Chronicle of a Terminated Pregnancy By Lucie Moore
PEACOC K SPRING 2013
F I R S T
EDITOR’S NOT E
TAT TOO YOU
The stories we tell
F E A T U R E S
How not to ruin your body
NIGHT T IME SEDAT ION
EIGHT F INGER SUIT E
T HE CHOICE Abortion dilemmas
SHANGHAI SHINES Diving for China’s pearl
HOLL AND RIDES Hitchhikers’ guide to the road
F LORENCE HOT T IES Why art history isn’t dull
P H O T O
S H O O T
STOCKHOLM MEMORIES A portrait in pictures and poetry
Jazz pianist with a difference
PRIVAT E CHEF
L E F T O V E R S
Didier Quemener cooks for us
R E V I E W S
An ode to Ambien
P R O F I L E
Nose jobs in the Levant
T R A V E L
O P I N I O N TOKI’S CORNER
UNDER T HE KNIFE
WAT ERF RONT HOT SPOT
OOO-L A LA Yes, we just had to do it: The five best places to get laid in Paris, according to our field tests
The secert of Canal St. Martin
DIGITAL LOVE No need to date a human
T RANSMISSIONS 26 PARIS TV broadcasts from Kilometer Zero
FOREIGN F L ICKS
MR. GIRARD’S PENGUINS
Three must-sees from overseas
Meet the producer behind the birds
P E ACO C K AUP STUDENT MEDIA 31 Avenue Bosquet. Paris 75007
Vol ume 2.2 SP RING 201 3 EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maggie Centers CREAT IVE DIRECTOR Hannah Rittiman MANAGING EDITOR Jarrah Burns SENIOR EDITORS Togzhan Kumekbayeva MĂŠline Agabaian Lucie Moore COPY EDITORS Madi Riley STAFF WRIT ERS Emmeline Butler Taylor Evans Luna Lim Barbara Ramos Catherine Pears STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS Francesco K. Filomeno Sara Waller Maria Rychkova Elizabeth Marshall Valentina Salazar William Graves ILLUST RATOR Montana DeBor MARKET ING DIRECTOR Joyce Keokham EXECUT IVE DIRECTOR F. Ford Leland ARCHIVIST Helina Baley T REASURER Jessica Lynch Special T hanks Camille Pitkethly Rieko Whitfield
Photo by Francesco K. Filomeno All of the illustrations throughout the magazine are drawn by Montana DeBor. See more at www.montanadebor.com
F RA N C ESCO K. F I LO MEN O
STORIES WORTH TELLING MAGGIE CENT ERS Introduces the Spring Peacock
s this issue goes to print, I’m amazed by our team’s ability to connect with their sense of wonder, beauty and pain. Cover photographer Francesco K. Filomeno shot the above picture while tromping through a Hawaiian jungle. He saw a broken down piece of junk as a tarnished pile worth capturing. The Peacock continues to be a platform for young artists to express their ideas and take risks. If anything sums up the spring issue, it’s the ability to live and let live. Lucie Moore’s cover story coincides with the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that legalized abortion in America and helped spark a global debate on a woman’s right to choose. For the first time, women and men could stop living
in the fear that an unwanted pregnancy would put their dreams on hold. This is the story of Amelia. Her identity, as that of some other characters in “The Choice”, must remain anonymous, as the subject of abortion remains an extremely sensitive and controversial topic. Over in the music section, Barbara Ramos captures the talent of French jazz pianist Phillippe Khoubesserian, who overcame what conventional wisdom said was a handicap to become a maestro of the keyboard. One team member must not be forgotten: creative director Hannah Rittiman. New to the Peacock, Hannah has painstakingly designed each column, photo and zigzag to conquer the challenge of the daunting white page. Two topics stream throughout the magazine: sex and travel. These intrigues lead Sven van
Mourik to Shanghai, Sara Waller to Stockholm and Jarrah Burns to the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Flipping through these pages, you can feel the intensity of the newsroom, where red pens slice-and-dice meticulously reported events into memorable stories and sharp eyes pore over hundreds of photographs to isolate the one, which captures the perfect moment in time. They cried. I cried. Enjoy the ride.
Maggie Centers Editor-in-chief
W I L L I A M G RAVES
INK STAINED WRETCH To begin with, JARR AH BURNS warns why you need to be wary of anything permanently written in ink
n inkist might represent to some a colorful skinned, angry looking but possibly lover-not-fighter, priestprostitute combo. He or she is there to give non-judgmental advice and hold your hand during a creative and collaborative process to acquire permanent body art. Members of that small group of professionals straddle the divide between functioning society and its criminal counterpoint. Tattoo artists are equally likely to
ink a dolphin on a giggly teenager’s lower back, as a swastika on a skinhead’s pasty forehead. The intimacy of this one-on-one situation, the giving and receiving dynamic, the pain of the tattooee and the toil of the tattooer; it must all build a certain type of bond, no? Like, say, that of Frodo and Sam: “We’ve been on a great adventure together, Mr Frodo!” If you think this, it’s time you met successful tattoo artist Barnaby Williams. He will judge
you harsher than your devoutly Catholic grandmother when she caught you gettin’ nasty with yourself to a picture of your second cousin. So what is acceptable? “Some things are so clichéd they’re not cliché,” Barnaby says. The difference between a boring trailer trash scribble and a classic and iconic tattoo is good placement and perfect rendering. So much for that gangsta upside-down infinity symbol you were planning to tat on your butt.
Don’t even think about it... Birds of a Feather Feathers that turn into tiny birds is the latest craze and it is lame, lame, lame. “It’s the cliché female tattoo right now.”
Roman Numerals T hey are “boring, tedious, unproductive and unoriginal.” Unless you’re Roman. If you’re Roman, it’s sexy.
Lack of Commitment
T hese are people who haven’t earned their affiliation tattoos. T he unmerited claim of belonging to a gang, army or sports team is the ultimate douchebag move.
Fingers in Ears People who refuse his advice and want their tattoo badly placed and sized with respect to their body contours. “Would you tell a chef how to cook your meal?” he challenges. No lactose intolerance allowed then.
If you want your tattoo facing you, rather than the world at large, “then to everyone else you have an upside-down angel on you, which represents the devil.” Awkward.
People who have their first tattoos on their hands or neck. Declaring them ‘ultimate poser tattoos’, Barnaby believes graphics on these two body parts need to be earned through the demonstration of a long commitment to body art. He likens it to “(losing) your virginity to the entire football team.”
T he infamous lower back tramp stamp: “I’m gonna judge that you make bad decisions.” Fair call.
If you ask for a white tattoo, “basically you don’t want a tattoo.”
Jumping the Gun
T he Tramp Stamp
Sauce On Your Ribs Apparently, a meaningful phrase along the ribs is as uninspiring as busting out the dice-roll dance move on the d-floor. He says people “should just get the words ‘A phrase that means something to me’ tattooed there. Now that would be awesome.”
Celebrity Copycat T hinking about getting Justin Beiber’s “YOLO” tattoo? “One, you’re not this rich, famous person. Two, you’re absolutely unoriginal for stealing their concept. T hree, you’re most likely an incredibly boring person.” Also, you know, you might offend the Buddhists.
Get ready to scream
T O G Z H A N K U M E K B AY E V A g o e s u n d e r c o v e r t o untangle the mysteries of the female orgasm
any say women are complicated. They are right. The emotional world of the fairer sex is a complex mechanism that abides by its own rules. Even sexual desires can be a mystery, which may be one reason why on average only 30% of women achieve orgasm during sex. It is not because women do not enjoy sex, but rather that the steps that must be taken towards achieving sexual satisfaction are often more intricate for women than for men. Additionally, since females are generally associated with greater emotional expression, it is no surprise that emotions are also a major factor in their ability to achieve orgasm. The ability to perceive, recognize, control and express emotions appropriately has been formulated into a personality trait, called ‘Emotional Intelligence’. In basic terms, emotional intelligence is the ability to know what you feel and what others feel. A research study by Burri, Cherkas and Spector, on 2,000 female twins suggested that women who scored higher on the Emotional Intelligence scale had a greater ability to achieve orgasm. Andrea Burri, the leading author of the study, elaborated on the importance of communication: “Emotional intelligence seems to have a direct impact on women's sexual functioning by influencing her ability to communicate her
sexual expectations and desires to her partner.” Emotional intelligence, however, is not just a factor on a scientific scale. Aside from the ability to communicate one’s desires, it also includes knowing and understanding one’s triggers, or what causes one’s emotional responses, whether it is anger, affection, irritation, or desire for intimacy. For women, the ability to pinpoint and communicate what exactly triggers their sexual arousal is the key to achieving sexual satisfaction. In contrast to men, whose turn-on’s are fairly straightforward, women’s triggers are hidden behind layers of intimacy, such as foreplay, mood and degree of trust. Knowing exactly what is responsible for turning your switch on or off and the ability to use it is one step towards increasing your chances of achieving satisfaction. Another critical element related to emotional intelligence is the ability to fantasize. Healthy fantasies are in no way a sign of perversion, on the contrary, they require a vivid imagination, open-mindedness and creativity, while giving the woman a sense of control. Fantasies can also be a useful outlet for experimentation and can help women focus on their desires. Fantasizing can be an easy and healthy way of attaining the sexual adventure that you might not experience in reality. In your mind, you are free to do whatever you
want with whoever you want, but be attentive to how often you opt for the fantasy dream rather than real intimacy with your partner. Fantasies should not be an escape from sex, but a way to enhance and improve it. Who knows, maybe you could even re-enact some of your whimsies with your partner in real life! It is not always the case, of course, that women require a lengthy procedure just to feel aroused. Sometimes women have more powerful desires than men, but paying attention to emotions is one way to make a woman’s sex life more enjoyable. Moreover, psychologists say that emotional intelligence is critically important when overcoming relationship problems, a matter all couples face at some point in their relationship. When things are not working out in bed, no matter what the environment and sexual skill set, it is important to approach sex with more intelligence. Try to understand what you like or dislike, what turns you on and off and then communicate it to your partner. Remember that men cannot read women’s minds and often need to be told clearly and directly what your needs are. Finally, fantasies can help this process of understanding and heightening one’s desires. You do not need to have a high IQ to learn about your emotions, you just need to free your mind of inhibitions, let it take you to your libidinal subconscious and explore from there.
