Thursday, December 29, 2011

Huré: Createur de Plaisir

One of the most common pleasures in life is Pastry, particularly the world famous, mouth-watering French Pâtisserie

Instead of talking about the popular ones that everybody knows, I am going to introduce you to one that is not that famous but almost equally good. I'm talking about Huré, which is a  pâtisserie previously owned by Jean-Paul Mathon, it was taken over by Benedict Huré in the recent years. He is a baker, who describes himself as a "creator of pleasure"..and trust me, he is! 

Besides a pâtisserie, Huré is a boulangerie with a wide range of products which include sandwiches, pies, quiches, salads, classic and salted rolls, etc., the variety is quite good and all the products are fresh, and have very decent prices.

One of the most notable things at Huré is probably the wide range of filled buns, "heritage" of the time Mathon was the owner. They go both ways, salty and sweet (chocolate, fruit, cheese, meat, and more!).

The cakes are absolutely delicious and carefully made in different sizes; regular, for a special occasion or miniature in case you just wanna be selfish with your sweets. 


However, one of the best things you will find there is, definitely, the incredibly good Macarons -they are just a bit of heaven, amazing really. Many different flavors, colors and combinations as well as different choices in number, plus, they're not as expensive. A box with 5 macarons, for example, will cost you €8, or really big ones for only €2.90 a piece.


So, if you have a Sweet Tooth, Huré is definitely a must visit place while in Paris (France). They have two branches in the following addresses:

10 Place d'Italie - 75013 Paris (metro Place d'Italie, lines 5, 6 and 7) / Tel: 01 43 31 33 93
18 rue Rambuteau - 75003 Paris (metro Rambuteau, line 11) - tel: 01 42 72 32 18


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Diane Arbus, Photographer

Not long ago, I had the chance to go see an exhibition at Jeu de Paume in Paris, France by the world famous Photographer Diane Arbus, a New Yorker who revolutionized the art of Photography. Her bold subject matter and photographic approach produced a body of work that is often shocking in its purity, in its constant celebration of things as they are. Many say she had a gift for rendering strange those things we consider most familiar, and for uncovering the familiar within the exotic.

Initially, she worked for her father shooting fashion as he was the owner of a famous Department Store located on 5th Avenue; so did her husband Allan Arbus. Later on, she decided to explore another side of photography as fashion didn't quite satisfy her and that's how she started shooting people, not your regular people though, Diana was attracted to different people, people who was quirky and out of the ordinary look-wise, she found them to be interesting and camera-capture worthy.

Most of Diane's subjects were in New York City, a place that she explored as both a familiar geography and as a foreign land, photographing people she discovered during the 1950s and 1960s. When talking about her work, most people think of black-and-white square photographs of awkward people.

She was committed to photography as a medium that tangles with the facts. Her contemporary anthropology -portraits of couples, children, carnival performers, nudists, middle-class families, transvestites, zealots, eccentrics, and celebrities- stands as an allegory of the human experience, an exploration of the relationship between appearance and identity, illusion and belief, theater and reality.

To understand Diane's photography, is important to read her texts as it will be easier for you to understand where she comes from, photographically speaking. She once said "I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them.", referring to the type of people she used to shoot, commonly known/called "freaks" by most people, including herself. "Freaks was a thing I photographed a lot. It was one of the first things I photographed and it had a terrific kind of excitement for me. I just used to adore them. I still do adore some of them. I don't quite mean they're my best friends but they made me feel a mixture of shame and awe.", this explains her fascination to shoot so many of them, which is a bit contradictory as she did not want to be known as"the photographer of 'freaks'", which ended up happening.

Arbus suffered from "depressive episodes", which ended up leading her to take her own life by ingesting barbiturates and slashing her wrists with a razor when she was only 48. Two days later, a friend of hers found her on the bathtub. It was only a year after her death that she started getting International recognition for her work and they started showing it in major exhibitions.

In this first major retrospective in France, Jeu de Paume -the Paris Gallery- presents a selection of two hundred photographs that afford an opportunity to explore the origins, scope, and aspirations of a wholly original force in photography. It includes all of the artist’s iconic photographs as well as many that have never been publicly exhibited. Even the earliest examples of her work demonstrate Arbus’s distinctive sensibility through the expression on a face, someone’s posture, the character of the light, and the personal implications of objects in a room or landscape.

