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Desiree Akhavan's 'Appropriate' sense of identity
Desiree Akhavan's 'Appropriate' sense of identity

Most references to director, writer and actress Desiree Akhavan place a neat three-word descriptor by her name: bisexual Iranian American, often followed by the words "the next Lena Dunham." Yet Akhavan isn't trying to fit into an already defined space in comedy or in life. At 29, she yearns to establish her own comic identity that's distinctive from the work of performers who have inspired her over the years, such as Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Louis C.K., Sarah Silverman — and yes, Lena Dunham. Her first feature, "Appropriate Behavior," screens Tuesday at Outfest, Los Angeles' LGBT film festival, after an enthusiastic reception at its premiere at this year's Sundance Film Festival. Set in...