Real Life Back in the “OC””

Leaving Berkeley was a life decision that was not easy to make. Not only was it the city of my college experience, it was home to one of the happiest and most memorable periods of my life. If you’ve never been to Berkeley, let me try to give you a quick visual. First, it’s hard to believe that the city is part of America as it is so different, it might as well be a country of its own. Some like to call it “”Bob Marley Town.”””Mom and pop” stores are abundant and they compliment the street vendors of Telegraph Avenue quite well. The campus architecture is one of classical brilliance and the number of homeless people, an important component to the city, remind the passerby of the reality of life on a daily basis, something rare to Orange County and the countless other bubbles abundant in America. The element I love most about Berkeley is its people. I would argue I learned more from the people than the professors as the city is abounding with some of the most creative, intelligent, compassionate, and worldly people I have ever come across. So to say the least, it was difficult for me to make the fateful decision to come to southern California for law school rather than stay in the bay area as I did enjoy both options. After all, I’d have to make it home sooner or later and although Berkeley and all its memories are close to my heart, Orange County is home.

I returned home to OC early June and I had an interesting time adjusting to life here, especially since I’ve been away for four years. Everything has changed, well, at least to me. The OC landscape has been further developed. Wholesome Choice has become a center point in Irvine. Magazines like OCPC have been born from the Iranian diaspora community here in OC while southern California universities and colleges have finally begun to pay attention to Iran’s rich history and official language by instituting Persian language courses and Iran history classes, something very integral to my college experience in Berkeley. The people have changed as well, for better or worse. I’m not an authority on standards, but on a superficial level, it does seem that the kids I grew up here have changed drastically in many respects. The Honda Civics have been traded in for luxury cars and a man’s chest full of hair has been exchanged for a waxed one to compliment the thinned eyebrows above (some things I just don’t understand)! The cats have been replaced with little fluffy dogs. Some things, however, remain the same. Although my generation has grown up, many still don’t care about the world beyond their own. A political discussion or an exchange of ideas pertaining to Iran or the Middle East is still taboo, but the practice of gossiping is very widespread.

Whatever it is, OC is a place with different meanings to different people. After being gone for so long, it is a bit easier for me to view OC from an outsider’s perspective. As I continue to start the next chapter of my life here in OC, I will document this place’s complexities from a unique perspective.

STOP-GAP

On May 5th, 2005, the Disneyland in California as well as all other ten Disney theme parks from all around the world began to celebrate the “Happiest Homecoming on Earth.” The “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” is Disney’s first truly global celebration and is centered on the 50th anniversary of Disney’s very first theme park – Disneyland. This celebration is the largest in Disney history, and will operate for an epic eighteen months before it comes to a complete end. Since Disneyland’s grand opening in 1955, more than 500 million people have visited the Magic Kingdom. Disneyland’s homecoming event features an adorned version of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, a new parade and fireworks spectacular, a new ride in Tomorrow Land, and the long awaited reopening of Space Mountain.

The heart of the 50th Anniversary Homecoming event is the renovation of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The landmark castle, an international symbol of Disney magic, has undergone changes to literally transform itself into the “Crown Jewel” of Disney and Disneyland. Disney Imagineers gowned the castle in richly colored royal banners and decorated the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle with large, sparkling, custom made jewel-like sapphires, diamonds, rubies all trimmed in gold. To top things off, the five most prominent spires of the castle will each be adorned with golden bejeweled tiaras – all 5 tiaras represent iconography of each particular decade of Disneyland history.

The creation of Disneyland is represented by a symbolic pair of famous Mickey “Ears” peeking up over the horizon to see the wonders to come. One crown commemorates the creation of Tomorrowland in 1965, and another honors Disneyland’s beloved Main Street Electrical Parade. One tiara represents the Indiana Jones Adventure and wields the famous “Eye of Mara” guarded by snakes while the last and final tiara celebrates the 50th anniversary of Disneyland represented by fireworks and the one and only Tinker Bell herself.

“Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams,” the all new nostalgic musical parade was created specifically by Disney Imagineers for Disney’s 50th anniversary event features one of the largest casts of Disney characters and performers ever assembled. The innovative new daytime parade highlights classic Disney stories
and characters that have contributed to the establishment of Disneyland over the past five decades. Imagineers combined our favorite Disney moments and beloved characters with gorgeous floats, classic songs, and energetic performers to bring the Disney inner child out of all of us. The parade features seven floats featuring: Peter Pan and Tinker Bell, Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, the Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, the Lion King, and a float specifically designed for Disney Princesses and their Princes.

Continuing with the 50th anniversary’s nostalgic tone in celebration well into
the night, Disney technicians, artists, and Imagineers developed an all new nighttime fireworks extravaganza, entitled “Remember… Dreams Come True.” Using the nighttime skies over Disneyland as its canvas, the fireworks spectacular emphasizes the power of wishes and dreams. During the show, Tinker Bell surprises the audience with a truly unprecedented flight sprinkling pixie dust above Sleeping Beauty’s Castle – a scene reminiscent of the opening sequence for The Wonderful World of Disney. “Remember… Dreams Come True,” wonderfully incorporates new state-of-the-art pyrotechnics technology, custom pyrotechnics, over 25 Disney movie tunes, and over 80 pieces of Disneyland attraction music, sound effects, and familiar vocal sound bites for
a breathtaking show.

The new ride unveiled for the 50th Anniversary is Tomorrow Land’s new “Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters.” Inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 2, “Buzz Light Year Astro Blasters,” is the first theme park attraction in the world to feature a real-time interactive on-line opponent using webcam technology. This new technology allows guests on the attraction and player’s online at home to play together increasing the score of riders on the attraction by raising the value of the targets along the way.

Also in Tomorrow Land, the long waited return of Space Mountain happens July 15, leading to Disney’s actual 50th anniversary on July 17. The Space Mountain attraction sports brand new special effects, new rocket vehicles, a new custom composed soundtrack, as well as a new finale featuring a longer re-entry tunnel filled with amazing lighting effects.

As a Southern California resident, you have to travel down to Disneyland to take part in its 50th anniversary event. Disneyland’s not called the Happiest Place on Earth for nothing! So what are you waiting for? Let go and let loose for a day – skip your classes or just call in sick for work. Go have some fun at Disneyland!

Heart Savers

It’s rare among us to go in for a checkup when there are no apparent signs of illness. However, you may be surprised!

Early detection can reveal asymptomatic and often life-threatening diseases generally not detectable by physical exams in preventing possible health risks that we may not be aware of.

Heart Savers is a pioneer of this technology. It is a state-of-the-art institute for heart, lung, and body imaging with a new focus on dermatology. The center is directed by Nazie Fallah who has over 20 years of experience in the diagnostic medical field and beauty therapy. She has been the director at Heart Savers since 2004 and manages every aspect of business as well as consultations; with the exception of medical decision makings. Alongside Nazie is a team
of highly trained professionals dedicated to
the highest degree of knowledge and
patient satisfaction.

Dr. Matthew J. Budoff is the medical director of Heart Savors. He is well known for his research and works on EBCT and is extensively involved in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Hossein Alimadadian is the director of cardiology at the center who has been a practicing cardiologist for 25 years. He is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease and interventional cardiology.

On the technical side there is Michael Sells. He is a Radiology Technologist who works with advanced systems such as 3D imaging to draw accurate readings from the procedures.

With such an outstanding team of professionals, Heart Savers uses only the highest technology for customer care.

The Electron Beam Computerized Tomography (EBCT) is the only FDA approved system that accurately images calcified plaque in the arteries. Moreover, it produces 30% less radiation exposure than conventional CT’s. According to Nazie, “There are only 6 or 7 health centers in all of southern California that carry this device”. This preventive systems’ painless yet effective procedure provides accurate results while reducing the risks of high- dose radiation. Methods of colonoscopy and invasive angiography, which are normally associated with extreme anxiety, are no longer an issue with EBCT. It does not require any tube insertions or lengthy procedures; hence patients won’t have to avoid regular checkups.

