The chāteau collector by yaofenjin

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									                                          F R I D AY- S U N D AY, N O V E M B E R 2 0 - 2 2 , 2 0 0 9




                               The
                               château
                               collector
                                France’s leading
                                impersonator
                                Yves Lecoq is king
                                of his castles




Introducing our new wine column: Mosel under threat
      Contents
      3 | Fashion                                                                                     8-9 | Cover story Lifestyle                                                                                                                                     13 | Books

      Dressing up for the holidays                                                                   The collector of                                                                                                                                                 T.S. Eliot’s office life
      4-5 | Food & Wine                                                                              châteaux:                                                                                                                                                        14 | Top Picks


      Serving magic with gourmet food                                                                France’s leading impressionist                                                                                                                                   Surrealism in Germany
                                                                                                     Yves Lecoq loves palaces
      Wine: The threat to Mosel                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Seedy Amsterdam in London
      6-7 | Interview
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      W.H. Auden and ‘The Habit of Art’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Isadora Duncan in Paris
      Cormac McCarthy talks about
      religion, his son and ‘The Road’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                15 | Taste

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nabokov’s last gasp




                                                                                                                                                                                                 Jean Cazals for The Wall Street Journal. Cover photograph: Corbis.
      11 | Film

      Morgenstern on ‘2012’                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           16 | Time Off

      12 | Wealth                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Our arts and culture calendar
      Are diamonds an
      investor’s best friend?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Barbara Tina Fuhr Editor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Elisabeth Limber Art director
      Chopard achieves good timing                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Brian M. Carney Taste page editor

                                                                                                                              Yves Lecoq at Château de Villiers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Questions or comments? Write to wsje.weekend@wsj.com.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please include your full name and address.
                                                                                                              COV E R , Yve s L e co q i n h i s c h â te a u a t S a i n t B a si l e .




THE JOURNAL CROSSWORD / Edited by Mike Shenk                                                                                          58
                                                                                                                                      59
                                                                                                                                           ___-Magnon
                                                                                                                                           Bothered a lot
                                                                                                                                                                                        4
                                                                                                                                                                                        5
                                                                                                                                                                                             Connecticut governor Jodi
                                                                                                                                                                                             Further fried
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    49 Rock beater
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    52 Skirt with layers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        78
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        79
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “Double Fantasy” artist
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It’ll take a light
                                                                                                                                      61   iPod output                                  6    Holds                                                                                     of netting                       81    Golfer Michelle
Across                               22 Faculty member             33 USN VIP                      51 Activewear
                                                                                                                                      62   Faculty member                               7    Racial, in combinations                                                                54 Kin of X-rays                    82    Part of USPS: Abbr.
                                        at Eton?                   34 Purpose                         material
     1 Like some
                                     24 Feels at home                                              52 One with will
                                                                                                                                           at a dental school?                          8    Artoo-___                                                                              55 Mixologist’s milieu              83    Auto openings
       shirt collars                                               35 Giant star                                                      66   Marches of matadors
                                     25 Meat case                                                     power?                                                                            9    Élan                                                                                   58 Angry member of                  85    34-Down, for one
     9 Spare tire, e.g.                                            37 High point of                                                   69   “___ Murderer” (1939 J                                                                                                                      athletic faculty?
                                        choices                       a European                   53 Rate at which a                                                                  10    School attended by élèves                                                                                                  86    Numbered cube
    13 Three reigned                                                                                  company uses                         ames Mason movie)                                                                                                                        60 Catchall phrase
                                     26 “Honest!”                     vacation                                                                                                         11    Essen exclamation                                                                                                          89    Dowdy dresser
       in 1978                                                                                        cash                            70   River that empties                                                                                                                       61 Lid bulge
                                     27 Sapped                     40 Faculty member                                                                                                   12    Horse raiser                                                                                                               92    Similarly
    18 Brook                                                                                       54 Sacred                               into the Firth of Clyde
                                     29 Long                          with expertise on                                                                                                13    Faculty member working                                                                 62 The living end?
                                                                                                      compositions                    71   Bounce                                                                                                                                                                       94    Make ecstatic
    19 Activewear                       introduction?                 a Greek island?                                                                                                        for the U.S. Army?                                                                     63 “History of Rome”
       material                                                    48 Kind of diving               55 Future leaf                     74   Take the part of                                                                                                                                                             95    Scrap
                                     30 Member of the                                                                                                                                  14    Set of eight                                                                              author
    21 Place                            math faculty, at           50 Champing at                  56 Turn over                       75   Best Buy buys                                                                                                                                                                96    First name in Fighting
                                                                                                                                                                                       15    Faculty member in the                                                                  64 Alternatives to e-mail
       to play                          times?                        the bit                      57 Tavern order                    76   Leonard who wrote                                                                                                                                                                  Irish history
                                                                                                                                                                                             history department?                                                                    65 Astaire’s “Daddy Long
                                                                                                                                           “Get Shorty”                                                                                                                                                                 97    Get out of bed
                                                                                                                                                                                      16     Adams of “The Apartment”                                                                  Legs” co-star
Faculty Meeting / by Randolph Ross                                                                                                   79
                                                                                                                                     80
                                                                                                                                           Spying device
                                                                                                                                           “Here’s the reason”
                                                                                                                                                                                      17     Make ecstatic                                                                          66 City on the Ganges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        98    Pot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        99    Online reading
1      2     3    4       5    6      7    8           9     10    11   12                    13    14   15    16    17              82    Didn’t acquiesce
                                                                                                                                                                                      20     Shrink-resistant fiber                                                                 67 Have ___ on one’s
                                                                                                                                                                                      21     It’s about three times                                                                    shoulder                        100    Theme
                                                                                                                                     83    Hold to the fire
18                                                     19                    20         21                                                                                                   as big as Eur.                                                                         68 Member of the                   101    “The best ___ to come”
                                                                                                                                     84    Victoria’s Secret purchase
22                                               23                                     24                                                                                             23    Santa’s helper                                                                            drama faculty?                  102    Something to pitch
                                                                                                                                     85    Part-time music faculty                                                                                                                                                            and later strike
                                                                                                                                           member?                                     28    Undermined                                                                             71 Tavern order
25                                    26                                27         28                                                                                                  31    Abbr. in many                                                                                                             103    Bread spread
                                                                                                                                     87    Make like                                                                                                                                72 Logician’s transition
29                        30   31                                  32                         33                                                                                             real estate ads                                                                        73 Jury member                     104    Homer’s neighbor
                                                                                                                                     88    Joint
                                                                                                                                                                                       32    Latin I conjugation                                                                    75 One answer to an                107    Russian river
                                                                                                                                     90    Publicity
                  34                                               35                   36               37    38    39                                                                34    City on the Arabian                                                                       age-old question                110    Untested
                                                                                                                                     91    Michael Ovitz’s former co.
                                                                                                                                                                                             Peninsula                                                                              77 XL squared                       111   Half a laugh
40     41    42                       43   44    45    46    47                    48               49                               93    Serious faculty member when
                                                                                                                                           it comes to grading tests?                  36    They may block for the QB
50                                    51                                     52                                                                                                        38    “Once Upon a Time in
                                                                                                                                     99    London-based record co.
53                             54                                       55                    56                                    102    Providing with needed
                                                                                                                                                                                             America” director                                                                     Last Week’s Solution
                                                                                                                                           resources                                  39     Announcer Don of “SNL”
                                                                                                                                                                                      40     Grammy winner McEntire                                                                 A   N   G   S   T   C   R   UM B      B U    C S          F   I   B
57                        58                           59          60                   61                                          105    “Vive ___!”                                                                                                                              P   E   A   C   E K E   E   P E R     U P    D O      L   A   D   Y
                                                                                                                                    106    Liqueurs often served                      41     Thief’s take
                  62                       63    64                                65                                                                                                                                                                                               S   U   Z   U   K I D   E   A L E R   S H    I P      A   L   O   T
                                                                                                                                           with lamb                                  42     Tyrant                                                                                 E   T   A   L     G E   S       R A   C E           A I   S   L   E
66     67    68                            69                                      70                    71    72    73             108    Friend of Jerry and George                 43     Saloon seat                                                                                        P   T A     E   B B   K   H A    K    I D R   E   S   S
                                                                                                                                    109    Faculty member who                         44     PC screen                                                                              S   P   A   T   U L A       I OWE       V    I    T O
74                                    75                     76         77   78                     79
                                                                                                                                           advises theology majors?                   45     Go in a hurry                                                                          K   A   B   U   K I D   A   N C E     S E    X    O R G   A   N   S
80                             81                      82                                     83                                     112   Made out                                   46     Pump stat                                                                              I   L   E   R       J   U   D A I C   A           F E L   L   A   H
                                                                                                                                     113   Chatter                                    47     Petered out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    N   O   T   E   B O O   K   S     A   L E C         D E   A   N   E
84                                               85                                     86
                                                                                                                                     114   Powers of “Hart to Hart”                                                                                                                                 O N I         P O R   S C H       E   N   I   C   E
87                        88               89                                           90                                           115   “Talk ___”                                  WSJ.com                                                                                      C   H   I   C   K E N   T   E R I Y   A K I       D I N   N   E   R
                                                                                                                                           (Pedro Almodóvar film)                                                                                                                   L   E   C   H     D E   R   A I L S       C       U L
             91   92                  93                     94    95   96   97    98                    99    100 101                                                                         Crossword online                                                                     A   L   I   A   S   D   E   R M       WH A        C K J   O   B   S
                                                                                                                                     116   Affectedly dainty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    U   L   L   M   A N         L A T E   R O N           O   L   I   O
                                                                                                                                     117   Marching orders?                                    For an interactive
102 103                        104                           105                              106 107                                                                                                                                                                               S   A   Y   P   L E A   S   E   S K   I D O       WN H    I   L   L
                                                                                                                                                                                              version of The Wall                                                                                   A U R   A     A P E   T   S       H I N   N   E   D
108                                        109         110                              111                                                                                                Street Journal Crossword,                                                               T I      K   I   D R I   N   K S   D   S L         O L D
112                                        113                               114
                                                                                                                                   Down                                                      WSJ.com subscribers                                                                   WA       N   N   A       D   E K E       O R       O   E   N   O   L
                                                                                                                                       1 Canyon in the comics                                      can go to                                                                       E M      E   R     P U   L   A S K I   D A Y       P A R   A   D   E
115                                              116                         117                                                       2 Copier cartridge                                  WSJ.com/WeekendJournal                                                                  A B      E   E     A N   E   T   C R   I M E       S C E   N   E   S
                                                                                                                                       3 Aquarium growth                                                                                                                           K I      D         S I   R   S   O K   A Y S         S K   O   R   T


W2 Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009                              |    WEEKEND JOURNAL
v   Fashion

O Christmas Me! The allure of holiday clothes
T
       HE HOLIDAYS ARE nearly            don’t match the lives they actually        What to Wear to That Holiday Party
       here, and I am pondering          lead. Even if you are planning to              Surely, you want to get in the
       what I’ll wear to chop down       spend New Year’s in St. Barts, there       spirit of the holidays. But you are
my Christmas tree this year. I wish      is no valid reason for splurging on a      not obligated to hang ornaments
to look like the family on the Lands’    gold Versace cat suit if you won’t         from your ears or don a menorah tie.
End catalog that arrived last week:      wear it at home. “Shop your closet         In fact, when planning what to wear
Three smiling generations, each in a     for the holidays,” Mr. Garkinos ad-        to holiday events, a good way to get
cozy sweater and fluffy down jacket      vises.                                     started is to ask yourself, “Will I
in red or white. The tot’s plaid wool        Still, he plans to display a slinky,   cringe when I see the photos?”
shirt anchors the bucolic picture.       backless, green-sequined Pucci                 Here are some tips on dressing
                                         dress in his store window for the hol-     for the holidays.
                                         idays. Some one will want it, he says          Men:
On Style                                 confidently.                                   Nordic-pattern sweaters are fes-
                                             Indeed, retailers are anticipat-       tive without blinding partygoers
CHRISTINA BINKLEY                        ing a reasonably good shopping sea-        with the color of Rudolph’s nose. If
                                         son (NPD Group reports that 70% of         you yearn to wear a holiday-pattern
    I also have an upcoming holiday      shoppers expect to spend as much           tie, chose subtle tiny patterns and
dance, a festive block party, and, of    or more on apparel during the holi-        don’t lower your standards for qual-
course, Christmas Eve and Christ-        days as last year), and stores are al-     ity. Christmas is no excuse for poly-
mas morning, each with their own         ready stocked with holiday bait,           ester.
celebratory-apparel demands.             much of it involving red cable knit            Women:
    Of course, I can easily obtain an    or sequins.                                    Sequins and metallic fabrics are
entire holiday wardrobe. Stores are          Holiday clothes may be popular         trendy right now, but they are easy




