Leo Chaloukian: All the way to Tinseltown - Armenian Reporter

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Leo Chaloukian: All the way to Tinseltown - Armenian Reporter

the armenian

reporter

September 20, 2008

September 20, 2008

culture&

arts

the armenian reporter

&

Leo Chaloukian:

All the way to Tinseltown

See page C9

Boredom

is not an

option

Page C6

Mapping

Armenian

literature in the

diaspora

Page C3

Bringing

out the

complexities of

her character

Page C10


Letters to a young, Armenian poet: letter three

by Lory

Bedikian

The following letter, the third among four, is

inspired by the well-known published Letters

to a Young Poet, written by Rainer

Maria Rilke, the great German poet. Rilke

was known to receive letters from young

people and in the one set referred to above,

from 1903 to 1908, he wrote a series of letters

to a young, beginning poet answering

questions about poetry and life. The idea

of writing these letters has been borrowed

as a starting point for discussion between

a poet and beginning poets or artists who

may need support in their callings.

Dear Poet,

I must apologize for not writing to

you sooner. I know months have passed

since I have corresponded with you and

this has much to do with my own challenges.

Someday I am sure a younger poet will

write to you as well and ask for advice

on poems, on their endeavors, and you

will have to search inside yourself for

the correct words and ideas so as to be

honest and at the same time not crush

such a magnanimous spirit!

Let me be honest with you now as to

why it took me so long to write. Promise

yourself that you will not be discouraged

by what I tell you, but encouraged, inspired,

for in all curses, some sort of

blessing eventually emerges.

For the past several months I have

been overwhelmed by concerns pertaining

to that of finances. Now, as artists,

we look at the topic of money, of income

as the furthest away from our own creations.

And perhaps they are. After all,

our work is created out of spirit, whereas

the money we need for survival comes

from the structure of society. I will put

it simply: money will never make us

more creative, will never enhance the

genius within us. Money is only a tool

toward surviving on this earthly plain.

Unfortunately, there will be phases, perhaps

years, decades, when you will need

more money than you have to make

ends meet. I do not mean the amount

of money that others have that supply

them with dwellings made for a family

of ten, though they live alone. I do not

mean an income that provides for two

of everything and plenty of unnecessary

material items that take up space.

Lory Bedikian received her MFA in poetry from the

University of Oregon. Her collection of poetry has

twice been selected as a finalist in the Crab Orchard

Series in Poetry Open Competition and twice in

the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award

Competition.

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture

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The great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young, beginning poet answering questions about poetry and life.

I mean you will need enough money to

pay for your rent, your food, your doctor’s

bills, etc. (I will not include clothes

or cars and anything in those categories,

because I speak only of necessities.)

Take the frustrations you

feel and form them into

stanzas, songs, concertos,

paintings, plays, sculptures,

whatever it may be that suits

the subject.

“...some sort of blessing eventually emerges.”

There will be moments – and they will

emerge at the oddest of times – when

you will realize that people who are

not searching within themselves, people

who could care less about creating

something for the betterment of themselves

and others are living with much

wealth and prosperity. Throw these observations

out to the trash cans, those

places where you discard what could

never be kept in your home. Treat

your mind the same way, clean it out

and throw away what is accumulating

as refuse. There will always be people

who will have much material possessions

and that is because they need

these things. Do your best not to judge

them, not to think of it too much. It

will only decrease your energy for your

own work. Instead say a silent prayer

for them, that some miracle will allow

them to see that they could share their

wealth with those who need it more

than themselves. And if you cannot discard

these thoughts, write of them, and

do something of a higher purpose. Take

the frustrations you feel and form them

into stanzas, songs, concertos, paintings,

plays, sculptures, whatever it may

be that suits the subject.

I cannot tell you which path to choose

in terms of your livelihood, your job, but

just know that your poetry, your art is

your calling and a calling does not necessarily

pay the bills. When it does, it’s an

amazing blessing. This does not mean,

abandon your calling. Absolutely not! It

just means that remember to separate

your art from your work and if someday

both can be the source of your income,

the way you survive, then raise your

arms in thanks and share your findings,

On page C1: Leo Chaloukian is a distinguished sound executive in one of

Hollwood’s premier sound-recording companies. He has been behind the

scenes of several blockbuster movies . Photo courtesy of the Television

Academy. See story on page C9.

solutions with other artists. Your art

may not bring you the money you need

to pay your bills, but it will always supply

you with an abundance that cannot be

counted in numbers. If your remember

this, you will not resent your talents.

You have my explanation, in part, of

my tardiness in writing to you. I had to

figure out which odd jobs to take on in

the coming months. I had to make sure

I would still have a place to live while

I write, while I keep doing what I was

brought here to do. I have faith that the

future will bring a solution to being able

to write my poems, share with others

and yet survive in a world where balances

are always due and prices rise like

skyscrapers.

As Armenians, we have struggled

historically. Those who came to this

country worked their way up from the

lowest rungs of wages and toil. Today,

many still know what work is, how it

kneads the brow and knots the back.

Then there are the ones who live easy

(But, of course, no amount of money

can ease the inner world we all live with

when we rise and when we go to sleep

at night). Don’t compare yourself to either

group or those in between, but look

to all as voices that may speak through

your poems, your art. By taking on their

voices, you and your readers may learn

something of their worldview and of our

own.

You had questions in your last letter

that I have not answered. Please trust

that I will do so next time I write. For

now, I must go back to an idea I had for

a poem, before I forget and it’s too late

to remember. It had to do with standing

in line for an application to work at a local

market, while an old man’s cracked

glasses reflected the noonday sun, and

a woman’s diamond ring sparkled under

the neon light. And while both were

made of different materials, both were

frighteningly bright.

f

C2 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008


Mapping Armenian literature in the diaspora

by Talar

Chahinian

Talar Chahinian is a lecturer in the Department of

Comparative Literature at UclA, where she recently

received her Ph.D.

“It is truly an exciting

time for Armenian

literature.” Photos:

Roubina Margossian.

During the past two decades, it has become

increasingly difficult to maintain a singular

narrative of the literary history of the Armenian

diaspora. Armenia’s independence

and the formation of a state that provides

an official home for a national literature,

the shifting profile of diasporan communities

where the Eastern and Western forms of

the language (with their multiple dialects)

coexist, and the ever-increasing leverage of

English as a “global” language not only shatter

any notion of singularity in the diaspora,

but raise questions about the possibility of

continuity for Armenian-language production

outside of Armenia. In other words, it is

truly an exciting time for Armenian literature.

