Palace of Fine Arts hosts Persian Winter "Solh"
Iranian musician and vocalist Hamed Nikpay rejoices Friday after
a rousing performance
during Beyond Persia's Winter "Solh" Fest at the Palace
of Fine Arts.
December 10, 2007
As many as five hundred Persians braved the San Francisco cold
Friday to celebrate Beyond
Persia's Winter Solh Fest at the Palace of Fine Arts.
Beyond Persia promotes Persian art and culture through film festivals,
art exhibitions and concerts by Iranian artists living outside
Iran. The event coincides with the celebration of the nonprofit
organization's first anniversary and aspired to promote peace
as well as raise awareness about contemporary Persian art and
Beyond Persia co-hosted the event with Anar,
an organization of young San Francisco Bay Area Iranian-Americans.
Anar strives to develop the next generation of artistic, cultural,
and professional civic leaders.
Fog City Journal contributor Mishana
Hosseinioun and Community Programs Liaison to the San Francisco
Mayor's Office Ahsha Safai, are both members of Anar. Safai also
acted as Host Committee Speaker and honorary co-chair of the evening.
FCJ contributor Mishana Hosseinioun (right) with Bita Daryabari,
founder of Unique
Community Programs Liaison to the San Francisco Mayor's Office
The event began with an art show, silent auction and reception,
followed by live musical performances, comedic interludes and
speeches from prominent Bay Area Iranian-Americans.
Palace of Fine Arts Auditorium.
Classical pianist and composer Arjang
Rad performed songs from his debut album, Circle of Myths.
Aside from being an accomplished performer, Rad also teaches piano
and is a published author and former English professor at Cal
State Northridge. Rad's music incorporates his passion for archetypes,
Jungian psychology and world mythology, especially the hero's
journey and the works of Joseph Campbell.
Rad based the sixth movement of Myths, titled "The Dragon,"
on the tale of Rostam, from Persian poet Ferdowsi's
"These myths are perhaps about some general tendencies we
have as human beings that can apply to us all."
Arjang Rad graciously accepts a bouquet following his performance
of selected movements from Circle of Myths.
Co-Emcee Sheila Vossough made her stand-up comedy debut in a
routine titled "Sheila Unveiled." Born in Tehran, Vossough
works as an actress in Los Angeles. Vossough has appeared in Iranian
plays, including one with Behrouz Vossoughi, and hosted a TV show,
"The P.S. Show" with actor Parviz
Comedian, stage actress and co-Emcee Sheila Vossough.
During her stand-up routine, Vossough had a warning for Iranian
women wanting to come to America: "Women of Iran, please
stop trying to get the hell out. Where do you think you're going?
If any of these stories about your nightlives are true, stay.
I swear to God, when you set foot in the States, all this attention
from men stops. Men here are not as horny as you're used to."
Vossough co-emceed the event with Maryam Sayyad, daughter of
popular Iranian actor Parviz Sayyad. She also appeared on the
P.S. show with her father, but now works in interior design in
Co-Emcees Sheila Vossough and Maryam Sayyad.
Arjang Rad's wife Magdalena Munro, Sasaneh Solaimani, Arjang Rad
and Elaine Santore.
Sepeedeh Cigarchi and Niosha Nafei of the Niosha
After intermission, Iranian vocalist, composer, and musician
Hamed Nikpay performed.
Nikpay has written musical scores for Iranian cinema, and performed
in Asia, Iran, and Europe.
Hamed Nikpay performs.
Hamed Nikpay bows with his band during the crowd's rousing ovation.
San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commissioner and Host Committee
Speaker Dr. Elahe Enssani addressed the audience and commended
the work of Beyond Persia in its first year.
"In immigration, community substitutes extended family,"
Enssani said. "We become each other's surrogate parents,
surrogate cousin. I realize I know every single one of you. There's
hardly anyone I don't know by first name. That's amazing. That's
the power of community. This is what Beyond Persia has done for
our immigrant community."
Dr. Elahe Enssani
Safai seconded Ensanni's praises: "Tonight exemplifies how
our community can work together." He formally announced his
bid for District 11 Supervisor, which drew big applause from the
District 11 Supervisor candidate Ahsha Safai.
After Safai spoke, fellow Host Committee Speaker Supervisor
Ross "Rostam" Mirkarimi took to the stage.
"I am a proud Iranian-American. As I understand it, the
first elected to office in the City and Country of San Francisco,
and as I understand it, one of the few elected to office in the
state of California," Mirkarimi said. "And that brings
an incredible, I think, distinction amid a very, very distressful
time. When I came into office in 2005, I wanted us to assert our
identity which is why I thought no policy, no politician can do
what the arts can do, the rich, amazing art that really catalyzes
this modern world which emanated from the Persian Empire."
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi.
At the end of the program, Persian Blues/Jazz/Rock band Kiosk
performed. Kiosk originally formed in Isfahan/Tehran. Their genre-defying
sound and unconventional lyrics made them a crowd favorite.
The night ended with dinner catered by A Taste of Persia,
and dancing with music courtesy of DJ
(in Persian) by Sabereh Kashi available at the BBC's