                                                                                                                                                                                              Everett Collection (top); Everett Collection, Hanna Andersson (bottom)
already full of velvet dresses, crim-    for nostalgic reasons. “Maybe peo-         to over-do. When in doubt, back off.
son cardigans and all manner of se-      ple are looking for times in their             Choose apparel and accessories
quined and metallic dresses for the      past when things were easier,” pro-        that will be wearable after Jan. 2.
holidays. The only problem is that       poses Karen Daskas, who owns a                 Shop in your closet, even for
this apparel has a shelf life of about   boutique called Tender in Birming-         New Year’s Eve. That dress you
three weeks.                             ham, Mich., a wealthy Detroit sub-         wore to a wedding last March
    Our culture is replete with im-      urb.                                       may be perfect for a holiday
ages of people dressed up for the hol-       And what about those red-and-          party when paired with
idays—for better or for worse—           white-striped Hanna Andersson              dressy jewelry and
from the red, fur-trimmed dresses        long johns for Christmas morning,          shoes. Better to recy-
in “White Christmas” to the rein-        available in sizes to fit the whole        cle than to spend
deer sweater Colin Firth wears in        family? “Maybe it’s a thing to keep        hard-earned cash
“Bridget Jones’s Diary.” For many of     the family together,” she suggests.        on a new dress you’ll
us, it can be hard to let the holiday    The pressures of the holidays exac-        never don again.
season pass without at least one         erbate such longings. “I feel like I
foray in an outfit that will look out-   stuck my head in an electric plug          Holiday attire in
landish by January 2nd.                  most days,” Ms. Daskas says. “And          movies like ‘White
    To some extent, we’re respond-       my customers are worse. There’s no         Christmas’ (right) and in
ing to social pressures, as holiday-     relax time.”                               catalogs like Hanna Andersson’s (below).
themed festivities get under way. In         “You know that Vermont Coun-
two weeks, I must attend a party         try Store catalog?” Ms. Daskas asks,
that requires “festive holiday danc-     sounding wistful. Yes. It’s on my
ing dress.” This seems to require        kitchen counter, an iconic source for
something I don’t own and won’t          homey Christmas stocking stuffers,
wear twice.                              taunting me with visions of old-
    Why do so many of us find our-       time bath salts and the leisure to en-
selves tempted by December-holi-         joy them.
day clothes—especially when they             But should we give in to our de-
often involve vivid vests or flamma-     sire to decorate ourselves for the
ble dresses? Are we chasing fanta-       holidays? My friend Laura Walker,
sies—dreams of someone else’s            an attorney with the Securities and
good life?                               Exchange Commission in Washing-
    Perhaps it’s because the events      ton, D.C., has a couple of green vel-
are so out of sync with our worka-       vet dresses “that were only appro-
day lives that we feel compelled to      priate for the holidays” hanging in
alter our wardrobes. Holiday is its      the back of her closet. Twice
own fashion. “Men wear red once a        burned, thrice shy. “I haven’t fallen
year,” says Christos Garkinos, co-       prey to these urges in recent years,”
owner of the luxury Los Angeles re-      she says.
sale boutique Decadestwo.                    Ms. Daskas says she is firm with
    Mr. Garkinos says the holidays       customers who are looking for holi-
entice people to buy things that         day clothes, recommending jewel
                                         tones and black over Christmas
                                         themes. “Tender would never put a
                                         client in a red velvet dress,” she
                                         says.
                                             She recently sold a colorful Peter
                                         Sorenon dress, accompanied by a
                                         fur wrap and Lanvin pumps for a hol-
                                         iday party and a black cashmere car-
                                         digan and boots for a less-formal oc-
                                         casion. One dress, several outfits.
                                             Still, tradition lives on. Like
                                         many stores, TJ Maxx and Marshalls
                                         are chock full of “occasion dresses—
                                         the sequins, the sparkles,” says
                                         Laura McDowell, the retail chains’
                                         spokeswoman. She says that be-
                                         cause sequins and metallic fabrics
                                         are trendy, the clothes can be worn
                                         all year round.
                                             In December, the holiday spirit is
                                         hard to escape. “It’s like a fruitcake
                                         to wear,” says David Wolfe, creative            “Fifty Fathoms Automatique”
                                                                                         (ref. 5015-3630-52)
                                         director of the Doneger Group fash-
                                         ion consulting firm in New York. “Ev-
                                         erybody says they think it’s awful,
                                         but they still seem to either buy and
                                         wear it themselves or they know
                                         somebody they want to give it to as
                                         a gift.”



                                                                                                                               WEEKEND JOURNAL   | Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009   W3
 v   Food & Wine




Some sword swallowers with your sushi?
                                                                                                                                 European ‘performance dining’ mixes gourmet cuisine with unusual acts
                                                                                                                                 By Jemima Sissons                          all. Furthermore, with prices rang-        house look- and sound-alike, “with a


                                                                                                                                 I
                                                                                                                                     T IS 11 P.M. on a Saturday night       ing from around £30 to £60 (mostly         twist.” One of their most successful
                                                                                                                                     in London, and an athletic             with four or more courses) for a           acts—a man who holds his breath in
                                                                                                                                     woman with a shaved head,              whole evening of great food and en-        a giant balloon for over eight min-
                                                                                                                                 bright red lipstick and a black pill-      tertainment—it is also a good credit       utes—is also going to make an ap-
                                                                                                                                 box hat is on stage, stark raving na-      crunch choice.                             pearance.
                                                                                                                                 ked, except for some strategically             Performance dining, in its es-            They have recently opened in Sin-
                                                                                                                                 placed gold stars. As the lights dim,      sence, is the idea of mixing delicious     gapore and Istanbul and expect to
                                                                                                                                 she pulls a blue balloon from what         food with unusual acts—this can be         open in Los Angeles next year. Ex-
                                                                                                                                 seems to be her bottom, and starts         anything from vaudeville, to magic,        pect the wacky and whimsical—
                                                                                                                                 to blow it up. Then, with a loud bang      cabaret to burlesque, or even just         such as a woman lying on a bed of
                                                                                                                                 it bursts, leaving a shower of multi-      great music. While food often used         oysters, which is then served to din-
                                                                                                                                 colored glitter falling onto the faces     to be a post-script to the acts (such      ers. Emphasis will be on first-class
                                                                                                                                 of the bemused people in suits sit-        as in the tradition of “dinner the-        cuisine. As Ms. Vehmeyer says, “peo-
                                                                                                                                 ting below the stage, tucking into         ater” in the U.S.), now the quality of     ple are so spoiled for choice in Lon-
                                                                                                                                 their braised pork belly.                  the cuisine has become just as im-         don, we have to pay extra attention
                                                                                                                                     This is not a scene from a Baz Lu-     portant as the show.                       to our food here.”
                                                                                                                                 hrmann film or some dodgy fetish               One of the leaders of the pack is         One of the first ever to bring the
                                                                                                                                 club. It is in fact the new face of din-   Amsterdam’s Supperclub—famed               idea of performance dining to Lon-
                                                                                                                                 ing. The most entertaining thing           for its outrageous acts and “any-          don was Mat Whitley with his Me-
                                                                                                                                 about going out to dinner used to be       thing goes” attitude. Started 17           dium Rare nights. Started eight years
                                                                                                                                 some napkin origami from the Ital-         years ago, and with clubs in four cit-     ago, he hosts monthly dinner parties—
                                                                                                                                 ian chef, or an over-enthusiastic ren-     ies now, it will open its latest venue     which he bills as “variety
                                                                                                                                 dering of peach flambé for dessert.        in London’s Notting Hill next month.       shows”—and scours the world look-
                                                                                                                                 Now you can find yourself picking          Cleo Vehmeyer, the director of Sup-        ing for new boundary-pushing acts.
                                                                                                                                 over sushi next to sword swallow-          perclub’s holding company IQ Cre-          He started out of frustration for the-
                                                                                                                                 ers, sampling chicken Kiev as a tra-       ative, says that it is all about letting   ater-going in the city. “There was no-
                                                                                                                                 peze artist whizzes over you, or en-       oneself go: “It is about freedom, it       where you could go and see live per-
                                                                          Jonangelo Lorenzo Molinari (top); Medium Rare (left)




                                                                                                                                 joying Dover sole as a German bur-         doesn’t matter if you are young or         formance and have supper,” he says.
                                                                                                                                 lesque troupe works the room. Wel-         old, gay or straight. There are no win-    “When are you supposed to eat if you
                                                                                                                                 come to the weird and wonderful            dows in the club so you cannot see         go to the theater? At 6 p.m. or 10
                                                                                                                                 world of “performance dining.”             the outside world, here you can for-       p.m.—both really annoying times.”
                                                                                                                                     While you have been able to get a      get about your daily sorrows.”                Mr. Whitley is also at the fore-
                                                                                                                                 bad hamburger in an underground                As you would imagine from a            front of London’s newfound thirst
                                                                                                                                 jazz club, or sneak your way into          company started out of the best tra-       for burlesque, and says that his
                                                                                                                                 small cultish places in hard-to-find       ditions of Dutch liberalism, expect        “bread and butter” is hiring out his
                                               Kalki the hula hooper at
                                                                                                                                 locations for quite some time, per-        to be shocked (or, indeed, blind-          variety acts and burlesque dancers
                                               Medium Rare. Above,
                                                                                                                                 formance dining, as it is being            folded during dinner—they are very         for corporate events—which makes
                                               MGM performers at the
                                                                                                                                 billed, has grown up. It has become        into “playing with the senses.”)           a change from the all-you-can-eat
                                               launch of Proud Cabaret.
                                                                                                                                 far tastier and is now accessible to       Their opening act is an Amy Wine-          buffets and terrible karaoke of


W4 Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009   | WEEKEND JOURNAL
Christmas parties past.
    One theory behind the resur-
gence of the entertainment-dining
experience is that none of us is
                                                                                                                                                                            The threat to the Mosel
ready for our pipe and slippers quite
yet. Steve Ball, who opened the
Blues Kitchen in London’s Camden
                                                                                                                                                                            I  N THE GRAND valleys of the
                                                                                                                                                                               Mosel, the region’s wine growers
                                                                                                                                                                            should be celebrating. A year of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     ing people to voice their concerns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     by e-mailing the German Chancellor
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Angela Merkel directly.
last month—a moody bourbon bar                                                                                                                                              near perfect weather has produced             What is at stake is German
reminiscent of a speakeasy playing                                                                                                                                          grapes of stunning quality. The          Riesling, a white wine whose qual-
live Blues every night—thinks it’s a                                                                                                                                        sunny but dry late summer has            ity is only surpassed by white Bur-
sign of the times. “There’s been a de-                                                                                                                                      yielded a harvest rich in aromatic,      gundy. Its appeal lies in a tension
mographic change in London social                                                                                                                                           healthy and fully ripe grapes. “This     created by a nose that smells of del-
scene,” he says. “When my father                                                                                                                                            year will go down in history as a        icate, floral fruit such as rose petals
was on the wrong side of 30 he                                                                                                                                              truly great vintage,” says Norbert       and peaches and a palate that is
stopped going out. There’s now this                                                                                                                                         Weber, president of the German           bone dry. It is the contrast between
whole generation who is bored of go-                                                                                                                                                                                 a perfumed nose and a mineral af-
ing down the pub, and now you need                                                                                                                                                                                   tertaste, washed down with a pure,
to offer a bit more.”                                                                                                                                                       Wine                                     flickering acidity that gives Riesling
    Yet they’re not all aimed at a                                                                                                                                                                                   from the Mosel special character.
30-plus crowd. Proud Cabaret,
                                                                                                                                                                            WILLIAM LYONS                                 With age, and many can cellar
which opened this month in Lon-                                                                                                                                                                                      for 15 years or more, the wines
don’s City financial district, is mar-                                                                                                                                      Winegrowers’ Association in Bonn.        turn a golden color and take on an
keting itself as a venue for all. The                                                                                                                                       Already, the German Wine Institute       oily, smoky character. They match
brainchild of 40-year-old Alex                                                                                                                                              is making plans to showcase the          perfectly with dishes such as roast
Proud, who made his name selling                                                                                                                                            2009 vintage to the international        partridge, venison, soft blue cheese
rock-and-roll photography, the club                                                                                                                                         press, hopeful that the price to qual-   and almost any fish.
has student nights on Mondays and                                                                                                                                           ity ratio will attract a slew of new          The valleys along the Mosel,
Tuesdays, with low prices to match.                                                                                                                                         buyers.                                  Saar and Ruwer rivers are ideal for
But with its seductive purple velvet                                                                                                                                            But amid the steep slopes of         the late ripening Riesling. The steep
banquettes, pretty girls in flapper                                                                                                                                         Germany’s oldest wine-growing re-        slate slopes overlooking the rivers
dresses and tempting grown-up nos-                                                                                                                                          gion all is not well. Speak with any     absorb the sun’s warmth during the
talgic British dishes like prawn cock-                                                                                                                                      winemaker and talk is not of the         day and release it at night. While
tail, Beef Wellington and sticky tof-                                                                                                                                       quality of the 09s but of the con-       the vines have to work hard, pene-
fee pudding, Mr. Proud is also hop-                                                                                                                                         struction of the B50, a four-lane        trating deep into the chalky, sandy,
ing to capture the imagination of                                                                                                                                           road bridge and highway, that if         gravelly soils that contain quartzite
the local corporate folk.                                                                                                                                                   completed as planned will threaten       and slate.
    “The other night we had a City                                                                                                                                          the vineyards of some of the                  Those opposed to the threat of
crowd eating dinner, then the artsy                                                      Merante van Amersfoort                                                             world’s greatest wine estates. Situ-     disruption to the delicate eco-
lot all dressed for the cabaret and                                                      performs as Amy Winehouse                                                          ated along the Mosel river between       sytems surrounding these vine-
they all loved each other,” he says.                                                     at the Supperclub.                                                                 the German towns of Bernkastel-          yards point to a history of wine pro-
“People in U.K. have the propensity                                                                                                                                         Kues and Traben-Trarbach, the            duction on these valleys that has
to be safe. What we are doing here is                                                                                                                                       bridge project threatens the ecosys-     continued for more than 2,000
quite dangerous, we are being bold,                                                                                                                                         tems of world renowned vineyard          years. Archaeologists have found
trying to shake things up a little.”      also in the lavish Las Vegas style sup-   ing sell-out performances in tents lo-                                                  sites such as Zeltingen, Wehlen,         press houses dating back to the Ro-
Which means acts such as mouthy           perclubs that emerged in America          cated in cities across Germany, Hol-                                                    Graach and Bernkastel. Winemakers        man times which suggest the Ro-
drag queen Myra Dubois, and               following prohibition and the lib-        land and Austria. Many of the chefs                                                     believe the situation has reached a      mans introduced viticulture on a
“twisted pop cabaret” act Frisky          eral Weimar-era Berlin of the 1930s,      hold Michelin Stars.                                                                    crisis point as politicians are deter-   large scale while the monks and
and Mannish, who give their own           when the government put an end to             Granted, it’s not everyone’s idea                                                   mined to go ahead with the project.      nuns of medieval monasteries fur-
take on modern pop icons. Other           censorship, and cabaret clubs             of fun. For some, their idea of hell is                                                     “Work is still going ahead at sev-   thered its development on steep
London spots serving up eyebrow-          cropped up across the city.               being trapped in a red velvet room                                                      eral sites,” says Sarah Washington       hillsides.
raising entertainment along with              Harking back to this period is        with a stilt-walking transsexual bur-                                                   in Ürzig, a local campaigner vehe-            As Hugh Johnson, author of
their food are Le Pigalle in Piccadilly   Harald Wohlfahrt’s Palazzo, which         lesque queen, and possibly being                                                        mently opposed to the construction       “The World Atlas of Wine,” who
and The Brickhouse in the East End        bills itself as “gourmet theater.” One    asked to join in for dreaded audi-                                                      of the bridge. “Shortly tree-cutting     has lent his voice to the campaign
(the scene of the outré balloon trick     of the original performance-dining        ence participation. As Cleo Vehm-                                                       will begin, and there may well be        to stop the bridge, says, “The whole
mentioned earlier.)                       experiences that combines outra-          eyer of Supperclub says, “this kind                                                     some strong reaction here against        world has nothing comparable to
    Performance dining has its roots      geous acts with haute cuisine, it         of evening is something you like or                                                     that.”                                   Mosel Riesling. You can imitate the
in the cabaret clubs of Paris at the      started in a spiegeltent in Freiburg’s    you don’t like, never in-between.”                                                          Ernst Loosen, owner of Dr.           wines of Bordeaux in the Napa Val-
turn of the century, which were melt-     Colombi Park in 1998, and now runs            —Jemima Sissons is a writer                                                         Loosen wine estate in Bernkastel,        ley. But there is nothing that even
ing pots for the intelligentsia, and      from October to February, deliver-        based in London.                                                                        one of Germany’s top wine estates,       starts to imitate Mosel Riesling. Do
                                                                                                                                                                            is more vocal.                           you really understand what a trea-
                                                                                                                                                                                “The project is a disaster,” says    sure of an inheritance this is?”
                                                                                                                                                                            Mr. Loosen. “The bridge will destroy          I visited the region in Septem-
                                                                                                                                                                            the aesthetics of the cultural land-     ber and the producers that stood
                                                                                                                                                                            scape of the Mosel. The vines will       out were Leitz, Carl von Schubert,
                                                                                                                                                                            be detrimentally affected by             Dönnhoff, Egon Müller, Fritz Haag,
                                                                                                                                                                            shadow from the bridge, water dis-       Gunderloch, J J Prüm, Künstler, Tha-
                                                                                                                                                                            tribution will be permanently al-        nisch, Reichsrat von Buhl and Max
                                                                                                                                                                            tered in some of the best vineyards      Ferd Richter. I suggest you try them
                                                                                                                                                                            in Germany.” Campaigners are ask-        before the completion of the B50.




