The Beacon on the Seine
Editor: Yvonne Hazelton
In this issue
• REFLECTIONS… from Interim Senior Pastor Odette Lockwood-Stewart
• ACP thanks Alison Benney, on her retirement as Spire Editor-in-Chief
• February is Black History Month: Here's why we should acknowledge it by Interim Co-Associate Pastor Jodi Fondell
• ACP Book Discussion – Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Kate Snipes
• True belonging: but belonging to whom? by Natalie McConnell Raynal, Contemporary Music Director
• Notes from Council Moderator, Marleigh White
• Unenjoined – Flash fiction by Anna Zweede
• Lent at ACP
• Paris Listings by Karen Albrecht
from Interim Senior Pastor Odette Lockwood-Stewart
Lent, the season of 40 days before Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday (17 February) and ends on Holy Saturday (3 April). Lent is traditionally a time for Christians to deepen our relationship with God by letting go, giving up and taking on. We let go of common aspects of life to face and to reflect on the core longings of the human heart and body. We let go of fast food for food that does not perish. The longing of a Lenten fast leads us to Jesus. We immerse ourselves in the teaching, life, ministry, and passion of Jesus, preparing for Easter resurrection.
2021 may be the most meaningful Lenten season of our lifetimes.
In a time of global pandemic, letting go, giving up, and taking on is not chosen. Ours is not a wilderness retreat. Ours is an unwanted and unintentional fast from in-person gatherings and sidewalk cafés.
We let go of the illusion of control and take on the spiritual discipline of loving neighbors as self with masks, sanitizing gel, handwashing, and protective distances.
We give thanks for prayers of others when we cannot pray, for the singing of others when we cannot sing, for the love of others when we cannot feel beloved. We give thanks for beauty, mercy, grace, for God-with-us. We give thanks to health care workers, grocery workers, delivery drivers, garbage collectors, mail carriers, teachers, family, friends, family of faith…
Lent is often an invitation to interrupt life as usual in order to give attention to our relationship with God. Now, as we are immersed in a time of great disruption, we are invited each day to give attention to the love of Jesus Christ.
I am privileged to accompany so many of you who are asking big questions on matters of life and faith in this season. “It’s so clear now what is and is not important to me.” “With so much time alone I’ve been reading my Bible and praying with the Psalms.”
As a community we’ve been forced to find new ways to be the hands and feet of Christ and to see the Kingdom of God among us. Come just as you are to worship, serve, study, and grow in community. Come share honesty, humility, passion, hard work, and promise in the name and in the way of Jesus Christ this Lent.
In small habits, daily rituals and consistent attention we give our lives again to God. Hurting, helping, healing is transformed by grace through spiritual friendship, circles of care, action, reflection, prayer and study.
The New York Times described Michael Goldhaber as the internet prophet we’ve never heard of. In the mid-1980s, Goldhaber, a theoretical physicist, had a revelation: One of the most finite resources in the world is human attention. Goldhaber predicted that through the internet life would be mediated by technologies that feed on our attention. He asks, “How do you allocate the attention you have in more focused, intentional ways.”
May Lent 2021 be a season for us to pay attention to where we pay attention. Let us joyfully give our attention to God in more focused, intentional ways, and in Christian community. The most desired gift of love is attention.
We begin Lent with Ash Wednesday Worship online on February 17th. Throughout Lent, in our worship series Bridging Worlds: The Parables of Jesus and the Nearness of God we will devote ourselves to Jesus’ parables in Sunday worship, Children’s Worship, and Wednesday evening adult education.
Throughout each week of Lent, there will be resources to help us grow in faith and reach out in love. Each Sunday in worship we will celebrate and pray for a different ACP Mission. Our daily ACP online community will flourish with a new Alpha Course, Morning Prayer, Music, Lectio Divina, a Prayer Chain for all our children, Sanctuary Sessions with ACP Contemporary Musicians. Pay regular attention to updates on our website www.acparis.org!
Grace and peace of Christ be with you.
The Parables of Jesus and the Nearness of God
In parables Jesus connects our world with God’s Kingdom.
Jesus engages us in vivid stories that connect us with God and each other, honoring and crossing the spaces between.
