Persian music and minimalism meet at Rhizome

  • Published in Music

Bassist Ernest Jones and drummer Dave Miller join headliner Martin Bisi in a performance at the Rhizome.  PHOTO BY MATT HOOKEBassist Ernest Jones and drummer Dave Miller join legendary musician/producer Martin Bisi in a performance at the Rhizome. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE  WASHINGTON, D.C. — With his eyes closed, engrossed in the music, and sweat dripping down his face, the Washington D.C.-based musician Kamyar Arsani sang the words: “You are Nothing but a God,” as he performed at the Rhizome near the Takoma Park Metro station in Northwest Washington, D.C.

The show displayed tremendous diversity, with Arsani’s Persian music accompanied by a set of minimalist music by Takoma Park musician Jason Mullinax and headliner Martin Bisi’s noise rock.

Arsani’s music hails from a rich tradition of Sufi mystics. He took a bare-bones approach to his set, with two instruments, his voice, and the daf. The daf, a large, handheld frame drum with metal ingots attached, is an ancient instrument, its roots stretching back hundreds of years. Arsani paid tribute to this heritage while also giving the instrument a modern touch. Arsani’s first set, a collection of original compositions, showcased the new, while his second set, an adaptation of a poem by the 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi, featured the old.

The Iranian-born Arsani began the performance singing in English, before switching to Farsi. He used dynamics, masterfully switching from bombastic, impassioned sections to subdued, quiet moments, when his voice became only a whisper.

“I saw people getting shot, screaming ‘freedom’ in Farsi, and just getting shot like it was no big deal, but it was a big deal for me,” said Arsani. “When I play my instruments that’s one of my first thoughts, is ‘How can I speak to that energy? How can I channel the feelings that those people went through?’”


Takoma Park artist Clara Cornelius turns ruins into art


Local artist Clara Cornelius showcases her outdoor exhibit “Caesura Obscura” at the Pump House Pop-Up in Takoma Park.  PHOTO BY MATT HOOKELocal artist Clara Cornelius showcases her outdoor exhibit “Caesura Obscura” at the Pump House Pop-Up in Takoma Park. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE  TAKOMA PARK — Local artist Clara Cornelius transformed the stone ruins of an old Takoma Park garage into a wonderland Sunday afternoon as she debuted her outdoor exhibit “Caesura Obscura,” a collection of cloth banners at the Pump House Pop-Up on Hilltop Road in Takoma Park. Children viewed the site with amazement, as they ran through the cloth tapestries with abandon while a drum circle played behind them.

The cloth featured bright shades of blue, green, and red to help the art standout in the beige ruin. Cornelius would take photos of everyday objects, like sidewalk cracks, leaves, and signposts, and create patterns out of them that she would transfer to the cloth banners. Cornelius also used digitized cut-paper shapes for some pieces.

A big inspiration for the Takoma Park resident is transient moments, like puddles in the sidewalk or raindrops on a windowsill, since those moments will never be experienced in the same way again.

Cornelius encouraged people to get involved in art, laying out an activity called “magic carpets.” In this activity, people cut out paper shapes and add them to a large banner, so they form a new piece of art at the end of the exhibition.

“I like for there to be an immersive element or an engagement, where they can be part of it or build into it or touch it or feel it, then have some way to have some self-expression so they can respond to the thing they have just seen,” Cornelius said.


District 20 candidates show few differences

  • Published in State

TAKOMA PARK — Seven Democratic candidates seeking to represent District 20 voters in the Maryland House of Delegates found themselves mainly in agreement as they spoke to voters at a forum Tuesday evening.

With little daylight between them, the candidates gave similar responses to questions on a variety of topics, including Interstate 495 traffic, taxes, education, economic development, and the environment.

Hosted jointly by the Women’s Democratic Club, The District 20 Breakfast Club, The Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club, Montgomery County Young Democrats, Montgomery Green Democrats, and the District 20 Caucus at Takoma Park Middle School, and moderated by former State delegate Karen Britto (District 16), the event featured incumbent delegates David Moon and Jheanelle Wilkins, immigration attorney Fatmata Barrie, community activist Lorig Charkoudian, data analyst Malik Lendzondzo, labor organizer Darian Unger, and lawyer George Zokle.


Takoma Park corrects boundaries at former Adventist School

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — As the Potomac Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church prepares to sell the former John Nevins Andrews School property, the Takoma Park City Council discovered discrepancies in the boundaries surrounding the parcel.

The former school building, located at 117 Elm Avenue, occupies a 123,425-square foot property adjacent to the City-owned Spring Park. Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, City Manager Suzanne Ludlow explained, the City discovered that a 11,296-square foot portion, consisting of two separate tracts of the former school’s parking lot, was located on City-owned land.


Takoma Park mayor stays committed to racial equity

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — After residents voiced concerns about the potential impact of a proposed development in Takoma Park on the City’s minority community, Mayor Kate Stewart said she is still committed to racial equity as the City Council weighs the issue.

Introduced in April 2017 and sponsored by Council member Jarrett Smith (Ward 5), the Racial Equity Lens establishes that the Council consider the impact each project or resolution would have on minority groups in the city by including a Racial Equity Impact Statement on all agenda items discussed by the Council.


Takoma Problems Persist

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — Tensions between residents and the Takoma Park City Council remain high as the project to redevelop a city-owned parking lot adjacent to the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op enters its fifth year.

“Our county and the world is already affected enough by our cars and our carbon footprint, without trucks adding to it all,” said 13-year-old Ward 2 resident Elizabeth Comfort-Cohen during the City Council's weekly meeting Wednesday. Comfort-Cohen, who goes by the Co-op on her commute to school, expressed concern the proposed Takoma Junction Redevelopment project could have on pedestrians and cyclists. “All I’m asking, council members, is that you think long and hard about the effect this project can make on the community and not just the government.”


Takoma Park passes new fiscal year budget

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council passed its FY2018-2019 budget Wednesday evening with a unanimous vote.

“I think the process worked well this year … the proposal from the city manager seemed to reflect the priorities that we defined earlier and … not increasing taxes was important to many people,” said Ward 4 Council member Terry Seamens.


Takoma Park Police mourn detective's sudden death

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park MD PoliceTAKOMA PARK — A Takoma Park police detective died suddenly while off duty, according to a police statement.

While the exact date and cause of death are still being investigated, police spokesperson Catherine Plevy said acting Detective Sergeant Matthew L. Barber was a 13-year veteran of the agency and is survived by his wife, a Metropolitan D.C. police officer, and two children.


Lightning strikes cause two fires in Takoma Park

  • Published in Local

7200 Holly AvenueCrews attending in the aftermath of a fire at the 7200 block of Holly Avenue PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVTAKOMA PARK — More than 100 firefighters responded to calls in the city Monday evening when lightning strikes set two separate homes ablaze during a storm that included numerous thunderstorm warnings.

At approximately 7:50 p.m., Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the 7200 block of Holly Avenue in response to a roof fire before responding to a second fire less than an hour later at the 900 block of Larch Avenue, Piringer tweeted.


Takoma Park moves forward with tax plan

  • Published in Local

The Takoma Park City Council voted unanimously to move forward with a resolution that would exempt 100 percent of inventory from the personal property tax.

The move would create a gap in funding that will have to be met another way. A couple ideas were put into the fray on how to make up the difference.

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