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Lost in Storytelling, Paris Noir and Turkey


Yesterday at Après Midi, Antonio Meza, a man of many hats as a Master Practitioner and a Trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), a seasoned public speaker and graphic facilitator as a cartoon artist, among other talents, took us through his own “story” and then taught us how to tell OUR own “stories.” Antonio was the first person to have been our guest speaker at Après Midi as long ago as March 8, 2011 and has returned from time to time to impart his words of wisdom.

Antonio Meza at Après MidiAntonio Meza at Après Midi

Antonio Meza at Après Midi

Paris Noir by Joanne and David Burke

La Generation Perdue

Ursuline KairsonUrsuline Kairson

Paris Noir - Jake Lamar

Paris Noir - Josephine Baker

As Antonio explained, everybody comes to Paris wanting to live a story worth telling and that was his intention when arriving to Paris 13 years ago. After different “reincarnations” as a student in cinema, photographer, tourist guide, professional trainer, public speaker and coach, Antonio finally reconnected with his life-passion…visual storytelling using his talent as a cartoon artist.

According to “storytelling” describes the social and cultural activity of sharing stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment. Every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation or instilling moral values. Crucial elements of stories and storytelling include plot, characters and narrative point of view. The term “storytelling” can refer in a narrow sense specifically to oral storytelling and also in a looser sense to techniques used in other media to unfold or disclose the narrative of a story.

What Antonio addressed was how we use storytelling for personal growth, or to promote a change in the culture of an organization. Antonio not only shared his experience as a storyteller, he got us involved by facilitating an interactive workshop which enabled us all to connect with our own “Paris stories” and with each other at what he demonstrated was “a different level.”

He handed out a paper on which he had given us a way to structure our story. On it was written:

Once upon a time…?
And every day…?
And then one day…?
And because of that…(you can repeat this several times)?
And ever since…?
And the moral of the story is…?

He paired us up with people we didn’t know well. That was a great way to get the group mingled. Then, each of us was to complete the phrases, creating a real structure for each of our individual stories. We shared them not only with each other, but with a third party nearby and we learned a lot…about each other, about our stories, about how to tell stories effectively and how to apply this to our every day lives.

To read more about it and see the photos from the event, visit our Après Midi page.


Next month’s Après Midi, December 12, 2017, we’re hosting Joanne and David Burke, authors, film writers/director-producer-editors of “PARIS NOIR,” African Americans in the City of Light African Americans in the City of Light.” We’ll be showing the film in its entirety — and yes, it’s in English!

The film was shown last night in the auditorium at the Paris Hôtel de Ville (in both French and English) as part of a two-month+ long event sponsored by the city: “The Lost generation: From the Americans in Paris, 1917 – 1939 (from November 7, 2017 to January 15, 2018). As a special treat, Americanin-Paris blue singer Ursuline Kairson sang a few iconic American songs for us to get us in the mood!

The event celebrates the centenary of the U.S. entry into World War I and is devoted to American artists who lived in Paris between 1917 and 1939. (See for details.) World War I marked a generation of young Americans who reached adulthood during the conflict. Among them, some personalities who eventually became famous, such as the writer Ernest Hemingway, who was a volunteer in the U.S. Red Cross on the front. The city wished to commemorate the centenary of the entry into the War by the U.S. by mentioning these young artists who emigrated and settled in Paris after the War, in the 1920s and 1930s, in the hope to find new benchmarks, a new freedom of expression and a framework conducive to artistic creation. A roster of free events has been organized taking place throughout Paris, to discover and plunge into the Paris of the “Roaring Twenties”: that of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker, cabarets and jazz. These young American artists disillusioned by the war were described by Gertrude Stein as the “Lost Generation.”

