Art Meets Politics Via Egypt’s Missing Belly Dancers And China’s Pirate Video Underground

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Welcome Worldstirs. We hope you have been raising hell out there! This month we take you on a culture trip around the world to the edges of information where art meets politics. Here are some highlights.

Ukrainian music the world needs to hear

The new  Ukrainian laws requiring that one in four songs on the radio be Ukrainian, not Russian or any other language, have met resistance from DJ’s  who claim there is just not enough local talent. Ukrainian linguist and music lover Vira Vyrśka says there is plenty to choose from and shares her personal play list.

Can Ukraine legislate which language is spoken?

While we are on the topic of Ukraine’s aspiration to  become free of Russian domination and partner with Europe, the political feud has bubbled over into new proposed language laws. But can you legislate which language people speak? Even some Putin critics disagree.

China’s pirate video underground

Unpaid subtitlers have made it possible for the House of Cards and John Stewart to become massive hits on the other side of the globe.  So are they copywrite thieves or the last hold out against Chinese censorship?  Meet Mr. Xia.

How beards explain international history

And you thought it was just hair. Beards have represented everything from religious extremism to masculine savagery and intellectual gravitas.  A timeline of 3,000 years and 20 countries.

Yes, you can go to jail for writing poetry

Putin’s political opponents and courageous whistle blowers have been thrown off of buildings and shot in broad daylight. But they are not his only targets.  Bad poetry, it turns out, is also a crime.  Just ask Alexander Byvshev.

Egypt’s missing belly dancers

Where are the famous belly dancers of Egypt?  A video tour of belly-dancing from its heyday in the 1920’s in Cairo to its current diminished status in the country where the art of belly-dancing was born.

The 14 best Middle Eastern musicians?

Break out your iTunes and Spotify.  This list spotlight Middle Eastern music trending now in every country from Morocco to Iraq. This music will make your next dinner party or romantic evening.
Syrian warfare the computer game?

Russian game makers Cats Who Play released a new game this year based on the war in Syria in which the player must side with the regime. Did they get it right?

Chavez love culture

The cult of Chavez has only spread after his death, creating a “love culture” as annoying to some as a clingy ex-girlfriend in a small town who keeps showing up everywhere. For the Silo, Alisa Cromer.

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