I do not say this with hints of cynicism

or sarcasm, rather with the conviction that

periods of ambiguity can be looked upon as

productive moments, for they require an

introspective gaze. This process of inwardlooking

and self-critical examination can

be realized only through dynamic discourse

and dialogue.

In a series of articles to follow, I intend

to raise questions about the current state

and future of Armenian literature in the

diaspora, in hopes of soliciting discussion

in circles that extend outside of academia,

within which similar debates are often limited.

After all, what is literature without

its reading public? And conversely, what

is a general public without its available

modes of representation?

The questions at hand, as complex as

they are due to the intricacies of their

Armenian specificity, are inextricably

tied with much broader trends and shifts

in the way our society engages with language.

In a recent interview, Steve Jobs,

CEO of Apple Inc., which brought us the

“i-empire,” claimed that people don’t

read anymore. While outright false, the

statement of the otherwise brilliant and

technologically savvy entrepreneur does

bring to light a change that is taking

place in the way we read. In fact, Jobs

made the statement when answering

a question about Amazon.com’s electronic

book reader, Kindle. Whether it

is through new reading mediums such

as e-books or our growing attachment

to and usage of Internet-based sources

and social networks, e-mail, and texting,

our reading practices are indeed changing

rapidly.

These new, technology-based reading

mediums contribute to economic

globalization, by carving out new demographics

of readership, by favoring

large publishing houses, and thus affecting

the publication and circulation of a

given work. Essentially, the assigning

of literary capital to works of literature,

and the subsequent changes in reading

and distribution practices, also contribute

to linguistic globalization, which has

an effect on the production and translation

of literature written in minority

languages. When library archives and

academic disciplines still rely on national

categories to classify literature,

the aforementioned globalizing changes

bring about a twofold implication to Armenian

literature in the diaspora.

First, how does a minor literature,

with barely 5 million speakers of its language,

sustain its production and circulation

at the dawn of the 21st century?

Second, does a minor literature that

emerges from different transnational

locales need to maintain dialogue with

a national center?

The answers lie partly in the Armenian

diaspora’s existing literary history,

which, for decades prior to Armenia’s

independence, carried a transnational

identity that predates the recent discourse

of globalization and the related

conception of “world” literature. What

we consider modern Armenian literature

today dates back to the mid-19th

century, which saw the initiation of the

literary movement towards the standardization

of the spoken Armenian

vernacular, in both the Western and

Eastern forms of the language.

In the second half of the 19th century,

Armenian literature experienced a period

of revival and witnessed the emergence

of an active intellectual class. The

Armenian national liberation movement

in the Ottoman and Czarist empires,

coupled with the incoming waves of European

artistic and literary movements,

such as Romanticism and Realism, produced

an abundance of poetry and prose

volumes as well as literary journals. Intellectual

communities sprung up in cities

such as Constantinople and Tbilisi.

Continued on page C4 m

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008

C3


Mapping Armenian literature in the diaspora

n Continued from page C3

The catastrophic years of 1915–23

brought Western-Armenian intellectual

life and literature to a grinding halt.

Most Armenian writers living in Constantinople

were arrested on the evening

of April 24, 1915, imprisoned, and

later killed. After a few years of complete

rupture in the Western-Armenian

literary tradition, a few surviving intellectuals

returned to Constantinople

or reemerged elsewhere to become the

surviving “fathers” of Armenian literature

and language to the orphaned generation

of future writers, who launched

a new chapter in Armenian literature:

that of the diaspora.

Of course, what I have been calling

“diaspora” refers to communities formed

as a result of the post-1915 dispersion

and subsequent immigration patterns

that expanded those initial communities.

Prior to 1915, Armenian literature,

in both the Eastern and Western traditions,

also had a history of “diaspora,”

since much of its production was

published in cities like Constantinople,

Tbilisi, Madras and Calcutta, Venice, or

Vienna. Whereas these Armenian intellectual

centers comprised communities

of merchants and elites, the post-1915

diaspora’s production emerges under

very different conditions: against the

backdrop of loss of land, loss of social

networks, experiences of exile, and refugee

life.

The extensive dispersion of Armenians,

with its patterns of migration

and the reconstruction of communities,

marks the very terrain of transnational

literature, which coincides with current

debates of world literature as a world

literary system. A world literary system

is understood as a reconfigured mode

of classification that moves beyond “national”

categories and looks at literary

intersections through the lens of connected

histories unmediated by a concept

of a “center.”

Modern Armenian literature in the

Ottoman and Czarist empires always

flourished through contact with other

cultures and in multiple urban centers.

As such, “cosmopolitan” from the days

of its inception and turned “transnational”

during the days of its people’s

dispersion, modern Armenian literature

awaits its new course in the age

of Armenia’s independence and the

world’s globalizing processes. A retrospective

overview of the diaspora’s

literary centers might allow us to speculate

what that course will or should

look like.

Paris as a literary center

between the wars

Prior to World War I, Paris was home,

both permanent and temporary, to a

small number of Armenians who had

arrived there under privileged circumstances.

The Parisian-Armenian community

consisted mostly of a wealthy merchant

class and visiting students from

Constantinople, most of whom returned

home after completing their university

studies.

“Modern Armenian literature awaits its new course in the age of Armenia’s independence and the world’s globalizing processes.”

Among those who could not part with

France was Arshag Chobanian, a Francophile

from Constantinople, who eventually

settled in Paris in 1895. Chobanian

soon established close contacts with

leading French and European intellectuals

and, in 1898, launched his celebrated

periodical Anahid, which, notwithstanding

multiple publication breaks, lasted

until 1949. As a result of his periodical’s

success and his social network, Chobanian

came to be known as the father of

the French-Armenian intellectual community.

Due to Chobanian’s efforts, a small

community of Armenian intellectuals

was in place in time to attract and

receive the post-War World I influx of

exiled writers, editors, teachers, and

other public figures. Although the incoming

group of intellectuals included

some former political leaders from the

Balkans, the majority of the newcomers

were from Constantinople, having arrived

in France by way of Greece, along

with orphans of the Genocide.

By 1925, the Parisian-Armenian community,

which up until then had not

served to develop a particular national,

political, or cultural agenda, now comprised

individuals who were eager to reorganize

and re-institute former political

and cultural structures. Aside from

dividing themselves along the traditional

party lines of the ARF, the Hnchakian

Party, or the more recently formed

Ramgavar Party, Armenian exiles in

France also founded new organizations

such as the Union for Adult Orphans

and numerous compatriotic unions for

natives of various Armenian provinces

in Anatolia. In time, these social and

political organizations began to produce

newspapers and journals that represented

their groups’ interests, thus creating

a new realm of Armenian-language publications

within which cultural and literary

groups began to play a key role.

