The Money Shot


Simon Gardiner’s architectural photography presents the city–usually Paris or New York–as a complete, totalizing environment, unroofed by the expanse of the sky, but rather, turned on itself and rotated at angles. The results vary from vortographs, kaleidoscopic compositions wherein the subjects are reflected and arranged in triangular or multilayered arrangements, to simple, yet highly disorienting fabricated symmetries. More after the break.

Through simple manipulations, Gardiner creates new cities of infinite expansion, where space has been ostensibly dominated. They resemble the vertigo-inducing urban spaces in the movie Inception, where the laws of physics are absorbed and manipulated by the whimsies of the human dream psyche. Yet whereas the film’s transformation of Paris, for example, was all spectacle, while acting more or less as a plot device, Gardiner’s images are not afforded the luxury of motion, and thus, become somewhat more believable. They are snapshots of everyday life, in a new schizophrenic world of complete freedom and under total control, where utilitarian functions are rendered irrelevant (plumbing in the sky?) and individual freedoms are gradually eclipsed by the vanishing point.

cocktail at a Very Swell Mad Men party and more

Shimmer cocktail at a Very Swell Mad Men party (Lost in Cheeseland)

And we’re not forgetting these popular Paris favorites:

Hidden Kitchen: Hidden Kitchen is one of the first private supper clubs.

Lunch in the Loft: Lunch in the Loft is a more intimate way to lunch with new people.

Jim Haynes: Jim Haynes has been organizing Sunday dinners for the past 30 years

Related Links:

Written by Bryan Pirolli for the Hip Paris Blog. For amazing rentals in Paris, Provence & Tuscany check out the website Haven in Paris.

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous. —Coco Chanel



“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little – if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” -Coco Chanel

No. 5
No. 5

Bottle of Chanel No. 5, Eau de Parfum version.
Fragrance by Coco Chanel
Released Christmas 1921, as gift to best customers (100 flacons), for sale since mid 1922
Label Chanel

Excerpt: Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I Beg You (Source:

Excerpt: Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Rainer Maria Rilke was a great poet who had a correspondence over the course of several years with Franz Xaver Kappus, the “young poet” to whom Rilke became a mentor.
Worpswede, near Bremen, Germany
July 16th, 1903
. . . Very dear Mr. Kappus: I have left a letter from you long unanswered, not that I had forgotten it—on the contrary: . . . When I read it, as now, . . . I am touched by your beautiful concern about life, more even than I had felt it [when I first read your letter] in Paris . . . Here, where an immense country lies about me, over which the winds pass coming from the seas, here I feel that no human being anywhere can answer for you those questions and feelings that deep within them have a life of their own; for even the best err in words when they are meant to mean most delicate and almost inexpressible things . . . You are so young,1 so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Trans. M.D. Herter Norton (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993), Fourth Letter: 33-35.

The word “philosophy” comes from ancient Greek roots meaning the love (philo) of knowledge or wisdom (sophia). In this letter Rilke suggests that philosophy is also a love of the questions themselves.

Rilke was a great believer in patience, in not rushing natural processes, which can only bear their fruit in their own time. Here he sees spiritual searching as a kind of natural process, which begins with certain deeply felt questions that “have a life of their own” and must not be rushed to answers. If a question has come to us from an honest perplexity and desire to understand, then that question itself is already a great achievement, and Rilke suggests we cherish it. If we are “living” the question, not just as an intellectual problem or puzzle that we are curious to solve, but as something that truly matters to us, then we are already on the road to understanding.

Philosophy may seem to be an endless series of questions, with each suggested answer leading only to more questions. Rilke invites us to see this not as a problem, but as a deep necessity of life, since “no human being anywhere can answer for you” those ultimate questions of life. Even if you could be led right to an answer, still it would not do you any good, and it would not be your answer, unless you could see it with your own eyes–answers “cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them.”So until the time when we are ready to find an answer ourselves, the best we can do is to contemplate the question.

One of the greatest philosophers of Western thought, Socrates himself, famously claimed to never have reached any answers at all. Perhaps all he ever had were the questions. But to ask the big questions of life, to truly grapple with them, this is already to be a philosopher and to have deepened one’s experience of life.


Ambient Music

The Gymnopédies, published in Paris starting in 1888, are three piano compositions written by French composer and pianist, Erik Satie.

These short, atmospheric pieces are written in 3/4 time, with each sharing a common theme and structure. Collectively, the Gymnopédies are regarded as the precursors to modern ambient music – gentle yet somewhat eccentric pieces which, when composed, defied the classical tradition. For instance, the first few bars feature a disjunct chordal theme in the bass – first, a G-major 7th in the bass, and then a B-minor chord, also in the lower register. Then comes the one-note theme in D major. Although the collection of chords at first seems too complex to be harmonious, the melody soon imbues the work with a soothing atmospheric quality.
Satie himself used the term “furniture music” to refer to some of his pieces, implying they could be used as mood-setting background music. However, Satie used this term to refer to only some of his later, 20th century compositions, without specific reference to the Gymnopédies as background music. From the second half of the 20th century on, the Gymnopédies were often erroneously described as part of Satie’s body of furniture music, perhaps due to John Cage‘s interpretation of them.