Dinner with a friend and confidante of Elvis Presley, free movie screenings, a New-York style jazz night, fashion shows and a family sports day are some of the highlights in a week-long celebration of all things American in Qatar next week.
The annual Discover America Week, which runs from Feb. 15 to 22, is organized by the Embassy of the United States in conjunction with the American Chamber of Commerce.
Nearly two dozen events are scheduled for the week, covering business and innovation, travel, food, music, fashion, art, education and culture, according to a statement by the US mission in Doha.
Here are a few highlights for the week ahead:
Leonardo DiCaprio plays the role of fur trapper and frontiersman Hugh Glass in the award-winning film The Revenant. During an expedition, Glass is mauled by a bear and left for dead by some members of his team, and the film charts his survival and continuing journey.
Novo Cinema on the Pearl-Qatar has a free screening of the film on Feb 15 at 3pm. For more information, call 4496-8195.
On Feb. 22 at 3pm, Novo Cinema at the Pearl is also showing a free screening of Selma, which portrays Martin Luther King’s campaign to secure equal voting rights in a march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama in 1965. Call 4496-8195 for more details.
The Museum of Islamic Art is hosting an American Film Showcase on Feb. 18 from 7pm to 9pm.
Organized by the US Embassy and Doha Film Institute (DFI), it includes a screening of Michael Rossato-Bennett’s documentary Alive Inside.
Winner of the Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the documentary shows social worker Dan Cohen’s attempt to demonstrate how music can be used to combat memory loss with dementia patients.
It shows how his not-for-profit charity Music & Memory uses personalized music to help restore a sense of identity and self in its subjects.
Rossat-Bennett will be at the event to answer questions after the screening.
Tickets should be booked in advance via the DFI website.
The region’s only official Elvis Presley fan club has several events planned for the week to celebrate the life and works of the king of rock ‘n’ roll.
The Qatar-based club, which launched in September last year, has some 30 members in the country and 3,000 from around the wider region who have joined up to its Facebook site, founder and organizer Lisa Bseiso said.
The 34-year-old, who was born and raised in Qatar, is a life-long fan of ’50s and ’60s music and was driven to establish the group after visiting the singer’s mansion, Graceland, in Memphis, Tennessee, in 2013.
She told Doha News:
“I was in the jungle room at Graceland and I had a vision. I saw Elvis there. He looked at me and asked me to help him spread his legacy. It was so intense, there was a connection and it made me bring the group to Qatar,” Bseiso said.
The club, which is a non-profit organization, has invited a friend and confidante of the Presley family to host a dinner as one of the club’s first official events.
An Evening with Gerry Shilling, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on Feb. 17 from 7pm, features entertainment consultant Shilling giving his impressions from life inside the gates of Graceland during Elvis’s lifetime. Tickets for the dinner, inclusive of drinks, cost QR350.
An Elvis-themed brunch featuring DJ Argo will be on Feb. 19 while an alfresco Elvis movie screening and barbecue is also set for Feb. 20, 6.30pm at the Grand Hyatt.
For more information on the events or to book tickets, contact [email protected].
As the presidential race heats up in the US, a public forum aims to give some expert analysis on the candidates, what’s happening in the primaries and the general election itself.
Presidential Predictions Forum: Media, Politics and Campaigns 2016, on Feb. 17 from 8:30am, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel includes two panelists specializing in American politics, an award-winning TV producer and a media commentator.
The panel will feature Clyde Wilcox, professor of political science at Georgetown School of Foreign Service in Qatar; Jocelyn Mitchell, assistant professor of liberal arts at Northwestern University in Qatar; and Yasir Khan, an Al Jazeera English producer and documentary filmmaker.
Tickets are free for chamber members. Non-members can pay QR200 per person at registration. To register, contact [email protected].
Lulu Barwa City is hosting a free, American sports family fun day on Feb. 19 from 2pm to 5pm.
Children can learn basic skills with interactive displays representing basketball, American football, baseball and cheerleading. There will also be games, entertainment and tastings of American food.
The Chevrolet family day (Feb. 20, 11am to 4pm) features American cars, food, children’s activities and baseball. More information can be obtained by emailing [email protected].
Food and music
The New York Steak House at the Marriot Marquis Hotel attached to City Center Mall has flown in executive chef Andy Arndt from California to preside over a week-long (Feb. 15 to 22) celebration of American and Californian cuisine.
Call 4419-5000 for reservations or book through the hotel’s website.
The St Regis Hotel’s Jazz at the Lincoln Center has a week of the best of American jazz featuring the New York Sound band from Feb. 16 to 21, from 9pm.
For more information, call 4446-0105.
There is also a showcase of American fashion at 51 East in Lagoona Mall as well as business, travel and study events.
A full run-down of what’s on and when during the week is on the embassy’s website.