The term “Irangeles” is a verbal portmanteau for “Iran” and “Los Angeles.” The City of Angels is home to the world’s largest Iranian expatriate population, currently estimated at around ve hundred thousand. “Irangeles” (or, alternatively, “Tehrangeles”) has come to be suggestive of that community’s reputation for super uous hedonism, an unmatched hair-removal industry, and world-class chelo-kabab. In 1993 the University of California Press published a book by the same name; it has since gone out of print and achieved cult status. Irangeles is a comprehensive volume of essays, interviews and, most impressively, more than 150 stirring black and white photographs. Most of the photographs were drawn from the late 1980s, when, in a time of war and uncertainty in the motherland, its young diaspora blossomed in places named Westwood, Sherman Oaks, Canoga Park, and Beverly Hills. It was the beginning of Irangeles’ global Persian satellite and radio reach, where laser-beamed soundstage music videos were in their infancy and Persian pop culture was being refashioned.

It was, too, a time for egalitarian rhinoplasty, for yellow sport coats that matched yellow sports cars, when the spiced oral scent of Bijan cologne permanently lingered on Rodeo Drive. Pro-this and anti-that protests in front of the Federal Building in Westwood were plentiful, as were weekly “Persian Nights” at clubs across the San Fernando Valley.

In Irvine, Orange County, thirty thousand people showed up for an annual Persian New Year picnic at a public park. In short, it was a magical time, and it’s captured in this magical book. In the pages that follow, Bidoun has picked through this broad selection for the cheapest, the loudest, and the seediest photographs to share with you…