Sunday, May 31, 2009
We were the first booth for some, and the last booth for others depending in which direction they walked the flea market trail.
Either way, we profited from the placement. Those who saw us first had a loaded wallet, those who saw us last feverishly spent their remaining money. We had sunlight and friendly faces.
A ruckus was created by our rare 1965 Beatles and Rolling Stones albums. We could see euros in the eyes of aggressive Frenchmen as they resorted to any tactic possible to get those albums into their lives at the cheapest possible price. They belittled us, telling us we should get real, to look at the condition of our products and that we'd never sell them for more than 10 euros. Whatever. Their interest and elevating blood pressures were evidence enough that we had something rare.
It came to a head when a German "expert music collector since 1960" offered 2 euros for the Beatles vinyl and 1 euro for The Rolling Stones. I was so insulted, I hid both albums in the car to sell on e-bay at a later date or maybe even keep them. (I forgot that I liked "No Reply.") We're pretty much rich now after participating in this flea market but honestly, we could have been richer. We made some blunders selling items like a vintage Popeye comic book for 1 euro that had a much higher value and a Beach Boys album 'Surfin' Safari' album at 3 euros which also has a current selling value of much more. At any rate, we feel good about having given new life to objects that were getting musty with neglect.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Come see us at the Médiathèque de Sélestat for the sixth annual "Puces Culturelles," a giant flea market of all things arts or cultural today the 30th of May 2009!
We'll be there from 8 to 5 in the médiathèque parking lot.
Come see what we've got to offer: a rare vintage 1965 Les Beatles album french version, Vintage WWII related ephemera, Comics, books in German and French, a whole suitcase of French religious and esoteric books, some of Daniel's paintings and whole lot more. See you there!
Posted by Eva Marie Sutter at 10:25 PM
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Somehow, the fact that Daniel and I have a cherry tree whose branches bough out a little onto Rue Coli, people think they can just help themselves to our firm, sweet black cherries as they wish.
The doorbell rang yesterday. There were two women huddling together, looking guilty at the door.
"We just wanted to tell you that we helped ourselves to your cherries."
What were we supposed to say?
A neighbor came by to introduce himself to us for the first time. There was an awkward silence in the conversation so I cordially offered him a cherry or two.
"No, no. It's okay. I helped myself to loads of them earlier today. I hope you don't mind."
Heh, heh. I gave a fake laugh and said it was better him than the birds.
Daniel and I picked seven buckets full of cherries yesterday. Six of which went into the freezer so we may enjoy them all year long. And there are still more to be picked, so I've decided that there actually are enough for everyone and have decided to combat my un-Franciscan, fruit hoarding tendencies by posting a sign: "Servez-vous" and feeling glad when everyone shares in the bounty no matter whose property the tree is on. Stay tuned to see where all these cherries go: you know what I mean, recipes and such.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Daniel and I were invited to do some canoeing with a couple of friends this afternoon and it turned out to be a serene experience. That is, when we weren't paddling feverishly, trying to win! You see, we're a Franco-American couple: we've got that American part that likes competition and that winning feeling, and we've got that French part that has a soft spot for the loser. And it didn't help that we were grouped with a canoe full of taunting Swiss either. Shirts off, paddling in rhythm, they were insanely organized and fast with one goal in mind: leave the French canoes behind them, and of course they did. When we finally joined them at the stopping point they had all their life vests stacked in a neat pile and their canoe was immaculate. We only noticed this after we slid our mucky-bottomed, spiderwebby canoes next to theirs.
We saw coypu rats and swans with their fuzzy gray babies and ducks. And we sailed through thousands of electric blue dragonflies. What a cool way to travel!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Giuseppe Arcimboldo, painter from Milan (1527 -1593) did a series of paintings based on the seasons. They can be studied carefully to figure out what to harvest and when! This is genius! I'm telling you this guy's creativity knows no limits! Just look at these faces! Today, scientists, botanists and agriculturists study his paintings to better understand plant species as they were during the Renaissance because he painted them with such fidelity! They can see what kind of fungi and insects our European farmer predecessors were up against by studying the defects in Arcimboldo's fruits! Yeah!
Can you guess which season goes with which portrait?
