Let's all make August count the French way, which means having a vacation spirit wherever you happen to be this month. Take a walk on the beach or in a park, have a picnic, drink a glass of chilled rosé, lie on the grass and watch for falling stars, catch a lightning bug, and dance. Give yourself a summer break today and throughout the next month.
Life is short, and living who-we-are isn't all about what we "should and shouldn't" do. Vive you and vive me! It's a summer for love, brothers and sisters. And love yourselves first.
Natalie Merchant quietly walked onto the stage of the sold-out house at the L'Alhambra in Paris wearing a simple black shift and jacket, hair loosely across her shoulders, stout mary jane heels, and face plain without a facade of make-up. Were those stockings with stripes up the side of her legs, or were they tattoos so she doesn't have to wear them?
I couldn't tell from the balcony where I sat, one of an audience of French and English speakers who queued the line early.
For the last week and half, Paris has been celebrating the 100th birthday of one of the world's great jazz guitarists and the founder of gypsy jazz Django Reinhardt.
A square near where Reinhardt's family parked their caravans was named after the jazz master, and the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, was on hand to do the honors for Reinhardt. “He was a Roma, he was a rebel," said Delanoe, "and he is
someone who represents the culture of traveling people.”
"Behind Delanoe, a band made up mainly of Reinhardt's descendants played east European-tinged gypsy pieces."
And it is a relief to know that the music carried the crowd away and
"the gathering of press and fedora-hatted relatives, however, could hardly sit still and soon crowded the stage to dance." --Reuters
What could be more appropriate than to celebrate the King of Gypsy Jazz with happy feet?
Reinhardt was born in Belgium and grew up in gypsy camps close to Paris. He was a guitar prodigy but also played banjo and violin from an early age--and played professionally at Bal-musette halls in Paris. The real kicker is that at age 18 he was badly burned in a terrible fire in his caravan, and doctors thought he'd never play guitar again. But he somehow retrained himself to play all of his guitar solos with only two fingers of his fret hand along with his lightning quick right.
With violinist Stéphane Grappelli, he cofounded the Quintette du Hot Club de France, described by critic Thom Jurek as "one of the most original bands in the history of recorded jazz." Reinhardt's most popular compositions have become jazz standards, including "Minor Swing", "Belleville", "Djangology", "Swing '42" and "Nuages" (French for "Clouds").
The biopic of Serge Gainsbourg, titled Gainsbourg (Vie
Héroïque), has opened in Paris, and the French are flocking to see it like Americans used to beat it to Woody Allen movies. (That is before Woody basically had an affair with and married his adopted daughter and became his natural born son's brother-in-law....Not to mention his films were getting a little boring.)
French actor Eric Elmosnino is playing Gainsbourg, who remains a beloved figure in France, and the actor's resemblance to the singer/actor is said to be uncanny. The film covers Gainsbourg's entire life and is getting some criticism for the inclusion of M. Gainsbourg's alter ego (representing his insecurity about his looks) as a cartoon that speaks to him.
I haven't seen the film yet--but why not, I say? The alter ego sounds cool to me. I'll have to watch the film before I make my final judgment, but I can see this mixture of medias could add excitement as well as enhance the story and mood.
Gainsbourg was a chain smoker of Gitanes, which added to his mystique and image. The alternate movie title to go with the alter ego could be "Have Gitane Will Travel." See movie poster below:
The world was shocked by the untimely death of Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009. Our King of Pop was an exceptional talent and tormented soul. The thunderous masses built him up as a god and then tore him apart as a piece of fresh meat.
In the end, Michael was fragile--and maybe not meant to stay on this earth long at all. It was too difficult an existence for a boy born light and feathery and with the beginnings of wings.
The best comment we've seen or heard anywhere in the news came from singerAnnie Lennox, who we've always admired as artist and human being.
David Byrne burned down the house at the Olympia Hall on Wednesday night. No
warm-up band--just him and his troupe of singers, dancers, and
musicians, who performed a fantastical set of Byrne and Brian Eno songs
from their new album Byrne is touring, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.
No smoke and mirrors for Byrne. The show was a happening--a rock modern
dance--the choreography young, loose, and urban, a David Byrne Appalachian Spring.
The singers danced and played music, and the dancers sang and played
all across the stage, including through Byrne's legs and over his head.
Byrne and his company blew the audience away, and the French, who may
be adorable but don't really know how to boogie or have any soul moves,
were up out of their seats shaking their booties throughout the entire
From 25 May to 19 September 2011, the CENTRE POMPIDOU presents a major exhibition that explores Indian society through the eyes of Indian and French artists. A FUN & DYNAMIC exhibit! For more INFO: http://bit.ly/nID8Ym
I'm on a mission--to walk to all the addresses I can find of The Lost Generation writers--Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and more. I've gotta tell you. They had some great digs, and it's a kick to look them up. As M. Malrick of our beloved Hotel Saint Germain would say, not bad. That wild gang knew how to create their lives. Something to think about.
I'll try to get some photos up soon. Ciao.