Egyptian Chick Magazine December 2017

Egyptian Chick Magazine December 2017

Letter from the Editor:

Hopefully, this Holiday Season finds you safe and warm with those you love and who love you. It’s at this time of year we remind ourselves that “Peace on Earth” is a lofty and worthy goal for mankind, not just some “passe” or “snowflaky” idea as some today might want to portray it. We’ve come a long way since a generation of people really took a hard look at trying to achieve this “state” and some days it seems as if those times never happened.

Being of some Middle Eastern heritage I have seen the conflicts in that region from several different angles at different times and different stages of my life. I come from a very old family with many branches and even relatives from all three major faiths.

My niece through a half sister, recently received an “Olive Wood Cross” from the Holy Land from her Dad and my neighbor’s sister recently asked me to design a necklace using one and she also gave me a cross that included a carved dove motif as a gift. I remember that it seemed odd to my neighbors that “Palestinians” made the crosses-that “Palestinians” who are “Christians” actually come from the first “Christians” in the area. The complexity of each religion jockeying for a fair shake in that society is no less than a headache at the least and a terrible tragedy at it’s worst, and of course in the end we can’t deny that of the “Three Main Faiths” the religion of the Hebrews ,”Judaism,” is the oldest of all.

While my Middle Eastern heritage has been an incredible journey filled with song and dance and socializing, some of the deepest beliefs in my soul come from my “Native American” or “First People’s” heritage through my mother. One saying, “You have to walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins,” coupled with a deep seated belief that no one can really “own the land” only God does and we are merely “stewards” of his creation seem to be more of a “bellwether” for my beliefs and conclusions. Therefore, I hope the people of the Middle East will take a look at each sides hardships and disappointments and find a way to share the land and prosper as equal citizens. In other words “Share the Moccasins and the Land.”

Josie and her Jewelry

by Aziza Al-Tawil

Josie Homonai is once again our cover model. In photos taken by her art teacher she models the “olive wood” cross from the Holy Land which was a gift from her father and also wears a selection of jewelry from India and Jordan. No matter what she is wearing Josie is a “charmer.”

Josie Jewelry

Dabke Dancers Vintage (2)

Dance Dabke with Confidence

Vintage Russian Christmas and New Year’s Cards

By Aziza Al-Tawil

Well maybe it’s a bizarre time to show these, since we’re unsure if our “election hack” and “collusion” problem with Russia will ever be brought to justice, but these gorgeous and amusing Christmas and New Year’s cards from Russia’s yesteryear are certainly worth a look. There was a time when “Dr. Zhivago” was my favorite epic and that snowy landscape only spelled “romance” for me. Today I would rather be in a bikini in Clearwater but – oh well – you understand! It’s interesting to note the art work in some of the cards being related to their “space exploration” as these cards were from that era. Some of the other cards are much older.

Vintage-Russian-Christmas-card_141806

Romantic Russian Christmas Card

 

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Folkloric Russian Christmas Card

merry-russian-orthodox-christmas

Vintage Russian Christmas card w/photo of family and tree.

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Vintage Russian New Year’s Card with Hedgehog and animal friends.

vintage-soviet-new-year-greeting-card

Russian New Year’s Card w/children on the moon with bear

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Russian New Year’s card with “Space Boy” and Rockets

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Vintage Russian New Year’s Card w/ Santa on rocket ride with Cosmonaut

Jamila Salimpour: Some Thoughts on the Passing of a Belly Dance Legend

By Aziza Al-Tawil

Jamila Record Cover

Artist’s rendering of a young Jamila Salimpour in “Oriental “Garb” on the cover of a Yousef and his Baghdad Ensemble LP record.

Every now and then some individuals enter our realm bearing everything we need to accompany our journeys of self discovery. The time seems “ripe” for what they will impart and by doing so forever sketch themselves into a collective memory. When I heard Jamila Salimpour passed away a few weeks ago I was struck by several things. My immediate thoughts went to her daughter Suhaila-complete empathy-having been the daughter of a very dynamic and pioneering mother in the belly dance world also, whose death left me not only in grief but in a state of shock. “Larger than life” people are just like that: “Larger than life” so in my heart I knew that I could understand more than some what Suhaila was going through. She not only lost a mother but a dance teacher, a mentor, a friend on an intriguing journey through world cultures and the history of man. We became the women we are today because of our mothers. I know others in our realm have felt the same way including Serena’s son Scott Wilson. What fabulous “world’s” we grew up in! (In Scott’s case he was fortunate to have a very supportive father, Rip Wilson, who was as enthused over belly dancing as Serena, so it just seemed natural that Scott would become a musician also. By contrast, Suhaila’s father was against his wife and daughter dancing).

I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on Jamila Salimpour. It was in the late 1970’s and my mother got a flyer from her longtime friend Ibrahim “Bobby” Farrah-there was a seminar somewhere, I believe it was at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas & Morocco was on the bill also – and I saw a dramatic close-up profile of Jamila with a stunning hairdo. My mother Johanna went back quite a ways with Bobby. When she first met him he was waiting tables in Washington, DC while attending college in P.A. He had wanted his love of his Arabic dance and Lebanese dance to be taken to another level but had been frustrated up until then with the business because NYC’s famed Greektown (8th Ave. and 29th St.) at that time did not take male dancers. He told my mother Johanna that the exhibit of photos at the University of Pennsylvania of her dance company “Johanna’s Oasis Ballet” had encouraged him to not give up – that her husband Turhan’s important role in the company proved to Bobby once and for all that “A man could make it in this business!” After having a few dance partnerships with lovelies like Dahlena and Nadina in other cities Bobby Farrah found the key to success in NYC through his magical meeting with and artistic sponsorship by the famed tobacco heiress Doris Duke in 1971. Bobby Farrah could do what he dreamed  which included a dance company (“Johanna’s Oasis Ballet” had disbanded in 1966 with the break-up of her marriage to Turhan and NYC was ripe for more of this sort of thing), a magazine “Arabesque,” and presentation of workshops and seminars across the country that furthered our wonderful art form of Middle Eastern Dance.

Jamila's Profile Photo (2)

The lovely profile photo that I remembered as the first image I ever saw of Jamila.

Also, even though “Dance Magazine” had devoted some energy to the world of “ethnic dance” in general (Johanna was the first belly dancer from Greek Town NYC to appear in that publication, shortly thereafter Morocco, when she was in “I Had a Ball” with Richard Kiley and Buddy Hackett) Bobby Farrah took things a step further with “Arabesque” – bridging a divide that existed between the two coasts-East and West-so some of us were now becoming familiar with people we might never heard of before. Now, as the ethnic venues were dying out, the classes and seminars came to the forefront. Also, the West Coast seemed to get a boost for belly dancing through their “Renaissance Fair” circuit. Jamila Salimpour, a child of Sicilian parents with a father who was stationed in North Africa took to the outdoor festival scene with much aplomb – in fact, it did not hurt that she had been inspired as a young lady to literally “run off with the circus” – “Ringling Bros.” no less – and that had to prepare her for creating the spectacle she did with “Bal Anat” the dance company she founded in 1969.

In the 2000’s, when surfing the net became popular, I once more became aware of this fascinating woman. 