                                                                                                                                                                            DRINKING NOW
                                                                                                                                                                            Château Cantemerle
                                                                                                                                                                            Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux
                                                                                                                                                                            Vintage: 2000
                                                                                                                                                                            Price: about £35 (Œ39)
                                                                                                                                                                            Alcohol content: 13%
                                                                                                                                                                            Cantemerle is a château that has
                                                                                                                                                                            consistently punched above its
                                                                                                                                                                            weight for a few years now. The
                                                                                                                              Ruby Hoorn (top); The Pigalle Club (left)




                                                                                                                                                                            2000 vintage was a very good
                                                                                                                                                                            year in the Médoc and offers a
                                                                                                                                                                            ripe, succulent style. Just starting
                                                                                                                                                                            to drink now, this is cracking value
                                                                                                                                                                            for a lighter-bodied claret.
  The dining room at London’s Pigalle Club.


                                                                                                                                                                          WEEKEND JOURNAL               | Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009          W5
v   Interview




                                                                                                                                                                                             A scene from ‘The Road’;
                                                                                                                                                                                             below, Viggo Mortensen
                                                                                                                                                                                             and Kodi Smit-McPhee,
                                                                                                                                                                                             who play father and son
                                                                                                                                                                                             in the movie.




Hollywood’s favorite cowboy
Author Cormac McCarthy talks about religion, his son and the movie based on his novel ‘The Road’
By John Jurgensen                                                                                                                                                                  with John, did he press you on
                         San Antonio                                                                                                                                               what had caused the disaster in


N
        OVELIST CORMAC McCarthy                                                                                                                                                    the story?
        shuns interviews, but he rel-                                                                                                                                                  A lot of people ask me. I don’t
        ishes conversation. Two                                                                                                                                                    have an opinion. At the Santa Fe
weeks ago, the author sat down                                                                                                                                                     Institute I’m with scientists of all
on the leafy patio of the Menger                                                                                                                                                   disciplines, and some of them in
Hotel, built about 20 years after                                                                                                                                                  geology said it looked like a me-
the siege of the Alamo, the re-                                                                                                                                                    teor to them. But it could be any-
mains of which are next door.                                                                                                                                                      thing—volcanic activity or it could
    The afternoon conversation,                                                                                                                                                    be nuclear war. It is not really im-
which also included film director                                                                                                                                                  portant. The whole thing now is,
John Hillcoat of “The Road,” went                                                                                                                                                  what do you do? The last time the
on ‘til dark, then moved to a                                                                                                                                                      caldera in Yellowstone blew, the
nearby restaurant for dinner.                                                                                                                                                      entire North American continent
Dressed in crisp jeans and dim-                                                                                                                                                    was under about a foot of ash.
pled brown cowboy boots, Mr. Mc-                                                                                                                                                   People who’ve gone diving in Yel-
Carthy began the meal with a Bom-                                                                                                                                                  lowstone Lake say that there is a
bay Gibson, up.                                                                                                                                                                    bulge in the floor that is now
    The 76-year-old author first                                                                                                                                                   about 100 feet high and the whole
broke through with his 1985 novel                                                                                                                                                  thing is just sort of pulsing. From
                                                                                                                                                             Dimension Films (2)




“Blood Meridian,” a tale of Ameri-                                                                                                                                                 different people you get different
can mercenaries hunting Indians                                                                                                                                                    answers, but it could go in an-
in the Mexican borderland. Com-                                                                                                                                                    other three to four thousand years
mercial success came later with                                                                                                                                                    or it could go on Thursday. No
1992’s “All the Pretty Horses,” a                                                                                                                                                  one knows.
National Book Award winner and          across Europe is a screen adapta-      springing from his relationship        your hands?
the first installment of a Border       tion of “The Road,” a novel that       with his 11-year-old son, John,           No, you sell it and you go home                               Q: What kind of things make
Trilogy. Critics delved into his de-    marked another major stage of          whom he had with his third wife,       and go to bed. You don’t embroil                             you worry?
tailed vision of the West, his paint-   Mr. McCarthy’s career. As intimate     Jennifer. As death bears down in       yourself in somebody else’s project.                             If you think about some of the
erly descriptions of violence and       as it is grim, the book tells the      “The Road,” the main character ob-                                                                  things that are being talked about
his muscular prose stripped of          story of a man’s bond with his         sessively protects his son and pre-       Q: When you first went to the                             by thoughtful, intelligent scien-
most punctuation.                       young son as the two struggle for      pares him to carry on alone: “He       film set, how did it compare                                 tists, you realize that in 100 years
    The writer himself, however,        survival years after a cataclysm       knew only that the child was his       with how you saw “The Road” in                               the human race won’t even be rec-
has proved more elusive. He won’t       has erased society. The novel won      warrant. He said: If he is not the     your head?                                                   ognizable. We may indeed be part
be found at book festivals, read-       a Pulitzer Prize in 2007 and was       word of God God never spoke.”             I guess my notion of what was                             machine and we may have comput-
ings and other places novelists         promoted heavily by Oprah Win-             Messrs. McCarthy and Hillcoat      going on in “The Road” did not in-                           ers implanted. It’s more than theo-
gather. Mr. McCarthy prefers hang-      frey as a surprising selection for     showed easy affability in their        clude 60 to 80 people and a bunch                            retically possible to implant a chip
ing out with “smart people” out-        her book club.                         friendship, despite what could         of cameras. Dick Pearce and I                                in the brain that would contain all
side his field, like professional          The movie, starring Viggo           have been a prickly collaboration.     made a film in North Carolina                                the information in all the libraries
poker players and the thinkers at       Mortensen as the father and Kodi           Mr. Hillcoat told him, “You re-    about 30 years ago and I thought,                            in the world. As people who have
the Santa Fe Institute, a theoreti-     Smit-McPhee (11 years old at the       lieved a huge burden from my           “This is just hell. Who would do                             talked about this say, it’s just a
cal-science foundation in New           time of shooting) as his son,          shoulders when you said, ‘Look, a      this?” Instead, I get up and have a                          matter of figuring out the wiring.
Mexico where the author is a long-      closely follows the book’s bleak       novel’s a novel and a film’s a film,   cup of coffee and wander around                              Now there’s a problem you can
time fellow.                            narrative, including encounters        and they’re very different.’”          and read a little bit, sit down and                          take to bed with you at night.
    In recent years, his circle has     with cannibals. Mr. Hillcoat is an         In a soft voice, chuckling fre-    type a few words and look out the
inched further into Hollywood.          Australian who made the violent        quently and gazing intently with       window.                                                         Q: “The Road” is this love
Many new readers discovered him         2005 Western-style tale “The Prop-     gray-green eyes, Mr. McCarthy                                                                       story between father and son,
as the source of the 2007 film “No      osition,” set in the Outback. To       talked about books vs. films, the         Q: But is there something                                 but they never say, “I love you.”
Country for Old Men,” a thriller        replicate the blighted landscapes      apocalypse, fathers and sons, past     compelling about the collabora-                                 No. I didn’t think that would
that hinged on a briefcase full of      in “The Road,” Mr. Hillcoat shot       and future projects, how he writes—    tive process compared to the sol-                            add anything to the story at all.
drug money and a remorseless            much of the movie in wintertime        and God.                               itary job of writing?                                        But a lot of the lines that are in
killer. Directed by Joel and Ethan      Pittsburgh, where remnants of the                                                Yes, it would compel you to                               there are verbatim conversations
Coen, it won four Academy               region’s coal and steel history lent      Q: When you sell the rights to      avoid it at all costs.                                       my son John and I had. I mean
Awards.                                 to the desolation.                     your books, do the contracts                                                                        just that when I say that he’s the
    Now, set for release Nov. 25 in        The backstory of Mr. McCar-         give you some oversight over              Q: When you discussed mak-                                co-author of the book. A lot of the
the U.S. and a few weeks later          thy’s novel is deeply personal,        the screenplay, or is it out of        ing “The Road” into a movie                                  things that the kid says are things


W6 Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009     | WEEKEND JOURNAL
that John said. John said, “Papa,                                                                                                                                             cause I knew that nobody had




                                                                                                                                                             Corbis Outline
what would you do if I died?” I                                                                                                                                               ever written about it. Besides
said, “I’d want to die, too,” and he                                                                                                                                          Coca-Cola, the other thing that is
said, “So you could be with me?” I                                                                                                                                            universally known is cowboys and
said, “Yes, so I could be with you.”                                                                                                                                          Indians. You can go to a mountain
Just a conversation that two guys                                                                                                                                             village in Mongolia and they’ll
would have.                                                                                                                                                                   know about cowboys. But nobody
                                                                                                                                                                              had taken it seriously, not in 200
   Q: Why don’t you sign copies                                                                                                                                               years. I thought, here’s a good sub-
of “The Road”                              ‘Your future gets shorter                                                                                                          ject. And it was.
   There are signed copies of the
book, but they all belong to my            and you recognize that.                                                                                                               Q: You grew up Irish Catholic.
son John, so when he turns 18 he                                                                                                                                                 I did, a bit. It wasn’t a big is-
can sell them and go to Las Vegas          In recent years, I have                                                                                                            sue. We went to church on Sun-
or whatever. No, those are the                                                                                                                                                day. I don’t even remember reli-
only signed copies of the book.            had no desire to do                                                                                                                gion ever even being discussed.

