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On Behalf of All Muslims: A Comedy Special feat. Zahra Noorbakhsh

The internationally acclaimed comedian, Zahara Noorbakhsh will appear in Downtown Honolulu at The ARTS at Marks Garage for one performance only on August 25th to perform the show, “On Behalf of All Muslims.”

Unleashing her inquisitive and unapologetic comedic style, feminist, Muslim and Iranian- American comedian, Zahra Noorbakhsh, explores everything from being a bisexual woman married to a straight, Pilgrim-white atheist surfer dude, to her childhood Christmases leaving cookies out for Santa Khomeini, to golden retrievers and Jaws. And, oh yea-- she's also setting the record straight, on behalf of all Muslims. For reals this time. You're welcome.

ZAHRA NOORBAKHSH (@ZahraComedy) is a Feminist Muslim, Iranian-American comedian and cohost of the award-winning podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. The podcast was deemed a "must listen"; by Oprah Magazine, and an episode was recorded at the White House under Obama. Recently, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts named Zahra one of the "Top 100 people shaping the future of culture." The New Yorker Magazine dubbed her one-woman show "All Atheists Are Muslim" a highlight of the International New York City Fringe Theater Festival. She is a contributor to the NY Times featured anthology "Love Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women." Her 1-hour comedy special "On Behalf of All Muslims" is on tour. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley in Theater and Performance Studies.

More info at ZahraComedy.com.

Along with her #GoodMuslimBadMuslim co-host, Taz Ahmed, Zahra is an artist in residence at Shangri La Museum from August 20-27, 2017.

This event is co-presented by Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design and The ARTS at Marks Garage. All proceeds benefit The ARTS at Marks Garage.
$10 tickets can be purchased at onbehalfofallmuslims.eventbrite.com.


Some thoughts from Mickey Weems:

Zahra Noorbakhsh and the Siblinghood of Queer Muslim Ducks

One of my biggest concerns upon my conversion to Islam was whether I could find community. I figured there weren’t a lot of Gay Irish-American Muslims out there. On top of sometimes feeling awkward when I was around my fellow Muslims (who have been hella sweet to me from the git - it’s all just my insecurities), I feared that I was the queer duck of the flock, and not just because of my orientation. I also feared I was getting the whole thing wrong.

But even though few Muslims have my particular ethnic-orientation creds, there are some pretty cool Muslims who are every bit outside of the mainstream as myself. Zahra Noorbakhsh (@ZahraComedy, ZahraComedy.com) is one such person, and she is a doozy. Describing herself as “a Feminist, Muslim, Iranian-American anchor baby here to take your jobs, creep sharia, steal your husbands and make your wives my wives,”  Zahra takes popular stereotypes of Muslims, confirms some, exaggerates others to the point of absurdity, and ultimately gives a great performance as a Muslim who can laugh at herself while simultaneously lampooning non-Muslims who get Muslims wrong.

Zahra may not be able to make me feel normal, but she definitely helps me feel like I belong.

Her irreverence towards Islam during her performances nevertheless carries a kernel of devotion, an interesting balancing act for those of us who are Muslims like her. For example, she said the words of prayer, “In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful” (in Arabic) at the beginning of her show was a Muslim sound check, which might be shocking to conservative members of Islam. But those very Arabic words are the preface to almost every chapter of the Qur’an, and they are used to open prayers, so it is queerly appropriate to use them at the start of her show, even if used in a humorous fashion. In a skit about not wanting to wear a hijab as a child but fearing she’ll send her mom to Hell, she resolves the conundrum between faith and fashion in a way that is funny, mildly scandalous, pleasantly inspiring, and openly affectionate to her parents.

All I’ve said so far has to do with my perspective as a Muslim reflecting on her performance concerning Islam. But my conversion was not that long ago (last November), so I still remember clearly how I viewed Islam from the outside, and I’m sure that people from any faith or no faith at all will get a kick out of her. True, some things she says are in-mosque and opaque to non-Muslims, but those who have no clue about Islam (other than maybe the fact that we really dig crescent moons and stars) will still find her as controversial, amusing, and ultimately heartwarming as her Muslim fans do.

It’s good to see that there are other queer ducks (including Straight feminist anchor babies) in the American Muslim pond.

  • Mickey Weems, Nu‘uanu Valley

 

Zahra is cohost of the award-winning podcast, #GoodMuslimBadMuslim. The podcast was deemed a "must listen" by Oprah Magazine, and an episode was recorded at the White House under Obama. Recently, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts named Zahra one of the "Top 100 people shaping the future of culture." The New Yorker Magazine dubbed her one-woman show "All Atheists Are Muslim," a highlight of the International New York City Fringe Theater Festival. She is a contributor to the NY Times featured anthology "Love Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women." Her 1-hour comedy special "On Behalf of All Muslims" is on tour.

This event is co-presented by Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design and The ARTS at Marks Garage.  All proceeds benefit The ARTS at Marks Garage. Tickets can be purchased at onbehalfofallmuslims.eventbrite.com.

The ARTS at Marks Garage is supported in part by Kumu Kahua Theatre - presenting world-class theatre by and about Hawai‘i’s people in the heart of downtown Honolulu, Kaiser Permanente, Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and Arts, Colliers International, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, O‘io Fund, Kona Brewing Company and 1001 Friends.

 

Earlier Event: August 24
Yoga and Healing
Later Event: August 27
HeArt Dance practice