Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I honestly cannot tell you how many turns this whole thing has taken in the last week. Last night we spent almost 2 hours in traffic only to arrive to the Zurkhane an hour late and turn around and go home. However, I did meet someone last night that knew my dad in his power lifting days. I apologize for the lack of Zurkhane photos, but the stress is a bit higher for me to shoot there than anywhere else. Sound is a nightmare, lighting is tricky, and while all this is going on I'm on the other side of the lens.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Training in Tehran

Last night was a practice at the Shaheed Chamron sports complex on Dr. Shariati Street. The floor was definitely nicer/cleaner than the last gym we practiced. A few of the guys last night practiced footwork and flow moves which was nice to see. The way practices work here is a bit different from the US. Not only does everyone stretch out but they also run laps and do conditioning exercises. On the average, all of the bboys here are in much better shape than bboys in the US. Most of them either come from a martial arts background or gymnastics. I wish I could upload footage from here but 56k is molasses wackness.
I crushed one of the kids last night when he overheard me saying hip hop dancing sucks (no offense). I felt awful but mentioned that if someone can incorporate freestyle moves with bboying their style will be the hotness.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Night On The Town

Last night was an expensive and cold night of eating kabobs in Darband. Against the warnings of my uncle, we ate outdoors in one of the coldest areas of Tehran. After dinner we enjoyed 2000 Toman milkshakes (that is ridiculously expensive) in the rich part of town, had fun with Ali's glasses and haggled cab drivers for lower fares.

Big bday

The 19th was my birthday. If you forgot, it's no problem. Here is the photo summary of the awesomeness that ensued on my bday. After a day of constant changing plans of whether to come back to Tehran from Qom or not, Mahdi B and I arrived to Tehran at 10:30pm not knowing that my uncle and cousin were waiting for me to come home all day. Regardless, this was one of my best birthdays for many reasons, some which I will disclose in a not so global fashion when I come back to the US.

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Tehrani Friends

Yesterday I finally met Hossein Battle and his crew, ironically named Unknown Crew. They took me to the bashga (gym) for practice. The bboys in Tehran have practice everyday at public gyms around the city. Each gym has a different day for practice and every bboy in the city can use the gym for free. For the most part everyone practices power, very little tops, and very little footwork. About 5 guys have consistent airflares and a few of those have some very good combos. 2 guys have "control style" 90s that they could probably do 6-8 rotations consistently. Hossein's crew asked me if I could tell if they were bboys when I saw them walking towards us in the subway. I said of course. I remember when I first started bboying, we used to analyze every person our age we saw to see if they were a bboy or not. The first thing we looked at was the sneakers and how they were being worn down, their clothes, then the height, then the build.

There is a crew battle in 2 weeks that I am going to battle with them. It is rumored that Lilou from France will be coming for the battle. They might have me judge the battle but I would rather compete. I really want to look into making a national Iranian bboy team to travel to jams in Europe and Asia. The problem is that the guys have trouble getting visas to European and Asian countries.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Today is the first day that the internet card I got is working properly...
Still smoothing out the edges of the production schedule here. People have been extremely helpful with the project and my Amu and Pessar Amu have been converted into film producers. Tomorrow we are going to Vizarat Irshad to get some official status. Hatim Productions has also done a lot to help.
On another note
Know that when you order the "Moslem meal" on Air France it means that you will get your food 30 min. before everyone else.
Know that if you sit next to another Iranian American on the plane to Iran, they probably know one of your family members.... amazing.
Praise the Lord for being able to eat hot red beets from street vendors with old friends twice in a day without getting sick.. yet.

more pictures to come...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tomorrow is the day

I'm pretty excited about tomorrow... even though I'm going to be on an airplane for way too long. I bought an on-camera light from litepanels and it is incredible. I wish I had it earlier on in the film.
I watched Salesman again last night and admired the awesome impromptu swimming scene. I hope to get a similar random fun night scene.

