Egyptian Chick Magazine October 2017

Egyptian Chick Magazine October 2017

Letter from the Editor:

By Aziza Al-Tawil

It was very hard to get back into the swing of things after the devastating events of the last month or so around the world. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the storms and flooding in Myanmar, Bangledesh, India and other parts of Asia, the heartbreaking Las Vegas massacre – and so many things – that it seemed we were just barely able to stand up from one disaster until we were “pummeled” with something else. 

I’m heartbroken to report that Desideria Masheed, last year’s “October Cover Girl” was caught right in the middle of the Puerto Rican disasters-the worst of which was “Maria.” Desideria has been a tireless animal rescue advocate working closely with “Save a Gato” for most of the five years she has spent living on the Island. Her reason for going was a change of pace, to study more dance, and practice natural healing. When the economy went sour a couple of years ago she felt she had to plan to leave the island but this slipped into a “quagmire.”

Desideria In Front of Statues

Desideria enjoying a happier day before “storms” with Taino statues in Puerto Rico.

Trying to survive she was walking miles in the heat just to re-charge a phone. Meanwhile, stores like Wal-Mart started gouging people. All the while people were told at “FEMA” that they could not apply in person for help but had to do it by phone or go online (there was no electricity or internet service!) and, as the Mayor of San Juan was telling the world, food arrived to a place where people had been without food nor clean water for fourteen days and they were not allowing the “National Guard” to distribute it. The National Guard has had years of experience and they were not allowed to do what they did best leading everyone to ask “Why?”

Now, to add “insult to injury” or rather “injury to insult” our beloved Desideria was hit by a car in San Juan as she made her way to Wal-Mart for a folding table so she could vend on the boardwalk. Sadly, it took many hours to be seen by a doctor and now her foot is infected. She noted while waiting in the hospital just how many vulnerable “geriatric” patients were there. 

“Egyptian Chick” magazine is trying to help Desideria who is now destitute and injured. No agencies are able to help her with anything. She just wants to come back to the mainland and needs to raise a few thousand dollars. To all who can help her we are imploring you donate what you can. As of this publication she is short of food to eat. There are two ways you can help her GoFund me campaign is here : GoFundMe to Rescue Desideria from Puerto Rico (Moving Expenses for her and her cats)

Or for more immediate help you can send to her “PayPal” at darkdeva29@gmail.com Thank you so much!

Aziza Al-Tawil, Editor in Chief 

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The Iranian Born “The Iron Sheik”

How I Fell in Love with Wrestling

By Aziza Al-Tawil

My grandmother’s boyfriend Mr. Felix Holmes used to pick up my Grandma and take her to the “Wrastling Matches” over at the Civic Center in Charleston, WV. There my “Yia Yia” would laugh her ass off and scream stuff, I guess, like “Go get ’em Tiger!” at who I think must have been, if I recall correctly, the likes of Bob Armstrong, among other legends. In fact, now that I’m grown and my fiancé’ Bill (whose Dad was Newark area wrestler “The Big Chief” in the early 1950s) has gotten me, “Miss Peace and Love” into watching the shenanigans out of the “WWE” I would actually give anything to remember just who in the world else my Grandmother and Mr. Holmes used to watch.

A lot of the Charleston area newspapers are probably on “microfiche”-still the handbills or flyers from this area are not too easy to find. Considering my Grandmother passed away in the mid 1980s, unless I hold a “séance,” cannot ask her who some of the legends were. I do think that I recall her mentioning Bob Armstrong though. As far as “local wrestling,” a lot of them came out of the circuit that was in Tennessee.

As far as getting intrigued with modern era wrestling it certainly took me a while.

Antonino Rocca Poster

My mother’s neighbor in NYC, Wrestler Antonino Rocca, “The Argentinian.”