The African American community at that time is of particular note. Driven by brutal segregation and limitations in the United States, Black American poets, writers, intellectuals, artists, musicians, and entertainers able to get to France were thrilled by their first feeling of absolute freedom. Those who made their mark on Paris and in-turn, the world, were the likes of Josephine Baker, Sidney Bechet, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin. Here marks the beginning of worldwide assertion of African American culture. Filmmakers David and Joanne Burke contributed their 15 year labor of love and hour-long documentary to the city’s roster of events.

Be sure to take part in some of the events and by all means, don’t miss Après Midi on December 12th! See for more details.



Provencal Turkey

Baked tart by Susan Loomis

Thanksgiving is coming up…fast. I’m heading to New York Monday for one week to be with my daughter and extended members of the family for Thanksgiving, including EX-in-laws who live in Woodstock (someone I told this to said: “That’s what I like to see: civilized people, acting as close to civilized people as possible”) and newly discovered half-cousins (thanks to, a DNA match with my daughter that confirmed that my grandfather was a bigamist and had a family prior to our own!).

I am seriously looking forward to having a real Thanksgiving in the Good Ol’ U.S. of A. which is not at all the norm for me. Most years have been spent here in Paris or in Provence with friends. I’ve written at length about how we expats in France celebrate the holiday — including how to buy and cook a French turkey (sorry to tell you that they are way tastier than the U.S. version!). Search our Nouvellettre® archives and look for the dates just before Thanksgiving to find the articles (here’s the one from last year.)

Writer, editor and teacher, Janet Hulstrand, wrote an article in in 2015 that is full of information and still just as up-to-date.

Susan Herrmann Loomis, chef and author living in Normandy of On Rue Tatin fame, added her own words about the food-based holiday in her recent blog: “The big holiday pie debate..which side are you on?”

“I remember from living in the States that the holidays always brought on the big pie debate when the family gathers. Some people are adamant that Pumpkin is the must-have. If you’re from the south, it’s Pecan Pie. Arguments ensue over these two but the one pie that everyone could almost always agree on was Apple.”


If you’re looking for a place to gobble up turkey in Paris, the American Club of Paris is extending an invitation to all members of Democrats Abroad France in the Paris region at guest prices, as well as to other American civic organizations, to attend its annual Thanksgiving Gala Dinner. The invitation is set out below. (The new U.S. Ambassador to France, Jamie McCourt, has been invited, although there are no assurances that she will attend.)

American Thanksgiving Gala Dinner   
Friday November 24th at 7:30 P.M.
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
60 rue des Archives 75003 Paris

The evening will include champagne before dinner, a full Thanksgiving dinner with roasted turkey, a private visit to the museum, and after-dinner drinks in the Club Room.

The Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature) is a private hunting and nature museum in the hear of the Marais. The museum has been characterized by the Smithsonian magazine as “one of the most rewarding and inventive in Paris”, and is described in tourist guidebooks and other media as quirky, astonishing, strange, and eclectic. The museum, housed in the classical 18th century hotel particulier l’Hôtel de Guénégaud, is made up of multiple elegant rooms, some of which are wood panelled while others are outfitted with bronze decorative fixtures designed by Brazilian sculptor Saint Clair Cemin made to look like vines, antlers, and tree branches.

Dress Code: Evening Attire/Black Tie (Optional)

Members 150€ / Non-Member or Guests 175€
No refunds possible for cancellations after November 20th at 12 p.m.

Register here.

For Paris restaurants serving up American fixin’s — check out Breakfast in America’s Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 and Joe Allen Restaurant.

John G Morris


Please join friends and family in celebrating the life of John G. Morris, one of the most important editors in the history of photography, an American who lived in Paris since 1983, at a memorial gathering  on the 101st anniversary of his birth, December 7th, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. at the American Cathedral in Paris 23, avenue George V, Paris 8th. Read more about him at Parler Paris.


A la prochaine…


Adrian Leeds - and turkey de Provence

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

(and turkey de Provence)


Respond to Adrian

The Adrian Leeds Group


P.S. Do you dream of being able to take part in events like this in Paris? You can be, and we can help make that dream come true! We offer services for as much or as little as you may need to make it so. Contact us today


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