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Grand Corps Malade

April 3, 2014

Have you ever heard of a 1.95-meter man writing poetic lyrics? That is actually one of the reasons that makes me love the artist I’m going to talk  about.

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Fabien Marsaud, known as Grand Corps Malade is a French slam singer. He was born in 1977 and started to write very quickly texts and poems he was ashamed of. That’s why  he never talked about them to anyone. Later, he wanted to become a sports teacher but had a terrible accident and was doomed to be handicapped for the rest of his life. After being forced to work in an office, he integrated a music band and became a supporter of the slam stages. He strode along them to share his texts a cappella and won his first slam tournaments. During the following years, the stage became his favourite playground.

Through his rich lyrics, he deals with society problems differently. He actually uses poetry to play down topics that are usually polemical and gross. Thanks to that, he grants himself a great liberty of expression and achieves to strike his fans. He talks about all kinds of rejection within society, love, friendship, money, death by using irony and poetic metaphors. He makes us travel, escape, dream and gives us the time to reflect without being moralizing. His delicacy and imposing voice is paradoxical but indisputably pleasurable.

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Since he grew up in a ghetto, he rubbed shoulders with poverty and injustice. Thus, he masters the subjects he is talking about and his judgement does not seem out of place. By using irony and sometimes humour, he makes his songs pleasant but also gets involved in a worthy cause. He shows that, sometimes, words can be a therapy and even tend towards changing the world thanks to their deep meaning. I admire this man for keeping his humility and magnanimity.

 To discover this artist, I advise you to listen to his album entitled Enfant de la ville which encapsulates all the major themes he likes to tackle.

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Manon F.

Anti-Prostitution Campaign in Amsterdam

March 27, 2014

Amsterdam, capital of Netherlands is not only known for coffee shops and Red Light District but also for being a platform of women’s trafficking.

In the Nertherlands, 33% of the prostitutes come from countries outside of the European Union. It increases to 50% in the larger cities. Since 1990, the number of trafficked women from Central and Eastern Europe countries has tripled.

To denounce it, the association Stop The Traffik and the German agency Duval Guillaume, have realized a campaign to struggle against human trafficking and sexual exploitation, which have left an indelible print in men’s minds.

stop the traffik

As many nights in De Wallen, one of the reddest districts of Amsterdam, men came to see women in underwear, showing their charms in window displays.

But one night, the show was different. One prostitute behind the window started shivering, leading three others to the top of the building. This show gathered a crowd of passers-by, who  warmly applauded their performance. But awkwardness appeared afterwards, when this message appeared on a  black screen:

 

“Every year, thousands of women are promised a dance career in Western Europe,

Sadly they end up here”.

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Personally I find those fake promises revolting as they trap helpless women into prostitution where they lose their self-esteem and pride. How can we let such degrading exploitation take place in the 21st century? What are we waiting for to react?

Eden

Un fil à la patte, Georges Feydeau

March 21, 2014
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Since I have a subscription at the Comédie francaise, I went to see several plays. I am always more and more admiring about this beautiful place. Indeed, since the XVIIth century, the Comédie francaise has offered an absolute moment of art and sensation. On the one hand, the spectator feels overwhelmed and impressed by the massive ceiling lit by a chandelier. But on the other hand, we feel close to the actors, as if we were a family. This impression of taking part in the play is made thanks to the disposition of the seats. In fact, anywhere you are, you can see and hear the representation very well.

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comedie francaise 2

Since I have a subscription at the Comédie francaise, I went to see several plays. I am always more and more admiring about this beautiful place. Indeed, since the XVIIth century, the Comédie francaise has offered an absolute moment of art and sensation. On the one hand, the spectator feels overwhelmed and impressed by the massive ceiling lit by a chandelier. But on the other hand, we feel close to the actors, as if we were a family. This impression of taking part in the play is made thanks to the disposition of the seats. In fact, anywhere you are, you can see and hear the representation very well.

In brief, the Comédie francaise is, for me, an oasis of peace and passion where you can enjoy a real moments of liveliness. Indeed, it proposes a great selection of plays and gathers many different theatrical styles such as comedy, tragedy or even absurd.

