Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Weather Channel Photo Contest 2016

Contestant Weather Channel Photo Contest 2016

George Powell of Northport, Michigan is much more than a photographer, a bender of wood and a musician. In fact, he seems more like an Artist who happens to work in multiple mediums. The common denominator in his work is how he blends and highlights the perfections of mother nature, whether it is designing and building boats, carving replicas of a butterfly chrysalis, or taking photographs.

This is my favorite photo and is George Powell's (Plankster) other entry in this year’s Weather Channel Photo Contest. It is called 'Iceman'. Please look closely at it, it is an amazing looking creature made of mother natures spinning wind and ice.
In his day job, George restores historic wooden boats in Suttons Bay, Michigan. Recently one of his restored Coast Guard Boats appeared as the star in Disney’s film, The Finest Hours. 
On the set of The Finest Hours

After Staring in Disney's The finest Hours, a well used and tired boat
returned to the Suttons Bay boatyard for another refurbishing by George Powell and his team. 
In July of 2016, it was brought into its new home in South Haven Michigan
at the Michigan Maritime Museum

If you like George's photo of the 'Iceman',  Please visit the link http://bit.ly/2amDWPe and vote for the photo, you can search his photos by entering “Plankster”). I’m the one who encouraged him to enter the photos, so I’d appreciate your support. He’s not one to boast or show off so help me out if you can. You can vote once a day, which seems a bit odd but still appreciate your votes, as many as you can cast.

.... Sandy Dhuyvetter

Author, Mark D. Van Ells introduces us to his new book, America and WWI: A Travelers Guide.

Mark D. Van Ells is Professor of History at Queensborough Community College of the City University of New York.

He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1999, and is a native of the Badger State.  Prior to his position at Queensborough, he taught for Mt. Senario College and the University of Wisconsin – Platteville.

Dr. Van Ells also served as Archivist/Historian at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison from 1994 to 1998.  Among his duties at the museum was the conduct of the Wisconsin Veterans Oral History Program, in which he interviewed nearly 200 veterans who served in conflicts ranging from World War I to Somalia.

His research specialties include the cultural history of U.S. military, immigration and ethnicity, World War II, and popular culture.

America and WWI: A Travelers Guide


International Entrepreneurial Women Come Together to Brand Jordan Region as Peaceful, Welcoming and Fun.

MONACO Business Development an International team of entrepreneurial women announced their business strategy this week from their offices in Amman, Jordan. 

Producing out-of-the-box solutions to positively brand and build awareness of Jordan will continue to be the focus for the later part of the year. One of the original hallmark strategies of the organization will also stay in place and that is, all solutions would be built in Jordan by Jordanians using Jordan’s talent and natural resources.

MONACO Business Development is led by Mona Naffa an American born Jordanian. Mona brings her passion, focus, and experience to the group and embraces the best of Western practices. She then blends them into the Eastern culture creating campaigns highlighting the good and positive life in Jordan. Her early career in the US was based in
 hospitality, telecommunications and the pharmaceutical/health industry. Later when she moved to Jordan in 2006, Mona set her sights on Tourism and Hospitality and introduced Expedia and Trip Advisor to Jordan 2007,  Mona built a successful partnership with Expedia as their Destination Manager where her tourism offerings are still highlighted as the preferred Expedia answer.

MONACO Business Development is fast becoming known as the welcoming voice of Jordan. What you have”, says Naffa, “is a situation where many people view the culture in relation to where the country is located rather than the reality that Jordan is peaceful, welcoming and highly accomplished. Our intention is to change that point of view and create a brand that is based on the truth that Jordan is thriving in terms of a positive and social environment.”

The first successful event, The Dead Sea Mud Festival" in early May of 2014 featured the Dead Sea Jordan as a Destination and the therapeutic Dead Sea muds and salts as one of  Jordan’s most important resource made in Jordan.

The second event in October 2014 raised the bar where the Monaco Team presented Jordan with a Guinness World Record, as they produced "The Largest Human Floating Image -- a Peace Sign" and was then featured in the Guinness World Book of Records Annual Book in 2016.  

