Nicole Maxali’s Forgetting the Details – FringeNYC


Forgetting the Details
Nicole Maxali Productions
Writer: Nicole Maxali
Director: Paul Stein
The White Box at 440 Studios
Sunday 17 Aug 2014

“Family, Filipinos & Alzheimer’s. Described by Dave Chappelle as “funny, heartwarming & funny again,” this one-woman show will make you laugh, cry & remind you that in the end, it’s not the details that matter.”

Nicole Maxali is an actor with finely tuned control of her instrument and – with this show – mastery of the back story underlying her impressive CV (extracted here from Brown Paper Tickets):

“Nicole Maxali quit her highly-stressful job running scripts for news producers and began her journey as a working actor and non-profit humanitarian in 2005. Since that first day she stepped out of the newsroom and onto the stage she has evolved creatively and spiritually through various local artistic productions at Bindlestiff Studio, Shelton Studio, StageWerx Theater, Off Market Theater, Brava Theater and Herbst Theater to name a few. Wanting to perform more of her own writing, Nicole took her first stand-up comedy workshop under Kevin Camia in 2007. In just a year, her stand-up experience exploded. Nicole has performed comedy at The Purple Onion, San Jose Improv and had the honor to open for comic genius Dave Chappelle at the San Francisco Punchline.

Under the tutelage of acclaimed comic/solo performer, W. Kamau Bell, Nicole Maxali wrote and performed her very first solo show, Identification Please, in 2008. Identification Please, directed by Allan Manalo & produced by Bindlestiff Studio, played a three week run at The Thick House in April 2009 and was selected as part of the 2009 Kearney Street Workshop’s festival, APATURE.

Nicole is no stranger of what happens behind the scenes of a theater production. In 2008 she successfully co-produced an original musical “Love in the Time of Breast Cancer” at Off Market Theater with fiscal sponsorship by California Pacific Medical Center and South of Market Health Center. From 2009 to 2010, Nicole also co-produced “City Solo” at Off Market Theatre. City Solo was a weekly solo showcase which featured the best of the best solo artists in the Bay Area.”

Through “Forgetting the Details,” Maxali transforms family drama into a courageous and powerful essay on memory and loss, and an important document of the American experience in the 21st century.

See this performance if you can, and watch for Maxali’s evolving work.

No, She Doesn’t Have Downs Syndrome (NTTAWWT)! – FringeNYC


mislabeledilEMMA: No, I Don’t Have Downs Syndrome – FringeNYC
Abrazo Interno at the Clemente, NYC
Monday, 11 August 2014

Quirky Girl Productions
Writer: Emma McWilliams
Director: Anne Moore
“A quirky girl’s search for identity amidst the confusion of being told she was “disabled.” She faces the issues of discrimination, gender equality, race, religion, and “fitting in” as she tries to understand the Syndrome she was born with spontaneously.”

Emma McWilliams is on a mission from God. Not the scary ISIS/ISIL kind; think more like The Blues Brothers, with a dose of human genetics mixed in.

In her one-woman show at FringeNYC, Ms McWilliams traces the story of a girl born to be one of a kind. Okay, to be literal, 1 in 50,000. (That’s the estimated prevalence of people with mutations in the LMX1B gene that cause nail-patella syndrome.)

But mislabeledilEMMA isn’t just a tale about a girl with a rare genetic condition. It’s the universal coming-of-age story, brought into sharp focus by Ms McWilliams’s experience of genetic rarity, which she has creatively forged into a potent message of compassion for the little alien that lives in many of us, and a powerful critique of the tyranny of normalcy.

Catch mislabeledilEMMA at FringeNYC if you can, and keep a lookout for Emma McWilliams’s other work.

Cosmetic Ethnobotany Practiced by Tribal Women of Kashmir Himalayas


Cosmetic ethnobotany practiced by tribal women of Kashmir Himalayas

Shaheen H, Nazir J, Firdous SS, Khalid AU
Avicenna J Phytomed
2014 Jul;4(4):239-50
PubMed Central: PMC4110779
Poonch District, Azad Kashmir
Poonch District, Azad Kashmir (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Pahari Sahib)

Investigators from University of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Muzaffarabad and University of Poonch Rawalakot, Azad Jammu & Kashmir conducted a survey of cosmetic uses of plants by the tribal women in Poonch District, Azad Kashmir Pakistan.

Their study is the first to focus on cosmetic ethnobotany in the area. From the introduction:

“The tribal women population of Kashmir Himalayas is very laborious and dynamic; and by instinct conscious about cosmetic applications of local herbs. In male dominated, conservative religious mountain tribes, women are reluctant, discouraged and shy to discuss their cosmetic problems with doctors or family member. A tragedy of the modern time is that the precious cosmetic ethnobotanical knowledge is disappearing quickly. Due to the lack of interest and knowledge the younger generation prefers allopathic medicines and cosmetic products. Preservation of the values of plants can only be maintained with the help of the indigenous people who have used this knowledge for centuries. Although researchers have conducted a lot of work in the field of ethnobotany, yet its cosmetic aspect has never been focused in this area previously. The main objective of this research was to explore the cosmetic value of plants and make the new generation aware about it.”

