Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ode to Phillips

As those who are reading this from Paris know, the last few weeks have consisted of some pretty serious gray weather. Even if the sun shows itself, it's generally after 9am. In addition, our bedroom has very little natural light (tho in these weeks this doesn't exist anyways), therefore, if you love to sleep, as I do, it has been very hard waking up in the morning. I found myself slapping off my alarm and rolling over in pure denial. Late mornings were becoming the norm and this is not a good habit to form--even if you work from home and don't have a boss yelling at you for tardiness. In anycase, it is more of psychological thing and so last weekend we headed to FNAC and purchased the Phillips Wake-up light, an ingenious lamp which slowly lights up in the morning to mimic natural sunlight. (Leave it to those nifty Dutch to think of it).

That first night I went to bed feeling like the next day was Christmas morning...couldn't wait to see these magical results. We set the alarm with birds chirping to give it full effect. Around 755 I saw the light beginning to light up (it starts 30 minutes before your alarm goes off to give a smooth transition). I smiled and closed my eyes when soon after I heard the chirping sounds, a bit disorienting when there are no birds in Paris this time of year but pigeons, but indeed, this was a nice wake-up call. Light and birds. I started to close my eyes and pretend I was in the country, but clearly that fantasy soon ended.

I highly recommend the Phillips for those of you deprived of morning sunlight. We switched off the birds for FIP radio, but that morning glow really helps get you up and at'em. yay phillips.

Monday, December 15, 2008

If you are in Berlin...

If you are in Berlin this holiday season, go see the exhibition by Sarah Crowner and Paulina Oloskowa titled "Ceramics and Other Things," at the DAAD Galerie. This collaborative project is an investigation into the medium of ceramics. Each artist explores their own approach to the idea of ceramics, both working predominately with one of its basic forms, the tile. (press release). Much of this work on view is informed by a residency the pair did together in Greece this fall. The two artists work well together and share an artistic sensiblity, but they both also convey an individual artistic practice each has developed over the last several years.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Goumanyat & son royaume is a specialty store featuring teas, spices, essential oils, some cookbooks and cooking products and utensils. The business started in 1809 as a father and son venture, which I believe has continued throughout the generations up to the present. They have expanded to include special cooking classes and of course modernized kitchen utensils, but many of the spices and oils retain the artisanal tradition. Saffron was an early import for this company and there are still many saffron based items. The best thing about this lovely shop is they are friendly, helpful and not ridiculously expensive, like Mariage Freres, which has amazing teas, yes, but insanely overpriced. 3, rue Charles-Francois Dupuis, 3rd arr.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jeanette Winterson

I had the great pleasure to see the author Jeanette Winterson read from her early novel, The Passion, on Saturday, at Shakespeare + Co. It was truly one of the best readings I have ever been to and feel lucky to have attended. Winterson is an author who is always on my list of "to read," but somehow, I never bought a book and did so. I now realize my error. Fortunately, I can now start to benefit fully from her gift, and perhaps it will be even better after glimpsing her personality and incredible reading performance. Her website is pretty fun as well.

Sorry for the bad photo.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thursday afternoon

Seeing a slice of sunshine peek out late in the afternoon yesterday, I ventured down to the Carrousel de Louvre to check out the Salon des Creaturs, (design/craft fair), thinking it might be a good opportunity to buy a birthday present for a friend's party on Friday and Christmas gifts as well...well, was I wrong.. wow. it was really horrible. I knew it from the moment I walked in and saw large frosted glass things, and then proceed to do about a 7 minute tour of the whole thing with mouth open at where they even found these people and who selected them to participate? I was so disappointed and now had two-hours to kill before meeting up with friends in the neighborhood. So, I decided to head to the Musee d'Art decoratifs, where they had an exhibition about the history of Sonia Rykiel, who is celebrating her 40 years in the business this year. I am a fan of her work, which seems to only get better with age. The show was a little lacking, the clothes didn't even look that great, condition wise, and they keep it so dark in there you can't really see the posters and magazine tear sheets very well. The best part was a collaboration she did with Andy Warhol TV, where he talks about being in Aspen skiing and all the beautiful people he saw.

After wandering aimlessly for a bit longer, I headed to the quaint wine bar on rue, Richilieu, Juvenilles, where the author Robert Camuto was signing copies of his new book "Corkscrewed." A bit tongue-in-cheek, but the book is a fun read about French terroir and the rise of small wine producers who avoid chemicals/additives/etc. to their wine, sticking to the pure methods of production. The bar had some amazing wines, from some of the producers he met on his journeys in the French wine region.
Books onsale at the lovely Red Wheelbarrow bookstore.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Here comes the sun...

