Highs and lows


Jahanshah Javid
by Jahanshah Javid

Where do I begin? It's a been a week since the iranian.com music festival and I haven' t been able to say a thing about it. I'm still in a state of shock and confusion -- not so much about the concert itself, but by whole experience of revisiting the San Francisco Bay Area, my home for almost 10 years before I left for Mexico last November.


"I'm not coming back. I'm done with the Bay Area. I just can't handle the stress, it drives me crazy," I tell my friends and relatives in and around San Francisco. They look at me with disbelief. They don't understand. I'm not sure if I even understand why I'm such a an emotional wreck over there.

"There are too many people I love and I can't see all of them," I say.

"How is that a problem? Why are you running away from people who love you?" they ask.

Those are good questions. But my answer is still lack of time. Lack of ability to concentrate for two seconds about what I'm doing next, where I'm supposed to be and who I'm supposed to meet.

"I can't wait to go back to Mexico," I say with all my heart to almost everyone I see.

"What have we done to you? What is the problem?"

Nothing, I insist. You have all been wonderful.


I knew going back to the Bay Area would be difficult in a variety of ways. So I decided I wasn't going to stay for more than 10 days.

Believe me, the trip was intense, far beyond my worst fears. There were beautiful moments but I was mostly in a state of emotional paralysis.

First of all let me tell you a little about the music festival. The whole show was put together through a series of emails. When Saturday April 25 finally came around, I had trouble believing the show was about to happen. The leap from emails to reality was tremendous.

Every minute I felt there was going to be some disaster, something that may upset the musicians, the guests, the audience, the technicians, or...

What truly saved the event and made everything go smoothly were the volunteers. The moment I stepped into the Palace of Fine Arts, Zahra Mahloudji basically told me to shut up and leave her and other volunteers alone. Zahra knows me long enough to know that my involvement usually leads to trouble, confusion and added stress.

The biggest problem we had was that we did not have the ability to process credit cards. We thought the Palace ticket office could handle it but in reality they don't even have ticket services. We had to do it ourselves. So our iranain.com team of geniuses -- Kayvan, Foaad and Wayne -- arrived a few hours early to install their own ticketing system. Don't ask. It sounded so complicated I was sure there would be a major glitch. They were pretty much flawless, vali inside... degh kardam.

Nazy Kaviani was wonderful in helping the guests and organizing the volunteers to make sure they knew what they were supposed to do. Hadi, Mehran, Payam, Talieh, Marjan, Enayat, Ariya, Monda, Faranak, Maryam ... (I'm sure I'm forgetting some names) worked very hard and efficiently. Dastetoon dard nakoneh. You all did a beautiful job.


I stood on the sideline of the Palace theater for almost the entire concert -- about 4 hours? I was so nervous and worried that I couldn't enjoy the performances as much as the audience. We had many musicians and performers and not enough time. All of them had legitimate needs and demands. They had to be accommodated in any way possible so that when their turn came to go on stage they would be in good spirits. It wasn't the time or place to argue over anything. You comply with every wish.

Elham Jazab, our funny Comedian/Master of Ceremonies, was late. In a state of panic, I was preparing myself to mumble something on stage to open the show when she finally arrived. Thank you Almighty God! I briefed her for one minute and she jumped on stage with zest and energy. A total professional under pressure. She really got the crowd going.

Faranak Ravon's husband Kourosh (on accoustic guitar) and her father Manouchehr (on flute) were delightful on stage. In my first blog about the festival I had invited talented local musicians to come forward and I'm glad those two did. Their performance really beh del neshast.

Composer/pianist Sahba Aminikia was next. He was everything I expected and much more. To skeptics who did not know him and were worried about audience reaction, all I have to say is, are you satisfied now? My instincts were true. His abstract interpretations of popular Iranian songs were amazing. Someone said his delivery was very much Russian in style. And that's very possible. After all he did study music in St. Petersburg. I love his energy, free spirit, determination and of course musical talent. This man is going places.

Then it was Ziba Shirazi's turn. I had seen her live in concert before and followed her work during the years. I knew she would easily win over the crowd with her smile and passion. Her music is from the heart and everyone feels it. It's playful, lively, touching.  And she got great support from her musicians, especially pianist Jose Miguel Yamal and Ardalan Payvar on accordion.

Before the end of Ziba's performance, I got news that Hadi Khorsandi was in the house. He had first told me that he was going to send a message in support of iranian.com to be read at the festival but later decided to show up in person. It was such a beautiful gesture, one I will never forget. He's one of my heroes and to have him there on stage was beyond amazing. He charmed and tickled the audience like nobody can. And get this: he promised to do a stand-up show just for iranian.com.  Joonami Joon!

