Your First Trip to Paris June 6 -13, 2016

For complete information, go to my website:

6 Days 7 Nights

$2999 Single - Land Only
$2499 Double - Land Only

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My TV Show, Paris and Other Stuff

Ooops, didn't realize I hadn't updated this in quite a while. My television show Central Valley Arts and Culture has been a very nice success and I am enjoying myself and my guests whole heartedly. Watch it online...yes, all of you from around the world can watch and you can even chat in. In Fresno and the Valley, you can watch it if you have digital TV on 33.1 Fridays at 3PM. This is a new TV channel and is only on from 11-6 weekdays, just in case you run into it and can't find it again.

Plans for Paris are underway. I have about two more weeks here in town, and then off to beautiful Paris I go. I am planning on visiting a few places I haven't visited before: The Dali Museum, the Piaf Museum, Versailles, and maybe even the Picasso Museum. I actually have a few days by myself and don't have anything up my sleeve as of yet!

I am so looking forward to seeing my friends, having steak au poivre at La Cochonaille, seeing some French rockabilly shows, and wandering the streets of Paris. Hmmm, maybe I'll buy a new pair of boots...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

100 Faces of Fresno - Marcos Dorado

This incredible show is up at Arte Americas, and seemingly enough, I too am one of the 100 Faces! The portraits are so delicate, it's so incredible. I look absolutely lovely, if I do say so myself. Other personal friends of mine include Ray Appleton, Frank Dee and Kristy Page, plus our Mayor Ashley Swearingen. The images range from todlers to seniors.

If you have never visited Arte Americas, you really should. It is a beautiful museum and my favorite highlight is the Day of the Dead procession they host each year. It starts at St. John's Cathedral downtown and makes its way through the streets to the museum. Not to worry, I'll remind you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Central Valley Arts and Culture - My New TV Show

Something else that I'm up to! It's true. My new television show debuts on September 4 online at or on digital tv 33.1. The show will feature events and guests from the valley or passing through. Stay tuned for the details. Sponsors or advertisers are welcome!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Deke Dickerson in Fresno this Saturday 8-15-09

Nice article in the Fresno Bee this morning about my upcoming show. The phenom that is Deke hasn't played Fresno on a Saturday night in 10 years, and I am so glad to have talked him into it earlier this year. Ladies, put your party dresses on, gentlemen, get a haircut, and meet me at Audie's Olympic this Saturday for a good rocking time. Get there early if you think you are going to sit down!

Neglecting the Blog for Facebook

In the last few months I have become a Facebook junkie! Add me there:) Rebecca Caraveo

I enjoy the immediacy of the interaction, connecting with childhood friends, not so childhood friends and all my these days friends. It's afforded me the opportunity to be on TV three times now, picked up a few cool rock and roll gigs, and have been able to share photographs from events that some folks were at and some folks missed. Even some of my European cousins are on it, one that I've never even met. Tres cool...

Oooooo, speaking of France...I am more than ready for my fall trip. Already planning events and my wardrobe, and counting the days. Unfortunately, it's still three months away. We tentatively thinking about visiting the ballet at Opera Garnier or a rugby match at Stade de France.

I always like to do something I haven't done before when I visit. Of course, my list just keeps getting longer, but I do have a spot for that in my travel journal, marking them off as I go. Other places on my list are the flea market at Vannes, the Piaf museum, the Picasso museum, the Museum of Montparnasse.

Ok, so add me on Facebook, and follow me everyday! Lots happening out there...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day Rockabilly Daddies!

My band is in downtown LA this weekend at Hillbilly Jeff's Americana Brunch at the Redwood Bar and Grill. Starts at noon into the early evening. We go on at 3. I've heard the food is fabulous and you know how I love to eat!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Score! My airline ticket :)

Excellent price and flight. Watched FareCompare for a couple of days and bought my ticket r/t Fresno to Paris at $743 with insurance. Always buy insurance. My only connection is Salt Lake City both directions. Always try for the least amount of connections. Less chances for the airlines to 'lose' your luggage, Also, when you come back into the States you have to disembark and go through Customs at the first stop, and then re-check your bags before getting on the flight to go back home. Remember, the further out you buy your tickets the better flight you'll get.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Travel Links for Airfare and Hotels

Looks like I'll be buying that ticket to Paris next week as the prices are very reasonable for fall trips, even from Fresno. There are lots of sites I use, but remember one that may be great one week might not be so great the next week, so shop around. Places on the web that you might want to check out are as follows:

  • Fare Compare : This is a great site to compare air travel prices and you can also sign up to be notified when the price drops.
  • Kayak : Another site that compares prices.
  • Shermans Travel : Weekly deals. Sign up for emails. They have a nice magazine too.
  • Travel Zoo : Another site for weekly deals.
  • About : This site is ABOUT everything. Find out about places you want to visit!
  • Cheap Tickets : Just tickets, but by using Farecompare or Kayak you will have all cheap tickets at your finger tips, so go there first.
  • Venere : A great European site for hotels.
  • Cheapo Air : Another airline ticket site.