I am calling it: (reference to the election night terminology).. Paris has sunshine. 12:00 noon on Tuesday, Decmber 2. Hooray: As I went to sleep last night I composed severa haiku poems about grayness, which I was prepared to share today. But let's not sour the mood. Likely tomorrow will provide the occassion.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Salon Light #5

Beginning yesterday through tomorrow is a great little book fair featuring artists editions and small press publications...mainly art related. The salon is located at the Point Ephemere, in the 10th and includes about thirty indie publishers of books, magazines, CDs, DVDs, journals and editions. We went last year and really enjoyed it. Because it is such an intimate space and setting, you get a chance to talk to people and learn about the various projects involved. The salon is sponsored by CNEAI, an arts space located just outside Paris that is dedicated to artists' editions. Check it out:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Just a rant

I have noticed something unusual...or maybe not, about the French and their use of old names to countries or cities and not the said country's desired change of name. For example: I know in the USA, we now refer to the large Indian capital city as Mumbai, not Bombay, which it was called for hundreds of years. According to trusty wikipedia, Mumbai officially changed its name to Mumbai in 1996...In fact Bombay was a name imposed upon by the Portugese in the 16th Century, and Mumbai has deep Indian roots as a word. Yet the French still, up to today's paper reporting the atrocious killings there this week, as Bombay.

Another example: Peking or Pekin--now known as Beijing. Throughout the entire olympics it Pekin this and Pekin that. No, I thought...Beijing! On a quick wiki search I see that in fact the name Peking originated from French missionaries in the country 400 years that could be one reason for the holdover, and also that Peking is still recognized by Chinese postal authorities, but that Beijing is otherwise the new name..apparently this capital has changed names frequently.

The last one I noticed is Burma or the French Birmanie...since 1989 (wiki) has asked to be called Myanmar. Now I realize this name change is military imposed and this country has series government issues but, if they want to change it...? I know that US papers refer to it now as Myanmar...
I do think at least the French refer properly to Istanbul and not Constantinople, but I am now curious if there are other geographical name-based holdovers and also, why?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Emerging Fashion Designers at Le 104

I received this email flyer from a young designer and wanted to pass it along. Looks promising!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Eileen Quinlan

An exhibition of photographs by New York artist Eileen Quinlan is now on view at Sutton Lane Gallery, 6, rue de Braque.
A small show of nine photographs, all but one of which is from her body of work that is developed out a unique, self-made system that uses mirrors, smoke, fabric and lighting to create an abstract, of the moment image. She doesn't manipulate the photographs post production, but achieves quite interesting and complex imagery that looks very painterly. It is impossible to know what you are looking at without any references to the "real world," which makes you appreciate her creative methods even more.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Collaborative Efforts

I am stealing this blog idea from a favorite blog, fibercopia. I was really impressed by this project, which looks like some wild folk art piece, but is actually the results of a unique and successful collaboration. Jennifer Marsh, an artist based in NY, started the International Fiber Collaborative and invited people to submit panels of fabrics, as she stated on the website, "stitch, crochet, knit, patch a 3-foot square panel, and help point out the extreme dependency of our country on oil for energy. Simply by designing and creating these panels and participating in the project they are showing their concern [for this issue]." She received hundreds of crazy, beautiful, multi-colored panels, which she then used to cover the whole of an abandoned gas station in central New York State. The website documents everything, including all the artists and community groups involved.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Maison Rouge

"Mexico:Expected/Unexpected. The collection of Isabel and Agustin Coppel," is on view now at the Maison Rouge. The exhibition is a small selection of this vast contemporary art collection, and consists of some interesting pieces by contemporary artists from Latin America including Jorge Mendez Blake, Pablo Reyes,Maruch Sàntis Gomez and Miguel Calderon, while also highlighting some artists from a generation earlier including Gabriel Orozco, a few great films by Ana Mendieta, strange paintings by Francis Alys, and works by Helio Oticica. There is also work by US artists John Baldessari, Pae White, Gordon Matta Clark and Ed Ruscha. Well, this is just a selection. It is a nice exhibition of good work by leading artists--nothing beyond this, but that is fine. The Coppel's are great collectors and this gives us a chance to see that. The real treat here is to see some good work by Mexican and South American based artists who are not often shown in Paris. Maison Rouge, 10, boulevard bastille, 75012

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Le Laboratoire

About a year ago I visited Le Laboratoire, a new art space which opened in October 2007. The space was still undergoing construction but the concept of Le Labo was immediately intriging--as a place where science art would converge in installations and multi-media projects. I finally got back there last week. The space is beautifully finished, staff welcoming and helpful with information (and free coffee). The current exhibition is between Japanese electronic composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda, and Benedict Gross, professor of Mathematics at Harvard University. As in this case, the founder of Le Labo, American novelist and scientist, David Edwards, brings artist and scientist together to develop an idea, which is then featured in the museum.