In 2015 again Monaco Business Development presented Jordan with another Guinness World Record by producing the Longest Slip & Slide in the World.  “This is what we mean by 'out-of-the-box and unique campaigns” said Naffa, “these are the messages that feature Jordan as a Family Fun Destination for all to enjo

The events and projects created by the Monaco Team have a universal thread and that is the team’s commitment to protect the environment and educate communities by bringing to light awareness of day to day issues. Recycling services are offered at each venue of every event. Educational materials are also developed and distributed to orphanages on behalf of Monaco and more in the future is planned.

Dovetailing two industry sectors:
Dovetailing two industry sectors like the environment and tourism is first and foremost in the minds of the Monaco team. Positive perceptions are at the heart of decision making for travelers. A clean and healthy Jordan is a positive step to attracting additional visitors

Upcoming Goals:
The Monaco Team’s next ambitious goal is to invite Celebrities to Jordan and provide those celebrities with an opportunity to explore Jordan. “We know”, said Ms. Naffa, “that these guests will bring a bit of Hollywood glamour and Paparazzi to our deserving nation. We are also confident when our celebrity guests visit Jordan their expectations will far exceed any prior travel experience.  Ms Nafa reminds us “if Academy Award Winner Leonardo Di Caprio takes his holiday in Jordan then it must be ‘cool and welcoming destination”.

Yahoo Music, senior editor Kevin Polowy wrote in a September 29, 2015 feature:
Matt Damon — who plays an astronaut stranded on Mars for more than a year — was blown away by the natural landscapes: “I was in awe of that place, it was really, really special,” he said. “One of the most spectacular and beautiful places I have ever seen, and like nothing I’ve ever seen anywhere else on Earth.”

The Monaco Team
Mona Naffa is at the helm of the organization and oversees the operation.

At the heart of each project is Barbara Kamal. Barbara left behind her career as a Real Estate Broker with Coldwell Banker of Southern California when she switched gears in 2007 and relocated to Amman, Jordan. Today Barbara is a partner at MONACO. Barbara shares her knowledge of marketing, merchandising and finance and is a driving force in attracting new projects.

Eva Al-Sunna, a project manager, concentrates on Social Media at MONACO where she uses the online tools to attract attention to all the projects at MONACO.

Sandy Dhuyvetter, well known journalist and artist in the US also serves with MONACO team in the capacity as writer, media producer and US distribution manager.

Mona Naffa
Phone: +962796600962

US Press Sandy Dhuyvetter:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Amman, Jordan, Jazz Capital of the Region Kicks off 5th Edition of the Amman Jazz Festival April 24 – May 1, 2016

Proud of our Jordanian partners who are working to promote the good of Jordan. This important region gives us hope for a better tomorrow and Jordan shows us that there is no better way to live life than to the fullest! Celebrate Jordan with me! warm regards, Sandy Dhuyvetter

The main stage performances will be taking place 24th April thru 27th April 2016 at Haya Cultural Centre, with side performances titled “Madina Jazz”. These smaller venues will be set up throughout the duration of the festival until the 1st of May.  

Opening night, April 24, kicks off with Jordanian virtuoso, Ms. Farah Siraj. Ms Siraj is known as the Norah Jones of the Middle East” by the New York Times. Ms. Farah Siraj balances a career that spans the United States, Europe and the Middle East, spreading the message of peace through her music and giving a voice to women and children around the world who are living in war and poverty.

The Festival is the single major event dedicated to Jazz in Jordan.
The Festival is the single major event dedicated to Jazz in Jordan. The goals of the festival are to attract musicians, attract new audiences and expand internationally all the while creating opportunities for sustainable cultural exchanges. The Festival celebrates diversity, cultural fusion, creativity, unity and dialogue. The event features international, regional and local Jazz musicians to present their artistry to the Jordanian audience. This year during the 5th edition, the Amman Jazz Festival will be presenting different forms of Jazz music focusing on collaborations that reflect fresh new sounds.

The EU supports the Amman Jazz Festival
The EU supports the Amman Jazz Festival, with a special night being dedicated to presenting Jazz music from Europe on the 26th of April at Haya Cultural Centre, under the name of “A Night of European Jazz” featuring REK Raed el Khazen & Daniele Camarda in a joint project bringing four musicians together from Lebanon and Italy, the German trumpet and piano player Sebastian Studnitzky in a solo piano performance of classical jazz, and NO Blues from the Netherlands which combines oriental Arabic roots with folk blues.

