Jim Haynes newsletters

Newsletter No. 677

End of the Year Report
25 December 2007


Another year of life on Earth. Once again full of love, adventures, travel, people, parties and very little pain. Below you will find as much news as can be packed into two pages. I hope it brings a few smiles to your pretty faces and some pleasure as well.

Sunday dinners: Another year of Sunday dinners. Forty-eight of them to be exact. Three did not happen in August when I was once again in Edinburgh for another Festival. I missed two others in November when I was in India, but the dinners took place all the same. And I missed one in June when I was in Prague, but it took place all the same. The principal cooks were, once again, Antonia Hoogewerf, Mary Bartlett, Galina Prokhorva, and Cathy Monnet. There were other cooks, of course, including Paul Allman, Cedric Cocoyer, Kostas Papacharalampous, Stacy Wilson, Phyllis Roome, Dafina Gasparin, Denise Guillon, Veronique Vienne, Beatriz Belfrage, Barbara Sherman, Yuyusu Sharma, Claudie Martin and yours truly. Thanks largely to the efforts of Mary Bartlett, our cookbook, Throw a Great Party, edited by Mary Bartlett, Antonia Hoogewerf, and Cathy Monnet and with drawings by Trish Nickell, was released onto an unsuspecting world this past November. No home should be without two copies. (One for the kitchen and one for bedtime reading.) The book is a 100% delight. (And the price is right. Only 12 euros.)

Travels: Another trip to the Prague Writers’ Festival this past June. (See Newsletters on my web site for details. I wrote a daily blog.) Another Edinburgh Festival. (See Newsletter No. 672 on my web site.) Another Frankfurt Book Fair. (No. 673) Another Calcutta Film Festival (Newsletter 674). And a quick trip to Amsterdam in December.

Travels planned for 2008: Lisboa (probably two times), Edinburgh (probably two times), Prague (maybe three times), Frankfurt (maybe for another Book Fair), India (another Calcutta Film Festival in November). If Humberto Bernardo can pull off his plan to create a Fringe Theatre Festival in Lisboa this summer, he has asked me to serve as a Consultant. This means that Steven Gove, who created the Prague Fringe Festival and has directed it the past 6 years, and I will travel in January to Lisboa to begin making serious plans and schedules. Because the Edinburgh Film Festival has moved forward from August to June, this means I might start traveling two times a year to Edinburgh. (If my hosts, Ruth Holloway and Martin Burke, can put up with me.) Michael March, the Director of the Prague Writers’ Festival, has invited me once again to attend this coming June. I am also on a Jury to judge a play-writing competition that is being organized by the Prague Post newspaper and The Prague Playhouse theatre. I must read ten plays by early January. (I have done it and given my report to Brian Caspe of the Prague Playhouse). And Steven Gove wants me to attend his Prague Fringe Festival. Of course I want to travel to Prague to see the winning play performed. And to Odessa in The Ukraine, to Poland and to Buenos Aires. So it is going to be another action-packed year.

Health: Still more or less OK. Six pills consumed daily continues. Dr. Frank Slattery organizes a check-up from time to time. He thinks I need to hug and kiss more. (I think he said this.)

Atelier A2: My home in Paris since the early 70s is on the market. It has been my longest residency to date – almost 40 years. I love this place. Many of you have stayed here and approximately 130,000 of you have dined here. It pains me to think it will be sold. Maybe it is time to begin a new chapter in the saga that is my life. I still plan to live here in the 14th arrondissement. But who can predict the future?

Sunday dinners: They will continue. If and when the atelier is sold, the dinners might become “movable feasts”.

The A2 Gallery: The last exhibition in December 2006, photographs by Richard E. Allen, continued into January 2007. Antonia Hoogewerf’s photographs, Two Indian Sojourns, were on the walls (February & March), followed by photographs by Ksenia Nova’s “I had a dream that I was happy.” (April & May). Next came the fantastic drawings by Peter van Straaten (June to October) and then thanks to Susie Hollands, I.C.Rapoport’s “Icons of the 60s” photographs (October to December). A new exhibition will go up in January. Not sure yet who it will be. But all the exhibitions can be seen on my web site, so take a look.

