SCARLETT’S LETTERS: Tarts! Frocks! Democracy!
Dear James —
I’ve been meaning to write you. There’s so much I’ve wanted to share, but my head has been so topsy-turvy with all these hats I wear: the chef cap coupled with visual-merchandizer visor topped by a filmmaker’s baseball cap. There are days I feel like a circus acrobat juggling while spinning, suspended in air; I stop for a moment’s reflection, amazed that I have the energy to grow so many arms. I am utterly grateful to have so many delicious ingredients to create the sweet-and-spicy dish that is ma vie.
Today was an especially exciting bit of vivre sa vie, starting with spiced pumpkin cupcakes and a lavender glazing on lemon poppy-seed scones. Then off to the Rick Owens store in Paris to make it shimmer with glitter for fashion week, then back to the kitchen to prep for the défilé. A hiccup in the dough order meant I had to use my mixing spoon as a wand and turn that mess into tomato, black olive and three-cheese savory tarts. Another batch of dough batter became decadent mini-tarts of chocolate and peanut caramel crunch. Then back to my fabulously dilapidated apartment, designed forty years ago by Tony Duquette, to record a radio show for France Culture about the Hun (mom) and the Hunlette (me). After that, and a glass of wine to warm my vocal cords, it was time to practice “This is the Girl,” a song by Patti Smith, part of the soundtrack for a film I am shooting this week in the Trianon theater, no less. Then back to the conveniently located brasserie under my house to grab another glass of rouge and kiss performing artist Divine David Hoyle, stylist Arianne Phillips, documentarian Danielle Levitt and friends, who of course all wanted to come up for a tour of the opulent green and red framed rooms I live in. Not only do I help tourists find the Musee d’Orsay, I also give tours of my private life.
Leading me to this moment when I turn to vous, you guys, and don another chapeau I wear: writing for PFC.
In many ways the writing is my favorite, as I said to the pretty Aurelie, who interviewed the Hun and me for her radio show: the one thing that deeply binds mother and daughter is the love of telling stories. In a plethora of mediums, we always have a mythology or romantic tale that defines, describes and leads us to the final event of creative manifestation. Without the raison d’être, that combination of intuitive and strategic elements that form the artist’s mandate to express herself, there would be no reason to create.
The story is what carries our hearts forward. It’s what turns the light from red to green. In spiritual woo-woo L.A. pseudo-Hindu terms, the root chakra, or the foundation of life, is the color red, while the heart chakra, from whence the influencing hands and branches grow, is a glowing green. I am Scarlett Rouge, the double red. And these green fingers of mine turn the wrong dough into spicy decadent tarts.
Later the same night, two blonde cuties from Spain and Italy came to spend the night: Giovanni, whom you already know from a previous post that led everyone to believe he was my lover, and his radiant boyfriend Alvaro. Over another glass of wine we discussed sexual fantasies from a female point of view, about masturbating to assorted desires, or more so the simple act of pleasuring one’s self for the sake of it, rather than to the imaginary or remembered reverie of another’s touch.
Flash forward past two days that have come and flown in a scuffle of fashion glamor and artistic fervor. Another event that stretches farther and wider than fashion week, touching all corners of humanity, is playing itself out literally outside my apartment. My thin windows vibrate from the impassioned conviction of a lady who is screaming into a mic and from the pacifist crowd gathered around her in a sit-in. Chanting and clapping, they have taken over the streets, blocking all surrounding traffic and front entrance to l’Assemblée nationale across from where I live. I was in a meeting here with the stylist about the film we are shooting this week, when a horde of demonstrators rushed to sit in the middle of the street, without regard to their own safety in front of the manic flow of oncoming Parisian motorists. It is now midnight and they have been here since noon.
Needless to say the outdoor events upstaged our conversation about this Comme des Garçons or that Rick Owens dress. We could only sit at the open window, watching the demonstrators arrive while the riot police, with all their artillery and militaristic attire, poured in to encircle them. Well, the one thing that somewhat warms my heart is the protestors are still here and the police have not lifted a finger to stop the procession. I want to scream out the window, “Vive la démocratie!”
A few weeks ago, see, France aligned herself with America, and in turn with unpopular Israel, and recently partook in bombing ISIS. France has moved to DEFCON 2 on the “war against terrorism.”
As a counter attack, the Islamic extremists have called for all French jihadis to indiscriminately attack with knives and stones all and any French infidels. There was even a bomb alert yesterday at the l’Assemblee nationale, creating an enormous traffic jam in the already jam-packed city, almost making me late for Rick’s fashion show. But who gives a flying fuck about fashion when thousands of lives, hearts and homes, are under attack or threatened with attack?
Today, in response to the violence and mayhem, this group of pacifists assembled to rightfully remind the French that they have an enormous population of Muslims that pays taxes and votes in their country, which is also their country. They are more than discontent. And as their female spokesperson beneath my window — I think the gender is important to point out; Westerners often assume that women have no voice in Muslim communities — said: “We are sitting here waiting to be received [by the French politicians]. We don’t want to fight, we are not causing trouble. We want to be heard!”
Again I want to scream, “Vive la démocratie!”
I’ve never really been an activist, yet my political convictions are saliently woven into the lining of my artist’s beret; there is often an underlying political current in my paintings and sculptures. Listening to the protestor’s passion tonight, from where I stand behind the thin windows in my dilapidated apartment, is palpable and so right. Like Marie Antoinette, I’ve been concerned with tarts and fashion, and it sounds so frivolous in comparison. Yet we do have to feed and clothe ourselves, so make it delicious and stylish, I say. As for decadence, what better place is there than Paris? At the same time I am intensely thankful to have my bubble burst in the middle of a meeting about fashion for a film and reminded of the reality beyond the trappings of my gilded cage. This act of protesting, of just stopping traffic and making yourself heard, of sitting and demanding your reception, seizing it from the city herself, that is another great French tradition, a flame kept alive since the time of Marie Antoinette. Beheaded, she didn’t come out of it well; nor will the beheading Islamic extremists. But isn’t it uplifting to hear the voices rise? Those voices sing of us as a great civilization. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, no matter whose side you’re on.
How was fashion week? I’m attaching some images and letting them speak for themselves.
Scarlett Rouge xxx