Filed under: SUPPORT THIS PROJECT! | Tags: 22, baby, elloitt, franco, Happy, james, magazine, movie, package, project, Stephen, support, the, this
Happy Baby is a movie based on the novel of the same name by Stephen Elliott, declared, by the New York Times, as “Surely the most beautiful novel ever written about S&M, juvenile detention centers, and drugs.” Happy Baby is the story of Theo, once an orphan in the Detroit foster care system now a grown man living in California. He returns to Detroit to reconnect with the love of his life. Originally set in Chicago, you can read a chapter from the book here.
Filed under: THE WEEK/THE WEEKEND | Tags: (Jerome, a, A. 8th, Adventure, Affect, age, and, ANDERSSON, annual, AQUAEFEST Carnival, art, artist, arts, Audain, Author Your, Barame, blanche, book, boys, Brewster, Busy, by, camera, Cammisa, can, castiglia, change, charge, city, colburn, Collaboration Yarn, collaborations, Commission), Composers, Consalvos, council, daniel, Degeneration, des, digital, dimensions, directing, Doktor, doug, Driscoll, electronic, electronics, end, exhibition, Exploded, FAIRE, Favourite, Featuring, Fellows, forced, from, Garret Slow, Gasland, Go!, Gozo, Griot, GUYTON, hamilton, headquarters, Hodgman, Hour, in, inside, james, jason, jesus, john, land, Law, leaves, Lescalleet, lights, Listening, Lowenstern, Macular, maker, Margolis, Marina, martha, member, michael, my, nathan, new, Nort, nuit, NYFA, organic, OS Adam, Paget, Para, Philipps, political, pop, postcard, project, reception, residency, richard, Rosenfeld, Rosler, rudolph, sacred, Screening, secret, Shiraishi, show, Soop How, staged, Stephen, Tamio, the, Thrilling, to, todd, tom, Tompkins, van, wade, Warnecke, with, works, world, york
THE SECRET CITY (NEW YORK)
Sunday, September 30th
- Cabaret star, Justin Vivian Bond will sing for us
- Chef Amanda Freitag will present the food offering.
- Painter John Devaney will share his beautiful work, which captures the endless parade of life.
- Brooklyn Express Drumline will energize with their rhythms.
- Charlotte Booker will make a New York poem with the assembled crowd. We’ll play a game of New York trivia…
And, of course, there will be storytelling, live music, community, art and LOTS of clapping. What more could you want out of a Sunday morning? Come celebrate the city with us. Oh, and feel free to bring something tasty for the refreshment table!
WADE GUYTON OS
OCTOBER 4, 2012–JANUARY 13, 2013
Over the past decade, New York–based artist Wade Guyton (b. 1972) has pioneered a groundbreaking body of work that explores our changing relationships to images and artworks through the use of common digital technologies, such as the desktop computer, scanner, and inkjet printer. Guyton’s purposeful misuse of these tools to make paintings and drawings results in beautiful accidents that relate to daily lives now punctuated by misprinted photos and blurred images on our phone and computer screens. Comprising more than eighty works dating from 1999 to the present, Guyton’s first midcareer survey features a dramatic, non-chronological design in which staggered rows of parallel walls confront the viewer like the layered pages of a book or stacked windows on a monitor.
The exhibition’s title Gaia refers to the Greek earth mother goddess as well as the scientific Gaia Principle, proposing that “all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, to maintain the conditions for life on our planet” (James Lovelock). Mi explores the significance of Gaia pictorially, as it relates to today’s ecological challenges. In works such as One -as well as Wind and Water–the artist celebrates and pays homage to the elements in all their glory by examining both microcosms and macrocosms in nature. Mi deconstructs space in the manner of classic Asian landscape painting to present a floating menagerie of symbols – disembodied lanterns, birds, insects, dragons and other hybrid creatures, rich organic matter – looming up from the primordial void. Mi also employs radical shifts in scale and density, subtle hues juxtaposed with jarring color, fluctuating perspective and other dramatic methods to convey her otherworldly vision. Negative space is addressed lovingly and carefully, with as much and perhaps more import than actual objects.
