Category Archives: Egypt

To Tip or Not To Tip: That is the question – Tipping

To Tip or Not To Tip – That is the Question of the Day

by Leaf McGowan / Technogypsie Productions

I’ve always been on the border about “tips”, “gratuity”, and “tipping”. I never in my younger years saw it as “required”, “mandatory”, or “expected”. Even when i was a bartender I never expected it nor thought I should get it. After all I was just doing my job and I was paid a fare wage for it. It was nice to get a tip when it happened (and it happened often), i just saw it as a “hey thanks for doing an exceptional job”. Its true I was brainwashed by regulars to recognize them as good tippers and pouring extra liquor or giving them extra attention because I knew they tipped. But I was fair to all. I always saw it as a practice to thank a worker for being extra nice, going out of their way, or high performance. I wouldn’t tip someone who did a poor job. But these days, you’re expected if not required to tip a service worker regardless of doing a good job. The percentages have raised from the normal 10% to 15% to 18% and 20% in some cases. Really? That’s not only obnoxious, but criminal. The criminality of tipping, no tipping, less than minimum wages, etc. didn’t sink in until I became a delivery driver and experienced first hand the angst and stress than a customer who doesn’t tip causes a worker … especially when it affects their livlihood, wear and tear on their vehicle, or when that tip teeters the ability to cover the gas it took to deliver said food.

When my ex-family member became rapid about no tippers as she works in the food industry, it was definitely a flag seeing how hostile she got on the topic. It was definitely a clash between us. I tried to explain to her my thoughts about it, how it was meant as a gift for exceptional service, and that it should never be expected. In fact, many countries find the act offensive and many foreigners don’t do it. She shouldn’t get hostile on a bunch of Germans at her table who don’t tip her. They might not know the American custom or requirement. But she would just get seething angry. It was that seething anger and dishonesty in her persona that made her my ex-family member in the long run.

But she’s no different than many in the service industry – if you don’t tip or are a poor tipper, you can easily become the scum at the bottom of a barrel and seen as a disgusting, unappreciative, vile individual. There are servers and delivery personnel who have been known to create databases recording your details so others can avoid you, or worse yet, target you for pranks, discrimination, or mean revenge. It really is a problem. Some pizza joints have been known to have comments and notes about customers who don’t tip. The common thought is that if you are a bad tipper for any reason other than bad service then you are stealing from the server and are consequently a thief so should be held up to public ridicule. So various staff have made facebook databases, web sites, and public forums “outing” the bad or no tippers, sometimes including their names, addresses, and/or phone numbers obtained from delivery apps, receipts, or credit card slips. Even if there are no physical databases active on the web, darkweb, or a businesses’ computer system … there certainly are mental notes and staff who will remember your face, name, or address and may avoid serving you or giving you proper service. Its always best to be safe and tip – be considerate of the individual who is serving you. There is the Uber Eats drivers forum on “No Tip for Food Delivery? Boycott them.”; (currently down); the Lousy Tipper database; NFIB – Should you publically shame a bad tipper?; Shitty Tipper Database; (currently down);; the Shitty shitty tipper database; Bad Tippers Suck; and Bitter Waittress.

Then there is the facts that suggest tipping was born out of racism. Should you not tip because it was originally a racist act? Certainly not – because you’re not hurting the industry that is the wrong-doer, you are hurting the server/driver/staff that is struggling on less than minimum wages their employer are giving them with expectation that your tips will make up the additional missing income. This is detrimental to those workers and really damages their livelihoods, especially in America and the tourism industry. Unfair? certainly. The only way this can change is to attack the industry and get companies to pay their employees proper fair wages.

So what exactly is a tip? or gratuity? Gratuity is another term for “tip” which is a certain amount of money that someone “gifts” to another for excellent service. It is additional funds above and beyond the fees or pricing for a item, service, and/or food. It has become a custom in many of the world’s countries. In some places its simply just the extra change to round up to the nearest dollar amount, other times it is a sizable sum often left on the table to thank the server and/or staff. The amounts that people give varies from country to country, and in some countries it is considered insulting. Other countries discourage it. Some countries require it. Originally it became 10%, and more recently has increased to 15-20% of the bill’s total. Some employees are prohibited from tipping if paying for food or services on government payments – government workers in some areas would break the law if they tipped. Unfortunately the practice has become an important part of the income for various service workers like servers, bartenders, delivery drivers, uber/lyft/taxi drivers – and failing to tip the can be a detrimental effect on their livelihood. This is very common in North America. Some restaurants will automatically add a service charge/tip on the bill especially when there is a large party at a restaurant.