M ISS C O NDU CT
EMMELINE BUTLER’S etiquette of cross-cultural romance
hether in search of love, diversion or a visa, expats residing in France may be tempted to blame their romantic frustrations on cultural differences. In France, men supposedly approach women. A kiss indicates exclusivity. If a man waits three days to call, he’s not following a rule, he’s simply not interested. Women play hard-to-get. Relationships move fast but can end quickly. “One French man started calling me his ‘little wife’ on the third date. And I never had to pay for anything,” Miss X, an Art History student at the American University of Paris recalls. I found this gesture less respectful after consulting my own salon of French Messieurs, French men might expect certain returns on their "investments." "Otherwise, mindset is more important than national origin,” says a 23-year-old French financier. He goes on, “Since many foreigners are in France temporarily, they are expected to be more interested in adventure than commitment." But all flirtations must bridge an interpersonal gap, and Miss Conduct believes human affinities and sexuality are more individual, complex, unpredictable and rewarding than a dismal set of règles du jeu . In lieu of perpetuating the current modes by a list of instructions, Miss Conduct found it more constructive to speak to a young American abroad, 21-year-old AUP student N., about finding love with his French boyfriend, 23-yearold B. “B. is from a French family, but a hybrid French family,” says N. “His mother and sisters are Muslim, but he is not, and his mom is from Algeria. When we first started dating, B. wouldn’t drink alcohol or eat pork, which was unfortunate since I like lardons. Growing up his
family celebrated Christmas not as a Christian holiday, but so the kids could get presents while the other French kids did." "I’m from a Roman Catholic background, but I’m practically agnostic while B. is definitely atheist. When his mother found out we were sleeping together, she wasn’t mad that it was with a guy, but that it was before marriage.” For N. and B., differences in their dispositions have more to do with formative life experiences than national or religious backgrounds.
‘I think you love me more than I love you’
“Socioeconomically, our backgrounds are the same - working class. B.’s father was born in 1920 and died when he was 11, so B. was like the man of the house very early on, even though he is the middle child. As a result, B. thought he was supposed to protect me by listening to my problems without burdening me with his. After a year and a half together, we are at a point where we are comfortable enough to communicate more openly with each other, and to use each other, not in a pejorative sense, but to help support each other when things go wrong.” While functionally fluent in French, N. agrees social nuances in the French language can be a barrier, especially in short-term situations like dating, when words are more heavily weighted. “Once I walked up to a guy in a club and said ‘bonsoir’,” N. remembers, “and he just looked at me like I was being a bourgeois douchebag. “I learned something about communication in my own culture after I would refuse to speak English with B. in public, because I didn’t want
to seem like I was incapable of speaking French with a French person. Now, I feel like I connect more to the sincerity and tools for expression in the French language. Compared to people I dated in the U.S., who would say I was the most beautiful boy in the world after they’d just met me, when B. compliments me, I know he means it.” “However, as a French person, he has said things that you would never say to someone in America, like ‘I think you love me more than I love you’, which is a hard thing to hear, though it may have been true.” Saigon-born French writer Marguerite Duras, whose novels examine cross-cultural romances under conditions of war and social taboo, suggested that, in love, “the fascination resides in finding out we're alike.” The most vital ways in which two people are alike may be subtle and only delicately uncovered, or even materialize initially as differences. Any advice is necessarily tenuous. In the end, N. and B.’s complementary traits strengthened their relationship. “We don’t have a lot of common interests, but I need that because I like to learn from people. B. plays video games and I like to read. I’m more extroverted, and if I’m upset, B. has a calming presence so I always feel better after talking to him. Those differences are good for us to work together.” Affairs of the heart can feel like high stakes negotiations, precarious with a chance of euphoria. Miss Conduct can only recommend that one enter such involvements with an observant sensitivity. Be aware of potential capacities for miscommunication without making assumptions. Measure introspection and new perspectives against a clear idea of one’s own confines and desires. Un poison violent, c’est ça l’amour .
A n O d e to Ambien RACHEL NIELSEN tries to get some sleep
here are very few nights I don’t have trouble sleeping. There’s never really been much I could do except wait it out. I’d tried everything – chamomile tea, warm milk, melatonin, lots of Benadryl, too much vodka. None of them seemed to work. I’d either be left wondering if the tryptophan in milk was a myth, or feeling hung over on a Wednesday morning. Finally, I went to a psychiatrist, who promptly prescribed a miracle drug. Ambien. The magical drug only lasts for three hours, unlike tranquilizers that sedate you for days or run the risk of increased suicidal tendencies. When it’s time for bed, popping one of these bad boys will send me right off to dream town. Assuming I don’t forget to fall asleep. I have forgotten to fall asleep many times, generally thanks to the Internet. If this happens, I’m in for an adventure I’ll never remember. Meaningful conversations are completely forgotten, planning for assignments is stumbled upon the next day, or maybe I eat all the bananas in the house. One night I had a brilliant plan to photograph my life. I took out my camera and began shooting objects all over my house. All of the photos were blurry and I vaguely remember having some epiphany in which the blurriness was a genius metaphor for… something. And I wish I had deleted all the photos, but instead I kept them.
Other times I just found evidence through social media outlets. Something mentioned in the long list of side effects is being more extroverted than usual. It turns out I had become exactly that. I commented on everyone’s photos, statuses, and major life events. This was all clear and concise, unlike the blurry photos. And unlike the blurry photos, they are forever up on the Internet. I woke up to find I had commented on my own status. And by commented, I mean wrote a novel. And edited it. At 7:29 am.
One night, I had a brillant plan: Bananas According to Ambien’s website, an important Warning/Precaution includes: “Abnormal thinking, behavioral changes, complex behaviors: may include ‘sleep-driving’ and hallucinations. Immediately evaluate any new onset behavioral changes.” The company that makes this medication is putting out the legal disclaimer that if someone takes this pill, they may find themselves in their
car, parked in a place that is not their home without any recollection as to how it happened. Let’s just hope they didn’t have any hallucinations in the process. Another sleeping medication seems to have similar properties in terms of hallucinations and becoming sociable. “Lunesta … induced me into a strange chilled euphoria where I would blissfully eat food that suddenly tasted like heaven and listen to music,” Anabell**, a student, explained. In addition to hallucinating and/or sleep travelling, it’s possible to sleep-eat. Yes, that’s a thing. Just ask me about that time I woke up eating biscotti. While not a very exciting story (I woke up in the middle of the night in the kitchen eating biscotti), it gives me pause. I don’t normally do that without taking the medication, so should I be putting all the food in my home at risk? Better yet, should I be putting what’s left of my dignity at risk by being able to use things like Facebook? The truth is that I am completely willing to put these things at risk for the sake of sleep. And overall, I think my actions are pretty harmless. It seems others share the same sentiment. There is an entire blog dedicated to things that happen while taking Ambien, with its mascot being the fictitious Ambien Walrus. “I thought the Ambien Walrus was monogamous- with me. I am actually relieved to see that he is spreading his love with others. As I attempt to eat a whole pizza and send inappropriate texts...” –Anonymous Poster on The Ambien Blog “Dearest Ambien Walrus, my old friend, I remember all of our years together of sleepwalking, sleep eating, sleep housekeeping, and sleep shopping. Most people probably think handcuffs in the bedroom are sexy, but you and I both know mine are just to keep me from driving my car at night. xoxoxo” - Anonymous Poster on The Ambien Blog There are people who use other medications. Melanie**, a nurse, told me about her husband who has tried Benadryl and Trazedone, but “they both give him restless leg syndrome.” She informed me that the side effects weren’t worth it, so now he takes melatonin. While I have never tried Lunesta, I have tried Trazedone. It left me feeling groggy the next day. I couldn’t wake up on time, much less be motivated to do anything other than sleep. With all the risks attached, I decided to stick with Ambien. My own little nighttime fun machine.
