Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Super Bowl in Las Vegas and an easy dish ...

My husband and I visited Las Vegas in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Then, it was not the popular city it is now. I remember that it was a city in the center of the Nevada Mohave Desert where there were some casinos and motels. In my memory the city is pictured as in the two top photos of the vintage postcards below.
A few years ago we stopped several hours at the Las Vegas airport on our way to Los Angeles. This airport had greatly been updated. There were slot machines everywhere: in the concourses, the gates, and more. Later I read an airport article stating that the Las Vegas Airport slot machines had generated one billion dollars in all-time revenue.
I even bought a postcard for my cousin in France showing the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower replica (50% of the Paris tower.)
Now, Las Vegas is famous for its large luxurious casinos with top international entertainers. In 2019 2.9 million visitors came to its five-star resort hotels, gourmet restaurants, the various shopping malls, high-end stores and 24/7 entertainment. It is the largest city in Nevada. The new Allegiant Stadium, a domed multi-purpose stadium, was opened in 2020. At 1.9 million dollars it is the second most expensive stadium in the world, after Los Angeles 5.5 billion stadium. Allegiant Stadium claims that it is the first NFL (National Football League) stadium powered by 100% renewable energy. On February 11, 2024, Las Vegas hosted its first Super Bowl there, a highly publicized football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
For my overseas blogging friends I'd like to mention that sports are very important in the USA. Football is the #1 sport, American football that is, played here and in about 30 other countries, compared to the other football, the one called "soccer" here but played in 211 countries around the world. Many children in the US start playing football at about 12 years of age. It is played in high schools, colleges and universities, plus professionally. Nearly 1.04 million high-school athletes (with 16,000 teams) and 81,000 college athletes (with 858 teams) play football in the US. Football has a huge impact on a college, on its culture and campus life. Colleges and universities make more money from sports, and are more interested in sports than academics, education, travel, arts, etc. A winning team will boost a university enrollment. Enormous amounts of fans will crowd college football stadiums to cheer their school team. My late husband did not watch much sport on television, unless it was a big game between Ohio State University's Buckeys team and another university. He was an Ohio State University alumnus. My youngest daughter is a fan of the "Dawgs," the University of Georgia's Bulldogs team where she graduated, and my son-in-law is a fan of the rival GA team, the Yellow Jackets, from Georgia Tech University where he graduated. But since both took their medical residencies at Ohio State University, they are fans of the Buckeyes, too. Fans like to wear their university team's tee-shirt and buy team merchandise.
The National Football League (NFL) has the highest average attendance of any professional sports leagues. The Super Bowl, its championship game, ranks among the most-watched sporting events here with the highest average attendance. The league in 2023 had an annual revenue of around 18.6 billion dollars. In 2023, sports generated $520 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy. It can be understood this way: a million seconds is 12 days, a billion seconds is 31 years and a trillion seconds is 31,688 years. Top professional football athletes can obtain salaries of more than 55 million dollars a year. I mention all this because money is what drives the USA. With such a huge audience, companies paid up to $7 million for a rare 30-second advertisement slot on television. By November 2023, all commercial slots had been purchased for the Super Bowl of February 11, 2024. Companies try to come up with unusual, innovative or funny commercials; they also use well-known celebrities for their ads to stand out. The commercials are watched attentively, and rated. In the commercials below pop-star Beyoncé is on the left, actor Ben Affleck on the left of the center photo and actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the left in the right picture.
Some people who are not avid football fans still watch the Super Bowl Halftime shows. Most colleges feature marching bands and drill teams during their shows; the Super Bowl did too when it started in 1967. But in 1993 the Super Bowl featured Michael Jackson. That year more fans watched him than the game. Since then the Super Bowl Halftime shows have been headlined by some of the most popular contemporary musicians. Some of the past entertainers have been: The Rolling Stones, The Who, Sting, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, U2,Bruce Springsteen, The Temptations, Tony Bennett, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Britney Spears, Madonna, Prince, etc.
This year the Super Bowl generated more media frenzy because there was the added attraction of the relationship between Taylor Swift the pop culture superstar and the Kansas City Chief tight end Travis Kelce. Taylor's fans all over the world, called the Swifties, are obsessed with the relationship. They were agonizing because Taylor Swift, on her worldwide Eras Tour, was performing in Tokyo Saturday night February 10th, the eve of the Super Bowl, and might not show up in time. To illustrate what a big deal the Swift-Kelce romance is, the Embassy of Japan in the U.S.A. issued a statement to reassure the fans.
