December 16, 2017

Come Party With WICE and Celebrate 40 Great Years!

The year 2018 marks our 40th anniversary!  WICE is one of the longest serving volunteer-run cultural associations for the international community in Paris.  And like a fine French wine, we’re just getting better with time.


Our members, from six continents and from diverse backgrounds, form lasting friendships at WICE.  Run by volunteers, these dedicated men and women of WICE  organize all kinds of learning opportunities, including languages, Paris tours, cooking, history, writing, photography, film and the visual arts.  Recently, we’ve added more purely social gatherings, such as our monthly apéro parties.

We’ll be celebrating un certain âge with a host of exciting events all year.  Keep your eyes peeled for new announcements so you can join in the fun!

At our relaunched new-look website, you can register for all activities, across all of our departments.  

Here’s a sneak preview of 2018 courses and events:

November 29, 2017

Put It In Words, At WICE!


In 2018, the Paris Writers Workshop is back!  And centre-stage for the special festivities of the 40-year anniversary of WICE.

The WICE Paris Writers Workshop, our flagship event that runs in late spring every two years, has long been the cornerstone of our program.  The quality of instruction in craft, technique, critiques, discussions and seminars for 48 writers has attracted candidates from the US, other countries around Europe, and right here in Paris.

For your novel or story - get writing!
Dimitri Keramitas, Director of WICE creative writing programs, aims to bring some synergy  between this year’s Workshop and the rest of our writing courses.  The range of both includes creative non-fiction, short stories, novels, and a new focus on poetry.  

A Greek-American in love with Paris since the 1980’s, Dimitri has a degree in literature from the University of Hartford, in French from the Sorbonne, and law at from the University of London.  He raised a son and daughter here, now students themselves.  


Dimitri first joined WICE through taking part in the prestigious Paris Writers Workshop four times before eventually leading the organising committee.

For Dimitri, the priority is balance.  For his own career, he’s balanced his solitary writing and translating activities with getting out and about teaching law and literature at universities, grandes écoles, and écoles de commerce.  

He says,I wanted a balance between the sedentary and quiet writing life with the more active and sociable teaching.  I also wanted a balance between writing fiction and non-fiction, and I try to bring that type of balance to our creative writing programs.”

He’s published short stories and completed a novel, set in Greece where he has a second home.  Meanwhile, he’s lingered in some of the most iconic arthouse cinemas of Paris, preparing essays for scholarly publications and books on such subjects as racial stereotypes and the treatment of war in film, among other non-fiction work.

Dimitri feels there’s no better setting for writers from around the world than Paris, long a muse city and world cultural hub.

“We wanted to bring the city of Paris as a central theme, so last year we had a course on Paris vignettes and travel blogging, and this year on memoirs, to encourage people to focus on their personal lives and their surroundings.  The fiction approach is to relate your outside world experience as refracted from your own inner vision.  It’s about making use of where you are!”

“We are of course non-profit, and our writing programs are very affordable while keeping a distinguishing commitment to quality.  We limit participation to 12 people for each of the 4 Paris Writers Workshop seminars, and 8 for our writing classes, to ensure that quality.   We want the program to be adapted to the ways things are changing in the cultural context and the evolving publishing world of ebooks, self-publishing, and blogging.  The content will be up-to-date and relevant with both the classic workshop structures and what’s new — back to my old theme of balance!”

Previous venues have been the University of Paris or UNESCO.  Dimitri says, “Our search for the next venue has led to Forum 104, in the heart of Paris.  That’ll be a comfortable space for sharing manuscripts, reading and exchanging for five days with four lecturers.  We’ll keep you posted on the deadline so you can prepare your manuscripts to apply for what we hope to be an exciting program for our anniversary year!”

For a full list of creative writing courses throughout the year, see our website!
A discounted early bird rate will be available for the Paris Writers Workshop...

Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Telephone
01 45 66 7550


Post by Elizabeth Bouché

October 15, 2017

The Theatre du Champs-Elysées: Nijinsky

Scene from Nijinksy, representing The Afternoon of a Faun

There was a standing ovation for the ballet Nijinsky, an exciting début to this season’s impressive lineup of symphonies and dance performances at theThéâtre des Champs-Elysées, The ballet follows the iconic early 20th century dancer's rise as the muse and lover of Sergei Diaghilev of the Ballets Russes, to his eventual tragic descent into mental illness.

The Théatre des Champs Elysées hosted the Ballets Russes for its first season in 1913, staging the première of the Rite of Spring, with avant garde movements and music that shocked the Paris audience. The jeers and catcalls were so deafening Nijinsky stood on a stool in the wings shouting to the dancers to carry on and counting the beat as Stravinsky hung onto his coat. There was an allusion to this historic scene at the very same theater just over a century later with the performance by the Ballet National du Canada of Nijinsky, a piece created by American choreographer John Neumeier in 2000.

September 9, 2017

WICE Open House Coming Soon! Be There...

Calling all WICE members and wannabes…
We’re taking a running start to Rentrée 2017 with a new venue for our Open House, Tuesday, 19 September, 3 to 7 PM, at the Gare de Marlon Gallery (in the 4th, metro Pont Marie).  

Quit the rat race and join the top non-profit English-speaking cultural and social group in Paris!

WICE members, by RAYE
Come along with friends, family, and colleagues and get half off our bargain 50 euro membership when you sign up for a class or event!  Sip a glass of wine and connect with like-minded people, new and old members, and our many volunteers and instructors.  

You could be the lucky one to walk away with prizes including tickets for the Lost in Frenchlation cinema, the Théatre des Champs Elysées, and Improfessionals; classes with Studio15 Pilates; vouchers with the concierge service Savoir Faire Paris; and offers from WH Smith.  Register now at www.wice-paris/openhouse to be eligible for the lucky draw! 

Don’t forget — many cultural venues offer WICE members discounts year-round.

July 7, 2017

THE WICE BILINGUAL BOOK GROUP: BETTER THAN EVER

Dear Readers. Consider the attractions of a free monthly book club for WICE members, from all over the world, with the occasional appearance of some of the authors at the meetings!  
You can avail of this and many other WICE activities by joining up for half-price at our next Open House at a great new venue (only 25 euros!), 28 rue du Pont Louis Phillipe in the 4e, 19 September 2017 – put that in your agenda!
Catherine Field
The Bilingual Book Group has enjoyed a major makeover this past year with international journalist Catherine Field, from New Zealand, and Canadian photographer Tracey Bennewies taking charge.  They revamped the Books Group’s webpage and got their own email address.  Regular attendance doubled to its current limit of 10 people, with a second group possible as demand warrants.  Another innovation?  They brought in coffee and tea to make the meetings more convivial.
Tracey Bennewies
“It’s amazing that something as simple as bringing in hot drinks would change the atmosphere so much,” says Catherine Field, who appreciates most the cosmopolitan nature of the club.  “We have people from the US., India, Ireland and France, some with expat and military experiences in Algeria or Beirut.  The different international perspectives make this book club very special.”
Here’s how it works: books on the reading list must be published in English and in French, and members read the monthly book and discuss it in their preferred language, under the guidance of a team of moderators. Members suggest books for the reading list, which is devised at the start of the year. Catherine worked incredibly hard vetting the books reading about 40 to see if they were the best 10 for the club, with help from partner Tracey who Catherine describes as “a real bookworm.”  

June 6, 2017

A WICE Writing Teacher Wins Another International Prize

Jamaican author and journalist Alecia McKenzie has just won a second prize for her first novel, after Commonwealth accolades for her short stories. 
Sweetheart (Trésor in French) has been awarded the 2017 Prix Carbet des Lycéens. It’s a literary competition, judged by French-Caribbean high school students, to highlight the best writing by authors from the entire Caribbean region.
“I was moved and honored that the book was chosen by students, although I’d previously considered it a work for the over-16s,” says Alecia.  “It touches on heavy themes including death and incest which require a certain maturity.  It’s about a Jamaican artist who dies in unclear circumstances, and the reader learns about her life from people who knew her, and who talk about her.”
Through the different narratives, readers learn, among other things, about the life of the artist’s Jewish grandfather. Jamaican-Jewish?  “Yes, there’s a sizable community of people whose ancestors were Jewish in Jamaica. My primary school was near one of the oldest synagogues in the region.”
On the importance of the setting, Alecia says: “This is an essential element of storytelling.  If I didn’t tell the truth about the setting, I would feel I were betraying readers, my country.  How can you write about a place if you don’t know the setting?  It has to be authentic. I try to put that across when teaching my students short-story writing at WICE”

