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Bonne Année du Serpent, tout le monde!


Paris ushered in the Year of the Serpent Sunday, which was fine with us, because it was the occasion for a parade. As we keep saying, we love a parade. We probably go to six a year here, even if we don't report on all of our outings.





Things are looking up; the Year of the Serpent should be a far better year for the worldwide economy. Our favorite savant, Dr. Maoshing Ni of the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, a 36th generation acupuncturist, offers his take on the new year on his website.





Parisians from all different communities love their parades. It gives them an excuse to get out, in any weather, and watch their neighbors perform, and to watch their neighbors watch each other. This is a prime people-watching city.






Ethnic parades here are not at all exclusive. There's always at least one Brazilian drumming and dancing contingent in every défilé, and the Colombians are party animals, too.



Brazilian drummer


Colombian dancer






And, of course parades bring out the best children's faces.






Young dancer surprised by the monkey trickster god, Hanuman


If you've come this far and are disappointed that we covered a parade in black and white, here's last year's Dragon parade, in color. Kansas, meet Oz.




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Reader Comments (11)

Ah, Kaaren and Richard,

I can't help myself. I have my poems indexed, and this is such a luscious site to be a part of... all blessings on you and its wonders...


A fire-breathing dragon has come to live with us
and except for incinerating the furniture he’s
an exemplary guest
doing as fire-breathing dragons do

We have a hard time hearing conversations when he’s
in our midst because of the very great
volume of bellowing oven-sound like a factory specializing in
things molten say rather than
a quiet assembly line where tops are screwed down

The dragon opens its mouth to add a
word or two or even to yawn if it’s a bit
past his naptime
and the couch catches fire the print of one of
Turner’s seascapes ignites and the sound as of an
inferno drowning out all other sound
consumes both words and their innermost meanings

He brought his friend the Tyger of Wrath one day
who sat fairly still considering but who when
spoken to would go all red and roar one of those
especially hair-raising tiger roars that seem to
get louder and more
ferocious and never end and it’s like the
tiger’s fallen in love with the sound of his own roaring and is
encouraged by it to roar all the
louder and seemingly forever
and if the dragon gets into it we generally have to
exit the house altogether and start looking for
new quarters since the old one’s now

wrapped in all-embracing flame and totally
engulfed in a rapture of singing fire whose
words we can faintly make out in the
black night as we stand in our
only clothes with pale clouds
scudding overhead and more than likely a full moon
the night so still
and red embers flying upward into the
yawning star-lit void the planets quietly spinning in their
safe distance
and the words we can make out go something like

let it all go it’s gone anyway before you even get a
good grip on it it’s water now being
evaporated into steam it’s wood now being
incinerated into ash it’s air blowing flames into
ever-greater life it’s soul enrapturing soul-essence
whose eyes are ablaze with one of the
highest forms of love but whose
recipients may take a lifetime to
recognize it as such

let the fiery sparks fall
into intelligent patterns around you they’ll
spell out the deft particularities of this
song they’ll

bless your mortality with the wisdom of fire
they’ll wrap you in it after all

and make you flame
9/28/2001 (from Where Death Goes, The Ecstatic Exchange, 2009)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 19:08 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

The photos are absolutely stunning. The little boy whose face is reflected in his sword blew me away. (I could feel that biting Parisian wind from here.) I hate the cold, and I'm jealous!!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 19:29 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Kaaren and Richard,

What a visual treat! Before I read your line, "This is a prime people-watching city.", I immediately thought with the pictures prior, that this is great people watching. Black and white photos do something magical that I can't put my finger on. Rather than missing color, I was appreciating the black and white. The children's faces, so many wonderful expressions and diversity of people, and your beautiful city...

Your acupuncturist's page is greatly informative about the snake influence on all areas of life. I look forward to listening to his longevity tips when time permits.

Thank you for the soul food and eye candy.



Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 6:22 | Unregistered CommenterMarguerite Baca

Richard, your photographs just keep getting better and better. The black & white is very rich and invites me into the details even more. I agree with Anna, the young swordsman with his face reflected in the blade is wonderful. Bravo. I now feel I've let in the Year of the Water Snake.

I'll take all the parades you send my way. ;-)


Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 8:19 | Unregistered CommenterJoanne Warfield

Fantastic and fun to see the spirit of the crowd so perfectly reflected in each face. Richard is the one I want to document my life in photos but I fear I might exhaust him after the first week or two. Love you two.

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 15:57 | Unregistered CommenterJny


Thank you again. We never tire of your generous participation. We are honored, and have bought asbestos Turners.


--R and K

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 20:49 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Thank you, Anna:

As we reply, snow is falling outside the office window. But this time we are INDOORS, and warm.

Yes, the boy with the sword was a lucky moment. I was focusing on him, and he suddenly saw me, straightened up, got serious, and aligned the sword PERFECTLY. I thought as I snapped the shutter that he was too camera-conscious, and I like candid, but no, his formality and gravitas were great for his age.

Many hugs,

Richard (and Kaaren)

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 20:55 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Joanne and Marguerite:

Apologies. We answered you yesterday, and the reply did not show up.

It was something to the effect that color can be distracting, and that black and white gives portraits, particularly, more impact. You study the faces and are, in Joanne's phrase, "invited into the details."

We are grateful to have observers with such soul hanging out here, and we hope to feed your souls with every post.

Many hugs,

R (and K)

Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 14:22 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban


We would LOVE to document your life, which is well worth such a mission. But you get up too early. We will document the afternoon shift.

Brotherly love,

Richard (and Kaaren)

Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 14:23 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Richard (and Kaaren)
I think we're of an age perhaps that you also grew up with that amazing collection, The Family of Man. These photos and others of yours make you a kind of one man Family of Man. And these especially look like duotones, sepia tinged, beautifully warm. It's more than an art to get people to give of themselves for a camera person, and you definitely have the touch. British Peter Sanders is the only other photographer I know who gets the same openness from his subjects, and he's a subtle and gentle presence behind the lens (google him for his website galleries). Gracias always.

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 7:02 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Abdal-Hayy Moore


Yes, the Steichen-curated exhibit for MOMA in 1955 that also spawned a best-selling book. Would that a singe one of my photographs were of that world-class caliber. I will look up Peter Sanders, thank you.

--R (and K)

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 20:22 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

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