Tag Archives: Paris

Café Mouffe: Marin Marais “Sonnerie de Sainte Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris”

Ms. M is touring Versailles today with her daughter. Here’s a soundtrack for her.I think of this composition by Marin Marais [1656-1728] whenever the Sun King comes to mind, though perhaps it is more suitable for walking about in our Ve neighborhood near the Pantheon and Rue Mouffetard, since it is dedicated to Sainte Geneviève du Mont-de-Paris. I believe it also was used in the soundtrack for the 1991 Canadian film Black Robe. This performance is by Jordi Savall. Continue reading

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Shape-Shifting From Graphic Novel to Film: “Quai d’Orsay” > “Weapons of Mass Diplomacy” > “The French Minister”

Weapons of Mass Diplomacy (graphic novel) | The French Minister (movie trailer) Continue reading

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Imaging Paris: Charles Marville’s Photography Documented Baron Haussmann’s Transformation of the City of Light

By the end of the 1850s, Charles Marville had established a reputation as an accomplished and versatile photographer. From 1862, as official photographer for the city of Paris, he documented aspects of the radical modernization program that had been launched by Emperor Napoleon III and his chief urban planner, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann. In this capacity, Marville photographed the city’s oldest quarters, and especially the narrow, winding streets slated for demolition. Even as he recorded the disappearance of Old Paris, Marville turned his camera on the new city that had begun to emerge. Continue reading

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Giving Thanks: One Reader Is A Miracle

All the talk about slow food and slow blogging reminds me of this story from the Left Bank. I published it first in September 2007, near the beginning of this blog. It remains one of the most satisfying pieces of new writing that I’ve done here. I was sad the day it dropped off the bottom of the home page, which held 20 posts then. Maybe no one would ever find or read the story again. So I re-posted it that Thanksgiving, and now I claim it as a family tradition. On this day meant to give thanks it gives me pleasure to read and publish it again to affirm how I am blessed that Ms. Modigliani is my first reader. Continue reading

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Partners in Surrealism: Lee Miller and Man Ray

Lee Miller’s lips fly over a forest in Man Ray’s “Observatory Time – The Lovers,” an oil painting from 1934. The surrealist art of Lee Miller and Man Ray are presented together for the first time in a museum show, Man Ray/Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism. Anthony Penrose, Miller’s son, and curator Phillip Prodger discuss the artists on NPR. Continue reading

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Remembering a Free Man in Paris on Father’s Day

A street artist in Montmartre made this sketch of my father, Bob Willis, in 2005. It’s based on a photo taken after the war which is tagged “Paris 1945.” I carried that photo in my pocket until I found a suitable artist. The challenge now in Montmartre is choosing just one while evading a flock of noisy and aggressive competitors. In commissioning this drawing I was completing a circle for me and my dad. He had carried a wedding photo of my mother throughout the war, and in Montmartre he found a street artist who turned the image into an oil painting. The price Bob negotiated was two cartons of cigarettes and a chocolate bar. Continue reading

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A Call to Judge from Spoken Word in Paris: “Writers Get Violent – Le Match de Boxe”

A blind flaneur wanders into some preposterous situations from time to time. With a website like this one, preposterous situations also find him. This morning I was thrilled by an invitation to be a judge at the Writers Get Violent boxing match on Thursday night in Paris. Alas, I am in the States today, and I don’t know how I could get it together to cross the pond just now. Break my heart! Continue reading

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Art Lives Forever at Pere-Lachaise

Forever: I love the way this documentary is put together. Filmmaker Heddy Honnigmann brings patience and faith to the interviews, allowing her subjects long stretches of silence to gather their thoughts and emotions. She finds extraordinarily fresh ways to tell the stories of famous artists immortalized in the Pere-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Three blind film buffs listen to a movie with Simone Signoret and Judy Garland, collectively recreating the scene from what they hear. An illustrator describes his improbable path to rendering À la recherche du temps perdu into a graphic novel, and another pilgrim to Proust’s tomb speaks passionately, in untranslated Korean, about what the master meant to him. Perhaps most affecting of all is a quiet man explaining how he tries to bring the artistic sensibility of Modigliani to his own craft – embalming corpses for burial.
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BBC Radio 4: The Paris Bouquinistes

The BBC Radio 4 program about les bouquinistes aired this morning, and I am thrilled to be part of it! Many thanks to producer Geoff Bird for bringing me into the process, and for Phil who alerted me to the broadcast. Listen now. Or launch the audio player from the BBC Radio 4 web page. Continue reading

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Thomas Jefferson and the Francophobes

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Every man has two countries, his own and France.” By France he surely meant Paris. I know the sentiment. Pursuing this dual citizenship of the heart is one of my life’s great passions , and it’s a leitmotif of this blog. Continue reading

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