05/11/17
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PARIS UNPLUGGED: Liberty, Equality, Jewelry!

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B&W in bloom from “Flora”

As if we don’t owe the French enough for teaching us how to tie a scarf, now the culture connoisseurs offer us another life lesson. No, I’m not talking about how to elect a president with the smarts to marry a woman old enough to be his mistress. I’m talking about L’Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels. Liberty, Equality, Jewelry!

Shortly before the French hit the polls last week, I headed to a presentation on Van Cleef’s School of Jewelry Arts hosted by the Albertine Library.

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The Albertine beckons

A project of the cultural services of the French embassy, Albertine is an intimate alternative to the Metropolitan Museum of Art holding court up the street. Its calendar of events features the latest in literature, dance, art, and of course philosophy (France’s Mick Jagger of punditry, Bernard-Henri Lévy, spoke there). Read more . . .

04/28/17
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100 Reasons To Love Jane

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Up Fifth Avenue from the Washington Square Park Arch

How have your last hundred days been? No doubt you’ve been engaged in peaceful reflection if not bored out of your mind from the lack of controversy, acrimony, and world turmoil.

No?

Well just in case you’re looking for a story about little guys giving creeps their due, The Sultanette has a film for you.

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City is the story of a woman’s fight for urban preservation but its most stunning scene celebrates destruction. Spoiler: The bad guys get obliterated.

The slow motion collapse of failed housing projects reflects the filmic elegance of director Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor). But in this latest documentary, to watch these massive structures crumple in nuclear clouds of dust and grime is to celebrate the fall of the Titans. Goliath unhinged. Money, arrogance, power … poof! Read more . . .

02/13/17

A Venice Valentine

Reflections on Venice, Dream of Venice Architecture

Roses ordered? Champaign chilling? Massage oil heating up to caress your favorite kumquat? Valentine’s Day is around the corner, intrepid paramours! If you can’t get hashtag-laid on this day of hashtag-romance you’d better reread the Kama Sutra. Or better yet, Dream of Venice Architecture, the latest dreamy installment from Venice cognoscente, JoAnn Locktov.

This bouquet of meditations on the world’s most seductive city might be all the company you need this Valentine’s Day. (And a bargain compared to the jacked-up prices you’d pay for the Lover’s Menu at your local boite.) Add to that, The Sultanette’s exclusive report on last week’s Metropolitan Museum of Art lecture, “The Brothel House of Europe: Venice on the Grand Tour” and your adult entertainment is complete. Read more . . .

01/24/17

Intimacy With Strangers

Beijing Chaoyang Park, 2008, drnan tu.

Open on woman alone in cozy living room. A sudden shattering of glass breaks the stillness as a man bursts through French doors behind her. He is hooded, all in black. He throws her to the ground. She thrashes back. Vases crash. He takes her violently and disappears.

I almost left Elle after Isabelle Huppert’s first rape scene, already skittish at the thought of returning to my New York apartment, alone with the image. Yes, I did say “first rape scene” and yes, I’m glad I stayed. Because after its brutal introduction the film, this year’s Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Film, takes an even more kinky but intriguing turn. Read more . . .

12/8/16

When The Going Gets Tough The French Get Dressed

Marie Antoinette dressed for the guillotine, William Hamilton, 1794.

With the end of democracy just on the other side of holiday parties, it’s time for wardrobe planning. Never mind Ivanka’s festive collection of Billionaire Shabby Chic. Or Melania trending FLOOZY FLOTUS. I share with you now, fashion tips from the French countess who knew how to dress for them all.

First stop, the Albertine Library at the French Consulate on Fifth Avenue where The Sultanette has recently become a member. What more ideal venue pour moi than one offering French literary punditry, posh surroundings, and free wine! Read more . . .