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Heather Raffo 

9 Parts of Desire, a stirring drama closing Sunday, May 13, at Horizon Theatre, originates from the unique perspective of playwright Heather Raffo. Although Raffo's father was born in Iraq, she was raised Catholic in Michigan, and 9 Parts of Desire stemmed from a visit to her Iraqi relatives in 1993. A decade later Raffo completed the play, which features monologues by nine highly distinct Iraqi women, from aristocratic artists to political exiles to dispossessed war victims. With voices that speak passionately against both Saddam Hussein's regime and the U.S. occupation, the play captures the complexities of the war in Iraq, particularly for Iraqi women. Raffo originally performed 9 Parts of Desire as a one-woman show, but Horizon's production, directed by Lisa Adler, features three luminous actresses: Carolyn Cook, Suehyla El-Attar and Marianne Fraulo. Currently Raffo is performing in the play In Darfur at New York's Public Theater.

1) Love or Inertia, the new album by Amy Raasch: "I can't put her music down. She tells stories that take you deep into other lands, both ethereal and rockin'. The best undiscovered talent who won't remain undiscovered for long: myspace.com/amyraasch."

2) The Places In Between: "Rory Stewart's book details his walk across Afghanistan. Honest and revealing and incredibly well-written. Reminds you of the detail we all miss now that we rarely travel long distances by foot."

3) "Two Rivers," performed by Amir El-Saffar: "An Iraqi-American musician who blends the ancient Iraqi maqam with his proficiency in jazz. What a wild combination from another halfsy like me. amirelsaffar.com"

4) In Darfur: "How can I not mention it? The latest play by Winter Miller. Nothing is on my mind more at the moment -- not just because I am currently performing in this play -- but because this script reveals a current crisis that grows worse by the hour and yet there is still time to do something about it."

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