But no fear, Swift quickly flew on her private jet and covered the 5,500 mile journey to Las Vegas in time. Another 882 private planes landed for the game in the Las Vegas airports as well. Well-known celebrities from entertainers to politicians and sports stars were seen at the Super Bowl, such as Jay-Ze,Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Bieber, Elon Musk, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Lady Gaga, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sheryl Crow, Shaquille O Neal, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, and many more. The romance has generated an intense amount of attention and provided millions in revenue to the KC Chiefs and other marketing companies. I have not watched a Super Bowl in a long time but decided to turn my kitchen TV on the game and watch it while cooking. I also took some photos from the television.
Since I did not want to spend much time cooking I decided to cook something in one pot only. I had two egg yolks leftover from baking some meringue cookies earlier and came up with a type of spaghetti carbonara, but without the spaghetti. I called it Super Bowl Carbonara, It was fast and easy in my cast iron frying pan. I wouldn't say it was a 5-star recipe but something simple and stil pretty good. You may wish to give it a try. The recipe is below.
Super Bowl Carbonara: 2 packages of Ramen noodle soup, any flavor because only noodles are used, spice packs are omitted. 2 egg yolks. 1/3 green pepper, chopped, and 2 green onions, sliced, white parts separated from green parts. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling when done. 2 cups warm water, plus another 1/2 cup for egg mixture. 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon each of thyme and oregano, salt and pepper to taste. 1 tsp olive oil. Fry bacon in cast iron frying pan or other pan, remove to paper towel. Remove bacon fat but leave 2 tablespoons in pan and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Fry green pepper and the white parts of the green onions in the pan, remove. Add 2 cups warm water to pan and add the Ramen noodles. Bring to a boil while flipping the noodles and separating them with two forks. Sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning. Turn heat to medium-low. When noodles have softened (about 2 or 3 minutes or so) turn heat off. While noodles were cooking add 1/2 cup warm water to egg yolks in a small bowl (or if too much water left in noodles, use that.) Whisk Parmesan cheese in eggs. Toss egg mixture into noodles, turn heat on low, and keep tossing a minute or two until creamy. Add crumbled bacon, the green parts of the onions, and the cooked green pepper and white parts of green onions. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. Voila.
As an aside, one of the players for the Kansas City Chiefs at the Super Bowl, Lucas Niang, is French and has dual citizenship. His parents moved to the US from France. His father is French and his mother from the Ivory Coast, or Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa. Lucas speaks fluent French. Here he is below.
After the meal I went to watch the game on my large TV in the den. It looked like the San Francisco 49ers were ahead but then the game turned to the Kansas City Chiefs. We had some glimpses of Taylor Swift in her suite cheering with her friends. She was wearing her gold necklace with the number 87 - that is her boyfriend Travis Kelce's tee-shirt number.
The game became gripping during the overtime. The end escaladed quickly to a thrilling victory for the Kansas City Chiefs, their third Super Bowl victory in the last five years. They defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 and declared champions.
Travis Kelce hoisted the Lombardi Trophy on the podium and then descended onto the field. He joined Taylor, saying "Come here, baby girl." They hugged and embraced.
This game gathered the highest ratings since the Apollo II 1969 moon landing. A staggering 123.4 million viewed the game and 202 million watched at least part of the game across all TV networks and via streaming. The insane amount of attention being paid to the Taylor-Travis romance helped with teenage girls watching the Super Bowl for the first time. The reason for this fascination is because this is the classic American romance in a way: the cheerleader or most popular girl falls for the handsome football star. Or in this case, Taylor Swift (voted woman of the Year 2023 by Time Magazine,) the pop culture megastar is dating the popular and talented Kansas City handsome tight end = two famous people making their fan base swoon. Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute who has studied the chemistry of romantic love said: "It was charming, so real, so human, so unrehearsed and so dramatic." She explained that the phenomenon behind the interest in this romance is called "emotional contagion." She added it is the same as why we tear up when our friends cry or get hungry when those around us are eating. This is the type of fantasy love story the American public loves.
Everyone needs a little romance in their life!

Monday, February 5, 2024

Snow and ice in Nashville, Tennessee

After my last trip to the North Georgia Mountains I was planning to write three blog posts: one on apple orchards in Ellijay, one on my trip up Fort Mountain State Park and one on Cherokee Chief Vann House Historical Site. So many photos were taken that my old laptop could not handle downloading them in a normal amount of time and, in addition, I was preparing my trip to Africa. I left for Addid Ababa, Ethiopia, in mid December, and then spent 10 days including Christmas in Cape Town, South Africa. After another week spent on a safari in Tanzania I was in Nairobi, Kenya for New Year. After another stop in Addis Ababa I returned to Nashville in early January (blog posts will follow when my laptop is set up.) Less than a week after my return to Nashville the weather turned very cold. It was a shock to the system to go from the mid to high 90 F (35C) in Tanzania to 7 to 10 F (-13 C and below) in Nashville, and below 0 F at night (-18 C.) Below is the view from my bedroom window when I got up on Monday January 15, 2024, next to the street view from behind my front room plantation shutters. (View in heading courtesy Parthenon Park, Nashville.)
It snowed non-stop that day, most of the following day, then it turned to ice. It did snow again several days later before the first snow had melted. In the South, winter season begins in October and ends in March. Data shows that in an average winter Nashville gets 4.7 inches of snow. From the night of January 14 to January 15 about 9 inches of snow fell in my backyard thus producing more snow that day than during an entire winter. This broke the previous 1944 record of 2.2 inches in one day. January 15, 2024, was very cold but it was just snow, ice had not formed yet. Some children, daring the cold, were sledding near the closed Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville. Not many people have sleds around here, so the children used cardboard boxes, laundry boxes, flat boards, etc. (Photo courtesy WSMV News.)
Painting below is "Snowday, 1948" by John Philip Falter, American, 1910-1982.
The sun came up a couple of days later; it was pretty, but still dangerously cold and icy.
No cars were driving by on my road and no one was walking either; everything stayed white and silent. Only birds gave signs of life.
There was no mail for a week, no deliveries of any type. I would have liked to walk around town and take pictures, but I could not walk outside. I had planned to drive to Georgia to make sure my house there was fine, but was "ice bound" for that week. I was fortunate that my neighbor helped me down my icy steps so I could drive to Georgia on Tuesday January 23rd, a week after the start of the snow. The steps were still covereed in ice, as well as my walkway.
No snow plow cleared out my street, which is a "boulevard" and in the center of Nashville. The city has just several snow plows, 15 years old. They ordered 37 new snow plows last year but as a result of supply chain problems they only received one of them. Crews were out trying to clear the roads but only the interstate highways, highways and large main roads were serviced. No side street, subdivision or small connecting or secondary roads were cleared; they remained iced over the whole week. At least traffic was sparse as you can see below from the Tennessean newspaper's photographs.
The top left photo is of I-65 just past Nashville toward Birmingham, Alabama. Interstate 65 (I-65) is a major north-south interstate highway connecting between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Traffic on this highway is usually pretty steady. The bottom right photo shows runner Sam Skinner on a Brentwood road. Brentwood is about 15 minutes south of Nashville and is where my daughter and family live. Sam is a musician, a guitar player. One of the songs he composed is called "Cold." I wonder if he is from up north for running like this on an extremely cold arctic day? Actually, my daughter who went to Antarctica in 2022 told me that she had not been as cold there as it was in her backyard... Here she is below in Antarctica in 2022. The other two photos are from her backyard in Brentwood this January 19, a sunset photo and one of the frozen lake and golf course club house.
One of my neighbors who moved not long ago from the state of Wisconsin said it was so quiet and peaceful in Nashville when it snowed compared to northern states - no snow removing equipment, no electric snow blowers, no snow plow trucks, hardly any vehicles and no people walking. The snow stays clean and pure white. The City of Nashville gov. told us "Don't venture outdoors for fear of death" - adding that "One can die from hypothermia within one hour when exposed to temperatures below zero. Go out only in a true emergency" - no problem! Nobody was interested into venturing out and risking frostbites. Unfortunately 36 people still lost their lives and over 300 were injured in the state of Tennessee due to snow during that time. Some died of cold from being stranded in their cars or, of exposure after abandoning their vehicles and walking away but not equipped to fight the cold or snow. Antioch in photo below is a neighborhood of Nashville.
