This long-standing, uneasy peace between frenemies was probably not helped by the recent Wikileaks revelation of secret cables from our embassy in Paris which referred to French President Nicolas Sarkozy as “thin-skinned and autocratic.” It comes just one day before the opening of a giant two-week conference in Atlanta meant to nurture good relations between France and the American Southeast in the realms of business, science and culture. Um... How do you say “awkward” in French?
Fortunately, the conference includes plenty of cool, can't-miss cultural events, many of which are free. As good Culture Surfers, we plan to do our part to heal the wounded friendship by attending dressed in black, chain-smoking, and looking bored, which will hopefully send the message that we in the South are open to adopting French ways. When we see our visitors waddling through Wal-Mart drinking sodas from giant plastic movie tie-in cups while stocking up on Snuggies and Silly Bandz, we'll know the feeling is mutual and that the exchange is a total win.
Seriously: We hereby unfurl the giant Bienvenue banner of Southern hospitality. (We'd do that thing where we kiss on both cheeks if it weren't cold season.) We'll kick things off by explaining that calling someone “thin-skinned and autocratic” is, like, a total compliment in America. For reals. Peace? Friends again?
Our choices of what to see and do during the brilliant France-Atlanta Conference after le jump. For a complete schedule click here.
Contemporary French Music Concert with Sonic Generator
November 30, 2010, 8:00-9:30 pm, Rich Theater at the Woodruff Arts Center
An evening of French contemporary music by contemporary music ensemble in residence at Georgia Tech, Sonic Generator. Free.
“Les Elements” Vocal Excellence
December 1, 2010, 7:30-8:30 pm, Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at Morehouse College (830 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta, GA 30310).
December 3, 2010, 8:00-9:00 pm, Cathedral of St. Philip (2744 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta GA 30305).
“Les Eléments” is a French chamber choir which performs works spanning from Renaissance to contemporary styles. December 1 at Morehouse College the choir will perform “I Had a Dream,” a voice-bass drum-electronic fusion, by composer Zad Moultaka, which mixes pieces of Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” speech with testimonies from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. At St Philip, the group will perform pieces that explore various aspects and periods of Mediterranean music. Free.
Paris-Atlanta: Grand Plans, Everyday Life
December 4, 2010, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Reinsch-Pierce Family Auditorium, Georgia Tech College of Architecture (247 Fourth St. NW, Atlanta GA, 30332-0155)
A symposium and exhibition on Le Grand Paris and the Atlanta BeltLine — two potentially transformative projects that promise to change the way the two cities are conceived, perceived, and lived. The symposium brings together French and American politicians, academics, professionals, and community members for a look at both projects and the issues they raise. Free.
Jazz with Baptiste Trotignon
December 5, 2010, 3:00-4:00 pm, Spivey Hall at Clayton State University (2000 Clayton State Blvd., Morrow, GA 30260).
The French jazz pianist brings his sound to Spivey Hall for an afternoon concert. Tickets are $40.
November 29-December 12, participating restaurants
Participating French and American restaurants in Metro Atlanta will offer a French influenced prix fixe menu for $30, showcasing what France has to offer best — its centuries of fantastic culinary art. Participating restaurants include: Anis Bistro, Atmosphère Restaurant, Au Pied de Cochon, Le Giverny, Petite Auberge, and Violette Restaurant.
For more information on these and the many other events of France-Atlanta, visit France Atlanta's website.
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