I began to realize through a lot of reading what some of the cultural differences were between the East and West Coasts. California and it’s warmth seemed to draw more of the “Hippie” type to the world of ethnic music presentation while even though  Jamila had started herself in a nighclub scene, as things went along and the “North Beach” scene like many areas in the country was going “Topless” – Middle Eastern dancers and it’s proponents learned to take this thing to the “country” – to the “Fair.” In NYC we did have some block parties but not as many opportunities as the West Coast dancers were now seeing in the 1970’s. Another talented free spirit from that coast, Dianne Webber, was not only a belly dancer but had actually been a model for Russ Meyer and nudist colony literature.

New York City to me had seemed more like a 1950’s cocktail lounge type crowd – a tad more conservative for a much longer period of time. (I mentioned “Topless” dancing as a blow to the “Belly Dance Scene” but I should mention that the first serious threat came when “Go Go Dancing” came in to vogue – but I will never forget how shocked I was as a child to see that the “Britania” in Greektown, NYC had gone “topless.”)

Not being too outdoorsy myself, my free spirited mother Johanna, like Jamila I guess, could damn well dance anywhere and feel at home. One time a thunderstorm broke out over the rooftop terrace of the Henry Hudson Hotel where we practiced and taught classes 24 stories high. Everyone one else ran inside. My mother stayed out there a bit, like a Greek Goddess commanding the clouds themselves, then she finally came in, soaking wet. When I danced outside one time in Charleston, WV, I guess I did well, but inside my head I was so terribly uptight it makes me feel silly now to look back at it. I was a teenager and actually for a while was embarrassed to be seen by other teens while in my oriental garb, and even more “mortified” when my Mom wore her black Spanish hat around town. However, I have such fond memories of being in import shops with Johanna and her wanting to try all the ethnic instruments and bells and clappers- just all the exotic things and their tones. So, as I read more about Jamila and Suhaila, I  could definitely feel a “sympatico.”

Aziza and Johanna Smaller.jpg

My mother Johanna and I by Kriegsmann NYC. I lost Johanna in 2012 so I feel Suhaila’s pain.

I, like Suhaila, was blessed to be the child of a dynamic and artistic woman. The impact they had on us could never be under-estimated I’m sure. I learned I also shared a similar “entree” into the world of belly dance. Suhaila, like me, was not indoctrinated into the world of Oriental Dance through classes. As toddlers, Suhaila and I just simply saw our mother’s performing and just got out there and showed off what we knew. Basically we just said, “Ta Da!” Of course, later I’m sure there was some coaching but to start with nothing but our own drive to “join the party.” I thought of Jamila and Johanna as a bit of “kindred spirits” – the difference being with my mother, though she raised me primarily in NYC, never really wanted to plant down roots or establish a “territory” so therefore was not much in to teaching. When she retired from dancing “pro” she was just that “retired.” (I have oft wondered what my life would have been like if we had less of the “Gypsy” in us and I just don’t know).

So, while a Swami from India set up shop leading “Hare Krishna Chants” in Tompkins Square Park in the Village and founding a movement meant to help America’s addicted and unhappy youth, through spirituality and free “Gulab Jamun” – a world away, on another shore, a woman arrived that inspired a generation of women searching for their own personal connection to the “divine.” Jamila Salimpour was beloved by her students, and of course what she instilled in her daughter and grand daughter will never fade away. My advice to Suhaila is to not think of her mother as really gone, just passed to another form, the electricity of her spirit still charged in the ether. I’m sure we will all be together one day in that hafli in heaven and oh, how the bells will ring!

      What Does Your Numerology Say? 

Pulp Fiction: Some Fascinating Images of Belly Dancing from Days Past

By Aziza Al-Tawil

Well, I sure would like to read these books!

Vintage Avon_Fantasy_Reader_11

Science Fiction Fantasy type belly dancer.

Gypsy Sixpence Novel

Belly dancer as “Gypsy” imagery.

Vintage Far Out Ones Pulp

Hippie era fun!

 

 

Egyptian Chick Magazine is published by

Aziza Al-Tawil and Incandescent Belly Dance

Contact: azizaaltawil@gmail.com

Aziza Al-Tawil “Editor in Chief”

Billy Jack Watkins, “Research Assistant to the Editor”

Josephine Homonai, “Fashion Consultant and Model”

Contact azizaaltawil@gmail.com

 

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Egyptian Chick Magazine Black Friday Gift Giving Guide November 2017

Hi Folks! Your editor Aziza here. It’s “Black Friday” and I’ve compiled a little gift giving guide for you that might give you some ideas. “Egyptian Chick Magazine” needs support to continue with new and exciting issues so we ask that you consider some of the many fine products available from “Amazon.” If you purchase through our links “Egyptian Chick Magazine” gets a small commission on the sale. So we hope you will consider helping us this way. I have found some mighty cool stuff to consider as gifts this season. There are also many membership and specialty item deals going on right now too. Check it out and see how you can save and entertain loved ones this season and all year round.

For a young person or the “child in all of us” – here is a real charmer: A 10.5 inch plush “Bastet” by “Bundle of Joy.”
Plush Bastet

File under “Now I’ve Seen Everything!” – and it’s pretty cool too – here is a “Riq” pot holder by “Gear New” for the “musician” in your life.

Riq Pot Holder

Buying for someone who likes make-up? Check out the pretty colors in “The Balm of Your Hand” face palette by “The Balm” cosmetics. The company is “cruelty free” and is also Oil-free, talc-free, paraben-free, and non-comedogenic. 

In the Balm of Your Hand Face Pallette

The face palette contains favorites from their best sellers, including 4 perfectly coordinated eyeshadows, 3 blushes, a matte bronzer, a champagne-hued highlighter, a red lip color and a nude lip and cheek cream. For those who may have a “wicked” sense of humor there is another palette of “matte” eye shadows and it’s cleverly called “Meet Matt(e) Trimony!”

Matt Trimomy Pallette

If you take a trip how about keeping your skin smooth? Try Organic Fields of Heather brand body cream in “Egyptian Jasmine Scent.”

Organic Fields of Heather organic Body Cream

This wonderful lotion is handcrafted in small batches in New Hampshire from the finest ingredients including aloe vera, coconut, and Shea butter. There is also a “Crown Jewel Facial Cleanser” that is often paired with this as a gift combo.

How about a beautiful travel bag from “Kenneth Cole Reaction” Casual Fling Computer Overnighter?

Kenneth Cole Bag

If you want to give a gift for cozy comfort at home why not some fabulous 800 thread count 100% Egyptian Cotton Sheets from the “Chateau Home Collection?” They are deep pocketed and come in a variety of soft sensual colors.

Chateau Home Collection 100% Egyptian Cotton Sheets 2

Before I go here are some special things going on for “Black Friday” from Amazon…

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Egyptian Chick Magazine September 2017

Egyptian Chick Magazine Cover for Sept 1017

Letter from the Editor:

I recently did a short video show again for people from Kuwait. I had the pleasure of wearing a new creation of mine and it included a “Cape Veil” made out of some material I had in my collection for 20 years. I was very pleased with the results. The “Cape Veil” probably came into prominence around the 1980’s. I personally never had one, I continued to use regular veils with the costumes my mother and I made. So I admit it was quite fun to finally have one of these. The fabric may or may not be “Persian Lace” but is a lovely pattern.

