jeudi, juillet 01, 2010

LuisInParis is Moving!

We're moving!

Well, Luis will stay where he is, and LuisInParis will stay where it is, too. I'm keeping all of my archives from previous years in the same place for future use and so that you can still find any posts that you like through search engines. Nevertheless, no new blog posts will be published here.

What is new is LMGMblog. As my Paris fieldwork period has come to an end, I've decided to move away from the post-a-day format (which I haven't really be sticking to recently, anyway) and split up my writing work. LMGMblog will include:

  1. “party reviews,” that is, accounts of techno/house/etc. events as I did frequently on my old blog.
  2. brief essays on concepts and issues I’m working through for my own intellectual work, with the hope that you all can give me the sort of support and critique that I need to write better and smarter
  3. readings/reviews of books and articles that I encounter as I work on my dissertation

There will NOT be any more of my recipes here, but that’s because I’m starting a totally new food blog called Macerating in Public, where I'll be posting photo-blogged recipes, restaurant/shop reviews, and other foodie geekery. Check it out! There’ll be updates soon.

samedi, mai 01, 2010

Last Update on Old Blog

Hi, hi. OK, so this will be the last time that I post a reminder on this blog about new posts on my new blog. We've got a couple of things posted recently: 1. a review/summary of Nigel Thrift's essay, "But Malice Aforethought," which is on urban studies, affect, and light-touch intimacy. 2. a new podcast, which I have dubbed the "Dancypants Podcast" for no particularly good reason.

vendredi, avril 23, 2010

Luis is not a bedroom DJ…

…but more of a "living room" DJ. In any case, I recently posted my first recorded DJ Mix/Podcast on Soundcloud, which you can also find embedded in my most recent post to my new blog.

jeudi, avril 08, 2010

New Orleans by Train, the Adventures Thereupon

Hi again. As with the last post, I'm posting a link here to my newest post on my new blog, LMGMblog, just in case you haven't updated your RSS reader / bookmarks. This new post is on my trip to New Orleans for a conference, and my adventures during the 19-hour trek by train. You might be surprised at how much happened.

mardi, avril 06, 2010

San Fran Field Trip: Intimacy, Strangers, and Translocality

Hullo again, everyone. Since I know that many of you have RSS subscriptions to this blog—and perhaps you haven't updated your RSS reader with my new blog—I'm posting a link here to my most recent post on LMGMblog. I'll be doing this for the next few posts across my blogs.

So this post, entitled "San Fran Field Trip: Intimacy Strangers and Translocality," is a brief reflection on a trip I took to the Berkeley and San Francisco back in mid-March. What was interesting about this trip was that I posted a Facebook status update a few days before my departure, asking if anybody knew what was going on in the Bay Area. Within the space of a couple of days, I had a daily lineup of techno/house events in San Fran, along with a network of friends-of-friends that were offering to act as guides. By the end of that weekend, I had a whole new network of contacts and friends in the San Francisco techno scene. The notion of a trans-local music scene/network is a concept that is central to both my doctoral and my post-doctoral projects; I'm trying to argue that the practices, values, and people in "minimal techno" or "house" or whatever circulate between locations in a way that allows a partygoers to arrive in new locations and insert themselves into the scene with minimal friction. I can already argue this point by describing the flow of musical recordings (vinyl, mp3s, podcasts), people (DJs, techno-tourists, friendship networks), and writing (online magazines, travel guides, forums); but this anecdote provides a great example of how this ease of mobility also comes from the previous travel and trans-local contacts of members of your friendship network. More interestingly, the request for hospitality by a mutual friend (i.e., the person who introduces you to new contacts at your destination) activates a bundle of ethical responsibilities that make the encounter especially intimate.

OK, go read the rest of the post!

samedi, octobre 31, 2009

Halloween in Chicago: Partytime!

Again, I’m writing this many, many days after the fact, but I needed to pay tribute to some of the costumes worn at tonight’s Halloween party (a private affair organized members of the same Chicago crew that I used to hang out with before leaving for France).

I began the evening with my parents (who were visiting me) for dinner. We went to Ras Dashen and completely stuffed ourselves Ethiopian food. I knew I was going to be dancing later that night and I should’ve known better than to stuff myself full of food, but I just couldn’t help it, it was so good. Their kifto (raw ground beef marinated with spices and clarified butter) is to die for.

I drove my parents to the hotel, ran back to my place to change into my costume, and then bolted out the door. I got to the party—at the same warehouse loft where the afterparty for Souvenir was—just in time to witness everyone’s costumes (before everyone got sweaty):

  • One friend started as Marie Antoinette—wig and all—and changed costumes at about 5 a.m. to become a “raver kitten”
  • A couple came as Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein, with an amazing streaked wig for the Bride and a hand-made papier-mâché brow/forehead for Frankenstein. And no small amount of makeup, I might add.
  • One of my friends shows up at first looking like a space satellite with planets hanging off of her. Later, she changes into a cupid costume. As the night goes on, she goes through several more costume-changes and finishes with a t-shirt that says, “364 days till Halloween.”
  • The same friend’s neighbor needed a costume at the last minute and she helped him by dressing him in a bunch of her black lingerie and making him look like Tim Curry in Rocky Horror Picture Show.

What did I go as? I went as a candy-raver. It was admittedly a last-minute cop-out costume, since I only needed to fish out an old pair of phat pants and some old wooden bead necklaces and brightly-beaded bracelets, but the costume went over pretty well. There was a marked generational gap in the reactions to my outfit. People about my age or older saw my costume and immediately said, “Candyraver!” and then slid into nostalgic conversation about the good ol’ days. Younger folks mostly had to ask what my costume was at first, and then recognized the label “candyraver” and would make a few bemused comments about how crazy everyone was back then (but without saying that they had been part of the 90s rave scene).

samedi, septembre 05, 2009

Souvenir 03: The Welcome Home (with Seuil)

OK, so I'm writing this more than two months after the event itself, but I just had to document one thread of events from the party that I thought was really interesting:

At the party itself, sometime around 2 or 3 a.m., a girl dancing near me approaches and asks, “Hey, are you Luis?” When I say yes, she seems really thrilled and says, “It’s so good to finally meet you! I’m really good friends with O [a friend from France that lives in Chicago now and was co-organizing tonight’s event] and I’ve heard so much about you. I’m Lola.” She’s originally from Poland and I just returned from a year in France and Germany, so we talk a bit about the differences between North America and Europe and the odd situation one can develop of feeling at home in one place while longing for another place. We cross paths occasionally throughout the rest of the party and check in with each other, saying things like “How’re you feeling?” and lightly grasping each other’s shoulders.

The afterparty at a friend’s warehouse loft starts at about 7 a.m. and runs until some ungodly hour that evening (9 p.m., I think). I have a great time and hang out with friends, but eventually I tire and need to get home. I’m still marginally jet-lagged from my return from France, and I’ve spent all week unpacking things and running errands. It’s nearly 2 p.m., I haven’t slept all night/morning, and I was beginning to run out of energy. I make the rounds of the room, saying goodbye to everyone.

As I’m saying goodbye to O., she sees Lola nearby and asks us both, “Do you know each other?”

Lola says, “Of course! We’re best friends.”

Her arm comes up around my shoulder, and my arm winds around her waist. While still facing O., as if we were performing for her, we turn to each other, press our torsos into a half-hug, and reach out with our other arms to rub each others shoulders affectionately. I turn to give her a peck on the check and she turns her head toward me and we end up exchanging a brief peck on the lips.

We had just met for the first time in our lives a few hours ago, and we had hardly said anything to each other after our brief conversation at the party. Nonetheless, something about our encounter made is possible for Lola to claim that we were “best friends,” for me to agree and engage smoothly with her in these gestures of intimacy. It was casual and undramatic, as if we were making observations about the weather rather than claiming a deep, 12-hour-old friendship.

O. smiles with an expression that could be indulgent or bemused or merely pleased, and she says, “Of course.”

(By the way, Seuil’s set, both at the party and the afterparty, kicked major ass.)

mercredi, septembre 02, 2009

On the importance of knickers

A piece of advice on packing and unpacking clothes: do it in your underwear.

