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my first wedding in paris

I really enjoyed the ceremony at the Mairie du 19eme. Well the 5 minutes I saw of it as we made rather an entrance just as rings were being exchanged and almost, but not quite, ruined the moment. The female mayor presented the couple with their Livret de Famille, doesn't seem that romantic to get a sort of social security document along with the rings. The Livret de Famille is essential when dealing with french bureaucracy, all official family events such as birth of kids, divorce or death will be recorded. The salle where the marriage was held was impressive with huge belle epoque marriage scenes of straight out of a Colette novel. Next stop Parc Buttes Chaumont with the rest of the trendy Chilean guests. You were either in film, TV or a rock band or should I say electro rock band. People wore all sorts of clothes from jeans, shorts to trilby hats and really dressy flimsy numbers for the girls. Some people brought cool boxes and then whipped out the champagne and little empanadas to nibble on. These are latin cornish pastis as far as I can work out.

Everyone was sent a badge with their invitation and depending which cuddy toy was shown that gave you the beverage orders you were requested to bring for the evening event (luckily we got off with the champagne and brought beer, they must know we are poor) held at a huge Scandanavian styled atelier in the 13eme where the groom lived.

It went on way too late for me and I had to retire at only 2am.

The bride said she loved out present, a Bonsai tree to symbolise longevity. The best place to get them is Bonsai Lola in 59 rue Saint-André des Arts, 75006 Metro Odeon. They start at only 7 euros.

Gay=Branché

Have an adorable couple from LA just desperate to purchase a 2 bedroom pied à terre smack bang in the centre of the Marais. I don't blame them wanting to make Paris their second home from the US - here everyone just does what they want and nobody really bothers. Even Naked Cruising. Hairy naked is Wednesday night but they look too buff to go for that sort of thing.

So I am checking out a beautiful apartment on pretty rue Trésor. No traffic passes, it's quiet and only for pedestrians,there are great cafés, cool boutiques (check out the Belgian designers at Trésor by Brigitte Masson at 6 rue Trésor - she's helpful and passionate about clothes)and it's exactly where they are looking for.........

It's owned by a slightly eccentric but charming Frenchman with a penchant for what looks like 1920's English styling. His home looks like a set from a Noel Coward production and he even refers to one room as the "drawing room". As he sucked on a cigarette in an ebony holder and strode through the apartment in the most beautiful tailored jodphurs to proudly show me the spacious dressing room which housed his fine collection of tweeds, smoking jackets and walking sticks. I half imagines Jeeves to pop out from the Maid's quarters with a Gin Fizz for us.

The apartment is the right size, shape, fully modernised, (they don't want 1930's plumbing etc) but it's too dark inside. What a shame. Someone will probably buy it purely for the location but sometimes Marais central (4th) wearies me because it's way to crowded with tourists such as the slightly pretentious crowd from Les Philosophes café at the end of the road. Far better off Au Petit Fer a Cheval at 30 rue Vielle du Temple. It has a beautiful original "Zinc", the old fashioned bars made from the metal of the same name.

I'm looking for witty presents to take to LA so I pop into the cool gay bookstore around the corner Les Mots a la Bouche . It's a good place to browse the branché (trendy - literally means "plugged in) magazines. The eternal question............why are my gay friends always two years ahead of me in style issues?

Time to ponder on this while grabbing two scoops of delicious ice cream from Amorino - the best paris ice cream shop - just opposite the book shop.

This year's best gig in Paris - Gonspiration Lesson

I was a bit dissapointed to see my old hero BECK was charging 35 euros a ticket for his concert at the Zenith in June. "Ever had the feeling you were being cheated?". When there are so many cheap or free excellent musical events in Paris such as Quartier d'été I've got used to demanding excellence for very little.

I wish I'd saved my cash for another one of my faves, the hyper-innovative Gonzales' " Gonspiration Lesson". Should be some special guests - Feist, Mocky and Jamie Liddell. He's at the Théatre de La Bastille for three nights this week and I haven't even got time to go. Please can someone else go and write a review for the I V Y website?

Listen up guys - he left Berlin for Paris (same time as me, 2 1/2 years ago) because he says that there is a certain amount of dialogue here in Paris between the underground and the mainstream that he enjoys. Word up.

Gonzales 27,28,29 july at Théatre de La Bastille 75, rue de la Roquette, 75011 Metro Bastille

WAD magazine and lizards

Wad apparently stands for "We Are Different" but from what I've seen of much Paris street fashion it's pitifully copycat and doesn't quite hit the mark. I must say i have always liked the photography in this magazine though - the writing is another story though.......... When my boy popped out on Sunday afternoon to help his friend Mario Faundez I didn't realise he would return later covered in gold paint and glitter. Been to Queen? All was revealved the next day when he showed me a fabulous photograph of himself next to a gekko lizard thing. This "Guerrero" (warrior) fashion collection is based on amerindian themes and native costumes and jewelerry. I'm not allowed to get my hands on the photo in case I put it on my blog before the magazine comes out.

