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Bromancing the Throne

 A Cinque CentoA Cinque Cento

A VW BeetleA VW Beetle

Presidents Holding Hands

Trump Brushing Dandruff

Courtesy The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Battle of the Sexes movie

Atelier des Lumières - ViennaAtelier des Lumières – Vienna

Atelier des Lumières Klimt - Paris, France

Atelier des Lumières

I landed in La La Land (a.k.a. Los Angeles) Friday afternoon after an uneventful 11-hour bargain flight on Norwegian Airlines. My daughter picked me up at LAX in a rented tiny red Fiat “cinque cento” (500), making me wonder if I was really in California or if it was Italy in disguise? It was a loaner from the rental car company until she could get their red VW Beetle Cabriolet out of the shop for repairs. Neither of these tiny cars fit my expectation of a U.S. road vehicle, but they definitely fit with our European idea of roadsters. Yep, I had landed in “La La Carland,” but I felt right at home.

I can’t say that I was anxious to be on U.S. soil under the current political climate, but L.A., being “blue” is relatively safe from gun-toters (at least among my friends on the west side) and is full of Francophiles and “Macronmaniacs,” again making me feel less like an alien. Of course, L.A. was home for seven years before moving to France and will always feel that way, thanks to its welcoming weather and incessant open mindedness where absolutely anything goes.

On route to my accommodations for the week, chez an old and very dear friend, Erica was raving ecstatically about with her new life here. She has gone from New York workaholic to L.A. yogamaniac, stretching her long limbs at every opportunity and taking hikes in the canyons where she can really breathe. I understand completely how and why she is loving the freedom of having her little car, to be inside her “little bubble,” after having battled the streets of N.Y. for the last 15 years.

I, on the other hand, am still quite content with the urbanity of Paris, with no car for which I must take responsibility (she complained, of course, about the cost of parking, gasoline and the repair issues), and living outside of that bubble she is now discovering and cherishing. I had that life for long enough to know both the assets and liabilities.

Last week in Paris we all watched with awe the encounters between the two world leaders – French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Donald Trump – during his visit to the White House…from the kisses (!!), to the constant holding of hands and pats on the back, to the flick of the dandruff speck off Macron’s shoulder. While it makes my stomach churn to see the two men in the same room together, I realize the brilliance of the young French President to buddy-up to the uncontrollable man in the Oval Office.

Like the rest of the world, I’ve caught on to the new term, “Macronmania,” especially after watching how he is the only person in the world so far who can successfully manipulate Donald Trump. As one friend wrote me, “Macron has provided a masterclass to other world leaders on how to handle Donald Trump – you cuddle up close, you flatter where necessary – but you use that to pack a big punch.

“The other new term emerging from their alliance is “Bromance,” “a close but nonsexual relationship between two or more men.” (Wikipedia.org) Why do we even have such a term, I wonder? Women have been doing this all of our lives and men are just now figuring out that they can be bosom-buddies without being gay? On the plane I watched a lot of movies including “Battle of the Sexes,” a 2017 film about Billie Jean King’s and Bobby Riggs’ monumental and ground-breaking tennis match that took place in 1973 (starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell), reminding me how “bromance” wouldn’t have been possible, even at that time.

The news last week was pretty comical, as while Macron and Trump were getting very personal and holding hands, wife Melania was doing a good job of shunning her husband by avoiding his hand at all costs, by slapping it away, repeatedly. The media ate it up. Journalist Britni Danielle summed it up with: “While Melania Trump may not have wanted to touch her husband, France’s president had no problem cozying up to the president. During Macron’s three-day visit, the two presidents were very affectionate toward each other. The two got on so well CNN described their relationship as a ‘touchy-feely presidential bromance.'” I have a feeling that if Emmanuel Macron had grabbed for her hand, Melania would have gladly accepted…but he was too busy holding Donald’s!

On the more serious side, France 24’s Douglas Herbert (An American and my favorite reporter on the French national news channel) provided a very interesting analysis of President Macron’s address to U.S. Congress. If you don’t tune into France 24 for a more unbiased view on world affairs, then tune in now to see his report.

Before heading off to L.A., a Viennese friend was visiting who loves Gustav Klimt. Knowing this, I took him to the Atelier des Lumières. It’s a new “museum” in Paris run by Culturespaces, filled with 120 video projectors that blow-up depictions of famous paintings onto its massive 10 meter-high walls, and floors over 3,300 square meters, accompanied by a soundtrack. If you have ever visited the Carrières de Lumières at Les Baux-de-provence, also managed by Culturespaces, then you can imagine exactly what I’m describing. The Atelier is located in an obscure part of the city – a residential neighborhood of the 11th arrondissement – taking visitors to a part of the city to which they wouldn’t otherwise venture.

This first exposition features two Austrian artists, Gustav Klimt and Friedensreich Hundertwasser, both born in Vienna. The images rotate and over the course of about 45 minutes to one hour. You will be awestruck as you walk within the massive space, totally surrounded by beautiful images from head to toe, making you feel that you had become a part of their paintings. Don’t miss it, but do get your tickets in advance as it’s sure to draw large crowds.

Wednesday I’ll be writing again with tales of La La Land, which began with a stroll along the Venice canals and Venice beach, a drive up the PCH and down Sunset Boulevard…the perfect introduction to a California adventure.

A la prochaine…

 Adrian Leeds - photo by Erica Simone www.ericasimone.com

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

(photo by Erica Simone)

 

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Adrian Leeds - I Prefer Paris video at Chez Omar

P.S. I had the pleasure of dining at Chez Omar last week with Richard Nahem, of Eye (or I) Prefer Paris. It’s part of a new series of videos Richard is producing: “A Bite of Paris, Episode 7.” Watch Richard and I having dinner at Chez Omar and “dishing the dirt.”

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