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Багатство і престиж 15/11/2011

Posted by brendan in Avions, Trains et Voitures, Leçons Culturelles.
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What the Hell is Wrong with You?

Come see The Montmartre of Kyiv! Whichever enterprising copywriter conceived that golden gem must have a monument raised in their honor. What else but brilliant advertising could convince the touring masses of the world to slip and stumble along cracked cobblestones down a street of dust and unsavory characters?

Politicians responded with a funicular to spare the overfed any exercise climbing Andriyivskyy Descent. Public works of yesterday which civilized this sharp slope with a winding road cannot keep up with the growing monied masses, and Kyiv would like more monied masses please. Buildings which have been sagging since the neighborhood began in the 17th century are swaddled in scaffolding. Plans have been made to install glistening concrete sidewalks. Soon the small cafes will expand and add neon to their windows, the boutiques will hire English-speaking students and death squads will cart dog carcasses to the incinerators. (more…)


Vêtements Fait l’Homme 24/06/2010

Posted by brendan in Bienvenue à la Semaine de Fonctionnement, La Vie en Paris.
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Magnum Gallery

“Can you do me a favor,” Robin asked. “Can you take off your jacket?”

Magnum Photo was throwing a gallery opening deep in the bowels of the upscale Saint-Germain district. Museum curators, millionaire collectors and world-renowned photographers were pressed shoulder to shoulder clutching their glasses and chattering about matters of the art world. The prints on display were imprisoned behind glass, reflecting the florescent lighting. Everything had a last minute feel to it, except for the carefully manicured denizens of the upper-crust who were so busy indulging in conversation that you had to physically part them in order to pass. (more…)

Le Professionnal 07/06/2010

Posted by brendan in Bienvenue à la Semaine de Fonctionnement.
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TechCrunch Paris 2010

The European branch of technology giant TechCrunch was hosting an event and, after some gentle coercion on the part of Keith, I contacted organizers to receive my press accreditation.

I have never bothered to keep up with what was happening in the wonderful digital world was weighing heavily on my mind. How could I represent an industry magazine while not understanding the basic vocabulary of the conference? Did I have to bring my computer? If I showed up with a notebook they would probably expel me from the building, so I packed my laptop in a bubble mailer and repeatedly checked directions to the venue. (more…)

Tuer le Temps 05/06/2010

Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
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Periode de Transition

Before I was an illegal tenant I was an early illegal tenant. Robin’s collection of boxes served as desks by sitting close enough to the window I could use the civic wifi with borrowed accounts. Bibia and Julien were extraordinarily kind about letting me move in, leaving me a strand of Christmas lights and digging out a plate from the trash so I could not eat off old magazines. (more…)

Déménager 28/05/2010

Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
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Venir Ici, Internet

My neighbor from down the hall caught me dragging an overburdened suitcase through the streets. You’re going back to America?!? No, I’ve got a new apartment, I explained, and he was pleased that I had found a bigger place, wished me good luck and told me what a wonderful guy I’ve been. A lot of progress from when he laughed at how I always took the stairs, and all I could say was that it was for my health.

I lived out of suitcases. The previous occupants, Bibia and Julien, were accommodating to my early relocation but still had cleaning to do. I tried to stay out of the way while the top to bottom scrubbing was being done. Then the landlords were coming so I kept everything packed away, trying to skate by on as little food as possible to keep my presence less obvious. None the wiser the owners signed over the address to Robin and we were official.

Well, I’m not official. But I have keys. (more…)

Pendaison de Crémaillére 23/04/2010

Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
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Chez Eléonore

Last spring Eléonore was on the outer rim of Robin’s Beaux Arts associations. She invested a great deal of effort teaching me how to correctly pronounce macaroon without any success. A year later she hosted a pendaison de crémaillére at her new apartment, which I was not directly invited to but Damien figured it would be okay if I showed up. (more…)

Fête du Couscous 21/04/2010

Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
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Couscous Partie

Before Kevin moved back to the States there were plans for dinner which I flaked on for reasons of work, or work-related scheduling problems, or overwhelming troglodytic behavior. It didn’t take long for Kevin to realize that America was a horrible idea so when he returned a month later I forced him to reschedule dinner plans so that I could attend.

He and Juliette were living outside the city limits in a bourgeoise enclave called Saint-Mandé, just quiet streets and the spiffiest looking Monoprix I’ve ever seen. Robin and I poked around their ice-cream aisle debating the merits of various flavors because it happened to be Juliette’s birthday.

I was not allowed to select the beer because my economics were deemed too impolite. (more…)

Fête du Monde 20/04/2010

Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris.
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Premiére Fête du Printemps

In celebration of Spring’s imminent arrival, as well as a recently departed birthday, Vingt hosted what was billed as an intimate get-together. Robin has provided photographs in the past and received an invitation, so I collected him from his new job.

That was the plan. The girl behind reception insisted that I was mistaken, no Robin worked here. The two gallery flunkies sitting behind desks looked up in mild interest as I noticed an extreme lack of Robin. Milled about in front of the gallery until this became unnerving to passerby, then I walked around the block until it began raining. (more…)

Un Conte des Deux Expos 08/04/2010

Posted by brendan in Bienvenue à la Semaine de Fonctionnement, La Vie en Paris.
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Crime et Châtiment

Most museums are closed Mondays. When I was given clearance to a sneak preview of Musée d’Orsay’s latest exhibition Crime & Châtiment I was nervous about walking with actual journalists and art critics, listening to a press liaison who was one question away from realizing I didn’t speak French.

After strolling along the perimeter of what was once a train station I walked into a neat queue of people. Grey and slightly bowed, all were clutching some glossy invitation in their gloved hands. At the back of the line I listened while confused tourists were told the museum was closed and that this was a special preview. Then the old ladies at the back of the line would look to see if I was getting the message. (more…)

Modes de Navigation 27/03/2010

Posted by brendan in La Vie en Paris, Leçons Culturelles.
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Place Denfert-Rochereau

Nothing exposes tourists like hesitation on corners. The entire native population of Paris is genetically hardwired to safely navigate intersections, roundabouts and narrow one-way streets. There is a plane of consciousness from which I am disconnected. Little old ladies bravely venture forth to confront speeding cars while I stand patiently, and foolishly, waiting. (more…)