The word Parable comes from the Greek παραβολή (parabolē), literally "throwing" (bolē) "alongside.” As we look at self, systems, and society alongside each other, Jesus’ parables reveal God’s just love and teach us the way of Jesus.
Jesus’ Parable of the Wineskins
Mark 2: 21-22
Jesus’ Parable of the Sower
Mark 4: 3-9
Jesus’ Parable of the Mustard Seed
Mark 4: 30-32
Jesus’ Parable of Kingdom and House Divided
Mark 3: 22-27
Jesus’ Parable of the Crafty Manager
Luke 16: 1-13
Alison Benney began helping with ACP’s monthly publication in 2012 and became Editor-in-Chief in January 2013. In January 2021 she stepped down after seven years of leadership and service. Thank you, Alison! When asked what joys she found in this work, Alison simply said that it was a joy to provide good information that she knew people wanted to see and use.
Pastor Scott always said that ACP needed to be Inwardly strong/externally focused, and this became Alison’s guiding design principle for the Spire. When asked about the challenges she faced in this ministry, Alison said, “Recruiting writers!” For Alison, each edition was a creative adventure of diving in and making something out of nothing. Each month she gathered all the ministry and community events that she knew were going on, recruited writers, and shaped the magazine’s layout and production. The Spire is valued by visitors, church members, and the many people who come to ACP as a community center. Alison believes it is always important to ask the questions: Why is the Spire important? What is its role going forward?
EDITOR-IN CHIEF WANTED
The ACP is looking for a volunteer who can fill the role of an editor-in-chief, who is also skilled at content planning, text layout, photo-editing, graphics design, copy-editing, and proofreading.
Best if you are a native English speaker with a good grasp of French, excellent writing skills, good interpersonal skills, a detail-oriented approach, and a critical thinker. A good knowledge of the ACP is helpful but not mandatory.
Qualities that are helpful for the Spire editor include patience and diplomacy, enthusiasm for new ideas, a passion for the history and heritage of the ACP, an ability to work under stress and meet a deadline, and a strong desire to tap the interest of the community and the talents of the congregation. It also helps to be curious about a little bit of everything.
Interested? Please contact Genie Godula.
by Interim Co-Associate Pastor Jodi Fondell
Every US president since 1976 has designated February as Black History Month, so the practice has been around for quite some time. I would venture to guess, however, that many of us have been woefully unaware of this emphasis until more recently. Critics wonder why we should single out a time frame to specifically focus on Black History and I think the answer to that becomes clear when we realize how little most Americans know about it. All too often, significant historical events where Black* people have been central are left untold, and the history of Black people has far too often been hidden. Black History Month prompts us to focus our attention on the events, stories, and people we have previously overlooked and to grow in our understanding of a history that is perhaps different than the one we studied in school.
2020 was a year of racial reckoning for many. The deaths of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor, to name only two of many, caused white people to finally understand that the notions of systemic racism and unfair treatment of Black people in society can no longer be denied. And while these events took place in the US, the global impact was palpable. Marches and protests took place throughout Paris and urged those of living here to consider France's own racist and biased policies.
Here in the church, we are seeking to fight against injustice, to understand where in our history we have been blind to the pain and the suffering of those on the margins, and where we might be contributing to a biased way of functioning. While we don't only look at these things during Black History Month, having a month set aside to ponder these topics allows us to deepen our understanding of the challenges and opportunities that exist.
Thurber Conversations: Two Tuesdays in February
We have two fantastic opportunities for community discussions and learning during the month of February during our Thurber Conversations: Two Tuesdays in February. The first will be 16 February at 19h30. We are delighted to welcome Kathleen Dameron to lead us in a discussion entitled “From Racial Literacy to Racial Healing.” In addition to the discussion, which will be highly interactive and reflective, we will learn about some online resources to help us in our continued growth in understanding racism. We will be prompted to consider our role in overcoming it in the church and in our society.
The second will be 23 February at 19h30. We are excited to introduce you to Lola Akinmade Åkerström, a Nigerian born author and photographer who immigrated to the United States as a 16 year old and then moved to Sweden as an adult. Lola's vast experience of living and working in a variety of cultural contexts has given her insight into the assumptions that people often unwittingly carry with them throughout their lives. Through the use of a simple question, why not?, she will help us unpack bias and open our hearts to new ways of thinking and being, especially when we encounter someone who doesn't represent the assumed norm. Please join us for a rich evening of exploring new ways of seeing and being as we seek to be the community that God intends for us to be.