Prepare to be wowed
E i ght ’s Ju st E n o u gh BARBARA RAMOS tunes into a musical miracle
hillippe Khoubesserian only needs eight fingers. "I'm used to it now," says the celebrated Armenian concert and jazz pianist, whose handicap never stood in the way of becoming a star. "Some look at me with pity, others with respect." Khoubesserin's melodies are magic. His harmonies flow from jazz to Mozart. The
short shaky and bent fingers. His digits attack the keys. There’s no handicap at work. “Playing is a good sense of meditation,” he says. “Once I’m drawn in, two hours seem like 30 minutes. Time just flies.” Although Khoubesserian launched his professional career in the petroleum industry, he discovered his true calling in jazz records. This clever and easy-going engineer’s passion for music and classical instruments began when he was a child, when his aunt, who played classical music at the Paris Conservatory and uncle, a violinist with the legendary Django Reinhardt, urged and educated him in the ways of a musical life.
“The principle struggle is unbuttoning my shirt.”
rhythms of the 67-year-old pianist's life begins at dawn and ends after midnight, when he says the principle struggle is unbuttoning his shirt. Playing the piano, he reckons, provides the inner strength required to handle life's greater challenges. "It’s about forgetting everything negative in life; pleasing the audience makes my music more important," Khoubesserian says over coffee in the Hotel du Collectionneur in Paris, ignoring the fretful looks of the other guests, who watch his fingers strain to open, pour and stir packaged sugar into a small white cup. “I don’t like writing emails,” Khoubesserian laughs. “I’m also not fond of electric instruments.” But boy can he play a piano. Khoubesserian’s two opened hands display four long and four
"Since the age of four, I've played every day for at least an hour,” Khoubessrian says. “I began with music lessons, which felt like laborious reading and mathematics classes, but soon enough I managed to learn more on my own,” he adds. “Honestly, I began to play better when I stopped having a piano teacher." Liberated from lessons at the age of 16, Khoubesserian started his own orchestra group. His brother, Patrick played the drums, cousin Arah handled the clarinet. "Our family has always been close," he says, "We did this for fun." His alleged handicap blossomed into a gift. Khoubesserian turned pro. “My fingers carry rhythm and flexibility,” the piano player says, “I sense a different kind of enthusiasm in my audiences, particularly when I play Besame Mucho.” Besame Mucho, one of the most recorded Spanish songs in the world, expresses love, desire and the fear of losing somebody. Khoubesserian interprets the song’s emotions through the piano. Yet he remains playful, jumping from one key to another. "Besame Mucho is song that has something for everybody to love,” he says. Khoubesserian recorded his first CD five years ago. He brought in a bass player and a drummer to form the Trio Jazz Khoube. The
band rehearsed four hours a day. And they swing. “I did it mostly for myself," he says. “We knew the music very well, but we had to rehearse the songs each time as if they were new to us.” On stage or in the studio, Khoubesserian says it’s all about concentration, both individually and as a group. “It was a good trio of musicians,” he says. “Now I wish we could have done more songs and made all of them longer.” Although “Trio Jazz Khoube” only sold 500 copies, the concert promoters began to call. The cult of Khoubesserian was born. Gigs in Armenia, Germany and France started to roll in. His extracurricular activity transformed into a profession. “I want my music to light up candles,” Khoubesserian says. “I envision playing during an electricity strike.” Back in Armenia, Khoubesserian says the Little Theater is his favorite place to play. "It’s the atmosphere that makes the difference," he says. "I need that cheer from the public to create the best music, and an Armenian audience definitely does that trick for me." Khoubesserian’s cousin Seta Djololian says the music is soulful, it’s magic universal. “He has the sensitivity and the virtuosity
“It’s about forgetting everything negative in life; pleasing the audience makes my music more important.” to interpret and capture all styles of music,” Djololian says. “The piano is Philippe’s best friend and to hear them play together, to listen to those rhythms, is magic.” Khoubesserian fumbles with his coffee cup and smiles.The maestro with eight fingers heads back to the piano. “If you don’t play, you lose.”
At the keys, Khoubesserian illustrates why eight is his lucky number
Cooking in Private
WILL IA M GRAVES
Didier Quemener shows T O G Z H A N K U M E K B AY E V A his kitchen
Chef Quemener in his kitchen
he slightly sharp smell and the sizzling sound of frying onions instantly fills the room. Alicia Keys sings sweetly in the background, her mellow voice mingling with brisk knocking of a kitchen knife on a cutting board. In the brightly lit kitchen of his home in Paris, Chef Didier Quemener is the master of his culinary universe. His t-shirt reads “Don’t panic, it’s organic”, a sign of his appreciation for healthy food. His movements are relaxed but quick and graceful as he switches from one task to another, and shares with us the secrets of his profession. Chef Didier swiftly chops the garlic, ginger and chili pepper and tosses the ingredients to a
pan. The spicy aroma prickles our noses as our stomachs growl hungrily. We stare, the process distracting us from the conversation. Didier tells us he started cooking when he was a child. His grandmother, who took care of him during the day, always had a home cooked meal made from their own farm products. “When I was five or six years old, I was always behind my grandmother, to see what’s going on and what she’s cooking,” he says, “Then I started to cook with her and she taught me many things.” Didier’s grandmother lived in Coulommiers, where the countryside cuisine provided him with his first knowledge and experience in gas-
tronomy, but his tastes would soon expand and develop under the influence of other cultures from all over the world. As a student, Didier began experimenting with different approaches but his staples were often chicken, turkey, pork, fish, and pasta. A true chef at heart, even his regular pasta is always garnished with a homemade sauce. “Making a tomato sauce takes about 15 minutes,” he explains, “and if you don’t have time you could buy a gourmet tomato sauce, but I would usually make pasta Alfredo, Carbonara or pasta Primavera, because it’s always easy.” Soon Didier learned how to make his own pasta from scratch. When he met his wife, of
VAL EN T I N A SAL AZAR
Ingredients: 1½ lbs turkey breast cut in chunks ½ tsp turmeric powder ½ tsp curry powder ½ red chili powder 10 saffron threads 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro 1 handful chopped fresh mint 2 garlic cloves minced 1 nut-size fresh ginger minced ½ red onion chopped ½ red bell pepper chopped ½ yellow bell pepper chopped ½ green chili pepper minced 1 lime 13½ fl. oz. coconut cream 1 tsp sesame oil 1 tsp olive oil 4 oz. chopped cashews 4 oz. chopped cherry tomatoes Salt & pepper to taste Side dish: 7 oz. basmati rice
VA LENT INA SAL AZAR
Italian descent, he tapped into a wealth of knowledge about traditional Italian cuisine and learned how to make bread, sausages, tomato sauce and fresh pasta. Since he is not really a “meat-eater” he only uses meat within some of the delicious Italian recipes, such as meat balls and lasagna. To add to his Franco-Italian expertise, Didier and his wife moved to the United States, moving from Florida to South Carolina, New England and California before returning to Paris. Travelling across different states, Chef Didier learned about the traditions of fried food, the sea food of South Carolina and the creativity of Californian chefs. “When we went to California, there was a chef who had his own garden, with his own beets and basil,” he says, “I thought these guys really bring it up to a new level, they have a cool head, they are not pretentious, they share all their ideas.” The opportunity to share ideas and recipes with other chefs would later become a significant motive for the creation of his website, Foodme.fr. But now back in Paris, Mr. Quemener is faced with an important decision – to continue working in management and find a job in a company or do what he really wants to do – cook. Now, sitting in his kitchen, he says, “After a few months of reflection, we thought it’s time to create a private chef business and that’s how I started.” As a private chef, Didier cooked for small groups of customers, Parisians and tourists alike, but after a few years he decided to create his own website. It came out of a need for new and interesting ideas that were missing in the cooking magazines he was subscribed to. So, he created an online version of a cooking magazine – Foodme is a website with simple but tasty recipes that people can do within less than 30 minutes, using fresh ingredients that they can find anywhere in the city. The website details everything from cooking tips to wine cellar reviews and recommended drinks supplement the recipes, but most of all, Didier likes to “talk about someone who’s doing something different or presenting something differently.” Simplicity and innovation seem to be Didier’s guiding criteria when cooking and reviewing other chefs. Even the curried turkey that he has prepared for us seemed easy to make but rich in taste, mixing an unusual blend of spices, coconut cream, and fresh herbs. Just as we are about to sit down and finally plunge into our gourmet treat, we are interrupted by an arrival of a very special guest: Chef’s two-and-a-half year old daughter. She returns home, sick with the flu but meowing happily at the sight of her father. The master Chef is quickly transformed into a devoted father and we are as quickly lost in our food.
Preparation: 1. Cook Rice, best to use a rice cooker 2. In a wok or frying pan, cook onion, garlic, ginger, and green chili pepper until just golden on medium heat in olive and sesame oil. 3. Put saffron threads in a glass of hot water and set aside. 4. Add to the wok: meat, spices (turmeric, curry and red chili powder) and stir from time to time for about five minutes. Add salt and pepper. 5. Strain the safforn water and add it to the wok with the lime juice and the coconut cream 6. Cover and cook on low heat for about five minutes. 7. Add the peppers cut in cubes and cover again for another five minutes. 8. Serve with the rice and sprinkle the coriander, mint, cashews and cherry tomato quarters (optional) on top. For our vegetarian friends, try shrimp or tofu
Floating down the Canal Saint Martin, LU N A L I M finds an art gallery with chicken curry that sends shivers down her spine
Follow the neon pink arrow to Le Comptoir Général.
s the time ticks to six o’clock on Tuesday, smokers on the edge of the canal trickle down an empty alley until they reach the bright flashing sign marking the entrance: a long neon pink arrow. Guests line up ahead of time before the large metal door. When it finally does swing open, a man greets them like as if Willy Wonka, inviting them into his mysterious chocolate factory. Le Comptoire Général may raise eyebrows in confusion. This part-restaurant, cinema and art gallery sits beside Paris’s Canal Saint Martin in
the 10th arrondissement. The menagerie’s style exemplifies ‘ghetto art,’ “the result of creativity that springs up in poor or marginalized places all over the world, especially Africa.” The ghetto art movement also attempts to make a strong definition out of an undefined place. It is a branch of expression that springs up from and flourishes even in places that seem abandoned or desolate. Le Comptoir Général’s building could be mistaken with a former embassy, presidential palace or even a grand hotel. Whatever it was, it is now the hot spot
for the bourgeois bohemian or the commonly called bobos. Bewilderment is common amongst those new to the interior surroundings. The artistic mission of Le Comptoir Général is to greet visitors with an irresolute atmosphere as soon as they enter the main hall: the dusty ceiling lights, the crumbling walls, the worn moldings and floors and a few wild plants claim the area, illuminated sparsely by scattered lamps. Ghetto artists splash their eerie work on the walls. Projectors flash looped images of multicultural faces tat-
tooed with funky digital effects: roses, hearts, or a parade of ethnic flags. An indescribable mood is what Le Comptoir Général does best. Its art director and house DJ, Étienne Tron, believes that the search to mimic the atmosphere pulls from “poorer cultures, lost causes, insufficiently loved minorities and the exploration of unidentified phenomena.” The rooms are named ‘The Little Museum of Françafrique,’ ‘The Witchcraft Cabinet,’ ‘The Rampant Garden,’ and ‘The Miraculous Playground’ – the latter resembling Gepetto’s toy workshop in Pinocchio. There is even a hair salon and a radio station on site. Young women in tie-dye leggings mingle with guys in motorcycle helmets; one couple pushes around a stroller, and tosses a second toddler on the hip, while an elderly couple in stiff wool coats snuggles at the bar. The mouth-watering aroma of tea and chicken curry is an olfactory delight in Le Comptoir Général and the music is an ethnic party mix. The bar serves a half pint of beer, mojitos, capirinhas, and strong, cinnamon-laced ti’ punch for around 3.50, and the weekend brunch menu includes all the pancakes, tea, coffee, and juice you can consume at 19 euros. Giant tassel lamps swing from the ceiling like hypnotic pendulums, and with the combination of hard liquor and the rapidly flashing colors from the projectors overhead you may wonder if you have left your body somewhere else, maybe out there on the canal. Secousse, the art group supporting Le Comptoir Général, asserts that “by enabling those who are the most lacking and most deserving, to be known, recognized and celebrated, while bringing as much cultural richness as possible to the citizens of so-called ‘developed’ countries, we are helping to create tomorrow’s world,” whether it be a world of ghetto art or any other form of expression in this peculiar complex on the canal, or anywhere else. After all, Le Comptoir Général, the Canal Saint Martin and ghetto art are one and the same: a creative abandon.
ABOVE Walls display the tattered ghetto artwork. BELOW Vines reaching up to the filtered sunlight.
I WANT TO PLAY WITH YOUR AVATAR T AY LO R E V A N S prowls cyber space for a pixelated partner. Huh? Well, sometimes it’s the only option and you always look fabulous
These two found love on website IMVU
ired and bored of the real people in your life? Maybe it’s time to have some cyberspace romance. Avatar dating is the hot new way to put virtual spice in your life. It has nothing to do with James Cameron’s blue people from the planet Pandora. An online avatar is a character you create to represent yourself - or some fantasy about yourself. To start avatar dating, first go on one of the designated avatar websites (see below), create an animation of yourself (not really you) and then enter virtual chat rooms to meet people from all over the world. You can choose your preferences – some sites are aimed at friendships, others at romance, so if you don’t find your Mr. or Ms. Big, maybe you’ll find a drinking buddy. Either way, most sites are free to register. Just fill out your name, email and ‘zazzle up’ an avatar for yourself. You can make it look just like you, but why not be creative? Choose the hairstyle, hair color, clothes, etc. Pick a name and start cyber flirting. On some of the avatar sites, like AvMatch, all of the female avatars
have big breasts, an impossible waistline and will constantly wear pin-up stilettos – that’s virtual reality for you. The eyes might be abnormally big to match your giant Lego-shaped physique. In any case, you can start up a conversation with a stranger and not be afraid to put yourself out there. There’s no way to lose face when nobody can see it!
Right now more than 50 million people are dating avatars The problem? It’s avatar dating. That says it all. You may begin to wonder if you’re being, dare I say it, a little pathetic? IMVU, one of the most successful avatar dating sites, equipped with themed chat rooms and huge wardrobes of clothes, has over 50 million online members and is expanding every
day. In 2010, IMVU partnered with the online dating website Zoosk, so you could actually be matched up and sent on a date with the real person behind your avatar suitor. Wouldn’t that be a surprise? Of course, there are downsides to virtual encounters. What if you meet the guy behind your hot avatar boyfriend and he’s not really that hot? And what if some creepy avatar keeps hitting on you in one of the chat rooms? Similar to any dating situation, you need to stay savvy. Don’t flirt back. Accounts are easy to shut down if things get shady, but try to establish a line between where your avatar ends and the real you begins. Is your avatar you? Or is it your perverted alter ego? The pertinent question here is why have so many men and women approached this imaginative method of dating? Maybe it’s just a fun recreational activity, maybe real boobs became boring, or maybe it’s a real-life solution for solitude. These avatars could potentially help some people find their soul mates, even if others find it to be a borderline psychological disorder.
T V Guide to Planet Marcus BY J OY C E K EOK H A M
euphoria was that up on the top left corner of the screen, it said “SFE.TV.” One day, a friend mentioned to me, “Did you know that SFE stands for Souvenirs from Earth?” With a name like that it only intrigued me more. Their website announced an original yet somehow self-explanatory mission statement: “We collect glimpses of everyday life, ‘souvenirs from earth,’ to be used in a darker future by a couple of people that escaped our planet before it collapsed.” Interesting, who had such a distinctive vision? I first saw SFE.tv founder Marcus Kreiss when he was standing outside his office window. When he noticed me, he stuck his arm out pointing straight at me. I responded by pointing
right back at him. No words were exchanged, but here stood a man who definitely had a lot to say. It turns out Souvenirs from Earth is a project born from an idea Kreiss had nurtured since 1995. Encompassing his beliefs as both an ex-political activist and current artist, Kreiss reveals his motivation behind the network: “I didn’t like the state of the world,” rightfully, he continues, “I don’t want to make art just to amuse really wealthy people, I wanted something to make people feel engaged.” In addition to his own incentives, Kreiss was also prompted by the reverie of other artists like Nam June Paik, who once said, “Television has been attacking us all our lives, now we can attack it
Iri s Brosch
Growing up I never had cable. Television was not something I ever bothered investing my time in, and I’m from California - home of big network studios, home of Hollywood. You can imagine my surprise when my greatest discovery in Paris was a television channel. This is the same city that projectile vomits its posters for major motion pictures three to six months after they have already been released in America. And here I am being shown something I’ve never seen before: an art network offering unique programs including radical short films, photo shows and even an occasional airing of haikus. The only thing the channel seemed to lack was any sense of censorship. Quickly, it became addictive. But all I knew about my new
Marcus Kreiss founder of Souvenirs From Earth
MUSIC FESTIVAL GUIDE SUMMER 2013 M AY
Marvellous Festival Island 7TH - 11TH France Electronic
Le Guess Who
18TH The Netherlands Indie
22ND - 26TH Spain Indie
back.” In 2006, Souvenirs from Earth went live, providing visuals for flat-screens. “We are in airports, we are in hotel lounges. We are replacing paintings where paintings were before,” said Kreiss. Ironically enough, it is Kreiss’s personal paintings that generated a sizable amount of the money invested into the channel’s early years. That was a cost he willingly took to protect his original vision of “an artist’s channel, followed by artists, ran by artists and curated by artists.” “Nobody tells us what to do,” Kreiss says just before he shares another anecdote, “In 2011, there was a James Turrell installation, ‘Pink Mist’, where a black box room was presented. At the end of the black box there was a pink space that looked like a pink rectangle, but it was completely immaterial, adjusted only by lighting.” So what did Kreiss do? He rented out the installation, recorded it as it were and aired this new footage on his channel for an entire 24 hours. That day, viewers correctly wrote off the color disorientation, thinking “Oh, that’s just SFE!” - perfect example of the mentality of both Souvenirs from Earth and its audience, who know quite well that expectations are for suckers. The only one of its kind - a station which broadcasts 24/7 art programs - SFE now receives submissions from artists all around the world. The station has come a long way from its initial start-up in 2006, when Kreiss would air his own films under twelve different aliases just to show other artists what his intentions were for the channel. Now, with over 1,500 contributing artists, I asked Marcus to share some of his favorites. From one of their main contributors, Jonatan Zimmerman, comes ‘Dystopiasuburbia’. Zimmerman takes satellite footage of Los Angeles and does the unthinkable - strips L.A. of all its pedestrians and even their notorious traffic. Another favorite is ‘Rabo Bank’ from Alicia Framis. Framis enters a high profile bank in Turkey on a business day and asks all the bankers to freeze in the midst of their action, creating static yet moving images at once. With offices in Paris, Dusseldorf, and Vienna, it’s no wonder SFE plans to open its next location in New York within the next year, bringing them one step closer to “getting people all over the world on the same vibration around a global fireplace,” Marcus said. For a seat around said fireplace, you can watch Souvenirs from Earth on its online live stream at SFE.tv or on the respective channels in France: Freebox-169, Orange-112, SFR-183.
