Sunday, April 22, 2012


Today, for the first time in our 21-year run in the Land of the Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys, Marti and I got to cast ballots in a French Presidential election. More about that below.

On Friday night my lovely bride and I attempted to get into a Classic Soul extravaganza at Le Reservoir, but the show was sold out. No problemo. We immediately implemented Plan B, hailed a taxi and rode over to the Bar 96 -- where we had planned to finish our evening anyway. Our buds Los Caballeros Simpàticos (Perry Leopard and Dr. Kev) were playing with special guest Automne on cello.

A number of the Unusual Suspects were in the house, including our pal Hervé, who was bruised and battered from his attempt at running the Paris Marathon last Sunday and other mishaps. I explained that this was what happens when one ventures away from the sedentary comfort of one’s terminal, but as you can see he was having none of it.

Poet-raconteur Moe Seager was also in attendance. Later in the evening he would delight Marti with his jammed-out version of “St. James Infirmary,” a favorite of hers.

Here’s a rough-around-the-edges video I shot of the Caballeros’ tribute to Levon Helm: “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” A bit ironic, given the fact that Levon refused to perform the song after The Last Waltz in 1976. He was just a little pissed off that Robbie Robertson had snagged the songwriting credit on the tune, which Levon always claimed they composed together. Lotta yakety-yakking in the background of this vid. Probably that yenta Moe.

The Caballeros are always loose as autistic geese and a whole mess o’ fun. Marti and I had a great time.

Saturday in the ‘hood. This is a view of Rue de Vaugirard from Starbucks. After running around doing errands separately, my bride and I rendezvoused there for a café break.

We had the happy pleasure of encountering a marvelous gentleman named Juan-Carlos Arrosa-Carve, who was in town visiting from his home in Montevideo, Uruguay. A mere 81 years of age, Dr. Arrosa-Carve has a distinguished, fascinating personal history and regaled us with it in beautifully and uniquely-expressed English for the better part of two hours. Talk about an all-time café hang.

When he learned that Marti was a recent student of the Spanish language, he offered her a copy of his latest book, a collection of stories derived from and inspired by his travel adventures around the world. It’s a wonderful read. This refined gentleman is a connoisseur of the café lifestyle and it may surprise you U.S. coffee snobs who dis it to know that he considers Starbucks to be top shelf. He appreciates the good blends on offer, the comfortable seating and the spotless bathrooms – even marvels at the fact that one can obtain a flow of water at the sink without ever turning a faucet. The facilities ain’t that technologically advanced in many of the places he’s been.

If you’ve been following along closely in your hymnals you are aware that Marti and I were granted French citizenship on November 29, 2007. Our French status exists in parallel with our U.S. position: two nationalities, two passports, no waiting.

I considered that duality as I dressed for our trip to the voting booths at the Mairie this afternoon. If only in a private way (well, until now), I wanted to express the fact that I’ll always be 100% U.S. Male. To further prove it, I’ll be in da house for Mr. Bruce Springsteen’s Paris concert on the Fourth Of July.

Ballots in hand, we head to the boxes to vote.

Boom! Marti drops it into the slot.

Post vote. Didn’t need this ballot. I symbolically return Sarkozy to the private sector.

Marti’s stepping out of the rock ‘n roll vortex tonight. But I’ll be celebrating this momentous day with Jack White at La Cigale. Let’s Rawk!

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