A great way to listen and to try and understand the experience of our Black brother and sisters is by reading books by them. Here is a short list of books to get you started.
1. Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman
2. The Color of Compromise, by Jemar Tisby
3. The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race, by Willie James Jennings
4. After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging, by Willie James Jennings
5. Rethinking Incarceration, by Dominique Gilliard (who compiled this list btw)
6. The Warmth of Other Suns, by Isabel Wilkerson
7. The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by James H. Cone
8. In My Grandmother’s House, by Yolanda Pierce
9. A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom, by Brittany K. Barnett
10. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson (ACP will be forming a reading group with this book. See the website for further information.)
And in case reading isn't your thing, here are a few films to consider:
1. When They See Us
2. True Justice
3. I Am Not Your Negro
5. One Night in Miami
6. Between the World and Me
7. All In: The Fight for Democracy
8. Just Mercy
9. Slavery By Another Name
10. The Best of Enemies
11. Hidden Figures
13. Four Little Girls Documentary
Some are available on Amazon Prime and Netflix. Others can likely be rented or seen on other platforms via the internet.
None of us want to cultivate a racist or biased environment in our homes, church, or society, but we need to keep learning in order to actively fight against the factors that have fomented racist attitudes in our societies. Let's take advantage of the nudge that Black History month gives us to open our hearts and minds to new ways of thinking and being. Let's seek to bring into the light the hidden histories that celebrate people of color and bring their stories, experiences, and accomplishments into full view. Please take advantage of these learning opportunities as we continue to seek to be the people that God longs for us to be.
*We capitalize Black in recognition of their unique, shared racial and ethnic history, just as we capitalize Asian or Native American.
by Kate Snipes
ACP’s March Book Discussion Group will read Pulitzer prize winner Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Caste is a powerful new best-seller that delves into the history of race and caste in the United States.
The group, led by Kate Snipes, will meet 1, 15, and 29 March, from 19h30 to 21h.
During the 1 March session, we will discuss the intro through page 35 of the book.
The 15 and 29 March sessions will feature guest speakers. Dr. Asa Lee, a Dean at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. will start our conversation based on his experiences and reflections on the book. Dr. Lee is the Director of African American Church Studies at Wesley and teaches courses in the study of African American religious experience and practical theology. Then, Dr. Sathianathan Clarke will join us to give his observations on the book and his experience with the caste system in India. Dr. Clarke is a Chair in World Christianity as Wesley, a professor of theology, and presbyter of the Church of South India. He was a professor in India and a visiting professor at Harvard's School of Divinity before joining Wesley. He has spent many years working with the Dalit (untouchable) community in India.
Summary from Amazon: In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings. Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day.
You can order the book here in English:
To join the group, sign up on the website here.
by Natalie McConnell Raynal, Contemporary Music Director
I might have been all of four the first time my grandmother said it: “You belong to God. ‘You are not your own. You were bought at a price.’” (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)
My grandmother was mother, mentor and best friend. The most compassionate and loving person I knew. Her words were etched deep in me. I listened and heeded.
So, many decades later, hearing Brené Brown’s definition of “true belonging” as ‘“the ‘spiritual practice of [belonging to yourself]” set off something of a four-alarm fire in my brain. The red flag of heresy reserved for all things potentially New Age shot up—-but so did my curiosity, and the unmistakable pit in my gut that she may be absolutely right.
In October 2005 I found myself in Paris, on the whim and insistence of a New York friend on a business trip. In a relatively short time I had lost my apartment, my livelihood, and many friends, who were simply too embarrassed to handle my predicament. And I was further away from music than ever. I felt lost. Worse than all of that though, I had not heard from God in years. I prayed. I tithed. I led worship. I was in the Word. But God was silent to me.
So, while my friend worked, I wandered the city, crying out to God that I was as tossed as the leaves that swirled about my feet. I had no idea what I was meant to be doing and even less an idea of where I was meant to be doing it.
Imagine my surprise crossing the Pont des Invalides that windy day; God spoke. Not audibly, mind you, but he may as well have.