Most notable of these journals and

newspapers are the weekly Abaka of the

Ramgavar Party, the weekly Nor Yergir

of the Hnchakian Party, the daily Harach

of the ARF, and the literary journal

Yergunk, the publication of the Union for

Adult Orphans. Of these publications,

Harach emerged as the most significant

representative source of the French-Armenian

community. In addition to having

the widest distribution, the newspaper

also offered a wide range of topics.

Apart from daily reporting, Harach

printed analytical articles that raised

many pressing questions occupying the

minds of the exiled intellectuals and

provided space for the serial publication

of the short stories and novels of the upand-coming

generation of writers.

In the spirit of group-formation borrowed

from contemporary European

artistic movements and of journalpublication

inspired by the abundance

of Parisian-Armenian periodicals, in

1931 a group of young, orphaned writers

made its previously informal meeting

public and issued the first issue of a

journal bearing the group’s name, Menk

(meaning “we”). The publication is introduced

by a one-page announcement,

highlighting the group’s raison d’etre

and aims, and signed by 15 writers:

Nshan Beshigtashlian, Ghevont Meloyan,

Hrach Sarkisian, Raphael Zartarian,

C4 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008


Harutyun Frenkian, Vostanig, Kevork

Kegharkuni, Nigoghos Sarafian, Puzant

Topalian, Paylag Mikaelian, Arsham Daderian,

Zareh Vorpuni, Shahan Shahnur,

Vazken Shushanian, and Shavarsh Nartuni.

Menk’s group identity was formed

around a series of deliberate negations

that sought to jolt conventions and to

present a new kind of literature, one

that embodied the group’s exilic condition.

The writers of Menk gathered to

launch a movement that neither recognized

itself as such nor declared a

manifesto. They gathered to make a collective

contribution to Western-Armenian

literature yet called for a break in

the continuum of that very same literary

tradition. They denounced the earlier

generation of writers, proclaimed a

change in the transmission of literary

customs, announced a separation from

the past, and embraced the “newness”

of their experience as a people scattered

around the world and living in the shadow

of a traumatic loss. It was out of this

idea of “newness,” which transpires out

of a “rootedness” in the present, that

the French-Armenian writers gave birth

to the first wave of diasporan Armenian

literature.

Although the national narrative of the

Armenian diaspora that we have come

to know today relies heavily on ideas

of continuity, transference, and tradition,

for the orphaned Armenian youth

of the 1920s the post-Genocide years

represent an in-between space that is

removed from the continuum of time.

More generally, in the years following

the Catastrophe, Armenians in the diaspora

inhabit a liminal space that seems

to be suspended in time, awaiting the

establishment of a new relationship

with the past. In order to claim themselves

as writers of Armenian literature,

the Menk writers attempt to name this

relationship between the present and

the past by proposing a literary theory

that calls for the end of the Western-Armenian

literary tradition and the birth

of a “new” literature that is yet to be

defined.

While the Menk writers remained

reluctant to explicitly define the “new”

literature, the content of their literary

and journalistic publications drew the

greater parameters of the issues that

concerned them as writers living in the

Parisian metropolis yet operating on the

margins of the majority culture: in other

words, as writers who are forced to continuously

negotiate the terms of their

scattered existence between old and

new, Armenian and the Other, East and

West, and national and transnational.

First and foremost, they contend

themselves by attempting to fulfill the

“The crisis of

immigrant identity

becomes one of the

central concerns that

contributes to the

grouping of Menk

and translates into

its literary theory as

the need for a new

literature.”

task of forging a collective. The announcement

found on the first page of

the journal does not present itself as a

manifesto, which was common to literary

and artistic movements of the time.

Regardless of the absence of this label,

the announcement’s appearance as the

first piece of writing in the publication

and its presentation of the signatories

allow us to read it as a document that

highlights the objectives of the group.

Using the first-person pronoun “we,”

the announcement lists a number of

reasons for Menk’s grouping and declares

future goals that the group will

strive to achieve. The signatories write,

“By our very solidarity and cooperation,

which will never infringe on the development

of each of our individuality, to

form a cohesion among young writers

spread to all corners of the world, and

by such, to facilitate the free development

and flourishing of a new Armenian

literature.” This proclamation presents

objectives for both a near and a distant

future. It identifies group solidarity as

an immediate objective, one which will

serve to develop the latter objectives:

the formation of an international community

of writers and the establishment

of a new Armenian literature. Here a

new literature is proposed as a means

for repairing dispersion and the damaged

sense of “wholeness,” which serves

as an obstacle to the process of collective

conceptualization of the Catastrophe.

The trauma of the Catastrophe, which

tears apart a community’s social networks

and destroys the connections that

hold a society in place, also eradicates

its collectivity. Although many of the

pre-war institutions transfer their work

to accommodate the new conditions of

the present, the idea of “wholeness” remains

damaged. In addressing their acknowledgement

of the loss of collectivity,

the co-signers of Menk state in their

announcement, “By searching in each

person inspirations, concerns, and common

traits of children belonging to the

same people, to open the path, to search,

and, in time, to give shape to a general

manifesto, which, while giving freedom

to each individual, corresponds to the

needs of Armenian culture.” Therefore,

the forging of a collectivity is considered

the primary objective of Menk. So, we

might ask, around what exactly is this

idea of a “collective” going to be formed?

Menk will suggest that it will be formed

around a new memory constructed

through literature, a collective memory

of the aftermath experience – therefore

an immigrant’s memory.

The crisis of immigrant identity becomes

one of the central concerns that

contributes to the grouping of Menk and

translates into its literary theory as the

need for a new literature. In explaining

one of the reasons for the coming

together of the writers, Nigoghos Sarafian

writes, “With Menk, we will work

to explain ourselves. We are gathered

first and foremost to find the internal

tie that runs deep through all of us,

which undoubtedly exists regardless of

our external differences and the shifting

conditions of each community. After

finding it, we will approach and address

various issues.” Here Sarafian refers to

the desire to contextualize, limit, and

define the terms of the writers’ dispersion

as a condition that brings forth the

need for explanation (self-explanation).

He places no distinction between the

writers that actually comprise Menk and

the general community of exiles, giving

the group representative authority.