   Q: How many did you have?               anything but work and                                                                                                                  Q: Is the God that you grew
   250. So occasionally I get let-                                                                                                                                            up with in church every Sunday
ters from book dealers or whoever          be with [my son] John.’                                                                                                            the same God that the man in
that say, “I have a signed copy of                                                                                                                                            “The Road” questions and
the ‘The Road,’” and I say, “No.                                                                                                                                              curses?
You don’t.”                                                                                                                                                                       It may be. I have a great sympa-
                                                                                                                                                                              thy for the spiritual view of life,
   Q: What was your relation-                                                                                                                                                 and I think that it’s meaningful.
ship like with the Coen brothers                                                                                                                                              But am I a spiritual person? I
on “No Country for Old Men”?                                                                                                                                                  would like to be. Not that I am
   We met and chatted a few                                                                                                                                                   thinking about some afterlife that
times. I enjoyed their company.                                                                                                                                               I want to go to, but just in terms
They’re smart and they’re very tal-                                                                                                                                           of being a better person. I have
ented. Like John, they didn’t need                                                                                                                                            friends at the Institute. They’re
any help from me to make a movie.                                                                                                                                             just really bright guys who do re-
                                                                                                                                                                              ally difficult work solving difficult
   Q: “All the Pretty Horses”                                                                                                                                                 problems, who say, “It’s really
was also turned into a film [star-                                                                                                                                            more important to be good than it
ring Matt Damon and Penelope                                                                                                                                                  is to be smart.” And I agree it is
Cruz]. Were you happy with the                                                                                                                                                more important to be good than it
way it came out?                                                                                                                                                              is to be smart. That is all I can of-
   It could’ve been better. As it                                                                                                                                             fer you.
stands today it could be cut and
made into a pretty good movie.                                                                                                                                                   Q: Because “The Road” is so
The director had the notion that                                                                                                                                              personal, did you have any hesi-
he could put the entire book up                                                                                                                                               tations about seeing it adapted?
on the screen. Well, you can’t do                                                                                                                                                No. I’ve seen John’s film [“The
that. You have to pick out the                                                                                                                                                Proposition”] and I knew him
story that you want to tell and put                                                                                                                                           somewhat by reputation and I
that on the screen. And so he                                                                                                                                                 thought he’d probably do a good
made this four-hour film and then                                                                                                                                             job in respect to the material.
he found that if he was actually                                                                                                                                              Also, my agent, she’s just the best.
going to get it released, he would                                                                                                                                            She wasn’t going to sell the book
have to cut it down to two hours.                                                                                                                                             to somebody unless she had some
                                                                                                                                                                              confidence in what they would do
    Q: Does this issue of length ap-                                                                                                                                          with it. It’s not just a matter of
ply to books, too? Is a 1,000-page                                                                                                                                            money.
book somehow too much?
    For modern readers, yeah. Peo-                                                                                                                                               Q: For novels such as “Blood
ple apparently only read mystery                                                                                                                                              Meridian,” you did extensive his-
stories of any length. With myster-                                                                                                                                           torical research. What kind of re-
ies, the longer the better and peo-                                                                                                                                           search did you do for “The
ple will read any damn thing. But                                                                                                                                             Road”?
the indulgent, 800-page books                                                                                                                                                    I don’t know. Just talking to
that were written a hundred years                                                                                                                                             people about what things might
ago are just not going to be writ-                                                                                                                                            look like under various cata-
ten anymore and people need to                                                                                                                                                strophic situations, but not a lot
get used to that. If you think                                                                                                                                                of research. I have these conversa-
you’re going to write something                                                                                                                                               tions on the phone with my
like “The Brothers Karamazov” or                                                                                                                                              brother Dennis, and quite often
“Moby Dick,” go ahead. Nobody                                                                                                                                                 we get around to some sort of hid-
will read it. I don’t care how good                                                                                                                                           eous end-of-the-world scenario
it is, or how smart the readers                                                                                                                                               and we always wind up just laugh-
are. Their intentions, their brains                                                                                                                                           ing. Anyone listening to this
are different.                                                                                                           Cormac McCarthy, above in 2007,                      would say, “Why don’t you just go
                                                                                                                         drew on his own relationship with                    home and get into a warm tub and
    Q: People have said “Blood                                                                                           his son for his novel ‘The Road.’                    open a vein.” We talked about if
Meridian” is unfilmable because                                                                                                                                               there was a small percentage of
of the sheer darkness and vio-                                                                                                                                                the human population left, what
lence of the story.                    room with some blank paper.             be watching some ants carrying          When the book opens she’s al-                          would they do? They’d probably
    That’s all crap. The fact that’s   That’s heaven. That’s gold and any-     bread crumbs. Someone asked             ready committed suicide, and it’s                      divide up into little tribes and
it’s a bleak and bloody story has      thing else is just a waste of time.     Flannery O’Connor why she wrote,        about how he deals with it. She’s                      when everything's gone, the only
nothing to do with whether or not                                              and she said, “Because I was good       an interesting girl.                                   thing left to eat is each other. We
you can put it on the screen.             Q: How does that ticking             at it.” And I think that’s the right                                                           know that’s true historically.
That’s not the issue. The issue is     clock affect your work? Does it         answer. If you’re good at some-            Q: Some critics focus on how
it would be very difficult to do       make you want to write more             thing it’s very hard not to do it. In   rarely you go deep with female                             Q: What kind of reactions
and would require someone with a       shorter pieces, or to cap things        talking to older people who’ve had      characters.                                            have you gotten to “The Road”
bountiful imagination and a lot of     with a large, all-encompassing          good lives, inevitably half of them        This long book is largely about                     from fathers?
balls. But the payoff could be ex-     work?                                   will say, “The most significant         a young woman. There are inter-                            I have the same letter from
traordinary.                              I’m not interested in writing        thing in my life is that I’ve been      esting scenes that cut in through-                     about six different people. One
                                       short stories. Anything that            extraordinarily lucky.” And when        out the book, all dealing with the                     from Australia, one from Germany,
    Q: How does the notion of ag-      doesn’t take years of your life and     you hear that you know you’re           past. She’s committed suicide                          one from England, but they all
ing and death affect the work you      drive you to suicide hardly seems       hearing the truth. It doesn’t dimin-    about seven years before. I was                        said the same thing. They said,
do? Has it become more urgent?         worth doing.                            ish their talent or industry. You       planning on writing about a                            “I started reading your book after
    Your future gets shorter and                                               can have all that and fail.             woman for 50 years. I will never                       dinner and I finished it 3:45 the
you recognize that. In recent             Q: The last five years have                                                  be competent enough to do so,                          next morning, and I got up and
years, I have had no desire to do      seemed very productive for you.            Q: Can you tell me about the         but at some point you have to try.                     went upstairs and I got my kids
anything but work and be with          Have there been fallow periods          book you’re working on, in                                                                     up and I just sat there in the bed
[son] John. I hear people talking      in your writing?                        terms of story or setting?                 Q: You were born in Rhode Is-                       and held them.”
about going on a vacation or some-        I don’t think there’s any rich pe-      I’m not very good at talking         land and grew up in Tennessee.                           Read an extended conversation
                                                                                                                                                                              t




thing and I think, what is that        riod or fallow period. That’s just a    about this stuff. It’s mostly set in    Why did you end up in the South-                         with Cormac McCarthy and director
about? I have no desire to go on a     perception you get from what’s          New Orleans around 1980. It has         west?                                                    John Hillcoat, and see a clip from
trip. My perfect day is sitting in a   published. Your busiest day might       to do with a brother and sister.           I ended up in the Southwest be-                       ‘The Road,’ at WSJ.com/Lifestyle


                                                                                                                       WEEKEND JOURNAL              | Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009                  W7
                                          v   Lifestyle




                                          King of his castles
                                              Impressionist Yves Lecoq
                                                                                                                                                                               Essonne, France      cealed behind framed Louis XIV tapestries.)
                                              talks to Lennox Morrison
                                                                                                                                               B
                                                                                                                                                             EHIND MASSIVE wrought iron                 Having rescued the property from Sleeping
                                                                                                                                                             gates extends a golden autumnal        Beauty dilapidation, Mr. Lecoq plays tour
                                              about renovating châteaux                                                                                      avenue, positioned to deny the
                                                                                                                                                             passer-by a view of Château de
                                                                                                                                                                                                    guide with great courtesy. Were he in a more
                                                                                                                                                                                                    reclusive mood, however, he could retreat to
                                                                                                                                                             Villiers. The gates swing open         Château de Maisonseule, his fortified medi-
                                                                                                                                                             electronically and, deeper into        eval manor secluded deep within the rugged
                                                                                                                                               the grounds, I finally come upon an imposing         mountain ranges of the Ardèche in south-cen-
                                                                                                                                               Louis XIII edifice. Inside, in the oak-panelled      tral France.
                                                                                                                                               and tapestry-hung winter drawing room,                   “There’s silence there and a great sense of
                                                                                                                                               within a mantel of veined ox blood marble,           well-being,” says Mr. Lecoq. “It’s a place
                                                                                                                                               logs crackle behind an embroidered screen.           where, when I encounter disappointments, I
                                                                                                                                               On a circular wooden table, beneath a chande-        can go and recharge my batteries and get back
                                                                                                                                               lier, a bottle of Krug champagne nestles next        on track.”
                                                                                                                                               to a box of Lenôtre chocolates from which                Should he hanker for a rustic riverside
                                                                                                                                               someone has already plucked his favorites.           idyll, he could head to Chambes, his 16th-cen-
                                                                                                                                                   The scene has been set by owner Yves             tury manor in Charente Limousine, western
                                                                                                                                               Lecoq who, despite employing a maître                France.
Jean Cazals for The Wall Street Journal




                                                                                              Left, at Château de Villiers Yves                d’hôtel, makes me midmorning coffee. When I              “Villiers is about my everyday existence,”
                                                                                              Lecoq enjoys the peace of the                    comment on the flavor he switches from               he says. “At Chambes, I get away from it all. I
                                                                                              countryside.                                     French to English and, in George Clooney’s           feel very much at peace there.”
                                                                                              Below, Mr. Lecoq presents his                    voice, says, “It’s Nespresso—what else?”                 Far from being born into grandeur, Mr.
                                                                                              new show ‘L’Impomitic Show.’                         The uncannily good impersonation is no           Lecoq is the son of a navy officer turned sales
                                                                                                                                               surprise. As France’s leading impressionist,         rep for agricultural equipment and was raised
                                                                                                                                               Mr. Lecoq has a repertoire of 200 voices, from       the youngest of five children in a cramped at-
                                                                                                                                               Woody Allen to Zidane Zinedine. Not to men-          tic apartment within the grounds of a 17th-cen-
                                                                                                                                               tion his controversial takeoff of the nation’s       tury mansion in Paris. As a boy he peered
                                                                                                                                               first jogging president, Nicolas Sarkozy.            down longingly at the magnificent residence
                                                                                                                                                   What’s less well known about our host is         below and followed the comings and goings of
                                                                                                                                               that thanks to more than 30 years of show busi-      the marquess who lived there.
                                                                                                                                               ness success and a French fiscal regime that             From his maternal grandmother, an an-
                                                                                                                                               deals kindly with owners of officially classi-       tique dealer, Mr. Lecoq inherited a love of art
                                                                                                                                               fied historic properties, he has become a col-       and of architectural beauty. Through her mar-
                                                                                                                                               lector of châteaux. Since 1975, when he was 29       riage to a baron he is entitled to the surname
                                                                                                                                               years old, he has purchased five, all in states of   Lecoquierre-Duboys de La Vigerie. When I ask
                                                                                                                                               disrepair.                                           him why he doesn’t use it every day, he says
                                                                                                                                                   “There’s a sort of love affair between my-       simply, “It’s unpronounceable.” Nevertheless,
                                                                                                                                               self and these buildings. When I first discover      at 63, with his height, well-cut features and
                                                                                                                                               them it’s like love at first sight,” says Mr.        clear blue gaze, Mr. Lecoq has a naturally aris-
                                                                                                                                               Lecoq, whose lavishly illustrated book, “Fou         tocratic appearance, coupled with great
                                                                                                                                               de châteaux” (“Crazy about Châteaux”), is pub-       warmth.
                                                                                                                                               lished this month by Editions du Chêne.                  Ironically, Mr. Lecoq can indulge his châ-
                                                                                                                                                   His main home at Villiers-le-Bâcle is in a       teau habit because of money earned imitating—
                                                                                                                                               pretty countryside 30 minutes drive south-           and often making fun of—the rich and famous.
                                                                                                                                               west of central Paris. Set within wooded             At six, he entertained his family by singing like
                                                                                                                                               40-hectare grounds where deer and wild boar          French songsters Gilbert Bécaud and Juliette
                                                                                                                                               roam, the 40 rooms are furnished in a finely         Greco. By 18, his repertoire included Cliff Rich-
                                                                                                                                  Corbis (2)




                                                                                                                                               judged mix of period style and modern com-           ard and Sacha Distel. School friends nick-
                                                                                                                                               fort (central heating, flat-screen TVs con-          named him “Juke Box.”


                                      W8 Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009   | WEEKEND JOURNAL
                                                                                                                          Roland Beaufre




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Jean Cazals for The Wall Street Journal
Roland Beaufre




                                                                                                                          Corbis




                     After gaining a degree in art history and ar-   scale, builders and decorators were busy for                          Clockwise from top left: Yves
                 chaeology at the Sorbonne, he took over his         18 years.                                                             Lecoq’s Château de Maisonseule
                 grandmother’s shop and worked as an antique             Not in the ranks of the super-wealthy, Mr.                        in the Ardèche; the manor house
                 dealer and interior decorator. However, at          Lecoq borrows money to realize his dreams.                            at Chambes near river Charente
                 28—with acclaimed debuts on television, ra-         Villiers, he says, he expects to “earn its keep,”                     in western France; the interior of
                 dio and stage—his show-business career took         mostly by rentals to film crews. When the likes                       Château de Maisonseule; hunting
                 off.                                                of Michelle Pfeiffer take over the master bed-                        trophies from bygone days at
                     Today, the TV show he is best known for in-     room—as she did for the filming of Stephen                            Château de Villiers; in the
                 troduces a cold blast of irreverence into the of-   Frears’s “Chéri” last year—Mr. Lecoq de-                              18-meter-long gallery at Château
                 ten unhealthily cosy relationship between           camps to the presbytery on the grounds.                               de Villiers, a hand forged door
                 French politicians and the media. Inspired by           Financial considerations forced him to sell                       handle is one of the details in
                 British television’s “Spitting Image” series of     Suzanne. By then, however, he’d acquired Mai-                         which Mr. Lecoq takes delight;




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jean Cazals for The Wall Street Journal
                 the Thatcher years, “Les Guignols de l’info”        sonseule and Villiers and last year he fell for                       two veteran horses roam the
                 presents spoof newscasts featuring latex pup-       Chambes, a two-tower country house with wa-                           grounds at Château de Villiers.
                 pets of anyone who’s anyone in French politics      ter mill, close to where one of his ancestors
                 and also foreign leaders such as Barack             served as administrator in the days of Louis
                 Obama.                                              XIV. (He also has a traditional style white-
                     Running for more than 20 years, the prime-      walled villa in Tunisia with direct access to the
                 time series on Canal+ attracts three million-       beach at Hammamet and an unimpeded view
                 plus viewers each weeknight. Lately, the            of the Ottoman fortress.) No wonder estate
                 sketches sending up a pint-sized Nicolas            agents continue to call Mr. Lecoq with fresh
                 Sarkozy and the meteoric ascent of his stu-         propositions.
                 dent son (both voices courtesy of Mr. Lecoq)            As with all previous restoration projects,
                 are said to have stirred presidential displea-      Mr. Lecoq is often on site at Chambes and acts
                 sure.                                               as his own interior designer, taking equal de-
                     The first house Mr. Lecoq bought, at 27,        light in picking up a hand-forged period door
                 was a restoration project on a modest scale—a       handle in a flea market as in more ambitious
                 suburban villa with garden, but without heat-       schemes. At Maisonseule, he had a walled
                 ing or bathroom. It was when he began think-        stone enclosure built overlooking the valley.
                 ing of a half-timbered farmhouse in the coun-       From below, it looks like an ancient annex but
                 try that his agent handed him the French prop-      it actually conceals an outdoor swimming pool
                 erty bible, “Indicateur Bertrand,” saying, “For     with a breathtaking mountain panorama.
                 the same budget, why not buy a château?”                Mr. Lecoq considers the time and money in-
                     Which is how, before turning 30, Mr. Lecoq      vested in his properties as his contribution to
                 acquired Château d’Hédauville in northern           the national heritage. I ask whether his homes
                 France, an 18th-century construction with           make him feel like a true lord of the manor.
                 classic stone and red brick façades but also a          “It’s a term I don’t like to hear because ev-
                 leaking roof and gardens turned to cattle pas-      eryone knows that I’m the curator and the
                 ture. He reinstated its original glory and fur-     project manager,” he replies. “There are fleet-
                 nished it with antiques gleaned when touring        ing moments, like today when I’m sitting at
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jean Cazals for The Wall Street Journal




                 the country with his own stage show.                the fireside, or I’m in the middle of a dinner,
                     When burglars struck he lost many trea-         when I have a sense of playing lord of the
                 sures but the insurance payout and then sale        manor. After nearly 40 years of restoration
                 of Hédauville helped fund the purchase of an        projects I think I’m entitled to feel like that
                 even more spectacular property nearby—Châ-          from time to time. But it’s not the real life of a
                 teau de Suzanne, a turreted Louis XIII edifice,     lord of the manor. That belongs to another
                 renovated during the reign of Napoleon III          age.”
                 with a grand marble staircase and painted ceil-            —Lennox Morrison is a writer based in
                 ings reminiscent of Versailles. On this palatial                                               Paris.