Music On The Rise B Y O S C A R PA N T I N G
The three-member electropop band from Scotland is one of Glassnote Record’s newest additions. This record company is notorious for picking up small acts and amplifying them, quite literally. In the past, their acts have included Mumford and Suns, Phoenix and The Temper Trap. We’ll wait and see if Chvrches is next.
The hip-hop Brooklyn native just turned eighteen. Bada$$ continues to reject record deals. It’s not for a lack of recognition though, at one of his NYC concerts the president of Young Money Records was there for the soul purpose of hearing Joey Bada$$ spit his rhymes.
Another recent addition to Glassnote Records, DeLong’s electronic beat with an indie twist will “make you fucking dance.” If you would like to hear him live, check him out in Paris on May 6th at La Maroquinerie.
This four-man quartet from down under has a soulful sound that will surely stream through international venues in no time. And if you’re in Australia this summer, see if you can score a ticket to one of their shows.
Rock Am Ring
7TH - 9TH Germany Rock
14TH - 16TH Austria Metal
Peace & Love Festival 25TH -29TH Sweden Rock
Must See Foreign Films Battle Royale To The Wonder
Battle Royale, directed by Kinji Fukasaku, is an action/thriller based on a novel of the same name. The film tells a story of troubled youths sent to compete in a deadly game where they must kill each other in order to win a ticket back home. It brought so much controversy overseas that it was banned in several countries due to its very violent scenes and dark setting. Many find meaning in it as a satire of the modern education systems.
Terrence Malick is one director whose visual esthetic is based on beauty of simple things – light, shadow, grass, sea... His previous film, Tree of Life, was not understood by everyone, and neither is his new creation To The Wonder. Dialogues are few, replaced with extensive voiceovers, and emotions are expressed visually rather than verbally. For all the disappointments that this film seems to arouse in critics, it is worth watching if you treat it as a visual meditation.
. Travolti da un Insolito Destino Nine Queens Shot in a Buenos Aires, the film tells the story of a con artist trying to pay off his father’s debts. As new characters are introduced and the plot becomes more convoluted, it becomes unclear to the audience, as well as characters just who is conning whom.
Directed by Lina Wertmuller in 1974, this film is one of the corner stones of Italian Neo-Realist Cinema, which was the post-war way to describe everyday life. This film explores class warfare but was criticized for its portrayal of women’s subjugation to male dominance. A must-see if you are interested in European social structures.
J U LY
5TH -7TH France Rock and Dance
Festival Internacional de Benicassim
12TH - 14TH Portugal Rock and World
18TH - 21ST Spain Indie and Rock
Girard’s Indie Life
With action blockbusters, vampire trilogies and new-age special effects taking over Hollywood, we rarely pay attention to films that value the pure craft of cinematography and natural beauty. Film producer, Ilann Girard asks us to ignore the big budget franchises and take a look inside his indie world. For 20 years, Girard has been shaking up the Hollywood formula with films like March of the Penguins, Lebanon, Goodbye Bafana and Summer Games. His films hope to achieve a deep connection through emotions in order to cultivate an alternative perspective on the subject. As he says, “I must be emotionally connected to the story to produce it.” Girard describes the typical modern blockbusters as films that rarely challenge their audiences. They are just another form of escapism. “Show them a way to think outside the box,” Girard says loudly, “Does Spiderman open your mind?” Films can be more than just a medium of visual stimulation. They can create meaningful relationships between the characters and the audience, they can inspire, they can lead people to take action. And those films that are often left unnoticed by major audiences are the ones that hide treasures of cinematic beauty and meaning behind their small budgets. “Financially and emotionally it’s challenging but even if it’s just a few people touched it’s worth it, and I feel the reward,” says Girard. His films prove they are worth all the effort.
AU G U ST
6TH -10TH Norway Rock and Metal
15TH -17TH Belgium Rock and Hip-Hop
23RD -24TH England Electric and Dance
Cutting-Edge Beirut F R A N C E S C A C R E T E L L A slices into Lebanese plastic surgery
eople have long been drawn to Lebanon due to the countries beautiful people and picturesque cities, but in recent years the main attractions are nips, tucks and botox. While this craze boosts the countries economy, it also raises the standard of beauty to an unattainable level, even if it means surrendering to the knife. “Cosmetic surgery is so common here that people go to have coffee with bandages and face wrappings on in downtown Beirut,” says Dr. Elias Chammas, medical director and plastic surgeon at the Hazmieh International Medical Center. “Patients don’t care who sees them.” The message to change is everywhere. “Stay young and beautiful forever” is Beirut’s Cosmetic Surgery Clinic’s slogan. Haifa Wehbe, the Lebanese superstar, singer and sex symbol exemplifies the model many women are striving to achieve. Her small nose, fine features, large breasts and plump lips are plastered across fashion magazines and television screens. In Lebanon these cosmetic procedures are so common that natural noses are “facing extinction” according to Anne Renahan from the Daily Star. Cherine Fahd, an Australian
a large nose doesn’t conform to the standard of beauty that we see in magazines.” Sophia Chedid, an AUP student who was born and raised in Beirut explains, “Men are openly allowed to admire western “beauties” and pressure their women to mold themselves. The symptoms of the social problem have been revealing themselves in fine noses and bruised faces sipping coffee around the city, but believe me, it takes social surgeons to open the heart of this cultural disfiguration.” Long before the surgery craze, Lebanese women were famous for their exotic sex appeal, which leaves one wondering why they, of all people, need a change in appearance. One reason is that it’s an “ultimate status symbol.” Ahmed Zaatary, medical director at Hamoud Hospital in Sidon explains, “Not everyone can afford to undertake these cosmetic procedures, making it exclusive and desired.” Marie Anne Fehmi, a senior of Lebanese descent studying global communications at the American University of Paris, is not happy about the artificial beauty outbreak. She believes Lebanese women are trying to live up to their reputation - “the Sirens of the Middle East” and they believe the scalpel is the only
artist of Lebanese decent, fights to prevent this from happening. She creates plaster molds of untouched noses. Her goal is to “celebrate” the beauty of Lebanese culture, which is not artificial. She believes, “there’s a certain ideal of what constitutes a beautiful woman. Having
solution. What makes cosmetic surgery in Lebanon more appealing than any other country? It has skilled and affordable surgeons, plus luxurious accommodations for recovery. In addition, the prices are half of those in the United States. For example, rhinoplasty that costs
between $5,000 and $7,000 in the US, would only cost $2,000 in Lebanon. Not only is it less expensive, but you can have the operation on credit. Lebanon’s first national bank offers $5,000 in loans for the sole purpose of getting cosmetic surgery. Women are not the only ones who choose to do so. Men are increasingly becoming frequent clients. Dr. Elias Chammas says, “At the beginning we had very few men coming in; now they account for around 30 percent of surgeries.” Patients are flying in from all over the world
Natural noses are facing extinction in order to experience the cosmetic surgery haven. The Lebanon Now newspaper estimates that local physicians annually create some 1.5 million new noses, chins, butts and breasts from people all over the globe. Dr. Prem Jagyasi, renowned Lebanese author of Medical Tourism, says “The hotels and the airlines are beginning to combine with medical clinics,” Premm says, “They offer comprehensive medical tourism packages.” In 2009, Zeina El Hai opened a travel agency designed specifically for cosmetic surgery. The company organizes hotel accommodations and tourist excursions based around the surgery dates. During her company’s opening, Nada Sardouk, a tourism official said, “this idea is a widely recognized and appreciated concept, and we are very hopeful that this initiative will contribute to our economy." It certainly has. The company has increased by 50 percent since its first patient. AUP’s Marie Anne Fehmi believes that oneday cosmetic procedures will become so easy and common that “it will be as simple as shopping at a mall” but instead of leaving with a new wardrobe “you will leave with a new face.” The few natural women that remain such as Fehmi wonder if it has gone too far. According to Lebanon’s Daily Star “to comment on a woman’s beauty nowadays is, implicitly, to compliment the craft of her plastic surgeon…” People are forgetting the difference between natural and sculpted and many are no longer able to appreciate natural beauty. So, next time someone tells you they are spending their summer in Lebanon, keep an eye out for any transformations when they return.
Connecting the dots
K A RINA KL INDT WORT H
with model Elissa
The Choice When the doctor confirmed Amelia’s PREGNANCY, he congratulated her. He didn’t know that she and her partner had already decided to have an ABORT ION.
F RANC ESCO K . F ILO ME NO
BY LU C I E M O OR E
now has one daughter, and has worked as a till, Amelia thanked the doctor. It lawyer in Paris for ten years. In the course was true that becoming pregnant of pursuing her law degree and building her was something special and deserved career, Marion had two abortions. recognition – even if she wasn’t going to see it Though abortion had been legalized in through. France in 1975, Marion’s procedure was still Amelia is from the USA and is currently incredibly difficult. pursuing a communications degree at the “There was no support. People still did not American University of Paris. She became accept the decision, and it was not something pregnant in August, with her boyfriend whom to share. It took some of my friends 20 years to she had only been dating for a month. Having a admit that they had ever gotten an abortion,” baby was entirely out of the question. she said, “In France, I find that abortion still Abortion has been legal in the U.S., France bears a considerable stigma. There is a certain and most Western countries for several decades, coldness surrounding it, even though it’s but it’s still a very sensitive issue. The public something openly discussed on television.” arguments over it rage on. Women who’ve had When Amelia called, Marion told her that abortions go through an emotional rollercoaster most of the educated women she has known of guilt, shame and depression. In their heads have had at least two abortions, and gave it may be the smart choice, but their bodies Amelia her support and reassurance. often mourn. The last thing they want to do is The next call Amelia made was to her to talk about it, especially if it will make them a boyfriend. He lived in Toulouse. She knew political target. Amelia is a pseudonym, as are that he would support an abortion, as they had the other names in this article. discussed it before becoming sexually intimate. In the United States women have had the Still, she did not know to what extent he would right to abort since 1973. However, certain participate in the process. states have passed legislation restricting Amelia’s boyfriend made it clear to her when abortion rights. The governor of North Dakota recently signed a law that bans nearly all abortions within the state, while in Arkansas abortions are now legal only up to ten weeks after conception, as opposed to the standard twenty. These laws are ultimately subject to the decision of the Supreme Court, but they have only recently been enacted, and so far remain unchallenged. In a world where it is becoming increasingly difficult to carry a baby around on your hip and hold down a successful career, the choice to abort a pregnancy holds different implications than it did forty years ago. There is a greater she called that he would support either choice, urgency to pursue a competitive career. Women but more than anything, he said he was relieved are told they can have it all, but maybe not all to know why she had been feeling manic. at once. Being just a mother is certainly not It was summer, the two had been planning a good enough. trip to Spain, but instead Amelia found herself For a student like Amelia, seeking to pursue booking a train ticket to Toulouse. She and her her studies outside of the United States, having boyfriend agreed that his apartment would be a baby would have caused a dramatic upheaval more comfortable for her recovery than her to her life. She would have had to give up “tuna-can” Parisian apartment. living in Europe, and it would have made her Though her friends always supported her, she financially dependent on her parents. She knew she wouldn’t receive support from one would have lost control of her life. place in particular: her family. A fundamentalist Amelia was alone in her bedroom when she Christian family raised Amelia, and she had discovered she was pregnant. Though she had been anti-abortion growing up. Her stance only been a day late, her moods seemed out of changed in high school when she witnessed balance, and her breasts had become swollen. girls become mothers at far too young an age. This was enough to make her take the dreaded She knew that her parents would not accept her trip to the pharmacy to purchase a pregnancy decision or respect it, and may even disown her, test. so she decided never to tell them. “When the double lines appeared on the strip, When Amelia got off the train in Toulouse, I had every single emotion go through me – she saw her boyfriend waiting, she felt his from feeling scared to feeling something happy,” support, and that instant proved to her she said. that there was something enduring to their Amelia called her friend Marion, who had relationship. been through the experience before. Marion In France, abortions are legal up to 12
weeks after conception. Following a primary consultation, in which the pregnancy is confirmed through a blood test, doctors will then notify the woman if she can receive an abortion via surgery, or by taking two pills. French law requires all women considering abortion to undergo a weeklong period of reflection. During this time, they are given an appointment with a counselor to discuss contraception methods and have a psychological evaluation. For Amelia, the hardest part of the process was that one-week’s wait. “My body was changing and I wanted it to stop – and that was most painful both mentally and physically,” she said. Amelia ended up choosing the pill procedure. She had done a lot of research on both methods, and this knowledge helped to ease her mind. She had been worried that the doctors might be cold towards her, but the ones she found were non-judgmental and treated her with kindness. While the pill process is non-invasive, it is still an intense physical experience as the pills essentially induce a miscarriage. Afterwards,
supported her but she
knew her fundamentalist
Christian family wouldn’t
Amelia could sense her body mourning the loss of something it had been preparing to nurture. “I was forced to really take care of my mental state,” she said, “But I became a bit depressed and I felt a certain numbness. My mind began making up false reasons for why I got the abortion.” Amelia began feeling like she was not a good person because her situation could not have accommodated a baby. She felt as though she had failed as a woman. “But that was a lie. I hadn’t failed,” Amelia stated resolutely. “I had to come into real ownership of my life situation. Choosing something means you’re choosing to not do something else,” she said, “The abortion was a sad choice, but it was the best direction for me.” When the process was over, Amelia was relieved that she did not have to consider withdrawing from the university, and that her boyfriend was simply her boyfriend, not the father of her child. Amelia’s choice is one many women can relate to, and regardless of your political views, one that ultimately sets an example.
You’re Not on Your Own Counselors
Mathilde Toulemonde 06.13.91.46.12 27 avenue de Suffren, Paris 75007
Saint Louis 01.42.49.91.39 1 avenue Vellefaux, Paris 75010
Ariane Wilder 06.43.73.19.93 91 rue du Théâtre, Paris, 75015
Lariboisière 01.49.95.62.17 2 rue Ambroise Paré, Paris 75010
F RANC ESCO K . F ILO MENO
A Male Perspective
E L I ZA BE T H M ARS HA LL
CRAIG HILL explores the other half’s side of the story
bortion. I have no feelings when I hear this word. I think of space missions, escape pods and timelessness. Upon closer reflection however, and all the side thoughts that go with it, I begin to have very strong feelings, indeed, regarding the people who talk of abortion in any definite sense. There is a fundamental separation between the act and the mindblowing sense of entitlement that people have in judging it. This is not simply a truism, it is something to be remembered and acknowledged. In our culture it is common to have opinions regarding everything, from the
way others should dress to the manner in which a country should be run. While, perhaps, these opinions may shape the world we live in and affect others, let us just keep in mind that the reason they are able to have this effect is rooted in rejection and the fear that people have of being rejected. The root question of all this, while a life may always be a life, no matter where you draw the line in time after conception, another life is altered by the act of having a child. Many lives are altered. While we may not all be Benthamites, it seems clear to me that the guilt of
abortion must be contrasted with the gains of having one, in every situation. To take an absolute stance would be to ignore the intricacies of life itself and give up forming a better future. Life must be valued, but quality of life must be placed at the forefront of such questions. This society has been erected on millennia of trying to annihilate pain, chaotically, through moments of rejection of hurt and the causes of it. Having an abortion because you aspire to a job or a higher goal does not cease procreation and life, it structures it, economically and emotionally. Not having an abortion, likewise, structures life. While having a kid and not having the means or the emotional support to parent it does not discredit the love that you can provide, it teaches the child something different about the world than a parental sense of meaning that the child can observe. Let’s talk of rejection. Cultural abortion. Christianity, purity… all the values that have contributed to marking one form of life off as sacred while dismissing another. Social libertarianism may be a turn of phrase for this, but the more I think of it, the more I realize that this feeling runs deeper than what such a label may denote. Culture functions in concentric circles of value, carefully formed by material relations. You reject the beggar because it hurts to look at him. You are well off and can judge abortion because you are not pregnant. A man is terrified that his condom will break. Fuck buddies and pregnancy do not fulfill the same economic desires; the libido and the life plan do not coexist in harmony, but in constant opposition. Back to abortion, it may be the only humane option in some cases, where rejection is all the child is to meet with in this life. If we are to talk of god, let’s ignore the Christian sense of the word and think of the love that needs to be provided to propagate a stable future. To avoid feelings of rejection, and let every person determine their own meaning. This is a love that must be based on security and confidence. Love must come unconditionally, but perhaps, if unconditional, could expand to the right moment and the acceptance of it as such. The choice demanded is whether abortion is right or wrong. My simple answer stands as such – It is not your say, until you are pregnant. Or until someone you love is pregnant, if you are lucky enough to hold some form of positive sway, not rooted in your own fears and doubts. Then it’s up to you to determine what value system you want to believe in, until the day where such questions no longer need be asked.
SHANGHAI By Sven van Mourik
Shanghai, the pearl of China, has lured fortune hunters for centuries. Largely untouched by the financial crisis, she invites you in for a taste of decadent prosperity. Skyscrapers ‘Love at first sight’ will not be part of your affair with Shanghai. The city walks a fine line between pleasant liveliness and hectic bustle, which you can witness as soon as you step on the Maglev train from Pudong Airport to the city center. You barely have time to reflect on the industrial landscape of Shanghai’s suburbia because in no more than 7 minutes and 20 seconds, you have made the 30-kilometer trip to the world’s most populated city. This becomes even clearer when you switch to the metro, where a mass of commuters will politely sandwich you inside the train and guide you to your destination for the equivalent of twenty-five eurocents, regardless of the time of day. Once you get off and check your pockets for remnants of thieving activity, you are faced with Shanghai’s famed skyline. It is in the shadow of these giants that it hits you: you are a very long
way from Paris. The FX Hotel on Tong Bei Road, outside the city center, in the Hongkou district is highly recommended at fifteen euros a night for a very nice two-person room. Besides being easier on your wallet, staying slightly outside of Shanghai’s center has another advantage: once you’ve gotten over the initial shock of transitioning from Haussmann’s skyline to Pedersen’s, you may appreciate the quieter walks through an area that seems more like the traditional China, where people prefer noodles to Starbucks, and would rather play cards than dress up for a night out. Then, when you got a taste of Occupy’s 99 percent, you can catch a ferry across the river, take a long walk down a lovely boulevard, and wander through some small parks to stand before the skyscrapers of Shanghai’s telecom and financial giants, where the world’s 1 percent increasingly takes up residence.
