Thursday, September 29, 2011

lil shout out and a preview of what is upcoming

My very kind friend, Sara came from Durham.  She actually had some important work to do in Paris, but came a few days before all the meetings and report writings to hang out with us.  She also generously brought me a lifetime supply of American deodorant since French deodorant doesn't seem to really work.  I might have thought it was just me, but then you get on the metro and you realize it isn't.  She also brought me mascara and vitamins.  Thanks Sara!!!

Looking back now, Sara's three day mini-vacay was perhaps a bit of a whirlwind: Notre Dame, St Germain, Paris tour by car, boat festival, garden festivals, castles, wine and cheese, and staying a night in the most quirky of the quirkness bed and breakfast I have ever seen.  Last night, we even got to meet up for one last evening in my favorite neighborhood: Montmarte.  But as she said, "you can sleep when you're dead".  I love that! 

I took some very cool pictures of some really unique & bizarre things and creative & beautiful places but I am only going to post one at the moment.  Ya know, build the anticipation a bit. 

Well, actually I am just really tired but this blog has been waiting for going on a week now... so, check back soon for the photos of the International Garden fest and the biggest marinetime fest in Europe and and and

AND, in honor of my good friend Elizabeth and her husband David, who are about to celebrate their two year anniversary, i say, "CONGRATS!" to you both.  I know you and David are a great match and really are perfect for each other:)  Here is a cute photo I took over the weekend on our way to the boat festival.  It was the kind of photo you never have your camera for, but I did. 

Happy 2nd Anniversary Elizabeth and David!

The first decorated car I have seen in France.  Isn't that sad?  Anyway, congrats to the newlyweds (who ever they are)

Friday, September 23, 2011

PARIS-DEHLI-BOMBAY (Pompidou Exhibit)

About a week ago, we checked out the very cool "PARIS-DELHI-BOMBAY" exhibit at the Centre Pompidou.  It was (sadly over now) asking and showing, "What is India today"?  50 artisits came together for this HUGE exhibition which explored the following themes: politics, urban development and environment, religion, home, identity and craft.
Sabine in a mirror exhibit

Sadly, I didn't take as many cool pictures as I should have ... being somewhere like this with a toddler is pretty intense.  She doesn't really 'do' the stroller unless we are moving at a fast clip.  A few people have asked me how we can take a toddler through a museum? Well, actually it is more like she takes us.  She pretty much sets the pace.  That is why it is intense, she doesn't just sit in a stroller passively rolling by the art.  Oh no, little miss thing is exploring the scene on her own terms - and I get to follow behind her.   Often times, we will look at a piece together and as she points to different aspects, I will sometimes put words to what she is looking at.  OR, I will ask her questions about it.  (Isn't that bright?  Is that a chair or is it a table? Etc.) 

I can see that some people would prefer that she not be there.  Just like on airplanes, some adults think that children don't belong in the real world.  (What?  Children want to visit their grandparents on the other side of the country too?)  Of course, this anti-kid mentality largely exists only in the 'first-world'.  You go to places like Turkey, Thailand, Guatemala and kids are everywhere and included in the minutia of daily life.  I can say this with first hand experience, not hearsay.  Kids are not 'better' behaved in said countries either, they are loud, curious, high energy and you know, kids.  Yet still, these societies aren't bothered by the younger set ... nor it seems to do they glorify youth (at least as we Americans do).  Maybe there is a connection there.  Elders are revered and kids are included - sounds balanced to me.  Anyway....

The best museums are the ones like Quai Branly or the Pompidou because there is a variety of types of expression there.  Statues, huge installations, masks, video, animation, abstract art, BIG paintings, music, furniture, anything really that can be imagined!  It is fun to take her and more to the point, it is good that is she is getting used to these settings - because we enjoy museums too much to stop going.  It is also very important to me that she gets regular exposure to art and expression - and learns how to enjoy someone else's vision of the world and beauty (or ugliness). 

