New Tenants at the Arcades

March 23, 2011 § Leave a comment


Passage des Panoramas Image: feuilleton

By Rebecca Liao

Nobody shops at the Arcades, unless they do not have anything to buy. Even at the height of their modernity, the indoor mazes of stores and restaurants beneath vaulted ceilings of iron and glass were more the territory of the incurable and occasional flâneurs. No matter, though; one thing the Arcades have never been is irrelevant. They were once the newest act in town. They are now an inside secret for the self-identified cultured traveler, which perversely makes them cooler than they ever were. The type of tenants they attract has remained the same: oddities that would not survive if they were not all housed under one chic roof and, therefore, able to play the legitimacy-by-numbers game. The same appeal underlies this form of entertainment:

John Galliano Spring 2006 Ready-to-Wear Collection Image: Style.com

Every few weeks, I will introduce new tenants to the neighborhood.

- Tibor de Nagy Gallery: Painters & Poets Non-obvious mashups do not often lead to movements, but when you have the Abstract Expressionists as an ally, the prospects look much better, as in you might even name yourself after, and therefore claim to represent, a cultural capital.

- As the Federer Express was pulling into the U.S. Open in 2006, David Foster Wallace wrote what is still the most insightful and beautiful analysis of Roger Federer’s game. Eight Grand Slams later, Federer still owes many a lionizing (re)introduction to DFW’s poetry. Turns out DFW has a track record of elucidating and bringing heft to sissy, alien institutions. Sequitur regularly partners his work with contemporary classical music, most recently performing “Tri-Stan” (based on the story “Tri-Stan: I Sold Sissee Nar to Ecko”) and “Everything is Green” at Symphony Space in NYC.

- Street performers are generally kicked out of private shopping areas, but it’d be a pity to constrain Hanh-Bin to a concert hall.

- Uber-hippie John Luther Adams was finally convinced to bring his monolithic “Inuksuit” to an urban performance space. A student in the legendary Stanford course “Rock, Sex and Rebellion” once wrote in a paper about Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love:” “[That song] makes me want to have sex like burning.” Not there yet, but we are a lot closer than we’ve been in years.

- More than a hundred years after its founding, The Ballets Russes, as it originally existed in Paris, still captures the imagination. Each new incarnation seeks a direct link to the source, rather than all the re-interpretations that have come since. Most recently, the prima ballerina and sane half of a pair of genius siblings received their curtain call.

- Time. Pencils down please.

- Food court is calling. During the last couple of years, The Village Pub in Woodside, CA was quite happy being the watering hole for Silicon Valley’s beautiful people. It’s finally taken a cue from its customers and iterated, only instead of obnoxious new tools for pushing borders on privacy, it’s offering bottarga, bone marrow and Bergamot Crème Anglaise.

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