Then Kiosk's Arash Sobhani came on stage accompanied by mutual "Chordoholic" friend Anoush Khazeni. They played a couple of Kiosk songs as well as one from Anoush's new CD. We were behind on time so they decided to shorten their set. But they reminded us how far Rock and Blues have progressed among Iranians after more than two dark, bleak decades of almost total silence. They are the new generation and because of their pioneering work, the future of modern, contemporary music is very bright indeed.

Finally it was Faramarz Aslani's turn. It was late and he was anxious. He barely waited for the introduction. He stormed onto the stage and the audience went wild. Wow! Faramarz Aslani... the man with immortal songs that bring back memories of lovers as well as "the good old days". People shouted "Ageh Yeh Rooz!", "Ahooye Vahshi", and other songs we all know by heart. And Aslani delivered, with a calm, warm voice that prompted many to affectionately compare him with Leonard Cohen.


All the wonderful musicians and performers appeared for free or a fraction of their normal fee. To support iranian.com. On behalf of our entire team, I am eternally grateful of their kindness and generosity.


I saw so many friends, relatives and familiar faces. I said hello to a few and felt absolutely terrible for dashing off to take care of this or that business. I am painfully aware that my time with them was too short, reduced to salam and taarof and a quick rooboosi. These are people I love and care about and yet cannot spend quality time with. I feel I have been terribly rude, abrupt and frivolous. I feel really bad...

Thank you Farzad, thank you Nazy for your wonderful parties.


And I almost forgot! A great big thank you and appreciation to Javad
Yasari for the Moshaereh blog
which encouraged so many good, kind
iranian.com readers to donate hundreds of dollars. Yek donya mamnoon! By the way, the Moshaereh generated more than 13,000 page views and aroud 1,500 comments! Dang! :o)


Monday April 27. My last day in the Bay Area.

Javaneh and I have an appointment at the Oakland Islamic Cultural Center. Our divorce was approved by the California courts the previous week and now we had to get an Islamic divorce in order to register it our Iranian shenasnameh.

We arrive on time. We say hello. We sit down. The secretary fills out the paper work. Her husband reads something in Arabic and asks each of us if we are absolutely sure if we want to get a divorce. We both say yes.

Papers are signed. It's over.

Javaneh and I leave together. Outside I tell her I'll send her some documents by mail. And we say goodbye.

I didn't have a chance to wish her happiness.


There are more stories from my ten days in the Bay Area. I just can't talk about (some of) them. And it kills me when I can't talk.


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more from Jahanshah Javid

Stay Cool JJ

by hossein.hosseini on

Hello jj,
I didn’t even know you have moved to Mexico!  Judging from your post, you seem to have been under a lot of stress.  who can blame you?  I hope you have found peace in your new home.  I guess maybe you are just like me, a bit of perfectionist and wanting everything perfect or may be just the workload of keeping the site as good as it is single handedly.

Hopefully as time goes by, you become mellower as I have become and learn that others can always help (as they did for the event) and things will turn out good. 
I for one am so grateful for the work you have done on Iranian.com.  There will come a time where you might want to let go of some work and have others help you.  When you get a chance please read a book called ‘founder’s syndrome.'
Good wishes,

Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

Mr. JJ

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

Are you getting to know the real Mexico or the tourist Mexico?

Just out of curiosity.


Mr Jahanshah

by minadadvar on

Dear Mr Jahanshah,  it was very nice meeting you.  I hope you will have a great time in Mexico.



dear Mr Yassari

by Souri on

Thanks for the short note, I was really worry, thinking we missed you forever. I'd even sent you an email, that you didn't check again obviously

ما ز یاران چشم یاری داشتیم , بابا

Looking forward to meet you again

Javad Yassari

جناب آقای جاوید عزیز

Javad Yassari

مرا عهدیست با جانان که تا جان در بدن دارم
هواداران کویش را چو جان خویشتن دارم


نظر لطف شماست!  بنده کار خارق العاده ای نکردم.  اما مشارکت  صمیمانه’ دوستان و حمایت برخی از دوستان در کمک به سایت حتی برای خود بنده هم مایه’ تعجب و شعف فراوان بود.  میدانید که دوستتان داریم و ایرانین دات کام را خانه’ دوم خود می دانیم.  خوشحالم که می بینم جشن شما با موفقیت برگزار شد.

