Sunday, May 30, 2010

passionate undiscovered stories

So my mother got to Paris on May 16th.  The following almost-two-weeks were filled with every restaurant, expo, and sight I have wanted to go to but haven't been able to fit in/afford since I've been here.  Days and nights have been packed.  Hence the large gap in posts.  I will make up for it now with a couple posts-worth of samplings of all of the greatness I have been participating in.  Hooray.

Finding interestingness in unexpected places is one of my favorite things.  Paris scores an A+ in this arena.   On the 17th we went to a fabulous photo expo, right in the middle of couches and dishware on the third floor of Le Bon Marché, one of the most famous department stores of Paris nearby Sciences Po in the 6th. 

The expo presented the work of Ellen von Unwerth, a German model turned photographer and film maker who fell under the spell of hollywooders.  Her expo displays her playful and sexy photographs of some of the film industry's most heavy hitters: Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, George Clooney, Brad, Madonna, Salma Hayek, Audrey Tautou, ...  


 {Eva Mendes}


Her photographs are presented to you in large print, suspended in the air, complemented by twinkling lights in an entirely black room.  With an accent on fun and beauty, these shots transport you into passionate undiscovered stories.  She brilliantly creates new worlds, to the point where many of the subjects of her photos, whose faces - plastered on every screen and magazine - we know by heart, are unrecognizable.  Unwerth succeeded at making these actors stay true to their careers and put on a show in every print.


Definitely a destination.  Open until  June 19th.  Click.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

give all of my energy and love to the world

Music buzzers said he would be one of the top hip hop up-and-comers, and they were right.  B.o.B. has hit musical airwaves with a bang.  I am among the many who have fallen under the charm of his fresh perspective.  Signed to Atlantic Records while still in high school, Bobby Ray first got attention with his ganja-loving track "Cloud 9" and Atlanta anthem  "Haterz Everywhere."  His debut album B.o.b. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray was released April 27th of this year, one month earlier than prévu, due mostly to the commercial success of his smoothtastic "Nothin' on You" track featuring Bruno Mars.

 My other favorites of the album are "Past My Shades" featuring Lupe Fiasco, "Airplanes, Part II" featuring Eminem (!!) and Hayley Williams of Paramore, and "The Kids" featuring Janelle Monae.  "Ghost in the Machine" and "Fame" are great too.  Oh goodness, I love em' all - "Magic" featuring Rivers Cuomo of Weezer (!!) really gets 'ya jammin'.  His revamp of hip hop - pulling influences from the 80s, rap, funk, rock, techno, and other greatness - has given the industry a musician sure to leave an interesting mark.

I'll leave you with some of B.o.B.'s own words:
"When I grew up it was really hard for me to figure out why I felt that way, like I really felt like I was from another planet. Now, it's the opposite. All of that time I spent developing my talent and really analyzing myself, now I feel like I can express all of that and give all of my energy and love to the world."
 I feel like nothing I could say would do this boy justice, so just click on the links provided and see for yourself.  Plaisir.

Monday, May 10, 2010

with an emphasis on the "liberal"

Sciences Po sends out newsletters once a week alerting the student populace of events and such around campus.  There are always famous people speakers or serious world issue conferences, and overwhelmed by all of these opportunities, I often never participate.  I told myself that I must take advantage of something Sciences Po puts on before I leave.  When I heard about the Festival Rideau Rouge 2010, a festival of theatre, it sounded like the perfect event.

So, last friday, I attended the 21h showing of Où le temps s'arrête et sans chaussures, a liberal adaptation of Peter Pan -- with an emphasis on the "liberal".  The play started out nice - there were some bizarrities, but following the plot line wasn't a chore and the actors were impressive.  

However, after about 45 minutes of interestingness, the piece got real out of wack.  This is when Peter brings Wendy back to her home, to find her two parents who are buggin completely.  The dad tries to kill Peter, but then becomes obsessed with flying, so tries to get him to show him how.  Wendy falls in love with Peter, and Peter's a kid so he's like naw.  And then there's Wendy's mama, by far the best actrice of the troupe, who is just kind of chilling trying to make everyone happy.  The play ends with Peter's death (i think)  and the death of the parents (i think) and a really long repetitive monolgue by Wendy.  This was right after a sort of pillow fight, which left the stage cluttered with white feathers, and dust?

