NICE SHOWS SOME AMERICAN LOVE WITH NEW EXHIBIT

Nice se met à l’heure américaine cette année! Nice is showing some American love this year!

When US Congress declared war on Germany on 6th April, 1917, the Niçois city fathers decided to rename its famous « Quai du midi » to « Quai des Etats-Unis ».

A century later, it was thus natural for Nice, which has been commemorating the First World War with a series of yearly exhibitions since 2014, to celebrate the impact the American presence had, not only on the city, but also the entire French Riviera.

1917 Nice l'américaine expoEntitled « 1917: Nice l’Américaine », the exhibit starts in 1787 with Thomas Jefferson, who was the first known American to travel to the south of France, and follows with Uncle Sam’s soldiers on “rest and recreation” as they showed locals the pleasures of bathing and sunbathing. Soon after, with the region transforming itself from a winter to a summer resort, it was the turn of the crème de la crème of American high society to flock to the region’s villas, private beaches and night clubs, to rub shoulders with famous artists from the ‘Lost Generation’.

The region had by then earned its reputation as a hedonistic paradise, and became a mixture of opulence, glamour, joie de vivre, and jazz music. Cole Porter rented a house on Cap d’Antibes for two summers in 1921 and 1922 and played in American-owned cocktail bar le Pam Pam. The wealthy Murphys took advantage of the strong US dollar to escape Prohibition at home and to make the Riviera their home. There, they entertained their many friends from the artistic community. Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, Man Ray, and John Do Passo were just a few of the A-listers who participated in their wild parties, while F. Scott Fitzgerald perfectly captured the atmosphere of the era in his famous novel ‘Tender is the Night’.

palais-mediterranee-nice

 

While the roaring 20’s came to an abrupt end in 1929 with the stock market crash, the interest in the Côte d’Azur never really waned, and American money played an important part in the region’s development. Billionaire Frank Jay Gould opened the magnificent Palais de la Méditerranée right on the Promenade des Anglais, while American director Rex Ingram rescued the Victorine Studios from bankruptcy, giving them an international dimension.

The exhibition ‘1917: Nice l’Américaine’ is being held at the Archives Municipales in Nice until the 29th of September and will also include conferences, educational workshops, jazz sessions, and a cycle of American films held at the Cinémathèque de Nice.

photos © RIVIERA BUZZ

THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE DAMNED: THE TRAGIC LOVE STORY OF ZELDA AND SCOTT

Nouvel article pour Riviera Buzz (New article for Riviera Buzz)

Promotheatre-zelda_et_scott

A tragic love story that still fascinates almost a century later, French author Renaud Meyer’s latest play Zelda and Scott is coming to the Riviera.

They had it all. He was a youngbrilliant and successful author whose most famous works, The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night, are considered some of the greatest novels of the last century. She was a beautifulpopular and eccentric southern belle who grew up in a wealthy family and was indulged by her mother. And together, as a couple, they became the epitome of both the follies of the roaring 20s and the despair of the Lost Generation.

More than 90 years later, the story of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzerald still fascinates, and this is why Meyer chose them as the heroes of his latest play, simply titled Zelda and Scott, which is coming to the French Riviera this month. For two hours, the story takes us to New York where the two have just fallen madly in love and then moves to the terrace of a hotel in Cannes where the couple led a life of excess, before ending in a psychiatric hospital where Zelda is being treated for schizophrenia.

The play has all the required elements of a perfect drama: literary successes, a decadent lifestyle, acts of outrageous behaviour (they were regularly thrown out of hotels and the homes of friends), bouts with alcoholismjealousyinsanity… “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy”, Fitzerald once wrote, and it seems like that is exactly what he and his muse managed to do with their own lives.

After a successful run in Paris, the play is now touring France and will stop in Monaco on the 9th of November and in Cannes on the 21st.

Just as Woody Allen’s latest movie Magic in the Moonlight pays tribute to our region at a time, the Jazz age, where it was the favorite playground of wealthy American and English expatriates, this great play reminds us of the flip side of paradise.

Zelda and Scott plays at the Théâtre Princesse Grace in Monaco at 3 pm on Sunday, 9th November and at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes at 8:30 pm on Friday, 21st of November.