16th Apr2016

Tangerine (DVD)

by timbaros

TangerineTwo transgender prostitutes tear up Santa Monica Boulevard in the brilliant ‘Tangerine’ – one of the best films of 2015.

It is one of the most funny and original films of the year. and stars two transgender actresses in the lead roles, roles that will make them both stars.

Mya Taylor is Alexandra, and Kitana Kiki Rodriquez is Sin-Dee (yes, Sin-Dee), it’s Christmas Eve in Los Angeles, and Sin-Dee has just got out of jail after spending 28 days for holding drugs for her pimp boyfriend Chester (James Ransom). She finds out, from Alexandra, that Chester has been having sex with Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan), so Sin-Dee goes on a mission to find Dinah and then to confront Chester. And Alexandra is having her own drama – she’s performing at a local bar that night and has passed out fliers to everyone she knows. Meanwhile, she’s got one of her regular customers, Razmik (Karren Karaguilian), looking for her. Razmik has problems of his own, he’s attracted to transgender prostitutes, but he’s married with a young daughter at home. He’s also got his nosy mother-in-law visiting for the holidays.

Sin-Dee finds Dinah in a motel room with several other prostitutes and their naked male customers, so she literally kidnaps her and then heads to confront Chester. Alexandra, meanwhile, scuffles with a customer who doesn’t feel like he should pay her because he didn’t come. But she does have sex with Razmik in a brilliant uncut sex scene in a car wash. All these characters converge together at the local Donut Shop as they confront each other about infidelity in a very dramatic and hilarious ending. Tangerine is a Christmas tale not of the typical Christmas kind.

Shot on three iphone 5s’ on a $105,000 budget, Tangerine is not the sort of movie you would expect to be dazzling, funny, dramatic, adventurous and original, but it is. Thanks to the many elements that bring this 88-minute film to fruition which make it so; the guerrilla style filmmaking is excellently created by Director, Editor, Co-Cinematographer and Co-Writer Sean Baker (co-written along with Chris Bergoch). And the actors are fantastic. Baker initially met Taylor at the Los Angeles Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Community Center, and she introduced him to all her friends, including Rodriquez, which is how ‘Tangerine’ came to be, and these two actresses more than carry the movie, they are the movie, you can’t take your eyes off them. The rest of the cast is also brilliant; especially Karaguilian (who is a professional actor) brings sympathy to his role as a man trying to do the right thing but who also harbours a secret, and O’Hagan as the ‘other’ woman who is literally dragged around Los Angeles by Sin-Dee in the search for Chester. The Los Angeles neighborhood where this film is shot feels like another character in the film; the hued and hazzy skies, cheap motels, strange people and very cheap fast food restaurants litter the area. And the music (and script) is cutting edge; pulsating, loud, sharp, a perfect match for a film with characters who are the same, who spew lines such as ‘He just went from half fag to full fag’ to ‘You forget I’ve got a dick too,’ and ‘you don’t have to Chris Brown the bitch’ with copious amounts of the word ‘bitch’ and ‘whore.’ ‘Tangerine is a smorgasbord of wit and sarcasm. It’s also brilliant and must be seen to be believed.

Tangerine is now out on DVD.



Tangerine [DVD] (DVD)

Director: Sean Baker
Starring: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O'Hagan, James Ransone
Rating: Suitable for 15 years and over

Sean Baker writes and directs this comedy drama about the life of a transgender sex worker in downtown Los Angeles. Having just been released from prison, Sin-Dee Rella (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) discovers that her pimp and boyfriend Chester (James Ransome) has been cheating on her with a white girl called Dinah (Mickey O'Hagan). With nothing but revenge on her mind, Sin-Dee spends the entire night searching the city for the cheating couple.Technical Specs: Languages(s): EnglishInteractive Menu
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16th Apr2016

Haram Iran (Theatre)

by timbaros

IMG_4171nAbove the Stag Theatre in Vauxhall presents a show about the murder of two young men in Iran

Two young men were publicly hanged in a square in Mashhad, Iran on 19th July 2005. The new play ‘Haram Iran’ tells this horrific story.

Ayaz Marhoni and Mahmoud Asgari were both teenage boys who liked to hang out together. But it was suspected that these two young men had a homosexual affair, though the true nature of their crime had never actually been confirmed. But they were publicly executed after being convicted on the trumped up charges of raping a 13-year old boy. The Above the Stag theatre in Vauxhall has produced a play that re-enacts and tries to give credence and understanding to the story of these two young men, and their lives, and their execution. It’s an amazing and relevant play.

Ayaz (Viraj Juneja) and Mahmoud (Andrei Costin) play ball, study together and hang out at Ayaz’s house. They’re fast becoming good friends, enough so that it makes Fareed (Merch Husey) jealous. Mahmoud spends a lot of time at Ayaz’s house, in his bedroom, just hanging out. Ayaz is obsessed with books, books that his mother (Silvana Malmone) has illegally kept as she’s not allowed to have them because of Sharia law. Ayaz is most enraptured by The Catcher in the Rye, and he reads passages of the book to Mahmoud. Some of the passages are sexual, making the young men a bit turned on. One day Ayaz notices huge marks on Mahmoud’s back, caused by whippings inflicted on him by his father. Ayaz rubs oil on Mahmoud’s back, but it’s this act, witnessed by Fareed, which causes their downfall. Ayaz is initially charged with corrupting, and penetrating Mahmoud, is thrown in jail, and repeatedly raped by the prison guard (Fanos Xenofos). Eventually they are both charged with consensual homosexual acts and the judge (George Savvides) punishes them to death.

‘Haram Iran’ is a very important play that highlights the brutality and injustice that these two young innocent men endured in Iran. While not every scene in ‘Haram Iran’ might not actually have taken place, what is fact is the murder at the hands of the Iranian government of these two young men. Directed by Gene David Kirk with brutal and emotional intensity, ‘Haram Iran’ was written by Lawyer Jay Paul Deratany, who happened to find the story online. And each member of the cast are excellent. Juneja and Costin are both very believable as Ayez and Mahmoud, young and innocent but punished nonetheless. Maimone as Ayaz’s mother is superb in her role. Xenofos is very scary (and a bit too believable) as the prison guard who shows no mercy, while and Savvides is downright cold, mean and heartless as the judge. ‘Haram Iran’ is a brutal yet delicate story of two young men who didn’t deserve to die because of who they were.

Haram means forbidden by Islamic Law

To buy tickets, please visit:

Haram Iran

Haram Iran is playing until May 1st.

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