If you're interested in her work or knowing more about her as a photographer, a movie was made a few years ago, it's called "Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus", which is precisely that and not an accurate biography, however, you can get a rough idea of what she was like and her vision and pretty much what is it she was about, it's quite interesting really and you know nobody like Nicole Kidman to play awkward personalities.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Belleville (Paris)

Belleville is a neighbourhood of Paris, France, you may find it's name familiar due to the French animated movie "The Triplets of Belleville" -that's why I'd heard of it!

The neighborhood is situated on and around a hill which vies with Montmartre as the highest in Paris. Belleville means "beautiful town" and, historically, was a working class neighborhood.

Today, Belleville is a colorful, multi-ethnic neighborhood and also home to one of the city's two Chinatown's. During the 1980s Parisian artists and musicians, attracted by the cheaper rents, the numerous vacant large spaces, as well as the old Paris charm of its smaller streets. Within the neighborhood there is a cemetery and park, the Parc de Belleville, which ascends the western slope of the hill and offers, in addition to a panoramic view of the Paris skyline, a strikingly modern contrast to the classical gardens of the city center and the eccentric nineteenth century romanticism of the nearby Parc des Buttes Chaumont.

The iconic French singer Édith Piaf grew up there and, according to legend, was born under a lamppost on the steps of the Rue de Belleville. A commemorative plaque can be found at number 72. A true Bellevilloise, Piaf sang and spoke the French language in a way that epitomized the accent de Belleville, which has been compared to the Cockney accent of London, England, although the Parisian dialect is nowadays rarely heard. Belleville is prominently featured in the 2007 biographical film of her life, La Vie En Rose. Belleville has been featured in many movies, books, TV Shows and even music.

Personally, I strongly believe Belleville is one of Paris' best kept secrets, especially for tourists, that is. Not only does it have nice restaurants, boutiques and bars but it is also quite a charming. And, one of the best features Belleville has is definitely the -above mentioned- Parc de Belleville, which is a little known viewpoint, yet it is the highest point in the city and a fantastic place to enjoy a panoramic view of Paris. Belleville Park is located on a natural hill which is 128 meters above sea level, it is located in an area with a lot of history and many of the roads in the surrounding are have managed to keep their traditional looks which helps create a nice authentic Parisian atmosphere. There are a lot of stairs so in Belleville you can go up and down, here and there as you please The Place to go to get the best view here is in the middle of the park. From here you can see all around Paris below you. The park itself is also a nice place to relax and enjoy a picnic, which I didn't get to experience first hand as I visited it at night.

One of the good things of visiting Parc de Belleville at night is that it can be quite a romantic spot, so you may wanna choose wisely who you go with. Another really nice thing is all the City lighting you can see from above; there are a few popular sites you can spot from the heights, the Tour Eiffel being the most obvious and impressive of them all, but you will also be able to spot the Tour Montparnasse, the Centre Pompidou and a couple others -you just gotta open your eyes real wide! All in all, a great place to pay a visit while you're in Paris.

Photo credits: As indicated on watermarks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Personalités Exceptionnelles

Almost one year exactly after being there for a couple of weeks trying to recover from what I like to call "The London Nap", opposed to what should have been "The London Dream", I went back to Paris, the place I now feel like a second home.

This time was bound to be even better as it was a Family Vacation -our first abroad! So many things happened in this trip, a few bad ones, many crazy ones and a bunch more great ones, all in all, an amazing trip and too many great memories to cherish for a long time. I will be telling you little stories about things and places done/visited during this time, sort of like I did last time.

Today, I wanna start by telling you about one of my new favorite places in Paris, which I actually found accidentally. I was out with a friend of mine and we were hanging out in the Ménilmontant neighborhood, we were heading to a bar where a Karaoke thing was going to take place, we walked by a gothic -and sorta creepy- church, which now I know is the Church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Croix and, suddenly, we saw a little place which looked like a nice boutique, which was kind of odd as it was past 11pm already. We looked at it and the top of the door held a sign saying "Personalités Exceptionnelles", so I looked at my friend and said "we HAVE to go in!", and so we did.

The place was, indeed, very small but what it lacked in size, it made up for in cuteness. It was like being at a private party in a (small) Parisian apartment. It took us no more than 2 minutes going around the whole place looking for a sit, only to find a couple of empty chairs right by the entrance. We had had enough beer for the night, so we ordered wine. The place was served by an old lady, all by herself she seemed to be very hard working. Later on, we spotted her husband, who was drunk to the bone! He was one of those funny drunks...up until the point he talked too much and he wasn't funny anymore.

