Star Power

Of all the things that can get a person killed, singing and dancing are generally not on the list. Unless, of course, you lived in Afghanistan while the Taliban was in power.

When that regime fell, bans on TV, dancing and singing were lifted, opening the door for Tolo TV to start an American Idol-type reality show called Afghan Star. Like our version, contestants are chosen from all genders, geographic areas and ethnic groups, and viewers vote for their favorite contestants using their cell phones.

However, unlike its American cousin, Afghan Star represents more than a pop-culture phenomenon. In a documentary of the same name, filmmaker Havana Marking follows the stories of four young finalists as they compete to become the nation's favorite performer. But the contestants — two men and two women — also come face to face with a culture that's willing to bend only so much toward modernity.

Afghan Star opens today. Tickets are $7.25 Monday through Friday before 6 p.m., $9.75 all other times. For more information, call 303-352-1992 or go to
Aug. 7-13, 2009

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Mark Dragotta

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