The picture above was taken on September 28-29 at The Taste of France where I had the pleasure of MC’ing the main stage for the entire weekend. The event took place at Bryant Park in NYC & one of my favorite moment was to be on stage with my occitan acolytes: Ariane Daguin (d’Artagnan) & Pierre Landet (Executive chef at Chez Felix, in NYC). Here is Ariane showing an aiguillette de canard, or the little tenderloin part found on top of the magret de canard that you’ll never find on your plate because it’s the cook who always eats it!
Throughout the weekend many artists & chefs were featured on stage, among them Julie Andrieux (Les Carnets de Julie), an important delegation of the Maîtres Cuisiniers de France, The Metropolitan Opera singers & their director Peter Gelb. I want to thank Abby & Guy René from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont, without whom the cooking demos & tasting could not have happened so smoothly; also, a big thank you to the volunteers & a special mention to Alexis!
Voilà, we can move on to the next events & that will be a reading at The Shed Space in Brooklyn on Thursday — & Friday we are off to our old stomping ground in Southern California for two weeks! Check out details below .
Our spring was busy & rich with a great tour of the UK. You can find videos & pix on my facebook page, Pierre Joris’ blog & more links below. We are now almost ready to embark on a long summer transhumance filled with many exciting stages — see short & longer term dates below. Meanwhile, let me fill you in on our publications.Bi-Valve : Vulvic Space I Vulvic Knowledge — which includes a cd, texts &17 colors plates of my paintings & digital photographs — is OUT! The recording features Michael Bisio on bass & we had a jolly good time recording it at FastSpeaking music w/ Ambrose Bye. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result & koudos to Lori Anderson-Moseman (Stockport Flats), who not only made it beautiful but was ever so supportive thru out the process. Get your copy while they last: here.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Poetry Festival in Sète, France
NP: Voix Vives de Méditerranée en Méditerranée
Daily performances throughout the festival.
See detailed program here
NP & PJ: Artists in Residence in Gascony for the NY’OC Trobadors project.
NY’OC Trobadors, is a collaboration between artists based in France and New York. Save the date — Saturday November 23rd 2013 — for a full day on/of Occitan culture that will bring the riches of southern France’s troubadour tradition to the American public. This unique gathering of bi-continental poets, musicians, singers & translators will present panels, a fully staged bilingual (Occitan-English) multimedia performance and talks about the bilingual anthology of Occitan poetry we are working on. Texts, poems & song lyrics spanning the 11th century to the present will be presented. This event will be at Poets House co-sponsored by City Lore & d’Artagnan. We still need funds to make this event possible. City Lore is taking donations here)
Bourg d’Oueil (our Pyrenean base)
NP: Continuing work on a series of paintings & writings specific to the location
PJ: This is the first summer in 10 years he has no deadlines so he will write new work!
& together we will start editing our documentary project on poet Gerrit Lansing.
September 5th: NP & PJ Feature readers at Paris Lit Up series
more readings TBA
Southern California Tour:
October 16th : PJ reading at Otis
October 17th: PJ Round table on Translation at USD
University of Brussels Symposium on Alice Notley & Pierre Joris.
Details TBA – Readings by both PJ & NP
CCA Launch of Diwan Ifrikya – Glasgow Scotland (Photo Monique Lemos)
DOMOETICS – Edinburgh Scotland (Photo Chris Donia)
Nicole at Tibor de Nagy Gallery – NYC
Nicole at The Huntarian Gallery – Glasgow Scotland
Pierre at Dia Foundation – NYC
Nicole at MoMA – NYC
Pierre at Walt Whitman’s house – Huntington Station NY
Fortino Samano (the Overflowing of the Poem) review – by Belle Gironda & NP
Working on a short documentary on poet Gerrit Lansing .
Here, filming in Gloucester in June 2013 with Miles Joris-Peyrafitte as cinematographer.
Below is our busy Spring schedule.
For all the clickable links go to: Spring schedule
If you are smart phone savvy then : voilà le QRCode!
