VOMENA: June 17, 2015

Salar Abdoh on Tehran Noir

abdoh2The literary genre of Noir captures the shortcomings and self-destruction of characters involved in violent stories. But what is the significance behind the use this particular literary genre to illustrate the character of a city? In his new anthology, Tehran Noir, Iranian-American novelist and essayist Salar Abodoh  has compiled and translated the work of 16 Iranian authors whose short stories reveal a darker side to the sprawling metropolitan capital of Iran. In his introduction he writes “Most writers around the world are inclined to think that their own sprawling metropolis is the capital of every imaginable vice and crime, of impossible love and tenderness and cruelty and malice in measures that seldom exist anywhere else. For me, Tehran’s case is no different—except that there really is a difference here. The city may be a hothouse of decadence, a den of inequity, all of that. But it still exists under the watchful eye of a very unique entity, the Islamic Republic”.

On this episode, we have an extended conversation with Salar Abdoh about the anthology, the noir genre, and life under the Islamic Republic. Salar Abdoh is an Iranian-American novelist and essayist, and the recipient of the New York Foundation for the  Arts Prize and the National Endowment for the Arts award. He is the author of the novel Tehran at Twilight and the editor of the new anthology Tehran Noir.

Kate Rafael on Resisting the Pinkwashing of the Israeli Apartheid

outsideThe  LGBTQ  annual film festival, Frameline, widely regarded as the largest queer community institution in the world, has been criticised and confronted for pinkwashing of Israeli apartheid. In response to Frameline Festival’s sponsorship by the Israeli government, Queers for Palestine activists organized the alternative Outside The Frame: Queers for Palestine Film Festival. The festival’s website, “calls on all queers to join in questioning what has become the dominant narrative of assimilation rather than liberation. Part of that narrative is that Israel is a “friend” of queers simply because it gives money to a queer cultural event, or supports the production of a queer film that will be used as propaganda for Israel.”

We speak with anti-apartheid activist Kate Rafael about the festival and Frameline’s continuing relationship with the Israeli government. Kate Rafael is a writer journalist and anti-war and anti-occupation activist.  She is one of the founding members of  Outside The Frame: Queers for Palestine Film Festival. The Festival will be June 19th-21st at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.


Excerpt from Tehran Noir

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