As an exile, the French-Armenian immigrant,

particularly the French-Armenian

intellectual, faces a number of existential

questions. What does it mean

to survive the Catastrophe? What does

it mean to exist as a survivor, as an Ar-

Continued on page C8 m

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008

C5


Dro Arzooian in his studio in Atwater Village, California. Photo: Avo Kambourian.

Boredom is not an option

Artist Dro Arzooian gears

up for fresh projects

by Avo

Kambourian

ATWATER VILLAGE, Calif. – As I walk

into Dro Arzooian’s studio at the Casitas

building in Atwater Village, a fast-burgeoning

Los Angeles neighborhood, I find

him working on a new abstract painting,

composing one of his signature female figures.

His bicycle is hanging from the ceiling,

next to a smattering of his artworks.

Two years ago, when Arzooian attended

an exhibition by Vahe Berberian

at the Casitas building, he fell in love

with the location. Last year he went on

to open a studio in the building, which

has become home to several Armenian

artists, photographers, filmmakers, and

graphic designers.

Arzooian says he feels lucky to have

such good neighbors doing different

things, and that the atmosphere is quite

inspiring. “My favorite typical day,” he

says, “includes waking up a bit late and

having breakfast, then coming down to

Woman holding black bird, 40x30, acrylic on canvas

the studio and painting all day, having

coffee, and hanging out with friends.”

An accomplished painter, illustrator,

and sculptor, Arzooian has exhibited his

works worldwide. He also appears in the

role of General Vartan Mamigonian in

Lady in red, 40x30, acrylic on canvas

the trailer of Roger Kupelian’s East of

Byzantium.

Primed for the creative life

Born in Germany, Arzooian grew up in

his parents’ native Iran, surrounded by

artists: his father is a photographer and

literary figure; his mother a graphic designer;

and his aunt a painter. The young

Arzooian had no shortage of either inspiration

or encouragement to develop

his own artistic talent. At 10, he illus-

C6 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008


Dro in his studio.Photo: Avo Kambourian.

Arzooian has exhibited his works worldwide.

Arzooian uses vibrant colors in his paintings.

The Beginning (Adam & Eve), 36x36, acrylic on canvas

trated a children’s book about Armenian

history, titled Azadutyan Janabarhin. By

the time he was 16, he was employed as

a graphic designer for the children’s section

of Alik daily.

After studying at Tehran’s Azad University,

Arzooian became a freelance

political cartoonist for three major

Iranian magazines. In 1992 he held his

first exhibition in the Iranian capital,

and in the following years his cartoons

were published through various international

contests in Italy, Turkey, Korea,

and Iran.

Indeed, the 1990s were marked with a

string of successes for the artist. After

receiving his Bachelor’s in graphic design

from Iran University, he was hired

by Saba, one of the country’s largest

animation companies, as a character

designer and layout artist. His work

drew the attention of the Iranian government,

which commissioned him to

produce a series of sculptures to honor

Christian soldiers who had died in the

Iran-Iraq war. The sculptures were subsequently

placed in the president’s office

and the Armenian Prelacy of Iran.

Arzooian was also commissioned to

make a large bronze map in memory

of the Armenian Genocide. The map is

now housed at the Museum of Vank in

Isfahan, Iran. “It’s a huge piece,” Arzooian

says. “I am very proud of it because

it was real hard work and involved different

mediums like metal, wood, glass,

plastic, and lighting. It came out really

nice.”

Before moving to the U.S. In 2000,

Arzooian lived in Austria for a year,

where he was introduced to the work

of Gustav Klimt. “Even before I [got

to know his paintings], I was kind of

We are the GOD, 30x64, acrylic on canvas.

doing his simple lines, and what I am

doing now is similar to Klimt’s work,”

he says.

Future plans

Arzooian has a number of exhibitions

lined up. The first, tentatively slated for

December, will have a specifically Armenian

theme, he says. The next show is

planned for February. Meanwhile, the

artist says, he will continue to focus

on painting, although he is also toying

with several ideas for a new series of

sculptures. “Some things are better left

unplanned,” he notes.

f

connect:

studiofineart.com/Darzoo/index.htm

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008

C7


Mapping Armenian literature in the diaspora

n Continued from page C5

“It’s necessary to create a spiritual homeland and think like an ‘Armenian’ in all these foreign countries, which have served as our source of despair and great

opportunities at the same time.”

menian, on foreign soil? What does it

mean to live in the absence of the father,

the patria, and paternal law? Recognizing

their position as both witnesses and

survivors, the writers of Menk strive to

bring to language the destruction of order,

and, through that telling, seek to

gather, regroup, and thus repair the dispersion.

Bringing the Catastrophe and the subsequent

collapse of order to language means

launching a new literature that testifies to

the experience of the aftermath. And launching

a new literature means proclaiming the

old literary traditions dead.

As a result, the writers of Menk take a

confrontational stance against the writers

of the previous generation, accusing

them of showing a false closeness to

the cultures of the West. They blatantly

blame the pre-Genocide writers for

their present calamitous situation, believing

that they could have prevented

their current crisis of identity if they

had been armed with the awareness of

a genuinely Armenian literary tradition.

Nartuni writes, “We will once again

come forth in order to reveal the impoverishment

of those writers who came to

Europe and sold us imitation Western

goods. Our political failure is the result

of a false literary orientation. It was our

old literature, which came from Europe,

that ruined our home. Now we’re in Europe

and every day we see where those

goods came from.”

Here Nartuni presents his position

against the writers of the previous generations

as one of the foundational ideas

characterizing Menk, indicating that disrupting

the continuity of pre-war traditions

essentially gives way to the group’s

formation. In his article titled “Menk,”

Shahnur attempts to explain Menk’s

platform and echoes Nartuni’s aforementioned

criticism of the previous generation

by writing, “In their work, one

could find poor, miniature replicas of all

kinds of literary manifestos taken from

big nations.” Drafting this article in response

to some surviving critics of the

previous generation who claimed that

Menk had no clear platform, Shahnur

denounces the work produced by earlier

generations and claims them to be void

of originality.

So, what was to be the “new” literature’s

relationship with the West? During

the first decades of the 20th century,

Paris witnesses multiple artistic

and literary movements, which create a

certain lively and dynamic atmosphere

within social circles. Though familiar

with their contemporary literary trends,

Menk writers strive hard to reject these

influences on the form of their Armenian-language

prose. Simultaneously,

they make a conscious effort to distinguish

themselves from the previous

generation of writers, particularly by

holding a de-centered view of world literature.