Adam Rudolph – GO Organic Orchestra
Monday, October 1, 2012 @ 8:00 pm
Unique in the realm of approaches to improvisational conducting, Go: Organic Orchestra utilizes a composed non-linear score consisting of sound and motion elements. These include tone rows, synthetic scales, melodies, linguistic shapes, intervallic patterns, textural gestures, modes, ragas, maqams, and plainchant. The score serves to provide material for both the improvisations and the orchestrations. Motion and forms and are generated through the application of the composer’s rhythm concept “Cyclic Verticalism” whereby polymeters are combined with additive rhythm cycles.
NY ART BOOK FAIR
September 30 to October 1, 2011
Printed Matter presents the seventh annual NY Art Book Fair, from September 30 to October 1, 2011, at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, Queens. A preview will be held on the evening of Thursday, September 29th. Free and open to the public, and featuring more than 200 exhibitors, the NY Art Book Fair is the world’s premier event for artists’ books, contemporary art catalogs and monographs, art periodicals, and artist zines. Exhibitors include international presses, booksellers, antiquarian dealers, artists and independent publishers from twenty-one countries.
Martha Colburn : Camera, lights, charge, Pop!
Sep 28 – Nov 4, 2012
Horton Gallery is proud to announce Martha Colburn’s Camera, lights, charge, Pop! – opening Friday, September 28th in the gallery’s new, expanded Lower East Side location at 55-59 Chrystie Street. Marking the first time that her work has been seen in this capacity, the exhibition will feature an hour and a half program of about thirty manipulated found footage and stop animation films from the mid-1990s to the present as well as Polaroids and large-scale collages.
Collaborations with Marina Rosenfeld, Jason Lescalleet, Tamio Shiraishi + Cammisa Buerhaus
Abrons Arts Center
Fri, September 28, 2012 – 8:00pm
The second evening of “Voices and Echoes” presents a series of unique collaborations including Otomo Yoshihide + Marina Rosenfeld duo, Gozo Yoshimasu + Tamio Shiraishi + Cammisa Buerhaus trio, and Akio Suzuki + Jason Lescalleet duo.
Bob Log III
Felipe Jesus Consalvos: EXPLODED WHIMS
Vincent Castiglia @Sacred Gallery
LUZ at LaMama
AdA – Author Directing Author
Your Land/My Land
Brooklyn Commons: Martha Rosler and Michael Arcega
CHAPTER 2: PLACES
Pierce Warnecke + Richard Garret
Slow Boys – Michael Lowenstern and Todd Reynolds
Show #8: Forced Collaboration
Lighthouse / Lightning Rod and Griot New York (excerpts)
Gasland Screening with Council Member Stephen Levin
Carver Audain (Jerome Commission) // Composers Inside Electronics (John Driscoll, Tom Hamilton and Doug Van Nort)
World Maker Faire New York
“THERE WAS A TIME WE WERE PRESENT” WORKS BY DAN SABAU
2011 Digital/Electronic Arts NYFA Fellows Exhibit
Wild Leaves/Nathan Xander
Melanie Daniel: Artist Talk
THE END TIMES CABARET: THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO
Art & Law Residency Exhibition 2012
gozoCine: Works by Gozo Yoshimasu
Sonagi Project: Barame Soop
How Can Art Affect Political Change?
Macular Degeneration Reception and Listening Party
My Favourite Things
PARTY HEADQUARTERS – ART IN THE AGE OF POLITICAL ABSURDITY
A Postcard from New Yorkshire New works by Doktor A.