“WHAT DO YOU WANT?” He seemed to look into me.
It took a moment for me to grasp what I had clearly understood.“WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
I squirmed, “What do You want for me???? “
But his gaze stayed on me. “What do you want?” he repeated.
I all but yelped, ‘What does it matter what I want???”
But the reality had sunk too deep. I knew something in that moment that I had never before understood: God is in the process of knowing me. He looks at me lovingly and long. He asks the question with open-hearted sincerity. I understood in that moment that God was simply inviting me to be Natalie. To desire what I deeply desire and love what I uniquely love. To fall and fail and learn and be cared for perfectly while doing it.
And all my years of dutifully looking outside of myself for answers were not going to help me. I felt my accumulated Christian wisdom and maturity crumble.That question on that day, and the life-altering whirlwind that came on the heels of my answering it, took me back to my grandmother’s warning: You are not your own.
But this teaching that you belong to God is incomplete. I find it really important to know that, not only are you cherished by God, but you are free, and you are unique, and you belong to yourself. That is not in opposition to our calling, in fact it is our calling. Our calling is to be unique.
It’s not as simple as “being a Christian looks like this.” We’re meant to discover our own calling, not just one time, but throughout life – we live in this freedom that God has given us.
And today I have to wonder. As the Me Too movement reveals our behaviors, how well has the notion of not belonging to ourselves served us? How different would things be if, from a young age, belonging to God and belonging to ourselves were correctly understood as inseparable? If people were empowered to trust their instincts instead of ceding authority always to someone outside themselves? And who we are was something sacred to be excavated and preserved with care?
C.S. Lewis said, “The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become.”
What if God as our perfect Parent is enjoying discovering who we will become? And hoping that we will be as courageous to walk that path as the blessing and love that surrounds us merits.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. (Galatians 5:1)
The ACP Church Council is comprised of ACP's Pastors and twenty ACP members who are elected by the members at the Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting. The Council meets once a month to collaborate, share information, and make decisions regarding Church activities and operations. The Council Moderator and Secretaries plan, run and record the meetings. The other lay members of Council are the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the eight committees that organize many aspects of congregational life at ACP. Those committees include Worship and Music, Christian Education, Community Life, Missions and Outreach, Finance and Stewardship, Human Resources, Property and Development, and Communications.
Greetings to all of our ACP members and friends. As many of us continue to face challenges during this pandemic winter, I hope that you are finding sources of comfort and connection as we wait for spring. Your ACP Church Council has been hard at work on your behalf. Sometimes our work is accomplished in zoom meetings huddled around the glow of our separate computer screens. Other times we have been physically present at church or in the city in socially distanced ways. In all we do, we are focused on how to help ACP members stay engaged and in fellowship so that we serve our congregation and our greater Paris community. It has been a busy season!
First and foremost, the Council is continuing to focus on our goals for this transition year. I would like to share with you some of our activities and plans that reflect those goals.
The Council’s first goal, to “equip our congregation with hope in Jesus Christ for the plans God has for our future,” is supported by Worship and the Worship Committee’s extraordinary efforts to supply the critical volunteers needed in order to hold ACP Sunday in-person church services. Volunteers welcome attendees, register them, usher, and guide. These efforts have been blessed by an incredible volunteer to attendee ratio of 1 out of 4, which is well over the pre-pandemic ratio of 1 out of 15!
Our Christian Education Committee has planned multiple opportunities to strengthen and grow our faith. These include the Wednesday night Sermon on the Mount series, a Lenten study called “Bridging the Gaps,” Thurber lectures on topics such as Racial Healing and Unlocking Unconscious Bias in the Church, several other regular Bible Studies, and the Alpha Class starting in February.
Reflecting the Council goal of “caring and ministering to those in and beyond ACP who are hurting and vulnerable,” our Lay Care team has completed outreach to all church members. ACP’s Prayer Team responds to all prayer requests, and volunteers are once again available to pray with you following in-person services. The Rainbow Grief Groups are open to those in and outside the ACP community grieving losses during this difficult time.
Our Missions and Outreach Committee cares for those in need in our Paris community in powerful ways. For example, the 100 Nights of Welcome is housing and feeding 14 refugees at a hostel during these cold months. The Prison Ministry is going strong; and Serve The City volunteers provide needed English and French language instruction to refugees.
