News & Notices

On January 17, '99,  while swimming in the ocean of Maui, HI, dancer KIMBERLEY FITZSIMMONS injured her spine, crushing two vertebrea in her neck, and nearly being paralyzed.  After being hospitalized and immobilized in a brace for one and a half months in Maui, she returned
to her home in Marin County.  She underwent a successful surgery at UCSF Hospital to remove the two broken vertebrea pushing  against her spinal cord, to replace a vertebrae with a piece of bone from her own hip, and to fuse vertebreas C-4 through C-6. She is wearing a halo brace for three to four months following surgery and will wear another brace for another two months. Kimberley has been a dancer in Suhaila Salimpour's Suhaila Dance Company for the past three years, and was a regular dancer at Kasbah Restaurant in San Rafael for the past two years.  SUHAILA AND THE SUHAILA DANCE COMPANY with live musicians are presenting a benefit concert to raise funds to help cover spiraling medical expenses (currently aprox.$30,000)  for Kimberley, who did not have medical insurance. The benefit will be on MAY 1 at CASABLANCA RESTAURANT in Albany (979 San Pablo Ave). Show time is 9:00 p.m. To purchase tickets or for information, please call (510) 526-4344.  Come enjoy Suhaila's awesomeshow, and support this cause! 
Kimberley will be writing an article about her experience to be posted in the Gilded Serpent soon!


Jamie was diagnosed on March 11 with a grade 4 astrocytoma. This form of brain tumor is difficult to remove surgically because it has tendrils that reach out from the center like an octopus, as contrasted to a tumor which is a centralized, contained mass. The tumor affects the portion of the front left lobe of the brain that is "expressive". This means she has difficulty communicating outwards, e.g., talking. The receptive part of the brain, responsible for listening, feeling, etc., has not been affected. It is good to report that she is still enjoying dancing and is in very good spirits.

Jamie has health insurance with Kaiser-Permanente and has also been seen by a neurosurgeon at UCSF Hospital. She has decided to decline surgery because there is only a fifty percent chance of survival and the prediction is it would only give her twelve additional months to live, during which period she would not be feeling well during the struggle to recover from the surgery. The prospects with chemotherapy and radiation are apparently the same.

She will be performing this weekend, perhaps for the last time, as part of the Sabah Ensemble. The dates are Saturday, April 24th, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m., at Berkeley Moving Arts and 8th Street Studios (Western Sky Studio) as part of National Dance Week (many dance studios are having "open studios" that week) and Sunday, April 25th, at Martin Luther King Park, 3:00 p.m. This is part of an all-day performance.

Having declined surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Jamie has turned to Eastern medicine, i.e., acupuncture, Tibetan herbs and psychic healing. Her surgeon gives her three to five months. She is emotionally prepared.

NADIA HAMDI From Cairo, Egypt

Two Special Workshopsnadia with candleabra
Saturday, 5/15/99- 1-5 pm Oriental Dance Workshop
with Nadia Hamdi, ODC, 3153 17th St. S.F. ($55 at door)
Sunday, 5/16/99 - 1-6 pm Folkloric Style Cane Workshop
with Nadia Hamdi, Noe Valley Ministry 1021 Sanchez St. S.F.($55 at door)

Two Completely Different Shows
Friday,5/14/99 - 8 pm
The Magic Carpet Show
ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. S.F
.with Nadia Hamdi,
Amina, The Aswan Dancers + more ($18/door)
Saturday, 5/15/99 - 7 pm
One Night from 1,001 Nights
ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. S.F
with Nadia Hamdi,
Jacques al Asmar, The Aswan Dancers + more ($18/door)

Sweetheart deal - $99 both workshops & shows - by Feb. 14, 1999
Bunny deal - $120 both workshops & shows - by April 4, 1999
Last deal -  Workshop $50 each - Show $15 each - before May 1, 1999
- ----
Send SASE w/check payable to:

The Aswan Dancers,
829 Elizabeth St.
S.F., CA 94114
- info: (415) 282-7910

 Bay Area Troubadours

Changes in the Bay Area Middle Eastern nightclubs are creating new musical ensembles adding variety and spice
to the cultural fare.

The Scheherazade Restaurant at Oyster Point has closed its doors after more than ten years of Middle Eastern music, dance and cuisine. Nazar Khawaja, well-known and long-time Bay Area keyboardist, is presently performing on weekends at Pasha Restaurant on Broadway in San Francisco. He will be there for a limited time as he is moving with his family to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nabil Safi, oudist and singer from the same club and Elias Khoury, percussionist are appearing at the Sultan Restaurant in San Jose. Amin, a percussionist has moved to Pasha.

From Petra Restaurant in San Bruno, which is no longer in business, drummer Reda Darwish, after an extended stay in Egypt, and keyboardist Mohanned Al-Wur have moved, respectively, to Marrakech Restaurant on O'Farrell Street in San Francisco and Sultan Restaurant in San Jose.

The Marrakech Restaurant, newly managed by the Shaheen brothers, Nadir and Bashir, (nephews of Fadil Shaheen, Bay Area musician/restaurateur) has music each weekend featuring various musicians in the ensemble. Fouad Marzouk, kanoon, returning from one month in Egypt, Reda Darwish, percussion, Mohammed Amin, nay, and Bashir Shaheen, oud and vocals play regularly. Newly arrived from Lebanon, Elias Lammam, accordion, joins his illustrious brothers Georges and Tony on the West Coast. He is currently appearing week-ends at Marrakech.

In addition, check out El Masri on weekends, (formerly The Grapeleaf on Balboa, San Francisco) and El Valenciano on Sunday nights for special programs of Middle Eastern music and dancing.

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