Thursday, April 30, 2009

Aladdin Magic Outfit



This is an old magic trick toy from 1919 passed on by JC recently featured in an online auction here:

from the auction:

Petrie & Lewis Mfg. Co., New Haven, ca. 1919. Magic set with elaborately lithographed cover, containing six tricks (four made of wood, including a Marble Vase and Grandmother's Necklace). Box measures 11 x 7 ½ x ½". Worn as expected and base of marble vase chipped, otherwise good condition. Jay Marshall worked for P&L assembling magic sets in the company's factory during the Christmas season, as well as demonstrating the effects over the counter at Abercrombie & Fitch in New York City.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

pbs kids' shows and the nights

There are several instances of kids' shows featuring the Nights.

Two that were on today (and not yet on youtube) included:

Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures: "Three Wishes"

info here:

And from the show "Super Why" the "Aladdin" Episode:

And I also ran into this one, also an episode of "Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures," which wasn't on today but has some flying carpets and a Middle Eastern setting:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Opa Locka - Florida


The town of Opa Locka Florida, described by wikipedia:

"The city was developed by Glenn Curtiss and was based on the Arabian nights theme with streets that have names like Sabur Lane, Sultan Avenue, Ali Baba Avenue, and Sesame Street. Opa-locka has the largest collection of Moorish architecture in the Western hemisphere.[2]

The name Opa-locka is a contraction of a Native American name for the area, “Opa-tisha-woka-locka”, meaning "The high land north of the little river on which there is a camping place."[3]"

If anyone finds out or knows how Curtiss was interested in the Nights I would be very interested to find out too.

Unfortunately, according to the city's government website: "The City has experienced a sharp decline, become one of the most violent and poverty stricken communities in South Florida."

A list of street names I found include the following:

Fisherman Rd/St
Ali Baba Ave
Aladdin St
Sinbad Ave
Salih St
Sharazad Blvd
Ahmad St
Sesame St
Dunad Ave
Sharar Ave
Sabur Ln
Beder St
Jann Ave
Banu St
Bahman Ave
Oriental Blvd
Arabia Ave
Harem Ave
Kasim St

the following pictures are from the website:





These pictures - I'm not sure of their copyright status - but if they're yours please let me know and I'll give you credit.




Video of a news story about how the city banned saggy pants (features some shots of the city's buildings):

And if you have any other pictures of the buildings or street signs in Opa Locka, please send!

For more information on the Arabian Nights and Opa Locka check out the following article as well:

Dream and Substance: Araby and the Planning of Opa-Locka
Author(s): Catherine Lynn
Source: The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol. 23, Florida Theme Issue (1998),
pp. 163-189
Published by: Florida International University Board of Trustees on behalf of The Wolfsonian
Stable URL:

In Arabian Nights - Tahir Shah

A Middle Eastern setting and a copy of Burton's Nights mean yet another Nights related bit of writing, this time from English Author Tahir Shah, son of the late Indian/English/Afghan sufi writer Idries Shah.

As a side note Idries Shah's book "The Sufis" mentions the Nights as being a key text with hidden secrets to sufi wisdom, though it doesn't mention which version they use...

In his book (In Arabian Nights) Tahir Shah travels to Morocco seeking stories from the locals.

I'm not surprised of the title, though it seems like a bit of over-marketing of the Nights name, which might just be business as usual, the Nights can be whatever you say they are I suppose and you'd be 100% correct.

Here's some info on "In Arabian Nights" from wikipedia, with the wiki page linked below. The wiki page has links to several reviews of the book.

"Shah listens to anyone who has a tale to tell. He encounters professional storytellers, a junk merchant who sells his wares for nothing, but insists on a high payment for the tale attached to each item and a door to door salesman who can obtain anything, including, when Shah requests it the first "Benares" edition of A Thousand and One Nights by Richard Burton, a translation that the author's father Idries Shah had once given away. As he makes his way through the labyrinthine medinas of Fez and Marrakech, traverses the Sahara sands, and tastes the hospitality of ordinary Moroccans, he collects a treasury of stories, gleaned from the heritage of A Thousand and One Nights. The tales, recounted by a vivid cast of characters, reveal fragments of wisdom and an oriental way of thinking.

Weaving in and out of the narrative are Shah's recollection of his family's first visits to Morocco and his father's storytelling and insistence that traditional tales contain vastly undervalued resources; "We are a family of storytellers. Don't forget it. We have a gift. Protect it and it will protect you." As a father himself Shah now passes the baton on to his own children."

wikipedia link:

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 name origins

Interesting bit of Internet news, one of the world's biggest Internet companies is and Jack Ma, the CEO, got inspired for the name while in San Francisco:


Ma, who has been dubbed the father of the Chinese Internet, said he chose the Arabian Nights-inspired name for his e-commerce company because it is meaningful to people around the world. He said the name stuck after a San Francisco waitress replied "Open, Sesame!" to Ma's request for her thoughts when he said "Alibaba.""


