Friday, October 24, 2008

"Free Esha Momeni" Video

Scott, Lindsay and the MobLogic team put together a short video about the Cal State journalism grad student Esha Momeni, who was arrested in Iran last week.

Please share this video or the following link to the "For Esha" Blog to help bring awareness to Esha's situation and help get her released.

For more information, the latest news and to sign the petition to free Esha Momeni, go to:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A documentarian arrested in Iran

Today a friend forwarded to me his friend Anayansi Prado's email about the arrest of fellow filmmaker and Cal State student Esha Momeni on October 15th in Iran. Of course, I find it appalling when a documentarian or any journalists or any artists, for that matter, are arrested for their work. I was raised to believe that art (including documentaries and journalism) is defined by its capturing and commenting on the status quo of culture, politics and human dealings, etc. To have a healthy society (and this goes beyond national borders) it is important for artists to capture what they see and be able to comment through their work.

To some it may seem that the issue in this case may be complicated by the fact that Esha Momeni wasn't just conducting video interviews with members of the One Million Signatures Campaign, but that she was also volunteering for the organization.
The Campaign, “One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws,” which aims to collect one million signatures to demand changes to discriminatory laws against women, is a follow-up effort to the peaceful protest of the same aim, which took place on June 12, 2006 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran. (from their website)
It's possible that her direct involvement with the organization may be at the root of her arrest more so than her activities as a filmmaker. But in my opinion, arresting someone for (peacefully) pursuing women's rights is just as wrong.

It's a tricky thing to make judgments on other cultures. For example, I've heard convincing arguments by women for wearing a veil when in public - while I had always considered it as something that is degrading to women and restricting their freedom. It's not up to me to say what is right or wrong for others - especially if they are raised in such a different culture - but I DO believe it is important that people have the freedom to choose and that there are equal rights for all - no matter what gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, etc.

But again, a priority is that journalists and artists of all manners are free to witness and share what they have seen so we know when its time to take action and protect those who need help.

I deeply admire Esha Momeni for her courage and persistence and hope she will be free soon and not suffer any more harm.

Anayansi Prado's email:


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Today I was informed of some heartbreaking and sad news.

A young Iranian woman I've been mentoring and working with here in the US has been detained by Iranian authorities -- and I need your help.

Esha Momeni, a documentary filmmaker, activist, Cal State Northridge student and friend was arrested October 15th in an unusual and illegal manner after being pulled over on Moddaress highway, by individuals who identified themselves as undercover traffic police on the pretense that she had unlawfully passed another vehicle while driving. Esha was arrested and taken to Section209 of notorious Evin Prison, managed by the Intelligence and Security Ministry.

Esha, who was born in Iran and holds US citizenship, had been in Iran for the last two months visiting her family and working on her documentary/Masters thesis project, focused on the Iranian women’s movement. She had conducted video interviews with members of the One Million Signatures Campaign in Tehran. Since April 2008, I've been working with Esha in shaping her vision of showing a different side of Iranian women. Esha wanted the world to know that women in Iran were standing up for change and that they were empowering each other -- and that's what she set out to capture in her documentary project.

Esha’s family was hesitant in announcing news of her arrest immediately after security forces promised the family that she would be released quickly if news of her arrest was not published. This never happened and so we are going public now.

Esha is currently being held in solitary confinement. Iranian authorities are refusing to give any information regarding her case, investigation or when she might be released. Not even her family is allowed to speak to her.

I am reaching out to my network of people with hopes on getting support and spreading the word about Esha's arrest and doing something about it!

As many of you know, who are also in this field, being a documentary filmmaker is a call of passion. As documentary filmmakers, we have to overcome many challenges in various levels, especially if we strongly believe in sharing with the world our vision. Most of us we will go to any length -- even if it means risking our lives -- to tell a story that moves us hearts.

Esha is a strong and courageous young woman who took a chance and risked her own safety for the opportunity to share with the world the situation of her Iranian sisters and their struggle for equality.

She deserves our support.

How can you help?

We need support from human rights and artist organizations, as well as media contacts.

If you are affiliated with a human rights organization or a filmmakers and/or journalists association, we need your support.

We are looking for groups and organizations who can publicly show their support in requesting Esha's release. They can do so by posting information about her situation on their sites or/and by writing a letter of support.
We are also looking for media coverage, especially on alternative media channels.

If you think you can help, please reply to this email and we will give you more info.

We also welcome suggestions.

And last, please spread the word.

We must let people know of Esha's situation as it is a violation of women's rights, human rights and a disrespect to the artistic and professional work of documentary filmmakers, journalists and activists.

PLEASE join the FREE ESHA group on facebook:

Also, check out the blog

Thanks in advance,


PS: Please keep Esha & her family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Friday, October 17, 2008

2 Legit 2 Quit

Congratulations to everyone at Wallstrip for 2 years of making stocks, brands, companies and capitalism funny and fun. --> Apparently my language skills are still impacted by the drinks I had with some of you last night to celebrate. Thank you for that too and cheers to another season of Wallstrip!

