Danielle A. Krikorian
The long awaited fourth issue launch of AUB’s literary and artistic journal, Trans- of Rusted Radishes, took place in Sioufi, Achrafieh, at the French-styled pub L’appartement, last Friday, November 13.
Anticipation and excitement are buzzing amongst the crowd, which consists of AUB students, the journal’s staff members, friends and family.
The program of the launching event mainly consisted of a live performance by the band “Ghida and J.P”, signaling the opening of the affair and playing between readings, a welcoming speech from Distribution Manager Mariam Dabboussi, introducing the journal’s theme and sponsors, readings from the authors, a music performance by Zafer El Hassan, and a poem performance by Doyle Avant. The atmosphere was extremely laid-back, in sync with L’appartement’s artistic decor.
“I was so impressed by the new poetry forms; especially ‘Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, Hyundai,” teases faculty drama editor Milia Ayache, referring to the Lebanese way of parking cars in the middle of the streets and pushing people into constantly begging them to move their cars.
Yet, Ayache highlights an interesting point. The event is an epitome of Lebanese culture. It highlights an important aspect of Rusted Radishes. It portrays the journal’s multicultural aspect, which serves the purpose of representing its base and the recurring theme of Beirut.
Main editor Rima Rantisi’s editorial piece in Trans- brings up the subject of diversity as she explains that the journal highlights the translation from Arabic to English, the importance of the Arabic language even in regards to French and English and the connection to Lebanon.
During the event, in between readings and performances resided a constant background noise, replacing the absence of radio-induced music. It is the echo of delighted chatter. The conversations alter between French, Arabic and English; emphasizing the Lebanese culture and the people meeting together to celebrate a Lebanese literary journal. Small talks on philosophy, homework, classes, jobs, and literature dominate the scene.
Between huffs of cigarettes and signs of delight, comments are made regarding the art and writings featured in Trans-. The subjects include heated debates followed by heavy laughter taking in these rooms where one can even find a game of Monopoly taking place.
During the readings, the writers’ subjects were also various and their points of view were distinct from one another. “It [the readings] was a very honest entry into people’s minds. It’s not really something you expect to see, because it was, in a way, brutal” says Reem Chaalan, an AUB student and writer of the fierce and sensual poem “Mango Sorbet”; who later delivers her poem in a performance.
Maya Ayache, AUB student and writer of the poignant nonfiction piece “The Toilet Bowl”, expresses: “This event is an interesting way to see into the minds of the writers and artists. It is exciting to witness people who are willing to come on a Friday night to listen to readings”-comical pause-“and drink wine”. Ayache later goes on to read her piece. Rusted Radishes’ event triumphs in bringing together a vibrant exchange of art and history.
Additionally, Nur Turkmani reads her Arabic poem “Ana Katel Nafsi”. Chaza Charafeddine reads her Arabic fiction story “A Dream Devouring Itself”, followed by Lina Mounzer’s reading of Charafeddine’s translated piece in English. This materializes the process of portraying the Arabic language and stories in their original form in Rusted Radishes. The public seems to grasp the indication. An avid listener and guest, AUB student Rajak Barbare comments, “It is a great expression of our youth nowadays. Everything in Trans- is somehow changing. I love the translation and transition part of the journal, that things aren’t static anymore. I’m interested in this and it’s great.”
Rantisi expressed delight over the Rusted Radishes team and the event. All 160 copies brought to the launch were sold with the tickets. Perhaps the journal’s evolution and recognition is growing amongst the Lebanese and international public.
The launching event of Rusted Radishes’ fourth issue, Trans-, at L’appartement is an astounding success. As people piled up on the floor or stand (no more room on the seats) and claustrophobes were warned to stay away, something beyond our grasp took place. A cultural event and celebration has been born..