I Run To Iran! :-)

Illustration collage sports car toy girl cute by Fig & Quince (Persian food blog)
At one point, I actually dreamed about driving from Europe to Iran! I’m taking the plane though!

“Where are you going? To Ghandahar?” — delivered in an incredulous tone armed with a figuratively raised eyebrow — is how an Iranian person might address someone who makes a fuss or takes a lot of things with them when going somewhere or on a trip.  I guess back when this phrase of speech started, Ghandahar was the furthest reaches of the earth one’s mind could comprehend. I’m not taking a lot of things with me, and I’m trying not to make a fuss, and I’m certainly not going to Ghandahar, but I am going to Iran. Finally. After 35 years! Well, you if you’re reading Fig & Quince, you already knew that. All told, I will be gone for two months, give or take … approximately … more or less. That sounds like a long time and maybe it will be too long and it’ll drag and maybe it’ll be entirely too brief. Time will tell!

I don’t know how actively I’ll have Internet access or, more accurately, how often I’ll have the time or opportunity or desire to get online. I mean, odds are, I’ll be stuffing my face with something delicious instead. But, whenever possible, I’d love to share some Norooz festivities and fun highlights of my travel with you.

I’ll keep in touch mostly via Facebook. I’m leaving in 24 hours (yikes!) so do “friend” me beforehand. You do want to be friends, don’t you? You might also find me on Twitter and Instagram. If we’re not following each other yet, let’s fix that. Find me so I can follow you back.

This trip was for the longest time a dream of mine and now it’s a reality. I’m excited to realize this dear ambition and I wish whatever yours is, it will come true as well. In its time. Under grace.

Happy Spring Lovely People! And Till soon!

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Apple illustration icon graphic by Fig & Quince (Iranian food culture blog)

Chess Made

My little nephew has become smitten by playing chess. He wanted to play and there were no chess sets at hand. So my brother whipped up this chess set before you could say check mate. Pretty cool, no? Very charming in presence. Only flaw: even a sigh and the king and queen and all the horsemen and soldiers would be aflutter … all over the place.

ps I’m writing this post by email to test out the feature. Hope it comes out OK. If not, excuse the wonkiness.

Noosheh Jaan

digital calligraphy of Noosh eh jan Persian for bon appetit good eating Iranian saying when starting eating food

Noosheh Jaan!

Noosheh jaan (sometimes spelled nusheh jaan) literally means: “may it be sweet for your soul”,”may it be a pleasure to your being”. That sounds quite florid, but in common parlance, the utterance simply signifies: bon appetit, good appetite! It is what we say to everyone at the table before we commence to stuff our faces with delicious, delicious, ridiculously delicious Persian food.

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heartliebsters-1.jpg

OOPS!

Dragon dinosaur illustration vector art slip fall funny

wOOPSie daISY

sometimes a dragon slips and falls. it happens. then the dragon breathes some fire, eats some bonbons, does some yoga and gets back up.

Just Sayin’

The Discreet Charm of Drink + Draw + Collage in Brooklyn

The other night I had the distinct pleasure (along with just the slightest case of butterflies) of leading the first Drink & Draw (and Collage!) event at Whole Foods Brooklyn with Arts Gowanus.

Drink Draw Collage Whole Foods Brooklyn Arts Gowanus Fig Quince Persian Food Blog Azita Houshiar

Fig & Quince at the Drink & Draw & Collage event at Whole Foods with Arts Gowanus

Whole Foods did a beautiful job of hosting the event. Providing baskets with pencils and paper; the friendliest staff; a brick when needed (heh!); and chocolate!

I gave a brief talk about collage (had to mention the 12th century Japanese calligraphy artists and Mary Delaney of course!) and then everyone got into their own creative groove and either drew and/or made collages. People seemed to be into it and had fun.

Here are some pix … click on one to start the slideshow:

Doesn’t it look like wholesome good fun?

Then afterwards, along with a few friends, we went to two art galleries nearby. Who knew about the cool art scene in Gowanus, Brooklyn? Very intriguing.

Gowanus Brooklyn Art Gallery Modern Sculpture

Enlightened man at Show Room Gowanus

Proteus Art Gallery Gowanus Brooklyn

Jeannine & Nancy holding the tiniest book with a riveting story at Proteus Gowanus

And after that, Mr. Ricardo walked me home. And gave me his blessings. The rain downpour had stopped by then too.

The End!

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Collage | A pretty sticky subject!

Collage azita houshiar mixed media

Some People | mixed media collage

Collage azita houshiar mixed media

Pink Vertebrae | mixed media collage

Collage azita houshiar mixed media

Stained by Memory – mixed media collage

Collage azita houshiar mixed media

shir va khorshid| mixed media collage

i love collage as an art vehicle because it is a forgiving, versatile and incredibly expressive medium. it is an art form that is not technically driven so much as it is emotionally and visually vested and I like that. these are some of mine that I count among my favorites.

do you make collages? if not: you really should. Scissor, glue, a mounting surface and some cutouts or found objects and a desire to make something or express a mood or feeling are all you need.