Working with 310 female participants from 16 villages, the team documented 39 plants species being used for various cosmetic purposes including control of acne, hair growth, bad breath, facial spots, allergy and wrinkles, and for fairness and eye and lip care.

Citrus limon
Citrus limon (Source: Wikimedia Commons user Elena Chochkova)

Among the major plant species used for cosmetic purposes were Citrus limon, Lycopersicum esculentum, Mentha longifolia, Raphanus sativus, Rosa indica, Allium sativum and Allium cepa. The plant species and their cosmetic applications are detailed in tables.

The authors note a generational shift away from home-made ethnobotanical preparations toward commercial synthetic compounds. From the discussion:

“The women of the area prefer cosmetic ethnobotany because in the remote areas, women have no alternative choices, poverty and they have faith in plants and trust in the effectiveness of folk lore herbal remedies. These ethnomedicine are natural and beneficial for the health because there are no impurities in this type of medicines which are prepared by people themselves. Women also prefer ethnomedicine because allopathic medicines are expensive as compared to natural ethnomedicine.
“…Our results revealed that the older generation possessed sufficient knowledge about cosmetic herbs as compared to younger generation. The younger generation seemed to be involved in synthetic cosmetics inspired by intensive media campaigns and advertisements.”
“…there is further need of detailed and intensive investigations with particular reference to herbal cosmetics in Kashmir Himalayas. The rapid socioeconomic and cultural transformations in Himalayas have brought about changes in ecology and people plant interaction. The indigenous knowledge about local herbs is declining in several regions.”

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

Traditional Medicinal Plants in the Markets of Mashhad, Iran


Ethnobotanical investigation of traditional medicinal plants commercialized in the markets of Mashhad, Iran

Amiri MS, Joharchi MR
Avicenna J Phytomed
2013 Summer;3(3):254-71
PubMed Central: PMC4075713

Investigators from Payame Noor University (Tehran) and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad conducted an ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plant species sold at markets in Mashhad city (northeastern Iran) to document traditional medicinal knowledge and application of medicinal plants.

Map of Iran
Iran (Source: “Iran topo en”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

Mashhad is the second-largest city in Iran, with a population of about 3 million, and an important religious center drawing approximately 20 million pilgrims a year. The vast majority of Mashhad citizens are ethnic Persians (95%), with some Kurdish and Turkmen people recently immigrated from North Khorasan province and smaller numbers of immigrants from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.

From the introduction:

“Traditional herbal medicine has played an important role in Iran. Iran has a very honorable past in traditional medicine, which goes back to the time of Babylonian-Assyrian civilization. One of the most significant ancient heritages is sophisticated experience of people who have tried over the millennia to discover useful plants for health improvement and each generation added their own experience to this tradition. Today, medicinal plants are still widely used in Iran. In all cities and villages, there are specific stores (named Attari), which traditional healers (Attar) give receipts and sell medicinal plants. People use medicinal plants as curatives or palliatives of main health problems according to their cultural background. The notable use and commercialization of medicinal plants to alleviate and cure health problems and ailments in all cities of the country, points out the importance of these natural resources in the folk medicine and culture of the Iranian people. Despite the vast knowledge of medicinal plants existed in Iran, a few attempts have been carried out to document ethnobotanical knowledge.”

The team reported medicinal information for about 269 species – 129 indigenous to Iran and 76 imported from other countries. Interviews with herbalists helped to classify 132 different uses over a wide spectrum of human ailments including “digestive system disorders, respiratory problems, urological troubles, nervous system disorders, skin problems and gynecological ailments.”

Dysphania botrys
Dysphania botrys (Source: “Chenopodiumbotrys” by Stephen Laymon, Bureau of Land Management, Wikimedia Commons)

Some of the most important medicinal plants sold in the Mashhad markets include Perovskia abrotanoides, Dysphania botrys, Coriandrum sativum, Vitex negundo, Ziziphora clinopodioides, Achillea santolinoides, Astragalus gummifer, Bunium persicum, Cichorium intybus, Echium amoenum, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Malva sylvestris, Nardostachys jatamansi, Plantago ovate and Ziziphora clinopodioides. A table details the scientific names, local names, parts used and medicinal uses of the plants.

The authors note that the medicinal uses of eight species (Anastatica hierochuntica, Gentiana olivieri, Helichrysum graveolens, Mangifera indica, Platanus orientalis, Rheum turkestanicum, Strychnos nux-vomica and Trichodesma incanum) has not been reported before to their knowledge.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.