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Last month, I went to see Un fil à la patte written by George Feydeau and directed by Jêrome Deschamps in the salle Richelieu. It is a light comedy relating how a man, M. Bois d’Enghein, tries to clear Lucette Gautier, his mistress, so as to marry a wealthy heir, daughter of a baroness. Unfortunatly, Lucette is hired by the baroness to sing during the wedding of her daughter, that is to say M. Bois d’Enghein’s wedding too. The problem at stake is that the future husband didn’t tell his mistress about his wedding. Consequently, he tries to hide his secret liaison and avoid the contact between his two partners. We have to add to this complicated plot a great number of characters high in colour : Bouzin, a crummy notary and bad composer, Irriga, a dashing general who is madly in love with Lucette and Viviane, the future bride who wishes her husband to be a fervent seducer. There are also a lot of valets, required for a vaudeville like this one.  Each one of them brings a different stance of the play and an original way of acting.

Indeed, the performance of the actors was unbelievable. They gathered such energy and the dialogues were so cleverly funny that the public was always laughing; some even had a fit of giggles!  It seems that we were invited to exchange with them and identify ourselves with the characters.

Moreover, the staging was unusual : at the end of the play the director breaks the theatrical illusion by making the actors avoid doors instead of stepping through them. Consequently, the audience is surprised but, if you ask me, I enjoyed this taking liberty with the traditional staging.

I left the theatre with a great smile on my face : George Feydeau and the Comédie Française illuminated my week-end. Quick, I must buy tickets for the next play!

In brief, the Comédie francaise is, for me, an oasis of peace and passion where you can enjoy a real moments of liveliness. Indeed, it proposes a great selection of plays and gathers many different theatrical styles such as comedy, tragedy or even absurd.

Last month, I went to see Un fil à la patte written by George Feydeau and directed by Jêrome Deschamps in the salle Richelieu. It is a light comedy relating how a man, M. Bois d’Enghein, tries to clear Lucette Gautier, his mistress, so as to marry a wealthy heir, daughter of a baroness. Unfortunatly, Lucette is hired by the baroness to sing during the wedding of her daughter, that is to say M. Bois d’Enghein’s wedding too. The problem at stake is that the future husband didn’t tell his mistress about his wedding. Consequently, he tries to hide his secret liaison and avoid the contact between his two partners. We have to add to this complicated plot a great number of characters high in colour : Bouzin, a crummy notary and bad composer, Irriga, a dashing general who is madly in love with Lucette and Viviane, the future bride who wishes her husband to be a fervent seducer. There are also a lot of valets, required for a vaudeville like this one.  Each one of them brings a different stance of the play and an original way of acting.

Indeed, the performance of the actors was unbelievable. They gathered such energy and the dialogues were so cleverly funny that the public was always laughing; some even had a fit of giggles!  It seems that we were invited to exchange with them and identify ourselves with the characters.

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Moreover, the staging was unusual : at the end of the play the director breaks the theatrical illusion by making the actors avoid doors instead of stepping through them. Consequently, the audience is surprised but, if you ask me, I enjoyed this taking liberty with the traditional staging.

I left the theatre with a great smile on my face : George Feydeau and the Comédie Française illuminated my week-end. Quick, I must buy tickets for the next play!

Ornella

COLOR MEANINGS AROUND THE WORLD

March 20, 2014

After reading an article on “secouchermoinsbête” on marriage traditions in China where women get married in red, I decided to do some research on the meaning and symbol of colors around the world.

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RED

For the most part of the English speaking countries, red is a powerful symbol. It is associated with passion, love but also violence. That’s why this color is used for the traffic signs or for the war posters. It symbolizes also the excitement and the risk. During the festivities which celebrate love, this color is one of the most used. In the US the red is famous during the Christmas holidays; in this period, most bows, gift paper, paper plates, napkins and decorations are red.

In the Eastern culture, red is associated with luck and celebration. It is the color of blood, so it represents life and vitality. In China, it is worn by newly weds. In India, it symbolizes purity and women often marry in red.   For South Africans, it is the color of bereavement, whereas for  the aborigines of Australia, it is the color of the earth. In Russia, it is associated with beauty.

YELLOW

The association commonly made with yellow, is the sun. But in the US yellow is associated with taxis , that is to say the movement and agility. In Western culture , it is the color of joy and positive energy. However, even if the yellow symbolizes enthusiasm and optimism , it also represents jealousy, deceit and dishonesty. An old American proverb has also replaced the word ” deception ” by ” yellow ” .

