Iggy, Smokey, Al, George, Harry & the 4th

This was a week of “legends” concerts in Paris. The list included 60-year old Iggy Pop (more later), 64-year old George Benson (who I would swear is actually George Foreman) together with 67-year old Al Jarreau, and the legendary 67-year old Smokey Robinson. I can only wish that I am as energetic as these performers are when I reach their age. I’ve never particularly been a fan of Al Jarreau or George Benson but after seeing them on stage, I really appreciate what good performers and musicians they are.
Each concert was notable but for me, Iggy Pop was most memorable. I learned why to many he’s known as the Godfather of Punk; he’s out of his damn mind. I witnessed him do 3 fully-airborne stage dives into the crowd … and that was only during the FIRST song.
But the main reason that it was notable for me was that after the conclusion of the 3rd song (photographers normally only get to shoot the first 3 songs of a concert), when I tried to exit, I was led by security INTO the crowd instead of out the back door. There was near chaos in the crowd and I seriously feared for my safety for a few moments when fans started jumping down from the upper levels of the theatre to get down to the floor level (about a 20-foot drop). Security tried to stop these fans (one security guard actually caught a jumping fan by his long ponytail!) but the dam was crumbling. I eventually got out of there by climbing over a metal fence with all my photo gear in tow. It was just a little bit different than last week’s Streisand concert. 😉

The specially-decorated Harry Potter III train greeted some of the cast of the film at Gare de Bercy before the French premiere. It was fairly unexciting. The most amusing part was that I almost didn’t photograph one of the stars of the film because I thought I was waiting for Emily Watson and not Emma Watson. As the French say, I’m “null” knowing who’s who in these films.
No luck finding a BBQ but I celebrated the 4th of July by having breakfast at a place I’ve been avoiding for a number of years. It’s called “Breakfast in America” and is a Johnny Rockets-like diner that seemed like the perfect tourist trap. But it was all decked out with American flags so it seemed appropriate on the 4th of July. It wasn’t half bad but I wouldn’t add it to the list of “musts” in Paris.
I had a really nice, unexpected experience this week at an event I ultimately wasn’t allowed to photograph. A fellow photographer tipped me off to an exclusive private party given by Karl Lagerfield and sponsored by Dom Perignon (they had an open bar with Dom Perignon!) coinciding with Haute Couture Fashion week this week. I wasn’t credentialed to photograph the event but since Claudia Schiffer, Karl Lagerfield and other celebrities were expected to attend, I thought I’d try to talk my way in. My press pass got me past the first level of security and I was well positioned on the red carpet when at the last minute, a hell-bitch event organizer re-checked everyone’s event credential and I was caught. I tried using every tactic I learned from the film “Fletch” (“Mr. Underhill must have forgotten to add me to the list”) but had no luck. As I was packing up to leave, a handful of French photographers left their position on the red carpet and together approached the event organizer and told her that they all knew me and that I was legit. It didn’t help but I was quite touched that they took it upon themselves to try to help me. I knew a few of the photographers but others I had only seen a few times but had never spoken to. It was a special moment in my own personal Franco-American relations.

And finally, I had my first firsthand experience with a French hospital. An elderly friend of mine had cataract surgery and I went to go visit her just after the procedure. I have to say that I was quite impressed with the level of cleanliness and professionalism that I witnessed. You hear many stories of the problems with socialized health care systems but I can tell you that after what I witnessed, I would feel quite comfortable if I never needed their services. My friend however disagreed; the bread roll she was served with her meal must have been more than 4 hours old!

A few photos of the week …

Need a gargoyle?

Summer green
Ecole Polytechnique

Fountain at Chateau de Versailles

Fireworks at Chateau de Versailles

Fountain at Chateau de Versailles

Wish I took this photo …

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Joshua on July 8, 2007 at 10:55 pm

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    Reply

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