L'année du Brésil - Wax on. Wax off.

It's all very well bopping to the bossa nova but is it just me or have I seen one too many adverts for a huge corporations cashing in on Paris' YEAR OF BRASIL.? We've reached a fever pitch now with all that's green yellow and blue. I don't want to be a killjoy - you know I enjoy a Gilberto Gil concert - but let's wake up and smell the un-ethically produced coffee.

Brazil has 186 million people and is the fifth largest country in the world. Less than one per cent of the people own 46-50 per cent of the land. It has the second worst distribution of wealth in the world, second only to Sierra Leone, according to the UN. There are 50 million people under the poverty line, of which 30 million are malnourished.

Thanks for the party vibes Mayor Delanoe but am I the only person left feeling that
holding a capoeira display in the make up department of Galeries Lafayette department store falls some way short of the full story?

Funnily enough there was barely a beauty salon in Paris where the gals knew what a brazilian wax was two years ago when I first came here. This trend had hit London, where I used to live, so long ago that I was already over it and had moved on to post-post-feminist styles of intimate hair removal. One day, with my legs swung so my feet were right next to my ears with a none-too-gentle Iranian beautician exceptionally close to "l'Origine du Monde" brandishing a spatula full of bubbling wax, I decided I'd had enough.

I came over all girly there for a moment. Back to politics -

"Government is like feijao (beans). You have to apply pressure for it to cook", goes a popular Brazilian phrase and I was inspired reading about perhaps the most dynamic direct action movement in the world. It was the largest march in Brazilian history, which lasted 17 days. The landless farmers'movement, the Movimento Sem Terra, or MST, brought 12,000 marchers from 23 states to walk 238 kilometres to the Brazilian capital Brasilia to demand land reform. The marchers took on not just the government but Brazil's big landowners in the decades-old fight for land.

In dry heat, every day for 17 days 12,000 men, women and children marched sixteen kilometres, occupied land and camped on it. Each marcher had with them a knife and fork, four rolls of toilet paper, a water bottle, a straw hat, a roll-up mattress, first aid, MST caps and t-shirts and a bucket to wash with. They were also given a rucksack, a plastic rain cover, a card for their name and state, pen, notebook, a book on agrarian reform written by MST groups, and a transistor radio.

Not quite so sexy as beach volleyball in front of the Hotel de Ville. And highly unlikely to turn up in one of the L'année du Brésil press releases I guess.

From Place des Vosges to Vera Cruz, Mexico

I passed by one of the most exquisite hotels in Paris today, Pavillon de la Reine on the Place des Vosges, stomping ground of Madame de Sévigné, La Fontaine and Molière. One of my property search collaborators can usually be found here part of the week. Hat's off to him, he's worked out how to profit from his shift work and build up a great portfolio of Marais property with his spare cash and spare time, proving that even starting out with a small studio means that you can find tenants and make a profit pretty fast in Paris if you know what you are doing. Working in this top class hotel (Victor Hugo Suite 790 euros) means what he doesn't know about Paris ain't worth knowing and his skills with people are also second to none. I was taking him a nice bottle of from the cave at Fauchon as a thank you present and well done. We just collaborated on a very successful property search to buy deal. It's invaluable for me to have well informed neighbourhood "spys" because I can't run Bonapart Consulting and be everywhere in town at the same time. By the time I'd found the hotel I was running late, it's so discreet I'd walked past the huge doors on the Place des Vosges about 3 times. I have to get ready to go out to an exhibition by Chiliean painter Hermann Schmidlin. on a boat moored near the foot of the Eiffel Tower. We have poetry from my friend Paco (Francisco Undurraga Alcade - in picture with French translator and painting by Hermann in background) and live music from a mexican band direct from Vera Cruz, traditional dancing and all. One of their instruments is a horses skull.

Tango and opening night of Paris Plage

First stop was our I V Y paris meet up group down on the Quai Saint Bernard where we watched the Tango dancers swirl round next to the river. Had a great talk with Horchata who runs the Paris Film and Video Industry Group. We first met at the I V Y paris gallery and her group is an extension of an idea we talked about back when we had a permanent space it was originally going to be held there. It's actually better to be free to hold meetings and events anywhere, outside, especially in the Summer and of course, for free! She tells me about the 48 hour film project she is building a team for. Basically you assmble a team to make a movie from scratch - writing, shooting and editing - all in just 48 hours.

