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.)

Kubideh Kitchen

Kubideh Kitchen is an Iranian take-out restaurant that serves kubideh in freshly baked barbari bread with onion, mint, and basil. Developed in collaboration with members of the Pittsburgh Iranian community, the sandwich is packaged in a custom-designed wrapper that includes interviews with Iranians both in Pittsburgh and Iran on subjects ranging from Iranian food and poetry to the current political turmoil.


Coming in June – Document: Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles

Maryam Mottahedeh, poet (photo by Arash Saedinia)

Poet Maryam Mottahedeh, photographed by Arash Saedinia

Opening June 6 at UCLA’s Fowler Museum, “Document: Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles” is the first big photo project documenting L.A.’s Iranian-Americans since Irangeles (which is an amazing book, but nearly 20 years old and no longer in print, time for an update!). The exhibit, produced/curated by Amy Malek, will show the work of four Iranian-American photographers who shot a very diverse list of hamvatans – doctors and engineers, natch, but also poets, artists, cops, and moms – which should make for a super-cool show.

From the release:

“In cultivating this collaborative project,” said guest curator Amy Malek, “I wanted to examine documentation as a representational process by offering four Iranian American photographers’ perspectives on who we are, stressing the importance of including multiple voices in documenting our own Los Angeles communities.”
Sounds pretty awesome, right? The Fowler is also putting together some really interesting opening day stuff that sounds like it will provide some helpful context for these images. Details:
Sunday, June 6, noon–6 p.m.
Opening Day Programs
“Document: Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles”
A panel of scholars will discuss issues relating to the Iranian diaspora and visual anthropology. Next, exhibition curator Amy Malek will be joined by the four documentary photographers whose work is featured in the exhibition — Farhad Parsa, Arash Saedinia, Parisa Taghizadeh and Ramin Talaie — who will discuss their experiences documenting the everyday lives of second-generation Iranian Americans in Los Angeles. A gallery tour with Malek and a reception follow. Please check for a detailed schedule.
The photos will be on display at the Fowler through August 22 – don’t miss them!

More details:  ‘Document: Iranian-Americans in Los Angeles’ opens June 6 at Fowler Museum at UCLA

Hossein Derakhshan Arrested

This is old news that was reported by an Iranian source a few weeks ago but not confirmed elsewhere. Today Iranian blogger Khorshid Khanoom/Lady Sun writes that she has word that Hossein Derakhshan, aka Hoder, was indeed arrested in Iran on November 1. From her English-language blog, Lady Sun:

I am quoting this news from Nazli Kamvari, a friend of Hossein Derakhshan and an Iranian blogger living in Toronto, who has been directly in touch with Hossein’s sister and just wrote about this news in her Persian blog.

My understanding is that Hossein’s family has been under pressure from the authorities not to talk about Hossein’s arrest and not to get a lawyer for him. So, it is understandable that they are not talking to the media. But we at least can assure both the Persian and global blogosphere, who were previously in doubts about Hossein’s arrest, that he’s really arrested.

Esha Momeni, Iranian-American Activist

MobLogic covers the arrest of Iranian-American women’s rights activist Esha Momeni (click her name for ways to help her). She was working on her graduate thesis in Iran and got pulled over and taken to prison when she was driving alone in Tehran.

Iranian American Writers Online

The Association of Iranian American Writers (AIAW) has just launched their website,, which features member profiles, excerpts of member work, and a blog. From the group’s mission statement:

The Association of Iranian American Writers is a member-based organization dedicated to promoting the work of fiction and non-fiction writers, essayists, poets, journalists, photojournalists, and artists who work with words. Iranian heritage and/or Iranian history and culture are important aspects of our work, although not necessarily our essential subject matter.

Membership starts at $50 ($35 for students). The group was founded by professor and writer Persis Karim and is co-directed by her and writer Manijeh Nasrabadi.

(Full disclosure: I spoke at AIAW’s inaugural conference.)

Voices for Peace

Here’s an Iranian collaboration that’s both impressive and easy to support. Voices for Peace is a PSA featuring some prominent Iranian-American faces, all against war on Iran. Take a look, and pass it on.

Arsham Parsi, Founder of IRQO, on Gay Life in Iran

Check out Arsham Parsi, founder of the Iranian Queer Organization, talking about gay life in Iran with Lindsay Campbell on MobLogic.TV and how Google helped him realize that being gay is normal and okay. He also addresses the sex change business in Iran. The video basically makes me want to give him a hug. He is awesome. Way to go, Arsham!

Pars Arts Twitters Irvine: the Iranian-American Writers Association

Pars Arts Twitter screenshot

The Inauguration of the Association of Iranian-American Writers is happening at UC Irvine tomorrow, in a workshop format that will address issues of representation and etc. It’s hosted by UCI’s Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture and its director, Nasrin Rahimieh, as well as writer and professor Persis Karim and journalist Homa Sarshar. Here’s a press release on Payvand News, and here’s the full day’s schedule. It’s free and open to the public, so please come if you can.

The attendees include people like novelists Porochista Khakpour and Anita Amirrezvani. And I’ll be there to talk about the Internet and blogs and self-publishing and social media, on a panel with Jahanshah Javid of My talk will probably be mostly focused on the benefits for writers in engaging with their readership online.

I may not have wireless access there, but I will be talking to people, taking pictures, possibly shooting some video, and updating microblog site Twitter constantly throughout the day via my cell phone. You can follow that “coverage” at

Children of Persia 2008 Calendar


Merry Christmas. Here’s a last-minute gift idea for people celebrating today: the 2008 Children of Persia calendar. The $20 donation goes to that organization’s many educational and relief efforts
in Iran and among global Iranians. And the calendar’s theme for ’08 is Persian architecture, which makes this gift useful, beautiful, and altruistic. It doesn’t get much better than that.