“Of Gods and Men”

March 22, 2011  |  inspiration  |  No Comments

“Of Gods and Men” is playing in Bay Area theaters. Highly recommended!

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French artistic influences on Patti Smith’s voice

March 22, 2011  |  inspiration  |  No Comments

On the West Coast, talk about the latest technical innovation – iPhone, iPad, etc. has long eclipsed any talk about the transformative nature of art in and of itself as well as on oneself. But lately, after reading Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids, I was reminded that art and great artists still matter, that getting inspired by them helps us reach that deep source within ourselves where creativity gets stirred and from where creativity flows.

Below is a collage of all the French influences on Patti Smith’s artistic career (as mentioned in the book.) I have to admit, I was astonished to discover how much French artists and authors have shaped her aesthetic and poetic voice. Rimbaud was her hero. The Illuminations was the book she brought with her when she first arrived in New York. She even made a pilgrimage to musée Rimbaud in Charleville, France. What an undertaking for the love of art, to try to see with her own eyes what the words were still hiding from her, to capture one last impression still needed to get closer to her own truth!

The list is impressive. The artists are among the greatest. Take your time to discover them for yourself!

The urge to express myself was my strongest desire…” (Just Kids 6).

Odilon Redon Les Yeux clos, Arthur Rimbaud Illuminations, Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Henri Michaux, Piaf, Jean Genet The Miracle of the Rose, Dubuffet, Mallarmé

“I protested vehemently and announced that I was never going to become anything but myself…” (Just Kids 10).

Jean-Luc Godard Bande à part, One plus one, Duchamp, Seurat, Camille Claudel, Jules Laforgue, Cocteau Les enfants terribles, Gide, Roger Vadim Barbarella

“But secretly I knew I had been transformed, moved by the revelation that human beings create art, that to be an artist was to see what others could not” (Just Kids 11).

Artaud, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Gérard de Nerval, Yves Montand Wages of fear, Nadar, Blaise Cendrars, Jeanne Moreau, Joan of Arc, Raymond Roussel Locus Solus, Théophile Gautier, Paul Valéry, André Breton

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Les dîners francophones de Francine

Les dîners francophones de Francine

March 10, 2011  |  inspiration  |  1 Comment

Francine Spirandelli came to live in San Francisco in the last ten years, but through her famous Dîners francophones, she has become a serious mover and shaker in the francophone scene of the city. Charming, elegant, and with impeccable taste, Francine visits and chooses French restaurants for her networking group, more precisely, her guests, and she makes you feel like a guest when she greets you inside the restaurant. She feels proud and happy to be the hostess engaging monthly in the art of receiving people.

The purpose of the diners is networking with people (faire du social) who are interested in French culture and French cuisine and who speak some French. These diners are probably the most relaxed and happy networking events you will ever attend. And Francine makes sure that you eat well on a beautifully decorated table, taste fabulous food, and have a great time. A steady number of 30-35 people from all nationalities gather once a month in a French restaurant in the city (Le Charm, Fringale, Jeanne’Arc), sparkling some passionate conversations.

People come back month after month because they feel appreciated, enjoy the food and meet wonderful people. When I ask Francine how she can explain the success of her diners, she says: “I am very French. I try to make people feel comfortable. I am open, and I am happy when others are happy. I engage people.” “Also,” she continues, “the choice of the restaurant is very important to me, I look for ambiance, warmth, joie de vivre, and, of course, parking…”

Although her mother was American, Francine grew up in France but always wanted to experience life on the other side of the ocean. She was curious about America, and before coming to SF, she thought that Americans didn’t have any problems, that they were all happy. After learning a great deal, now she loves her life in San Francisco punctuated by her monthly francophone diners, and she doesn’t regret having moved here. The only thing that she still misses is “les saucissons et la charcuterie” of the small shop on the corner of avenue de Victor Hugo and rue de la Pompe in Paris.

  • To learn more, contact In French Style!
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