I read a blog from a lady in Chicago, Illinois, who moved to Tennessee. She wrote" "In Chicago, snow plows are out on the street as soon as it starts snowing. People put on their warm boots and give themselves an extra 15 minutes to go where they need to be. This is compared to Tennessee - everyone panics, "Snowday" is declared as soon as one snowflake falls from the sky, and they then hibernate until the dusting on the roads melts away." (Click on collage to enlarge.)
Some hearty souls did venture out as you can see from the photos above, courtesy the Nashville Metropolitan Police Dept. The top photo is a salt crew working near Vanderbilt University. The golf course and park were empty, though. Beautiful photos would have been easy to snap I'm sure, but I could only watch from my windows. Below is the sun going down from my back deck, and that was toward the end of the week (still a lot of snow...)
A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.” - Carl Reiner, American comedian, 1922-2020.
Beautiful painting above from Claude Monet, French painter and founder of impressionist painting, 1840-1926, entitled Snow Effect, a street in Argenteuil.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Classic rock in Nashville, Tennessee

Recently I read an article on the brain that stated that to keep the brain sharp one needs, apart from good nutrition and physical exercises, to learn new things and have a variety of experiences. This will help the aging brain's neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to change and adapt. Experiences change a brain's physical structure and keep it young. In the last three weeks I certainly had a variety of experiences. The day after arriving in Georgia I went to the Marietta chalk festival, see my last post here. Then at the end of my two-week stay there I traveled north to visit apple orchards. The next day I walked up trails in a remote state park in the North Georgia Mountains, followed the next day by a visit to the largest and most prosperous plantation and historic home of Chief Vann, the 1790s Cherokee Indian leader and wealthy businessman. Upon my return to Nashville my son-in-law called me and invited me to join him and his visiting cousins to attend the Nashville Symphony on Thursday November 9th. His cousins, from Goa, India, enjoy music and this was a different type of concert. It was to be the rock band the Jefferson Starship accompanied by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Of course, I was ready to go. The Jefferson Starship is an offshoot of the original Jefferson Airplane group formed in San Francisco in 1965. The Jefferson Airplane became a pioneering "psychedelic" rock band and was the first to be known internationally. My late husband and I attended their concerts in San Francisco and the Bay Area. I just looked in a bag I brought back from my garage in Georgia and found several posters from that time, including the August 1966 concert at the Fillmore Auditorium which we attended. The Jefferson Airplane also headlined the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967, which we also attended. They headlined other famous concerts, such as the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and the Altamont Free Concert of 1969. Two of their songs "Somebody to Love" and "White Rabbit" are among the 500 Greatest Songs of all time, and were played on Friday.
One of the Jefferson Airplane's musicians was Paul Kantner, who when he split from the group in the 1970s founded the Jefferson Starship band. Their catalog included their own songs as well as rock classics. Grace Slick, the Jefferson Airplane's lead singer, joined the Jefferson Starship and kept singing her well known tunes such as Somebody to Love, as well as White Rabbit, which she had written. Kantner died in 2016, age 74. Grace Slick was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, wrote a book and retired from her musical career. Now 84 years old she lives in California and paints. In the pictures below she is to the right of Janis Joplin, in the 1960's, and now in her Malibu studio.
Below, some of her paintings.
The Jefferson Starship keeps touring the US and internationally (they were in Japan last January.) They had 15 energized performances scheduled for 2023 and one of them is this weekend with the Nashville Symphony at the Schermerhorn Center, shown below. We had seats on the balcony on the left.
First we parked the car near the symphony hall then walked a couple of blocks to the Assembly Food Hall for dinner. While going there we went down Broadway. It is Nashville's famous street packed with many places to drink and listen to live music. It was raining but there still were many people queuing to enter all the bars and honky tonks pumping their music out into the street. They had the walls and windows open so the music was quite loud. The bands and singers could be seen on stages and people dancing on the floor. All types of music could be heard: classic country, rockabilly (southern style rock,) blues, guitar, karaoke, old time music, bluegrass, etc. These places are open every day from 10 am to 3 am and there is no cover charge to enter them. Even being Thursday night with rain, they were packed. Below is Broadway at night and on a weekend.
