A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

Month: November 2008 (Page 1 of 3)

On November

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Whatever happened to Cinema in Palestine? For one, Cinema Al-Assi

My dad was recounting one of my favorite family stories yesterday. My grandmother and her friends wanted to go to the movies one day, and after they figured out the arrangements of where to leave their kids, they booked tickets in advance, got dressed and went to the cinema.

When they got there, the line was long, and when it finally became their turn, the man behind the counter wouldn’t let them in as there were no more seats. In the course of the conversation with the man-behind-the-counter, a lady cut the line and he immediately changed his attitude and welcomed her into the cinema with all the razzle dazzle. So my grandmother, obviously annoyed, tells him that that isn’t fair, they’ve been waiting in line for a while and they were there before her!

The man just shrugged and said that she is the wife of the owner of the cinema, and he would kick people already in to get her a seat.

That night, my grandfather asked my grandmother how the movie was. She told him the story, and then said that if he owned the cinema, then she would have watched the movie.

My grandfather just smiled, and told her that he’ll do that for her, and a few years later, in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s, the Cinema Al-Assi was born in the town of Nablus, Palestine, to become one of the oldest cinema’s in the country. A few years afterwards, Cinema Studio Al-Assi also opened its doors.

Cinema Al-Assi saw the days of grace. My dad tells stories of famous movie-stars attending their movie openings, and blockbuster hits attracting very big crowds of people dressed in their best. We have a lot of pictures of grandiose weddings taking place in the Studio Al-Assi, which opened next door a few years later. We have pictures of Nabulsi hot chicks in mini-skirts waiting to watch movies.

But that’s history.

The Cinema Al-Assi remained open till the Second Intifada. Today, it is used as a warehouse. I only discovered that when I somehow had the impulse to google the cinema, and lo and behold, the mighty internet has pictures of it, both old and new, and also history of it.

Click to enlarge
A picture of the cinema in the 60’s

But I guess it’s still important in the culture of the city of Nablus, as the street it’s on is called after it. On some forums, I found people reminescing about the cinema.

Here are some more recent images of the cinema, now rundown, courtsey of Cédric Faimali. It’s very sad for me to see it so run-down, because in  my mind, it is a gorgeously vintage cinema that looks like the piles of photographs we have of it from the 50’s and 60’s. I guess I’ll share those later though.

Cinema Al-Assi Cinema Al-Assi
Cinema Al-Assi Cinema Al-Assi
Cinema Al-Assi Cinema Al-Assi
Cinema Al-Assi Cinema Al-Assi

Cinema Al-Assi Cinema Al-Assi

Cinema Al-Assi Cinema Al-Assi
Cinema Al-Assi Cinema Al-Assi

But… the web…

Who the hell still uses Geocities?

Hotmail is stupid. I haven’t signed into the Hotmail account for a while (my first email account ever, in ’97, I was 11), and when I did a few weeks ago, I discovered that they had deleted all my emails.

As a user, I have always avoided using all-flash websites, but designing an all-flash-website is always so much more appealing.

Is it just me or…

Does rush-hour become much-much-much worse during the winter? Yeah, sure, it’s less busy at all other times, but getting home in winter takes me 15-20 minutes more than it takes me in the summer.

Why the Queen started her YouTube Channel

When I started streaming this video, the last thing I expected was to find myself cracking-up a few seconds later. What I even expected less was having my colleagues scramming around my screen laughing too. But what do I know. The internet always has a lot of surprises up its sleeves.

Kudos to the Queen for such a good vlog; funny, short, and surprising. Plus, it the backdrop of the vlog is what I see out of our office window, Wadi Saqra, so that makes it even better, as far as I’m concerned.

And hey, she definitely beats Letterman.

Glass half-full

I think I’m the realist-borderline-optimist.

What are you?


Amman’s getting a new brand!

Have your say about Amman's new logo

You have one week to go check out the exhibition at the Al-Hussein Cultural Center (Ras Al-Ain) that displays the various designs dealing with Amman’s new brand. Also at the exhibition: slips of paper where you can vote on your favorite design.

So come on and vote! :)

The Coolest Calendar Concept Ever

Bad day? Just burn it away.

Sharon & My Mother-in-Law, the play

I was reluctant to go, to say the least. Afterall, I avoid watching television and movies on bad days, let alone a play on a weekend after having never experienced one worth watching for over five minutes. I have also heard a lot of negative reviews about the book, by Suad Al-Amiry.

But then we ended up going, and I was pleasantly surprised. This is definitely the most interesting play I’ve ever watched, though to be honest, I’ve watched less than a handful. I found Afaf Shawa Bibi to be a great actress, with fantastic control of facial expressions, body language, and “speaking skills”. She portrayed her role wonderfully. The rest of the cast was a bit bad, especially as I couldn’t understand the accents, and they fit that whole Arab-stage-actors stereotype of really annoying over-enthusiasm. Luckily though, the play was centered around Bibi’s role, so it didn’t matter much.

If this play is ever played again in Amman, or around your area, I’d definitely recommend it.

After a million years of using the one-button Apple mouse…

Lina is given the Mighty Mouse.

Lina: “Oh, my god, this scroll thing is sooo advanced. Look, when I put it on a window with a scroll bar, I actually can use the scroll thing to scroll down it!”

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