Wooo! I am so stoked for this project. 

Technically my ‘sketch’ for my Digital Methods class- we were assigned an artistic era/culture and had to make a t-shirt design based on the style but with a subject matter that was unrelated. The style I was given was “Western ‘Cowboy’ Frontier” artwork, so for my research I went in and found a lot of amazing tooled leather artwork and pulled the style into an illustration of the Egyptian god of Life- Osiris. 

Assuming this is approved tomorrow as-is (because it is subject to change based on my instructor’s approval/criticism) I’ll be coloring it with a 5 color limited palette.

I plan to get it printed on a shirt for myself anyway! If others are interested once I post the final product, I’ll be happy to find a way to make it available online for purchase. 


Grindr, a popular app for gay men, now carries an urgent warning for users in Egypt. According to many sources, Egyptian authorities are posing as LGBT people on various social media sites to identify and arrest homosexual people. The app is urging users in the region to proceed with extreme caution, especially when identifying themselves or arranging meetings/hookups. While so far the focus seems to be on gay men, all LGBT people in the area should be cautious. Reports show that Egyptian police have carried out violent raids on private homes which lead to the arrests of several gay men. These men were then subjected to disturbing medical “exams.” Police also raided an LGBT party last year, violently arresting many and sentencing them to up to 12 years hard labour. While homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt, athorities are using sexual deviance, debauchery and insulting public morals as terms for the crackdown. Many claim this fresh attack on the LGBT community is lead by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi who wishes for his country to be more Islamic.

For all of my LGBT friends here on tumblr, please be extremely careful as this situation develops. Remember to clear your search history, use private browsing if possible, and be extremely cautious with who you talk to online.

God granted Pharaoh every luxury & all that could be wished for, so that he never felt the pinch of suffering or need. He lacked no earthly thing. Which made him proud, negligent & vain. The attributes of those who don’t feel pain. So Pharoah never turned his face in prayer. Behaving as though God was never there. Now God has granted every soul some grief so that we may call for His relief & invite the Healer into our pain; cure the heart & wipe the mark of Cain. While Pharaohs have the cravings of their lust; satisfied with their empires of dust.


Spies, Gamblers, and Brutes

Today I left Cairo’s Ezbekiyya book market without a piaster in my pocket. I spent all my dough on paperbacks—good ones, too.

Among today’s finds:

—Several undated novels with film-noir inspired covers, mostly from the Novels of the World series. Highlights include Graham Greene’s The Ministry of Fear and little-known thrillers like The Brute and The Ideal Crime.

The Spy, published anonymously. The inside cover reads: “I worked as a spy for the CIA, the American spy agency.”

—A 1993 Arabic translation of Raymond Chandler’s 1943 novel The Lady in the Lake. Weighing in at a hefty 430 pages, this is the first translation of Chandler I’ve been able to dig up after a year of sleuthing. The cover is a nostalgic noir pastiche, as lovely and simple as the author’s prose. ( I wonder how he reads in Arabic!)

—A skeleton carrying Alfred Hitchcock’s head on the cover of his Terrible Revenge. In fact, I came across dozens of Hitchcock dime novels today, fodder for an entire blog post.

The Gambler, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, a 1936 edition from the Pocket Bookimprint, which happens to be in quite excellent condition and cost less than a dollar.

If you’re not familiar with the Egyptian capital’s best trove of treasures, the Ezbekiyya book market, Elliott Colla dishes out the facts:

When Napoleon tried to conquer Egypt, this was the site of a man-made lake surrounded by the ornate palaces of Turkish Pashas and high-ranking officials of the late Mameluke state. A century later, during British rule, the lake had been filled in and the area converted into a vast entertainment district. Bars and theatres, cabarets and brothels catered to Cairo’s elites who met in this border zone located between the medieval casbah and the new colonial downtown. By the time I get to Cairo, most of this history has disappeared under flyovers and Soviet-era concrete projects. Still, a few sordid belly-dance clubs still hold out over near the decrepit old fire station and post office.

Continue reading Elliott’s post, "Buying Books in Cairo."

More on Arabic noir here and here as well as in my recent essay for the Paris Review Daily.