Sunday, February 28, 2010

Atelier Les Quatres

Atelier les quatres is a studio/shop consisting of four young, talented textile designers creating fun and funky prints, designs and illustrations for pillows, napkins, dishtowels as well as t-shirts, baby clothes, canvas bags and one-off ideas like masks and found ceramics. The studio includes Eve-Marie Bousquet, Rachel Pelquin, elsako, and Hélène Georget, and on Saturdays they open their doors to the public to see what they are making and of course, to shop. They all work independently but a couple of them collaborate on other projects including Duette Design, and A Wolf at My Door. Most of the work is made in a limited edition and all of it by hand. It is ambitious yet fresh and fun- it seems they work hard but don't take things too seriously. Bright colors, birds and other animals, sunglasses are silkscreened onto their respective objects giving them a new life and attitude. 36, rue du fer à moulin, 5eme.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Hello & Goodbye

I am declaring the countdown to spring officially on. Some of you in Paris today might think I am a bit premature, but you have to admit that in between the coolish gusts of winds, the sun feels warm and the days are noticeably longer. Walking home today I noticed little signs: the pods hanging off trees and small bursts of yellow and lavender flowers in the parks. Maybe I am feeling inspired from the Jan Dibbets exhibition I just saw at the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (this place needs an acronym). I have been a fan of Dibbets, a Dutch artist born in 1941, for awhile. I love his use of simple landscapes of the ocean and green reedy grass which are turned into geometric constructions suggestive of Frank Stella or Ellsworth Kelly. This exhibition compares his early 1970s work to work made in the late 2000s, using the same techniques and landscapes. It's earth art or land art à la Smithson, with less machismo and more poetic. Maybe I am partial to landscape painting in general, and Dibbets in many ways seems like the proper extension out of 17th century Dutch landscape painting--but of course photography and conceptual. It is a small exhibition and worth a quick visit.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


As an American living in Paris one question I seem to be asked relatively often, by French and non-French alike, is "oh, France, don't you love the food?" or "Isn't the food amazing?" To which, perhaps being a bit of a rebel inside but also not able to be dismissive and flattering, reply something like, yeah; it is ok-cheese, butter, magret de canard are great, but what about diversity? And then I go into a tirade about how Asian food has been bastardized here and how shameful that sushi restaurants put cheese on their menus in what must be a way to ease French culinary anxiety. My point being that yes, French appreciation for good, slow food is wonderful but it is too insular and living in this city after New York seems sleepy food-wise.

In the weekend Financial Times Arts & Leisure section was an article titled "Ripe for Revolution," about the Omnivore festival in Deauville this weekend, and it's founder, Luc Dubanchet, who started the monthly magazine of the same name with the goal of trying to shake up the French food world which he found boring, stuffy and complacent. The author of the article, Mike Steinberger, has written a book titled, "Au Revoir to all that:Food, Wine, and the End of France," (yikes!). Apparently I am not alone in my sentiments and it was fun to read about Dubanchet's horror for Michelin stars and Sarkozy's petition to place French cuisine as a UNESCO cultural treasure. As art, music and dance keep up with changing times, shouldn't food? Spain being the most oft cited having led the first decade of the 21st century in food.

Dubanchet says that it is time for his French compatriots to see that food is a global phenomenon and who cares about being number one. No doubt French chefs have talent and it would be fun to be at the festival this weekend to see the incredible offerings and perhaps it will lead to some revolutionary (we know the French love revolution), ideas in the kitchen.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Michelberger Hotel

The Michelberger Hotel is all things good and hip about Berlin. I had the pleasure of staying here for four days last week and I have to say I totally dig this place! For 70 euros a night (including an amazing breakfast), for a single, the price is quite right as well. Set in the East, in Kreuzberg, in what was once a factory-- and from the exterior certainly retains this coldness, inside is like living inside an animated film. Drawings and quirky construction abound, but not over the top--simple, funny and well thought out, the rooms are simple, plywood dominates. I referred to my bed as my pod, as it was tucked in the side wall and felt cozy from the outdoor cold. I somehow deleted my photos just now so I copy some here but for the full experience a visit to their site is a must.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Tangier 8 in Berlin

