Sunday, June 29, 2008

Boundless Knots of Her Life

In my memory
She is sitting behind the carpet loom,
Her ebony hair, untouched by age, loosened behind her back,
Weaving one by one, line after line,

The single-looping knots of her life

I remember, she saw the flowers even before they appeared on the carpet

I remember sitting next to her behind the loom
The smell of Lavender and Saffron * filled my lungs
I remember asking her to tell me a new story
One of the many stories she knew,

Her never-ending tales, like Scheherazade’s

I remember the colors changing
By the warmth of her thin fingers
They started dancing in my soporific eyes
Dancing in ruby azure, violet, green, and white …

The boundless dance of the colors, like her never-ending tales,
Is only a beginning of my memories.

Dance of Colors, Lavender and Saffron, June 2008

* Yesterday inspired by Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) I bought a bouquet of Lavender; its existence has filled my lungs ever since reminding me of Aziz, my grandmother. It is funny that small details are sometimes so persistent in staying in the memory, vivid details in colors and even more in scents. From Song of Solomon:

"You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride;
you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.
Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates
with choice fruits,
with henna and nard,
nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes
and all the finest spices.
You are [b] a garden fountain,
a well of flowing water
streaming down from Lebanon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Movie Buzz! (June 2008)

Tameshk Interactive Film Club:

Tameshk film club contains four sections/categories each month: we will choose four films monthly, one in each category. The categories are Animation and Documentary, Recent films (from 2006 to present), Cinema History and Film Genre, Miscellaneous and Suggested Film. You can follow one section or all of them depending on your schedule. You can also jump through the movie section each month depending on your access to the films, your plans, your mood, etc. The important thing is for everyone to see at least one of the four suggested films, so everyone can contribute to the discussions. This idea of interactive film club works the best if all of us participate in it. So please do not hesitate in sending in your suggestions. For our first time I fished out some of your suggestions from your old comments. So here are our June-July Films:

Animation and Documentary: Kung Fu Panda (2008) directed by Mark Osborne and John Stevenson

Recent films (from 2006 to present): Volver directed by Pedro Almodóvar (2006) (proposed by Mersedeh)

Cinema History and Film Genre: Tretya Meshchanskaya (Bed & Sofa, 1927) directed by Abram Room is a silent Russian film. Its story was very confrontational for the Soviet Union era and I think it is still very courageous film. You can find Bed & Sofa along with Chess Fever on one DVD on Netflix. You can also watch it online on Netflix instant viewing. Bed & Sofa is a great example of interesting silent films and also a great example of Russian cinema.

Miscellaneous and Suggested Film: Daddy Long Legs (1955) directed by Jean Negulesco and based on Jean Webster's novel of 1912 (proposed by Hossein). Please note that there is a 1919 movie based on Jean Webster's novel directed by Marshall Neilan but we want the 1955 movie for now.

And here is a brief description of these four sections:

Animation and Documentary: one animation or documentary film will be suggested for this section each month. Documentary film is a category as old as cinema itself. And in general, people do not tend to watch them often; perhaps some recent popular documentaries are among the exceptions these days. So it is good to have them as part of the film club. Animations are even older than Cinema and I know there are many like me who enjoy animation pictures regardless of their age. And for those of us who have kids watching an animation cartoon can be considered a family activity.

Recent films (from 2006 to present): This category will contain both the films that has just come out on the big screen and the new films (from 2006) that we might have missed their screenings and now are available on DVD.

Cinema History and Film Genre: This category covers various genre films as well as the important films in the history of cinema. Each month we will have a short description and history about the film, its creators and its genre, movement or school. This is the closest we get to a general course in the history of cinema and although I am very excited about it I know it may be the hardest section to keep interesting for everyone. The films such as the Battleship Potemkin (1925) by Sergei Eisenstein will be in the Cinema history films part; and the films such as Ossessione (Obsession-1943) by Luchino Visconti (genre: Italian Neorealism) will be part of the film genre section. Although I will contribute mostly to this section, I will be grateful if you also give your suggestions.

