Monday, December 31, 2007

I Woke Up To ...


Last night I woke up to your scent!

I dream of smells of the places I have once passed
Of people I have once known
Of that jasmine shrub
That grew so big, it boiled over the garden wall

I dream of you, my brother and dad
I dream of the dusty ruins near my childhood
I dream of your hands
Close to my face
The scent of Jasmine crashing into my mind

Last night!
It was you again
wasn't it!

Central Composition, Fall 2007




Monday, December 24, 2007

The Fourth Essence !

Last night at 10:25 I saw Kite Runner (2007) directed by Marc Forster, based on a great book by Khaled Hosseini. I always said that in many ways Cinema is in a great debt to literature. This debt becomes greater when it comes to a script adaptation. So I say the best way to see a movie based on a book is to consciously ignore the book and hear the story one more time through moving images, as if we hear it for the first time. I’ll write more about Kite Runner (2007) but for now: The performances are very good considering the bilingual script. Ahmad Khan Mahmidzada (Hassan) is outstanding; a young boy with a warm face and a smile that fills the screen. Also Homayoun Ershadi’s (Baba) witty dialogue stays with you long after the movie is finished. Conclusion: See it.

The forgotten Number 2 from the previous post: Brooklyn college students won their battle against Censorship. The Brooklyn College graduate art exhibition got closed last year by the Brooklyn War Memorial, where the exhibition was held. The Students sued the city for the violation of their civil rights and they won. Now the city should give the students a written apology from Spiegel plus $750 per students plus $42,500 to cover legal expenses. My source of information was Art News September issue. I meant to write about it for more than 3 months and I kept forgetting it.

This Christmas just happens to be very similar to many Christmases that I’ve seen back home; sitting at the dining room table, surfing the web and watching a movie on TV: But not every movie, Charles Dickens classic tale, A Christmas Carol. When I was a kid, each year they showed Mickey’s Christmas Carol, in Iran. Tonight my fate is the same with a minor difference. I am watching A Christmas Carol movie of 1938 instead of the animation one. I love this one: in the 1938 movie, Scrooge's nephew offers Mr. Cratchit a bottle of Port and says "Port is the fourth essence of Christmas spirit."


Kite Runner directed by Marc Forster 2007




Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Yalda !

Writing a quick Happy Yalda wish has just turned to a hardest thing on earth. Eyal’s Salmon Casserole is baking itself in the oven, 4 dirty pots should wait for me to be back from the party and I am late for the party. And I keep forgetting what I want to say.

Let’s go by the list:


1- I want to introduce the new member of my electronic family: my new Juke cell phone. Her name is Artemisia Gentileschi; and she is as artistic as a cell phone can be. She also has a very sharp edge, which lives up to the name I gave her. Artemisia was an Italian painter in early Baroque period. This is her picture.




2- I forgot the number 2: no really I did.

3- What do you know about Zoor Khaneh in general: Zoor-Khaneh is a gymnasium for traditional Iranian martial arts (Varzesh-e Pahlevani). And do you know any books about it or its history or any article, Anything! (Please let me know.)

4- Happy Yalda and enjoy your holidays !



An Autumn Leaf, November 2007


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snow: Familiar Becomes Unfamiliar.

Grounds for Sculpture was founded in 1992 by J. Seward Johnson Jr. He is known more through his art - real-size bronze sculptures - rather than his grandfather, Robert Wood Johnson, the founder of Johnson & Johnson Company. The park and its museum exhibit more than 200 sculptures from different artists as well as pieces by Johnson himself.

It is not a wrong observation to call Seward Johnson an Impressionist sculptor. Apart from his choice of subject matter, which mostly presents regular people in their daily activities, Johnson II translates French Impressionismt paintings into sculpted sceneries. Sometimes these painted bronze bodies and their suited surroundings create an optical illusion.

In Seward Johnson’s work the illusion works opposite Sotto in su technique. In his work a recognizable three-dimensional object looks like a more familiar two-dimensional painting: that of Monet for instance. In Sotto in su a painting looks as if it really exists. It is a false impression that makes the viewer see a two-dimensional painting as a three-dimensional object. This art technique was common in 17th century Italian Baroque art.

Now add some snow to a familiar painted sculpture: the snow that does not exists in the original impressionist painting. OK what we can have now are: 1- A puzzled art historian 2- A new piece of art: something that is familiar because of many impressionist paintings we have seen, but also mysterious because of the weather conditions. A surreal piece!


Part of Nature by Seward Johnson, 2000,
Grounds for Sculpture, NJ, Photo on Dec. 2007


If It Were Time by Seward Johnson, 1999
Grounds for Sculpture, NJ, Photo on Dec. 2007



Saturday, December 15, 2007

Blue Window !

Every girl must have a Blue Window. Blue window is more important than Shoes; it is warmer than Hot Buttered Rum; it is a necessity that won’t fit in your closet, and it is more essential than a little black dress for a girl. A blue window is an escape place. It is a place where one take refuge after a long run; If you don't get any comfort from your own comfy corner you need to find your blue window to escape to from time to time.

Who knows how many things I have forgotten in that past few days. The forgetfulness was an addition to things I had to do. Too many emails unanswered, too many calls waiting for a call back, too many things to do. So I decided to escape from all these to my blue window. Indeed when it is time for the blue window, the snowstorm does not play any role. So I left Princeton and took refuge in my old neighborhood, New Haven. I spent a few lovely days with my old buddies, got some job done and now, I am ready.


Blue Window (Reflection II), Dec.2007



Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Where Is the Reader ?

Yesterday I went to Professor Abdolkarim Soroush’s lecture, The Skeptical Prophets. It was a very enjoyable talk. Professor Soroush is a very articulate speaker; he specifically is very accurate on his sources. So I enjoyed it beyond any measures.

During and after the talk the issue of the reader – audience, spectator or addressees – got my attention. As an after thought to Roland Barthes’ essay, Death of the Author, I think (perhaps as a modern approach) while revising a literature text, ancient or contemporary, we should always be conscious about the intended audience of that text. In the process of understand a text, although we focus more on what we understand from the text and we do not immediately occupy ourselves with author’s intentions, in my mind it is crucial to recognize who was/is the targeted audience of that piece. As I imagine every author had his readers in mind. Of course the whole idea of interpretation and hermeneutic is at stake here. Now my problem with my own thought is this: if we believe that there are texts which are meant for everyone, that they are good for all times - a text timeless and addressed to all - in that case what will happen to the importance of the reader? does it increase or decrease?


The Writer Away, San Juan Bautista, California, Fall 2007




Sunday, December 02, 2007

Snow in 08540

It started snowing early this morning. So I changed my plans from visiting Fazal Sheikh’s photo exhibition to a mug of hot chocolate and reading BBC news on Bibi-Huryeh. Luckily, Khavar Sultan was parked in the garage; shoveling Kharvar would be the last thing on my list today!

I will catch up this enchanting photo exhibition on Tuesday. Beloved Daughters: Photgraphs by Fazal Sheikh has combined two of Sheikh's projects: one focuses the dispossessed widows in northern India (reminds me of Water directed by Deepa Mehta!)and the other confronts the lives of young girls in a traditional society that its merits are changing by modernity. Since early October I wanted to see this exhibition; Sheik’s black & white photograph presented on the exhibition banner was so striking that I still cannot take the image out of my head. The exhibition will be up until January 6th 2008.


Snow in 08540, Princeton, December 2007



Saturday, December 01, 2007

I am Iran

I really don’t know how to begin this particular post; things have happened so fast recently that my limited mind has problem adjusting with it. I start a sentence and before I finish, I start deleting: letter-by-letter, word-by-word I erase. The main problem perhaps is my unsettled mind or maybe I have many things to say and I hardly know where to start. It is not a story. It is neither fiction nor nonfiction. It is only an attempt.








For me it started with Nazy’s creative ideas and her careful collection of images. It is Vaaleh’s music that covers the slideshow. As I said it is an attempt and we can make it worthwhile only if you share your thoughts about it with us. It is an open project and I am happy to welcome you to participate in "I am Iran". If you have difficulty watching the link on YouTube please check it here.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Untitled *


Untitled, November 2007




*Inspired by dear friends Leva and Vahid.


Friday, November 23, 2007

November's Alibi !

I am asking about a November night
I was in the kitchen holding a jar of pomegranate paste,
Finding my way through a long forgotten recipe.
He was busy
With his numerous affairs,
And a wall of fog in between!

I am asking about a November night
It was cold and gloomy
He, busy; three thousand miles away
I was in the kitchen
Holding a jar of pomegranate paste
When the thin glass of the kitchen window quivered,
When my loneliness attacked,

I am asking about a dark, lonely, feverish November night
When the cold breeze of autumn tapped on my shoulder,
He was busy with numbers

When I trembled under the freezing fear of fall
When I let go of the jar
When I was attacked
When I was covered with blood
And
There is no blood like the pomegranate’s blood

I am asking about a November night
When I was attacked
When I broke the jar
He was busy, lost and three thousand miles away

Dear God
What was your alibi, in that November night?




Sunset on Pacific Ocean, Fall 2007



Thursday, November 15, 2007

CINEMA∃AST

The second biennial of CINEMA∃AST film festival ended today: Thanks to my friend, we spent the past couple of days hoping from screening to presentation and vice versa. It was a very lively festival. The screenings covered a vast collection of short, documentary and feature films from Middle East.

I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave was co-directed by Hala al-abdallah and Ammar el-Beik. The film was a rough collection of memories by three Syrian women living in exile. The story formed stage by stage and shaped a mosaic-like image with many blank spots. In addition to the ambiguity that these missing pieces created in the story, consciously or unconsciously these blanks gave a universal touch to the humanitarian part of this semi-documentary.

From Iran 6 films were exhibited. Tehran Has No More Pomegranates by M. Bakhshi, Traveler of Horizon by H. Bahrami, POW 57187 by V. Zara-Zade, Cocoon by B. Shahravan, Mainline (Khon Bazi) by R. Bani-etemad / M.Abdolvahab and also The Day I became My Mother a co-production between Iran and Turkey directed by Annem Oldugum Gun.

Besides these independent films I also watched:

American Gangster (2007) directed by Ridley Scott: it was indeed the best performance I saw from Denzel Washington. The story had a simple line. I am so glad that the movie didn’t fall for Frank Lucas’ biography and that indeed created a great thriller.

Gone Baby Gone (2007) directed by Ben Affleck: I should say Ben Affleck is doing much better as a director rather than an actor and Casey Affleck as Patrick Kenzie was a good choice for a young private detective. My vote is B+ for it.

What caught my attention in both these films was a huge number of great performers in supporting roles, which made the films believable. In his short life in the movie John Ortiz was amazing.





PS.1 I am wondering if there is any mental sickness regarding graduate thesis and dissertations: I am rereading, rewriting and constantly changing what I had wrote, finished, presented and got graduated by.

PS.2 Also these days, I was happily surrounded by Bibi Huryeh and IMovie rearranging a Photo-Clip: Lack of Photoshop or/and Image-Converter was the biggest torture, but nonetheless it was a fun project.

PS.3 The CINEMA∃AST film festival is organized by ART∃EST.



Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Humiliated Mind !


On Life:

Couple of years ago, no, it was exactly 7 years ago, I was in one of Abbas Abdi’s speeches in one of the Teacher’s colleges in Tehran: he, who at the time was a well-known reformist, explained Iran’s political situation on the issue of socio-political reform by giving a very interesting and funny example. He said: “our situation is like this: we, the reformists, are trying to play chess with an opponent who is a boxer and knows nothing about chess and is using his fist instead of his mind to win.” He continued: “Our religious conservatives are boxing with us on a chess board.”

