9.19.2009

Culture- Comme les Français


This American is culture-starved. I came to this realization after noticing that the primary topic I blogged about this past summer was makeup. Don’t get me wrong. I love make up and love blogging about the certain femme fatale qualities that one can bring out with the right shade of red, but dear God, please let this not be the only thing I bring to the table!

When I lived in Paris with Famille Chic I was immersed in culture… so much so that I probably only watched about 6 hours of television the entire six months I was there (if that). Famille Chic did have a television- but it was very small and it was not the center of the living room- contrary to many American homes where the television is the center of the living room (and the kitchen, and the bedroom and the guest bedroom… you get the idea). I will not go into detail about the living room of Famille Chic here, however, I will leave that for a future post on interiors.

What was I doing instead of watching television you ask? I was looking at art, going to the cinema, reading books in the Jardin des Tuileries, discussing philosophy with my fellow ex-pats over an espresso in any and every café in the city, going to the theatre, the ballet, the opera. Oh la la! I immersed myself and took advantage of all of the culture Paris had to offer. No wonder I didn’t have time to watch American Idol (not that they have that there).

Admittedly in Los Angeles, it is a little hard to find culturally rich activities- you have to dig a little, but there is no excuse! Going to the Andy Warhol exhibit last week reawakened my hunger for art. I plan to expand my cultural horizons from now on past reading books and watching French Films on TV5MONDE (the best channel on cable, btw!). I am going to a play this Friday, plan on visiting the Getty with friends in the next two weeks, and will research what sort of quirky bites of culture Los Angeles has to offer in an ongoing effort to expand my mind and my cultural horizons and shall keep you posted all along the way…

I would love to know… how do you keep from being culture starved?

19 comments:

Rebecca said...

For the most part I live in a vast cultural desert.(San Joaquin Valley) I wish I could get to LA or San Francisco more often. It is funny though how if you desire something enough it will come to you. I decided to stop complaining and look in my own backyard (so to speak). There is a community of artists, actors, musicians near me and any time they show, play, etc., I make an effort to go. Little did I know I would find true gems hidden where least expected (esp. the music). It can be nice to experience art in a small, local environment. It has taught me that culture (good or bad ;-) is everywhere you go.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about your adventures in Paris!

le beau cuisinier said...

I am ridiculously culture starved and wish I had the same experience that you have, (sigh)...I guess that's why I cook, to stave off boredom and dream.

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling, thank you so much for stopping by my cottage and for the sweet comments you left behind, much appreciated. I am here for a visit now and I must say you have a lovely blog, full of interesting posts. I too joined your followers and have added you blog to my Beau-TEA-Ful Friends blog. Please do stop by for a visit from time to time to have afternoon tea with me, as I will indeed.

Love & Hugs
Duchess ♥♥♥♥

P.S. I am on season 2 of Rosemary & Thyme, so glad we have them in common...they are hilarious and adorable.

M.Lane said...

This is a real problem. I read a lot and write a bit. I gave up on my town culturally some time ago but then I realized that I had not really looked about for anything interesting either. I started looking around and it made a lot of difference!

ML
mlanesepic.blogspot.com

CashmereLibrarian said...

Well, admittedly as I read this I am also watching football on TV (but hey it's the Bears vs Steelers, and as a born and bred Pittsburgher this IS culture...).

Living in a college town and two hours from Chicago, I'm able to see musical productions and theatre fairly regularly. Where I am really lacking is, ironically (because I'm a librarian!), in literature. I tend to make time to read only before bed and then I feel only like digesting magazines and maybe tackling the week's crossword. It's rare I sit down and give myself time to get involved in a serious read.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Hello Jennifer,
I always think of Jean Cocteau's quote when it comes to television. He advises people to turn it off, "The mind has strong teeth. Give the mind something to chew" Or words to that effect! We have a tiny television and it only gets turned on Saturday nights! I never seem to have time to watch anything. The exception is my daughter Daisy who watches her cartoons. No doubt she will want a big plasma screen like her friends when she realises we don't have one. I loved the way the French embraced culture. I still remember with great affection and a smile in my heart the long queues in Paris for art galleries. I can't imagine such a scene in Sydney! xx
ps I enjoy all your posts btw. Make up reviews as well as the more 'high culture'

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Rebecca- I love that you have sought out your local artists and musicians... there are often so many gems to be found! And I love your attitude about not needing to be in a big city to stay connected to art. Bravo! - and thank you for your kind words :)

Le Beau Cuisinier- Welcome to the blog and thank you for your comment :) I think cooking is a great way to fed off cultural starvation... especially when you try cuisines from other countries or a particularly challenging dish. I believe cooking is an art form...

Duchess of Tea- Thank you for your lovely comment. Your blog is beautiful and I can't wait to read more!

M. Lane- Thank God for books! When it's hard to go out and seek a culturally rich experience (or I find myself not wanting to fight the crowds) there is nothing better than getting lost in one... or creating your own story with writing!

Cashmere- lol! I hope the game results were favorable for you ;) It makes sense to me that you would not read as much working in a library... that happens a lot with people and their jobs. If they are surrounded by something they love all day at work, chances are they will not indulge so much in them at home. Also- you are so lucky to live near Chicago- such a cultural mecca! xo

Josephine- I think it's marvelous that you and the scribe watch so little TV. So many couples after along hard day lose themselves in front of it (B and I used to do this all the time!). I try and limit myself to one hour of television watching a day so as to not lose sight of my creativity. Last night I took a cue from you and instead of watching the Emmys on TV (which would have probably taken 4 hours of my time) I finished my latest book and played the piano for hours. I slept like a baby:)

And thank you for your encouragement about my posts... I love my posts on makeup too- I was just concerned this was becoming a beauty blog when I want it to be so much more! xo

The Daily Connoisseur said...

And now for the spelling error corrections for my incredibly long reply...

Le Beau Cuisinier- I mean to say "fend" off (not fed off) :)

Josephine- I meant to say a long (not along) :)

perhaps next time I'll proof read my comment before posting! xoxo

Easy and Elegant Life said...

We have a good little museum here in Richmond, VA. Although it's galleries are closed for the big renovation at the moment. But, D.C. is not too far a drive and Mrs. E. and I try and make it a couple of times a year. Theatre on tap this week. NPR keeps me up to speed on classical music. Blogs give me a good dose of just about everything and I love to read.

Two years ago I audited an art-history class that opened my eyes!

Travel is what I miss most and can't wait for the toddlers to be old enough to soak it all in.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

"it's...' ooofff. Sorry about that.

ScentScelf said...

I find it is difficult to balance "culture" with "everyday life"...no, wait, that's not quite right...balancing focused cultural experiences with typical daily workings. That's it.

I am lucky to live in a large urban area where there is a major symphony orchestra and a number of excellent and good smaller groups, many many museums, an excellent theater scene, live music of all sorts, not one but three major botanical display/resources...the question is, how often do I go? And more to the point...how often do I process my experiences, whatever they are?

In the midst of slowing down for that...

I love Josephine's calling forth of Cocteau. I agree, our minds do have great teeth. I have to admit, though, as a cinephile, I plan on using my flat screen and on-demand movies to do some catching up on good films, new and old, over the next 6 months or so. The blending of vision+sound is such an interesting form of expression...daytime talk shows, of course, not so much. ;)

CashmereLibrarian said...

Was reading the comments and it's fun to see how other people tackle this issue...

It's a salon, Daily! Now if we could only have digital tea and madelines...

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Easy and Elegant- Virginia... how wonderful. Your state has so much history. And it sounds like you are really sorted out in the culture department. I admire that- especially in people with children... I'm sure your appreciation of the arts will pass on to your kids- and theirs etc.
Art History classes are amazing. I took one while studying in Paris that is still to this day the best class I ever took!

Scentscelf- Such a good question! Yes- even if we experience the cultural arts are we really processing it and what do we take away from it? I miss going to the symphony... the music can be so beautiful it moves me to tears. Now that's what I call processing :)

Cashmere... I love it! It is a salon! In addition to tea and madeleines I would also like to add macarons... :) xoxo

Rose said...

I wouldn't beat yourself up too much- I think sometimes we just want a week or two that are more telly weeks and then other times I find myself seeing tow exhibitions and a play in one day.

I think we are spoilt in London and it makes conecting with culture much easier than it would be in other places- which is probably one of the things I love about it. Even then sometimes when something is very over subsribed you do feel it's a hassle and end up not making the effort and feeling sad about missing it- well I find.

I think signing up to mailing lists for theatres you enjoy and galleries you like and booking in advance gives you things to look forward to.

LA Frog said...

There is a lot of culture in LA but it is different from "Old Europe". Having grown up on the Paris-London-New York axis with an art historian mother, I first dismissed what LA had to offer, but remember having an epiphany at a Getty conference, where artist James Turrell said, "The great thing about LA is that it is free from taste" -- "free" being the key word.

LA is a young, multicultural city where everything is possible art-wise, good and bad -- unlike more established markets where critics and gallery owners define what is considered "art" and "taste" (thus restricting creativity). In LA, the filtering is up to the viewer, and that's what makes the city so empowering to both artists and art-buffs. LA is (still relatively) free from the "pesanteur" (stuffiness) of older markets.

As a glutton for art and architecture, I find LA -- and Southern California -- exhilarating with all its museums, gallery clusters, cultural events and other design initiatives. It does require some exploring (and commuting!) but it breathes throughout the city. You're right, it doesn't compare to Paris/France, but vive la différence :)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

LA Frog- you are so right about LA. I completely agree that there is less cultural snobbery over here which leaves room for a lot of risks to be taken. I love going to fashion shows in this city for that very reason. The independent theatre is great and the art- innovative. I feel really lucky to be surrounded by it all. I suppose because L.A. is not a concentrated city, so to speak, it is more difficult to sniff out the best place to go and as a result- I probably miss out a lot. In such a sprawling city such as this there are so many pockets of great artists... Thanks for your great observations!

LA Frog said...

I cannot agree more. In cities like Paris, you are surrounded by -- and literally bathing in -- history and culture. In "young" places like L.A., you have to proactively look for it. Yet once you've tamed it, it's the best cultural kick ever.

Dining on Deals said...

What a great topic. I love the idea of actively seeking out more culture. I am often disappointed that my husband and I do little more then go to the movies or out to dinner for "date night," and would like to make an effort to find more culture. Speaking of, I hear there's a great photo exhibit at the Annenberg Center for Photography here in LA, must make a note to check it out.

As for television, I think that it too can be culturally enlightening (though the cultural snobs might never agree). But I have seen some beautiful pieces of dance theater on "So You Think You Can Dance" that have moved me to tears. And Bill Mahr has made me aware of political situations that I would never have known existed. So, yes, I may spend more then an hour a month watching TV, but that doesn't mean my brain has nothing to chew on:)

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Dining on Deals- You have a very valid point re: culturally enriching television... I suppose I do not gravitate towards those shows... unless you consider the Real Housewives of Atlanta a study in Anthropology ;)

 
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