The third annual Persian Club Culture Night will bring the sights, sounds, and culture of traditional Iran to UCSB.
Culture night will begin tonight at 7 p.m. in the MultiCultural Center Theater. The theme is “Looking to Show Persian Culture,” and the show will include poetry, skits traditional Persian music and dance. Attendance is free and refreshments, including donated Subway sandwiches, tea and Persian pastries will be served.
“We’re having the Persian Culture Night to get people at UCSB who are not familiar with the Persian culture to get to learn something about it,” Persian Club President Steve Khachi said. “Most people only know Iran from what they see on CNN, and that’s not all Persian culture.”
The highlight of the show will be traditional Persian music performed by professional musicians and UCSB graduate students. Performances will include percussionist Seamak Pouian, santur player Bahram Osqueezodeh, sitar player Montino Bourbon and guitarist Alek Hagigi.
The show will also feature dances from different regions of Iran and will include belly-dancing demonstrations. Third-year global studies major and Persian club member Hiyadeh Boloorchi said the music and dance are a good way to show traditional Persian culture that most people at UCSB, even some second-generation Persian-Americans, would not have access to.
“It’s something totally different that people haven’t ever seen,” Boloorchi said. “The show will give you a new sound in your ear, a new taste, a new dance.”
There will also be a slideshow with images of both traditional and modern Iran followed by a documentary-style film, “Imagining Iran,” about people’s impressions of Iran. For the film, interviewers asked UCSB professors and students what came to their minds when they thought of Iran.
“The slideshow will give the audience a whole image of Iran, not just what’s seen on T.V.,” Khachi said.
“Its not just a desert,” Boloorchi said.
“Most people think of Persians and think they are Arab, but they’re not,” Khachi said. “That’s what this is about, getting rid of those stereotypes. Not that there is anything at all wrong with being Arab, but Persians have a different culture and history, and I think people need to know that.”
The show will also showcase poetry meant to bridge the gap between Persian and Western poetry and culture, Khachi said.
The evening will include a skit about the experience of growing up in the United States in a traditional Iranian family. The conflicts that arise in the skit are intended to both entertain and educate the audience about Persian-Americans.
The show will conclude with a discussion of post-9/11 discrimination against Iranians and Iranian-Americans in America, including the Immigration and Naturalization Services’ arrests of dozens of Middle Eastern immigrants in the last year. However, Khachi said that Persian Club is a nonprofit, nonreligious, apolitical club, and that the discussion will center on how students are affected, not the political implications.
“The club is not about politics, it’s about coming together, showing people who we really are, not who we are in politics. We’re just not that kind of a club,” Persian Club vice president Nazanin Golchini said. “It’s more of a social issue rather than a political one.”