DISSOLVE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Life is Art Collective is Establishing a Commune in the Eiffel Tower
A section of the tower hovering above St Charles Avenue, New Orleans
St Charles Avenue, the Grand Boulevard, Gem of the Crescent City! Adorned in hundred-year old oaks and an 1835 streetcar, the Avenue has long served as pinnacle of New Orleans’ society. Now its mansions, private krewes, and historic parade route will serve as stage for a Life is Art Foundation Living Installation / Commune.
On May 22, 2010, Life is Art Collective members Kirsha Kaechele, Tora Lopez, Elliott Coon and Pamala Bishop will move into a celebrated glass and iron building on St Charles Avenue. Invited by developers LVX (An obscure alchemical reference to Life, Light and Love), Life is Art will create the interior of the famous building that once perched high above Paris as a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. (See Footnote A - Historic information) The collective will inhabit the space as a living installation / performance and not leave its grounds for a month long period. The remnants and inspirations of their residency will become the interior of the new supper club and lounge, Eiffel Society.
During their stay, the Collective will perform intentional interior design work, build sculptures, curate/create installations and practice artistic exercises. These exercises will be shaped through daily rituals, physical meditation, archetypal embodiment work and the Conscious Consumption-Creation Act. (See Footnote B). The artists intend to dissolve themselves, that they may imbue every element with creative life force. The result is an attuned spectrum. Everything, from object to energy, is art.
For Eiffel's grounds, Life is Art Collective will create a biodynamic farm. (See Footnote C) Its yield will be the future food served in the restaurant and bar. Through this gesture, the Collective takes a Slow-Life approach to interior architecture, emphasizing that an interior is only as strong as the field within which it exists.
Throughout their month long residency, guest artists will arrive from New York, California, Paris, London and Mamou, Louisiana to collaborate on the creation of Eiffel and the Living Performance. Contributions will range from architectural and sculptural to temporal and experiential. Invitations to guest artists will include Lisa Lozano, Mr. Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Chris Lane, Thomas Beale, Daphane Park, James Singleton, Benjamin Heller, Dickie Landry, Francis Pavy, Natsuko Uchino, Robert Tannen, Emiliano Maggi, Adrinadrina, Larry Bell, Benson Trent, Tony Oursler, Caitlin Ezell Waugh, Generic Art Solutions, Joahn Orgon, John Oles, Camilla Huey, David Bradshaw, Kurt Thometz, Peter Nadin and James Turrell (You may not know it yet, but you are invited).
A. History on the Eiffel Tower section in New Orleans - See NY Times article: katrinafilm.com/eiffel-tower-in-New-Orleans.pdf
B. Conscious Consumption Creation Act, or CCCA
C. Rudolf Steiner and Biodynamic Farming: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodynamic_agriculture
D. Nine All-Space Filling Polyhedrons have been discovered and we are very interested in what form the tenth platonic solid discovery will take: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyhedron
THE NEW YORK TIMES
NEW ORLEANS'S 'EIFFEL TOWER'
By FRANCES FRANK MARCUS,
December 10, 1986
John Onorio, who grew up in Brooklyn, will never forget his first look into the gigantic crate that held his dream of a New Orleans restaurant. The 11,000 pieces of metal inside, looking like a giant Erector set, were nothing less than a chunk of the Eiffel Tower -not actually the tower, but the restaurant that once perched there, 562 feet above Paris.
Being a realist as well as a dreamer, he wasn't surprised at the clutter within. His partner, Daniel Bonnot, blanched, however, and so did the contractor, James Landis, faced with the prospect of reading the French labels that identified each piece. The crate is now empty and the contents neatly reassembled. The new Restaurant de la Tour Eiffel will open its doors Friday with a charity benefit. Invitations went out last month on the wrappers of freshly baked loaves of French bread hand delivered to the guests, who will pay $125 each to attend.
The new restaurant is already a landmark on St. Charles Avenue at the edge of the historic Garden District. It has the look of a giant glass bird cage floating above the avenue. Stephen Bingler, the project architect, has placed the restaurant 16 feet above the ground in a tall metal frame decorated with curves reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower. The restaurant's hegira began in 1981 when engineers noted that the tower, built for the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle, was sagging. They decided that the restaurant, which had been placed there in 1937, was too heavy and must be removed.
A French businessman, Georges Lancelin, acquired the Restaurant
de la Tour Eiffel in return for dismantling it. Mr. Lancelin announced
plans to rebuild the restaurant elsewhere in Paris, but municipal
officials forbade him to reopen it anywhere in France under the name
Mr. Lancelin traded the restaurant to Moreton Binn, owner of Atwood Richards Inc., a bartering company based in New York City, for construction equipment and marketing services. The restaurant, which had fed royalty and cafe society along with thousands of tourists, arrived at a New York warehouse in autumn 1982 to await a buyer.
The next spring, John Onorio, general manager for Century Hotels, a hotel and restaurant company, was in his New Orleans office when Mr. Bonnot, the company's food and beverage director, walked in with a morning cup of coffee and a question: ''How would you like to buy the Eiffel Tower?'' Mr. Bonnot had been approached by J. Fant Taylor, a New Orleans businessman who had an option to buy the restaurant and wanted Mr. Bonnot, who is 41 years old, and Mr. Onorio, 38, to be co-developers.
''Knowing that you can own a one-of-a-kind living piece of French history can be terribly intriguing,'' Mr. Onorio says. ''The intrigue translated into appeal, when I finished running some numbers that indicated we could do well.''
Private discussions that summer yielded one conclusion: the would-
be partners needed more money. Then Mr. Onorio received a
telephone call from a New Orleans businessman, McDonald
Stephens, who, to his surprise, announced, ''I'd like to talk to you
about this tower thing.''
Mr. Stevens eventually bought the option for $25,000. He talked to Mr. Binn in November 1983 and offered $525,000 for the restaurant. The deal was struck. Construction began in the spring of 1984. Then in July 1984 Mr. Stevens died. Construction stopped while Mr. Onorio and Mr. Bonnot sought new financing. The Stevens family lent them $900,000 to buy Mr. Stevens's assets in the restaurant and to sublease the lot. Meanwhile, Mr. Onorio and Mr. Bonnot raced to find other backers, who provided $720,000, and a bank to finance $1.7 million. Construction resumed in November 1985.
As Mr. Bingler, the architect, explained: ''We tried to put the old restaurant in a setting that would be sympathetic to the original, with the same kinds of shadows and same kind of play with light. We elevated it 16 feet off the ground so you have to walk up to it or take the elevator.''
Originally, Mr. Onorio said, the plan had been merely to ''reconstruct a ruin.'' But as the project evolved, it became an authentic old restaurant within the protective walls of a new one. This arrangement allowed them to double the seating from 125 to 250 - necessary to guarantee the restaurant's economic success.
The old restaurant, its metal walls stripped and repainted beige, is surrounded by a glass-walled terrace. The terrace, the more informal of the dining rooms, has decor that Mr. Onorio describes as ''quasi- decadent,'' suggestive of France in the 1930's. In the old dining room the furnishings have been custom-made to reflect the restaurant's former life as a grand Parisian cafe. The centerpiece is a copy of the old bar, topped by a metal and etched- glass awning, with a skylight above. The whole evokes the 19th- century entrance of a Paris Metro station. The kitchen, which once shared quarters with the bar in the restaurant's center, has been moved into a connecting building.
According to Mr. Bonnot, who is the executive chef, the menu he created is inspired more by the cuisine of the south of France than by the cuisine of Paris. Provencal cooking is appropriate for a New Orleans restaurant, he says, because both southern France and southern Louisiana are blessed with high-quality vegetables in abundance and with a variety of fish.
The dinner menu will offer a traditional coq au vin, which is not
generally available in New Orleans, for $8.50. Duck glazed with gin
and served with a light brown sauce, pearl onions, green olives and
juniper berries is $11.50. At $16, an eight-ounce grilled filet mignon
with green peppercorns is the most expensive entree. Lunch prices
will vary from $8 to $14, and dinner from $18 to $25.
Some of the dishes will be prepared on a charcoal broiler. ''I learned
cooking on these when I was an apprentice,'' Mr. Bonnot says. ''Now
they've come back.''
The restaurant has made a promising, if unofficial, start. The day after Thanksgiving the partners unlocked the front door and waited to see what would happen. There had been no advertising and the weather was miserably damp. They expected no more than 25 people. More than 90 arrived, and the following night 140 came. Mr. Onorio says, ''An awful lot of curiosity followed our project.''