2016 Music Festivals adds to the already diverse Tourism offering in Jordan
Jordan looks at Music Festivals as an added value experience while touring the Kingdoms diverse cultural, adventure, eco-tourism and wellness choices.

Jordan tourism is appealing to a diverse traveller by offering Festivals throughout the 2016 calendar year and hopes to continue to attract new and young visitors to the Kingdom. “Jordan is a jewel, full of talented entertainers, amazing foods, and terrific sites” says Mona Naffa, of Monaco Business Development a company that creates Campaigns to share the ‘positive of Jordan. Ms Naffa added, “Petra, the new Wonder of the World, along with the music scene in the Kingdom is on the must do list.

MFunded by the European Union, which is implemented by the EU National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in Jordan whose members include: the British Council, Instituto Cervantes, Institut Francais, Goethe Institute, Embassy of Greece, Embassy of Romania and Societa Dante Alighieri. In Partnership with: the Netherlands Embassy in Jordan, Al Mawred Al Thaqafi, Haya Cultural Center and Fonds Podium FPK

Farah Siraj
Ms Farah Siraj currently leads an ethnically diverse quintet of “Arabian Flamenco Jazz” (Rolling Stone Magazine), embracing the music of the Middle East, Spain and the United States.  Farah's releases include her album NOMAD (funded personally by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan), The Arabian Jazz Project (landing Farah to be chosen as one of New York's “Stars of Jazz”) and her latest release, Dunya. Farah has shared the stage with India's most renowned composer, A.R. Rahman, performing Zariya live on MTV.
Farah Siraj (Voice & Flamenco Guitar), Tareq Jundi (Oud), Munther Jaber (Bass), Maher Hanhan (Percussion/Drums), special appearance by Kamal Musallam (Oriental Guitar), and special guest Rami Attallah (Piano). www.farahsiraj.com 

Rami Attallah Group presenting Shokran Jazzilan (Egypt)
'Shokran Jazzilan’ is an Egyptian Jazz project that has a unique sound which aims at preserving the beauty of Egyptian melody accompanied by oud within a jazz context. The project founder Rami Attallah, has been heavily influenced by his late grandfather Labib Henien, the founder of jazz in Egypt in the 1960s. Rami Attallah grew up absorbing jazz from bebop to bossa nova to swing. This newly formed unique project has the qualities of being acknowledged as a world class entity fit enough to be part of jazz festivals worldwide.
The ‘Shokran Jazzilan’ album was released in 2014 at the Cairo Jazz Festival under the slogan “When Pharaohs Play Jazz” and was a best seller at Virgin Megastores in Egypt. The project was performed in many renowned venues in Cairo.
Rami Attallah (Piano and Composition), Mohamed Abozekry (Oud), Ehab Tass (Bass), Muhammad Raafat (Drums). www.RamiAttallah.com

NO Blues (Netherlands)
NO blues is the crossroad where folk-blues and Arabic music meet. In 2004 Anne-Maarten van Heuvelen (double bass/ lead vocals), Haytham Safia (Oud, Arabic lute/ lead vocals) and Ad van Meurs (guitar/ lead vocals), got together to combine American folk blues and traditional Arabic music. Completing the line-up in the first recording sessions, NO Blues is joined by Osama Meleegi (percussion/ lead vocals). After ten years on the road, gigs from India to Mexico, and six successful album releases, the band that combines two different is still going strong.
The NO blues fan base grows every day by people who hear the band for the first time and are moved by what seems impossible. www.noblues.nl   

REK (Lebanon/Italy)
Beirut-born Raed El-Khazen is a seasoned, versatile guitarist who has, in the past 20 years, accumulated a portfolio that has catapulted him from a local guitar celebrity in the mid 90’s to one of the most prolific producers/composers/guitarists in the Arab world today.
During his time at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Raed met a great musician who he still collaborates with to this day; Daniele Camarda. Their musical partnership started in 1998 in the school’s rehearsal rooms and continues to grow globally, Eighteen years later, their current project is a combination of their love for the American songbook and their vision to always give any material a personal twist, producing a sound that is both fed by their present experiences and fueled by works of the past.
REK: Jazz Standards with a Mediterranean Flair! Joining them on this venture is Italian drummer Carmine Casciello and Lebanese trumpet player Walid Sadek.