The Dream of Communism The oddly striking thing about Shanghai is that you have to make an effort to remind yourself that the People’s Republic of China is still a Communist country. Underneath the veneer of architectural splendor, the Parisian-esque Louis Vuitton subculture, and the high-end fusion cuisines, there is still the belief in a strict economic equality and a loathing of the ‘evils of capitalism’. But does that still hold completely true? Although still pervasively communist (something that is increasingly evident in cities like Beijing and Xi’an), China shows a different side at the coast, where Chairman Xeng Daoping’s economic liberalization of the 1980s left a lasting impression on cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong. Located in the basement of the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower, the Shanghai Museum is one way to get a glimpse of the his-
tory of Shanghai, when it was still under a more oriental influence. Although a bit expensive at twenty euros, the ticket includes a visit up the tower where you can enjoy a splendid view of the city and the World Financial Center. Whether truly communist or not, Shanghai is popular with much of China’s youth, “if only for its lack of air pollution,” says 19-year old finance student Jay Jay from Beijing. His friend, Paihao, disagrees, “Shanghai hasn’t got as much culture – I wouldn’t want to live there.” Both agree, however, that even if it is not a great place to live, Shanghai is the hub of China’s economic development. Xin Ji Shi One of the best restaurants to get a plate of traditional Shanghais food that does not leave you dubious about the origins of the meat is Xin Ji Shi. Tucked away in a vibrant, slightly Western-style food court in the Luwan district, the warm and decidedly classy restaurant does not seem like much upon first glance. Until you get the food. Anything on the list should be worth your while, but unless you are a veggie aficionado, do not pass up on hongxao rou, Xin Ji Shi’s famed roast pork. A full meal here will be around fifteen euros per person. Outside of Luwan’s food court, Shanghai has some of the finest restaurants in China. Some centrally located restaurants are aimed at expats, but its suburbs also welcome hungry backpackers who are looking for street barbeque, or a bowl of noodles and a pint of Chinese beer. Not far from the food court is a gigantic department store just within the Jing’an district, where about a hundred salesmen will try to sell you the same “genuine” Dr Dre’s Beats and a myriad of other items. Sandy, who sells sunglasses on the top floor among some twenty similar shops, remarks that client service is everything to her: “Some ninety percent of the people who come here are tourists, and many actually recommend this place at home. Our reputation is very important to us.” Nightlife Located at the top floor of a shopping mall at the end of Nanjing road, right in the center of the city, the Bar Rouge is the perfect place to get a drink. Sitting on the terrace, you will enjoy a magnificent view over the Bund, the long historical street on the western bank of the Huangpu River, and beyond that, Shanghai’s skyline. Although quite pricy, with drinks starting at six euros for a beer, the Bar Rouge is an excellent place to meet fellow travelers or expats. The party scene can get lively later on
in the evening, but if you come early (the bar opens at 6 o’clock), it can also be exactly the kind of place you would take your father to for a beer and a good conversation. Besides catering to backpacking students, however, Shanghai’s nightlife also courts a different type of traveler. Walking down Nanjing road (Shanghai’s main shopping street) you may
patience and perseverance to navigate. Even for most Chinese from the mainland, Shanghai is more of a surreal dream than a financially attractive reality. Lisa, a tour guide from Xian, has almost no friends who have lived there or in Beijing: “Most people don’t have the time to travel, they work very hard,” she says,
Go by foot: Even maps festooned
with X marks the spot remain a riddle to Shanghai’s 100,000 cab drivers be asked with surprising regularity whether you would like company for the night – everything from suggestions to get a massage to a blunt “want sex?” Despite these potentially awkward encounters, no one should hesitate to explore the city at night, and no night out would be complete without a walk down the Bund. Here, the city seems smallest, its skyscrapers most impressive, and its rich history just a heartbeat away. Cab Drivers and Shanghai’s Paradox Travelling through the city is inevitably a challenge. While it is surprisingly easy to happily lose yourself exploring Shanghai on foot, you will no doubt find the idea of taking the metro or a cab very appealing by the end of the day. Although the metro is inexpensive and easy to use, it closes early at half past ten, and you will be left with the adventure of trying to hail a cab. While there are many of them and rides are cheap, at around three euros, in most cases neither English, broken Chinese, or even maps with x to your location. In the end, despite frustrated attempts to communicate, they will probably drive off halfway through your sentence, leaving you with no other choice but to walk home. Shanghai can still be a concrete jungle, one that requires
“Nor do they have the money to go. If I did, I’d rather go abroad than visit those cities.” Tong, a 21-year-old receptionist from the same city agrees with a happy smile: “I work very hard and sometimes sleep at work if I don’t have the time to go home to my family.” Tong’s story is a sharp reminder of the way the majority of China continues to live today. It is this gap between China and the West that Shanghai seems to want to bridge. It is a city where the world’s finest architects challenge the sky with their creations, and the people on its streets make a living by selling knock-off Beats and All-Stars. It is a city of Louis Vuitton and street barbeque, where capitalism and communism play a game that neither side completely understands, and where tourists walk back home under one of the most beautiful skylines of the Eastern world because an X marks the spot simply does not work.
Thumbs Out: Netherlands
C HAND L ER S PA D E
J OY C E K E O K H A M learns it’s all about the journey, not the destination
Joyce finishes spray painting words of encouragement for future travelers
iving in an international city like Paris, it seems as though I only ever meet people in passing. In the world’s most visited city, it’s no surprise that “Where are you going next?” is a question constantly asked, demanding the same countless repetition, like a lyric off a bad Rihanna song. From personal experience, I can say that oftentimes this is discussed even before learning the name of one’s converser. Here, everyone has the travel bug. But with such an abundant amount of destinations made accessible, it’s easy to forget that it’s not always about the destination but rather about the trip it takes to get there. To revive this great sense of adventure, I was fortunate enough to have met Donna Holscher and Hugo Selhorst in the cutty venues of Paris. They were two hitchhikers from the Netherlands. In a short conversation with Hugo, of no more than five minutes, I vowed to repeat their
journey in reverse. They handed me maps of the Netherlands. On them they wrote, "See you in Holland!" thinking it would probably never happen. Meanwhile, I was requesting the weekend off from work and the company of my friend Chandler Spaid. Seven days later, I printed out a few directions Donna had sent over and we took off. Around 9pm we separated ourselves from the skepticism that surrounds hitchhiking as a whole. Our friends may have believed that somewhere along the way we would be raped and killed, but that fear didn’t apply to us. We began an odyssey reveling with worldliness waiting to be exposed, witnessing the generosity of strangers and the immediate cause and effect of each trivial decision we made. On our way to our first stop, Chandler and I invited ourselves into an abandoned restaurant. We stayed in the dark lot until we heard
creepy sounds of subtle movement. Quickly, we maneuvered through the broken glass and the barricades, laughing and screaming at how promising this trip was about to be. As the adrenaline in our blood began to settle, we faced a fork in the road where we read our next line of direction: “Before the bridge you go right and walk, on your right hand are ugly flats and on your left is actually the highway.” Feeling like Dora the Explorer, we reached a door in the highway's concrete divider, which led us to our first gas station. Unable to observe any details further, we were already in our first car. Mustafa agreed to drive us one stop over to a gas station close to the Charles De Gaulle airport. Unfortunately, we were dropped off on the wrong side of the highway, with cars heading back to Paris. Like a madman, Chandler concluded, “Okay, we’re going to have to run
TRAVEL across. That’s it. That’s our only option. Ready?” It was late in the night, so incoming cars didn’t rank as much concern as the huge dip that separated both directions of the highway. In front of us was a miniature Jurassic Park. Trekking across would prove impossible. We had no choice but to simply ask for another ride. We approached Nawal as she was filling up her gas tank, thinking she was someone who definitely had her shit together. She drove a nice car, wore nice clothes and most importantly, she was nice. Nawal was on her way to pick her brother up from the airport. If we accompanied her, she would get us back on track. We waited at our third gas station for all but ten minutes before we gathered that no one was going our way, and if they were, we certainly wouldn’t be offered a ride. I made a sign that read “Lille” and we began to walk. Cars passed as Chandler spoke to himself about the possibility of frostbite. It was a little less than 30°F and windy as hell. We continued to walk the distance of two highway exits before coming across an overpass with a construction site. I suggested we play in it. “It’s not like we’re getting a ride anytime soon!” I warranted. Chandler ran over and climbed into what we now saw as our personal jungle gym. Because I wanted a full photograph of this, I was slower to follow. This left me on the side of the road, changing our situation to a single female standing in the midst of snow. I’ve never seen a car pull over with such haste. Karim took us to a gas station he knew to be frequented by the Dutch. Here, he hoped we would meet someone who could take us directly to our destination. Fortunately, for the sake of our adventure, he was wrong. After a few failed approaches, I noticed a cloudy car playing loud music. Eagerly, I looked to Chandler and said, “This one!” In a mild protest he said, “I don’t know, they seem kind of weird.” “I like the weird ones, no?” and off I went meeting Midi and Ashraff. They were on their way to Luxembourg for a weekend trip, and if we needed a ride back home, we could always call. But for now, we were having entertaining conversations about Obama, discussing their hate for Vegas and receiving invitations to amazing Arab parties in Paris we had apparently been missing out on, all the while singing along to old school songs like LL Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl.” I’m not sure if it was their taste in music or their commitment to our journey that made them my favorite ride, but they were. Midi and Ashraff ended up driving past their own destination, just to take us closer to ours. When it was finally time for us to part, they refused to leave us until they knew we had our next ride. In fact, they chose our next ride for us. It was a small four door car parked next to a gas meter. In the back, an oversized mattress was sprawled across the seat, its excess rolled up,