The exhibition is visually minimal. In the first room, the space is darkened and two long, rectangular photographs are suspended about a foot above the ground. At first glance it appears to be just black and white tiny checkerboard print but when looked at with magnifying glass or really close up, you see that in fact it is a long series of random numbers. The other photograph consists of prime numbers. Mathematical minimalism. In the next room, also dark, is a very brightly florescent lit chamber of sorts that has a humming vibration. It felt like a UV sun bed and on the foggy day helped brigten my mood, though not sure if that is the point. Ikeda states that he has here conceived a work where the definition of the sublime blends with the immateriality of infinity.

When you leave the exhibition rooms, you are invited to browse the media center filled with books and a couple of videos related to the installation. Coffee is offered and it is a really nice, comfortable space to take few extra minutes to learn about the show and Le Labo's mission. Definitely worth keeping on the radar. 4, rue Bouloi, 75001. Open Friday-Monday 12-19h.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wild Salmon

I don't ususally do this but I was inspired by this article in the The New York Times and on election day it seemed appropriate to focus on the future, in some way...I hope this link works, if not, go to and Science Times--Her name is Alexandra Morton
Watch the video as well.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Berliner

Just back from four days in the hipster haven of Berlin. For some time now I have been curious and intrigued to visit this city so frequently praised and cited in terms of art/fashion/cutting edge bars and so on. With all the hype I was bound to be somewhat disappointed by the real thing, but I wasn't. I was surprised by how large of a city it was and realized 4 days is too short-though I did get a flavor for it. W

We arrived late afternoon on Tuesday and M went off to finish his installation at Art Forum Berlin- so I was left to wander for a few hours by myself. I was psyched to hit the Berlin pavement, but it was already pitch black at 5:30, so I kept my stroll to a small circumference around our groovy pension, the Weltempfaenger. (Carry the card with you should you need a taxi to take you back as there is no way of trying to pronounce this if not German). This small pension is located a little up from the Mitte. Rooms are sparse and concierge type service basically nil, but the bar/resto is a great hangout with good food. I was immediately enamored with the Mitte--i felt like I kept hitting cool, little galleries followed by young designer shops-often with workshops onsite. It was exactly what I imagined. Some cool highlights from this were Fiona, a fabulous hat shop; JA, whose konzepte is vintage and new fabrics transformed into beautiful scarves/eye shades/pillows/decorative items, etc.; Wolfen-, a lovely boutique, simple clothing, but simple in the sense of elegant designs done just right. kind of like APC does it; and Swert,, another fabric based concept store tho this time with an architectural//kind of retro look to the designed fabrics used as curtains, pillows, and also on clothing.

We ate (too) well in Berlin. I love the German or Dutch style cafe with the big bar, soft lighting and great coffee served with cookies. In the cold/wet weather we had for a couple of days this is essential to keep up tourist stamina. One night we had Russian food at Gorki Park and another night ate at an old-school restaurant called Einstein’s that had big, high ceilings and kind of a German-1920s vibe to it. We also had the requisite hotdogs or currywurst-(hotdog with curry spices) which left me semi-nauseous but satisfied. The weirdest thing about Berlin is how fast it can change to become a wasteland of strange (bad) architecture and void of sentiment. At the same time this also reminds one of the newness of this city and the scars that are still apparent.

Art highlights were seeing the Neue Nationalgalerie (a Mies van der Rohe building)at night; KW Institute of Contemporary Art; the Casper David Friedrich paintings on the top floor of the Alte Pinacotheque, the new Capitain Petzel Galerie located on Karl-Marx Allee-which was the long route to Moscow out of East Berlin, once upon a time, and of course, M's installation at Artforum Berlin.

Here are some pics. M took better one's so I have to wait until gets around to downloading....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A few exhibitions...

If you are out and about in the Marais, a few recommended exhibitions to see:
Marcel Broodthaers-Sutton Lane Gallery, 6, rue de Braque: A beautiful, small exhibition that includes 8 plastic cast plaques dating between 1968-1970, from his "Industrial Poems" series, and a small sculpture titled Pools, form 1966. Provides a small glimpse into this diverse, interesting Belgian artist.

Tobias Rehberger "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."-Galerie Husssenot, 5bis, rue Haudriettes. If you like lighting design, you'll like this exhibition. Rehberger, a German artist whose work always crosses the divide between art-design-craft-and DIY, has hung about 40-50 light fixtures in this great, lofty space. Some are made from flat strips of plastic-in various colors and semi-translucent, some take colored Velcro looped around a long neon tube, and others are made from colorful strips of Velcro shaped into loose, twisting forms with a neon tube running through it.

