Interview in LA LA land
Akhy, the supernova of the Iranian music scene, speaks... unfortunately
March 4, 1999
Recently, my friend Faramarz who has a nasty habit of producing TV programming
for the L.A. based Iranian TV stations asked me to sub for him and interview
an "artist" in his place because he had something very urgent
to take care of. Apparently, his younger brother Q-mars in Texas had gone
mad and had decided to get married. Faramarz was flying out there to talk
some sense into him and convince him to get off Satan's donkey.
I told him I didn't know how to interview artists, especially in front
of a camera, and he told me not to worry and just ask them how they feel,
since that's how they always interview people on L.A.'s Iranian TV stations.
In prepration for the interview, I called up the manager.
"May I speak to Mr Mooshy?"
"It's Mushy, not Mooshy, aziz."
"Terribly sorry. What's Mushy short for anyway?"
"It's short for Masha-lah. Who are you?"
"I'm subbing for Faramarz. Tomorrow, I'll be interviewing your
client, Akhy Khanoom. Can you fax me her bio so I can prepare for the interview?"
"Bio? You don't need a bio, aziz. Just ask her how she feels. That's
how interviews are done in L.A. Are you from out of town or something?"
"But that's only one question. I should know more about her so
I can ask her relevant questions. Like where she's from, what kind of education
she has and how old she is..."
"Hey hey hey!!! You can't ask her those questions... I already
told Faramarz: No hard-hitting questions. That's why we're paying him to
interview her, aziz."
"You paid money to Faramarz for this interview?"
"Well, not money. I smogged his car for free. Bring your car to
the garage tomorrow and I'll smog yours too, aziz. Now, I want you to conduct
the interview just like that bozo on the other Iranian station, the guy
who laughs frequently and uncontrollably for no good reason and kisses
up to the artists he's promoting."
"Nevertheless, it would be nice to know a little something about
her. Does she have a web page with her picture, bio, information about
what she likes and some useful links to other useless web sites, perhaps?"
"No. But I do have an old resume of hers from the time that she
was still an assistant chief food executive."
When I read the resume, I learned "assistant chief food executive"
means a "caterer" to you and me. I found some noteworthy items
such as her winning the coveted Golden Goosht-koob Award in the category
of the most original facial gestures while singing old Googoosh songs and
the Painful Squint Award for the most intense squint in a nightclub performance
during a particularly listless song. As I looked for the list of her qualifications
I didn't find any formal musical training even though the resume did indicate
her mother was rather proud of the way Akhy sounded in the shower first
thing in the morning. If there was a Golden Shower-head Award, she would
have undoubtedly won it too, according to Mommy. I didn't find the premier
qualification for becoming a singer though, that of ghahring with one's
naneh. Once at the TV station, a grumpy looking man in leather pants and
a black T-shirt with the logo "Black Dogs" came over. Thinking
he was the doorman, I handed him my parking ticket.
"Hey, can you validate my parking ticket?"
He gave me a classic left-left look.
"I'm not the doorman. I'm Akhy's agent."
"Oh. I'm sorry, Mr Mooshy."
"It's Mushy, not Mooshy."
Very embarrassed, I apologized and shook hands with him warmly as though
we had been old friends. He then issued more instructions.
"Listen, you're going to introduce her as 'Akhy: The Blazing Supernova
of the L.A. Music Scene!', okay, aziz?"
"She's already gone nova? That was quick. What's Akhy short for?"
"Akhy is short for Akhtar. But don't talk about her real name in
the interview. She's kind of sensitive about that. And you shouldn't, under
any circumstances, ask her about the name of her town. Don't mention the
shop-lifting incident either."
"The shop-lifting incident?"
"I said DON'T mention the shop-lifting incident! That was a long
time ago and the DA didn't charge her anyway because it was her first time."
At this point, Akhy, the Blazing Supernova in a short skirt, a cut-off
top and a ring through her exposed belly button walked in.
"Akhy joon, hurry. We're late for the interview, aziz."