In most places, it is illegal for government workers to not only give tips, but to receive them as it can be seen as bribery. For companies that promote tipping such as restaurants, the owners see the act of “tipping” as a incentive for greater work effort. Some abuse the custom by paying lower wages to their employees expecting the tips to make up for the difference. This is where the process has become criminal and abusive of the lower class in the United States. It is in this regard that tipping expected or not, is actually quite arbitrary and discriminatory, adversely affecting livelihoods and lives. It has been proven that amounts of tips can vary based on age, sex, race, hair color, breast size, color of skin, and appearance rather than quality of service.

The etymology for “tipping” and “gratuity” dates to the 1520’s from “graciousness” or the French “gratuite” in the 14th century. The Medieval Latin “gratuitas” or “free gift” or “money given for favor or services”. The practice appears to have begun around 1600 C.E. and was meant as a “small present of money”. It was first attested in 1706 according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. It was first practiced in Tudor England. By the 17th century it was expected that overnight guests in private homes should provide sums of money called “vails” to the host’s servants. This spread to customers tipping in London coffeehouses and commercial establishments. London in the 1890’s also had “crossing sweepers” who cleared the way in the roads for rich people to cross so that they wouldn’t diry their clothes, and they were tipped for this action.

Etymological differences in various languages can also translate the terminology to “drink money” such as “pourboire” in French, “trinkgeld” in German, “drikkepenge” in Danish, and “napiwek” in Polish coming from the custom of inviting a servant to drink a glass in honor of the guest and paying for it to show the guests generosity amongst one another.

Customs in varous Countries:

Africa/Nigeria: not common at upscale hotels and restaurants because the service charge is usually included in the bill although the employees don’t usually get any of it … this has been changing as establishments have begun to coerce customers to tip in the Western world manner even to the manner that there have been reports of security guards asking bank patrons for tips.

Asia: China – there is no tipping. Some hotels that serve foreign tourists will allow it, especially tour guides and drivers. Hong Kong – tipping is not expected at hotels or restaurants because a service charge of 10% is already added to the bill, but taxi drivers sometimes charge the difference between a fare and round sum as a courtesy fee so as not to make change for larger bills. Japan – tipping is very discouraged and seen as an insult (unless masked in an envelope). It also has created confusion. Indonesia – common in large touristy areas like Bali or Lombok where there are a lot of Western visitors. 10% is expected at full-service restaurants, and bar tipping is discretionary depending on the style of the bar. Pubs don’t expect tips, restaurants 10-15%, massage parlors 10-20%, taxi drivers 5%, bellboys $1 a bag. Malaysia – tipping is not expected, restaurants often add a 10% service charge, and if tips are left it is accepted and appreciated, but often is just rounding up. South Korea – not customary nor expected and can be seen as inappropriate behavior. Hotels and restaurants often add on a 10-15% service charge already embedded into the bill. Singapore – not practiced and rarely expected, though bars, restaurants, and some other establishments add in a 10% service charge compounded with the 7% goods and services tax – the staff rarely receive any of this. Taiwan – Not customary but all mid-high end restaurants and hotels have a mandatory 10% service charge which is not given to staff and made out as revenue to the business.