Later we hit the Paris Plage to check out the Brasilian theme "beach"(Copacabana, Ipamena Maracana.......... . Despite some initial sceptisim I loved the ambience and felt a milion miles away from the centre of Paris even though we were walking by the Seine (where the traffic usually flies along right on the river). I love the Summer in Paris - le picque-nique rules and is so much more fun to spend evenings with friends outside by the river or a park than in a non-air conditioned restaurant. I noticed down at Le Daguerre on the Marche Daguerre the other day there is a new style of air conditioning where giant fans spray a mist of water over diners! Totally annoying.

There was a brilliant drummming collective called ENS’BATUCADA and they mesmerised us for about 1 hour. I love seeing people letting themselves go in the midst of some ferocious drumming. They are a collective of artists, actors and musicians who as well as performing in carnivals and theatres run drumming ateliers for adults and children.

My quaint "Parisienne bumpkin" questions

How easy will the transition be - from Paris to what some people have led me to believe is the antithesis of culture and good taste...........

In answer to my questions I got hard bitten advice from the professionals - as well as requests for Ladurée macaroons and Destresse shower gel from Monoprix.

"Wear sunglasses and sunblock at all times"

"You’ll be looked upon like a leper for smoking in LA, unless it’s night and outside a bar. If you smoke inside any “closed-in structure” you’ll be immediately handcuffed and exiled to the far side of Catalina Island and fined $1,000,000,000,000,000"

And this from gorgeous Carolyn who could give Halle Berry a run for her money in a Beauty Queen show:

"As for the 140 lbs... I’ve always said that “Los Angeles is the only city on the face of the earth where I feel (and am treated) like I’m fat and ugly.” So fuck these boney-ass, bleach blonde bimbos with fake-ass titties, and shake your groove-thang. WELCOME TO L.A.!!!"

And finally from John Agee -

"Have you ever been to the US before? If you haven't, please know that this place is NOT what America is. I would hate for you to have this be your first impression! Bring your bathing suit!"

Cool. That means everyone has a swimming pool.

.......city of lights to the city of angels……….

I should be in LA from around 7th – 14th August and I am very much looking forward to seeing my buddies from Paris. I hope that some of them might have time in their crazy Hollywood lives to spend some time with me and have a little corner where I could lay my head after it starts spinning from all the Cali-forn-ication. I don’t drive so even though I arrive on 7th it could be a few days before I can reach anyone with no car. Let's hope someone picks me up at LAX - the coolest named airport in the world.

I am in a show at Cache Contemporarywhich opens on Saturday 13th August. The gallery Director is co-Founder of I V Y paris, the one and only Whitey Flagg. Mine is a piece based on the series of books published by my friend Jim Haynes many years ago after the fall of Communism in the Eastern Bloc, called "People to People".

The name of the show is PARIS/LA "An exchange of art and ideas" - this is great, since I've been in Paris a big percentage of my close friends have all hailed from Los Angeles so I've had plenty of practise.

There are still 12 artists showing mainly from Paris having been discovered through the portals of I V Y paris: Kit Brown, Chase Bailey/Kit Soave, Matt Rose, Adam Steiner, Jeremy Stigter, Gloria Zein, Anthony Antonellis, Neil Kreitlow, Didier Lesne-Pigeaud, Whitey and I.

Musically there is Earl Harvin, the drummer from French band AIR, and Rick Royale and DJ Flem from Whitey's old gallery "Popomatic".

Questions about LA:
Do I have to wear sunglasses at all times?
Will I be shot if I take public transport?
Will I be shot if I weigh more than 140lbs?
Is it possible to smoke anywhere?

I have to check my passport is valid to let me in, this is not sure and also since I used to have an Algerian boyfriend maybe someone will find out and stop me getting into the U S of A.

I still have to finish the piece for the show and I had a computer crash yesterday and lost three weeks of work. I am over it. I think it’s a good time to revise the execution of the oeuvre………….........fast.

Had enough of French cuisine?

After more than two years in France and with a trip to Los Angeles looming it was time to de-tox. I know everybody talks about how french women don't get fat- but I've put on weight - despite starting to smoke (after two years sans nicotine) taking up caffeine, alcohol, weed and croissants - it was a steady decline after my arrival as a wheat-free, juicing-crazy vegan. I remember one off my first worries was how to find a clinic which did colonic irrigation - (Dr Guy Jolly 06 61 81 78 75 if anyone's interested). My friends were pissing themselves laughing when I told them and suggested I look in the telephone book for irrigation colonique in high pitched gallic accents then collapsed into fits of giggles at my cranky ways. It was the lack of well-stocked health food shops which set me on the road to ruin, or at least I pretend it was, but I've got used to what Naturalia do and don't stock. It sounds like a small thing but apart from my darling friends, Abel & Cole and Planet Organic were what I most missed about London when I came here. Dr Joshi is helping me get back to my macro-biotic ways and there really are vegetarian restaurants in Paris. Be prepared for French people to laugh at you for going to them though.

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