Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring Fling Videos

In case you missed my You Tube posts.

It's Tuesday again and Agnes, our housekeeper has just arrived, so before I head out to Au Chien qui Fume, I thought I'd take just a minute to let you know what I've been up to these past few blogless weeks. You didn't think I was sitting around at home, did you?

No... well, yes and no. I'm happily addicted to iMovie, which you wouldn't know unless you're tuned into my YouTube channel. When you go there, be sure to take a look at my "Favorites," too. I just found a couple Def Poetry clips that are not to be missed. And of course you saw my previous posts for my sister's birthday and The Other Writers' Group, right? Since then, I've made three more videos...

The first was in celebration of my dear friends' civil union in New Zealand. I still say it's a crying shame that they can't do this in the United States... they would be so much closer that way. Instead, I had to catch up with their wedded bliss on line... which is fine only because that is exactly how they met... so many years ago. Being film aficionados,they bumped into each other over movie chat and have not stopped watching since, so I was happy and proud to be asked to share in their special day in this special way. See the video here: Civil Union. It's a departure from my usual style only because of compatibility issues in our file exchange. Congratulations, Shaun and Eric! Let me know when you have photos and videos posted from the ceremony and reception.

Almost three weeks ago now, my sweetie and I spent a glorious pre-spring day in our favorite romantic spot, The Champs de Mars. This is where we had our first kiss ;) The Eiffel Tower is as captivating as ever, and our little Filou had so much fun meeting people and running away from the other dogs. I didn't make the video until this past weekend, and he figures prominently. He's going to see Bertrand for a hair cut today after we have lunch. His face is just sooo furry!

And last week, my friend Hillary was in town visiting her charming daughter Sophie who is currently a writer in residence at Shakespeare & Company. We had breakfast and dinner together on Thursday and in between, I took a long wander through one of my favorite places: Pere Lachaise.

I've been thinking a lot about collaboration lately because I'm working with Cecilia Woloch helping her organize her annual Paris Poetry Workshop, and collaboration is the overarching concept this year. We have some fantastic afternoon workshops scheduled with great local poets, and the participants' list is shaping up to be as international as ever. I'm planning on making a video of the week, but you'll have to wait for that.

Because I don't really have great audio capabilities, I set my clips to music. Though I never know in advance which song I'll use--it depends on how the footage feels once I upload it and begin to cut and paste--I'm always amazed at how obvious the musical choice is once I find it. Then I edit the video to fit the song, placing transitions and sometimes definitive moments at specific places in the song. Sometimes this even happens effortlessly. I'm sure this violates all sorts of copyright laws, but if YouTube is any indication, the "owners" don't seem to mind... unless they're drawing up the lawsuits as we speak! I prefer to think of it as artistic exchange. Music is the soundtrack to our lives, after all. And Lord knows I'm not making ANY money for MY efforts ;) I think of it as scrapbooking in the new millenium.

So that should keep you busy for a little while. I can't wait until my friend Ellise gets back from her trip "home" to Dallas. We're planning to whip up a little cooking video to promote her blog Cowgirl Chef and her corresponding cooking classes. They are a hoot if you're looking for an intimate take on American life in this crazy city. She is sooo much fun.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flashmob Follow-Up

the first videos... since I was busy reading!

In case you didn't read my post on the Flashmob last month... A Religious Experience:

This was the first video account I found posted... it shows much of what I mentioned in my post:

I THINK this one is my favorite... so far... or it was... until they erased my comment!!!

This one has French narration... the intro is especially good, even if you don't speak French!


The Other Writers' Group

Since grad school, the only routine I've had is the one that's wrapped around his Monday though Friday work schedule. Fortunately--and unfortunately--he makes enough money to comfortably support the both of us... mostly fortunately since I still don't have the legal right to work in this country! Damn it. But recently, I've become a bit obsessed with finding my own routines even though I've never been a routine kinda gal. And as much as I am enjoying my Tuesdays Au Chien Qui Fume--in fact, my gal pal Alexa is meeting me there tomorrow--one excursion a week hardly seems enough to keep me sufficiently occupied in the 40+ hours a week I have to kill without him.