Please drop me a line if you have something that works as well or better than any of these.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Catching Up with Cattie Ness

Well, what an incredible and interesting weekend. Seems like all my over-planning made for a smooth event especially with the help of my friends. Had a small bbq for the out of town guests, and a rip-roaring time at Audie's. We had a few issues with the sound system, but we rocked on undaunted. The other bands and other out of town friends absolutely loved Fresno (except for the 105 degree heat with humidty...unheard of in Fresno, because it's always a "DRY HEAT", as we say).

This weekend we'll be playing at SUDZ in the City, also know as the beer festival at the Chukchansi Stadium. It's only supposed to be in the 90's which is perfect for drinking beer in Fresno. We go on at 7PM.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hellbound Eddie Wilson on KFCF 88.1 Today

Well I sure was gosh darn proud as Rick Flores played quite a few Cattie songs on his radio show this morning. Rick's show Wasteland of the Free (Tuesdays 10-Noon) was dedicated to rockabilly and my birthday show this weekend at Audie's Olympic. He gave us quite a selection of the good rockin' sounds from the original surf punk Link Wray to American psychobilly hero the Reverend Horton Heat.

He played Hellbound doing Relentless, and chatted up Eddie on the phone, talking about the history of rockabilly and psychobilly. Eddie really knew his music history, and Rick does too, so it was quite interesting. They talked about ME too, but just a little, and everybody is so excited to come on up to Fresno. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rockabilly Radio on KFCF 88.1 - Tuesday, May 12

Hopefully you are already a fan of Rick Flores' Wasteland of the Free that airs Tuesdays from 10 to Noon on KFCF. Tomorrow he'll be chatting with Hellbound Eddie Wilson who will be the headliner of my birthday show this coming weekend. Lots of rockabilly and bits of trivia, plus he'll give away a pair of tickets to the show! Listen up.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spectrum Art Gallery Photo Flea Market This Saturday

This Saturday, May 9, 2009

Buyers (Free admission) - 9AM - 2PM

Spectrum Art Gallery in the Tower District
608 E. Olive Ave., Fresno
(in the parking lot in back)

Enlargers ($40,) darkroom accessories ($1 & up,) photography books (1/2 off retail,) clearance photographs ($10 & up,) cameras, and much more.

Low prices, one day only -- all items must go!

Sellers Welcome - set up at 8AM $10 / 8ft space

Plus barbeque ribs!

AND, the acoustic jams of Joel Pickford & Richard Cropper
starting @ 11AM

To reserve a space, donate equipment, or get more info:
Autumn 443-1054

Thursday, April 30, 2009

More Cattie Shows!

For fans of my rockabilly band, please add these to your calendar!

My Birthday Show - May 16 - Audie's Olympic - Fresno: Oh yeah! I've invited the OC's HELLBOUND HAYRIDE to headline my birthday show. This means we are playing first, about 10PM. Why are we playing first, when it's my birthday party? (I get this question all the time.) Three simple reasons. First, a lot of my older friends want to see us, so this way they can, and they get into bed at a reasonable time. Second, as the night goes on the bands get more rockin' and I don't want them scaring my older friends (haha, you know who you are) and the younger people get more excited as the night goes on, and third, this way I get to play, then kick back and enjoy my party and my friends. Also on the bill is THE HANGING, from Orange County as well!

SUDZ in the City - May 23 - Chukchansi Stadium - Fresno: Yes, we're playing the big Fresno beer festival at the baseball stadium. We'll go on at 7PM at the left field appropriate, because I am always coming from left field!

Hillbilly Jeff's Americana Brunch - June 21 - Redwood Bar & Grill - LA: Ooooooh, this is so exciting. This is a huge event every Sunday in downtown LA. Where else can you have brunch, nurse your hangover, and enjoy some good rockin' bands?

