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!)

Persian Cooking Videos

A few weeks ago I spent some time with a reporter writing about Persian food in LA for a really big national publication. And lately I’ve been noticing Persian food popping up more in blogs and media. Is our awesome cuisine finally going mainstream?

Either way, I am pleased to share these really lovely and to-the-point “Persian Food Tutorials” from Cyrus Dowlatshahi’s Fatty Productions. Cyrus has done a great job condensing Persian recipes into how-to videos that are under two minutes long. And he’s working on more of these, which I’m really looking forward to seeing!

Here’s one on how to prepare jujeh kabob (i.e., chicken kabob):

And one on how to prepare mast-o-khiar (cucumber yogurt):

You may remember Cyrus from our post on the film Kabob Guy. Check out more of his work at the Fatty Productions Vimeo page.

30 Years

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

“Anatomy of a Revolution” – Al Jazeera English

Hooman Majd on The Daily Show

Journalist and author Hooman Majd on The Daily Show, discussing nuclear enrichment, Iranian sentiments towards the U.S., and etc. with Jon Stewart. His book is The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran.

Kaj Kolah Khan

This video of Googoosh singing “Kaj Kolah Khan” is a great way to start the day. Thanks, YouTube!

Andranik, Father of Iranian Pop Music

Bebin.TV consistently cranks out well-researched and well-packaged video journalism, which has made the site a really important archive of Iranian culture in a relatively short time. Bebin’s especially strong in its music coverage, as evidenced by this 15-minute piece about Andranik, who you’ve probably never heard of but who happened to invent Iranian pop music in the 1970s. In any case, if you are a fan of Googoosh, Ebi, Andy, Shahrokh or any of the other classics (many of whom are interviewed in this piece), you have Andranik to thank for their sound. Watch above.

(Thanks, Rose and Arash!)

Abbas Kiarostami: Persian Rug Film and an Old-School Interview

Movie Poster House Tour: Taste of Cherry
Creative Commons License photo credit: fimoculousWhen discussing Iranian film, which you will have to do at some point in your life if you are an Iranian living abroad, there are really only a handful of names you need to know to sound fancy. For instance, to prove you’re up on film history, the classic Dariush Mehrjui is important to know. If you are in a crowd of non-Iranians, you don’t even need to have seen his seminal (use that word) film The Cow because it is so freaking hard to track down a copy that a lot of self-professed film buffs haven’t seen it, either. [Correction: Mariam notes The Cow is on Netflix, and so are other Mehrjui films. Thanks, Mariam!] And when it comes to feminist Iranian films, the most popular director is probably Tahmineh Milani, so you’ll want to pull a fast one with a mention of Rakhshan Bani-Etemad instead.

But the name at the top of the list for proving your Iranian film literacy is definitely Abbas Kiarostami. With his dark glasses and reputation for smart, moody movies, Kiarostami is one of those people who is so prolific that it is almost annoying: He writes! He makes films! He’s a photographer! He paints! And he’s a poet! It is exhausting and intimidating even to think about how much he has accomplished. But it’s also pretty awesome to share a cultural heritage with him.

Word is, AK is now filming his first picture outside of Iran, Roonevesht Barabar Asl Ast (or, “Certified Copy”) with French actress Juliette Binoche. But he also recently made a short film about Persian rugs that’s very pretty (hat-tip:

But if you are more about interviews and less into poetry or Persian rugs (and I don’t blame you), definitely check out this interview that looks like it was made in the 1980s. Kiarostami is sporting a mini-afro and awesome brown-tinted aviator shades, which makes it a worthwhile video in and of itself, but he also talks at some length about how he hates movies that are manipulative or upset their audiences – and says that films that make you fall asleep are the best:

For more on Mr. K, check out this interview by the blog Subtitles of Cinema, and this Q&A with Deborah Solomon in the New York Times, in which Kiarostami says he loves driving so much that he would have become a truck driver if he hadn’t become a filmmaker.

“History of Persian Philanthropy” Video from PARSA

This is a quick history lesson in Iranian philanthropy from PARSA. (It’s also the first YouTube video I’ve seen with a legal warning before it begins, which was a little jarring.) I think this would benefit from more text on screen, particularly because there are a lot of Persian terms and old Iranian leaders mentioned, but overall it’s informative and quite interesting.

Kaleh Pacheh and has revamped their site since the last time I checked out the site, and it looks great! It features more content, including a blog, embeddable videos, RSS feeds and it works on Macs. Nice work, Bebin! I love this cooking segment on Kaleh Pacheh:

24 Dec 2006, 5:57pm


Persian Dad Video

My kid sister showed me this video that one of our friends had posted on Facebook. My favorite part of this is the actual report card that the “dad” whips around- “Mat” for math, “economy” for economics. Our mom hates this because the kid says some bad words at the end, but I’m a sucker for Persian kids who have a good Persian-parent accent, so enjoy.