Europe: Tipping started in the United Kingdom and spread throughout, but not all parts of Europe accept it, some will be offended by it. Albania – It is expected everywhere and performance will vary based on requests for tips. Tips of 10% of the bill is customary in restaurants, and while porters, guides, and chauffeurs expect tips – duty-free alcohol is usually the best tip for porters and bellhops, but others may find it offensive (such as Muslims). Croatia – tips are sometimes expected in restaurants, but not mandatory and are often 3-5% of the bill. Clubs and cafe its common to round up the bill and its not common for taxi drivers or hairdressers. Denmark – “drikkepenge” or “drinking money” is not required since service charges must always be included in the bill according to law. Tipping for outstanding services is a matter of choice and never expected. Finland – not customary or expected. France – not required but what you see on the menu is what you are charged for. The French pay their staff a livable wage and do not depend on tips. Some cafe’s and restaurants will include a 15% service charge in the bill as french law for tax assessment requires. “service compris” is a flag that the tip has already been added to the bill but the staff may not get any of it. Tourist places are unofficially accustomed to getting tips. In smaller restaurants or rural areas, tips can be treated with disdain. Amounts of the tip are critical sometimes, such as at least a 5% for good service, and unless tips are given in cash, most of the time the staff won’t receive them if on credit card. Austria/Germany: Coat check staff usually tipped but tipping aka “trinkgeld” is not obligatory. In debates about minimum wage, some people disapprove of tipping and say that it shouldn’t substitue for living wages. It is however seen as good manners in Germany for good services. Germany prohibits to charge a service fee though without the customer’s consent. Tips range from 5-10% depending on the service. While Germans usually tip their waiters almost never the cashiers at big supermarkets. The more personal the service, more common to tip. There are often tipping boxes instead of tipping the person, and rounding up the bill is the most common practice as “stimmt” for keep the change. Tips are considered income in Germany but are tax free. Hungary – “borravalo” or “money for wine” is the tipping there and is commonplace based on type of service received, rounding up the price is most commonplace. Various situations will vary with tipping as either expected, optional, or unusual since almost all bills have service charges included. In Iceland, it is not customary and never expected except with tourist guides who encourage the practice. Ireland – tips are left by leaving small change (5-10%) at the table or rounding up the bill, and very uncommon for them to tip drivers or cleaning staff – it is the tradition thanks for high quality service or a kind gesture. In Italy – tips are only for special services or thanks for high quality service, but is very uncommon and not customary, though all restaurants have a service charge but are required to inform you of said added charges. Norway – service charges are added to the bill so tipping is less common and not expected. If done its by leaving small change 5-15% at the table or rounding up the bill. The Netherlands – it is not obligatory and is illegal and rare to charge service fees without customer’s consent. Sometimes restaurants, bars, taxis, and hotels will make it sound like tipping is required but it is not. Excellent service sometimes sees a 5-15% tip as in 1970 regulations were adopted that all indicated prices must include the service charge and so all prices saw a 15% raise back then so that employees were not dependent on tips. Romania – Tipping is close to bribing in some instances where it is used to achieve a favor such as reservations or getting better seats. tipping is overlooked often and rounding up can be seen as a rude gesture if including coins, otherwise one should use paper currency. Russia – its called “chayeviye” which means “for the tea” and tipping small amounts to service people was common before the Communist Revolution of 1917, then it became discouraged and considered an offensive capitalist tradition aimed at belittling or lower the status of the working class and this lasted until the 1990’s but once the Iron Curtain fell a influx of foreign tourists came it and it has seen a comeback. Slovenia – most locals do not tip other than to round to nearest Euro and the practice is uncommon. Tourist areas have accepted tips of 10-20%. Spain – while not mandatory it is common for excellent services. Tips in the food industry depend on the restaurant and if upscale, small bars and restaurants the small change is left on their plate after paying the bill. Taxi drivers, hairdressers, and hotel staff may expect tips in upscale environments. Sweden – tipping is not expected, but practiced for high quality service as kind gestures, but often is small change on the table or rounding up the bill mainly at restaurants and taxis. Hairdressers aren’t commonly tipped. Tips are taxed in Sweden but cash tips often are not declared. Turkey – “bahsis” or tipping is optional and not customary. 5-10% is appreciated in restaurants and usually by leaving the change. Drivers don’t expect tips although passengers often round up and small change to porters or bellboys. United Kingdom: England/Scotland – customary when served at a table in restaurants, but not cafes or pubs where payment made at the counter often between 10-15%, most commonly 10% rounded up. Golfers tip their caddies. Larger cities may have a service charge included in the bill or added separately commonly at 12.5%. Service charges are only compulsory if displayed before payment and dining, and if bad service, customer can refuse to pay any portion (or all) of said service charge.

