SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

January 16, 2014

At the PEM tonight, party like a Parisian

It will be Paris in Salem tonight, when Peabody Essex Museum brings the culture and cuisine of the Left Bank to the North Shore.

With paintings by Renoir, Monet and Caillebotte gracing its walls in the exhibit “Impressionists on the Water,” the museum is throwing a party that features everything French.

Visitors can listen to Marine Futin, who lives in Brooklyn but sings in French in the unique style created by artists like Jacques Brel.

“We chose her because of the musical tradition inspired by the Impressionists and cafe culture — singing and music was a big part of that,” said Michelle Moon, assistant director for adult programs. “It’s very sentimental, romantic music that’s languorous and beautiful and creates a relaxing vibe.”

While everyone is relaxing, they may want to sip some absinthe or sample food being prepared in the style of a brasserie.

“A brasserie is a little more elegant than a bistro,” Moon said. “It’s an everyday restaurant with good, hearty comfort food in the French style.”

The menu will include onion soup, mini-nicoise salads and cheese puffs called gougeres, all prepared by Chef Rhiannon Nowak of Hawthorne Hotel.

“She has training in brasserie-style cooking,” Moon said.

The party is called “La Vie Boheme,” and it wouldn’t be bohemian without intellectual conversation, which will be provided by New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik.

Gopnik analyzes French life in his books “Paris to the Moon” and “The Table Comes First: Family, France and the Meaning of Food,” and he will give a reading and answer questions in East India Marine Hall.

His appearance is part of the Tannery Lecture Series, a Newburyport-based arts initiative that started in 2009 and has brought writers to several events at Peabody Essex Museum.

“We call it ‘the word on the page meets the art on the wall,’” said Dawne Shand, who co-founded the series with Kirun Kapur.

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