I have gotten about 5 new contacts in Iran in the past 24 hours and learned that a few of my friends will be there at the same time. I will have some very interesting characters to say the least. Make sure to check back because I will be uploading media as I go.
See you in Iran.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sealed the deal

This last weekend was The Big Mix Up in Houston, TX which I shot for the film. I met a lot of cool new folks including finally meeting Sheikh Hashim Alaudeen. We shot a good number of hours with him after the event at a Houston Middle Eastern restaurant. A strange encounter ensued when we engaged two Egyptian women who were sitting and eavesdropping on our discussion about ambiguous racial appearances and racial/ethnic identity. They didn't want to be on camera but one of them was so abrasive towards us that she couldn't help but want to bring up our sectarian religious differences, which was completely unrelated to the subject.
Special thanks to Shiraz Jafri who came out on Saturday to operate camera.
It looks like the US portion of the film is done filming. Now moving onto Iran.

*The above photo was taken during our layover in Phoenix.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sunday, November 04, 2007

dramatic irony and other updates

As I continue putting off work for my only "academic" course I was itching to update.

1. Seymour Hersh gives a talk on Iran at the annual Amnesty International conference in Ireland. This video is only the first hour of his talk and I have been unable to locate the full talk.

2. I will upload new raw footage from the air show ASAP.

3. The recent FRONTLINE on Iran was fairly well done and did a good job talking about the official positions of each country.

4. I found this Wide Angle program on the Arab talk show Kalam Nawaem (کلام نواعم) to be worth watching. Thanks to PBS for making the shows available online.

5. I am driving to the Lone Star International Film Festival in Fort Worth, Texas on Thursday. The Runners got selected to play in the Latino Shorts program. Go to the film's blog for more info. If you live in Texas I expect you to be there :P

*The racist illustration above is from my textbook, On Film-making by Alex Mackendrick written in 2004.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

raw footage- Kings of AZ 10-20-07

This is raw (almost unedited) footage from the film. Volume is a bit low so go buy some speakers or some headphones, you'll be able to hear it nice and clear in the final version. The footage is from the second round of Kings of AZ in Phoenix, Arizona. This was our 4th battle in the series and we are currently undefeated. The battle was my crew(Les Avenge) vs Mellow Drama.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Trash in the River

My post today is in collaboration with hundreds of others for blog action day.
My last visit to Iran was one in which I discovered the multiple types of landscapes the country had to offer. From snowy mountain tops to dusty flat lands, all landscapes were adulterated by the presence of trash accumulated from littering. One familiar image was plastic bags, drink containers, and cigarette butts floating down a small stream at a popular hiking destination in Tehran. I cannot count the times I saw people throwing garbage out of car windows onto the street.
There is a serious problem here and it needs to be fixed for the long term. Growing up in the US, I was constantly reminded in school and television of the problems of littering. Saturday morning PSA's of rockstar dinosaurs taught us to recycle, reduce, and reuse along with the eco friendly super hero, Captain Planet. Iran must invest in the future of its country's environment and ecosystems now in order to save it from ultimate collapse. A shift in awareness of environmentalism will not only stop at littering but also inspire new regulations on industrial and consumer emissions and wastes.
Until then, I will have to constantly remind my uncle to dispose of his cigarette butts in a bottle to be thrown away.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Michael Clayton

I saw Michael Clayton in NYC at a press screening in July. It was definitely the best film I saw over the summer. Tom Wilkinson will be getting best supporting actor for this film.. that's right, I'm predicting this now. Clooney is amazing as well. The film itself is a captivating story about people who work as "fixers" for huge law firms. In the film Tom Wilkinson's character loses his mind while working as council to a major agro-chemical company and his firm sends Clayton to remedy the problem. Clayton quickly realizes that the situation is much more complicated than that and it may get him killed. Michael Clayton is one of the smartest and intense films of the year.

Tony Gilroy (writer of the Bourne franchise) makes a strong directorial debut with this film letting us know that he will be a major player as a director. I will be the first in line for his next film.

