Finding Your Identity at DC’s First Films on the Green

Since 2008, Francophile New Yorkers have been able to enjoy French flicks al fresco through Films on the Green, a free outdoor French film festival produced annually in New York City Parks by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy with the City of New York Parks & Recreation. This summer, they had the opportunity to catch Purple Noon at Central Park’s Cedar Hill, The Women on the 6th Floor and La Haine at Tompkins Square Park, Les Tontons Flingueurs at Washington Square Park and The French Minister at Columbia University. This year, thanks to American University and the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France in Washington, DC, we’re getting our own (shorter) edition of this outdoor French film festival.

French film festival, film francais a washington, outdoor screening


On September 4th and 5th, Films on the Green will set ground on the Woods-Brown Amphitheater on American University’s Campus. Both screenings (of All Is Forgiven on the 4th and Tomboy on the 5th) are free, open to the public and centered around the theme of Finding Your Identity. I haven’t seen All is Forgiven, but I have seen Tomboy (which is also available to stream on Netflix). It’s a great but at time difficult to watch film about a little girl who really wants to be a boy (basically…).

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I hope this first edition is successful so we can have an even bigger and better one next year, with more films and more venues! And while we’re on the topic of French films, don’t miss this screening of Alceste A Bicyclette (Bicycling with Moliere) at the Avalon on September 17th. Or I guess you can also just stream it on netflix…


Angelika Pop-UP at Union Market

Angelika Pop Up at union Market

The Angelika Film Center in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood is a cultural institution for arthouse cinema. Its affiliate at the Mosaic District in Fairfax is FABULOUS! It’s an elegant, state of the art, 8 screens theater where you can nibble on tadoori popcorn and reserve your seat in advance. If it weren’t so far in Fairfax, I’d go there all the time! Luckily, soon enough, there will be an Angelika movie theater near Union Market, right here in downtown, DC. Until then (then being 2015), Union Market is giving us a little preview of what it will be like with an Angelika pop-up.

The pop-up opens this weekend with screening of Queen Margot, a French period drama featuring Daniel Auteuil and Isabelle Adjani about the tension between the Catholics and the Protestant Huguenots fighting to control France in the late 16th Century.  You can watch the trailer here, but it’s basically full of love and murders… and blood. (Screenings 6/13 – 6/19 at 12:30pm, 3:45pm, 7pm as well as a 10:15p Friday and Saturday. Tickets here). It’s also showing Supermensh (more details here) and has a slew of great independent art-house films coming up for the rest of the summer.

Patriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick in DC November 5th

How do I even begin to explain Patrick Bruel? Today he’s Patrick, a respected actor, singer, soccer fan and poker player. Back when I was une adolescente, he was Patriiiiiiiiiiick, idol of an entire generation who reinvented himself in 2002 with Entre-Deux, an album of duets filled with tracks from the 30s and 40s. More recently, he was in this hilarious French comedy called “What’s in a Name” / “le Prenom” which you can and should rent on Amazon! (you can also stream A Secret on netflix) But back to Patriiiiick, the singer, who is coming to visit us with 6 US concerts this fall (surprisingly, there isn’t a date in Vegas, though I’m sure he’ll be paying the poker mecca a visit too…)

Patrick Bruel, patrick Bruel in the US, concerts, dc concert, french music, french artists, patrick bruel concert DC, patrick bruel concert washington


30-Oct             Miami, FL                  Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater

1-Nov              New York, NY             Beacon Theater

2-Nov              Boston, MA                Berklee Performance Center

4-Nov              Houston, TX               House of Blues

5-Nov              Washington, DC         Warner Theater

8-Nov              Los Angeles, CA         Orpheum Theater

Tickets are available on LiveNation and are a bit pricey (more expensive than tickets to see Johnny…) ranging from $52 to $101. Not sure you wanna commit to that kind of money? You can always listen to his live album on spotify 😉

Stromae Announces US Tour Dates

Stromae, Who the Hell is Stromae, Stromae time out, stromae US tourNow that’s a US tour!! French artists rarely come to the US and when they do, it’s usually only for  extra date or two (typically New York and Los Angeles) before or after a show in Montreal. So I’m really excited to see that, fresh off his cover of Time Out New York and just ahead of his sold out show at the Best Buy Theater, Stromae  announced a REAL US tour. The tour includes Washington, DC, which I’m stoked about, obviously, but also places that probably rarely see a French artist perform like Colorado and Utah. Here are the full dates and concert venues:

