Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Interview in Asheghaneh Publication

The interview is published in Asheghaneh Magazine, a Persian monthly review on Culture, Art, Literature and Social Affairs.
Read the interview in the pdf file. The pictures taken in China are by Hossein Khandan, Iranian-American filmmaker and photographer.
Here is also some information on facebook.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding!

Watch, listen or read a great interview with Johann Hari in Democracy Now.

Johann Hari: Frenzy around Britain’s Royal Wedding "Should Embarrass Us All"

JUAN GONZALEZ: ...What is this costing? Who’s paying for it? And also, what does the maintenance of the royal family cost the English public every year?

JOHANN HARI: ...The wedding is costing about $100 million. They claim it’s being paid for by the royal family’s budget, by their private wealth. And you say, well, where do you think they got their money from? They haven’t been out, you know, doing anything productive lately.

Overall, the official figure is the royal family costs about $260 million a year....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Old Woman from Hunan

An Old Woman at Feng Huang Ancient Town in Hunan Province, a famous tourist attraction in China.
This picture is taken by Hattie He (何珊珊He Shanshan)

Hattie was born in a small town in southern China. she studied English at Peking University and graduated in 2008. She lives in Beijing, China.

A beautiful poem, an evocative reflection on this image by Yummy Mummy.

I am a playwright

"It is not enough to demand insight and informative images of reality from the theater. Our theater must stimulate a desire for understanding, a delight in changing reality. Our audience must experience..."
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), German playwright, poet. On Theater, "Essays on the Art of Theater," (1954).
Watch Lydia sings The Playwright Song.
Also read this article!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bashu, the forgotten Stranger!

Adnan Afravian the actor in the touching, provocative film Bashu the little stranger is now 36 years old and sells cigarette's in the streets of Ahvaz to support his family!

In this film, Adnan played the role of an Iranian boy, whose home and family were bombed during Iran-Iraq war. He fled to a remote north part of the country and experienced some difficulties finding a new home and language...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DePaul Authors' series

Samantha Schak host of DePaul Authors' series interviewed me on April 19 about my play "My Name is Inanna" which I have recently performed in Beijing, China. Her genuine interviewing style was amazingly assuring.
The episode is available in podcast as well as

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yasmin Levy

"Yasmin Levy an Israeli singr grew up in Jerusalem in a Sephardi family with a great musical tradition and had many Persian speaking friends who introduced her to Iranian divas such as Hayedeh; whose greatness Yasmin aspires to. After listening to her tonight, I am convinced that she is one of the greatest voices on earth and wanted to share that with you. Actually, her rendition of some of the Ladino numbers (Adio Kerida,etc) reminded me of great Latin American voices such as Violetta Parra and Mercedes Sosa.
In this interview she invites herself to perform in Iran and I would love to see the Iranian government to be forced to issue an official response to that. She is eager to be an ambassador for peace with Iran and I hope that she gets her wish some day. The interview is about half an hour with a few minutes of narration in the beginning in Persian explaining her background, performances in Madrid and the Barbicon Center in London.The rest is in English with Persian subtitles."

From an email I received from a friend.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Donkeys are the most humane(humane?!!)/(donkeyane), mystical creatures in the world!
Dear Donkeys of all countries, let's unite!

Read The Bremen Town Musicians, a folktale recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Watch # 1 of the Russian version of The Musicians from Bremen.
# 2
# 3

Chantal Akerman's Toute une nuit

Remembering Chantal Akerman's film Toute une nuit
Fernando F. Croce describes this film: "Akerman's framing and panning are as severe as in her previous films, yet the duration of her shots is lighter, more elastic, reflecting the ephemeral feel of the passing fancies she captures -- a notion expressed in the closing passage with sublime consequences for Tsai Ming-liang and Claire Denis, Clément dreamily swaying with her lover through a reverse tracking-shot down a corridor while in the soundtrack their romantic Italian chanson battles it out with the disembodied honking of cars implacably ushering in the early morning, and reality."

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oil: A Time Machine

A prominent political economist, Professor Cyrus Bina’s new book "Oil: A Time Machine, Journey Beyond Fanciful Economics and Frightful Politics" published by Linus Publications is a systematic study of oil in its historical stages. Oil has captured popular imagination more than any other commodity in recent history. The petroleum industry is at the forefront of globalization. Says Linus Publications, “This volume unites separate domains of economics, politics, and international relations into an organic whole, capturing domestic, foreign, and global environmental policies. As a specific exploration in political economy, this book is about the evolution of a commodity that eventually transformed into the pervasive, almost mystical force that it is today.”
A reception and book signing will be held in Bina’s honor at LaFave House at
University of Minnesota Morris from 4:30 until 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 21, 2011. Bina will speak about his book at 5 p.m. The public is invited to attend the event.

Cyrus Bina, Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota

The Departure

Creative Writing class is one of the courses I teach at DePaul University (SNL) where students create wonderful short stories based on the required assignments.
Here you'll read The Departure written by Caroll Baptiste
in the Winter quarter.

The day has finally arrived. I always knew that it would come and I wondered why it hadn’t come sooner. Fourteen months was a record for me; I have never stayed anywhere that long. It was always the same everywhere I went; I stayed a few months, then it was time to go. Again and again, I went through the same scenario. It was always for the same reason; I could not follow any rules. I was like my father: rotten, no good, a bad influence that would never amount to anything and would probably end up in jail like him. They didn’t even have the nerve to tell me that I was leaving. I overheard someone talking about it. I always have to listen to find out things that concerned me, because no one ever tells me anything. My whole life was about to change and I had to hear it from someone who had absolutely nothing to do with me. I knew why they didn’t tell me. They were afraid that I would burn down the house with everyone in it. That’s the type of person that they think I am. I let them think so. Why should I show them who I really am. They don’t really care about me; all they care about is the money that the government gives to keep me.
Even though it was 1:00pm, I am still in bed with my headphones on my ears but I didn’t turn on the mp3. I don’t want to move, I don’t want to feel and I don’t want to do anything. I wish it was yesterday again when I didn’t know that I would be leaving. Looking at the room that will no longer be mine, I try to reflect on my life in color instead of black and white. The room that they had allowed me to use is a small 9’ x12’, which contains a bunk bed on one side, a desk and a chair on the adjacent wall, a chest placed closely against the wall next to the entry door and a mirror above the dresser. The mirror is high enough that if I wanted to, I could stare at my reflection while lying on the top bunk. The only window in the bedroom is directly above my desk. However, I have to stand up to see out the window and the only view is the office of our next door neighbor. He always has his computer on facing our window. We can always tell when he is out of town; the computer screen never changes. Last winter he spent months away.
The ceiling fan, which I have turned on because of the heat, is blowing hot air on me. As each hand of the fan follows the other in complete circles, they seem to stop by me as if to pay their last respect and the sound that they make in passing is soothing. I have so much on my mind.
I am not sure how I am supposed to feel. They are getting rid of me; I probably deserve it. I just can’t adjust to family life. I was told that before. I am no longer sure what type of person I am. The lady I lived with before told me some terrible things about my father; she said that he was a rapist. She didn’t have to say it that way, as if I was going to follow in his footsteps. I don’t believe what she said anyway. She was probably making it up to lower my self-esteem. No one has ever said anything good about my parents. Maybe there is nothing good to say about them.
I stare at the walls that have been my companions for more than a year and would like to say goodbye to the room but I can’t feel anything. I always knew I would have to go. That’s why I never put a picture on those walls or on the chest, not even on the desk where I sit every day to do homework. It was just a temporary place until the next place that I would be moving in. Someone told me once that I was a nomad because I did not stay anywhere for long. I never thought of myself that way but maybe I am a drifter; although, how can I be a drifter when I had no control over my life. The decision to leave had not been mine. I was not asked my opinion. It was all decided for me like it had been decided many times before. I think I would have liked to stay; I do trust my foster mother 99 percent of the time.
I hear the doorbell and soon after I hear the voice of my caseworker. She is coming up the stairs to help me pack but I am already packed. I slide down the bunk bed and put my feet on the old chocolate carpet. I like waking up and putting my feet on the carpet even though it’s a bare as a wood floor but it’s always warm. The walk- in closet door is painted a dark green, the window curtains are a light green; a sharp contrast against the dark blue comforter which I imagine was bought second hand at a thrift shop with the rest of the furniture. I can’t imagine them buying anything knew for me; I am just a charity case. I open the closet door, grab my bags to go down the stairs, and I meet my caseworker half way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What is Hell?

"What is Hell? I maintain it is the suffering of being unable to love."
Fyodor Dostoyevski

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

DePaul Author's Series

I'll be interviewed by Samantha Schak at Radio DePaul on Friday April 15 at 10: AM. Listeners of the show can go to and click on the far right where it says Listen Now. Anyone anywhere will be able to hear it clearly, not limited to just Chicago.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Last Night at Film Society

Poster is by Hassan Fayyad, the founder of Film Society
Last night Film Society in Los Angeles presented two films: "Talking With a Shadow" by Khosrow Sinai,a fascinating examination of Sadegh Hedayat's life and works and the "Doll Behind the Curtain" based on my adaptation of Sadeq Hedayat's short story.
Watch "From # 37" a documentary on Sadeq Hedayat by Sam Kalantari and Mohsen Shahrnazdar.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dua Khalil Aswad

After April 7, 2007,I had always remembered Dua Khalil Aswad the seventeen year old girl as a symbol of love, resistance and courage in our brutal world!

A Tragedy in Amsterdam!

Kambiz Roustayi, an Iranian Asylum Seeker set himself on fire with flammable liquid on Amsterdam's Dam square on Wednesday and passed away later on Thursday, April 7, 2011 at 7:19pm.
Kambiz Roustayi was 36 years old, had lived in The Netherlands for 11 years and had gone through a number of attempts to win refugee status.But he had been rejected as a refugee for a second time last week, the Telegraaf quotes the immigration minister Gerd Leers' saying.
The minister said the events were 'extremely tragic' but that the man had had all possible legal help at his disposal."

My deepest sympathy and condolences to Kambiz's family and all the political refugees in the world.

A political cartoon based on this incident by Kaveh Adel

75th anniversary of Iowa Writer's Workshop

I felt an enormous nostalgia when I saw on PBS News hour about 75th anniversary of the Iowa Writer's Workshop. I lived in Iowa City for six years. Most of my times were spent at Writer's workshop, International Writing Program and University of Iowa Theatre Workshop.
"The Iowa Writers' Workshop will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2011. The Writers’ Workshop is the oldest graduate creative writing program in the country, and, since its founding in 1936, the program has been home to thousands of remarkable writers of fiction and poetry."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Great Loss!

The popular Israeli-Arab actor, Juliano Mer Khamis, activist and the director of Freedom Theatre was shot dead yesterday by an unknown murderer. It's a great loss for all of us!
My deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and the world of theatre.


My city Dezful, where my mother brought me to this world...