North America:
Canada – similar to the United States, tipping is common, expected, and in some cases required. Quebec provides alternate minimum wage for all tipped employees, other provinces do so for bartenders. Servers tend to share their tips with other restaurant employees called “tipping out” or a “tip pool”. Ontario made a law in 2015 to ban employers from taking cuts of tips that are meant for servers and other staff as that became a bad problem until recently. Tips are seen as income and staff must report the income to the Canada Revenue Agency to pay their taxes on it. Caribbean – the practices vary from island to island, such as the Dominican Repulbic adds a 10% gratuity on bills in restaurants and its still customary to tip an extra 10%, St Barths it is expected tips to be 10-15% if gratuity isn’t already included in the bill, and most of the islands expect tips due to being used to it with tourists from the mainland. Mexico – In small restaurants most workers don’t expect tips as the custom is usually only takes place in medium or larger high end restaurants, and when it happens roughly 10-15% not less nor more as a voluntary offering for the good services received on total bill before tax is added (VAT – value added tax). Sometimes VAT is already included in menu pricing. Standard tip in Mexico is 11.5% of the pre-tax bill or 10%. Sometimes tips are added to the bill without the customer’s consent even though its against the law especially bars, night clubs, and restaurants. If this service charge is added it is violation of Article 10 of the Mexican Federal Law of the Consumer and Mexican authorities recommend that patrons require the management to refund or deduct this from the bill. United states – Tipping is a strong social custom and while by definition voluntary at the discretion of the customer, has become mandatory in some instances and/or required, very commonly expected. If being served at a table, a tip of 15-20% of the customer’s check is customary when good service provided, in buffets where they only bring beverages to the table, 10% is customary. Higher tips are often commonly given for excellent service, and lower ones for mediocre service. Tips may be refused if rude or bad service is given and the manager is usually notified. Tipping is common for hairdressers, golf courses, casinos, hotels, spas, salons, bartenders, baristas, food delivery, drivers, taxis, weddings, special events, and concierge services. Fair Labor Standards Act defines tippable employees as those who receive tips of more than $30/month and federal law permits employers to include tips as part of a employee’s hourly wage or minimum wage. Federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13/hour as authorities believe they will make up the difference in tips. The federal minimum wage is still only $7.25/hour. 18 of the 50 states still pay tipped workers the 2.13/hour. 25 states as well as the District of Columbia have their own slightly higher tipped minimums, while the remaining states guarantee state based minimum wage for all workers. Some states have increased this such as Alaska, California, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Guam require that employees be paid full minimum wage of the state they are working in. Tip pools are used as well but the employer is not allowed to take any, nor any employees who do not customarily receive tips such as the dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors. The average tip in America today is 15-16% with tipping commonly expected regardless of how good service was provided. A few restaurants and businesses in Amrica have adopted a no-tipping model to fight back, but many of these returned to tipping due to loss of employees to competitors. Service charges are often added when there is a large party dining and to catering, banquet, or delivery jobs. This is not to be confused with tips or gratuity in the U.S. which is optional and discretionary to the customer. Some bars have started to include service charges as well – but including these require disclosure to the customer. Until the early 20th century, Americans saw tipping as inconsistent with the values of an democratic egalitarian society, earlier business owners thought of tips as customers attempting to bribe employees to do something that wasn’t customary such as getting larger portions of food, better sittings, reservations, and/or more alcohol in their drinks. After Prohibition in 1919 alot of revenue was lost from no longer selling alcoholic beverages, so financial pressure caused food establishment owners to welcome tips and gradually evolve to expecting them. Tipping never evolved from a server’s low wages because back in the day before tipping was institutionalized, servers were fairly well paid. As tipping evolved to become expected and mandatory servers were paid less. Six states (mainly in the south) however passed laws making tipping illegal though enforcement was difficult, the earliest of which was passed in 1909 within the state of Washington. The last of these laws were repealed in 1926 in Mississippi. These states felt that “the original workers that were not paid anything by their employers were newly freed slaves” and “this whole concept of not paying them anything and letting them live on tips carried over from slavery” (according to Wikipedia article). Tips are considered income and the entire tip amount is considered earned wages except for months wehere tip totals were under $20. The employee must pay 100% of payroll tax on tip income and tips are excluded from worker’s compensation premiums in most states. This sometimes discourages no-tip policies because employers would pay 7.65% additional payroll taxes and up to 9% workers compensation premiums on higher wages in lieu of tips. Tax evasion on tips is very common and a big concern of the IRS. While tips are allowable expenses for federal employees during travel, U.S. law prohibts employees from receiving tips. Tip pooling is also illegal if pooling employees are paid at least the federal minimum wage and don’t customarily receive tips, but was repealed in 2018 so workers have more rights to sue their employers for stolen tips.

