Interview with Bahram Bakhtiar

Interview with Bahram Bakhtiar (Mechanical Engineer)
Former member of Rasht 29
Date of Interview: 22 May 2017
Time: 2:30 pm
Place: Cafe Faubourg, West Vancouver, BC
Interviewers:  Elham Puriya Mehr (Curator) and Zohreh Waibel


After finishing his studies in Germany, Bahram Bakhtiar returned to Tehran in 1967. He was introduced to the Rasht 29 Club through some of his friends and began to attend regularly, participating in many of their events. According to him, the club’s main appeal was its uniqueness in comparison to the other artistic venues of that time.

“After the audience came to the club they had a choice to stay or to leave. The atmosphere of the club intrigued me. As you came up the stairs there was a pillar and a Shahre Farang with three holes to look through. It had a big hall and there was a dartboard hanging on a big wall behind the bar.
There was a notch inside one of the walls, in the lounge area, where a man would sing off-key and play the Taar. It was blue with writing, in chalk and other materials. The text written wouldn’t change quickly. People mostly wrote two things on the wall: food items and poetry.

On the right side to the entrance, there was a kitchen around the same size as the entire staircase where they served tea and coffee. There was no sign of food when they started then but bit by bit they started serving snacks and small meals. We usually asked what they were serving that day; they mostly had stuff like fried eggs, salads, (chicken) kebabs, beef Stroganoff, etc. We didn’t have to pay the bill right away, only before leaving at the end of the night.

Their barman was named Hosein and he was a relative of Parviz (Tanavoli). He was a young man of 23 or 24. Very stylish. He wore interesting colourful clothes. . All of a sudden he stopped working. I saw him two years later and he told me he’d become a true muslim.

I remember a lot of people going there for New Year’s night and taking pictures. Jamshid Tanavoli and Ali Farivar (Parviz’s brother in law) went quite often. After I married I went less. Sometimes we’d go with my wife.
Every once in a while a famous person would drop by. Back then Hossein Zenderoudi was only a young artist. You could buy his work for 100 Tomans. My friend Farideh, my aunt and uncle would go to the club too. We’d join our tables when we were there together. There were six four-seater tables. Most of the performances happened downstairs. What interested me most was the feeling of solidarity; I felt that I belonged there.”