WBEZ | Paris http://www.wbez.org/tags/paris Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A conversation from Paris with Oscar Wilde and Moliere http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-05/conversation-paris-oscar-wilde-and-moliere-84781 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-05/IMG_1884.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-05/IMG_1883.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 450px; " title=""></p><p>Some readers and WBEZ listeners may know that I teach theater part-time at the University of Illinois at Chicago, which is why I was in Paris two weeks ago. No, UIC didn’t send me (couldn’t afford to, as the State of Illinois owes the university system about $450 million), but it was Spring Break and so I sent myself. Hey, WBEZ pays me the big bucks so why not spend ‘em?</p><p>Naturally, in Paris I found myself standing before the <a href="http://www.comedie-francaise.fr/">Comedie-Francaise</a>, the famous theater company that’s only 350 years old. It’s often called the “Maison de Moliere” since the troupe is a direct descendent of Moliere’s royally-sponsored theater company of the 1660’s. Boldly, I asked the press office if they could arrange for me to interview Moliere and they were happy to oblige.<br> <br> A time was set for what proved to be a sunny and pleasant day and I arrived at the appointed hour. I regret to report that Moliere was not very forthcoming. I really only had one question for him: what are you working on now? He refused to reply, but there was eloquence nonetheless in his cold and stony silence. Well, you know Parisians are infamous for their “hauteur,” for their aloof arrogance. Moliere may be a regular pantaloon on stage, but in person he’s Parisian through-and-through.<br> <br> I still had time to kill and a press deadline to meet, so I thought I might try my luck with a famous Anglo-Irish expatriate playwright whom I heard was in Paris. To my relief, Oscar Wilde was far more forthcoming. When I asked Oscar what he was working on, he said “I really don’t know, but I hear whispers all around me.”<br> <br> “Well, Mr. Wilde,” I replied, “the only thing worse than being talked about is NOT being talked about.”<br> <br> “Ah, yes,” he said. “That sounds familiar.”<br> <br> “Do the whispers say anything in particular?” I asked.<br> <br> “They are a bit muddled,” he allowed. “I hear many voices talking at once, but they seem to be urging me to write about ‘the love that dare not speak its name.’ Alas, perhaps it IS time to do so.”<br> <br> “Rather past time,” I said. “Then again, Noel Coward never did address the subject directly, and neither did Tennessee Williams until very late in his career.”<br> <br> “Noel who?” Oscar said. “And Tennessee? Isn ‘t that part of the American frontier?”<br> <br> Oscar and even Moliere allowed me to have my picture taken with them. And then I was off to call on Edith Piaf and Marcel Marceau.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-05/Oscar%20and%20Me%2C%20Paris%2C%20March%202011.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 450px; " title=""></p></p> Tue, 05 Apr 2011 20:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-05/conversation-paris-oscar-wilde-and-moliere-84781 Louisa Chu's accidental stardom http://www.wbez.org/story/anthony-bourdain/louisa-chus-accidental-stardom <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/louisa-chu-photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Before she was the host of jet setting TV shows like Gourmet&rsquo;s<a href="http://www.gourmet.com/diaryofafoodie" _mce_href="http://www.gourmet.com/diaryofafoodie" target="_blank"> Diary of a Foodie</a>, <a href="http://www.movable-feast.com/" _mce_href="http://www.movable-feast.com/" target="_blank">Louisa Chu</a> was a recent graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, staging at some of the world's best restaurants, like <a href="http://www.alinea-restaurant.com/" _mce_href="http://www.alinea-restaurant.com/" target="_blank">Alinea</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Bulli" _mce_href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Bulli" target="_blank">El Bulli</a>. One day she received a call asking for help scouting locations for a new show hosted by Anthony Bourdain, by then well known for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Confidential-Adventures-Culinary-Underbelly/dp/0060934913" _mce_href="http://www.amazon.com/Kitchen-Confidential-Adventures-Culinary-Underbelly/dp/0060934913" target="_blank">his behind the scenes look at the not-so-nice world of professional cooking</a>.&nbsp; Chu remarked that &ldquo;this is the kind of opportunity you pay for!&rdquo; and agreed to be a location scout for the very first episode of <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Anthony_Bourdain" _mce_href="http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Anthony_Bourdain" target="_blank">No Reservations</a>, set in Paris.</p> <p>Chu endeavored to show Bourdain and his crew her version of Paris, starting with the famous meat hall at Rungis Market, but did not sign up to be on camera. That all changed when her informant/butcher canceled last minute, thrusting Chu into the limelight and launching her food-centric reality TV career. She told the story at a talk sponsored by the <a href="http://www.culinaryhistorians.org/" _mce_href="http://www.culinaryhistorians.org/" target="_blank">Culinary Historians of Chicago</a>, which you can hear in the audio excerpt posted above.</p><p>If you want to see the segment Chu recorded with Bourdain for <em>No Reservations</em>, there are some bootlegged clips on YouTube.&nbsp; The segment at Rungis Market <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b62RExoOGII&amp;feature=related" _mce_href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b62RExoOGII&amp;feature=related" target="_blank">starts around 6:25</a>, Louisa comes on around 8 min in. It continues <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-H3-YIYSZo&amp;feature=related" _mce_href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-H3-YIYSZo&amp;feature=related" target="_blank">here</a>.</p><p><em>Dynamic Range</em> showcases hidden gems unearthed from <em>Chicago Amplified</em>&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Click <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=20753&amp;gsatype=amplified" _mce_href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=20753&amp;gsatype=amplified" target="_blank">here</a> to hear Chu&rsquo;s full talk, recorded by <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Program_AMP_Archive.aspx" _mce_href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Program_AMP_Archive.aspx" target="_blank">Chicago Amplified</a>, and click <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wbez/id364380278">here</a> to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast.</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/anthony-bourdain/louisa-chus-accidental-stardom Parisian mecca of bookshops survives in era of Amazon http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/parisian-mecca-bookshops-survives-era-amazon <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/fullstore.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Over the past decade I&rsquo;ve watched the iconic cultural places in our city disappear one by one. Places like Maxwell Street and Halsted, the birthplace of Chicago jazz and blues and a hangout for writers like Nelson Algren, destroyed and rebuilt with a glossy soulless exterior.</p><div>I just assumed it was the same story everywhere. That&rsquo;s when I found out <a href="http://www.shakespeareandcompany.com/" target="_blank">Shakespeare &amp; Company Bookshop</a> was still open for business. I&rsquo;d first heard about the shop when I began reading Earnest Hemingway&rsquo;s work. When I got into Kerouac, there it was again. Many of the Beats hung out there and slept amongst the bookshelves.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>These were the two generations more than any other in American literature that made me want to be a writer, so I decided to drop in during my trip to Paris this past summer.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Shakespeare &amp; Company sits in a small stone courtyard just across the Seine from the Notre Dame Cathedral.</div> <div>A sign scribbled in chalk near the entrance reads, &quot;Some People call me the Don Quixote of the French Quarter because my head is so far up in the clouds that I can imagine all of us Angels in Paradise.&quot;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>It finishes with the line, &ldquo;I have been doing this for fifty years, now it is my daughter&rsquo;s turn.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The message is dated January 2004. That&rsquo;s when George Whitman handed over his beloved bookshop to his then-24-year-old daughter Sylvia.&nbsp;His daughter is named after the shop&rsquo;s original owner, an American expatriate named Sylvia Beach who first opened Shakespeare &amp; Company&rsquo;s doors in the early 20th century.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Upon entering the bookshop, I didn&rsquo;t have to look far to find Sylvia Whitman, perched at her desk just inside the shop&rsquo;s left-side entrance where the antique books are sold. Sylvia is a fair-skinned, bright-eyed, 29-year-old businesswoman. She grew up in the apartment above the shop, where authors like Lawrence Durrrell regularly visited.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;Running around without shoes on, hiding in corners and being read stories upon stories upon stories.&nbsp;It was a fairy tale childhood,&rdquo; Whitman said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>While many independent bookstores have closed their doors because of declining sales, Sylvia has maintained Shakespeare &amp; Company&rsquo;s loyal customer base and its legacy.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve tried to keep the atmosphere and the philosophy that Dad created, so we still have writers sleeping in the bookshop,&rdquo; she said.<br />&nbsp;</div> <div>Those writers, nicknamed &ldquo;Tumbleweeds,&rdquo; function as Shakespeare &amp; Company writers-in-residence. Typically, they&rsquo;re young, aspiring authors from the United States or the U.K. permitted to write and sleep amongst the dusty shelves by night in exchange for some daytime labor. I use &ldquo;labor&rdquo; in the relative sense.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I encountered a Tumbleweed, a young man with long, curly dark hair tapping on a piano upstairs in the lending library. Two others sitting at his sides listened with rapt attention.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While Tumbleweeds heighten the shop&rsquo;s Bohemian ambience, what really struck me were the books. Walking the narrow halls you can&rsquo;t escape the scent of the maple glue bindings emanating from the walls of bookshelves stacked from floor to ceiling with early-edition books. Seeing these artifacts gave me chills, knowing they&rsquo;d been thumbed through by some of the greatest authors of the 20th century.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>I passed a small hovel built into the wall with a chair and an old-fashioned typewriter sitting atop a desk, inviting anyone inspired to clack out a poem or a few lines of prose. Browsing the shelves, I came across a dusty, early-edition copy of &ldquo;Studs Lonigan&rdquo; by Chicago author James T. Ferrell, a book that inspired me to write about Edgewater, my old neighborhood.