Now in Paris. I was still in Bagnères-de-Luchon, my hometown, during the November 13th massacre. Pierre was already back in Paris & I was relieved to hear that he was safe from the horror. At this point it looks like all our family & close friends are safe, though stories of friends of friends killed come up every day. Trying to think empathy vs sympathy.
The week before I wrapped the shoot of my new film Thing Fall Where They Lie. Most likely one of the most intense weeks in my life! It was a rich, surreal & beautifully crazy busy time with my exquisite cast & crew. The cast: Yuko Otomo, Steve Dalachinsky, Eric Sarner, Katalin Pataki. The crew: Pierre Joris, Zia Anger, Asa Westcott, Agnès Mathon, Jean-Louis Peyrafitte. We also had some great local talent & volunteers join our cast & crew. Our base for food, beverages & lunch interviews was Salon NºThé where the sisters Chantal & Kitou Doumenq took good care of us. Do not miss the diaporama below!
The film takes place in Bagnères-de-Luchon, this small town in the French Pyrenees where I was born & raised. A place where celebrities have come & gone since Roman times. They come to take the waters in the summer & enjoy winter sports in winter. Two of these visitors never left & never will. They both died prematurely in Bagnères-de-Luchon & had to be buried in the town cemetery. They are both “under investigation” in this film. From November 1-8 2015, we had a true cinéma vérité expérience. Everyone played along beautifully & together we embraced uncertainty. We filmed layers of temporal, spatial and cultural information combined with particulars about the two deceased, mixed with my biographical and cultural inscription in this matrix. I am looking forward to start the editing process and will keep you posted for sure. Meanwhile, here are some stills of the amazing week, the most beautiful way in which I have ever seen my hometown!
My last night in Paris was a good transition to return home. I first met up with a friend from my teenage years that I had not seen in 30 years! Bélinda and I reconnected via Facebook a few months ago. What I find totally fascinating in these reconnection stories —and that happened more than once this year— is the re-collection of my own forgotten memories. Bélinda de-fragmented my hard drive revealing a few events that I am sure glad to have recovered.
The first one was a luncheon at the famous Paris restaurant Chez Coconnas on Place des Vosges with Roland Dhordain. Roland is a radioman —now long retired— who had been general manager of Radio France in 1965. He became a close friend of the family in the 1970’s. Bélinda also remembered us having Lunch at the Eiffel Tower with my parents the day Jimmy Carter won the presidential election, so that was November 2nd 1976, I was 16 & Bélinda 18! Bélinda always wanted to be an English teacher and she became one! She loved purple and still does, though I didn’t notice her wearing purple mascara anymore! It was lovely to see her.
Around 7 PM we took off to rue de Rivoli to meet up with New York poet friends Yuko Otomo & Steve Dalachinsky. They had been on a European tour and they were reading at 59 rue de Rivoli for the “Grand reopening of the Squat / Art Music Poesie”. Steve & Yuko kindly invited me to perform a few pieces. The set up was not an ideal situation for a poetry reading. Lots of people where going in and out to watch the multilevel art shows and there was no microphone. Despite the conditions, Yuko’s beautifully crafted bilingual (Japanese –English) haikus soared through the noise and fall gently into attentive ears.
Steve mesmerized the crowd with his rhythmical & entrancing poems; an improvising accordion player called Claude Parlé accompanied him. Claude improvised on my pieces too. Once again my Gascon Southern French accent drew more attention in Paris than in NYC. So I took the opportunity to declare my allegiance to the Southwest — be it Southwest Brooklyn or Southwest Occitania — and proclaimed my self-declared nationality to be Gasco-Ricain! I performed “Things fall where they lie,” “Cranes” and “Outer outer edges”.
Bélinda returned home after the reading. Steve, Yuko and I had a lovely walk back to my place in the 6th. When we passed the inviting outdoors oyster stand of Bistro de La Grille I couldn’t resist getting some to take back to the studio. On the video below you can see Steve skillfully carrying the mayonnaise and the shallot vinegar through Rue Guisarde. The oysters highly recommended by the écailler were Fine de Claire Nº2, I didn’t get to ask the exact provenance; the transaction to take the oysters home was a little out of the ordinary but once I called onto the wonderful Thierry —manager for as long as I remember the place! — things eased up and we walked home with all the trimming I mention above, plus an overload of bulots, rye bread and beurre salé de Bretagne (j’ai pensé à Claire!). The oysters were delicious, very meaty and firm, not as green as the one we had in Angoulême but that was the specificity of that type of oysters. As for wine, I had bought a red Alsace wine. It had been recommended by the sommelier of the wine shop at the marché St-Germain. I asked for a light red that would go well with seafood or a light meal. He highly recommended a €10 biodynamic Alsace Pinot noir called “Lunatic”. With a name like this how could I pass. The Estate Barmès Buecher is located in Wettolsheim and totally dedicated to biodynamic growing; this is what they say about it:
” Wine is made on the vine and not in the winery”
…We work the vineyards bio-dynamically, that’s to say with activated preparations, according to the influence of the planets and the apogee and perigee of the moon. No synthesized chemical product is used, neither in the vineyards nor in the winery.
