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The Calendar | Iranian Arts and Events

21 Nov 2011 11:48Comments
JourneySafarBeizai.jpgYaldaTableSettingFull.jpg
Bahram Beizai's "Safar (The Journey)," at UCLA's Broad Hall. A table setting for Yalda, celebrated early at Leighton House Museum. (Homepage: "Scarlet Stone.")

PERFORMING ARTS

Renowned director Bahram Beizai leads a discussion at UCLA's Broad Hall in LOS ANGELES after a screening of his 1972 short film Safar (The Journey). The recipient of this year's Bita Prize for Literature, Beizai is described by the award committee as

one of the most talented, internationally acclaimed artists, scholars, and public intellectuals of his generation in Iran. He has written more than thirty-five plays and fifty screenplays. Though a film-maker for over forty years, and recognized as one of the masters of Iran's much-celebrated new-wave of cinema, he has been allowed to make only ten feature films and four short films.

[Beizai] is not just an artist but also a scholar. His pioneering work on the history of Iranian theater remains, some forty years after its publication, the most authoritative source on the subject. His many monographs and essays have delved into a comparative study of Iranian, Indian, Chinese and Japanese performing art traditions. He has played a critical role in the study of religious passion plays in Iran and what they can offer modern theater. He has just finished work on a lengthy manuscript on the origins of A Thousand and One Nights. He offers an altogether new interpretation of the Indo-Iranian origins of these remarkable stories.

After 29 and 32 years, respectively, his films Death of Yazdgerd and Ballad of Tara have still not received permits to screen in Iran from the Islamic Republic's censorship board. His 1992 movie Travelers was virtually destroyed when censors excised a half hour from it. November 21. more...

The Second LONDON Iranian Film Festival continues, with pictures screening at the Apollo Cinema Piccadilly Circus, Greenwood Theatre, and the French Institute's Ciné Lumière. The feature-length dramas presented this week include 3 Women, dir. Manijeh Hekmat; Gold and Copper, dir. Homayoun Asadian; A Separation, dir. Asghar Farhadi (see Tehran Bureau's review here); The Other, dir. Mehdi Rahmani; There Are Things You Don't Know, dir. Fardin Saheb-Zamani; and Please Do Not Disturb, dir. Mohsen Abdolvahab. Notable documentaries include Minor and Major, dir. Ali Reza Rasoulinezhad; Green, White, and Red, dir. Mohammad Reza Hashemian; and This Is Not a Film, dir. Jafar Panahi and Mojtaba Mirtahmasb (see Tehran Bureau's review here). There will also be a special tribute to Mirtahmasb, who is currently imprisoned in Iran on charges of illegally collaborating with the BBC. Through November 26. more...

The Kayhan Kalhor & Madjid Khaladj Ensemble performs "Persian Miniatures" at GHENT's De Bijloke. A native of Tehran, three-time Grammy nominee Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on the kamancheh, the classical Persian bowed string instrument. He has studied the music of Iran's many regions, in particular those of Khorasan and Kurdistan, and has toured the globe as a soloist with various ensembles and orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Lyon. Born in Ghazvin, Khaladj began studying the tombak at age seven. As a traditional musician and skilled pedagogue in several instruments, he is recognized around the world as a master of Iranian percussion. He is celebrated for his constant investigations into the vast possibilities of improvisation within the Persian musical system, and beyond. The concert, settings of Iranian poetry, also features Hossein Alishapour on zang and Ali Bahrami Fard on santour, along with several talented young singers. November 24. more...

Stand-up comedian Max Amini makes his LONDON debut at The Arts Depot. Amini was born in Tucson, Arizona, of Iranian heritage. He was raised on the U.S. East Coast and graduated from UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television in 2004. As an actor, Max has numerous film and television credits including the starring role in Beer Pong Saved My Life, and regular appearances on Comedy Central's Mind of Mencia. Amini began his stand-up comedy career in 2002 at L.A.'s Improv. The show was his final class in a comedy workshop, and despite being the self-described "worst kid in class" by the end of his performance the audience was reportedly "in awe" of his act. For nine years, Max has performed the world over, expressing his views on family and cultural topics through his spectacular theatrics and energetic humor. November 25. more...