That is why this India show was particularly awesome.  It exposed in all these different themes, manifestations, interpretation, art forms, materials and textures, objects and ideas: INDIA.  That being my favorite country (and Nepal) it was incredibly wonderful (and of course tragic at times) to see. Oh India, land of contrast, Oh India. 
Sabine getting her shoe tied, with Paris in the background

Believe me when I tell you, these photos don't even begin to do justice to the amazing and thought-provoking exhibit that was "PARIS-DEHLI-BOMBAY".  However for a very thorough viewing of the exhibit firsthand, check out this video.  PARIS-DEHLI-BOMBAY exhibit video link  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Paris Techno Parade 2011

Here we go, wee!
Interestingly, I had no idea that dancing down the street was a for real fantasy of mine, until I did it today.  If you know me, you KNOW that dancing is extremely important to me.  At times, I have claimed it as my religion.  Movement is sacred, sharing rhythm with strangers is intimate, being open to the spontaneous shapes your body will make is art, letting go of self-consciousness and instead being in touch with deep consciousness is brilliant.  Dancing can be all of these things, or more - or optionally less.

I miss dancing in clubs.  For a variety of reasons, it is just so very rare that I do it.  We try to go to outdoor music festivals as much as we can so that we can include Sabine, but there is something really fantastic about stepping out into the night, looking good - ready to shake your thing! I miss funk shows and afrobeat shows and Rusted Root shows.  I haven't seen a good blues band live in years.  This saddens me deeply and profoundly.  Part of the reason is I have been invariably disappointed when we have gone to live music shows in Paris.  While it is true, maybe all 'big cities' are like this, but clubs in Paris just get incredibly SATURATED with people.  It gets so crowded, so hot, so repressive that I just can't stand it.  Or maybe we just went to the wrong places.  Of course, you can do a quick google search and read about how Paris' night life sucks because the entire city is getting gentrified by people who want to sleep. 

Really.  Damn, when I think back on Cat's Cradle, Mosaic, the American Dance Festival, ANY North Carolina outdoor music festival - I just kick myself for taking it all for granted.  All those shows - affordable tickets, space to move, easy parking, door limit, air conditioning or windows, open and free people and a special bonus, bathrooms with toilet paper and soap!   
Sabine's ear protectors. 

Okay, well it is easy for me to feel sorry for myself - like anyone when we reflect on what we don't have rather than what we do have.  And well, Hicham and I did get to check out some cool shows this year, just not as many as I would have liked... boo hoo, right?  

But today,  all of that brings me to THE 13TH ANNUAL PARIS TECHNO PARADE!  It is an outdoor electronic music festival/parade.   To be clear, techno means a lot of things - there are many kinds of techno, it doesn't ALL sound like videogame music. I like some techno quite a lot, it can be soulful - especially when there are vocals.

from one of the floats
The festival starts off with dancing workshoops, dj's, art expos, etc and then there is the parade.  There are 20 giant floats (very slow going) containing 150 musicians, DJ's and dancers from all over France that waft down three miles of Paris streets as their minions follow behind and dance/walk/clap/take tons of photos of each other.  There are also people standing on the sides of the streets watching the parade old-school style. Confetti fills the air at various intervals as well as, hilariously, smoke machines. 

Sabine got all dressed up for her first rave party by sporting a PINK winged, furry, unicorn/Pegasus ensemble that I ordered in the states for this halloween.  Not that there is trick or treating here anyway, so I figured, fuck it - this is festive and where else will she get to wear this?  And let me just say, that Sabine loved wearing that thing.  She was just pleased as punch looking at herself in the mirror with her little costume.  

A lot of people took (or tried) pictures of the little pink unicorn. Unfortunately for all the people who happened to zoom in on her while I (vs Hicham) was holding her, because I was moving, jumping - all kinds of shaking and making ridiculous faces too (I discovered later) - so I probably ruined their entire shot!  Hicham took some pictures of Sabine and I - and let me tell ya, you ain't gonna see them .... ever!

Anyoldway, it was really, really cool to dance my ass off down the street to some funkadelic tribal drumming, jazzy number which was blasting out of one of the techno trucks.  Sadly not as many of the attendees danced with as much exuberance ... .  Well, I came to dance and so that is what I did.  Also, sadly not as many were dressed up for a dance party as I was expecting, here are a few pictures of the beauties that did.  Enjoy!  (And as always, for a BIGGER view, click on the picture).  


fabulous coordination


Everything about this picture is great.  Everything.
There were some people who were really into this look...

Langres, France : a few pictures

In an effort to keep this blog mostly up to date, interesting and relevant - I am posting a few pics of a historical town called Langres.  We stopped by for about two hours while on the way to Hicham's parent's home.  It is almost entirely walled in and has 12 towers and many gates.  Loaded with a maze of quaint streets and movie-set like buildings, it is definitely a place to visit!  We went there about two weeks ago.

Here are just a few pictures from our visit:

Unusual roof on a Cathedral.

Big red Cathedral door

One of the gates.  They started to build these walls in the 4th century.  But the area was settled 52 BC.  Hard for my American mind to grasp.  Notice the interesting arch at the top.  It is not your average shape - I think "helix" might be the word for it.

Just walking around you see random stuff like an old well attached to a house.  I love that!

The view from one of the towers.  There are four lakes in the area.

It was a really cool town.  We missed a lot of the intriguing sites such as the "Fountain with the Fairies" which is actually from the Roman era and is dedicated to the maiden-mother-crone aspect of the Goddess and the cool looking Navarre tower. Next time we will spend more time there and really get to know the place.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Quick update and a peek into a French woman's magazine

Whew.  Well, these last few weeks have been a bit of a blur ... and with no blogging to make me stop and think a bit well, I am not even sure I can remember what has been filling the days.  Believe me they are full too!  Therefore, just a little catch up and then some eye candy all in the name of cultural understanding ;)

Recently, went to Hicham's parent's house for about a week-long visit and filled up our car with organic veggies from his dad's garden.  I will talk more about that area in another blog, as it is really special there.  We took a jaunt to the beach and had a wonderful time (pics soon too).  Now Sabine wears size 21 shoe, has grown out of my favorite lavender overalls and can now wear real pig tails (or sport a genuine afro).  She has also resumed her three mornings a week at the "Stay and Play".  Let's see, what else?  We attended a wonderful party last weekend and I managed to communicate in French all night which was cool.  Been baking pies, fixing stuff around the house and watching movies (saw Thor --- which was alright). 

As you probably know from previous posts, I have been in an organizational and apartment restylin' for a while now.  The pace has picked up recently with our living room.  I don't even have that much time at this moment to be writing as I should be looking at more paint chip colors on-line.   The plan is to start painting TODAY!

Hicham is on stay-cation now for 15 days.  Previously, we had been eagerly discussing going to Malta, Italy and even Ireland for vacation.  Got the books from the library and looked at tickets etc. But the truth is that I really didn't want to go anywhere.  I didn't want to pack, I didn't want to deal with any of it.  Can you believe it?  I convinced him to just stay home and let's enjoy Paris as tourists do.  So far all we have been touring is rug shops, ethnic decor markets and hardware stores!  I am redefining tourist! 

I am not going to post pics of the living room until it is more done.  It is so much more satisfying to see the before and after, rather than the before and in progress.  But, to keep you contented until the next installment, I have decided to share with you a few pages from a rather typical French 'women's' magazine.  It is very similar to it's American counterpart to a degree with beauty tips, cooking ideas, self-help quizzes, sex advice etc.  But it still retains it's French va-va-voom flavor.  Take a look:
People buy this magazine for the following articles.
All about Chevre cheese!

What kind of a friend are you? quiz.
What is the true effect of Cannibis?
Five adventures in France!
The beauty pages.
Sexual fantasy article, includes menage a trois and bondage.

 So, there you have it.  And I hope you liked it (ha!) See you soon.