All this came to my mind when I was listening to NPR’s Day to Day (November 5th) report on a new sport called Chess-boxing. In this sport the athletes swap between six rounds of chess and five rounds of boxing, and can win in the ring or by checkmating their opponent on the chess board. An American finalist of the Word Chess-boxing Championship in Berlin who lives in San Francisco was also interviewed on the program.*

The apparent irony between my memories of Abdi’s speech and the NPR’s report aside, perhaps one should inform Abbas Abdi and the other reformists about these new athletic strategies, particularly when the match is against the newly born fundamentalist government. The crucial point is that the reformists should be cognizant of their limits. While they are wasting most of their efforts on whom among them should get the high chair after the most probable war, their opponents are working on both their chess and boxing skills to become the champion of their populistic agenda and win every battle within the country. As we know it is not them, fundamentalists, who pay and suffer from the crisis of a war.

A Self-reminder Note:
And so the real reform should start from within: when Iran’s most noticeable reformists cannot put aside their differences and get together with other social, political an intellectual groups inside the country the loss in every stage becomes inevitable.

Who are these others whom everyone ignores? These are the large group of hardworking and educated social and political activists who, in more than 2 decades, have been the main target of the regime’s violence, whose rights have been denied as unwanted apostate and second-rate citizens. These are people who, in the best case, have been pushed aside both by the regime and the reformists. Here I should emphasize that many of today’s reformists were Islamic revolutionaries/conservatives in the beginning of the Islamic republic. This is what reform really means: a gradual change; but shouldn’t this change be a responsible one? Responsible means make a mistake, but for God’s sake don’t repeat the same one. Responsible means be tolerant and not ignorant of others who work on the same front as you do.

And on Art but connected to Life :

Here are the first sentences of André Breton’s article, “Originality & Freedom”, published in the journal Art in Australia (1941-42):

“Human thought today is greatly humiliated. The book of history has opened wide before our eyes, and with a rapidity, which we can scarcely comprehend; its white pages are being filled with frenzied writing. Suddenly all of those past events which we had been accustomed to consider purely from a speculative of theoretical standpoint, such as wars, religious conflicts, crises in government and the rise and fall of culture – all that which up to the present had been for us a beautiful but dim and misty revelation of the heroic past – has now become for us a living actuality, a poignant presence incorporated in our beings”

Just keep in mind that this publication was dated two years after the Second World War began in Europe. To our misfortune André Breton’s criticism is still valid today. Today also human intelligence is under a rapid humiliation. Indeed, our beings relive what is not too far away to be called history but nonetheless it is the past. Once again our conscious is failing to learn from its mistakes.



The Thinker (Le Penseur), Auguste Rodin, 1902-04
designed was based on Dante's Devine Comedy for the Gate of Hell
I took the photo in an exhibition in Istanbul,
June 2005


Monday, November 05, 2007

Translation of Delaram:


I am a translator: the translator of time:

Before 5:01

Before 5:01 this morning; before I read the news, before I finished the loads of translations, Delaram meant what it actually means in Farsi. Delaram meant sweetheart; it meant the one who brings peace to Del (heart).

5:01

It is 5:01. I forgot to add AM. Although that AM wouldn’t make any difference in my translations, I like to have it there. The translations are done and sent. I am tired and sleepy. Yet I cannot allow rest to come to my burning eyes, to my freezing fingers and my numb toes. Somehow resting means nothing after 5:01 AM. After reading the latest news about Delaram Ali’s sentencing.*

After 5:01 AM

The time has passed 5:01. I forgot to add AM. Although it was not this AM that made the difference in my translation.
After 5:01 AM Delaram means Star, it means Violet, it means Spring.**
After 5:01 AM I am a translator: the translator of time:

Now
Delaram means the Sweetheart of Resistance !



The Blue Hesitation, Bandar-e Anzali, Summer 2007



*Delaram Ali is one of the 33 women’s right activists who have been arrested in the peaceful gathering of 2006 Hafte Tir Square; June 2006’s protesters demanded changes on the constitutional inequality that affects women's and children’s life and safety tremendously. Delaram Ali was sentenced by the appeal-court to two years and six months imprisonment. Read more on BBC News, BBC Persian, Inside Iran and Lady Sun.

**inspired by Ahmad Shamlou


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

What About Personal Freedom!


Some Questions:
Does anyone know what Personal means? When we define something as personal: what do we mean? What about Private? Are these the same? Do we want to block other’s judgment when we say this is a personal matter? And do we always need to say it or is there going to be a day that the others realize it on their own? (The other is anyone who is not you.)


Some Points:

For those of us who pretend to believe in Personal Freedom – from freedom of speech to freedom of choice and so on:

“Freedom of speech is the concept of being able to speak freely without censorship. […] The most important justification for free speech is a general liberal or libertarian presumption against coercing individuals from living how they please and doing what they want.” [Freedom of speech, Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia]

That means:
If X wants or chooses to talk, to write, to express … anything X prefers, and I mean anything - from the monthly menstrual period to the Heegaard splittings and pseudo-Anosov maps – X has the right to do so. We mostly agree with this part, but we are usually not so enthusiastic for the rest of the quoted phrase that says: Individuals have the right to live how they please and forcing them, in any way, to decide against their will is against freedom of individuals–.

And that means:
X is also has the right of choosing what X wears, what X eats, who X has sex with, what X reads, what X sees… This is the fact that particularly gets ignored: that there are some personal choices everyone has the right to make without the fear of being judged by others: I believe the others’ judgment is an act of coercing an individual. Keeping our judgments to ourselves and not pass any judgment on one another’s personal choices is wishful thinking on my part. But I still prefer to go with my wishes rather than my limits. So I strongly suggest that the others should at least try to keep their judgments to themselves when it comes to one’s personal choice(s).



Happy Halloween!
A Coffee Shop gets ready for Halloween
Santa Barbara, October 2007




*I assume everyone understands that I am not suggesting one should not be responsible for the choices they make, Though I believe how they want to be responsible is their choice also. I am merely suggesting that let everyone be free of fear when they make that choice.

**Last night magnitude-5.6 earthquake shook San Francisco Bay area: This post is by no means a result of that earthquake!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Color!