Janaina Tschape-"Dragoons," Galerie Xippas. This exhibition by Brazilian/NYC based artist Janaina includes photographs and a new video taken from a recent residency in Arizona, as well as some drawings and a painting that have a very organic/oceanic quality about them. Tschape is better known as a photographer having started with performance, she often inserts herself in the photographs wearing a self-made costume that might include angel’s wings, latex bubbles or other Matthew Barney-esque accoutrement. The results are very fantasy/romantic/surreal...intriguing. You always have a sense of wanting to know more.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Le 104

Paris keeps pushing right….right bank that is. Moving out from the central core that nestles both sides of the river (the Marais and St. Germain specifically), the 19th arrondissement is now the go-to destination for cutting edge culture. It’s been happening slowly over the last few years thanks to such gallery spaces as Jocelyn Wolff, Cosmic Galerie, and Castillo Corrales… But with the grand ouverture of Le 104, we can safely say that this area is solidly on the map. Awhile-back Avenue Louise Weiss in the 13th made an attempt to open up the Paris gallery scene, but it never had an anchor and was just too far off the map. The 19th makes sense. It’s really not a far leap from the Marais, especially with the Velib, and the cementing structure of Le 104 is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Spanning 39,000 m2, which is like 450,000 square feet, Le 104 will serve as artist residency, performance space, arts and education center for children, and will host a series of events and is open every day of the week. Come spring 2009 there will be a café and bookstore. It intends to a meeting place for the public and contemporary culture—a realm often thought elitist by many will now have a chance to connect with new people and new contexts. It’s exciting and I hope it succeeds. 104, rue Aubervilliers. 75019

Monday, October 13, 2008

Help Wanted: New coach needed for large national team

Sometimes I find that being abroad makes me more American in small, strange ways. Take for example, sports. I was a big sports fan (playing and watching) up until about 14, when teenage angst took over and other things seemed more important...Seventeen magazine for instance. Since then I would occasionally watch a game with my sports fanatic father when home visiting, or maybe attend a super bowl party, but for some reason I had an affection for the World Cup, when the soccer teams of the world unite in a battle for victory--the first time I caught the fever was in Mexico, in 1998, I happened to be living in a small town for the month that the world cup took place and everywhere and anywhere you turned was a TV and a group of people glued to the screen. Then, coincidentally I was in Barcelona in 2002 and the same energy was all around. So here I am in France, and yes, there is rugby and tennis, which are good sports, but the obsessive nature of Le Foot, as they say here, is addicting. I have become a true blue fan of Les Bleus, (the French national team), which is why I must chime in with a call for the resignation of their apparently out of work theater producer coach, Raymond Domenech. I suffered through the summer's Euro Cup tournament, in which Les Bleus came in about 2nd to last. It was frustrating to watch, particularly after their great performance in the 2006 World Cup. Again, I never excelled in soccer and I am not a coach, but I think I could do better then this guy. His starting players can be all over the place, changing star positions, like he did on Saturday for Thierry Henry in the first half, and he stands on the sidelines with his thick eyebrows and a finger upon his lips as if he were pondering Descartes (or maybe where he should send his resume now). He has none of that jazzed up coach sentiment, and claims to need to watch the tapes after loosing a match, as if he weren't there the last 90 minutes to comment on what went wrong. His attitude could almost be a French cliche. The last couple of matches his job was on the line..if they had lost then he would have been fired. I think that if it is even such an ongoing question it should no longer be an issue. If Les bleus pull it off and get into the 2010 World Cup, which at this point is a maybe, they had best find a new coach and fast.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Buenos Aires in Paris

I have to admit I have become addicted to facebook this week, which I finally joined and have now entered the phase it appears everyone goes through when they first join...finding all the people you know on it..and often finding people you don't want to remember you know! However, before it ends tomorrow I wanted to mention
that up on the 2nd floor of The Bon Marchè is a special presentation of things Argentinian. On one side is a cafe that is selling Argentinian style food and wines and offering classes in Tango. On the other side is a selection of clothing, shoes, pillows and throws, as well as books showcasing the natural beauty of the country, classic novelists like Borges, and a selection of food products. I thought they would have found sightly more interesting designers, but rather they seemed to go for the sterotypes of the country, selling such items as vintage, 40s dresses (à la Eva Peron?), gaucho type riding boots, tango-like shoes and lace tights, and earthy looking knit jackets and scarfs. There is also a nice photo exhibition of street scenes from the 1980s by Mario Pignata Monti, who studied science in France in the before turning to photojournalism. A couple of shoe designers really stood out, Mish and Divia. It is a cool concept but kind of fails to offer anything unique. Rather it looks like an exibition organized by the toursim board of Argentina. Lovely, but typical.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Textile Design Library

