Shazia Kirmani, who gave Nirali a solid introduction to interior design in “Decorating 101,” made her Bravo debut last night in “Top Design’s” second season. The TV series, hosted last time by Todd Oldham who transitions to a mentor role this season, follows 13 interior designers through various challenges as they compete to win $100,000 and a four-page showcase in Elle Decor magazine. (One member of the judge’s panel, Margaret Russell, serves as editor-in-chief of Elle Decor.)
Kirmani and the 12 other designers featured on the show have diverse backgrounds. The group includes a trained countertenor, an artist, a Yale-trained architect, a real-estate developer, a set decorator for film and TV, a former fashion designer, a magazine style editor, and several decorators who already run their own firms. Kirmani falls in the latter group. After graduating from the Art Institute of Dallas, she and her roommate designer Jesse Neargarder had their East Dallas apartment featured in D Home. Today she helms her own design firm, EgoSpace Interiors.
In her 60 Second Life Story video, Kirmani says that she was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, to Pakistani parents, and that she has lived most of her life in Texas. According to her show bio, after her first semester at University of Texas at Austin studying biochemistry, she realized she was “more passionate about redesigning her bedroom than anything that was going on in the classroom.” In a Star-Telegram.com interview, the designer shares details from behind the scenes at “Top Design.”
Inspired by the world travels and spiritual explorations of founders/designers Satya and Beth, Satya Jewelry combines semi-precious stones with gold and sterling silver to create pieces with diverse elements and meanings. Satya is a Sanskrit word meaning “the inner Truth that permeates all.”
This weekend, 5/2–5/4, their jewelry is up to 80 percent off; the triple-charm necklaces were $128, but are now $35. 95. Christopher St., at Bleecker St. (212-243-7313); 5/2–5/4 (10–6). — NY
More: The Satya Foundation is a non-profit committed to bringing yoga and healthy living to kids. The foundation also donates 100% of the proceeds from one of its necklaces to the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation (EBMRF), aiming to find a cure for this rare childhood skin disease.
Look for more details on Satya in an upcoming issue of Nirali!
The new Videos section of Split Magazine features selections from independent musicians and bands all over India, such as Parikrama’s “But It Rained” — a video shot in the Himalayas Spiti Valley; the song was inspired by tourist kidnappings in Kashmir. Split’s videos also include the documentary by Samira Kanwar on The Big Chill, an international festival of alternative music which came to beautiful Aswem Beach, Goa, in 2007. Check out the rest of the cool videos on display and keep an eye out for more! Split Magazine was founded by Arun Kale, the very talented web producer at Nirali.
“Where have you guys been?,” our loyal readers have been asking. “Aren’t you going to publish new issues?”
Well, it ain’t that easy. True, the most recent issue of Nirali was in July. But, uh, we’ve been busy since then.
The truth is, Nirali is one enormous labor of love. The wonderful staff and freelancers who contribute to Nirali don’t do it because they have to or because they’re paid to—they do it because they want to. That’s right—Nirali is an entirely volunteer effort. And after several months of putting out new issues with dozens of stories, we just sort of burned out on the whole process.
But we miss it, too. We miss bringing you stories that can’t be found in most other media. We miss knowing what’s on the pulse of South Asian community in the West. We miss seeing our readers debate our work in the comments. In short, we miss you.
So we’re coming back. But before we delve into the new stuff, we’re taking some time to celebrate some of our favorite stories over the years. In this issue, you’ll find the best of Nirali—everything from our story on M.I.A in 2004, before she was a huge sensation, to the essays on desi guys that had so many of you talking.
We’ll unearth these stories all month long on our front page. To cut to the chase and see the entire list of stories we consider our “Best Of,” see the topic page here. If you choose to browse even further, you can see that we’ve marked all our favorite stories with the “Best of Nirali” badge.
So take some time to get to know Nirali again—and we’ll be back before you know it (or May, whichever comes first).
Ismat Sarah Mangla
The second season of Notes from the Underbelly premiered this week, with a cast including Lisa Harris, Jennifer Westfeldt and Sunkrish Bala. (See “Life of a Bala” in NIRALI for more on Sunkrish.) The bedroom scene in which he’s subjected to his wife’s efforts to unravel the secrets of their Burberry-clad French nanny’s swaddling technique is the highlight of Bala’s limited on-screen time in this episode.
Not sure what swaddling is or why it would strike fear into the hearts of new parents? Join the club. “How hard is a swaddle?” asks the show’s expecting mother. “It’s like giving an angry cat a bath when you’re drunk,” answers Melanie Paxson, who plays his wife.
In a recent interview, Bala talked about what he looks for in a girl, entertaining the babies on set, and his character Eric.
