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Artist’s Notebook: Bastille Day





July 11, 2010, Bastille Day in Los Angeles
“Bastille Day” by Marion Eisenmann

Marion Eisenmann called Sunday and suggested we visit a Bastille Day celebration in Elysian Park. I practiced my rusty high school French on the way there with Marion quizzing me “How would you say ‘I’m hungry?’ ” (My teacher, Madame Royce, would be so pleased that I remembered).

Instead of Paris’ Champs Elysees, the Los Angeles festival, presented by Passion Productions, was held in Elysian Park, at a quite pleasant, grassy area near Stadium Way and Scott Avenue around the bend from Dodger Stadium. 

And yes, speaking of “I’m hungry,” there were pastries and other delicacies at a variety of booths and of course, some folks were watching the World Cup on TV. But most people were listening to the music and sitting at tables or lounging on the grass.  And in Los Angeles, a Bastille Day celebration included dancing by the Polynesian dance group Fetia Rangi from Orange County because it’s French Polynesia.

Marion says:


It was a great occasion to be surrounded by a European clique, with food and music from France, a country not far from where I originate. The illustration captures a peaceful and French ambience, of “picnicking” people, combined with a distinct view from Elysian Park overlooking parts of downtown. Very contrary to the busy and crowded celebration along the Champs-Elysees in Paris.


Note: In case you just tuned in, Marion Eisenmann and I are visiting spots around Los Angeles in a modern version of what Joe Seewerker and Charles Owens did in the 1930s with The Times’ Nuestro Pueblo feature. 

Anyone who’s interested in Marion’s artwork should contact her directly.

 
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Comments (3)

Back in the Nifty 1950s, I used to always try to spend part of Bastille Day at the Cafe De Paris on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. It was a great restaurant, but not that expensive, and lots of fun. There would be 20 or more folks gyrating on a dance floor about the size of a postage stamp, but everyone had a ball. Ces't la vie.

Well? How do you say "I'm hungry" in French? People want to know...

I love French and the French people (as well as their toast, fries and kisses), but why do they celebrate the 1789 revolution? It was a bloodbath that ended in dictatorship and murder and really unflattering Empire-waisted dresses!


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