Our Community Life Committee has followed through on the goal of “providing multiple ways of connecting with each other and with those outside of ACP” by planning virtual fellowship opportunities, a Welcome Ministry, and Zoom Movie Nights. Please check the ACP website for a list of those great opportunities.
This winter, Council has held several fruitful, in-depth discussions building on the work of the Welcome and Inclusion Task Force and moving closer to the goal of “collective understanding and enhancing of Welcome at the ACP. “We also are finalizing plans for Diversity and Inclusion training for ACP’s Leadership later this spring.
As this is an important transition year for ACP, Council’s administrative committees, including HR, Finance, Property, Stewardship and Communications, have been working diligently on many aspects of Church life, including finances, organization, and property maintenance. This is in support of our important goal of “putting our organizational and missional house in order for a healthy transition to a new Senior Pastor.”
In closing, I want to point out that we are committed to keeping you in the loop, and plans are in process for ACP’s Semi-Annual Membership Meeting, tentatively scheduled for April 11, with the specific date to be announced in the coming weeks. At that meeting Council will present ACP’s members with ACP’s Budget for 2021 and full Council reports.
During this transition year, and as the pandemic continues, we are all experiencing loss and grief of some sort and magnitude. May we find comfort in God’s infinite grace and mercy and encourage each other not to lose heart, but to rely on the living hope we have in Jesus.
Blessings in Christ,
Flash fiction by Anna Zweede
In the dream, puzzle pieces fell from above me. They came down at irregular intervals in groups, like tossed handfuls.
I wasn’t in a place. There was neither ground below nor sky above; no floor or ceiling or walls. Still, I was crouched on something flat and horizontal, and the puzzle pieces landed on that same something. It, as well as the rest of this non-locus, was bluish-grey.
As the pieces accumulated, my anxiety increased. I knew I was supposed to understand, and I didn’t. I could not make any sense of the designs, and – though my dreamself fully realized this was impossible – I thought I saw certain pieces change after I’d turned them face up. Some altered their shape slightly. Others shifted the part of the image they carried onto another piece, thereby becoming blank.
My fingers fumbled with the fragments, desperately trying to at least turn them all face up before another bunch pattered down on top of what was already there. I did not feel cold, but my hands were numb. I realized I was wearing several layers of clothing, which hampered my movements. A heavy jacket over a sweater over a shirt, two skirts and leggings, heavy socks… but no shoes.
The idea surfaced that these must be several puzzles with their pieces jumbled together. Encouraged by the fact that no more were falling, I decided to separate them into piles based on similarity. As I was hesitating about the first two, unable to determine if they should go into the same pile or different ones, I sensed a presence.
I looked up.
A gnome was standing on the other side of the puzzle pieces. It was startlingly ugly.
I felt my face get hot and quickly looked down again, hoping it did not have any idea what I’d thought, but aware how obvious my embarrassment must be.
I stared at the two pieces I was holding, fiercely willing them to allow me access to the quandary, to at least be able to make a start. But I was foiled, and began randomly stacking ones of equivalent sizes.
The gnome made a clicking sound. I kept my head down a moment longer, preparing my expression, then paused my hands and lifted my face.
The sound stopped. It tilted its contorted head until one of two bulbous, asymmetrically-placed eyes was pointed at me.
“Are you ready?” it asked.
Fury rose from deep within, flooding my chest and throat. I could hardly breathe, and was incapable of the slightest utterance. Its derision was unconscionable: the answer was blatantly obvious. Suddenly blinking back tears, I clenched my jaw and shook my head.
The gnome made a shrugging motion and began to turn away.
“You know,” it said before vanishing, “this is all because the rainbow was turned inside out.”
The anger seeped away.
A single puzzle piece drifted down and added itself to the others.
AEZ February 2021
Morning Prayer at ACP on Zoom – A Lenten Journey
During the season of Lent (17 February to 3 April), Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays from 8h – 8h30 on Zoom
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays during the season of Lent, start your day with prayer, meditative scripture readings and silence in the tradition of the Anglican Morning Prayer.
Join us as we prayerfully travel together towards Easter Sunday.
The prayer will be led by ACP staff member Jörg Kaldewey.