Thinking of Houston as I made my debut there when I was one year old. Been a “pro” ever since. Hopefully, people will take seriously the issue of “climate change” and stop shoving it “under the carpet.” God bless everyone that was effected by “Hurricane Harvey.”

pizap.com15042545447292

Egyptian Chick Magazine is published by:

Aziza Al-Tawil “Editor in Chief”

Billy Jack Watkins, “Research Assistant to the Editor”

Josephine Homonai, “Fashion Consultant and Model”

Contact azizaaltawil@gmail.com

Egyptian Black Seed Oil and it’s Miracle Curative Properties

by Aziza Al-Tawil

As a young girl in NYC, I remember how much I relished with excitement our trips to Brooklyn’s “Atlantic Ave.” If we weren’t performing somewhere at night there were trips during the day the most exciting aspect of which was the smell of the spices in the big barrels outside the shops. The most delightful was the smell of cumin and “Falafel” was such a favorite because of that spice’s domination thereof. In a way it was no surprise to learn as I grew older that these same wonderful spices had health properties as well.

I’ve always been interested in “Natural Health” because I was brought up that way with a mother that knew something about the Appalachians and herbal traditions. She descended from “First People’s Indigenous” American tribes and was also interested in anything they used. Her own experience as a belly dancer who was around Greeks a lot  led her to the main herbal treatment that really helped me when I had “hyperthyroid” disease and that was “Hymetis”-also known as “Sage” which I drank as a tea.

As far as “Black Seed” (“Nigella Sativa”) – AKA “Black Cumin Seed” – it’s a remarkable herb with amazing curative properties. Found in “Tutankhamen’s Tomb,” centuries later the prophet Mohammed said that it was “a remedy for all diseases except death.” Christian and Islamic traditions consider it a “blessed oil” – in Arabic “Habbatul barakah, literally the “seed of blessing.” 

  • Analgesic (Pain-Killing)

  • Anti-Bacterial

  • Anti-Inflammatory

  • Anti-Ulcer

  • Anti-Cholinergic

  • Anti-Fungal

  • Ant-Hypertensive

  • Antioxidant

  • Antispasmodic

  • Antiviral

  • Bronchodilator

  • Gluconeogenesis Inhibitor (Anti-Diabetic)

  • Hepatoprotective (Liver Protecting)

  • Hypotensive

  • Insulin Sensitizing

  • Interferon Inducer

  • Leukotriene Antagonist

  • Renoprotective (Kidney Protecting)

  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha Inhibitor

In the modern time there have been many studies of the pharmacological properties of the “Black Seed.” Many of the illnesses they say it cures or treats include the following: Type 2 Diabetes, Helicobacter Pylori Infection, Epilepsy, High Blood Pressure, Asthma, Acute Tonsillopharyngitis, Chemical Weapons Injury, Colon Cancer, MRSA, and Opiate Addiction.

“Vitalute” Organic Cold Pressed “Black Seed Oil.”

Anyway, I’ve loved regular cumin for a long time in Middle Eastern cooking. It might be time to give this variety a try.

Kabbalah Manifestation Secrets

“Lady Popular”: a Fun Game from Bulgaria

By Aziza Al-Tawil

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Two characters from Lady Popular in front of a recent Egyptian Backdrop.

If you enjoyed paper dolls as a child then you would probably really dig “Lady Popular,” an online dress-up game invented in Bulgaria several years ago. It was so “popular” they came up with an “International Edition.” There are many “special events” within the game that enable players to get their hands on unique dress, backdrops for their characters, and even furniture for a multi-level apartment.You can even have cars and pets. So far there have been many chances to have components for dressing your doll in a belly dance costume including Carrie Fisher’s sensational outfit from “Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi” (1983). I’ve had some nice experiences since I was asked by a lovely Bulgarian lady to join her club in “LP.” I’ve met and chatted with a lot of cool ladies from around the world and we even mourned together when one of our ladies passed away at the young age of fifty three. We dressed all our ladies in black and then we all voted for our deceased friend to go to one of the podiums. The dear lady made it to the “top” posthumously and perhaps unlike some other things in the world proved that women really can have close, sisterly connections and not just “competitive” ones.

Learn to Dance any Dabke Style

Gifts from Cathy

by Aziza Al-Tawil

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Was pleasantly surprised when my neighbor gifted me with 2 interesting books about Egypt the other day. One was a “Scholastic” book  about the country and the other was the autobiography of Jehan Sadat, a brave woman like Jackie Kennedy in that she saw her beloved husband Anwar Sadat assassinated in October of 1981.

The book reveals that Jehan had an English mother and an Egyptian father and was raised in Egypt. I remember so well the turbulent incident of her husband’s death and all that it meant in the world to different people with different opinions on what the correct course should have been in the political realm over there. 

Anyway, I look forward to reading the books!

New “Cruelty Free” Luxury Cosmetics Line

Rhythms for Belly Dance in the Golden Age of the Greek Taverna:  A Simple Primer

by Aziza Al-Tawil

Recent discussions with friends have given me pause to write an article about what the most popular rhythms were for belly dance in the “heyday” and how to understand how that influenced a person’s “Act” or “Set.” In the “Heyday” of the 1950’s and 1960’s in some cities the Greek Taverna dominated the “scene” as Greeks tended to have a very good knack for entertaining “The World”-not just themselves. Despite a lot of “bad blood” between so many people in the Near and Middle East the Greeks had a way of harnessing what made the people “alike” not different. Examples of this, for instance, was that the first song played by the band to kick off the evening was always a “Paso Doble.” Some forms of “rhumba” were played to add a touch more “Latin” to the proceedings also, but the main fare of the evening highlighted the shared culture of Greeks, Turks, Armenians, Arabs, Jews, and various other ethnic groups like Albanians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, and just about any others you could think of who once called parts of “Asia Minor” their home.

New Yorks City’s “8th Avenue and 29th Street” scene boasted  an impressive array of nightclubs within just a small area. Nicknamed “Bouzoukee Blvd” – it exploded in popularity right after Melina Mercouri made her big splash in “Never on a Sunday.” The song and the film were a worldwide hit and so the search for all things “Greek” was on. 

The foreign stars from Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, and other famous hubs of belly dance culture flocked to NYC, Chicago, Boston, and other Metro areas. Besides a culture that had a wealth of “line dances” there was also a tradition of “belly dance” in several countries. If you were a belly dancer in Greektown you were trained in all the rhythms to play on Darbucky because you were expected the night you worked not just to dance once or twice but to sit on the bandstand all night and play percussion for the other dancers. In other words, on percussion, dancers were considered musicians also.

The main rhythms that were acknowledged as true “belly dance” rhythms-where you can really show your “stuff”- was “Tsifte Telli” (Turkish/Arabic Spelling “Cifte Telli”) and “Arapiko” (Greek/Turkish for the rhythm known in Arabic as “Maksoum”). Now, you might ask, “What is the difference and why is one credited to an “ethnicity” namely the “Arab” and the other not?” Well, for one, it’s the actual rhythm that tells the tale.

