After years of visiting and falling in love with Paris, Daryl and Angie are finally taking the plunge and purchasing their Paris dream home. But while they share a love of the City of Lights, they don't share similar tastes. With Daryl wanting old Bohemian charm and Angie pushing for modern and airy, they clash from the start of their search. After finally picking a house, they entrust a local contractor to oversee the renovations while they attend to business matters in the United States. A series of unexpected issues mar the renovation, but the biggest challenge comes in attempting to reconcile their vastly different styles.
We were lunching at Le Petit Marché on Wednesday afternoon minding our own business when the young, bearded man to my left leaned into our table and just boldly asked, "What are you DOING tonight?"
We all stopped short in our dining tracks looking wide-eyed, then laughed. I answered with another question, "I don't know, what are YOU doing tonight?"
A small chuckle in response came from him before he proceeded to explain why he had asked such an audacious question with no introduction or cause. He was dining with an older woman, who turned out to be his mother. He spoke perfect English with no French accent while she spoke English with a heavy French accent.
He continued, "Would you like to come to a Dance Opera tonight at the Nouvelle Eve?"
"That's funny, a client of mine, who is a professional dancer, just told me the other night that she got a gig dancing at the Nouvelle Eve. She said it's just near the Moulin Rouge and her show is opening in April. But, that's the first I'd ever heard of the theater," I interjected.
We looked at one another and agreed. Why not? It sounded like a fun and spontaneous thing to do, especially to see the Nouvelle Eve to which I had been invited for the upcoming show by my client, the dancer. I wasn't sure what a Dance Opera was, but one can guess that it involves singing and dancing.
I gave Ariel Benarroch, the bearded young man, my card so he could put the tickets in my name. We planned on showing up about 8 p.m. to get good seats. We knew nothing about him or the show, but what the hell? What did we have to lose?
That afternoon, just before we set out for the theater, Ariel phoned. In his already established pattern of being very direct, he barely said hello then launched into stating, "Standing next to me is Barry Weiss, Niki's brother."
"Are you serious?" I asked. "Niki, from Los Angeles whose birthday it is today? I just popped off a Facebook message to her to send her well wishes. What is Barry doing there with you?"
Niki is one of my oldest friends who I met in France in the late '90's. I had lunch with her son-in-law just a month earlier here in Paris. She shares her birthday with her daughter, Lauren, so I had been in touch with both of them the same day.
"His wife, Janet Roston, is one of the creators of the show!" Ariel added. He is the "Régisseur," or Production Manager.
"Are you serious? Are you telling me that my friend's brother and sister-in-law are here in Paris and that this is their production? Your sitting next to us today at lunch and asking if we would like to come was sheer coincidence? Are you serious?"
I was dumbfounded to say the least. The synchronicity was astounding. I have to admit, these kinds of coincidences seem to happen in Paris, whereas not so much in other places. Sometimes I think we are living in the center of the universe and the planets all revolve around US.
We arrived early enough to get really good seats in the beautiful and classic theater. The seats are upholstered in deep red velvet. There is low, indirect lighting. The audience sits around tables so that they can drink champagne or other potables while enjoying the performance. It's very intimate. There's not a bad seat in the house.
While settling in, we met Barry and Janet and Janet's co-creator, Cindy Shapiro. Cindy was mostly responsable for the music and lyrics, while Janet was responsable for the "mise en scène" and choreography. Together they were the developers of the entire show. While we waited for the performance to begin, we took photos and sent them on to Niki with words of "Surprise, surprise...you won't believe where we are and who we are with!"
The lights went down and the two-part performance began. While I certainly knew some things about Anaïs Nin, I can't say I really knew her life story. With one primary singer, a troupe of dancers, a simple set and a backdrop of the lyrics in French and English mixed with Anaïs' words, the story is told. And what a story it is! Nin was a diarist, essayist, novelist, and writer of short stories. What she is most famous for is her writings of erotica (Delta of Venus and Little Birds). Nin was married to two men at the same time (Hugh Parker Guiler and Rupert Pole) and had numerous affairs, including those with writer Henry Miller and psychoanalyst Otto Rank. Nin referred to her simultaneous marriages as her "bicoastal trapeze." She was the first known woman in the modern West to write erotica -- a ground-breaking feminist to say the least. Clearly this is why Janet and Cindy want to share her story with the world in a way that we can all welcome it.
The performance was beautifully staged and executed. The talent of the performers "formidable," particularly the singer and lead dancer. It enticed me to learn more about Anaïs Nin and to read her works. And that's the point, to revel in the accomplishments of women who lived and struggled to be recognized in a man's world.
Nin wrote: “How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself?”
Do we not agree?
And she wrote: “I hate men who are afraid of women's strength.”
Do we not agree?
And “I take pleasure in my transformations. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.”
Do we not agree?
From Paris, the performance goes to the Festival International du Théatre in Casablanca, Morocco...tomorrow night, March 20th. Catch it there if you can!
P.S. For all you Southern Californians, I'll be in Los Angeles and open to meeting with clients for two-hour property consultations in person sometime between April 30th and May 4th. Special rate $350. To book your consultation, email me at [email protected].
FOR SALE...LE PALAIS A DROITE A NICE
The first time I saw it was a few years ago when a friend was renting it for his vacation in Nice. It's a spacious one bedroom apartment in the heart of Vieux Nice on rue Droite, across the street from the famous and well-visited historic Palais Lascaris!
The palace is a 17th-century aristocratic building and is currently a musical instrument museum with a collection of over 500 instruments -- which makes it France’s second most important collection. Visitors flock to it daily, and to have a perfect view on its magnificent facade is a small piece of Côte d'Azur historic heaven.
The apartment opposite the Palais is on the first floor (just one flight up) with a large living room/dining room/kitchen and spacious bedroom plus bath with a shower. The ceilings are so high that it makes the apartment feel much larger than its 39.6 square meters (426 square feet).
This very special apartment is for immediate sale. It is move-in ready and rental-ready! All furnishings are included in the purchase, too...so there's nothing for you to do but unpack your bags! In a location as incredible as this for short-term rentals and at the asking price of a mere 225,000€ (all agency fees included), an investor or new home-owner can't go wrong.
Note: The only additional costs are the Notarial taxes and fees, about 7%. Amazing, right?!
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