8th Annual AQUAEFEST
Carnival Des Corbeaux
The Para-Architectural Imagination of Gustav Klutsis
Devin Powers, “Paintings”
SAM FALLS: BOOK AND SHOW
Local Report 2012
Adults in the Dark: Avant-Garde Animation (MAD)
The Mountain Goats
THIRD ANNUAL BRING TO LIGHT: NUIT BLANCHE NEW YORK
Filed under: ART | Tags: 22, and, animals, cat, collage, eichhorn, magzine, plants, Stephen, the
Filed under: THE WEEK/THE WEEKEND | Tags: 16, 20, 20 The, 2012, 22, 4, a, action, America Page, an, and, april, art, artist, artists, arts, Baaba Pedro, Bath, brooklyn, Brotherton, by, Caine Red, Carelli OBSCURE, Cello Occupying, changed, Claus, Collaborative, Collider Unsound, Crankies Feminism, Cross-Reference, Culture Petit, curated, curious, dinner, DIRKES CONGRESS, east, exhibition, Featuring, festival, films, Films Go, Flamenco, gallery, Gallery Friday, Gaspar, Generation FOUR, Gieves Marc, Grella, guest, guitar;, hans, HICKS, hook, Horizons LAMBCHOP Festival, HURST Igudesman, i, india, inside, jeffrey, Joo, Lewis Dustin, little, live, Lucas, magazine, mark, meets, MOORE, music, Music Ballads, Neuroscience Gary, new, next, night, nightmare., nina, Notes, ny, nyc, object, of, painting, PAINTINGS SHEILA, PAS, PEOPLES! ANDREW, performance, photography, PHOTOPLAYS, Pratt, Ramblers, Self Unsound, series, Show Unsound, silent, Singularity Shuffle, Soler, special, Stage RECIPROCITY, Stephen, story, street, surreal, that, the, thesis, to, true, Ughi, wall, week, weekend, with, work, Work Acid, york, York Unsound
Cross-Reference: A Collaborative Exhibition Featuring the work of Hans + Gieves
Like the Spice gallery presents Cross-Reference, a collaborative of Nashville-based painter Hans Schmitt-Matzen and Brooklyn-based photographer Gieves Anderson. It’s fitting that Hans and Gieves begin the works in their latest series in libraries, which the two artists consider sanctuaries of thought. Duly titled Cross-Reference, the series enables a philosophical contemplation of color and composition through an alchemy of the disparate mediums of photography and painting. Libraries’ unbroken rows and columns of books were the artists’ inspiration for the new works, and Gieves’ large photographic prints of the buildings’ interiors and exteriors form the multicolored surfaces to which Hans applies oils in thick gestural strokes made with brushes, blades, and customized squeegees.
Marc Brotherton – New Work
Causey Contemporary is pleased to present two solo exhibitions this April, New Paintings by Marc Brotherton and Acid Bath by Nina Carelli. Marking his third solo exhibition with the gallery, Brotherton will present his newest series of bold, mixed-media paintings, which explore ideas of new technology, communication, color and design. Marc Brotherton contends that living in the twenty-first century, we are constantly bombarded by input– be it from televisions, news sources, the internet, or one of the many communication gadgets. In a way, Brotherton’s paintings are a form of communication, which address technological and political quandaries, but also banalities of daily life. The outcome of his work is a materialized investigation into the perplexing world in which we live. Brotherton states that his incentive to make art comes from an “…inner curiosity, a personal necessity to acknowledge an awareness that we are here together inhabiting an increasingly chaotic world.”
