This week: May 7 - May 13

It's the third year of the Sounds of Arabia festival, Rod Stewart and Spandau Ballet play in Dubai and the eagerly-awaited Kick-Ass opens in cinemas.

Rima Khcheich, singer, on stage with the Uri Honing Trio.
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The third year of this festival, which highlights Arabic music and singing, has a fine mix of top-class acts. Singers, musicians, orchestras and bands are all performing in the capital over the next nine days. Tonight sees Egyptian Oud expert Mustafa Said and Ahmed Kapoo, known as "the voice of freedom" both playing at the Emirate Palace hotel. Other highlights include Lebanese singer Rima Khcheich. She performs with the Yuri Honing Trio on Monday while last year's favourite Karima Skalli is on stage with the MESTO Orchestra on Thursday. There will also be a speakers' corner, where members of the public can meet performers, watch a film and learn about Spanish Islamic music. Daily until May 16 (apart from Sunday), 8pm, concerts at the Emirates Palace hotel and National Theatre in Abu Dhabi, tickets Dh100-225 at Emirates Palace, Dh50 at National Theatre, students Dh30 at both venues, 800 4669. Click here for the full downloadable programme

Beauty and the Beast The Abu Dhabi Choral Group performs the beautiful Disney musical, something for all ages to enjoy. Excellent costumes too. Today 6pm, Saturday 2pm (women and children only, boys must be under 10) & 6pm, the Officers' Club, Abu Dhabi, tickets Dh75 (Dh50 for 2pm performance), available on the door or at Spinneys, 02 441 5900 Rod Stewart and Spandau Ballet The English-born Scottish export is here for a night that is sure to be long on nostalgia and short on new material. Which is why this listing is roughly the same as it was three weeks ago. Spandau Ballet provide some golden support. Today The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, tickets Dh350-750, 04 433 4911

The Laughter Factory Ian Moore, Nick Wilty and Pierre Hollins go into their second week in the country, hopefully still making people laugh as much as they did in the first. After this gig they have one more in Abu Dhabi (Tuesday) and two in Dubai (Wednesday and Thursday). Today 9pm, Rainbow Room, the Aviation Club, Dubai, tickets Dh115,

Cafe del Mar This Ibiza institution comes to Dubai. Bruno from Ibiza, a resident at the famous cafe for eight years, is on the decks, as is Joan Ribas. Live acts are DJ Ash, violinist Julio Cuba and saxophonist Peter Mac. Expect beautiful people dancing to some beautiful music. Today 12pm-2am, Nasimi Beach, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, tickets Dh100 (ladies free, 1pm-4pm), Virgin Megastores The Perfect Show An interesting concept, with a professor (although we may have to check his educational credentials) announcing before the start about what elements make a perfect performance. Dance styles from salsa to belly dancing are included, complimented by sound and light shows, stiltwalkers and acrobatic performers. But will it be good enough to live up to the show's heady title? Wednesday 8pm, The Palladium, Dubai, tickets Dh150,

From Here to There An evening of melodies and songs that trace the musical thread that links all cultures, from Arabic classical and pre-classical roots. A host of quality names are on the bill, including composer Khalid Mohammed Ali and Metropolitan Opera tenor Marc Heller. Sunday 8pm, Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, free admission, 04 341 4777 Virtuosity of the Violin Twins Alie and Lilya Bekirova, both first violinists in the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, have made the short trip to display their refined skills. But can one stage have two virtuosos? Thankfully there's only one Sonja Park, as a football crowd might chant, and she's on the piano. Wednesday 8pm, Centrepoint Theatre, DUCTAC, Mall of the Emirates Dubai, seats available to invitation holders only until 7.50pm, and to all-comers after this, 04 341 4777

Intro to Digital Photography This four-week course teaches practical technical information and shows you, in a very hands-on manner, how to take better photos. Lessons are held every Saturday until May 29. Saturday 3pm-7pm, Magrudy's Education Centre, Jumeirah, Dubai, Dh880, The Relevance and Irrelevance of Muslim Political Traditions Aziz Al-Azmeh, a professor from the Central European University, addresses the question of how similar and different political systems in Muslim and non-Muslim countries were in the past, and how they have developed over the last 200 years in the Muslim world. Sunday 6.30pm Al Mamoura Auditorium, Abu Dhabi, free admission,, RSVP online.

From the World Wide Web to the "World Wide Computer" Keith Ross from NYU Poly discusses how peer-to-peer computing can make the best use of surplus bandwidth, enhance file sharing and, essentially, turn the internet and the devices connected to it into one big computer. But not like the one in the Wizard of Oz. Tuesday 6.30pm Al Mamoura Auditorium, Abu Dhabi, free admission,, RSVP online (obviously)

Watercolours With works by Spencer Tart, Trevor Waugh, Alan Hepburn and John Harris, four artists who have travelled extensively throughout the Arab world over the last 30 years, this collection of landscapes provides a compelling record of an era of great change in the region's history. Daily until May 20 (closed Fridays), 10am-6pm, Majlis Gallery, Dubai, 04 353 6233 The Never Ending Story Rodney Bogg's abstract landscapes explore his fascination with the horizon. Sadly the fine exhibition does not live up to its name, and finishes next weekend. Daily until May 15, 10am-11pm, Kenza Art Gallery, Souk Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, 04 368 6603

Motions Beatrijs Tavernier's exhibition is full of vibrant colours and strong brushstrokes, using only red and blue in contrast to black and white. Daily until May 16 (closed Fridays), Gallery 76, Dubai International Art Centre, Dubai, 04 344 4398 Shabab Uprising This exhibition showcases 10 critically acclaimed emerging artists, including painters Thaier Helal and Kais Salman and photographer/ filmmaker Ammar Al Beik. Saturday until June 30 (closed Fridays), Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, 04 323 6242