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>That day, I found another Windy City connection, University of Chicago graduate Lauren Goldberg. After a stint as a volunteer at Shakespeare &amp; Company, she now holds a coveted part-time position.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;I help Sylvia a lot with the random errands,&rdquo; said Goldberg. &nbsp;&ldquo;There are bookshop things, then there&rsquo;s like every other possible random errand.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Lauren put in some time at <a href="http://www.barbarasbookstore.com/" target="_blank">Barbara&rsquo;s Bookstore</a> in Hyde Park but says her experience here is unique.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Every once in a while we really have an author that really just connects with everyone in the shop, and you kind of feel this different electricity in the air,&quot;&nbsp;she said. &quot;Everyone is really happy.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>I first felt that breed of literary electricity many years ago near Diversey and Halsted at the Burkhart Underground in the smoky, low-lit basement of Burkhart Studios. It was the home of Fred Burkhart, a Beat photographer, painter, poet and writer, who opened his studios to Chicago musicians, writers and artists. For decades, Burkhart created a space for artistic expression. His Underground helped me become the writer and storyteller I am today.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Unfortunately, places like that are harder and harder to come by, not just in Chicago, but in many parts of the world. Even Shakespeare &amp; Company has had to make some concessions to modernity. Sylvia Whitman&rsquo;s father George held a firm position against technology. For years, he didn&rsquo;t even have a phone. When Sylvia took over, she made some changes.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I brought in a computer system and kind of generally modernized the bookshop,&quot; she said. &quot;I felt like we didn&rsquo;t really have a choice. We really needed to deal with the competition.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Customers eventually adjusted, but like the rest of the publishing industry, Shakespeare &amp; Company still faces an uncertain future. Last winter, sales were slow. In order to survive in a bad economy and changing media landscape, Sylvia is planning to broaden the scope of the shop to encompass other art forms.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a lot of artistic energy, and we just want to open up to that even more,&rdquo; Whitman said. &ldquo;We want to have events, exhibitions, maybe a little cinema down in the cellar. We have lots of crazy, exciting ideas.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The typewriter in the second floor hovel is still clacking. The piano in the side room is still moaning its melody. And a woman named Sylvia is opening the doors of the shop each morning to bustling crowds of book lovers and closing them in the evening to keep young writers warm against the chill wafting up off the Seine in the Parisian night. These Tumbleweeds, snuggled in amongst the same bookshelves as Hemingway and Stein, Burroughs and Miller, dreaming new dreams for the future.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Leaving the shop, I found myself heartened to know the Shakespeare &amp; Company bookshop continues to be a beacon for the literary spirit.</div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>I wish I could say the same for Chicago&rsquo;s Burkhart Studios, the creative space that was so important to my growth as a writer. Owner Fred Burkhart has fallen sick with cancer. The building is being sold. The studio&rsquo;s absence is more than a personal loss; it&rsquo;s a blow to our city&rsquo;s literary and cultural heritage, another missing piece of the soul of our city.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Bill Hillmann is a Chicago writer and storyteller. He&rsquo;ll be returning to Shakespeare &amp; Company this summer as a Tumbleweed, writer-in-residence.</em></div> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 29 Dec 2010 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/parisian-mecca-bookshops-survives-era-amazon Au revoir farm-raised salmon, bon jour sardines http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/au-revoir-farm-raised-salmon-bon-jour-sardines <p><div style="margin-right: 15px; float: left; text-align: center;"><img height="284" width="380" class="size-full wp-image-13546" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//IMG_2862.jpg" alt="Coquille St. Jacques from a public market" /><p><em>Coquille St. Jacques from a public market (photo by Steve Dolinsky)</em></p></div><p><strong>PARIS, FRANCE</strong> </p><p>One of the things you'll notice on local menus lately -- along with the words &quot;local&quot; and &quot;organic&quot; - is &quot;sustainable.&quot; It can be used to reference produce, but also seafood. Just a few weeks ago, I noticed the menu at Prasino, in La Grange, makes special mention of their &quot;sustainably raised&quot; seafood. What the hell does that mean? </p><p>I'm in Paris to find out. More precisely, I'm attending the annual <a href="http://www.seafoodchoices.com/seafoodsummit.php/" target="_blank">Seafood Summit</a> here, a three-day seafood geek-fest that brings together the world's leading authorities from the seafood industry and the conservation community, and then attempts to bridge the gap between the latest science and the reality of the marketplace. It's a Trekkie convention for seafood junkies. The kind of place wigged-out fans would beg <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/p/david_pasternack/index.html" target="_blank">David Pasternack</a> for an autograph. </p><p><!