Artist Manoucher Yektai (1921-2019)


TEHRAN, Nov. 20 (MNA) – Iranian-born artist Manoucher Yektai, who belonged to the school of New York School Abstract Expressionist, has passed away at 98 in New York.

Ehsan Aghaei, Head of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, confirmed the news to Mehr correspondent, adding that the prominent painter passed away in early hours of Tuesday in the United States.

Manoucher Yektai was born in 1921 in Tehran, where he lived until his move to Paris in 1945. Between the years of 1945-47 the artist moved to Paris to study Fine Art at the École des Beaux-Arts and at the Atelier of André Lhote, before relocating to New York in 1948, where he continued his studies at the Art Students League of New York. Here he was exposed to the Abstract Expressionist style that was practiced by established artists Willem de Kooning, Sam Francis and Jackson Pollock.

Yektai’s works are described as a combination of a natural approach with a proclamation of beauty and an acknowledgment to painting-of-everyday-life, according to Sotheby's, one of the world's largest brokers of fine and decorative art, headquartered in New York City.

His works have been sold under the hammer at several editions of Tehran Auction, Sotheby’s, Christie's, and Bonhams.

The Prince

Valentino on the living room table.

Protests in Iran: More than 100 dead

Iranian protesters set fire on Police cars in Shiraz during a demonstration against an increase in gasoline prices on November 16, 2019. Picture by SalamPix

AP: Days of protests over rising fuel prices and a subsequent government crackdown have killed at least 106 people across Iran, Amnesty International said Tuesday, adding that the real figure may be much higher. Iran's government has not released a toll of those arrested, injured or killed in the protests that began Friday and spread quickly across at least 100 cities and towns, but it disputed Amnesty's report through its mission to the United Nations, calling it "baseless allegations and fabricated figures."

However, a U.N. agency earlier said it feared the unrest may have killed "a significant number of people." Amnesty cited "credible reports" for its tally and said it "believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed."

Iranian authorities shut down internet access to the outside world Saturday, an outage that has left only state media and government officials to say what is happening in the nation of 80 million.

State television showed video Tuesday of burned Qurans at a mosque in the suburbs of the capital, Tehran, as well as pro-government rallies, part of its efforts to both demonize and minimize the protests.

Absent in the coverage was an acknowledgement of what sparked the demonstrations. The jump in gasoline prices represents yet another burden on Iranians who have suffered through a painful currency collapse, following President Donald Trump's unilateral withdrawal of the United States from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and the reimposition of crippling U.S. economic sanctions.

Relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani has promised the fuel price increase will fund new subsidies for poor families. But the decision has unleashed the anger of many Iranians, including Maryam Kazemi, a 29-year-old accountant in the southern Tehran suburb of Khaniabad who said the new cost of fuel was "putting pressure on ordinary people."

"It was a bad decision at a bad time. The economic situation has long been difficult for people, and Rouhani unexpectedly implemented the decision on fuel," she said.

Amnesty said it gathered its figures from interviewing journalists and human rights activists, then crosschecked the information. In its breakdown, it showed the hardest-hit areas as the western Kermanshah province and its oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan. Many online videos released before the internet outage had shown unrest there.

"Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons," Amnesty said. "Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition."

At least one video posted to YouTube on Monday showed what the user claimed were Iranian "basij" paramilitary forces firing live ammunition at protesters, but the date the video was shot could not be independently verified.

Amnesty, citing eyewitnesses corroborated by video, said snipers also shot into crowds of people from rooftops and, in one case, a helicopter.

Lean on me

In Plaza Merced.

Attack on Kazerun Seminary


IranWire: A group has attacked the Kazerun seminary in Fars province and set fire to parts of the religious school building. The attack on the Kazerun Sadeq Salehieh Seminary was reported to have taken place on the evening of Saturday, November 16.

According to the Rasa news site, the attackers also torched three cars owned by the seminary.

An official for the Fars Provincial Seminary the province said: "The opportunists have also attacked a cultural center in Shiraz and damaged the Khatam al-Anbia school in the city."

Managers for the seminary also said some seminarians were beaten during the attack.

Several reports have emerged of protesters attacking other religious schools during the recent protests in Iran – which were sparked by a gas price increase but have since spread.

Fars News Agency reported that at least 1,000 people were detained during the protests and 100 banks were also set on fire.

Enjoying ice cream

In Plaza de Armas.

Semi-friendly observer

Valentino holds back his natural instincts.

Rainy Alley

On Calle Recoleta.

World War III: ‘Iranian Hulk’ signed up for USA vs. Iran Bare Knuckle fight

MMAmania: Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship continues to thrive as the promotion combines their reputation as the new bloody spectacle with creative matchmaking. Artem Lobov vs. Paulie Malignaggi was a pretty audacious booking, and I’m still impressed the fight actually went down (and shocked Lobov won). While morally questionable, the Gabriel Gonzaga vs. “Bigfoot” Silva fight was exactly the kind of UFC veteran vs. UFC veteran match that attracts casual MMA fan attention. And now BKFC is experimenting with another hallowed type of fight: the freakshow.

BKFC 9 ended with a promotional video announcing the signing of Sajad Gharibi, better known on the internets as “Iranian Hulk.” Nearly half a million people follow the absolute unit on Instagram where the 27 year old shows off his massive physique and the ridiculous diet he consumes to maintain it. He looks like a nine year old’s janky drawing of a bodybuilder came to life - nothing looks quite right but for once on Instagram this is the real deal, not some filter manipulation.

As if Gharibi bare knuckle boxing wasn’t intruiging enough on its own, BKFC president David Feldman is promising the entire event will be as over the top as possible.

“This guy’s going to make his Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship debut in early 2020,” Feldman said (via MMA Fighting). “We’re going to do a show entitled ‘USA vs. Iran: World War III.’ He’s literally our biggest signing we’ve ever had. But he’s going to make his way over to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, he’s gonna make a home here, and we expect really, really big things from ‘The Iranian Hulk.’”

Now we just have to cross our fingers and hope these really big things come to fruition. This isn’t the first time Gharibi has teased his combat sports debut. KSW tried to book him in an MMA bout against fellow anatomically grotesque UK bodybuilder Martyn Ford. That fell apart, and then Gharibi announced he planned to fight ‘Brazilian Hulk’ Romario dos Santos Alves. BKFC’s USA vs. Iran event name implies that particular matchup is no longer a thing, which makes me sad. I never knew how much I wanted to see the world’s various regional Hulks go at it Highlander style until now.

So what do you think, Maniacs? Excited for World War III?

Ignorance is bliss

In Plaza de Armas.