Filed under: THE WEEK/THE WEEKEND | Tags: 10th, 12, 1927, 1947, 2011, 2011 VIDEOBYTES, 3pm FREE, 4, 5th, 60, 7, 7 Critical, a, Across, action, ACTIONS, Adventures, Aeneas at, AGAM, AIDS Zebulon, AIGNIER, ALMAZAN, Altar, AMERICA Performers, american, an, and, angie, Anniversary, architectural, Architecture Artist, Around, art, Art URBAN, arts, Aspirin, assistant, at, audio, Auteurist, AVEY, Avian Annie, Awareness H.C., b, babes, BALLET, band, BANDA, Baths Performers, Battle, Believer, Benefit to, Bi, Biblio, big, black, Blow, Bobby, book, Bookworks Observatory, Bouffes, Bradley, Broadway Abraham, Broadway Gifts, brooklyn, brooks, brown, by, canal, Cantata TRANSMISSIONS, Carol #serials, Carsten, center, century, CHACICH, Chew, CHOI Happy, Christmas, Christmas Margot, closing, CLOUD Diego, club, Colbert Vitamin, Coma Reid, come, Comedy, Communism Pharmacophore, Communities, concert, Condition THE, Conservatory, Conversancy, corporate, County, CPR, Curiously, Curtains, damour, dance, daniel, DANNA, Daughters Peter, day, DAY Simon, de, Dec, december, Decisions Behind, Delgato, Denny, des, DIALOGUES, Dido, different, dinosaur, Discussion SHORT, DJ, Documentary, Doty Book, Doty Biblioball, drawings, du, e, Editions Holiday, el, Election, Elggren Wingbridge, elizabeth, Energies, Environmental, ephemera, evening, Exapno, exhibition, Experience Street, Extraordinaires GBM A, FABIAN, Fado, Fado Happy, FAERIE M, Family An, Farrington’s, feathers, Featuring, Fermin, festival, Festival ARTIST, Festival War, FETISH, Files, film, Film SPANKIN’, final, First, Fix, Flies, flora, folk, for, forever, Form David, forum, Fragments DEATHSCAPE 2010, fred, FREDERIC, FREE, french, Fridays, Friends Gowanus, friends In, FROUD, g, game, Gasland, gay, glass, Gomez, gothic, GRANTA, great, GROW, HAIKU, Hall UnCage, Hamby Abraham, Hana, hans, Harlem! Free, HARPER, Hartmann, Hatuey, Höller, head, Heller, Henriques Tudo, Highlights, Hinde, his, history, ho, Holiday, hosted, Hour, HOUR With, House, House’ Occupy, human, Huse, in, in MISTERMAN OPEN, information, Instruments, Int’l, international, Intersection, INVITATION, is, Isto, IVAW BRIAN, jackson, Jacobs, jalopy, jam THE, james, Jarocho An, jazz, Jericho, jerry, jim, just, Justseeds, Kathy, Keefer, Ki, KILL, KITCHEN Sex, Kuehne, Lab A, last, LaunchPad DJ, leif, lesbian, letters, Liar, Listening, literature, little, LIVES, location, long, LORD’S, los, Lost Music, louise, lounge, LOWER The, Luckiest, Magi Teresa, magic, manhattan, mao, Mapping, MARATHON, march, mark, Market, Mason’s, McSweeney’s, Me Golem Telly, Me Staged, MELODRAMA, MF, MIGRANTS, Miguel, Misfortune CNN, modern, mon, monday, Montclair, MUERTOS Mark, MULTIPLES, murals, Museum, Museum Ed, music, narrative, Narratives KINGS, Nettle, NICKIE’S, night, nights, Noir The, Nord, NUTCRACKER, ny, occupy, of, Oldies, on, one, open, Opera, or, other, out, paintings Opening, Papacookie, Paperbacks, Parameswaram CILLIAN MURPHY, Parlour, part, Parties, party, Party Seven, Paul, perfect, performance, piano, Placebo Someone’s, poetry, Pollock, Pool, Premiere Staged, presents, Pride The, Primo, prize, Production! Shifting, PROGRAMSARAH, pub, Pushcart, quartet, QUIZ, radio, Rajesh, Ramos, Raven, reading, Reading! Built, Reading Screening, records, Research WILDLIFE, Resplendor” ROBIN, Retrospective C.I.C.T., RIDE! Innocence, RITES Insight, river, Rivera, roulette, Rupture, Russ, russian, Ryden, S, sailors, sale, Salon The, SAND LITTLE, Savalas The, scenes, scott, Screening, Screwball, Serial, served, Session Share, Sewer, sexual, SF, SHANGHAI, show, SHOW OPEN, SHOW Fred, SINALOENSE, Sing, Sinister, Sisters, Skoglund, SLEAZE, SLEIGH, Snook VICKIE, society, Sortilège, SOULIÉ Rona, Sound WHEN, SOUP, source, southern, Spaces Lesley, Spin, spindelman, state, Stephen, Stephen’s, Stern, STORE SCOTT, stories, story, string, studio, Sun, sung, support LAVA Atlas Baths, Swedish, tales, talk, tap, Technology POETRY, TED, the, theater, theatre, theflea RON, Theory Mike, Theory Occupy, Theory The, to, toby, Tony, toy, TOYLAND Krymov, train, transgender, Trauma, TRIBUTE, TRIO GBM BaroQue, Trying, TUTEN PICTURES, under, underground, UP? A, VAJDA The, Valerie, Various, VARISPEED, Video, VIOLI ART, visions, visual, w, Walden Steamy, Walsh BRAIN, wax, we, Wearable, WENDY, Westermann, white, wide, Widow, will, Winter, Witchcraft! Rachel, with, Without, woods, Woodsy, world, writers, XXI, year, Yefman American, Yes Charles, young, Yurt BROOKLYN, ZENON GBM “Junior
OPERA ON TAP/Roulette Sisters.