INTERVIEW-China's Alibaba taking aim at U.S. market.
Updated: 21 Apr 2009 11:04:19 PST
SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 27 (Reuters)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Andrei Codrescu's next book has Nights theme

Poet Andrei Codrescu announced a Nights themed book forthcoming from the author in the interview on his latest book (see bottom of post for article/interview info). Learn more about the poet at his website:

(as an aside a reliable source who knows her well says poet Lyn Hejinian is also working on a Nights related book of poems - M)...

paragraph mentioning Codrescu's upcoming book:

"The book ["The Posthuman Dada Guide: Tzara & Lenin Play Chess," (Princeton University Press, $16.95)] was inspired by a meeting with a Princeton University Press editor at the Frankfurt Book Fair. "We had a 15-minute conversation, and that was it," Codrescu said. "Now I'm writing another one, '1001 Nights, Scheherezade's Bodies, Notes on Narration and Extinction.'"

from article:

Professional provocateur
Andrei Codrescu's latest work is a guidebook to a strange new era
Posted by Susan Larson, Book editor, The Times-Picayune
April 01, 2009 3:45AM

Saturday, April 18, 2009

operas based on the nights

Found this pretty comprehensive list of European Operas with Nights related themes/plots/etc.

The website is here but I pasted the info below in case it disappears:;nghkYg;20000906141319-0400A

On Wed, 6 Sep 2000, mohammad iqbal <[log in to unmask]> asked:

> The Arabian 1001 Nights inspired many operatic works. I found one by Weber
> called Abu Hassan. Do you know more info about the subject?

Using Charles H. Parsons's book "Opera Subjects" (volume 9 of the Mellen
Opera Reference Index), I find the following operas based on One Thousand
and One Nights, to which I've added a few found in bibliographic databases.
This can't be a complete list by any means, since Parsons apparently left
out a number which (I suppose) he didn't recognize as being from the Arabian
Nights (or were adaptations from plays that were based on the Arabian
Nights). Nevertheless, FWIW (for what it's worth)....

1761 - Monsigny, P. A.: Le Cadi dupe
1783 - Piccinni, N.: Le Dormeur veille
1788 - Shield, W.: Aladdin, or The Wonderful Lamp
1805 - Dalayrac, N.: Gulistan, ou Le Hulla de Samarcande
1806 - Kelly, M.: The Forty Thieves
1813 - Ware, H.: Aladdin
1814 - Bierey, G. B.: Almazinde, oder Die Hoehle Sesame
1819 - Gyrowetz, A.: Aladin, oder Die Wunderlampe
1822 - Isouard, .: Aladin, ou La Lampe merveilleuse
1826 - Bishop, H.R.: Aladdin
1827 - Claudius, O.: Aladin
1830 - Guhr, K.W.F.: Aladin
1833 - Cherubini, L.: Ali Baba, ou Les Quarante voleurs
1845 - Wichtl, G.: Aladin, oder Die Wunderlampe
1861 - Reyer, E.: La Statue
1870 - Herv, F.: Le Nouvelle Aladin
1871 - Bottesini, G.: Ali Baba
1872 - Nibelle, A.: Les Quatre cents femmes d'Ali-Baba
1811 - Lutz, W.M.: The Forty Thieves
1882 - Caballero, M.F. and Rubio, A.: Las Mil y una noches
1882 - Lutz, W.M.: Aladdin
1887 - Lecocq, A.C.: Ali-Baba
1888 - Hornemann, C.F.E.: Aladdin
189? - Nunn, E.C.: Prince Kamar-al-Zamar
1891 - Renaud, A.: Aladdin
1891 - Haring, C.: Ali-Baba
1892 - Batchelor, W.H.: Ali Baba, or Morgiana and the Forty Thieves
1893 - Horneman, C.F.E.: Aladdin
1906 - Caryll, I.: The New Aladdin
1906 - Strauss, J., Jr.: Ein Tausaund und ein Naechte
1913 - Mauzin, L.: Les Quatre cents femmes d'Ali-Baba
1914 - Rabaud, H.B.: Marouf, savetier du Caire
1917 - Sekles, B.: Scheherazade
1929 - Brenta, G.: Le Kadi dupe
1931 - Bardi, B.: Fatme
1932 - Veretti, A.: La Favorita del re
1935 - Clausetti, P.: Ali-Baba
1937 - Honegger, A.: Les Mille et une nuits
1940 - Wagner-Regeny, R.: Persiche Episode
1941 - Atterberg, K.: Aladdin
1961 - Toch, E.: The Last Tale1968 - Rota, N.: La Lampada di Aladino
1967 - Cacavas, J.: Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
1968 - Polgar, T.: The Troublemaker
1970 - Hanus, J.: Pohadka jedne noci
1986 - Sanker, J.: Ali Baba and the Thieves
1987 - Varelas, S.A.: Volshebnaia lampa Aladdina [Aladdin's Magic Lamp]

