"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players."  --William Shakespeare

Entries in New Year (4)


Bonne AnnĂ©e 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.





Scarfing Cupcakes


After about three days of Indian Summer, autumn turned cold again, just in time for Hallowe'en. It's not a big holiday here, but the turn of the Celtic New Year, All Saint's Day, when the veil between the realms of the living and the dead is at its thinnest, is celebrated, and it also marks the beginning of the Christmas decoration season. There's no Thanksgiving here to buffer the time between Toussaint and Nöel.





We did find one place where Hallowe'en flowered (or floured) for an afternoon, at least. It was the third annual Cupcake Camp, a 100% nonprofit charity bake sale with 2000+ cupcakes, most donated by gourmet and boutique bakeries, that were sold to more than 600 attendees. It's held in a community center next to Canal St. Martin, everyone donates their labor and wares (Paris Play donated the official event photographer this year), and all proceeds benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation in France. This year's Cupcake Camp raised €5500 (about $7000). 

After celebrities in the baking community sampled the wares that were put up for judging, the public was let in, and the rush to buy cupcakes was on.



We were soooooo good that we didn't even sample a milligram of sugar (we're back on the wagon), but we did get a fashion rush. If there's anything that marks a Paris fashionista, it's the scarf, tied, draped, bound or loose. It's a look that Parisians pull off so successfully, they even wear them indoors. If today was any indication, solid colors and patterns are running neck-and-neck for the coming chilly season, but, given that style is so personal, anything still goes.














More photos of scarves and cupcakes here, and here's the Cupcake Camp website (with links to the best cupcake bakers in Paris, for those who indulge).






Happy Dragon New Year!


As we've mentioned before, Paris Play loves a parade.

So does Paris.



This week's parade, on a bone-chilling zero degree Sunday, was in honor of Chinese New Year, in one of Paris' two Chinatowns, the one in the thirteenth arrondissement. (The other is in the tenth, in Belleville.)

It had the requisite din of firecrackers and drums, brightly colored lions (one on a cell phone--look close) and dragons, precision kung fu squadrons, fragrant incense, and hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators, including a Dali aficionado. Most of THEM had cameras, ranging from cell phones to huge video rigs, which makes an attempted parade more like a slow costumed crawl through a rugby scrum.



While police kept order accompanying the first few contingents, and polite Parisians stayed behind the barricades, the rest of us moved in after the police disappeared for close-ups of anything that was painted yellow or red. By day's end, the yellowest part of the parade was our bruises from battling for the best camera angles.



But we LOVE parades, particularly one heralding a new year that promises positive change. Here's a forecast for the Year of the Dragon from our favorite living Chinese sage and medical practitioner, Dr. Maoshing Ni of Santa Monica's Tao of Wellness.



















Queer Things, Great and Small


"For if the world is like a dark jungle and a garden of delight for all wild hunters, it strikes me even more, and so I prefer to think of it, as an abysmal, rich sea--a sea full of colorful fish and crabs, which even gods might covet, that for their sakes they would wish to become fishermen and net-throwers, so rich is the world in queer things, great and small. Especially the human world, the human sea: that is where I now cast my golden fishing rod and say: Open up, you human abyss!"

That's Friedrich Nietzsche, in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Part Four.


And that is what Richard and I are doing now, fishing in the depths. We'll be back with you in several weeks.

As 2012 dawns, we wish you a year of wild hunting and fruitful fishing!