Filed under: FILM/VIDEO | Tags: 22, and, archives, art, artist, b, bones, brewing, brooklyn, by, Cinematography, Coates, company, directed, Ebenstein, Edited, Executive, film, Gerardo, Giraldo, graphics, guinness, ian, jay, Joanna, Karr, magazine, matt, McCleod, midnight, murtogh, music, new, ny, nyc, producer, real, Renfrow, Robbie, roll, Ronni, sound, Stephen, surreal, the, Theme, thomas, title, tuesday, Weld, writing, york
Episode 04 : The automata and automatic music – tucked away, in a quiet and pleasant suburb of New Jersey, there exists one of the most fascinating collections of artistic engineering ever collected. the collection belonged to Murtogh Guinness, of the Guinness Brewing Company. Its contents are, what i can only describe as the early days of robotics, engineered for our ancestor’s entertainment. dolls that perform incredible tasks, full orchestras in the middle of your parlor, and my favorite of course, a banjo that plays itself. the collection is maintained and managed by Jere Ryder who began his interest at a very early age. He is now entrusted to the collection at the Morris Museum located in Morristown, New Jersey. Keep your eyes on the brooklyn observatory as they occasionally take a field trip out. The museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights road Morristown, NJ and well worth the trip if you are nearby – Jere is not only very knowledgeable on the subject but also a fantastic tour guide… thanks a ton, Mr. Ryder, we’ll see you soon no doubt!
Executive Producer: Ian Karr – Producer Joanna Ebenstein – Cinematography: Robbie Renfrow – B-roll and Sound: Jay Bones – Music: Gerardo Giraldo – Title theme: Stephen Coates (The Real Tuesday Weld) – Title Graphics: Matt Mccleod – Directed and Edited by Ronni Thomas
Filed under: FILM/VIDEO | Tags: 22, and, anthropomorphic, archive, art, artist, artists, B-roll, bones, brooklyn, by, Cinematography, Coates, directed, Ebenstein, Edited, from, gallery, Gerardo, Giraldo, graphics, ian, jay, Joanna, Karr, magazine, matt, McCleod, midnight, music, new, ny, nyc, producer, real, Renfrow, Robbie, Ronni, sound, Stephen, surreal, taxidermy, the, the midnight, Theme, thomas, title, tuesday, Weld, york
From the occult streets of midtown manhattan to a tattoo parlor in brooklyn where Sue Jeiven is breathing new life into dead animals. We sat with Sue who teaches classes on Anthropomorphic Taxidermy at the Brooklyn Observatory to get some info on this unique and interesting art form. Take a look: http://www.themidnightarchive.com —-
Executive Producer: Ian Karr – Producer Joanna Ebenstein – Cinematography: Robbie Renfrow – B-roll and Sound: Jay Bones – Music: Gerardo Giraldo – Title Theme: Stephen Coates (The Real Tuesday Weld) – Title Graphics: Matt McCleod – Directed and Edited by Ronni Thomas
Filed under: INTERVIEWS, MATT MOWATT, Uncategorized | Tags: 1000, 22, a, art, artist, artists, arts, baguette, beano, book, books, British, brooklyn, city, clarke, collage, drawing, emerde, french, gallery, in, killed, magazine, new, ny, nyc, of annoying, painting, performance, Stephen, street, the, who, writing, year, years, york
Stephen Clarke, a British journalist and novelist, has lived in Paris for more than a decade and worked in a variety of trades including BBC comedy and creative lexicography. He has published many novels, one being the hugely successful A Year in the Merde, chronicling the adventures of Paul West, a gaffe prone Brit in Paris. The autobiographical tone of the work confused some folks who thought Stephen had indeed dealt with things like a naked landlady, but not enough to dampen the success which produced four more books in the Merde series alone. He currently lives in Paris where he is writing and actively seeking a rock band to play bass in.
