The Wells International Foundation summer interns pose for a photograph in front of Notre Dame Cathedral. Click here to learn about the current projects of the foundation: http://www.wellsinternationalfoundation.org/current-projects/.
Archive for the ‘Americans in Paris’ Category
When I first opened this book, I wasn’t sure that I would want to finish it: it seemed to be about a confused woman with a troubled mind, working through her problems. I didn’t think that I’d want to spend my time reading about her sorrows and I didn’t think that I’d have the patience to read to the end to see if she overcame them.
But as I continued to read, I became intrigued with her story: her mother was a desperately unhappy woman who smothered her daughter with love on the one hand, but, on the other, tried to undermine her daughter’s career aspirations when she realized that they would draw her away from home. When the mother finally died of cancer, the daughter was left with a great sense of loss—an overwhelming attachment to the memory of her mother coupled with confusion about how to get on with her life. Was she worthy of aspiring to happiness? This seems to be the overarching question that she needed to resolve, and that is where Paris comes into the story.
The mother and daughter had planned to travel to Paris just before the mother died. After the mother’s death, the daughter traveled to Paris with her sister and, at some point, decided to purchase an apartment there. And for the rest of the book, the daughter, step by hesitant step, transfers her life from New York City to Paris. By the end of the book, she realizes that the challenge of moving to and living in the City of Light has helped her acquire a sense of entitlement to strive for happiness.
The book is full of descriptive detail about Paris. I especially enjoyed reading the descriptions of the neighborhood in which Anselmo purchased a small apartment, the French people she met, and her difficulties in learning the language. I appreciated her descriptions of food, cafés, and restaurants and, near the end of the book, her narrative about the château where she joined a French family for a three-day feast. It all rang true to me, a resident of the French capital for the last twenty-four years and a Francophile since 1975.
This book will appeal to readers who nurture a dream of someday moving to Paris, or to those who simply want to read a good adventure story about a woman who sets out to change her life.
My (Part-Time) Paris Life by Lisa Anselmo is available on Amazon.
Tom Reeves is the author of Dining Out in Paris – What You Need to Know Before You Get to the City of Light.
On Tuesday evening, March 29, the American Library in Paris hosted a tribute to James A. Emanuel. Born in 1921 and raised in the small town of Alliance, Nebraska, Emanuel went on to become professor of African-American poetry at the City College of New York. In 1984, following the death of his son, he moved to Paris. He died there in 2013.
The American Library’s biography of the poet states:
“James A. Emanuel was one of America’s greatest poets and academic scholars. Often overlooked, Emanuel’s fame did not equal the enormous output of his work. He published 400 poems and 13 volumes of poetry, including The Force and the Reckoning, an autobiography. He was a well-respected teacher who influenced an entire generation of students and poets.”
The evening program included readings of Emanuel’s poetry by author Jake Lamar; actress and director Ariane Crochet; professor Marcus Bruce; writer, editor, and entrepreneur Monique Y. Wells; editor and translator Wendy Johnson; and spoken-word artist Mike Ladd. Saxophonist Chansse Evans and drummer Chris Henderson provided musical accompaniment to Lamar’s reading of several of Emanuel’s jazz haikus. Following the reading, retired teacher, engraver, and photographer Godelieve Simons and retired teacher Annick Bossuet gave personal testimonials about Emanuel.
An online tribute to James A. Emanuel can be found here: http://blogcritics.org/no-more-ghettos-on-the-death-of-james-a-emanuel-poet/
The last conference to be held around the themes evoked by the Beauford Delaney exhibition in Paris took place last night. Entitled “African Americans in the City of Light,” the conference opened with the screening of a documentary film of the same name.
Produced by Joanne and David Burke of Blue Lion Films, this one-hour video features the story of African-American artists, writers, entertainers, and musicians who lived in Paris from the period following World War I to the Nazi occupation of France in 1940. Some of the persons featured are:
- Josephine Baker
- Langston Hughes
- Palmer Hayden
- Eugene Bullard
- Loïs Mailou Jones
After the screening, the associate producer, Julia Browne of Walking the Spirit Tours, answered questions from the audience and facilitated lively discussion.
The film is scheduled to be released in the Fall of 2016. For further information and to place an order, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Wednesday, February 17, the cultural service of the American Embassy in Paris hosted a concert entitled “The Roots of American Music.” Soprano Nicole Taylor, accompanied by pianist Daniel J. Ernst, sang a medley of spirituals that were composed or arranged by 20th century African-American song writers.
The backdrop for the performance was a work of art rendered by French artist Batsh.
Following the wonderful performance before an appreciative audience, everyone repaired to the Green Room for beverages and hors d’œuvres. Among the attendees at the concert was Madame George Pau-Langevin, Minister of French Overseas Territories.
There are a number of videos of Nicole Taylor on YouTube, including this one, a performance that she gave in Doha, Qatar in 2012.
Discover Paris! has been quite active during this last month of 2015 – things have been so hectic that we just now realized that we’ve neglected to tell you why!
Our own Monique Y. Wells recently founded a non-profit organization called Wells International Foundation (WIF). The foundation’s inaugural project is the Beauford Delaney and Paris exhibition that we mentioned in our last “What’s New” mailing to you. This show brings together three of WIF’s focus areas of activity – the arts, study abroad, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics).
WIF is partnering with a number of organizations, including Les Amis de Beauford Delaney, a French non-profit association that Monique founded in 2009, and Columbia Global Centers | Europe at Reid Hall in Paris to present the exhibition. It will consist of over 40 paintings and works on paper by American artist Beauford Delaney (1901-1979), many of which have never been seen by the general public before. The grand opening is scheduled for February 3, 2016 and the show will run from February 4-29, 2016.