Newsletters: Thanks to my web site, I send fewer and fewer newsletters out to the world. But they continue to be written and to be posted on the web site. This End of the Year Report is No. 677, but there have been far more produced. In the beginning, they were not numbered.

A Wet Dream Film Festival Documentary: Yvonne Debeaumarché is making a documentary about our infamous newspaper, SUCK, and our film festivals. I traveled up to Amsterdam recently for a series of interviews with Bill Levy, Susan Janssen, and Willem de Ridder. It was fun to walk down Memory Lane with them. Yvonne is being assisted by Juliette Armanet and Frank Grignon is providing the technical know-how (camera and sound). This documentary will be on Arte and other European television screens this Spring, so watch out for it.

The Hotel Project: I am still looking, with Antonia Hoogewerf, to purchase a small thirty-room hotel in Paris. We have seen one we like, but it is not for sale. Still we plan to approach the owners and to make them an offer. Stay tuned for further announcements. (Needless to say, if we are successful, I plan to live in the hotel and be the Night Porter.)

Autobiography: Slowly but surely Volume 2 is moving forward. In one sense, all the newsletters are autobiographical. The festschrift Howard Aster’s edited, White Washing Fences, is also very biographical.

Visitors: So many people visited in 2007. It was a pleasure to host you all.

Vladimir: I want to congratulate my old dinner companion, Vladimir Putin, for being selected Person of the Year by Time Magazine. We sat next to each other in a private dining room in the Astoria Hotel in St. Petersburg back in the mid-90s when he was Mayor Anatoli Sobchak’s assistant. It was a party to celebrate Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s 62nd birthday. Vlad and I didn’t talk very much and no photograph was made of us. He asked me if I spoke Russian or German. I said I didn’t. I asked him if he spoke English, French or Spanish. He said that he didn’t. After this brief exchange, silence prevailed. Not even sure if I invited him to dine in my atelier if and when he journeyed to Paris. Very silly of me. Little did I (or anyone in the room for that matter) realize that I was sitting next to a future czar of Russia.

Books, films, etc.: I have read lots of great books in 2007 and have seen lots of lovely films. And some superb theatre. I will recommend some of the books that pop into my consciousness: Alan Furst’s The Foreign Correspondent, babyji by Abha Dawesar, The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany (and the movie of the same name) Ronan Bennett’s Zugzwang, Cara Black’s Murder on the Ile Saint-Louis and Doug Kennedy's The Woman in the Fifth (in which I am mentionned). My friend from New York City, John Flattau, recently was in Paris and gave me two of his recent photographic books, When All Else Fails and The Similarity of Matter. (I just realize that most of the writers mentioned are friends. Or I have corresponded with them (Abha Dawesar) or talked with them at the Edinburgh Book Festival (Alaa Al Aswany and Ronan Bennett).

Emile-the-Rat: This saga continues. May it please have a happy ending in 2008.

The Swan Bar: Lionel Bloom’s delightful jazz bar (165 Bvd Montparnasse) will be the location for our New Year’s Eve party. All are welcome. Contact me for details.

Not much room left on this page, but enough to write that I hope 2008 will be good for you and for all the other living creatures who inhabit our planet. Let’s hope we can control our impulse to produce more and more mouths to feed, that we can be kinder and gentler to one another, that the fundamentalists of all religions will relax a bit and begin to smile, laugh and enjoy themselves a bit more and be less hysterical. And less dogmatic. I look forward to seeing you somewhere in this coming year – either here in Paris or in London, Edinburgh, Lisboa, Prague, Frankfurt, Mumbai, Calcutta, Delhi or along the way. It’s been a great life so far. Long may it continue.

I’ll end with a quote from my own collection of manifestos, Everything Is! Many of the world’s problems could be solved if we all had lovers. Please help solve our global problems: BECOME SOMEONE’S LOVER TODAY!

 

 

Jim Haynes
December 2007

Atelier A-2,
83 rue de la Tombe Issoire,
75014 Paris

 

 

 

Jim Haynes' newsletter