At the corner of rue de Bretagne and rue Charlot, across the street from Café Charlot where I spend much of my writing time, is a curio shop that has been there since long before I moved into the neighborhood named “Hier-Aujourd’hui-Demain.” The proprietor is a white-haired man always very colorfully dressed with big outstandingly stylish eyeglasses and a little white-long-haired pooch who acts as the shop mascot. Everyone in the hood knows the shop – it’s tough to miss. During the bi-annual “brocantes” (rummage sales) along rue de Bretagne, their wildest curios come out of hiding for all to see and buy. It’s been a treat.
Then, just this week I heard rumors from a friend who lives in the hood that Ladurée is moving in and he is moving out. The next thing I knew there was a sign in the window explaining that after 35 years, he’s retiring and by June 24th, “Hier-Aujourd’hui-Demain” will be a thing of the “hier.” Another one bites the dust and in comes yet another high-priced sugar-selling outlet to turn the hood into a tourist trap and an overindulgent one at that. I am not happy.
Paris is changing, some parts of it faster than others. Since there’s little I can personally do to stop “progress,” I refuse to dwell on the “hier,” think more about “aujourd’hui,” and plan for “demain.” It’s what I urge you to do, too. So, here are lots of things in store for you to do in Paris and beyond (Nice) the rest of this month.
* Don’t miss the reading of “Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem,” a Reading by Cecilia Woloch
If you’ve never heard Cecilia Woloch read her work before, then do – it will change your opinion of poetry. She will perform from the new edition of the book, just published by Two Sylvias Press.
Tuesday, June 19 at 9 p.m.
upstairs at le Café de la Mairie
96 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris
Free & open to the public
More about it:
“Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem” is a book-length poetic meditation that intertwines the author’s personal journey of identity with the larger forces in the world that have shaped the fate and fortunes of the Roma people, also known as Gypsies. Originally published in 2001, Tsigan has been brought up to date and expanded to encompass the ongoing struggles of the Roma people in the midst of a rising tide of xenophobia.
Shoah Foundation executive director Stephen D. Smith has called this new edition of Tsigan, “A lyrical journey through history and memory so beautiful that at times it belies the deep pain it represents.” Poet and critic Carol Muske-Dukes has called it, “a daring, dancing conflagration in the reader’s hand.
Read Janet Hulstrand’s review of Tsigan.
View a video clip by Erica Simone of Cecilia’s launch reading in Los Angeles.
See you there!
* Meet the Authors, Nice, June 23rd
Head south or if you’re already somewhere in the region, be sure to come to Meet the Authors! I’m Emceeing the event, it’s free and it will be fun and informative.
Saturday, June 23, 2018
3 to 5:30 p.m.
Scotch Tea House
4 avenue Suède
Join us all in the lovely back room of the Scotch Tea House in Central Nice (Carré d’Or district) to meet a group of local authors, discover their books and their stories. They will each talk about their recent works, read a bit from them and answer your questions. You will have an opportunity to purchase their books and get signed copies! Since I’m writing my own memoir, not only will I emcee the event, but I will share some of my own experiences, too.
Authors will have a few of their books for purchasing and signing, but to be sure, you may want to pre-order your copy and bring it with you for your own personal signed copy!
Participation is free (but we ask that you purchase at least one drink to show the host venue how much we appreciate their hospitality). Don’t miss it – there’s no need to register in advance. Just show up!
See you there!
* Fête de la Musique, June 21st
Fête de la Musique is one of my favorite Paris festivals on the longest day of the year…yeah! Here’s the official site, but you may find it as impossible to navigate as I did.
The best way to cut to the chase and find what’s playing in an area of the city you’re interested in is by going to the map and enlarging it! Try this for Paris.
Because I live in Le Marais, I stay close to home. There’s no reason to go further as there is an inordinate amount of music happening in the district. Every year, it’s the same old problem – it’s hard to make a choice among the many free concerts in the capital city. However, Sortiraparis.com has a good plan to follow. Here are their top 14 tips to discover this Thursday, June 21st on the occasion of the 37th Fête de la Musique:
1. The longest event of the 2018 Music Festival in Paris: 36-Hours of free concerts at Eglise Saint Eustache starting on Wednesday the 20th
2. The Ministry of Overseas Departments opens its doors on the occasion of the first Overseas Culture Week, from the 16th to June 21st, 2018
3. La Maison de la Radio celebrates at the Paris Olympia Theater with Ben Harper, Camille, Jain, Eddy De Pretto or Angèle, Parcels and Arnaud Rebotini.
4. The Sound of Paris at La Salle Pleyel
5. At the Monnaie de Paris with Michael Canitrot, live for the first time from 7 p.m. to midnight.
6. The “Dialogue des Cultures” at the Institut du Monde Arabe for an oriental musical evening.
7. The trendiest event with the Diggers Factory under the trees on the hill of Montmartre.
8. At the most beautiful place – The Grand Palais is waiting for you with an experimental musical project designed by young artists Ewelina Chiu and Daniel Vlcek.