Turns out, that interesting place is a Bistro-Boutique during the day time and turns into a sort of underground bar during the night, how cool is that? They have a lot of vintage stuff such as cool lamps, lightened globes, old telephones, all kinds of books, groovy chairs and whatnot, everything was for sale. Later on, I found out the place belongs to the lady serving the bar, her name is Eva Pritzky and she is a former philosophy and french teacher; she spent some years in New Caledony, and then in Ireland as a design decorator -hence the awesome décor stuff she has in her shop.


Another thing I totally loved about the place was the music, needless to say there isn't a DJ, however, there's always someone (not sure if they work there or are customers) sitting by the computer playing some great tunes that match perfectly with the whole ambiance of the bar.

All in all, the perfect bar to have a nice-chilled time with a friend -or two tops-. Going in group isn't recommended, not only because of the size of the place, but because of the whole vibe of it, it's really not for big parties. Anyway, if you go to Paris and wanna have a good time in the Parisian night scene, this is definitely a great place to go -it's always nice to get away a bit from the crowded scene such as Bastille, St. Martin, etc. Plus, there are some other interesting places to visit in that neighborhood, but I'll tell you about them on another post.

Eva Pritsky, bar-brocante.
5, rue d'Eupatoria, 75020 Paris, Métro Ménilmontant
Tel : 01 44 62 20 69
Open Tue-Sat, from 17hrs. to 2hrs.

Here's a little video as well: 

Some photos courtesy of:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October Quotes


So, it's been a while since I last shared some quotes and there have been a few good ones. Well, the Fall is here and so are a few quotes!

"...sometimes when we slack off, God or whatever higher power is up there, tests us to our maximum capacity..." - Preethi B.

"Death is hard even if you're a spiritual person." - Anonymous

"You will have cool artists indie kids" - Kirsty Marshall

"No vayas a dar flyers en el Metro de 'El Mundo se acaba!'" - Marius

"Just painting my Blackberry like an iPhone so people will stop asking me to BBM" - Nicole Richie

"aca tanbien sufro posoye todos semos umanos" - Margarito

"I'm gonna go Brooklyn on that bitch" - Someone

"Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst" – Henri Cartier-Bresson

"hmmmm bloody France! I knew you would ditch us for those frog-eaters!"- Karrigan

"porque hay tweets que no me respondes?? Te crees artista o que?? posoye!" - Gaby B.

If you wanna check the whole Quotes list, go to: Diana's Quote Collection!

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Near-Death Experience

According to Wikipedia...
A near-death experience (NDE) refers to a broad range of personal experiences associated with impending death, encompassing multiple possible sensations including detachment from the body; feelings of levitation; extreme fear; total serenity, security, or warmth; the experience of absolute dissolution; and the presence of a light.
These phenomena are usually reported after an individual has been pronounced clinically dead or otherwise very close to death, hence the term near-death experience. Many NDE reports, however, originate from events that are not life-threatening.

People who have had a near-death experience may not be comfortable discussing the experience with others (...).

Yesterday, one of the weirdest and most shocking experiences ever, happened to me. I was on my way to meet up with a friend after work and it all seemed "normal", everything looked and felt just like any other day, nothing out of the ordinary really...up until I was going to cross the street when all of the sudden a car passed by me real fast and, when I say "passed by me", I mean, it ran me over (it stepped over half of my right foot and hit my stomach with the right-hand rear-view mirror). It all happened REALLY FAST, in a matter of seconds to be exact. At that moment, I felt like I left my body and was able to see everything from above and now I can't seem to be able to stop playing that scene in my head over and over.

I'm going to be totally honest here and admit that, many times, I cross the streets somewhat recklessly, not on purpose or looking to die or hurt myself or anything like that, I just feel that whenever it's your turn to die, you will die no matter what you do or how careful you are; however, yesterday I wasn't reckless at all, I waited and made sure I had the green light and the cars the red one so I could cross, when the lights were on my favor, meaning, it was green for me -and everyone else who also wanted to cross over- I stepped down the sidewalk and started walking when this car came over really fast skipping the red light, so it was his/her fault. It all happened so fast I immediately went into shock. I remember looking to my right to see the car like trying to assimilate what had just happened and I saw how the car's mirror was all broken and pretty much falling down.

People next to me asked if I was alright and I was so in shock I said yes, I mean, I couldn't react because of the impression so I was like "I don't know what happened, we did have the green light and the cars had the red one, right?" and they said yes. This one girl looked all scared and actually offered to help me cross the street. She grabbed my arm and walked with me while asking if I was sure I was alright. Then she told me to take care and left and I headed off to meet my friend. I told my friend what happened and she was worried and asking how I was and all and if I was sure I was alright, but I was still in shock so I said I was alright. So we went to get some coffee and a couple of hours later I came home.

