Coming Attractions

Egypt trip builds bridges in event shared on film

Recommended activities for the coming week

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Islamophobia is certainly not a new American phenomenon, but it has been on dangerous uptick in recent years. But Canadian-Egyptian entrepreneur Tarek Mounib wanted to challenge the notion that all we are all the walls that divide us.

So, he decided to send some people who were afraid of Muslims and “the Islamic threat” on an all-expenses-paid trip to Egypt.

“I saw a lot of polarity and fear when I watched the news — all this hostility between groups and mistrust,” Mounib explained on a phone interview from Zurich. “It weighed on me, like a lot of people. I wanted to see if there was a way instead of getting angry and afraid. A different approach. So, I thought I’d offer a nice holiday and a way to connect.”

The resulting documentary, Free Trip to Egypt,” will be screened in a one-night event premiere on June 12 at movie theaters across the country, including numerous theaters in the metro area. It is also available on Cinema on Demand.

As Mounib explained it, he initially tried to find people to take to Egypt online, but was mainly met with hate and disbelief. Instead, he took a more personal approach, going to events like a rally for President Donald Trump in Union Square in New York City. Eventually he convinced seven people, including a former corporal in the Marine Corps and a former Miss Kentucky, to go the ancient country and be hosted by a variety of residents.

“My hope was that all of them would drop their preconceived notions and make some connections, but I never expected the degree of connection that was formed,” he said. “And there were my own judgments. Once I dropped those, I was able to connect with the attendees, even if I didn’t agree with their views.”

The June 12 screening is part of the #PledgeToListen Day of Unity. Immediately following the screening, a 30-minute panel discussion will be broadcast into theaters. The aim is start a discussion about how to listen and bring more kindness to the world and encourage people to take the online #PledgeToListen.

“I want people to feel really inspired and hopeful, because there is a way we can all get along. Things don’t have to be so polarizing and dire,” Mounib said. “We’re not trying to educate, we just want to show audiences the wonderful experience the people who went on this journey had. And maybe we can touch their hearts and make them feel better about world they live in.”

For more information on the film, visit www.freetriptoegypt.com and to find a screening, head to www.fathomevents.com/events/free-trip-to-egypt.

Catch the regional premiere of ‘Bull in a China Shop’

There are times when the phrase “based on a true story” means audiences are in for more of a history lesson than anything. But that’s not the case for the latest production from Lakewood’s Benchmark Theatre.

Based on the real letters between Mary Woolley and her partner Jeannette Marks over 40 years at a New England women’s college, “Bull in a China Shop” gives a modern spin on a turn of the 20th century story.

The regional premiere of “Bull in a China Shop” opens May 31 and runs through June 29 at Benchmark, 1560 Teller St. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The cast features Gabriella Cavallero, Lauren Bahlman, Cindy Laudadio-Hill, Tresha Farris and Regina Fernandez. The all-female creative team includes director Kate Gleason, Ann Piano doing costume design, and Adrian Egolf assistant directing.

For information and tickets, visit www.benchmarktheatre.com.

Clarke’s Concert of the Week — Funk on the Rocks at Red Rocks

Funk music is in a constant state of evolution, and in 2019, electronic artists like Thievery Corporation and Chromeo are stretching the genre into thrilling new shapes.

The two groups are the headliners of the sixth annual Funk on the Rocks, held at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 31 at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, 18300 W. Alameda Parkway. Big Freedia, Adeline and Peanut Butter Wolf will also be performing.

You never know what you’re going to get with the duo of Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, better known as Thievery Corporation. One album might be French new wave, the next acid jazz and then dancehall. Meanwhile, Chromeo (David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel) tap into the soul and hip-hop side of things.

To get your tickets for a truly funktastic night (I know, I’m sorry), visit www.redrocksonline.com.

A rockin’ blast from the past in Lakewood

The City of Lakewood kicks off the summer with its annual celebration of history and the arts with the Rockin’ Block Party. The free event goes from 5 to 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 8 at the Lakewood Heritage Center, 801 S. Yarrow St.

This year’s event honors Lakewood’s 50th anniversary by employing the theme of 1969. The event will feature live music from 4 Lads From Liverpool, a Beatles tribute band, with opening act Soul Sacrifice, a Santana tribute band. There will also be food trucks, a beer garden, activities for all ages and a screening of “The Love Bug.”

For all the details on the event, visit www.Lakewood.org/RockinBlock.

Clarke Reader’s column on culture appears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.

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