Profiles

We lost a great artist way too soon

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Kami Kotobi

He was a gentle soul with a subtle smile. I had the chance to meet him on a couple of occasions. The first time was in Orange County a few years ago, where he lived. The second time it was at an art exhibit in San Francisco where his painting Iranian Woman, one of the winners of the SNAC (Social Network Art Competition) 2012, was on exhibit. I so wish there had been a third time. In fact a week before he passed on I was in OC. I wanted to go visit him, see his work close up and have a conversation with him.

I am at complete peace with the universe only and only when I paint or More >

Remembering Lotfi Mansouri, an influential opera director

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Mr. Lotfi Mansouri, the general director of the San Francisco Opera from 1988 to 2001, passed away in late August 2013 in San Francisco at the age of 84. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Prior to SF Opera, he was the general director of the Canadian Opera Company from 1976 to 1988. He spent six years with the Zurich Opera (1960 – 1966) as the stage director, and then worked with the Geneva Opera for a decade.

Mr. Mansouri was a prolific showman and knew the intricacies of the stage business well. He produced and directed numerous operas during his career.

He was passionate about More >

Moshkin-Ghalam’s interpretation of Iraj Mirza’s “Zhohreh & Manouchehr”

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Zohreh & Manouchehr, the poem

Zohreh & Manouchehr is a 23-page long poem written by the early 20th century Iranian poet and satirist Iraj Mirza, who in turn based it on William Shakespeare’s poem “Venus and Adonis”. And this story has ties to the ancient Greek mythology.

It is the story of Zohreh (Venus, the goddess of love and beauty) who one day comes to earth in the form of a beautiful woman for a short rest, and by accident runs into the young and handsome prince, Manouchehr, next to a stream and at once desires him. So she sets out to pursue and seduce him. Manouchehr who is out with his More >

Golshifteh Farahani & her song Sokoot

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The beautiful and capable Iranian actress, Golshifteh Farahani, has appeared in movies such as

Golshifteh Farahani

Santoori (2007, in Persian) and “Body of Lies” (2008, co-starring Leonardo DiCaprio), following which the cleric-run Iranian government banned her from travel outside of Iran. Once she got out, she never returned and currently lives in Paris. Her more recent film is “About Elly” (2009) by the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, which won several awards.

Golshifteh has also done some music work. She plays piano quite well and in fact played the piano in movie Santouri. She also did More >

Famed Iranian painter, M.A. Taraghijah passed away

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Award-winning Iranian painter, Mohammad Ali Taraghijah, passed away in Tehran on August 12, 2010 at the age of 67 from

M. A. Taraghija

a heart attack. He was born in 1943. Though he studied mechanical engineering, Mr. Taraghijah found his real passion in painting and became one of the prominent artists in the Iranian contemporary art. His first exhibit was in 1976 in Iran at the age of 24. By early 1980s he developed a unique style “characterized by stylized horses that became his trademark”. He exhibited his works world-wide, in Tokyo and Beijing, throughout Europe (e.g. Paris, Madrid, More >

Shajarian, with new sounds & a touch of green

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Shajarian & Persian traditional music

The legendary Iranian vocalist and composer, ostad (maestro) Mohammad Reza Shajarian has been a prominent name in the Persian traditional music scene since early 1960s. He is widely acknowledged as one of the best and most popular among Iranians. He has also received international awards and recognition, including UNESCO Golden Picasso Medal (1999) and Mozart medal (2006), and two Grammy Best World Music nominations (2004 and 2006).

As a child I remember my mom listening to him and watching his performances in TV. But not having any musical training nor More >

Mohammad Mossadegh and the 1953 Coup in Iran

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Mossadegh, circa 1965

In light of the screening of Shirin Neshat’s new film, “Women Without Men” that deals with the 1953 US staged coup in Iran and the lives of a few women at the time, I thought it is appropriate to write this note in memory of our great past national hero, Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh, the Prime Minister of Iran in 1951-1952.

It is a shame that as a kid in school in Iran I never even heard of him. Past lots of math and hard sciences such as physics and chemistry, in the primary and secondary schools we were mostly being fed Shah’s “White Revolution” and we had to often More >

Dr. Lotfi Zadeh, the father of Fuzzy Logic

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During my undergraduate years I had the opportunity to participate in a few interesting research programs in math, logic and computer science. I spent two summers in Northern Michigan University in Marquette, under a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored research program, and an academic year at the Argonne National Labs near Chicago, one of the handful of multi-disciplinary national labs funded by the Department of Energy (DOE).

It was during that period when I had my first exposure to fuzzy sets and fuzzy logic, which Dr. Lotfi Asker Zadeh introduced back in 1965.

In regular or More >

Alia Sabur — a child prodigy

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Most of us heard about Alia Sabur, an Iranian-American child prodigy, for the first time when the Guinness World Records did the following citation on March 7 2008:

Youngest professor — The youngest university professor is Alia Sabur (USA, b. 22 February 1989), who was appointed as a full-time faculty Professor of the Department of Advanced Technology Fusion at Konkuk University, Seoul, South Korea, with effect from 19 February 2008, aged 18 years 362 days. Ms Sabur’s official title is: International Professor as Research Liaison with Stony Brook University (New York, USA).”

Alia Sabur, More >

Hamed Nikpay and his new album

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Hamed Nikpay‘s concert tour for his new album All is Calm is coming up in LA (Oct. 2009). I met Hamed a few years back in the San Francisco Bay Area shortly after he had arrived from Iran. Hamed is a talented multi-instrumentalist playing Iranian string instruments like setar, but he is also a vocalist with a pleasant voice.

Hamed Nikpay, Seattle, July 2009

Although Hamed is trained in the traditional Persian music, he’s a breath of fresh air with his own unique touch, his choice of wonderful modern Persian poetry that he adopts for his songs, and fusion of traditional Persian music with More >

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