20-June           New York, NY             Best Buy Theatre (sold out)
17-Sep            Philadelphia, PA          Trocadero
18-Sep            Washington, DC           9:30 Club
19-Sep            New York, NY              Terminal 5 *On sale now
21-Sep            Boston, MA                  Paradise Rock Club
23-Sep            Toronto, ON                 The Sound Academy
24-Sep            Chicago, IL                  Metro – Smart Bar
25-Sep            Minneapolis, MN           Mill City Nights
27-Sep            Englewood, CO            Gothic Theatre *On sale May 3
28-Sep            Salt Lake City, UT        The Depot
30-Sep            Vancouver, ON             Vogue Theater
1-Oct               Seattle, WA                 The Showbox at the Market
3-Oct               San Francisco, CA       Mezzanine
4-Oct               Los Angeles, CA          The Fonda Theatre

I think it’s FORMIDABLE and can’t wait for September 18!

(if you don’t know who Stromae is, you should! You might remember the Belgian singer from this song) and you should really check out his new album! It’s good and available on iTunes (all his albums are actually… which is also rare for music in French) and spotify.

Save the Date: Ah, que Johnny a DC (et NYC…!)

He may still be called France’s “biggest rock star” but Johnny Hallyday lives in the United States these days, where he is a permanent US resident just like me… He’s past his prime, yes, but he’s had a long and illustrious musical career. And he’s touring the country this spring….

johnny hallyday USA, Johnny hallyday us tour

Like most French artist on a US tour, he’ll be performing in New York (May 6, Beacon Theater) and Los Angeles, because, well, these are clearly the only two American cities French artists know. But lucky us, he’ll also be stopping by the District (and San Francisco, and Miami Beach). And actually, it’ll probably be quite a treat… Johnny Hallyday typically performs in very large concert venues in France and seeing him play a more intimate and acoustic set must be a great experience. Though after Jane Birkin and Partick Bruel, I really wish “younger” artists would pay us a visit too. Oh well, I’ll take the 80 years old “’idole des Jeunes” I guess. 😉 

For more info on Johnny’s May 8th DC concert at the Lincoln Theater, and to buy tickets ($55), click here.

Lyon’s Fête des Lumières Comes to Georgetown

La Fête des Lumières in Lyon is probably one of the most renowned holiday celebrations in France… and yet it has nothing to do with Christmas at all 😉 Details, right? The Fête des Lumières’ origins actually date back to 1852 and the inauguration of a new statue of the Virgin Mary  at the top of the hill of Fourvière on the feast of the Immaculate Conception. It was postponed to December 12 due to bad weather and the whole town lit up for the occasion. Today, the tradition continues, albeit in a more modern, professional and well, extravagant, way today.

La Fête des Lumières in Lyon, France

A little overview of la Fête des Lumières, a festival of lights in the heart of Lyon

After teaming up with Shaw Main Streets to bring La Nuit Blanche to Washington, l’Alliance Française is now partnering with the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID) to bring a little bit of la Fête des Lumières to the District. They’re also partnering with Art Soiree, the Embassy of Spain and EDF (Electricité de France) to sponsor the light installations that will be positioned in a few key locations throughout Georgetown. The week-long celebration (December 13 through December 20th, though the bulk of the public art light display will happen on the nights of 13th and 14th) will light up DC’s French-est neighbourhood for a limited exhibition inspired by Lyon’s famous fête. Fête des Lumières Georgetown will coincide with the second annual Georgetown Holiday Window Competition, where a variety of neighbourhood merchants create holiday-themed window displays using only four different materials… well, five this year. The fifth element this year will be, wait for it…  light! It won’t be as extravagant as its inspiration, of course, but hey… Lyon’s been at it for over 100 years and DC’s just getting started 😉     

Slide 1

The map above shows you where the different light installation will be happening. The opening party takes place Friday, December 13 at Malmaison and the closing party on Sunday. December 14 at L2 Lounge. The Floating Lights and Ciudad Habitada installations will be on display throughout the week. All others, only during the weekend of December 13-14.

Fifty Shades of European Films

As the European Union gets bigger and bigger so does the AFI European Union Film Showcase . This year, some 50 films from 27 different European countries will be shown between December 5th – 22, 2013 at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring. That’s 10 more than last year, and at least one film from every European country except Malta… Countries with large film industries, like France, Germany or the UK are represented with more than one film. And speaking of France… Here’s a schedule of French, French-language or somewhat related to France movies that will be shown during the two weeks festival:

  • La Tendresse (Belgium/France/Germany, in French with subtitles – Thursday December 12 @ 5:30PM; Friday December 13 @ 5:20PM; Sunday December 15 @ 7:45PM) a stripped down, sensitive family drama about a divided family forced to come together during a minor crisis.
  • L’Etrange Couleur des Larmes de ton Corps (Belgium/France/Luxembourg, in French, Flemish and Danish with English subtitles – Saturday December 14 @ 10:15PM, Thursday December 19 @ 9:35PM) this “art” film is probably not for everyone, with its close up shots and disorienting storyline…

AFI European Union Showcase 2013

  • Une Estonienne à Paris (France/Estonia/Belgium, in French and Estonian with English subtitles – Saturday December 7 @ 1:10PM, Tuesday December 10 @ 7:10PM) think Tatie Danielle, but with Jeanne Moreau as Frida, an elderly Estonian expat living in Paris and who is not thrilled about having to be looked after by an (also Estonian) caretaker.
  • Alceste a Bicyclette (France, in French with English subtitles, Friday December 6 @ 7:20PM, Sunday December 8 @ 5:30PM, Wedneday December 11 @ 5:20PM) I don’t even really need to know what this movie is about (though I assume bikes are involved and Moliere too since Alceste is the main character in his play The Misanthrope). Fabrice Luchini is in it, so it’s gotta be great film 😉
  • Le Passé (France/Italy, in Persian and French with English subtitle, Sunday December 8 @ 3:30PM) From the Iranian writer and screenwriter of (Oscar winning) A Separation comes another divorce, Iranian-style story. This time, it’s Marie, portrayed by The Artist’s Berenice Bejo, who needs a divorce from her estranged husband to marry her new love, Samir. Ahmad (the husband) flies to Paris from Tehran to finalize the divorce and becomes reintegrated into his soon to be ex-wife’s unconditional family structure.
  • Comme un Chef (France/Spain, in French with English subtitles, special presentation Friday December 13 @ 7:30Pm, also showing Sunday December 15 @ 4:15PM) It’s been a while since Jean Reno has been in a good movie, so I’m not sure what to expect of this one. Some critics say it’s pretty silly, others say it’s a decent comedy set in the Parisian culinary world… only one way to find out 😉
  • 2 Autumns, 3 Winters (France, in French with English subtitles, Friday December 20 @ 5:20PM and Sunday December 22 @ 7:40PM) is described as a melancomedie about hipster parisians in love with new wave inspired visuals… not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing though.
  • L’inconnu du Lac (France, in French with subtitles, Friday December 20 @ 10PM, Sunday December 22 @ 9:45PM) described as an erotic and lurid thriller, this film is a story of amour fou, with a dose of crime and lots of nude men…
  • Le Week-End (UK, in English, special presentation on Saturday, December 7 @8:30PM) this story of a british couple celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary with a romantic getaway to Paris, where they honeymooned looks absolutely adorable. Plus it’s set in Paris…

Of course, those are only a few of the 50 movies that will be shown as part of the AFI European Union Film Showcase. You can see a complete schedule here. Are you planning on seeing any films or have you seen some of the films that will be shown? I’d love to hear all about it…

All wined up and ready to go!

DC Wine week

I tend not to make the best decisions after a boozy brunch with my friends… Vanessa French and Lisa Byrne, on the other hand, do. Like 3 years ago when they decided to launch D.C. wine week over a boozy brunch at Belga Cafe. I’ve said it before, I think every week should be wine week. But in the District, it’s officially October 12-19 and there a little something for everyone this year!

Starting with Downward Dogs and Upward Sips on Sunday, October 13 (6-7:30PM; $20; Vida Fitness U Street). Since I can barely hold my tree pose sober, it’s a good thing the wine portion of the event comes at the end of the work out, on the gym’s roof  😉

On Monday, it’s Columbus Day for some and Canadian Thanksgiving for others… Either way, you should celebrate with wine at the Coupe (6-8PM; $20). There’ll be complimentary pours and specials on wine by the glass so you can discover new varietals (and new technology too… bottles are dispensed from Napa Technology Wine Stations.)

OPA! Before moving to D.C., I spent two weeks traveling around Greece with a girlfriend. I’ve had a certain weakness for Greek wine ever since and I love any opportunity to try some κρασί. On Tuesday, October 15 (6-9PM; $5 glass, $11 carafe) Kellari Taverna and the Greek Embassy are teaming up to introduce Washingtonians to Greek grape varietals we may not about during an extended happy hour. Sounds wonderful to me!