The Center for Cosmetic Dermatology and Laser (CCD) is the dermatology department at the center. It is equipped with the newest technology for various skin treatments run by a team of experts whose experiences are accountable.

Dr. John L. Peterson is the Medical Director of CCD whose long-term practice is greatly acknowledgeable. His clinical expertise is in general and cosmetic dermatology. He serves his patients best with the combination of his accomplishments and an ongoing devotion.

Janet Petterson is the Registered Nurse of CCD with over 25 years of experience. Her specialty in laser treatment and aesthetic dermatology is highly creditable. Her care for patients is her top quality that leads to outstanding results.

One of these advancements is LightSheer laser hair removal. It is a safe and effective method for removing unwanted hair for all skin types, including ethnic and tanned skin.

ClearLight is a gateway for a clear skin. It uses the Acne PhotoClearing (APC) technology to destroy the most common bacteria that causes acne. It is quick, painless, and effective on all skin types. ClearLight is UV safe with no known side effects, which makes this medical breakthrough a miracle worker.

SilkPeel Dermal lnfusion is a breakthrough treatment that combines exfoliation with deep delivery of skin-specific solutions to improve and revitalize your skin.

Last but not least the Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology corrects a variety of skin conditions such as facial skin imperfections, signs of photo aging, birthmarks, unwanted hair, unsightly small veins, and much more. This system provides superior cosmetic results that never fail.

The advanced dermatology and preventive body imaging at Heart Savers, located in the St. Joseph Medical Center in Irvine, is a safe and affordable breakthrough to most of your internal and external medical needs. Heart Savers is a step away from a healthier, happier, and more confident you!

Historical Figure a writer’s mind can be a powerful thing…!

Hence, it acquires a lot more than intelligence and the ability to write. It is a combination of the author’s deepest feelings captured by his/her life’s circumstances of the present and the past, that leads itself to readable words on a piece of paper. Sadegh Hedayat is among the most remarkable writers of Iran whose works can be identified by this notion.

He was born in Tehran in 1903 to a well respected family. According to his brother, Mahmoud, Sadegh was a very lovable child whose sweet speech and
wit was always admired. Though, by the age of six, he displayed a lack of desire to play with children of his age and became an introvert.

He finished his secondary education at a French school, St. Louise Academy in Tehran, where he took full responsibility of writing, publishing, and distributing the school’s newspaper. Thereafter, he was sent to Europe on a government scholarship to study dentistry. He eventually gave up that goal and focused on the study of pre-Islamic language and literature. He explored the works of many well-known writers and admirers such as Omar Khayam, Dostoevski, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

Hedayat was fascinated by the philosophies of Buddha and Zoroaster (Zartosht). He published “ “Ensan va Heyvan”” (“”Man and Animal””) in 1924
and became a vegetarian in defense of the animal kingdom against the ravage
of men. Later on he distributed “”Favayedeh Giyah Khari”” (The Advantage of Vegetarianism) in Berlin.

Through Rilke’s admiration of “”death””, Hedayat became intrigued with the “”knowledge of the unknown.”” So much in fact that he tried to commit suicide
in 1927 by drowning himself in River Marne in Paris. In a letter to his brother, Hedayat wrote, “”I did something really crazy, but luckily it did not do me in!”” The cause for his behavior still remains unknown, but one could guess that he must have led a complicated life.

Upon his return to Iran in 1930, Hedayat’s first line of short stories called “”Zindeh Be Goor”” (Buried alive) was distributed, but he felt isolated from freely putting his thoughts down. He left for India around 1936 where he published his masterpiece “”Buf-i Kur”” (Blind Owl). The novel was withheld from publication in Iran until 1941, due to the controversial issues that it contained.

The “”Blind Owl”” says a lot about Hedayat’s character and his state of mind:

The novel’s central emphasis is on the modernized women of his era. The dual image of women as the virtuous and the prostitute is not well absorbed by the male standards of the 30’s. Hedayat’s frustration with this phenomenon sets women as the core problem of life and death. Since, women are the birth-givers; they can not be the heavenly creatures forbidden from misconduct or sexual intimacy. The author’s inability to deal with this realism brings him to a stage of psychological disturbance.