One group of people with a thought or two on Middle Eastern music from a “musician’s standpoint” are, believe it or not, the “American Jazz Musician.” Jazz musicians, with a heritage of their own coming out of a part of Africa, of course mixed with some other musical styles like American Indian, European, and even Gypsy, found themselves easily drawn to the mesmerizing rhythms of the world of belly dance. (Yes, in it’s “heyday,” many musicians like Dizzy Gillespie (“A Night in Tunisia”) flocked to 8th Ave. and 29th St. to get some inspiration from the the great music going on there.

I remember when I was working with some Jazz musicians we had a conversation. They observed that a lot of Arabic music has rhythms where the accent is on the “Back Beat” and that Gypsy music as well as Turkish music tend to have more rhythms that accent the “Downbeat.” In fact in Turkish some that come to mind right off are “Cifte Telli,” “Karsilama,” and “Laz” (“Laziko” in Greek)-no doubt if I really stop think of a lot more of their line dances, I would probably find more of that example. The “downbeat” on a traditional drum is the “Doum”- or center of the drum. 

By contrast, many Arabic rhythms have the “accent” on the “Back Beat,” (or the “Tek” which is the outer rim of the drum) one strong example is the “Maksoum,” which we stated in previous sentences here was considered such an “Arabian Style” that in Greek/Turkish was called “Arapiko” – which in essence “dance of arabs,” the same way “Hassapiko” is “The Butcher’s Dance” in Greek, “Laziko” is “Dance of the Laz” people of the “Black Sea,” In fact the dance of “Hassapiko Serviko” is the name of a “Hassapiko” with Serbian Balkan influences. (Speaking again of the “back beat” in Arabian music don’t forget an old saying that Arabic belly dancers tended to dance “behind the beat”).

The portion of these words that are “siko” or “iko” seem to be a “call to action”- as it means to “stand up” or “get up.” For instance “chorepsi” or “horepsi” is the actual word for dance. But when “iko” or “siko” is present it’s like saying “Get up and dance the butcher’s dance with me” (“Hassapiko”) or “Come on get up and let’s dance like the Arabs (“Arapiko”). 

Also, I was interested to find out that a recent development has the Turkish word for Arab, namely “Arap,” has been used by some younger Greeks as an “ethnic slur.” Apparently, this has been the case since the war over “Cyprus” occurred with Turkey in the Summer of 1974, and by the 90’s Greeks in large numbers were turning their backs on shared roots with Turks and Arabs-some Arabs being “Christian” does not seem to matter-it’s as if they were lumped together with those dastardly “Ottomans.” Not to mention that certain cultures started “de-romanticizing” the “Roma”-“the “Gypsies”- to the point that they just didn’t want them to be themselves anymore. Turkey itself tore down their district “Sulekule” – itself the inspiration for many a Turkish song. Sadly, without “romance” our spirit dies and we’re just another group of people that get turned on when the world gets too crowded.

So, keeping that in mind, there is some talk of not wanting to call the rhythm “Arapiko” that name anymore. My only problem with that personally is that it’s basically saying “Arab” is a dirty word if it’s spelled in the “Turkish Fashion”  with a “P.” As an artist who hates to stir the “cauldron” of hate over all this is a bad idea. I wouldn’t let a handful of people dictate the change in meaning whether it’s over “Cyprus” or “9/11.” (Also intriguing are a small handful of other dances in different regions in  Greece called an “Arapiko” which are not only not done to “Maksoum” they don’t resemble each other at all-yet the question is: “Are they not related then to an Arab influence? If not, why then are they called “Arapikos” as well?” This provides food for thought. Two of the three dances in question feature just two men- one is a sword dance, the other a rather free form type dance, and the third almost a “mime piece” like something from ancient theatre.

Some interesting commentary on this latest development can be found on Shira’s Website – notice some footnotes under the info about Stelios Kazantzidis and his song “Ehis Kormi Arapiko” visit the page on her site here Arapiko Footnotes on Shira’s Site(Shira is now assisted in Greek translations and Greek folklore by dancer Panayiota Bakis Mohieddin, the director of the “Arab Hellenic Folklore Institute” located in the Boston area. Another page with some Greek words translated are here Words for Dancers to Know in Greek.

As for the rhythms that were “not popular” in the hey day for belly dancing I can mention two “right off the bat” that were not. Along about the late 1970’s to the late 1980’s there seems to be a craze to “belly dance” to the fast “Hassapiko” or “Kasop” rhythm as an “opener” or “entrance” piece. Some cases of this seem to be “on purpose” and in some other instances it seems to be a drummer veering off from the “Malfouf” rhythms, a popular fast rhythm amongst the aforementioned belly dance rhythms. It definitely suits just certain portions of a show though. The fast “Hassapiko”/”Kasop” can certainly be done for a brief time in an act with the hopping steps but you sure as heck don’t try to “belly dance” to it you would break a leg! Yet, I’ve seen video of some poor dancers trying to dance around to it as if they are about to have a heart attack. In the classic age, right before this you made fast entrances to fast “Cifte Telli” or “Fast Arapiko” (or you could enter “slow” for drama in your act-I always opened with “Miserlou” and entered with “mystery.”) The craze for a “break neck” speed opening in a very “frantic” un-danceable fashion seems to lie with the “Modern Egyptian” craze.

One type of dance that fits pretty nicely into a belly dance act is a “Saidi” cane dance. It was not that popular in America until the 1980’s I’d say but is not a bad choice as far as a rhythm goes. It is the second rhythm I can think of that was not that popular in the “heyday.” 

While “YouTube” is a wonderful source to watch many different dance styles from different eras the sad news is there is very little to show of the “Nightclub” or “Cabaret” show “set-up.” A lot of old “Egyptian Films” are a joy to watch but they have a “tableau” that fits in with their “story line” and sometimes the male love interest is singing to the woman, or vice-versa, etc so you’re not really seeing a five to seven part tempo change act.

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Wonderful album by Nina Record Co. with a lovely painting of Greektown NYC dancer “Lucy” by Val Arms and K. Prentoulis. Lucy was of Cuban descent. This record has a great rendition of “Apose Pou Eho Kefia” which is an example of the “Maksoum” rhythm being called an “Arapiko” by Greeks.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Interesting back cover article of “Bring on the Bouzoukee”- not a “corny” description of the “Bouzoukee Scene,” but a rather “apt” one being that it is approved by Val Arms of the Greek newspaper “The Atlantis” and the Greek “Nina” records head honcho George Valavanis. This was the second “Long Play” album by “Nina” the first being “Festival in Greece” – a huge hit – featuring the “Continental Tenor voice” of Nicos Tseperis.

The more you explore old records and read info about rhythms the more “savvy” you will get when listening to them yourselves. Even though many old records are labeled correctly once in a while you will find a mistake. One Greek record I have has labeled something more like a “rhumba” an “Arapiko.” (Incidentally, The song “Miserlou” can be played to a rhumba rhythm quite nicely-it just sounds a bit different from the “Maksoum”/”Arapiko” because the “accents” are different. However, it does fit nicely).

