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angry Muslima and the reformed Moroccan jerks

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MoBob and I actually went out at night this past weekend - a rare event indeed!

On Friday we went to an 11pm performance of Zehra Fazal in Headscarf and the Angry Bitch. The show had gotten rave reviews during the Capital Fringe Festival so when I saw that it was returning for a couple of weekends we got tickets.

MoBob and I had different reactions to the performance. We both laughed at the Ramadan song (to the tune of "Little Drummer Boy") and at the song about being detained at the airport *every single time* but not at everything else. I felt that what the actress said was true of the immigrant experience in general (family pressures, extended families in the home country) and of young immigrant women in the U.S. in particular (going to a gynecologist who reminds you of your mom). I can't speak to the Islam aspect, but certainly a lot of what she brought up was familiar, such as marrying within one's faith.

MB thought that the comedian was too critical of Islam. Certainly I could see how some segments were intended to provoke and probably offend. We talked about how Headscarf was different from Allah Made Me Funny or the Axis of Evil tour, where the latter two (both exclusively male) focused mainly on the Muslim experience in America. Whereas MB felt that Headscarf mocked Islam directly.

Washington City Paper review
A.V. Club DC review
Express Night Out review

Then on Sunday night we caught the last evening of the Arabian Sights Film Festival and saw a Moroccan comedy called Number One. The movie was right on the mark, and showed some parts of Moroccan life that aren't always visible to foreigners, such as the life of the urban middle class, or the slum areas of the city where sorcerers and witches can still be found. Many of the actors were familiar from Moroccan TV, especially from the 2M comedy "Lalla Fatima." I suspect that the movie's controversial theme (changing gender roles after the reform of the family law) was mediated by the presence of a stellar cast with a lot of popular credibility. Plus, it was just really funny.

For both events it was the first time we'd been to the DC Arts Center whose theatre only seated less than 100 people or the Grosvenor Auditorium at the National Geographic Society, which was a much more traditional venue. The cool factor about both places is that the foyer areas had exhibits so there was actually something to look at while waiting for the doors to open.
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