Can you guess which season goes with which portrait?
Posted by Eva Marie Sutter at 6:31 AM
Sunday, May 17, 2009
(english translation follows...)
Warp20 Aphex twin à Paris
Samedi 9 mai, nous déposons nos bagages dans la petite chambre d`un hôtel pas cher, rue Lafayette à environ 25 minutes à pied de la Cite de la musique.
Arrivés à la Cite de la musique, nous décidons Eva et moi de prendre une bière dans un bistrot de l`autre cote de l`avenue Jean Jaures, c`est alors en restant sagement sur le trottoir que nous voyons dans un raffut assourdissant une ambulance escortée de policiers traverser l`avenue à vive allure.
Le passage d`une ambulance n`est jamais quelque chose de très réjouissant, n`importe qui peu avoir sa place dans ce genre d`engin, n`importe qui même Aphex Twin lui même.
Je me suis alors tourné vers Eva et je lui ai dis: c`est peut-être Aphex Twin qui fait une overdose?
Quelquefois j`ai vraiment un humour nul, c`est pour le voir que sommes venus à Paris, nous sommes allés jusqu`a affronter la complexité et les inconvénients de la vie parisienne: le métro qui sent la pisse, les prix exorbitants, une foule de gens pressés qui vous bousculent, des creves-la-faim qui vous harcèlent.
Bref c`est après avoir vu passer le dernier flic sur sa moto esquissant des gestes comparable à de la danse classique que nous traversons le passage clouté jusqu`au bistrot.
C`est au bistrot que nous observons un peu d`agitation sur la terrasse, une blonde dépitée s`aperçoit que son sac-a-main a disparu !
Après avoir siphonné nos verre nous décidons de rejoindre la Cite de la musique.
Le site est compose d`un grand hall dans lequel est improvisé entre deux cloisons une scène appelée " rue musicale", à gauche l`accès a un amphithéâtre ainsi qu`une sorte de chorale électronique appelée "choir machine" réalisé par le collectif "teenage enginering", eva et moi avons beaucoup apprécié ce concept !
A droite la salle de concert envenveloppée dans un mur elliptique mais de forme rectangulaire a l`intérieur, compose d`un balcon au deuxième niveau et d`un rez-de-chaussée recouvert par un parquet très classe, l`ambiance est très sombre alternée de panneaux lumineux rouges.
Nous assistons au concert de Leila a partir du balcon cote gauche au-dessus de l`entrée des artistes, nous subissons un son saturé et perturbé.
Les gorges sèches nous rejoignons le hall dans lequel sont disséminés un tas de bar, au passage je récupère une paire de bouchon en mousse a glisser des les oreilles, nous poursuivons jusqu`au set direction: la rue musicale.
Le son bourrine bien, Luke Vibert aux platines et les mains sur une petite tablette de mixage agite le dance floor!
Eva a encore soif, elle veut boire un Ricard, nous nous attardons au bar car elle semble avoir des difficultés a finir son verre, l`acces a la salle de concert n`est pas autorisé avec boisson.
Le concert de Plaid se termine, nous sommes a quelques minutes du set d`Aphex Twin & Hecker, je commence a saliver !!!
Nous nous rapprochons lentement de la salle de concert, mon coeur commence a battre la chamade un intant jusqu`a nous rendre compte que l`accès a la salle est bloque par des agents de sécurité déterminés a ne plus laisser entrer personne.
Nous sommes a deux pas a peine de l`entrée, une dizaine de personne devant nous grognent et se plaignent, une fille a moitie bourbourrée, a l`interieur tente de sortir pour un autre verre, c`est uniquement après avoir franchi le poste des deux agents que l`imprudente se rendra compte de son imprudence.
C`est dans l`incompréhension générale que nous nous retrouvons tous compresses et tendus dans l`attente de l`ouverture des portes.
Résigné je commence a comprendre qu`il y a du surbooking dans l`air, nous sommes trop nombreux par rapport a la capacité de la salle, c`est également la raison pour laquelle le set est retransmi dans l`amphi sur grand écran.
Dégoûté j`ai carrément envie de partir, pas question de voir aphex twin sur un écran.
