Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi ("A Time for Drunken Horses"; "Turtles Can Fly") has a new film, which he co-wrote with his fiancée, journalist Roxana Saberi, about an indie rock band.
It's definitely a different spin on Iranian film and will surely pull young and curious music lovers to check it out. I doubt that it isn't still a tear jerker though. Iranian films are the best at that.
And then there is this. Which is so much less pretentious and the clip is utter rubbish and wasn't directed by anyone famous at all (I don't imagine) but the song is perfect. I probably posted it before but it needed a revival. It reminds me of last summer, the best summer in the world.
Usually, Jared reads the paper/s and I look at beautiful things on the internet. The truth is, when I pick up the paper, I am always appalled to a state of true misery, and often there are tears as well. I have always had a heightened sensitivity to injustice and violence, and the irrationality of political relations frustrates me to the point of real anger. This is largely why I changed my major in university from politics to film studies. Last night, Jared shared with me two articles he knew would interest me for different reasons. What resulted was something of a mental explosion that has had me jolted into "what really matters" mode.
1. A piece of news regarding the Nuclear Security Summit taking place in D.C. at the moment. Preferably one that tells of the production of nuclear weapons in Iran and Iran's threatening of the use of those weapons in major U.S. cities, should the U.S. not take heed to refrain from attack.
2. This article in nymag regarding Lady Gaga: who, why, how, where, and what? The article is a comprehensive delve into her rise to fame and includes verbatim quotes in which she states such matter-of-fact things as "Pop stars should not eat" and how her study of and adherence to Andy Warhol's notion of fame and vanity led her to popstardom: "Andy said you only needed fifteen minutes" (of fame).
1. Read both ingredients in no particular order.
2. (Optional) Discuss your thoughts and feelings of each with an intelligent person nearby.
3. Calm down and put things into perspective, should your thoughts be too hot to handle. Sleep on it if necessary.
It is Jazz Appreciation Month at the Smithsonian at the moment. My friend Shanti knows these things because her job entails wineing and dining the Government's visitors. Woo!
On Friday, she took us to the National Museum of American History. First, we picnicked outside for dinner. A variety of jazz and jazz-like songs played out of speakers hidden in artificial rocks in the garden around the museum.
When it was almost 6:30, we took our seats in an almost empty auditorium. Besides us, there were a few young couples, two old white men, a black man in the front with a note pad, a couple of black women, and a homeless man wearing a hoodie. "What is the running time of the film?", asked the homeless man. "Around 80 minutes".
The film being shown was Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench. It is a modern musical made by a 24 year old Harvard Film School graduate, Damien Chazelle. The film has received high acclaim, as the Web site shows.
If you enjoy Cassavettes-style film-making that is poignant and whimsical, yet documentary-like and narrative driven, I suggest you see this film when it is released later this Fall. If you have a particular penchant for jazz music, then you will absolutely love this film. And if you are a lover of music but impartial to jazz because you are too young/too *insert reason here*, you may still love this film.
The reason is this: The film features all original music written by Chazelle, composed by Chazelle's old college roommate Justin Hurwitz, and performed by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra. Considering the film is a musical, this is a very impressive feat for Harvard-educated amateurs. Listen to the music here. The songs are quite gorgeous and could very easily be mistaken for real classics.
After the film, Chazelle, who was dressed in a plaid shirt, grandpa cardigan, slim-ish jeans and boat shoes, came to the stage for Q and A. The size of the audience made for an intimate setting where we felt un-intimidated enough to ask him our questions. Jared and I asked about the setting of the film in Boston and the reception of the film amongst his non-jazz appreciating friends, respectively. He answered Jared's question with a chatty air of artist's pride, and mine with a faint trace of disdain; "The film is about the lifestyle of a musician, which transcends the genre of jazz." I was impressed with how articulate he was.
After the film, we walked to Chinatown in the rain and talked about how terrible it is that people don't take advantage of the free cultural events that D.C. has to offer.
My bouquet was wrapped in a cut-off piece of the silk georgette used to make my wedding dress.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I love flowers and half seriously joke about wanting to be a florist. In the few days leading up to the wedding, I scoured Haifa for a florist that would understand what I wanted. What I absolutely didn't want was roses. NONE! It's not that I don't like roses. But I wanted to use wild flowers or flowers that you wouldn't usually see at a wedding. Mid-winter isn't exactly the best season for things in bloom, but I didn't want to settle. So I didn't. And then I got super lucky.