By the end of 1930’s, Hedayat’s career as a writer reached the end of its lifespan. His addiction to drugs and alcohol was a gateway to self destruction as a writer and eventually himself. On April 4, 1951, Hedayat ended his miserable days by committing suicide for the second and last time.

Aside from being a writer, Sadegh Hedayat was also a painter and an admirer
of music. Although his literary works seem disturbing, even as we speak, his academic ambition as an artist, his creative mind, and his recognition as the best writer of his time, makes Sadegh Hedayat an unforgettable figure in our history!

Forugh Farrokhzad

Thus far, I have introduced you to a number of legendary men
in our history. Stereotypically, it’s rare for us to view women as great heroes and legends. This month I would like to introduce you to a woman who has given birth to the power of self-expression in ancient Iran: a freedom of speech foreign to women of her time!

Born in Tehran in 1935, Forugh Farrokhzad is one of the rare cases of Iranian women who defeated the rigid image of feminism in the early 19th century.

She discovered her talents at the age of 15 and attended Kamal-ol-Molk’s Technical School seeking knowledge in the fields of painting and dressmaking. Although both subjects were appealing to her, (specially painting which became a second avenue of her talents), she captured self expression in poetry. At the age of 16, she married her cousin Parviz Shapoor and gave birth to her only child, Kamyar a year later. Within two years after her son’s birth, her marriage failed and she left her son and husband to pursue her passion as an independent woman. The greatest importance in Farrokhzad’s three stages of development as a woman: her marriage, divorce, and abandoning of her child, was her personal declaration of conflicts between social expectations and her own tendencies:

It was I who laughed at futile slurs.

The one that was branded by shame

I shall be what I’m called to be, I said

But, oh the misery that “woman” is

my name.

Her decision to pursue poetry was against the norm of women at that time; hence, it attracted much attention and opponents. “The Captive”, “The Wedding Band”, and “Call to Arms” resemble her perspectives on conventional marriage, difficulty of women in Iran, and her incapability to live a conventional life as a mother and a wife. She suffered a nervous breakdown in September of 1955 that led her to a psychiatric clinic. Following her recovery, she went to Europe for a period of nine months during which she studied film and became acquainted with writer and cinematographer, Ebrahim Golestan. Her most famous work, “The House is Black” was filmed in 1962 with the help of her colleagues who believe that it represented Farrokhzad’s view of contemporary Iran.

She has published five volumes of her poetry, 4 of which became available during her lifespan and the fifth volume that was published after her death: “Prisoner” (1955), “The Wall” (1957), “Rebellion” (1958), “Another Birth” (1964), and “Let Us Believe in the Beginning of the Cold Season” (1965). Farrokhzad was killed in 1967 in a fatal car accident at the early age of 32.
Her tomb in Zahiro-Doleh cemetery in Tehran is regularly visited by thousands
of her most loyal fans.

Forugh Farrokhzad is one of the most distinct women in Iran’s history. She
has been able to defeat the social norms of symbolic restraint in woman’s
self –expression. In one of her most famous quotes she says, “Until you reach
your liberated and free self, isolated from constricting selves of others, you will not accomplish anything. Art is strongest when it avails itself only to those who thoroughly surrender their whole existence to it”.

Her poems are an effect of emotional and psychological frustrations that gave
her the strength to turn “from personal to collective, from the female to the human, and from the private to the public.”

She has given the women of her country the courage to declare a voice by encouraging them to understand their state of oppression while giving them a reason to fight silence!

Cover Story Kamran & Hooman’s New Album: “20”

After nearly two years of anticipation Kamran and Hooman released their
long awaited album “20”. This summer sensation has topped charts since its release in June, becoming the number one selling album at VIRGIN RECORDS in Dubai, and has maintained its number one position since its release on eworldrecords.com, fueled by fans of all ages vying to get their hands on this musical masterpiece. Innovative, energetic and dynamic, “20” is a fresh breeze
to the stagnant and repetitive Iranian musical scene. Unquestionably, Kamran and Hooman’s youthful approach to music, along with their inclusion of various harmonic elements, such as R&B, Hip Hop, Dance, Latin influences and ambient electronic beats has sealed this duo’s fate as an integral force in the new era of Iranian pop music.

