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Two glittering stars of touch rugby are making their way to the Middle East Touch Championships 2016, taking place at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club on October 21st. The best Touch player in the world, Australian international Dylan Hennessey, and New Zealand international Peter Walters, will join more than 36 teams from the region for a great family day out which will include tournaments, bouncy castles, food and lots of fun. So if you’ve got ‘the Touch bug’ or just fancy a great day out in the fresh air, go along for a look!
One of the world’s most popular Arab performers – he’s had more than 500 million views on YouTube – the Emirati star will be the first Arabic singer to perform at Dubai Opera. You can expect to hear all of his greatest hits.
The Italian conductor and violinist Fabio Biondi will be bringing his Baroque orchestra, Europa Galante, to Dubai to perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – one of the most famous pieces of Baroque music ever written.
One of the biggest flamenco stars in the world, Sara Baras, will be performing her brand-new show in Dubai. With 14 dancers on stage alongside her, she’ll pay tribute to some of the greatest in her genre, including Carmen Amaya and Enrique Morente.
American artist Judy Rifka left her New York studio and set up camp here in Dubai at the beginning of the month as part of her residency at the Jean-Paul Najar Foundation in Alserkal Avenue. In that time, the artist has been creating a brand-new series of works, which will go on display as part of her exhibition Judy Rifka: RETROactive on Sunday September 18 until Thursday November 13. The showcase will also feature some of her more seminal pieces from the ’70s.
Rifka became a household name back in the ’80s. Her work ranges from paintings on plywood to videos and collages influenced by pop art, the graffiti scene and avant-garde performers. Over the years, her pieces have been displayed in museums around the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Piramide Arte Contemporanea in Florence. At the other end of the spectrum, one of her paintings appeared in an episode of Miami Vice in 1985, in the background of a murder scene.
Her work has also received critical praise. Of her single shapes on plywood, created in the ’70s, the art critic Rene Ricard said they were “among the most important paintings of the decade”.
Rifka says her Dubai show will include drawings and possibly dance. She also enlisted the help of three UAE university students. To be chosen for the apprenticeship, all they had to do was post a video on Instagram and know a little bit about carpentry. Head down to the show to see why. Free.Jean-Paul Najar Foundation, www.jpnajarfoundation.com.
Sports stars are often accused of taking themselves too seriously, losing sight of the entire reason they fell in love with their respective games in the first place.
As they chase glory and the chance to be afforded wealth beyond most of our wildest dreams, the win-at-all-costs mentality is spreading like an epidemic through sport as the enjoyment factor ebbs away.
Thankfully for us fans, there remain certain characters whose enthusiasm for sport is infectious, their motivation not an inflated bank balance, but a desire to be loved and respected for what they do best.
Take the Harlem Globetrotters, for instance. This group of wildly talented basketball players is the antithesis of the modern, machine-like sports star. Some nine decades after they first started captivating audiences, their ethos has remained much the same – entertainment comes first, victory is secondary (although they did take their winning streak to 4,000 games this summer).
The UAE’s basketball fans are in for a huge treat, then, as the Trotters are heading back to Dubai on Friday October 28 for a one-off game as part of their 90th birthday celebrations. Star names such as Ace Jackson, Ant Atkinson, Cheese Chisholm and Hi-Lite Bruton are among those pencilled in to play at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.
For Chisholm, who with Atkinson holds the Guinness World Record for the most three-pointers scored by a pair in one minute (19 to be precise), 2016 has proved a celebration of the wealth of talent that has worn the famous striped shorts through the decades.
“This has been a big year,” he told Parade magazine recently. “We’re really just trying to say thank you to all the Globetrotters who came before us, and remembering all the things that the team did over the years, like beating the Lakers twice in a row and being NBA champions. It’s the history that really makes us who we are, but it’s the future that’s going to keep everything going.”
Arguably one of the most entertaining sporting shows on Earth, expect to see some outlandish displays of b-ball skill as the Trotters come to town.