If a belly dance was played to a particularly more Latin or French sounding rhythm it was said to be done in a more “Continental” style. A “Continental” style of playing was sometimes known quite well by the foreign musicians because, as stated before, they were well versed in “International” music and trends. One instrument that gave quite a bit of “Continental Flair” to Middle Eastern and Greek music was the accordion. (Interestingly enough, the people of India became fascinated with a similar instrument, the pump organ and it was adapted into a “portable” instrument called now the “Harmonium” because there was no use of tables at the time in Indian culture. This was around the 1860’s, but many years later there was a bit of a backlash against the harmonium as not being “Indian” enough in origin for use in “folk music.”)

I remember being amazed one time to see what had been I believe a very pricy “when new” keyboard by “Yamaha” that had the “Arapiko” beat on it’s selection of “programmable” beats. (Talk about “International!”

As with any of my articles, take as “food for thought”- further research can be done. I’m sharing what I know from experience with music as a dancer and as a musician as well.

 

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Mystery Belly Dancer for September 2017

By Aziza Al-Tawil 

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Graceful and lovely, it is hard to tell who this dancer was in “Honeymoon of Horror” (1964).

Well, despite the fact that belly dancers were really quite graceful demure beings compared to some other “exotic” acts of the era, they did hold enough “sensuality” to make their way into cinema fare known today as “sexploitation.” As a “genre” it has intrigued people because who wouldn’t want to “strip” a few layers away from a much more “prim” generation and see what they were really capable of. One such film, “Honeymoon of Horror” (1964) AKA “Orgy of the Golden Nudes,”  has a mystery belly dancer that is quite lovely in a party scene that boasts more outrageous fare (namely the “Golden Nude”- a human female version of the “Oscar” award statue). 

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Charming belly dancer from the “sexploitation” horror film “Honeymoon of Horror” (1964) 

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“Orgy of the Golden Nudes” playing in Pasadena at the same time as the mainstream film “Topkapi” which featured Melina Mercouri and another belly dancer, this time, in Turkey.

Our little belly dancer has beautiful graceful hands and appears to have her “zil” on the correct hands. Would love to know who she is. The writer of this flick is Alexander Panas. I’ll say that’s Greek and perhaps a reason to see a belly dancer in his script. I do know one thing. It’s probably easier to decipher through IMDB the identity of the gal painted gold than it is to find out who our belly dancer is.

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Alternate Title for “Honeymoon of Horror” (1964) was “Orgy of the Golden Nudes.”

Egyptian Chick Magazine May 2017

May Egyptian Chick Cover 2017

Letter from the Editor:

This year marks the 5th year without my mother Johanna who passed away in 2012 on her favorite holiday, “International Woman’s Day” which occurs two days after my birthday on March 6th. On my birthday I had taken vintage Greek belly dance music to the nursing home and we had a little party. My favorite Greek singer, Rena Dalia, was on there, as well as Johnny Vulgaris whom my mother remembered working with well. Johanna had also worked at “The Britannia” nightclub in in Greektown, NYC with Rena Dalia. During my birthday at the bedside I told her “Those were great times.” She replied to me with as much strength as she could muster, “THE BEST!”

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Johanna Circa 1961

Happy Mother’s day to every one out there. May the memories you have with your mother never die.

“Online Fashion Shopping Platform”

Egyptian Style Cuff Jewelry

by Aziza Al-Tawil

During my recent photo shoot I decided to wear some cuff bracelets reminiscent of the “Goddesses” of old. We all remember how “Wonder Woman” had power in those mighty gold cuffs, and indeed they’ve always looked feminine but powerful. (Even fancy metallic ones with beads and fringe are oft a part of the belly dance costume). For every day wear though, check out these fine jewelry pieces from Elaine Coyne available on Amazon. With these on you should feel like conquering the very world with your glamour!

Patina Brass Egyptian Scarab Motif Wide Cuff Bracelet – Carnelian, Navy Onyx, Turquoise

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Egyptian Style Lotus Blossom Cuff Bracelet

Egyptian Lotus Hearts Cuff Bracelet- Carnelian, Malachite, Turquoise

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Egyptian Style Cleopatra profile Cuff Bracelet

Egyptian Motif Verdigris Patina Cleopatra Cuff Bracelet – Semi-Precious Stones

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Egyptian Style Serpentine Snake Duo Cuff Bracelet

Egyptian Serpents Cuff Bracelet – Carnelian, Charoite, Turquoise

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“Dabke 101: Learn To Dance Dabke”

Costuming: Ye Good Olde Coin Belt (and remedy for figure problems)

By Aziza Al-Tawil

Well, the vintage belt with golden tone “Sun” discs with faces was going home with me for sure. Knew it the minute I saw it in the thrift shop that it was something I could really “go to town with” turning it into a belly dance costume piece. So I bought it. Then it took a while to strategize what to do with it.

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The Vintage 1970’s Gold Tone Sun Disc Belt that was reworked and embellished by Aziza Al-Tawil.

Number one I wanted something that would be adjustable. When my mother passed away a few years ago my depression packed on some pounds. I felt like I was shutting down and would perish myself. Unimaginable grief-similar though-to the grief when my half sister died in a car accident at age 35. Also, being “short waisted” added yet another challenge. The weight of a belt like this is daunting and how to keep it up when you really don’t want to wear it “low” under your belly is an issue. So after a while-I figured it out. 

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An example of the belt being suspended down from the waist on a dancer from a vintage postcard Circa Early 20th Century.

The key was to get extra chain and come up with a “support” system that would be attached above at the actual waistline. The actual belly dance belt would be suspended beneath in the correct position where they usually are located (The sun discs are located at the back by the way-the chain length determines how it lays against the natural shape of my hips). A different belt also attaches on each side in the front and as you lose weight you can remove however many inches off equally from each side. This concept is not my own but can be seen in quite a few late 19th and early 20th century costume styles. I’ve posted a few examples here. I will say this belt looks gorgeous shimmering in the light. It would be most flattering to wear over black and have similar embellishments to the top part of the costume. 

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Another example of a Circa Early 2oth Century belly dance belt suspended from the waist. (This one appears to need a back though!).

The disc motif is often seen in vintage look belts and has been adopted by the “Tribal” style dancer in the modern age albeit mostly in “Silver Tone.” The belt I made has turned out well and I can’t wait to perform in it. Another look would be to wear it with mostly flesh tones like beige or pale gold fabrics so it all blends with the skin for one “long” line.

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“Thought Elevators” Breakthrough…

Aziza Hits “IMDB” with Credit in Cast of “The Grave Caller” (2017)

Special Announcement: Aziza Al-Tawil is celebrating her first credit in the “Internet Movie Database” and her first speaking role in a feature length film as “The Psychic” in Joseph Anderson’s “The Grave Caller.” More details to come. To celebrate her feature film debut Aziza did a special photo shoot.

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 Gifts for “Pro Wrestling Fans”

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Mystery Dancer in “Journey to Shiloh” 1968

By Aziza Al-Tawil

“Journey to Shiloh” is an American film released in 1968.  It starred James Caan, Michael Sarrazin, and an ensemble of some other men including the very young Harrison Ford and Jan Michael Vincent. Based on a novel by Will Henry (Heck Allen) the film concerns a group of young men and their adventures “en route” to joining up with the Confederate Army. During one scene at a saloon hall we are treated to a quite nice performance by a mystery dancer who even does some dramatic floor work. She looks very familiar to me but I cannot place her – can you?

