Friday, February 27, 2009


A new Cave a Bieres opening in the neighborhood-near the market street rue de Levis. It is a boutique beer cave-filled with select brews from Belgium and Holland mostly, as well as a wall of English and international beers-including my favorite Mexican beer, Negro Modelo. I saw one guy buying Red Stripe, the Jamaican lager-which is good, not really compared the Belgian and Holland beers-but clearly was chosen for its origin.They also have the American customer system of points and if you reach 100 you get a free large bottle or a six-pack of you choice. Not that I need any encouragement to buy more or anything.

Monday, February 23, 2009

cupcakes in paris

They have arrived. The cupcake trend that blasted its way through major cities across the USA in recent years (thanks in part to Sex + the City of course), has landed in Paris in the guise of Cupcakes & Co., a tiny, pink tinged storefront on a funky street in the 11th. The bakery is run by two French women and it is cleary an ambitious endeavor in a city filled with such magnificent pastries. They offer a wide range of flavors-which is sort of where the concept goes French-options such as vanilla with fleur d'orange and vervene, Chocolate and violet, pistache and framboise. Like the mecca of cupcakes, Magnolia Bakery, they could stick with the basics-vanilla + chocolate + use the magic of pastel food dye for effect. The results were a little dry and average. I was also a little dismayed by the big plastic container they put it in to-go--when people clearly scarf them down upon exit-a napkin would do fine in place of plastic, and they need to import the cupcake doily here as well because the paper holder is hard to remove and takes half the cake with it as well. All and all I think it is a fun and clever idea-why not have the mother of American sweets in city of macaroons and mille feuille? Cupcake & Co., 25, rue de la Forge Royale.

Friday, February 20, 2009

John Giorno:

American poet and artist, John Giorno presents a series of new work, including drawings and paintings and wall installations. It is a fun, bold and brash exhibition from one of the early leaders of the beat generation. On view at Galerie Almine Rech through February 25th.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pass Navigo

I have to rant a moment on the Pass Navigo-Paris's version of NYC's Metro card or London's Oyster Card. After much procrastination I finally dealt with myself and got the Navigo. I was so excited to charge her up and not have to think about those damn little carnets anymore. But how disappointed I was, after several minutes of denial/cursing/frustration when I realized that (mid week and mid-month), you can only charge week (16.80 Euros) or month (55+ Euros)--and this doesn not imply say Wednesday to Wednesday or Mid-Feb to Mid- March, but at the first of each. How can this be? If anyone reads this and can enlighten me I will be grateful. Frankly with this system I will loose money because I don't commute everyday and try to avoid metro's when I can, especially when it is nice out. I want to put 30 Euros on the Navigo and use it for 2 months if I want to. Why is this not the case as it is in NYC and London? Another false trap of French bureaucracy. Tant pis.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Medecine Douce

As much as I love the feel of Canal St. Martin, I can't help but be a little disappointed when, from time-to-time, I wander around there. Nothing much has developed during the last year and it still feels at a cross-roads-verging on something but remaining kind of flat. There is the new, beautiful APC store which no doubt caters to the well-off 30s-40s crowd that always seems to float around there, and there are some good restaurants; plus the opening of Galerie Impaire on rue, Lancry last year was a nice addition. Maybe I expect the New York pace of things when in a year a neighborhood or street is in and out. I should relax and just keep checking things out, hoping to discover something interesting, like I did last week with the small jewelry store, Medecine Douce, 10, rue Marseille. A beautiful store with workshop/studio attached, offers lovely everyday-pieces ranging from long, loopy gold chains, dangling earrings with small smooth stones, patina rings with semi-precious stones. The items are well priced, particularly considering they have a new stand at Bon Marche-- so now might be a good time to pick something up--before that changes.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Raymond Depardon + Paul Virilio

On view at the Fondation Cartier, is an exhibition titled "Terre Natale," or Native Land and features a collaboration of sorts between French photographer Depardon and French architectural theorist and sometimes architect, Paul Virilio. The whole thing is very National Geographic and better suited for a Museum of Sciene or Man than a site of contemporary art. The exhibition brings together a slice of their grand vision on the status of man in the world, particularly migration and displacement through economic and environmental reasons, and the disappearance of native peoples.

On the Depardon side we have two non -narrative portrait-films: one is titled "Hear Them Speak," and shows a series of interviews with people from fading populations around the world who discuss, more or less, the status of their people and lands. There are nine different people: two from Chile, Bolivia, France, Brazil and one from Ethiopia. It is beautiful and tragic, or as the description states, "poetic and political." It also seems a little dated and made-for-TV, in 1979. His other films is called "Around the world in 14 days," and shows silent streaming shots of landscapes and people in several international cities. huh? It was like watching bad photographs of a friend's vacation. Pure concept no proposition.

In the basement is the installation by Virilio with the help of architects Diller, Scofido & Renfro, Laura Kurgan, visual artist and sound designer, Ben Rubin and statistician, Mark Hansen. You'd think with this power group we might experience something new, witness new ideas or propositions, but instead what we get is Paul Virilio on video walking on a street in Paris expounding his theories of globalization, about 50 TV screens spread in rows and suspended from the ceiling showing clips from news and nature shows, and in the final room there is a video that shows statistics and their graphic counterparts about such subjects as Population Shifts, Natural Disasters, Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, Political Refugees and Forced Migration, and Remittances: Sending money home. The presentation was all very star trek-y with images moving along the concave wall, including an image of the earth from space that seemed to pass through in between each subject. It was relevant and current information, albeit nothing that seemed very revealing beyond the fact that in 100+ years the earth is fu**ed. Thanks: I think I see that whenever I read the news. I would like to know what these 'genius minds' might propose to do about it-even if far fetched. Give me something beyond what I can google.

It is hard to know how to sum it all up. Disappointing? Flatulent? Lots of regurgatated information stuffed into a $50,000 or more budget? I don't know but I feel like the money could have been better spent by directly giving it to the fading populations and lands then to these installations. On view through March 15th.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Winter in Paris

Fairly decent snowstorm last night but unfortunately by the time I could get out and try to photograph this mini winter-wonderland, the rain had started and 75% of snow was now gray mush. Here are some images from Parc Monceau. They closed off the sides of the park, only allowing a straight thruway--with signs, as seen below, of closed due to snow. huh? WOuldn't this be a nice time for children to play in a winter park and make snowmen? Apparently not. I also noticed that the small Batignolles park was closed as well...must be the French way. My other favorite sign of the day is "Pelouse au repose," which translates as the grass is resting. Is that really to mean the gardiner is on strike? Who knows? Finally, the first photo (the order got screwed up), is my ode to Casper David Friedrich, 19th century German Romantic artist famous for his solitary man in nature photos.