Here is the anniversary episode "2 Legit 2 Quit" featuring both former and current hosts Lindsay Campbell and Julie Alexandria and clips from some of the best "non-studio" shows:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Notwist and the wii remote

Martin Gretschmann and Markus Archer of The Notwist
photo by Uta Bohls

Martin Gretschmann aka Console of The Notwist
photo by _christof

Last night the German band The Notwist played a beautiful show at Webster Hall. Their changes in music genres (they used to play quite energetic cross-over guitar music back in the 90s, which I distinctly remember listening to back then at my dreadlocked friends' basement apartment in Hamburg's Königsbergerstrasse - while now they are more closely associated with moodier electronic compositions), their unique mixing of instrumentation and style and their sense of innovation was captured perfectly in a moment when programmer Martin Gretschmann was "playing" his sequencers with wii remotes while singer/guitarist Markus Archer was spinning an actual vinyl record with his guitar hanging around his neck. All the while the rest of the full band, including a drummer with a standard drumset, played on.

Here's a video for "Pilot" one of my favorite songs from their last album, the magnificent "Neongolden":

By the way, Martin Gretschmann aka Console did a remix for Radiopilot's current single "Monster" (my brother manages that band).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A few inspiring days of music

It's fall, it's concert season! I'm not a big fan of the big summer festivals - so I'm always excited for fall and spring when bands tour through regular sized venues. And October has started off great in just the first few days (and there have already been conflicts with great shows going on at the same time).

Here are a few videos of my favorites from the last few days.

Legendary Sophie Mueller directs the "Cheap and Cheerful" video for The Kills. Did you know that Alison Mosshart used to be in the band Discount out of Gainesville, Florida, where All's Well and Fair is set? Oh, and you're wondering if Alison coughed live as well? All the time. Poor woman actually was apparently quite sick.
And still both her and Jamie Hince had an incredible energy!

NYC band The Postelles played support for The Kills. Unfortunately the songs I liked best don't have good-sounding videos. So here's one of those distorted live ones for "Stella".

"New Drink for the Old Drunks" is an older song by Crooked Fingers (Eric Bachman), who played before Okkervil River.

And because I'm still in the afterglow from the Okkervil River show last night, here are three of their songs. "Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe" was directed by Margaret Brown, who directed the excellent documentary Be Here To Love Me about Townes Van Zandt. Seeing Townes Van Zandt's son J.T. Van Zandt perform at the NY premiere's after-party is one of my most cherished NY event experiences (part of that is because in turn my father is a big Townes Van Zandt fan).

"A Girl In Port" is just beautiful - so I even chose it over our somewhat namesake "Westfall".

"For Real" was the most powerful live - but also has a great animation video.

I don't know exactly why that is, but seeing musicians perform live is even more motivating, inspiring and energizing for me to be creative and make films and write than watching movies or reading. Of course, it's live, so it's a somewhat more direct interaction. But I think that some of that feeling energized also comes from being so grateful for the musicians' work that I wish I could create something to give back to them that may entertain, inspire and move them in return. So, now I'm very excited to get back to work.

Monday, October 6, 2008

C'mon, Vote

Since I'm not a US citizen I'm not able to vote here. So c'mon, make sure you don't miss your chance to participate in making your voice count.

If non-USA citizens would be allowed to vote in this election, according to, as of today Obama would win with 87% over McCain with 13%. Unfortunately, just like the presidential debates, this site also ignores all the other candidates besides the Democrat & Republican ones. Ah, a multi-party government, what a great concept to reflect the diverse issues important to the citizens of a nation.

In case you haven't yet, hurry up before it's too late to register to vote.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fully Awake at MOMA this weekend

From the Fully Awake website

Another friend's film is playing this weekend. Cathryn Davis' documentary Fully Awake: Black Mountain College will have its New York City premiere at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Friday, Oct. 3 at 6:30pm. It will play again there on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 2pm.

"Fully Awake: Black Mountain College is a documentary film about the experimental college based in North Carolina from 1933-1957 and its enormous influence on community, collaboration, and American modern art."

The film was first started by Cathryn Davis who was later joined by filmmaker Neeley House to help finish the project. All along the crew was made up of volunteers (some friends of ours as well). This volunteer collaboration seemed to have created an intriguing atmosphere of team work and a strong focus on a shared goal.

Needless to say we're very excited to view the result tonight and toast to Cathryn and her team at the after party at Fontana's.

If you want to see the film, make sure you arrive early because past screenings in other towns have sold out.

If you don't live in the New York area or can't make it to either of the screenings, keep an eye on the website for other dates or purchase the DVD.

Next upcoming screening will be at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Congratulations to "They Turned Our Desert Into Fire"

Photo by Mark Brecke

The documentary They Turned Our Desert Into Fire, produced by our friends Mark Brecke and Jason Mitchell and Stacie Ransom and directed by the award-winning photographer/director Mark Brecke just won the Best Feature: Human Rights Award at the Artivist Film Festival.

As part of the Artivist Film Festival the film will have its LA premiere this Friday, October 3rd at 8pm at The Egyptian Theater (6712 Hollywood Blvd.). Tickets are available through

Mark Brecke will be at the screening.

They Turned Our Desert Into Fire
is "a moving account of the genocide in Darfur and why the world's governments will not stop it."

Besides the film telling a very important and truly moving story from a fresh perspective, Mark and Jason are also two great, earnest and very hard working people who need to be supported so they can continue to capture and share with us such meaningful accounts of the world.

If you're not in LA or can't make it to the LA premiere, you can check the film's website for upcoming screenings.