The Iranian Literary Arts Festival (ILAF) is a week long festival that celebrates the literary and high brow works of Contemporary Iranian writers, poets, filmmakers, and artists, starting Tuesday November 13th through Saturday November 17th, 2007 at Theatre Artaud in San Francisco. [Schedule details]
Two nights of film screenings, three nights of theatre, food, dance parties, one black tie Gala (hosted by philanthropist Bita Daryabari, Mayor Gavin Newsom, and Ross Mirakrimi just to name a few) a book store, and a morning of panel discussions and keynotes about Iranian Literature.
The timing, the genre, and even venue signify an edgy twist in the sensibilities of the (add) Iranian diaspora, hungry for the sort of cultural upgrade that is way overdue. ILAF offers just that, and it is refreshingly different from the same old style of the “tried and true”.[PHOTOS]
In a recent interview Niloufar Talebi, the visionary behind the Festival and creator of ICARUS/RISE, got to the heart of this unusual event:
People are talking about ICARUS/RISE, which is the center of the festival. Is it a play?
It’s much more than a play. ICARUS/RISE is a multimedia theatrical piece based on new Iranian poetry, created in collaboration with composer, Bobak Salehi, and choreographer and video artist, Alex Ketley (formerly of SF and LINES Ballet). We have 11 artists on stage, telling the story with dance, live music, recitation, and video. The 9 poets whose poems create the script are all living poets of 3 different generations. Their provocative voices challenge their past, their new identities, sexual politics and the current state of the world.
So what’s with the Greek reference to Icarus?
ICARUS/RISE re-interprets the Greek myth of Icarus, who escaped from the prison of a labyrinth with wings that his father, Daedalus, fashioned out of feathers and wax. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun or his wings would melt. Icarus, bewitched by the beauty of the sun, flew too high and then plunged to his death on earth. In western mythology, Icarus symbolizes the “romantic artist”, the one who risks all in the pursuit of beauty/truth.
So you’re drawing a parallel between the Iranian experience and a Greek tragedy?
The title, ICARUS/RISE is a continuation (change) of the myth because it suggests the possibility of a second, imaginary rise. ICARUS/RISE relates the myth of Icarus to the Iranian Revolution and to the experience of those who fled their homeland in its wake. It traces the journey from loss and exile to a triumphant regaining of balance and renewal. Dramatic poetry recitation is a age-old art form in Iran, one that ICAURS/RISE bends, fuses with new elements and pushes forward. [PHOTOS]