My mother, a dancer, appreciated the “Greco-Roman” wrestling of the “Olympics” but was not too impressed with the antics of what we know now as “Pro Wrestling.” Although, she really respected the strength of Buddy Baer in his day and at one point she and her first husband Bill were neighbors of Antonino Rocca or “Rocco the Argentinian” on the West Side of NY. “Rocco” was a really nice guy she said. He would get out in the street with the “hardhats” and jokingly have a go at using their jackhammers. (Sadly, “Rocco” died at age 49 in Roosevelt Hospital of a urinary infection in 1977.)

Little Egypt Wrestler 2

Angelina Altishin AKA “Little Egypt” in the ring.

Little Egypt Wrestler Glow

Angelina Altishin – AKA “Little Egypt” in the ring at “G.L.O.W”

As far as more recent female wrestling, I have not gotten into the clips from the “Sable” era-in fact-Stacy Kiebler on “Dancing with the Stars” several years ago was all I was exposed to. The gals in the 80’s were sexy like Wendy Richter (and also most of the women in “Glow-Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” the campy TV show which ran from 1986-1989 and featured acts with fun and provocative names like “Sally the Farmer’s Daughter,” “Palestina,” and “Spanish Red”) and if they ain’t inspiration for a good work out or two at the gym or the dance studio I don’t know what is-yet it seemed the latter era got a little more racy with “novelty” acts stripping down to thongs in front of crowds including kids. The girls now are sexy, and in good shape, but don’t seem to cross over into the “Adult Realm” as they seemed to do for a while.

Palestina

Politically “incorrect” persona and name, the “G.L.O.W.” wrestler “Palestina” in a rather culturally insensitive time.

As far as “Adult Realm,” I guess the biggest shock was the Joanie Laurer foray into hardcore porn and then her death at a young age from an overdose of drugs and alcohol. “Chyna” as she was known, seemed to represent the unbearable tragedy that can come about from a very competitive lifestyle in a tough and sometimes “unforgiving” business.

I swooned over “Rowdy Roddy Piper” in a couple of movies he made and found myself missing the 1980’s and the way we all used to look and maybe the last era where we really worshiped the “charismatic” male.

Roddy Piper and Meg Foster They Live

Roddy Piper and Meg Foster in John Carpenter’s “They Live” (1988)

My favorites from today are entertaining to me because they have a certain “Golden Age of Hollywood” quality like Roman Reigns (The “Second Coming” of Victor Mature), or Dean Ambrose with another “Quasi Hero” quality straight out of the James Dean/Marlon Brando “playbook,”- or are straight out full of laughs like “The New Day” tag team.

“Pro Wrestling,” and all it’s idiosyncrasies, is the epitome of a “guilty pleasure.” How long I stay interested in something I couldn’t do myself if my life depended on it-I don’t know. Just know that now I oft think of a quote by someone-not sure who-who said, “The people who like Pro Wrestling are either fools or geniuses.”

I’d like to think I belong to the “geniuses!”

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Wrestling Fashionista: Costume Looks from the Past to the Present

By Aziza Al-Tawil

Whether it’s Chris Jericho and his “scarves” (which Braun Strowman so unceremoniously tore in strips recently!) to Naomi and her neon “glow in the dark” spandex outfits, wrestling has been an exciting “arena” of styles for a long time. Years ago there was “Gorgeous George” and his “primpin” then there was “The Godfather” and his “Pimpin.” There’s a special place in my heart for ole “Rowdy Roddy Piper” and his “kilt. “

“Jungle,” “Tiki,” and “Tribal” looks have been around in different forms since the old days. “Leopard Print” bathing suits/costumes on lady wrestlers (Like “The Fabulous Moolah”) back in the 1950’s (and on male wrestlers like Enzo Amore who touts the “Gucci” look also), to Bone Necklaces on “Matilda the Hun” and leis and tropical prints on “Mountain Fiji” only lent more “mystery” to these amazing tough gals.

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Penny Banner Wrestler

In fact the “exotica” look has certainly not been reserved for women. “The Ultimate Warrior” and “Papa Shango” come to mind right away. Nods to “Natives” would certainly be “Kamala the Ugandan Giant” and the many incarnations of Indian Head Dresses that have shown themselves over the years including “Chief Jay Strongbow.”

