Meet Aseem Chhabra!

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In addition to being a professional journalist, desi cultural maven, and all-around entertaining guy, Aseem was the voice of “Shadow Puppet #1” in Sita Sings the Blues. He’ll be representing the film at some upcoming Southern California screenings*:

Monday, Oct. 13, 8:30 pm
RedCat Cinema
631 W. 2nd St., Los Angeles CA

Thursday, October 16, 7:00pm
with sound designer Greg Sextro!
ArtPower at UC San Diego/The Loft
9500 Gilman Drive #0078, La Jolla, CA 92093

Have a great time, you crazy kids!

 

*which I’m sitting out due to illness

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I Be Illin’

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OK, so I’m not in Athens right now. I left Israel early. I got sick, is what happened. A little food poisoning, a little irritable bowel syndrome, a little appetite loss and not eating for days, a little nervous breakdown, and next thing you know I’m back in New York trying to recover in a friend’s apartment, because I lost mine to bed bugs in July – not that that could be contributing to my stress or anything.

IBS

Unfortunately airports and airplanes and trying to sleep in different time zones are kind of killing me, so I’m canceling personal appearances for the next few weeks. It is a serious bummer, because I love meeting audiences and doing Q and A’s; and also because some of my upcoming lecture gigs actually pay, and I need the money. But my body and brain apparently can’t take this much travel, and I’m really sick.

On a bright note, the Rehovot International Women’s Film Festival was amazing – really excellent films, and excellent women. I also met some wonderful animators from ASIFA-Israel.

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Where in the World is Sita Sings the Blues?

Please check the ever-growing show list. Sorry it’s not better organized; you have to scroll down in chronological order from past to future. It’s just me and my Momz trying to keep track here.

I’m leaving on Sunday for these two:

Sita and I will be bopping around other parts of Israel too, according to the US State Department (!), who is sponsoring my trip (how that was arranged I do not know). I’ll be in Athens Sept. 25-29. Whee!

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Loins of Punjab Presents

It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. Its director, Manish Acharya, is the voice of “Shadow Puppet #3” in Sita. And it’s opening TODAY in the US!

Showtimes in NY/NJ/CT:

Quad Cinema, 34 West 13 Street (btwn 5th & 6th Ave)
Fri, Sat, Sun Showtimes: 1:00, 3:10, 5:20, 7:35, 9:50

The ImaginAsian, 239 East 59 St. (btwn 2nd & 3rd Ave)
Fri, Sat, Sun Showtimes: 12:15, 2:30, 4:45, 7:00, 9:15, 11:30
(No 11:30 pm show on Sunday)

Bloomfield 8 Cinemas, 863 Park Avenue, Bloomfield, CT
Showtimes: Fri – 3:30, 5:30, 8:00, 10:00
Sat/ Sun – 1:30, 3:30, 5:30, 8:00, 10:00

Columbia Park 12 Theatres, 3115 Kennedy Blvd, North Bergen, NJ
Showtimes: Fri / Sat/ Sun – 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, 9:00, 11:00
(no 11pm show on Sunday)

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“Review Copies”

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Look what arrived today! Thanks to Gillian and Sylvie at Elektrofilm for the professional authoring in both PAL and NTSC formats that hopefully won’t crash like my home-authored version, and especially to my genius Momz for managing what turned into a more complicated logistical challenge than any of us imagined.

These aren’t for sale, of course – that would be illegal. They’re just festival screeners and review copies for, like, reviewing and screening in a festive manner.

Update: That said, it has some, ah, glitches. Glitches that apparently some people won’t notice, or think I did on purpose, but watching them feels like knives in my heart. Glitches which I must correct on the “next” version. Glitches which were in my HD master. Oh boy.

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Sita in Livingston, New Jersey, this Saturday Sept. 6

Asian Indians in Livingston in collaboration with the Livingston library will sponsor screening of “Sita sings the Blues” on September 6th at 6:00 p.m. in the Livingston Library, S. Livingston Avenue (near the High School).

Yep I’ll be there, along with the awesome and delectable Reena Shah, a Livingston native. This event was instigated by Anju Bhargava, who has written extensively on Sita:

Sita, more than any other character, is an integral part of the Indian woman’s psyche. At every stage of an Indian woman’s life, her name is invoked. Anju Bhargava found it amazing that one great epic written by a poet thousands of years ago has shaped and continues to shape and reshape the thinking of an entire culture. And, how certain aspects of a character have been emphasized more than others to suit the political and societal norms of the day. They have been understood or misunderstood to manage relationships through control and power. She has often wondered what the impact of Ramayan to the Indian culture would have been if it these characters had not been canonized. What if the popular cultural focus was not primarily on the Sita agni parikshay. What if the characters were understood as the flesh and blood characters that Valmiki was attempting to bring to life in his great poem! This reflection of Sita took her further along in her own quest of understanding Indian womanhood. In many respects she has come back full circle. She was ambivalent towards Sita, then rejected her, and now has come to accept her as an Indian cultural icon. She shares her understanding of Sita in her essay www.sitayanam.com .

This will be the first screening I attend equipped with the long-awaited “limited edition festival screener” DVDs, which of course I can’t legally sell, but I’ll have a box of ’em for all you “movie reviewers.” And of course you can legally donate to the artist, who is currently homeless, broke and in debt.

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