Sep 10

Jean Marie Bellemain, Philosopher, actor, writer, film maker

Jean Marie Bellemain, in Paris. ©Tony Gale

Jean Marie Bellemain, in Paris. ©Tony Gale

Jean-Marie Bellemain

Jean Marie is someone that you would hope to meet if you went to Paris, someone that is such a Parisian character that he seems to have popped right out of a script, Philosopher, actor, writer and passionate about making films, a hopeless romantic character and a big fan of French gastronomy of course.

Nominated and described by Rudy Le Coadic

Jul 10

Elisabetta Potasso, puppeteer

Elisabetta Potasso, photographed in Paris. ©Tony Gale

Elisabetta Potasso, photographed in Paris. ©Tony Gale

Elisabetta Potasso

My very good friend Elisabetta Potasso is a puppeteer. She creates her own puppets, has performances for kids and adults, leads workshops all around the world-but best of all she is a fantastic person. Oh-one detail I forgot to mention: Elisabetta is Italian and speaks english with an Indian accent.

Nominated and described by Sabine Scheckel

Jun 10

Al Vareau, Bon Vivant

Al Vareau in Paris. © Tony Gale

Al Vareau in Paris. © Tony Gale

Al Vareau

Bon Vivant is the term that come to my mind to describe Al Alda and here are a few reasons why.

Al is a connoisseur of fine food and drink.  One year for his birthday, he asked his friends to take him out for a fine meal in the best restaurant in Paris instead of getting him gifts.  His knowledge and appreciation of fine food and drink is unparalleled.

Speaking of Paris, Brooklyn Boy Al has been living his childhood dream of living in the City of Light for the past 13 years.  He has even managed to secure a 10 year residency card, which is no easy feat and the French love him.

Language is Al’s passion and he is trilingual, fluent in English, Spanish and French and is now learning Arabic.   He opened up the Franco American School of Language when he was 27, specializing in teaching English to business people and companies.  Some of his clients are John Galliano and TOTAL.  John Galliano was so impressed with the quality of his language instruction that he hired the Franco American School of Language to teach Arabic to the sales staff in Galliano’s boutiques, allowing him to expand his staff and to bring on new teachers.

Al is charming and you can’t help but like him. He has friends from all walks of life, from TV celebrities, to bohemians, to yuppies and students.  Al once wrote a letter to Sharon Stone asking her to make an appearance at an event in Paris he helped coordinate and the letter was so persuasive that she came.

Al also has an incredible knowledge of movie stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age.  He and I once drove around the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Queens to find Mae West’s grave so he could pay his respects to her.

Al is a man of the world – he has set foot on 5 continents.  He has been to nearly every country in Western Europe, Africa, North America, South America, and his most recent trip has taken him to Asia, specifically Sri Lanka.  He also has the type of looks where he can pass as European, South American, Arab, Iranian, Tahitian or Turkish.

Al is a sweet, caring and dynamic man and I am proud to call him my friend.

Nominated and described by Michelle Kawka

May 10

Elodie Belmar, actress

Elodie Belmar, in front of Serge Gainsbourg's home. © Tony Gale

Elodie Belmar, in front of Serge Gainsbourg's home. © Tony Gale

Elodie Belmar

Lewis Carroll is a fucking genius.

Just ask Elodie Belmar. For the past two years she’s been Alice in an original production of Alice au Pays des Merveilles (Alice in Wonderland) with the French theater company “La Petite Fabrique.” Of the experience Elodie says the best part was learning to be present every second of every performance and striving to create something new each time – instead of doing the same thing over and over, ‘like a sad robot.”

In addition to being a working actor, she recently completed her professional certification in shiatsu massage. Both theatre and her work as a massage therapist help her stay connected to the present moment and the people around her. “Shiatsu and theatre [are] very linked for me. Listening, concentration, connection with the other…always beginning a show or a massage without knowing what’s going to happen, and [discovering] little by little – It’s a bit scary, but always [results] in…good surprises!”

That’s basically Elodie’s philosophy on life – start every moment with the knowledge that anything is possible.

That’s why she travels. She’s been all over the world. Mexico, Morrocco, India, Hungary, Cabo Verde (to name a few). “There’s no better feeling than [being] lost somewhere and taking the time to discover a place, the air, the time – and the people.”

Of course, she’s a master at finding beauty in the everyday, whether it’s in Paris or…Dublin…or New York. A look, a smile, a good movie, anything. That’s why she’s equally happy cooking at home as she is traveling, acting and skydiving – which she’s tried, and she says she’d like to do once a month if possible.

No, Elodie Belmar is definitely not a sad robot.

Nominated and described by Nicole Cordier