After two dismal years, Armenian theater in Los Angeles managed an uptick in both the quantity and quality of productions that graced area stages in 2012.
The AFFMA Film Festival is less than a week away, and, this year, courtesy of the screeners provided by the organizers of the festival, I had the chance to review several of the documentaries on the program.
As someone who attended Armenian private school, I consider the preservation of Armenian culture an extremely important matter. Preserving Armenian culture, or hayabahbanum, was a constant topic of conversation throughout my primary education – among friends, in class, and in public lectures; it was keenly emphasized for us as children and ingrained in our education.
In her 2011 publication, The Concession Stand: Exaptation at the Margins, Arpine Konyalian Grenier sets out to puncture rigid formulations of identity that would classify her as an Armenian-American poet. As an Armenian born in Lebanon and living and producing in the United States, Grenier seeks to dismantle reductive formulations of hyphenated identity.
Artistic collaboration is a productive site where perspectives can meet and reshape each other, generating new imaginings for the artists involved.
In the year-end article I wrote last December – months before the Occupy movement launched in New York and spread to 80 countries – I began a quiet protest, lamenting the state of Armenian theater in our corner of the diaspora and calling for increase – and improvement – in its cultural production.
This year’s Arpa International Film Festival featured two short films with a storyline informed by an historic catastrophe: Levon Minasian’s Le Piano depicts the musical aspirations and struggles of a child virtuoso, Loussiné, who was orphaned after the earthquake in Leninakan, Armenia in 1988; Eric Nazarian’s Bolis follows the journey of an Armenian oud player, Armenak, who visits Istanbul to perform in an oud festival and find the site of his grandfather’s pre-Genocide oud shop.
Regardless of your views on assisted suicide, you probably have an opinion about Jack Kevorkian. He was one of those people who, while sometimes courting controversy for the sake of notoriety, at the same time seemed to advocate for something he believed in very strongly – what he considered the very basic human right of the terminally ill to end their pain and suffering through doctor-assisted suicide.
As a proud graduate of Alex Pilibos, I often like to reflect on the fruits that local Armenian schools have borne over the last forty years
This spring marks the end of renowned historian Richard Hovannisian’s time at UCLA, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1962 and the first holder of the Armenian Education Foundation (AEF) Chair in Modern Armenian History since 1987. Those who are familiar with Hovannisian’s prolific record as a writer, editor, lecturer, organizer, and professor, might endow the news of his retirement with a hint of euphemism. In fact, during the recent event, “Forever our Professor,” organized in Hovannisian’s honor by his recent and former students, the beloved professor announced that he would return to the UCLA campus the following year to teach a course in Comparative Genocide Studies.