Eva & moi constatons que la foule semble déterminée, deux jeuns derrière nous frisent la crise de nerf, Eva me rapporte les commmentaires de deux anglophones: c`est trop francais ca, faire autant d`intox!
Soudain je vois une autre entrée a cote de la notre ceder sous la pression du public enragé profitant alors du mouvement de foule nous nous faufilons a l`interieur.
Ahhh soulagement, Aphex Twin enfin !!!
Nous sommes sur le parquet du dance foor, nous jouons des coudes et essayons de nous rapprocher le plus possible de la scène, Hecker est déjà present entouré de quelques techniciens du son, nous sommes a 4 ou 5 metres de la scène quand soudain...
je vois arriver: Monsieur Richard D James!!!
Nous sommes a peine quelques inconditionnels a avoir appercu son entrée au milieu des techniciens et la batterie de machines electroniques au premier plan, les manifestations de joie et les applaudissements se feront a retardement.
Aphex Twin & Hecker sont a présent prêt a ouvrir le set par une intro ressemblant a une douce petite cacophonie, comme celle produite par les musiciens d`un orchestre avant le concert.
Des images ridicules scato et porno provenant de vieilles couvertures du magazines Hara-kiri sont projetées sur grand écran au-dessus de la scène, ça y est le son envahit nos oreilles et le public continu a deferler dans la salle ajoutant chacun leur chaleur corporelle au foyer en éruption.
Nous nous retrouvons coincés comme des sardines, il fait très chaud, un HP a gauche de la scene nous empêche de voir Aphex Twin.
Nous decidons alors de trouver un autre emplacement juste derrière une estrade VIP, agrippés a une balustrade et dos au mur du fond nous profitons d`une vue imprenable sur la scene, j`ote les bouchons que j`ai dans les oreilles, pas dans mon derrière!
Je reçois avec emotion le son puissant et fidèle en pleine face, je reconnais un morceau que j`aime beaucoup: IZ-US ( dernier morceau sur Come to Daddy ), Aphex Twin & Hecker continuent sur l`impro, le son toujours aussi puissant parvient jusqu`a nous a l`abri de la chaleur sous un halo miraculeux balayés par la clim qui tourne a donf.
Aphex Twin reste dissimulé a l`ombre portée des machines tandis que Hecher, plus visible reste dans le faisceau brûlant d`un spot rouge.
Nous restons aussi longtemps que possible debout sur notre petit promontoire de privilégiés absorbant les puissantes vibrations propulsées par deux énormes batteries de HP au-dessus de la scène.
Il y a si logtemps que j`esperais voir et entendre celui qui nourrit mon cerveau d`un plaisir sans limites!
Je pense que Monsieur Richard D James marquera par son oeuvre l`histoire a l`image de Jean Sebastien Bach ou Frédéric Chopin, evidemment il serait prématuré de penser qu`il aurait sa place au Cimetière du Pere Lachaise parmis d`autres grands noms.
Longue vie a Richard D James !!!!!
Warp20 Aphex twin in Paris Saturday May 9, we drop off our luggage in the small room of an inexpensive hotel, Street Lafayette approximately 25 minutes on foot to the Cite de la Musique. Once we arrived at the Cite de la Musique, Eva and I buy a beer in a bar of another dimension on the other side of Jean Jaures Avenue. We remained wisely on the sidewalk, for we saw a deafening ambulance escorted by police driving at a furious pace. An ambulance passing is never something very amusing. I then turned to Eva and say to her: Perhaps its Aphex Twin who overdosed? Sometimes I have a really bad sense of humour. He is the reason we came to Paris in the first place, even though we knew we would have to confront the complexity and the disadvantages of Parisian life: the subway which smells like pee, the exorbitant prices, a crowd of people in a hurry who hustle you, the down-and-out who badger you. After having seen the last cop pass on his motor bike with gestures comparable to ballet dancing, we cross the pedestrian crossing to get to the bar. It is in the bar that we observe a little agitation on the terrace, a poor blonde sees that her purse disappeared! After having drank our glass we decide to join the Cite de la Musique. The site is composed of a large hall and in between are two partitions: a scene called "La Rue Musicale", and on the left is the access to the amphitheater and a kind of electronic choral group called "The Choir Machine" created by the collective "teenage engineering", Eva and I appreciated this concept very much! On the right, the concert hall envelops an elliptic wall of rectangular form inside. The interior is made up of a balcony on the second level and a ground floor covered by a very classy parquet floor. The environment is very dark alternated with panels of luminous red. We