Letter to Angella Nazarian
On the eve of Visionary Women Summit 2021 – https://www.visionarywomen.com
(Quotes below, unless in italics, are invented, and the attribution to people is purely fictional)
Do you remember the cobblestone streets of Coyoacán in Mexico City, a far cry from the busy double deck jammed highways that drive across the megalopolis? I am sure you remember the first time you pushed the double green doors of the Blue House—Casa Azul, the home of Frida Kahlo. I do, and I have returned there so often.
Forget for a moment Joe Biden’s victory as President-elect and Donald Trump’s struggles with defeat, one of the main news from the 2020 American Presidential election is Senator Kamala Harris. For the first time in history, a woman—a Black, Asian woman—will become the first female Vice President of the United States. Harris will also rank first in line to succeed Joe Biden as President.
Besides the election of Kamala Harris, women seem to have taken center political stage whether it is in the United States or on the opposite side of the world.
Women actually played a key role in the 2020 American elections a mere 100 years after the 19th amendment of the American Constitution granting women’s suffrage was passed. Fast forward to 2020, 57% of women—and among them 90% of Black women—chose the Democratic candidate over the incumbent President, according to NBC News. Women also voted more than men (52%). In other words, they decided the Presidential outcome and chose Joe Biden although Donald Trump increased his base of white women voters.
Ahead of the Presidential election, another woman, Justice Amy Coney Barrett also made history and became the only the fifth woman to sit on the United States Supreme Court in 230 years. A woman Justice has replaced another one. While it surely seems to be a positive step for women’s empowerment and gender equality, succession might not be as simple as just having a woman leader succeeding another one. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the American champion of women’s rights; based on the 48-year old Justice Barrett’s past judicial positions show, the new Justice is not.
At Your Home, Without Me: Ramatuelle, Jacqueline Franjou’s Essential Festival
Tonight, August 1st, 2020–and until August 10th. If you are in Ramatuelle, a little village above the Mediterranean Sea near Saint Tropez in the South of France, you might be among the luckiest people. While almost all summer cultural events have been canceled in France, Jacqueline Franjou is opening the 2020 Festival of Ramatuelle, a series of plays, stand-up comedies, and concerts under the stars and the songs of crickets. A must attend annual event, a rarity this year.
This summery feast has been scheduled every August since 1985. But with movies, theaters, operas and museums still closed in most places around the world because of containment and a very much still present covid19 pandemic, the mere possibility to see comedians and musicians on a stage has become an extraordinary experience. This year’s Festival is an act of audacity and resistance, against all odds, a small, yet safe step to keep us on the pace of being humans, together.
I was fortunate to attend last summer and I remember fondly the performance of French actor Gérard Depardieu (Golden Globe 1991 for Peter Weir’s movie Green Card) sing Barbara’s most iconic songs in a soft and elusive voice.
I cannot go this summer but will have a special thought for Franjou, the co-founder and President of this Festival, a woman I was lucky enough to work with for a few years and who has never been afraid to be disruptive to keep all of us thinking beyond the obvious. We need this festival, we need culture to fill our hopes and dreams, we need words and scores and stories to pave our immediate future.
Next is the translation from a French interview I did with Franjou while I was still confined in New York and she was already planning this week’s performances (published in Le Petit Journal).
THREE AMAZING WOMEN | PART 1 | PEPITA SERRANO | PATRON OF THE ARTS
I would like the first three posts of this blog to focus on the recent Amazing Women Jennifer Milliken and I selected for the 2017 Women’s Forum Mexico. They had one concept in common: being relentless.
Pepita Serrano is one of these women. Pepita Serrano is the founder of SIVAM (International Society of Mexican Art and Values), a foundation dedicated to culture and the arts in Mexico and one of the most well-known women in Mexico City.