Nice (& Monaco) Open Mic Adventure Consolidated:
A micro trailer from the film: From the Nice-Monaco segment of “Out of a Jam.”
A song from the album:
The Thumbnail Guide: Thumbnail Guide to Nice (& Monaco) Open Mics, Jam Sessions and other Live Music
A link to a favorite blog item from the past: PLAYING IN THE JAZZ JAM AT THE SHAPKO BAR IN NICE, AND RUNNING OUT OF BATTERIES, BUT NOT STEAM
A favorite video: I meet up with some busker friends in Nice, and one plays my guitar as we have a little impromptu jam on their break:
An excerpt from the Book: from the Nice (& Monaco) chapter of OUT OF A JAM: An Around-the-World Journey of Healing and Rebirth Through Music:
The Monaco Grand Prix is the highlight of the Formula One season. If there is one race that anyone in the world who has heard of Grand Prix racing knows it is the one through the streets of the rich and glamorous principality on the French Riviera. It was also my favorite race, because I loved the Côte d’Azur, I loved the ocean, I loved the food, I loved the weather, I loved the history of the area: The literary history, the racing history, the history of the film stars from the Cannes Film Festival that always took place at the same time as the race. And I loved the beautiful city-state of Monaco, which rose up the cliff above a yacht-filled harbor.
But this year, I was going to the principality with a completely different set of expectations and needs. And it would turn out to be a completely different kind of experience from those of my previous visits to the Côte d’Azur, and one that held surprises for me and taught me something new about the Riviera, changing my perception of a place where I had been going annually for more than a decade.
I would not stay in Monaco, which was too expensive, but in a fabulous hotel called the Panoramic, in St. Jean Cap Ferrat, with a view of the ocean and coastline in every room. I had stayed there for nearly a decade. It was located just 20 minutes by rail up the coast from Monaco, so I had no need of a car to commute.
Like Monaco, St. Jean Cap Ferrat is also a playground of the rich, and it has been home to many cultural icons. The Rolling Stones recorded their album “Exile on Main Street” in the early 70s holed up in one of the mansions at the end of the Presque-Ile of St. Jean Cap Ferrat, facing Villefranche. And along the 30-minute walk on a seaside path to the train station in the neighboring Beaulieu-sur-Mer, is the home once owned by David Niven, the dashing British actor. It was recently renovated, painted pink, and has a large hidden garden behind high walls. Paul Allen, a director of Microsoft, also owned a home in the town. Somerset Maugham, whom I read as a teenager, had lived much of his life on St. Jean Cap Ferrat, and it was with him that I most often associated the town.
At first, I was not too stressed about the prospect of not finding a place to play in the south of France, since I already had more than enough experience in Paris. I had “covered” France. But although it was attached to France, the race venue was Monaco, a city-state, and the very definition of glamour. Which, of course, the open mic and jam session were not.
Still, after a couple of weeks fishing the Internet, googling “open mics” and “Nice” and “Marseille” and “Cote d’Azur” and “Monaco,” and not finding anywhere to play – I did not expect anything in St. Jean Cap Ferrat – I began to get restless….