Urban Renewal

The Haussmann Plan under Emperor Napoleon III transformed the French capital from a sprawling Medieval city to the modernist metropolis greatly admired today. The jumble of alleys gave way to broad boulevards and monumental structures that not only glorified the French autocratic ruler in power but also provided an easier access for his armies to quell the frequent rebellions that broke out.

Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, the Seine prefect, was commissioned to carry out this sweeping project that uprooted hundreds of women and men from their homes and places of business, forcing them to resettle. The monetary compensation they were offered might have satisfied some of them but others suffered emotional trauma not easily healed.

The House I Loved by Tatiana De Rosnay, St. Martin’s Press 2012, a novel set in 1860s Paris, reveals the unsettling turmoil experienced by its main character and narrator, Rose Bazelet, an elderly widow whose entire life has been lived in one neighborhood moving only a few blocks from her childhood home to the nearby family house of her husband.

Rose writes a series of letters to her deceased spouse, telling him things she was unable to vocalize while he was still alive, as the wrecking crews move relentlessly closer to the house they both loved. Eventually rue Childebert is to be obliterated to make way for two great thoroughfares, Boulevard Saint-Germain and rue de Rennes. The book opened my eyes to a time in history I previously knew little about, providing a momentary glimpse at the lives of ordinary people in a way that touched my heart.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Arab Fest

The 16th Annual Arab Film Festival opens Thursday 11 October 2012. The screenings will take place in San Francisco, San Jose, and Berkeley. Man Without a Cell Phone directed by Sameh Zoabi (Palestine, Belgium, France, Qatar) 2011 is the opening night feature at the Castro Theatre.

Other festival films include: Another Night On Earth directed by David Munoz (Spain) 2012; Death For Sale directed by Faouzi Bensaïdi (Belgium, France, Morocco) 2011; Farewell Exile directed by Lamia Alami (Morocco, Switzerland, France) 2011; Letter To Sasha directed by Andoni Jaén and Javier Reverte (Morocco, Switzerland, France) 2012; My Name Is Not Ali directed by Viola Shafik (Egypt, Germany) 2011; Pegasus directed by Mohamed Mouftakir (Morocco) 2010; Private Sun (Palestine) 2011; Rough Hands directed by Mohamed Asli (Morocco) 2011; Teta directed by Merva Faddoul (Lebanon) 2011; The Virgin, The Copts, And Me directed by Namir Abdel Messeeh (France, Qatar) 2012; Words Of Witness directed by Mai Iskander (USA, Egypt) 2012; and Yamo directed by Rami Nihawi (Lebanon) 2011.

For more information and tickets contact AFF.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

California Cooking

The doors open October 2012 at the San Francisco Cooking School, a new enterprise with an impressive roster of instructors. It promises a fresh, new approach to culinary training inspired by California cuisine and its progressive food values. And the school offers externships for graduates at a dozen local, top-rated restaurants.

The instructors include writers, chefs, cooks, and bakers. Viola Buitoni from Perugia, Umbria is a direct descendant of a family known as premier producers of pasta and chocolate. David Groff is a graduate of both the California Culinary Academy and Tante Marie’s Cooking School. Jodi Liano, Catheine Pantsios, and Kelly Whalen are also associated with Tante Marie’s, either as instructors or graduates. Samin Nosrat and Kathy Whalen worked at Chez Panisse while C. C. Sofronas worked at Palio d”Asti.

Among the fall line-up are classes in Pizzeria Pizza At Home; Regional Italian Series; Fall In Rome; and Macaroons Italian, French, & Coconut; as well as a book signing and demonstration by Matthew Accarrino of SPQR.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Flamenco Festival

The Seventh Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival, part of Festival Flamenco Gitano USA 2012, includes four performances by musical artists from Spain, a couple of films, and workshops in dance and guitar.

Guitarist Diego Del Morao will play at Yoshi’s Oakland on Wednesday 26 September 2012 at 8:00 PM; the Fiesta Jerez Gypsy Flamenco All-Stars will appear at the Palace of Fine Arts Thursday 27 September 2012 at 7:00 PM; Jose Merce performs at the Palace of Fine Arts Friday 28 September 2012 at 8:00 PM; and Farruco Family appears at the Palace of Fine Arts Sunday 30 September 2012 at 7:00 PM.

For more information see the festival web site.

copyright © 2012 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved