Archive for the ‘Paris’ Category

At home on top of trees

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

My gorgeous view, from a rented room of my own, which I will have for only four more days and four more nights. I have lived on top of these trees, with a view of the Butte Chaumont and the big Parisian sky, for 2.5 years. It’s true, you do get used to climbing stairs, and to your roommate calling you from the courtyard down below, asking you to toss the bike room keys out the window so she doesn’t have to make the 7-flight climb.

Armand Carrel on a summer day

Armand Carrel on a cloudy night

Analog surprises

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

In the middle of a roll of film, a surprise! A triple exposure, auto-portrait with two dear friends who, I believe very soon after this photo was taken, went off in different directions for 6 months, one to Nairobi, the other to Dubai.

Autoportrait à trois

Jazz Pas Grave II – day three

Monday, June 11th, 2012

After three days of sitting very close to the open mouths of saxophones and trumpets, today I’m editing photos in silence, saving my ears for tomorrow night when Nicolas Genest plays at the Zebre in Belleville, with many invited guests, Célinn (below) possibly being one of them.


Célinn et l’Arbre des Songes

Mario Forte, visually and musically captivating.

Surprise guest Jean-Loup Longnon blew me away with his trumpet playing, and then again after hours, spontaneously on the piano.

Not an easy place to play, but rather a rite of passage at 59 Rivoli… a jam session with Antoine Beux in the Musée Igor Balut, a creation of the artist inconnu, Suisse Marocain.

More info on the festival : Jazz Pas Grave.

Jazz Pas Grave II – day two

Sunday, June 10th, 2012


Tony Tixier and his intense relationship with the piano.


3someSisters. They may look like clowns, but they have the most stunning and impeccably choreographed voices.


Louis Carrion, of the group Funkable


Singer performing with the group Funkable.

What are they doing in there?

Jazz Pas Grave II – day one

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

A few marvelous moments from the first of a three-day jazz festival at 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris.


Nicolas Genest with his group Hati


Guest sax player with O.R.U.S. Quartet


Malamente and Frank Cosentini of Guappecarto


Store-front concert on rue de Rivoli being saved into a compact camera

Paname bloo

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Hey remember that time in 2008 when we went out to get crepes under the tower,
just cuz the belle dame was blue?

Yeah, me neither, but I just found the photos.

Paname blues

Nutella?

Artificially sweetened

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I once bought a dress that made me look like a cupcake.

I remember standing in the tiny shop feeling ridiculous, artificially-sweetened, looking at my friend and the shop-keeper and telling them, “It’s not really my style.” To which I got, “Oh but it looks so good on you! You HAVE to buy it.” Surprised by their enthusiasm for something so fluffy pink, I said, “well, maybe if it were black…”

“It’s a great color, it suits you, you need more variety in your wardrobe.”

Pulling at the sides of the dress, I said “It doesn’t have much of a structure, I look like a potato.”

So why did it go home with me? I suppose it was cheerful enough that I thought it could brighten a grey day. But for two years, it has stayed in the closet, not tempted me once. Maybe I can turn it into a lamp shade.

Pink paisley cupcake dress comes out, but not to stay

Here’s sun in your eyes

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Paris weather can be so disappointing, but at the end of the day when your hope is gone, the sun sometimes puts on a quick show and you think, “Paris, you bitch, you are beautiful.”

Paris, 11e.

France votes Hollande

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Tens of thousands of people congregated at Place de la Bastille tonight to celebrate the departure of Sarkozy. Let’s be honest, the enthusiasm for François Hollande is subsequent to their tangible joy of seeing “Sarko” ousted. The optimism is flowing, along with beer, wine and champaign. France hasn’t had a left-wing president since François Mitterrand left office after two seven-year terms in 1995.

François Hollande's campaign slogan: C'est maintenant flies at Place de la Bastille. Right now.

Deep in the crowds at Place de la Bastille, listening to President Elect François Hollande's first speech.

Sarko has a great face for caricature.

In observing nine years of celebrations and protests, this is the highest number of people I've ever seen on the monument at Place de la Bastille at one time. May 6, 2012.

It's politics, so there will be disappointment. But right now, the joy and optimism are flowing like beer. Or maybe it's just the beer.

May 1, 2012

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Back in Paris just in time for May 1st. Last year, Côte d’Ivoire had the loudest, most urgent message. This year it’s clearly a distaste (I’m being too kind) for Sarkozy. It will be an interesting week leading up to Sunday’s election results. One of my dearest friends, in updating me on what he’s doing this week, said “and on Sunday we are changing the President.” We shall see very soon…

Sarko's words turned on himeslf, Casse toi, pov'con was the phrase of the day. It was Sarko's response to someone who refused his handshake at an Agriculture fair in 2008, saying 'don't touch me, you'll get me dirty,' and basically means, get outta here, stupid ass.

Boulevard St Michel, May 1, 2012.

Headline on Siné Mensuel: Last elections before the revolition.

Alternatives: Solidarity, Ecology, Feminism, Self-Management

This man was photographed at least 30 times in the five minutes that he walked by me. His sign: Sarkozy: Well, that's good, for US!

Place de la Bastille, May 1st, 2012. 'Sarko, you're an asshole.'

A moment in the life of Ealy Mays

Sunday, March 4th, 2012

Last week I stopped in Place Dalida to finish a sandwich. Between meetings on either side of the butte, I was in the right place at the right time to cross paths with my old friend Ealy Mays, a painter from Texas, who was, at that exact moment, moving out of his studio at Cité des Arts.

I hadn’t seen him in a few years. We met in another life when I was a bartender who took photos and he was, yet as always, a painter who painted. “Whatcha doin’ behind that bar? Got your camera? C’mon, I wanna show ya something.”

Anyway, he had been awake all night moving paintings and scrubbing the floor, and that morning had given a historical tour of Paris to a group of American tourists.

On our way up to his studio we were joined by a guy coming for the room inspection. It felt like college again. As the man started going down his short checklist, Ealy played bartender this time and poured us all a cup of wine.

Ealy Mays leaving Cité des Arts, Paris.

Before leaving he asked me to photograph him doing what all the tourists do when they pass through Place Dalida.

"You have to be out now," says the room inspector. "Here, have some wine. " responds Ealy

Collecting strangers

Monday, February 27th, 2012

30-something male encountered late at night, in a bar. You’ve seen him before – trendy glasses, scruffy unshaven cheeks and saggy-bum pants. He asks, in the first 60 seconds of our conversation, “are you on Facebook?” as he looks, not at you, but at his glowing screen.

Behavior that elicits the antithesis of 'you had me at hello?'

Sun Day

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

The sun is out, and it’s Sunday. The only thing on the agenda is “anything but work.”
I’m going out to play, with an old camera, a good book, and a notebook.

Butte Chaumont. Spring 2011. What it feels like today, on this late February day.

Early morning on the Butte

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

I wasn't the only photographer on the Butte Chaumont this morning...

Stray Dogs Christmas

Monday, December 26th, 2011

One of the most hilariously fun Christmas Eve’s I’ve ever had came together at the last minute when a bunch of strays gathered organically in my apartment for dinner and spontaneous chair dancing.

John Bond

A dashing Dutchman arrives, screams are heard

Laughing til the bottle spins

Give me the cameraaaaah

Luis y son vino tinto

"Champagne" imported all the way to Paris from... Michigan! Of course!

Competing standup routines

Josephine, photographed by a man she met flying over Africa

Dutchman disarmed

The camera turns on me

The night before the night before Christmas, when Chris was told to f*ck off

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Tonight I was moping around the Marais in the rain, eating Belgian chocolates, longing for Chicago and slipping into the feeling of old horse-drawn, cobble-stoned Paris, fantasizing that I’d find a small abandoned Christmas tree that I could drag home and hang my earrings on.

Sinking comfortably into my solitude, my eyes in the shadow of my wide-brimmed winter hat, I took the least populated streets until I found a clean, dimly-lit café terrasse and installed myself in the corner. There were only two other people outside: men bent over smartphones, quietly complaining to each other about their jobs. Inside there was only a woman about my age at the bar, poking fiercely at an iPhone. The waiter was cheerful and so was I, when he set down my glass of rouge that sparkled so prettily in the over-head heat lights.

I took out Le Monde magazine and turned to the article on Ai Weiwei, but my vulnerable pre-holiday state of mind needed the comfort of English. So I took out The New Yorker and felt more at home. Between these two subscriptions, if I spent all of my spare hours reading, I would still never finish them.

Two days before Christmas, this normally busy Marais street was wonderfully silent. Sitting in the warm red light, across the street from a building draped in twinkling blue, with both colors swirling around each other on the shiny pavement in between, it was a lovely scene.

Until it got better. I then had the luck to witness something really great. The men had just left and the girl from inside the bar came out, apparently needing some privacy to yell at her boyfriend. I looked up and our eyes met. I expected her to turn around and find somewhere to be alone, but she didn’t seem to mind me eavesdropping. She faced me as she yelled into her phone. “T’es ! Un ! Vrai ! Con ! Tu m’as pris du fric puis tu m’as jeté ! Je ne vais PLUS être ta connasse ! Je comprends pourquoi les gens te jettent, Chris ! Et moi, je te jette ! VA…TE…FAIRE…FOUTRE ! ET CREVER DANS TA MERDE !” With that, she went back inside, gathered her things and left.

Stunned at the beauty and force of her efficacy, I smiled and took out my pen to write down this treasure.

Merry Christmas eve eve Chris, wherever you are with this girl’s money.

Lonely man. Green light.

Paddy & Linda & Candles, Oh My

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

A night with Paddy Sherlock and his band at The Coolin in Paris
heals all wounds.

It’s even better when he plays Lulu le Chat
and it’s your birthday.

Linda McCluskey turns 23

La Defense, sort of occupied

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

I went to la Defense yesterday to check out the Occupy France/Les Indignés protest. I hadn’t realized they were there and apparently I wasn’t the only one, as I found the area not very occupied. It was rather disappointing. They have been there for 16 days, were washed away with police force mid-week, and put a call out for support to come yesterday at 17h.

