Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good Theater

"A Bright Room Called Day," was written by American playwright Tony Kushner in 1984. It presents a group of young German artists and activists in the dawn of the Nazi regime as well as flash forwarding to a side character in current 1980s who is an activist against the Regan administration. It is a powerful and engaging play and for the first time ever will be presented to a Parisian audience thanks to the collaborative efforts of Hillary Keegin, an American actress living in Paris for several years and French actress Pauline Le Diset, who co-translated the work. Keegin, who stars and directs the play, was inspired to reactivate this work in part through her own frustrations and anger to post 9/11 government policy in the United States. For the last couple of years she has since been working with a cast and crew to put the play together. There will be a screening on the 31st and 1st as well as the week of January 12-16 at La boutonniere theater in the 11. Check out the website for full details. It's a must see.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Galerie d'objets sensibles

Clémentine Dupré is a young, talented ceramicist with an atelier in the 20th arrondisement. Through the 23rd December she has opened her atelier to the public and has invited three other artists/friends to show their work to create an intimate and interesting salon where you can do some last minute gift shopping. What better then a handmade, limited edition object to give as a present? Clémentine Dupré's light as air ceramic bowls, vases, sake cups are both functional and beautiful. Working mostly (or what was on view now), in white porcelain, with finishes that seem transparent, matte, natural in colors ranging simply between white, black and navy blue. To compare to another ceramic aesthetic I would say Japanese, in its restrained elegance, and not surprisingly, she told me that she exhibits and sells quite well in Japan. In one series, which really grabbed me, she applies a trail of tiny, ceramic beads to the surface, creating a bulbous shape that might sit a the rim of a large bowl or grace the surface of a vase.

Of the oher work in the galerie, were a series of more industrial type plates with images printed on the surface, metal wire mobiles, hand sewn bags with vintage type textiles, and some cool notebooks, pins and magnets. Through December 23. Atelier Clémentine Dupré, 20, rue Etienne Dolet, 75020.

Friday, December 11, 2009

By Mutation

By Mutation (a great name, by the way), is an atelier-boutique of several, young French creatrices, or independent fashion and accessory designers who are working with fabrics that are either "abandoned" or already been used in another format and "mutating" them into a new design. I found the tiny storefront during my amble in the 20th last weekend and was greeted by a very friendly woman, one of the designers, who said that it was the first week open. There was a selection of great looking capes-a look that seems to hang in there as an ok fashion choice, which is a good thing, and headbands-a look that seems to be making a comeback, perhaps not such a good thing? There were also a selection of handbags and other clothing pieces, tunics and shirts, all made in small editions, with good prices. As their website states, it is a "project that was primarily based on an aesthetic of transformation, now has the principles of ecological and social awareness at its forefront," and how can you beat that? By Mutation, 30, rue Etienne Dolet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fabulous holiday rental apartment in Paris!

Pass it on: A good friend is renting her apartment for the holidays. It is a great apartment and a great deal for your paris trip!
"A very cosy and bright 45m2 apartment close to Gare de l'Est in the 10th arrondissement. Renovated recently. 1 bedroom and living room furnished with Scandinavian designer furniture, bathroom with a bathtob. Well equipped kitchen. The apartment is available for weekly rentals . Perfect for 2 or maximum 3 people. 600€/week"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quel Plaisir

I love that feeling of discovering something new and unexpected. Saturday afternoon found me wandering in a small part of the 20th-between Menilmontant and Jourdain. It's an area I rarely get to despite knowing there are plenty of things happening. Following a reading at a friend's studio I took rue cascade over to rue de la mare where I ventured into Beau Travail,, a studio/storefront of several, young French designers featuring printed t-shirts, handmade purses, lamps, jewelry and a few other small items. I had set out to find this atelier, only open on Saturday afternoons from 14-19:30h, and as I was working Saturdays for the last couple of months I finally had a chance to visit. I read their blog from time to time and was curious to see the work in vrai. I didn't end up buying anything, yet, but loved the spirit of the place and will be back: great gift ideas. Afterwards I decided to continue down the street, just wandering with no set objective but eventually to make it back to a metro as the sun was setting and it was cold, when I saw a light on, in an otherwise pretty quiet street and made my way across. In the window were several handmade hats (a minor obsession of mine), and I got a little rush of excitement as I could tell it would be something interesting.
I walked inside and into what felt like and which was, an atelier/boutique and living room. I asked to try on one and then another and then the owner came up to help me and play around-we started trying on various hats, many of which had a 1930s feel with a contemporary edge. They were amazing. A friend stopped in and as I eavesdropped on their conversation I heard her say that they were finishing up the hats for the costumes of the national opera. I noticed then, in the back space some incredible, sculptural hats made with felted fruit and feathers, perfect for a stage. Feeling like I was lingering and afraid I would make a purchase of passion when I needed to be buying Christmas gifts, I took a card, said thank you and made my way back out into the night, pleased to have found such an incredible designer and space--and sorry not to have had my camera! Estelle Ramouse, Chapeau sur mesure, 64 rue de la Mare.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Librarie OFR is one of my favorite bookshops in Paris. Every time I walk by I am drawn in and spend a minimum of 15 minutes (usually way longer even if I am late somewhere) browsing their selection of books and magazines covering all ranges of design-graphic, textile, furniture, object, fashion, as well as art books and monographs. They also have artists books, including "Paris" by Ami Sioux in which the artist asked friends to draw a map of their favorite place in Paris and then she used the map and went and photographed the site. Maps range from minimal sketches to elaborately drawn treasure-like maps with personal instructions and added splashes. It's a clever and creative idea and has become a regular gift item to friends. In the back of the shop is a big space dedicated to art installations as well as fashion designers for a salon or fair. OFR, 20 rue depetit thouars, 3rd arr.