                                                                                                                                              WEEKEND JOURNAL                   |   Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009   W9
W10   Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009   |   WEEKEND JOURNAL
 v    Film
                                                                                                                                                                                                        DISTINCTIVE PROPERTIES & ESTATES
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               CANADA




                                                                                                                                        Columbia Pictures (top); Fox Searchlight Pictures(bottom)
                                                                                              John Cusack catches a plane in ‘2012.’
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ITALY                        UNITED STATES


Cities tumble, film bumbles
   “2012,” Roland Emmerich’s lat-              national venture is under way,” the            wife, Kate; Danny Glover as the pres-
est assault on planet Earth and its            American president tells his daugh-            ident; Thandie Newton as his daugh-
moviegoers, isn’t the end of the               ter during an intimate conversation            ter; and Oliver Platt as the presi-
world: It only feels that way. This            couched in the near-English favored            dent’s steely chief of staff. Among
oafish epic about the End of                   by Emmerich films.)                            the points of interest either dam-
Days—as predicted by the Mayan                     The international venture in-              aged, disturbed or destroyed are
calendar—operates in a dead zone               volves building what Charlie sus-              Las Vegas, the Vatican, the Himala-
roughly equidistant between par-               pects to be a fleet of space ships             yas, the South Pole (relocated to
ody and idiocy. You do get the con-            that will save the rich and powerful           Wisconsin), the Washington Monu-
                                               before our planet goes the way of              ment, much of Wyoming and all of
                                               Krypton; to get a seat, the wild-              California. For once, Manhattan
Film                                           eyed geezer says, “you’d have to be            meets its fate offstage.
JOE MORGENSTERN                                Bill Gates or Rupert Murdoch or                           ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’                                                                                 UNITED STATES
                                               some Russian billionaire.” (Of the                 Life is full of surprises. The best                                                                                                Atlanta, Georgia USA Building Lots
                                               three, only a particularly obnoxious           one I’ve had in a good while is “Fan-                                                                                                  Prestigious area! 15mins from Largest Mall
nection between tongue and cheek,              Russian billionaire has a confirmed            tastic Mr. Fox,” Wes Anderson’s                                                                                                                  in Southeastern USA.
but much of the humor still goes               reservation.) Since the White                  stop-action animated version of the                                                                                                     Was $120,000US - Now $89,995
thud. A few action sequences rise to           House has kept a lid of secrecy on             classic children’s novel by Roald                                                                                                            Multiple Lots = Reduced Price.
the challenge of the subject, but              the existence of the ships—which               Dahl. Who could have guessed—cer-                                                                                                           TheSpringsEstates.com
many of the digital effects look               aren’t really what Charlie sus-                tainly not me—that animation and                                                                                                        Call Mike or Hardy (770) 554-5263
murky, and the cumulative effect is            pects—it falls to the president’s              Mr. Anderson, most recently the di-
numbness. The only character with              chief science adviser, Adrian Helms-           rector of “The Darjeeling Limited,”
genuine, if grotesque, energy is               ley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), to uncover             would be an inspired, and mutually
Charlie Frost, a crackpot prophet,             the truth. Once he does, however,              inspiring, match? Instead of the va-
conspiracy theorist and pirate radio           Adrian, like his boss, seems blithely                                                                                                                                                     100 Acres, Morgan UT
                                                                                              pid motion-capture process of “A                                                                                                       River frontage Amazing mountain views.
broadcaster played by Woody Har-               indifferent to the venture’s ethical           Christmas Carol,” he and his collabo-                                                                                                  World-class hunting, Ski, golf and hiking.
relson; he provides a few jolts of Rap-        aspects, which aren’t debated until            rators give us a captivating enter-                                                                                                    Near Park City, Utah.    $5.4 million
ture schlock before the movie turns            the movie’s climax. (The president             tainment for the holiday season and                                                                                                              Gene 801-710-4005
into destructo drek.                           finally wonders aloud if seats on              well beyond.                                                                                                                                     Steve 801-721 2959
    For better or (mainly) worse, Mr.          the ships should have been offered                 The script, which the director                                                                                                             2thepoint.com/mgnprop
Emmerich is up to his old tricks. In           in a lottery. That sounds like a plan,         wrote with Noah Baumbach, takes
“Independence Day” he tested our               except for leaving six or seven bil-           elaborate liberties with its source
mettle with marauding aliens. In               lion passengers wait-listed.)                  material. Now the bane of three
“The Day After Tomorrow” he un-                    The script is so scatterbrained            farmers’ existence is a bushy-tailed
leashed global warming that precipi-           that no one ever seems to under-               newspaper columnist voiced by
tated global freezing. This time his           stand anything in real time; it’s as if        George Clooney. (His wife, voiced by
cosmic weapon of choice is a beam              all reactions are on 30-minute delay.          Meryl Streep, had been urging him
of mutant neutrinos that emanates              (The running time is 158 minutes.)             to stop stealing birds and find a new                                                                                                    MAKE GREAT
from the sun and, by heating the               What's more, “2012” has no discern-            line of work.) If that sounds pre-                                                                                                       CONNECTIONS
Earth’s core, destabilizes tectonic            ible attitude toward the end of civili-        cious or improbable—a wild animal                                                                                                        IN EUROPE.
plates, defeats coherence (though              zation, apart from the belief that             hasn’t written a newspaper column                                                                                                        THE WALL STREET
the huge, disjointed production                there’s a movie in it. The cast in-            since the days of Jimmy Breslin—                                                                                                         JOURNAL EUROPE.
might have been conceived as a                 cludes John Cusack as Jackson Cur-             the film is all of that and more, the
study in chaos theory) and degrades            tis, a sci-fi novelist turned limo             more being foxily funny. The visual
dialogue. (“An unprecedented inter-            driver; Amanda Peet as Jackson’s ex-           style is a radical departure from the
                                                                                              original Quentin Blake illustrations,
                                                                                              but a hugely endearing one that's
                                                                                              rendered in exotic colors, stuffed
                                                                                              with more details than a Richard
                                                                                              Scarry page and popping with zest-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          To advertise
                                                                                              ful inventions.
                                                                                                  So who’s the film’s audience?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Emma Balogun
                                                                                              The voice cast alone should be a
                                                                                              draw for adults—not just Mr.                                                                                                                The Wall Street Journal Europe
                                                                                              Clooney, who gives a commanding
                                                                                              (no kidding) comic performance,                                                                                                                   +44 207 842 9608
                                                                                              but Ms. Streep, Bill Murray, Michael
                                                                                              Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Jason                                                                                                                 emma.balogun@dowjones.com
                                                                                              Schwartzman,          Owen      Wilson;
                                                                                              they’re all delightful in their respec-
                                                                                              tive ways. And the look of the film
                                                                                              should enchant kids who may be too
                                                                                              young to savor the sophisticated
                                                                                              script. All I can say for certain is
                                                                                              that I didn’t expect to be the audi-
Mr. Fox, voiced by George Clooney, aims to live up to his adjective in ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox.’   ence for this lovely oddity, but I was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    WEEKEND JOURNAL      | Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009                W11
v   Wealth

Diamonds: An investor’s best friend?




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Dorotheum
By Tara Loader Wilkinson                                                                                                                                 not least because they get to wear


T
       HEY ARE RARE, beautiful,                                                                                                                          the jewelry when they want. Certain
       valuable and a girl’s best                                                                                                                        gems retain value better than others.
       friend but traditionally dia-                                                                                                                         “If you want to buy diamonds for
                                                                                                                                                                                                   ‘Boa’ sofa (2006) by Fernando
monds haven’t really been consid-                                                                                                                        investment purposes, they should
                                                                                                                                                                                                   and Humberto Campana;
ered an asset class in their own                                                                                                                         be big and fancy (colorful),” says
                                                                                                                                                                                                   estimate: Œ10,000-Œ15,000.
right.                                                                                                                                                   Holly Midwinter-Porter, a gemolo-
    Diamonds do not have the “safe                                                                                                                       gist at U.K. jeweler Boodles. “Red
haven” status of gold, and their                                                                                                                         and green are the rarest, and unlike
prices are more volatile than the pre-
cious metal. While spot gold has
                                                                                                                                                         white, man-made diamonds, are fi-
                                                                                                                                                         nite as they are only found in one or
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Sales in Paris
gained around 25% in value this year,
diamond prices have fallen by at
                                                                                                                                                         two areas in the world.” She says re-
                                                                                                                                                         turns on rare diamonds can enjoy
                                                                                                                                                                                                   and Vienna
least 10%, in line with the poor per-
formance of the luxury industry, ac-
                                                                                                                                                         double digit growth a year, and their
                                                                                                                                                         portability makes them more ap-           offer design
cording to U.S.-based IDEX Online Di-                                                                                                                    pealing than gold or art to some in-
amond Prices, which tracks global
asking prices for polished diamonds.
    Some jewelry experts remain
                                                                                                                                                         vestors.
                                                                                                                                                             Another option for investors is
                                                                                                                                                         the vintage diamond jewelry market—
                                                                                                                                                                                                   A   UCTIONS NEXT WEEK
                                                                                                                                                                                                       trace revolutionary de-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   sign from the early 20th to
doubtful about diamond investing.                                                                                                                        considered capable of more lucra-         the 21st century.
David Bennett, Geneva-based chair-                                                                                                                       tive returns because of the added
man of jewelry for Europe and the                                                                                                                        value of provenance. Mr. Butler bro-
Middle East at Sotheby’s, says:                                                                                                                          kered a $4.5 million deal with the        Collecting
“Like art, we would not advise some-                                                                                                                     Louvre in 2004 for an antique emer-
one to buy diamonds for investment                                                                                                                       ald and diamond necklace and ear
                                                                                                                                                                                                   MARGARET STUDER
purposes. People should buy dia-                                                                                                                         rings by Nitot, presented as a wed-
monds for the joy of wearing them.”                                                                                                                      ding present by Emperor Napoleon              French designer Char-
    But the growing demand for tan-                                                                                                                      to his second empress, Marie Louise       lotte Perriand was only 24
                                                                                                                                                                                                   in 1927 when she created
                                           Humphrey Butler Limited




gible assets and portfolio diversifi-                                                                                                                    of Austria. The owners had bought
cation has led to the launch of a num-                                                                                                                   it for a fraction of the sale price 10    the chromed metal furniture
ber of diamond investment funds                                                                                                                          years before.                             that laid the basis of her
this year, which believe they can                                                                                                                            Private buyers are taking advan-      fame. Just married and deco-
achieve double-digit returns for in-                                                                                                                     tage of a rebound in diamond prices,      rating her apartment, she
vestors. In March, alternative invest-                                                                                                                   although buying at auction can            designed an extendable ta-
ment manager KPR Capital                                                                                                                                 mean paying eye-watering premi-           ble built from new materi-
launched a Cayman Islands-domi-                                      The antique Marie Louise emerald-and-diamond necklace and earrings by Nitot.        ums of up to 25% plus VAT on the          als, which solved the prob-
ciled open-ended investment dia-                                                                                                                         hammer price at houses like Sothe-        lem of entertaining friends
mond fund with a minimum buy in                                                                                                                          by’s and Christie’s. The seller is also   to a weekly sit-down dinner
of $250,000.                                                         Sporborg and Christopher Hold-               Diamond trading is growing in so-      charged a commission of between           and avoided the clutter that
    A few weeks earlier, Alfa Capital,                               sworth Hunt, co-founder of City of        phistication. Until recently gems         15% and 10%, up to a value of             came with keeping a huge
the Russian investment group,                                        London brokerage KBC Peel Hunt.           have been considered an illiquid as-      £150,000, so the auction house can        table in the sitting room.
launched a diamond investment fund                                      The company, which accepts a           set. Auctions are rare and gem valua-     take as much as 40% out of each           This table is now in the col-
with a minimum investment of Œ1m                                     minimum investment of £10,000             tion was considered more of an art        transaction.                              lection of the Centre Pompi-
and an estimated yield of 15% to 17%.                                with an estimated return on invest-       than a science. But in January the            Last December, a record was           dou in Paris.
    This month the Emotional As-                                     ment of 11%, counts Lady Madeleine        Dealers Organisation for Diamond          paid for a diamond at auction. The            Topping Sotheby’s sale
sets Fund was launched, investing                                    Lloyd Webber, wife of the British         Automated Quotes, an online dia-          36 carat blue Wittelsbach diamond         on Wednesday in Paris will
in a number of assets from fine art                                  composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Web-            mond exchange, was launched, man-         sold for $24.3 million at Christie’s      be a unique, modified sec-
and rare stamps to diamonds and di-                                  ber, as one of its investors. Investors   aged by Dutch bank ABN Amro. The          London auction.                           ond version of this personal
amond jewelry. The fund is target-                                   can also rent Dazzling Capital jew-       Belgium-based DODAQ exchange at-              Stephen Luffier, executive direc-     prototype—an extendable,
ing a growth rate of 15% per annum                                   elry for a nominal fee of £50.            tempts to surmount other tradi-           tor of the world’s biggest diamond        chromed, lacquered metal-
with a minimum investment of                                            Others say diamonds are too            tional barriers to investment in the      miner De Beers Group, expects             and-linoleum table on
£100,000.                                                            niche to gain a significant following.    diamond market, such as high sales        prices to grow strongly in the fu-        wheels that was acquired by
    Dazzling Capital, a London-                                      Swiss & Global Asset Management           fees and low liquidity, and offers two-   ture. He said that after a difficult      the French composer Jean
based company investing directly in                                  head of equities, Dr. Scilla Huang        way auctions for polished diamonds,       year which has seen De Beers’s sales      Rivier and used by him until
period jewelry, also opened its                                      Sun, says her company doesn’t have        the first cash market for the gems.       drop by over 10% net, a global scar-      his death in 1987 (estimate:
doors this month, co-founded by                                      a diamond fund because the topic is          Diamond funds provide diversifi-       city of diamond mines, and a surge        Œ250,000-Œ400,000).
former Christie’s auctioneer Hum-                                    too narrow to merit a fund of its         cation benefits by investing in a         in demand from China and India,               Leading the Christie’s auc-
phrey Butler, with former jockey                                     own. Instead, the company includes        range of pieces, but many investors       could turn diamonds into a spar-          tion in Paris on Thursday
and chartered accountant William                                     diamond jewelry in its luxury fund.       may want to buy their own diamonds—       kling investment.                         will be an interior designed
                                                                                                                                                                                                   in the mid-1920s by French
                                                                                                                                                                                                   decorator Emile-Jacques Ru-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   hlmann for British publisher
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Lord Rothermere’s apart-

