Saturday, July 03, 2010

Playing in the Park Laurie Fox PESSEMIER Acrylic on canvas 23.5 x 10 inches  SOLD
Drummer Laurie Fox PESSEMIER Acrylic on canvas 12 x 16 inches  SOLD


Artnotes: Cool Generation
This sweltering Thursday evening, my art opening was sparsely celebrated. Among the attendees were my friend S and friends, from Tunisia. I refer to the four as “women of the desert”: a mere 90 degrees farenheit didn’t bother them.
Paris has very little air-conditioning. We only experience two seriously warm months here, and then more than a week of really hot weather is rare. So we open and shut shades and windows, use hand fans and tolerate a little body odor. Things slow down. I actually like the fact I can feel the heat when it’s hot out. I don’t get those air-conditioning headaches like I do in the US. Seattle formerly didn’t have so much air-conditioning either, but the last twenty years of development have put them into the HVAC league. Just try to air condition an apartment with French windows.
We’ve been spending lots of time in the park where I sit in the chair and Harika lies on the ground. Even though it isn’t grass, she finds the tamped earth much cooler than the macadam which surrounds us. I have been painting pictures of musicians there, and enjoying the bonus of free entertainment.
Not all the musical groups have been good. I heard one recently which bore resemblance to a broken music box. At one point, I thought it intentional, but after the third or so song like that, I knew it couldn’t be. How could they be that bad and have been selected? They had a color poster (well, printed on letter paper) and everything.
The winners for me this week were the Wisconsin “Ambassadors of Music”, performing such diverse works as Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever and a bucket number from Stomp. They played a Belgian march and an Andalusian favorite we all know but I am not sure of the name (it’s a little like the old Marlboro theme, with a Spanish mariachi twist). The musical entourage had 180 members, including a large choral contingent who sang the Star Spangled Banner. Everyone stood up.
S is moving back to Tunisia, along with her friend, R, an artist. Paris has become decidedly less generous in its quality of life: there isn’t as much to go around in the way of jobs and money. I am not the only one who notices. French friends have said to me “it is very bad here”. They are raising the retirement age to 62, amidst serious protest. And my Tunisian friends, after 28 years in the French capital, are taking the plunge back “home”.
Harika, Blair and I are enjoying our French summer. Harika encourages us to frequent cafes (especially those with cool tile floors), and we order “Perrier Citron” or some other summery mix. On Thursday and Friday the market strip was planted with ten-foot neon flowers celebrating the opening of the “Mini Cooper” store on the corner, and we hung around making believe we, too, were part of the cool generation.

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