Sunday, March 20, 2005


Another gorgeous day. The last two days there has been fog until 11am or so, but this morning the sun is shining and the forecast is 21C/70F. Amazing!

I had a great day yesterday; I slept in until 8:15am, had room service, went to the fitness room for a half hour, then got ready for my day. I went shopping at Printemps and Galleries Lafayette, plus also FNAC to buy some new music. The weather was a bit cooler yesterday (perhaps only 65F), but still sunny and loads of people were out.

It has been funny, I've been speaking French the last two days and I'm surprised at the comfort level that I have. It helps to be in France every year if only to brush it up; my French isn't great by any stretch of the means, but it is not bad, either!

I took the Métro to Chatelet and went to Centre Georges Pompidou, the famous modern art museum built with the structural skeleton on the outside instead of hidden within the walls. Anyways, I saw this interesting exhibit that was written up called "Dionysiac." As per the brochure...

"Dionysiac" explores a stance or sensibility shared by the fourteen artists represented, through works for the most part especially produced for this exhibition. "Dionysiac" assigns a particular relationship between art and life, an affirmation rather than resignation, which is expressed as much through anger and pleasure received through destruction as through excitement of life and flux. Blah blah blah...

A few parts were amusing, a few confusing, a few unpleasant, a few brought up your worst nightmares, and one exhibit was outright offensive. I opted not to wait in line to go into the special room where the exhibit was at -25C. That did not sound like fun at all. One exhibit was truly strange, it was a film about this guy who was dressed like a german tourist - knickers, camera around neck, dorky glasses. He took duct tape and drew two long parallel lines on a sidewalk next to a bus stop and a busy intersection (busy with vehicles, not people). Then he drew an X near the end of the two lines, then he stepped back and looked up. Then the camera peered up to the sky, then back down. The guy would look around him, as if he wanted someone to watch him and wonder what was going to fall from the sky and hit the X. Funny for a while, then dull. NOTHING happened. Wierd. I tried to understand how this related to the theme and I didn't get it.

There was one room called "Shit Plug" which was literally this huge room that looked like an artist gallery filled with oversized butt plugs, some that have been destroyed, dirtied, painted, etc. On two walls were films; one was displaying the artists chopping up plastic pieces (perhaps to melt and make butt plugs) and another were these guys talking about how their jobs were "shitty." I began to realise that as the movie went along, their jobs were literally about cleaning up shit. Unpleasant and offensive, just yucky.

One exhibit was a jukebox with a selection of music, but each CD had only one song, and the CD cover displayed also the name of the artist who chose this song on the CD. You could choose a song and it would play for a minute or so. All kinds of music, nearly all acid rock - much of it German - but it did have a couple selections of Aretha Franklin and Frank Sinatra at the end (strange). You could hear the music all over the exhibit.

For cultural purposes, I am glad I saw the exhibit, I needed to do something to expand the mind. But there was an option to go to an Egyptology exhibit at the Institut du Monde Arabe, and I should have done that instead! Oh well. The book store at Georges Pompidou is incredible and I did buy this cool book called "Event Cities 3" which is all design drawings about special event buildings drawn for certain cities. Very cool.

I came back and was so tired, I just collapsed and fell asleep by 8.30pm. Today, I woke up at 5.30am and couldn't go back to sleep. This is OK because I have to take the train later and will likely rest there. Today I plan on working out, then going for a walk and take a café nearby, then come back and get ready for the train. I leave at 4.30pm for Zurich. Tonight I have a call at 8pm (I think) then I will listen to the MSU-Vermont game on the internet before going to sleep...

Looking forward to a great final day in Paris and to visiting Zurich... haven't been there since 1997... ciao for now!

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