In Havana, a sizzling girl rap group cooks up a street performance for Holly and her crew. They tell her that in Cuba, a country that celebrates salsa, rap empowers: “We are like vitamins for little girls.” Hitching across the island country, Holly confers with a Santeria priestess, talks culture and feminism with a TV host and catches an impromptu drag race. She’s entranced by an erotic poet, explores a sunken ship, considers creative challenges with an independent filmmaker and gets revolutionary with a Black Panther in exile. Along the way, she’s haunted by the ghost of Che — and laid low by a few too many Mojitos.
Taking on India is like plunging into a cauldron of spirituality — really good goop, but you could drown if you’re not careful. Adventure Divas wades through the land of deities and meets some ladies who revel in their country’s spiritual fabric and ethic of giving back. Journalist-turned-activist Ruchira Gupta, muckraker redefined, leads the crew through Mumbai’s red light district and around the flesh trade; humanitarian maven Alice Garg tackles poverty when she’s not collecting seashells in the desert; Delhi police chief Kiran Bedi pulls the rug out from under corruption; Ela Bhatt quietly incites economic revolution — using bangles as collateral; and classical and pop music icon Shubha Mudgal fills us in on the guru-dom phenom. Tune in for some enlightenment.
Hauling a caravan behind a ‘67 Valiant, the Divas crew does New Zealand. Holly’s welcomed into the home of famed pop singer Hinewehi Mohi and into the offices Prime Minister Helen Clark. Documentarian Gaylene Preston and Holly dish on Thelma and Louise and the risks involved in filmmaking — and life. A chance encounter with some “Land Girls” results in tea, cakes and hilarity amid the hay bales. Then Holly heads south to meet her favorite writer, the reclusive Keri Hulme, author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The Bone People. The writer shuns the telephone, so Holly resorts to faxing. As adventures accrue, Holly ditches the struggling Valiant for a motorcycle to cross New Zealand’s alps to the South Island’s remote west coast to meet her elusive literary heroine.
The diva posse reaches top veil-ocity in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They grapple with the conundrums of theocracy and take in Iran’s obsession with poetry — all the while chasing divas in and out of the myriad public and private sectors that seem to define their lives. Shahla Sherkat publishes a feminist mag despite a prison sentence for ‘anti-Islamic behavior’ hanging over her head; Zahra Rahnavard advises reformist President Khatami when she’s not running a university; Pooran Farrokhzad continues the work of her poet-icon-rebel sister who died young in a car accident; taxi magnate Zahra Moussavi likes to “drive fast and take ladies where they want to go”; filmmaker Tahmineh Milani rocks Iran’s burgeoning film industry by taking home the Islamic Republic’s equivalent of the Academy Award; and 70-something Mokarrameh Ghanbari paints her passion.
the road ahead…
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