Nartuni writes, “What a great

testament of the ignorance of our past

writers, who thought of French literature

as universal and instructed it to us

as such. No, we want to get to know

the literature of all nations…” Their displaced

and exilic condition emphasizes

the distance and alienation that exists

between Armenians and the French and

erases French literature’s appeal as universal,

creating a space for the literature

that they produce from the peripheries

of French culture.

Even in considering a comprehensive

view of world literature, one that accounts

for literary production of both

large and small nations and peoples, the

question of belonging remains a complicated

issue for French-Armenian writers.

Being a part of a dispersed people

and having lost the land that may justify

their existence as an independent nation,

the writers of Menk try to establish

their “new” literature on a symbolic soil.

Sarafian writes, “It’s necessary to create

a spiritual homeland and think like

an ‘Armenian’ in all these foreign countries,

which have served as our source of

despair and great opportunities at the

same time.”

According to Sarafian, literature will

be a means for the realization of a spiritual

homeland, which is situated on foreign

soil, yet simultaneously saves the

displaced Armenian culture from assimilating

into those very lands. Thus, for

the first time, Armenian literature gains

the function of ensuring the preservation,

or more precisely the perseverance,

of Armenian culture. Yet the establishment

of a spiritual homeland through

literature does not entail a return to the

past or a revival of notions of cultural

purity. Rather, the generation of Menk

turns its focus to the present.

For the Menk writers, Armenianness

comes to mean the current Armenian

immigrant condition. The “new” literature

serves a testimonial function and

strives to record the immigrant population’s

collective experience in face of

extinction, thus presenting a new kind

of writing that belongs to the stateless

realm of diaspora. Shahnur writes, “… I

jump from a social issue to a national

one, because for us today, at this moment

of crisis, there need not exist

anything aside from the preservation

of the Armenian people. For us, terms

like ‘pre-war bohemian’ have no significance.

Social issues, humanity, working

class… these, before all else, mean… all

eyes toward Armenians.” This means

giving literature an inward gaze: a role

of internal reflection, in order to begin

a period of self-awareness. For the writers

of Menk, literature offers a framework

within which it will be possible to

record the experience of the Catastrophe’s

aftermath and at the same time

forge a collective memory regarding

that experience.

Because Menk presents its goals as

delayed or postponed objectives that

would find definition in time, much of

the criticism by contemporaries focuses

on the group’s lack of a clear “platform”

or ideology. In reality, both the distant

objectives and the immediate goals of

the group are never realized. The call for

solidarity and cooperation as an immediately

attainable aim does not reach as

far as “all corners of the world.” It does

serve to group the most prominent of

the young, Parisian writers of the time,

allowing later critics to refer to the

group as “The Paris Boys.”

Having shared locality and a desire to

produce literature in the Armenian language

as their sole common traits, the

writers of Menk find it difficult to develop

a uniform group identity. The group does

not survive beyond its short-lived existence

of two years, during which time it

holds multiple informal meetings and

publishes five issues of its journal. Its

legacy, on the other hand, seems ever so

relevant to today’s questions regarding

the possibility of Armenian literature in

the diaspora.

f

Ahead in this series from

Talar Chahinian:

Part 2: Beirut and the Middle East

as the post–World War II intellectual

center of the diaspora

Part 3: English-language genocide

and identity literature of North

America 1970s and onward

Part 4: Armenian language and

literature as it is represented in

American academia (the emergence

of Armenian studies programs)

Part 5: Archives and collections

Part 6: Publication and publishing

houses the current Los Angeles

scene

C8 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008


From farm town to Tinseltown

Film-sound innovator Leo

Chaloukian looks back at

his start in the business

by Alejandro Guzmán

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – It’s hard to imagine

that a distinguished sound executive,

who was once owner and chief executive

of Hollywood’s premier sound-recording

company, began his journey milking

dairy cows and chasing chickens on a

farm in Agoura Hills, California.

But it’s true, and Leo Chaloukian will

be glad to tell you all about his path to

success. To date, he and his staff have

over 50 Emmy nominations, 42 Emmy

Awards, and an Oscar for Best Achievement

in Sound for the motion picture

Platoon under their belts.

Chaloukian has been behind the scenes

of blockbuster titles like The Bourne Ultimatum,

Babel, Kingdom of Heaven, and

Crash, just to name a few. Currently he

serves as vice-president of business development

at Ascent Media Group’s Creative

Sound Services division.

Throughout his career in sound recording

for production powerhouses Paramount

and 20th Century Fox, Chaloukian

mastered new ways to synchronize audiotape

faster, and innovated tools such as

extendable fish poles, which are used to

hold microphones just above and out of

the camera’s view to pick up sound.

Leo Chaloukian working at his office in Hollywood. Photo: Alejandro Guzmán.

Far from Hollywood

Chaloukian was born in Detroit. The

family moved to Chicago when he was

just a small boy, and he recalls a happy

Midwest childhood.

While talking with Chaloukian at his

11th-floor office on the corner of Hollywood

and La Brea, a look of nostalgia

takes over his face. He begins by describing

his parents – as nice, quiet people.

“They were good parents,” he says.

“Sure, I got spanked a few times, but it

must’ve been because I was bad.”

Primarily, he recalls them being quiet.

He believes the main reason his parents

kept to themselves was that they had

been through some traumatic experiences.

Both his mother, Mary, and father,

Harry, had been smuggled out of

Turkey to escape persecution during the

Armenian Genocide. Staying would have

meant certain death.

His father, Chaloukian recalls, was especially

quiet. It could’ve had something

to do with both his brothers and one sister

having been murdered by the Turks.

Chaloukian’s mother ended up in New

York via Greece and Argentina. “That’s

where they met,” Chaloukian says of his

parents. “[After being] smuggled out, my

father arrived on a ship in New York.”

In Chicago, the elder Chaloukian

worked for an ice cream company as a

teamster, delivering packages, and the

family was doing well. But eventually

the Chaloukians moved to California,

hoping that Mary, who was ill, could

benefit from the warmer climate.

The family moved in with Mary’s sister

at the latter’s ranch in Agoura Hills, just

west of the San Fernando Valley. This was

the young Chaloukian’s first taste of the

California lifestyle – not exactly what one

would expect from Los Angeles.

“I became a cowboy overnight,” he recalls.

All I know is, next thing I’m on a

ranch with Levis and cowboy boots.”

He remembers working hard on the

farm, waking up early and milking cows.

Indeed, it seemed that he was destined

to be a farmer.

