Tuesday, August 03, 2004

PR RELEASE: Chicago Middle East Festival 8-28/29-2004


Contact: Betsy Brennan / Beth Silverman
The Silverman Group, Inc.
312.932.9954 / 312.932.9953
bbrennan@slgpr.com / bsilverman@slgpr.com

(CHICAGO) -- The first-ever FROM THE MIDDLE EAST TO THE MIDWEST summer festival will transform the City’s Block 37 into a Middle Eastern bazaar showcasing the instrumental and vocal music, dance, visual and culinary art and literature from the Middle East and North Africa, Saturday August 28 from noon until 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, August 29, from noon until 6:00 p.m. This event, which is free and open to the public, is presented by the non-profit Chicago-based Genesis at the Crossroads organization in association with the Mayor’s Office of Special Events. Actor/director Harold Ramis will serve as Emcee and Chicago’s First Lady Maggie Daley will serve as Honorary Chairman.

FROM THE MIDDLE EAST TO THE MIDWEST will engage people of all ages to experience a taste of the region through its music, dance, art and food. Musical acts will include: the Israeli Andalousian Orchestra; the Middle Eastern music ensemble, Salaam; Chicago favorites, Maxwell Street Klezmer Band performing traditional Jewish music; the Assyrian group Bandaleros performing Mediterranean music; and the New York City-based Ladino band, The Sarah Aroeste Band, among many others. Dance performances by the Silk Road Dance Company, representing dance from the Middle East, Caucasus and Central Asia, and the Sanabel Palestinian Debka Troupe will also be featured. An event for the entire family, there will be a Children’s Tent with dance, drumming and calligraphy workshops, storytelling and arts projects.
In addition, the local Middle Eastern and North African communities will be represented as vendors will sell Arab and Jewish wares; artists will display their indigenous works of art; and restaurants will have food booths from which people can purchase savory samples of regional food. Last but not least, camel rides will also be provided!

"We are excited to be working with the City to present FROM THE MIDDLE EAST TO THE MIDWEST," said Genesis at the Crossroads Founder and Co-President Wendy Sternberg, MD. "It is thrilling to bring together these artists who have such varied backgrounds yet are united through the arts," added Sternberg. "With Block 37’s high-profile location, and the participation of Mrs. Daley, Harold Ramis and the many talented artists who will be performing throughout the two-day event, we are hoping to attract thousands of Chicagoans, making this year’s festival our biggest event ever."

"It is a real privilege to be working with Genesis at the Crossroads on the FROM THE MIDDLE EAST TO THE MIDWEST event," said Emcee Harold Ramis. "The broad offering of music, musicians, arts workshops, and wares from the Middle East and North Africa is phenomenal. Chicagoans should not miss this opportunity to experience these cultures which we hear about so often in the news, yet don’t fully appreciate or respect nearly enough."

Celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2004, Genesis at the Crossroads is a Chicago-based non-profit organization that promotes and organizes events showcasing the Middle East and North-Africa’s multi-faceted heritage through the performing, visual, literary and culinary arts. The mission of Genesis at the Crossroads is to foster awareness, appreciation and celebration of cultural diversity and to create diversity education programs in both public and private schools.
FROM THE MIDDLE EAST TO THE MIDWEST will take place on Block 37 — on State and Dearborn streets between Randolph and Washington streets in Chicago. Admission is free and entrances to the festival will be on State and Washington Streets. For additional information, call 773.929.0224 or visit www.gatc.org.

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