Chief Jay Strongbow

Chief Jay Strongbow

Representing the Middle East we had Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, also known as “The Iron Sheik” and before him, “The Original Sheik” (Ed Farhat from Michigan) known first as simply “The Sheik,” and a poster that looks to be from the 1940’s or 1950’s says a “Laurence of Arabia” is going to appear at “The Hollywood Legion.” 

Ed Farhat

 

1968 Issue of Wrestling World featuring “The Sheik” Ed Farhat and “Abdullah Farouk”- the “alter ego” of his “Jewish” manager Ernie Roth. Roth would also manage “Mr Fuji,” “The Iron Sheik” and a roster of others.

 

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One of my favorite eras is the 1980’s-I guess I’m sentimental about my childhood years-and the neon spandex look with it’s “Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun” vibe. In fact, how appropriate is it that Cyndi Lauper actually wound up managing Wendi Richter during the inaugural “Wrestlemania?” The neon spandex has made a comeback with the exception of one thing: In the 1980’s you had a lot of “High Cut” bathing suit looks and now the women’s wrestling seems dominated by “Boy Leg Short” looks.

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The beautiful Angelina Altishin (“Little Egypt”) making her entrance on “G.L.O.W.” 

It’s also in the 1980’s that a lovely Turkish and Italian belly dancer was a wrestler on “Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling” AKA “G.L.O.W.” Angelina Altishin actually entered the arena belly dancing and it’s cool to see the audience, some wearing ball caps, try to dance with her the “sinewy moves” of her alter ego “Little Egypt.” Her costumes often had a skirt but once in the ring she did her thing in “Harem Pants!”

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The beautiful Angelina Altishin (“Little Egypt”) making her entrance on “G.L.O.W.”

So after so many conflicts in the last generation including the devastating events of 9/11, who carries a torch for the belly dancer look in wrestling these days?

Sabu and Genie

Non other than former body builder and wrestler Melissa Coates who, after a knee injury, decided to  manage “Sabu” and follow in the footsteps of his Uncle Ed Farhat’s habit of having a female “valet” dressed in “harem regalia.” Melissa Coates these days is known as “The Super Genie” and performs on tour with him mostly around the UK. His style of wrestling is not for the faint of heart though-it’s “extreme” “hardcore” violent as he was trained by his uncle “The Sheik” who was known for bringing that into vogue

Ed Farhat (2)

A very young looking Ed Farhat – “The Sheik.”

The handsome, talented Dolph Ziggler has recently created an uproar by doing a series wherein he lampoons the “gimmicks and costumes” used by his contemporaries. However, it may be a long time before crowds will want to give up the kind of exciting imagery and accessories that go along with the crazy world of “pro wrestling.”

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From the Vedas to the Present: The History of Indians in Wrestling

By Aziza Al-Tawil

In today’s crop of American “Pro Wrestling” Indian and Pakistani, we have Jinder Mahal, “The Bollywood Boyz”-Gurv and Harv Sihra who are now Jinder’s “posse” and call themselves “The Singh Brothers,” “Prince Mustapha Ali,” and of course, “The Great Khali.”

Jinder Mahal and the Singh Bros

Jinder Mahal flanked by “The Singh Brothers”

Yet, if we take a look, it would blow your mind just how far back the sport of wrestling goes in that region of Asia. The form of wrestling known as “Malla-Yuddha” is thought to have been practiced in South Asia as far back as the 5th Millennium BC. It is thought to be the precursor of what they call “Kushti” now and predates the invasion of the Aryans. “Turko-Mongolian” descendants, the Central Asian “Mughals” conquered Northern India in the 16th Century bringing into the picture their style of wrestling which had roots in Mongolian and Iranian (Persian) style wrestling. (In fact there is no shortage today of Middle Eastern and Iranian origin wrestlers here in the United States including Araiya Daivari (Iranian), Seth Rollins, (Armenian), Sami Zayn (Syrian), Noam Dar (Israeli), Rusev (Bulgarian), and, if the rumor is true, the adorable Bayley is part Armenian!).