Bob Kosovsky -- Librarian
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sinbad the Sailor Comic Covers

More comic covers sent by JC of Wollamshram (thanks!) - these are all Sinbad comics.

Dell Comics
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, 1958 (SN13):


Gold Key Comics
The Fantastic Voyages of Sindbad, 1 & 2, 1967. (SN35, SN38):


From Wikipedia: Marvel Comics published a two-issue adaptation in Worlds Unknown #7-8 (June & Aug. 1974). Titled The Golden Voyage of Sinbad: Land Of The Lost, it was by writer Len Wein and artists George Tuska and Vince Colletta:




Marvel Spotlight, #25, 1975 (SN36, SN37)
featuring "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad":


"Dr. K" also has a review of a comic version of Sindbad and the film version as well with links to the trailer (you must see this great trailer if not the whole film!) and more pictures here:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

John Holt - Ali Baba

Classic roots reggae from John Holt, his nursery rhyme take on Ali Baba & co.:

(According to the great site it's from 1970 - check link below the videos for a list of songs which use this riddim, the Ali Baba Riddim!)...

Ali Baba Riddim Dub w. John Holt, King Tubby & Augustus Pablo

Arabian Dub on the Ali Baba Riddim

Info on "Ali Baba" from jamrid:

Walt Whitman on the Nights


Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Prose Works. 1892.
I. Specimen Days
8. My First Reading—Lafayette

"FROM 1824 to ’28 our family lived in Brooklyn in Front, Cranberry and Johnson streets. In the latter my father built a nice house for a home, and afterwards another in Tillary street. We occupied them, one after the other, but they were mortgaged, and we lost them. I yet remember Lafayette’s visit. 1 Most of these years I went to the public schools. It must have been about 1829 or ’30 that I went with my father and mother to hear Elias Hicks preach in a ball-room on Brooklyn heights. At about the same time employ’d as a boy in an office, lawyers’, father and two sons, Clarke’s, Fulton street, near Orange. I had a nice desk and window-nook to myself; Edward C. kindly help’d me at my handwriting and composition, and, (the signal event of my life up to that time,) subscribed for me to a big circulating library. For a time I now revel’d in romance-reading of all kinds; first, the “Arabian Nights,” all the volumes, an amazing treat. Then, with sorties in very many other directions, took in Walter Scott’s novels, one after another, and his poetry, (and continue to enjoy novels and poetry to this day.)"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The Collector of Worlds - Seattle Times Review

A new book based on the life of Richard Burton makes about 30 that I've found which deal primarily with the controversial Nights-translator/author Richard F. Burton. My list of Burton bios is on Amazon here: Do let me know if I've missed something.

The new book "The Collector of Worlds" by Iliya Troyanov is interesting because it's fiction and written in a novel format. I look forward to adding it to my massive pile of unread "books to read."

Here's the link to the review (I'm sure there will be many others forthcoming):

And the review itself:

"The Collector of Worlds": a 19th century global visionary

"The Collector of Worlds" is novelist Iliya Troyanov's fictional version of the fantastically complicated life of 19th-century explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton.

By Robert Allen Papinchak

Special to The Seattle Times

"The Collector of Worlds: A Novel of Sir Richard Francis Burton"

by Iliya Troyanov, translated by William Hobson

Ecco, 453 pp., $24.99

Nineteenth-century world traveler Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) has been called an explorer, linguist, writer, soldier, translator, diplomat and a possible spy. Bulgarian writer Iliya Troyanov distills Burton's adventuresome life in the hefty yet fast-paced biographical, historical novel "The Collector of Worlds." This highly atmospheric novel details 20 years of Burton's experiences in British West India, Arabia and Africa, where "only the ignorant or the arrogant would venture."

Much of the success of the three-part novel depends on Troyanov's inspired choice of structure. Instead of re-creating events only from Burton's point of view, Troyanov introduces the perspectives of a loyal servant, government officials and an intrepid guide.

