At every Après-Midi, a guest speaker of note will come to talk about a topic of interest and then open the floor for questions and discussion.
September 12, 2017
Jason Gardner, Author and Photographer Jason tells stories, using the framework of Visual Anthropology. He recently published A Flower in the Mouth, a book of photography and writing about the culture, music and rituals of Carnaval in Pernambuco, Brazil. Jason has also branched out to photograph other manifestations of this festival in Dunkerque, France; the Dominican Republic; Trinidad; Bahamas; New Orleans and Cajun country in Louisiana; and Brooklyn, New York.
Jason is a founder of Visual Anthropology Press, a book packager dedicated to helping independent authors, photographers, and organizations realize and communicate their vision to their audience.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
...and the second Tuesday of every month 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Upstairs at Café de la Mairie, on the corner of rue des Archives and rue de Bretagne, 3rd. Métro Lines 9, 3 et 11, stations Temple, République or Arts et Métiers Costs nothing except whatever you drink!
I can tell that Mercury is in retrograde, without really having known it. Three or four times a year, the planet Mercury is said to go "retrograde" -- meaning it moves in an opposite direction to planet Earth and this has been one of those times (August 12th - September 5th). It's an illusion, actually, when Earth passes Mercury in the orbit, but because Mercury is moving slower than the planet Earth, it appears to be moving backward. Astrologers believe that this affects life on earth, particularly communications and technology, because in the world of astrology, Mercury governs communication, travel and learning. For this reason, since there are no other good explanations for what's been taking place here the last couple of weeks, I'm going to blame Mercury for everything that we've been dealing with.
I won't bore you with the long list of electrical mishaps that caused the purchase of new phones, to hire an electrician to rewire the bathroom lights and have both a table fan and a desk lamp short out for no good reason at all. Thanks to the new LED lightbulbs shining down from the medicine cabinet, you now need to wear sunglasses in the bathroom so not to be blinded. The LED 40-watt lamp bulb for the desk lamp cost almost as much as the lamp itself (but thanks to the 10% discount at the BHV when presenting my American passport, I shaved bit off the price).
While the bed problems have nothing to do with electricity, Mercury must be causing the aches in my neck, shoulders and back which I've blamed on the bed since February. Even the new Ikea mattress hasn't made much difference, on top of which the saga continues as the beds got switched between the two bedrooms and now we have to raise the legs on one bedframe and lower the legs on another (the reason for this is too long, too dumb and too boring a story to even tell). In the meantime, I'm trying different pillows now, thinking the bed may not have been the problem at all. Ugh. Can I blame retrograde?
Abraham Beerman, a.k.a. Bierfass and Bierman, at the far left with his eight children from his second and polygamist marriage. Adrian's father, David, his eldest son, is the tallest boy at the back. Photo circa 1923
Mercury even touched family history this past week. I learned that my grandfather on my father's side, after whom I was named, Abraham, just happened to have another family prior to my father's, whom he had abandoned when his two children from that marriage were very young. He went west to Waco, Texas from New York, changed his named, married another woman (without divorcing the first) and started having children again (active guy!)-- eight that lived to ripe old ages, one of whom was my father. The half-cousins in New York who we have never known, unearthed all this in their pursuit of information about their grandfather who they barely remembered, and while the search started 20 years ago, it wasn't until the Internet made it possible, along with my daughter's DNA test which matched with one of the half-cousins' DNA confirming that the whole crazy story was true. The family is now in a frenzy discovering a whole new wing of family we didn't know we had and it's very exciting, strange and seriously retrograde!
Sunday I started getting iMessages on my French cell phone from members of the family that were not meant for me, but for one of my sisters. I immediately thought she had been hacked and having her own retrograde issues until I discovered that she had sent a blanket SMS message to a whole lot of people, but the one for me went to a different phone number. I received the messages from those who responded, and who had my correct number in their contacts. For a while I thought I was losing my mind or we had a hacker in the midst. It was retrograde for me, but not for the others.
Imagine Van Gogh exhibition and project
Retrograde is thankfully over, because without knowing it, Sunday was the last day and last opportunity to to see the brilliance of the "Total Image" here in Paris at the Imagine Van Gogh exhibition at the Grande Halle de la Villette. Thankfully I didn't miss it.
Have you ever visited the Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux-de-Provence? Either way, yes or no, I hope you had the chance to see the Imagine Van Gogh exhibition and project. The moment we entered the voluminous space, I was reminded of the Carrières de Lumières and what a beautiful job they had done, in spite of not having the caverns of the limestone quarry walls on which to project the images. Van Gogh's thick brush strokes and harmoniously Provençal palette of colors along with the hypnotic selection of music was a delightful way of spending a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon. (I apologize in advance for not having seen it and reviewed it sooner, but do go to the Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux-de-Provence as it's well worth a special trip.)
Conceived and executed by Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron, it was part of an "ongoing experiment in the use and effects of an artistic creation that introduces the individual into the heart itself of the image" (source avignon-et-provence.com/) by Albert Plécy who visited the limestone quarries of the Val d'Enfer for the first time in 1975 only to discover the walls of the quarries to be the perfect canvasses for his "Total Image" show.
Under the pointed roof of the Grande Halle, the massive volume of the space allows for enormous floating panels which recreate the limestone walls at Les Baux. Images of Van Gogh's work were projected on these panels, changing, revolving, some seen at a distance, some in great detail, with the movement set to classical music. All this highly orchestrated technical symphony required Mercury not to have been in retrograde!
P.S. Bring your books to sell or come to buy books at a big bargain -- either way you'll be helping raise money for SOS Help, the emotional support line in English. The SOS Help book sale takes place Sunday, October 15th from noon to 4 p.m. at the Orrick Law Offices, 31, ave Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75016 Paris. You may also wish to volunteer with SOS Help. Just drop in at one of the following information sessions: Thursday 14th September, Wednesday 20th September or Thursday 28th September at 7 p.m., at the American Church in Paris, 65, Quai d'Orsay, 75007 Paris. See their website for more information.
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