BY JUDY CARMACK BROSS
Whether it was the artist’s palette or the gourmet’s palate, the Alliance Française de Chicago offered a veritable feast for the eyes and the tastebuds in October for its discerning members and guests.
A vernissage celebrating a comprehensive private collection of Edward Manet’s important works on paper drew in members eager to view the mastery of the artist, often called the “Father of Modern Art.” Stanley Johnson’s cogent remarks ensured that guests left thinking of Manet not only as a “father” of sorts, but as a dear friend.
The owner of RL Johnson Fine Arts and his wife, Ursula, were toasted by guests enjoying the magnums of Chateau Larcis-Ducasse, a Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé 2006, a wine that had its birth in the times of the ancient Romans.
Showing the versatility of its program committee, Chef Biggers of the Sofitel’s Café des Architectes proved why Lyon is referred to as the capital of French gastronomy. While sampling escargot in truffle foam and duck rillettes, which the chef prepared on site, guests learned more about this former French capital from Pascale Remy, President of the non-profit Les Amis de la place Antonin Poncet in Lyon. One guest was heard to remark: “Everyone knows you can always get a better meal in Lyon.”
Founded in 1897, the Alliance is one of Chicago’s oldest cultural organizations. It offers language classes, events, cooking and wine tasting, award-winning films, and a library of over 19,000 titles. Its Director, Jack McCord, explained what’s ahead at the Alliance in coming months.
“We see our mission as offering the broadest range of French language-related programming as possible. Some things we can plan in advance. Academy française member, the author and journalist Dany Laferriere, who comes from a Haitian-Québécois background, will speak in February—something that took us a year to put together.
“Program ideas come through a variety of connections, such as the French Consulate, and we often partner with other organizations. We stage programs in English to attract as broad a profile as possible, with a certain number in French, of course. We are very grateful to Aimee Laberge, our Programs Director. The richness of our programs is due to her energy and creativity.
“We will host the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival sponsored by Facets on November 5, showing the best French language and French action films for children from France, Belgium, and Switzerland. On November 15, we will show Charlie Chaplin’s silent classic A Woman of Paris. We have a year-long Paris-Chicago film theme.”
We so look forward to seeing and experiencing what comes next!
Photo credit: Larissa Rolley