Happy Spring to y’ll & we sure hope to see you here or there.
PJ & NP
From Pierre Joris’ blog Nomadics:
Ody Roos’ Homage to Chris Marker
August 20th, 2012 · Film, Homage, Obituaries
On the way back to NYC from the Pyrenees we stopped over in Paris for two days & spent a fair amount of time with my old friend, the Luxembourgian film maker Ody Roos. Talk of course went immediately to the sad news of his friend Chris Marker’s death — then Ody pulled a thumbdrive from his pocket & handed it to me. It contained an homage video he had put together on/at the funeral. He couldn’t put the whole thing up on Youtube as he had projected, because of objections by some of the included persons, but allowed Nicole & me to extract the scenes in which he talks about Marker’s art. We subtitled them & here it is:
Homage to Chris Marker from Tawil Productions on Vimeo.
Hello to you all!
How have you been since the “Infinite Views”? I have not been able to post & you will find out why below. I hope to be able to post while in New Orleans as I would like to continue the series I started there: Temps/Oralité #I & Temps/Oralité #II. Pierre & I will be there for a week during MARDI GRAS! On Thursday April 23rd Pierre Joris, John Sinclair and his Blues Scholars, & I will be reading/performing at the infamous 17 Poets Series!
Thursday February 23th 7:30pm
17 Poets Series
The GoldMine Saloon
Corner of St. Peter and Dauphine
After the reading we will take a few days to travel to the Bayous. Pierre as been commissioned to write a libretto for a choir project coordinated by Donald Nally & involving the composers Chris Jonas, Joby Talbot & Gene Coleman. The topic of the project is about the BP Oil Disaster, & Pierre is trying to meet with communities of various ethnicity that have been affected by the spill.
There are two projects that have kept me away from the blog: the first one is Bi-Valve, a series of texts, paintings & recipes. The painting above is part of it. If you miss the Nola performance save the date for the New York City installment:
NICOLE PEYRAFITTE : BI-VALVE SOLO
Monday April 23rd
Evolving Voice / Evolving Music
107 Suffolk Street
Clemente Soto Velez – Educational & Cultural Center
New York, NY 10002
And the second project is cinematographic:
Late last fall I was commissioned by the Friends of Basil King to produce & co-direct with Miles Joris-Peyrafitte a 22-minute film depicting the intimacy between writing and painting in Basil King’s work, called BASIL KING: MIRAGE.
The camera will focus on drawn and written lines, and on images of his paintings that are reflections & counterpoint to a number of consequential periods in King’s life: his childhood during WWII in England, his four on-and-off years at Black Mountain College, his relationship with other writers such as Frank OʼHara and Paul Blackburn and with painters such as Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline…
Watch the 1 minute trailer below:
The film will be premiered on September 22nd at the event celebrating Basil’s Arc: The Paintings & Poetics of Basil King. Meanwhile the Committee of the Friends of Basil King is raising money in order to finish the movie.
We made the trailer to give you a little taste of the film & if you would consider a donation (big or small — every little bit helps) you can DONATE HERE. Donors will be invited to the premiere. More info at: http://www.blog.basilking.net/
Voilà for now & looking forward to “Laissez le bon temps rouler!”
This summer has been very wet & overcast in the Pyrenees. I love being here no matter if it rains or shines, but some hikes require clear skies to be able to experience the 360 degree panoramic view of the Pyreneen mountain range. My friends Lori & Tom were visiting from Ithaca for a week, the skies were scheduled to be crystal clear for two days — perfect timing to get out & to the summit!
To be able to see the sun rise over the mountain range, wake up call is at 4:30am so we can leave the house by 5am. We are on schedule, a thermos of hot coffee, goat cheese, bread & a nice croustade from my favorite bakery in Luchon (rue Nérée Boubé) are all in the backpack. Hiking shoes & stick on hand, I slam the door shut, start walking towards the car when a sharp pain enters my foot: a roof nail punctured my sneakers and my foot!