9. The most classical event is at the Maison de la Radio with the Orchestre National de France who will perform on the stage of the auditorium.
10. Rock out with Ricard SA Live Music at Parc de La Villette.
11. Hip Hop Block Party takes place at the Impasse St. Sebastien.
12. The most electronic event will be at the Porte de La Muette by Radio VL.
13. The most Irish event takes place at the Irish Cultural Center hosting several bands and musicians reflecting the richness of the Irish music scene.
14. The most Scandinavian event takes place at the Swedish Institute in Paris with Vaz and Adna for a unique musical moment!
For more information, visit sortiraparis.com/actualites/fete-de-la-musique/.
You will find me parked at a café at Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine or wandering around the Place des Vosges singing along with the sing-alongs.
* The Summer Sales
The beautiful summer days are here and so is great shopping! The 2018 summer sales begin Wednesday, June 27 at 8 a.m. and end on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. And sure, you can get some great deals on summer duds…just in time for the “plage” in August.
Watch out, some regions have exceptions to these dates:
– Alpes-Maritimes & Pyrénées-Orientales: from July 4th to August 14th, 2018
– Corsica: from July 11 to August 21, 2018
* WICE Paris Writers Workshop Special Panel Discussions
It’s open to the public and I’m moderating one of them (Panel 3)!
This year the WICE Paris Writers Workshop is holding three 40-minute talks with mingling/networking in-between the talks. Everyone is invited, even if not registered with the week-long writers’ event, so come and participate!
Forum 104, 104 rue Vaugirard, 75006
Panel 1: 5 p.m. – 5:40 p.m.
Panel 2: 5:50 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Panel 3: 6:40 p.m. – 7:20 p.m.
Panel 1: Navigating Today’s Publishing Scene.
This will cover traditional but also alternative publishing. April Eberhardt will moderate this discussion. It will feature agents Mark Kessler, Greg Messina, and Lise Funderberg, who teaches the creative non-fiction seminar, and has wide experience dealing with magazine, newspaper and book publishers and editors.
Panel 2: Ethics and the Writer, focusing on writing about “others” and “the Other” (i.e. other cultures, ethnic groups, etc.).
On a banal level, nonfiction may entail certain problems, ethical and legal, when writing about real people. On a political/social level questions have been raised concerning authors writing about groups and cultures that are not their own. This panel will be moderated by Laurel Zuckerman, author, owner of Summertime Books, and curator of Paris Writer News. The panel will include Chris Vanier, who’s written memoirs about his early years in the Caribbean, and his later life in France, Jamaican writer Alecia McKenzie (who teaches the short story/novella seminar) and Anjali Mitter Duva, an Indian-American author who grew up in France.
Panel 3: The Personal Side of Writing. (This one is mine.)
There are many challenges writers are confronted with: balancing writing and family, the “day job”, money, age. This panel will be moderated by Adrian Leeds, who in addition to building a successful real estate business in France, has hosted a regular series of cultural events, often featuring writers. The panel will include Lan Samantha Chang (author, director of the Iowa Workshop and teacher of the novel seminar) and Kathleen Spivack (poet and writer, teacher of the poetry seminar) and Meg Bortin (author, journalist and blogger).
* Gay Pride Parade, June 30th
In 2018, the Inter-LGBT, association organizing the annual Paris Gay Pride Parade, chose to focus on discrimination by choosing as a motto: Les discriminations au tapis, dans le sport comme dans nos vies! Or…”Discrimination on the mat, as a sport as in our lives!” (Not sure what this really means — guess it’s cultural and I don’t get it!)
Explained by the organizers: “While some sporting events, like the Gay Games that will be held in Paris from August 4 to 12, are striving to promote diversity and inclusion, it is important to note that many others stand in disregard of human rights. Start with the World Cup football in Russia this year then in Qatar in 2022.” (gaypride.fr/en-2018-la-marche-des-fiertes-de-paris)
The parade will leave at 2 p.m. from the Place de la Concorde, and will roll down rue de Rivoli. The procession will then branch off to Boulevard de Sebastopol and turn right on Boulevard Saint-Martin. The end of the Pride Parade will be at Place de la République where there will be a Grand Stage and music from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
That’s when the real fun begins, and that’s where I’ll be. I have secured a table at a café near the Place so we can watch the parade finish with a bang.
You should be there, too!
For more information, visit gaypride.fr/.
Hier: Too late now…
Aujourd’hui: Make note now of what’s in store…
Demain: Come have fun with us!
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(by Erica Simone)
P.S. See you at all or some of these fun things to do in the City of Light!