“The 40s were a very interesting part

of my life,” Chaloukian says. “I learned

a great deal about plumbing, cattle, and

fixing things myself. I even joined the

Future Farmers of America” an organization,

renamed in 1988 as the National

FFA Organization, that promotes youth

education in agriculture.

Taking chances

But then things took an unexpected turn.

Chaloukian’s father got a job at MGM and

once again the family was on the move,

this time to Hollywood.

Chaloukian’s life took another dramatic

turn when he joined the armed

forces at 18. After spending time in Pearl

Harbor, he was stationed in the South

Pacific on a mine-sweeping expedition

aboard a submarine. He recalls the time

he and his comrades had to clear up vast

mine fields around Guam, Saipan, and

the Philippines.

After fulfilling his duties, Chaloukian

returned home in 1947 and began working

for the jewelry store that had employed

him before he left for military

duty. One day, he went to visit a friend

at work, at Ryder Sound Services.

“The more I looked around, the more

I thought about the people working

around me at my job and decided I didn’t

want to end up like them,” Chaloukian

remembers.

He went on to get a job at Ryder Sound

Services, in 1955. But it was neither

easy nor glamorous. He worked nights

for three and half years, making coffee,

scrubbing toilets, and preparing sandwiches.

Only on Sundays could he spend

time with the family.

Chaloukian was eventually promoted

to sound technician. Then, in 1965, he

became vice-president, general manager,

and a partner in the company.

The big time

Loren Ryder, the owner, took a liking to

Chaloukian and offered him 10 percent

of the company. Chaloukian gradually acquired

increasingly larger stakes in the

business until he finally bought it in 1976.

At the time of the sale, however, Chaloukian

was short $12,000. So Ryder gave

him four checks, explaining that two

were gifts from Ryder to Chaloukian, and

the other two were from Ryder’s wife for

Chaloukian’s spouse. Each check was for

$4,000.

“They don’t have anyone like that anymore,”

Chaloukian says, referring to the

Ryders’ extraordinary generosity.

Talking about his own sale of the company

in 1997, Chaloukian emphasizes

that it happened accidentally. At the

time, he was renting out studios to the

Soundelux Entertainment Group, which

needed more and more space.

Eventually, Chaloukian told Soundelux,

“The way you’re going, why don’t

you just buy me out?” He adds, “I was

joking, but they took me seriously.”

The sale saved Chaloukian a $4.5 million

upgrade to digital sound equipment.

Ironically, he had helped revolutionize

sound recording when he was a newbie at

Ryder. After the sale, Chaloukian stayed

on as Soundelux’s senior vice-president.

In 2000, John Malone’s Liberty Media

Group acquired Soundelux – now known

as Ascent Media Group’s Creative Sound

Services division. Once again, Chaloukian

stayed on as a top executive.

“It was only supposed to be for six

months… It ended up being 11 years,”

he says, reflecting on his tenure.

Chaloukian does plan on retiring soon.

Looking back at his long road to success,

he fondly remembers the man who

believed in him and gave him his first

major break.

“Ryder trusted me with his life,” he

says. “He left me in charge of everything.

It was one hell of a relationship.

He looked at me as his adopted son and

treated me that way. In return, I treated

him like a father.”

Chaloukian has been happily married

to his wife, Virginia, for 57 years. He has

a son, a daughter, five grandchildren, and

two great grandsons.

f

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008

C9


Program Grid 21 – 28 September

EST PST

22:00 1:00

22:30 1:30

23:00 2:00

23:30 2:30

0:30 3:30

1:30 4:30

2:30 5:30

3:30 6:30

4:00 7:00

4:30 7:30

5:00 8:00

6:00 9:00

7:00 10:00

8:00 11:00

8:30 11:30

9:00 12:00

9:30 12:30

10:00 13:00

11:00 14:00

12:00 15:00

12:30 15:30

13:30 16:30

14:00 17:00

15:00 18:00

16:00 19:00

16:30 19:30

17:00 20:00

18:00 21:00

18:30 21:30

19:15 22:15

19:40 22:40

20:30 23:30

21:30 24:30

22 September 23 September 24 September 25 September 26 September 27 September

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

Bumerang

Armenian Wedding

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Armenian

Movie

PS CLUB

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

PS CLUB

Cool Program

Armenian Wedding

Weekend News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Bumerang

Armenian Wedding

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Armenian Wedding

News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Drop Of Honey

Armenian Wedding

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Armenian Wedding

News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Drop Of Honey

PS Club

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Gyanki Keene

Cool Program

Boomerang

News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Discovery

Cool Program

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Tele Kitchen

Bari Luys

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Boomerang

News

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Tele Kitchen

Like A Wave

YO YO

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

News

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Bernard Show

Bari Luys

News

Discovery

Cool Program

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Unlucky Happiness

Harevaner

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Express

The Armenian

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

A Drop of Honey

News

CLONE

Fathers & Sons

Express

Like A Wave

Bumerang

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Armenian

Movie

News

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Bernard Show

The Armenian

News

28 September

Sunday

Dar

Cool Program

Blitz

CLONE

Snakes & Lizards

Armenian

Movie

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

Express

The Armenian

Like A Wave

Snakes & Lizards

Jagadakri kerinere

Cool Program

A Drop of Honey

Weekend News

CLONE

Fathers & Sons

Express

Like A Wave

Bumerang

Snakes & Lizards

CLONE

Dar

Discovery

A Drop Of Honey

Weekend News

PS Club

Armenian

Wedding

The Armenian

Weekend News

Bringing out the complexities of her character

Gloria Gaddar’s dynamic

turn in the comedy Moliere

Plays Paris

by Anna

Margaryan

At first glance Gloria Gaddar – dressed

in a black tank top and black slacks, with

her dark hair pulled back and revealing

a simple pair of silver hoop earrings

– doesn’t physically resemble the colorful

and eccentric women she portrays

on stage. However, this is merely a fleeting

first impression, for she does indeed

command the room with her presence.

Born Liana Shakhnazaryan in Namangan,

Uzbekistan, Gaddar moved to the

United States in 1991 with her family.

Having grown up in Uzbekistan, where

her family immigrated from Karabakh

and Baku after the turmoil of World War

I and the Armenian Genocide, Gaddar

was always conscious of her Armenian

heritage, although she was unable to

speak the language.

“I’m so proud to be Armenian,” Gaddar,

31, says. “We were raised with a strong

sense of who we are. Unfortunately, we

did not grow up speaking the language.

At that time there were no Armenian

schools, so we went to Russian schools.

We came here [the U.S.] and fortunately

we learned Armenian.”

Gaddar’s love of theater was ignited

at an early age, when she would put

on puppet shows and plays for family

members.

Inspired by the great

traditions

Gaddar’s desire to be an actor was cemented

in 1991, when, en route to America,

her family had to pass through St.

Petersburg. It was there that her mother

introduced her to some of the greatest

theaters in the Soviet Union.

“In Russian theaters I saw some of the

actors that I’d grown up watching on

television,” Gaddar says. “Those actors

commanded the stage like nobody’s

business. That’s when I really realized

that was what I wanted to do. I loved it

Left: Gloria Gaddar,

Above: Playing the

role of Madeleine

Bejart in the play

Moliere Plays Paris.

and I wanted to be as good as those

people.”

She wouldn’t have to wait long. Shortly

after arriving in Glendale, California,

she enrolled at Herbert Hoover High

School, where she was immediately

drawn to the theater department and

took roles in school productions. She

continued to do so at Glendale Community

College, where, in 1997, she played

Norma in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite. The

play would prove to be momentous for

her, as there happened to be critic in

the audience who nominated her for the

Kennedy Center Theater’ Festival’s Irene

Ryan Scholarship Award.

The nominees traveled to the Kennedy

Center in Washington, where they

showcased their talents with the hopes

of winning a scholarship.

“It was such an honor,” Gaddar says. “I

got to go to the festival and present my

monologue. I didn’t win, but it was a

great experience.”

After earning a bachelor’s in psychology

from California State University,

Los Angeles, and seriously considering

pursuing a master’s degree, Gaddar reevaluated

her career goals and realized

that she still had to make a journey of

self-discovery before she could commit

to a non-acting career.

“Since I’ve always done acting on the

side, my parents just thought of it as a

hobby,” she says. “They think one day I’ll

wake up and do something else, but they

are more accepting of it now. They are

proud of the things I’ve done.”

The hobby has blossomed into a fulltime

career for Gaddar, who spends her

days between rehearsals and a job with

Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California

Care Actors, where she and her colleagues

enhance doctors’ bedside manner

by portraying different doctor-patient

scenarios.

“In Los Angeles there are a lot of cultur-

Continued on page C11 m

C10 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008


Watch Armenia TV on Dish Network. To get a dish and subscribe, call 1-888-284-7116 toll free.

Satellite Broadcast Program Grid

22 – 28 September

22 September 23 September 24 September

Monday Tuesday Wednesday

EST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:20 9:20 Neighbours-

Serial

7:05 10:05 A Drop of

Honey

7:30 10:30 Bernard Show

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:30 12:30 Through the

traces of past

10:00 13:00 Neighbours-

Serial

10:45 13:45 Telekitchen

11:15 14:15 Jo-Jo

11:40 14:40 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

13:20 16:20 Blitz

13:40 16:40 Cool Program

14:05 17:05 In fact

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Express

16:05 19:05 As a wave-

Serial

16:45 19:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

17:30 20:30 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

19:15 22:15 11-New Serial

19:45 22:45 Bernard Show

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

21:30 0:30 The Armenian

Film

23:05 2:05 Express

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:00 3:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

0:20 3:20 Cool sketches

0:30 3:30 In fact

0:40 3:40 Yo-Yo

1:05 4:05 In the World of

Books

1:25 4:25 Blitz

1:45 4:45 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

2:35 5:35 As a wave-

Serial

3:15 6:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

4:00 7:00 Express

EST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:20 9:20 Neighbours-

Serial

7:05 10:05 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:30 10:30 Bernard Show

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:30 12:30 11-New Serial

10:00 13:00 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

10:45 13:45 Telekitchen

11:15 14:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

13:20 16:20 Blitz

13:40 16:40 Blef

14:05 17:05 In fact

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Express

16:05 19:05 As a wave-

Serial

16:45 19:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

17:30 20:30 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

19:15 22:15 11-New Serial

19:45 22:45 Bernard Show

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:25 0:25 The Century

22:00 1:00 A Drop of

Honey

23:05 2:05 Express

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:05 3:05 Yerevan Time

0:35 3:35 In fact

0:40 3:40 VOA(The Voice

of America)

1:00 4:00 Blef

1:25 4:25 Blitz

1:45 4:45 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

2:35 5:35 As a wave-

Serial

3:15 6:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

4:00 7:00 Express

EST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:00 9:00 Morning

Program

7:05 10:05 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:30 10:30 Bernard Show

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:30 12:30 11-New Serial

10:00 13:00 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

10:45 13:45 Telekitchen

11:15 14:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

13:20 16:20 Blitz

13:40 16:40 The Century

14:05 17:05 In fact

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Express

16:05 19:05 As a wave-

Serial

16:45 19:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

17:30 20:30 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

19:15 22:15 11-New Serial

19:45 22:45 Bernard Show

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:25 0:25 The Armenian

Film

22:35 1:35 Cool Program

23:05 2:05 Express

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:00 3:00 Fathers and

Sons

1:00 4:00 The Century

1:25 4:25 Blitz

1:45 4:45 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

2:35 5:35 As a wave-

Serial

3:15 6:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

4:00 7:00 Express

25 September 26 September 27 September 28 September

Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

EST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:00 9:00 Morning

Program

7:05 10:05 My Big, Fat

Armenian Wedding

7:35 10:35 Through the

traces of past

8:00 11:00 Yerevan Time

8:30 11:30 Health

Program

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:30 12:30 11-New Serial

10:00 13:00 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

10:45 13:45 Telekitchen

11:15 14:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

13:20 16:20 Love Eli

13:40 16:40 A Drop of

Honey

14:05 17:05 In fact

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Express

16:05 19:05 As a wave-

Serial

16:45 19:45 Seven Sins-

Serial

17:30 20:30 Blef

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

19:15 22:15 Captives of

fate-Serial

19:45 22:45 To night

20:35 23:35 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:25 0:25 The Century

21:55 0:55 Yerevan Time

22:20 1:20 In the World of

Books

22:40 1:40 Yo-Yo

23:05 2:05 Express

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:05 3:05 A Drop of

Honey

0:35 3:35 In fact

0:45 3:45 Through the

traces of past

1:25 4:25 Love Eli

1:35 4:35 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

2:35 5:35 As a wave-

Serial

3:15 6:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

4:00 7:00 Express

EST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Good

Morning,Armenians

6:00 9:00 Morning

Program

7:05 10:05 A Drop of

Honey

7:30 10:30 Health

Program

8:05 11:05 Yo-Yo

8:30 11:30 Cool Program

9:00 12:00 News in

Armenian

9:30 12:30 Captives of

fate-Serial

10:00 13:00 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

10:45 13:45 Telekitchen

11:15 14:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

12:00 15:00 News in

Armenian

12:30 15:30 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

13:20 16:20 Love Eli

13:40 16:40 Blef

14:05 17:05 In fact

14:15 17:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

15:00 18:00 News in

Armenian

15:30 18:30 Express

16:05 19:05 As a wave-

Serial

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Serial

17:30 20:30 Yere1(ye:re:

van)

