Archive for August, 2011
During its avant-garde heyday (1875 to 1905) art exhibitions and festivities flourished in Montmartre, giving birth to Dada, Surrealism and other unorthodox art forms. Montmartre’s gifted artists were determined to stun the status quo with their daring approaches, while its elaborate cabarets catered to patrons looking for a bit of risqué entertainment. This was the place to be in fin-de-siècle Paris if you were an artist, writer or counter-culture bohemian (I guess the late 19th century equivalent of a hipster).
Several creative associations were formed in and around Montmartre. There were many people involved in these who eventually became world-renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Pierre Brissaud, Maurice Utrillo, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as well as the American expatriate Langston Hughes. Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani and a few other struggling artists were content to live in Le Bateau-Lavoir, a commune, in the years between 1904 and 1909.
Even after the so-called heyday visitors to Montmartre mostly consisted of aspiring artists, struggling poets and unpublished authors. This list included the young Earnest Hemingway and his newly married wife, Hadley Richardson. Back then, Montmartre was a turn of the century artistic stronghold with lingering vestiges of “La Boheme”. Imagine a congregation of cabaret singers, pimps and vagabond painters sporting goatees and odd-sized berets.
The Montmartre of Today
In some ways, this Paris neighborhood remains the same. There still are traces of alternative culture, but you may have to head further downhill towards Pigalle, into the 9th district, to find some of the racier nightclubs.
Contemporary Montmartre has become one of the biggest tourist attractions of Paris. According to city officials, more than 6 million tourists visit this mecca of bygone bohemian culture every year. During peak season days, around 18,000 people walk up its winding streets, cramming the Place du Tertre – where many painters still set up their easels (the Dali museum and the Montmartre museums are nearby too). And they don’t mind elbowing their way up the constricted steps to get a glimpse of the Sacre-Coeur and to gaze down upon the remarkable and incomparable cityscape of Paris.
Le Grand Palais is inviting Spanish choreographer Blanca Li this September 23, 24 and 25 to transform the its grandiose main hall into a giant dance studio offering a variety of courses from ballet to Bollywood. The idea is to make this festive gathering an interactive event where the public can get involved. It’s a costume party, a flash-dance-mob, even a workshop. Surely you’ll find something to suit your groove shoes. Photographer Philippe Noisette has said of Blanca Li: “Honoring the circus, flamenco dancer in her spare time, a nod to hip hop, an ode to Andalusia too… Blanca Li always manages to surprise…”
The courses will be in French, but the festive spirit will be universal!
Where: The nave of the Grand Palais (follow link for map and other practical info)
Friday, September 23 from 19:00-01:00
Dance Mob in partnership with Evian at the opening 19:00
Saturday, September 24 from 11:00-21:00
and from 23:00-05:00 with Radio FG Clubbing night and the participation of Club Sandwich
Sunday, September 25 from 11:00-19:00
Adults: €12, Teens: €6, Children: Free
Night clubbing: €28
Paris has a lot to offer in the way of culture, with over 140 museums covering almost any topic you can think of. One needs time to see just a handful of them, not to mention money to cover all of the entrance fees. The good news is that there are many that open their doors free to the public, everyday, year-round. Below we’ve provided an extensive list of 23 excellent cultural attractions you can visit without breaking your budget.
Along with the Thermes de Cluny, the Arènes de Lutèce are the only vestige left of the early Romans of Lutèce. This former amphitheater, likely first constructed in the first century AD, and reconstructed again in the 6th century, could contain more than 15000 people. The ruins were discovered at the end of the 18th century, and thanks to its classification as a Historical Monument, the Arènes de Lutèce can now be visited everyday for free.
Located in the fifth arrondissement police headquarters, the Le musée de la préfecture de police traces the history of the Paris police from the the epoch of L’ancien régime to today. 2000 unique objects are presented that evoke the history of Paris.
Ascenseur pour l’Échafaud (Elevator to the Gallows) is a 1958 film noir classic by Louis Malle. Miles Davis, who was in town to play at the Club Saint-Germain, was commissioned to compose the soundtrack. He and his sidemen showed up at the studio and improvised the entire soundtrack using only a few harmonic cues from Davis while watching key sequences of the film. The resulting soundtrack is a classic in its own right. However, the combined forces of Davis and Malle and lead-actress Jeanne Moreau’s smoldering screen presence over a late fifties Paris backdrop is enough to make even those too young to remember the film coming out nostalgic for the Paris of the late 50s and early 60s.
The turbulent times we live in are unique in that they’ve largely been a collective experience due to the rise of photojournalism and mass media distribution. From the beginnings of war photojournalism in the Spanish Civil War and bookended by photos from 2007, L’ombre de la guerre (Shadow of War) is an exhibition at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie juxtaposing iconic war images, putting them in context with notes and statistical data. The symbolic power of these photographs evoke reflection on humanity and our future together.
The exhibition runs until September 25, 2011
Les Nuits des étoiles (Night of the Stars) is an annual event in several countries across Europe and Africa where astronomers share their knowledge about our skies, taking you deep into the Milky Way. Tonight, August 5, at Cite des Sciences there are several free events that will allow you to stargaze, participate in workshops or even enjoy a show in the Planetarium. (Please not that some outdoor events may be affected by the weather. You can call 01 40 05 78 70 ahead of time for updates).
See below for a full program: Continue reading “Les Nuits des étoiles 2011” »