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Seasons Greetings from 7Legs + Mac Ghassem

1a puppet animation holiday Christmas greeting card Season

2b puppet animation holiday Christmas greeting card Season

3b puppet animation Happy playing food holiday Christmas greeting card Season

4b puppet animation holiday Christmas greeting card Season

Old Mac Ghassem (also known as Mashdi Donald) and his coddled pishi kat Meeyou and the rest of his cute critter-menagerie join 7legs (and Fig & Quince) — in this very special time of year – with a heartfelt and bellowing chorus to wish you all:

Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a very happy New Year.

Let’s all sing along together now (to the tune of ♪ Oh, Old MacDonald Had a Farm E.I.E.I.O ):

With a woof woof woof and a cluck cluck cluck and an oink oink oink and a meow meow meow and a Perzh Perzh Persian and a neigh neigh neigh here and a baa-baa-baa there, here a cluck, there a woof, here an oink, everywhere a baa, here a Persian or two, and there a MEOW … Ooooh …

♫ VERY.

HAPPY.

♪  HOLIDAYS!

La la la la la LA! ♪

Fig-Quince-Holiday-Greetings-GIF-animated-puppet

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Goethe Said

Goethe_portrait“Be bold. Whatever you do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius and power and magic in it.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I believe this.

Tehrangeles! | Brownbook – Issue #41

07-B-Tehrangeles Brownbook sharbat sekanjabin persian blog

Y’all. I’m excited to share the news that a few months ago I got the chance to work with the wonderful team (editor and art director) of Brownbook (a cool online & print lifestyle guide to the Middle East) to write & photograph an article for the Tehrangeles-themed issue #41 of their magazine.

Tehrangeles is a hybrid (Tehran + Los Angeles) nickname that’s a wink-wink nod to the fact that more Iranians live in Los Angeles than anywhere else in the world outside of Iran — an interesting statistic that is the direct outcome of the exodus of 1979. (Why did so many self-exiling Iranians pick the city of angels as a landing pad? I don’t know and I do wonder about that. We almost ended up there as well except that my mother vetoed the move but that’s another story entirely.)

The striking cover image — “Hybrid Girl 1″ — is a work by the artist Shirin Aliabadi. Someone on Facebook questioned the aptness of the choice – making a valid point that Iranian women in Los Angeles (or anywhere outside of Iran for that matter) do not cover up with hijab. But: poetic license and all that. Personally, I love it! It’s odd and bold. Eye-candy, in the best sense of the word.

The magazine was published in early September but available for purchase here in the U.S., this past week. Finally!

CAPTION

This is Mr. Ali, the kindly proprietor of the Williamsburg shop who helped me track down copies of Brownbook’s Tehrangeles issue and who indulged my photo-op requests.

CAPTION

A really really nice guy, Mr. Ali continued to humor my tomfoolery by also posing with the magazine opened to my article’s page. Pages 174-178, baby!

My contribution to the issue was to photograph and write about the Persian beverage sharbat ‘e sekanjabin: a classic, delicious type of sharbat, unique in that it can also be served as a dip with fresh crispy romaine lettuce leaves — praised by Ibn Sina; coveted and copied by the ancient Romans; imbibed by wise Iranians in the hot months of summer — made with honey and vinegar and sprigs of fresh mint.

Of note, Davar Ardalan (NPR senior producer and creator of The Persian Square) and Alex Shams (editor-in-chief of Ajam Media Collective) were kind enough to contribute quotes to the article.

Here are a couple of outtakes:

1-Tehrangeles Brownbook sharbat sekanjabin persian blog

CAPTION

Sharbat ‘eh sekanjabin, flanked by cherries, figs, blooms. Makes me nostalgic for summer!

The issue is jam-packed with interesting features and images. I loved it all, specially the Kish Island feature; the bit about Mashti Malone’s Persian ice cream parlor; the interview with Arash Davari, editor of Bitaarof magazine; and the intro essay by Porochista Khakpour. But I have to say that I was most intrigued by the profile on (and as a result am currently borderline obsessed with) Ana Lily Aminpour, a filmmaker who’s created the first Iranian Vampire Western! (WHAT!) I can’t wait to see it and I want to watch all of her short films as well, including Pashmaloo, which means “hairy” in Persian and is a word that does not cease to delight me.

    This would be me.  Captured on a cloudy day captivated by the magazine.

This would be me. Captured on a cloudy day captivated by the magazine.

This was my first print publication and I’m tickled pink to be included in this terrific issue and in such good company. A meaningful personal milestone that I thank you for letting me share.

In conclusion, as someone more articulate than moi put it: “Pick up a copy and help keep print alive!”

Click here to find out where!

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