Saturday, July 15, 2006
1) Milk & Opium (Doodh aur Apheem) @ Pioneer Theater THU 7/20
2) Bollywood Hit "Bunty aur Babli" FREE Outdoors @ Queens Museum of
Art FRI 7/21, as part of Passport Fridays Dance, Music, & Film
1) 3rd i NY presents
MILK & OPIUM (DOODH AUR APHEEM)
A young Sufi musician's search for his place in a rapidly changing
**Official Selection of the Berlin Film Fest 05 (Kinderfilmfest)**
Winner Best New Director and Best Actor, Brooklyn International Film
Thursday, July 20th, 2006, 7pm
Two Boots Pioneer Theater
155 East 3rd Street (at Avenue A)
Subway: F to 2nd Ave; 6 to Bleecker
Tickets: $9 Adults / $6.50 Pioneer Members
Advance Tickets: 7pm Show : http://www.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=53352
About the Film
Dir: Joel Palombo, India, 2005, 83 mins, Color, 35mm
Gone are the days of the Maharaja, who lavished his singers and
instrumentalists with bountiful gifts. When Swaroop accompanies his
Uncle Nizam and two other musicians on their travels, he learns that
the journey of a traditional musician in India is less fruitful than
he had imagined. A talented young boy from the small village of
Keralia, Swaroop comes from generations of musicians who played for
the kings and rajputs. But now there are no more kings, and the
rajputs are broke.
On its trek from Keralia to Delhi, the group of musicians faces one
disappointment after another. Swaroop becomes disillusioned with the
life he once romanticized and discovers disconcerting aspects of his
uncle's character. When he longs to find something different from
Keralia, every place he goes seems the same, and when he finally
does enter a new world, he wonders whether he should have left his
village at all.
Director Joel Palombo presents a story about people who must survive
and define themselves in lost, evolving and colliding cultures, and
he tells a tale about the passion that sustains one boy. Full of
heart and excellent musical performances, Milk & Opium is a special
treat for the music-loving viewer.
More information: http://www.milkandopium.com/home.html
About the Director
Art teacher and an artist, Joel Palombo has made several short films
and video works. His short films have played most recently at the
Dallas Museum, the 2005 Japan World Expo, …stersunds
Konstvideofestival, Sweden and Video Formes, International Video Art
Festival, Clarmont-Ferrand, France. Originally from Detroit, Joel
has been living in India for the last eight years. Milk and Opium is
his first feature film.
About 3rd I. 3rd I New York's monthly film and music salon designed
by local filmmakers and experimental DJs showcases the works of
independent filmmakers of South Asian descent and local djs,
musicians and electronica artists. Providing alternative forums for
South Asian filmmakers who often have few venues to showcase their
work not only increases their visibility, but also provides a social
forum for peers and audiences to participate in an ongoing
discussion. www.thirdi.org/~ny for more info
Queens Museum of Art with 3rd I NY present
DESI NIGHT @ PASSPORT FRIDAYS OUTDOOR CULTURE FESTIVAL
@ Queens Museum of Art, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
FRI - JULY 21, 2006 6:30 - 11pm
Free & Open to the Public
In Case of Rain: All events will take place indoors, inside of the
museum. No raindates!
For additional information & directions, visit www.queensmusuem.org,
or call 718.592.9700.
MUSIC 6:30 - 7:30 pm: Performances produced by Overdose Music,
Members of STONE FOREST ENSEMBLE , a Classical/World Music/Hip-Hop
fusion group featuring Chesney Snow on percussion/beat box and Jie
Song Zhang on violin; CHEE MALIBAR who has just release "Oblique
Brown" with long time collaborators Zeeb from The Soulful MP's. The
album is a snapshot into the life of a young man in America as he
grapples with being a "brown man in a white world, living through
black music"; RANJIT's music is a thougthful blend of bossa and
soul. Born in India and raised in the USA, Ranjit sings at times in
French, Spanish, Malayalam,Hindi and English; GENIUS BLAZE is an
Indo-Guyanese artist and entrepreneur who is threading new ground
with his contributions to Reggae music. Through vibrant lyrics he
commands a strong presence on stage ranging from dancehall, to
culture to hip hop.
DANCE 7:30 - 8:00 pm: Dance Performance by Bollywood Axion Troupe,
headed by Pooja Narang, which fuses contemporary western influences,
classical Indian dance techniques,the contagious energy of Punjabi
bhangra, and the passionate spirit of hindi cinema,Bollywood Axion
is a pioneer in the indo-western dance world, garnering much
television and media attention.
FILM 8:00 - 11:00pm: Bunty aur Babli / Bunty and Babli
(Shaad Ali, India, 170 mins, Hindi & English with English ST)
Rakesh (Abhishek Bachchan) and Vimmi (Rani Mukherjee) meet in Mumbai
after escaping the boring lives their provincial parents have in
mind for them. Renaming themselves "Bunty" and "Babli", they set
off to make big bucks in ever more bold capers as they travel across
the country in this Bollywood homage to Bonnie & Clyde.
About PASSPORT FRIDAYS
Leave your baggage at home and bring a picnic blanket out to the
Queens Museum ofArt in Flushing Meadows Corona Park for the 2nd
edition of QMA's Annual Passport Fridays Free International Outdoor
Film, Dance and Music Series. The event takes place every Friday
evening July 7th to August 25th, 2006 from 6:30- 10pm. The weekly
outdoor festivities feature dance performances by winners of QMA &
Topaz Arts annual Dance in Queens Choreography Residency, abnd
continue with a live concert and film screening from one of the many
countries that fuel Queens cultural & artistic vitality: Mexico,
Korea, Brazil, Guinea, India, China and the Middle East are on your
all-inclusivesummer itinerary. See you in the park!
For complete schedule visit:
Thursday, July 13, 2006
It was fantastic! I mean there are always times when you think you can improve, but that's great for future reference. In the heat of the moment, the conference couldn't have gone better. Attendees enjoyed themselves, we avoided any untoward incidents and are continuing to get great feedback. I hope those who have taken my business card do indeed keep in touch and those whose contact info I have taken also reply and keep in touch! The opportunity to speak and interact with the wide variety of spectacular people that I got this past Saturday was awe-inspiring and one I could never have gotten elsewhere or at another time. It was sheer magic! In the end, it is the cause we all stand for that has benefitted and for that I am always thankful.
I was also deeply appreciative of the AID headquarters crew who allowed me to be in the spotlight for a few moments and deliver some opening comments. I received some great feedback about the speech and I would like to share some excerpts from it and have copied some parts below. Please do let me know if you'd like the whole document.
Just by chance, while going through an email from the United Nations Association, I found out about a FREE Young Global Leaders Summit. Who cares what the conference was about – it was free! And there was free food! I just had to go.
It was the best thing to happen to me in a long time. Enrolling in graduate school and having part-time internship and volunteering obligations meant I may have been stretching myself too thin. AID was actually a savior in many ways. By using its absolutely phenomenal logistical and human resources, AID helped me pull off some great events that people still talk about today and even got media coverage along the way. The first AID conference I attended last year was eye-opening in other ways as well. A young college student was coordinating the whole endeavor. After observing her, I realized I didn’t have to wait for other organizations to arrange conferences and events geared towards students and young adults. Instead, I took the initiative and since then, AID has helped me develop professionally and personally and for that I will be eternally grateful.
My conscience would never forgive me if I walked off this podium or away from this conference and I didn’t somehow pass the torch on. I guess this is where my paternalistic mentoring side shines through. I hope you all can go back to your communities and pass on whatever you have learned here today. I hope you write letters to the Editors of campus and community newspapers demanding fair and just coverage of all things related to the Muslim world. I hope you all realize that because of the knowledge, motivation and enthusiasm you possess, you are helping to ensure a more prosperous future for all people. I hope if nothing, this conference can at least empower you all to think more critically about an issue which is not only of obvious importance to the Western or Muslim worlds, but also to modern civilization. Let’s not think of it as a “Clash of Civilizations” but as an opportunity for a “Meeting of the Minds” as renowned historian Mark Rosenblum would put it.
For those of you who are well versed in history, you will probably remember George Santayana’s saying: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” In this axiom, it is assumed that if history repeats itself, something obviously went wrong. Instead, I ask you all to think about a time when Muslims, Christians and Jews not only lived with tolerance and acceptance amongst each other, but where these civilizations flourished, producing scholars and inventions and giving the term “peaceful coexistence” an entirely new meaning.
Think about the time when the Moors ruled
I challenge you all today to ponder over how we can re-visit that part of our glorious legacy. Let it not remain a part of our forgotten past. Let us re-examine the past, learn from it and then intentionally repeat it. Contrary to George Santayana’s opinion, I think we all will welcome this repetition of history.I leave you with a verse from the Quran which has been instrumental in helping me spread this good word and fight this good fight. It says, “So tell the tale; perhaps they shall reflect.”
Copied below are some excerpts from my latest column where I also covered some salient details about the event. The column can be found in its entirety over here.
Saturday, July 8th will go down in history as a day when scores of enthusiastic young adults from all over North America came together to discuss a matter of immense importance not only to the Western or Muslim world, but to modern civilization. The future of Western-Muslim world relations is a topic that Muslims are naturally interested in, but now the interest and enthusiasm is filtering into non-Muslim communities, especially those who are adherents of the monotheistic traditions. The conference was organized by Americans for Informed Democracy (AID), an organization I have written often about in this very column space, and I cannot help but write about them again, because they have done what other organizations have seldom been able to do in the past: bring together diverse communities and engage all peoples in dialogue.
The day started off with opening comments by AID’s Change the World Fellow, Kira Christie. The first panel started shortly thereafter, which brought together scholars and experts who discussed answers to two questions: what is the long-term strategy for improving relations between the West and the Islamic world? Are the West and Islamic world currently on the right path? Panellists included Andrea Bartoli, Director, Centre for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University; Shamil Idriss, Deputy Director, United Nations Office of the Alliance of Civilizations; Sasha Mehra, Deputy to the Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State for Women’s Empowerment; Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, Human Rights Watch, and Jin In, Girls Scouts of America.
The panel was highly thought-provoking and stirred an enthusiastic response from conference participants, courtesy the diverse thoughts brought to the fore. Dr. Bartoli of Columbia University set the tone for the panel by saying that the dichotomy that we have set up by calling the “West” and the “Muslim” worlds separate and distinct is utterly ridiculous, because Muslims live in large numbers in non-Muslim societies, a prime example being the US and the UK.
Whitson of Human Rights Watch agreed, and went a step further by disagreeing with her fellow panellists and stated that the Western world is not on track and that a human rights framework needs to be employed. The US, according to her, is not acting as a disinterested party and that the role of the Israeli lobby must also be taken into consideration. I thought her most important point was regarding the inclusion of the Muslim community in issues that affect us most. Otherwise, someone else will be at the forefront of these discussions and we will inevitably suffer.
Mehra’s comments were not entirely unexpected. While she applauded the attendance of such a large number of students at the conference, her comments did not resonate with them. She made reference to Condoleezza Rice’s doctrine of “transformational diplomacy” and rightfully mentioned that now there exists a competition between information sources and how to get the attention of the masses, so that people have correct information.
The second panel was on the role of the media and what it can do to foster better relations between the Western and the Muslim world. Panellists included Masood Haider, President of the United Nations Correspondents Association and UN Correspondent for the Daily Dawn; Laura Bagnetto, Correspondent for the Saudi Press Agency; Joe Lauria, UN correspondent for the Boston Globe and investigative reporter for the Sunday Times of London; Reverend Dr. Raewynne J. Whiteley, author of Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalogue and Abdelkader Abbadi, UN Correspondent for The Independent in New York, former Director of the Department of Political Affairs at the UN and former Deputy-Director of Security Council Affairs at the UN.
Masood Haider gave the much-needed Muslim perspective and talked about how different media outlets portray different stories in different manner. Much to my amazement, he also stated that the New York Times is making an effort to engage communities in dialogue. Like Whitson, he also agreed that the issue of Palestine is one that Muslims hold dear and must be discussed at length. According to him, the “War on Terror” is being lost badly.
The conference closed with some remarks by the organizers who thanked the Political Science department at the CUNY Graduate Centre for co-sponsoring the event as well as the Doctoral Students Council, which generously provided a grant. A special thanks went out to the numerous volunteers and interns who helped ensure the smooth functioning of all logistics, and in making the conference a success.
At the end of the day, I could not have been more content with the events that transpired during the day. So many people expressed gratitude that such an endeavour was finally being organized and many also hoped to do something similar in their own communities. The credit really goes to organizations like AID that have noticed the widening chasm between both “worlds” and are hectically working to do something positive to reverse the trend. One can only hope we see similar endeavours taking place all over the US, and even the world.
Call for Applications for Young Global Leaders Summits
Apply to these summits at www.aidemocracy.org/conferences.cfm
Students and young professionals wishing to make a difference in the world are invited to apply for the Young Global Leaders Summit: Bringing the World Home through Media taking place on Saturday, July 22nd at Yale University, New Haven, CT. The summit will bring together young global leaders from across the
The summits are coordinated by Americans for Informed Democracy (AID), a non-partisan organization working to raise global awareness on more than 500
Confirmed speakers at the Bringing the World Home through Media summit include:
• Warren Hoge, U.N. Bureau Chief, The New York Times
• Kim Spencer, President, Link TV
• Robert Lane Greene, Global Agenda Writer, The Economist
• Solana Larsen, Commissioning Editor, openDemocracy.net
• Chris Hondros, Award-winning Photojournalist Covering World Conflict Zones
• Robert Nolan, Online Editor, Foreign Policy Association, and Editorial Producer of Great Decisions TV Series
• Wendy Cohen, Outreach Coordinator, Media That Matters / Arts Engine
• Irving Stolberg, Former President of the National Conference of State Legislatures
After the summit, conference participants are invited to attend a free live concert with Boyz II Men.
Thanks to the generous support of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Society Institute, Ford Foundation and Hewlett Foundation, the summit is free for selected participants, including tuition and food. Travel to the conference is at the participant’s expense, but Americans for Informed Democracy will do its best to set up car pools for participants coming from the Tri-State
Monday, July 10, 2006
The Citizens Foundation in Pakistan does some amazing work related to educational initiatives all over the country and especially for impoverished families and children. They're having a picnic next week for young professionals based in the NYC area. Please do attend! Details below...
Hope you can make it to the first TCF-Young Professional event. Feel free to forward the invitation to your friends.
Central Park - Sheep Meadow
Central Park West and 67 street, New York, NY
Sunday, July 16, 3:00pm to 6:30pm
Suggested donation for the event is $20 per person.
Please RSVP to let us know if you will attend.