On Thursday October 27, PopCon will open its doors. The three-day festival, which will be the first PopCon event held in Dubai, will take place inside the Dubai Outlet Mall. The first event was held in Manila in the Philippines last year, under the moniker AsiaPop Comicon, and with plans to travel the globe, the Dubai version promises to be the biggest festival of its kind in the world. Here’s what to expect.
1 It’s a celebration of all things popular culture, so expect more than movies While there are similar events going on in the UAE throughout the year, such as the Middle East Film and Comic Con, Games Middle East and ANI:ME, PopCon will be far less niche. It was first announced back in July this year, and instead of focusing on just one thing, PopCon will celebrate every aspect of popular culture imaginable – movies, television, comics, music, beauty, fashion, gaming, health, food and more. Movies will be well represented (expect some exclusive teaser trailer releases), thanks to PopCon’s collaboration with a number of film studios including Marvel, Disney and Sanrio – the home of everyone’s favourite cartoon cat, Hello Kitty.
2 There will be music, too
The centrepiece of PopCon will be a Halloween-themed concert, Fiesta De Los Muertos, on Friday October 28. The gig will see a mix of local and international acts taking to the stage, including All Saints, the ’90s girl band best known for their hit Pure Shores, who reformed earlier this year. Joining them on stage at the Autism Rocks Arena will be dance act Major Lazer, the group behind the tracks Lean On and Cold Water. Also on the bill will be US pop rock band DNCE. There’ll also be performances from Moldovan band Carla’s Dreams, Dubai-based DJ duo Hollaphonic, who were the first electronic music act to be signed to a major label in the Middle East, and The Mariachis, the band who perform traditional Mariachi versions of classic pop songs.
3 Celebrities will be in attendance At the inaugural AsiaPop Comicon event in Manila last year, some of the celebrity guests in attendance included Captain America: Civil War star Paul Bettany and Nathalie Emmanuel from Game of Thrones. There will be celebrities from both the big and small screens at the Dubai event, too. Names are expected to be announced soon.
4 One of them will be Giuliana Rancic
The Italian-American television presenter, designer and author will be in town to host PopCon and attend some of the panels. Talking with Time Out Dubai, Rancic said, “I’ll be hosting, interviewing people on stage as well as sitting on panels about fashion – which I’m used to, being on Fashion Police. I’ll also be doing a panel on breast cancer, social media and music.” While here, as part of her PopCon duties, Rancic will be chatting to some of the Fiesta De Los Muertos performers, too. “I’ll be doing some interviews with DNCE, All Saints and the other musical talents who will be in town for the weekend and I love music! It has been a big part of our household since I was a little girl, so PopCon is going to be really fun.”
5 She’ll also be involved with Beautyfest
Set to be one of the largest sections of PopCon, Beautyfest will give you the chance to learn from some of the world’s top beauty experts and make-up artists. Sharing some tips will be LA-based make-up artist Etienne Ortega, who has worked with celebrities including Kim Kardashian and Eva Longoria. Joining him will be Chrisspy Makeup, famous for her YouTube beauty tutorials and Fouz Al Fahad, also known as The Real Fouz, a Middle Eastern beauty expert. Both have attracted millions of followers across social media. Workshops will cost from Dhs2,000 for gold seats (including a goody bag) or Dhs4,000 for platinum, which includes a meet and greet, make-up and VIP seating for the workshops, plus a goody bag.
6 You are encouraged to dress up
Anyone who attends is encouraged to dress up for the event and for the Fiesta De Los Muertos concert – it’s the weekend before Halloween, after all. The theme is “heroes and villains”, so you’re free to turn up as anyone, from Voldemort to Iron Man. There’ll also be a cosplay competition, The CAGE – Cosplay Authority Global Challenge. The winner will go home with Dhs25,000, so start working on your home-made Batman suits now. Register online at www.cosplayauthority.com if you fancy your chances of winning. There will also be the Gundam model-building competition and Magic The Gathering Tabletop Gaming competition, a card game tournament, for participants to enter.