Women of Rockabilly - Old Ironsides - June 27 - Sacramento: We're the headliners here! Plus two other female rockabilly led groups. How cool is that?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Paris for Art Lovers: November 16 - 23, 2009

Here is a highlight of the museums we'll be visiting on the fall tour. We visit generally two museums a day. One in the morning, then do lunch and then off to another for the afternoon. Guests are provided museum passes that are good the entire stay that can be used at over 30 museums in Paris. A few on the list are even open in the evening, plus you get priority entry, meaning no long lines.

Remember to find the English link on the museum websites. (Hint: Sometimes it's a UK flag and sometimes you have to really look.):

LOUVRE: Everyone knows the name and that it's huge. Well, it's beyond huge. They say nine miles of precious artisan pieces from the earliest civilations through the mid-1800's.

To quote the website: The Musée du Louvre houses 35,000 works of art drawn from eight departments, displayed in over 60,000 square meters of exhibition space dedicated to the permanent collections.

My first visit to the Louvre I decided to start in the Denon section and try to work my way through it. After about four hours, the sensory overload was too much and I had to leave. I never even made it out of the Denon section. Not to worry, these days I generally take the group to see the 'big three' plus you can use your museum pass to visit again.

What are the 'big three'? Of course, number one is the Mona Lisa (or as the French call it La Joconde) painted by Leonardo da Vinci. King Francois I, whose art collection started the Louvre, was his patron . Leonardo lived near the king the last few years of his life and is buried in a small chapel on the royal grounds of Amboise.

Second is Venus de Milo, known at the Louvre as Aphrodite. You will know her as the beautiful woman without arms.

Third on my list is Nike or Winged Victory of Samothrace (shown), which is enormous and imposing,stands at a crossway of steps going to the different areas. You really have to wonder if the people who lived here didn't get lost. Which reminds me, not only is the art displayed overwhelming, but the rooms, the stairways, the ceilings are all incredible works of art themselves.

Whatever period of art history you are interested in, there is a section for it at the Louvre. There is also an area that exposes the medieval Louvre's earliest beginnings that was uncovered when they built the pyramid and the underground reception area. Or you could visit Napoleon's apartments with incredibly rich furnishings. Also, for a separate fee, there is always a temporary exhibition or two or three offered.

We will be attending one of my favorite temporary exhibitions ParisPhoto at Carrousel du Louvre. It's an annual event that runs for four days during November. This event is really a collectors' fair with an incredible range of collectable photography offered by galleries and brokers. You'll see everything from vintage Brassai to Robert Maplethorpe.

To quote the website: PARIS PHOTO - A few figures* A prestigious showcase of 3000 m² in the heart of Paris under the Pyramid of the Louvre* 37 760 visitors (30% foreigners from 47 countries)* 115 exhibitors - galleries, publishers and magazines – from more than 20 countries* more than 500 international photographers represented* Media coverage totalling some 500 stories in the most prestigious international news outlets* 1,200 accredited journalists.

On another note, photographers and photography lovers should make a note that November is photography month in Paris. Over 100 galleries and museums participate with exhibitions.

MOYEN AGE (Cluny): My favorite of all is the Museum of Middle Ages (or Moyen Age). The museum is referred to by both names, and is officially
known as Musee National du Moyen Age, but the building is known as Hotel de Cluny. In French, hotel means a large mansion and Cluny was the sect of monks who lived there and made it a college. It is located in the Latin Quarter on the Left Bank. I have visited it every time I have been to Paris without exception.

This museum is famous for having the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries which, of course, have their own specially lighted and climatized room. The tapestries represent the 5 senses as well as the mysterious "To thine own self be true" tapestry. I love the room of Madonnas. This piece, of course, is Adam. Also located on the site are the vestiges of the Roman baths. On my last visit a few months ago, some of the rooms were being refurbished, so hopefully that will be finished by November.

l'ORANGERIE: Another one of my favorites because it houses the Utrillos and Modiglianis, as well as others from the Paris School. But it is most well known for the series of Monet's Waterlillies that fill the two downstairs rooms.

Monet created these for the museum, and they are overwhelmingly beautiful and lifesize to scale. His home in nearby Giverny is a garden lover's dream, but is only open during the height of its beauty. Here is a little tiny piece of one of the images:
Each of the eight paintings is about twenty feet high and seventyfive feet long. (I'm guessing at the actual size, but I'm probably pretty darn close.) Very overwhelming!
You can also see a bit of the medieval Louvre as well, and images by Rousseau, Chagall and Soutine. They have a wonderful book and gift store as well.