WIF is also collaborating with J Rêve International, an organization that fosters visual and performing arts, creative education, and global exchanges to transform lives and communities. During the exhibition, J Rêve International will host a Global Educator Program workshop on STEAM education and multiple intelligences based on Beauford Delaney’s life and work. Six teachers from New York, South Korea (via Ohio), and Texas will participate in the week-long workshop designed to develop experience that equips them with the global competencies necessary to bring an international arts perspective to their schools.
Additionally, WIF is partnering with the University of Arizona to organize an Augmented Reality Project. Five students, led by Professor Bryan Carter, will come to Paris to create an app (a small, specialized program that is downloaded into mobile devices) that will allow persons attending the exhibition to scan paintings with devices such as smartphones, causing a video to appear on the screen that provides information about the painting. The teachers from the Global Educator Program will be able to use this app during their workshop in Paris and take the technology back to their respective school districts in the U.S. at the end of the program.
Teachers and students will enjoy the newest Entrée to Black Paris walking tour, Beauford Delaney’s Montparnasse, which Monique has created for the exhibition.
The University of Arizona students are currently raising money for their trip to Paris and have created a video that explains why they are so passionate about this project. View their 2’15” video at the link below and make a donation to support them. If you need a last minute tax deduction for 2015, this is a great way to get one!
Graphic artist Janeen Koconis hosted a cocktail party last night for Rosemary Flannery to celebrate the publication of the French edition of Rosemary’s book Angels of Paris. Entitled Les Anges de Paris, it is available in hardcover from Amazon.
Read my review of the English edition of Angels of Paris by clicking here: http://blog.parisinsights.com/angels-of-paris-by-rosemary-flannery/
Yesterday evening we got aboard a boat to take a 4th of July cruise along the Ourcq Canal. Organized by the Seine-Saint-Denis Office of Tourism, the tour featured jazz entertainment by the Kalini Trio, Chicago-style hot dogs by Little Kitchen, and craft beer by Deck & Donohue, an artisanal brewery.
A number of Americans were on board, including Marianne from Tom’s River, New Jersey. She is currently studying natural medicine in Hamburg, Germany and came to Paris for a brief stay.
All the ingredients were there for a great 4th of July celebration: good music, cold beer, and generous hot dogs. A good time was had by all!
Last year Ann Mah published a delightful book about French cuisine called Mastering the Art of French Eating. I became aware of it because my own recently-published book Dining Out in Paris—What You Need to Know before You Get to the City of Light treats a similar theme, namely French food and dining culture. I read her book in two evenings, and then decided to try one of her recipes, Bœuf à la Bourguignonne.
She calls this dish Bœuf à la Bourguignonne rather than Bœuf Bourguignon, because she believes that the reader should be able to use any kind of red wine, not just Burgundy wine. I purchased most of the ingredients from the local food market on rue Mouffetard, including a bottle of Rasteau, a Rhone Valley red, from Nicolas. From Pascal Gosnet I purchased two beef cheeks; from Picard Surgélé I purchased a bag of frozen pearl onions and a bag of frozen sliced button mushrooms; from Halles Mouffetard, I purchased an onion, a leek, and carrots; and from Franprix I purchased a small bottle of Cognac, a jar of juniper berries, and lardon matchsticks (bacon chopped into small slivers). I already had the other ingredients in the pantry.
I allotted an entire afternoon for the preparation of the dish. By the time I was finished I had lots of pots, pans, and utensils to wash! But the next day, when my wife and I set down to dinner, I concluded that the hearty dish was worth the effort.
I chopped the leek, onion, and carrots into 1″ pieces as Ann instructed.
I cut the beef cheeks into 3″ pieces. This was the hard part, because my knife wasn’t sharp and because a membrane on the cheek was too tough to cut. I removed it by cutting away at the meat rather than at the membrane. I saved this meaty scrap and boiled it later for beef stock. Then, I put everything in the pot (except the meat scrap) to await the wine bath in which the vegetables and beef would be immersed.
I poured the wine into the pot. Naturally, I tasted the wine first: it was medium-bodied with a rich aroma of red fruits. Very nice!
Then I covered the pot, making sure that all of the meat was immersed, and put it in the refrigerator to marinate overnight.
The following day I removed the beef chunks from the marinade and put them in a frying pan with olive oil to brown. Ann said that they would turn golden and crusted, but they never did. Oh, well.
I removed the meat from the frying pan and set it aside. Then I browned the vegetables. They never got very brown either, so I had to pretend that they were browned.
I put the vegetables and meat back into the frying pan and flamed them with cognac. Then, I returned the beef and vegetables to the pot with the marinade and let them simmer for three hours.
I prepared the garniture: sautéed mushrooms, pearl onions, and lardon matchsticks. This all went into the pot with the beef, vegetable, and marinade to simmer for an additional ten minutes.
It was finished. Voilà! (The vegetables are discarded. The beef is served without the marinade. Later, I used the marinade to make a rich cabbage and carrot soup.)
It was truly a dish that was suitable for serving on a chilly fall day. We found the beef to be tender with a somewhat gamey flavor. I speculated that the flavor came from the mushrooms, wine, and smoked bacon, not from the meat. (I tasted the meat in the beef stock that had been prepared without marinade, and it didn’t taste gamey.) There was enough beef left over for another meal, which we had two days later.
Thank you, Ann Mah, for writing the book and sharing the recipe for this savory dish!