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The mystery dancer, from the saloon hall scene in “Journey to Shiloh” (1968)

“I Love Ruth Negga’s Style”-Spring Fashion Report 2017

Well it’s that time of year when we are so tired of Winter we can’t wait for Spring to arrive!

Some trends that I like seem to be continuing this year that were in style last year, namely dark background florals. Right now, Academy Award nominee Ruth Negga is about my biggest “style icon” with her recent spread for “Vogue” pushing all the right “buttons” with me.

 

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“Yujia” Dress in Polyester

 

 

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“Coin Qian” China Girl Purse

 

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“Adorealia” Silk Spandex pants

 

In addition to bright sensational prints on black and dark color background evoking “Gypsy” and “Flamenco” vibes, we have some African and other ethic influences in clothing and jewelry. Another style revival we have is from the 80’s when there were gemstone accents everywhere-on T-Shirts with Crucifixes, on “Military Style Jackets.” This look also went well with motifs and accents like “lions head” belts and earrings. Some other popular vibes that are back can best be called “Cubist”-or how about “Rubik’s Cubist!” Geometric and Modern Art prints are in. (I will never forget a silk shirt that I wore until it was in shreds almost. It had a really funky bright  collage including the image of a yellow “Checker Cab” and other wild images, the faces of women, a man smoking a pipe. The colors in it were all “primary colors”-bold and innovative looking. This was my most favorite shirt I ever had. I called it my “Dadaist” shirt!)

So, checking into the company “StyleWe” to see what is up I’m really not surprised to see a great selection of unique things on trend as well as for the “individualist” in you.

 

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“More Feel” Viscose Maxi Dress available in Plus Size Also

 

 

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“Beiyaming” Silk Colorblock Tunic

 

Be sure to check out their great website and amazing array of designers. When ordering be sure to check the size charts for each item as it differs in Europe and Asia and also sometimes from manufacturer to manufacturer. Be sure to check out their goods at: “Online Shopping Platform”

Esma Redzepova Has Left Us-Special From Egyptian Chick Magazine

Esma Redzepova is Gone!:

By Aziza Al-Tawil

I’m very sad to report that “The Queen of the Gypsies,” Esma Redzepova has passed away at age 73. She was born in Skopje, Macedonia, when it was part of Bulgaria, started singing at ten years old and went on to represent her people and their songs to the world including command performances for various world leaders. She and her husband, bandleader and manager Stevo Teodosievski, fostered 47 children.

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Ezma Redzepova

A wonderful CD called ” Gypsy Carpet” is available at Amazon (Click title for details). I was listening to this and am particularly fond of the song “Bistergan Man” (“You Forgot About Me”). I made a “YouTube” video when I heard the news, remembered another favorite song of mine she performed “Sastalise Tsigane”- a song which I heard many renditions of growing up in the Greek Tavernas which were truly an international scene.

On YouTube: Aziza Al-Tawil Remembers Esma Redzepova

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Esma Redzepova and Band

Love my Gypsy Passions in Fashion:

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Thai Hippie Gypsy Peacock Shoulder Bag

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Pink Shoulder Bag Handmade Embroidered Elephant Boho Bohemian Hippie Tote Gypsy Beach Bag

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Rose Red Pink Lace Gypsy Dress with Handkerchief Hem

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Turkish Finger Cymbals

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“Learn Dabke Dance from Many Countries”

Nutrition Advice for Erectile Disfunction-It’s Not Testosterone

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Best Pole Dance for Fun and Fitness Course

Wine Gifts to Send Round the World

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Egyptian Chick Magazine December 2016

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Advertising Disclosure

Letter from the Editor:

After an exhausting election season with the “DAPL” tragedies playing out in the background it is hard to fathom we are coming upon a season of great peace and hope, yet we are, and I for one am ready for a few moments “Peace.” This month’s issue recalls some interesting people I met just a couple of weeks ago and attempts to reveal at least a little about their spiritual movement based on the teachings and practices of ancient Egyptians. As a small child in the 1970’s I recall the first post “Civil Rights” era “Back to Africa” movement and to think of that sort of spirit returning to the African diaspora again was quite compelling to me.

As a dancer, singer, and actress, I find great comfort in “making a joyful noise.” With that in mind, I wish our Jewish friends a “Happy Chanukah” and share some images of “Miriam” from the art world. A story about “Miriam” might have been better suited to “Passover” but I felt like putting her dancing shoes on anyway!

Some shopping segments include “Egyptian Glass” Christmas ornaments, African fashions, and gift baskets for friends overseas and domestically.

I also want to wish everyone a Happy Kwanzaa and a Happy New Year. May 2017 be more peaceful for all of us.

        Become a Fashion Designer

“It Takes a Village to Raise a Child”- A Visit to the Earth Center Proves the Adage

By Aziza Al-Tawil

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Khefisah Nejeser and Kasabez Maakmaah.

One day last Summer, while picking up a pizza, I was very intrigued by a brochure and a newspaper I picked up touting the Charleston, WV branch of the “The Earth Center: For Promoting and Preserving the Kem Culture.” Seeing  how the theme of the materials were based on Ancient Egypt I was immediately fascinated even though I had never heard of this group before. Charleston, WV has always been a unique city and really, despite alternating periods of “boom and stagnation” it’s always seemed to retain some level of the “eclectic.” So, in some ways, I was not shocked that something like “The Earth Center” was here.  I said to myself, “I’ve got to meet these people and do a story on them!” Well, even though it took me several months to get around to it, I finally got the chance and attended a lecture on Ancient Egyptian Spirituality. The lecture was to be presented by Kasabez Maakmaah, a healer and teacher who came here from the Chicago location.

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From Left to Right, Dre Pitts, Menzeba Hasati and baby Naba Ramez, and D’Oud Herman.

Upon arriving at the center we were greeted with great “old world” hospitality by Khefisah Nejeser, a recent graduate, and by Zaqhau, the very first person to graduate from the Charleston, WV location which has been here five years. Zaqhau, the true embodiment of a village elder and wise man told us to remove our shoes and politely hung up our coats with a warm yet serene smile. He wore a long white caftan and as more of the participants showed up all the more lovely African outfits were to be seen. As far as the center, coming here brought me back a little to the times I used to go to the Hare Krishna temple in Boston for Sunday chanting and vegetarian dinner. Even though most of my life I have considered myself an “Orthodox Christian,” I have always been interested in what other people believe and what shapes their spiritual lives.

Essentially, The Earth Center organization consists of three parts, “M’Tam” which are the “schools,” “Firefly Publications,” and “Ankhasta Herbs.” After a fun and witty opening about how everyone one was feeling after the recent “election,” Kasabez began his lecture with some sobering remarks about how mankind has really always had to deal with varying degrees of unpleasantness. It was explained to us that the spiritual path that is learned and followed through The Earth Center was Ancient Egyptian religion that was taken with people to other parts of Africa and survived, namely West Africa and Burkina Faso. The Dogon Civilization took the ancient Egyptian spirituality and way of life with them to West Africa around the time of Persian conquest around 400 BC. As the old ways died out in Egypt, they took on a new life in another part of Africa.