There is a little flower stand in the centre of Haifa which i would have walked by almost every day while I was living there. An Israeli woman called Rebecca who speaks limited English works there. Seeing as though it is literally just a stand, I initally didn't hope to find my wedding flowers, including my bouquet, there. But after not much luck elsewhere around town, I stopped by and told her my situation: A wedding in a few days, NO ROSES, wild flowers, SIMPLE. Israeli weddings are typically HUGEEE and she seemed to keep pointing at the roses, so I made sure to make my point by repeating myself a number (maybe 10) times.
It took some convincing, but after a few days of going back and repeating myself again and again, it seemed as though Rebecca understood what I wanted. Albeit she was perplexed as to why I didn't want roses. Or glitter in my bouquet. But she agreed. And then I had to let it go, and hope for the best. It wasn't like this little flower stand was going to make prototypes of what I wanted!
Now that the wedding has been and gone, I wouldn't change a thing with the flowers. They were one of my favourite things at our wedding. Rebecca was such a gem and delivered everything she said she would, how she would. My bouquet was perfect, and she made very sweet pins for Jared and my father. I wish she had her little flower stand here in D.C.
To create the tea party, we borrowed tables, table cloths, vases, and tea cups from the Pilgrim Reception Centre and filled the vases with the flowers. My mother-in-law leant us about a dozen sets of all different candle sticks, but seeing as though there were fire hazard restrictions as to lighting them, we used battery-operated fairy lights to simulate the candle glow.
We served gorgeous little tea cakes from the famous Israeli patisserie Dudu Outmezgin. And grapes and strawberries.
The wedding cake was from Dudu also. Neither of us are too keen on wedding cake but we kept this part of tradition for the guests - cos the cake was AMAZING (I couldn't eat any cos I'm allergic to everything that was in it. But I ate my piece the next day when noone was looking.)
Successfully weasled our way out of feeding each other cake in front of everyone. Phew!
Wanting to keep things as simple as possible, the Annex to the Pilgrim Reception Centre at the Bahá’í World Centre was the perfect venue for our wedding ceremony and the tea party that followed.
It is a small building with sightly furniture, and it overlooks the Bay, too.
Entering the room for the first time.
A Bahá’í wedding ceremony is very simple and is not required to be held in any particular place. The only necessary formal aspect of it is that the couple recite the Bahá’í marriage vow, which reads, "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God", in front of two witnesses and a marriage celebrant.
Our witnesses were our lovely sisters, Sabrina and Po (Mona).
Photo by Nasim Eshraghi
With the help of my parents, Jared and I prepared a short program, consisting of prayers and readings on the topic of marriage and unity. We used a drawing I did of a French provincial design as the cover. We had a hard time finding a competent printing place in Haifa, so we had to settle for the very limited printing facilities at the equivalent of Office Depot, where they printed it on white paper and failed to centre it or white-out the border. Oh well.
Jared and I are both kind of obsessed with music so we made sure to put thought into the musical aspect of the ceremony. I asked my friend Geoffrey Tyson to be our "wedding singer". He has a beautiful, gentle, voice, and sang prayers and songs between the readings. Once we said our vows, he sang Jared's favourite song - Elephant Gun by Beirut.
As a gift to my mother-in-law, Pam (on the left), my mother, Soraya, chanted a special prayer for Jared's father, Jeffery, in Farsi. It was the same prayer that was chanted at Jared's father's funeral service by the mother of a very dear friend of ours, Shadi Toloui Wallace.
After the ceremony, we took photos outside with our guests while our muscley relatives rearranged the furniture inside.
Some of Jared's closest friends made it to the wedding. From left to right, Ned came from Chicago, as did Ben, and Kitchen came from Copenhagen. What sweethearts!!
Two of my favourite people, Chucas and Haley
Po deep in conversation with my boss, mentor, and friend during my time at the Bahá’í World Centre - the one and only, Geoffery Marks.
The charming Kitchen with Jared's grandmother Nana Shirley, who flew from Florida to be there!
Sore jaw from smiling.
Jared and I designed our wedding rings and had them made in Sydney. I don't wear much jewellery and I wanted something different, which was too hard to find in the stores. I wanted a more intricate design than just a single stone, and I knew the claw setting (where the stone sticks out) would not have been practical for me for every day use. So i designed a white gold and diamond ring that was inspired by an antique english ring I saw and loved in Sydney. The antique ring was significantly more delicate and made of yellow gold, so I changed a few things around and now I have my perfect wedding ring! Jared wears a classic yellow gold band, which suits him perfectly.
The pre-wedding photoshoot. Jared and I are not the poser types and we squirm in front of the camera. Neither of us had ever been in front of the camera for any sort of photo shoot (we didn't even bother with the rigmarole of an engagement series). On top of that, Iman had a minimal intervention approach to photographing us and would only really tell us to "walk over there" or "stand here". So we largely improvised the best we could and tried to just be natural. We ended up with a nice mix of serious and not-so-serious pictures.