A trip to Paris doesn’t feel complete till I stop by at least one flea market (marché aux puces). It’s a fun combination of other people’s interesting (or not) stuff, watching Parisian locals socialize with one another, and the thrill of finding something beautiful, interesting, or bizarre. Below are photographs of French flea markets from different eras.You might also like:
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec was born on November 24, 1864 in Albi, France. I like his paintings but really knew nothing about the artist until I started research for this post. Cora Michael of the Metropolitan Museum of Art describes him as “an aristocratic, alcoholic dwarf known for his louche lifestyle.” He painted and document the nightlife of late 19th century Paris, particularly Montmartre’s seedy side. The film Moulin Rouge gives a fictionalized view of what the times were like when Toulouse-Lautrec lived and painted; you might recall the Toulouse-Lautrec character played by John Leguizamo in the film.
Toulouse-Lautrec was fond of painting horses. This is one of his early works painted in 1891.
One of my favorite posters is Jane Avril – I have a small copy hanging in my office.
Sadly, Toulouse-Lautrec’s alcoholism lead to his quick decline; he died in 1901 at 36 of complications from alcoholism and syphilis.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
National Gallery of Art’s Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre exhibit
What Ailed Toulouse-Lautrec? Scientists Zero In on a Key Gene. New York Times article that reviews what disease Toulouse-Lautrec may have had that caused his dwarfism.
“If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.”
― John F. Kennedy
I appreciate JFK’s love of books, ideas, and freedom. He was a liberal in the best sense of the word. We still need to read controversial books and hear controversial ideas.
I was almost three years old when John F. Kennedy was shot. What I remember is my mother ironing while watching the news on tv. She was bawling, which made a big impression on me at the time. I knew that something very bad had happened but I don’t remember the facts, just that my mother was very upset.
When I was older, we had the Associated Press’s The Torch is Passed: Death of an American President in the bookcase, and I remember looking through it many times. The sense of history, sadness, and pain came through the collection of images.
When I was in Dallas earlier this year, I visited the Sixth Floor Museum in what used to be the Texas Book Depository. Looking out the sixth floor toward the grassy knoll was eery. The museum has a library with a nice collection of artifacts, newspapers, and other printed materials. They have a digital collection that can be searched here. They’ve been working on an interesting project in which they’ve been collecting the oral histories and memories of some of the folks who witnessed the assassination and aftermath; you can find some of the interviews on their YouTube channel.
My foray into wine tasting has led me try different Italian wines made with the appassimento or rasinate technique. Grapes are dried or partialy dried, and then further processed depending on the wine. The drying creates a sweeter, deeper colored wine with more depth. I really enjoyed a Valpolicella ripasso recently and asked my local wine steward to suggest others. He recommended this Tedeschi wine, which I really like.
Color: Deep, inky purple
Aroma: complicated to describe but I smelled cinnamon, prunes, and cherries, and maybe dirt?
Grapes: 75% Corvina, 5% Rabaso, and 25% Refosco
The grapes are partially dried in the sun for about a month, which adds sugar and color and depth to the wine. This process is to rasinate in Italian – seems like a word that would work in English too.
Taste: Rich, robust wine with a lingering aftertaste with acidity and tannins and sugar. Is this what wine people call “complex?” The wine is aged in oak for 18 months though I didn’t perceive it as oaky as I do some California chardonnays. I really liked it and will buy it again for a nice dinner.
All Soul’s Day is a time I look back and appreciate the friends, family, and pets who are no longer with us.
Alan Wing was a kind, funny, goofy, gentle soul who sadly died earlier this year. I ran into Alan in the Whole Foods parking lot on a trip back to Texas a few years back. He gave me a big hug and we chatted for a while, and went our separate ways. RIP, Alan.
This year two cats named Orange Kitty left our world. One was a ferocious hunter who worked her way into my son’s heart. She followed his step-dad’s home on his birthday, and lived a long and happy 18 years. The other Orange Kitty was my Dad’s beloved companion; she was one of the sweetest cats ever.
For photos and a brief description of Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, go here: http://tweedlibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/dia-de-los-muertosday-of-the-dead/
I took a short jaunt to Mexico City recently and thought I’d share some foodie photos. It’s a very metropolitan city with myriad restaurants of all kinds scattered across the city. Here are just a few of the delights I tasted. Enjoy!