Paris Behind the Venetian Mask
Both Saturday and Sunday were such gloriously sunny, warm days that every Parisian hit the streets taking up every available café table in the sun, picnicking on benches or tanning on the grass in the parks. It couldn’t have been more perfect for the dozens of members of the Paris Association of Venetian Costumes who donned their finest costumes, wigs and masks to exhibit their sumptuous works over two days of the “Carnaval Vénitien à Paris.”
Beginning at Place de la Bastille and all along the quay of the Port de Plaisance de Paris Arsenal, men, women and children, dressed elaborately in colorful silks and satins, adorned with embroidery, lace, pearls and beads, feathers, golden and silvery…imagining themselves as princes and princesses…glistened in the sun. They paraded along the embankment, stopping for photo opportunities, posing in regal form and nodding appreciation to an adoring audience. An authentic Venetian gondola and decorated boats slowly navigated up and down the canal — costumed revelers perched on board waved to the crowds on land while a “chanteuse” sang Italian opera filling the air with sweet baroque music.
For five years, the association has been working to build this collection of more than 200 costumes, all in the spirit of the Venice Carnival. Produced in a local workshop in the 12th arrondissement, hours and hours of hand work contributed to the production of these elaborate confectionaries, all designed by Michelle Santi, an artist clearly with abundant experience and technique. The precious impressionistic maskery transported our imagination to the heart of the magic and mystery of a serene Venice.
I wondered what they were thinking, these masked troubadours, probably overly warm from living inside their cocoons on such a sultry day. And I remembered a workshop in “Executive Presence” I had once taken, given by drama coach Madeleine Barchevska, titled “Behind the Mask.” The experience of being masked, living outside oneself, was a profound awakening of the separateness of the beings — the essence of being oneself and the ego.
Barchevska writes: “The mask is an ancient tool of liberation. It magnifies perception and puts us in direct contact with the flow of our nervous system and our impulse to respond to life. Knowledge from both life sciences and theater arts fuel this training. It is both direct and indirect, deep and engaging, and contributes immediately to success at a dynamic executive level.”
So apropos to the weekend’s event, “Behind the Mask” will be taking place this coming weekend April 8th and 9th, for those of you wanting the same enlightening experience. To learn more, visit the Parler Paris Previews Weekly Community Calendar
at /parlerparis/calendar.html.html and scroll down to “Knowledge is Power: Conferences, Workshops, Seminars and Lectures.”
Two special notes for readers dreaming of making a life here:
1) “Young Entrepreneurs Initiative” — apply by May 2nd to support the creation of innovative companies in France!
Launched by the Office for Science and Technology of the French Embassy in the United States, this initiative provides young U.S.-based entrepreneurs the unique and exciting opportunity to pursue their project to create an innovative company in France.
For more information:
Or contact: French Office for Science and Technology in Boston,
[email protected], 1 617 292 2303
2) In this month’s Q and A column by Jean Taquet, he addresses the question: I’m American, and I’ve been married to a French citizen for six and a half years. We have been separated most of that time. Is it still possible for me to apply for a working permit in France without having to prove residency with him?
Read the column in it’s entirety by clicking on /parlerparis/practicalanswers.html
To subscribe to his monthly column, send an email to: [email protected]
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]
P.S. As a special offering to attendees of the Working and Living in France Conference, May 20 – 22, 2005 hyere in Paris, French Spirits Cooking is offering five days in Burgundy cooking, wining, dining and touring with Gretchen Van Blaricom beginning the following Monday (May 23rd) at a special savings of 300 euros. For more information, visit http://www.frenchspiritscooking.com or contact Gretchen at +33-3-86-74-56-70 or email [email protected] and be sure to tell her you’re registered with the conference. To register for the conference, visit the conference site at /frenchproperty/conference/WLIF_PARIS_2005/WLIF_PARIS_2005_home.html or contact Schuyler Hoffman a
t +1-310-427-7589 or email [email protected]