A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Les hommes de ma vie: Dalida at Bardo

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on April 30, 2009

It was a warm spring evening in 2007, and G and I had no real plans. K had just returned from two days in a place I think of as ‘Maronite Central’, without being converted OR raising sectarian tensions, – an achievement that we thought deserved a drink in honor of religious diversity.

But given that it was spring 2007, and late spring at that, we were still wary of heading out to the marquee boites. So we met at the usual spot: Bardo, whose out-of-the-way location and bunker-like appearance had made it our number-one choice for bomb-free evenings out.

We arrived to find people spilling out into the garden walkway: Bardo was packed, and mostly with young, well-manicured Lebanese men. It was so crowded that not only were neither of our two usual tables available, but nothing was. We sat outside, at one of a set of makeshift garden tables brought out to accommodate the overflowing crowd.

What is going on? K asked.

A “Dalida tribute night”? G asked, horrified, after reading the chalkboard. I don’t think we want to stay at this place.

But I was hungry and lazy, and in any case our options were somewhat limited. So we stayed through a quick dinner and a round of drinks, as the volume of the speakers inside the restaurant increased steadily to the point that we had to lean in to hear one another speaking. And meanwhile we found ourselves eyewitnesses to at least one segment of Beirut’s vibrant gay culture. Dalida isn’t my favorite singer, but she clearly resonated with the young men around us, who sang along enthusiastically.

You too can enjoy an evening dedicated to video clips of such hits as “Helwe ya baladi” and “Je suis malade” sung by a woman who appears to be the Levantine gay male answer to Bette Midler. According to Time Out Beirut, Bardo is hosting another Dalida tribute this evening:

A tribute to Dalida
9pm Bardo, Mexico street, Opp Haigazian University, Clemenceau, 01 340060 Reservations recommended.
Bardo invites you to come celebrate the Egyptian Italian singer Dalida. With DJ Laila playing her tunes accompanied by clips from Dalida’s movies, this promises to be a nice evening full of nostalgia for a never forgotten singer.

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