attend the concert of Leila starting from the balcony left side above the artists' entry. We hear nothing but a sound saturated and distorted. We have dry throats so we enter the hall in which a heap of bars are disseminated in the hall. I find a pair of foam earplugs and we continue to walk in the direction of the Rue Musicale. The sound rocks! Luke Vibert is on the turntable and his hands are on a small mixing box agitating the dance floor! Eva is still thirsty, she wants to drink a Ricard, we are delayed at the bar because she seems to have difficulties finishing her glass. The access to the concert hall is not authorized with drink. The Plaid concert finishes, we have a few minutes before the Aphex Twin & Hecker set, I start to salivate!!! We approach the concert hall slowly, my heart starts to beat wildly until we notice that the access to the room has been blocked by two security agents that let nobody enter. We are two steps away from the entrance, only ten guys are in front of us complaining. We see a girl half drunk on the inside, trying to leave for another glass. It is only after having crossed the station of the two agents that she realized her imprudence. It is in general incomprehension that we find ourselves all compressed and stressed. I've given up, I start to understand that there is overbooking: we are too numerous compared to the capacity of the room, this is also the reason for which the set is also transmitted in the lecture theater on big screen. Disgusted, I straightforwardly want to leave, there's no question of seeing Aphex Twin on a screen. Eva & I noticed that the crowd seemed determined, two young dudes behind us have an attack of the nerves, Eva tells me the comments of two English-speakers: This is too French, to do this to us! Suddenly I see another entry beside ours yielding under the pressure of the mad public. Benefitting then from the sway in the crowd we thread into the interior. Ahhh relief, Aphex Twin finally!!! We are on the parquet dance floor. We throw elbows and try as much as possible to bring ourselves closer to the scene. Hecker is already on the scence surrounded by some sound technicians. We are 4 or 5 meters from the scene when suddenly… I see arriving: Mr Richard D James!!! We were a small group to have seen him arrive in the middle of the technicians and the battery of electronic machines in the foreground. The demonstrations of joy and the applause come slowly after. Aphex Twin & Hecker are present and they start out with a warmup that resembles a small cacophony, like that produced by the musicians of an orchestra before the concert. Ridiculous images smutty and porno coming from old covers of the French Hara-Kiri magazines are projected on the big screen above the scene. The sound invades our ears and the public adds body heat to the hearth in eruption. We find ourselves wedged like sardines, its very hot, an HP on the left of the scene prevents us from seeing Aphex Twin. We then decide to find another site right behind a balustrade VIP, we're hanging on to the balustrade with our backs agains the rear wall of the room. We take advantage of this unspoiled view of the scene, I take out the earplugs that I have in my ears, not in my behind! I receive with emotion the sound powerful and faithful in full face, I recognize a piece that I like much: IZ-US (last piece on Come to Daddy), Aphex Twin & Hecker continue on improvising, the sound always so powerful comes to us, we're protected from the heat like in a shelter, receiving the miraculous blasts from the airconditioning. Aphex Twin remains hidden, in the shadows of the machines while Hecker, more visible, remainds in a hot beam from a red spotlight. We remain as long as possible upright on our small privileged area absorbing the powerful vibrations propelled by two enormous batteries of HP above the scene. It has been a long time that I hoped to see and hear that which nourishes my brain with a pleasure without limits! I think that Mr Richard D James will mark History with his work as have Jean Sebastien Bach or Frederic Chopin, but he's got a long life ahead of him, its much too early to think that he will soon have his place in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery among other great names. Long life to Richard D James!!!!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
1. English is spoken everywhere! I was surrounded by more Americans than I could count: in cafes, in the Metro, walking the streets, they have taken over! Don't even try to speak French to Parisians, my American friends, they pick up on your accent no matter how discrete and speak to you in English!
