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).
Above the Personal Hurdle, Hoping for a Professional Dream
Fire Chat with Kemi Osukoya, Editor-in-Chief of Africa Bazaar Magazine
Member of the American Delegation to the 2019 Women in Africa Summit
There’s an emotional association when you become in tune with your passion. A feeling of elation and many times emancipated when choosing to follow your dreams come full circle. Kemi Osukoya, the founder of US-based magazine and online media Africa Bazaar, and a former business staff writer at the Wall Street Journal illustrates her evolution as a journalist, stigmas of being an African-American woman, all the while finding solace through a complicated relationship and the turbulence of motherhood.
In African culture, you are to pursue the profession your elders want and for Osukoya, a Nigerian-American, being a journalist was a secret narrative she locked away. Through personal evolution, she overcame adversities meandering her way through a media-driven industry which questioned her merit, abilities, and cultural differences.
A Requiem for a Car
Fire chat with Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero, special guest of Art Paris 2019
A group of bicycles is carrying on their “shoulders a dead body made-of-steel,” moving a car through the large avenues and narrow streets of Paris to its final resting place right in front of Le Grand Palais, next to the Champs Elysées. “A Requiem for a Car,” a Jaguar to be exact, is a symbol of speed, power and wealth. This invitation to slow down a humanity obsessed with haste, consumerism, and individualism is Mexican artist Betsabeé Romero art installation to celebrate the 2019 edition of Art Paris. Romero, whose art has been exhibited throughout the world and is now part of the permanent collections in North and South American as well as European museums, plays here with some of her favorite themes: automobiles and globalization.
A spanish version of this interview with Bétsabée Romero was published online by First Class Life