Back to the house to remove shoe, nail, socks and notice that the puncture is not too bad. Once thoroughly disinfected, bandaged and foot secured in the hiking shoes I’ll be fine and can begin the journey. We drive to the port the Balès, park the car and start the hike in the night. The moon is already gone, the sky still very bright with stars. I am granted 3 beautiful shooting stars that I truly welcome as a healing omen after the nail in the foot! We will not make it on time on the top to see the sun break over the mountains but still I want to get to the top to get the full view. Lori is more eager to take picture of the rising sun from the Peirahitta (you can listen to the song I wrote about that place here) plus she is concerned about my foot — which is a bit sore, but the overpowering drive to get up there and experience the view that my ancestors have been looking at for thousand of years is irresistible.
We are on top of the Mont Né mountain at 2147m or 7049 feet high. The sun is just above the horizon the colors on the peaks are spectacular, the sun diffuses strokes of light slowly revealing the contours of the mountain range’s layers. A true sense of infinity.
The night before I left for a workshop with rhythm master Bernard Lubat in Uzeste, I made a tourin in our fire place. This soup of humble origin is mostly known as tourin à l’ail —sopa de ajo in Spanish or garlic soup in English. Many variations are possible & in this case I used the ingredients available in the house: 1 tomato, 1 head of garlic, 1 onion, old bread & goose fat.
In a cast iron dutch oven I thoroughly sauteed the thinly sliced onion in goose fat. Meanwhile I crushed 3 cloves of garlic & a sprig of fresh rosemary in the mortar. After adding them to the pot, I removed the latter from the heat to avoid bitterness — over-sauteed garlic becomes bitter. I crushed the tomato in the mortar & added it to the onion garlic mixture. With no stock available, I added plain water to obtain the desired consistency. Coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper & a dash of piment d’Espelette are added for seasoning & then the pot is returned to the open fire for about 15/ 30 minutes.
With thick slices of old country-style bread rubbed with garlic & drizzled with goose fat lining the bottom of the plate, hot soup is poured in et voilà! le tour est joué & you get a magnificent & most satisfying soup. A beaten egg is often added before serving; this is especially enriching if you have only garlic to make the soup. Whoever needed canned soup? Pas moi!
Cooking on a spit was the theme of Pierre’s 65th birthday. After the cake on the spit (see previous blog here), voilà the lamb on the spit a.k.a méchoui! According to the Robert historique de la langue Française the origin of the word méchoui is: “Borrowed (1912) from the Arabic maghrebien mešwi “roasted, grilled; lamb roasted on a spit”, past participle of šawa (شوى ), to roast, to grill”. This dish is very popular in North Africa where Pierre lived several years.
As we still are in the village of Bourg d’Oueil, in the heart of the French Pyrenees, the lamb will be provided by no one else than our neighbors & friends, the Jamme family. The 17 kgs (37,5 lbs) lamb, fetched from the nearby mountains a few days before, is “un broutard” or a “grazer”; that is a lamb that had passed the nursing stage and is already grazing. And now the photo log of an another amazing communal food experience:
The day before our friend André brought very dry wood he had split for the occasion & the spit that Marc had fetched from Yves the butcher. In the late afternoon I went to the Jamme’s house to rub the lamb with a thick marinade of olive oil, garlic, wild thyme, salt & piment d’Espelette (chili pepper from the basque country); then we returned the lamb to rest overnight in the walk-in cooler.
Now we went to the village hall multipurpose room to set up the tables. The meal will be inside, since we knew the weather was not going to be warm enough. As no rain was forecast, so the aperitif will be served outside. With Sylvia Gorelick —who made all the bouquets with wild flowers she had gathered in the fields near by— Marie Jeanne Jamm, — who brought additional sheets to cover the tables— Maïté & Michou — Pierre’s sister — set up a beautiful banquet table for 50 people. The event was becoming more elaborate as I had planned. As we got closer to the date the eating of the birthday lamb as a casual outdoor buffet turning into an elaborate banquet.
