Kirkus gave Abdi's YA debut novel THE AUTHENTICS a starred review. Read it here, or below: Fifteen-year-old Daria is determined to fight against her mother’s party-planning for the extravagant Sweet 16 she doesn’t want, but the battle she is not prepared for comes when she discovers family secrets that turn her world upside down. Daria is proud of her Iranian culture but wants no part of the posh Beverly Hills Persian community. She finds solace with the Authentics, her small, diverse group of friends who have proven to her that they are real, and she nurses resentment toward the Nose Jobs, a group of pretentious Persian princesses led by her former best friend, Heidi. When Daria begins researching her family history for a school project, she makes some unexpected discoveries that challenge her senses of herself and her family. She loses trust in her parents and turns to her friends, but
The 27th Lambda Literary Awards were presented in New York on June 1, 2015, celebrating the best gay, lesbian and transgender books of the year. A parade of actors, celebrities and activists presented the awards, which were hosted by comedian Kate Clinton. Liz Smith presented John Waters with Lambda's Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature. Gloria Steinem presented Rita Mae Brown with the Pioneer Award. Abdi Nazemian's The Walk-In Closet won the award for "Best Debut" novel. For The Los Angeles Times coverage of the awards, click here. For Out Magazine's coverage of the awards, click here. For The Guardian's coverage of the awards, click here.
Last week, I had my first live interview, with Ahmed Shihab-Eldin at Huffington Post Live. I was wildly nervous about it, but when my time was up, I didn't want the conversation to end. I haven't watched it since I can't deal with seeing myself on film, but I remember a spirited discussion, and a lovely surprise appearance by Busy Philipps. Check it out here!
As the year comes to a close, countless words will be written about the year’s best records. In an effort not to add to the glut of words, I offer one haiku to each of my ten favorite albums of 2013. If you think I've missed one, please let me know, preferably with a haiku about what makes it special.
The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
It can’t be easy
To improve on perfection
But she has done it
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS
Push the Sky Away
Thirty-five years in
Instead of disappointing
Still bringing the dread
Recently, Lorde became the first woman since 1996 to top Billboard’s Alternative Songs Chart. That’s right, the chart went an astonishing 17 years without a female atop it. Something is very, very wrong here. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the top of the Alternative Songs Chart was home to a brilliant array of female musicians: Tori Amos, Suzanne Vega, Kate Bush, Sinead O’Connor, and Alanis Morissette among them. These women existed alongside pop stars like Madonna and Janet Jackson, carving out successful careers that had little to do with glitz and glamour. We are a long way from 1994, when Tori Amos, Bjork, and PJ Harvey appeared on the cover of Q Magazine together, each of them a unique force in the music industry. These days, there seems to be little mainstream interest in the kind of confessional, experimental songwriting that the Toris,
I am thrilled to announce that my short film "Revolution," about an Iranian boy's coming-of-age, is now available on YouTube and Vimeo thanks to the FramelineVoices project. Hope you enjoy it. It was very much a labor of love. The film stars Mojean Aria, Busy Philipps, Sheila Vosough, David Diaan, and Zach Cumer. The original score was composed by Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij.
It seems as if everyone who lives in West Hollywood has a Faye Dunaway story. I have heard of sightings at the cheese counter of Whole Foods, Faye berating some poor soul because they don’t have the manchego she likes. I have heard of sightings at the Virgin Megastore (remember CD stores?), Faye accosting a manager because she was displeased with their classical selection. I have heard of sightings at local coffee shops, Faye mistaken for one of West Hollywood’s Russian babooshkas. But despite living in West Hollywood for fifteen years, my Faye Dunaway story happened long ago and faraway from the city of Angels. Wallingford, CT. 1994. After two years at the tony New England prep school Choate Rosemary Hall, I had finally come out of my shell and started to express myself. And a big part of that self-expression came through
Despite all the salacious stories included in Ava Gardner: The Secret Confessions, my favorite story from the book is fairly chaste, revealing nothing about Mickey Rooney’s libido or Frank Sinatra’s penis. The story involves an aged Gardner meeting Dick Snyder, the CEO of Simon & Schuster, the publishing company planning on publishing her memoirs. “Didn’t anyone tell you?” she objects. “I stopped auditioning a long time ago, honey.” Desperate to live up to her image as “the world’s most beautiful animal,” Gardner called in her favorite cinematographer Jack Cardiff, who rearranged the lamps in her living room, placed a key light above her chair, and placed a shadow over the half of her face that had been frozen by a recent stroke. The story reveals the crafty ambition and aching vulnerability behind Gardner’s tell-it-like-it-is persona. Perhaps the reason the story resonated