Thursday was not terribly exciting (basically, another library day…of course), so here’s a quick rundown of the weekend:
- Managed to finish all my Christmas shopping in one go. I know, I’m surprised as well.
- Went to a farewell dinner for a dear friend who is off to new adventures in Singapore. One of the troubles with being an expat among other expats is the fact that while some stay, others head off, either temporarily (like me) or permanently (like some others in my group of CitéU friends). On the other hand, the perk of this is being able to point to almost any place in the world and say I know someone who lives there. For her send off, we surprised her by meeting at Bouillon Chartier – a restaurant I had never been to, but that is pretty popular because of how inexpensive it is. Back in the day, large restaurants like this were the haunts of the Parisian working class, and this is reflected still in the food served there: straightforward, no-frills, what many would consider French ‘classics’. The quality can be slightly hit or miss, depending on what you get, but really with a group of good friends and one or two bottles of red wine, do you really need much else?
- I am so bummed that the William Forsythe + Ryoji Ikeda expo (pictured at the start of this post) is closing at the end of the month because I kind of want to run around in it again. Forsythe’s contribution, as the photo above suggests, entitled Nowhere and Everywhere at the same time (see why I just had to come see this thing) involved moving through a room of lightly swinging pendulums, with the one caveat being that one could not touch them. The racks to which the pendulums were attached would also shift in regular intervals, changing both the direction of the pundulums as well as, at times, the speed of the swinging. Walking amongst them, I almost lost all awareness of what others around me were doing, instead zeroing in on the swinging objects, trying to decipher or predict their movements, finding those moments where I could sweep through the gaps they created. From above, however, it was fun observing how others moved through the room, whether there were any general patterns of movement that were followed – conclusion: people really like diagonals – or any parts of the room that were, for one reason or another, avoided (the corners, oddly enough). I don’t have any photos of Ikeda’s installation – test pattern [nº13], a sound/light experience -, but the video published on La Villette’s website gives a pretty good idea of what the experience was like (also, for those who have seen the new Twin Peaks, very strong sound design for the Black Lodge in parts 2 + 3 vibes with this one).
- After the expo, a walk through Pantin – a suburb just to the north of La Villette – to check out some street art before heading to the MC93 in Bobigny for what I can only describe as an anti-dance dance show. Jérôme Bel’s The Show Must Go On stirred up quite a bit of controversy apparently when it first premiered back in the early 2000s (and, granted, a show that in large part consists of either empty stages or not dancing does go against pretty much all expectations when it comes to what a dance show “should” be), but time has proven very friendly to it, as given the audience reaction (including mine), it was one of those light bits of fresh air that are very much needed these days. I mean, the first piece of fully choreographed dancing was the Macarena. A further plus: the many different kinds of bodies represented, which in itself further highlighted the marked absence of differently-abled bodies on stage.
- Finally, the evening ended with a get-together at another friend’s house with other PhDs from various American Universities, where of course one of the first topics discussed was the frustration that comes with trying to exercise our basic right, as graduate employees, of forming a union in the face of at times hostile uni administrations.
- I bought some books. I find this to be a very productive use of a Sunday.
Only a few days left before I head back to California for the holidays, and I still haven’t packed a thing. Procrastination is fun.