After Greek wines, sample some 16 Italian reds, sparklings and whites at i Ricchi (Wednesday October 16, 6-8PM; $30).

One of my favourite pairings of all is oysters and sancerre… hopefully, the sauvignon blanc will be flowing at Tel’Veh Cafe and Wine Bar’s Oyster and Wine Happy Hour on Thursday (October 17; 5:30-7:30PM; $1 oysters and happy hour specials on wine).

Finally, the week will wrap up with another great pairing: wino and bocce (Friday, October 18; Vinoteca; 6-8PM). And yes, while I prefer petanque to bocce, I do love me some Vinoteca and $5 wines-by-the-glass and bocce sounds like the perfect ending to a fun wine-filled week!

Clearly, my girlfriends and I need to step up our game next time we have unlimited mimosas 😉

Save the Date: Craft Spirit of Poe

Craft spirit of poe, les dames d'escoffier fundraiserMonday, October 7th, is the anniversary of Edgar Allen Poe’s death. To mark the occasion, Les Dames d’Escoffier (a philanthropic organization for women in the food, beverage and hospitality industry) are throwing a fundraiser in Washington, DC. and I just love the concept of the event.  Not only does Craft: the Spirit of Poe raise funds for scholarships for local talent to be able to attend culinary school but it does so by mixing craft spirits and literature. Throughout the city, bars and restaurants are providing a unique craft cocktail, a small bite and a lecture on Edgar Allan Poe by a either a literature scholar or a local distiller.

You can purchase tickets for just one spot or hop around to a couple of different bars and try a variety of Poe-themed craft cocktails. You can only get a lecture at one of them though, so chose wisely 😉 The list of participating bars and restaurants is pretty exciting too including:

– Ripple, where mixologist Caroline Blundell and American University’s Courtney Wells will team up to talk about “The Raven’s Claw.”

The Gibson, where General Manager Frank Jones will discuss the ingredients behind a “Masque of the Red death” cocktail while American University MFA student Priyanka Joseph will discuss the imagery of the story. (that lecture starts at 8PM)

Daikaya, which apparently has some very well educated bartender like Lukas Smith, who holds a master’s degree in comparative literature. He’ll mix a “Nevermore” craft cocktail and talk about the story too.

– The Green Pig where Catoctin Creek Distillery‘s Chad Robert will talk about the inspiration for his “Cask of Amontillado” Poe craft cocktail (made with rye not sherry).

To purchase tickets, head to eventbrite.

Charity in Chocolate: An Event Too Sweet To Miss

Every fall, when Le Salon du Chocolat takes over the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center, I cannot help but marvel at the intricacies of chocolate couture during the event’s signature chocolate fashion show. When you see the models strutting their stuff down the runway it’s hard to believe their dresses and outfits are not haute couture but haute chocolate…

chocolate fashion, salon du chocolat, charity in chcocolate

Sonia Jeito et concept chocolate — at Lille Grand Palais.

Last week, I got a sneak peek at what it takes to design and create a unique fashion statement made out of chocolate and sugar during a preview event for the upcoming Charity in Chocolate event, which will be held September 6th at the Mandarin Oriental. The fundraiser is the Heart of America Foundation‘s signature event and one of its highlight (other than knowing that you’re raising funds to help kids have access to books) is D.C.’s only chocolate fashion show. At the preview event, held at Boxwood’s Tasting Room in Chevy Chase, pastry sous-chef Shaun McCarty of the Reagan Building and pastry chef instructor Carlo Figarella of the Art Institute of Washington explained some of the challenges involved in creating chocolate fashion pieces. As expected, temperatures are a huge issue, and  I must say that I  have a newfound respect for the chefs but also for the models who volunteer to walk down the runway covered in stiff (and heavy) cocoa couture! 


Chefs McCarty and Figarella at the preview event at the Tasting Room

Since the event raises funds to provides books to children who have little or nothing to read at home, the fashion show typically has a literary theme. I love the Madhatter inspired dress that Chef Figarella created last year for the event (picture below) and can’t wait to see what the chefs come up with this year! 


Charity in Chocolate 2012

In addition to the sweet soirée’s signature fashion show, Charity in Chocolate features some 50 local chefs offering sweet & savory tastings. There’s still time to buy your tickets ahead of the Friday, September 6th event and you can even use the code CICInsider for a slight discount. Remember it all goes towards a great cause…