Culture Vulture

Tuesday, 10 April 2007
Recently I went to two DC institutions for very different reasons. No, I'm not talking about Ben's Chilli Bowl or the Soviet Safeway. The Kennedy Center showcased the Spinning Wheel Film Festival where I saw 3 documentaries based on the Sikh experience. “My Mother India” was about a mixed marriage – an Australian woman comes to Delhi after marrying a Sikh and through historical and personal events, becomes more Indian than her daughter thought she could be. Very Sonia Gandhi-type story. Gurinder Chadha’s “Acting Our Age” was about a group from an old folks home in London who film and talk about their generation’s struggles. Lots of entertaining humor, especially a folksy song on taking to Guinness. Finally, Ali Kazimi’s very powerful “Runaway Grooms” which chronicled the stories of two women from Delhi and Punjab who met and married their NRI husbands, only to be abandoned by them in a matter of weeks. According to the film, there are 10,000 brides who are abandoned by their husbands (mostly from Canada) because they fail to pay dowry.
The other place was the 9:30 Club, which has been around since the 80s and is known for supporting alternative bands. So my first time there and a bunch of us went to see a UK band called the Kaiser Chiefs. The experience was complete with the mandatory club brawl, spilt drinks and the random crowd surfer (who fell down but got back up again with a triumphant woohoo!). I could hear a lot of different accents around the place and it was just cool to be around people who really knew their stuff on music. The band finally came on and put on a super energetic performance. The lead singer had very Bryan Ferry kind of vocals and the audience lapped up the curtain call number and yelled out the chorus: "Oh My God I can’t believe it I’ve never been this far away from home." Someone said that song should’ve been on the soundtrack of The Namesake!
Speaking of which, how many times can you see that film? Definitely not more than twice. Someone bought me a ticket by mistake and I had to run out after 10 mins. and snuck in to see 300 instead… not sure how accurate it was historically (did Persians have African slaves at that point? and did the more liberal-minded Spartan women dress like the Roman women?) but it was a wise choice if only to check out Gerard Butler’s very fine abs. So worth the ticket price!

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