I don't know, it was weird.  But I'm glad I went.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

i love my jersey

Until UNC, I didn't get the whole sports fan thing.  At family superbowl gatherings, I would either be playing with the dogs or trying to motivate my cousins to turn away from the television and play Yahtzee with me.  Then, as a freshman at Carolina, I started getting the Tar Heel bug, but still mostly going along with the charade for the happiness of the spirit.  I rushed Franklin Street when we won the National Championship and watched as others jumped across fires, but mostly participated mostly as an audience member.  Ironically, now at a parisian university where sports are a side-line thing, I finally get it.

As a proud member of the Sciences Po équipe d'Ultimate Frisbee, I love sports.  I love crying out to my teammates.  I love my jersey.  I love the team spirit.  I love my golden frisbee.  It's a dynamic that had forever been completely foreign to me; I'm glad I finally got it. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

une semaine fabuleuse en images

Je reviens d'une semaine de vacances fabuleuse dans le Sud de la France.  Quelques images pour vous dessiner ce qui m'a traversé l'esprit pendant ces derniers jours:  

Petit rappel de qui est le boss.

Groupe trip-hop/hip-hop/électro marseillais qui vient de changer ma vie musicale avec leurs volumes I et II.


Film réalisé par Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko !) en 2006 avec The Rock, Justin Timberlake, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Wallace Shawn, et d'autres.  Une film complètement fou sur une sorte de fin du monde.

La Cale Sèche à Toulouse: bar à rhum qui ne déçoit pas.

Petit session de fraises bio des champs à coté de Nîmes.  Confiture délicieuse.

Mami à 81 ans!  Allez, repas surprise.

En haut du Pic St. Loup.  Righteous.

La prochaine fois qui je serai à Montpellier avec la famille sera dans une année.  Ciao, bises.

Monday, April 19, 2010

participating in a harvest

Over the weekend I enjoyed my second parisian-cinema-bound french film.  Les Aventures extraordinaires d’Adèle Blanc-Sec was beyond over the top.  And I don't say that in a snooty way: from start to finish, your eyes are graced by so many quick-wit words, creatures, ancienticities, fantasma, clothes, vehicles, characters...  You can't help but enjoy the overload of sensory artificats that are being thrown your way.

The fim is based on the series of comics by Jacques Tardi dating back to the late 70s.  This cinematographic feat belongs to the renowned french fim director, writer, and producer Luc Besson, who had to wait beggingly for 6 years before he convinced Tardi to give him the rights to this magnificent story.

There is really no way to give a short summary of the film, [my poor attempt at this would be something like "it's a story about a woman trying to save her sister, and somehow, talking mummies, a giant omelette, and a pterodactyl fit into this quite snugly"] for I could never bring together the various story lines in a succinct and comprehensive fashion the way Besson's film does so.  Watching the film is almost like participating in a harvest where you pick up delicious fruits a long the one-and-a-half-hour journey until you finally reach the finale with a bucket of treasure.  You don't really understand how the bucket is going to turn into treasure, but you have faith that is does, and well, it did.

Although critics were quite harsh in regards to Louise Bourgoin, the star of the flick, I thought she was divine.  She had a spark to her, never letting anything get in her way, whether it be a giant prehistoric monster or flowers being offered to her by a charming young jardin associate.

Another reason why my heart goes out to this fim is because one of the central locales to its plot, the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, stands at a nearly two minute walk from my apartment.  Hurray for living in a city which holds such grand cinematic attention.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

clever lines that spark fiery discussion

So I might be a little bitter towards Sciences Po for making my life, well, academically difficult, but I do love this grand école.  Students are engaged here.  Case in point: the Sciences Po bathroom graffiti.  Instead of inviting phone numbers and sexual visuals [don't get me wrong, I do love these], this is what you'll find on the inside of the toilet stalls:

"Les enfants croient au Père Noël, les adultes votent"
"Children believe in Santa Claus, adults vote"

How powerful is that?  Yeah, it is a little - or a lot - pessimistic, and I do prefer positive thoughts, but wow, point taken.