In Asia, it is an imperial color, it is reserved for royalty . In Japan , it means courage and strength. For Buddhists , yellow is spiritual and soothing. In India , it is associated with trade and negotiation . Finally , it symbolizes bereavement in Egypt.

ORANGE

In Europe, the orange is a warm, enthusiastic color. It is friendly and encouraging. Traditionally, orange symbolizes harvest and achieving goals. In the Netherlands , it is the symbolic color of the country and therefore, a favorite color of its citizens . For Hindus , the orange is associated with sacred and saffron . In Ireland , it symbolizes Protestantism.

GREEN

Green symbolizes health. In many cultures, it is associated with healing , renewal and especially luck. In France , it is considered as evil in the world of theater.  In Western cultures , it symbolizes youth , growth and freshness of life. However , this color also represents diplomacy , inspiring security, generosity and moderation. In Anglo- Saxon cultures , green is associated with ambition and prestige . In the United States , green is especially identified with the envy and jealousy with the expression ” to be green with envy “.

In China, it is the color of lies and exorcism. For example, a green hat means that a woman has deceived her husband. In Ireland , green is a very popular color because of the national symbolism of the four-leaf clover .

BLUE

This is the most popular color. It represents the sky and the sea, tranquility and peace. Moreover, it is the color of our planet Earth, loyal and stable.

In Western cultures, blue is associated with patience, freedom, progress and unity. Poets often say that blue helps them to find inspiration. In Europe, it represents  harmony.

 In Iran, it characterizes bereavement and in China immortality. However, Cherokee tribes of North America saw blue as the color of defeat and trouble.

WHITE

White is bright and shiny. In the Western culture it represents  unity. For many generations , white has been  traditionally associated with purity. It is the color of wedding dresses , innocence and angels. In movies and popular culture, the color white is associated with nice and good people. In addition, the white flag is the international sign of peace as well as the iconic white dove . It also represents security, faith , chastity , spirituality and infertility. In India , it has a completely different meaning , the white is a sign of misfortune. In Japan and China, white symbolizes death.

BLACK

In the Western culture, black represents the rebellion. It can be dramatic and it is  associated with death and bereavement.

In China, black is the color worn by young boys. In India, black represents balance and health. In Thailand, it is the color of bad luck. For the Aborigines of Australia, black is the color of the earth and the party.

Here are some food for thoughts!

Alexandra

It’s not only Rock and roll

January 24, 2014

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The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones along with Franck Zappa, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page or Tina Turner but also Telephone, DanielBalavoine or Magma : starting November 14th (until January 31st) the Carré Belle Feuille of Boulogne Billancourt invites you to discover or rediscover one of the richest period of rock and roll history .

 Presenting the exhibition “It’s Not only rock and roll” by Bruno Ducourant, whose exclusive photographs and recent “photo-graphic” compositions spotlight some of the 60’s and 70’s legends, the hall of Boulogne completes once again its musical program. “By mixing photography and music, this round of “Acrylic rock”, allowed me to blend writing, drawing and photography”.

Student in literature in the 70’s, passionate about photography and music, his 24×36 (silver) on his shoulder, the young Bruno Ducourant regularly went to London. Big Ben City, Amsterdam or even Brussels turned out to be the best destinations to go to to listen to the bands in live sessions which he preferred to French singers. These break-outs allowed him to practice stage photographing. “What I liked about taking photos was to be able to take distance from reality in order to pin it in a better way”. But pocket money has limits, especially when, in order to complete his vinyl collection made in England, he chose to dedicate his hotel budget to the record-stores on Shaftesbury Avenue. To hell those bed and breakfast, after all, the English grass has an excellent reputation and Hyde Park is only a stone’s throw to the famous Marquee Club on Wardour Street where all the bands of the British scene performed.

 In those years, “if only one managed to blend in, he could be standing really close to the bands, even be on stage! There was a real proximity with the musicians of this generation. At that time, we were only a few photographers, nowadays, if you stand at the back in a concert, you’ll see more smartphones in the air than lighters and the next minute dozens of pictures of the show are available on Instagram”.

