Paintings of Maryam Naghshineh


After the revolution of 1979 in Iran and the establishment of the Islamic Republic in the early 1980s, most art forms especially performing arts, were either prohibited (e.g. pop music or singing and dancing by women), or they became very limited and restricted in dealing with certain subject matters such as nudity and sexuality altogether in cinema and fine arts (e.g. painting & sculpture). In general, IRI hasn’t created a nurturing environment for the arts to say the least. Artists have continuously struggled to defend their works for publication, exhibit, screening, or More >

Cyrus the Great, a conqueror or a human rights advocate?


Recently an LA local news crossed the wire that I came across: the LA City Council has approved the installation of a bronze statue of Cyrus the Great in LA downtown! Apparently a wealthy Iranian born investor, Ezatollah Delijani, whose family owns several Broadway theaters, will be financing the project. The proposal still has to go through further approvals and the timeline is not set yet. But the idea of this statue in LA should be pleasing to most Iranians. And I think it is a wonderful idea as a tribute to one of the greatest leaders in the history of world civilizations — for more More >

Taste of Persia in Beverly Hills


September 2nd 2010 (9/02/10) had a special meaning for the famed city of Beverly Hills as its zip code is 90210. And the city celebrated the occasion in style with a special program called “Taste of Beverly Hills”, an opening to city’s food festival. The event, as one would expect, included many stars and celebrities such as famous chef Wolfgang Puck and the news personality Larry King, among others.

Farhang Foundation, the Iranian-American Heritage Foundation of Southern California, teamed up with the Iranian-American mayor of Beverly Hills, Jimmy Delshad, and organized “Taste of Persia” More >

Meehan Ensemble: Fresh sounds in the Bay Area Persian music scene


At the end of June 2010, shortly after my move to the San Francisco Bay Area, I had the opportunity to attend a Persian classical music concert by the local group Meehan Ensemble. I was up for a very pleasant surprise — a beautifully arranged performance with all original compositions. It was also a very a well-rehearsed and well-organized concert that I enjoyed very much.

Faraz Minooei, who along with Naser Sheikhzadegan, co-founded Meehan Ensemble in 2008, dedicated the concert to the great santur virtuoso Parviz Meshkatian, who passed away in 2009. Faraz also announced that the group would More >

Golshifteh Farahani & her song Sokoot


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


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 >

An old Pink Floyd song covered green for Iran


Last week I heard of an interesting new video music that emerged from Canada. The famous Pink Floyd song, Another Brick in the Wall, written by the great Roger Waters in 1979, is now reworked and covered by Blurred Vision, a band of two young Iranian brothers, Sepp and Solh in Toronto. The famous line in the original song, “Hey. teacher, leave us kids alone” is replaced with “Hey, ayatollah, leave those kids alone”. The cover is put to quite a telling video that shows a mullah and the security forces chasing after and beating the young protesters in Iran. The video is directed by the Iranian More >

Where did Mazda get its name from?

Image via Wikipedia

A friend sent me a link to Mazda (the automotive company) website today where it talks about the origin of its name. I thought it is noteworthy to write about and share. I quote the relevant section on its name verbatim:

“The origin and meaning of “Mazda”

The company’s name, “Mazda,” derives from Ahura Mazda, a god of the earliest civilizations in West Asia. We have interpreted Ahura Mazda, the god of wisdom, intelligence and harmony, as the symbol of the origin of both Eastern and Western civilizations, and also as a symbol of automobile culture. It incorporates More >

US strikes gold in Afghanistan — literally!

Image via Wikipedia

As you might’ve heard, back in June US authorities announced that they had identified vast deposits of precious metals and minerals such as iron, copper, cobalt and gold, worth about a $1 trillion in Afghanistan!

Since this didn’t directly relate to Iran, I covered it in an article on my personal blog at under the same title. However, it hits close to home and should sound familiar. Though there was little mention of it in the media (except the New York Times article that broke the news) the Daily Show and Colbert Report did an awesome job covering it, More >

Shajarian, with new sounds & a touch of green

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 >

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