This is the first film you should see before seeing anything else.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

another studio sequence shot

(c) All photos courtesy of Lexi

Sunday was a great day of filming. We shot another studio portion of the film at the University's fairly new studio. JorDan did a fabulous job of Art Direction acquiring us desks, a full size chalkboard, computers, and other classroom items for the scene. A special thanks goes to the Flowing Wells school district for lending us most of the set dressing. The desks were provided by the University from the Chavez building.
Randall did a great job shooting the scene in the same style as the first one. Hank and Michaela worked sound and were great to have on set. Everything went very well, الحمدلله
Lexi provided amazing stills as usual. All of the actors did a fabulous job and required very little adjustments.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Alive in Baghdad out of funds

I think AIB is a great group and a valiant effort to broadcast coverage of conflict past the surface of numbers, stats, and events. As of now it looks like they are in some serious financial trouble. Visit their site to find out how you can help.

An excerpt from a recent AIB blog...

"Now its September 25th, and when our bills come due on October 1st, we’ll be out of money. We’ve been paying ourselves a meager salary to get by because we do this full-time, while also paying a fluctuating staff of 5-8 overseas in Iraq and Mexico, between our translator, Baghdad bureau chief, and correspondents. It seems our big failure is that we are ahead of our time. Less flatteringly, neither did we have enough business sense to have a model for making money before we tried to change the quality of video journalism available online. There may be media democracy for the wealthy and privileged of the first world, but they appear unwilling to pay a few dollars to support that democracy in the developing world."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Saw this on the WITNESS listserv and thought it was worth posting.

On September 28, 2007, the film TRADE, a gripping tale of the dark web of sex trafficking starring Kevin Kline, will open in theaters nationwide. Equality Now, along with three other organizations, will receive 5% of the opening week box office receipts from Roadside Attractions, the film's distributor. TRADE follows the story of a 13 year-old Mexican girl and a young Polish woman as they are kidnapped by sex traffickers in Mexico and transported for sale in the United States. It is a powerful film with the sobering message that the global sex trafficking industry operates in our own towns and cities. We need to take action and stand against those who enslave women and children as commodities in the sex trade.

As part of Equality Now's work to end the commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls around the world, Equality Now recently launched the Fund for Grassroots Activism to End Sex Trafficking (Trafficking Fund). This new initiative, which is based on the successful model of our Fund for Grassroots Activism to End Female Genital Mutilation, provides grants to grassroots groups that provide critical services to trafficking victims, as well as put pressure on government officials to arrest and prosecute traffickers and others who create the demand for the commercial sex trade. Currently the Trafficking Fund has grantees in Cambodia, Iceland, India, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, and the United States.

To view a trailer of TRADE, go to We encourage you to go see TRADE during the opening week and know that you will be helping Equality Now in its efforts to stop this and other human rights violations against women and girls around the world. Bring some friends with you!

If you plan on seeing TRADE and would like to take some brochures about Equality Now's new Trafficking Fund with you to hand out at the theater, please send an email to info(at) and let us know how many brochures you would like and the address where they should be sent.

"TRADE allows an unflinching peek at the secret world of sex trafficking, disturbing and beautifully rendered, bravely acted and a searing experience. Anyone who fails to have their insides roiled by this film has commenced rigor mortis." —Meryl Streep

Monday, September 24, 2007


This weekend was quite the challenge. There is currently 6 hours of footage for Warring Factions. I shoot a studio sequence on Sunday and there is much to be done in preparation for that. I also missed Albert Maysles at The Loft on Sunday which kills me. How often do you get to see Grey Gardens at the cinema with the filmmaker there?

Monday, September 17, 2007

you, of all people...

It seems now that French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, is speaking the language of the hawks in Washington. Does he not know that French people can smell American war politics a mile away and consider burning cars in the streets a holiday affair? Good luck dealing with all the rioters when your country explodes with civil unrest from another illegal preemptive war in the Middle East.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More problems than Iraq

This video tells of some of the consequences a US attack against Iran might bring. Even though I don't agree with all of the consequences the second interviewee proposes, his main point is true to the core.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


The Runners had a screening at the Tucson Film and Music Festival on Monday. Thanks to everyone who came including people I haven't seen for 4 years and my high school media instructor. More screenings TBA.

Monday, September 03, 2007

vice is on top of it

It seems that regardless of how small their company is, their content is ahead of most major news networks and major filmmakers.