Here's another:
"Please leave the State in the toilet in which you found it"

Okay, this one is also pessimistic.  But these clever lines spark fiery discussion.  Abstention rates in France are very high - half of the population didn't vote at the last regional elections.  But the action taken away from the polls hasn't disappeared.  It still exists, in the bathrooms, during strikes, on blank ballots.  Bathroom trips have never been so inspiring.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

yes, you'll cry if you see it

Whoa.  So I saw Cher John.  First remark: Channing and his jaw line did us well - delivered all of the goods.  Second remark:  I actually kind of liked it.  It is the most unpredictable of his movies yet.  The story has a couple non-foreshadow-able twists, which literally left my mouth wide open in shock.  It is a really clever film and it made me think.  Army romances must be so difficult - I really couldn't imagine having to be like 'okay man-I-love, go over to that far away place, kick some booty, and I'll see ya in a year!  Ciao!"  I have so much respect for army wives.

It is also a mega draining film.  Yes, I cried.  Yes, you'll cry if you see it.  The one good thing is that the very end bit isn't extremely sad.  I hate it when that happens, cause then the movie theater lights will start to come on, and I'm lookin'  all a mess - trying to wipe the tears off my face quickly in order to maintain my Xena reputation.  Sparks was nice enough to give us a couple minutes before the end of the film to re-compose ourselves.  Thanks bud.   

On a much more lighthearted note, another film that I saw with romantic tendencies was l'Arnacoeur - a french film (the first french film I've seen since I've been in Paris - ouch).  It was absolutely hilarious.  I loved it.  It made me proud of my french brethren.  Go see it.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

discover the capital on two wheels

I have this list : a list of all of the things I must do before I leave this magical place.  I have less than two months.  That's less than 8 weekends.  That's rough.  I am going to use this list as a way to make sure that I take full advantage of the wondrous world that surrounds me.

Checking items off of a list is splendid.  Yesterday/today I checked off vélib'ing.  Vélib' is the public bike rental service in Paree.  There are 1,700 (!!) stations around the city, and for 1€ a day, you can go to any of these stations, pick up a bike, and discover the capital on two wheels.  I have wanted to vélib' since I got here in August, but I've always been too scared of traffic and crashing and such to actually rent one.

My cousin and her Aussie boyfriend visited this weekend.  Nothing is more inspiring, in regards to appreciating the cool things around you, than being a mini guide to visiting friends.  Ainsi, we got our bikes and we rode.  And it was amazing.  Not only is it not scary - but it is completely thrilling and useful.  ,And I thought buses were cool.  Bikes totally trump 'em.  AND - and, and, and - when the metro is closed and all of your taxi money has been spent on beer, there is no better way to get home from a night out than on a chunky gray bike.

Vélib' Vélib' Vélib'
cheers cheers cheers

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

on a visual level

Shabam -- it has been decided: I am going to make music videos for a living.  All the crazed hype about Gaga's "Telephone" clip inspired me.  Music videos have lost (or never had?) their well-deserved reverence and it's time that their potential be appreciated.  MVs don't have to merely accompany a song; they can tell the lyrics' story on a whole new visual level - and that's cool.

Over Easter weekend I trained down to the South of France, where I told my family of my professional career's new destiny.  One of my cousins guided me toward the unofficial video for Soko's giggle-tastic "I'll Kill Her."  Soko, or Stéphanie Sokolinsk, is a french singer slash actress brought to fame via the internet with this lightly angry anthem with a humoristic twist.  She sings the lyrics as if she was reciting them on the front step of her lover's place.  As the song plays out, you can imagine "the other woman" peeking from behind his shoulder, beach-blonde hair in tow.  You can't help but fall in love with the songstress as her soft voice and adorable french accent cushion the murderous refrain line.

The black and white of the fan-made [Joerg Barton] music video of the track is fabulous.  

I can't wait to be living the dream.

