Jun 30, 2008

Paris chinese noodles: Les Pâtes Vivantes restaurant

Great fresh Chinese noodles made on the premises at: Les Pâtes Vivantes.
For about €12 or less you get a good noodle dish.
46 rue du Faubourg Montmartre. 75009 Paris.
Metro: Le Peletier/ Grands Boulevards
Hours: tuesd-sat. from 12pm-3pm/7pm-10.30pm

Jun 28, 2008

Paris—Gay Pride '08

The French Gay Pride was awesomely messy and unorganized (or so it looks), stretching its 4 hour long parade into a 6 or 7 hour long loud and colorful manifestation; 3 miles with, at times, big empty spaces between floats and no distinction between those who partook in the parade and those who watched it. No cops were in sight and there were no barricades along the way!
The organizers estimated the amount of people to be between 700,000 and 500,000. The police estimated the amount to be 250,000!

I way prefer the Paris Gay Pride to the SF one but I terribly miss the SF Dyke March. There's nothing like it. Paris needs a big SF Dyke March to tell all those naive French straight dudes who laugh at women holding hands that if only they knew what these women can do without them, they'd stop looking at lesbians like they are a joke. They would stop acting like their dicks are bigger than your mama's dildo.

my pics here.

Jun 25, 2008

Angers—the Apocalypse Tapestry

7 is perfection, 6 is the unfinished, the bad (look for those tails that curl into that number), bat wings are a sign of evil and feather ones of good. A seven-headed creature with bat wings and a tail that curls into a 6 is an wholly badass creature!

Angers—the castle

"Owned by the City of Angers, the massive, austere château has been converted to a museum housing the oldest and largest collection of medieval tapestries in the world, with the 14th century "Apocalypse Tapestry" as one of its priceless treasures. As a tribute to its fortitude, the château has never been taken by any invading force in history."

The TGV ride from Paris-Montparnasse to Angers is the length of a feature film. It's a quick ride to a totally different, and extremely charming, part of France. Being away from the dense human and automobile traffic for a day can be a real treat, and the awesome tapestries of the Apocalypse are definitely worth the detour. Get off the train, go have lunch at the Villa Toussaint, walk to the castle, spend the afternoon there, and then head to la Ferme de l'île Saint Aubin for an aperitif (check ahead of time if the island has been submerged by the Maine river - the Maine and the Loire rivers are notorious for rising high and submerging the surrounding land. Here's the number:02 41 22 32 30) before heading back to the train station to catch your train back to Paris.

Jun 15, 2008

Questions For Gore Vidal

Questions For Gore Vidal
Literary Lion

Q: At the age of 82, you will be publishing your new collection of essays this week, which seems likely to confirm your reputation as one of America’s last public intellectuals. Why do you think that critics have traditionally praised your essays more than your fiction, which includes “Burr,” “Myra Breckinridge” and 20 other novels? That’s because they don’t know how to read. I can’t name three first-rate literary critics in the United States . I’m told there are a few hidden away at universities, but they don’t print them in The New York Times .
Are you saying your novels have been critically neglected? I don’t even read most reviews, unless there is a potential lawsuit on view. I’ve never had much attention paid by critics — nor has anybody else in the United States of America, as Mr. Obama likes to call it.
And what about Mr. McCain? Disaster. Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside fromhimself? About his suffering in the prison war camp?
Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. That’s what he tells us.
Why would you doubt him? He’s a graduate of Annapolis. I know a lot of the Annapolis breed. Remember, I’m West Point, where I was born. My father went there.
So what does that have to do with the U.S. Naval Academy down in Annapolis? The service universities keep track of each other, that’s all. They have views about each other. And they are very aware of social class and eventually money, since they usually marry it.
How, exactly, is your cousin Al Gore related to you? They keep explaining it to me, and I keep forgetting.
What about your grandfather, Thomas Gore of Oklahoma? He invented the whole state. It was Indian territory. There was no state until Senator Gore.
In 1968, during the Nixon-Humphrey race, you became the voice of liberalism in a series of televised debates with William Buckley. Any plans to be a pundit at the coming presidential conventions? No.
How did you feel when you heard that Buckley died this year? I thought hell is bound to be a livelier place, as he joins forever those whom he served in life, applauding their prejudices and fanning their hatred.
You live in California , where last month the State Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage . As someone who lived with a male companion for 50-plus years, do you see this as a victory for equality? People would ask, How could you live with someone for so long without any problems of any kind? I said, There was no sex.
Were you chaste during those years? Chased by whom?
Are you a supporter of gay marriage? I know nothing about it. I don’t follow that.
Why doesn’t it interest you? The same reason heterosexual marriage doesn’t seem to interest me.
If we look at the situation apart from you — It’s my interview, so we’ve got to stay with me.
Have you ever considered leaving the United States permanently? No, it’s my subject.
Do you read a lot of contemporary fiction these days? Like everyone else, no, I don’t.
Anyone in the 20th century you might have a kind word about? Yes, I liked Italo Calvino, and I thought he was the greatest writer of my time.
Your new collection includes an essay in which you note, “Calvino does what very few writers can do: he describes imaginary worlds with the most extraordinary precision and beauty.” What about American novelists? Can’t think of one.
Norman Mailer? Oh, dear, we’re not going to go into pluses and minuses now.
Philip Roth? Ditto.I admire Roth. He never became complacent. He had no reason to. He’s a good comic writer.
What do you think is your own best novel? I don’t answer questions like that. Ever. And you ought not to ask them.
Well, it was a great pleasure talking to you. I doubt that.


Jun 13, 2008

Albi—Cathedrale Sainte-Cecile

We finally made it to Albi.
Its cathedral is one of the biggest brick construction in the world and was built over two centuries, from 1282 to 1480. The fortresslike outside and the magnificence of both the painted vaulting and the flamboyant gothic architecture of the jube are mind boggling. The 30 meter high ceilings were painted over a three year period - 1509 to 1512 - by Renaissance Italian artists from Modena and Bologna. The deep blue paint they used is so vivid it is hard to believe that those paintings have never been restored. Fortunately, the entire paintings on the walls and ceilings didn't get whitewashed at the French Revolution, as intended
The huge mural representing the Last Judgement (painted bewteen 1474 and 1484) - one of the biggest pictorial piece of its time - was partly destroyed during the 17th century and is missing its center piece. I was particularly entertained by the representation of Hell and the Devil. Right above the painting lies one of the most noteworthy organs in France. Everything about this cathedral is spectacular.

Jun 2, 2008

Bringing the bicycles back up hill

I think this could be a solution to the eternal lack of Velibs at the top of the Parisian hills: the Bicycle Lift as seen in Trondheim, Norway.