 From month to month, Bruno Ducourant accumulated pictures on stage but also backstage of what would become a few years later the British Blues Boom. Back in his room in Versailles, the student who listened to the Rolling Stones was at the time far from suspecting that chance would take him a few years later on the famous band’s path to design the cover album of Emotional Rescue (recorded at the Pathé Studios in Boulogne).

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First photographer and journalist for the “rock” press, (Rock & Folk, Best and Extra), then artistic director and designer and thereafter writer and director, Bruno Ducourant now refreshes and revives memories.  He gives a voice to his black and white pictures, enlivening them with an overlay of the titles of major hits from when he was eighteen, in acrylic paint.

“I figured that as background, I might as well use my own photos. A few touches, and the words displayed had an impact as important as the photo ; it took us even further in a unique way. I admit, from a commercial view, to be an anti-Ikea, or an anti-Yellow Corner. As I am a staunch defender of singular over plural, I believe in the original and rare approach, and consequently in uniqueness or in the worst case in limited series for only a few tens, not hundreds or thousands of pieces”. “It’s NOT only rock and roll” exhibition is a mix of artistic genres, in the style of the famous saying “weight of words / shock of photos” that Paris Match used for their editorial, but this time in a “lyrics and music” way.

 Bruno Ducourant also confesses the satisfaction of being able to expose in the city he’s been living in for several years now. “I hope that this exhibition will allow those who are interested, and especially young musicians and photographers, to discover one of the most abundant part of a history that was not ONLY rock and roll”.

IMG_8938 picture of the artist by Mathilde Bonnet

Eden

Artists presented in the exhibition:

B.B KING

ERIC CLAPTON

JOE COCKER

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL

THE WHO

DONOVAN

AYNSLEY DUNBAR

FAMILY

FLEETWOOD MAC

MICK JAGGER

KING CRIMSON

LED ZEPPELIN

JOHN MAYALL

MOODY BLUES

PINK FLOYD

MEMPHIS SLIM

SMALL FACES

CAT STEVENS

TEN YEARS AFTER

TINA TURNER

MUDDY WATERS

FRANK ZAPP

MAGMA

ÉTIENNE RODA-GIL

SINCLAIR

STARMANIA

TÉLÉPHONE

Etc..

Photos et Tableaux  © Bruno Ducourant

The X Factor

January 23, 2014

The X Factor is a talent show originally from The United Kingdom and created by Simon Cowell. This television music show is a replacement of the old program Pop Idol. It is now held in several countries such as the United States since 2010, or Australia since 2005. It occurs once a year, the end of the show is always around Christmas. The point of the show is to find a new singing pop sensation who possesses the X Factor, meaning that one special and indefinable thing that makes a good artist unique. The contestants are trying to be noticed by the panel composed of four judges. The judges change depending on which country you are in and sometimes even within two years the judges won’t be the same.

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The contestants are divided into four categories : the boys, the girls, the over 25′s and the groups. A contestant first needs to pass an audition in an arena in front of the four judges and a full crowd who came to watch the auditions. After they sang, the judges decide if they liked the performance by giving the contestant a yes if it was good and a no if it wasn’t. A contestant needs to have at least three yeses to go onto the next round. If he or she has a majority of no, the competition stops right away for that contestant. On the contrary, if the contestant has a majority of yes, he can go through the next level which is originally called boot camp (throughout the years and countries, the rules might change sometimes). During boot camp, the acts that first made it through will now sing again for the judges who will be more severe because the competition is now tougher.

Still according to the original rules, in each category eight or six contestants, depending on how good the contestants seem to be on this particular season, will go through the next round. The competition now holds only 24 or 32 acts. The next step is the judge’s house. Each judge gets to mentor a category; this choice  is made by the producers of the show. So the contestants are going by categories to the house of their own mentor to pass another step : singing in front of one judge and a celebrity he or she invited to help him/her. The sixth or eighth acts will be cut in half, meaning that only three or four of each categories will be able to go onto the next step : the live shows.