Yeah, Eric and Julie are just those obnoxious parents next door that you don’t want to talk to. Our world is about our baby – the “Mommy and Me” and “Music and Me” classes and waterbabies. It’s like we did this before we had our child, and now our life is consumed by it. It’s a little gross.
Everyone always asks me, what does Eric do for a living on your show?
You know, it’s such a mystery. No one knows and everyone speculates. I know he’s incredibly wealthy, so it’s something that pays a lot of money. That’s all that’s ever been made clear to me.
He’s definitely like an I-banker or a finance guy. Eric’s so square and boring, but he’s richer than I will ever be in my life!
Maybe he’s a super spy?
You know what, I like that. Eric’s a super spy, and no one knows it, he’s that’s ultra smooth. (OK! Magazine)
According to The Gourmet Cartographer (a.k.a Janki Khatau), you should try Kashmiri chai. I wouldn’t mind trying any of the vegetarian delicacies described on her blog, which include foods from roadside stalls in India, homemade recreations of street food, and treats from various cities in the U.S. In fact, I went to Papalote for a great burrito after reading about it there. But it was this “very lickable” drink that caught my eye the other day, with its flash of color peeking through the cup’s white cover. It’s also salty. Who knew that salty chai could be tasty?
Update on “Shaheen a STAR Candidate”—Shaheen Sheik’s song “Wildflower World” beat out over 400 contestants this past week to make it into the top ten round of a contest held by mainstream Los Angeles radio station 98.7 STAR. Listeners can show their support for Sheik and her song by participating in the final round of online voting now through September 26. The final vote will decide the Star Lounge featured song and artist who will also get to perform live on the radio.
Previous Star Lounge artists include Dave Matthews, Alanis Morrisette, Coldplay and Norah Jones. The top ten round this year includes the following artists in addition to Shaheen Sheik: Ken Oak Band, Adrina Thorpe, Jordyn Taylor, Joseph Vincent, Lady Danville, Jeff Stauning, Waiting 4 Wyatt, Larissa Lam and Michael Celedon.
More: The video for “Wildflower World” is up now on Shaheen’s site.
Shaheen Sheik’s “Wildflower World,” a soothing pop single with folk undertones and introspective lyrics, has a shot at being selected for a lounge CD from southern California’s modern adult contemporary radio station STAR 98.7. If selected the newly wed Sheik would perform live on mainstream radio and her track would be included on the CD. Voting runs 9/13 — 9/19. You can watch the video and show your support for Shaheen’s single by voting online. This multi-faceted artist gave some insight into her songwriting process in an interview with Mahiram.com.
“You know, I study the Sarod (north Indian classical instrument) and within Hindustani music there is such an emphasis on how time of day affects the raga you should play. I believe that 100%. The time of day, climate, surroundings are so key to the tempo of the song, the key, whether it’s major or minor and the topic of the lyrics.”
The comedic duo John Cho and Kal Penn reprise their roles as Harold and Kumar for a trip to Amsterdam in the sequel to their White Castle flick. That’s what the title of Harold and Kumar Go to Amsterdam would lead you to believe. But the recently released trailer highlighting their misidentification as terrorists on the plane and detainment in an interrogation room may leave you wondering if the pair ever makes it to the city of frites and canals, or if they end up at Guantanamo.
Also insane on the plane: Dishad Husain’s Viva Liberty! features a character named Woody Ali who is misidentified as a terrorist when he tries to go on holiday and ends up at a notorious US detention center.
More: While the passenger who freaks out at the sight of Kumar in the movie trailer may be an exaggerated caricature/plot device, a recent amendment seeks to shield from lawsuits airline passengers and others who report suspicious activity to authorities (“King bill aims to protect terrorism tipsters”). Proposed in response to the 2006 case of six Muslim imams removed from a plane after a passenger raised concerns about them, the bill has faced opposition from those who argue that it encourages racial profiling (NPR).
Zerobridge, profiled in NIRALI‘s November 2006 issue (“Band of Brothers”), is coming out on September 18 with their latest EP named after its title track, “Havre de Grace.” The name comes from a town in northern Maryland, close to where the brothers grew up. “It means Harbor of Grace,” explains lead singer/guitarist and songwriter Mubashir “Din” Mohi-ud-Din. “I always just loved the sound of it and what it could mean. The tune itself sounds fresh and defines who we are right now and where we have been as a band.” The rock band is gearing up for release parties in the tristate area to promote their new album. Keep a look out on their myspace for all the updates.
Previously: Don’t Miss Zerobridge at CMJ
Update: Snaps and clips from the release party for their new album, at Mercury Lounge in Lower East Side.