I’m back from the dead, er, um, France, as I’m sure most of you already know. Just as many predicted, my blogging fell short and/or nonexistent in the final months of my tenure as an ex-pat, usurped in priority by activities such as finishing up my mobile-kitchen project, plotting and failing to purchase a little French kitty (Il serait s’appeller <<Eiffel>>), and planning my internationally-themed birthday party just days before my departure. With the exception of the kitty (sooo expensive!) my last month was tinged with success. Still, I wish that just somewhere down the line in architecture school, I would be allowed to design a building, because in my 3 studios at Columbia, I still have done everything but that. As for the birthday party, one’s presence was made possible by the bringing of an international food item that (preferably) referenced one’s “roots.” I, par example, made sweet tea. Over the course of the evening/morning, we made our way through Italian caprese salad, polish sausages, cakes from Brittany, 10 bottles of wine that cost a collective total of 15 euros, cheese cheese cheese, garlicky green beans, some killer home-made French onion dip, home-made applesauce, and 5 boxes of French cereal. It was a classy affair. My program director showed up late and gifted me a bottle of Smirnoff (“I didn’t know what to get you, so…”). We put it in the sweet tea.
Communist Party Headquarters, Paris, Niemeyer
In the week leading up to this smorgasbord, I visited the French Communist Party Headquarters not once but three (3, trios) times. It’s this wacky building by Niemeyer that’s actually fantastic and I had to draw it until I got it right. I went on tours; I made friends; I was offered a job by my favorite tour guide and a membership. I declined, with regrets.
And thusly concluded my expeditions in Francia. If Annie and I continue to blog on this blog (take it or leave it, amigos), hopefully you will be seeing more joint-posting. En fait, this past (ok, now more than just past) weekend, Fannie and I traveled to the magical land of Bonnarrooville, where one cannot sleep past 6:45 am for fear of being burned alive by the sun, where famous comedians without jobs make fun of infamous hippies without jobs to their faces, where one might wait one hour for a drop of potable water, where showers are as rare as sobriety. We watched more live music in 4 days than I’ve seen in my entire life, and it was nothing short of wicked cool killer jammin’. At Bonarroo, face paint costs the same as a coffee ($5), some women choose to paint their “shirts” on their bodies, the World Cup played on an outdoor big-screen TV, people develop dreadlocks in 4 days, and it’s perfectly kosher to frolic through the fields between shows, leaping and dancing to music coming from all directions.
Bonnaroo in 2 photos:
2 Unsafe Situations:
Every day, I painted my face with whiskers like a cat. Every day, Fannie let me loose for a couple hours while she took calls from angry people needing guest passes, swiped us ‘free food’ from the Important People Buffet, and made use of her administrator status by securing a business-related golf cart so that we could at least whip around with the wind in our face for a few hours every day on the “official business” of carting around Julia Nunes and her band. Her job had some serious perks; we were able to access the jetta and escape into the booming metropolis of Manchester some mornings before the music started, once for a shower, often for local diner grub, and always for Starbucks. I was gifted a “That Pass” which gave me access to the Free-Water, Free-Jeremiah Weed (that’s a beverage, Mom), and Free Schmoozing with Famous Artists and Music Industry People.
Fannie, a Minor Hippie and Roovian VIP
Amanda, a Cat (+ 1/2 of 1 day’s schedule)
Reba, Engaged (but wearing no pants in this picture)
We ran into Sinclair Tucker serving ice cream out of a truck with flowers in her hair. We went back(ish) stage and stalked Gillian Welch and the sons of Mumford. We drank a 2-liter of red wine that I’d siphoned from bottles pre-entry to Bonarroo because Annie forgot to tell me that glass was strickly forbidden, and attended the Flaming Lips concert in knee-deep mud into the wee morning hours of Saturday. Annie attempted to do some campaigning, but our companions didn’t even know who was running (Bredeson? That Hayslum guy?). We saw (I’m sure I’m forgetting some) Local natives, Here we go magic, Blitzen trapper, Julia Nunes, Punch Brothers/chris thile, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Diane Birch, Umphrey’s McGee, Damien Marley & Nas, She & Him, The National, Tenacious D, Kings of Leon, Flaming Lips(they played Dark Side of the Moon – WOW), Conan OBrian, Brandi Carlile, Norah Jones, Dave Rawlings Machine/gillian Welch, Mumford & Sons (and then DRM played with them!), Avett Brothers, Weezer (shockingly fun), Stevie Wonder, Ingrid Michaelson, Les Claypool and Regina Spector…
DWM and GW and Munford&Sons
Punch Brothers + That Stage
As we drove off into the sunset (our trashbag still attached to Fred’s side mirror on the Audi), we knew that our farmer’s tan would fade, the face paint would wash off, and our clothes would eventually smell normal again, but these disgustingly sweaty and unattractive pictures will live on forever:
During the Flaming Lips:
After the Flaming Lips:
Best weekend ever:
Love y’all!! Fannie, come home, immediament.