Monday, January 26, 2009

Bordeaux, Part II: Vélo F***ing Sutra

To enrich our wanderings in the center of Bordeaux beyond shopping the thousands of post-holiday sales, we went in search of some contemporary art. There were a few spaces showing this kind of art in the center of Bordeaux, most notably the Espace St. Remi. Formerly a church, it has been converted into a space for showing contemporary paintings and sculptures

Jefe found it accidently while he was looking for a place to lock his bike near the hotel one afternoon. We passed the church/art gallery and immediately found ourselves in a quiet square, deserted except for a few middle aged women, each separated by 30 or 40 feet, sitting on chairs on the sidewalks with thigh-high, white, high-heeled boots (these are apparently the newest component of the national prostitute uniform this year, which we noticed in Poitiers). The art inside was almost as strange as the scene outside.

Apart from the Espace St. Remi, the center of Bordeaux is too expensive for emerging artists and they are forced to stay in nearby Eysine or the industrial area of Bègles. These side trips wouldn't be so bad, if it weren't for the ever-present rain. Oh well. So Jefe biked among semi-trailers and warehouses of Bègles to La Morue Noire for an exhibit by Frédéric Lucas. This sculpture garden was outside:
Inside the building were the paintings. Lucas uses an interesting technique; up close it looks like layers of peeling paint, but from a distance various forms are discernible among the chaos.

Sort of the urban/street version of a Monet.

Since this blog is about bikes and art, among other things, I have to mention a series of comics by Cami that were exhibited at the Maison du Vélo, Bordeaux's headquarters for bike rentals (only to residents, unfortunately), maps, and information.

Yes, that says Velo Sutra

Don't laugh too hard.  We did, until we actually saw some of these positions in action, at night, in the rain.  Pretty scary.

As anyone familiar with us should know, we visited all the local movie theaters. On the Place Camille Julian, there was Cinema Utopia, two screens and a cafe/bar in a converted church (a theme in Bordeaux?), where we saw Che: Part One. Also UGC Ciné Cité in the center of Bordeaux (where we saw Twilight and Slumdog Millionaire), and Cinema Festival in Bègles, kind of a hike, but worth it to see 20th Century Boys.

And while we like the combination of dinner and a movie more than the average couple, we have other interests too, notably live music. Champaign-Urbana has a very active music scene for a town its size (some of our favorite acts of recent years: The Beauty Shop, The Living Blue, Bellcaster, Animate Objects,  Headlights, Kate Hathaway, Darrin Drda's Theory of Everything, Triple Whip, and the list goes on). Needless to say, we jumped at the chance to see Calexico in Bordeaux at the Barbey Rock School. Apparently, so did a lot of other Bordelais, as the 700 seat venue was nearly full.

Pre-show, before most of the people finished their beers and coffees in the lobby.

Luckily, we got there early and were able to stand right near the stage.

They played for nearly two hours, and everyone (fans, band, us) was pretty exhausted by the end.  But Rebecca was sublimely happy.  She saw Calexico in a small outside venue in NYC a few years back, and this show brought back a lot of happy memories.

No comments: