Flamenco in Paris

Henry See

November 29, 2003: The phone rang about 4 pm last Tuesday afternoon, or as we say on this side of the Atlantic, about 16h00. It was Igor and Grichka Bogdanov, our friends in Paris.

"Can you come to Paris tomorrow? We have been able to schedule a shoot at the production studio, and afterward, you have been invited to a private party at the Ministry - including an evening of Flamenco dancing. There are quite a few people wanting to meet you!"

Ark and Laura had gotten to know Igor and Grichka the year before when the two brothers had been the victims of a US COINTELPRO-style slander campaign (which we recognized because Ark and Laura had been subjected to a similar "treatment") that spread through the Internet and media like US troops hitting the Iraqi desert. Ark had become personally interested in the drama when he learned that friends of his had served as thesis advisors to the Bs. (For more on this, check out our dossier on the Bogdanov affair.)

Since our arrival in France, we had spent a number of evenings with them, discussing everything from physics to the state of the world. Unfortunately, as they are in Paris and Laura and Ark are in the south of France, their visits are far too infrequent.

The Brothers explained that the French network, M6, was preparing a documentary program about Igor and Grichka, and the two of them wanted Ark to participate, to explain his theories on the origin of the universe to the French public.

Twenty-four hours later, after an early morning TGV ride through the beautiful French countryside, we were in the suburbs of Paris, drinking a coffee in a neighborhood café, waiting for the Bogdanovs and the camera crew to arrive. It was raining, traffic was heavy, and Igor and Grichka were late. But, then, they are always late. With a consistency you can bank on. Ark is working out the mathematics of it as we write, but as it involves Imaginary Time, there are few mathematicians capable of its complete elaboration.

With a flourish, the two of them entered the café. Hugs all around, and we followed them into the basement of a nearby building, to the studios of the production company that does the computer graphics for their TV series Rayons X.

In the studios, surrounded by dozens of computers, we were welcomed, introduced to the team working on Rayons-X, served another café, and began a discussion with another of their colleagues, M. Mizzi, the developer of a new form of PDA using a graphical touchscreen interface that doesn't need a pen.

The TV production team shot a few scenes with the programmers working on the computer graphics.

Here the team from M6 are shooting a demonstration of the software used to produce the virtual Bogdanovs used in Rayons-X.
In another studio, two of the team demonstrate the software that makes the virtual figures "speak."
By speaking into the microphone, the software translates the phonemes and generates the correct facial expressions for the words spoken. Here we see Laura singing into the mike and producing the Karaoke Igor. With a glove, finger movements can produce facial expressions while the virtual Igor sings or speaks.
Ark becomes a TV star. Here he is, slightly hidden by Grichka, explaining how he has worked out the math to demonstrate that the universe can not only oscillate, but also evolve.
Continuing on with the interview...

Ark, having taught for many years, is in his element explaining the fundamentals of quantum physics. The TV producer said it was the first time he had ever understood clearly what a scientist was saying to him.

But life with the Brothers B is not only work. The interview successfully completed, after a short trip to the hotel to freshen up, we were off to the Ministry for an evening of Flamenco.

Situated in a beautiful building in the 7th Arrondissement, not far from Les Invalides, this is one of the conference rooms at the Ministry. Laura enters in the gold scarf. I am leading the parade at far right. Since this was a private party with many important individuals attending, we have protected their privacy by graphic modifications.
After a short tour of the gardens, we were served champagne in the Minister's office. You can see Laura in the center of a discussion identifiable by the gold scarf.
The back terrace overlooking the gardens. Here I am discussing the psychoanalysis of Islam with another guest.
Laura engaged in conversation prior to the Flamenco show. Henry serves the champagne.
Laura has a good laugh with a friend while I listen.
Ark and Laura look fondly on their new President whose country and people have so warmly welcomed them. Whatever one thinks of Chirac, he is definitely not Bush league.
Man about town, Professor Jadczyk looks right at home in the Minister's office. The physicist's Fred Astaire...
The Flamenco group, Va et Viens, at the start of their performance.
The first part of the performance consisted of singing, with the singers trying to outdo one another with their stories. Here, we see one of them making a particularly moving point about a woman he once knew.
So moved was he by this encounter, he stands, better to express the emotional drama and pain he lived.
The hand-clapping and stamping feet set the beat and induce a special "state" in the dancer. Laura says it is almost like a religious ceremony - the adoration of the goddess in all women...
And when the spirit of the goddess descends finally into the dancer, she leaps to her feet and it is pure magic!
Expressing every nuance of the spirit of Woman in her movements, the dancer clicks her heels like a machine gun punctuated by stomps like cannon fire... The goddess is not pleased with a fickle man who does not know how to treat her royally!
Love is a pas de deux between equals. Alejandro and Isabella show us how it is done...
Whirling and clacking and stomping like an earthquake, love is cosmic passion...
Love is grace and restraint... Few men can survive the love of the goddess.
Finally, alone, needing no man to make her all things to ALL men, Isabella kicks off her shoes and brings the dance to a wild and dramatic conclusion.
Back at the hotel, Ark watches and learns how to park a car in Paris... especially how to park a three metre long car in a space that is only 2.8 metres long. Hint: You hit the car behind you hard enough to push it several centimetres back. Repeat as needed....
The street in Paris from the hotel the next morning.
Looking the other direction.
Not far from the hotel, the Trocadero, with view on the Eiffel Tower, that day, disappearing mysteriously into the clouds as we drove to our luncheon appointment.

After a luncheon prepared and served by a Princess of the Bourbon family, it was back to the train station and the TGV home.

Twenty-four hours to cement friendships and future working relationships.

Ah, just another day in Paris... That Grand Dame of lights - City of the Goddess... millions of them!


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