Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the U.S public
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Eight years ago, an American writer named Pamela Druckerman emerged on the national and international scene wearing a beret –– somewhat ironically –– and wielding a radical theory of child-rearing. Radical, that is, to Americans, it was completely normal to the French. She’d written a best-selling book that you’ve probably heard of, called Bringing…
 
Hearing from Graydon reminded me of the good old days of New York publishing and magazine life—his decadent parties at the Puck building were absolutely unforgettable, equipped with mountains of pâté, all-girl swing bands, and filled with women in Madonna-style bubble dresses. Once co-founder of the satirical Spy Magazine and editor-in-chief of Van…
 
I knew about William Middleton from the biography—or double biography, rather—he wrote of the great French-Texan art collectors, Dominique and John de Menil. When we got to talking, I realized that we have more in common than I thought: turns out we are both from the American southwest and ended up working for publications in New York and Paris. Wi…
 
I first met Lauren Collins about fifteen years ago, when we were both working at The New Yorker. I noticed her immediately—The New Yorker can be a quiet place, but she was friendly and effervescent—she even asked me out for drinks! But she was also very focused. She radiated energy––like a blonde, Tasmanian devil, but much more charming and polite.…
 
Thomas Chatterton Williams, the extraordinary expat writer, cultural critic, and James Baldwin scholar, has lived in Paris for a decade. Thomas grew up in the U.S. surrounded by books and liberal ideals — but in the 90s, he turned his focus to expressing his identity through hip-hop, and rejected erudition as inauthentic. In his 2010 book, Losing M…
 
John von Sothen is an American magazine writer based in Paris, where he’s lived since 2002. He dabbles a little in French TV and comedy, too. When I started talking to him for this podcast, I forgot that I’d never met him before. That’s because last year John wrote a memoir that was so hilarious, so warm, and so personal that I felt as if we’d know…
 
One steaming hot July morning, our team piled into a car to the Hamptons, in Long Island. No, we weren’t going to the beach, or to someone’s luxurious mansion––even better––we were headed to The Watermill Center, an arts Mecca created by legendary theater director Bob Wilson. The Center is a buzzing, symbiotic hive where artists not only harness th…
 
At the French Embassy we have an award called the Arts and Letters Award, where we effectively “Knight” people for their contributions to French culture. When author Rick Moody was next up to receive it, we knew we had to organize a podcast episode to get his take on France. In characteristic French extravagance, we ended up organizing a marathon e…
 
Katherine Fleming, provost of NYU, is living proof of the merits of international exchange. She’s one of the leaders of the academic world in the United States, and her humor, which is as sharp as her intelligence, defies all stereotypes about academia. She feels equally at home in Greece and in France, and she has supported many of the French Emba…
 
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has hosted some of the most amazing French performances on both sides of the Atlantic, from Les Fêtes Vénitiennes by Les Arts Florissants to mesmerizing contemporary circus. The man behind all of these incredible productions is Joe Melillo. As Executive Producer Emeritus at BAM, Joe has been a pillar of the New Y…
 
Gloria Steinem is a household name in the United States, yet she is less known in France. Some might even call her the Simone de Beauvoir of America. We were fortunate to have Gloria and her friend, Robin Morgan, curate our annual Festival Albertine in 2017––an event that gathered the most relevant feminists on both sides of the Atlantic. It was ra…
 
All of New York seems to be talking about the new restaurant, Le Coucou, by chef Daniel Rose. Fortunately, Daniel’s son and Bénédicte’s daughter attended the same nursery school, and after a playdate one day, a podcast recording was arranged. Daniel has led an incredible life––a Chicago native, he studied philosophy in France before opening several…
 
We first collaborated with Darren Walker, the passionate and articulate President of the Ford Foundation, on a groundbreaking exhibition entitled Posing Modernity: The Black Model from Manet and Matisse to Today at Colombia University's Wallach Art Gallery in New York. It shed new light on black models in the arts throughout history and was so succ…
 
The amazing thing about Adam Gopnik, staff writer for The New Yorker, is that he knows more about France than many French people. It’s as if this podcast was made for him. You can ask him a question about anything, from the Statue of Liberty to French pop music, and he will give you an eloquent, informative and captivating answer. When he arrived a…
 
Visual artist Mickalene Thomas seems to have artwork everywhere, from the Moody Arts Center in Houston to the Brooklyn Museum and Paris. One morning in June, Mickalene and her partner and muse, Racquel Chevremont, joined me at Albertine, the French bookstore on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The three of us talked at length about how Mickalene reinte…
 
Jonathan Galassi has been at the helm of the legendary publishing house Farrar, Straus & Giroux—one of the most literary publishers in the U.S.—for more than 30 years. He is the Antoine Gallimard of America, if you will. He’s also an eminent translator of Italian and French poetry and a poet himself. Jonathan Galasssi walked over to my apartment on…
 
Adam Weinberg is the Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art—one of the most important museums in the United States. I met him when I first arrived in New York, during his own Arts and Letters award ceremony, which we had organized at our bookstore, Albertine. It was then that I first discovered that, despite his grand title, Adam is an extr…
 
When I started as Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy, everyone told me that I had to meet Claire Messud—that she was quintessential Francophile intellectual, not to mention author of six works of fiction. We conversed about what it means to be a citizen of the world (2:04), literature (4:45), Flaubert (5:20), Algeria (7:20), and feminism (9:5…
 
I met Liesl Schillinger, the literary critic and translator, 11 years ago. I had just been appointed as a negotiator for France at the UN Security Council in New York. As a critic for The New York Times, she was invited to every book party in town, and she generously took me to every one. Here we talked about translation (4:55), French books (13:54…
 
David Sedaris––one of the best-known American humor writers and radio personalities––has written extensively about his time in France. No one skewers the French like he does. He's written about our language, especially our weird gendered words, living in a village in Normandy, and shopping at unusual Parisian boutiques. He came to my apartment one …
 
Dee Dee Bridgewater is a star in France. With three Grammys and a Tony Award under her belt, she represents the quintessential American jazz singer in my country. This talented singer-songwriter and actress came over to my apartment on a Sunday afternoon––exhausted from rehearsals, though you never would have guessed it––with her fluffy dog Daisy. …
 
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