Persian slang for sister … and that’s just what they are –

Safoura and Melody Safavi.

Backed by a colorful crew of musicians, the two abjee’s present their own original brand of Persian world pop!

Their lyrics, often humorous and sometimes rebellious, are written in Farsi, English, Spanish and Swedish – the  expressive groove of the music and the abjees’ dramatic delivery break down all language barriers to create a new synthesis of cultures.


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PAF Shab-e Yalda Celebration: An Evening of Music and Poetry

PAF Presents: An Evening of Music and Poetry, in celebration of Shab-e Yalda

Saturday, December 11th, 7 pm – 9:30 pm

Featuring Hafez and Ferdowsi in translation and Persian; Performances by Iraj Anvar, Elizabeth Gray and Richard Jeffrey Newman

$10 suggested donation

Bowery Poetry Club / 308 Bowery / NYC 10012 / Subway to 2nd Avenue F train

Begin celebrating the upcoming winter solstice at this special PAF event.

IrajIraj Anvar co-founder and a director of the Tehran Theater Workshop, is translator of two collections of ghazals of Jalal al-Din Rumi, specializing in reciting of classical Persian poetry.  He holds a doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Literature and has over 25 years of teaching experience at major institutions and universities in both the U.S. and Iran. He played and recited Rumi in “Rumi / In the Blink of the Eye” directed by Robert Wilson in May 2007, in the Athens Festival, in Warsaw in February 2008 and in the Theater Festival of Ravenna in the spring of 2008. He also read Rumi’s poetry in the celebration of the UN for the 800th anniversary of Rumi in June 2007. He is currently teaching Persian Language and Culture at Brown University.

LizGrayElizabeth T. Gray, Jr. is a poet, scholar, translator, and a consultant to corporations forming or managing complex negotiations or alliances. The Green Sea of Heaven, her translations of Iran’s major medieval mystical lyric poet Hafiz-i Shirazi (d. 1389), was published by White Cloud Press in 1995 (The Green Sea of Heaven, a CD produced with Reza Derakhshani, was released in 2002). With Mr. Derakshani, Iraj Anvar, and others, she has recited and performed her translations at Harvard and Brown Universities; the Foundation for Iranian Studies; the Sackler Museum in Washington, D. C.; at Sufi Books and the Open Center in New York City; and for the Canadian Broadcasting Company.  New translations of Iranian poems of dissent will appear in Poetry International in 2011.  She lives in New York City.

pedestal-readingRichard Jeffrey Newman, Poet, trans­la­tor, essay­ist and edu­ca­tor, Richard Jef­frey New­man is the author of The Silence Of Men (CavanKerry Press, 2006), a book of his own poems, as well as Selec­tions from Saadi’s Gulis­tan and Selec­tions from Saadi’s Bus­tan (Global Schol­arly Pub­li­ca­tions, 2004 & 2006 respec­tively), trans­la­tions of two mas­ter­pieces of 13th cen­tury Iran­ian poetry. He also co-translated with Pro­fes­sor John Moyne all of the poetry in A Bird in the Gar­den of Angels (Mazda Pub­lish­ers, 2008), a selec­tion of work by Rumi, also from 13th cen­tury Iran. In addi­tion, he has com­pleted a verse trans­la­tion of a book-length sec­tion of Shah­nameh, the Per­sian national epic. Richard Jef­frey New­man served as Per­sian Arts Festival’s first Lit­er­ary Arts Direc­tor, and he con­tin­ues to co-curate the monthly Shab-e She’r (Night of Per­sian Poetry).

“FUNATICAL: Taking Comedy to the Extreme” goes from CA – NY!



12/9/2010 Los Angeles CA Comedy Store
12/10/2010 Glendale CA Beyond the Stars
12/11/2010 Los Angeles CA Los Angeles Theater Center
1/27/2011 New York City NY Gotham Comedy Club
1/28/2011 New York City NY Miller Theater
1/29/2011 New York City NY Coming Soon
3/3/2011 Arlington VA Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
3/4/2011 Washington DC Coming Soon
3/5/2011 Washington DC Coming Soon

[LOS ANGELES, OCT. 25th, 2010]-All comedy tours are equal, but some are more equal than others. The new *FUNATICAL: Taking Comedy to the Extreme* tour’s motto is ‘We Come in Peace’, and features multicultural comedians who are Arab, Iranian, South Asian and American of different faiths.

Produced by PlanetPix Media & Entertainment Group, the “FUNATICAL” tour launches in Southern California on December 9th at the World Famous Comedy Store and continues on to New York City in January 2011 and the D.C. area in early March. The tour features comedians who poke fun of stereotypes, culture and current events, which they lampoon with humor and satire.

All things being equal -this is a prodigious tour. For the first time, the United Religious Initiative (URI), a United Nations NGO, is supporting an interfaith comedy tour. URI is a global interfaith peace-building organization that is currently active in 72 countries around the world. The comedy tour includes dozens of partners and supporters on both coasts including Levantine Cultural Center and Beauty and the East TV.

According to a recent article published in the LA Times (9/9/10), statistics support the belief that Islamophobia is on the rise in America, and that the temptation to view Muslims through the prism of extremism remains ever-present. These perceptions are linked to the ‘Ground Zero Mosque” debates in New York and pastors and elected leaders whose dangerous rhetoric has undone years of interfaith work.

“FUNATICAL” creator and executive producer Samira Atash states, “We’re presenting this comedy tour to bring people together to laugh and forget about issues like the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ or ‘Burn a Quran Day’-we want to counter extremism that exists in all religions as well as bigotry that exists in America against those who “look Muslim”. We want to challenge stereotypes using stereotypes to show how silly and wrong they can be. “FUNATICAL’s animated character “Mustlaufa Dajeeni’ is an example of that.”

Atash notes that ‘FUNATICAL’ is coproduced by a team of Muslims, Jews and Christians and the tour includes the world’s only Indian Jewish comedian, a black Muslim convert, an Arab Jewish performer, famous American Muslim comedians, a Jordanian Catholic, a half Iranian/half black performer, Hindus, a half Persian/half Russian, an Armenian Orthodox, and an Iranian Bahai. The tour’s coproducers include Jordan Elgrably, the creator of the long-running “Sultans of Satire” comedy show, which featured Ahmed Ahmed, Maz Jobrani and Aron Kader from the “Axis of Evil Comedy Tour” and Max Amini, comedian and founder of ‘Exotic Imports’ comedy tour.

FUNATICAL’s West Coast tour includes dates at the Comedy Store on Dec. 9, Beyond the Stars Palace Theatre in Glendale Dec. 10, and the Los Angeles Theatre Center on Dec. 11, 2010.


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