Monday, July 30, 2007

Woo Tube (p. 2)

It was 1998 when I had my first and only internet fling.

Back then, the only way that people seemed to interact on the web was in "chat rooms." These were dark and awful places which, according to the local news, were full of sweaty old men trying to pick unripe peaches.

I didn't want any audience for our "how did you meet?" story to think we had sullied ourselves in some virtual disco. Our first encounter was respectable - in the flesh and broad daylight.

Yet any courtship that involves the frantic refreshing of a browser is bound to breed suspicion among the Luddites.

My exclamations about email failed to conjure for my friends any of the old-fashioned romance of letters. To the contrary, they spurred tense smiles and the worry that perhaps I was projecting.

"She's headed for a fall," some of the eyebrows seemed to say. "I give it six months."

As anyone who's made the transition can tell you, the road from email to real life is fraught with shameful inarticulation. Because as anyone who knows me in person can tell you, I am much more clever in post-production.

Whatever bounce my words have on-screen is padded in reality by a lot of "buhhhh?"

And when sitting across from a new flame, one who's been lured by fancy typing, every spot of faltering speech feels like a flare. Every "ummmm..." is another shot into the sky, a distress signal to illuminate the disappointing reality.

Case in Point: I just searched for and found another word for "inarticulate."

Exhibit B: I then typed "point in case."

The only solution is to drink. And to find other outlets and ways to impress.

Like learning to cook, for example. Or playing the banjo. Or perfecting one's already impressive range of monkey sounds.

Because once you're living with the boy, there's really no point in writing anymore.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Paris Through Take-Away Eyes

One of the reasons I've been neglecting you, my dear readers, is that I've started pimping Paris for the travel website Gridskipper.

Today's post exalts the Blogothèque and their series of Take-Away Shows. Click on over to watch some great videos that capture the Shins, the Hidden Cameras, Arcade Fire, Guillemots, Andrew Bird, I'm From Barcelona, and Alamo Race Track playing songs against a backdrop of the city.

And then head over to la Flèche d'Or on Monday night (July 30) for the premiere of Soirées à Emporter. The Blogothèque's latest venture is a series of concerts that bring indie darlings to play with eachother and from positions within the audience.

Zach Condon, who reportedly just bought an apartment near Gambetta, is the big draw for this first one. The freakishly talented near-teenager from Beirut will be playing with Sidi Ali and his favorite-ever Macedonian marching band. David Ivar from Herman Düne will also be there to delight, along with Jeremy Warmsley and Inlets.

It's free and will undoubtedly fill up, so my advice is to get there on the early.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Woo Tube (p. 1)

I open bottles incredibly well, as a result of having worked in a wine bar.

At the time, nine years ago, it was the only wine bar in Kansas. Perhaps there are others now (franchises?) named Vines or Sonoma Pete's.

Anyway, one day, at this wine bar, a man looked up from his big fat book. We spoke a little and fell in love... eight months later over email.

He was living in Chicago, and I was working in Western Kansas. Not as a waitress this time, but as an anthropologist studying sex among the meatpackers.

And despite what you may think, there wasn't actually a lot to do at night. After a long day of "participant observation," my options back at the dorm were to:

1) Play basketball with the boys from the John Deere tractor repair school
2) Paint my nails with the future beauticians
3) Exchange emails with this incredibly funny person in Chicago

By mid-summer, when the air outside was choked with cow-dust, our email pace had quickened to several lengthy notes per day.

His words on the screen brought a jolt of electricity matched only by re-reading my own. I wasn't sure who I was falling for, but it felt incredibly good.

I saw him in person during a quick trip back to the college town. Our paths crossed for only a few hours, but it was enough to confirm an IRL attraction. After several mix tapes and two anything-but-virtual visits, I packed my bags and moved up to Chicago.

And the internet, having served its purpose in our lives, went quiet.

(to be continued...)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Free Love

After months of living well beyond my means, the arrival of summer festival season means I can breathe easy through September. Each year at this time, the city of Paris turns slutty and starts to give her milk away for free. These are some of the ways in which I'll be loving her:

There's a price tag for some of these theater, dance, music, and circus events, but also plenty for free in this festival that runs through August 5. Mahmoud Ahmed, the most famous living Ethopian musician, will be playing tonight for free at 19h in the Jardin d'Eole. The open-air film series feature several picks like The Van (Stephen Frears) on July 20, and Fish & Chips (Damien O'Donnell) on July 27. A bonanza of Australian cinema will be on offer July 28 in the Parc André Citroën. Mainstream and experimental films will show between 22h and 6h, with a free Australian breakfast served in the morning.
Last night the annual festival opened with a screening of Gosford Park. The lineup is filled with plenty of other decent English titles, like The Magnificent Ambersons, My Beautiful Laundrette, Tess, All About Eve, The Philadelphia Story, Sweet Sixteen, and Million Dollar Baby. The films roll at nightfall, generally between 21h30 and 22h, every Tuesday through Sunday until August 26. Entry to the lawn is free and chairs can be rented for €6.50.
The coming weekend (July 21-22) brings the second installment of this boutique electronic music festival. The brand-new Jardins d'Eole, newly landscaped to look like early pubescence, will host two days of concerts, DJ sets, expos, and installations. The festival will then reappear on September 2 with eight hours of concerts and projections in the Parc André Citroën.
This festival finds our friends in city government projecting free films in large format on the side of old buildings. The 2007 program will be held in 14 different locations around Paris. Highlights include an old-school version of Moulin Rouge (Zsa Zsa!) shown on Saint-Eustache, and Godard's A Bout de Souffle in the Jardin des Champs-Elysées. Films are shown at 21h30 between August 1-19.
The goofy urban beach concept came to life again last weekend, so the banks of the Seine will soon be swollen with sunbathers. The exciting news for 2007 is the addition of a third site at Bassin de la Villette. The new location in the 19th will offer kayaking, paddleboating, an outdoor dancefloor, and the usual mess of deck chairs.
This free outdoor series begins this weekend, courtesy of the mammoth music store Fnac. In association with Paris Plages, concerts will be held every Friday and Saturday through August 18 between 17h-22h. Highlights for 2007 include Bertrand Belin on July 20, Hey Hey My My on August 4, and Adanowsky on August 17.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Back in Black Blog

Editor's note: readers are advised to click on the link below to add dramatic effect to the reading of what could otherwise be a slightly tedious blapology.

Dear reader(s?),

Sorry I haven't written
. And thank you for your threatening comments, derisive posts, and not-so-delicate jabs to the ribs.

All this seems to have worked, in combination with the shame I experienced last week in seeing Daniel Rose point and whisper the following to one of his customers:

"Oh her? She's a blogger. Well, not really anymore..."

That was followed a few days later by an encounter at Hidden Kitchen in which a group of strangers were talking about blogs. A young American girl was describing her exciting (ahem) Myspace blog to the foodie superheros Dorie Greenspan and David Lebovitz.

I couldn't bring myself to mention that I too had a blog, and thus sat silently in a spiral of self-flagellation until revived by a very nice fish taco.

And thus I realized, even before Moonke threatened to cut me off, that I should really get back in the swing of things.

So thanks for sticking around. I'll be back with a story or two real soon.