Reading the quarterly Hand/Eye newsletter from Aid to Artisans, can be so creatively inspiring-I just learned about the incredible Desgin Library for Textiles located along the Hudson river about 60 minutes from NYC. Wow. If I had known about it when I lived in NYC I think I would have moved up there and into the vast holdings which are housed in an old textile bleaching factory. The library includes fabrics, embrodieries, yarn dyes, wallpapers and paintings from 1750-present, numbering near 5 million samples in 900 catagories. The library was founded 30 years ago by Susan Meller and her late husband Herbert. She has produced a comprehensive image catalog covering 200 years of European and American Patterns, and recently published a book about Russian Textiles. What an impressive and truly rich resource. enjoy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Mrs. Roboto

What was that song from the 1980s, Domoarigato mr.roboto? Sarah Palin's performance last night in the debates was so robotic and plastic, she looked like some backstreet boy or spice girls invention whereby they have been totally programmed and packaged. If I saw one more wink I think I would have puked on my computer screen.
Some of the reports coming in today state, "she won by not failing" or "Palin performance surprises by not being incoherent." Is this what politics has been dragged down to? That if you don't f--k up, then you succeed? And you really succeed if you say "shucks" and "darn?" Are we in some acid-fueled Leave-it-to-Beaver nightmare? Things have been so dumbed down, politicians apparently such crooks and shysters that Mccain had to reach into the depths of nowhere and reach a new low in politics. This is now the bar and I am pretty much expecting Brittney Spears to be elected Speaker of the House if these republican fools are elected.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Shoes baby, shoes

So it's fall and the weather in Paris has been...typically Parisian although there appears to be sun for the moment today. In any event, fall means good clothes--or rather, looking good before the winter wardrobe of jeans, gray sweaters and boots takes over, so this weekend go to Estelle Yomeda and get a beautiful pair of shoes and make yourself happy. Estelle is the designer and the boutique has been open a bit over a year. Her shoes are striking, sexy to top it off, comfortable. They are handmade in Portugal and the heels are typically such that you can walk for more than 10 minutes without regret. Color is an essential part of the shoe, often with combinations such as black + gold or brown and turquoise-Her designs are truly unique and surely will be timeless treasures. These images are from the summer collection, and fall is just as
4, rue de Normandie-75003

Friday, September 26, 2008

Euros in New York

I descended on New York like I was a well-off European with a wallet stuffed with valuable Euros. Thanks to jetlag I woke up at 7 am last Saturday in the Big Apple with this overwhelming desire to hit the streets and shop, shop, shop. After my first purchase at Banana Republic (who knows why but I always find something there), and several other desired items in my sights, from a smattering of other boutiques, (why had I never been to Uniqlo?), I realized that though prices do seem less expensive in the city and the diversity of shops much larger, I am paid in dollars still—and a freelancer at that. Well, regardless, I had to live it up a bit so I curbed the shopping to sample sales and vintage-and alternated between a $2.00 slice of pizza for lunch and killer sushi for dinner; The two food items that Paris definitely lags behind relative to NYC—along with good take out coffee. I forgot how great it is in the morning to just have a cup to go and sip it while making your way to wherever. I had also forgotten how everyone always has a cup in their hands—at all times of the day. It’s kind of funny.

It was great to feel that fabulous energy of NYC- I definitely felt distant from it at times, like I was watching some rollercoaster from afar and just finding the right time to jump on it again and go; at the same time, the familiarity with it was comforting—knowing exactly where shops are: whether for vitamins, shoe repairs, or secondhand books. Of course in New York, you can fill every need and chore from the bank to the pharmacy to mani-pedi’s for less that $40, all within a three-block radius (less depending on the hood), and that is the best indulgence ever.

After a week I was exhausted and content. I never slept so well on a plane without sleeping pills. What a treat to arrive back in Paris, with such beautiful weather. I decided to take advantage of sunshine and my sleepiness and just grab something to eat and head to the park. I stepped into this lovely little café/resto around the corner and immediately re-claimed la vie Parisian: the special for the day was a salmon and vegetable torte (like a quiche with a flaking pastry dough crust on top as well as bottom) accompanied by three verrines: little cups filled with salty or savory: one a mousse of celery root and a julienne of vegetables, another with smoked magret de canard and caramelized onions and the last, for dessert, a crème de chocolate and pistachio. I couldn’t help but laugh as I made my way to the park. Yes indeed, back in Paris.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vintage goodness