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Khefisah Nejeser and Nezeziah Maakmaah and baby Kanafera

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Menzeba Hasati, baby Nama Ramez, Zaqhau, Nezeziah Maakmaah and baby Kanafera.

The calendar still used in the culture is the “Sidereal” calendar and weeks are seen as “Decans”-I pointed out that it was the same in “Astrology.” In fact it was pointed out that these ancient Egyptians used “Astrology” for finding favorable times for planting, getting married, etc. November is Scorpio and indeed is presided over by the ancient Egyptian Goddess of Scorpions “Sekhet.” “The Earth Center” was first founded in Burkina Faso by Master  Naba Lamoussa Morodenibig and was part of a renaissance of African culture during the time of their fight for independence (At that time the country was known as “Upper Volta”). Of course the religion is “polytheistic” in nature and has elements of ancestor worship or “respect” like “Shinto” does. The movement came to the United States in 1996.

I asked a few of the people there what first drew them to the movement. For Zaqhau,  a professor of English and Philosophy speaking six languages,  who came to Charleston 30 years ago, it was because he missed the “Traditions” of his native Cameroon. For Khefisah: ” Zaqhau was my favorite professor at State. One day he showed up on my FaceBook and invited me to an event at the Earth Center. I had always been interested in Kemetic culture (of course then it was just Egyptian to me) so when I came I knew immediately I was where I belonged!” Another, D’Oud Herman, found that after 30 years of being a Muslim he was not entirely comfortable with race relations in the religion and began to seek out something else. He found what he was looking for spiritually in The Earth Center. Menzeba Hasati loves to cook traditional African foods and is their resident expert now.

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Zaqhau, D’Oud Herman, and Menzeba Hasati photo by Billy Jack Watkins.

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Menzeba Hasati and baby Naba Ramez.

I enjoyed the afternoon with these very hospitable folks and anyone interested in learning more about them and their community projects around the world can visit their site here at  http://theearthcenter.org/

Magic Carpet Ride Anyone?

Learn Dabke Dance from Any Country 

“Make a Joyful Noise!”

by Aziza Al-Tawil

In celebration of Hannukah we highlight a woman from Judaism that celebrated a great triumph by making a “joyful noise” unto the Lord-Miriam and friends with their “timbrals” and tambourines: “So Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbral in her hand: and all the women went forth after her with timbrals and with dances.” Even though this story has more to do with “Passover” I couldn’t resist a story of women dancing!

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Tomic Psalter, Bulgaria Circa 1360, tempura on paper, The State Historical Museum, Moscow 

 

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Miriam’s Song Unknown


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Anselm Feurbach, “Miriam with Tambourine.”

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Marc Chagall, “Miriam and Dancers,” 1958

 

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Miriam, Unknown Illustration

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Richard Andre, London 1884, “The Coloured Picture Bible for Children.”

 

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Chludov Psalter Mid 9th Century Miriam Dance

Online Fashion Shopping Platform

Egyptian Christmas Ornaments: Display Your Passion

By Aziza Al-Tawil

Some wonderful Egyptian glass ornaments are available through Amazon. Why not share your passion for the “eclectic” during this wonderful season. Photos will link you to their deals on items shown.




Wholesale Designer Handbag Directory 

African Fashions for the Whole Family

By Aziza Al-Tawil




Click on photos for clothing details and prices at Amazon. 

Gypsy Christmas: Some Vintage Images

By Aziza Al-Tawil

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Children’s Book about Gypsy Caravan and Christmas.

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Irish Gypsy Christmas Art

Turn the World Into Your Office

Friends Overseas? How About Gift Baskets to Spread Some Holiday Cheer?

By Aziza Al-Tawil

If you are like many belly dancers who are into taking seminars with name dancers and musicians then you may be one who has made a ton of friends on your travels around the world. Thanking friends or people who have taught or inspired you may prove challenging at such distances-so why not a “gift basket” to say you are thinking of them long after the show is over?

Congratulate them with Champagne! Or even send a “Lego Toy” with a gift to the delight of a child or “the young at heart.” Even a lovely Poinsettia! “Gift Baskets Overseas” ships to over 140 countries worldwide.

Also available for our friends that celebrate “Chanukah” there are themed gifts including “Kosher.” All this and so much more (Like Holiday Specials!) at “Gift Baskets Overseas.”

Stumped about gift giving for the men in your life? If it is to be shipped domestically then “The Bro Basket” may be exactly what the doctor ordered. Just how many of us gals could put together “The Golfer’s Delight” basket without a little help?

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Info on how to donate or advertise to keep “Egyptian Chick Magazine” afloat please contact the “Editor in Chief” Aziza Al-Tawil at azizaaltawil@gmail.com for further info.

 

StyleWe is the Place for Holiday Dresses

Well, the holidays are upon us and what better time to check into “StyleWe” for that perfect dress.

From the iconic Diane Von Furstenberg in my lifetime to Claire McCardell and Elsa Schiaparelli before her, the “wrap dress” in some form or other has captivated women.

Visit https://www.stylewe.com/category/wrap-dresses-59_231 to check out their stock of this classic style.

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Wine Red Elegant Slit Folds Wrap Dress, Polyester by Azimao

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Dark Green Slit Elegant Sheath Wrap Dress, Polyester, by Azimao

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Red Long Sleeve V Neck Plain Wrap Dress, Polyester, by JianShan

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Black Solid A-Line Balloon Sleeve Bamboo Fiber Wrap Dress by Bo Carter

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Black Floral Cotton Elegant Wrap Dress by KK2

StyleWe is on Social Media:

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Egyptian Chick Magazine October 2016

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Letter From the Editor

Was terribly disappointed to hear that politicians in Egypt are trying to keep their clock set back to “the Dark Ages” by pushing this whole “Virginity” test of women thing. Amazing that the humiliation and torture of women still seems to be the main agenda in so many countries in the Middle East. Apparently, no one cares about rape, or other issues that actually matter. We must uplift our sisters who are continually beat down by these societies and stand vigilant for their fair treatment. “Egyptian Chick Magazine” only promotes and condones the humane treatment of our fellow men, women, children, and animals. We are “Progressive” not “Regressive.”

In the Mid-Atlantic of the United States we are entering into the “Fall” season and the changing of the leaves will be the “big show” here soon. For those who enjoy the “Halloween” holiday and it’s “dress-up” and “fantasy aspects,” they will shortly be able to express themselves in full measure. 

All of the ladies featured in our magazine this month are very creative indeed and also enjoy the fun at “Halloween.” They made interesting subjects indeed for the October issue. Just wish all women could have the kind of freedom we have.

Right now, “Egyptian Chick Magazine” is taking donations so we can upgrade the site to be more “monetized” and have higher quality visuals and editing tools. Expansion and a broader budget (we have virtually no budget now) will allow us more freedom in planning fashion shoots, location shoots and interviews, and give us more SEO planning tools. If you have enjoyed the magazine and you would like to help, the link is here:

Support the continuation & expansion of “Egyptian Chick Magazine” Donate Today

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Check out our sale category–30% off

“Girl of a Thousand Faces”

by Aziza Al-Tawil

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15 Year old Elizabeth Tweel always knew she loved art, but then she saw a face painter during “Career Day” in the 5th Grade and she was hooked on “Stage and Special Effects” make-up. The Charleston, WV area teenager performs with her school’s theatre class and show choir and plans to go to an arts oriented college afterwards so she can one day turn her talent and hobby for make-up into something for the professional stage and screen.