I wasn't sure if I was going to tell mom and sis about the whole thing coz I knew they'd tell me off knowing how reckless I usually am, but I HAD to tell them and so I did. I began with "I'm gonna tell you something and I don't wanna hear an 'I told you so!', ok?". So I told them and, because of my previous warning they took about a minute to figure out what to say, then they asked me how it was and I began to tell my story and when I was doing so...I burst into tears. It wasn't until then that it actually hit me, I realized I was only seconds and/or centimeters away from dying. I realized then how lucky I was to be home telling the story instead of being at the hospital or already dead.

After I left the state of shock and it all hit me it was horrible, I couldn't stop crying, therefore, I had insomnia and my mind kept on spinning and then and there, I also realize I am not really afraid of dying but what I am REALLY afraid of is leaving my mom and sister, especially with the whole situation we're currently living. I'd really hate myself if something happened to me and they found themselves on their own. Not that I am the responsible one for them -not entirely anyway- but I am a pillar of the family just as they both are and, in a family of three, when one pillar goes down, the other two will for sure stumble down and I don't want that to happen.

Now that I've been giving it so much thought I know that I am absolutely lucky to be here, alive and well...with a bit of physical pain but well enough to tell you my story and share with you how happy I am to be given a second chance. A second chance to live my life better, to enjoy it more, to do more -for myself and others-, to feel more and, above all, to love more. I know not everyone is so lucky to have a second chance, so I'm going to take advantage and make the best out of it in every way I can.

I was doing some reading and found this: "Most near-death survivors say they don't think there is a God. They know." - Nancy Evans, which is absolutely true. I've always believed in God but now I'm sure not only that he's there but also that he loves me. Also found this: "This is a profound emotional experience." - Nuland, and you have no idea how truly emotional it is indeed. It changes you in a way you never imagined. Anyway, I just wanted to share this with you because I think it's a watershed in my life and also something I didn't wanna keep to myself, so thanks for reading.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Live Strong Day

Happy Live Strong Day to everyone of you out there who's a survivor, a relative and/or friend of a survivor or if you're fighting alongside with someone you love and, especially, if you've lost someone you love to Cancer.

My heart, love and good wishes go out to you all!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mexican Wrestling aka Lucha Libre

Today I will start with a little bit of history...

In the early 1900s, professional wrestling was mostly a regional phenomenon in Mexico until Salvador Lutteroth founded the Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling Enterprise) in 1933, giving the sport a national foothold for the first time. The promotion company flourished and quickly became the premier spot for wrestlers. As television surfaced as a viable entertainment medium during the 1950s, Lutteroth was then able to broadcast his wrestling across the nation, subsequently yielding a popularity explosion for the sport. Moreover, it was the emergence of television that allowed Lutteroth to promote lucha libre’s first breakout superstar into a national pop-culture phenomenon.

In 1942, lucha libre would be forever changed when a silver-masked wrestler, known simply as El Santo (The Saint), first stepped into the ring. He made his debut in Mexico City by winning an 8-man battle royal. The public became enamored by the mystique and secrecy of Santo's personality, and he quickly became the most popular luchador in Mexico. His wrestling career spanned nearly five decades, during which he became a folk hero and a symbol of justice for the common man through his appearances in comic books and movies, while the sport received an unparalleled degree of mainstream attention.

Luchadores are traditionally more agile and perform more aerial maneuvers than professional wrestlers in the US who more often rely on power and hard strikes to subdue their opponents. The difference in styles is due to the independent evolution of the sport in Mexico beginning in the 1930s and the fact that luchadores in the cruiserweight division (peso semicompleto) are often the most popular wrestlers in Mexican lucha libre. Luchadores execute characteristic high flying attacks by using the wrestling ring's ropes to catapult themselves towards their opponents, using intricate combinations in rapid-fire succession, and applying complex submission holds.

Popular luchadores are always heroes admired by the fans. They may represent Aztec warriors, Christian saints or comic book superheroes, but they always fight for the common man -- workers, farmers and the poor. They are known as técnicos. The villains of Mexican wrestling, called rudos, represent very real problems faced by Mexicans -- corrupt politicians, crooked police officers and drug dealers.