Musee RODIN: This museum is dedicated almost solely to the sculptor Rodin, although recently they added a room for Camille Claudel, the woman sculptor he drove to madness. That aside, we enjoy everything from small pieces inside the lovely hotel to giant bronzes in the immense gardens. Truly lovely, especially on a beautiful day.

You can see the golden dome of Les Invalides from the gardens, the final resting place of Napoleon, which is a short walk away. You'll also find there the Army museum of World Wars I and II, suits of armor, and a very large bookstore.
His most famous piece "The Kiss" is shown here in front of Musee l'Orangerie overlooking Place de la Concorde, with it's obelisques and giant fountains.

The south side of the Louvre runs along the river, and to the west you can see the Eiffel Tower. Our hotel is near Notre Dame and, as you can see, it is a very enchanting walk home from the Louvre in the evening. After adding these photos, I am getting really really excited about visiting the fairytale that is Paris!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Central Valley Buzz with Chuck Leonard

Well I hope you saw me today on Chuck's show "Central Valley Buzz with Chuck Leonard". What a super nice guy, and actually very comfortable to hang out with. Somehow we were watching ourselves on TV with a few minute delay while continuing to look into the camera and chat it up, so that was a little confusing. He made it fun though, and we talked about everything without going into detail or staying on the subject. Plus he showed clips from the TV show La Panthere sort ses Griffes in Paris when I appeared with the Hot Rocks.

We seemed to have a positive response from the audience with one friend calling in, an obscene phone caller, and others either plugging their stuff or enjoying the show. One guy commented on the great background of the set, which is inserted digitally, and you can see to us in the studio that it's just a plain green screen behind us to do just that. The digital screen totally matched my new top. YAY! There were a few intervals with a brass band called Yesterday's Chonies that played some interesting stuff, and Diana, a medical marijuana advocate, who was on the first half of the show.
If you'd like to be a guest, I'm sure he'd love to have you. Just pay a visit to the website for contact information.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Celebrity ME:)

This afternoon I'm on local cable show "Central Valley Buzz with Chuck Leonard". Chuck hosts local musicians and other cultural artists on his very cool show. I'll be a solo guest today, but will have my bandmates on with me later in the summer. It comes on at 4PM on Channel 33, and is also online at .

Also tomorrow, check out Mike Osegueda's column in 7 (Fresno Bee weekend section) and hopefully he will drop my name when he talks about our buds Toshi and Tommy winning the Fresno Art Council's Horizon Award for their restaurant Tokyo Garden at 1711 Fulton.

Tokyo has been a favorite place of mine since the 80's, the very first place I ever had Japanese food, and where I recorded my first album Live at Tokyo Garden. We made it a place to play destination with the Cattie Ness Cafe (my monthly show in the early 90's), and it bloomed from karoake at the bar to a great place for live music. In the rockabilly world, people from all over still ask me about playing Tokyo. We used to even have a saying: "If you don't know where it is, you don't need to be there!" Definitely a place for those 'in with the in-crowd".

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gilmour-Floyd at the Tower Theatre

I worked wardrobe and make-up last night at the sold-out performance of local Pink Floyd tribute band Gilmour-Floyd, complete with a theatrical performance during Comfortably Numb. I re-created the surreal mom from the film, complete with 40's style hair, and 'Divine-esque' make-up, and enjoyed seeing so many old friends out on the town. It was truly one of those Fresno party nights where everyone is happy to see everyone else, with a giant melange of people you only get to see here and there every once in a while.

The Fresno Bee article, in their typical dissing of the locals, got it wrong when they focused their blurb on the opening act, Heartbreaker, a Led Zeplin tribute band, from the bay area. (Complete with a Robert Plant look-alike, who my husband warned me not to run off with.) Like Gilmour-Floyd, they were spot on, but the crowd of three generations was there to enjoy the songs of Pink Floyd and, of course, the light show (with over 150 changes).

Did I mention the food? I don't exactly know who the caterers were (Marilyn and her husband), but the food was fantastic, and I certainly didn't want to share. I'm so looking forward to it again next year!

Shirley Spencer - Naturalist/Artist

I spent yesterday morning in the beautiful foothills of Prather at a botanical drawing workshop. Shirley Spencer, a Naturalist in Yosemite National Park, shared her knowledge of drawing botanicals and using watercolors.

Our setting was the Intermountain Nursery, a wonderful place in itself, specializing in drought-tolerant plants and trees. We worked outside with a wonderful view of the moody skies and rolling green foothills, and I thoroughly enjoyed the class, experimenting with masking fluid and watercolors, a medium I have never spent time with.

Shirley has a book coming out this summer featuring her watercolors and drawings called Flowering Shrubs of Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada , and you can pre-order it on Amazon. It would make a lovely gift and I look forward to her book signing this summer.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Flying to Paris

So I'm starting my hunt for a great flight at a decent price for my fall trip to France. Can't start too early, at least the fare watching part.

The two main things I definitely consider when choosing my flight are the carrier and the stops. I always recommend taking using a European airline even though the fee may be a little higher. I've found that the level of service is astonishingly better than any domestic carrier when flying coach, the planes are nicer. Air France (and others) serve real champagne and Lufthansa's restrooms are discreetly located downstairs where there is also a little snack area .

The food is generally better too, although I try to make sure I eat enough that I won't really need to eat much plane food. I am just not that much of an experimenter when it comes to food, and have found myself being very hungry when I didn't go for island cuisine on Air Tahiti Nui. I did not touch the fish egg salad . Yes, fish egg, as in roe. The young woman next to me gobbled down the food, no problem, but then again she was Tahitian. I was just thankful that my friend at the hotel packed a couple of croissants for my flight.

As for the customer service issue, let me share with you that for some reason my last trip I used United. I waited too long to buy the ticket and was stuck with it. Not only did I have the horror of flying domestic and changing planes at Dulles (ie with plastic bag o' food on the overseas part or paying $10 for a snack box during the domestic part) , but needless to say my suitcase didn't make it to Paris with me. Sure I planned ahead, and had some extra items with me so there wouldn't be an issue. One of my guests flew American on her frequent flyer miles, and her suitcase made it.

Unfortunately we weren't staying in Paris, but taking the train to the Loire valley. After several phone calls to UNITED, and a promise of a $25 travel voucher for the inconvenience, my suitcase arrived. It showed up three days later, the afternoon before we headed back to Paris.

Now, a few weeks ago, a client came home on Air France. She won't fly anything else. So let me juxtapose her scenario with mine. At the airport, they asked for voluntary bumps, and she took it. They gave her a voucher good for $200 on her next flight, money to eat while she waited, and bumped her to business class for the direct flight home. All this for waiting three hours and catching the next flight.

Needless to say, I'm taking my own advice and choosing an international airline. The search starts now.

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Latest Book Reviews

I recently read Cara Black's latest, Murder in the Latin Quarter, as well as Jake Lamar's Ghosts of St. Michel. Both are murder mysteries set in Paris, with Black's heroine detective Amy Leduc sorting out difficulties with Haitian refugees sans papiers (literally without papers), and Lamar's dealing with black American ex-pats coming to grips with the past.

Murder in the Latin Quarter was just released this month, and I was second in line to read it via our excellent library system here in Fresno. Did you know that you can research your book requests online, pick the book (vhs, cd, dvd or whatever) you want, and they will send it to your neighborhood library for pick up? My husband and I love this feature and utilize it extensively.

As for Lamar's book, Ghosts of St. Michel, strangely enough it wasn't in our library system at all, and I requested that they purchase it. Well I had to read it, because it's the second it the series after the excellent Rendevous Eighteenth. I was notified that it was no longer available, so I bought it online for a few bucks. Even stranger, this book only came out a few years ago, and the book I purchased was a withdrawn library book. One has to wonder if it was pulled from American shelves due to hints of the conspiracy theories of 9-11. Does anyone know if there is a list of blackballed books that the library uses to cull undesireable reading material? I really enjoyed this book as not only was it a great read, but gave a lot of history unbeknownst to me regarding Place St. Michel.

The Place (pronounced ploss san michelle) is a favorite spot of mine as Mike (as I like to refer to him) is my patron saint. A woman like me needs a good warrior saint to keep up the good fight!

Needless to say, the Place is noted in French history as a site for many political protests and the most notedly, as the spot where the Resistance, Communists, Allies won the fight against the Nazis in WWII. How many Americans knew that the Communists were on our side? If you stop and think about it, it makes you realize why they have such a strong socialist party.