The first part, "British India," begins with Burton's servant of seven years, Naukaram, hiring a lahiya (a street scribe) to tell his own story. This section sparkles with humor. What purports to be a two-page letter approaches 200 pages in Troyanov's novel, as the scribe keeps adding details of Naukaram's life. Meanwhile, the servant recounts the youthful Burton's conscientious immersion in Indian culture — from avidly learning the language of Sanskrit to accepting a diet of vegetables, nuts and fruits. The erotic nature of Burton, future translator of the "Kama Sutra," evolves through his relationship with Kundalini, a vestal courtesan.

While in India, Burton became a master of disguises. This serves him well in part two, "Arabia," when he takes on the identity of Mirza Abdullah, a doctor and a dervish, on the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. This second section includes a series of investigative exchanges by government officials certain that Burton is a spy for the British government seeking information on "previously remote, unknown corners of the world [which] will become part of the empire." The journey to Mecca is not without serious consequences as the "master of secrets" becomes the victim of a violent attack.

One of Burton's greatest efforts, searching for the source of the Nile River, is disclosed in the final part of the novel, "East Africa." He is accompanied by his stalwart guide, Sidi Mubarak Bombay, who offers the third alternative narration for the novel. Details of the trek include information about Burton's exploring companion, John Hanning Speke. The trio travels from Zanzibar, where the sands are "like finely ground sea salt steeped in gold," through the villages of Bagamoyo and Kazeh before reaching Lake Tanganyika and then Lake Victoria. Along the way, they are almost killed by a mudslide, contract severe cases of malaria and get help from a mganga (witch doctor).

Although "The Collector of Worlds" is ostensibly about Burton and his daring accomplishments, the reader seems to learn more about Naukaram and Sid Bombay. This in no way diminishes the value of the tightly-woven novel, which succeeds in fleshing out the servant and the guide while Burton remains the well-regarded historical figure.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More Comic Covers

JC, who maintains the best website for online versions of the 1001 Nights in English (he has Burton, Scott, Payne, Lang, Lane and others free and in their entirety at sends along some more comic book covers and more information about the "Classics" series.

Marvel Comics - "Marvel Classic Comics" #30 - "Arabian Nights"
featuring Ali Baba, Sinbad and Aladdin

Classic Comics #8 (US) - Second Cover (first cover is at my other post here: - less smoke and more shading here:

Classics Illustrated Cover #8 (secondary manifestation, new cover, US):

Classics Illustrated Cover #8 (UK Version):

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tim Supple Casting for the Nights

Professor Margaret Litvin of Boston University passed on this article, she's also currently teaching a course on the Nights and has a great blog on Shakespeare in the Arab world:

The guardian article is about UK theater director Tim Supple going off on a tour of the Middle East in order to cast for his upcoming production of the Arabian Nights.

His quest is particularly Nights-esque, the search for the "lost" authenticity of the Nights across the entirety of the Middle East should be a very interesting one. One of the many dubious points about the Nights contained in this article mentions a mysterious "original" version in Arabic read by author Hanan al Shaykh which contains "all" of the 1001 stories!

Here is the article:

Tim Supple's epic odyssey to create a new Arabian Nights

Tim Supple, the creator of an Indian version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, wants to do justice to original Arabic stories

Mark Brown, arts correspondent
The Guardian, Monday 30 March 2009

Three years ago director Tim Supple created an Indian A Midsummer Night's Dream which was one of the theatrical highlights of the year. Next month he will embark on a similar but far more ambitious project: travelling from north Africa, through the Middle East and up into Iran to create a new version of The Arabian Nights.

Supple plans to spend a large part of the next year journeying through Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, the Gulf states, Iran, India and possibly Iraq to cast the production. He wants to see all manner of performers – actors, musicians, singers, dancers, acrobats, storytellers – and bring them together for a production of indeterminate length and form.

"When you're inside an idea it's hard to think of it as ambitious, but yes it is a huge mountain we are climbing, it's a huge sea we are crossing," said Supple. "We are trying to create a theatrical version of The Arabian Nights which will do justice to the scale, depth and richness of the stories."

The Arabian Nights are the 1,000-year-old folk tales told by Scheherazade which most westerners wrongly associate with characters such as Ali Baba, Sinbad and Aladdin – it is doubtful that any of these three were part of the original collection. Supple wants to try to discover the lost truths of the stories and is working with the Lebanese novelist Hanan al Shaykh who spent last summer reading all 1,001 stories in their original Arabic.

Supple is embarking on his Arabian Nights journey after the worldwide success of A Midsummer Night's Dream which began life as a British Council funded project in India and became a much-praised production that went to Stratford and then the Roundhouse in London, and the US, Australia and Canada. The Guardian's Michael Billington called the production, performed in seven languages, the most life-enhancing production of the play since Peter Brook's in 1970.

