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Monday, November 29, 2010

The French Connection: France-Atlanta Project provides a link to French culture

But will we get one of these?
  • But will we get one of these?
France and the US have been buds since the days of Ben Franklin, but it's a friendship that has a history of becoming strained from time to time. In our opinion, it all stems from a bit of sibling rivalry as to whose revolution was better. Ours was first, theirs had more style. They gave us an awesome statue, and though we've done them some pretty cool favors since then, we've never really been able to find a return gift to match it.

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).
and
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.

metz.jpg
The Centre-Pompidou Metz: A New French Cultural Institution
December 2, 2010, 7:00-8:00 pm, Hill Auditorium at the High Museum of Art (1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA, 30309).
Laurent Le Bon, Director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, which opened in May 2010, will present the museum’s objectives, cultural program, and architecture. The Centre Pompidou Metz, designed by Shigeru Ban Architects (Japan) and Jean de Gastines Architectes (France) is the first contemporary art museum constructed in France in the 21st century. Tickets are free but seating is limited to 2 per patron. Tickets are available through the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404-733-5000.

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.

deneuve.jpg
French Theater: “Me Too, I’m Catherine Deneuve”
December 11, 2010 at 8:00-9:30 pm, 14th Street Playhouse Theater (173 14th Street, Atlanta GA 30309)
The Parisian theatre troupe Theatre du Rond Point crosses the Atlantic to present their work in Atlanta with the critically acclaimed play, “Me too, I’m Catherine Deneuve,” written by French playwright Pierre Notte, an associate author and playwright at the Theatre du Rond-Point in Paris. In 2006 Notte was nominated for the Molière award for “Best Playwright” and was named “Best New Theater Talent” by the French Association of Theater Authors and Composers (SACD). The play will be presented in English. Tickets are $17.

Culinary Parcours
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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