Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jewish Childhood Blog

"This blog carries the voice of my memoir, past and present, into the future. Feel free to fill out the form with a question or comment. I look forward to a dialog with you."

  —L'chaim, to life, Jeanne

A Los Angeles Childhood - Jours grouped - Les Chiens de Paris - In Memory Of My Friend Farfel
Monday, 06 August 2012 09:43

Because I am such a dog lover, of course I am keeping track of the most popular breed in Paris this year. And of course, I am keeping an eye out for terriers, especially Silky Terriers like Alice B. as well as Yorkshire Terriers who were quite the rage for several years in the running: Models posing with Yorkies. Small creatures everywhere I looked.

So I sit outside adjacent to the Pompidou Center also called the Beaubourg, at the Cafe of the same name, to observe the stream of people and dogs. People with children, people with bicycles and the people with dogs take it followed closely by people with bicycles, a few children folded into the mix, most of them trying to capture the gigantic bubbles being produced first by a woman, then a man. They use a bucket of soapy water and two pieces of rope tied at both ends and dipped into the soap. Bubbles spread over the horizon, large, some of them as big as the children and once in a while, the adults.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Jour 11, Sur La Route, la Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits Part 2
Monday, 30 July 2012 10:12

The museum director in charge told me he was on his own road in Japan, walking what he called ‘the way’. This was thirty years ago, so we are probably around the same age. This experience of his on the road appealed to him, the whole notion of finding one's way. In the large catalog, there is a photo of Allen Ginsberg at Jack Kerouac's grave.

I am now at the exhibit that documents the movie and the relationship to the making of the film.

Another interesting find at this museum was photographs of St. Exupery, the author of the Little Prince, one of my favorite children's books. My first partner gave me the book in English for my 21st birthday. What a wonderful gift that was. She was also the one who gave me my first dog.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Jour 11, Sur La Route, la Musee des Lettres et Manuscrits Part 1
Saturday, 28 July 2012 15:01

This is not a day I feel particularly athletic but when I took the 27 Bus to where I thought I would catch the 63 up Boulevard St.Germain, there was no bus so I started walking. Two and one-half miles later I arrived at 222 Bd. Saint Germain and the Museum of Letters and Manuscripts. The reason for the long walk was to visit the exhibit entitled Sur La Route, the movie. Since I was familiar with Jack Kerouac's ON THE ROAD, I found it most interesting that an American movie was made of the story of the writing of the manuscript/the story of On the Road. It would have the usual list of characters including Allen Ginsberg who plays a small part and John Burroughs who I was interested in since I found out that allegedly he shot an apple off his wife's head and accidentally missed the apple.

I originally saw the scroll of the original manuscript by Jack Kerouac in 2007 when it came to the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. And having grown up during the reign of the Beat Generation, I was also interested in seeing this manuscript of the book that became a cult favorite of a whole generation.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Jour 10 - Fete de la Musique-The Longest Day of the Year Part 2
Friday, 20 July 2012 21:48

The rain finally slowed down and stopped. I go in search of music in the streets, all the way to L'Opera and walked around the perimeter of the Opera Garnier taking photos of eagles, domes, then back on the bus deposited at the Fountain St. Michel. The groups are mostly percussion.

On Rue de la Huchette, a narrow cobblestone street that parallels the Seine River, and across from Notre Dame known as the Rive Gauche, I hear a man playing a large stringed instrument like a lute. Beautiful music. I move on. In front of Shakespeare and Company (where my memoir can be purchased) is a band with a vocalist. I want to stroll toward Notre Dame but need to sit. Small children dance to this music. Sheer joy.

Then back down the small corridor out to Boulevard St. Michel to wait for the 21 or 27 bus which will take me back toward home and drop me off in front of Yaki Japanese Restaurant, also known as the golden baguette, the golden chopsticks. It is now 8pm.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Jour 10 - Fete de la Musique - The Longest Day of the Year Part 1
Thursday, 19 July 2012 11:24

My friends, do any of you remember my Blog for last year at the Fete de la Musique? All the world’s music, the wonderful, colorful costumes, different rhythms and sounds?

This year, it's a gray day in Luxembourg Gardens, the clouds coalescing in conversation waiting in the wings.

A group of children are in a circle up on the bandstand. They are learning the art of percussion. First, they snap their fingers then clap their hands. A small boy with a bottle of soda almost empty, rolls it down the stops, throws and kicks it around the pebbles entertaining himself until the concert stops or finds something else to occupy his interest.

Back in the circle, the leader is beginning to teach them about rhythm.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Jour 9 -Degas and The Nude Part 2
Tuesday, 17 July 2012 09:33

The exhibit was divided into seven parts. And again at this exhibit, there were benches in some of the rooms, which gave me a chance to rest my legs and to contemplate a room with a certain body of works, the first one being THE CLASSICAL BODY. Earlier on Degas studied the teaching methods of Ingres, explaining, "You must copy and recopy the masters..." There was one of his notebooks which showed that he divided the canvas into square grids all the same size, and was able to take apart and realistically represent the body perspective correctly. One of the paintings at the show was Petites Filles Spartriates provoquant des garcons, Young Spartans Exercising.

The second room held his early work, THE BODY IN PERIL, where Degas begins to show his individual style.

The third room, THE BODY EXPLOITED, showed a clear break with the tradition of the day. These were paintings of nude prostitutes, showing a much more earthy and more than likely realistic version than the past goddesses of antiquity, showing compassion of the women when alone and mocking the clients who vacillate between desire and anxiety. Anxiety because of the rampant spread of venereal disease during this time. These paintings were never shown in his lifetime.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Jour 9 -Degas and The Nude
Sunday, 15 July 2012 20:04

It's a gray day in Paris, one of those Midnight In Paris days when those of us just so pleased with ourselves for being in the City of Light rejoice.

The Musee D'Orsay is a fascinating building in and of itself. It was originally created as a railway station for the Chemin de Fer de Paris a Orleans and was finished in 1900 for the Exposition Universel.

In 1939 the station was used as a mailing center during the Second World War.

In July 1986 it opened as a museum holding the works covering the gap between the Louvre and the Pompidou.

A Los Angeles Childhood – Jour 8 - Musee d’art et d’Histoire du Judaisme – The Jews in Orientalism Part 2
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 20:49

The posters for COME TO PALESTINE in 1929 were promotions that particularly caught my interest. I realize that had I been alive during that time, I would have been drawn to that concept of having my own land, one that couldn’t be taken away from me. Throughout history there were periods in different countries where Jews were forbidden to own land.

In this building which houses the Jewish Museum, known as Hotel de St. Aignan in 1939, where information was gathered from census records, the gathering of names, Les Habitants de l’hotel de St. Aignan 1939. Names like Jeanne Bernet, Michael Rothsten.

Most meaningful to me was again the same as when I first visited the museum.

It was the marking of names on the outside wall of the hotel, Christain Botensky, first surnames, birthplace and professions of the inhabitants.

A Los Angeles Childhood – Jour 8 - Musee d’art et d’Histoire du Judaisme – The Jews in Orientalism
Monday, 25 June 2012 20:34

The 38 Bus takes me near the Centre Georges Pompidou and from there I easily find Rue de Temple and the Jewish Museum. It has been a few years since I have been to this museum. For those of you who are coming to Paris before July 8th, it is definitely worth the trip to see this museum.

To me it was most interesting to understand the discovery of the Jews in the land of Islam. Several artists discovered the Jewish communities around the Mediterranean rim.  Artists were said to imagine this before they visited this area: Eugene Delacroix in Morocco and Theodore Chasseriau in Algeria. Both filled notebooks with sketches of Jewish figures. Some of these sketches were used by Delacroix for his painting: JEWISH WEDDING IN MOROCCO in 1841.

Europeans went in search of the origins of western civilization looking at images of Jerusalem. There were paintings of David Roberts and Thomas Seddon.

A Los Angeles Childhood –Jour 7 - Dinner with Dorothy and Kennedy
Sunday, 24 June 2012 13:27

It’s never easy for me to find the bus each year that will take me to Dorothy’s Gallery. Somehow I always find my way and have a wonderful time with Dorothy and her dog, Kennedy.  Click here: Bonjour Paris - Dorothy's Gallery: American Culture & Art Gallery

Each year we choose a different type of restaurant and this time it is Dorothy’s choice and my treat. She currently has a wonderful exhibit on Romania, and if you are on your way to Paris or getting ready, consider this one as a definite stop. It’s in the Bastille area and well worth the trip.

For me it’s a double treat because I swear, each year Kennedy remembers me and rushes toward me ready for a good hug and to give me a kiss. And for those of you who know me very well, about this time I truly begin to miss my dog, Alice B. despite the Skype contact daily with my sister Pat, who kindly shows me that yes Alice B. lives and is happy near home having long walks and her buddy Tango. So show me Kennedy and he does fulfill some of that doggie energy I so dearly need.

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