blocking off access to the car’s right window and door. With our previous drivers still waiting for our progress to be assured, we had no time to be hesitant. We waved goodbye to Midi and Ashraff, who left us with their parting advice, “Watch out for the weirdos!” realizing that by all typical standards, being the hitchhikers and the ones ballsy enough, we had now become the people everyone is told to watch out for. Now more than ever, I empathized with Nancy from the 1996 film ‘The Craft,’ when she answered to her driver, “We are the weirdos, mister.” Welcoming us into our new ride, Chandler was passed a beer and I was handed a joint. We were now in the company of Poisson, Big Lee and G-Master.The three were old childhood best friends, who live by the a “Get Free!” motto. All married now, they each belonged somewhere else; Big Lee in The Hague, G-Master in Amsterdam and Poisson in Belgium. Chandler and I were just lucky enough to crash one of their . They were driving across Europe in the middle of the night, heading to a city a little ways south of Utrecht. It was three in the morning and since we were now in a smaller town, our odds of finding a ride heading in the same direction became slim to none. G-Master said that there was a train station right by his house, and if we wanted, we could rest there until it opened. When we asked what they would be doing, G-Master said, “We’re going to paint through the night!” Unsure of whether or not we were just delivered a metaphor, we asked again, just to
painting his new three-story house in Nijmegen. When we were ready to go, they prepped us for our train ride. “When you get to the train station, don’t talk to nobody, don’t buy nothing, don’t do anything, just sit. If they ask you where you’re going, tell them you don’t know. If they ask where you’re from, tell them you don’t know. They can’t give you a ticket if you have no address.” We all hugged goodbye. The sincerity rang in Poisson’s voice when he applauded our open mindedness. We arrived in Utrecht just before 10a.m. with unexpected company. Our attempt to follow G-Master’s directions to remain as ‘mysterious’ as possible resulted in us being escorted off the train. In the end, it took us twelve hours to complete a four and half hour trip. But that’s not the point. By Hitchhiking, we have unexpectedly contributed to the plots of others lives, just as they have to ours.
clarify. “We’re going to paint my house,” G-Master said again. On cue, Chandler and I both offered to help. “We’re going to paint through the night as well!” The biggest smile spread across G-Master’s face. In disbelief, he asked, “Really?” In disbelief of his disbelief, I asked, “Yes, why would we rest when we could be helping?” We spent the hours between 3a.m.-6a.m.
MA RI A RYCHKOVA
Naked in Italy with a Ferret The story of what happens when PEACOCK EDITORS stay up too late Back in the cold of March, Peacock editors were hunkered down in the backseat of a Fiat, sipping frozen cappuccinos and discussing various ways to bring you a useful and intelligent summer travel story about fabulous Florence. Then an art history student asked us for a ride home. “Ah, Florence,” we heard him say. “Best place ever for dirty pictures” and we were immediately curious. Turns out that art and misogyny collide on the banks of the Arno River, where men painted, sculpted and frescoed women to look like mug shots in a 15 th century Italian police blotter.
For Renaissance artists in Italy, the female form was synonymous with carnal temptation – perhaps one reason why American University of Paris art history majors are never dull. So during a rare pit stop win speedmuseuming with Professor Chevalier, Peacock corralled a few of AUP’s budding art historians and asked them what we should be doing this summer in Florence. Turns out it’s best to forego the savory delights of Tuscan cuisine and just “say no” to the shopping opportunities offered along the Ponte Vecchio. Instead, just follow the steamy Peacock route as laid out by AUP’s art history majors. Remember: Studies first, eats after.
Artist: Leonardo Da Vinci Painting: Lady with an Ermine Hot Scale: Hotsy Totsy Scene: Renaissance lap dancer holds a symbol of purity
Artist: Titian Painting: The Venus of Urbino Hot Scale: Damn! Scene: Naked lady reclines on day bed after an Italian bikini wax.
Artist: Parmigianino Painting: The Madonna of the Long Neck Hot Scale: Tomboy Scene: Androgynous Mary holds a demonesque baby Jesus
Artist: Ghirlandaio Painting: Giovanna Degli Albizzi Hot Scale: Necrophilia Scene: This corpse was painted on its way to the morgue. Renaissance artists made the best undertakers.
Notes Home to Stockholm Letters by Jorge Franco IV and Carmen Martinez Album of the city we left behind by Sara Waller PICTURE POSTCARDS FROM SWEDEN Hello Stardust, I’m sitting at a cracked tabletop café, a sticky stain near the cup I’ve been sipping from makes the wood look nicer. Terribly tragic the news about the torrential downpour in Phoenix, but I’m not sorry I missed it. The Seine is near here and I hear a couple of kids got nearly naked or entirely naked and jumped in. My dry as a dipshit dad says Europeans are already dirty. I’m bringing fluttering frustration back into their lives and they’re rightfully raging all the time. But I’m here baby girl waiting for you. A très bientôt ma chérie, Schizo
Hotel Copetas Birger, 24 SE-113 49 Stockholm Sweden
8 May 1946 Darling Thomas,
I couldn’t help but think of you today.
I still think of you,
often, but not the relentless ache that stoked my breast all of last year.
I came upon your mother’s photographs, tucked up in a navy blue
and white striped hatbox at the top of the closet.
I miss you, sitting here, in a different way then before
after looking at those snapshots.
I wonder about the mannequins and
I remember how we snuck into the factory, pushing through the metal door in the late hours of the evening, how we hatched our plans, tipsy on Champagne and Chambord from the café.
She would not have approved, your mother.
I always thought she
never approved of me, you, her dearest love, you did not care, or so it seemed.
You did give a good God damn though, I think now, and despite
having her coat—did you know that, she gave me that silly coat—I never did have you completely.
She was the queen of your domain.
I remember how I thought I was so subversive, picking up
her coat off the wrought iron bed, the leopard spots stark against my white shoulders, softly reeking of her perfume and Dunhill cigarettes, and how you took me on the floor of the bedroom.
And now, all I have left is this damn smoky coat, a few
photographs of dressmaker’s dummies, and ashen memories.
Oh, and pity, your mothers’ pity.
I know how bitter I sound,
as bitter as the cold coffee I am drinking right now at 2 a.m. sitting in this coat wishing you were here, writing a letter to a dead man, wondering where the mannequins went and why I have nothing left of you but the steel grey sky and a ratty leopard hand me down coat.
If only I could find the factory again, the mannequins to dance
with, the café, the canal, if only I had you again I would stop seeking you through your mother’s approval. Still, irretrievably yours, Claire
Don’t tell your mother
Climactic Landmarks J A R R A H B U R N S checks into five prominent places to have monumental sex in the city of love
ON THE FERRIS WHEEL
A nice way of turning this slow and boring (AKA “romantic”) experience into a super fun activity! If you’re a couple of intrepid adventurers, this one is a nice challenge. Things to remember: 1. When your cabin is rocking in all directions, it is important to make sure you and your partner are maintaining balance. Nobody wants to fall out and crash to the ground with their pants around their ankles. 2. You have a strict time limit. Calculate your abilities and make sure you can run through your full repertoire before your cabin reaches the bottom. A trial run is advised.
ON THE METRO
After all, it is possibly the most private place in Paris. The peakhour zombies will keep their heads down and stay in their little public transport bubbles. Not a single eye will be batted. Plus,
ON THE ARC DE TRIUMPH
ON JIM MORRISON
What could be more romantic than enjoying a magnificent view from the top of the Arc de Triomphe... whilst gettin’ down? We recommend a certain position most commonly seen on the Discovery Channel so that you can both enjoy the view. In case you’re worried about your safety (i.e. need something to hang on to), all tourist sights are equipped with railings. Handy.
Nothing like having sex with a rock star, right? And if Anthony Keidis isn’t in town one week, why not at least get down on the grave of Jim Morrison? He would have done it on yours. Jump the fence for a roll in the hay (concrete, actually) in the Pere-Lachaise cemetery. Some ON A ROW BOAT thoughtful fan has likely left For a private daytime sexual escapade, Paris offers a wide a post-coital cigarette as an selection of parks with row boats, such as the Bois de Boulogne offering. and Bois de Vincennes. Jump in one and pretend you’re in “The Notebook” (romantic!). Look for a quiet little part of the lake, maybe in some reeds, and get bizzay. Make sure you both know how to swim though, just in case...