Persian Cats, 3-D Phish And Houston Zydeco

No One Knows About Persian Cats, the pseudo-documentary about the underground music scene in Tehran that Rocks Off first told you about in January, opens in wide release today and is now screening at the Landmark River Oaks Theatre. The film was featured at the MFAH earlier this year as part of the museum's 17th annual Iranian Film Festival. Written in part by Roxana Saberi, the the Iranian-American journalist who spent five months in an Iranian prison after begin charges with espionage, the film details the story of Iranian indie rockers Negar Shaghaghi and Ashkan Koshanejad, who play slightly fictionalized versions of themselves while they attempt to get the travel documents (and put together a band) for a gig in London. Along the way they encounter music bootleggers, passport forgers and seedy underground clubs. The description actually reminds Hollywood Shuffle of one of her favorite musical scenes in film, when the cartoon version of music-loving Marjane Satrapi marches through Tehran singing "Eye of the Tiger." That Negar is even in this movie is a wonder - one can only imagine the taboos she's breaking as a young Iranian woman carousing with male musicians and daring to sing the Devil's music. The film, by Kurdish New Wave director Bahman Ghobadi, was made without permits and on the sly, and though some of it is staged, the underground bands featured are real, as is their struggle to make art. Up next, a new zydeco archive and Phish in 3-D... In Other News Hair Balls already reported on the renovation of the Fifth Ward's beautiful but bedraggled DeLuxe Theater. The theater is being turned into a performing-arts themed branch of the Houston Public Library. Swamplot is reporting that the theater will offer musical archives as well as books. From the DeLuxe website:

It will also be home to a one-of-the-kind zydeco archive, which will pay tribute to zydeco's rich tradition and history in the Fifth Ward. We are seeking partnerships with nationally recognized researchers of zydeco for this project.

First our local blues legends get historical markers, now we're getting an archive of Texas zydeco? Huzzah, Houston! Also Opening Today 3-D is all the rage in cinema these days, and jam band Phish wants some of the action. The band filmed a concert in front of 40,000 fans in October of last year that has now been turned into a DVD called - wait for it - Phish 3D. For one week, starting today, the film will be screened about four theaters in the Houston area: Willowbrook Movie Tavern, Rave Yorktown 15, Studio Movie Grill City Centre and The Grand 14 in Conroe. We're told the concert footage features never-before-seen covers and backstage footage. And if you see it at Movie Tavern you won't even have to pack your own muchies.

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