December 16, 2012

Christmas in Paris

A Little Holiday Sparkle . . .
Photo by Mike Savin
It's that time of year when the City of Light starts to really sparkle, from Galeries Lafayette and Printemps to the Grande Roue at Concord to the pulsing lights and Christmas Fair on the Champs Elysées. Every neighborhood has its own festive touch.

The Holiday Sparklers by Meredith Mullins
Photography instructor Meredith Mullins and a merry band of intrepid WICE photographers went in search of holiday sparkle, cameras in hand and furry hats on head (yes, it was cold ... but, good news, it wasn't raining). The results: some beautiful (and original) images of the holiday season.

After the expedition (and after the vin chaud wore off), the photographers submitted their favorite photos for the Holiday Sparkle competition, juried by visiting luminary Jerry Fielder (Curator and Director of the Yousuf Karsh Estate).

Holiday Sparkle Award Winning Photo by Anna Hobbs

Congratulations to Anna Hobbs, who was awarded the Holiday Sparkle prize for her stolen moment at the Chanel perfume display in Galeries Lafayette. (Once you look past the omnipresent Brad Pitt, a story begins to unfold.)

Holiday Sparkle 2nd Place Award by Pamela Spurdon

Et chapeau to 2nd Place Award Winner Pamela Spurdon for her original view of a small segment of the Galeries Lafayette display window. (Yes, frogs legs are still a treasure in France.)

Enjoy all the festivities of the season.

Happy Holidays from all of us at WICE.

Photo by Duane Edwards

Photo by Pamela Fickes-Miller

Photo by Lynn Segal

Award Winner Anna Hobbs 

December 10, 2012

An insider's view of WICE's Write-In course

Kate Kemp-Griffin’s Write-In course brings together people who share a passion for writing and the burning desire to put their stories on paper.  For ten sessions, two hours were spent writing, aimed at completing individual goals.  As motivation, several published writers such as Stephen Clarke, Jami Bernard, and Adrian Leeds joined these sessions to share their journeys of getting their books published. 
It can be hard to stay motivated when writing alone because the feeling of isolation often leads to discouragement.   Working alongside other writers brings a sense of belonging and confidence that inspires everyone to work harder.  
After having already taken traditional writing courses, I signed up for Write-In to finish my book.  I no longer wanted opinions and suggestions, just increasing word counts.  This is an elusive goal, when trying to write in a distraction filled home.     

Kate Kemp-Griffin and Jami Bernard

photo by Veronica Kugler

In the first session after a brief introduction, Kate simply told us to start writing.    Hmm… no texting, phone calls, internet, or family to send me off course.  How many times in the past have these distractions stolen precious time and prevented me from writing? 
Quickly, the words flowed from my mind to my fingertips, for I had come to class prepared with many ideas.  As I typed I realized that I had complete freedom to write whatever I wanted because I did not have to share it. The point of this class is to stay busy writing your own work.  Not reading and critiquing. 
To my surprise, I found that the collective flow of everyone’s ideas being transformed into words was contagious.  So I typed furiously and ended up plunking out 2,000 words.  At the end of the session Kate looked at me and exclaimed, “What on earth!” 
Apparently through the silence of the small classroom, everyone had heard me typing like crazy.  Unwittingly, I had set the bar high for myself. They were going to expect me to type like this every time.   Daydreaming would never be an option because my classmates would immediately know by the silence of my keyboard.   
For the next class, I thought about coming with only a pad of paper and pen, but I figured with the ultra silent classroom, my classmates could probably discern the difference between coherent sentences and doodled tic-tac-toe games played against myself.    Instead, I stuck with my loud laptop, actually using this peer pressure as an added motivating factor to keep me writing.  [Nevertheless - Christmas wish list: discreet 11” ultrabook with silent keys.]
WICE Stephen Clarke author
Stephen Clarke
Photo courtesy of Kate Kemp-Griffin
As previously mentioned, an accomplished writer often joined us to talk about their writing and answer our questions.     Through these talks we learned that each writer’s journey to publication was vastly different from one another.  There is no cookie-cutter model to become a published writer.  Sometimes after speaking, the authors would stay and work on their own writing.   This inspired us even more knowing that we were all just doing the same thing –following our dreams.      
Regardless if you’re working on a book, or are just getting started and haven’t yet figured out what you want to write, the benefits of this class are three-fold:  1) a safe environment to make progress towards your writing goals, 2) new friendships with fascinating people who share your passion and inspire you, and 3) an intimate and unique opportunity to talk to published writers. 
If you’re still not convinced, think about this:  2,000 words x 10 sessions.  20,000 words. 
You could write a third of your book at WICE’s Write-In!
Come and join us:  registration is currently open for the next course Write-In (WJ071) starting in January 2013.
Post by Veronica Kugler

December 3, 2012

Salvador Dali exhibit opens at the Centre Georges Pompidou

One of Paris' most anticipated exhibitions of the season has arrived! The biggest retrospective Salvador Dali exhibition in over 30 years is now open at the Georges Pompidou Centre (metro Rambuteau) - and it's every minute worth the 90 minute queue. Open now until March 25th, 2013, the exhibition showcases a collection of over 200 familiar and unfamiliar paintings, sketches, objects, installations and films produced between 1920-1980 by the Spanish born Surrealist, Salvador Dali (1904-1989).
The exhibition is the largest showcase of his work since the last retrospective at the Pompidou in 1979 (the most visited exhibition in the museum’s history to date).
Laid out in chronological-thematic sections, the visitor enters through a large white oval where an image of Dali in the fetal position inside an egg is projected onto the wall (1941 photo taken by Philippe Halsman).
 Other installations include a reconstruction of “Mae West's Face Which May be Used as an Apartment” with it's iconic lip shaped sofa, which are also present inside the exhibitions' small theater where a series of Dali's films are shown on rotation, including Un Chien Andalou (1929).
The exhibition charts Dali's artistic process beginning with some of his earliest self-portraits in his hometown of Figueres, to surrealism and the development of his paranoiac-critical method. The assortment of Dali fan favorites including “The Persistence of Memory” (1931), “The Great Masturbator” (1929) and “The Metamorphosis of Narcissus” (1937 ) along with a number of mass media recognizable objects such as his famed “Lobster Telephone” (1936) fill the walls of the exhibition, providing for a truly incredible retrospective.

Having little familiarity with how grand the scope of his work is, the exhibition (in true retrospective character) devotes much space to Dali's themes and connections to politics and the media of his age. Often critiqued for his political views and communist associations, the exhibition showcases some his political fascinations including those paintings such as “Six apparitions of Lenin on a Piano” (1931) and “The Enigma of Hitler” (1939). Nearing the end of the exhibition, advertisements he starred in are played (which he received wide criticism and disapproval from his artistic community) including his 1968 appearance in a Lanvin Chocolate commercial.
Whether or not you are familiar with the works of Dali or the Surrealist style, I full heartedly recommend a visit to the Pompidou to check out this blockbuster of an exhibition- there is something for everyone to enjoy!
The exhibition is open every day from 11:00- 21:00 at the Georges Pompidou Centre except on Tuesdays. Exceptionally for the Dali exhibition, it will be open at night until 23h Fridays and Saturdays (last entry at 22h).
Metro Rambuteau (Line 11)
Regular Entry € 13
Reduced Entry € 10

Post and Photos by Ellie Somers