South America: Bolivia – Most restaurants have service charges included in the bill, but tips of 5% or more are sometimes given to be polite to the worker. Paraguay – Tipping is not a common part of the culture, there are often service charges included in the bill.

Oceania: Australia – Tipping is not part of Australian customs, so it is not expected or required. Minimum wages in Australia has an annual review adapted for standards of living. Many still round up the amount owed to indicate they were happy with the service as “keep the change”. There is no tradition of tipping someone who is just providing a service like a bellboy, hairstylist, or guide. Casinos in Australia prohibit tipping of gaming staff so its not considered bribery. New Zealand – like Australia, does not possess the tradition though it has become less uncommon in recent years especially with fine establishments and influx of tourism, or American tipping culture. It is expected that employers pay their staff fairly and that minimum wage is raised regularly based on costs of living. The only real tipping is for far and above normal service.

The varying degrees of gratuity around the world causes much problems internationally, as American tourists may continue to tip when travelling to countries where it is not custom, thereby setting precedent that evolves into expectation of Americans travelling abroad. Likewise, tourists from countries that find tipping rude or non-customary, may not tip when in the U.S. and infuriating staff that expect and/or depend upon it. Some Americans have been known to become aggressive, rude, and vindictive when they don’t get tipped and they may not realize the non-tipper is a foreigner who comes from a culture that doesn’t tip. The key is to know the culture you are travelling in. There is a high level of discrimination embedded into tipping culture, and many think the custom should be banned. According to Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics blog “Should Tipping be Banned?” they point out from Michael Lynn’s research that “attractive waitresses get better tips then less attractive ones. Men’s appearances, not so important.” “blondes get better tips than brunettes, slender women get better tips then heavier woen, larger breasted women get better tips than smaller breasted ones.” Hooters, an American chain has monopolized on looks for their waitresses and get away with discriminating upon those who don’t fit the look, and therefore the tip. Many will flaunt wealth by distributing big tips, and others do it to demean the worker to make them feel beneath them. After the abolishment of slavery, restaurants and rail operators embraced tipping as a way of getting free labor – hiring newly freed slaves to work for tips alone.

The newest industry being affected by tipping is delivery drivers who get paid $3.25 or lower for a delivery, don’t get paid to wait around for orders, sometimes are given some fees for mileage, but not wear and tear, nor reimbursement for the highly increasing cost of gas. So not only is a drivers time affected when someone doesn’t tip, but their vehicle, cost of gas, and expenses. As a delivery driver, I have gone on deliveries where what i received from a non-tipper and the company didn’t even cover the gas to get to their place and back. Remember that when considering if you should tip or not.


  • Oatman, Maddie 2016 “The Racist, Twisted History of Tipping: Gratuities were once an excuse to shortchange black people. In fact, they still are.” Mother Jones News. website visited at on 7/17/18.

  • Wikipedia 2013 “Tipping”. Website referenced at on 7/17/18.

  • Video: The Racist History of Tipping :

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Denver Museum of Natural History

Free day at the Denver Museum of Natural History (; New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 5, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   To read reviews, visit:  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Free day at the Denver Museum of Natural History

– Denver Museum of Natural History and Science –
Denver, Colorado

One of Denver’s star attractions, the Museum of Nature and Science is a hallmark of the area, and an informal science education center for the Rocky Mountains. It hosts a variety of exhibits, programs, and activities for visitors to embark and learn from about the history of the Earth, the world, and most specifically Colorado. The building is roughly 716,000 square feet housing more than a million objects in its collections covering anthropology, archaeology, paleontology, geology, art, and the universe. It is also a repository for an incredible archives and library. The museum is independent and a non-profit with over 350 full time and part time staff, over 1800 volunteers, and a board of trustees with 25 member. It is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is a affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. There are six main areas in the museum – (1) The Exhibitions, (2) IMAX films, (3) lectures, (4) classes, and (5) programs based around anthropology, geology, health science, paleontology, space science, and zoology. They receive well over 300,000 students and teachers every year just in school groups alone.