Three vintage stores to change your life, or at least your wardrobe:
Stepping into Ragtime, 23, rue de l’Echaude-75006, is like stepping into any fashionista’s dream. Run by the voluptuous and gravel voiced Francoise Auguet for over 20 years, Ragtime is full of delectable haute couture from the early 20th century up to the 1980s. On a recent visit, highlights included a Nina Ricci a-line, crepe de chêne dress from the 1960s, a perfect condition 1970s Lanvin dress in a fabulous orange-based ethnic-looking print (700 Euros), a floor length pink silk robe from the 1920s (280 Euros), and a purple toned Pucci mini-dress. (No website)

Pretty Box, (, 46, rue Saintonge-75003, has been around for just a year and is run by friends Nicolas and Sarah. Filled with one-of-a-kind vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories mainly for women, but there are things for men as well. The vibe is 1980s, with some 1970s and 60s thrown in for good measure. In addition, Sarah has started her own line of clothing four years ago called Garde Robe that fuses classic 1970s and 80s clothing with modern fabrics and cuts.

Le Depot-Vente de Buci, 4, rue de Bourbon-le-Château-75006, is a two-part vintage store, run by Celine and her daughter Lawrence and filled with clothing, accessories and shoes from the mid 20th century up to the early 1990s. On the one side is couture, with pieces by such designers as Chanel, Valentino, Lanvin, and Leonard, and the other is full of prêt-a-porter finds such as Paul Smith, Issy Miyake, Thierry Mugler and Sonia Rykel. Prices vary anywhere from 30 Euros upwards of 300 Euros. (No website)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So Ethic

Over the weekend I went to the Pret a Porter salon for emerging fashion designers. It was an enormous affair at the Porte de Versailles, with over 3 vast floors of fashion...It was too much for me to take in, so one of the sections I focused on was the 'So Ethic,' salon that brought together a range of designers working with fashion and production in an eco-friendly way. Range being a key word in that last sentence. Items ranged from recycled messenger bags made out of tires to the 'beige cotton t-shirt' crowd which I sum up as the neutral colored, simple cut t-shirts, shorts and sweaters, that oozes eco almost to a fault, to higher end designers such as the Swede, Camilla Norrback. It was interesting to talk to some of the vendors there, particularly about this discrepancy of "Eco-chic." It seems a shame that so many talented designers who have decided to use non-toxic dyes, organic cotton, and other such methods in their clothing are lumped together with less design conscious and more just "eco." Though it is important to point out their methods of production, many of these people are true 'designers' first and eco in approach. Though they may benefit from this trend now, in the future, it could be counter-productive if they become only seen as Eco-labels. It's best, in my mind to promote the great talent and have the bonus of it being produced cleanly. This might encourage more people to embrace these relatively easy methods of production--and avoid any stigma that could hurt the strong talent of the clothing. "So Ethic' is a great start but maybe next year there could be two salons, So Ethic for those messenger bags and baby bibs, and 'Design Conscious,' (or something) for those higher end labels. Some of these to take a look at are...Camilla Norrback, elegant, smart, sophisticated (; Anardo & Skyum, Danish design mixed with Peruvian flair (; Amana-Central St. Martin's grads make sophisticated clothing handmade in a women's cooperative in Morocco; and Laurence Chauvin-Bathard--African fabrics meet classic dress and bag designs all the better for both.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Indian Focus

On view through September 30 at the Espace Claude Berri, is a small exhibition of five contemporary artists from India. The work comes from Berri's (French film producer/director/art collector), vast private collection. Subodh Gupta and Rina Banjeree are two of the better known artists in the show, both represented by interesting wall sculpture and paintings; but the highlight of the show is Hema Upadhyay, a young artist who lives in Bombay (otherwise known as Mumbai). She has created a vast floor sculpture titled, "Dream a wish, wish a dream," which looks like a replica of the "suburbs" or really, slums that are scattered around many large cities in India and other developing countries. A Brazilian favela could also be referenced. Undulating hills of tiny houses fashioned out of painted corrugated metal are placed one next to the other in a horror vacui of modern day urban decay. But the piece is also beautiful--the colors and details are incredible and it elicits that fascination-shock value that one can perhaps feel upon viewing images of these neighborhoods. It's certainly also a reminder of the failure of urban planning for the poor and the unhealthy conditions where far too many of the world's population are still living.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Gray Monday. Back in Paris now for over a week and getting readjusted to it
all. It's not been as easy as I thought. I am also trying to tone down my recent obsession with the political campaign and reading for hours on the web. So let's talk about my favorite subject of textiles to soothe the soul. Back on myroad trip, we stopped at an amazing weaving and textile cooperative in Northern New Mexico called Tierra Wools. Located in Los Ojos, NM, near Chama and about 2 hours from Taos
, this locally run operation has created jobs and helped maintain local
sheep farming since the early 1980s. Women in the community can train
at the studio--techniques of treating and dyeing the wool and weaving
on a loom. The yarns are all produced using environmentally friendly
methods and the results of their work is amazing. Check out the website

Friday, August 29, 2008

VP choice

From Vanity Fair reporter Dee Dee Myers, which sums up the blatant sexism of the Republican Party to think that women are as naive as to just blindly say OK to McCain because of this woman as VP choice. In a move to appeal to women they say Palin is a "feminist for life." this clearly makes republicans sexist for life in my opinion. It's unbelievably 1950s or something.