Resurrection des Mannequins A host of Dubai artists and intellectuals put their own personal stamp on Sertac Tasdelen's work. The surrealist photographs are inspired by the effect of urbanisation on human relationships. Daily until May 31 (closed Fridays), Portfolio Gallery, Al Quoz, Dubai, 04 323 2395 Against the grain A new solo show by Jalal Luqman, the Emirati artist who continues to push the boundaries of digital art and hopes to take you along for the ride. Daily until June 3 (closed Fridays), Tashkeel Gallery, Nad Al Sheba, Dubai, 04 336 3313. FAKiE The first skateboard art show in the country will display work from 30 artists from nine countries which cover four continents. All works will be sold off at the end of the exhibition for Dh2,000 in what is to become a yearly event. It's sure to be totally radical ... or something. Thursday until May 27, 9am-9pm (Fridays 4pm-9pm), The Shelter, Dubai, 04 434 5655

Mother's Day Dinner Enjoy traditional French cuisine from Chef Jean while treating your mum, or raising a glass in her absence Sunday Bord Eau, Shangri-La Hotel, Abu Dhabi, Dh450 plus service charge (five courses), Dh250 plus service charge (wine pairing), 02 509 8511 Bumbu Bali The base for many of Chef Heinz von Holzen's dishes is bumbu, a paste made from blending different spices to concoct a Balinese delicacy. You have the chance to eat Heinz's bumbu, or be taught how to make your own from the master. Tuesday until May 15, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, Lunch Dh325, dinner Dh375, cooking class Dh395 including snacks and cocktails, 04 301 7600

Little Big Club From Barney and Bob the Builder to Angelina Ballerina and Thomas & Friends, join a magical array of characters who will be sure to keep all the kids entertained. Today & Saturday 8 11am, 3pm, 6pm, National Theatre, Abu Dhabi, tickets Dh225 & Dh295 (children Dh125 & Dh175),

Bonhams Buyers have the chance to bid on museum quality 19th and 20th Century Orientalist works, including masterpieces from European and American artists including Edwin Lord Weeks. Values from US$3,000 (Dh11,000) to $1.5m. Thursday 7pm, Royal Ballroom, One & Only Royal Mirage, Dubai,

Al Saheel - A 1001 Horse Tales The timeless bond between man and horse comes to an end. Today & Saturday 7.30-9.30pm, Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, Dubai, tickets Dh225-325 (12 and under Dh100), 050 181 0401 Arab Market From handmade abayas to exquisite artwork, you'll find a wonderful selection of goods from across the region on offer. Today & Saturday 5-11pm, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, 800 23632 A Cultural Exhibition by Dr Leon KL Chew A professor of art and design at Zayed University, Dr Chew exhibits his latest abstract art. His background is both scientific and artistic, which comes through in his work. Until Wednesday, National Theatre, Abu Dhabi, X My homeland Exhibition showing the work of seven prominent Iraqi artists. Until Thursday (closed today), Art Sawa, Dubai, 04 340 8660

Listen - The World's Foremost Solo Percussionist A concert with Dame Evelyn Glennie. She will be accompanied by pianist Philip Smith. May 14 7pm, Abu Dhabi Theatre, tickets Dh250 (children/students Dh30), 800 4669 Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship The Russian Mercenary and The Snowman are among those on the six-fight card, where a cool Dh1m, and your opponent, are up for grabs. May 14 6pm-midnight, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre tickets Dh180-2,650 (under 12s must be with an adult), The Best of British Gala The BBC Concert Orchestra plays a host of British classics, including Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March. May 15 8pm, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, tickets Dh250-650 (children/students Dh30), 800 4669 Harry Connick Jr Find out why the three-time Grammy Award winner has sold 25 million albums. May 16 Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, tickets Dh395-595, 02 499 1713 Ice Warrior Challenge A 2km course with 18 obstacles awaits those fit / mad enough. Entries must be sent to by May 21, and competitors have the chance to do it all for charity. Captain Oates need not apply. June 4 6am, Ski Dubai, 04 409 4000

The Losers After being left for dead in the Bolivian jungle, members of a special forces CIA team try to track down those who betrayed them. Like when a taxi driver promises to wait for you while you pick up your shirts from the laundry and disappears by the time you come out. Kind of.,,, Kick-Ass High school student Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), despite having no special powers, decides to become a super hero. His initial attempts at saving the day end badly, but he soon teams up with some other vigilantes who have a better idea of what they are doing, including the father-daughter pairing of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloë Moretz, above). Super stuff.,,, The Back-up Plan If comic book adaptations, which both of the above are, leave you cold ... then really try and get into them. Zoe (Jennifer Lopez) doesn't know she's pregnant when she starts dating Stan (Alex O'Loughlin). Sure, they are getting on like a house on fire but is it too soon for him to commit to a child that's not his? Comic book, anyone?,,,

Badmaash Company Set in Mumbai (sorry, Bombay) in the mid-Nineties, four bright young things decide to go in to business together. They are determined to live the bling lifestyle but can all their egos fit in to one movie? Written and directed by Bollywood actor Parmeet Sethi. Hindi with English and Arabic subtitles.,, Anasy Documentary Awards There is still time to catch a documentary, with the films being shown covering a myriad of social and environmental issues. Among the movies being screened is the gold award winner Last Train Home, which was voted the best work being shown at the festival. Until Sunday with screenings at Cine Royal in Khalidiyah Mall and Al Raha in Abu Dhabi, and DUCTAC in Dubai, tickets from Dh25,

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