Sunday, August 26, 2007

Second Life meets MySpace

I assume you know what are Second Life, MySpace, and Facebook. Well there is new site that provides social networking in a virtual world environment. It is called Kaneva. Basically, you create a network of friends, as in a social network, and then meet them in a virtual world. Of course you also can make friends directly in the virtual world.

The Kaneva virtual world looks similar to the one in Second Life but I found that it ran a little bit more smoothly on the machine that I am using; though it seemed to take forever to load.

The reason I compared Kaneva to MySpace rather than Facebook is that its social environment seems closer to the one found in MySpace than the one found in Facebook i.e. a little more broadly distributed. Not too long ago I had read a piece about social research that compared the environments of these two sites and suggested that the sites had some partitioning along social and economic class lines. (Sadly, I cannot locate that piece right now). However, why not go and see it for yourself?

In both Second Life and Kaneva conversations can be quite dull and there is little to do till you make some friends. You can watch the videos and listen to the songs posted by other people but you can do that on YouTube and other similar sites too. However doing those things in a virtual world may add a certain pizzaz to it. I do find that the visual element added to conversations by the use of avatars increases the social feel of the interactions.

So visit Kaneva (or Second Life) and look around. If you post your user name here (or send it to me in an email) I'll look you up.


(Also cross-posted to QiyasII)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Broken Saints

Just finished watching a DVD set featuring what is essentially a graphical novel set to music using Flash technology. The story is called Broken Saints and came out several years ago. Initially it was just Internet-based; circa 2002, after it developed a considerable following, it was put on DVD with a voiceover. It won the Audience Award at the 2003 Sundance Online Film Festival.

It's an interesting story with a strongly political and spiritual outlook. It so happens that its developers are Canadian ... Anyway, given what has transpired since the beginning of this century it makes very interesting watching, especially in view of the ethnicity and beliefs of one of the four main protagonists.

The Internet version of Broken Saints is still available. It can also be downloaded to the iPod and the Sony PSP. These versions are free though the developers would probably appreciate a donation. (Donations are what enabled them to pay for the data streams on the website during the early days.) This is quite generous as the story is several hours long. The DVD is available for sale.

You can visit the home of Broken Saints here.

Enjoy the story. It is told at a very stately pace so it is best to watch it when you have time to do so in a relaxed manner. Brook Burgess, the writer and director, says the episodes function almost like meditations.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

BQP Plays Indo/Pak Independence Parades

Brooklyn Qawwali Party is excited to announce that they will be performing on a float (on wheels!) in the:

India Independence Day Parade, New York City:
Sunday, August 19th, 2007
Madison Ave from 41st St to 25th. 1 pm - 2:30 pm

and in the:

Pakistan Independence Day Parade, New York City:
Sunday, August 26th, 2007
Madison Ave from 41st St to 25th. 1 pm - 2:30 pm

If you'd like to enjoy two great parades plus the sounds of BQP in transit... Come on out!


I have been meaning to bring a particular movie to your attention for some time but have been too busy. In the meantime a couple of other interesting movies have also popped up.

Those of you liked "The Namesake" should watch "Second Generation". It is written by Neil Biswas and directed by Jon Sen. The cast includes Parminder Nagra (Bend It Like Beckham, ER) , Om Puri, and Anupam Kher. And, for everyone who swooned over Kal Penn - check out Christopher Simpson. As in the Namesake, the music is by Nitin Sawhney.

Personally, I preferred Second Generation to The Namesake. I thought it was more authentic and more reflective of the types of issues encountered by second generation South Asian immigrants living in the UK (and US).

And now on to a couple of Pakistani productions. I haven't watched these movies yet but they have been getting some press lately.

The serious-minded one is "Khuda kay Liye". Directed by Shoaib Mansoor it deals with the radicalization of young Muslims and the conflict between conservative and liberal interpretations of Islam. The transformation of one of the characters is a tip of the hat to the transformation of Junaid Jamshed, of Vital Signs fame, from a rocker to a religious conservative. You can get more information about the film here:

Then, do you wanna see "the first Muslim zombies"? "A burqa-clad, mace-swinging serial killer" - the Burqa Man?

Watch the Paki horror/slasher film "Zibahkhana". Also know as "Hell's Ground".

"And it seems like everyone wants to see what Muslim zombies look like. "Zibahkhana" has been invited to submit to Sundance, with entry fees waived." Variety

'Nuff said.

Sangam Playlist, Independence Day Edition

Welcome to the Independence Day edition of Sangam.

To commemerate the 60th anniversary of the independence of India and Pakistan (on 15th and 14th August respectively) I play the national anthems of the two countries and a couple of related qaumi naghmas (national songs). Listen and refresh your memories of the subcontinent.

The archived audiostream will be available for two weeks after 7:00 pm US Central Time (24:00 UTC), 18 August, here:

Here is the playlist for Saturday, 18 August, 2007:

Track TitleArtistAlbumTrack No.
DistanceKarsh Kale
(Banco De Gaia Remix)
Asian Travels 21
Saiyan anaadi sayRoona LailaBest of Roona Laila1
Sawan aayeAkhlaq AhmedBest of Akhlaq Ahmed3
Diyar yar geyaAsad Amanat Ali KhanThe Golden Collection7
Fire in my heart (Excerpt)GhazalMoon Rise Over the Silk Road1
DhaaraNaseebo LaiARY OST Hits13
Need koyiNajma AkhtarQareeb1
Neend ati nahinJunoonDoctor Finds Universal Cure3
Hounton mein esi baatNajma AkhtarForbidden Kiss8
Jana Gana ManaIndian National AnthemAnthems Plus Compilation8
Pakistani National AnthemJunoonInquilaab12
Pakistani National AnthemPakistani National AnthemAnthems Plus Compilation4
Vande mataramA.R. RahmanAnthems Plus Compilation9
AzadiJunoonThe Millenium Edition 1990-20001
ZameenOD2Anthems Plus Compilation7
Yeh hum naheemCollectivePak Underground Rock 117
AnthemDNAAnthems Plus Compilation6
Electro-GFun Da MentalAll2
Who runs this placeAsian Dub FoundationTank7
Too Kareemi (Excerpt)Brooklyn Qawwali PartyBQP-FunDaMental Compilation2
Slow DevotionGovindaAsian Travels 23