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Villa Florentine Artists' House & the Garden Variety Poetry Series
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The Derrière Garde at Le Petit Versailles 2006

"L'esprit d'escalier": Saturday, July 15, 2006
The Derrière Garde celebrates Bastille Day

Like most people of the French persuasion, and friends thereof, The Derrière Garde (who lived in France as a child and speaks fluent French) celebrates July 14 — Bastille Day. Who could not love a people who every year celebrate the time when the blood of the rich ran in the gutters? What could be more Dada? (As it happens, Hugo Ball and his Zurich colleagues chose July 14, 1916 as the date for the first dada soirée and reading of the "Dada Manifesto.")
This year, on July 15 (close enough for Dada), Day de Dada, as part of its celebration of the 90th birthday of Dada, created another birthday party. This one took place at at Le Petit Versailles in Manhattan's East Village, a GreenThumb public garden located at 247 E. 2nd St./ 346 E. Houston St. (bet. avenues B & C), created in 1997 by Allied Productions and other neighborhood members. TDG performed a new piece, "L'esprit d'escalier/Spirit of the Staircase," before and after which he handed out his business card and issued his usual warnings. "L'esprit d'escalier" (see photo above) consists of a brand-new set of never-before-heard insults written in English and then machine-translated into French via AltaVista Babelfish.

Official portrait of The Derrière Garde
by Tom Warren.
With a few small adjustments, this translation serves admirably. If you would like to read these first-rate 21st-century examples of vituperative in either language (or both), click here. Full permission for their inclusion in your repertoire is hereby granted.

One benefit for the performers on this occasion was having Tom Warren make formal portraits of them there in the garden. The Derrière Garde considers this fine image (above) the first official portrait of TDG. With thanks to Tom Warren, we make it available here in the small size you see on this page and also in a honkin' big file that enables you to print it out suitable for framing. So if you want to put TDG's picture up on your wall, providing the reassurance of having a simulacrum of him watching your ass full-time, just click on the image above and save the file to your desktop.

Photograph top left © copyright 2006 by Mary Campbell. All rights reserved. Photograph bottom right © copyright 2006 by Tom Warren. All rights reserved.

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© Copyright 2006 by A. D. Coleman. All rights reserved.