7 You’ll get to see some works of art PopCon’s Walk of Fame will feature comic book artists from all over the world displaying their work. Those taking part include Whilce Portacio, Jason Palmer, David Yardin and Agnes Garbowska, who have worked on everything from Batman and X-Men to Star Wars and My Little Pony comics. Dubai Outlet Mall’s comic book shop, Comicave, will also be relaunching at PopCon after being completely remodelled, and will be selling limited-edition comics and collectibles.
8 Everyone is welcome PopCon will be open to all ages, so you can turn up with the whole family (or on your own if you can’t persuade anyone else to go along with you) and attend the workshops, talks and meet and greets that will be happening over the weekend. Best of all, it’s completely free to get in. It’s only the first PopCon in Dubai, but hopefully there’ll be many more to come. Free entry to PopCon; Dhs350-995 for tickets to the Fiesta De Los Muertos concert. Oct 27-29, noon-10pm. Dubai Outlet Mall, Dubai Al-Ain Road, www.popcon.com.
In Numbers: All about PopCon
0 The amount it will cost you to get into PopCon – entry to the event is completely free.
3 The total number of days that the pop culture festival will take place in Dubai.
17m The number of albums DNCE frontman Joe Jonas sold worldwide with his former band the Jonas Brothers.
25k The grand prize total in the CAGE cosplay competition. The winner will walk home with Dhs25,000.
JLT is already a hot spot for healthy eateries, but now, Aussie favourite Pineapple Express has landed in the area and is perfect for a post-workout snack stop. Using antioxidant-rich ingredients including raw cacao and açai berries, there’s a whole host of tasty, healthy snacks and smoothies to enjoy. There’s also “Coco Whip”, a decadent, dairy- and soy-free alternative to ice-cream. Prices vary. Sat-Thu 6.30am-10pm; Fri 6.30am-8pm. Ongoing.
There’s just something about pushing your body to the limit that makes the fitness fans of Dubai giddy with excitement. After a summer of being confined to mostly indoor pursuits, the outdoor season of mettle-testing events begins in earnest, with the Desert Warrior Challenge (DWC) kicking off proceedings.
Now in its third year, this home-grown test of strength, courage, teamwork and endurance is coming to the Land District and Dubai Police Training Facility in Al Rawia on Friday October 21.
The event is open to competitors of all ages and fitness levels, with the Junior Warrior race for ages six to 15, the 5km Fearless Warrior for over-16s and the gruelling 10km Ultimate Warrior challenge for adults making up the traditional line-up.However, the organisers are set to take the intensity levels up a notch with the addition this year of the Extreme Warrior race, which will be run over 20km and see participants taking on some 30 obstacles.
“This year we’ve decided to take the challenge to a whole new level with the Extreme Warrior,” says DWC founder and managing director Troy Gillham. “It’s a really challenging race with a lot of tough obstacles. We can expect the top challengers to be finishing under the three-hour mark, however some might surprise us and come in before the two-hour mark.”
Although all of the races will be timed, the Extreme Warrior will be the only of the four to be deemed competitive, with prizes for those coming home in the top three and a trophy, plus prizes for the first Emirati male and female finishers.
However, for those not looking for a challenge of lung-busting proportions, the Fearless and Ultimate races are more focused on working together. Competitors will be encouraged to join forces as they complete a variety of team-orientated obstacles including Stacks On, Twin Peaks and Bell Climb.
“The whole idea behind DWC is to not only provide a platform for the community to enjoy an engaging and fun form of exercise, but to also challenge them to be a better version of themselves,” says Gillham. “We want our Warriors to band together and motivate each other to get fitter, live healthier and be part of what we like to call ‘The Warrior Movement’.”
Such is the popularity of the event, other races are planned in Ajman, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. And if you think you have what it takes to overcome DWC’s array of obstacles, either as a team or going solo, now’s the time to step up and sign up. www.desertwarriorchallenge.com.