From sunny rooftops and mint tea to icy streets, freezing air and beer-- but we are pleased to be presenting The Tangier 8 at the Forum expanded section of the 60th Berlin Film Festival. First screening Thursday at 12noon at the Arsenal 1 for any one reading this in Berlin, and second this Saturday at 1530.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bird on the Wire

Bird on the wire is a cute little boutique in the 4th, on the river side of rue St. Antoine, which I happened upon the other day. Filled with great gift ideas including notebooks, jewelry, knitted objects, fun Japanese candy and gadgets. I loved the tights from Les Queues de Sardine with handprinted clouds, flowers or rain and the retro mobiles from petit collage. They have a good selection of the lomo cameras as well and an hysterical game called "are you a bitch".
The boutique is perfect escape from chilly weather or just to unwind for a bit and get lost in all of the fun, quirky, cool objects on hand.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Shakespeare & Co.

I have attended a few of the 7pm Monday night readings at Shakespeare & Co., recently and last night's talk by Wendell Steavenson about her recent book, The Weight of a Mustard Seed was really incredible. The book is about an Iraqi general, Kamel Satchet, but seen through the eyes of family, friends and former war colleagues, as she never met Satchet himself. It is a portrait of a man, but also a look into Iraqi life. Last night she read a nice portion of a chapter and really allowed you to get into the story. Sometimes it seems authors are anxious to read through and get to the wine or something and you don't get a strong sense of the writing. This was not the case. I have read the book, but awhile ago so it was great to "re-enter" it, so to speak. Second; often I find the q&a session following a reading a bit painful and akward but this one flowed and was full of engaging and good questions about Iraq and the war, something of a news item that we (I) seem to pay less attention to these days with the focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan and poor Obama's republican battles.
In any case, it was a reading that left you wanting more and I love that kind of thing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Talk It Out: Half Empty, Half Full

Talk It Out: Half Empty, Half Full

I don't usually, if ever grab another blogger's posting, but I occasionally read the Decor 8 website for design ideas and last week she posted this entry asking her readers to "talk it out" and write about their own half full/empty experiences/realities, etc. I found it made rather interesting reading-like a mini-therapy session or something, to read about what some of these people are feeling in their lives. I didn't read all the comments, but many I did read had to do with winter or working from home, things that I think about a lot as well-as it's gray and early February, things feel darker and isolating, but one discussed her husband's deployment and several others about forced relocation, and many about work/life juggling. Anyhow, I wanted to pass it on for other people to enjoy/relate/empathize/laugh/etc.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Holiday rental in Southern Spain!

A good friend who is from Motril Spain but now living in Los Angeles, is looking to rent out their apartment for holiday visitors. It's a beautiful town, close to the beach- this text is taken from a UK holiday site that is advertising it, but if anyone reads this and is interested, please let me know and I can put you in touch with Maria directly. More photos on request!
This luxurious apartment is 1 mile walking distance from Motril downtown - Great shopping, restaurants & Tapas bars, five minutes by car to the beach, beautiful Los Moriscos golf course of Playa Granada, popular Harbor & Plaza De Toros. ONLY 35 minutes from GRANADA and SIERRA NEVADA - well-known by its great skiing and beautiful villages of Las Alpujarras. PERFECT LOCATION!!! Very close to other beach towns. Everything is in GREAT CONDITION…Why stay in a tiny hotel room when you can FEEL AT HOME in this INCREDIBLE apartment? Top of the Line Appliances…beautifully furnished and decorated…Two Bedrooms... Full Bath w/ Tub and Shower… Sleeps 5 comfortably… Parking garage… Brand New Kitchen… Outdoor Terrace With Breath-Taking Views Of The City, Brand New Flat Screen TV And Stereo, Air Conditioner/Heater... Great Nights Await.. Many Festivities And Amenities.