Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Serge Gainsbourg Tribute - Hollywood Bowl

If you're wondering about the delay on this post (if you visit me regularly, you know I post every other day) it's because I've been sulking. I had the experience of a lifetime on Sunday and the battery in my camera died just before the event began! I was lucky enough to have tickets to attend a tribute to Serge Gainsbourg at my favorite venue the Hollywood Bowl, and I must say it was the best concert I've ever experienced! So, I should just be satisfied with that but I so wanted to share the beauty of the Bowl with all of you... And there were some very inspired outfits worn by members of the audience.... another missed opportunity.... I am not whining! It was a lesson learned! I suppose I'll just have to get tickets to another show before the season is over to do her justice! 

My girlfriend and I brought our picnic inside the venue - most people bring wine and cheese and the like - but some people like to eat at the tables provided near the parking lots. It's like a tailgate party of sorts...
The program included among many talented artists, Beck; Sean Lenon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl (their band is The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger); and Claude Vanier who composed and arranged Serge's most influential concept album "Melody Nelson" performed for his first time in the US. It was by far the highlight of the evening!
A couple friends I made along the way...
The Hollywood Bowl's distinctive band shell. The structure is a set of concentric arches that first graced the site in 1929. It has been replaced many times over since then. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, with the Hollywood Sign to the Northeast, it is the largest natural ampitheater in the US with a capacity to seat 18,000. When lit at night it is incredibly dramatic and exciting... and I didn't get a single shot! Not whining... The box seats in the front are considered the choice seats, and people "own" them the way one would own a box seat at a sporting event. I saw a concert in one once, and I have to say, I felt a little confined. I actually prefer the benches to either side. And they are less pricey!

Serge Gainsbourg was a French singer-songwriter-poet-actor-director. He is widely regarded as one of the world's most influential popular musicians. His music was tough to categorize as it followed genres like Jazz, ballads, mambos, lounge, reggae, pop (including adult contemporary pop, kitch pop, yeah yeah pop, 80's pop, pop art pop, prog pop, space age pop, psychedelic pop, and erotic pop), funk, disco, calypso, Africana, bossa nova, and rock and roll. Wow. 

Serge Gainsbourg was also quite the playboy. He wrote songs for, performed with, and seduced some of the most beautiful women in the world. His longest relationship was with the lovely and talented style icon Jane Birkin. 
(photo via Teemix)

They were never married but shared a tumultuous relationship for thirteen years and gave life to one of my favorite singers - Charlotte - in 1971. Jane collaborated with Serge on many songs, the most notable and controversial "Je T'Aime Mois... Non Plus". It was originally written for Brigitte Bardot (and there is  an original recording with B.B. in which she is said to actually orgasm) but released with Jane performing all the simulated orgasms at the climax of the song. It was banned by the Vatican... and inspired the disco hit by Donna Summers "Love to Love You".

(photo via LIFE)

(photo via mademoisellebardot)

Jane and Brigitte in "If Don Juan Were A Woman" 

The model-actress-singer Bambou - Serge's last serious relationship which produced a son "Lulu", who also performed Sunday night.

 Serge died of a heart attack in 1991 after years of living life indulgently and passionately. His funeral brought Paris to a standstill. French President Francois Mitterand declared him "...our Beaudelaire, our Appolinaire". 


Incognito said...

Hey! I am so happy to hear about Serge Gainsbourg from someone who is not French! If you speak and are able to understand the lyrics of his songs you can see he was a poet. Actually he considered much more poetry than music. Did you know he made a song with Charlotte called Lemon Incest? This song was also a scandal. I actually prefer the Gainsbourg of the beginning much more. It is so refreshing hearing a foreigner not speaking about "La vie en rose" by Edith Piaf :D Thanks for your post and you should have been lucky attending this concert!

Shug'A'Very from Incognito ;)

Clifton Weaver said...

Great post about Serge Gainsbourg! One note though, the photos of Bardot and Birkin are from "Don Juan or If Don Juan Were A Woman" not from Michelangelo Antonioni's "Blow Up". They do not appear in that movie.

Style Dilettante said...

Thank you for the correction!

Lady and Olga said...

Didn't know Serge was really known abroad but I'm happy about discovering it :)


PS : thanks for your last two comments :) I hope you understand me better now that I've started translating my posts in english ;)

Ann said...

This is a very interesting and informative post...

I enjoyed reading it ♥

Hillary said...

Arg! I wanted to go to that so bad, but I was out of town! I'm so jealous!


Shybiker said...

What a fabulous post! I love music and enjoyed learning about all this; you present the information so nicely. And the post is part travelogue as well. Now I want to hop on a plane!

Samantha said...

This has made me even MORE excited for my trip to this fabulous city in October!!!!!!!!

I gave you a little bit of a shout-out in my post today. :)

Thanks again for ALL of your help!


absolutelyfaaabulous said...

What.... looks like an amazing concert you went too.. and stop being paranoiac: you are still allowed to enjoy certain things from time to time without taking all the pics for us. Anyway, great post. The venue looks amazing.. Really wish I could live in LA to live these sort of moments.. Am still on holidays but will check everything up/blog more as soon as back. A big kiss!

The Foolish Aesthete said...

So great to learn more of Serge Gainsbourg. I had always wanted to know why Charlotte was so cool --- but with Serge and Jane as parents, how could one not be? And I was so happy to be corrected about Californian walking habits! I am observing more and more walkers in our neighborhoods, outside of walking and biking for exercise.

muse said...

I love Serge&Jane....Xx MUse

Constance said...

I love them!!!