Prince Mustafa Ali

When Pakistani “Cruiserweight” Mustafa Ali was calling himself “Prince Mustafa Ali.”

 

As far as the “Vedas,” wrestling is indeed mentioned in the “Mahabharata.” My personal interest in the “Vedas” came from childhood exposure to the “Hare Krishnas” in NYC taking the free “Back to Godhead” magazines they handed out and sampling the delicious vegetarian food they served from carts just like hot dogs. In fact, when I read that the royal sponsors of ancient Indian wrestling made sure to treat their “warriors” of “grappling” with “milk, pulses, sugar, and delicious sweets,” I was not surprised as that tactic seemed to work well for the Swami Praphupada building the “Hare Krishna Movement” based on luring sad, addicted youth to the pleasures of the “non-narcotic” dessert “Gulabjuman.”

He had called the deep fried donut balls that were soaked in rose water syrup “Iskcon Bullets” as they were so effective in preventing the troubled youths from the outside “malaise” of the “Hippie Era.” (Over the years, I truly loved the “Hare Krishna” vegetarian food served in other cities too like Boston, but, not being a “joiner” by nature I was never quite moved enough to go join a commune! To quote the great Cole Porter, “Don’t Fence Me In!”

Of course, special exercise regimens were used to keep the athletes fit as well, what with all that “Gulabjamun!.”

During the “Colonial Period” wrestling was a favorite spectator sport of the “Rajputs” in Punjab. (Both Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali hail from Punjabi backgrounds. Mahal’s family being of the “Sikh” religion and Khali’s of “Hinduism” respectively). At one point, being wrestlers was encouraged to help prepare for attempts to free themselves of British rule.

In the last couple of hundred years we saw the rise of the “Great Gama” class of wrestlers in India and what is now known as Pakistan. We’ve seen the continuation and growth of tournaments and participation in the modern “Olympics” era.

I could go into more specifics about the wrestling history of this region but it’s so vast you might do better to do some more in-depth research on your own. For me, I’ll keep watching the matches and eating those yummy Indian desserts!

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Bizarre use of “Middle Eastern” theme and imagery, “The Clash” – “Rock the Casbah” (1982) 

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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.”

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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

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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.

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Gifts from Cathy

by Aziza Al-Tawil

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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!

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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.

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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.

Orgy of the Golden Nudes

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

Music for Vintage Style Belly Dance Shows! “Arabian Fantasy!”

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Was absolutely thrilled to find this CD (Available in digital download here) which is also available in “Vinyl.” It was tough for a while to really find Middle Eastern music that really could be set up like an old 5 and 7 part routine without having to just scour through cd odds and ends. (Some of the stuff they put out in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s just sounded like background music for a restaurant not a show). The other crazy thing was realizing that a lot of “public domain” stuff was out there that ended up on new “CD’s” without crediting the original musicians or sources. In fact, they took it a step further and just renamed the stuff and came up with fake bands. That aspect of it remains a problem but I’m happy to report that at least a really good release has come out to serve a lot of tempo changes and the music is divine and sounds more like a show.

Even though we all just love and still appreciate the shows we can do to “live music” it’s great to know that there is a “lively” option with Arabic music to do a show with. (I can elaborate more on Greek choices in another post, etc.) The Arabic music was one of the worst to suffer the post “synthesizer” age.

The CD is called Arabian Fantasy and it is gorgeous! From the stellar version of “Ah Ya Zein,” the lovely “kanoun” infused “Taksim Layali,” to a fabulous drum solo “Beat of the Harem,” you just can’t beat the choices here to mix and match for a show.

The link for the “Vinyl” Version is here:

Arabian Fantasy

I recognize one of the tracks from one of my old Naif Agby records and the name they give it does not match, so again, beware of fake names given to these songs and bands, but they are surely a delight to dance to!

 

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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“Learn Dabke Dance from Many Countries”

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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 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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“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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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

 

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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:

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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”