Matt Mowatt: You wrote three novels before self-publishing A Year in the Merde. Do these novels carry the same tone and humor as your other books?
Stephen Clarke: They carry basically the same humor because it’s my humor. One of them was a prototype of A Year in the Merde, and that one was called Who Killed Beano? He [the character] was like Paul West except he was living in my hometown, and he was a bit more grungy, more into drugs and alcohol. The other book I called at the time Beam Me Up – it just came out actually, under the title, A Brief History of the Future. It’s a third person narrator, more of a toned-down, ironic, comedy sci-fi. It’s not like spacemen or anything; it’s in the here and now. It’s about a bloke from my hometown in Bournemouth who goes to New York and finds someone’s invented a very simple teleportation machine, but only for objects; he brings it back to Bournemouth and causes complete criminal anarchy like teleporting drugs directly into people’s nostrils.
Matt Mowatt: Is this your first attempt at sci-fi?
SC: Well, I suppose it’s my only attempt. I mean it wasn’t really even sci-fi. It’s just what would happen if someone really did create this thing. And, working as a journalist, I realized that half of the science stories I was working on were about some scientist somewhere who tried to invent teleportation or some other technology related to Star Trek, and I was thinking, “Why are they trying to make all of this Star Trek stuff come true?” So, in the novel [A Brief History of the Future] someone has made this Star Trek machine real and the chaos it would cause if teleportation were really possible (which it almost certainly isn’t because, apparently, in quantum mechanics you can’t make these things happen).
Matt Mowatt: There wouldn’t be parking lots anymore.
SC: No, but I think breaking down your car into its molecules and reassembling it wouldn’t be very good for the engine.
Matt Mowatt: A Year in the Merde has certainly put you on the map as a popular writer, but do you feel that your two other self-published books have been eclipsed by it’s success?
SC: Yeah, I only chose to try to publicize A Year in the Merde because I was living in Paris and it was about France. So I eclipsed them deliberately and I was just lucky that it worked. I got a publishing deal and I just went for that.
Matt Mowatt: Merde Happens is your third completed “Merde.” Did you travel to the States for research?
SC: Oh yeah, in Merde Happens the hero, Paul West, drives across America in a Mini [Cooper] with his French girlfriend. So you get the English perspective of America, the French perspective (which is very different, sort of schizophrenic love/hate relationship). So, yeah, I went back about six or seven times…I would drive the leg of the journey, mostly in a Mini. So I did one trip from New York right down the east coast along New Jersey…I was writing travelogues so I would go there, come back to write a travelogue for a newspaper, write a bit of the novel, and then go back to America. So I went across Florida and New Orleans, along the Gulf of Mexico, up to Las Vegas and over to the [West] Coast.
Matt Mowatt: You mention the French having a schizophrenic view of Americans, I definitely agree (being married to a French woman). What can you tell me of the views that the British have of Americans?
SC: Well, I say in one of my books, 1000 Years of Annoying the French, that we Brits, unlike the French, don’t mind that we lost America. The French, you know, deep down think that they should still own America, but they sold it – a huge chunk of it (for not very much money). We Brits, you know, we don’t mind…
Matt Mowatt: You’re not sore losers…
SC: Well, we don’t think we necessarily lost because we think that you’re sort of our cousins – we both speak the language, but you can’t spell it correctly. We don’t mind losing because we really have no desire whatsoever of governing Texas.