Before going, I sent out many messages to friends, and was unable to convince anyone to come with me. Most already had plans, and others it seemed like just didn’t want to bother. One friend said that it was too far, if it had been on the way somewhere she would stop by. True, it’s physically outside the periphérique, but the metro takes you to just below the protesters and an escalator carries you up right next to them, up to probably the most obvious place the protest should happen.

It was late Saturday afternoon and the shopping center just below the protesters was more crowded, as was the line 1 metro on the way there, which deposited crowds of people from Chatelet to the Champs Elysees, where consumers hang out en masse on weekends. Leaving the protest, taking the stairs back down to the metro felt like returning to another reality, the hand-written cardboard calls for change replaced by big fancy shopping bags.

View of Les Indignés' meeting last night, viewed from the top of the steps leading to the Arch de la Défense

The welcome desk of Occupy La Defense, with a list of reasons they came, what they need in terms of logistical support in order to stay

Signs and posters delineated the center of the protest. The Hope Area.

At the meeting they went through a list of speakers, with a megaphone that distorted more than it projected. Considerable time was spent on how to be heard. Suggestions for the human megaphone, like in NYC, were offered and eventually someone came with an orange construction cone that worked rather well

Occupy La Defense, 19 November 2011

Things people say without thinking

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Overheard in front of Arnulf Rainer‘s work at Paris Photo.
“Je suis un peu malade de la tête, alors c’est normal que j’aime ca.”

Ok, well I like his work a lot and I’m not sick in the head!

Arnulf Rainer's work at the Christophe Gaillard stand at Paris Photo

Scene from a mustache party

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Lily & Dani in a 6th floor salle de bain

Generosity, one week later

Friday, October 7th, 2011

Yesterday was the last day of my generosity experiment, as I had planned it, but it’s not really the end of anything.

What did I learn? Nothing earth shattering. You know, we’re all here together just trying to get along, some people struggle more than others or in different ways. No one feels good ignoring another person in need. I mean, I feel like shit turning my back on someone. So this week felt pretty good in that regard, as “no” was not an option.

Before this week, if I didn’t give money to a person who asked on the subway or in the street, I at least looked him/her in the eye and said something kind. It feels so inhuman to do otherwise. Unfortunately, in a big city it can get tricky. It’s crowded, you can feel over-solicited. Most of it happens in the metro. My roommate stopped taking the subway and felt the quality of her daily life greatly improved. I, on the other hand, spend a lot of time in underground transport and it’s almost like we live in different cities. You get pushed around down there, and because this is Paris you get elbowed and shouldered, you see many people down and out, hear many of them announce their stories, or put it in writing or sing you a song. Some people try to shut this out by making islands of themselves with iPods. I’ve see tourists being afraid, extremely uncomfortable, maybe coming from places that are clean and wealthy, where homelessness is against the law. I’ve heard people say, “You can’t give to everyone.” And, I suppose I’d disagree, as for the last week that’s what I did, when asked. I don’t know how much, I purposely didn’t want to quantify it, but it wasn’t bank-breaking.

I noticed some people that I hadn’t before, who are always in the same place. People with soft hands and sad eyes. Some moving fast, desperate, some dragging, numbed. Some with cats, some with dogs, that one guy with the sleeping puppies and a ferret. There’s the sweet calico cat with his man by the Marché d’Aligre. And that one man who seemed really happy lying there on that mattress at midnight, with two toddlers asleep next to him. He was the most disturbing.

Unfortunately I didn’t see the man who sparked this whole thing. His eyes were similar to the man below…who didn’t seem interested in talking, and I was too shy to ask all the questions in my mind.

Rue Fbg St Antoine

Commedia Volante

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

This year’s Nuit Blanche was as enchanting as last year’s was bizarre. In the center of Paris, on a shopping street across from an H&M and a McDonald’s, two Italian trapeze artists made us all feel like kids again.

On Saturday night, Monsieur Marco Mannucci and Madame Alessandra Lanciotti, of the group Mattatoio Sospeso, performed their piece entitled Commedia Volante, while suspended from the facade of 59 rue de Rivoli, accompanied by violin, accordion and roaring traffic.

It was one of the most fun & magical things I’ve seen quite some time.

Madame Alessandra Lanciotti, La Femme Volante, se prépare

Monsieur Marco Mannucci

Femme volante paniquée

Couple volante

Smiling Trapeze

Les Amants du Ciel

Flying au dessous de la rue

Generosity, day 3

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

On day three of this generosity experiment, what do I have to say? Well, it’s rather obvious, but it really is not about what you give, but the human interaction that has the impact.

I have a lot more to say, but I’ll leave it at that for now.

Outside metro Jaures

Naked in the park

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Walking in the park today, I was surprised to see an elderly woman sunbathing topless, then realized it was just a man with boobs and fluffy hair. I looked around to see if anyone else shared my curiosity but saw only these three people, in the shade of the shaggy trees.

Spending a day in the Butte Chaumont