"Clearly, McCain thinks Palin will help him among women, particularly those disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters who are having so much trouble “getting over it.” It just shows how clueless the McCain camp actually is. Unlike Clinton and Ferraro, Palin hasn’t been a strong national voice on women’s issues. She hasn’t been at the barricades, fighting for women’s health, equal pay, economic security. And she certainly hasn’t had anything to say about the national-security issues that are also important to women across the political spectrum. Does the McCain camp really expect pro-choice Democratic and independent women to be swayed by a sleight-of-gender?"

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is there really any question?

I have to say, I was getting a little choked up watching Biden speak at the DNC with Obama joining him at the end, as well as the Clinton's give their speeches, post-facto, on a little video screen thanks to I am usually way turned off by the sappiness of it all, but I have to say, they look and sound really good. It's frankly incomprehensible that anyone who lived anywhere in the world over the last 8 years would want more of the same government from the United States. Debt, a weak dollar, war, increased prices in fuel and food, and on and on.... The integrity of America and Americans has been so weakend inside and outside the country, and we are finally, after the longest eight years in history it feels like, sitting on the verge of potential change and development and, As Bill said in his speech, "The choice is clear," So go Obama! Please.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Arroyo Seco Ceramics

While staying with friends in Arroyo Seco, a tiny town just outside of Taos, New Mexico, I had the pleasure of walking into John Bradford Pottery..well actually he is a close friend of my friends who have their 2nd home there--and as it is a one-road kind of town, everyone knows's great.

John Bradford has had his shop in Arroyo for about four years. When you step into the space and see the quantity of work, and then look in the back at his studio and the amount of pieces that didn't work for him, you can sense that he is serious and dedicated to his craft. He works more in series then in doing an edition of one style. In a series, pieces can work together but also stand as individual objects. He does work occasionally on commission. Check him out at Here are a few images to get you tempted.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Western Frontiers

Driving through Utah, a bit of Colorado and Northern New Mexico was amazing. Big, open skies, incredible landscape best viewed with Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" playing, totally off-the-grid, is the ultimate sense of freedom. Images come from the Spiral Jetty, Sundance, Bluff, Boulder, Capital Reef, Monument Valley, Pagosa Springs and Arroyo Seco.

Western Frontiers

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Out West

Heading out west (USA)...reports from the road to follow soon...!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Watch the closing doors

As a friend recounted her recent horror stories about being on the Paris metro over lunch today, I couldn’t help but nod my head in agreement. The metro of course, is no way to judge a personality, and certainly I have had my share of nastiness on the NYC subway, and she on the London tube, but there seems to be an exceptional lack of respect for personal space in the confines of the Paris metro. I chalk it up to outdated cars. They are too small. It is clear that the Parisian population has grown faster than the city planned for allotting money for expanding the current system. In these older model cars the seats that flip up allowing for the option of standing when it gets full was perhaps appropriate for the days of Victorian politesse, but it doesn’t work in today’s world. On a train packed to the gills it almost always someone between 13-25 who determinedly sits while people clamor around them. It drives me insane. On a few occasions I have become the naggy old lady curtly suggesting that they stand up. I can see them roll their eyes at me like when their mom scolds them. It’s become somewhat entertaining now. There seems to be an issue for many people here about how to move onto and into the train car. You don’t stop at the doors if there are people getting in behind you. You move in and across, whether you get off at the next stop or not. This is just a general safety rule that often helps avoid forceful pushing and doors slamming on people. I think that all Parisians should have a two-week training period in NYC learning subway language. NYC is no charm school and can in fact be worse, but somehow there is generally (excepting the 1st time tourists from the middle of the country), a universal understanding of working around this confined and dirty space which will hopefully get us where we are going in good time.

