Thursday, November 27, 2008

Friendly Bearded Man vs Scary Bearded Man... and the Call for Tolerance

Cynthia Duxbury (2003)

You can download the full poster at:

The text says:
"Funny how the tiniest thing can make people feel different about you"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Telba: Uzbek Film

Telba (Crazy)
2008 Uzbek Film (no subtitles)

I am crazy about films with lovely cityscapes. This one of Tashkent was quite a treat! I'm sure the majority of you will not be able to understand this film since its in Uzbek. I think just watching it may be interesting enough. I have to be honest, it made me crave "khanums" (I imagine the closest thing would be a knish at a real-deal Jewish deli on the Lower East Side, right by the Sunshine Theater). Its a love story that tries to transgress class lines in a new Uzbekistan (complicated with its own new class of wealthy returnees).

Street Scenes:

Monday, November 3, 2008

Afghan Disco: In case the last vid made anyone feel as if Afghanistan is a timeless place of ancient glory

Afghanistan caught up with the West pretty quick! Perfect example: Parisa Morsal

In her own happy disco world with a red bow in her hair:

Another bit of warm and fuzzy (grainy) disco. This time in her happy world with bright red hair:

Letters from Kabul from Kabul 1966-1968

From New Jersey to Kabul. I made that trek the other way, from Kabul to New Jersey. Half of my childhood was spent in Parsippany, NJ that had its own enclave of Afghan Americans. So this was lovely to find on youtube. This is the story of Janice Minott's collection of letters from her stay in Afghanistan from 1966-1968. Her husband was Director for the Peace Corps. Here is her description of her project:

As a suburban wife and mother, I lived for two years there with my husband and three young children, at a time when this small, unknown country was just opening its doors to the twentieth century, and westerners commonly thought Afghanistan was somewhere in Africa.

The fifty letters in Letters from Kabul cover twenty two months that my family was there from June 1966 through March 1968.

During that time, we lived in a spacious mud-brick house inside a walled compound in Sherpur, one of the older sections of the city...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Samangan, 1965

I found this beautiful footage on youtube while researching yurts (one yoga fad has been to practice yoga in yurts -- I think it is just for alliterative joy that people do this, not exercise). It is such a delight to have footage of Afghanistan before the wars completely devastated the country. I don't know much about the Takht-e-Rustam but I remember it appearing from time to time in the fairytales my dad told me. The stumps are visible here in this footage. Also there are close-ups of the draped cloak of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Remember the ones the Taliban blew up? Of course, Miss Talibonita is not Taliban! Mark the clever little "o" making her simply a pretty student -- talib means student and bonita is exactly what she is [on the inside, of course]). It is also the very funny alter-ego of a girl who was born in Afghanistan, raised to school age in Saudi Arabia and then did the rest of her growing up in the beautiful red-brick neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

This footage was filmed on June 14-16, 1965 by Watson Kintner for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Learn more about eh Watson Kintner Collection here:

Footage contains the following: Uzbek camp at base of mountain. Circular wooden framework for top of yurt. 
Sheep tied to stakes.
Uzbek plowing: wooden ox-pulled plow. 
Ruin, hut on hill. 
Ruins of Takhte Rusten: 
Stumps of palace pillars. 
Farming area: general view. 
Old man on mule. 
Loaded trucks: one on left carries matches from Russia. 
Harvesting wheat: stones hold sheaves in place. 
Farmer: heavy coat to keep him cool. Village at mountain base: stone or adobe houses, flat roofs. 
Water conduit: split log. 
Village: walls, rooftops (enroute to Mazar-i-Sharif from Samangan). 
Tangi Siah (?) (Hunter's Gorge): red rock formation 
In Khulm: 
Skin water bags for sale 
Millstones for sale. 
Pot making: the liner for an open vessel for baking bread 
Potter walking on clay to form flat sidewall of baking pot. 
Potter sprinkling sand, compacting it with round tool. Making clay vessel: a finished pot is used to shape bottom of pot 
in progress. Hand tools. 
Forming inside base of pot using wooden pestle. 
Making clay handle for vessel by hand. 
Vessel for sale. 
Camel herd on plain 
Shrine (at Mazar-i-Shrif)

This film was digitized by

All rights are reserved by the University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Any use of the footage in productions is forbidden unless rights have been secured by contacting the Penn Museum Archives at 215-898-8304, or email This film and all of the films in the Penn Museum collection are copyrighted by the Penn Museum, and are not in the public domain.