Matt Mowatt: -Laughs- Yeah, well, I don’t think half of America desires to govern Texas either.
SC: Yeah, we really don’t mind losing, but we’re kind of the old part of the family you left behind to explore the world. Brits love to embrace wholeheartedly all of American culture, which sort of annoys me slightly because we do it linguistically as well. So one of my favorite words, “bloke,” is dying out.
Matt Mowatt: They don’t say “bloke” anymore in Great Britain?
SC: Hardly, no. They say “guy,” like, “hey guys.” And “bloke” isn’t the same as “guy.”
Matt Mowatt: In your new book, Paris Revealed, you’re invited by the French government to be one of the judges in the Grand Prix de la Baguette de Paris – pretty much the equivalent of singing the National Anthem at the World Series.
SC: Yeah, like being part in the jury at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s a huge honor.
Matt Mowatt: Were you shocked as an English person [being invited to a very French event]?
SC: I was shocked, but I was more shocked by what went on during the competition. I was surprised to be invited because, as you say…it’s more like being knighted or going to the White House. The competition was so French. For example, there was supposed to have been a set number of jurors, and then a baker turned up. They told him that he wasn’t in the jury, but he said, “I thought I was going to be in the jury…If I’d known that I wasn’t going to be in the jury, then I would have entered the competition.” So they said, “Well, okay, you can be on the jury.”
Matt Mowatt: -Laughs- I should have walked in and said this.
SC: And then there were hundreds of baguettes piled up on the table with a kind of ring of paper on them with a number. There were no gloves, no plastic bags…
Matt Mowatt: And you visiting America, you’ve noticed that everything is wrapped in plastic.
SC: Well, it’s the same in the U.K. Everything’s really hygienic…So all of these baguettes were all piled up; one or two of them fell on the floor. When they were brought to the judging tables, they were stuffed into the armpit of one of the assistants and dropped on the table…I was sitting in the middle of the table, so by the time I tasted the baguette it could have been prod about, sniffed, and nibbled by a few other people.
Matt Mowatt: Was the baguette good nonetheless?
SC: They were good. The only thing is, of course, once you’ve tasted a hundred and fifty of them, you could hardly tell the difference.
Matt Mowatt: So were you craving some chevre chaud after a while?
SC: I was sort of dehydrated…I was sitting between two bakers and they were looking over at me saying, “How could you give that one four marks? It’s too crusty.” I said, “Well, yeah, but I like the crust.” So they were trying to influence my marks…So it’s a huge honor for the winner because not only do they get massive amounts of publicity, they also get to deliver baguettes every day for a year to the Presidential Palace. And I was sitting next to last year’s winner, and I asked him, “So have you been taking baguettes to the Presidential Palace every day?” He said yeah, and I asked him if he has seen Carla Bruni, and he said no. So I said, “So she never comes down there in her dressing gown to get the baguette?” He said no.
Matt Mowatt: -Laughs-
SC: But anyway, they [the Presidential Palace] wanted their baguettes at eight o’clock in the morning. So I [the baker] told them, “There’s no way to get there at eight in the morning. I’m much to busy in the shop. I’ll be there at ten.” So he delivered his baguettes at ten…fuck the President, you know.
Matt Mowatt: -Laughs- That’s very French…After seven books about pointing out the idiosyncrasies between the French and English culture, are you running out of ideas or is finding quirks in French culture sort of a renewable resource?