Why, do you ask? Because, before sticking yet another 10-year-old shirt or over-worn pair of pants into a box or back on the hanger, you can slip it on and remind yourself why you rarely ever wear it. If the item only barely fits you, toss it aside and donate it to charity. I managed to clear nearly one quarter of my shirts and pants, which is quite the accomplishment for me. Yay, closet space!

mardi, septembre 01, 2009

Confit de Canard in Chicago

Today, I spent most of the day unpacking things with my friends LEO and Peeto. Well, it was mostly LEO who helped, since her workdays were a bit more flexible. Peeto, showed up after work and accompanied us on a trip to Target. Nonetheless, I was pretty impressed with how effective we were today. We got the remaining boxes out of the storage space, unpacked a few more book boxes, and made a run to Target for a few household items that I needed (especially cleaning products and the like).

For dinner, we cracked open a bottle of French wine that I had apparently had the forethought to squirrel away in my storage space before leaving Chicago, and I made the confit de canard that I had brought from France. First, I took the duck thighs out of the can and fried them in a skillet, using just the fat that clung to the meat. Once the meat was heated through and the outside had started to brown and stick to the pan, I removed the meat and threw in some roughly sliced potatoes. Then, I dumped in the remaining fat from the can of confit and let it simmer uncovered until all the liquid had either evaporated or been absorbed by the potatoes. So, in essence, it was a meal made entirely around duck fat.

In my defense, I did make some salad as an appetizer.

lundi, août 31, 2009

Die Unheimliche Heimfahrt

So, the title of this post translates to “The uncanny return home”, but the wordplay only works in German, where both expressions are constructed around the word heim [home]. Anyway, let me explain what made this so uncanny.

After a reasonably uneventful flight back to Chicago, I got off the plane and waited for what felt like an hour before finally going through immigration and customs. In a fit of honesty, I declared that I was carrying wine, confit de canard (duck cooked and preserved in its own fat), and dry sausage. This meant that my luggage got opened up and taken apart by the Department of Agriculture people, who TOOK MY SAUSAGE!!!11! The wine and the duck were OK, apparently, but I wasn’t allowed to bring in the sausage. Well, I learned my lesson: next time, don’t declare anything. I have to go back to France for a few days in late September, so maybe I’ll bring back some raw-milk cheese, too, just to be a badass.

So two friends were waiting for me at the airport (bless their adorable souls), and after making a valiant attempt to say hi to another friend that was leaving for Britain the same day (and running into another set of people), we finally made it to the parking lot and headed out. We drove back to my old apartment—which is still my current apartment. Rather than give up my lease and put all of my furniture and such in storage like I did the last time I went to France—which was super stressful and rather expensive—I decided to put my apartment up for sublease and offer to sublet it furnished for no extra charge. I still put my clothes and books and valuables into a small storage space, but the furniture, kitchen stuff, linens, and hardware stayed. At the last minute before leaving for Europe about 14 months ago, I finally found a lovely Scottish lad that was willing to take my apartment for the full year. He was just moving into town and had nothing to his name but a backpack full of clothes, so the arrangement worked out perfectly.

Now, a bit more than a year later, I was heading back to my apartment, hoping to find my apartment in the same state that I had left it. What I found was far more than I had expected: everything was almost exactly where I had left it 14 months ago. The same bottles of soy sauce and oil that I had left in the pantry were still there, in the same places, the bottoms of the bottles beginning to fuse with the shelves. The bottle of minced ginger in the refrigerator was still there, along with the few jars of Peruvian hot pepper pastes I had left behind. The bags of rice were exactly the same ones I had been using, still half-empty. There was one lonely head of garlic, now completely dessicated.

There were only a few traces of the previous tenant to be found in the house. The bathroom mat—the same one I had left a year ago—had gone from white to mottled grey. The kitchen utensils that stood in a container next to the stove were all sticky with the residue of vaporized oil from a year’s worth of cooking…although I have no idea what he was cooking, considering the same dry goods were in the same places in my pantry. There was a half-empty leather wallet, forgotten on an empty bookshelf, filled with various membership cards and photos of him and his girlfriend, whose long black hairs were still lurking around the apartment. The kitchen’s leaky faucet had clearly sprung a leak one day, as the cabinet under the kitchen sink had taken some water damage and collapsed downward.

For the rest of the day, as we made trips to the storage unit to retrieve boxes and unpack them, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the apartment had remained empty and abandoned for the last 14 months. The most disturbing place for me was the kitchen, where traces of emptiness and activity were layered on top of each other. I obsessively re-washed all of the dishes in my cupboards and tried to scrub the oily residue off of all of my utensils, while trying not to look too long into my time-capsule pantry.