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Elizabeth and her brother David at the “Mothman Festival”

Her father Brian shares her love of the “macabre” and often joins in the fun during seasons like “Halloween.” In fact, West Virginia has been known to be somewhat of a hub of paranormal activity. One event the Tweels enjoy is the “Mothman Festival” in Point Pleasant where visitors can join a host of informative activities relating to the famous “Mothman Prophecies” incident that foretold of the “Silver Bridge Collapse” in 1967. Other famous monsters in WV include the “Flatwoods Monster,” the “Grafton Monster,” “Bat Boy,” and good old “Sasquatch.” West Virginia is also no stranger to ghost tales and UFO sightings.

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Elizabeth Tweel and one of her creations

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Elizabeth Tweel with some visual trickery make-up

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Elizabeth Tweel revealing the surprise

 Elizabeth in natural make-up. This young lady is going places!

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 “Exclusive Fashion Products”

Turn the World Into Your Office
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The Tawil and Tweel families honor the memory of their late cousin Danny Thomas, comedian, actor, humanitarian and founder of “Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital” in Memphis. Please donate today.

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Desideria Masheed in Green with Sword

“A Dancer’s Passions”: Desideria Masheed

by Aziza Al-Tawil

Desideria Masheed is known as “The Jessica Rabbit of Belly Dance,” but who really is this red headed, passionate, and talented lady? No less than a very highly trained dancer well versed in the technique of ballet, Flamenco, Latin, and of course Belly Dancing. Growing up in a show business family in NYC seemed to literally set the stage for her childhood entry into the world of dance. Her father was a famous magician and her mother was a dancer.

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Desideria in Nightclub

By her teens, Desideria was a performing artist herself, working as a dancer, percussionist, snake charmer, “Pin-Up Model” and costume designer. Her beauty, versatility, and fire got her work with many top bands from “Latin” to “Rock” including Carmen Carrasco, Raquel Lima, “The Afro Andes,” “Jon Astor Band,” and even punk legend “Joey Ramone and Cheetah Chrome.” These were exciting times that found her hanging out with the likes of Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, and La India and performing for celebrities like Bruce Willis and Demi Moore and Al B. Sure around the New York and New Jersey area.

Desideria has been a “diligent” dancer trained in ballet since age 3,and in Jazz, Afro Cuban, Samba, Flamenco, and then Arabic/ Oriental and Indian dance starting in the 90’s. Her first Middle Eastern Dance instructor was legendary Serena. 

She says, “I am very into the cultural-but a rocker at heart. I also sing since my teens with bands. I am a second soprano singer and have sung all forms of jazz , blues and rock have been working on songs for my next music project.” She can also balance just about anything on her head.

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Desideria by Mike Chaiken Photography

To those that know her Desideria is also known for her tender heart. Living in Jersey City on “9/11” she volunteered for five days and rode one of the boats across the water to help other workers. In fact, she almost lost her brother-in-law in the incident but he escaped from the second building. Desideria wanted to help all she could but remembers “It was horrific.” She said “it was a very bad time for people volunteering” because they were so “distraught” and in “shock.” So much so, most coming back from the city were “unable to eat.” Desideria and other people from her building in Jersey City lost “co-workers, associates, and friends.” Desideria is haunted by the painful memories of that day but those who her know  also know what a “resilient” lady she is.

An interest in ethnic culture is evident in Desideria-she speaks four languages, and is a European, Middle Eastern, and Indian gourmet cook having studied culinary arts for years. She is the first person to tell you that learning new things is one of the greatest things someone can do because it feeds the soul. In her career she has been fortunate to be able to perform in foreign countries including Morocco, Venezuela, and Copenhagen, Denmark with their answer to “David Bowie,” Ras Bolding. Her own ethnic background is very multi-cultural including, Italian, Russian, Gypsy, Spanish with a sprinkling of Kashmiri.

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Desideria and her late kitty “Damien” whom she still grieves

During this “Halloween” season I asked Desideria to reminisce about any black cats that have “tip toed” into her life over the years. She told me that she even had a family of five black cats in Connecticut for 8 years. After moving to Puerto Rico she worked for local rescue organization “Save a Gato” beginning in 2013. She says “All cats are joyful, loving, smart, and loyal creatures. Black cats are special indeed. Like mini panthers-so playfully observant and smart.”

 

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Desideria’s Black Kitty “Isolde”

 

She loves the beauty of Puerto Rico but Desideria is planning to return to the United States because the economy of the island took quite a hit when rumors of the “Zika Virus” began to deter some of the usual tourist trade.

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Desideria performs traditional “Egyptian/Moroccan Belly Dance” as well as “Dark Theatrical Cabaret” where she performs her own creation “Raks Shocki” to “Goth” and “Metal” music. She has performed for weddings, festivals, fundraisers, and even hosted her own monthly belly dance show at Mehanata’s Bulgarian restaurant in NYC. She was also featured on the South American TV Show “Blanco TV.”

Desideria is also someone who knows the importance of “spirituality” for personal progress as well as healing. She is a natural health consultant, herbalist, and “Reiki” practitioner 1, 2 & 3 and as of 2010 she has been certified in the “Dolphina Method of Goddess Workout.”  On Facebook she runs a boutique gift shop called “Dark Decadence Emporium.” Her first book of poetry was released in 2007. All the years I’ve known her she has been drawn to the “Magical” and “Mystical” of our universe, and with “All Hallows Eve” approaching I can think of no better cover girl for the October edition of our magazine.

 

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Desideria by Mike Chaiken

 

  Online Fashion Shopping Platform

Dark Beauty: How About some Basic Black for Fall?

By Aziza Al-Tawil

Egyptian Armenian Hungarian American model Josie Homonai wears the smoky eyes and pale frosted peachy lip look here with a black sweater and scarves.

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Model Josie Homonai-Black sweater and scarves, Smoky Make-Up and Pale Frosted Lips

African Black Soap:

Coastalscents

Vintage Masquerade

by Aziza Al-Tawil

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Vintage Casino de Paris Ad

 

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Vintage Halloween Costumes

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Vintage Harlequin Child

Vintage Postcards

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Adelaide and Hughes “The Cat”

Back to School with Designer Backpacks

I remember so dearly the days where kids did not return to school until after “Labor Day” in September. Now it just seems crazy that kids are expected to return when the weather is still hot in August. The only thing that might really brighten up this prospect is to get some fun backpacks so I looked at some high quality designer ones from “StyleWe” that are functional as well as stylish.

 

 

Another thing I was known for was wearing dresses when everyone else was wearing jeans!

https://www.stylewe.com/category/maxi-dresses-59_93

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 StyleWe has a blog and is on “Pinterest.”

http://stylewereviews.blogspot.com/

 https://www.pinterest.com/stylewe/