Many musicians and singers live in Nashville and the surrounding areas. I hear it is not uncommon to see famous country stars come into a club and stage an impromptu performance. Tourists come here from the US and overseas. Nashville also has a reputation as being a top destination for bachelorette and bachelor parties. They come from all over the country and ride in open air buses down Broadway, wearing cowboy's hats and boots, drinking and carrying on loudly. They ride in "transportainment" vehicles, some can pedal while drinking. These vehicles can be buses, tractors, trucks with hot tubs and so on. Click on collage to enlarge. Photos below courtesy the Honky-Tonk Express.
Being a rainy Thursday night in November, I only saw about 3 of those party vehicles - they come mostly in spring and summer weekends. We reached the Assembly Food Hall and took the escalator upstairs. This is a European style multi-level culinary and entertainment place. It is large, about 100,000 square feet with 30+ eateries and bars, three live performance stages and a sky deck with views of Broadway. We decided to eat Vietnamese food. It was very tasty as each restaurant has been hand-picked for its high quality food.
Then it was time to go to the concert. The Jefferson Starship band consists of co-founding member David Freiberg (rhythm guitar/vocals) who also co-founded Quicksilver Messenger Service (another San Francisco band from 1965) - David is 85 years old. Another classic member is Donny Baldwin on drums, 72, then Chris Smith on keyboard with bass, Jude Gold the lead guitar, and singer Cathy Richardson. In the photo below, Donny Baldwin is on the right, Cathy Richardson with Jude Gold on top of collage and below, David Freiberg on left next to Chris Smith and Jude Gold.
In January 2020 I had been to this Schermerhorn Symphony Center to see "Salute to Vienna," a New Year Viennese Style celebration - see my post here. My daughter had come with me then, but this time she is attending a medical conference in Miami Beach, Florida, and had to miss this performance. The design of this concert hall provides vivid acoustical clarity. During the year a broad range of classical, pop, jazz, and family concerts are offered here. The sound was truly very clear.
Being on the balcony we could see both the symphony musicians and the Jefferson Starship group quite well. I tried to take some photos with my cell phone. They are not very good but they give an idea of the show.
Cathy Richardson has great vocal abilities and delivers vigorous harmonies. David at 85 has retained his sensational vocals. This band does not sound like a "senior" band, that's for sure. Photo below courtesy Stefan Nilsson.
David Freiberg is not the only star performing in his 80s. Many artists of that age have also kept their energy and vocal strength, such as Paul McCartney of the Beatles, at 81, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, at 80 and Ringo Starr who is still touring at 83. Their sound is still fresh and relevant. Below on right Mick Jagger, and Ringo, David on left and Paul.
Jefferson Starship performed for about 45 minutes with sets from the Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship classics and their newer songs. Then there was a 15 minute break followed by another 45 minutes of music. I wish I could have a video sample of this performance but I found a short on YouTube of Jude Gold playing Empryonic Journey. He is truly a super guitar player. This had been a terrific show with excellent music from the 60s, 70, 80s to the present, as they are still evolving. Their music was full of rhythm, energy and joy. It was a thrill to listen to them and a lot of fun.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Marietta - Chalktoberfest 2023

This year the chalk festival was held on Saturday October 14 and Sunday October 15 in Marietta, Georgia. I had planned to leave Nashville for Georgia on that Sunday but when I found out about the festival I left on Saturday. The Craft Beer Fest part of the festival was only on Saturday. With the purchase of a ticket one could have unlimited beer samples from dozens of local and national brands. I don't drink beer often, maybe once or twice a year, so I did not miss attending this. I missed the chalk festival in 2022 as I was travelling out of the country at the time. The chalk festival has grown a lot, maybe too much for my liking. It has become quite commercialized, with more arts and crafts vendors, more food and beverage trucks, with long lines.
I read that, because the weather was cloudy and cool, the crowds were not as large as last year, so I am pleased I did not go last year as already this year it took a while to take pictures as you had to queue to see them. This chalk festival started in 2013 as a fundraiser for the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art with just a few artists. When my late husband and I went to the 2014 festival the 40 professional chalk artists then were from eight US states. Now this year there were 83 chalk professionals from all over the US, many from Mexico as well as some from Japan, Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Colombia, France and Ukraine. They still compete around the Marietta Square, which has not grown any, so it gets crowded. There used to be around 10,000 visitors to the two-day event, but now the number reaches 100,000. There are also now 400 volunteers working in shifts. You can look at earlier posts of the chalk festival by clicking on the side of my blog. The aerial photo of the Square, below, was taken a couple of years ago, when less crowded.