I cannot bring myself to tell, “These emails bother me,” that “they remind me of my laziness, my passiveness,” that “they only make me hate my current state more than I already do,” I think I will never tell these; at least in the way I like.

Maybe I should know by now that these short emails, with one or two links: mostly art related, sometimes about Iran and sometimes funny, really mean “hey, I was thinking of you!” but I am not sure they mean that.

The aftermath does not concern anyone but me. My days become short, remote and pale.

Pale, Badlands SD, August 2007



Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sleepless in Santa Barbara!

My paper cup only contains hot water. I just put it down on the nightstand. It’s past midnight. I have used my hot-water cup more as a hand warmer than a drink tonight. I am cold; but no matter how cold I am, I can’t escape my cup's comment:

The Way I See It #284

"You can’t lead the people, if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people."

After reading these lines I looked at the author’s name and suddenly I missed my room in Nassau Street. The author was Cornel West from Princeton University. Oh, I can easily hear crickets' chirping; as if I need more signs to know that I am one of a few sleepless creatures in Santa Barbara.


Owens Rose Garden in Eugene, OR, September 2007



Monday, October 15, 2007

A Week Out of Ordinary!

Aberrant:
I’ve just finished this week’s translation load. The past couple of days, Bibi Huryeh, my black MacBook, was very patient with me. I dropped her almost two times and its battery ran out once, but she like a real Bibi – lady – stood by me. Overall I had such a week that I am glad is passed. Oh! the weather is getting dreadfully cold in Princeton.

New Flavor:
On Friday night I saw Michael Clayton (2007) directed by Tony Gilroy. I guess this is a film not liked by many, but certainly a sort of film that I like. A story everyone has heard, perhaps many times, but this time it is told in such a way as if you hear it for the first time. A divorced, gamble-holic, broke and experienced attorney, Michael Clayton who works in the gigantic law firm as a fixer, gets involved in a 6 years old class action suit that breaks into his daily routine. This multi-million dollar case forces Clayton to reconsider every professional decision he has ever made. Over the course of the movie, which only covers 5 days of Clayton’s messy life, Gorge Clooney (Clayton) portrays such a believable character that his powerful Clooney-ego melts away. This is a Clooney you have never seen; He is Michael Clayton. Gilroy correctly chooses a slow paste for the film. The movie's many close-ups and the characters’ voice-overs fit into the narration brilliantly. It is an A+ movie. See it and experience a new flavor.

Unique:
Also here is a very unique and neat photo-blog by Nicole Chenell. I had the chance to spend a small portion of this summer exploring Tuscany along with Nichole. After three months, now, when I look at her photos, once more I feel the warmth and tenderness that Tuscany offers its visitors.



To Be, Fountain Paint Pot, August 2007
An amazing sight in Yellowstone National park


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

No such Thing as Tradition!

I remember very well the first time I went to a play with my parents. Everything was glorious and I was little. It was Molière’s The Miser. Last night, while McCarter Theater Center protected me from the heavy rainstorm, I was one of the many delighted audiences of another Molière’s play: Tartuffe [The Imposter].


What I really liked about the last night’s performance is Daniel Fish’s (the director) lively approach toward Tartuffe. Although the performances were not as engaging as they ought to be – too much hands and a lot of shouting didn't make this comedy funnier – Daniel Fish’s mise-en scene was brilliant and made up for the feeble moments of actors' performances. The use of Video recording and the museum like setting truly harmonized with Roger Plancchon’s claim as Janice Paran wrote on Tartuffe Unmasked: "When I decided to stage Tartuffe I studied all the previous productions. That’s when I realized that there is no such thing as tradition."

The legend says that Molière died on the stage. Well, he didn’t exactly die on the stage but collapsed during his last performance. He died couple of hours after the play had finished in the middle of a February, in 1673.


Recently Seen Movies :

Hot Fuzz (2007): a British action, comedy, crime and so on; I liked the first half and really didn’t enjoy the idea of the secret society. I am sure there are far better films about innocent looking villages where everyone is involved in a crime. B is my vote for Hot Fuzz.

Vertigo (1958): was a revisited movie. I have seen it two times before. I should admit that this time I liked it more. Yet it is not my favorite Hitchcock movie. I generally do not like to get involve in supernatural when it comes to crime. Vertigo is perhaps an exception in my book. Although at the end we get to the point of “No Supernatural Reasons” for the most part in Vertigo we are trapped in a sort of illusion that suits the title: Vertigo. Nicely done! And about Vertigo vs. Rope: I still enjoy the straight forwardness of the story in Rope. Why should I choose at all? James Stewart plays in both of them!
Mar Adentro or The Sea Inside (2004) a controversial story and indeed a very touching film. Directed by Alejandro Amenábar who also directed The Others in 2001. My vote is A+ :for its performances, for its courageous position on the controversial issue of euthanasia and for its simply smart narration. I am sorry that I didn’t catch it sooner. If you haven’t seen it yet, please put it on your Must-See-List.



Thursday, October 04, 2007

He Called Me "Janeh Janan"



He called me once, many years ago:

“Janeh Janan”!

I don’t know when it was exactly,
Maybe it was when I could see my own reflection in his hazel eyes.
Or perhaps, it was when I cloud hear his loving voice with no one in between.

I don’t remember when it was exactly,
That he called me “Janeh Janan”
Surly it was when he was younger and
I a child.
It was then that he called me:

“Janeh Janan”!

And he read to me Molana’s story; A story none like it
It was then that his profound voice trembled
It was then that I saw him, as if for the first time;
A man,
A man
With strong bones, stronger will and fiery eyes.

It was so far and yet so near. I saw him as if for the first time;
A man locked away from his wishes, struggling not to forget them.

Ah!

I don’t remember when it was, Still his roar is with me:

“Hearken to the reed flute, how it complains, lamenting its banishment from its home”

I don’t remember when it was exactly!
He called me:
“Janeh Janan”!






* Inspired by Nazy's invitation as an "uplifting exercise".
* I have shamelessly used the 800th birth anniversary of Molana (Rumi) just to recall the color of his eyes.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Eureka, Eureka, Σμέουρο* !


Eureka, Eureka! Finally Some real Tameshk: These wild berries (or wild raspberry) are what we call Tameshk back home. I found them in California, in a route along the coast. It was a colorful start for autumn.

Yesterday after a poetic meeting - no really it was a Persian poetry reading class**- I have updated Tameshk In Kitchen. So far, my Blogrolling has some problem pinging it; so consider yourself pinged. I should go now, I am about to read an article by David Little called Collectivity and New York Alternative Spaces: the title tickles me!


Tameshk (wild berry), California, Autumn 2007



* Σμέουρο means raspberry in Greek.

** Persian Reading is a class at Princeton IAS: we will read Bostan by Saadi, but the main focus of the class will be on Masnavi by Molana (Rumi). The readings will be under Dr. Ja'fari's supervision.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Font of the Week!



Kite Runner The Movie:

It is not a surprise to hear about Kite Runner’s movie, a well-written novel by Khaled Hosseini, now a movie directed by Marc Forster; an expected destiny for any engaging novel. What surprised me - a very exciting surprise I should admit - was seeing Homayon Ershadi playing Baba’s character on the movie.

Ershadi is an Iranian actor known for his strong performance on Taste of Cherry (Ta’me Guilass-1997) directed by Abbas Kiarostami. Educated as an Architect in Europe, Ershadi started his acting career in 1997. Now I have a stronger will to see Kite Runner this November.

Marc Forster has also directed Stranger Than Fiction, Finding Neverland and Monster's Ball.

Check MOMA's Exhibitions:

50 Years of Helvetica on MOMA. We know Helvetica more than we think; perhaps it is fare to say we have seen Helvetica more than our own reflection in the mirror. For decades Helvetica has educated, informed and led us into the third millennium. Designed by Max Miendinger and Eduard Hoffmann in 1957, Helvetica ruled the world as the most used sans-serif font. This is the first typeface purchased for MOMA’s Collection and this exhibition presents the graphic materials that have been produced using the genuine design of Helvetica. The exhibition was up all spring and summer and it will go through March 2008.

Interested in motion picture or animation? If yes, MOMA’s Panoramas of the Moving Image: from Nineteenth-Century Magic Lantern Shows is the exhibition to see.

Last but not at all least is the upcoming exhibition of Georges Seurat: The Drawings. My interest in Seurat’s drawings is about two years old now. I have learned to appreciate drawing as an art medium through Seurat’s sketches. This is one of the largest exhibitions in the past two decades that centers utterly on Seurat’s drawings. The exhibition will be open at the end of October.


To whom it may concern:

Khavar Sultan is back as healthy as an old truck like her can be. Although the reunion with Khavar Sultan is priceless the repair was costly. We drove, today to Washington Rd. to retune two of our borrowed movies to LRC: Naked Lunch (1991) directed by Cronenberg and L' Année dernière à Marienbad, (Last Year at Marienbad) Alain Resnais’ movie of 1961.








* The font used for this post is Arial, since I did not have Hervetica font on my blogger font-box,: Arial is the closest typeface to Helvetica designed on 1982.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Rope vs. Vertigo

Iranians on Internet:

I am still busy with Khavar Sultan; I couldn’t study for my exams in the past couple of days. This is a past due matter. Please accept my apologies for the delay regarding Iranians on Internet: A seminar for Iranian beloggers. Please read about it on: From Berkeley, Ala Hazrat Haj Agha and Iranian.com.

Now some up-to-date matters:

Last night I caught the last screening of the day for Eastern Promises (2007) directed by David Cronenberg. A movie about Russian Mob in London: like A History of Violence (2005) a straightforward story, great performances and plainly smart decoupage made it an easy-to-follow movie. However the exaggerated violence of the bathhouse sequence didn’t suit my eyes I enjoyed Eastern Promises. Particularly the first sequence – the murder in the barbershop - reminded me of a short story I read a while a go where a barber kills a Nazi Officer in his shop. I don’t recall the name of the story but it was a great short story.

On Saturday escaping form Princeton’s arrogance I went out of town to have Portuguese food with some friends. It was so great that it made me miss our lovely Portuguese friends André and Filipa. Though I am not sure if it was only the food that reminded me of them. More probably it was the heated debate I had about two of Hitchcock’s movies Rope (1948) and Vertigo (1958) that made me miss them. I have had the same discussion with André before. Simply I like Rope better than Vertigo and they don’t. Today I watched Rope again, maybe after 8 years. This time Rope didn’t seem as eye-catching as I wanted it to be. Why? I don’t know. To find out I am about to see Vertigo once more.





Wednesday, September 19, 2007

By Bike

This is for Baloot as an update on Khavar Sultan:

Today I biked to school. This is what I should do from now on since my poor baby, Khavar Sultan (Sultan of East), does not feel good. She is waiting her turn in the repair shop. Her full name is Khavar Sultan Sultne Jaaddeh Ha (Sultan of All Roads). I think you got the idea that she is a vehicle of kind but she is not like any vehicle: She is a Tameshkish (reddish) 87-Nissan pick up truck; has 4 new tires and a happy face. At least her face was happy up to a month ago when she suddenly got sick. The other day, when I went to check up on her, she was sitting majestically next to a Nissan SUV waiting for me to get her home. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her she should wait some more. I left quietly.

I chose a mildly sloped track today. There were two traffic lights on the way. I catch them both on red so it took me about 17 minutes to bike to Marquand library. Also, today I figured out that it is one thing to bike to school and entirely another matter to be able to work afterwards. Optimistically I assume if biking to school becomes my routine I will be able to have some work done.

Khavar Sultan Sultan-e-Jaaddeh-Ha, Fall 2006



Saturday, September 15, 2007

Her Pulse


She sat on the cold wooden bench
Under the mist of rain
She sat
And
She looked up at the height of his Pride
She looked and grasped
Grasped the night
It is to be the end of the day
No sun
No light
No warmth.
There was nothing to be done
Night was there.