18:00 21:00 News in

Armenian

18:30 21:30 Neighbours-

Serial

19:15 22:15 Captives of

fate-Serial

19:45 22:45 To night

20:35 23:35 Cool Program

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:25 0:25 The Armenian

Film

23:05 2:05 Express

23:30 2:30 Telekitchen

0:00 3:00 Bumerang

0:30 3:30 Health

Program

1:00 4:00 Yerevan Time

1:25 4:25 Love Eli

1:45 4:45 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

2:35 5:35 As a wave-

Serial

3:15 6:15 The Pages of

Life-New Serial

4:00 7:00 Express

EST PST

4:30 7:30 News in

Armenian

5:00 8:00 Bumerang

5:40 8:40 The Century

6:00 9:00 Morning

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7:00 10:00 Blef

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Sons

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9:30 12:30 Captives of

fate-Serial

10:00 13:00 Neighbours-

Serial

10:45 13:45 Telekitchen

11:15 14:15 Seven Sins-

Serial

12:00 15:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

12:20 15:20 More than a

woman-Italian Serial

13:10 16:10 Love Eli

13:35 16:35 Unhappy

Happiness - Serial

16:05 19:05 As a wave-

Serial

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Serial

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18:30 21:30 Neighbours-

Serial

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fate-Serial

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of America)

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van)

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Armenian Wedding

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15:15 18:15 Captives of

fate-Serial

17:00 20:00 11-New Serial

18:00 21:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

18:20 21:20 Neighbours-

Serial

19:10 22:10 A Drop of

Honey

19:45 22:45 To night

20:35 23:35 Bumerang

21:00 0:00 News in

Armenian

21:30 0:30 Health

Program

22:00 1:00 Yerevan Time

22:25 1:25 Cool Program

23:00 2:00 Bernard Show

0:00 3:00 VOA(The Voice

of America)

0:20 3:20 The Century

0:50 3:50 Yo-Yo

1:15 4:15 In the World of

Books

1:40 4:40 Blitz

2:00 5:00 Through the

traces of past

2:30 5:30 Fathers and

Sons

3:30 6:30 Bumerang

4:00 7:00 Blef

Bringing out the complexities of her character

n Continued from page C10

al differences and miscommunications

between doctors and patients, so our

program helps to teach people how to

approach patients of other cultures,”

Gaddar explains.

Gaddar is also a member of the 3KO

Broadway Theater Company, where she

occasionally moonlights as a director, a

screenwriter, and even a set builder.

The credits roll on

Gaddar’s portfolio of independent film

and theater includes The Lighter’s Journey,

The Secret Admirer, Necessary Targets, Uncle

Vanya, Anthony and Cleopatra, Finding

Verity, and The Right of the Womb.

The actor has also made an entry into

Armenian theater circles. In 2004 she

was cast in The Hard Killer, at the Luna

Playhouse in Glendale. The play is based

on Gagik-Sarkis Karapetian’s novel The

Killer. Gaddar and her cast mates joined

the proprietor of the playhouse, Aramazd

Stepanian, in taking the play to

Berlin for the annual German-Iranian

Theater Festival.

“Aramazd showed me that in Los Angeles,

where everyone is so concerned with

making a living, the spirit of culture

could be brought back,” Gaddar says.

Although she has not yet discovered

that coveted role of a lifetime that is on

every actor’s wish list, she is grateful for

the roles that she has been fortunate

enough to be offered. There is one genre

that she would love to act in: children’s

fairy tales. However, it’s not the role of

the Disney princess that Gaddar is enthralled

by, but rather her darker counterpart,

the evil queen. It’s a bit Tim

Burton meets Cinderella.

“I would love to do something with

a fairy tale and the aspect of mystery,”

she says. “There’s something about evil

queens that’s very attractive.”

Playing Madeleine

Despite the fact that it is the eve before

the opening of Nagle Jackson’s Moliere

Plays Paris, in which Gaddar will perform

in the role of Madeleine Bejart, she appears

to be surprisingly calm. Looking

at her cool demeanor, one would never

guess that tomorrow is the first time she

will be trying her hand at the commedia

dell’arte – a form of improvisational theater

that utilizes the traditional themes

of love, jealousy, adultery, and old age as

well as stock characters.

“I feel fine,” says Gaddar. “Commedia

is a new form for me. I’m a little bit nervous,

but I think it’s okay to be nervous.

I think you’re supposed to get little butterflies

in your stomach.”

Directed by Christina Howard, Moliere

Plays Paris reconstructs the major events

in the life of the famed 17th-century

French playwright and actor Moliere into

the course of a single climactic night.

The fast-paced play, which debuted in

1995 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,

will run weekends through October 12 at

Los Angeles’ Knightsbridge Theatre.

“Playing Madeleine Bejart is such a

challenge and an honor. I’m grateful to

have gotten this role because it’s about

a strong woman. After her death Bejart

was considered one of the greatest actors

of the 17th century, especially at a

time when acting was considered an unholy

profession, particularly for women,”

Gaddar remarks.

Preparing for a performance is no

small feat, even for the most seasoned

of actors. Gaddar takes the process of

delving into the character’s psyche very

seriously, as she meticulously researches

each role and in the process finds

something personal within her that corresponds

with the character.

“I try to understand [Bejart’s] soul and

why she did what she did,” she says. “I

also bring my own emotions, my memories,

because it helps me become more

connected. Somehow, when you are in

front of people, it just clicks. I used to be

scared of performing in front of an audience,

but now I feed off their energy.”

The dynamic exchange between actor

and audience is essential to maintaining

the delicate balance of the relationship.

Gaddar thrives on this symbiotic relationship,

as she takes energy from her

audience and utilizes it to enhance the

quality of her performance. f

Moliere Plays Paris

Knightsbridge Theatre

1944 Riverside Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90039

Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 6:00 p.m.

Through October 12

connect:

knightsbridgetheatre.com

Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008

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C12 Armenian Reporter Arts & Culture September 20, 2008

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