"Mooshy, I'm so stressed out. I just couldn't find a belly button
ring that matches my ankle bracelet. Do you think this skirt makes me look
"No, aziz. You're perfect. Go sit over there and look very innocent
because it makes you look 10 years younger, especially if people can't
see your big teeth.."
Hey! How come she could call him Mooshy and he wouldn't correct her?
She then turned to me.
"Do you think this belly button ring makes me look wide?"
"No no! The ring doesn't make you wide at all, and it makes your
belly button look 10 years younger."
Now, if I was a forthright man, I would have told her she was just naturally
wide, far wider than any belly button ring or short skirt could make her.
But then again, how could you not be wide and still be a supernova? Subsequently,
she turned to the cameraman.
"Please use one of those lenses that makes you look skinny. Last
time you used a normal lens which made me look wide. My mommy had a party
for me and all the guests said the lens made me look wide."
After the cameraman defended his lens and she stopped fussing over her
width, the camera rolled and I began the interview.
"So, Miss Akhy, how do you 'feel' about your upcoming concert?"
She turned to Mr Mushy.
"Mooshy joon, I forgot. What am I supposed to say to that question?"
"Cut! We practiced that one a hundred times, aziz. Did you forget
already? How many times did I tell you to stop eating all that gingo-biloba
stuff. It's making you senile. Thank all the fans for their tremendous
support and all the fan mail they send..."
"But nobody has sent me any fan mail. I just get those letters
from the collection agency. "
"But how would they know nobody sent you fan mail? Just thank them.
Say that you are at the service of the public and you have dedicated your
whole life to the preservation of art and how you love every single one
of your fans and your new album is a way of repaying them for the 35 dollars-a-pop
tickets at your concerts and how you're doing it all in appreciation of
the fans and how you're singing only because of the encouragement of the
people and how with this album you feel you have reached the pinnacle of
L.A.'s galactic music universe. Just keep promoting the album, okay, aziz?
And look innocent because it makes you look ten years younger, especially
if people can't see your big ears."
With Mr Mooshy's instructions behind, we went on with the interview.
"I understand that in your 'Zood-bash, Chaai-ro Biaar' project,
you wore a record 39 different outfits. Why?"
"Because my 40th outfit was at the dry cleaning."
"What's your next song?
"My next song will be released as soon as the 'Dangerous Kaf-gir'
project is done. In it, I have a new song called 'Cheshmaane Tow Chaahaar
"Didn't you have another song by the same name in your 'Koofteh
Ghel-Ghelieh Kam-rang' album?"
"Yes, but this one is different. While recording 'Koofteh Ghel-Ghelieh
Kam-rang', I only wore 10 different outfits. In this song I wear 22 different
"Did you keep all those outfits, or did you return them for a refund?"
At this point, Mr Mooshy yelled "Cut!" and jumped in:
"Timeout, aziz! I said no hard hitting questions. What is this,
We stopped for an hour so that Akhy, the Big Bang of the L.A. music
scene could have her afternoon snack consisting of tea, cup-cakes, a chocolate
bar and a cream puff, and then we went on with the interview.
"So, do you like soccer? Iran just won the Asian championship."
"Is that the sport in which toothless men hit each other with sticks?"
"No, that's hockey. In soccer people kick the ball and each other."
"Oh, foot-ball. Yes! I'm really excited. In Iran's honor, I'll
sing a song in which I'll wear 41 different outfits which will break the
record I set during my 'End-less Abgoosht' album."
"Who is your favorite Iranian player?"
"Daieh Ali. He's so cute."
"Daieh Ali? Perhaps you mean Alieh Daie"
"Chizeh, midoony? My 'End-less Abgoosht' album received two thumbs-up
from the fans in Tehran."
She held up a picture with two smiling boys in army fatigues standing
in a Tehran street, holding up her album in one hand and giving thumbs-up
with the other. At this point, Mr Mooshy jumped in again.
"Cut! Akhy joon, aziz, how many times do I have to tell you, thumbs-up
in Tehran don't mean the same thing as thumbs-up here."
Embarrassed, Akhy joon got up and began dancing like Ginger from the
Spice Girls and I felt quite optimistic about the future of art in L.A.,
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