2. The world is small: I bumped into an old friend.
3. Violence! Hold onto your purses and man bags! We saw one get swiped from a woman. And there are two suicides a day in the Parisian Metro stations. This is both sad and annoying: it closes the Metro for hours and one is inconveniently forced to find other modes of transport. (We had to call Daniel's Aunt like two little babies.)
4. You can find really cheap hotels run by really accommodating people if you look hard enough.
5. Staying in the suburbs allows one to spend more time in public transport, getting to know the varying unpleasant smells of different Metro stops.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Well, it pretty much rained the whole time we were in Paris. A museum was in order, so we went to the Musée National du Moyen Age-Thermes de Cluny, featuring art of the Middle Ages (the famous woman with a unicorn tapestry is here), Roman thermal baths and ancient statuary/mosaics. Unfortunately, it turned out that all things Ancient Roman were closed to set up for an upcoming exhibition, so we focused on the Middle Ages and in particular, a curious statuette that opened out. The statue was of Mary with baby Jesus on one arm, a circular object in her hand and she had a belly that could open to show God holding the crucifix and adult Jesus. It was an unusual object that captured our attention. What's more, there weren't any explanations as to when it was made, provenance, and so on, so we grabbed a guard and asked her some questions. She knew nothing.
Daniel and I became obsessed with knowing what the round object was in Mary's hands. Could it represent the earth? Daniel saw an "M" etched in the object. Could this stand for 'mundus' the Latin word for world? But there was also an indentation on the top as if it could be a fruit. Another guard passed. Could he explain the object? Yes. He spoke English. He explained that the object was indeed a fruit that burst open easily in summer to spread it's seed. He said people of the Middle ages thought the world was flat so it could not have been the earth. Galileo changed all that. We thanked him and continued to look around.
But I found it hard to believe that all people before Galileo thought the world was flat. Sure, that's what I was taught in school, but was it right?
With just a little research, I found out that the Ancient Egyptians, the Ancient Greeks, people of the Middle East, knew the earth was spherical before our common era. So it very well could have been an earth.
All in all, it was a pleasant visit, but instead of leaving with a head full of new information, I left with more curiosity in humanity and more questions that needed truthful answers.
Posted by Eva Marie Sutter at 8:59 AM
Friday, May 8, 2009
What was this cat doing? He hopped over the fence and started digging with a crazy paw! But you can see our lettuces coming in. (They were bought as seedlings)
Unfortunately, we don't see any sign of life from the onions or the parsnips yet. But you can see our teenager cabbages and on bottom our row of carrots.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I was absolutely shocked by the name of this expo. Why would anyone say F*** Architects? All architects? I didn't see the title of it until we got there. I just knew the artist was Mounir Fatmi.
We stepped inside the open space, wood floor, black barred iron ceiling, walls of glass giving a panorama of the Ill river, it was like a box trapping light and heat, sauna hot. We were greeted by a young blue-eyed lad getting up from behind a desk. It was so quiet. We're the only ones.
I look at the boy, he looks at me. I smile, wondering if he wants to say something. He has papers in his hand. Does he want to say something, or should I start looking around? We stand there like two morons smiling at each other. Daniel's wondered away. Confused, I ask the young man, "Can I take a look around?"
"That's what it's made for, Eva!" Daniel's voice echoed.
So I start to walk away and the boy says, still standing there,
"Do you at least want a program and a floor plan?"
I grab it. Daniel sits on the floor, bored and yawning.
I act interested, but I'm not. VHS tapes are partly unwound, adhered to wall. Hard hats with names of great thinkers taped on them sit in a mound on the floor, "Gandhi, Simone de Beauvoir, Genet, Deleuze." And then a projector sends shadows of books on a table onto an adjacent wall that resemble skyscrapers. The titles of the book-skyscrapers: What Bush Wanted, The Americans, 9-11-What Really Happened and Osama.
I don't understand the exhibit. Is it too deep for me? Maybe I feel uncomfortable because I am an American? Maybe I should have guessed from the title of the expo that it wasn't for me. But one thing I loved about my favorite art history teacher of all time, Dr. David Parrish, was his interest in all forms of expression, his curiosity, his love of that creative element in humanity taking limitless forms. I'll adopt his viewpoint and say this expo was "coming from a place of hurt?" That's the best I can do.