It was at the end of the day
When she finally climbed all the way up
Up to the top of his coldness
Up to the end of the day
And
She hung her pulse to
the coldness of the night.




*Belly Dancers, Sacramento Art Walk, September 2007


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Caffe Strada & The Traveling Curse

The sun is out: a rare thing in the Berkeley that I’ve seen so far. I am in Caffe Starda. In the second week of September I am still trying to escape the curse of this summer: The Traveling Curse. The Traveling Curse is a curse worse than the Cruciatus Curse. In my book Traveling Curse is under the unforgivable-unforgettable section.

After going back and forth between Florence and Tehran, all summer long, now I am going back to Princeton from Berkeley. If you ask me how I ended up at Berkeley I shall say: in the worst possible way: by Driving Now I will stop talking about this worst curse of all; I’ve already nagged enough.

Lets turn to some movies:

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007): A good and engaging action and as the third of a trilogy it was an A movie.
The Simpsons Movie (2007): Although it was Funny, it was still a TV show and there was no need in seeing it in Cinema Theater.
Harry Patter and the Order of Phoenix (2007): So far it is the best movie in Harry Potter series. The performances are perfect: in particular Imelda Staunton’s portrayal of Dolores Umbridge. David Yates directed masterfully. He knows were to cut the story short and how to maneuver in the open parts of the story.
Ratatouille (2007): A good animation with a nice message: "Anyone can cook." Also Auguste Gusteau’s ghost was hilarious.
Venus (2006): Though a repetitive theme in a very usual setting should make any movie a boring one, Venus was painfully factual.

And now some audiobooks:

Life of Pi by Yann Martel: I had read the book last year, but this time, while driving across the country, I listened to its audiobook and loved it. The narrator, Jeff woodman performed beautifully.
The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant was also interesting - both the story and the narration.
Historian by Elizabeth Kostova has a very tacky story. The only good thing was that it has more than one performer so in the long hours of driving you wouldn’t go to sleep. But the novel itself is really bad. Don’t bother with it if you are not under the Traveling Curse.


Caffe Strada, Berkeley, September 2007


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not So Charming But Still My Summer:

Memoirs, Part II, Mid July 2007
Edited on August 21st 2007


I am far: far from the heath of Italy, far from my family, far from my wishes. Though I am in Tehran as close as I can ever be to the heath, to my family and to my wishes.

These days Mansour Osanlou’s latest arrest is the talk of intellectual gatherings. He comes to my mind as courageous and kind as I last saw him. No matter how much I want to go to his family, I am short in time: have a very tense editing schedule to finish a short documentary. It seems that the events of my life are ironically independent of me. Perhaps it has been always like this. I feel like a coward: my film is about workers and yet because of it I cannot do anything to the most important union activist of our time. I remember him talking endlessly about Human Rights Charter and how important it is for people to know about it. Endless to the extent that at the end of the night while we had walked through that narrow alleyway under Tehran’s sky, with his wife and kids, I had called him Uncle Charter.

Me & the Stop Sign, Badlands, Summer 2007


Memoirs, Part III, Mid July 2007
Edited on August 25th 2007

Back in Florence, I came to pick up my visa. It is as if I have always lived here. We are with our lovely friends, Pat and Jennifer. I will stay a little longer than the others mostly because I could not find a better deal for the plane ticket. Now I am alone. Today I walked straight up to the hill that looks over Firenze. I have no appetite for eating Italian food anymore.

View of the Duomo from the hill,
Florence, Summer 2007


Monday, August 13, 2007

Charming Corners of My Summer:

Memoirs, Part I, July 1st 2007
Edited on August 13th 2007


Here I am near Aziz, My lovely and tender grandmother. Relaxing myself in my khaki chair, stretching my feet and looking around our home from my corner. Thinking about the summer I had so far, a summer full of travels. I swallowed Italy with my hungry eyes. In my two-week trip I was exposed to Italian culture: a strong blend of religion and tradition, fading out to the horizon of modernity. Italy reminded me very much of my own country. Besides many historical buildings in corners of Italy, in each little town there is a little fountain (Fontana) with drinkable water tap that offers a fresh breeze to the sunburned Tuscan visitors. People drink from it ; children play with it and I captured many of them. European cars in their small sizes suit Italian sideways and the crowd of scooter riders is a usual scene in Italy.

If it is your first trip to Italy here are some suggestions:

Don’t carry your valuables carelessly (nor in crowded places, neither in deserted streets) Leave your passport and cash in the safe at your hotel. You need your passport when you want to exchange money. You have to provide a photo Id if a police official asks you to and also when you want to access Internet from a Coffee-Net but that ID does not need to be your passport. Tabacci Shops are the most useful shop for visitors. They mainly sell tobacco but also telephone cards, postal stamps, maps and... To visit museums and galleries you can book your ticket online or by phone to avoid endless lines in front of museums, especially the ones that 4 centuries ago were a houses of rich families.

If you are Iranian as I am you have a better chance of being understood if you talk in Farsi rather than English. That is mostly because we many French worlds we use in Farsi. For example do not say: Where Can I get Bus Thicket. Instead say “ Bilite Otoubus”. Do not move your hands freely while talking. Sometimes it means something else and you don’t want to face the consequences.

Now I will have a cup of Persian tea while you take a look at these:




Gallo Shop, Roma's Airport, Summer 2007
These shiny colors make it easy to guess Gallo means Rooster.


Smart Car, Florence, Italy, Summer 2007
Now I know our Fandough (Honda Fit) is a huge car.


View of leaning Tower from Pisa baptistery,
Pisa, Summer 2007

Lucca , Italy, Summer 2007
These brooks remind me of Isfahan's Madees.

A shell fountain in The Piazza Del Campo,
Siena, Summer 2007


A Guitarist in Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Summer 2007
Piotr Tomaszewski promoting his self-support CD.




Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Lift Not the Painted Veil!

To Shelley, to my lost love and to St. Giuliano Terme, a village near Pisa, where Shelly had staid for its healing water spring and where I am located for most of this trip.


Dear Shelley
I have lifted the painted veil
And I am too,
"Found them not: Things to Love."
Though I still seek my lost heart
Under the painted veil.


"Lift not the painted veil which those who live
Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,
And it but mimic all we would believe
With colours idly spread,--behind, lurk Fear
And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave
Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.
I knew one who had lifted it--he sought,
For his lost heart was tender, things to love,
But found them not, alas! nor was there aught
The world contains, the which he could approve.
Through the unheeding many he did move,
A splendour [ed. splendor] among shadows, a bright blot
Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove
For truth, and like the Preacher found it not."



*By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
*Me in the streets of Lucca, Italy, Summer 2007.




Friday, June 22, 2007

My Painter!



You are Raphael,
You are Vincent,
You are Jackson,

Be My Painter.

The ginger tone of my life picks up the melody of saffron
By the lemony touch of your voice.


The pale of my face gets the taste of peach
By the silky cover of your breath on my shoulders.

I’ll be your pallet
You be my painter



The thunder of my pulse that breaks under this distance,
Aches for your healing hands,
Longs for your Godly gaze,
Calls for the touch of your brush.






I am your pallet
Hold me in your hands

I am your pallet
You be my painter
Hold me in your arms
And
Wish any color !


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Land of Art: Italy

I am in Italy at last. As I have predicted, Italy is beautifully decorated with art, religion and history. And as I have imagined Italians are extremely warm and welcoming. I am in Pisa University Library right now. It is amazing how far a Princeton University ID card can take one in less than a minute.

Before my flight landed in Roma and during those sleepless hours in the airplane I thought about things that we mostly hear about Italy: from art historical facts to stereotypes. We hear a lot about Italy, and here, allow me to confirm them all: From countless Italian artists, architects and musicians to their well-respected filmmakers and writers, from their super-powerful football players (read soccer player) to their many rebels, from Italian food and drink to Italian fashion and shoes, these are all true. The only thing which I decided to count as a stereotype was mafia and that is only because I want to feel safe while I am here. While in Italy, I have decided not to base my plans on touristic guides. So I will spend some time in Firenze (Florence) and Roma (Rome) and then I will start wondering around in small cities and villages. I will go to the places that I have read about in novels and seen in films. Unfortunately I cannot visit the imaginary ones like Fontamara, but I am seriously considering visiting Eboli, not only because of the famous book, Christ Stopped At Eboli by Carlo Levi, but also because of the superb movie based on the same book by Francesco Rosi.


At Florance even sparrows are poetic:


Sharing lunch with a little Sparrow, Florance, June 2007






Monday, June 11, 2007

Honor & Obligation

I just had lunch with a group of lovely mathematicians some of them I knew from Stony Brook. They are here in Princeton to celebrate Bill Thurston’s 60th birthday. I am done packing. Yesterday I labeled all the cabinet doors in the kitchen and last night I changed the pot-soil for my plants. Today I canceled my visit to the Big Apple; I wanted to buy some sets of #30 silver guitar strings for my brother, which, now, I will get them in Italy.

Finally, at daybreak tomorrow, I have the obligation for doing the last set of my laundry (Please read dirty laundry). Then I am ready to leave Princeton for Europe honorably. Funny enough my coffee cup also agrees:

"Many people search blindly for the “ meaning of life.” What they don’t seem to understand, is that life does not have meaning through mere existence or acquisition or fun. The meaning of life is inherent in the connections we make to others through honor and obligation."
(--Dr. L. Schlessinger, International radio host and author, published on The Way I See It # 205)

from Compositions, Colors, Ideas,
Sonia Delaunay, 1930s




Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Summer’s Must-Have

I opened my mailbox and there it was. It is the third time in three weeks. I am getting Victoria Secret summer sale & specials. Though I never have bought anything from the store or their online shop I keep getting their sale magazines. So I look through it and the phrase summer’s must-have catches my eyes. And I think of what is in my list of summer's must-have: definitely not $19 – $29 bra tops.

Must-have time alone, must-have two finished scripts, must-have time with my brother in the busy streets of Tehran, must-have a summer with no regrets. Packing, washing, cleaning, worrying. All that exhaust me. I am tired of irresponsible creatures, whom I constantly come across!

Lets talk art:
I have visited the Brooklyn College M.F.A Thesis Exhibition. It was great; I liked works by Lauren Russell and Cynthia Simpson and Sandra Antonia Rodriguez-Riera. I think I am getting more and more interested in printmaking as a method. It is not only an expressive medium but also it uses its limits to its advantage; by limiting the artist both in the choice of color and the detailed design, printmaking produces powerful works of art.



Friday, June 01, 2007

People Who Affected Me; Blogger’s Game

First and before you trouble yourself to read the whole thing, I would like to invite friends that I think will enjoy this game as well as I did: Roya, Roshi, Ba Kavir, Sanaz, Zeinab.

Many thanks to Nazy for inviting me. Writing this took hours of remembering and memorizing. What you will read is short because I don’t have the means to publish volumes of books about many extraordinarily people in my life.

To think of it, I really can’t list People, Places, Things or overall beings, who have affected me in my life. Not only their number hits limits of my counting skills, but also for listing something one needs to – or at least I need to – put them in order. And simply I am not able to classify them because these effects did not occur orderly. Directly or indirectly many are still affecting me. Another factor that makes this so called game – but really Life – hard to play for me is that I was affected deeply by many sad events and I am not sure if I am allowed to bring those up into a happy game. So I will participate in this game with many jumps; I choose a few among many.

Dawn, my hairstylist in Princeton, and Sohayla, my beautician in Tehran; I owe a great deal of my daily harmony to them. They craft my appearance with their care and skill.

Keyvan, who I call Raiis (Boss), a friend that I’ve missed greatly. He represents all of my cinema pals back home; their intelligence astonishes me still. I am thankful to them for their patience and support. Without any exaggeration I learned from them more than I have learned from anyone in that school.

Dr. Amery, my dentist in Tehran, and his lovely assistant Nazila Joon. I was the only kid that he agreed to visit. I was 4 then and afraid of everything. My short visits to home won’t be complete if I don’t meet with them.

