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Calendar, Night&Day Main Drag in the Middle East

Main Drag in the Middle East

According to Google Maps, it’s two hours on highway A1 from Kabul to Jalalabad in Afghanistan. That might sound like it’s only halfway to Reno, but between sandstorms, Taliban militants, and U.S. air strikes, it’s a little more treacherous than…
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Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action and Documentary

This year's Oscar bait is a chum of hopeful kids and wistful old folks, according to the crop of nominated shorts. Let's go ahead and call it a genre, and call out its iffy habits: Good intentions exceed genuine tension,…
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Culture, Stage Hidden Meanings

Hidden Meanings

Mary Zimmerman created The Arabian Nights in 1992 in the shadow of the first Gulf War. Seeing a recurring theme in the cycle of hidden treasure whose unearthing brings great wealth but ultimate disaster, the director — as she has…
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News, Feature Relics Revisited

Relics Revisited

I Feel I Am Free But I Know I Am Not Sept. 4–Nov. 20 at SF Camerawork, 657 Mission (at New Montgomery), S.F. Call 512-2020 or visit No passive gallery viewing here — every project in this photography show…
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Film, Grounded


Kites fly high over the San Francisco Bay and Kabul (okay, China), but not much else soars in Marc Forster's flaccid adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's vivid 2002 novel, which covers three decades of Afghanistan's misery under serial totalitarian rule. Arriving…
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Film, Border Crossings

Border Crossings

When the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddha in 2001, the West was outraged. On one level, Swiss filmmaker Christian Frei's contemplative The Giant Buddhas works as a corrective to the simplistic and sensationalist media coverage at the time. More importantly,…
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Film, From Bad to Worse

From Bad to Worse

If you were expecting the first film to emerge from Afghanistan since the defeat of the Taliban to be even remotely celebratory, you'll have to adjust your expectations. Radically. In Osama, filmed in 2002 and 2003 in a "suburb" of…
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Calendar, Kid Stuff Communiqués From Kabul

Communiqués From Kabul

ONGOING 1/21-3/31 Ranger Rick's editors probably never guessed how important one article would prove. When a group of Afghan kids found a copy of the children's magazine in their Pakistan refugee camp containing a piece on the international youth poetry…
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News, Bay View International Dateline

International Dateline

Halima Kazem holds out a photograph she took in Kabul, Afghanistan, of a gray building several stories tall, built against a steep hill. "This is the hotel my parents got married in," says the 24-year-old Kazem, tapping a finger against…
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Calendar, Night&Day Mail Man

Mail Man

Chances are that in the days following Sept. 11 you received an e-mail from a stranger named Tamim Ansary. An eloquent call for compassion for the Afghan people, the succinct missive was forwarded from inbox to inbox; by week's end…
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Culture, Stage Angels in Afghanistan

Angels in Afghanistan

Homebody/Kabul is better than Angels in America. Exaggeration? Well, no. I didn't like Angels in America, so I may be damning with faint praise. But after eight years of wishy-washy work Tony Kushner is now back in form with an…
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Calendar, Night&Day Quintessential Kushner

Quintessential Kushner

Tony Kushner's newest play started making headlines well before it had its world premiere in New York back in December. The reasons why are obvious: The majority of the story takes place in Afghanistan and revolves around life under the…
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News, Bay View The Call of Afghanistan

The Call of Afghanistan

It was March 2001, and Ahmad Haya, a civil engineer working on the massive Bay Bridge earthquake retrofit, was sitting at a conference table in his Treasure Island offices, excitedly describing his work. The Bay Bridge retrofit was Haya's first…
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Dining, Eat Down by  the River

Down by the River

Stepping through the door of the Helmand, you wouldn't think it was one of the best restaurants in San Francisco. Instead, you might take it for the lobby of a small hotel: A few chairs surround a dark wood coffee…
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