Monday, March 29, 2010

grooving around Paris

On a fabulous shopping extrvaganza, my materialistic needs led me to Italie 2, my favorite Parisian big mall metropolis.  Right outside of the sleek silvery entrance, an older man with incontestable rhythm bounced his way to surprise entertainment.  Later I found out this man, Papy Dance, is actually quite a sub-cultural phenomenon.    
[--play video now--]

Papy Dance has been grooving his way around Paris for 20 years now - showcasing his signature moves, his favorite of which seem to be the simple stomp and finger-point.  Aside from his intense moments hip wiggling, this granpa appears as a youthful, but just as scary, Santa Claus - bittersweetly attracting giggly little children to run up to with some change in hand.  Inspriring the old and the young to join him in his cheorographic journey, Papy Dance holds an endearing spot in Parisian society.  Look out for him at Place d'Italie, Bastille, and Chatelet

Saturday, March 27, 2010

tweets and melodies of oiseaux

Yesterday, on my routine monthly run I discovered the answer to a riddle that has perplexed me since spring started showing its head in Paris.  My apartment is typical Parisian - an awkward instance of "taking advantage of space" in which my bedroom doubles as a dining room and my kitchen has no natural lighting and is the size of an elongated closet.  My bathroom sits opposite the kitchen, across the tiny entrée, and goes about its ventilation through two dusty vents that give out onto some vestibule of fresh air that I have yet to place geographically.  

Well, since spring started teasing us, my bathroom experience has been quite harmonious as tweets and melodies of oiseaux float past the dust and land in my ears.  You don't really see that many birds in Paris -- excluding pigeons, colliding with whom is a personal daily fear -- and so I've been wondering why they have all seemed to cluster behind my bathroom.

{rescued from here}

My run gave me the answer.  On my signature 3 minute 'post-run cool-down walk' I ventured to les arènes de Lutèce, the remains of a Roman gladiatorial amphitheater, located right behind my dwelling.  Well well well - to my surprise and satisfaction, this arena also houses la Maison des oiseaux." Open on Saturdays from 13h30 to 17h30, this house of birds aims to promote the preservation of biodiversity.  And, unknowingly, it shines musical loveliness into my salle de bain - props to all the birdies.  I look forward to meeting them all next samedi.

chirp chirp!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

less than a week away

Uh oh, waves have just been made in my film anticipation ocean.  Alice got rivaled, and lost.  On my walk home from a rue de Rennes shindig, I saw a poster I thought would never come.  My dreams have come true: "Cher John" hits Parisian theaters on March 31st.  That is less than a week away.

 How to prepare for such an event?
-  watch the french trailer and marvel at the dubbing (no worries, I'm seeing it in version originale, these things just make me giggle)
-   cancel any previous engagements for the 31st...too bad it's a Wednesday, which means I would have to miss three classes, and thus get a zero for the presentation I have to give in one of them --- It's cool, I'll figure it out
-  maybe slip in a viewing of "Step Up" to reminisce on that time when Tatum changed my life
-  try and forget all of the spoilers that have been whispered my way
- put on my happy shoes
That'll do it.  

Look out for Chan's next flick, "The Eagle of the Ninth", currently in post production, in which he plays a young centurion from 140 AD.  I wonder how he'll do with the whole back in the day thing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Alice aux Pays des Merveilles

Thanks to A Nous, today my sunshine-filled stroll and bus ride to Sciences Po was particularly magnificent.  With its newspaper pages right under my nose, I was taken to another world, Alice's world.  Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland comes out tomorrow in Paris and the reporters at A Nous are all about it.  Not only do they consider Alice to be the current "it" girl, but they reserved a full page spread on products inspired by and embodying the fantastical film.  

I got to get a little closer to Tim through his interview with A Nous, in which he compares himself to the Mad Hatter and talks about working with his wife, Helena Bonham Carter (or the Red Queen).  Having already been enticed to go see the fim by the intriguing posters flanking every metro station, after being thrown into Wonderland by this morning's read, you can be sure that I'll be first in the ticket line tomorrow evening.

To fall into Tim and Alice's wonderful world even more-so, visit my fugly fish's blog, Intervals of Sanity, and click on "Alice in Wonderland" in her cloud of labels.