Since parting ways from the Black Cats in search of greater artistic freedom,
the two brothers are determined to create original, quality music. A majority of the lyrics on “20” are the product of poetic prodigy Maryam Heydarzadeh. Her insightful, romantic and moving poetry is beautifully paired with the acoustic engineering of Ramin Zamani. Zamani has been a pioneering force in Persian music, producing many of the most sought-after and notable releases of the time.

To add to Kamran and Hooman’s success is their music video’s debut
on MTV Europe, creating an international demand for the album while simultaneously introducing Iranian music to the wider, global music market.
Their concerts have sold out one after another from fans who can’t seem to
get enough. An upcoming concert scheduled for Thanksgiving 2005 at the Universal Amphitheater is also highly anticipated.

The Avang Music Company, which has spearheaded this production, is scheduling a music video shoot for “Fadayeh Saret,” directed by Armin
Hashemi in September. Avang is very pleased with its cooperation with
Kamran and Hooman and anticipates further cooperation between Avang
and the two brothers.

Persia The Giant Empire

With the disintegration of the Mongol II Khan empire in the 1330s a number of small local dynasties appeared, usually only locally effective, and often founded by former Mongol officers and administrators.

The Muzaffarids were considerable patrons of art, including acting as patrons to the great poet Hafiz, but their main activity appears to have been architectural. It is as creators of the southern Iranian school that they will best be remembered.

The great centers of Muzaffarid power were in Yazd, Kirman and Isfahan. From the constructional point of view, two complexes in Yazd are important: the mosque known as the Vaqt-u Sa’at and certain sections of the Jami’ Mosque.

The Jami’ Mosque of Kirman was built in 1349 shortly after the Muzaffarids acquired the city, and its decoration appears fully fledged with no apparent or obvious precursors. Prior to this period, color had been used comparatively sparingly to highlight specific architectural points; glazed bricks were used to create patterns on a field of unglazed bricks, and small strips of glazed terracotta were employed to create a form of strapwork. In the magnificent mausoleum of Uljaytu at Sultaniyya, built before 1317, small sections of complete tile mosaic appear for the first time, but are no preparation for the sheer mass of the tile mosaic which is encountered in the Kirman Jami’ Mosque.

There were very few remaining monuments in Iran which can be attributed to the Jalayirids, but in 1419 they did add the great minaret to the Jami’ Mosque at Shushtar. Its decoration is almost archaic when compared to contemporary Timurid minarets, consisting as it does solely of blue-glazed bricks forming designs in a diaper trellis formation against the unglazed brick minaret shaft. Such decoration took no account of the developments in southern Iran nor of the entire Timurid artistic revolution, and would appear to emphasize the total separation of the Mesopotamian area from the rest of Iran at this time.

The Timurids 1370-1506

Timur used his base in Transoxiana in Soviet Central Asia as the nucleus for a great empire, conquering northeast Iran in the early 1380s, and the remainder
by 1393; thereafter he turned north and penetrated as far as Moscow in
1395, before sacking Delhi in India in 1398, and then moving across half of
Asia to defeat the Ottomans at Ankara in Turkey in 1402.

The advent of Timur himself can generally be regarded as a disaster. In 35 years of campaigning he left an endless trail of death and destruction, only saving the craftsmen from the countless pyramids of skulls which was his custom to erect outside capture cities.

The great glory of the Timurid perior, however, was the magnificent title mosaic work which reached its highest achievement at this time. Under the Muzaffarids, the concept of an overall tile mosaic pattern appeared for the first time, and the palette was considerably extended, but under Timurid patronage the various colors achieved subtlety which was unsurpassed. Each color appeared in a number of slightly varying shades, so that in the flower panels in particular delicate tones were used to give shading and depth to the compositions. The finest examples of this technique appeared in Herat and Samarqand, the two great Timurid capitals, but a number of examples were also to be seen in Iran in the royal foundations at Mahshhad and Khargird, and some superb examples of a slightly more provincial character at Varzana and Isfahan.

