Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cheap Art: Fred Eerdekens' Shadow Words

(by Fred Eerdekens)

I'm a huge fan of art that incorporates text. I guess that's not so surprising for a writer, but from mail art to Mel Bochner, I can't get enough of wordy art. That's why I was so excited to see Fred Eerdekens' simple and stunning exhibit "Remanences" at Magda Danysz Gallery in the 11e arrondissement.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Paris Lit Up Open Mic Nights

Paris has a long tradition of attracting expat writers to its cobblestone streets and intimate drinking spaces. Even today, there's a booming community of writers wandering the streets of the city. The organization Paris Lit Up seeks to connect these writers and keep visitors and expats informed of the many various goings-on in the Paris literary community. They've even created a weekly open mic night at the fab (and very cheap) Belleville bar Culture Rapide.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cheap Art: Portes Ouvertes Belleville

(Lovely Rebecca Brown at last year's Portes Ouvertes of Belleville)

I love going to Portes Ouvertes, or weekends where artists in a selected neighborhood open their ateliers for visitors to come and check out their working spaces (often also their homes) and view their work. It can also be a great opportunity to buy art directly from the artist, often at a lower price than you'd find at a gallery or elsewhere. In addition to full-sized works, oftentimes for these events the artists will have small paintings or prints available for less than 30€.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Cheap Eats: Heures Heureuses 2013

Hooray, Heures Heureuses is back for another year of budget gourmet bites! Here's how it works: stop by the Mairie de Paris at the Hôtel de Ville and snag a cute little "passport" that shows you all the different restos that are participating (with maps!). Then, at each place, have your passport "stamped" and get a delicious little bite for just 2€ apiece. Make a flânerie out of it and bounce from place to place, trying out cheapo bites at each stop and discovering restaurants you might not otherwise have known about.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Pissarro's Places

(Pissarro's "Boulevard Montmartre, Matin d'Hiver" via Le Monde des Arts)

I was bummed when I found out that Camille Pissarro was a man, not a woman. I'm not sure why. But his gender takes nothing away from the fact that this "dean of Impressionism" was a prolific painter of lovely country landscapes, street scenes and quotidian life. He mentored Gaugin, Van Gogh and Cezanne, who said of Pissarro, "He was a father for me. A man to consult and a little like the good Lord." He moved around between Paris, the French countryside, London, and even Venezuela, painting a wide spectrum of visual delights, and it's this variety that has captured the fascination of author Ann Saul, who has visited every single place Pissarro painted (with the exception of Venezuela) and will be at the American Library of Paris this Wednesday to discuss her book, appropriately named "Pissarro's Places."

Ann Saul: Pissarro's Places
Wednesday, 22 May, 7:30pm
The American Library of Paris
Paris Métro: M8 to École Militaire

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Free Art: European Museum Night 2013

(Photo of the Louvre via Konrad Kasior)

Once a year, museums all over Europe keep their doors open late, and for free. This is La Nuit Européenne des Musées, European Museum Night, and if you're in Paris this weekend you'd be a fool not to take advantage of this up-all-night culturefest (most museums are open until midnight, but some stay open 'til 2am). You can see the Venus de Milo at the Louvre, Marcel Proust's bedroom at Musée Carnavalet, the "Angels of the Odd" exhibit at Musée d'Orsay and many, many more exhibits and permanent collections all over Paris, for free. Here's a full list of the 166 events happening just in Paris.

La Nuit Européenne des Musées
Saturday, 18 May, 'til late
Various locations

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cheap Art: Madame Moustache

("Memories are like old mustard: if it doesn't sting anymore, it's obsolete." By Madame Moustache)

Madame Moustache is a Parisienne street artist whose work has popped up on walls all over the city, mostly in the hip neighborhoods of the 11th, 18th and 20th arrondissements. Madame Moustache creates her detailed and busy collages from objects, images and words culled from magazines from the '60s and '70s and whips them into cool, interesting and (most of all) funny works of art that give a wink to our notions of gender, power and relationships. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Free Concerts: Festival Jazz Saint-Germain-Des-Prés 2013

(Photo of Bob Wilber (l) and Sidney Bechet (r) via Jazz Masters)

May is a great time in Paris, as it kicks off the free music season. It all begins with the annual Festival Jazz Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a 2.5-weeklong fiesta of all forms of the art from swing to gypsy to modern ("cool") jazz in an assortment of concerts all over Paris (many of which are free). This year the festival celebrates its 13th edition with concerts at the Luxembourg gardens, at the Center for Irish Culture (a swing ball!), at the Oceanic Institute, at Starbucks, even at Orly airport. I will definitely dig the tributes to Sidney Bechet (Woody Allen's favorite jazz artist) and Django Reinhardt. To see the festival's entire lineup, head to the website and plan your jazz appreciation!

Festival Jazz Saint-Germain-des-Prés
Prices vary, many concerts FREE
Thursday, 16 May - Monday, 3 June
Various Locations

Monday, May 6, 2013

Quiet Paris (With Special Reader Discount!)

(Image via Paris Imperfect)

With over 2 million residents and a whopping 42 million visitors each year, Paris tucks a lot of humanity into its 20 arrondissements. From the crowded Métro at 6pm to endless lines of people filing in and out of its landmarks, it's easy to feel overwhelmed in this city. (To note: I went to City Pharma one Tuesday afternoon and nearly had a panic attack from the masses of discount beauty-seeking women).

But Siobhan Wall sees beyond all that. The writer/photographer has the enviable job of traveling the globe in search of nooks and crannies of quiet and calm in the world's most famous cities. After gaining recognition for her books Quiet London and Quiet Amsterdam, Wall has taken on the City of Light with her third in the series, Quiet Paris.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cheap Drinks: Marlusse et Lapin

(Hey, that guy's kinda cute, I should have talked to him)

Though South Pigalle is the hot new area for hipsters and dive bars these days, I'd advise you to venture a bit northward on your next visit to the red light district of Paris and snag a cheap drink at Marlusse et Lapin. This unassuming neighborhood spot is just far enough up the street from Pigalle to escape the creepy leering men beckoning you into strip clubs, and offers ridiculously affordable drinks in its snug and old-fashioned imbibing space. Grandma wallpaper and even a table centered around an old sewing machine set the decidedly un-hookerish vibe at Marlusse et Lapin, and with friendly and fun bartenders serving up glasses of wine and beers at less than 3€, there's no better spot in the area to have a cozy drink to get your night started (or ended).

Marlusse et Lapin
14 rue Germain Pilon 75018 Paris
Métro: M2 to Abbesses, M2/M12 to Pigalle


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