The museum spread from the Edwin Carter Log Cabin Naturalist Museum in 1875 that was the private fauna collection of Colorado species gathered together by Edwin Carter from Breckenridge Colorado. In 1892 a group of Denver citizens declared interest in his collection to be moved to the capital for all to enjoy, and Carter sold it to them for $10,000. They added another collection of butterflies and moths as well a some crystallized gold. This combined collection became the Colorado Museum of Natural History and was incorporated in 1900. The Museum finally opened in 1908. By 1918 it opened another wing. In 1927 one of its teams discovered two stone projectile points embedded in extinct species of Bison in Folsom, New Mexico putting the museum in the spotlight.

There are several permanent areas of the museum, these are:

  • Discovery Zone – a hands on educational center for kids allowing them to build, learn about water, make crafts, and excavate dinosaur bones.
  • Egyptian Mummies – an exhibit with two mummies and their associated artifacts, depicting life in Ancient Egypt and an introduction to their belief systems.
  • Expedition Health – teaches museum patrons about the human body and the science of taste.
  • Gems and Minerals – welcomes visitors into a cavern of gems and minerals, both local and globally.
  • Native American Indian Cultures – an exhibit exploring the original inhabitants of North America.
  • Prehistoric Journey – a journey into paleontology with fossil collections and skeletons of great magnitude.
  • Space Odyssey – a collection and exhibit about space, exploration, and the universe.
  • Wildlife Exhibits – animal dioranams showing scenes of life of various animals on the planet, focused on Colorado as well as globally.

The museum also houses a large 50,000 plus object collection of anthropological, archaeological, and ethnological artifacts from North America. They also house over 800 items from an ethnological art collection, archival photographs, and documents. The Earth Sciences Collection contains six main groups of fauna, flora, and mineral components such as vertebrate paleontology, paleobotany, invertebrate paleontology, minerals, meteorites, and micromount. The Health Sciences Collection has rare an unique human anatomy specimens as well as pieces of medical importance. The Space Sciences Lab houses the museums Scientific Instruments Collection.
the Department of Space Sciences maintains a large digital collection of images and multimedia assets for space. The Zoology Collection houses over 900,000 specimens of species and creatures from around the globe. The
Bailey Library and Archives focuses on anthropology, archaeology, earth sciences, health sciences, space sciences, zoology, the Rocky Mountain West, and museum studies with over 53,000 publications, 2,500 rare books, and 9,000 volumes of scientific periodicals. Various temporary exhibits come in for a wide variation of subjects and collections. The Phipps IMAX Theater was built in 1940 originally used for concerts, films, and lectures. Then it was re-opened in 1983 as an IMAX Theater primarily.

The museum actually has various secrets as there are hidden paintings located throughout the museum such as Kent Pendleton, one of the diorama painters, placed eight elves hidden in his art for visitors to find, as well as some Star Wars related pictures by the IMAX lobby. Rated 5 stars out of 5

Free day at the Denver Museum of Natural History (; New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 5, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   To read reviews, visit:  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Free day at the Denver Museum of Natural History (; New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken November 5, 2016. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Shakefest 2012: May 26th – Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

2012 Shake Fest: Charleville Castle, Tullamore, Ireland

Shakefest 2012
May 26-27th, 2012 * Charleville Castle * Tullamore * Ireland * *

This year will be Shakefest’s “7th” Annual Dance and multi-cultural festival held at the historic epic Charleville Castle. The festival grounds is starting to bustle with activity as preparations are in the flow to welcome local and international community, visitors, friends, and family to celebrate culture. Since 2006, Shakefest has been bringing together an eclectic mix of Middle Eastern, Cultural Dance, and Artistic Workshops ending with a multi-cultural evening of dance performances. This year, Shakefest is expanding into more folklore, diversity, performance art, crafts, and themes for all ages, sexes, and cultures. This year features numerous workshops, classes, performances, and activities such as a “Faerie Glen” to get lost in, A “Madhatter’s Tea Party”, A bouncy Pirate Ship, Indian Cuisine, Performances by Tullamore’s “The Red Embers”, Galway Bellydance, Appolonia Tribal Bellydance, Sheeoneh, Nicole Volmering, and Aoife Hardiman.