May 12, 2017

Close Up on a WICE Street Photography Course


Meredith © Lauren Gezurian-Amlani
Now’s your chance to snap and chat with WICE photography pro, Meredith Mullins.

In her upcoming 4-session Exploring Course, she’ll take you to some of the most photogenic places in Paris.

Each session begins with essential photo tips in a café of the chosen neighborhood.  Then students are sent out with a choice of assignments that equate to “purposeful wandering.”  Afterwards, they gather in a specially chosen restaurant for a review of their images.  With Meredith’s techniques, you’ll move from selfies to artistic self-expression in no time!

“There’s nothing like the beauty of Paris as a backdrop. As I turn every corner I feel lost in time. I want all my students to be inspired by the city, and communicate through images what they’re thinking or feeling, and what they’re attracted to,” Meredith explains.

“It always amazes me that the members of our group can be wandering the same streets during the same few hours and, yet, the resulting photographs are totally unique. Everyone has a unique style, and sees the quartier a little bit differently.  That is what the art of photography is all about.”
The swan: © Nola Erhardt

“We also have a great heritage in the city,” she continues. “We can’t forget we’re walking in the footsteps of the iconic 20th  century Paris street photographers, such as Cartier-Bresson, Ronis and Doisneau, who famously said, “The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street.

Some students might be timid about photographing people, but Meredith helps them get over it.

“People might be the most interesting subjects, so they have to be in the repertoire, and sometimes I give the assignment of finding interesting characters in the streets. But I might also assign the theme of water in its different forms, depth perspective, motion, or lighting techniques. The group choses what to work on before we meet up again to see and discuss the results as a class.”

Rain Reflections: © Eva Ferziger 

April 30, 2017

Why Not YOU for the WICE Board of Directors?

Calling all WICE members to step up and volunteer, and why not start at the top? Nominations are under way now for the Board! Join now to help steer us into the future…

There are ten people at the helm, directing such areas as Programs, Marketing, Finance, Volunteers, Facilities, “Upstairs at Duroc,” and the Paris Writers Workshop, as well as governing the organization.

Veronica Pollard is the Board leader in charge of growing and maintaining membership.

In 2013, she had no idea when her plane from New York hit the tarmac in Paris for a dream retirement that she would participate in the French-English conversation groups at WICE and end up on the Board.

“Our WICE members come from countries on six continents, but especially the US, UK, Australia, and of course France. Recently, we have been inviting members to small informal gatherings at the home of WICE President Mary Sipper to get a better understanding of the areas of strength for WICE and what needs improving. Many seem to want us to have a more social presence and offer opportunities for friendship. So that has become part of our vision going forward.”

April 18, 2017

WICE Presents a Screenwriting Workshop with a Hollywood Pro!

WICE is thrilled to present a one-week screenwriting workshop for 12 people this summer with the Emmy Award winning John Jacobsen. This chameleon of every aspect of the American film industry for over thirty years, will teach you the craft of character, dialogue, theme, writing visually, and the wisdom that in this genre, “less is more.” Whether you have the germ of an idea or a finished screenplay, John’s first workshop in Paris is an unmissable opportunity. Sign up now, July is coming soon! (see event details below)

Talking to John quickly reveals his energy, creativity, and empathy, the font of his many successes in screenwriting, directing and film production. An educator, he has founded several university film programs. For the broader public, he hosts the popular PBS program The Artist Toolbox, talking to a pantheon of other master artists on their creative process in the worlds of fashion, film, theater, architecture, design, ballet and more. “What they all have in common,” says John, “is their obsession to perfect their work,” by endless practicing--as he does from 6 to 9 a.m. every day.