Miscellaneous and Suggested Film: This part will be the most exciting category and will contain the films that cannot be put in other categories but we still like to see them. They can be recent or old, well made or not, from famous directors or newcomers, they can be Iranian films that we could not fit in the other categories or non-Iranian films from anywhere in the world.

We should keep in mind that these categories may overlap for example: Kung Fu Panda (2008) is both an animation and a newly released film. We’ll try to work around these overlaps and in a way take advantage of them so they don’t limit our choices .

Charlie Chaplin on a wall in Boston

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Travel The Silk Road

My Summer @ Princeton Public Library:

On Saturday June 14th at Princeton public library I have a one hour program about the Silk Road for kids (age 6-10). Travel the Silk Road is a craft program concentrating on Silk and Spices . I gave the proposal to the children section of Princeton public library* last September. My interest in the Silk Road got stronger ever since I was a TA for an art history course covering the cultural exchanges along this longest trade route in the history; by modern means of traveling the Silk Routes are still active today. The Silk Road expanded over 8,000 km (5,000 miles) on land and sea and is active in both directions from the East to the West and vice versa.

These are the two collage samples for the program. While making these, Roya reminded me of a childhood memory shared with all of us who grew up in Iran; the memories of the 5 o'clock children's program, where they showed over a dozen drawings done by children under 14: each day, making everyone of us kids wait before the main program begin. Such a long wait and such a boring idea, but it was during the war and the TV producers filled their one hour children's program showing these drawings. We, on the receivers' side of the IRI TV, would hear the kids' names, their ages and their hometowns while looking at the often pale drawings on the screen: Maryam, 4 years old from Yazd; Ahmad 7 from Rasht ... In the same manner, these are works by Roya (n) years old from Shiraz and Roja (n-1)**, from Tehran.

Fabric & Spices Collage, Craft Samples for children's program, June 2008

* Check out other Events for Children at Princeton Public Library here.
**(assume n<14)

Friday, June 06, 2008

To Fetch A Crystal Ball!

She was running; hiding her face behind raindrops
It was like a glass shield but stranger.
It was cold and her eyes ached for trying so hard to see
To see into the night
To see over the shadows
To see the next step

Her breath could not match her heartbeat;
She had lost something while running in the rain
But it was hard to think of it now, so she ran faster
She felt her heart stopped,
Stopped for a second.

She ran to the room hiding,
From everyone and everything although there was no one there
She still felt threatened by things,
Their presence and their shadows

She hid herself in the small room,

She had lost something while running in the rain
But she couldn’t think of it

She was covered by the cold tears of sky
And later on by a towel and a cold sheet,

Her hair started to suck up the raindrops
But there were enough of them left to make her a halo
Glowing under the thin line of light
Coming in from nowhere

She hid her face in the towel,
She hid her body under the sheets,
And went to sleep thinking
The walls will do the job; hiding her cold body from the world

While trying to move her thoughts far, faraway from the room
She remembered what she had lost in the rain;
A crystal ball she bought in the Friday market!

The crystal ball that showed her shining face that morning
Distorted, vacant but still shiny

She had bought it
Thinking it was a good deal
She remembered the vendor; a young girl
But she couldn’t make a face for her
The only thing she could see then was the crystal ball

She lost it while running in the rain
She had bought it for now, for this moment
Just to hold it in her hands
She wanted it for now
And for the time she is forgotten

She had lost the crystal ball
And that was the last thing she thought of, before going to sleep
Waiting there for someone to find her,
Like the crystal ball waiting for a hand to be fetched.

The Crystal Ball that I never bought, NYC, May 2008

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Art & Satire in Iran

On Sunday I visited Ardeshir Mohasses: Art and Satire in Iran Exhibition in Asia Society Museum. Ardeshir Mohassess is an Iranian illustrator (born in1938) who was active from 1951. This is the artist’s first retrospective in the United States focusing on his works during 1976 – 2000. Shirin Neshat and Nikzad Nodjoumi are the curators for the exhibition; it is on view until August 3rd. Putting aside my personal motivations (and that I am writing a piece for July/August issue of Peyk Newsletter), it is an exhibition well worth visiting.