Review of French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) presentation of Bastille Day on 60th Street and New York Premiere of Special Screening + Q&A Dalida, dir. Lisa Azuelos

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July 9, 2017
New York City, presented by French Institute Alliance Francaise

Review by Anne Akers; Founder/Editor in Chief, GLOW Beauty Health Wellness Magazine

New York is a city long acclaimed for its colorful street fairs: a reflection of its many cultures, its diversity, and the opportunity for all to come together in celebration. But perhaps none is more anticipated, and popular, than the annual Bastille Day, planned to coincide with the French holiday of the same name, feted each year on July 14th.

There are at the latest count about 60,000 French expatriates living in New York City. And, the bond between Paris and New York City, France and the United States, is one that is linked not only to food, wine, music, and fashion, but also to historic alliances that extend through the decades. Because of this, Bastille Day comes together each year with a special kind of sophistication and joy that can only be described as a “traitement special”. (special treat)

It all begins mid-day in a rather elite neighborhood of Manhattan, located between Madison and Park Avenue’s in the 60’s. In the center of it all is a large stage (which later would host Can Can Dancers, French baritones and opera singers) and along the sun drenched streets could be found rows of vendors, whose street food ranged from chocolate dipping stations to the finest French pasteries and a selection of handmade quiche. Indeed, on its own terms, it is fare comparable to that found in your favorite French restaurant, albeit at a more favorable price point and with no possible complaints about the wait staff!! My favorite was a delectable mushroom quiche from the Francois Payard Bakery. Francois Bayard, whose pasty kitchen holds a three-star Michelin rating, was the former chef of some of the world’s finest restaurants, including LeBernadin and Daniel, also in New York City.

Savoring my delicious quiche (yes, it is possible to digest while walking), I kept my eyes peeled for the street entertainment, which included a favorite roving Mime of the French Alliance, known for his tug-of-war, mask wearing, and spontaneous “guess-that-movie”. Also to be seen was the Citroen Car Show and the Hungry Marching Band,, whose original compositions were inspired by New Orleans street bands, European brass, Gypsy classics, wedding brass bands from India and the global community of New York. Indeed, break out your dancing shoes —because there was a party going on!!

From there, the options included ticketed tastings. A champagne and chocolate tasting included the creme-de-la-creme of French champagnes and fine European chocolates. Or, “A Summer in the South of France”, offered more “humble” fare of wine, bread, cheese, and charcuterie. I ask: can there be any finer fare than a crusty French baguette, a specialty cheese, and a slice of pate? Top that with a Rose from the Languedoc vintners and the day is complete! BTW, thanks to Les Trois Petit Cochon, one of the hosts of the day, one can also become a mustard connoisseur. Did you know, for example, that
when assessing a good mustard, one looks for the highest ratio of mustard seeds (i.e., it should be the first ingredient listed on the label) and a nasal-clearing heat that “kicks in gradually” and “builds”. And finally, a mustard that is “balanced, delivering just enough salt and tangy” and a “bright flavor to even out is spiciness”. Who knew?

To keep the French vibe going, the day concluded with a Grand Prize drawing which included a 3-day Luxury Escape to Paris for Two, a 4 Day Getaway to Martinique (all proceeds to benefit the not for profit French Institute Alliance Francais) and a Special Screening of Dalida at the FIAF’s Gould Hall. An Egyptian-born Italian singer, with French citizenship, Dalida became France’s reigning pop star from 1950’s to 1980’s. Upon her passing, she was memorialized by Charles Aznavour and will be remembered by most as one of France’s most endearing, complex, and tragic figures. The film brought to mind a quote from Alain de Botton: “The moment we cry in a film is not when things are sad but when they turn out to be more beautiful than we expected them to be”. This was the first time that a film was offered as the last activity of the day and it was a beautiful choice indeed.

Viva la France!!




French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF)



Bastille Day on 60th Street


A Three-Block Festival Celebrating the Best of France in New York


Sunday, July 9, 2017 • Noon to 5pm

East 60th Street, from Fifth to Lexington Avenues • Rain or Shine!




New York Premiere! Special Screening + Q&A

Dalida, dir. Lisa Azuelos


Sunday, July 9 • 5:30pm

FIAF • Florence Gould Hall; 55 East 59th Street, NYC



New York, New York, June 27, 2017The French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF), New York’s premiere French cultural center, is thrilled to announce the festivities planned for Bastille Day on 60th Street, New York’s biggest and liveliest French fête, on Sunday, July 9, from noon to 5pm.


This year’s edition features a stellar line-up of talent on the main stage, including acclaimed French baritone opera singer David Serero, Brooklyn rapper Napoleon Da Legend and Québecois slammer Webster, street and hip-hop dancing from It’s Showtime NYC!, a live DJ set from French DJ Ol, a Caribbean Zouk lesson with Martinique-born dancer-choreographer Franck Muhel, and the always irresistible can-can dancers! On the street, the merriment continues with the jubilant Hungry March Band, captivating French mime Catherine Gasta, and much more!


FIAF’s popular tastings return, with a sumptuous Champagne & Chocolate Tasting in the elegant Le Skyroom, and delectable wines, beer, cocktails, cheese, and much more at Summer in the South of France.  The celebration concludes with the New York premiere of Dalida, the hit film about the legendary French pop star, followed by a special Q&A with director Lisa Azuelos.


For over 20 years, Bastille Day on 60th Street has been New York’s largest public celebration of the friendship between France and the United States, with more than 40,000 visitors in 2016. FIAF’s popular annual street fair celebrates France’s Independence Day, commemorating the storming of the Bastille and the dawn of the modern French nation. Uniting French speakers, American Francophiles, and gourmands of all stripes, Bastille Day on 60th Street invites New Yorkers to revel in the flavors, sounds, and joie de vivre of France!

Abounding with French cuisine, musique, dance, and myriad attractions for the whole family, Bastille Day on 60th Street will transform East 60th Street between Fifth and Lexington Avenue into a fête populaire. For five hours, the street will be closed to traffic and dedicated to Franco-American celebrations.


Event Highlights:


Free Performances!


  • New! A Caribbean Zouk lesson with Franck Muhel; Libres Ensemble, a slam and rap performance featuring Brooklyn rapper Napoleon Da Legend and Québecois slammer Webster; street and hip-hop dancing from It’s Showtime NYC; a live DJ set from DJ Ol; French chansons, variety, and hits from French pop legend Dalida by renowned French baritone David Serero.


  • Back by popular demand, admire the charm of traditional Parisian can-can dancing! And put on your dancing shoes for the Hungry March Band! Their original compositions are inspired by New Orleans street bands, European brass traditions, Gypsy/Roma classics, jazz, wedding brass bands from India, and the global community of New York.


New York Premiere!


  • Special Screening + Q&A



FIAF, Florence Gould Hall

55 East 59th Street (between Madison & Park)

Liza Azuelos, 2016. 124 min. Color. DCP

Starring Sveva Alviti, Riccardo Scamarcio, Jean-Paul Rouve, Nicolas Duvauchelle

In French with English Subtiles


From her birth in Cairo in 1933 to her first concert at the Olympia in Paris in 1956; from her marriage to Lucien Morisse, director of the newly emerging Europe 1 radio to the height of the disco scene; from her journey of discovery to India to the international success of Gigi L’Amoroso in 1974, Dalida the film, is a touching and tragic portrait of an emotionally complex woman who was born to be a star. An unconventional modern woman living through conventional times. Despite her tragic death in 1987 Dalida’s extraordinary presence and talent continue to live on.


“Spellbinding and deeply moving” – Le Parisien


Admission: $8 FIAF Members and students with valid ID; $14 Non-Members




  • Champagne & Chocolate Tasting

12:30–2pm & 3–4:30pm

FIAF, Le Skyroom

22 East 60th Street, 8th Floor (between Madison & Park)


Celebrate Bastille Day in style with exceptional champagnes, fine chocolates, and mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres at a sparkling party in FIAF’s Skyroom!


Taste France’s most prestigious champagnes at tasting tables presented by Drappier, Pol Roger, Bollinger, Ayala, Brimoncourt, and La Caravelle. Indulge in fine European chocolates from La Maison du Chocolat, Chocolat Moderne, Voilà Chocolat, MarieBelle, and other chocolatiers. Savor hors d’oeuvres from Maman Bakery.


While you sip delicious champagne, the enchanting Avalon Jazz Band will perform French Hot Jazz inspired by the Parisian jazz scene of the 1930s and 40s, as well as songs made popular by Yves Montand, Jean Sablon, and Charles Trenet, among others.


Admission: $65 for FIAF Members; $75 for Non-Members


Tickets available for purchase online at


Advance tickets available online till 11:59pm on July 8 while seats are available.

Day-of tickets will be available at the main FIAF Info Booth outside 22 East 60th Street.

All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.


Must be 21 or older to attend.


  • Summer in the South of France Tasting


FIAF, Tinker Auditorium

22 East 60 Street (between Madison & Park)


Get a taste of the South of France right here in NYC at a fun and festive tasting during FIAF’s Bastille Day celebration!


Taste delicious French wines from Sud de France, French beers from Kronenbourg, a summer cocktail from Ricard, all paired with a selection of Président cheeses, Les Trois Petits Cochons charcuterie, and Pain d’Avignon baguettes.

Plus, win a chic swimsuit at a complimentary prize drawing offered by Vilebrequin, and discover the secrets of great summer skin-care from Le Petit Marseillais.

Admission: $25; Tasting ticket includes a taste of 3 wines, 1 beer, 1 cocktail, plus cheese, charcuterie, and bread.


Tickets available for purchase online at


Advance tickets available online till 11:59pm on July 8.

Day-of tickets will be available at the FIAF Info Booths located at the corner of 5th Avenue at 60th Street / in front of FIAF on 60th Street, between Madison & Park Avenues / and corner of Lexington Avenue on 60th Street.

All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges.


Must be 21 or older to attend.


New! Marché Français


  • Pop-up boutiques with France’s hottest fashion and beauty brands French Wink and Le Petit Marseillais.


The Best of French Cuisine!


  • New York’s greatest French culinary establishments offer up a feast of delicacies à la française! Top-rated restaurants and bakeries include Dominique Ansel Bakery, François Payard Bakery, Épicerie Boulud, Financier Pâtisserie, Millefeuille Bakery Café, Macaron Café, and Mad Mac, among others.


Family Fun!


  • Street Entertainment! Including French mime Catherine Gasta and a Vintage Citroën car show on 5th Avenue!


  • Kids’ Corner & FIAF “Pop-Up” Library!

Kids can enjoy French-inspired games and arts-and-crafts, all organized by FIAF’s Language Center. FIAF’s “Pop-Up” Library offers French books and story time.


Fabulous Prize Drawing!


  • Win dream vacations to Paris and La Martinique, plus gourmet gift baskets, dinners at exclusive NYC French restaurants, and other fabulous prizes!


Tickets for sale online at, and at the Information & Ticket Sales Booths on day of event.


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About Franck Muhel

Born in Martinique, Franck Muhel is a dance performer, teacher and choreographer renowned for his dynamic creative energy that inspires and electrifies audiences all over the world. Teaching dance for more than 20 years Franck specializes in Latin, Afro, Salsa/Mambo and traditional Caribbean folkloric dance. As principal dancer with Eddie Torres, the Mambo King, and featured soloist, Franck has performed with internationally acclaimed orchestras: Mitch Frohman Latin Jazz Quartet, The Mambo Legends, Frankie Morales Orchestra, Jimmy Delgado Orchestra, Jimmy Bosch Orchestra, Orlando Marin Orchestra, Roberto Rodriguez Band, Eddie Montalvo Band, Frankie Vasquez & Los Soneros Del Barrio, Bobby Sanabria and many others. He performs at Summerstage and Salsa in the Park New York City.


In 2005, Franck created the Franck Muhel Dance Company specializing in Afro Caribbean dance. He currently teaches Afro Caribbean dance at the prestigious Ballet des Ameriques School and Dance Company. Franck also gives open group classes at several venues in New York City. Founder of www.LifeIsNow.NYC.


About It’s Showtime NYC!

It’s Showtime NYC (IST) celebrates New York City street culture and provides performance and professional development opportunities to street and subway dancers as a legal alternative to dancing in subway cars.


About Libres Ensemble

Napoleon Da Legend, born in Paris and based in New York (Brooklyn, USA) and Webster, born and based in Limoilou (Québec, Canada) with Senegalese origins, will gather their voices and offer a unique performance in English and French.


About David Serero

French baritone and actor, David Serero, has received international recognition and critical acclaim from all over the world. He has already performed more than 1,000 concerts and performances throughout the world and played in over 100 Films, TV series and recorded 20 albums. He has been awarded by the Who’s Who America for outstanding achievements in the entertainment world. His new album BARITONE OPERA ARIAS has just been released. Next season he’ll star as the title role of Don Giovanni and Cyrano (Cyrano of Bergerac) in New York. Please visit:


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Lead sponsorship for Bastille Day on 60th Street is provided by Air France and Delta Air Lines, the official airlines of FIAF.


Our French Wines will be provided by Sud de France.


Bastille Day on 60th Street is made possible with the generous support of our Key Sponsors Financier Patisserie, Le Petit Marseillais, Nissan, La Martinique, and Perrier.


Additional support provided by our Supporting Sponsors Axa; Président Specialty Cheeses; St Michel; and Vilebrequin.


Special thanks to our media partners France-Amérique and French Morning.


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About FIAF

FIAF’s mission is to create and offer New Yorkers innovative and unique programs in education and the arts that explore the evolving diversity and richness of French cultures. FIAF seeks to generate new ideas and promote cross-cultural dialogue through partnerships and new platforms of expression.


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What Bastille Day on 60th Street
When: Sunday, July 9, 2017 from 12–5pm
Where: East 60th Street, from Fifth to Lexington Avenue
Admission: Free and open to the public
Information: | 212 355 6100 (FIAF)
Transportation: Subway – 4, 5, 6 to 59th Street; N, R and Q to 5th Avenue; E to 53rd Street & 5th Ave.

Bus – M1, M2, M3, M4, Q31 to 59th Street; M5 to 58th Street.


Twitter: @FIAFNY
Instagram: @FIAFNY
Facebook: FIAF / French Institute Alliance Française
Hashtag: #FIAFBastille




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