More to come on Mike and the Place.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Catching Up with Me

Let's see. Well first, Cattie Ness and the Revenge had a brilliant show at the Rockabilly Revenge 6. Lots of friends I haven't seen in a long while who joined us in Long Beach for a good old time. Thanks for coming out and all these years of support. There's actually a video for Triflin' Woman on YouTube:

Also at Spectrum Gallery, this is the last weekend to catch the lovely black and white nudes of Bob Barks, and also the huge scenics of Purple Hat. Wit the purchase of Bob's latest book, you also receive a free print. Feel free to call the gallery at 559-266-0691.

I have been spending lots of time in the darkroom myself, examining three years worth of proof sheets for my show next year celebrating my twentieth anniversary in photography.

The dates for my fall trip Paris for Art Lovers are confirmed as November 16 through 23, 2009, and will include ParisPhoto at Carrousel du Louvre. E me for details or check my website: La Belle France Tours . I have had a lot of interest in this trip, so sign up early.

Last weekend my husband and I went to the OC for the Hardcore Reunion show that featured lots of 80's hardcore bands (and friends) like No for An Answer, Carry Nation, Head First, Chorus of Disapproval and Black Spot. These bands and more are highlighted in the new book Radio Silence.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Parties for the Parkway Kickoff Event

I am so excited to attend. This is the first time I've been asked to donate one of my works to the River Parkway Trust, and this is one of those big fancy fundraising parties where all the who's-whos show up. This year it's at the new Clovis Veterans Memorial District Building in Old Town Clovis.

If you're not familiar with the Kickoff, this is actually the first of a yearlong series of fundraising events, with over seventy parties this year. These small intimate parties are as diverse as an Evening in Provence (complete with games of petanque, hosted by my petanque club) to a Barndance (at the Hallowell Barn) to an architect Art Dyson themed party on the Kings River at the home of my friends, Deb and Gregg Lapp. The money raised supports Trust's the effort to protect the San Joaquin River and helps to connect people to the river through programs and activities.

And I won't hide the fact that I'm excited about the food. There will be food from fabulous restaurants and caterers including my favorite, Sam's Italian Deli, where the guys know me by name. Plus lots of the local wineries as well.

The admission fee is $35 for members and $40 for non-members at starts at 5:30.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great Fiction Books I've Enjoyed About Paris and France

I have always been a voracious reader and whizzed through all of Cara Black's books since I discovered them a few months ago, and am anxiously awaiting the release of her latest book Murder in the Latin Quarter this month.

The heroine of the book is Amy Leduc, a private investigator, who seems to get herself into and out of a lot of trouble. Each book is based in a neighborhood of Paris, and filled with murder and mayhem, coupled with political intrigues and social unrest, and of course, Amy's lovelife. Black gives you great background information on the different cultures that meld together to make Paris Paris. She is based here in California.

Another great book I recently devoured was Rendevous Eighteenth by Jake Lamar. The highlight for me was that the story takes place in Montmartre, my favorite part of Paris. Lamar's character is an African-American ex-pat who goes to Paris to get away from his past, and is enjoying his life until his cousin shows up. Lamar does a great job of capturing the streets of the eighteenth arrondissement that I love to walk. He's a great writer and another one of those Americans thought he'd stay there for a short while, and has now lived there for over ten years. He was a writer for Time magazine for six years. His website is nice and hs some good links as well. I cannot wait to read Ghosts of Saint-Michel, but my library doesn't have it, yet.

If you are interested in medieval life, and especially medieval life in France, then I highly recommend Sharan Newman's "Catherine Le Vendeur" series. Newman is a medieval historian and Ph.D in twelth century France. I have only read one of the books, out of sequence, and am now ready to start the series from the beginning. She prefers to do her teaching through her novels, and seems to have written a very large amount of them.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Driving in France

If you're considering driving in France, here are a few things you might want to think about first. How good is your French? Reading, writing and comprehension? One of my first French adventures found me on the Gorge of Galamus (Val de l'Aude) a little tiny car. The road is essentially carved into the side of a vertical cliff several hundred feet high with a roaring river down below. There is maybe a two feet high wall on the gorge side. Not scary enough? It's only one lane with two way traffic. I was on the gorge side. How did I get there, you ask? If you know me, I'm sure you'll laugh when I say my bravado outweighed my common sense. Due to some issues with my flights, my bags hadn't arrived and I didn't have my Michelin map book, AND my French was only good enough at that time to interpret the part of the sign that said Caution High Winds. There will also be times when you have that old guy working his farm for directions or times when you will need to know what's the next town with a gas station, so brush up before you go.