"The Dream was both a great pleasure and some distress in terms of leaving my kids and getting on an aeroplane and travelling to places I didn't know." But some of the pleasures in seeing people perform in India had been immense, "almost impossibly deep", he said. Supple said he had already visited Egypt and had been struck by the hostility, or "barbed wire fence" perceived to be between the Arab world and the west.

The director hopes to begin rehearsals in 2010. He anticipates it being performed in Arabic, English and Hindi, and says it could be anything from a two-hour production to an eight-hour epic.

The London-based Dash Arts project is being funded entirely by the still young Luminato festival in Toronto, where the production is due to premiere in June 2011. The production will then come to the UK in the autumn as part of a Dash Arts Arabic series, with the venue still to be arranged.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Classic Comics Covers

You can find some general (and interesting) information on Classic Comics and Classic Comics Illustrated on wikipedia here:

Looks like it would be fun to collect them, but for here I just wanted to post the Arabian Nights covers (one is Canadian I think) and the Aladdin one because they are nice looking:




Review of "Mystical Tales from the Arabian Nights"

Mystical Tales from the Arabian Nights: Animated Stories (2007)

I got this on Netflix here ( – the picture on the cover and on the dvd is not of anything I saw in the film though!). It’s an Indian animated hour-long selection of tales from the Nights, I’m not sure but I think it’s part of a series of animated cartoons from India which cover tales of morality and other traditional stories from India.

The introduction included India, Persia and “Arabia” as the origins of the Nights’ stories and listed several cities and places that the Nights were set in and gave a pretty general and vague outline of where the Nights came from and what they are thought to be.

Several things are interesting about this production of the Nights but perhaps most of all is its insistence on not attempting to try to simplify the tales for the viewer, ie most other Nights related films or children’s versions tend to dumb down the complexities found in the story-within-story format of the Nights and just present each story as separate and complete entities rather than the mashed concatenations that they are.

This animated version presents the stories in the frame manner as they are in the Nights. It also includes breaks between Sheherazade’s mornings as well which I found to be compelling in a Shahriyarian fashion.

The stories included in the hour long show are the frame story, the merchant and the jinni, the stories of the merchants to the jinni, King Yunan and the sage Duban, the husband and the parrot, the jinni and the fisherman, and the ensorcelled prince – all of which, by the way, I’ve never seen in an animated or filmic version of the Nights, which was refreshing.

The “moral” message of the Nights (if there is a vague general one you can encompass the Nights into) seems to be intact in this version as well: amusement is the key to life and life is made up of periods of dumb luck punctuated by tragedies which are surmountable by hope, luck and the help of others.

Some things missing: the sex is gone, the only mentions of it are in the frame story (a wife who wasn’t “loyal” – the extent of the explication of it) and in the ensorcelled prince story (his wife “liked a servant”). In addition the race related stuff is taken out as well and the characters, drawn in India, are of a vaguely "white" complexion though all wear traditional Indian clothing (apart from some of the stories which have togas) and speak in Indian accented English.

In the jinni and the fisherman the seal of Solomon is not mentioned either, and “Allah” by name is replaced by “God” in the few mentions of God in the stories.

What was surprising was the violence that was kept in which included mentions of Shahriyar having his brides killed, several beheadings complete with bright red blood coloring, the death of the calf in the merchants stories to the jinni, and lots of threats of murder.

I guess this is surprising because it seems like a kids’ version of the Nights because of the animated format and the lack of the sexuality. Why is it that violence always seems to be more permissible than sexuality in film in general? Very notable here because of the deliberate exclusion of the sexuality that is inherent in the Nights.

The story of King Yunan also was the first English version I’ve seen to call him not King Yunan, but an unnamed “Greek King” instead (who, in this version, lived in Persia). Yunan is Arabic for Greece but I’ve never heard the king in this story called a Greek King.

The animation is a bit lacking, although not horrible, but it reminded me of cartoons of the 1970s like Speed Racer which has characters who stand still while their mouth moves.

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of canonical stories of the Nights in this cartoon and the deliberate insistence on the complexities found when reading the Nights.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

1001 Nights Comic Free Online


The new series by Zenescope comics called "1001 Arabian Nights" recently released issue #8, Adventures of Sinbad, for free online at the link below:

I always pictured Sinbad to be of slight build, the simple trader/anti-hero hero, but here he is mega-man complete with muscles and tattoos and busty comic fantasy women sidekicks.

Jack Ross also has a great article on comic/manga/graphic novel/etc. versions on his blog at: