Since the Iranian revolution, Iranian female solo vocalists are only permitted to perform for all-female audiences. Some women have also been allowed to conduct classes for female students in private homes. Female vocalists may perform for male audiences only as a part of a chorus, never individually.

The prominent classical singer Fatemeh Vaezi, has given concerts accompanied by a female orchestra. She has also performed widely in Europe and the United States. Parisa (Ms. Vaezi’s stage name) has also assembled a five-piece female orchestra.

After 1986 Maryam Akhondy, the classical trained singer from Teheran, started working with other Iranian musicians in exile. With Nawa and Tschakawak she performed in Germany and Scandinavia.

At the same time she founded Ensemble Barbad, another group of traditional Iranian art music, which has been touring all over Europe for the past years. In 2000 Maryam Akhondy created the all-female a cappella group named Banu as a kind of musical expedition to the different regions and cultures of Iran.

For this project Maryam Akhondy over years collected old folk songs, which were sung only in private sphere, where women are alone or among themselves: at the cradle, doing housework, working in the fields, and women’s celebrations.

Maryam Akhondy made it her business to bring traditional women’s songs back to life again. The well-known classical and folk singer. Sima Bina, who is also a visual artist, has taught many female students to sing. She has also been permitted to give concerts for women in Iran, and has performed widely abroad.

Qamar ol-Molouk Vaziri is believed to have been the first female master of Persian music to introduce a new style of music and receive a positive reputation among masters of Persian music during her own lifetime.

Several years later, Mahmoud Karimi trained several female students who later became masters of Persian traditional music.

Him [1927]
Him is a play in three acts that combines elements of vaudeville, the circus, and expressionism. The play was first produced at the Provincetown Playhouse in New York in 1928.
The idea of a dream play may have been suggested to Cummings by the Provincetown Playhouse’s production of Strindberg’s The Dream Play, which EEC characterized as having a “luminous existence” (Miscellany 144).
Strindberg’s play is more dream-like than Cummings’ Him and contains no circus or vaudeville scenes, but it does feature two minor characters named “He” and “She,” a character named “The Poet,” and a central female character (Indra’s daughter) who observes all the scenes and participates in many of them.
The Dream Play premiered January 20th, 1926 and was directed by the same James Light who directed Him (see Deutsch and Hanau 141-42, 158-62, and 285-287).
Him may also have benefited from the examples of John Dos Passos’ play The Garbage Man (1924) and John Howard Lawson’s Processional (1925). The drawing [above] appeared on the cover of the first edition and illustrates the passage in Act I, scene two when Him explains that being an artist is like performing a high-wire act in the clouds.

Jesus was born years earlier than thought, claims Pope

Telegraph (UK) – By Nick Squires

The ‘mistake’ was made by a sixth century monk known as Dionysius Exiguus or in English Dennis the Small, the 85-year-old pontiff claims in the book ‘Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives’, published on Wednesday.

“The calculation of the beginning of our calendar – based on the birth of Jesus – was made by Dionysius Exiguus, who made a mistake in his calculations by several years,” the Pope writes in the book, which went on sale around the world with an initial print run of a million copies.

“The actual date of Jesus’s birth was several years before.”

The assertion that the Christian calendar is based on a false premise is not new – many historians believe that Christ was born sometime between 7BC and 2BC.

But the fact that doubts over one of the keystones of Christian tradition have been raised by the leader of the world’s one billion Catholics is striking.

Dennis the Small, who was born in Eastern Europe, is credited with being the “inventor” of the modern calendar and the concept of the Anno Domini era.

He drew up the new system in part to distance it from the calendar in use at the time, which was based on the years since the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian.

The emperor had persecuted Christians, so there was good reason to expunge him from the new dating system in favour of one inspired by the birth of Christ.

The monk’s calendar became widely accepted in Europe after it was adopted by the Venerable Bede, the historian-monk, to date the events that he recounted in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, which he completed in AD 731.

But exactly how Dennis calculated the year of Christ’s birth is not clear and the Pope’s claim that he made a mistake is a view shared by many scholars.

The Bible does not specify a date for the birth of Christ. The monk instead appears to have based his calculations on vague references to Jesus’s age at the start of his ministry and the fact that he was baptised in the reign of the emperor Tiberius.

Christ’s birth date is not the only controversy raised by the Pope in his new book – he also said that contrary to the traditional Nativity scene, there were no oxen, donkeys or other animals at Jesus’s birth.

He also weighs in on the debate over Christ’s birthplace, rejecting arguments by some scholars that he was born in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem.

John Barton, Professor of the Interpretation of the Holy Scripture at Oriel College, Oxford University, said most academics agreed with the Pope that the Christian calendar was wrong and that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly thought, probably between 6BC and 4BC.

“There is no reference to when he was born in the Bible – all we know is that he was born in the reign of Herod the Great, who died before 1AD,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s been surmised for a very long time that Jesus was born before 1AD – no one knows for sure.”

The idea that Christ was born on Dec 25 also has no basis in historical fact. “We don’t even know which season he was born in. The whole idea of celebrating his birth during the darkest part of the year is probably linked to pagan traditions and the winter solstice.”

Victoria and Albert Museum

Light From The Middle East

13 November 2012 – 7 April 2013. The first major exhibition of contemporary photography from and about the Middle East, Light from the Middle East: New Photography features over 90 works by some of the most exciting artists from across the region.

Photography is a powerful and persuasive means of expression. Its immediacy and accessibility make it an ideal choice for artists confronting the social challenges and political upheavals of the Middle East today.

Light from the Middle East: New Photography presents work by artists from across the Middle East (spanning North Africa to Central Asia), living in the region and in diaspora.

The exhibition explores the ways in which these artists investigate the language and techniques of photography. Some use the camera to record or bear witness, while others subvert that process to reveal how surprisingly unreliable a photograph can be.

The works range from documentary photographs and highly staged tableaux to images manipulated beyond recognition. The variety of approaches is appropriate to the complexities of a vast and diverse region.

Light from the Middle East is divided into three sections, Recording, Reframing and Resisting, each of which focuses on a different approach to the medium of photography.

New Rolling Stones video released featuring Dragon Tattoo star Noomi Rapace

The Rolling Stones have released a new video for their single Doom and Gloom which features a topless Noomi Rapace.

The controversial video for new single Doom and Gloom comes complete with actress Noomi Rapace topless, vomiting and with her head exploding.

The film – to promote the band’s single Doom And Gloom, which came out last month – also shows her shooting the heads off zombies, flashing at motorists and with her teeth smeared with blood.

Swedish star Rapace found worldwide acclaim when she starred in the screen adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and its follow-ups.

 The video has been directed by fellow Swede Jonas Akerlund who made Madonna’s Ray Of Light video, as well as a controversial video for Prodigy hit Smack My Bitch Up.

Rapace is seen taking over vocal duties for the Rolling Stones from Sir Mick Jagger, as well as filling the drum stool alongside Charlie Watts.

The band filmed their section in a warehouse in Paris, where they had been staying during rehearsals for their handful of live shows which begin at London’s O2 Arena on Sunday.

The actress, who played abused Lisbeth Salander in the Dragon Tattoo films, based on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, is seen playing a range of wild characters. In one scene in the Stones video she is topless on a bed of US bank notes.

The band released the single last month and their latest greatest hits album Grrr! is out this week. When the Rolling Stones take the stage at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday to celebrate their 50th anniversary, they will be joined by their longtime bassist, Bill Wyman, and the guitarist Mick Taylor, who played with them in the early 1970s, the band announced on its Web site today.

Jane Fonda Finally Apologizes

Front Page Magazine – By Ben Shapiro

It only took 40 years. But finally, actress-turned-workout-specialist Jane Fonda has apologized for sitting on a Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun during her 1972 visit to North Vietnam.

Fonda, who used her fame to push her radical leftism during her heyday, traveled to Hanoi in 1972 in solidarity with the Viet Cong. While there, she proceeded to blame the US for supposedly bombing a dike system, and did a series of radio broadcasts stating that US leaders were “war criminals.”

Those broadcasts were replayed for American POWs being tortured by the Viet Cong. Later, when POWs spoke about their experiences of torture, Fonda would call them “hypocrites and liars,” stating, “These were not men who had been tortured.

These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed.” She explained that these POWs were “careerists and professional killers.”

Now, four decades removed, sitting in the lap of luxury, Fonda has decided that the pictures on the anti-aircraft gun were a mistake. Not the actual visit – she stands by that.

“I did not, have not, and will not say that going to North Vietnam was a mistake,” she said. “I have apologized only for some of the things that I did  there, but I am proud that I went.”

But when it comes to those gun photos, then she wishes she’d done something different: “Sitting on that gun in North Vietnam. I’ll go to my grave with that one.”

… Jane Fonda should rightly have been written off by America’s most powerful institutions four decades ago. Instead, she still kicking – and next, she’s playing Nancy Reagan, whom she brags she’ll prevent from looking “too mean.”

“I had to feel history in my bones”

Veteran Spanish journalist Enrique Meneses left his “sordid” country in the 1950s to rove the world, covering major events such as the Cuban revolution

EL PAÍS – By Víctor Núñez Jaime

Fast-forward to the present. Meneses is 83. His face sports insolent wrinkles etched by personal experiences, a thin-lipped mouth that keeps producing one story after another, blue eyes gazing out alertly from behind delicate glasses, a wide forehead, hair that refuses to turn white, and a nose permanently connected to an oxygen bottle. This proud face, now worn out from disease, belongs to one of the leading figures in contemporary Spanish journalism…

It was the afternoon of August 28, 1947 and a collective shiver ran down Spain’s spine when a bull named Islero gored the famous matador Manolete at Linares, in Jaén province. Meneses was in Madrid when he heard the news on the radio and he felt here was his big chance for his first journalistic adventure.

He went out, hailed a cab, and paid 450 pesetas (under three euros) for the 300-kilometer ride. It was night when he got there. He managed to see the doctor who treated Manolete, talked to a few people on the street. The bullfighter died in the early hours of the morning.