SC: I’m lucky because I’ve never run out of ideas. I’ve been living here for a long time, and I am a Parisian. I see what Parisians are up to and they are changing a lot. The thing we all love about Paris is that it never changes. Fundamentally it never changes. It hasn’t really changed since Napoleon. The buildings might have changed, you know, and there are cars now, but people’s attitudes have hardly changed. They do evolve very slowly. It’s geological, but…they’ve sort of evolved kicking and screaming. For example, I’m writing another Paul West “Merde” novel. It really is sort of a post-credit crunch novel, because the credit crunch has sort of undermined a lot of things about Paris. They’re finally seeing a horrific dawn where jobs for life won’t be possible anymore. And the average French person, when they start a job at twenty-something, starts to think, “I wonder what age I’m going to retire?” That’s their basic attitude towards work. Nowadays they’re suddenly thinking, “Shit, the retirement age is going up, I might not have a pension.” This has given them existential twinges, so they’re more on-edge; they’re getting more aggressive. People are more willing to tell you that they hate their job, they hate their boss or their customers. You might not notice it if you visit Paris, but you’ll notice it if you live here.
Matt Mowatt: And this change happening is the theme for your new novel?
SC: It’s the background to the new novel.
Matt Mowatt: Do you find the sense of humor gap between French and British to be a rather large one?
SC: Yeah, very large. One reason is…you know most French people often don’t realize that we’re joking. So what you have to do in France is when you say something funny you laugh to make them realize it’s funny. That’s one huge difference, one that I used to my favor when I worked in a big company. We’d go to meetings, sort of brainstorming meetings and I’d joke and make a really stupid suggestion…either they think you’re joking and say, “Oh, it’s not bad, he deliberately said a stupid thing,” or they think, “Wow, that is complete genius. We’ve never thought of that.” So it’s a win/win situation. And also the thing is, Brits anyway, within limits, we don’t take anything seriously. For example, in the U.K. a politician, unless it’s a crisis, will make jokes, especially on social occasions. Whereas in France the politicians take themselves so seriously that there will be no joking. So, we don’t take ourselves too seriously, which means we can joke at any time. But the French can be very satirical, really cutting with their humor. There are magazines here that say outrageous stuff with no reverence at all, which I really like.
Matt Mowatt: It seems like French jokes are aimed at somebody, and maybe the American and British are sort of self-loathing jokers.
SC: I wouldn’t say loathing. Maybe self-deprecating, but, at least in Britain, we have a huge culture of stand-up comedy.
Matt Mowatt: The last…well…the last funny British person…
Matt Mowatt: …I saw was that guy from the Office.
SC: Ricky Gervais.
Matt Mowatt: Yeah.
SC: I love him. I love it when he does those awards ceremonies.
Matt Mowatt: He’s so scathing…So, my next question is what publishing advice would you give, say, an American copywriter and music reviewer living with his French wife in the 19th [quarter], for example?
SC: -Laughs- It depends what you want to do.
Matt Mowatt: Fiction. I just finished a novella.
SC: In that case I would do what I did which is to get the novel as good as it can possibly get, right down to the last full-stop. And then send it off to some literary agents. And if they don’t want it, self-publish.
Matt Mowatt: Last two questions. Don’t you find Dickens a bore, especially now that he’s dead and what are you currently reading?
SC: I have nothing against dead authors. One of my favorite authors is dead, you know. It’s not their fault they’re dead. Dickens comes from a time when the world was much slower and people had time to read his descriptions. Some of Dickens I really love, some of his atmospheres in London are still true today. If you go and stand on the banks of the River Thames now…when the tide goes out, the beach is exposed to sort of bricks and tires and body parts…it’s really Dickensian. You know, when the tide comes back in, the Thames…the river flows backwards, it flows uphill. It’s amazing. Dickens captures all of that really well. But his descriptions are way too long.
Matt Mowatt: When I read Dickens, that’s the major issue I have: a ten or twenty-page description of a chair.
SC: Yeah, but he was like Emile Zola. He was trying to document the times. Also, he was paid by the word. He had written them in articles and had them published week by week.
Matt Mowatt: So what are you reading currently?
SC: A mixture. I just read an Evelyn Waugh novel, Scoop, which is very light and funny. There are some people like Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, George Orwell…they’re such crafted, brilliant writers with a wonderfully simple style that doesn’t smack you around the face. So, you always know you’re going to get something good.
Matt Mowatt: I’d like to thank you again for coming, Stephen.
SC: Thank you.