But there is another weekly activity that I have participated in on-and-off for four years now... This isn't the first time I've written about The Other Writers' Group at Shakespeare & Company, and it certainly won't be the last. But maybe this time is more official than the others. David Barnes began organizing the weekly workshop in 2005, and that is when I stumbled upon it. I was working on my French minor as an undergraduate and had seen a flyer posted on the store's bulletin board. Not much has changed since then. David's keen eye--and ears--continue to facilitate a friendly and savvy environment for English writers from all over the world... some who are only passing through and others who have lived in the city for years.

Here's how it works: Every Saturday evening from 5-7, as many as twenty-five and as few as three-to-five writers and readers meet in the upstairs library at the historic landmark across the Seine from Notre Dame. Some bring copies of their works in process but many don't. Listening and comments are encouraged either way. And let me tell you, you'd be hard pressed to find a more consistently good place to do so. I am constantly amazed at and grateful for the wealth of quality writing and readers that passes through those doors.

One of the most unique things about David's workshop IS those doors... revolving ones if you like. The ever changing faces and voices in the group--due to the changing seasons, vacations, the economy, and so many other fascinating factors--bring equally varied and enlightening works to discuss and critical commentary to rival any I've heard. I don't always take something to read, and there isn't always time to read everything everyone brings, but it isn't ALL about that. There is community at work, and a welcoming one at that.

If you aren't going to be in Paris on a Saturday for a while, maybe you want to check out the video I made after this week's meeting. And thanks for reading... and watching!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Saint Colette

open letter to my sister on her 29th birthday

Dear Brooke,

Did you know that in this very Catholic country, every single day is named for a saint, this one for Saint Colette. She died on this day in 1447 after devoting her life to reforming the "Poor Clares," a group of poverty stricken and apparently wayward nuns who founded Palm Sunday in 1212. I guess they weren't poor enough for Sainte Colette's liking because--according to Wikipedia--she prescribed more "extreme poverty," bare feet, "the observance of perpetual fast, and abstinence" in an attempt to purify their poor souls.

I, of course, prefer a more modern Colette and so am celebrating this day in her honor and yours. She has a lot to say about women and aging... if you haven't cracked her book of short stories yet ;) Thus begins your thirtieth year and an altogether different decade than the last. You're going out in quite a blaze of glory... a gorgeous new baby and a happy home, a career that promises all of the things our parents always wanted for us, and a persistent beauty fanned by your kindness and grace. I wish you all the self assurance and adventure that these older and wiser years can bring.

I've just come from a long walk all over town... to some of the places we visited when you were here in '05, places I know you love: Along the Seine to the Ile St. Louis, Notre Dame, then back west to Tuileries and the Louvre. There were a few magic moments, as usual... like when a nun came speeding though the swinging park gate at Notre Dame at ten to eight, pushing it open with her front bicycle tire, and when the gardener at Tuileries mistook me for a Russian then wanted to chat with me about movies stars when he found out I was from California, and when a woman found a wedding band at my feet as I was headed for the Pont des Arts and offered it to me for good luck... she tried to insist, but I told her to keep it, that I was never getting married. Then three other women in the next block tried the same scam on me... same exact gold band... probably not even real! Ok, so that wasn't magic after all! Unfortunately these are not the things I caught on film today.

I sure wish you were here now, or that I were there. Instead, this little video will have to do.

I'm thinking of you and hoping you, too, have a wonderful day. Thank you for being my reason...


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesdays III

Au Chien Qui Fume, again

Correction... this is not a chain. Apparently, there are others in town, but they are not related. This is reassuring. I thought the food was too good to be chain made.

Had the fish soup again yesterday... yummy as ever. But everything everyone orders always looks good! Usually it's fish, or shellfish, often a large, ice packed platter of it like this one on display in front of the restaurant.

Yes, complete with a reflection of me, Chatelet, and a tiny slice of sky.

It wasn't a very exciting day but it is nice to be known. I read my Pariscope and contemplated the movies again, but didn't go again even though again, Filou didn't go with me. His eye infection is finally looking a lot better, so I didn't want to drag him around this dirty town all afternoon. Next week, Filou... next week. And maybe Alexa will come with us... if the universities are still on strike, which seems likely.