He was born on October 21, 1929, just when the New York Stock Exchange was crashing. The Spanish Civil War caught him in Biarritz in southern France, where he was vacationing with his family.

Because of their republican past, the Meneses went straight to Paris, where they would later experience the German occupation during World War II. Later still they moved to Portugal, and when Enrique was a teenager they returned to Spain.

“It was a sordid country, with a very plain, provincial kind of journalism that only discussed three things: soccer, bullfighting and soap operas. Maybe that is why I went for the Manolete story.”

Maybe that is also why he decided to leave. In 1954, after two years at the Spanish edition of Reader’s Digest, Meneses went to Marseille and bought a one-way ticket to Alexandria.

He explored Egypt and made a living teaching French and Spanish, and dubbing tourist documentaries. Then, one day, he thought he would see Africa “from Cairo to Cape Town.”

He covered 27,000 kilometers in four months, returning to Cairo just in time for the Suez Crisis. This was the beginning of his freelance work for the prestigious magazine Paris-Match.

Back in Madrid in 1957, he decided to go to Costa Rica to stop an arranged marriage between his cousin and a “very important man.”

Before that, he thought he would stop in Cuba to check out rumors about a “little revolution” being prepared in the Sierra Maestra mountains by a “bunch of bearded fellows.” Paris-Match thought it was a good idea.

Sending his photo equipment inside a crate of whisky and then flying down to Santiago, he managed to penetrate the sierra, succeeding where many had failed and becoming the first journalist to meet the revolutionaries.

He met Fidel Castro, his brother Raúl, Ernesto Che Guevara and 100 other members of the Cuban revolution. For one month, his exclusive reports made headlines across the globe and have since become prized historical material…

“Wherever history was being made, I wanted to be there to feel it in my bones. There are thousands and thousands of faces that I have committed to memory, like shadows of a life full of joy and sorrow, of silliness and suffering, of pettiness and heroism,” he wrote in his 2006 memoir, Hasta aquí hemos llegado (or, This is as far as we’ve got).

“I regret nothing that I did, but I do regret what I could have done but did not.”

Plenty of Gods, but Just One Fellow Passenger

NYT – By A. O. SCOTT

It is spoiling nothing to disclose that Pi Patel, the younger son of an Indian zoo owner, survives a terrible shipwreck during a storm in the Pacific Ocean.

That much you know from the very first scenes of “Life of Pi,”Ang Lee’s 3-D film adaptation of the wildly popular, arguably readable novel by Yann Martel.

A middle-aged Pi (the reliably engaging Irrfan Khan) tells the tale of his earlier life to a wide-eyed Canadian novelist (Rafe Spall), so we know that he made it through whatever ordeal we are about to witness…

Until the Bengal tiger shows up, and thank the divinity of your choice for that. Or, rather, thank Mr. Lee and the gods of digital imagery, who conjure up a beast — named Richard Parker, for mildly amusing reasons — of almost miraculous vividness.

His eyes, his fur, the rippling of his muscles and the skeleton beneath his skin, all of it is so perfectly rendered that you will swear that Richard Parker is real.

What is and isn’t real — what stories can be believed and why — turns out to be an important theme of “Life of Pi,” albeit one that is explored with the same glibness that characterizes the film’s pursuit of spiritual questions. But Mr. Lee and his screenwriter, David Magee, have the good sense to put all of that aside for a while and focus on the young man, the tiger and the deep blue sea…

 The movie invites you to believe in all kinds of marvelous things, but it also may cause you to doubt what you see with your own eyes — or even to wonder if, in the end, you have seen anything at all.

Piedmont officer is fired over public urination ticket

NewsOK – By Robert Medley

A police officer who wrote a $2,500 ticket to a mother on a public urination complaint against her 3-year-old son has been fired, City Manager Jim Crosby said Tuesday.

Crosby said he fired officer Ken Qualls on Friday, following a hearing Nov. 14.

Prosecutors at the Canadian County district attorney’s office declined to pursue the case against the mother, Crosby said.

Police Chief Alex Oblein said the ticket was written to the mother for public urination, and the complaint was amended to contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Crosby said Piedmont City Council members received emails about the ticket from as far away as Canada, England and Australia.

“Of course we did receive a lot of notoriety over that,” he said.

Qualls plans to appeal the decision, Crosby said. A hearing will be scheduled before a Piedmont personnel board.

Ken Qualls is 45 years old. Qualls has been in Piedmont over a year and has about 18 years experience in law enforcement, said Police Chief Alex Oblein.

Qualls’ attorney Jarrod Leaman said Qualls is a member of the Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System and is looking at options to appeal his termination in Piedmont. A hearing has not been set.

Qualls issued the ticket Nov. 4 to Ashley Warden after he saw her son, Dillan, drop his pants in the front yard of the family home at 4505 Ryan Drive.

Crosby said Qualls didn’t see the boy urinate in the yard, but reported seeing a teenager in the Warden family lead the boy to a spot in the yard.

Oblein said the ticket given to the mother did not fit the situation. It could have resulted in a fine of up to $2,500, he said.

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