As an afterthought: I just realized that maybe the stifling heat was part of the Expo. Maybe it was supposed to add to the visitors irritation, making them so uncomfortable that after all, they just have to scream, "F*** Architects!" and then they realize that they were all along in agreement with the artist.
A while ago, I saw my friend Quentin running fast to the barber shop.
"What is he doing?" I thought.
People who know me and who don't know me, know that I don't like to go to the barber.
Each time I went there (during prehistory) I wasn't satisfied and I know that most people are disappointed too, even putting their heads under the water afterwords.
Quentin is not really different. So why does he continue to go to get haircuts? I know.
He works in a big commercial company and he has to be as clean as possible! I think that if he could work naked, dirty and with greasy, fluffy hair the relation with his customers would be more fun and they could even be friends. My friend Quentin is available to show us the way and change our societal codes, even if he doesnt' know!
One Saturday night, I went to a stupid discotheque. I had a zit on my face like each Saturday night but this night I decided to put a big band-aid over it. It was ridiculous. But: I met more people as friends than never before this night. It was my best disco night!
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Saturday afternoon bread making with organic flour! I love watching Daniel make bread. Unfortunately, the organic breads we find in bakeries here are all made with a sourdough base. Sourdough is a great bread, but I don't always want that acidic edge all the time. We took matters into our own hands.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
We are decide to check out an art expo going on at the Chapelle Saint-Quirin. The artist Gérard Marcel Meyer's work is on display. White hair framing his face like a dove's wing, the artist approaches us.
"Are you intrigued?" he asked with a smile.
The church interior is like floating in talcum powder with columns topped with simple white foliage. It's thick and resonant.
"Yes," we say. I ask him which were his most recent pieces.
"Ah! You're English!" he exclaims.
"No, I am American," I correct.
"Now, my most recent ones are here," he says throwing his arm to a blue and orange painting spot-lit, "and there," finger pointing to one with flowers. "As I get older, I get more sentimental and a flower's beauty seems right to include in my work. But I can't really say I have my work separated into periods like Picasso."
Daniel and I laugh.
"The theme of my work," he continued, "is The Horizon."
"Oh," we say.
"Why the horizon, you ask? It's a form of meditation for me. It's poetic. The horizon is a place we never reach, only observable from afar. This can be thought about philosophically, you see? I have an old book set out over there opened to a page of dialogues between Héraclès and Thésée who explore the theme. And painting for me isn't just something to do to pass a Sunday afternoon, puttering around with my brushes for fun. Oh no, I work, I develop, I read, I've studied art history for twenty-five years!"
"Wow!" I say. "Actually, Daniel knows all about that: he's an artist himself." I grab and shake Daniel's elbow.
He rolls his eyes and the old man looks at him intensely.
"Don't be modest, young man! Continue to work," he urged. "Study, develop your understanding of life. Continue. Continue." he said.
"Yes," says Daniel, "I agree with you and the "horizon" is an interesting subject to dedicate one's work to, but I knew too many students in art school who quickly created a painting and then constructed a false explanation to go around it, making references to other artists, other periods, obscure philosophies that seemed to impress the teachers, but in the end, what did that all mean? There were others who created something of beauty that spoke for itself: Voila, here's my work, if it moves you, great, if it doesn't, oh well."
"Yes," the old man reflected, "these situations are something very different from what I speak of. I speak of studying, becoming a better person, a more integrated human. This will inevitably come out in your work, a work that will not need explanation. The best way to become a better artist is, in fact, to become a better human being: more honest, more curious, more understanding. It will reflect in your work, you will create masterpieces."
"Oh. That's interesting," we say.
Then he abruptly shakes our hands quickly, suddenly, and scuttles over to an opulently dressed woman with leather-gloved hands holding a felt hat who was contemplating one of his paintings.
Daniel and I walk outside.
"There's "horizons," and then there's potential buyers and money," he whispers.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Walking down the stairs into the basement, a trip I make to do the laundry, I pass a ceramic statue of Napoleon sitting on a forgotten shelf all dusty. Today, I grabbed him by the torso and hauled him upstairs with me for a good cleaning.
I put it in our kitchen, but Daniel had a better idea: let's put him in the garden! What a great idea!