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During the live shows, which occur every weekend, each contestant need on the Saturday nights to sing a song to prove they are good enough to receive the public’s votes and stay in the competition. At the end of each performance, the judges will give their opinion on what’s working and what’s not. Then, each Sunday, different celebrities will perform but more importantly the results are announced on who made it through and will still be there until the following weekend. Each week, one contestant leaves the competition until there are only three left. This is when the final occurs. One act is announced almost right away as the one leaving in third place, while the other two sing one more song to prove their point. Finally, the winner of the X a Factor can be announced. Each year, the winner gets a contract deal with Sony Entertainment, the producers of the show.

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The X Factor allowed a lot of great artists to be discovered, notably in the UK, where it all started. Indeed, in ten years, the show found talents like Leona Lewis, Olly Murs, Little Mix, James Arthur and so on. The X Factor UK seems particularly proud to have discovered the talent of boys’ band sensation One Direction. Simon Cowell always brags about him being the one that puts them together.

Agathe

Theo Gosselin

January 17, 2014

“Just my life, my friends, the world is going on around me. I’m just trying to show that finally happiness and real beauty are  just before our eyes …and not in things often unattainable. I’m just a student who took pictures of his friends, his travels. ” Theo Gosselin, January 2011.

Theo became interested in the image while filming his first video with his group of friends. Enrolled in audiovisual section in school, he is interested in the skate culture and punk music, but thinks more and more about photography,  more accessible and immediate than the cinema. Walking in brownfields, he discovers an untapped universe of sets that his band with “crazy charisma” and himself will appropriate bit by bit.  “Over time, I  made progress while continuing to do the same thing but with a more artistic touch. This allowed me to simply create memories. “

 

Once graduated, he joined a contest: the Amiens Art Déco in Picardy. This was a radical change that opened the door to a new world and new meeting perspectives.  From all over France, his friends initiated him into their passion for travelling, a passion he will not let go of.

In summer 2012, Théo Gosselin organized a road trip in the United States for a project entitled “Precious Gift”. “I went with 3 friends and 3 Nikon D800 for a 3-month trip to the United States. On the spot, we rented a mini-van and we left for the West.” Social networks, in which Theo was discovered through his ​​blog and Facebook page, helped them to meet people along the way. “All along the way, people were contacting us to meet us or accommodate us. Humanly, it was an incredible journey: young, old, squatters, academics, hippies … “.The five travelers photographed and filmed everything they saw for a length film. “We filmed one month then photographed two months on the west coast. In total, it represents 22,000 miles traveled roads! “.
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Theo says that he owes his pictures to  people he met, at the moment he saw them. Everyone can take the same pictures but these moments are his. He creates around him the drama that he captures : there’s no staging, no preparations. He willingly accepts the randomness of meetings and prohibits self-censorship.

We often find in his pictures a recurring element : the use of blacklight. “The biggest tragedy in my life is not getting up early to see the sunrise.  I love these beautiful lights, the ecstasy that can provide the simple act of sitting in front of the sun. My fight is to render the sun as beautiful as we see it with our eyes. “

A concentrate of energy, a flood of emotions, the poetry of the ephemeral : Theo captures all this with his style, one of a permanent reporter who is interested in everything and always surrounded by his loyal friends.  This is the notion of sharing that seems to be the key to all his work: “My desire is to tell stories, meet, share photos, experiences. “.

It is fortuitously  that Theo started photography and began with a Nikon camera inherited from his uncle, the Nikon D700. Concerning the lens,  the choice of Theo is relatively simple, three fixed focal wide-angle: the f/2.8 24mm, 35mm f / 2 f/1.4 and 50mm.He uses the maximum aperture of his lens most of the time.

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Silver photo is a new step for Theo. Belonging to the digital generation, he appreciates the additional thought that it is necessary to have when a film is used as a support for his photos.

Theo works or has worked for several brands in fashion, the large consumption or luxury. He refuses point blank to submit to all the requirements of his sponsors,  it’s important to keep the spirit of his photos. Models he photographs are not dummies but friends.
“Involving my friends in my projects allows us to spend a good time and earn money to restart traveling! All the photos I publish on my blog are pictures of my life, my friends, my girlfriends and eventually my meetings. Brands can buy pictures that are already made ​​but that had no commercial intent at the time when I took them. “

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“My photos are appreciated because they give a sense of freedom, a return to nature, perhaps because it shows a fantasized youth. Photography allows to imagine lots of things and I leave the possibility to dream watching my photos. “

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Mathilde

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