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!


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.


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


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!”

Below is a partial listing of vendors in various international cities.

New York / Brooklyn
There are a bunch of vendors for NY but as of now, I know for sure that it’s available at:
Bedford Exotics Magazines| 195 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn (718.302.5005) [This is Mr. Ali’s store.]
Park Slop Smoke Shop | 65 5TH AVE, Brooklyn (718 857 9559)
Subways Newstand | 1250 6 Ave & 49 ST, Manhattan

Albam Shop
Artwords Bookshop
Design Museum
Donlon Books
Magma Books
The Photographers Gallery

Los Angeles
Mohawk General Store
Ooga Booga
Vivier and Bentley

French Trotters
Yvon Lambert Gallery

Book City #07
This Ain’t the Roadside Library

Old Faithful Shop

For inquiries re global distribution and vendor-location listing, please contact either: lubna@brownbook.me, or, dir@exportpress.com

10 thoughts on “Tehrangeles! | Brownbook – Issue #41

  1. Bravo! Intresting facts in this post apart from the fact that you have been published! 😉 I didn’t know that LA hosted so many Iranians! I would be quite intrested to know if there is a reason other than luck! Great photos (the man looks so proud!) and once again congrats!

    • Thank you! 🙂 I’m so glad you were interested in the facts … I didn’t want it to be just a patting-myself-on-the-back post. It’d be interesting if someone explored the reason why LA was such a migrating magnet. I’ve heard the climate played a role (which yes, it’s pleasant and dry, same as Tehran’s) and the pace of life (mellow) is proximate to the pace of life of in Tehran and Iran …but surely that can’t account for the entire reason …. hmm!

  2. How exciting! There’s no chance of grabbing a copy, though. I used to pop into the Photographers Gallery often. London’s too far these days.

    I happen to really like the cover. Especially the peroxide wig. Don’t really get the bandage, though.

    • Thank you Nargess joon! I think they post the content online a few months down the road, I’ll let you know, I’d like for you to check it out, the issue is an interesting read for irooniha!

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