Maybe Salman Rushdie met Azar Nafisi outside a kabob joint on the streets of Tehran. [Photo: Mistral Khan-Becerra] 3/09/16
Since you last met Shadi in From Thurgood Marshall School of Law to Rochester Prep High School, she interviewed a drug king pin in the jungles of Central America. No, oops, that was Sean Penn. But Shadi Kafi has, like Penn, gone experiential (though not gonzo) in her ceaseless exploration of upper Monroe. Below is a photo montage from her series-in-progress: Yards to Porches of Upper Monroe.
Briefly on our newest Talker of the Town.
Also holding a law degree from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Shadi teaches World History at a college preparatory high school and is earning her M.S. in Educational Administration at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education. With a passion for Arts Integration.
Putting passion into action, in the past year Shadi has pursued poetry, theatre and music. Not having stroked her violin since teenage girlhood, Shadi first brushed up on her chosen instrument at Music and Arts in Pittsford. Complimenting her work at Warner, Shadi recently was awarded a scholarship from the Eastman Community Music School.Always interested in drama, on the suggestion of a colleague, Shadi joined the Bronze Collective Theatre and performed last month in “Monologues on Clarissa Street” which focuses on the Third Ward of Rochester during the Great Migration in the 1930s and 40s.
As for her poetry, this summer Talker is sending Shadi abroad to Paris, in training to be another Louise Colet, Hélène Cixous, or Brigitte Fontaine.
Not exactly, but as part of Shadi’s vision of integrated arts education, she is attending a seminar at the American University of Paris’ Summer Writing Institute taught by Siân Melangell Dafydd.
Needless to add, Shadi’s longstanding fantasy is to become a gonzo photojournalist for Talker of the Town. Dreams can come true, one porch step at a time.
Growing up in Houston, Shadi watched as her Iranian mother tended to the family garden as if it were an orchard back home along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea in Shomal.
Roses, Gol-e-Mohammadi in Persian, were her mother’s favorite. “Boo-kon,” she announced to the family every morning as she decorated the table.
When growing up, Shadi never thought of her mother as a storyteller. Other than the smell of Gol-e-Mohammadi, her mother rarely spoke about the garden, leaving the mysteries of Iran to the imagination.
“It’s funny,” Shadi says:
I spent very little time in that yard. Now as an adult I am drawn to gardens and porches and create stories in my mind.
As that adult, Shadi also sees porches from a different perspective.
Porches are interesting because they are oddly public and personal at the same time. It’s like we are seeing the bedroom but without seeing the bed. It’s foreplay, a tease, a clue to what may lay inside.
Inventing what if porches could talk, Shadi strolls her Pinnacle Hill neighborhood. The captions are little prose poems for which Shadi makes no claim to profundity. (That’s why she is going to Paris.)
The delight is sharing her delight.
Shadi has the Talker elan! For both self-cultivation and to serve as a model for students, Shadi is taking advantage of Rochester’s rich intellectual and aesthetic life. With openness, liveliness and good humor.