On d-day: I am up at 7:30 am to set up for the méchoui. My neighbors Robi & farmer Roland Jamme (remember him from the cake) arrived shortly thereafter. Together we start the fire, strategize and go get the lamb prepped as best as we can to avoid any complication during cooking.
That’s it! it is 9:45am the beast is on the spit, as we have a manual spit, it is going to be crucial to have someone monitoring, turning & basting —w/the same marinade as above— the lamb & adding coals to the fire. Robi & Roland have set up a second fire next to the méchoui were they burn logs to turn them into charcoal, which they add under our lamb in order to keep an even fire.
I had nothing to worry about as Robi, Roland & now Pierre were fully in charge of the lamb. Accompanied by the same crew as last night we are setting up for cocktail hour & hors d’oeuvres. Joseph Garcès, who was Maitre d’H at the family hôtel for 14 years, came right on time to slice the magnificent bellota ham —acorn fed pig— shipped to us by my nephew Vincent from a small Spanish farm. I had also prepared salads of heirloom tomatoes and organic haricots-vert that we set up on the table along with the ham. The fragrant cantaloupe from the Gers will be passed around once people are seated.
It is around 12pm and guests are filling in. They are “appetizing” on cherry tomatoes, patés, salamis, radishes —here my 89 year old father is particularly enjoying them— while sipping the pleasant Marquisette, a cocktail make by Maïté & Robi — wine, vanilla bean, lime & seltzer, served by Marie-Jeanne Peyroulan an old time friend who came from a near valley with her son Teo who played a lot of “Quiller” —an ancient version of bowling— with my adorable niece Lou.
It is now 1 pm and the lamb is cooked! My brother Jean-Louis will assist Roland, Robi & Marc for the carving while my nieces Mag & Isa will pass the cut meat to the guests. To serve with the lamb, my friend Paulette made the most tasty Pistache Luchonnaise ever—a white bean & lamb stew with pork rind — a specialty of the Comminges region— Paulette’s Pistache almost stole the show from the Méchoui and the cóca! Unfortunately no pictures were taken as every body was too busy eating. We had seconds & some had thirds. We took a little break and had a cheese course. Not any kind of cheese, no, a Poubeau cheese if you please! Read about it here. It was a perfectly aged one; Joseph Garcès is on a “cheese plan”; that is that he reserves a full wheel six months in advance and lets it age in the cheese maker’s cave. Joseph offered his reserved wheel to Pierre for his birthday party!
It is now about 4pm and about time to present the birthday boy with his very special cake. After singing Happy Birthday, we serve the cake with crème anglaise, all the details about the incredible ancient cake are here. More singing was done by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Sylvia Gorelick, and a special tribute to Pierre by Joan-Francès Tisner & family who had come all the way from the Béarn. After coffee, Armagnac & Mirabelle —Thank you Michou & Julien for bringing the real stuff from Luxembourg! — it was about 6pm when the last guest left!
All of this could not have happend without the amazing help of the family & a tight community of friends. Special thanks to the Jamme Family, Joseph Garcès & Paulette, Robi Castebrunet & Maïté, Conso, Michou, Marie-Jeanne, Domenja, Marie-Jo, my parents Jean & Renée Peyrafitte, the Toucouère family, André, Marc & my brothers: Jean-Louis for his carving assistance and Pierre for the pix, Miles, Sylvia, all the wonderful guests & last but not least to Pierre whose birthday gave me a great opportunity to throw a party. MERCI!
Photo credit: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte & Nicole Peyrafitte
I left my hometown of Luchon this morning to travel back to Paris. I had a 5 hours lay over in Toulouse in order to catch the cheap €29.29 iDTGV. I locked my belongings at the “consigne” and took off.