Much of this magnificence only appeared in Central Asia and the area around Herat, while deeper within Iran the styles more subject to Persian tradition and adapted to conform to an older usage which nonetheless undoubtedly benefitted from the infusion of these new ideas. Consequently many of the Timurid monuments in Iran show all these characteristics, but are much more restrained
in their use. These developments also continued in the second half of the fifteenth century mainly in the eastern part of the country, because in the west and northwest at this time two Turkmen confederations appeared which effectively blocked the Timurid westward expansion and indeed limited the later Timurids
to Khurasan only.

The Africa Project: The Trip

As explained in last month’s issue, The Africa Project is a grass roots organization made up of community members who feel compelled to do something to address the AIDS orphan crisis in Africa.

Our group took the first of many trips to Nkandla, located in the Kwa Zulu Natal region of South Africa last month. Although, through the course of our travels our group lost a few members as a result of various traveling difficulties, five representatives from our team made it to Nkandla. The purpose of the first visit was to learn more about our village and their needs. The following are highlights from the trip and potential plans to help the village of Nkandla.

During the trip the team stayed with The Nardini Sisters who are a group that already provide a great deal of social and medical services in the community. Upon arrival, they presented a check for $4,903 to support the children in the community. These funds were raised through the help of our Ukuqala Campaign. Again, great thanks to all of our Ukuqala sponsors!

The team’s first day in Nkandla included a site visit to the Nkandla Hospital where they met with hospital staff and visited the wards. The hospital provides the majority of medical services in the region and the staff is committed to serving the needs of the people. They face many challenges and the most pressing needs seems to be a lack of housing for medical staff who would be willing to come to Nkandla to work. The result of this are shortages of doctors willing to attend to the medical needs of the community.

The Nkandla hospital is also a teaching site for future nurses. Their nursing school’s greatest needs also seems to be housing for both students attending the school and staff needed to teach the program.

During the week, they visited several families. A few of these families are the ones featured in The Orphans of Nkandla documentary where producer and narrator Brian Woods tells the story of three families devastated by AIDS in Africa.

In one instance, they visited a family consisting of three young men who are literally alone in the world. The Nardini Sisters are committed to keeping them in school, so they are providing food and other support for the boys on a regular basis. Their housing is inadequate and as a group, we have determined that a portion of the funds we took over would go to building them a concrete home. The new brick house will be modest, yet stable and will last the family for many years to come. It will consist of three rooms and is roughly 300 square feet. The cost to build the modest home will be about $2,000 (which will include paying a local village mason worker to build it – an added plus since he will be able to use his skill to earn money for his family.)

A third family they met is comprised of four young children and their older sister. Their story is particularly upsetting, but the work being done for them is hopeful. Over a year ago, Sister Hedwig was visiting the family on a regular basis. The mother was dying of AIDS and the older sister had dropped out of school to work in the forest to earn money for the family. The nuns were providing food and support to the family each week. One Wednesday, the sisters visited the home and brought food as well as emotional support to the mother. That Friday, the mother passed away in her home. Because the home was situated far out on the other side of the forest, the sisters only visited once a week. When the mother died, the younger children did not know what to do and as a result, they lived with their mother’s body in the house for four days. At one point, the two older children walked (a very long way) to Nkandla to find the sisters who visited them each week. When they arrived at the hospital, they were taken to Sister Hedwig who was able to assist. The mother was properly buried and the children were placed at Sizanani Centre, the orphanage run by the convent. They stayed there for several months and received counseling and enrolled in school. Sister Hedwig later found a suitable home for the girls who now live with their older sister. They all currently attend school, relying on the support of the nuns.

Towards the end of their trip the group visited Velangaye High School, which is one of several schools in Nkandla in desperate need of help. The school serves 505 students each day in grades 8 to 12. The principal, Mr. N.E. Mahaye is an impressive leader and is committed to guarantee that each of his students has an opportunity to reach their highest potential. He and his staff are doing amazing things with very few resources. As a group, we have determined that assisting the high school should be one of our top priorities.