Chopard achieves good timing 150 years on                                                                                                                                                          ment on the Champs
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Elysées. The marble bath-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   room is estimated at
By Tara Loader Wilkinson                                                                                       parties at some of the most glamor-       initials of the company’s founder,        Œ300,000-Œ500,000 and a

T    HOSE LUXURY BRANDS that
     thought they were immune to
the vagaries of the global economy
                                                                                                               ous events across the world.
                                                                                                                   Mr. Scheufele’s sister, Caroline
                                                                                                               Gruosi-Scheufele, is the company’s
                                                                                                                                                         Louis-Ulysse Chopard.
                                                                                                                                                             Chopard has always been a family-
                                                                                                                                                         run business—just not always the
                                                                                                                                                                                                   set of four rosewood and ma-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   hogany entrance hall doors
                                                                                                                                                                                                   at Œ60,000-Œ80,000.
because they marketed their wares                                                                              other co-president and leads much         same family. The Scheufele family             In Vienna, Dorotheum’s
to the wealthy have had a rude awak-                                                                           of Chopard’s promotional activity.        took control of Chopard only in 1963,     sale on Tuesday will feature
ening this year.                                                                                                   Chopard is associated with some       after the founder’s grandson failed to    Israeli designer Ron Arad’s
    The severity of the credit crunch                                                                          of the biggest social events of the       convince any of his sons to run the       sleek “Big Spiral” table
has turned such conventional wis-                                                                              year: sponsoring the Elton John           company. The Scheufele’s had been         (1995) made from polished
dom on its head. The Christian Lac-                                                                            AIDS Foundation’s annual White Tie        watchmakers in Germany and Karl           metal (estimate:
roix fashion house filed for bank-                                                                             & Tiara Summer Ball, holding a            Scheufele, who bought the company         Œ50,000-Œ70,000). A “Boa”
ruptcy in May this year while Prada                                                                            glitzy event in Marbella and main-        and is Karl-Friedrich’s father, re-       sofa made from green satin
had to restructure its debt over the                                                                           taining a partnership with the            mains chairman of Chopard. Karl-          in the shape of intertwined
summer. Neither the prestige of a                                                                              Cannes Film Festival—where it             Friedrich’s wife Christine is in charge   sleeping snakes (2006) by
name, nor the value of the goods                                                                               sponsors a trophy and holds its an-       of purchasing and production.             Brazilian brothers Fernando
and the longevity of the brand has                                                                             nual “On The Rocks” party. Chopard            Given the company’s history, suc-     and Humberto Campana is
provided protection.                                                                                           also has a seven-year sponsorship         cession planning is a concern, but        estimated at
    Chopard, Switzerland’s largest                                                                             deal with the Grand Prix Historique       not, as yet, a pressing one. Mr.          Œ10,000-Œ15,000. Also on of-
family-owned watch and jewelry                                                                                 de Monaco, a vintage sports car race      Scheufele says he isn’t putting any       fer will be the “Tagliatelle”
                                            Chopard




company, is gearing up for its 150th                                                                           that takes place in Monte Carlo, a        pressure on his three children—the el-    chair (2004) by Belgium’s de-
anniversary next year, but has had                                                                             fortnight before the Formula One          dest is only 14—to join the business.     signer-artist Arne Quinze.
to temporarily close a store in Palm                                 The Scheufele family.                     Grand Prix. They also sponsor the             “Our main concern is teaching         The plastic seat is a hand-
Beach, Florida, lay off workers. It is                                                                         “Mille      Miglia,”    a   24-hour,      the next generation values,” Chris-       made object in the form of
expecting sales to fall by up to a fifth                                                                       1,000-mile vintage car rally in Italy.    tine Scheufele said. “If they want to     noodles twisted around a
this year.                                                           ard will have to invest if it wants to        Mr. Scheufele, however, says the      enter into the business they have to      fork (estimate:
    However,          Karl-Friedrich                                 be around for a third century. Chop-      company is very traditional at heart.     earn their place. It is a huge respon-    Œ10,000-Œ12,000). Mr.
Scheufele, co-president of the watch-                                ard is ploughing millions of dollars      It is one of the few Swiss watch com-     sibility and is not as glamorous as it    Quinze conceived his chair
maker, says that despite these cost-                                 into two new workshops, between 10        panies that designs its own move-         may seem. We keep them away from          when eating a plate of pasta.
cutting measures, he realizes Chop-                                  and 15 new boutiques, and numerous        ments, which are branded with the         the parties.”


W12 Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009                                   |   WEEKEND JOURNAL
v   Books

On splitting infinitives, marriages
New collection of T.S. Eliot’s letters sheds light on the poet’s day job and troubled home life
By Robin Moroney                             Eliot wanted to earn Eliot money—                                                                       one case) to turning them away. He       house that eventually became Faber
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Arbitrage
T
       HE LONG-AWAITED second                the kind of money his father gener-                                                                     also had a talent for contracting dis-   & Faber, offered the way out to finan-
       volume of T.S. Eliot’s letters        ated by founding the Hydraulic                                                                          eases; the stress sent him through       cial security, poetry and literary re-
       shows how the unromantic              Press Brick Company in St. Louis. So                                                                    non-fatal conditions so quickly that     spectability. The triumph of a se-
lures of the day job can trap a ge-          Eliot worked at Lloyds Bank. In                                                                         it seems that in healing one condi-      cure income and a journal to edit
nius. It picks up after 1922, the magi-      1922, he gained a small promotion                                                                       tion, doctors were merely clearing       solved one of his problems. But as
cal year when James Joyce’s “Ul-             as Lloyds set up a department that                                                                      up room for another one to get in.       those parts of his life improved, it
ysses” diverted the stream of con-           would scan the European press for                                                                           “I was in bed for days after my      became clear how bad his marriage
sciousness into novels, when Vir-            signs of financial opportunities in                                                                     visit to Paris a fortnight ago, then     was. Eliot asked friends for advice.
ginia Woolf buried conventional              the ruins left by the Treaty of Ver-                                                                    was up for three days and then in        Should he pursue his ambitions,
story-telling with “Jacob’s Room”            sailles, with the polyglot Eliot as the                                                                 bed again” is how he described one       even if it meant sacrificing his rela-
and when T.S. Eliot wrote what is            head. Eliot told his mother that his                                                                    trip. The only person sicker than        tionship with Vivien or even Vivi-
perhaps the 20th century’s greatest          prospects at the bank were “bril-                                                                       him was his wife, Vivien, who re-        en’s life itself? The most chilling
poem with “The Waste Land.”                  liant;” his department was located                                                                      ceived a series of treatments worse      part of these letters comes when the
    The resulting fame didn’t change
him. He came from one of those
                                             in a basement. Lloyds employees
                                             could look forward to Eliot’s daily
                                                                                                                                                     than her disease. These either
                                                                                                                                                     brought on or exacerbated her
                                                                                                                                                                                              critic John Middleton Murry ad-
                                                                                                                                                                                              vises Eliot that if things keep on as       New Larousse
American families where living up
to the last name was the main task.
The family considered him a rebel
                                             “Lloyds Bank Extracts From the For-
                                             eign Press” and his monthly column
                                             on foreign exchange for “Lloyds
                                                                                                                                                     full-on madness in the 1930s. Eliot
                                                                                                                                                     managed only one poem in this pe-
                                                                                                                                                     riod, “Sweeney Agonistes.” It’s a
                                                                                                                                                                                              they are “the choice really is: she
                                                                                                                                                                                              may die, I must die. Then you must
                                                                                                                                                                                              say: I will not die.” Eliot asks him to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Gastronomique
for moving to England, but Eliot             Bank Financial Monthly.” The                                                                            comical and surreal series of scenes     write another letter that he can                                  Local
kept up the family tradition of link-        franc’s rise, he said in 1923, had lost                                                                 revolving around a man imagining         show to Vivien. “The truth is that if         City                currency          Œ
ing everything to tradition. He had          its links to economic fundamentals                                                                      murdering his wife.                      you can break through the circle, V.
exploded the traditional concept of          and “had long been less political                                                                           Despite the serenity of his prose    breaks through too” was Murry’s               London              £40               Œ45
form in “The Waste Land” but was a           than emotional.”                                                                                        from this period, Eliot could barely     propaganda version. Eliot and his
vicious defender of rules. “I am very            Banking and poetry weren’t all                                                                      keep his head above water. He had        friends had decided that Eliot                Singapore           S$102             Œ49
glad to send you my autograph, and           that occupied Eliot’s time. At night,                                                                   to leave Lloyds to focus on writing      couldn’t continue without Vivien,
hope in return for this trifling             he worked on the Criterion, the liter-                                                                  and poetry but felt himself tied to      but didn’t dare tell Viven that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            New York            $91               Œ61
favour you will make me happy by             ary journal that grew enough of a                                                                       the bank. Friends and relatives              Eliot lived his life through intoler-
ceasing to split infinitives,” he            reputation for its essays and poems                                                                     made an effort to set him up with        able pressures that he tolerated for
wrote to an autograph hunter.                that within a year Eliot switched                                                                       jobs that would allow him to leave       years and then suddenly resolved in           Paris               Œ71               Œ71
    But even if he’d finally arrived as      from begging for contributions                                                                          Lloyds. Eliot turned them down,          a dramatic fashion. He separated
a big-time poet, Eliot had a problem.        (even after a condolence letter, in                                                                     sometimes denying that his deci-         from Vivien in 1933 while he was on           Rome                Œ96               Œ96
Poetry earned poetry money and                                                                                                                       sion had anything to do with money,      a trip to America. In 1938, she was
                                                                                                                                                     at other times saying it was, in fact,   confined to a mental hospital and in          Brussels            Œ105              Œ105
                                                                                                                                                     simply a matter of money. He was so      1947 she died. “He didn’t know if he
                                                                                                                                                     busy he didn’t have time to say he       was alive/ and the girl was dead,”            Frankfurt           Œ118              Œ118
                                                                                                                                                     was busy: “No time to write more         Eliot wrote in “Sweeney Agonistes.”
                                                                                                                                                     still having a hell of a time: Yrs T”    “He didn’t know if they were both           Note: Prices, plus taxes, as provided by retailers
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          in each city, averaged and converted into euros.
                                                                                                                                                         Faber & Gwyer, the publishing        alive/ or both were dead.”
                                                                                   Photo taken by Lady Ottoline Morrell, National Portrait Gallery




A vintage snapshot of T.S. Eliot’s wife, Vivien Eliot (1921).


                                                                                                                                                                                              WEEKEND JOURNAL               | Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009                 W13
v   Top Picks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The tumultuous
In Germany, a journey into the Surreal                                                                                                                                                                                                              times of dancer
                           Surrealism     posing 9x14 meter stage curtain
    Ludwigshafen:
flourished in the 1920s and 1930s fol-
lowing the publication of André Bre-
                                          “Bacchanal,” exhibited for the first
                                          time in Europe, took a major effort
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Isadora Duncan
ton’s “Manifesto of Surrealism” in        to install, involving a crew of six. At
1924. Although Paris was the undis-       its center is a hollowed-out swan in                                                                                                                                                                          Paris: An iconic barefoot dancer
puted capital of the art movement,        front of a volcanic mound littered                                                                                                                                                                        with a tumultuous lifestyle, Isadora
Prague developed its own parallel         with bones.                                                                                                                                                                                               Duncan electrified high society draw-
Surrealist scene. The “Against all            A painstaking reproduction of                                                                                                                                                                         ing rooms and theaters with her un-
Reason, Surrealism Paris-Prague”          the Surrealist exhibition at the Gale-                                                                                                                                                                    conventional artistry and rebellious
exhibition brings together works of       rie Wildenstein in 1938 has its own                                                                                                                                                                       spirit. Born in California in 1877, she
Surrealist art from both cities, as-      room. The original, designed by Mar-                                                                                                                                                                      spent much of her life in France,
sembling more than 300 works in           cel Duchamp with lighting by Man                                                                                                                                                                          where she experienced her greatest
two museums, the Wilhelm-Hack             Ray, was probably the first multi-me-                                                                                                                                                                     triumphs on stage but also the deep-
Museum and the Kunstverein in Lud-        dia art event in history. Ambient                                                                                                                                                                         est tragedy. It was in the River Seine
wigshafen.                                sound was piped into the darkened                                                                                                                                                                         that her two children perished in a
    René Magritte’s “In Memory of         gallery and visitors were bom-                                                                                                                                                                            car accident in 1913, and in Nice in
Mack Sennett” (1936) shows a white        barded by sounds of freight trains,                                                                                                                                                                       1927 that she died at only 50, stran-
nightgown containing two human            marching armies and screaming                                                                                                                                                                             gled by her scarf when it caught in a
breasts. It hangs in an otherwise         women. The smell of freshly ground                                                                                                                                                                        wheel of the open-top Bugatti in
empty closet. Toyen, a Surrealist         coffee permeated the atmosphere,                                                                                                                                                                          which she was a passenger.
painter from Prague, takes up the         coal sacks were hung from the ceil-                                                                                                                                                                           Opening on Nov. 20 at the Musée
theme with “Die Verlassene Höhle”         ing and leaves covered the floor.                                                                                                                                                                         Bourdelle in Montparnasse is the
(1937) (The Abandoned Cave) and               The exhibition at the Kunstv-                                                                                                                                                                         first major exhibition in France de-
depicts an empty corset floating in a     erein shows 180 photographs, bring-                                                                                                                                                                       voted to the pioneering “living
cave-like space.                          ing photo artists from Paris and                                                                                                                                                                          sculpture” who inspired so many
    Throughout this exhibition,           Prague face to face for the first time.                                                                                                                                                                   artists. Among them was sculptor
paintings by Magritte, de Chirico,        The Surrealist photographers were                                                                                                                                                                         Antoine Bourdelle, around whose
Salvador Dalí and Man Ray are             not concerned with making faithful                                                                                                                                                                        19th-century atelier the museum
placed next to works by names not         reproductions of reality, but rather                                                                                                                                                                      has been created. The permanent
so familiar to Western art lovers: Hu-    with discovering hidden realities.                                                                                                                                                                        collection is devoted to his works.
decek, Styrsky and Toyen. The lat-        What this exhibition shows is that                                                                                                                                                                        The temporary exhibition, which cel-
ter are Surrealists from Prague           Surrealism was not just a style of                                                                                                                                                                        ebrates Duncan’s years in France, as-
whose work has rarely been seen in        painting but an attitude deeply                                                                                                                                                                           sembles 25 paintings (including a
Western Europe until now. Both            rooted in political convictions. Surre-                                                                                                                                                                   portrait by Eugène Carrière), 150
Styrsky and Toyen lived in Paris in       alist artists set out to explore the                                                                                                                                                                      drawings, 35 sculptures and 100 pho-
                                                                                                                                      VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2009




the 1930s and had close contact           submerged impulses and imagery                                                                                                                                                                            tographs from collections world-
with the French Surrealists.              that society banned. Their dream-                                                                                                                                                                         wide.
    Along with paintings, this show       like images still haunt the viewer to-                                                                                                                                                                        Bourdelle first encountered “the
has objects, like a costume designed      day.            —Mariana Schroeder                                                                                                                                                                        little American dancer” when she
by Salvador Dalí—a dress in the               Until Feb. 14                                                                                                                                                                                         performed at a woodland banquet
shape of a skull. This is not the only        www.surrealismus-Ludwig-                                                                                                                                                                              given in honour of his teacher, Au-
Dalí in this show. The painter’s im-      shafen.de                                                                                                          ‘The Wavering Woman’ (1923) by Max Ernst.                                              guste Rodin. Both men were stirred
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    to sketch Duncan, and these draw-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ings are shown here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Atmospheric period photo-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    graphs show Duncan with her girl