Professor B. She accepted me as her assistant and it was my first academic position in the United States. It was not only from her vast knowledge that I have learned greatly, but also from her modesty and friendship.

Mr. Youshi, my Colored-Photography teacher, and Professor Loghmani, my Cinematography master; they stand for many great teachers that I have had the privilege of being their students.

P & M, they both remind me how pleased I should be by my choices, my achievements and myself.

My brother, by him I jump over my lovely family. He represents my loving, intelligent and extraordinary parents, my astonishing aunts and uncles, and my lively cousins. He has grown in me since he first appeared in a chubby belly of my mom. He stayed back and let me rule over my little First-Born-Child Empire. He waited and looked. He let me grew up and then we became friends. He showed me how rules become limits; how one can break free of the limits that get hold of one, and one should challenge the ordinary in order to Be. His musician mind plays the melody of my life.



Sculpture Biennial, Tehran , Summer2005*


*Unfortunately I don't remember the artist's name.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Venus On Hafte Tir Squar :

To the Hafte Tir Squre for it is a silent witness of many bloodsheds & To the bloody pain, which drips from your escaped hair strands:

Crushed, smashed
Then vanished from my chest
This pain that grows in me

I turned a page or two
Looking for a relief in words foreign to my soul
I looked for you
In the greenish ink you’ve never written me with

What I had in me of you was a pain
A flaming pain in black
And not Orange as you had always wished.

Not orange like freedom
But black like me

Oh my!
Oh my!
Am I ever going to be free?
Oh my!
Am I ever going to be?

Then
When it comes
I will call myself the most beautiful names you have ever imagined
Then
When it is to be
I will color myself the most enchanting colors you have ever wished


Then
I will be me!


Venus On Sixth Avenue, By James Guy, 1937





Sunday, May 20, 2007

Waitress; an Homage to Chaplin !

Lying on my bed, balancing Bibi-Huryeh on my bent knees, typing these words while fighting my excessive headache at least proves that I am a multi-task being. At the same time I am taking a mental note that I should take 2 tablet of Advil before I lose the grounds to my headache.

To give you more proof to me being A Multi-task Being: I am also thinking about Waitress (2007) directed by Adrienne Shelly*. How good the movie was, is not relevant here (well, of course it is relevant; you should definitely see it.) but what I want to say is: how much it reminded me of Charles Spenser Chaplin. It was not only the last shot that was an obvious homage to Chaplin but also details in each scene were a constant reminder of Chaplin. The story is as simple, as sad, and at the same time as funny as the suspense of reality is in Charley’s films. Because of Waitress, once more, I came to realize that I miss Chaplin's works very much and that I should never stop watching them.

Now I have to include “I-Am-Losing-The-Battle Pie” to my menu and place it after “Sleepy-Girl Pie” and before “I-Murderer-Me Pie". You will understand the past sentence soon after seeing the movie.



Waitress, 2007



* Shelly also plays beautifully as Dawn in this film.

PS. Adrienne Shelly was murmured on November First in 2006, while making Waitress.



Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We Are Over !



It is over

The frown of your pain into my veins
The kiss of your reflection into my eyes

We are over !

A glass of wine filled with
The broken ruby petals of our lust
A mercury mirror shattered
By faraway dreams
of a long vanished image.

The image of you, holding me close
You, holding me close ...
You, holding me close ...

Holding me Close
Out of an unknown horror
Out of an unforgettable shiver.

The image of us
Long lost in our lust.

The image of you, holding me close

As close as glass holds mercury for the mirror.
The image of me roaming your lips
As brave as a nomad roams the mountain.

You, holding me close
It is all over!

We are over.


*This picture is a painting by Paula Modersohn-Becker called Girl with cat in the Birkenwald (Mädchen mit Katze im Birkenwald) from 1904.



What Are The Great Transparents?

Who is Kurt Seligmann? - Kurt Seligmann was a Swiss born surrealist artist and a member of surrealist circle. André Breton founded surrealism in 1924 when he wrote his first - out of three - manifestos of surrealism. Among surrealists we know more about painters such as Salvador Dali, André Masson, René Magritte and Marcel Duchamp, Seligmann is an unknown figure. Despite this fact he worked, exhibited and was a member of surrealist group.

The Great Transparent is part of the title of one of his painting: Melusine & the Great Transparent. The phrase had also appeared as the title of the epilogue of the Third Manifesto of Surrealism that Breton wrote in 1942. My paper explores the meaning of The Great Transparents in Seligmann’s painting and also it studies its relationship to Breton’s writings.

To sum it up for Breton the Great Transparents are [and I quote Kurt Seligmann and the Notion of the Great Transparents by Najafi, R.*]: “horrible creatures that cannot be controlled by man and he criticized people who instead of finding a way to fight those Great Transparents, recompense them by transforming them into a modern and a new myth.” such as Hitler. And for Seligmann The Great Transparents are [and I quote Kurt Seligmann and the Notion of the Great Transparents*] “not horrible transparent creatures but are great transparent goddesses. The wrapped up water, a live spring of river, refers to a twisting force of the transforming world. Thus maybe it is not so strange that he chose this title simply to refer to the transparency of pure, clear water, which gives the feeling of safety to an anxious soul.”



Melusine & The Great Transparents
Kurt Seligmann, 1943





*Najafi, R. “
Kurt Seligmann and the Notion of the Great Transparents” CUNY at Brooklyn College Desertion for MA in Art History & Criticism.



Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Graduate Student Symposium:


This is the announcement for what kept me occupied in the last two weeks:


"Tomorrow (Wed.) May 9,
Brooklyn’s own MAs Roja Najafi and Jessica Pepper
are speaking as part of a graduate student symposium
in Woody Tanger Auditorium at the library,
at 5:00 pm.

Come hear about their interesting research! "




Kurt Seligmann
&
The Notion Of
The Great Transparents*




* This is the title of my talk and the plural form of Transparent(s) is important in it.