But what I really wanted to tell you about was this great lower priced car rental agency in France called Rent-a-Car. I saved at least $100 on the car rental (for 4 days) when we visited the Loire valley last November, but again, it was due to the fact that I can read French. Also, when we picked up the car, the gentleman couldn't speak English. (This is also why I take people to Paris, to make it easier for you.) Ask one of your French francophone friends to help you with the reservation and maybe jot down a few phrases, like "I pre-paid this on the internet." and "What time do you close?" Mind you, they will respond in French.

A few other differences are roundabouts and tollroads, and the fact that there are not a lot of what we call "freeways" here in California. A lot of roads from one town to the next maybe just one or two lanes, going through or nearby towns and villages, via the roundabout.

At first the roundabout may seem a little confusing, but it's really very easy to use. There is always a sign announcing the roundabout, with the name of the town (or your next direction) marked at the exits of each road. Hopefully before you get to the roundabout, you already know which town/direction you are going. If you see it's the second one, get off on the second one. The entrance to the road is usually marked with the name of the town/direction. If you miss your exit, pas de probleme, you just go around again.

The largest highways are tollroads, and are known as autoroutes. You might not have a toll for a few miles, but sooner or later the tollboths appear. You will be warned by a giant sign that states "peage". Take your ticket and pay when you get off at your exit. Try to have exact change and don't lose the ticket, or you will have to pay some enormous amount. There will also be a few oases on the tollroad for a bite to eat or to gas up your car, and some even have picnic areas.

Another thing to note is that if you are trying to get to a small town, there may not be an exit near it, and you will either have to get off early and make your way to it, or pass it and get off at the next exit and go back. This is really important if you are trying to find a B&B and it's in a little village out in the middle of farm land. It's also essential to have a good map, and I highly recommend the Michelin map book of France.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Rockabilly Revenge 6

This great event is coming up this Saturday, February 28, 2009, starting at 3PM. It's at one of the coolest clubs in Southern Cailfornia, The Blue Cafe of Long Beach. Not only is it a few minutes walk to ocean, it serves delicious food and drinks, has two floors and two stages of entertainment, and it even has a huge area of pool tables. Oops, and I forgot to mention it even has a great outside patio area as well. True California ambiance. The show is all ages until 9PM, and 21 and over thereafter. We'll be on the main stage about 6:30. Be there.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dr. Phyllis Irwin Celebration

Another event of note will be honoring the distinguished career (and 80th birthday) of Dr. Phyllis Irwin, Professor Emerita CSU Fresno on March 11, 2009 at 8PM in the Concert Hall.

Phyllis is one of my fellow members at Spectrum Gallery, and this event honoring her fifty-plus years at CSUF (going back to when it was just plain ol' Fresno State College, will also feature a photography exhibit of her images as well as a reception after the concert. If you know this dear lady,please wish her hearty congratulations and a happy birthday.

Eternal Charles Aznavour et Edith Piaf

Did I mention I was a Francophile? Mais, bien sur!

And, also a member (and past board member) of Alliance Francaise de Fresno, a worldwide non-profit that promotes the French language. Our next event will highlight the lives of the world's most reknown French singers: Charles Aznavour and Edith Piaf. The event will take place on March 17, 2009 at CSU Fresno Smittcamp Alumni House at 7:30PM. This free lecture will be in French and is open to the public.

When I take guests to Paris, our trek through Pere-Lachaise cemetary always stops to pay our respects at Ms. Piaf's gravesite. To learn more about her life, I highly recommend the recent movie about her life La Vie en Rose, or on your next trip to Paris you can visit The Edith Piaf Museum.

As for a Fresno connection, it is a known fact that Mr. Aznavour's daughter has lived most of her adult life in Fresno.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Brisk and Sunny in Ol' Fresno

It was a truly beautiful day yesterday as we waited in Old Town Clovis for the cyclists of the Amgen Tour to hit the finish line. I'm sure everyone was quite proud of what a great day was offered to the riders with lots of sunshine and snow on the mountains.

Clovis was totally on the ball with free shuttle service for the crowd. Some shops were open with delicious treats like The Robin's Nest, my favorite antique store on Pollasky, and some shops were closed with their keepers on the street with the rest of us. The only downside was giving hundreds of little kids yellow chalk to write in the streets...we weren't expecting to see the exciting end of the race in a cloud of yellow smoke that choked everybody, and you know it had to wreak havoc with the riders as well.

