Last Scene Underground An Ethonographic Novel of Iran
Friday, April 15, 2016
UCSD Literature Building Room 155 (deCerteau)
Leili could not have imagined that arriving late to Islamic morals class would change the course of her life. But her arrival catches the eye of a young man, and a chance meeting soon draws Leili into a new circle of friends and artists. Gathering in the cafes of Tehran, these young college students come together to create an underground play that will wake up their generation. They play with fire, literally and figuratively, igniting a drama both personal and political to perform their play—just once. From the wealthy suburbs and chic coffee shops of Tehran to subterranean spaces teeming with drugs and prostitution to spiritual lodges and saints' tombs in the mountains high above the city, Last Scene Underground presents an Iran rarely seen. Young Tehranis navigate their way through politics, art, and the meaning of home and in the process learn hard lessons about censorship, creativity, and love. Their dangerous discoveries ultimately lead to finding themselves. Written in the hopeful wake of Iran's Green Movement and against the long shadow of the Iran-Iraq war, this unique novel deepens our understanding of an elusive country that is full of misunderstood contradictions and wonder. About the author Roxanne Varzi is a professor of anthropology and visual studies at the University of California, Irvine. She is the author of Warring Souls: Media, Martyrdom, and Youth in Post-Revolution Iran (2006). Her award-winning short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and magazines, including the New York Press. Her film, Plastic Flowers Never Die, has been shown in festivals around the world from Bosnia to Boston, and her sound installation, Whole World Blind, has been exhibited in galleries in San Francisco and Berlin and is featured on Public Books. Varzi was born in Tehran and left with her family shortly after the Revolution. In 2000, she was awarded the first Fulbright fellowship since the Islamic Revolution for research in Iran.
Co-Sponsored by Literature, Anthropology, The Persianate Studies Event Series, UCSD Writing Program, and Third World Studies.