I lived in Toulouse in two occasions: In the mid 70’s while being a student at Lycée Raymond Naves and in 1983-84 while trying to be an actress. These times were certainly not the rosiest of my life. As a student I lived at the home of an extremely rigid & dark family where I felt inadequate & stupid most of the time. As a pretending actress the situation was no better, despite landing a small role at the famous Grenier de Toulouse. I had troubles hiding my accent, I was bold —in many ways as I shaved my head at that time— untrained, uneducated and I was also mostly focused on my son Joseph then a toddler. I had separated from his father when he was less than two years old and my pride was to take care of him myself. I was 24 years old had already been a clerk at a pharmacy, a chef/restaurant owner, a door to door vacuum cleaner salesperson, but wanted my dream was to be an actress as I had done a lot of acting in high school. Well it didn’t work the way I had envisioned though my first, and only, professional role at the Grenier was to be a waitress in the Arnold Wesker play The Kitchen! That might explain why I wasn’t fit for it…I thought I knew how to be a perfect waitress and could carry it on stage, but I totally missed the point it was not about being “real” but about to be theater real and I was certainly not prepared for that.
Anyhow I have returned to Toulouse many times since then, & performed several of my shows there: Deplacements with Pierre Joris, Ninon at the Cave Poésie & The Bi-Continental Chowder/ La Garbure Transcontinentale at the Festival Occitania. Toulouse is also the inevitable transit hub to Luchon —about 1h 1/2 south, straight toward the high pics.
Today was the first time in years I was there alone. I had no friends nor family scheduled to see & a very strong desire to let the city carry me. The day was beautiful, I walked along the Canal du Midi for a while and then directed myself towards downtown thinking that I might enjoy getting some lunch on a terrasse around place Wilson. When I crossed the boulevard I noticed the sign for Marché Victor Hugo and followed it. I love markets and this one is very special. Unfortunately as it was around 1h30 PM it was closing time. I still got a glance at the beautiful meat displays, so fresh, so perfect. I also remembered that there was great restaurants on the mezzanine above the market and last I stopped there in 2007 I bumped into a childhood friend, Christian Lazorthes,then known as Kiki, he worked at Le Louchebem.
Sure enough he was still there, I spotted him out right away, set myself at the bar, he also recognized me immediately & that is alway reassuring! I asked him for a spot and he sat me in his section of the communal table. He brought me a glass of Tariquet for apperitif and advised me to eat a piece of onglet roti —hanger steak— with raw shallots & round new potatoes, I made sure I wasn’t getting frozen fries — as in the USA, most of the french restaurant now serve frozen fries, please help me put pressure on the abolition of frozen fries!—. While I was waiting for my plate a man sat across the table from me. We exchanged a few banalities, that ended up not being so banale because something made me understand that he spoke occitan. I asked him about it and he said yes of course. After that almost our entire conversation was conducted in his beautiful perfect occitan and in my broken pyrenean gascon. While eating the most delicious hanger steak with Mustard of Meaux, I found out that we had many common acquaintances. Once of them the occitan scholar/philosopher Alem Surre-Garcia, I have been very inspired by his work and was glad to find out that he had two new books out: ARCHIPELS ET DIASPORA : ESSAI D’ÉMANCIPATION La théocratie républicaine & LA THÉOCRATIE RÉPUBLICAINE Les avatars du Sacré. I went to buy them at Ombres Blanches (Best bookstore in Toulouse and maybe in France) as soon as lunch was over.
My new acquaintance, Jacme Delmas, turned out to be a radical occitan writer author of the blog: http://democraciaoccitania.blogspot.com/ and contributing editor at El Triangle an independentist Catalan newspaper. A very passionate man that has put a lot of thinking and practice of being an occitan. I had a great time, it was energizing to be able to feel the depth of my culture and feeling totally inside of it even though I Iive so far away from it. Once again my favorite mantra “Things fall where they lie” & my identity as a Gasco-Rican were confirmed! Mercés Jacme per la conversacion, eth partatge de la passion del país e espèri que me mande al puslèu l’explicacion dera prononciacion de Jacme. Adishatz!