So, the good lord must have been listening, because not only did Tom Boonen ride, but he came in second. My mother was elated. She proudly waved her Flemish Lion, and she even had press members come up to see if she was really Belgian. Needless to say, she was on cloud nine, and even more excited to get home and watch the race in its entirety. We got as close to him as we could as he talked to the press and he waved when he saw the flag.

Cavendish, an American for the Colombian team, was the overall winner of the stage. Needless to say, trying to grab a good shot in the flurry of riders and chalk dust was not really going to happen.

There was a huge showing of the LiveStrong Army as well, with my friends from the Mofo Party Band and their families there to show support.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amgen Tour of California

Today is the big day that world cycling enthusiasts gather to see the peloton cross the finish line in Clovis, California. They are predicting the riders will arrive about 3:30 this afternoon in front of 25,000 people. Riders will include Belgium's Tom Boonen, last year's winner Levi Leipheimer, and that other guy, Lance Armstrong. I'll be taking my mom, Josie Caraveo, who is an avid race fan, where we'll be cheering on Tom, who won 75 races last year alone.

If you are truly a cycling enthusiast, then you should know about the National Cycling Museum in Roeselare, West Flanders, Belgium, called the Nationaal Wielermuseum. As far as I know, this is the only museum in the world dedicated to bicycle racing.

My mother's family has a long history of cyclists, and at the turn of the century (last century) my uncle's father was the National Champion of Belgium, and that is why this museum is in their home town. His name was Hector Martin and some of the artifacts you see here were donated by my uncle's family.

When I visited the museum in 2006 cycling star Freddy Maertens was the curator and he was more than genial. I even had permission to take a few photographs.The museum has a permanent exhibit of cycling through the years, and also has new rotating shows such as photography exhibits and, when I was there, the famous Tour de France yellow jersey.
So now you know, Belgium is not just about beer and chocolate, beautiful lace and incredible artwork. And for you Americans who don't get out much, no, they don't serve Belgian Waffles for breakfast, so don't ask.

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's Day

It has been a busy weekend pour moi. Band practice in the OC, beating home the storm, and even gallery sitting at Spectrum. There is an incredible show at Spectrum at this very moment. It's our 2009 New Members Show, but don't let the name fool you. The caliber of this work is marvelous, so don't let it slip by without taking it in. (Maybe even buy one, and help support the gallery!)

Hmmm, the other thing I wanted to mention is that I have scheduled my birthday show for May 16, 2009 at Audie's Olympic. Stay tuned for the sordid details, and let me start the rumor that Hellbound Hayride has promised to play.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th Unlucky for Some

Where do I begin? You are just lucky I haven't had my coffee. First, it's Friday the 13th, it's cold and rainy here in Fresno, and I'm debating where to start. Let's do art first.

Right now I have an image up at Fresno City Hall. It is part of a group exhibit for Parties for the Parkway 2009 and will continue at that location through the end of February. The show starts a yearlong series of fun and fundraising events for the preservation of the San Joaquin River. Growing up in Fresno, the river has always been part of my fond memories. My image even evokes a simpler time, and is called Clovis, California 1992 . It's an archival digital print of one of my first hand colored images. The same image is also currently the cover of the Fresno Free College Foundation Annual Report 2008 that celebrates this important non-profit's fortieth year. Please feel free to visit the show weekdays 8-5 through the end of the month. You can find my image on the first floor not far from the reception desk. The show continues onto the second floor as well.

As of March 5, 2009 the entire collection will be located at the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building for the Kickoff Party that starts at 5:30PM. Tickets are $35 for members and $40 for non-members. For more info visit San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust or call 559/248-8476.

The Rockabilly Revenge 6 in Long Beach, California at the Blue Cafe will feature Cattie Ness and the Revenge for our first show in quite a while. In fact, this was the longest break I have ever taken and am glad to report we've been practicing with our new drummer Johnny Rage, and it's all good! So mark your calendar for this one as it's just around the corner on February 28, 2009. Deke Dickerson will be the super-duper headliner, with two stages of bands, plus food, drinks, pool and just plain fun. And it starts early, at 3PM, all ages, and 21 and older after 9PM. We can even pre-sale you tickets at $14. $18 at the door. Visit Our MySpace for more info on getting tickets.