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  • Writer's pictureIlin Shieh

A Show Called Paris

The experience of going through Paris is actually an experience of extremes and juxtapositions.

Remnants of Renaissance era battlements with modern graffiti

The magnificent grand staircase at the Louvre - breeding litters of dust-bunnies

Calls of "avance" and "sortie" ringing in my ears as I lock eyes with Mona Lisa

Bohemian/artist town hustling and bustling with commercial activity

The Arc de Triomphe patrolled by army with automatic weapons

The middle-class admiration for the aristocratic grandeur that brought down the aristocrats in the first place

There is a certain weariness waffling in the air. Like gigolos and gigolettes forced to put on makeup for their benefactors when all they want to do is be in wintery rest. However, I suspect that even being in unrequited longing and desire is in proper Parisian vogue.

Nevertheless. The experience of the city's appearance via the senses and osmosis is EXTRAORDINARY. The pungency of literal contrasts and figurative ironies is strong. Paris the showman, the actor, the muse puts on a great character act. Despite tourist commotion, there is sophistication and complication enough that can be read in between the lines (pun intended) to make any poetic endeavors adequately successful.

It's easy to say that Paris is emblematic in its architecture and city planning. But what made it truly unforgettable and memorable for me is the forever changing ways that it relates to its patrons - at times passionate, at times antagonistic, and always dramatic and demanding of attention. No doubt, this artistically captivating and emotionally poignant show can only be called "Paris."

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