‘Parazit’ on The Daily Show

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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.)

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!)

Have Iranian-American Weddings Gotten Too Divooneh?


As guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres outside the banquet hall, the bride was placed in a glass coffin. The groom fitted on a white half-mask. Then, the carefully planned Phantom of the Opera theme devolved into chaos.

Condensation formed inside the coffin as guests delayed filtering in. When the groom finally took his cue to present the bride, the lid wouldn’t budge. Before long, he was slamming the glass trying to break through as the bride wailed inside, her makeup running down her face. It would be an hour before she was finally freed.

You know things have gotten way too out of hand when even the king of Persian pop Shahbal Shabpareh (whose anecdote is above) thinks we need to calm it down on the wedding front. Read the whole story in the LA Times.

BBC News – Five Minutes With: Omid Djalili


BBC News – Five Minutes With: Omid Djalili.

Celebrities and news-makers are grilled by Matthew Stadlen in exactly five minutes in a series for the BBC News website.

This week, comedian and actor Omid Djalili talks to Matt about getting nerves on stage, playing with cultural stereotypes, how an exploding goldfish helped his early career – and tells Matt he would have bullied him at school.

(He also talks about his Baha’i faith.)

The Fruit House

Gorgan home - NYT
The New York Times Home & Garden section goes to Gorgan.

Iran Election News Sources


Here are some sources for following the Iranian election results and protests. 

Up-to-the-minute: See Twitter – the trending tag #IranElection is on fire – click that link and you’ll get a firehose of news (and some rumors) from people inside Iran and out. Also follow twitter.com/TehranBureau and twitter.com/Change_for_Iran and twitter.com/mousavi1388. The same sort of rapid, crowd-sourced spread of news is happening with Iranians on Facebook.

Photos: The Mousavi campaign’s Flickr feed, TehranLive.org, the NYT, the LAT.

News: BBC Persian and live BBC Persian TV. Andrew Sullivan’s blog on The Atlantic website, The Daily Dish. And Tehran Bureau is cranking out thoughtful, illuminating pieces even as they post constant updates from inside Iran.

Persian Food in the New York Times


A couple of months ago, right around Norooz, I played tour guide to a food writer, Sara Dickerman, who was working on a story about Tehrangeles’s culinary offerings for the New York Times. We went to House of Kabob and Q Market in Reseda, and Mashti Malone in Hollywood. It was fun and delicious, and she was really cool and open and excited about Persian food and culture. She asked great questions and wanted to try everything.

The story was published today (“Persian Cooking Finds a Home in Los Angeles“). Sara’s a fantastic writer and she did such a great job of capturing the food and people of Tehrangeles. I love that Persian food is finally getting the press and props it deserves, and I love that Sara wrote about the Valley and included House of Kabob, my favorite Persian restaurant anywhere, and I love the above photo of its owner, Agha Mehdi, who has the best mustache in the world. 

Anyway, I think this is so exciting. Please also check out the cute slideshow by Stephanie Diani that will warm your heart.

Stephen Colbert on Norooz Sales, Sabzi Polo

Stephen Colbert… is big in Iran? Decries commercialization of Norooz? Explains the haft seen? Knows what sabzi polo is? Makes Ahmadinejad a matzo spokesman? WORLDS COLLIDE!

(Thanks, Amy!)

RIP Benazir Bhutto


Benazir Bhutto, formerly two-time prime minister of Pakistan and part of a prominent political family, was assassinated today in Islamabad. She recently returned to the country after nine years of self-exile related to charges of alleged corruption (which caused her removal from office and were dropped for her return). Bhutto is half Iranian; her mother, Nusrat, is of Iranian Kurdish heritage. Benazir was the first woman to be elected head of a Muslim state, and not one short on controversy. But the violence against her is terrible and it’s sad to see her homeland in disarray.

Here are two bios.

Iran is Top Travel Destination for 2008, Says NY Times


Earlier this month, the New York Times wrote a story about the best travel destinations for the next year. And guess what? We’re number 18! Pretty awesome, right? The story mentions Distant Horizons as a good tour provider (word is that it’s hard to get a visa otherwise, if you don’t have an Iranian passport). Update: it’s actually only hard to get that visa if you have an American passport; thanks, ec!

(Image: Greg Von Doersten, NYT)