<3 Mike Shouhed <3 <3

Does anybody else need to talk about Mike Shouhed, resident Persian Jewish beefcake on Shahs of Sunset? Because I do.

Like the rest of Persianity, I was pretty poised to hate this show (blind rage is a normal knee-jerk reaction when the aberoo of our people is at stake, must be in the blood) but it’s now in season 2 and I’ve watched every episode and not ironically either. I mean, I am buying the episodes on Amazon streaming because that’s how into this show I am, I am into it to the point that I am willing to pay to see it.

Yes: the cast behaves like the world’s oldest 12-year-olds, and at the risk of committing girl-on-girl crime the girls mostly have unfortunate plastic surgery and fake hair and wear those horrible clompy shoes with the enormous platform and pencil-thin stiletto that make them look like sexy donkeys and no I don’t care if they’re Loubies, ladies, they’re still REALLY ugly and please stop wearing those awful bandage dresses (except Asa, she gets a pass for doing her own thing).

BUT as a cast they’re also doing good things by talking about family problems, religion, race, sex, and what it’s like to be gay in the Iranian community. I am just waiting for Dr. Holakouee to come in and help them with some real talk. Maybe the last episode of the series will be them all fighting each other in a ring, gladiator-style, with Dr. Holakouee yelling at them, and the winner is crowned the actual Shah of Sunset? Make it happen, Ryan Seacrest.

So Mike Shouhed, OMG.

He carries himself like a regal English bulldog, all neck and shoulders and enormous arms and prominent brow bone and shiny, shiny teeth. When the small yappy one starts talking about tasers and knives and hitting people he holds her face in his enormous hand and tells her to calm down and makes my heart thump. He takes his season 2 Fiji-water girlfriend on a date in an Italian restaurant and kisses her hand and tells her he wants to take her home to his mamanjoon and my face burns with envy. Although I like this girlfriend because unlike the season 1 girl, she’s not stick-thin with an inflatable chest, she’s just a regular rich girl with fake eyelashes and that’s far more accessible. And when his maman tells him that he’s not a hustler, I jump up at the TV and yell “yes he is!” because, let me be real here, he has hustled his way right into my heart. I like it when he wears his hair in that Cary Grant style, all smooth and non-spiky, which doesn’t happen often enough, and I want to replace all of his sunglasses, but I’m willing to overlook these things.

Really, I just want to thank him for fulfilling all my fantasies of Iranian take-charge machismo with a sensitive side and a heaping helping of bouncer-worthy biceps. It’s like the perfect man conjured by my 13-year-old self has come to life and I can hardly believe he exists, even if he’s just a character on a reality show as far as I’ll ever know.

Mike Shouhed: You’ll always be my Shah of Sunset. Now let me squeeze your muscle-y arms.

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Hiatus

As you may see from the absence of posts for the last several months, Pars Arts is on indefinite hiatus. The seeming cringe-fest Shahs of Sunset may bring me back, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Thank you to everyone who has participated in and supported Pars Arts since our start in 2006 – there weren’t many people talking online about the young Iranian diaspora back then, and luckily there are tons of places to get inspired now.

So if you’re jonesing for Iran-related art/culture/diaspora stuff, may I recommend:

  • The Pars Arts archives – every post from the last 5 years of the site’s existence (look at the top right of this site, and you can browse by category)
  • Yadashts – a super-cool and smart tumblr that’s all up on diaspora life and culture
  • Persianesque – an online magazine that features a lot of interviews with interesting Iranians

Please feel free to add other interesting sites in the comment section below.

Keep your nose clean, Internet! See you whenever!

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Ugly Persian Houses

You know what’s tackier than an ugly Persian house?

Using architectural critique as a cover for xenophobia and racism!

This site’s writers insist they’re not racist but in the same post drop the term “Ugly Persian Creep” (replace “Persian” with “black” or “Jewish” – does it still sound not-racist?). On their about page, they ask “if you love America, why turn all of your houses into reminders of the very place you fled?”

(Not even gonna break down why that’s so messed up but suffice it to say there’s nothing remotely Irooni about this style of architecture whatsoever, so why peg all of Persianity with this hideousness?)

Yikes, dudes. Just… yikes.

(P.S. This site is annoying too.)

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Martha and Najmieh Cook Baghali Polo

Iranian chef and cookbook legend Najmieh Batmanglij taught Martha Stewart how to make baghali polo with lamb shank on TV this week, as well as explaining Norooz, chahrshanbeh soori, and the haftseen. So cool! (Click the photo above to watch the segment.)

(via the lovely new blog Yadashts)

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Noroozetan Pirooz

Iran 2011 from Cyrus Dowlatshahi on Vimeo.

 

1390 begins tomorrow. Happy Norooz to you and yours.

This video of beautiful images from Iran was created by Cyrus Dowlatshahi.

(Thanks, Cyrus!)

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Dalia Sofer on Hedayat

In the 2006 documentary Forever, by Heddy Honigmann, which explores the reasons people visit the famed Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, an Iranian taxi driver standing before Sadegh Hedayat’s grave is visiting because Hedayat wrote of alienation. Later, he turns to the camera and sings the kind of song that, if you are an Iranian trying to keep loss and alienation at bay, will make you weepy.

The Believer – Sadegh Hedayat’s THE BLIND OWL.

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‘Parazit’ on The Daily Show

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Kambiz Hosseini & Saman Arbabi Extended Interview<a>
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

These guys produce a satire show about Iran and they are so funny. Here’s a blog with YouTube embeds. Here’s their Facebook page. Here’s a piece about them on Tehran Bureau. (I believe Saman Arbabi, the dude in the crazy pants, is also the mind behind several Abjeez music videos).

(Daily Show clip first seen here.)

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Sweet Tides (Acoustic) – LouLou Ghelichkhani

Thievery Corporation’s LouLou Ghelichkhani and Rob Myers perform Sweet Tides in a stairwell. Eerie and beautiful.

(via Persianesque)

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“I’m a very proud clicker, and I’ll keep clicking away forever”

They make this look disgusting (silly BBC), but aren’t you just green with envy at how this girl can click and crack and pop every part of her body at will? Well done, Pegah, well done.

(via Iranian.com)

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Ala Ebtekar


Here’s a great (Persian only) video profile of Iranian-American artist Ala Ebtekar, from VOA. Ebtekar has produced some really interesting work across various media, and in this video he lays out his background and what inspires his art. I’m partial to his drawings on book pages, like this one.

(Thanks, Charlie James Gallery!)

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