در ضمن جسارتا در خصوص آن حالت "گه مرغی" شما نیز عرض می کنم که تجربه’ شخصی من پس از رفتن و گشتن های بسیار این بود که:

آب در کوزه و ما تشنه لبان می گردیم
یار در خانه و ما گرد جهان می گردیم


پانوشت:  سوری خانم عزیز، من همینجا در خدمت شما هستم.  همانطور که قبلا هم عرض کرده ام، من خیلی وقتها می آیم و می خوانم و می روم.  فعلا دوستان دیگر مشغول مناظره های سیاسی و ادبی داغ هستند و انشا’الله سر فرصت مجددا مزاحم خواهم شد.  در فکر یک بازی هستم که هنوز نمیدانم آن را چگونه اجرا کنم.  اگر بلد شدم، آن بازی را تقدیم می کنم، اگر بلد نشدم حتما شبی همراه با شراب جهت مشاعره خدمت می رسم.  از حسن توجه و الطاف شما بسیار ممنونم.

Bahram G


by Bahram G on

Dear Jahanshah,

Those who know you in person as well as those who know you through this site have, I suspect, formed their own opinion of you. I also have mine. It is mostly very positive. One of the things that deeply impresses me is that you are truly an AUTHENTIC person. A breath of fresh air in the foul disguise that we are forced to envelope ourselves and hide our very private lives from the near and far. You also express yourself with fervor that seems to emanate from the heart and easily settles on the heart.

Now, whatever you reasons for moving to Mexico, I certainly respect them and wish you the very best. But, tell me, why the reverse migration? The Mexicans kill to move here and you are voluntarily moving there? But, again this is you. One request, keep up your blogs. It is good to hear from you. And best lucks to you in your new abode of peace.

Shaad baashi

Bahram G


Re: PS

by Souri on

I was hoping Mr Yassari will show up, as he has disappeared since the day of the event. Alas, it is not the case.

Now, I think he is definitively gone from the site (at least with that user-name) who we should see next time we want a Moshaereh blog?

Nobody can take care of that as beautifully as Mr Yassari is able to do. Why people leave without letting us know? Do I have to post another blog for calling him and beg him to come back?


Shazde Asdola Mirza

Well, such is life ...

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Hope the concert was a success. The line up was great, but not sure if the Bay area is such a lucrative spot for a fundraiser like that. Next time, consider LA. It has a lot less sophistication and a whole lot more dough, as you know.

Sorry about your divorce, guess you are twice departed (like me) now. Don't worry, in my experience, third time is a charm ;-)

Organic NUTritionist

one more thing...

by Organic NUTritionist on

there is also:


the reason why the events are so special and magical :)  thanks for everything...

Organic NUTritionist


by Organic NUTritionist on

there is someting about MEXICO: 

it's the country itself (it's beautiful-sand, sun, and sea)

it's the food (it's fresh, hot and great)

it's the weather (it's fantastic)

and last but not least:


------they are beautiful, nice, warm, and sincere--like iranians :)

Red Wine


by Red Wine on

J.J Rules .

Iranian.Com Rules ..

Iran For Ever ...

Thx Javid jan ....



so... will there be an LA concert?

by Q on

just curious.

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

And I almost forgot! A great big thank you and appreciation to Javad Yasari for the Moshaereh blog which encouraged so many good, kind iranian.com readers to donate hundreds of dollars. Yek donya mamnoon! (By the way, the Moshaereh generated more than 13,000 page views and aroud 1,500 comments! Dang! :o)


oh cool

by Anonymous77 (not verified) on

flights out to Mexico are really cheap right now, so I'll come and visit


Nazy jon

by Monda on

my P.S. to Jahanshah was meant to be a joke! Sorry if it didn't turn out as funny as I meant it to be. I so appreciate that you and Jahanshah did introduce me to quite a few wonderful people involved with iranian.com.

Nazy Kaviani


by Nazy Kaviani on

It was a lot of fun working on the Iranian.com event with you and others. It was a pleasure seeing all those wonderful supporters and to be able to do something to help. I’m afraid the stress level of pulling things together kept many of the volunteers from truly enjoying the program, too, but, hey, our enjoyment came from being able to pull it off without too many disasters! Seeing people enjoy themselves was the ultimate reward.

About your whirlwind trip to the Bay Area, kick and scream all you want, protest and dismiss all you want! A home is where love awaits and people are happy to see us, where the sheer continuity of real friendship and love carries us through our days and our pains. You can go far and work hard (or not!) to build new homes, but the ones you built before will forever belong to you. They’ll sit nice and tidy and waiting with all those smiling faces, embracing arms, and shared stories, waiting for you to come back for one day, for ten days, or for a long stay.

By now we all know you are happy in Mexico. That knowledge is reassuring for us, to know that you are well and happy and peaceful. It doesn’t, however, help us much in missing you as much as we do! I swear sometimes all we talk about when we get together is how and where you are and how much we miss you!

