Experience” – 7/21 at 9:30PM She may be a Broadway baby, currently appearing in If/Then and having previously done The Book of Mormon and Matilda, but showtunes are the last thing on her mind in this new show. Lawrence makes her New York solo concert debut with an act consisting of Guns and Roses, Van Halen and more. GET TICKETS View Comments PATTI LUPONE “The Lady with the Torch” – 7/21-24, 28-31 at 7PM, 7/25-26, 8/1-2 at 8PM, 7/25 & 8/1 at 11PM Guess who’s back! The two-time Tony winner returns to 54 Below with an act that showcases an eclectic collection of torch songs. From Howard Dietz to Cole Porter, the diva’s singing ‘em all. LuPone has performed this setlist before, including at a sold out concert at Carnegie Hall. GET TICKETS CHARLES BUSCH 7/9-10 at 7PM, 7/11-12 at 8:30PM Everything is better with sequins. The legendary (and Tony-nominated) drag performer/actor/playwright returns to share some outrageous stories, campy characters and hysterical songs. The man behind Die! Mommie! Die!, Psycho Beach Party and The Divine Sister (to name just a few) will make you laugh in his 54 Below return. GET TICKETS Bianca Marroquín MALCOLM GETS “Come a Little Closer” – 7/27 at 7PM Trained as a classical pianist and having performed Shakespeare and Moliere on Broadway, Gets is quite the renaissance man. But it’s the music that he hijacked from his parents’ Broadway cast albums that matter most to him. The crooner’s 54 Below debut will include tunes by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin, Jule Styne and more. Don’t expect songs from this century! GET TICKETS MARGO SEIBERT “Busy Being Free” – 7/28 at 9:30PM Yo, Margo! The Rocky star and fresh-faced Broadway newbie brings to the swanky supper club (for one night only) an act that highlights the music that inspires her, tickles her and sheds light on her time of rapid growth self-discovery in New York City. She will be joined by songwriter Jahn Sood. GET TICKETS Patti LuPone Star Files BIANCA MARROQUIN 7/9 at 9:30PM The nombre on everybody’s lips is gonna be…Bianca! The current Chicago star comes to 54 Below for the first time to perform songs from her solo album El Mundo Era Mio, as well as numbers from her past theatrical endeavors, including In the Heights, The Pajama Game and Mexico City productions of Beauty and the Beast, Rent and The Phantom of the Opera. GET TICKETS NELLIE MCKAY “A Girl Named Bill” – 8/5-7 at 7PM, 8/8-9 at 8PM Singer/songwriter Nellie McKay is no stranger to the New York stage, whether in concerts or Broadway’s The Threepenny Opera or off-Broadway’s Old Hats. She makes her 54 Below solo show debut this summer. Audiences can expect original songs filled with her signature wit and humor. GET TICKETS