Petit hommage à Juliette Greco et Serge Gainsbourg

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Petit hommage à Juliette Greco et Serge Gainsbourg

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RIP Juliette Gréco

Juliette Gréco, the singing muse of bohemian postwar Paris who became the grande dame of chanson française and an internationally known actress, died on Wednesday at her home near Saint-Tropez. She was 93.

Her family announced the death in a statement sent to the news agency Agence France-Presse.

Juliette Greco with Miles Davis

For almost seven decades, Ms. Gréco was a loyal practitioner of the musical tradition known as chanson française, a specific storytelling genre of popular music. The songs are “like little plays,” she told The New York Times in 1999, adding: “They’re typically French. We’re a people who express our love in songs, our anger in songs, even our revolution in songs.”

She was the darling of critics, as well as of the intellectuals whose world she inhabited. Ms. Gréco’s ultimate rave review came from a friend, the Existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, who said simply, “Gréco has a million poems in her voice.”

Her signature hits included “Sous le Ciel de Paris” (“Under Paris Skies”), “Les Feuilles Mortes” (which English speakers know as “Autumn Leaves”), “Déshabillez-Moi” (“Undress Me”), “Jolie Môme” (“Pretty Kid”) and “Je Suis Comme Je Suis” (“I Am What I Am”). -Source: NY Times

Fascism Is the Core of Trump’s Message

Shooting journalists, he says, is a “beautiful thing,” his fans have “good genes,” refugees are dangerous, and his political opponents should be prosecuted.

There is at times an extraordinary, almost deafening quality to silence; the absence of noise can be dignified and powerful. The jazz great Thelonious Monk once went so far as to claim that “the loudest noise in the world is silence.”

In that silence, that Signal, one often hears the rhythms of introspection; the timbre of careful thought and logic, the teasing out of ideas. Inside that silence, if one is thinking about a person recently deceased, one can ponder the philosophical, moral, spiritual, and intellectual values they embodied.

This is what the Ruth Bader Ginsburg vigils were like around the country: silent, calm, sorrowful affairs over which the jurist’s legacy hung, so omnipresent that it needed no amplification. I attended the one in Sacramento on Saturday night; hundreds of people, holding candles, walked quietly and mournfully around the perimeter of the capitol. There were similar events all over the country.

Imagine, by contrast, what a vigil for Donald Trump will look and sound like when he dies. It’s difficult to imagine that it will be calm or quiet, that it will be a time to ponder the caliber of his ideas or his humanity. Any silence at that moment would be a vacuum-like quiet, an absence of introspection, a void, rather than a seedbed of moral contemplation. Far more likely that his wake would be a rowdy, yahoo-esque affair, an excuse for bile and bigotry to flare up with wretched, final abandon. For there is no dignity in Trump, and no matter how much he craves the love of the crowd, there will be no dignity when pondering his absence.

Talking of dignity and its lack, consider for a moment the toxic stream of consciousness that passed for a Trump campaign speech in Minnesota this weekend.

Continue reading “Fascism Is the Core of Trump’s Message”

The history of Paris as a haven for African-Americans

By Tylisa C. Johnson

I was standing in front of my apartment bookshelf, eyes darting between the shelves, trying to decide which two novels to pack in my carry-on. My eyes landed on James Baldwin’s Nobody Knows My Name. I had to smile.

I was heading to Paris on the eve of Valentine’s Day, in the early days of Black History Month. Alongside a handful of outfits, a conversational repertoire of French, and fading European history lessons, I’d packed a deep curiosity about my African-American ancestry in Paris.

It was Paris where, for decades, countless African-American intellectuals and creatives crossed the Atlantic, hopeful and drawn by the possibility of freedom, an escape from American “Blackness.” For many, it is still sought for its history and culture.
Continue reading “The history of Paris as a haven for African-Americans”