My friend told me about her run in with a pole leaner with enormous hair. Why is it that people think they can lean against the pole thereby disallowing anyone else to really hold it? There is nothing worse than your hand resting against someone’s sweaty back. I have tried firming my grip so my knuckles get in their back a bit, which often gets the message across, but not always. As my friend was being blasted by this perky woman’s voluminous hair she asked her to please move a bit and was met with a high-heel jammed into her foot. Classy. I also don’t think that the cell phone needs to really work on the metro, at least in the cars, maybe the platform is cool, because though the twenty minute commute might be a good time for you to have an argument with your boyfriend, it’s not really something I want to be subjected to for the ride. The Paris metro has its moments. The boards that read the amount of minutes till the next train alleviates a good deal of stress, and some of the newer train cars I have spotted look like a good omen for the future, but until then, please stand up, move in and watch the closing doors.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Four Days under the Spanish Sun

A brief 1h40min plane ride from Paris and we were in the northwest part of Spain, Galicia.
In the non-summer months this region has a climate similar to Ireland,
with lots of rain and clouds, which gives it a lush, verdant landscape.
In theSummer months, however, it is typical Spanish sun. Four days was
quick, but it was a great fix of sunshine that lasted until almost
1030pm each day...the typical hour of dinnertime tapas.Pontevedra is about 45min south of the famous Santiago de Compostella, the mecca of religious pilgrims who flock there to see the great cathedral constructed in part due to the rumor that the bones of St. James turned up on this site long ago. Pontevedra lies on a river, a beautiful bridge by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava
connects one side to the other (although of course their are other
bridges). A lovely old town anchors the town, full of restaurants and
bars. Shopping is so-so but with the sales going on, was more
appealing. We filled up on seafood--mussels, clams,octopus, and delicious albarino white wine. A short 20 minutes in a taxi brought us to a lovely beach called Montalvo. The coast here is lined with national parks/beaches that are relatively untouched. The Galician coast definitely makes for a great alternative to the typical Costa Brava along the Mediterranean.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Style Pixie

Calling all anglos
(though not strictly), living in Paris and who feel comforted by the
idea of having a hairstylist who speak English...Style Pixie is your
place. Owned by a young Australian woman, Victoria Nelson and aided by
Lexi, who is also a singer, thiscoiffeure is friendly, funky and professional. Set in an artist studios warehouse in Ivry
, the salon is white, open with lots of light. It's a change of pace
and what's more...they speak English, so none of the mega hand gestures
to try and explain what you want, or worse, coming out blond when you
wanted brown.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rosé, you say?

Macho men and rosé wine for lunch-- Sorry there are no photos to share with this blog. I was working on my computer at a local café when I became distracted by a table of four men sitting across from me, and I was reminded of this classically French phenomenon: Macho construction workers who sip rosé wine from delicate glasses at lunchtime. My first encounter with this jarring reality was last year at a typically grubby kind of French café in my neighborhood. I was trying to pay for my café noisette at the bar but was being blocked out by gruff men in their construction overalls who were acting way to stereotypical in their intonations and puffed out stance. Ten years in NYC however, doesn’t make one shy and so I pushed my way in and caught the reality. Here they were, at 5:00, post work, having a drink…but here there were no large pints of beer or a whisky. Here we had a kir royale in a champagne glass for one, and rose wine for another. Sorry boys, time to move on over. Not going to be intimidated here. Only, and I think I can say this as truth, ONLY in France are we going to see this situation. I wouldn’t have even made a fuss if they were drinking red wine, but kir? In a Champagne flute? Come on. It’s too good. J’adore.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

John Armleder: Jacques Garcia

A unique, collaborative project between John Armleder and Jacques Garcia is on view at the Centre Cultural de Suisse. Armleder, is a contemporary artist based in Switzerland, who applies conceptual methods to his large-scale installations. For Armleder, the artwork can be finished conceptually before ever being produced. Jacques Garcia is one of the top interior designers in Paris, working on such projects as the Hotel Costes and Laduree in Paris, and has private clients including the Sultan of Brunei.

In this installation, Armleder takes his conceptual practice one step further by inviting Garcia to completely decorate the interiors in the upper floors of the institution. For Armleder this is a conceptual study into Ornamentation. Garcia constructs a dining room, salon and bedroom using elements of ornamentation and design ranging from Orientalism, neo-gothic, minimalism and ancient Egypt. The result is a surreal walk into a another universe- one fears of the reality of this existing in a serious manner somewhere in the upper east side of Manhattan or in along the outer reaches of the 16th in Paris. It’s gluttony revisited from the tiger rug that still has it’s head on, Helmut Newton photographs, a big, sumptuous bed (which we are told not to lie before we enter the space), and decorative objects all around. Visitors are invited to sit in the chairs and read the selection of art books and auction catalogs that are scattered around. As the press release states, “ Armleder uses the signature style of Garcia like a ready-made, nothing that it is “the observer who makes the work,” while Garcia responds with a mirror note saying it is “the client who makes the décor.”

Centre Culturel de Suisse, 32 et 38, rue des Francs-Bourgeois,

Saturday, July 5, 2008

As seen in Paris on the 4th of July: