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memri
September 15, 2006 No.
1289

Tehran Avenue.com - The Discovering of Iranian Pop Culture

Tehran Avenue, www.tehranavenue.com, is an Iranian Tehran-based online art project. The website was launched in 2001, with the aim of establishing a small city magazine. However, during the past five years, the small group of young writers who were its original contributors has grown into a sizable community.

Tehran Avenue's authors focus on issues that official or established media seldom do, [1] discovering the development of Tehran's artistic life through words and photography. The magazine aims to view Tehran from another angle: "not only [as] the political capital of the country [Iran] but [as] its artistic one …." [2] "The quantitative growth of pop music, the transformation of classical Persian music, and the re-emergence of rock and alternative music cannot [therefore] be left unattended." [3]

Tehran Avenue is a bilingual Farsi-English magazine. The aim of using English as a language of communication is to reach as many readers as possible, including the second generations of Iranians abroad who are more comfortable with the language of the country in which they were born or raised. [4]

Tehran Avenue is divided into three main sections, plus a minor economic news section:

a. "Art and Literature" explores the new exhibitions in town, the new Iranian pop trends in art and in music, and the evolution in literature's styles of published books in Iran.

b. "Editor's Choice" explores different subjects related to the world of art, through reporting and interviews.

c. "Around Town" explores trendy restaurants and cafes around Tehran.

The following are details on the sections of the websites, from the site itself:

A. Art and Literature [5]

Drama/Theatre - This section provides information on the many events taking place in and around the City Theater in Tehran. Tehran Avenue offers an evaluation and a review of works being staged in the Iranian capital.

Exhibit - This section focuses on those artists whose works are not reflected in the established media.

Film - This section offers a "Film Guide" and a film review. Tehran Avenue also promotes an on-line, one-shot film competition. The independent competition has chosen the "one-shot" format to invite participants to create stand-alone "visual notes." [6]

Literature - The material of this section is provided by Jahan-e Ketab, a literary magazine. Jahan-e Ketab is one of the "most acclaimed publications dealing with published books in Iran." [7]

Music - The section deals with social changes in Iran which recently have affected the music scene "in a country where early in the revolution music was looked upon with suspicion." [8]

Tehran Avenue also sponsors the Tehran Avenue Music Festival (TAMF), http://tehran360.com. The Festival aims to make available music produced independently by non-professional Iranian musicians inside and outside the country. TAMF explores how, in the Iranian music scene, "cultures are influencing each other with ease and force." [9] "Thus the reaction to overexposure by traditionalists, the drive for assimilation by modernists, and the search for a musical expression that can be at once creative and authentic, one that speaks truth to aesthetic sensibilities of a particular culture while maintaining its link to global realities." [10]

B. Editor's Choice [11]

Editorial - The editorial reflects the general view of the magazine on issues of the day.

Feature - This section discusses a main topic, giving a "multifaceted" view on a specific issue.

Interview - This section offers to the reader interviews to qualified people on a specific issue.

Talent - Assuming the form of reportage, this section focuses on an individual or group dealing with art.

Toons - This section sponsors animated cartoons by Iranian artists, [12] mainly focusing on social issues.

C. Around Town [13]

Café - "Tehran has changed drastically in recent decades. From new expressways to commercial billboards, the face of the city has transmogrified. Public spaces where people spend their time in have mushroomed. These public spaces have redefined people's attitude towards their city. Tehran Avenue's café section introduces restaurants and coffee shops that have flourished in the city." [14]

Citylog - In this section, readers can explore the viewpoint of the Tehran Avenue team on the surrounding reality of Iran, through out short articles and a fresh and surrealistic style.

In one of the published articles, titled "Body of Tehran," [15] author Hamed Safaee imagines his "beloved city of Tehran" [16] as a human body. He aims to remind Iranians that "whatever you do to this body will affect its members …," [17] because "everything is connected. If you hurt, I hurt." [18]

Safaee designates the office of Tehran Avenue as the heart of the capital; however, he states that he is unable to find its brain: "And if I had to find a brain for Tehran, I would be hard put. Believe me, this city has [n]one, nor anything like it. It has a nervous system, a commander center, if you like …." [19]

"… We are blood to the inhabitant of this city. We are pumped daily from and to the heart of this city. We are polluted and soiled, carrying food to weak cells, even to the brain that we don't have." [20]

Tehran Avenue describes the section as follows: "We were always looking for a way to talk about seemingly insignificant city events in virtual space. 'Citylog' is our way of doing it. The short pieces of this section may be written from an individual's point of view, but they are not personal." [21]

Fiction - This section focuses on short fiction and personal stories.

Society - This section deals with social issues, such as working life, love, friendship, and the relationship with the other.

Outdoors - This section deals with outdoors activities, discovering Iran's natural sites.

Events - This section lists all Tehran events: exhibits, movies, theater plays, concerts, restaurants and bars, music and books.


[1] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .

[2] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .

[3] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .

[4] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .

[5] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .

[6] One Shot Film Competition, Tehran Avenue, http://www.tehranavenue.com/article.php?id=599

[7] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php

[8] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php ..

[9] Tehran 360, http://tehran360.com/main.php?page_name=articles&article_id=1& .

[10] Tehran 360, http://tehran360.com/main.php?page_name=articles&article_id=1& .

[11] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .

[12] Toons, Tehran Avenue, http://www.tehranavenue.com/tooons.php?tooonsid=17 .

[13] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .

[14] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .

[15] "The Body of Tehran," Hamed Safaee,Tehran Avenue, http://www.tehranavenue.com/article.php?id=589 .

[16] "The Body of Tehran," Tehran Avenue, http://www.tehranavenue.com/article.php?id=589 .

[17] "The Body of Tehran," Tehran Avenue, http://www.tehranavenue.com/article.php?id=589 .

[18] "The Body of Tehran," Tehran Avenue, http://www.tehranavenue.com/article.php?id=589 .

[19] "The Body of Tehran," Tehran Avenue, http://www.tehranavenue.com/article.php?id=589 .

[20] "The Body of Tehran," Tehran Avenue, http://www.tehranavenue.com/article.php?id=589 .

[21] About Us, Tehran Avenue, http://tehranavenue.com/about.php .