Perhaps most people don’t know that the visual effects artist and Indie filmmaker Roger Kupelian, best known as one of the creative forces behind the Academy Award-winning trilogy “The Lord of the Rings,” is a proud Armenian. His cultural heritage has inspired his latest endeavor, the recently released graphic novel “War Gods,” which is the first in a two-part volume of the “East of Byzantium” series that has gripped readers, and has them anxiously awaiting the sequel.

It is a Byzantine-era saga of unparalleled bravery, a fresh new look at the world before the Dark Ages and after the fall of the classical Rome of the Caesars. It is the story of exceptional men and women who must pull together a world torn apart by war, religious strife, and the lust for world domination…from the murder that destroyed family to the battles that regained a kingdom, to the religious conflicts that created the first Christian nation in history and the curse carried down through centuries that culminates in a bloody battlefield – at the edge of Rome and the gates of Persia.

Don’t miss this opportunity to purchase the publication through our bookstore and check out the special offer for an autographed copy.

To buy your copy today, email: books@agbu.org or call 212.319.6383, ext. 104

On March 14 and 15, 2012, AGBU’s Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School’s Elective Armenian Drama class put on a production of Nayiri Zarian’s play, “Ara Keghetsig,” under the direction of Lora Kuyumjian. Nearly 1,000 people attended over the course of two days to see students from grades nine to twelve display not only their fine acting talents, but their masterful knowledge of the Armenian language, as well.

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Always ready to wow the greater Beirut community with their graceful and inspiring dance moves, the local AYA Arine Dance Ensemble posted this trailer announcing their upcoming performance, entitled “The Golden Gramophone,” which will take place on May 25 and 26, 2012, at the Emile Lahoud Hall in Dbayeh, Lebanon. The ensemble’s Artistic Director and Choreographer, Gayaneh Madzounian, and all the dancers are rehearsing tirelessly for what promises to be a showstopper performance. Contact the AYA Beirut Office for tickets: +961-4-523-043 or 44.

In April, co-authors Aline Kamakian and Barbara Drieskens from Lebanon wrapped up a month-long, AGBU-coordinated tour across the U.S. and Canada to promote their widely acclaimed publication “Armenian Cuisine.” Equal parts cookbook, photo essay, and oral history, the recently released hardcover is quickly finding its place on kitchen counters and coffee tables in homes around the world.

 The book’s concept was developed by Kamakian, who, as a Lebanese-Armenian chef and owner of the renowned Beirut restaurant, Mayrig, hoped to resolve her clients’ questions about why the Armenian foods listed on the menu were known by Turkish names. Her quest for answers took her to the ancestral Armenian land of Cilicia in present day southeastern Turkey. Knowing her talents lay more in cooking than writing, she forged a collaboration with Drieskens, a trained anthropologist. The two embarked on an emotional three-week journey across almost 2,000 miles. The result is a striking volume filled with 139 classic recipes and hundreds of photographs of landscapes and natural foods that have made it a 2012 New York Photo Festival contender.

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The AGBU Buenos Aires Chapter is always bustling with activity to serve the local Armenian population, which numbers around 90,000, and its newest program is the Krikor Satamian Theatre Company. The troupe’s first production was the presentation of Hairus Ov Eh?, the Armenian version of Ray Cooney’s comedy play It Runs in the Family, as translated by Krikor Satamian, Director of the AGBU Ardavazt Theatre Company of Pasadena, and adapted by director Silvia Kalfaian. Three full-house performances took place between November 18 and 25, 2011, and Spanish subtitles were offered on a screen above the stage to encourage as many theater enthusiasts as possible to attend.