Arty Girl: "Afghan Star" at Phoenix Art Museum

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A little over a month ago, I had a night out at the movies. It was great. Especially because I didn't have to buy a ticket or endure an annoying shopping center to get to the theater.

That's because I went to the Phoenix Art Museum for my cinema experience.

And tonight, the good folks there (specifically, Contemporary Forum sponsored by Bentley Gallery) will be showing "Afghan Star", a film about an American Idol-like competition that takes place in Afghanistan.

The film follows the cultural upheaval caused by the wildly popular show. Two thousand people audition to win cash prizes and a record deal. Viewers vote via cell phone and for many, it's their first exposure to a democratic process.

But we're talking about Afghanistan here. Thirty years of war and half a decade of brutal Taliban rule doesn't set the perfect stage for a pop culture phenomenon. Of course, more conservative Afghanis have responded with condemnation and death threats.

The Sundance Film Festival Award winning film starts at 7 p.m. tonight (December 30th) in the Whiteman Hall at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., 602-257-1222, www.phxart.org.

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