Scarlet Stone, a new multidisciplinary, collaborative music/dance/animation work by Shahrokh Yadegari, in collaboration with Shahrokh Moshkin-Ghalam, will be presented in LOS ANGELES at the Freud Playhouse at UCLA's McGowan Hall. The production, featuring performances by Moshkin-Ghalam, Afshin Mofi, Ida Saki, Mariam, Peretz, and Gordafarid, is based on the last work of Siavash Kasrai (1927-96), Moher-ye Sorkh (Scarlet Stone). It uses Kasrai's modern rendition of ancient Persian mythology to portray the contemporary struggles of the people of Iran, especially those of the youth and women, in their quest for freedom and democracy. December 10 and 11. more...

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

The Sixth Iranian Net Camera News Photography Festival takes place at TEHRAN's Sarv Farhangsara, Barg Gallery, and Imam Ali Museum. Out of 2,000 photographs received, 110 are being exhibited in the fields of politics, art and culture, sociology, sport, social documentary, economy, international affairs, and travel. The festival also includes films, multimedia events, educational software and photography workshops, and roundtable discussions at Sarv Farhangsara. The closing ceremony, honoring the selected artists, will be held at the Barg Gallery. Through November 24. more...

One thousand, one hundred, and forty-six works of art by 523 artists have been entered in the Eighth Iranian National Painting Biennial being held at the Saba Cultural and Artistic Institute in TEHRAN and the Museum of Contemporary Arts in ISFAHAN. A total of 275 works will ultimately be chosen for ongoing display. Works will compete in the fields of illustration (tazhib), flowers and birds (gol-o-morgh), tashir, drawing, sketches, Iranian painting, and oil painting. Selection announced November 27. more...

EVENTS, ET CETERA

Kamin Mohammadi will read from her new book The Cypress Tree: A Love Letter to Iran (Bloomsbury) followed by a discussion and Q&A at Word Power Books in EDINBURGH. Mohammadi was nine years old when her family fled Iran during the 1979 Revolution. Bewildered by the seismic changes in her homeland, she turned her back on the past and spent her teenage years trying to fit in with British attitudes to family, food, and freedom. She was 27 before she returned to Iran, drawn back by memories of her grandmother's house in Abadan, with its traditional inner courtyard, its noisy gatherings, and its very walls steeped in history. The Cypress Tree is her account of her journey home, to rediscover her Iranian self and to discover for the first time the story of her family: a sprawling clan that sprang from humble roots to bloom during the affluent, Biba-clad 1960s, only to be shaken by the horrors of the Iran-Iraq War and the heartbreak of exile, and toughened by the continuing struggle for democracy. November 25. more...

The Jaleh Esfahani Foundation's annual celebration, held this year at LONDON's Brunei Gallery, features a special tribute to the poet Lobat Vala, including a short film, slide show, and performances by stand-up comedian Hadi Khorsandi and the Naghmeh Ensemble, playing traditional Iranian music settings of poems by Esfahani and Vala. The Jaleh Esfahani Young Poets Prize will be presented to last year's winner, Amir Hossein Nikzad, and this year's honoree will be announced. November 26. more...

The Leighton House Museum presents "Yalda Night in LONDON: Celebrating the Iranian Winter Solstice." The ancient celebration Shab-e Yalda is still enjoyed in Iranian homes worldwide. While the solstice falls this year on December 22, as part of the museum's Nour Festival celebrating contemporary Middle Eastern and North African arts, the spirit of Yalda will be marked three weeks earlier. Visitors will enjoy fine Iranian delicacies, musical performances, and a poetry reading. Nava Arts UK will play the maqam music of Kurdistan with Arash Moradi on tambour and Fariborz Kiannejad on tombak. Alamute will perform contemporary music composed by pianist and singer Roya Arab, accompanied by Tansay Omar on drums, Ashkan Koosha on bass guitar, Hamid Navim on santour, and Masoud Sharifian on setar, with rap provided by Reveal and sin.laam. Toward the end of the evening, Suzie Ziai will read from the prophetic Divan of Hafez. November 30. more...

The BERLIN Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI Berlin) hosts Cinema in Iran: Circulation, Censorship, and Cultural Production. In the course of this two-day conference, participants will examine Iranian cinema as part of the country's rich media and cultural ecology. The conference brings international scholars together to explore topics such as the contemporary political and industrial context in which films are produced, distributed, and consumed in Iran and the ways in which formal and informal censorship practices impact the industry; film as an information conduit in a censored society; cinematic circulation between the Iranian diaspora and homeland; the role of Iranian cinema as public diplomacy; and the political economy of film in Iran, including piracy and do-it-yourself (DIY) production for new media venues such as YouTube. December 16-17. more...

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