The aim of this is to keep the initial balance of the grapes undisturbed, and not to mask the effect of the vintages, so that the wine can show its “terroir” to the maximum and to preserve the energy it has acquired (from the bio-dynamic culture of the vines).
The soils are ploughed and hoed between November and July and then we mow the grass from August to the harvest.
The vines are planted closely at a density of 6000 to 8000 plants per hectare to create maximum competition for the roots. This forces them to delve as deeply as possible.
No weedkillers or chemical fertilizers are used. If needed, we just use compost we make ourselves…more click here.
Many would argue about pairing red wine and oysters, but what can I say other than: this simple, clean, straight and dry red wine with a subtle tinge of red berries enchanted me! I loved it and so did my guests! Au diable les conventions!
Voilà! we ate, drank, talked into the late night — voir early morning— and when time came to separate I did something that is very Parisian among intimate friends: I gave them the trash to deposit downstairs! Now I am back home and as the song on the video says, I had a great time but no regrets to leave Paris!
As blogged last week, this past FridayI set up my kitchen/stage at 5C Café in Manhattan. I want to thank Michael Bisio who delighted us on bass, Pierre Joris, Yuko Otomo & Steve Dalashinky who read fun & beautiful food & Paris poems, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte who took the photographs and helped set up/clean up, Adrien Aquilina for his assistance on waiting tables, as well as Bruce, Trudy & the volunteers at 5C for their graceful hospitality & for giving me the opportunity to cook and sing. Many thanks also to a sophisticated, warm & engaging audience. Please feel free to post comments about the evening if you were there. If you were not there: the menu,the recipe of the main course, & Miles’ photographs arebelow.
But first let me tell you about my next performance coming up this Thursday with Peter Knoll on electric guitar. No food this time, but singing 3 French songs. I am really excited to be part of the Mongrel Vaudeville, and looking forward to the various & extravagant performances. Program:
Mongrel Vaudeville“Blue Moon in June”
Host: Julian of Nowherr
Start Time: Thursday, June 25 at 8:00pm
End Time: Thursday, June 25 at 10:00pm
Where: thru the swingin doors at Freddy’s Bar & Backroom 485 Dean Street Brooklyn, NY 11215
That’s the corner of Dean Street and 6th Avenue in Brooklyn.
Now Friday’s menu:
Sardine Paté w/ pink peppercorns (see Sardine Tartine blog ; all I added were the pink peppercorns)
Syrian Cheese served with green spicy Turkish and black Moroccan lemon olives
Summery Garlicky Beans & Kale
(Thank you d’Artagnan for the coco Tarbais beans)
Strawberry short cake w/ live whipped cream! (Thank you Pierre Landet for the pan and the strawberries)
Photographs by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
Summery Garlicky Beans & Kale Recipe
I don’t have exact proportions, and it is really up to you to make it the way you like. Though as a rough indication here are the ingredients and the proportional ratio.
Soak beans over night: 2/3 white (coco tarbais) for 1/3 red beans (dark red pinto beans).
Cook your beans separately and reserve.
Sauté —in duck fat, or olive oil— enough diced onions to cover the bottom of the skillet in which you will cook your dish.
Add a few ribs of diced celery and diced red pepper. Sauté for a few minutes.
Add the purple kale, about half the pot, sauté until wilted.
Add the green garlic cloves. Make sure you buy them with the green stalk attached. Use about 1/2 a head per person. Green fresh garlic is very mild, do not be afraid.
Add about 1 to 2 garlic scapes per person (see last blog for info on scapes). Make sure they are very tender, if not peel them and cut them like green beans.
Salt & freshly ground pepper.
Add stock or water to just cover your vegetables & legumes.
Cook for about 40/60 minutes depending how big your pot.
Just before serving add one tablespoon of a pesto —my “pesto” had only basil/regular garlic & olive oil, but nothing prevents you to add pignoles and cheese. I just wanted to keep it light as the appetizer had cheese and the dessert, whipped cream.
Make it soon because the garlic ain’t gone be fresh for much longer.
A multimedia and multi-sensorial experience will happened this coming Friday June 19th, 2009 8PM at 5C Cultural Center, 68 Avenue C (corner of 5th Street), New York, NY 10009 (view map here).
I’ll set up my stage/kitchen at 5C Café. Not only Mike Bisio and I will perform from our repertoire of songs and contemporary poetry but I have also invited: Yuko Otomo she will read her Paris poems. Steve Dalashinsky & Pierre Joris will read food poems.
I will cook you a 3 courses dinner (mostly live cooking!) of seasonal and mostly vegetarian fares.
It is reasonably priced for dinner & entertainment: $12 at the door
Wine & beer extra available at the bar. Details:
-“First come — first served” basis (limited to 30, no reservations)
-One menu (3 courses, only one option available and mostly vegetarian)
-We will start on time!