I think much like the rest of us, you are in search of your "Personal Legend" as Paulo Coelho said in his book, the Alchemist. Go for it, search it, find it, and savor it. You’ll be a better man for it. We’ll still be here, and this will forever be one of your homes, Jahanshah.

P.S. Monda, I didn't see MPD and Rosie until after the show was over, or I would have introduced them to you. By the time I found them, you were gone! Maybe next year!


JJ , you suffer from

by SamSamIIII on


"Too close for comfort syndrome " kinda like me & it,s perfectly natural for those of us who want solitude of mind away from repetitious social daily chores . You prefer control over your social space to meditate & reflect without distraction . Smart choice ! . It was about time we heard it 1st hand from the master of ceremony though . Good job .


btw* & no you are not suffering from mid-life crisis , it,s justa myth .




Two more things

by Monda on

1) Maybe next year we could have a marked area in the lobby for contributors who wish to meet others during intermission or  before performances begin.

2) You did a really nice job of describing the event and your position during it. Thank you.


You don't want to stay you say?

by Morning Joe (not verified) on

Don't try to question the motivation behing this decision, it's called: "It's not you it's me" condition. One gets overwhelmed with all the roles and responsiblities he/she has to perform and realizes that it's not worthed or possible. It happens to all of us in one form or another. So long, see you on Iranian.com


Dear Jahanshah

by Monda on

and the entire event I assumed you were suffering from nicotine withdrawals :O)) Seriously, I think that I get the intensity of your emotions, revisiting the Bay Area, past decisions, relationships, the huge benefit concert, etc. ...I don't even know if I were in your shoes I could've functioned any differently or even as well as you did. As far as I recall, you were courtious, pleasant and running all over the Palace like a maniac. 

My daughter did feel bad for you to be all the way out there in the lonely darkness rather than being next to your daughter and friends. I didn't, because I knew that you had to be on your toes and totally available in case anything needed attention. Well, just the way it goes at most First experiences of such scale, I suppose. 

It was so nice to see DaMan who has made this community for me/us. I wish I could be of real help when you needed it. I hope you're getting better sleep these nights. Take good care of you my friend.

P.S. I'm really pissed at you for not introducing me to Laleh Gillani when you had the chance or to MPD and other major contributers. Next year, please ask people wear their avatars on nametags OR if you're really the SuperMan, prepare yourself to go through the audience during the 10 minute intermission so you can bring us physically together !:o)

Darius Kadivar

JJ Ask Anthony Quinn for Advice ;0)

by Darius Kadivar on

If you are in Chihuahua make sure to send a hello to my old Pal Anthony. He can give you a tip or two about how to express your feelings to your loved ones more subtly ... ;0)

Whats Your Next Destination After Mexico ? Greece ? ;0)


Glad that you are happy in Mexico...

by alborz on

...and you know that your home base of support is always going ot be SF, just a flight away.

But next time, it would be really good if there was a way to know whose who.  I sure would have liked to have met many of the iranian.com'ers.



Dear Jahanshah,

by faryarm on

It is especially gratifying for those who have been with you since their very first "post" on Iranian.com back in 96 (?) and  a proud moment to see the kind of love and support the site commands, judging by the  selfless demonstration of unity behind the organization of the Concert in SF. 

Today Iranian.com more than ever is a free, outspoken and vibrant  forum  an important presence and  Pillar for Human Rights; for not just the discussion of life's trivialities but the most important questions and issues in our times; Issues that have real effect on the lives of our brothers and sisters inside iran.

Where ever you are, be happy and proud of the home you have created in the heart of so many in exile; I hope one day soon the "Black Clouds" of the IR will disappear and as well the filters that block this site and allow those inside Iran to join us.

Best Wishes,


PS. I now understand why it's still too soon to respond  about an east coast event :)  nudge nudge..   w w

I wish you more "highs" 



Thanks for sharing this....

by Souri on

Now I feel  like I have been there, tasting every moment of it...well not exactly that, but almost!

The part I really loved the best:

"The moment I stepped into the Palace of Fine Arts, Zahra Mahloudji
basically told me to shut up and leave her and other volunteers alone.
Zahra knows me long enough to know that my involvement usually leads to
trouble, confusion and added stress".....

loved that one;P)    it's so much you!!!!!!!

and ........when it kills you, it does kill us too!! Then say it. Tell them for us without mentioning the names!! Give them a fictitious name. It's all alright!

We are waiting.

ebi amirhosseini

Shah Jahan

by ebi amirhosseini on

Khasteh nabaashi!.

For me Vasl ol eysh,is Nesf ol eysh!.

Ebi aka Haaji