Have an alternative Valentine’s Day in Cairo
Courtesy: Hand Made

A weekend where the capital turns red, helium balloons fly and teenage girls walk around with giant-sized teddy bears, Valentine’s Day in Cairo can be exhausting for singles and couples alike. Restaurants are usually over-booked and over-priced, it’s crowded and Facebook is full of love proclamations that make most people cringe.

Luckily, some venues and artists in Cairo are staging somewhat anti-Valentine’s nights — in a club, an artist-run space, a theater and online. And we have a few film recommendations.

Vent Lonely Hearts Club

Vent regulars Bosaina, Sidy and Seif each present a DJ set on Valentine’s Day in the downtown Cairo nightclub. The event, dubbed The Lonely Hearts Club, invites people for “a night of slow dancing, burning desires and melancholy in the company of others.”

Unlike the usually rather strict couples-only policy Vent has on weekends and during events, on Valentine’s Day singles will be allowed and tickets waived.

Listen to Maryam Saleh’s new single, alone

Maryam Saleh will release a cover of Aashekat El-Wardi (Lover of Roses), by late Lebanese singer and composer Zaki Nassif, online tomorrow.

The single has been re-arranged and produced by Palestinian musician Tamer Abu Ghazaleh and will be released by Mostakell music label, under the umbrella of the Arabic independent music organization  ek3a that Abu Ghazaleh founded in 2007.

See a play at Rawabet: Red Doesn’t Suit You

Rawabet is hosting the Hand Made performance troupe, who will put on a play written by Mohamed Salah Khattab about love entitled Al-Ahmar La Yuliqbik (Red Doesn’t Suit You) on February 13 at 6 pm.

The play’s director, Mahmoud al-Hadad, told Mada Masr that the piece is a comedy looking at the negative aspects of relationships between men and women in contemporary Egypt, with a special focus on what the concept of Valentine’s Day has become. The play is in Arabic, and an LE10 entrance fee will be charged.

Bring your date to the art world

On Valentine’s Day at 7 pm Nile Sunset Annex is launching its 16th publication, a work of flash fiction written collectively by various anonymous members of the art world.

Titled What Do You Want to Know About What You Saw?, the text has a love-themed undercurrent. The publication accompanies Amy Arif’s painting exhibition Friends in the Art World, and the launch will be the last chance to see that show.

Amy Arif

Image courtesy: Amy Arif

Or watch a film …

Egyptian cinema is full of love-themed productions. Here’s just a couple of highlights. 

Said Hamed’s Al Hub fi al-Talega (Love in the Refrigerator, 1993) is cynical, surreal and insane. Said Marzouk’s Makan lil Hub (Place for Love, 1972) is an off-beat drama about love and war starring Souad Hosni. Fateen Abdel Wahab’s famous Eshaeit Hob (A Rumor of Love, 1960) is a brilliantly cast comedy.

Mohamed Khan’s Omar’s Journey (1986) concerns love for a BMW, Hussein Kamal’s Embratoreyet Meem (The Empire of M, 1972) stars Faten Hamama and centers around motherly love, and Raafat al-Mihi’s Al-Sada al-Rigal (Misters, 1986) is about what happens to a couple when one of them changes gender.

*Correction: This article originally implied that Vent has a default couples-only policy, but in fact they only have a couples-only policy when it’s particularly busy. This was corrected on February 14.


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