Recreating Amsterdam’s red-light district in London                                                                                                                                                                                                 pupils, with her arms around her
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    children, and also dancing in An-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    tique costume at the Parthenon in
                                                                                                                                                                 London: At the National Gal-            lation like this for the first time ever   Greece. Her life force is captured ar-
                                                                                                                                                             lery’s Sunley Room, “The Hoeren-            in its history? There are three con-       restingly by Belgian artist Rik Wout-
                                                                                                                                                             gracht,” a big installation (made           nections—though I think only two           ers in “La Folle Danseuse” (circa
                                                                                                                                                             from 1983-88) by the late Ed Kien-          of them are intentional. First, the cu-    1912), a bronze statue of a dancer in
                                                                                                                                                             holz (1927-94) and his wife, Nancy          rators stress that some younger art-       full ecstasy of movement.
                                                                                                                                                             Reddin Kienholz, is a walk-through          ists—Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy,               A moment of pure enchantment,
                                                                                                                                                             imaginative recreation of a passage         Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst—              however, occurs on entering a gal-
                                                                                                                                                             in Amsterdam’s red-light district.          have “produced work that is in a di-       lery where, projected onto a back
                                                                                                                                                                 The Kienholz piece evokes the           rect line of descent from Kienholz.”       wall, is a flickering black-and-white
                                                                                                                                                             dark alleys and windows that glow           Second, a slightly teasing display in      film—31 precious seconds of Dun-
                                                                                                                                                             with the glare of red light, allowing       an ante-room makes some unobvi-            can performing at a garden party,
                                                                                                                                                             the passer-by to see the faces, parts       ous thematic links between the Kien-       the only known footage in existence.
                                                                                   Keinholz Estate courtesy of L A Louver Venice CA




                                                                                                                                                             of the bodies and sometimes the             holz “tableau” and Old Master paint-       Duncan considered the cinematogra-
                                                                                                                                                             work spaces of the women offering           ings from the National Gallery’s           phy of the day inadequate to cap-
                                                                                                                                                             love for sale. It’s tawdry, grubby and      own collection.                            ture her expressiveness. A new film
                                                                                                                                                             made disturbing by the device of en-            Third, though the gallery does         shot at the museum and shown at
                                                                                                                                                             closing the head of each prostitute         not call our attention to this: The        the exhibition might have appealed
                                                                                                                                                             in a clear glass display box with its       lifesize sculptures (all cast from liv-    to her. Choreographer Jean-Claude
                                                                                                                                                             metallic frame surrounding her              ing women) echo the 17th-century           Gallotta has dancers perform
                                                                                                                                                             face, and the lid flopping onto her         Spanish religious painted sculp-           clothed, but also nude, interacting
                                                                                                                                                             chest. Voyeuristic and seedy, its           tures in “The Sacred Made Real,” on        with sculptures in the galleries and
                                                                                                                                                             vibes are definitely negative.              show downstairs in the National Gal-       courtyard gardens.
                                                                                                                                                                 Why, then, does the National Gal-       lery’s Sainsbury wing.                                        —Lennox Morrison
                                                                                                                                                             lery depart so far from its usual                                       —Paul Levy         Until March 14
                                                                                                                                                             brief as to show the work of contem-            Until Feb. 21                              www.bourdelle.paris.fr
‘The Hoerengracht’ (1983-88) at the National Gallery.                                                                                                        porary artists, and exhibit an instal-          www.nationalgallery.org.uk



Framing W.H. Auden and Benjamin Britten at the National Theatre
   London: Alan Bennett’s new             ings about boys, and thus about the                                                                                character says, the biographer role         music are more important in opera,
play for the National Theatre, “The       plot of the opera, with his librettist                                                                             is “a very good device, because oth-        to the value of biography.
Habit of Art,” conjures up a ficti-       Myfanwy Piper.                                                                                                     erwise they’d all be having to tell             Nicholas Hytner directs, with ar-
tious 1972 meeting in W.H. Auden’s           A third major character is intro-                                                                               each other stuff they know already.”        resting performances by Alex Jen-
rooms at his old Oxford college be-       duced.     Humphrey       Carpenter                                                                                A hilarious conceit carries part of         nings as Britten and Frances de la
tween Auden and Benjamin Britten,         (1946-2005) was a renaissance man,                                                                                 the play, as Auden mistakes Carpen-         Tour as the Stage Manager. Richard
the composer who had been part of         musician, successful writer of chil-                                                                               ter for a rent boy he’s engaged.            Griffiths took over as Auden when
the poet’s ménage in Brooklyn dur-        dren’s stories and plays, beloved                                                                                      This is fine stuff, applying a supple   Michael Gambon fell ill. The script
ing World War II. The pair haven’t        BBC broadcaster, and biographer of                                                                                 coating of wry comedy to topics rang-       has been rewritten to take account
met for 25 years. Auden is not flour-     J.R.R. Tolkien (which yields one of                                                                                ing from artists’ late styles, to sexual    of Mr. Griffiths’s now alarming bulk—
ishing as a writer, though he works       the play’s best jokes), W.H. Auden                                                                                 freedom; from artistic sincerity, to a      yet he remains miscast, as he is ever
at his poetry every day, simply be-       and Benjamin Britten.                                                                                              long, blissfully silly discussion of the    more impressive and less able to
cause he has “the habit of art.” Brit-       Mr. Bennett cleverly sets the Au-                                                                               male genitalia; from the meaning of         play anyone but the splendid Rich-
ten is stuck in his new opera, “Death     den/Britten confrontation as a play                                                                                poetry, to how composers want their         ard Griffiths.             —Paul Levy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BnF




in Venice,” partly because he’s too       being rehearsed at the NT itself,                                                                                  music to be received; and from the              Until April 6
buttoned-up to discuss his real feel-     and, as the Assistant Stage Manager                                                                                question of whether the words or the            www.nationaltheatre.org.uk             Isadora Duncan (1903) by Studio Elvira.


W14 Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009         | WEEKEND JOURNAL
v   Taste
Bookshelf / By Alexander Theroux
7



                                                          In the Cards, A Last Hand
    Before his death in 1977,            one: A flighty adventuress named        tions of desire in a spent, de-        wife drove the devoted lepidopter-       Porlock,” Dmitri says, in a typi-
Vladimir Nabokov instructed his          Flora, the daughter of an artistic      crepit body. After one Wildean         ist on butterfly expeditions. The        cally hamfisted reference to the
wife, Vera, to burn the unfinished       couple, becomes, as the years pass,     mating session with Laura, de-         cards could be shuffled around           figure who intruded on Col-
draft of a novel called “The Origi-      the subject of a scandalous novel,      scribed in sad and eloquent de-        and often were. The publisher’s          eridge’s great poem “Kubla Khan”
nal of Laura”—a handwritten mé-          “My Laura.” It has been written,        tail, Nabokov writes: “Like toads      decision to reproduce the origi-         before it was finished. But his
lange of notes on 138 index cards.       we are told, “by a neurotic and hes-    or tortoises neither saw each oth-     nals on perforated cards, easily         preface lacks an appropriately
Vera ignored the instruction. In-        itant man of letters” (a former         er’s faces.” Philip Wild catalogs      lifted out of the book and ready         chastened quality (after all, he de-
stead, she temporized for 16             lover, it is suggested). Young Flora    his weakening extremities and          to be shuffled by the reader,            fied his father’s wishes). Instead,
years about whether to publish           experiences sex early, not exclud-      imagines his own death by “auto        gives “The Original of Laura” a          Dmitri airs old grievances. He
the book in its incomplete form,         ing a groping encounter at age 12       dissolution”—and Hubert himself        play-kit quality. The                                        complains of a
and never did. When she died in          with a lecher named (drum roll)         dies of a stroke.                      cards themselves                                             customs inspec-
1991, the cards were still locked        Hubert H. Hubert, a paramour of             Reflections on disease, mortal-    show Nabokov in-                                            tor stealing a
in a Swiss bank vault. Dmitri            Flora’s own flighty mother. Years       ity and impotence, not to men-         serting words,                                              flask of cognac
Nabokov, the novelist’s 75-year-         later, she marries fat, wealthy         tion a Swiftian disgust with the       writing memos to                                           from the family (in
old son, has now liberated them.         Philip Wild, another older man,         human body, figure prominently         himself, scribbling                                        1940) and then of
Indeed, they are displayed for all       with whom after three years she         in “The Original of Laura.” On         afterthoughts: “in-                                        his own personal
to see, precisely duplicated on de-      becomes bored—then faithless.           one card we find a reference to        vent tradename                                            loss (in 1948) of an
tachable cards—one per page,                                                     Wild’s “stomack ailment”: “I           [for a medicine],                                         inscribed first edi-
with printed transcriptions under-                                               loathe my belly, that trunkful of      e.g., cephalopium.”                                      tion of “Lolita.” He
neath—in the first published edi-            The Original of Laura               bowels, which I have to carry          At a certain point                                      guiltily attacks those
tion of “The Original of Laura.”                By Vladimir Nabokov              around, and everything con-            the novel noticeably                                    who would fault his
Should we be glad for this posthu-       (Penguin Classics, 304 pages, £25)      nected with it—the wrong food,         weakens; the prose,                                    decision to publish
mous novel, however incomplete?                                                  heartburn, constipation’s leaden       ever more hallucina-                                   “The Original of
    The first effect of reading “The                                             load.” One can’t help thinking         tory and random,                                      Laura” as “half-liter-
Original of Laura” gives less plea-          That a child molester named         that such passages capture the au-     nods off.                                            ate journalists” and
sure than a certain squeamish-           Hubert H. Hubert should show up         thor’s own musings: The novel              It is no sur-                                “lesser minds” and “indi-
ness. The bony, tentative hand of        in a late Nabokov novel is hard to      was begun in 1975, two years be-       prise to discover                           viduals of limited imagination.”
illness can be found on the cards        comprehend artistically, even pa-       fore Nabokov’s death. Its deadpan      an author in failing                        The last card of “The Original
themselves. The lineaments of a          rodically. Hubert’s appearance          subtitle: “Dying is fun.”              health losing his writerly pow-          of Laura” is a poignant list of syn-
serious literary undertaking are         seems less a final salute to “Lol-          It is not all about dying. There   ers. For son Dmitri, there is no         onyms for “efface”—expunge,
obvious, too, but in only a few          ita”—where, two decades before,         are witty Nabokovian moments as        such excuse. He claims English           erase, delete, rub out, wipe out,
places can one discern even a            Humbert Humbert had done the            well. The virtuoso Nabokov paren-      to be his “favorite and most flex-       obliterate. Although we might
hint of the technical brilliance,        lusting—than a lapse in judgment.       theses are in evidence. “First of      ible means of expression”—Dmi-           hope that Nabokov was on his
the penchant for parody, the irre-       It is charming, up to a point, that     all she dismissed Cora with the        tri, you see, is multilingual—but        way to a great book, it is a pity
sistible flippancy that we would         a great novelist in his last years      strelitzias (hateful blooms, regal-    his introduction is nonsensical,         that his instructions were ig-
recognize as the work of the au-         remains so beguiled by nubile fe-       ized bananas, really).” One remem-     snobbish and cruel and reads as          nored and the novel survived in
thor of “Lolita,” “Pale Fire” and        males that he must lavish his gifts     bers the early passage from “Lol-      if it has been translated from           such a form. English professors
“Ada.” “The Original of Laura”           upon them yet again, but it is not      ita”: “My very photogenic mother       the Albanian. Of his father’s            may assign “The Original of
shows us the writer’s version of a       a cause for literary celebration.       died in a freak accident (picnic,      medical treatment: “The tests            Laura” to their students someday,
great athlete in decline: not, so to         More fitting to Nabokov’s           lightning) when I was three.”          continued; a succession of doc-          but it is really better suited to a
speak, the glorious baseball giant       older self are the novel’s por-             Nabokov wrote most of his          tors rubbed their chins as their         college ethics class.
Lou Gehrig of 1927, but the feeble       traits of Hubert and Wild, both         novels, including “Lolita” and         bedside manner edged toward
shadow of the same man, retiring         intensely unattractive men. They        “Pale Fire,” on index cards, a por-    the graveside.”                          Mr. Theroux’s latest novel is
at midseason in 1939.                    allow Nabokov to sketch the ship-       table strategy that allowed him            “Nabokov would have wanted           “Laura Warholic: Or, The Sexual
    The novel’s plot is a simple         wreck of old age, the humilia-          to compose in the car while his        me to become his Person from             Intellectual” (Fantagraphics).


