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Two Days in the City of Life and Light

In two days, one can fit in an awful lot of life in the City of Light.

In the last 48 hours, I’ve had my hair cut by the “Hair Cowboy;” took in a discussion about Paris Cafés at Shakespeare & Company with two well-known authors and one artist; been interviewed by journalist Maureen Jenkins (writing for CNN about life in the City of Light); hosted a tango talk and demonstration at Parler Paris Après Midi; participated in a discussion with Noel Riley Fitch at the Paris Writers Group about Sylvia Beach and Anaïs Nin (and others); not to mention completed the Nouvellettre®-writing, dined out for every meal with friends and the usual daily work load.

Many people have asked when sleep fits into the picture, and of course it does, but not so much as to take away from all there is to do in one’s life in the City of Light. Six hours is about all it takes to pop out of bed and get ready for more of any day’s excitement. Part of the secret of fitting it all in is a system of note pads at every corner where the tasks for the day or the moment are noted and then crossed out once the accomplishments take place. Here they are:

12-9-12 haircut cowboy12-9-12 haircut cowboy-212-9-12 Noel-John-Rick ShakespeareCoNoel Riley Fitch, John Baxter and Rick Tulka12-9-12 John Baxter Rick Tulka12-9-12 Noel Riley Fitch12-9-12MaureenJenkinsinLeProvencalMaureen Jenkinsapresmidid11-9-12 3Francisco Leiva – photos by Suzanne Kischnickapresmidid11-9-12 4


This one was ‘spur of the moment’ — he had a time slot, I had a time slot, and here he came up the stairs with his new pup on a leash and his equipment: comb/cape/scissors. Having one’s haircut on the street (or in your own apartment for which I opted), dry, with no equipment other than Kanu Saul, the “Hair Cowboy” (also known as “Picasso of Hair” or “Genius with Scissors”) is one of those nutty, fun experiences everyone should do at least once. But watch out, you may get addicted to Kanu.

Kanu Saul is famous in several cities, having made his mark in Los Angeles as long ago as 2004 (see The Los Angeles Times). Now he’s working the streets of the City of Light. His story is fascinating and so are his pale green eyes on mulatto skin.

Kanu claims his technique is unique. Agreed. I’ve never had a hair cut like this one. No wet-down. He combs and pulls and twists and strips out the dead ends and what he calls the “bad stuff.” You have to stand tough and hold tight against his yanking all the while he’s telling you not to worry, “You’re going to love your hair — it will feel so light, you won’t know it’s there!”

And so it is. And it curls like never before. And it’s fluffier, fuller. The man is magic.

Want a cut on the street by the Hair Cowboy? You’ll find Kanu at + or email [email protected]. The cost is about 100€. Be sure to say “Adrian sent me.”


12-9-12pariscafesA very large crowd showed up Monday evening to hear what authors Noel Riley Fitch and John Baxter along with artist, Rick Tulka had to say about Paris cafés seated in front of the legendary Shakespeare & Company on a beautiful warm evening. Fitch and Tulka have just launched a new book, Paris Café: the Select Crowd and Baxter was talking about his latest, “The Most Beautiful Walk in the World: A Pedestrian in Paris.”

There’s always something magical about being at the bookshop, which Sylvia Beach and then George Whitman and now Sylvia Beach Whitman have made famous as well as the center of literary life in the City of Light. While the discussion on cafés was more centered on café Le Select where Tulka draws the clientele, and what is the preferred coffees among the three panelists, rather than answering some the questions we expected (Why is the Paris café central to artistic history? How is the café portrayed in art and literature?…etc.), it didn’t much matter. It was great to meet the authors, fun to hear the questions by the audience (no matter how trivial), all while enjoying the beautiful fall evening with the bookshop and Notre Dame as our backdrops. How lucky does one get?

To buy the books, visit Shakespeare & Company or see them on our site at: Adrian Leeds Recommends


Chicagoan Maureen Jenkins became a friend of Parler Paris years ago when she first stayed at “Le Provençal” and subsequently wrote Travel Sense Tip: Rent an Apartment, Not a Hotel Room. She had the dream then to move to Paris and she finally made the big move just this past year, with her notebook and pen in hand, ready to make a story come to life that a willing publication or news organization will publish. Her most recent story about France just appeared on CNN: 10 ways to live it up on the French Riviera.

Over lunch in the ‘hood,’ Maureen asked questions to fodder her upcoming articles — about which I will not divulge just yet. Meanwhile, she’s looking for more writing ‘gigs’ to get her here permanently or an interesting job…or both. If you have any ideas for Maureen, visit her site at Maureen Jenkins and be sure to let her know “Adrian sent me.”


That afternoon, a whole host of people turned up at “Parler Paris Après Midi” to meet up, “schmooze” and hear what Francisco Leiva had to say about tango, not to mention demonstrate. We learned all about the origins of tango and how it was “born in the brothels of Buenos Aires.”

Francisco demonstrated some basic steps (there really are only three steps to learn) dancing with our tango-ing participants, including Anne Morton who is taking private lessons from Francisco and loving it. For those who want to explore the world of tango here in Paris, Francisco regularly hosts milongas (balls), or you can indulge in his private and group lessons. To learn more, visit Tango Poema or email him at [email protected] or call him at +33


Mary Duncan hosts the Paris Writers Group, a small select group of wordsmiths who discuss the “nuts and bolts issues” of the world of writing: “literary agents, editors, writer’s block, private publishing, marketing, websites, blogs, platforms, ebooks and trends in the publishing industry.” (Mary graciously lets me participate because I write, even though I am not a “writer” per se.)

Last night, Noel Riley Fitch enlightened the circle of members with inside stories on how she gathered the material to write her biographies on Sylvia Beach, Anaïs Nin and others while meeting with famous people and learning their personal stories. Her take on these two women who changed literature and the future of women was fascinating and a real treat for the selective and privileged few.

Mary, once owner of Shakespeare & Company in Moscow, is an author in her own right — her latest book is Henry Miller is Under My Bed, her memoir as owner of an archive of original Henry Miller materials. To get your copy of the book, visit Shakespeare & Company or see it on our site at: Adrian Leeds Recommends. Find more information about the Paris Writers Group on their Web site.

A la prochaine…

adrian 11-9-12Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. Monday I’ll be writing Parler Nice from Nice…my home away from home on the Riviera! Stay tuned for adventures in the South.


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