Art and Culture in the City of Light: Isn’t That Why We’re Here?
First, I’d like to thank all of you for the overwhelming response in regard to last week’s Nouvellettre®, “Having a Voice: Debating the Issues.” From what you said, you not only DON’T mind that I openly express my views, but quite enjoy them. It’s reassuring to know how many of you are open-minded and willing to learn something new, even if you don’t always agree.
While I was in Nice last week, I met with the staff at the Hôtel Ellington to discuss the arrangements for our upcoming North American Expat Forum that will take place there on October 17th. The hotel has a cozy lounge in which we can meet for a “Parler Nice Après Midi” four times a year. This will be the same kind of networking gathering as “Après Midi” with a special guest speaker — but of course, for our Niçois/Côte d’Azur friends. Stay tuned for an announcement about our first meeting. If you haven’t already signed up for the Forum, then don’t delay as we’re taking the counts now to secure the venue.
For those of you celebrating the Jewish new year (year 5777 according to the Hebrew calendar), “Le Shana Tova!” Friends send Happy New Year wishes and one I liked best was this silly animation of Minions. Also, and to my surprise, I sent my sister a “Happy New Year” message on my iPhone (updated to the latest version) and it automatically included fireworks! Nice touch, Apple. As it turns out, now certain keywords trigger certain animations, such as “Happy New Year” or “Happy Birthday!” Have a look at all the other new fun options if you recently updated your iPhone: https://www.igeeksblog.com/
I got back from Nice just in time to celebrate the annual “La Nuit Blanche” public festival Saturday night, having begun in Paris in 2002 and always takes place on the first Saturday of every October. The event features artistic installations in public spaces and museum openings all night long…hence the idea of “La Nuit Blanche” — to mean “Sleepless Night.” Of course, most people I know turn in about the stroke of midnight, but one person told me she likes to go out before dawn when the streets are quieter and you can still enjoy the displays. That’s not a bad idea considering that the even is so popular that the streets and displays are now chock-a-block.
This year, the installations were focused along the River Seine. “Balancing the Executive Life” coach and author of “This Luscious Life” Kelley Black and I personally visited the installation by artist Stéphane Thidet on the square in front of the Hôtel de Ville titled “Sommeil” — a frozen, but animated lake to summon up the imagination of the tales of the Divine Comedy of Dante and the Brothers Grimm Snow White. It was so bright against the dark night, that it was almost tough to focus one’s eyes on…but stunning and eery all at the same time.
At the Centre George Pompidou’s Fontaine Stravinsky, a recreation of the Beatles’ Abbey Road crossing was installed on which anyone could dream of becoming Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr as he strolled across the white lines. Yes, there was a sense of being important, just be walking along the road and having the crowd watching and applauding you.
The permanent collection of the Centre George Pompidou was open. A visit to the two floors was particularly special, considering that I hadn’t taken the time to visit them in many, many years — with so many other special exhibitions with which to be lured away (the Magritte exhibition “La trahison des images” is currently on until January 23, 2017). As you wander from room to room and down the alleyways one is reminded of how important and impressive the permanent collection is. (My favorites? Kandinsky, Matisse, Niki de Saint Phalle…and too many others!)
To complete a weekend influenced with art, the Herb Ritts exhibit at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie was Sunday’s excursion, and it’s a must see for photography-lovers! His work is bold and unforgettable. I can proudly say I used to own one of the photos on display there (which almost brought me to tears) and had the pleasure of meeting the illustrious photographer in the early 1990s when living in Los Angeles. (I dare not show the photo as the Internet authorities will not appreciate its male nudity — but I sure did!)
To top it all off, I found myself back at the Centre Pompidou Sunday night (it’s becoming like home!) with a group of friends to see a film about photographer Robert Frank (as part of the Beat Generation exhibition) — titled “Don’t Blink” — by filmmaker Laura Israel and produced by a friend’s daughter-in-law (Melinda Melinda Shopsin) described as “a surprising and unprecedented documentary on one of the greatest American photographers of the post-war – a film that makes almost no concessions to the disclosure.” While familiar with Frank’s work, this is a gritty insight into his life which might not be what one would expect.
The art scene in Paris just doesn’t quit…so you’re in for a wild ride this fall. Next on the horizon is the FIAC and Paris Photo !… so stay tuned for more culture in the City of Light than you may have bargained for! (But, isn’t that why we’re here?)
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(with Kelley Black)