Bookshelf / By Charles Petersen
7



                                                                  Medium of Exchange
    Letters are a biographer’s best      in a gondola? against a wall? in a      kind of considered exchange to         utes away by cab. This is where          letters. “Do you not see how nec-
friend—and worst enemy. They             court carriage? in a vis-à-vis? on a    which e-mail is . . . doing such       Mr. Mallon’s argument about the          essary a World of Pain and trou-
are a vivid way of tracking a sub-       table? and under it?”                   chatty, hurry-up violence.”            death of “considered” communica-         bles is to school an Intelligence
ject’s day-to-day thoughts and ac-           Or Colette, on her preferred            True enough, though it’s not       tion finds its greatest force. A         and make it a Soul?” Together
tivities, but they can also have an      style of living: “I have very often     hard to imagine many versions of       young woman sends a sweet                with the many amusements of
up-staging effect. William               deprived myself of the necessi-         the examples quoted                                       photo of herself      “Yours Ever”—Keats also wrote:
Faulkner, in a letter to his par-        ties of life, but I have never con-     above showing up                                          by cellphone and      “I never intend hereafter to spend
ents, wrote about a ride on a            sented to give up a luxury.” And        in email—or, echo-                                        her boyfriend         any time with Ladies unless they
New York subway: “The experi-            on her idea of luxury: “All I want      ing Byron, in in-                                        taps out a quick       are handsome”—Mr. Mallon’s fine
ment showed me that we are not           to do is go on with the unbridled       stant messages or                                        note to thank her;     book shows how important it is
descended from monkeys, as               life I lead here: barefoot, my          blog comments,                                           Héloïse, locked up     that we take pains to continue
some say, but from lice.” No mere        faded bathing suit, an old jacket,      where so much                                           in a nunnery in the     writing soulful letters today,
biographer’s narrative, however          lots of garlic, and swimming at         bombast and brag-                                       12th century, looks     whether on paper or in pixels.
conscientious, can compete with          all hours of the day.”                  ging can now be                                        at her lonely por-
such personal confidences.                   Reading through “Yours Ever,”       found. Indeed, one                                     trait of Abelard and     Mr. Petersen, an editor for n+1
                                         one can’t help compiling one’s          comfort of “Yours                                      writes: “If a picture,   magazine, lives in Montana.
                                         own best-of list. Best Reply, H.L.      Ever” comes from                                      which is but a mute
      Yours Ever: People                 Mencken, on receipt of a Christ-        seeing a few of the                                   representation of an
       and Their Letters                 mas letter: “Christmas be               hallmarks of the elec-                                object, can give such
        By Thomas Mallon                 damned.” Best Disappointed Love
                                         Letter, George Bernard Shaw: “In-
                                                                                 tronic age in ear-
                                                                                 lier correspon-
                                                                                                                                      pleasure, what cannot
                                                                                                                                     letters inspire? They
                                                                                                                                                                 Notable & Quotable
  (Pantheon, 338 pages, $26.95)
                                         famous, vile, heartless, frivolous,     dence. No less a                                have souls; they can            The British author Evelyn Waugh,
                                         wicked woman! Liar! lying lips,         writer than the poet                        speak; they have in them all        then in Yugoslavia, writing home
    Thomas Mallon, a novelist and        lying eyes, lying hands, promise        Philip Larkin, it turns                that force which expresses the           to his wife on Jan. 7, 1945:
literary historian, does not shrink      breaker, cheat, confidence-trick-       out, was a master of all caps, a       transports of the heart.”
from this challenge and has instead      ster!” Best Valediction, Marcel         technique that today’s twenty-            As Mr. Mallon notes, “the                Darling Laura, sweet whiskers,
made first-person writing the cen-       Proust: “I was your truly sincere       somethings may have thought they       small hardships of letter writing—       do try to write me better letters.
ter of his critical attention. A quar-   friend.” Best Postscript, Theodore      had invented. “The US edition of       having to think a moment longer          Your last, dated 19 December re-
ter-century ago, with “A Book of         Roosevelt: “P.S.—I have just killed     [“High Windows”] is out, with a        before completing utterance; re-         ceived today, so eagerly expected,
One’s Own,” he took on that other        a bear.” Beat that!                     photograph of me that cries out        maining in suspense while await-         was a bitter disappointment. Do
great “frenemy” of biographers,              It is to Mr. Mallon’s credit that   for the caption ‘FAITH HEALER OR       ing reply; having one’s urgent let-      realize that a letter need not be a
the diary. Now, with “Yours Ever,”       he doesn’t try to and presents his      HEARTLESS FRAUD?’”                     ters cross in the mail—are the           bald chronicle of events; I know
his prose aims to illuminate not         book as no more than a “long                Old love letters, as Mr. Mallon    things that enrich it, emotionally       you lead a dull life now, my heart
the juicy self-revelations of diarists   cover letter” to the “cornucopia”       notes, inevitably leave something      and rhetorically.” If the Internet       bleeds for it, though I believe you
but the best that the epistolary         of collected-letters editions listed    to be desired. “Whenever the lov-      age has seen the renewal of the          could make it more interesting if
genre has to offer. Lord Byron, for      at the back. For younger readers,       ers do manage to get together,”        written word—email, blog post,           you had the will. But that is no
instance, on his latest masterpiece:     for whom putting pen to paper is        he writes, “the letters stop dead.”    text message, “tweet”—it remains         reason to make your letters as
“It may be profligate but is it not      a quaint and vague notion,              By contrast, a collection of con-      true that none of these forms nat-       dull as your life. I am simply not
life, is it not the thing? Could any     “Yours Ever” may also serve as a        temporary lovers’ correspondence       urally supports the soulful writ-        interested in Bridget’s children.
man have written it who has not          letter of introduction to the joys      would likely overflow with daily       ing of Héloïse or, to take another       Do grasp that. A letter should be
lived in the world?—and fooled in        of letter writing. Today, Mr. Mal-      emails and text messages, even if      example, of Keats, whose entire          a form of conversation; write as
a post-chaise? in a hackney-coach?       lon complains, we rarely see “the       the beloved were a mere five min-      philosophy of life we find in his        though you were talking to me.

                                                                                                                        WEEKEND JOURNAL             | Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009    W15
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DACS 2009
              Amsterdam                                     % 49-30-2065-3570
              art                                           www.thekennedys.de
              “Hendrick Avercamp—Little Ice Age”
              showcases 20 winter landscapes by          Bern
              the Dutch painter (1585-1634), along-      wildlife
              side 25 of his best drawings from mu-      “David & Kodiak” offers photogra-
              seums and private collections.             phy of bears taken by the Swiss
                  Rijksmuseum                            biologist and wildlife filmmaker
                  Until Feb. 15                          David Bittner, documenting the life
                  % 31-20-6747-000                       of Kodiak bears in Alaska.
                  www.rijksmuseum.nl                         Naturhistorisches Museum
                                                             Nov. 25-Jan. 10
              Baden-Baden                                    % 41-31-3507-111
              art                                            www.nmbe.ch
              “Baselitz: 50 Years of Painting” exhib-
                                                         Cologne                                                                                                                                    tista Franco (ca. 1510-61).
              its 80 paintings and 40 works on pa-
                                                         art                                                                                                                                         Musée du Louvre
              per by German painter Georg Baselitz                                                                                                                                            Nov. 26-Feb. 22
              from his beginnings to the present.        “Leni Hoffmann” exhibits six site-re-                                                                                               % 33-1-4020-5050
                  Museum Frieder Burda                   lated works by the German artist, in                                                                                               www.louvre.fr
                  Nov. 21-March 14                       the public space in and around the mu-
                  % 49-72-2139-8980                      seum.
                  sammlung-frieder-burda.de                  Museum Ludwig
                                                                                                                                                                                         Rome
                                                             Until March 28                                                                                                              art
                                                                                                                                                                                         “Alexander Calder” displays moving
              Barcelona                                      % 49-221-2212-6165
                                                                                                                                                         % 44-161-3853-211               and stationary sculptural pieces, wire
              art                                            www.museum-ludwig.de
                                                                                                                                                         www.livenation.com              mobiles, bronzes, gouaches, drawings
              “Ray Johnson: Please Add to & Re-                                                                                                                                          and oil paintings by the American art-
              turn” is a retrospective of the collages   Dublin                                                                                      Madrid                              ist (1898-1976).
              and mailings by the American artist        concert                                                                                                                             Palazzo della Esposizioni
                                                                                                                                                  architecture
              (1927-95), including images of Elvis       Grammy-Award winner and R&B phe-                                                                                                    Until Feb. 14
                                                                                                                                                  “Toyo Ito” showcases models and
              Presley, James Dean, Shirley Temple        nomenon Beyoncé takes to the stage                                                                                                  % 39-6-3996-7500
                                                                                                                                                documentation of work by the Jap-
              and Marilyn Monroe.                        in Dublin with music from her latest       London                                                                                   www.palazzoesposizioni.it
                                                                                                                                              anese architect currently being built in
                  Museu d’Art Contemporani de            album “I Am.”                              design                                    Spain.
                  Barcelona (MACBA)                          The O2 Dublin                                                                                                               royalty
                                                                                                    “Design Real” offers a space especially      Casa Asia Centre
                  Until Jan 10                               Nov. 22-23                                                                                                                  “The Grace Kelly Years” shows photog-
                                                                                                    designed by German product designer          Until Feb. 28
                  % 34-93-4120-810                           % 44-161-3853-211                                                                                                           raphy, clothes, jewelry and fashion ac-
                                                                                                    Konstantin Grcic, featuring furniture        % 34-91-420-2303
                  www.macba.cat                              www.livenation.com                                                                                                          cessories documenting the life of
                                                                                                    and household products alongside             casaasia.es
                                                                                                    technical and industrial innovations.                                                Grace Kelly (1929-82).
              Berlin                                     Helsinki                                      Serpentine Gallery                     art                                           Palazzo Ruspoli
              art                                        design                                        Nov. 26-Feb. 7                         “Juan Bautista Maíno” shows 35                Until Feb. 28
              “Taswir—Pictorial Mappings of Islam        “Herman Olof Gummerus—Diplomat                % 44-20-7402-6075                      works by the Spanish painter                  % 39-6-6874704
              and Modernity” examines classical Is-      of Design” examines the life and work         www.serpentinegallery.org              (1581-1649) and 31 works by artists           www.fondazionememmo.com
              lamic calligraphy, ornament and minia-     of the Finnish-Swedish professor                                                     who influenced him, including
              tures in contemporary drawings, paint-     (1909-96), through personal items and      social science                            Velázquez (1599-1660) and Caravag-         Rotterdam
              ings, photography, video art and sculp-    photographs.                               “Identity: Eight rooms, nine lives” ex-   gio (1571-1610).                           photography
              tures.                                         Design Museum                          plores the tension between the way            Museo del Prado                        “United States 1970-1975 Jacob
                  Martin-Gropius-Bau                         Until Jan. 24                          we view ourselves and how others              Until Jan. 17                          Holdt” presents over 80 photographs
                  Until Jan. 18                              % 358-9-6220-540                       see us.                                       % 34-91-330-2800                       by the Danish photographer, docu-
                  % 49-30-2548-90                            www.designmuseum.fi                        The Wellcome Collection                   www.museodelprado.es                   menting the U.S. in the 1970s.
                  www.berlinerfestspiele.de                                                             Nov. 26-April 6                                                                     Kunsthal
              photography
                                                         Liverpool                                      % 44-20-7611-2222                     Manchester                                    Until Jan. 10
                                                         art                                            www.wellcomecollection.org            art                                           % 31-10-4400-301
              “Two Days in Berlin—Images of a City”                                                                                                                                         www.kunsthal.nl
                                                         “Mark Rothko—The Seagram Murals”                                                     “Angels of Anarchy—Women Artists
              shows 50 photographs depicting John                                                   music
                                                         displays nine paintings known as “The                                                and Surrealism” features over 150 art-
              F. Kennedy’s visit to Berlin and the                                                  “Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009”
              day the Berlin Wall came down by
                                                         Seagram Murals” by the Latvian-born                                                  works, including paintings, photogra-      Strasbourg
                                                         American artist (1903-70).                 brings the music of the teen pop-rock     phy and sculpture by Frida Kahlo, Lee      art
              Bruno Barbey, Thomas Billhardt, Leo-                                                  boy band phenomenon to the British
                                                             Tate Liverpool                                                                   Miller, Meret Oppenheim and others.        “Saul Steinberg: Visual Writing” exhib-
              nard Freed and others.                                                                capital.
                                                             Until March 21                                                                       Manchester City Gallery                its 150 original works and documents
                  The Kennedy-Museum                                                                    Wembley Arena
                                                             % 44-151-7027-400                                                                    Until Jan.10                           by Rumanian-born American cartoon-
                  Until Jan. 31                                                                         Nov. 20-21
                                                             www.tate.org.uk/liverpool                                                            % 44-161-2358-888                      ist and illustrator Saul Steinberg
                                                                                                                                                  www.manchestergalleries.org            (1914-99).
                                                                                                                                                                                             Musee Tomi Ungerer
                                                                                                                                              Munich                                         Nov. 27-Feb. 28
                                                                                                                                              art                                            % 33-3885-2500-0
                                                                                                                                              “Andreas Hofer—Andy Hope 1930” dis-            www.musees-strasbourg.org
                                                                                                                                              plays 70 works, including large-scale
                                                                                                                                              installations, paintings, drawings, col-   Stuttgart
                                                                                                                                              lages and sculptures by German artist      art
                                                                                                                                              Andreas Hofer.                             “Dieter Roth—Souvenirs” presents
                                                                                                                                                  Goetz Collection                       work given by the Swiss-German mul-
                                                                                                                                                  Nov. 23-April 1                        timedia artist Dieter Roth (1930-98),
                                                                                                                                                  % 49- 8995-9396-90                     to friends whom he admired.
                                                                                                                                                  www.sammlung-goetz.de                      Staatsgalerie
                                                                                                                                                                                             Until Jan. 17
                                                                                                                                              Paris                                          % 49-711-4704-00
                                                                                                                                              art                                            www.staatsgalerie.de
                                                                                                                                              “Fauvists and Expressionists from Van
                                                                                                                                              Dongen to Otto Dix” presents a selec-      Zurich
                                                                                                                                              tion of 50 expressionist and fauvist       art
                                                                                                                                              works.                                     “Silhouettes—Pure Contours” explores
                                                                                                                                                  Musée Marmottan—Monet                  a revival of silhouette cutting in inter-
                                                                                                                                                  Until Feb. 20                          national contemporary art.
                                                                                                                                                  % 33-1-4496-5033                           Museum Bellerive
                                                                                                                                                  www.marmottan.com                          Nov. 27-April 4
                                                                                                                                                                                             % 41-43-4464-469
                                                                                                  American R&B singer Beyoncé;                art                                            www.museum-bellerive.ch
Image Forum




                                                                                                  top, ‘Fur Gloves with Wooden                “Battista Franco, Venetian Artist at the
                                                                                                  Fingernails’ (1936) by Meret                Courts of Italy” shows work by the 16th-   Source: ArtBase Global Arts News Ser-
                                                                                                  Oppenheim, in Manchester.                   century Venetian painter Giovanni Bat-     vice, WSJE research.

              W16   Friday - Sunday, November 20 - 22, 2009      |   WEEKEND JOURNAL

								
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