Glover Park is in the center of the Square, with a fountain, benches, children play area and a couple of kiosks. Local bands were playing on the kiosk stage. The park was decorated for Halloween.
There was also a community chalk competition with categories for schools, children, teens and adults. Below are entries from children and teens.
Nowadays with cell phones, most people were taking "selfies" in front of the chalk arts. But it still was worth waiting to look at all these chalk paintings.
It seems that this year there was more 3D or anamorphic chalk art. An anamorphic image is a 3D illusion. It is an image that has been stretched out on the ground so that the 3D effect is only visible from a specific spot. If you walk around the piece, it starts to distort. Be sure to click on collage to enlarge.
I stopped and chatted for a while with Joel Yau, a skilled artist from San Rafael, California. He has been coming to Marietta for years and I took photos of his art each time. This time his subject was Portrait of a Young Man by Annibale Garracci (Italian, 1560-1609.) Joel told me where to find the chalk artist from France, on the other side of the Square.
While walking there I took some photos of the numerous dogs at the event. I tried to take the photo of a friendly white dog, but he kept looking the other way. Then he suddenly turned around and came so close to my Canon on my chest that I could only take his nose with my little Sony. It was easier to take a photo of some stuffed dogs, not moving.
Chalk portrait of dogs, and one cat, on the pavement were not moving, either.
I passed by more lovely chalk art. The name of the sponsor is below the chalk art, as well as a little sign with the name of the artist and a small box for tips.
I reached the spot where Dogan Sitki, a Turkish chalk artist, had created a 3D portrait of Spanish painter Salvador Dali. Sitki is a talented artist who after obtaining a master's degree in industrial design and working as an academic assistant for two years decided that his passion was street art. He has received awards from national and international competitions. I found a couple more of his work online.
Some of the chalk art was on boards rather than on the asphalt.
There were so many more - and I did not take pictures of all of them, but I tried!
The chalk used is much thicker than regular blackboard chalk. The sticks are rougher so they won't constantly break on the tough tarmac of the road.
As usual, there were many colorful and stunning works on the ground. It must be quite tiring to keep drawing, bent over the pavement all day. As I was walking, some of the designs seem to leap off, especially the 3D designs. I have looked in awe at pictures of Julian Beever's anamorphic drawings, or trompe-l'oeil. He is a British sidewalk chalk artist born in 1959 who has been creating his designs on the rough pavement since the 1990s. He is known all over the world for his chalk drawings. Here are some examples of his work, courtesy Julian Beever, net.
As I was slowing walking around the Square I finally reached the surface where Jean-Marc Navello, from France, had drawn his chalk art. By then the crowds were diminishing and I was able to speak to him. He certainly looked up when he heard me speak in French. He said I was the first French person he had seen during the two-day event. He asked me if I was there on vacation and was surprised when I told him I had lived in Cobb County for decades. Jean-Marc came from Toulon, in the South of France. He is a graphic designer and illustrator who started his street painting when he saw a chalk festival in France in 2010. Since then he has not let go of his chalk set. His work that day was a 3D piece inspired by modern art.
Jean-Marc told me there are two types of street painters on the ground - first, those who reproduce paintings by great masters or some designs and, second, those who practice free art, which is what he does, mostly in 3D. He said: "It's pure creation. I first create my image on a computer, print it and use it as a model for the reproduction on the floor." Jean-Marc is a multi-award winner, from France, Italy and Great Britain. I asked him if he had entered many street competitions in the US and he replied that is is not easy, as he needs a sponsor to help with costs, and so far he has only been to Marietta, Georgia. He added that it is an ephemeral art form and thus difficult to find sponsors. Below is more of his work.
Chalk street painting is certainly ephemeral - here this weekend and gone within days. But what is not ephemeral? Wealth is made and lost, good health can disappear, friends can drift apart, colors fade, borders shift, and memories are forgotten. Permanence is an illusion. So, let celebrate this ephemeral art and enjoy it while it lasts.
Qual è la vita ma l'ombra di un sogno fugace? - Umberto Eco, Italian, 1936-2016 (Qu'est-ce que la vie sinon l'ombre d'un rêve éphémère? - What is life but the shadow of a fleeting dream?)
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