Sunday, April 30, 2006

Beirut-Mission Fashion-Week Three

OK their is a lot to tell you. I will try and be quick because now I am in Zahle. the city in Lebanon where pretty much all of my ancestors here in Lebanon live.
So Yesterday we accomplished something that I thought I would never have believed I would do. We lit the runway on fire. We had the technicians build for us special metal trays that we arranged along each side of the runway that we then let on fire. It was very dangerous. Flambeau was set in the middle of the set in a white leisure suit and these giant burning wings hung by a rope. He started the number by lighting the ends of this fire train that sent the runway to light on fire like a trail of fire chasing down both sides burning in a fiery inferno flames about 3 feet high. Then he was lifted like a fiery angel up above the stage. We had 8 male models on either side of the stage topless and dressed in red holding torches. Two girls hanging in hoops wearing fire showgirl outfits and then I came down the stairs like a fire monster, painted in metallic gold, I went out to the middle of this flaming runway and performed my double staff routine. It was unreal I definitely think we got the attention of this country. If they didn't know us before they definitely do now.
This morning My cousin who I only just met picked me up and we drove off to Zahle. I am meeting all of my Lebanese cousins right now for the first time. (i have a list and i have been just checking them off I think i am to about 22 now) They all live in the same neighborhood. Somehow all of the children of my grandfather's sister and their children live in these houses almost connected to each other. I think when the family gets bigger they just add on a floor and the building gets taller. The structure is a concrete cement block building flat roof so it is easy to do. I am seeing the house where my grandfather lived and everyone is so nice. The problem is there is so little English spoken. I will be here for the next couple of days then i go back to Beirut.
I just feel like I have to write something because the last few days have been so intense. I am in the middle of the thick of it right now so I will go back to live it and get back to you as soon as i have real time to reflect.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Beirut-Mission Fashion-Week Two

Hello everyone.
Well week two down and just 8 to go. Things have been bumpy to start just as i had expected. But i think we are roiling along in the right direction now. We are starting to understand what the producers want and are accustomed to and realizing our role in all of this madness.
I am learning a lot and working all of the time... The one thing that is for certain is that we all want the program to look as good as it can. And with so much talent around us including of course our New York in da house, the end result is astonishing.
I think next week we are getting a few more female dancers added to the group in from Paris. That will make a great difference, take pressure off and help fill up the stage. At the moment, being a group of only 6 we are all playing several roles. I have officially been inducted in to the role of dancer. I thought I was a circus guy but that shows you what I know. This week was all about 5, 6, 7, 8 turn, 2, 3, 4 ... I look down and say move forward left foot and my right foot moves back, but I'm getting it. And what better way to get it than to have the pressure of either get it or have millions of people see you fumble by Friday.
The TV station is very supportive. They get us what ever we need, more or less. If we have an idea like we need three giant fans and 20 yards of poly silk, and we need to hang three hoops or make it snow little white confetti's they make it happen. Imagination is really let loose here. Delivering it is the challenge. Every week we are to come up with three to 7 production numbers. We are given about 6 days to do this. They are more than willing to run around and buy and rig what ever we need, only thing is the clock is ticking. In NY I would want to spend maybe two weeks or more on just one production number and here we have only 6 days to give 3 to 7. So the reality is we are in heaven and in hell. Basically we are Slaves to This broadcasting company. Though life could be a lot worse.
So life in Beirut is interesting, the little that we do see. For the most part we only see the streets around the apartment building and the inside of the TV station compound.
But... last night we went out. We went to this crazy restaurant where the served amazing food had a great atmosphere and people were singing and dancing as they ate. It was not like some sort of traditional ethnic Lebanese thing this was more or less some upper class up scale dining party thing. Everyone was in suits and ties and smoking cigars. People looked great, the music was loud, and people were dancing all over the place. Really it was like fine dining at a disco. You would have to be there.
Our host and agent for bringing us here (Miya) is a local celebrity in Lebanon, and she knows everyone. She loves to party and where ever we go she shows us off like here American international stars. The velvet rope comes down every where we go and somehow everyone knows what we are doing here. I keep shaking the hands and hanging out with the owners of the places we hang out at. Funny things happen like if we are out and we like the music there. They arrange it so that next time we come they have the CD for us to take home with us. I swear the Lebanese people are so hospitable that they would take the food out of there on mouths and give it to you if they thought they could. And sometimes they try.
But as i said we spend entirely most of our time at the studio. I can see that life here is going to change a lot over the next few weeks. It already has had such ups and downs, now that we are over our jet lag and kind of know the way the studio works and have experienced a little of Beirut I am really looking forward to putting in some good work this week and blowing the doors off by Friday.
More later

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Beirut-Mission Fashion-Week One

June 17th

Ok so I am here, Things are well. It has certainly
been an adjustment. But we are all well, the work is
looking good and only going to get better and better.
We are adjusting to our new living environment and
lifestyles, and learning our way around.

Today is the first day we found the Internet place.
Really, until today we have been on the move
rehearsing like mad men, and scrambling to be ready
for the first live broadcast. It has been like a fire
drill that has lasted a week. We are all tired and
tomorrow we jump back into it. It is kind of a sink
or swim scenario but we're resilient and in can only
get easier. I think when I get back from this
experience I will be super powerful.

The show is kind of like fashion American idol. They
have selected the top models form the middle east. 16
models selected from a group of something like 800.
Then they selected a group of Designers to work with
these models. They all live in this loft isolated from
the world where they have to learn parts of the
industry and design exhibit and compete. Every week
one designer and his or her model is eliminated.

The network I am working for has two channels.
Mission Fashion must be there premiere show because on
one channel you can watch 24 hours a day live video
feed from the contestants loft as they prepare and are
taught and judged. On the other channel The channel
has a regular broadcast of programs and once a week
they air there main program that compiles the
happenings of the week. They do this in a very
spectacular live approach complete with music dazzling
lights Choreographed dancers and circus stunts. Then
they are judged and one model designer team is

So there is the format. But what i didn't tell you is
that our very own show girl Amy Goodheart is one of
the panel judges. You should have seen the model and
designer reactions when they figured out this little
tidbit of information. Suddenly smirks and snub noses
went to bright eyes and big smiles waves and a little
touchy flirty stuff. For example I have the former
snobby Miss Egypt sucking up to me now. A really
funny situation. I have to learn to distinguish the
difference between fake smiles to genuine ones. At
the moment I just assume they are all fake and

Well I would love to talk more but I can't. The
others are waiting for me to go to dinner so here are
a few quick excerpts form my journal. Just know that
we are safe, well and the work is going good and
getting better and better all of the time.

June 13th
Well here i am in Lebanon. I have always wondered
what it would be like to spend time in the country of
my ancestors and now I get to find out. There are so
many things going through my mind that I don't even
really know where to begin. I guess I should start
from the beginning.

So we left the US on Monday at 7pm, Just so you know
Lebanon is 12 hours ahead of NY so in Lebanon It was
already 2am the next day. I am traveling with 5
other freaks from NY. Really we are a NYC dream team.
Some of the best at what we do all brought together
to work on this reality show in Beirut.

We have:
Amy Goodheart (show girl, Director / Choreographer)
Maine (Dancer)
Adrian (Dancer)
Flambeaux (Fire performer)
Una (Aerialist)
and me

We are all great performers seasoned and professional.
I think that our nerves are a little tied up in knots
right now but that is to be expected before the first
show. Give it three weeks and we will be on auto

The people of Lebanon have been so nice to us so far.
Even when we were waiting in the immigration area
right off the plane one of the officers was telling us
about how glad he was to have us in his country. When
I told him that I am half Lebanese he was particularly
interested. He told me that Saab (my last name) was a
very old, big, and famous family here in Lebanon.
(In fact there is a famous Lebanese Designer named
Allie Saab who we will be working with this Saturday.
I wonder if there is any relation?) Well when I told
him that My father was my Lebanese side then he
immediately told me " well you are Lebanese then, We
determine your blood from your fathers side" i don't
think that my cousins would be too happy to hear that
and I don't necessarily agree with it but in my case
and fro my time here it is definitely helping.

Every one seems to be really interested with the fact
that I am Lebanese. It is getting me way more
attention that I had expected and they are all very
warm and overly welcoming about it. I hope they will
allow me to leave when it comes time. And hey the way
I feel right now I will probably be the one with the
hard time. I feel like every where I look I am seeing
my cousins, parents, aunts and uncles. I am just
blown away.

The country is beautiful . A giant mountain range
runs through the middle of the country and just about
fills the land. The mountains come pretty much right
up to the water. You can snow ski and sun on the
beach in the same day. Only 15 minutes apart.

I am picking up Arabic slowly but surely . Hopefully
by the end of this I will be able to have basic
conversations. Right now all I can do is charades.
Be polite, and talk about food. Thankfully many of
the people in the studio speak English.

The show is going to be great. It is recording live
in front of a studio audience and airing live with a
10 second delay. I am thoroughly looking forward to
it and all that we can learn form it. Our first shoot
is on Saturday. Our first audience is estimated at
16 million viewers. Kinda crazy.

Hope you are all well -more later and talk to you soon

Michael Dirt info on the show

Saturday, April 08, 2006

first post

hi my name is michael saab and this is my new blog thing. My Friend Marie set this up for me because I am a blog retard so bare with me as i figure out how to make this blog thing cool. So i am a circus variety performer living in NYC. Check out my web site I am going to Beruit Lebanon on monday for two months. I am definitely excited about that. Well I will write more later got to go now.


Friday, April 07, 2006