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World Premiere of ICARUS/RISE to Open Iranian Literary Arts Festival


Niloufar Talebi, Alex Ketley and Bobak Salehi collaborate on fusion of new poetry, music and dance that uses myth of Icarus as departure point to dramatize the voyage from exile to self-possession experienced by both the immigrant and the artist


Festival presented by The Translation Project along with honorary guests Mayor Gavin Newsom, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, and SF Symphony Musical director, Michael Tilson Thomas, will round out schedule with films, panels, multimedia, and visual arts. Festival in partnership with Beyond Persia.


November 13-17 run at Theater Artaud


 Tickets available through City Box Office starting September 15



San Francisco, August 25- The 1st annual Iranian Arts Festival will present the world premiere of ICARUS/RISE on Thursday, November 15 at 8 pm, followed by performances on Friday the 16th at 8pm, and Saturday the 17th at 7pm. The festival opens on November 13th with film screenings and an art exhibit, and continues through November 17, with a variety of literary offerings including a talk with noted Iranian writer, Moniru Ravanipur.


An after-party follows the Thursday and Friday performances of ICARUS/RISE with tickets for performance + after-party priced at $50.00. A special gala fundraiser follows Saturday's performance, with tickets priced at $185.00. All tickets go on sale through City Box Office starting September 15. 


Conceived and created by The Translation Project's Niloufar Talebi, ICARUS/RISE combines a series of 14 poems by contemporary Iranian poets with an original score by Bobak Salehi and the choreography and video projections of Alex Ketley. Beginning with a prophetic tone, the work conjures the many moods-including nostalgia, resignation, optimism, and sensuality- that inevitably accompany the journey from exile to self-possession. A journey that is the lot of both the immigrant looking for a new home, and the artist searching to find his or her voice.


When asked what she wants an audience to take away from the piece, Talebi-who also narrates and stars in the piece-says, "It's not only an opportunity to show how lyrical, epic and humorous contemporary Iranian poetry is, but also how relevant."


In addition, notes Talebi, "ICARUS/RISE is about shedding the chrysalis of home and turning exile into an act imagination."


A list of poems and poets and other information is available at


The Iranian Literary Arts Festival is presented by The Translation Project, whose mission is to connect Iranian writers to new worldwide audiences, in partnership with Beyond Persia, that aims to give voice to the lives of  "hyphenated Iranians". Ahsha Safai, of the San Francisco Mayor's Office, notes that The Translation Project's festival brings world culture to our shore and is "essential to our understanding of a rich and multifaceted culture that is often misrepresented and misunderstood."


The festival culminates on Saturday, November 17 with a gala fundraiser for The Translation Project, which includes a 7 pm presentation of ICAURS/RISE, followed by a celebration with food and live music. Chair of the Host Committee Bita Daryabari will be joined by committee members and corporate sponsors Plug and Play, Steven Volpe, Roth Martin and Hedge Gallery.


The Iranian Literary Arts Festival runs November 13-17 at Theater Artaud, 450 Florida Street, SF. (415) 626-4370.


About Niloufar Talebi

Award-winning translator, Niloufar founded The Translation Project in 2003. She is the editor and translator of BELONGING: New Poetry of the Iranian Diaspora (forthcoming 2008, North Atlantic Books). More information at


About Alex Ketley

Alex danced with the San Francisco Ballet, as well as danced and choreographed for Alonzo King's LINES Ballet. He co-founded The Foundry to explore choreography, improvisation, mixed media work, and collaborative process. Visit


About Bobak Salehi

Bobak ventured into music under the direction of his father, Maestro, Hossein Salehi. He is trained in classical violin and founded the Damām Ensemble, classical and folk music of Iran and co-founded the fusion group rāz, blending Middle Eastern and Latin American popular music.


About Moniru Ravanipur

Moniru Ravanipur is the voice of an emerging presence of females in Iranian fiction. Her participation in the Berlin Conference in 2000 resulted in mass censorship of her work in Iran. She is currently a fellow at the Las Vegas City of Asylum program.


About The Translation Project (TTP)

A literary organization, production company and think tank, TTP is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring contemporary Iranian literature to worldwide audiences in multiple languages and media. Visit


About Beyond Persia

Beyond Persia is a social network built around Iranian American/ex-patriot artists living anywhere outside their homeland. It supports its efforts through quality art exhibits, concerts, film festivals, and event management. Visit

... Payvand News - 10/11/07 ... --

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