Sunday, December 11, 2011

Out and About

This week I accepted all of my invitations.   Being an artist I suppose means that sometimes I am a recluse , sometimes social.    But this week was a good time to step out.


The first treat this week was a trip to Monaco with a girlfriend to see our compatriot,  Amy Blake, a former Texan, singing in Good Evening Mr. Gershwin at the Variety on the port of Monaco.  Amy is not only charming to watch, but a  talented chanteuse and cantatrice into the bargain.  As far as I can see, the difference between the two designations is popular ( chanteuse) and classical (cantatrice).  With her range from mezzo to soprano she was able to serve up some sultry jazz sounds although having been classically trained as an opera singer.

She was joined by a saxophone/clarinet player Olivier Boutry,  a sax and clarinet player,  a double bassist,  Patrick Barbato to "slap that bass", the chatty piano player, Paul Berthaud who doubled as the narrator,  and a drummer, Patrick Mendez...all amazingly and equally accomplished.   It was a well- rounded delightful evening and I will follow Amy and her fellow musicians when she sings in our area.

           Amy Blake

I continued in my string of events with an invitation to the restaurant LE FROG http://frog-restaurant.frhidden behind the Nice Opera house.  My girlfriend hosted me with a Groupon ticket which meant that instead of paying for the meal,  I enjoyed a fine starter of chevre wrapped in filo dough, a main course of caramelized endive and a slice of rouget fish.  Thanks to my pal, all I payed for was the glass of Sancerre.   Go give FROG a try, the woman under the toque has a few tricks up her sleeve.

Thursday I went to Harmonia Mundi,
a boutique of fine music and film to see an old acquaintance, Pierre Virol, present his latest photos.  I was able to catch up with some friends and admire Pierre's interesting work with the camera.  The intimate exhibition, called Racines reminded me of work I had done on the same subject.  We had already thought about teaming up and I won't rule it out.

Friday, J and I saw the new movie by Polanski: Carnage.   I hadn't thought of Roman Polanski as a director of comedy but he lead a tight ensemble composed of Jody Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christopher Waltz in a comedy/drama that takes place chiefly in one room much like a theatre piece.  It's has to do with two couples trying to "be civilized" about a fight between their teenage sons , a fight which spills over onto the parents.

                                                                          Internet movie database              

 I hadn't known the work of Christopher Waltz ,  deftly hilarious as the cynical lawyer husband of Kate , a man surgically attached to his cell phone.  The other veterans were equally compelling in their roles in this comedy of "no manners".   I have really not seen any of these favorites put a foot wrong for a long time if ever.

 J. and I however were the only ones really laughing in the salle de cinema, so it could be that Carnage is culturally based upper middle class, humor and requires American as a first language.  I would suggest if you possess these requirements that you get thee to the Rialto Cinema this week.

To finish my cluster of invitations,  yesterday afternoon I attended a party to celebrate 150 years of our Nice English- American 
I seldom get a chance to catch up with the volunteers who staff the library, most of whom I have known for years.  The buffet was not even the best part, as I got to renew old acquaintance and gather a few new eccentric types for my "charm bracelet" of "connaissances".  It seems some of the most uncommon folks end up as ex-patriots somewhere. 
I heard stories in accents French, Belgian, American, British, Irish and Scottish. 

 There is nothing like a new story....stories made all the more compelling perhaps when enlivened by endless top-ups of champagne and good smoked salmon.    Today I am going to lay low and listen to my collection of classical music and muse , is that a verb?


  1. How lovely to know what you were up to this week and where it took you.


  2. Yes, Joanne I feel like there is a lot of fun to be had out there just now and it's nice to have the offer of a car from time to time too thanks to my friend, J.

  3. Bonjour Mary: We saw God Of Carnage in London
    with Janet McTeer and Ralph Fiennes...very witty
    and hilarious. Christopher Hampton expertly
    translated as he did Yasmina Reza's farce, Art,
    leaving the setting in Paris. The New York
    production with James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels and
    Marcia Gay Harden was changed somewhat since it
    was set in Brooklyn. Friends who saw it there claim it was
    excellent. Roman Polanski's film version is very disappointing. He doesn't know how to pace a farce, and John Reilly and Jody Foster were
    woefully miscast. Christoph Waltz, Oscar winner for
    Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds, was fine though Kate Winslet
    was merely OK. I kept hoping for laughs, but it wan't funny.
    If you get a chance to see a stage version don't miss it.


  4. Dear Bruce, Thanks for this . Now that you mention it I think I was laughing more at the lines than the pacing. Even with these good actors I am hopeful I will see the London version. And it was hard to imagine a marriage between Jody Foster's character and John C Reilly's really.

  5. They are played as being from polar opposite backgrounds,
    which is not hinted at in the play, especially if you know it's FRENCH!

  6. Yasmina Reza is really a marvel. It turns out that she wrote the play when she didn't yet know English and managed to get that American tone just right. Now I want to see her other plays too.