--break-->One of the hottest topics here has been about Target, which&sbquo;&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jan/27/business/la-fi-salmon27-2010jan27" target="_blank">announced last week</a> it was&sbquo;&nbsp;discontinuing the&sbquo;&nbsp;sale of farm-raised salmon at all of its stores, citing environmental concerns. According to the World Wildlife Fund's Jill Schwartz, &quot;stay away from salmon that's been farmed in Chile. They are less environmentally-friendly than say, Norway.&quot; The problems have stemmed from what the industry calls &quot;net pen farming,&quot; whereby a giant net sits in open ocean water, just off of the coast. &sbquo;&nbsp;The feed that gets tossed into the pens - stocked with salmon or tilapia - often contains chemicals (traditionally, it's fish feed or fish oil). The waste from the animals is then concentrated on the ocean floor, affecting plant life, not to mention other wild species swimming around the nets. </p><p>&quot;There's no question that salmon is the poster boy for an industry that's having some issues now,&quot; said Peter Bridson, the Aquaculture Research Manager at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The Food and Agriculture Organization at the U.N. now says half of the seafood we eat comes from farms, so there's a lot of talk here about sustainability as well as third-party certification. The WWF's Schwartz says her organization is leading a discussion of some 2,000 industry experts - many of whom are here in Paris - and hopes to have an industry-approved seal for farm-raised fish that meets certain sustainable criteria, called the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, or ASC, by mid-2011. That seal would parallel the existing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) seal that currently exists to certify wild-caught fish.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="576" width="432" class="size-full wp-image-13547" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//IMG_2861.jpg" alt="fish market in Paris" /><br /><em>fish market in Paris (photo by Steve Dolinsky)</em></p><p style="text-align: left;">As I've been gathering, &quot;sustainability&quot; has several meanings, and, like our sometimes haphazard definition of what is truly &quot;organic,&quot; the term can mean different things if you ask a social anthropologist who researches small-scale fisheries in Spain, versus a research director from Norway. </p><p>&quot;The North Sea is somewhat in trouble, and the stock is decreasing,&quot; said Dr. Reidar Toresen, the Research Director at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Norway. &quot;In the 1960s, nylon nets contributed to the collapse of the herring population. It was almost wiped out. But the fisherman learned a lesson. They started doing proper assessments; managers learned to establish criteria to help bring the population back.&quot; </p><p>Today, those Norwegian fishermen are running a sustainable fishery -- harvesting cod, haddock and Norwegian Spring-spawning herring -- by implementing a number of controls:</p><ul> <li>they have a harvest control rule</li> <li>there is an analytical assessment in place</li> <li>there is a minimum size to the fish they catch</li> <li>they manage the mortality rate of the fish they catch</li> </ul><p>Toreson says there are three primary ways governments can work toward sustainable fisheries (like the one in the Northeast Atlantic):</p><ul> <li>have a knowledge of the ecosystem and its resources</li> <li>put a management system in place, including enforcement and control</li> <li>be sure politicians have the ability and the will to manage the fisheries</li> </ul><p>Sustainability isn't just about managing the catch. It's also about providing a safe environment for well-trained employees, limiting energy usage and reducing emissions, as well as being equipped to be able to track the fish from the water to the plate. </p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="576" width="432" class="size-full wp-image-13548" src="/sites/default/files/archives/blogs//IMG_2860.jpg" alt="sardines = good to eat" /> <br /><em>sardines = good to eat (photo by Steve Dolinsky)</em></p><p>One of the most obvious questions is how do you know what's o.k. to eat? A couple of years ago, we heard that Chilean Sea Bass (aka Patagonian Toothfish) was off limits, thanks to a &quot;take a pass on sea bass&quot; campaign. More recently, bluefin tuna has been on the Do Not Eat list. High demand by sushi fans have severely-depleted the supply. Greenpeace's Paul Johnston says there are a couple of reliable sources, if you're really interested in ordering fish from sustainable sources that are <em>not</em> on any watch lists, there are a few organizations that now routinely research and update their recommendations, based on reports of fisheries around the globe: </p><p><a href="http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx" target="_blank">The Monterey Bay Aquarium</a> </p><p><a href="http://www.msc.org/cook-eat-enjoy/fish-to-eat" target="_blank">The Marine Stewardship Council</a> </p><p><a href="http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/get-tested-for-mercury-contami/fish-consumption-advisories" target="_blank">Greenpeace</a> </p><p>On Thursday, my weekly podcast will talk about the issue of sustainability, especially as it applies to Chicago restaurants and markets. There are a couple of representatives here from the Shedd Aquarium, so I'm hoping to track them down to get their take on it.</p></p> Mon, 01 Feb 2010 06:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/steve-dolinsky/au-revoir-farm-raised-salmon-bon-jour-sardines