free stats Carmen's Web: The Lion of Egypt in Central Park
Sunday, July 09, 2006
The Lion of Egypt in Central Park
Hakim's concert was yesterday and I don't care what people say, the man is an incredibly charismatic entertainer. I've often hated his crass, vulgar music. I remember how disgusted I was when "Eh el beheisal da" came out years ago. I was living in Egypt at the time and had to endure countless of sing-songy catcalls from the lowlives on the streets. The song would blast from broken down taxis and always make me cringe. Hakim's core audience in Egypt were the kind of people I would never find myself sharing a cup of tea with.

But yesterday at Central Park he rocked my world! It was just a FUN place to be on a Saturday afternoon. The crowd was as diverse as it could get; FOBs (Fresh of the Boaters), educated and professional Arab-Americans, the occasional white person who just happened to be walking past the field and heard wild and loud music, the hip-hip crowd that came to see the opening act, the good, the bad, the ugly. I suppose this is why the concert was so great...you didn't have just one stereotypical group of fans, you had a whole gamut. (Look at the pic...you can even see two Jewish men...)

Hakim's opening act was a young (FOURTEEN!!!!) girl who people say will be the next Alicia Keys. She was good, but after standing in the sun for about an hour, we were getting quite restless for the show to start. FINALLY, after sweating in places I never knew was possible, Hakim's peoples start introducing him:



My friend, N, was supposed to meet me at the Park and came just as the man was speaking. When she finally found me in the crowd, she said, "It was so nice to hear Arabic on a loudspeaker without it being a call for terror!!"

The crowd at this point is TOO excited, you can feel their anticipation, and then one person catches a glimpse of Hakim coming out of trailer and pandemonium breaks loose. (Now, as much as I enjoyed this concert, there's no way I'd ever really go crazy over seeing Hakim. This is where me and the rest of audience chose to part ways). Hakim's arrival on stage resulted in the MAN standing next to me to throw his hands up in the air and smack me on the face. He apologized, though I'm not sure how genuine his apology was.



And I have to admit, Hakim moves better than a lot of bellydancers I know:



Hakim getting the crowd to sing along:



For me, the most exciting part of the concert, the most awesome, the one I'll remember the most, is when Hakim was given a Dominican flag to wave across the stage! Some of you may not know about my affinity with the Dominican Republic, but let's just say that I love it with a passion that I won't be able to describe. At least not know, since I have to get ready in a little bit to go catch the Italy-France game.

It was just great seeing him do that! To see the Egyptian and Dominican flag together...my two identities existing side by side...it was beautiful.

After the concert we ran to buy his CD and stood on line to get his autograph. We waited for at least 30 minutes, but didn't move from the line. I mean, if we just hung out for three hours in Central Park, what's another 30 minutes? After the jumping and bumping on stage I was hoping that he would at least change his shirt before greeting his fans (thank God he did).

When my turn came I told him he was awesome and he said that I was the awesome one and kissed me on the cheek. I asked him to sign this for you, Francy:



After he signed her CD I made him sign my arm. No, I'm not a groupie, I just thought it would be a fun thing to do. So I gave him my arm and said "sign here". He looked at me to see if I were serious, started laughing, then signed it.



My friends and I trekked to the Upper West Side afterwards to catch a bite to eat and I was the most popular in our group. Why?? I was wearing an ITALIA shirt. I got dirty looks from some people (the French and all their supporters...total haters I tell you), sneers from others (Brazilians), and HAPPY, EXCITED looks from the Italians! I had to wash the shirt when I got home so I could wear it again today.

Speaking of today...I guess I better wrap this up so I can find some room at the bar we're heading to to watch the game. I know I was told never to put my all my hopes on one team and although I told Toots I wasn't going to do that, I want Italy, with all my heart and soul, to win. If they lose I will be sorely unhappy. I would like for Zizou to get one goal, just cuz it's his last game and because he deserves it, but would like Italy to get two. For me, that would be the perfect score.
Thoughts shared by Carmen at 8:58 AM
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Who: Carmen

Mini-Bio:
xx-something egyptia-yorker who's spent over half her life stuck in two worlds not of her own making. unable and unwilling to fully embrace one identity over the other, she created (is trying to create) her own place in the world where people love each other unconditionally, irrespective of artificial boundaries, and where dancing merengue is as necessary to life as breathing air.

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