Sunday, February 13, 2011

Catching Up

I have been thinking of getting a new camera and borrowed a friend's for a week to try it out.  When I went to download the photos just now I discovered that my computer refuses to recognize them without additional software that I don't have. new photos for you.  I'll try to get the software soon.

I've been taking a lot of them because we've been doing a lot.  Realizing that our Paris life has been slowing down a bit as we become more "resident" and less "visitor", we thought we'd try to speed up our Berkeley life by reversing the equation, i.e. becoming a bit more "visitor" while we're here.

And so we saw a great dance piece called Eonnagata at the excellent Cal Performances, made by a company called Ex Machina and including director (and for this piece also dancer) Robert Lepage, ex-Paris Opera Ballet and Sadler's Wells dancer Sylvie Guillem, and choreographer/dancer Russell Maliphant.
[photo credit: Erich Labbe]

Based on the life of an 18th century French transvestite diplomat, spy, and soldier, known as the Chevalier d'Eon, it was an extraordinary melange of Japanese theater, dance, prose, music and acting, with costumes by the late Alexander McQueen, and we saw it at its US premiere performance.  Super!

One beautiful sunny afternoon we drove out to the Legion of Honor Museum (I wanted to show you the views of the Golden Gate on the ride out there, but that camera problem...oh well). The featured exhibition was a collection of clothing reproducing in three dimensions the clothes worn by historical characters in paintings, such as Eleonora de Toledo, the wife of Cosimo de' Medici as painted by Bronzino.  It's a stunning portrait we happened to see last year in Paris at the Trésors de Medicis exhibition at the Musée Maillol.  

The clothes were all made from paper painted, sewn, folded and constructed by Isabelle de Borchgrave, a Belgian artist.  I would have enjoyed the exhibit much more however if the dresses had been juxtaposed with more pictures of the original inspirations for her work.  I don't think there were more than three or four of those and the impact of the exhibit was lessened by their absence.

Gene and I are both taking classes, he one on architectural theory and I a class called "Proust and his World", which keeps me at least partly in Paris, if the Paris of the late 19th and early 20th century.

We're also trying to keep using our painstakingly acquired French in classes or in conversation.  With any luck we won't forget it all before our return.

We've got theater tickets for two different performances in San Francisco in the next two weeks, and plan at least a couple more museum visits.  Being a "visitor" can be hard work, but we're having a great time working at it. 

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