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Swans and Jellyfish

I was hungover yesterday. I had a plan to check out the Musée d'Orsay, but it took a long time to actualize. First I had to do some blogging, find coffee, change my plan and check out the Pompidou Center instead, get repelled by the long line, walk in the rain over the river, watch some swans grooming themselves with their flopping, muscular necks, gobble down a croque-monsieur in a tourist diner before I fainted, and only then arrive at the entrance of the d'Orsay, which was of course swamped by its own giant, immobile line of tourists.

I got in eventually, though, and it was probably worth it. The d'Orsay is mostly devoted to 19th-century French art like Manet, Degas, Monet, etc., some of which is just college dorm fodder, and some of which is really, truly great.The d'Orsay is mostly devoted to 19th-century French art like Manet, Degas, Monet, etc., some of which is just college dorm fodder, and some of which is really, truly great. I won't bore you with my art historical opinions, but I will say this: as it turns out, if a painting's got some Velasquez in there, I'm generally into it. That cotton candy stuff, on the other hand, I can't get away from fast enough.

I walked back home because the weather had cleared, and by then it was time to meet some incoming American writers, Benjamin Percy, Tom Franklin, and Beth Ann Fennelly. They're in town for a book festival this weekend, and I'll be spending a lot of time with them over the next few days, I hope. We drank beers in an empty bar on the Rive Gauche and gossiped. I'd never met Tom and Beth Ann before, and they are hilarious and decent folks. So is Ben, and as you might have heard, he has a very deep voice.

Four beers later, I took the Metro back to the Pompidou to catch my friend Vanessa Renwick's screening of experimental films. The opening act was a band called Lovers, with a vaguely Eurythmics-y thing going on — big voice and electronic pop — and they went over great with the French. Vanessa's movies were also great. The main feature was Medusa Smack, a soothing meditation heavy on jellyfish, which are indeed beautiful creatures.

After that I went to hear some more Portland music at the main Keep Portland Weird venue, La Gaite Lyrique. It was hip hop night, featuring Slimkid3 and Lifesavas, and although the crowd was a bit light, people were dancing. I was tired and my calves ached from all the day's walking, but I swayed a little near the wall myself before heading back to my room and skyping with Emily while the baby napped.

÷ ÷ ÷

Jon Raymond is the author of the novel The Half-Life and the short story collection Livability. He is the writer of several films, including Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, and cowriter of the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. Raymond lives in Portland, Oregon, with his family. Rain Dragon is his second novel.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Half-Life Used Hardcover $8.95
  2. Livability: Stories
    Used Trade Paper $7.95
  3. Rain Dragon Used Trade Paper $5.50

Jon Raymond is the author of Rain Dragon

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