Joana Saahirah ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

This year’s International Guest Instructor is Oriental Dancer Joana Saahirah of Cairo, Egypt providing authentic education on Egyptian History and Folklore as well as Oriental Dance instruction in Classical, Saiidi and Alexandria of Mellaya styles. Declan Kiely will host a special workshop on how to “Dance like Michael Jackson”. Hip Hop, Jazz, Poi & Ribbon Dancing, Bachata and Argentinian Tango classes are also offered. There will also be African dance, poetry, open-mic sessions, a kid’s gigantic Dragonfly and butterfly hunt, punch and judy, juggling & stiltwalking by Stagecraft Ireland, Drum Circles, and a magic show. This year will also be breaking ground on a live history section with the KHI Medieval Re-enactors treating audiences to combat simulations of the Crusader’s Knight’s Templar with medieval tents, a full try-on armoury and archery for all ages.

KHI Medieval Re-enactors ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

Featured musical performances by 40’s Swinging The Bugle Babes, Our Annual Multi-cultural Hafla, daring fire show by The Red Embers & Babylon’s Inferno, The North Strand Kontra Band from North Dublin. Dazzling Romanian and Bulgarian instrumental band is expected to finish off the fest with explosive energy and lively dance accompanied by original and traditional tunes from clarinet, saxophone, trombone, keys, banjo, double bass, and drums. If you’re travelling through Ireland this weekend or live in the magical isles, this event is not to be missed. Gates open at Noon on Saturday the 26th with admission only €10 general entry, €10 camping, €20 family day pass or only €15 for evening entertainment.  All proceeds will be going towards Charleville Castle Restoration Fund – Operation ‘Raise The Roof’ project in which money will be raised towards putting a protective roof on the castle chapel. We’ll be covering this event, so come back here for photos, review, and the stories we weave from the experience …

North Strand Kontra Band ~ photo courtesy of Shakefest

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Boomerangs and Throwing Sticks


One of the popular icons of Australia, the “boomerange” is a throwing weapon with a curved shape used for hunting, battle, or sport. Most commonly made of wood or bone, some modern boomerangs are made of plastic or light metal in a variety of sizes and weights though usually ranging from 10-180 centimeters. Sometimes are designed with aboriginal artwork. It is designed to travel in a ellipical path and return to its thrower if thrown properly. While Australia is credited with their creation, there is evidence they were used by the Indigenous of California and Arizona, southern India, and the Ancient Egyptians as hunting weapons. While most Australian Aborigine’s used them commonly for hunting, sometimes there were not thrown at all and utilized in hand-to-hand combat. Some historical evidence suggest they were also used to start fires, as decoys for waterfowl, as recreational toys, battle clubs, and percussive musical instruments. Evidence of boomerangs in Australia date to over 10,000 B.P. (Before Present), a boomerang made of mammoth’s tusk was found in Poland dating to over 30,000 BP, and King Tutankhamen of Egypt had a collection of boomerangs over 3,000 years old today. When, where, or how it was created is unknown, but believed to have started as a flattened throwing stick.

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Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre (NR: 2001)

Belphegor: Phantom of the Louvre (NR: 2001)

Directed by: Jean-Paul Salomé. Starring: Sophie Marceau … Lisa / Belphégor, Michel Serrault … Verlac, Frédéric Diefenthal … Martin, Julie Christie … Glenda Spender, Jean-François Balmer … Bertrand Faussier, Patachou … Geneviève, and many more.

A mummy and its treasure trove is discovered in Egypt and brought to the Louvre museum in Paris. As the Egyptologists investigate the remains, while running the mummy through a cat-scan, to help determine the age of the remains, a spirit is released and infiltrates the electrical system of the museum, causing havoc until it finds victims to possess. As the craziness subsides, the curator brings in a noted Egyptologist to help unravel the story of the collection. The Egyptologist announces that mummy is actual the remains of “Belphegor”, a evil spirit that was meant to be locked up for ages. A nearby neighbour of the museum wanders into the museum and becomes possessed by Belphegor’s spirit until it can retrieve back its treasures. Investigated by Louvre’s security and the Paris police, they unravel an age old supernatural situation. Its a fight of wits between Belphegor and the inspectors until Belphegor is freed. I thought it was a pretty action packed thriller with horror tale overtones. Quite entertaining. Rating: 4 stars out of 5. In French but has English subtitles as well as version.

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