Masks (máscaras) have been used dating back to the beginnings of lucha libre in the early part of the 20th century, and have a historical significance to Mexico in general, dating to the days of the Aztecs. Early masks were very simple with basic colors to distinguish the wrestler. In modern lucha libre, masks are colorfully designed to evoke the images of animals, gods, ancient heroes and other archetypes, whose identity the luchador takes on during a performance. The mask is considered "sacred" to a degree, so much so that fully removing an opponent's mask during a match is grounds for disqualification.

A few weeks ago I had my chance at shooting something that I had never shot before but I was dying to, I am obviously talking about: Mexican Wrestling! As you may know, it is a very popular "sport" -if you will- in Mexico, which has recently gained a lot of popularity all over the world. It is now an important part of the pop culture in Mexico that has been, little by little, reaching the world.

Personally, I had never been to the Arena México (the main wrestling venue in Mexico) aka The Catedral (given its importance) and I had a great time shooting though at the beginning it wasn't easy due to all the moves and maneuvers I mentioned before; you have to be very quick and adjust your timing to the wrestlers', which I did after the first few shots; on ships, I used to be a fast shooter, turns out...I still am. Sometimes (or most of the time, actually) timing is everything in a photograph, well, this would be a perfect case to illustrate how important timing is! In general, I am very happy with the results as the timing was good enough to catch a lot of those "flying" maneuvers, which in photographs is even better because it looks as if you froze them up in the air. Enjoy and if you ever have the chance to go to the Lucha Libre, don't miss out on it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Arte7 - El Nuevo Cine en Casa

En los últimos años, la modalidad "Cine en Casa" ha tomado rumbos completamente distintos a los que solía tener hace tan sólo unos cuántos años atrás, cuando existían lugares donde podíamos acudir a rentar las películas que quisieras por cierto precio y por un tiempo limitado; bueno, en realidad, aún existen estos lugares, pero su popularidad ha desminuido considerablemente desde que, gracias al Internet, podemos tener nuestro propio Cine en Casa, ya sea pagando una módica cantidad mensual o completamente gratis, y siempre con la opción de verla "online" o bajarla a tu computadora y tenerla como parte de tu colección.
Como todos saben, hay miles de sitios que podemos visitar y tener acceso a -practicamente- cualquier película que se nos ocurra. El día de hoy, quiero platicarles en particular, del sitio de un buen amigo mío, Roberto.
El sitio se llama y Roberto lo abrió hace aproximadamente 1 año; principalmente, se enfoca en ofrecer descargas gratuitas de películas (y proximamente videos musicales). Al dia de hoy tiene 171 peliculas, y muy pronto -cuando llegue a 200- hará disponibles videos musicales, para aquellos que además de cinéfilos, somos unos completos melómanos!
De acuerdo a las palabras de Roberto, todo es sin fin lucrativo, ya que las descargas son gratuitas, lo único que tienes que hacer es crear una cuenta, la cual no tiene costo y no tomará más de 1 minuto de tu tiempo, es decir, es algo muy sencillo y sin complicaciones de tipo económico (como registrar una Tarjeta de Crédito, etc).
Por último, Roberto cree pertinente mencionar que, para los que piensen que es pirateria, los archivos fisicamente no estan alhojados en su servidor, sino en servidores públicos gratuitos, y él no soy el que los "rippea" (copia de los originales), sino los consigue de forma gratuita de muchos otros sitios de internet; "busco promover el cine y la música para todo el que tenga una conexion a internet porque de otra forma hay pelis que nunca llegaran a tu pais o ciudad y solo las puedes comprar en DVD por internet", menciona, "en cambio con sitios como el mio, pues puedes checar la peli de tu interés y si te late, en mi sitio esta el link de amazon para que la compres", lo que en definitiva es una gran opción para todos, pues siempre existen pelis que nos dan curiosidad y a veces o las amamos o las odiamos, si pasa lo segundo pues por lo menos ya la vimos y pudimos opinar, y si pasa lo primero, Roberto nos da la opción de encontrarla fácilmente para poder adquirirla.
Así que, en resumidas cuentas, Arte7 es una muy buena opción para los que gustamos de cine y música sin salir de casa. Hasta ahora, la selección de pelis es muy buena y variada, así que se espera lo mismo para la selección musical y, como previo, les puedo decir que habrá muchas joyas musicales en vivo de bandas increíbles, así que estén pendientes y no lo olviden: Ve a Regístrate, Descarga, Disfruta y Apoya!
Ah y, por supuesto, también puedes encontrar a Arte7 en las Redes Sociales de tu preferencia: