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Your taste of life in Nice and the Riveria!

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Weathering the Seaside Storm in Film and Photo

In spite of the on-and-off again stormy/rainy weather in Nice, we taped another episode of House Hunters International with our clients, Jack and Sarah.

Jack is a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker of Italian descent who has a serious yen for vintage…vintage suits (he claims to have about 40 of them that are 40 years old or more), a fine collection of vinyls (as in record albums if you’ve forgotten what that is) and mid-century modern furnishings that he left in storage in New York with the idea of moving them to Nice. He’s here developing an on-line and in person English-language teaching business along with re-establishing a new and more interesting life with his wife, Sarah…but I think he may have missed his calling as a stand-up comic.

Sarah is a chef and aerial gymnast, who besides following her own passions, is supporting Jack in this new business venture and adventure settling into life in Nice. During the taping, she had a hard time getting a word in edgewise as Jack and I bantered back and forth about everything from the esthetics of the color taupe (“greige” in French) to his loathing of seeing someone else’s underwear hanging on the laundry line. Reality check: you’re in Nice, Jack!

As is the usual format of the HGTV show, we visited three rental apartments in different parts of town that more-or-less suited their wish list: one or two bedrooms if possible, balcony, private work space for Jack, fully equipped kitchen with an oven for Sarah — all for $1,200 a month rent, or less.

About 22 hours of taping takes place over the course of five days to produce a 22 minute episode. Once that’s done, it goes to editing, the producers add the voice-overs and when it’s “in the can” ready to go, the network schedules it to air. That takes several months and we won’t know until just before the air date. So stay tuned for that, and be prepared to laugh a lot. This show could be one of the funniest ever, thanks to Jack’s spontaneous comic routines sparked by even the slightest notion!

The violent storms in the South managed to take place while we weren’t taping (like overnight), sending rays of sunshine for the shoot in between the thunder and lightning. Sunday afternoon, I finally had a chance to stroll along the Promenade des Anglais with Niçois singer, John Garland Jones (who starred in one of our episodes this past year, “Finding a Voice in Nice, France.”) Until then, I hadn’t been near the water’s edge except for a brief taxi ride as part of the taping.

The sea was a sight of mile-high waves and foamy waters that rushed all the way up to the Promenade des Anglais, where the Niçois came out to ogle the scene, mesmerized by the terrific tide. Even the East-West Tramway took a beating as it plowed through the flooding, unstoppable by the water. See it for yourself on this Facebook video.

While the rain was on break, John and I took a few moments to visit the Guy Bourdin Zoom exhibition at the Musée de la Photographie Charles Nègre that opened a couple weeks ago (on until January 26, 2020). Guy Bourdin was a French photographer born and raised in Paris who pushed the boundaries of contemporary fashion photography and whose work is still a source of inspiration and fascination. While the span of his work took place beween the 1950s and into the late 1980s, I find it every bit as contemporary as any fashion photography of today. With Paris Photo opening Wednesday night, it whetted my appetite for what was to come this week.

I head back to Paris tomorrow just in time for the 4.5 day-long event. I’ll be there several times to schmooze with old friends from the world of fine art photography (gallerists, photographers, collectors) and see the work on display. Most important and exciting for me personally is the exhibition of the work by Steven Arnold, who died in August of 1994 of AIDS in Los Angeles, right before I moved to France.

I was one of his biggest collectors in the early 90s. I have treasured his photographic and artistic work as well as getting to know and admire the man, who was a kind of Christ-like figure for his “disciples” — at least, that’s what we called ourselves. Finally, after all these years, a film has been made about him and his amazing artistic creations that stole my heart, contributed to my daughter’s love of photography and her launch of her own amazing career.

His work will be on solo display at the Fahey/Klein Gallery, Booth A33, so come to Paris Photo, be sure to stop by and tell Nicholas or David Fahey I sent you. Then, don’t miss seeing the documentary, “Heavenly Bodies,” Thursday, November 7th at 3 p.m. and again on Saturday, November 9th at 5 p.m. “Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston narrates this exploration of the spectacularly dreamlike world of Salvador Dalí protégé, Steven Arnold, and his strikingly creative and influential body of work. Arnold’s genre-bending oeuvre reveals a singular vision merging Hollywood camp, ancient practices, and surrealist whimsy. Taken from over 70 hours of footage, and featuring memorable interviews with Ellen Burstyn, Simon Doonan, Stuart Comer and more, ‘Steven Arnold: Heavenly Bodies’ paints a remarkable picture of the inspiring life of this unheralded multimedia artist and countercultural icon.

I’ll be at both showings (I have a small part in it), so do say hello if you attend! See you there (I hope). See for more information.


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