If there is anything that I love as much as French culture, it is the beginning of the 20th century. Men wore dashing suits, young women cropped their hair and began to assert their independence, and noone knew that smoking was bad for you (It’s been 5 months, don’t judge). Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that the arts seemed to be experiencing one of its most energetic periods, and it seems historically accurate to say that Paris was at the center of this great change.
Rebellious artists from all over the world flocked to this cultural epicenter to make their mark and participate in bohemian culture. I could go on at length about Dada, the Surrealists, my homegirl Kiki de Montparnasse, Art Nouveau……and I will, but one thing at a time!
What’s always fascinated me about this particular period is the fact that so many artists from so many disciplines formed a truly solid community. Writers and painters and musicians alike congregated together to celebrate a common vision – there didn’t seem to be the same boundaries that we currently establish between genres. Even Salvador Dali’s greatest muse, his wife Gala, left the surrealist poet Paul Éluard for him (which makes her one of the coolest women everrrrr, despite the fact that she was not actually French).
But the turn of the century in Paris seems to mark a distinct moment in time in which we launched ourselves into modernity. Music, theater, literature, painting was ripped apart, institutions were ignored, and artists felt comfortable to push boundaries, break rules, and experiment.
And the smarty pantses at PBS will be airing a fabulous new documentary entitled “Paris: the Luminous Years” that’s all about this exciting time. It will be airing at 9 pm, December 15th (that’s tomorrow, mes amis!).
You can check out the trailer here!