The group learned that when going to school most of the students arrive on an empty stomach with little hope of food even when they return home. In addition to the obvious suffering that these children face everyday is the negative effect poor nutrition has on these children’s ability to process and store information. Providing at least one meal per day at the school would improve their quality of life and help them succeed in school. Renovation of structural facilities of the schools including the buildings and classrooms, electricity, toilets, and water supply are also matters essential to the success of the community.

When talking to the students, the group also learned that more often than not,
the students who are qualified to go on to the University or to a trade school
are often too poor to do so. So setting up a fund for higher/continued education
would be very worthwhile.

Together there are so many lives we can change. With one trip we have already changed the lives of dozens of these children – to think that this is only the beginning is incredible. With your help we can continue to change the lives of the hundreds of AIDS orphans in Nkandla. Please continue to help and support our project. Your involvement and generosity is greatly appreciated and has already made a difference in these children’s lives.

Again, if you haven’t already, please don’t hesitate to get involved. Contact us at
www.theafricaproject.com. There are many different ways to get involved. Even by yourself you can develop and host a fundraiser to support The Africa Project. Host a dinner for friends and have everyone donate a set amount. Host a car wash and accept donations. Even bake sales and lemonade stands are activities that even the youngest of supporters can host.

Marsha Mehran’s new novel Pomegranate Soup

After our December cover of OCPC featuring up and coming Iranian actor Nicolas Guilak, we were flooded with emails! Everyone wanted to know who this handsome new rising star in Hollywood was. He had just starred in an independent film entitled “Will Unplugged” and a year before he had caught our attention as the lead in NBC’s made-for-TV movie Saving Jessica Lynch as Mohammed Al-Rehaief, the Iraqi father and husband who risked his own family’s safety to help Lynch, leading to her heroic rescue on April 1, 2003.

Now six months later we wanted to catch up with Guilak to see what he is
up to…

Nicholas Guilak, just finished his final performance as the recurring guest-star
on Fox’s hit drama “24:Day 4”. A few of his previous credits include playing
the lead in NBC’s highly controversial drama “Saving Jessica Lynch” and
starring in “Homeland Security”. He’s guest-starred in more than a dozen
popular shows from CSI: Miami, Navy”NCIS”, Threat Matrix to JAG, The Agency, “24:Day 2,” War Stories and She Spies (which was directed by Reza Badiyi). Nicholas is a founding member of Big Dog Little Dog Productions, a nonprofit theatre company in Los Angeles, which was voted top 5 by Bravo in the year 2000. He is a big advocate of theatre and because of scheduling issues has not been able to do a play in the past few years. His next project is
to produce and star in a theatre production of Howard Korder’s dark comedy “Boy’s Life” for a summer opening in Hollywood. He is being considered for a few big feature films – we’ll give you the scoop as soon as we find out!

Fine Art Adel Rakhshani

Creativity occurs in every field of human endeavor, not just in the arts. Whenever people express original ideas, they are being creative. The ability of creative people to accept disorder also extends to their working methods. In order to venture into new ideas, artists must disrupt old ones, creating disorder in the process before achieving a new kind of order.

Adel has reached the point where he has given up the objective representation of his surroundings in order to reach the summit of the true unmasked art and form. This vantage point to view life through is the prism of his pure artistic feeling. Adel follows Expressionism, which was planted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His tendencies such as distortion of form and intensification of color, has surfaced since his earliest works of art.

Adel looked to these artistic precendents to find forms that would express the intensity of feeling that he believes is part of the Iranian cultural tradition. Adel has also created many different masks which he believes are like the hiding of your identity while communicating a frightening ferocity. He believes his masks are magical objects that add a mysterious potency to the work.

In the past, Adel has done many children’s books in Farsi and English. Now in continuation of that he is producing a series of puppet shows that tries to teach young Iranian children the meaning of life. “”Iranian children here in America are losing their heritage and roots. We are responsible for keeping our great culture alive,”” Adel explained.

On the side, Adel is the president of the Iranian – American Artist Society in Los Angeles who meet on a monthly basis. We at OCPC wish Adel much success in all his future endeavors!

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