Friday, August 31, 2007

More comics

A bit of background on Smerconish. People like him use what happened in the first comic upheaval to justify publishing every negative piece of media on Muslims regardless of its quality, accuracy and insensitivity. I must admit that Opus was one of my favorite comics as a child and that this new cartoon is a slice of pie compared to the Danish cartoon.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

1st day of verité footage

Just got back from the first night of shooting for Warring Factions. My crew, Les Avenge, and myself did a demonstration for Seabhs. I gave the usual talk about bboying and motivating youth to stay in school and out of trouble. I hope it makes for some good footage. I may post some of the footage up if there is a high demand for it.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I prepared this promotional video for the new project.

Friday, August 17, 2007

How does it feel to punch yourself?

Everyone is waiting for the day this guy is sitting in a courtroom listening to his sentence.

big-ups to KABOBfest for
putting me onto this video

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mashouf in NYC: the photo edition

Taken at a friend's wedding in Long Island, the bride shows off her henna.

Returning to the Upper West Side from the port authority is where I took this. The man on the left entered the train first and I felt that was enough for me to take a photo. But I didn't actually pull out the camera until the gentleman on the right entered the train.

In the Claridge casino bus terminal, Atlantic City. In order to get to work on time that day I left Atlantic City on the 5:30am bus to New York. There are 4 people out of frame that are also sleeping in uncomfortable red chairs.

Queens Bridge park in Queens, NY. Taken at the Thursday jam in the park.

Also taken at Queens Bridge Park.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I found Nemo.

An artist in Williamsburg spends his 4th of July making this mosaic on the street. Note the sign that says "We're arming both sides. Shiite + Suni Death Squads" on the upper left. Not unprecedented.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

When the dominos begin to fall

Today I heard that British forces are pulling their troops from the south of Iraq. I'm wondering how long it will take before the UK pulls their whole contribution of soldiers for the war.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Remembering Poets Not Fit For The White House

I found this broadcast on the Freespeech TV website in 2003 and recorded it as an mp3. Seeing Amiri Baraka got me in a bit of a spoken word mood so I was listening to everything spoken word I have. Poets Not Fit For The White House was a project started after Laura Bush invited Sam Hamill to a poetry symposium at the White House celebrating the work of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickenson and Langston Hughes. In response, Hamill put out a call for anti war poems and received an overwhelming number of poems to send to the symposium in his absence. After attracting a bit of press about Hamill's plan the White House canceled the symposium. Then, on February 17, 2003 an event was held in New York City for poets to share their dissonance for the war.

The list of those who participated is as follows:
Ammiel Alcalay, Lee Ann Brown, Steve Colman, Robert Creeley, Martin Espada, Jorie Graham, Andre Gregory, Sam Hamill, Suheir Hammad, Marie Howe, Galway Kinnell, Youseff Komanukaa, Stanley Kunitz, Ann Lauterbach, Arthur Miller, Mos Def, Odetta, Sharon Olds, Willie Perdomo, Robert Pinsky, Peter Sacks, Sapphire, Wallace Shawn, Mark Strand, Anne Waldman, C.K. Williams, Saul Williams

More here

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Amiri Baraka in the Park

NY is the greatest place for free events. I wanted to go to a total of six large free events while I have been in NY but was unable to due to rain, overcrowding or other unforeseen circumstances.

I was able to see Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez on Tuesday at Central Park. It was an interesting night to see two artists carry a show with spoken word. The night ended with a short talk with Ms. Sanchez and Mr. Baraka about the beginning of the Black Arts Movement. Amiri Baraka is a man filled with knowledge, an amazing sense of humor and comedic timing. Just hearing him talk about Malcom X makes me feel that the current generation has flatlined. If anyone has any suggestions about how to activate the people again, don't say it without doing something.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sara Rahbar

Today's meeting with Sara Rahbar yielded some quality results. I have been inspired by her work since I stumbled across it some months ago. She gave me some feedback on the new documentary I'm working on and will be collaborating on the project with some of her work. In addition, she put me in contact with a few essential people in Iran and the US.