Register online to receive your Zoom login info.
Silent Prayer Thursdays at ACP – every Thursday from 19h-20h on Zoom
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
“We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. In the Christian contemplative tradition, Contemplative Prayer is considered to be the pure gift of God. It is the opening of mind and heart – our whole being – to God the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words, and emotions.” (Father Thomas Keating)
Join us for prayer in silence every Thursday evening. We will practice 25 minutes of praying together in stillness according to the method of Centering Prayer. This period is followed by the reading of a short sacred text according to the method of Lectio Divina. Afterwards, there will be an opportunity for sharing.
Register online to receive your Zoom login info.
by Karen Albrecht
It remains unclear just when the city’s cultural venues can reopen. So why not use this time to try out something new and different?
Flights of fancy
Ever wanted to try your hand at origami? The "Origami for Life" project at contemporary arts mecca Palais de Tokyo offers a free, easy-to-follow online tutorial, plus twofold motivation: every origami sent in before 28 February will generate 1 euro for Samu Social; and your creation will take its place amidst a fanciful forest of hanging trees created by artist Charles Kaisin. You can even go see the results in person once the Palais de Tokyo reopens. Maybe you'll be inspired to go on learning more origami, from the many tutorials available on YouTube, or at origami.me
Submissions until 28 February, viewing dates to be announced. origamiforlife.fr
A night at the Opéra
Always wondered what goes on behind the gilded façade of the Palais Garnier? Or why folks line up to pay hundreds of euros for a seat at the Opéra Bastille? The Opéra’s online corona-crisis programming offers a glimpse into this rarefied world. A free video of the ballet's opening gala features the entire company parading with regal grace in white tutus… and blue surgical masks, followed by three achingly poetic performances showcasing the star dancers. Or pay 8-12 euros to watch “Carmen" or "The Barber of Seville” online, complete with English subtitles and downloadable libretto. Who knows, you may just be lining up for tickets once live performances start up again.
In need of a real getaway? Explore an entirely new dimension without leaving your armchair. Trendy artspace Le 104 takes the covid takeaway craze to a whole new level with "V.R. to go". Sign up online and your takeaway will be ready for pickup — or delivered by bike messenger, if really don't want to leave that armchair. Inside, a specially disinfected virtual reality headset and 8 mind-blowing 360° virtual experiences. In 48 hours you can summit Mount Everest, travel to Mars and to the moon, and maybe even squeeze in some sleep.
Rental: 42 euros, with 350 euro deposit. Through 29 mars, www.104.fr/en/events/vr-to-go.html
Pique your curiosity
Beloved cinema chain MK2 is keeping Parisian film buffs on their toes during the pandemic with a free online platform devoted to curiosity. Every Thursday, a surprising new selection of five films comes online, spanning countries and time periods, with something for every mood. One recent weekly selection included Claude Chabrol's 1987 Masques, the gritty 2004 Chinese workman's drama Oxhide, a 1921 silent high-society spoof starring Harold Lloyd, and a jolly collection of classic Merrie Melodies animations. Enough to make you curious as to just what curiosities they will come up with next week.
Jazz it up
The pandemic has meant finding new ways of making dreams come true. If singing is your thing, try making your transatlantic début at the friendly online musical encounter between Sami Scot's virtual “pop-up piano bar” and an open-mic jazz jam with Paris-based singer Donna Lorraine. Recent themes include Duke Ellington, Cole Porter or even the Beatles, but Sami ably fields requests spanning all genres, from behind her keyboard in Chicago. Staying in time can be tricky, but finding which tunes and styles work online is all part of the fun.
Every Thursday 8-10pm (1-3pm Chicago time). Zoom meeting ID 984 5559 8124, passcode 152132. Details at www.donnalorraine.com
Explore the nuances of black and white
The "Noir & blanc" photography show at the Grand Palais has been cancelled due to the pandemic, but an online version is set to be unveiled from mid-February. The masterworks on loan from the Bibliothèque Nationale span 150 years of photographic genius, from eloquent pioneers like Man Ray or Ansel Adams to the poetic and highly personal visions of Willy Ronis, Helmut Newton or Diane Arbus. The show explores the unique sense of mystery that only the finest black and white photography can deliver.
Reserve at www.grandpalais.fr