Studnitzky Ky (Germany)
Studnitzky has always been moving between the realms of jazz, classical and electronic music. In his unique music not a single note is superfluous. It is detailed, minimalistic and transparent, yet it displays an emotional depth which is uniquely personal. STUDNITZKY is already an internationally acclaimed performer of the highest level on both trumpet and piano.
In 2012 he founded Contemplate, his own record label and network. In 2014 he initiated the XJAZZ Festival Berlin and took charge as its musical director. It immediately became Berlin’s largest jazz festival and turned the German jazz scene on its head. Since September 2014 Sebastian Studnitzky has been a professor for Jazz-trumpet at the Dresden University of Music.
Sebastian Studnitzky (Trumpet, Piano), Laurenz Karsten (Guitar), Paul Kleber (Bass), Tim Sarhan (Drums).

Noha Fekry (Egypt)
Noha Fekry is an Egyptian singer, songwriter and composer. Noha first appeared as one of the two front singers of the Riff band, one of the leading Jazz/oldies bands in Egypt. Fekry's genres of focus have been Jazz and Arabic Jazz and her first album was released in May 2015 entitled "A Conversation", a duo Jazz album with pianist Rami Attallah.
She is currently working on her second album with her newest musical project "Janan", an alternative rock band. 
Noha received vocal training with renowned Opera Singers Dr. Sobhi Bidair and Dr. Raouf Zidan and is currently an understudy pianist with Mr. Rashad Fahim.
Noha Fekry (Vocals), Rami Attallah (Piano and Composition), Ehab Tass (Bass), Muhammad Raafat (Drums)

The Amman Jazz Festival is produced by Orange Red Productions
For Information: Lama Hazboun
Orange Red Productions:  +962795351812

Media Contacts:
Monaco Business Development
Jordan  Mona Naffa

US press Representative: 
TravelTalkRADIO, TravelTalkMEDIA
Sandy Dhuyvetter
Aman Jazz Festival: www.ammanjazzfestival.com  


8 PM

Haya Cultural Centre

Farah Siraj (Jordan/Spain) – JD 20

8 PM

Haya Cultural Centre
Rami Attallah Group presenting
Shokran Jazzilan (Egypt) – JD 5

8 PM

Haya Cultural Centre
A Night of European Jazz
REK |Sebastian Studnitzky| NO Blues
(Lebanon/Italy |Germany |Netherlands)

8 PM

Haya Cultural Centre

Studnitzky -KY- (Germany) – JD 5
Amman Jazz Festival – Main Stage Program (24 – 27 April)

Amman Jazz Festival - Madina Jazz Program (22 April – 1 May)
9 PM
Maestro Late Night Jazz
The Jazz Group  -  guest Kamal Musallam (Jordan)
9 PM
Corner’s Pub
Rami Attallah Group presenting
Shokran Jazzilan (Egypt)
9 PM
Blue Fig 
NO Blues (Netherland)
6:30 PM
Maestro Late Night Jazz
Jazz Clinic by REK (Italy/Lebanon)
9 PM
Maestro Late Night Jazz
Studnitzky – KY
#irtijalat Jam sessions with local musicians
9 PM
Maestro Late Night Jazz
Rami Attallah Group presenting
Shokran Jazzilan (Egypt)
9:30 PM
Trader Vic’s
Noha Fekry Jazz Quartet (Egypt)
9 PM
Maestro Late Night Jazz
REK (Italy/Lebanon)
7:30 PM
Shoman Foundation
NO Blues (Netherland)
9 PM
Maestro Late Night Jazz
Noha Fekry Jazz Quartet (Egypt)

9 PM
Maestro Late Night Jazz
NO Blues (Netherland)
9 PM
Blue Fig
Noha Fekry Jazz Quartet (Egypt)
7:30 PM
 The Boulevard
Noha Fekry Jazz Quartet (Egypt)