Monday, December 21, 2015

Orhan Pamuk's 'A Strangeness of Mind'

Thanks to one of my clients who is an avid reader with fantastic judgement about literature, I am immersed in Orhan Pamuk's new novel 'A Strangeness of Mind'.  Not to tell the story, but this is an absorbing tale of a young man who moves to Istanbul from a rural village during an era of rapid growth in Istanbul.  He and his father attempt various trades to make a meager living in an increasingly complex social and political mileu.  The protagonist is a seller of Boza, a traditional drink, and his demandingly physical work, wandering the city at night calling out his wares, evokes a changing Istanbul near the end of the 20th century.  His friendships, loves, luck and loss of luck, and struggle for a secure life, make for a fascinating read that helps one understand much about Istanbul, about 'Turkishness' and many of its seeming contradictions to non-Turks.  Highly recommended if you have some quiet time during the holidays.

Photography of note in Paris

Philippe Halsman Astonish Me! at the Jeu de Paume
One of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, Philippe Halsman began his career in Paris alongside contemporaries such as Dali and Man Ray.  He moved to New York in 1940 to flee the Occupation. In New York he photographed for Life Magazine (where he holds the record of 101 covers), shooting some of the greatest stars and personalities of his time. This retrospective show includes 300 exclusive images and original documents (contact sheets and prints, preliminary proofs, original photo-montages) that show not just the finished photos but the avant-garde techniques Halsman perfected to do his work. Through January 24, open Tues 11am-9pm, Wed-Sun 11am-7pm. Entry €10.  There is a free smartphone app for the exhibition.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Secret, Sexy Bar in Kadikoy

Kadikoy has a large student population and is a progressive community on the Asian side of Istanbul. There are lots of good options for an evening of dancing and drinking.  One is quite a 'secret'.

 Karga is so word-of-mouth, it doesn’t have a name on its door. Ducking through the secretive, tiny street-side door is like walking into a private network of intimate spaces. There are four stories, a garden, and several balconies. You can eatand drink with friends or find a private, dark and comfy corner. The mood is a little edgy, the playlist is energized.  Here are directions.. take the ferry to Kadikoy if you aren't already on the Asian side. 
Walk south on Bahariye Cad. and take the 1st right after (not in front of) the Opera House. Take the 2nd left, walk 1 block, and look for the Hobbit-sized, unmarked wooden door with a raven above it DJ's spin music Sept through May, live music through the summer. Tea 4 TL. Beer 7.50-13 TL. Shots 8-13 TL. Cocktails 19-23 TL. Open M-Th 11am-2am, F-Sa 11am-4am, Su 11am-2am. Closes in late winter.

A Good Bistro Choice in the Expensive 6th..

Restaurante Monsieur le Prince at #12 rue Monsieur le Prince is a welcome addition to this generally pricey quarter.  Solid bistro cooking in an attractive space, nice wines, fair prices.  If the cochon de lait is on the menu and you love this rich suckling pig dish order it!  Closed Sundays, Monday lunch.

This bistro is in the space that for many years was the beloved Chez Maitre Paul with its cuisine from the Jura region.  The new owners are adept and have created a bistro that should be on your list if you love classic bistro food with welcome up to date touches.