March 26, 2017

Do You Speak Wine? Here's an Exclusive WICE Event to Learn How!

This spring, WICE offers members a bouquet of wines! Paris wine expert Hélène Goble will help spare you those awkward moments puzzling over wine lists, and help you choose favorite wines at any budget with confidence.

Hélène’s small and personalized company, “Do You Speak Wine?” operates by word of mouth, but you can join an exclusive WICE wine tasting at her elegant Paris apartment on 27 April. Along with her class on a Lalande de Pomerol (Bordeaux) wine, she will be sharing dinner, and plenty of special tips on French savoir-faire.

Helène grew up with grapes, on a Bordeaux vineyard run by her aristocratic parents. After a stint working in the Paris wine trade, she took up training at London’s prestigious Wine and Spirit Education Trust. She later marketed

March 17, 2017

Hail to the Chef!

Meet WICE Cooking Instructor, Randall Price


Do you dare try a sauce Béarnaise? Do you dream of making a savoury tart adapted from an 18th century recipe? Or a light vegetable medley that will impress your summer guests? There are just a few spots left for three cooking classes this year with WICE cooking instructor, Randall Price, born in Ohio, and now a distinguished chef in the food capital of the world.

His popular cooking lessons for WICE members, full of witty commentary, center on a two-course meal with clear, written recipes. They are in the French tradition of fresh and seasonal ingredients, with some

March 8, 2017

Louvre Islamic Collection: Peace Through Art

While the U.S. struggles with the controversy over the ban on travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries, France provides a source of cross-cultural diplomacy at the Islamic Art Collection at the Louvre, the most visited museum in the world.

This initiative was the brainchild of President Jacques Chirac, who vigorously opposed the Iraq invasion, and called for a “dialogue of cultures” to break down misunderstandings between the West and Muslim world with its petroleum rich regions.

The new wing opened in 2012, at a cost of a hundred thousand euros, co-funded by Arab states. Like the glass pyramid, the project came as a shock, thrusting together the medieval Western style and a contemporary design in a powerful frisson. A vast, undulating canopy of steel, glass and perforated aluminium hovers over 3000 works, the best Islamic art in Europe. Technology and art converge in poetry that suggests the rolling dunes of the Middle Eastern landscape, the veils of dances or even a flying carpet!

February 22, 2017

Let me introduce to you one of our first WICE members, Jill.


Jill Bourdais | WICE Board Member | © Meredith Mullins
Jill Bourdais has been a leading member of WICE since its founding in 1978.  Decades on, she is still bringing her ample energy and initiative to the  WICE Board where she has served in many top positions.  Jill has seen this cultural association in the heart of Paris blossom from a small group of American women wanting to get back to work to a diverse expat community of both genders meeting up for high quality continuing education opportunities and new friendships.

WICE was founded by three American women, inspired by the feminist movement in the United States, to help expat women transition to the workplace after their experience as global nomads, homemakers and mothers. “These women had experience organizing community groups as volunteers, hosting events to support their 

January 3, 2017

'FRENCHLATION' SHOWS WAY TO FATHOM FRENCH FILMS

For movie fans who don’t speak French, going to the cinema in Paris can be a limiting experience. Do you stick to films made in English, with French subtitles, or do you brave the screening of a French film, with no English subtitles – hoping you’ll at least get some of the dialogue?

Happily, there’s another choice: you can go to the special events of Lost in Frenchlation – a company that presents recently released French films with English subtitles, and which now has a partnership with WICE.

Matthew Bryan and Manon Kerjean,
the co-founders of Lost in Frenchlation.
At these screenings, spectators not only get to watch the films, but they also have the opportunity to meet other movie-goers in a convivial atmosphere. That’s because Lost in Frenchlation provides an added social component, enabling ex-pats living in Paris to meet over cocktails after the movie.

Started in 2015 by French and Australian friends, Manon Kerjean and Matthew Bryan, the initiative was born from the wish to be able to see the same films together.