Flirting with French featuring the award-winning author, William Alexander, was a rousing success. The event was held on Monday, October 23rd in the Grand Reading Room at 4 PM. The program began with Dr. Yoken greeting the audience, filled to capacity, in both French and English. Dr. Yoken proceeded by introducing the newest member of the Boivin Center's Board of Directors, Norm Desmarais. Prof. Desmarais is a professor emeritus at Providence College who voiced his appreciation for being bestowed such a great honor. Prof. Desmarais is currently devoting his life to research of French participation in the American Revolution and is investigating secret aid given by the French government to the colonies prior to the outbreak of the war.
Dr. Yoken, then introduced the newest lifetime honorary board member, Gerald Messier, as well as the present Board of Directors of the Center.
After a brief introduction, Mr. Alexander began his talk by explaining how he came to write his book, Flirting with French. He announced that he would underwhelm us with his lack of fluency in French despite all his best efforts. He went on to explain that he shouldn't have been surprised with his lack of success in learning French based on his failed attempts to become a planter as described in his book, The $64 Tomato. He, then, commented on his hilarious attempt to become a successful breadmaker by going to what he thought was the perfect location to learn an authentic French bread recipe in a monastery in France. The ironic twist was that the last monk who made bread had just left and the monks who remained, hoped that he would become their breadmaker. His many misadventures entertained the audience which could be heard breaking out in rioutous laughter from time to time.
One aspect of his book that he shared with us has taken on a life of its own. It is his flow chart explaining when to use "vous" or "tu." The flow chart that he has published in other op-ed pieces was pure genius as well as humourous. He has recently found it going viral on YouTube without his getting credit for his creation.
A lively Q&A followed the talk as well as a book signing. The guests were treated to an elaborate reception featuring French pastries, cheese, and coffee service.
This was a most memorable autumn afternoon of French culture and camaraderie.
News of our next event will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
Illustrious individuals who have honored the Boivin Center with their presence
- 1986: Alice Parizeau, Lucie Therrien
- 1988: Jean-François Somain
- 1989: Roch Carrier, Roger Violette, Omer Boivin, Lois Pines
- 1991: Pierre Capretz, Dr.Gaëtan Brulotte
- 1992: Brian Thompson, Gérard Le Tendre, Jacques Borel
- 1993: Naïm Kattan
- 1994: Alice Dawn, Albert Coté, Maxime LeForestier, Serge Kerval, Richard Wilbur, Peter Sandler
- 1996: Dr. Madamou Soumaré, Normand Demers, Jacques Parizeau
- 1997: Frederick Wiseman, Annie Royer, Patrick Noe, Misha DeFonseca
- 1999: Nicole Brossard, Helene Dorion, Francine du Plessix Gray
- 2000: Julia Child
- 2001: Pierre de Boisdeffre, Stephane Chemlewsky, Frédéric Martel, Lisa Gossels
- 2002: Anne-Christine Rice, Le Grand Dérangement, Marie-Claire Blais, Senator Paul Simon
- 2003: Prof. William Carter, Marcel Marceau, Polly Platt, Maia Weschler
- 2004: Prof. John Rassias, Prof. Adam Braver, Véronique Mistycki, Timothy Mooney
- 2005: Prof. Emmanuel Dongala, David Plante, Lucie Therrien, Josée Vachon
- 2006: Prof. Patrick Henry, Richard Hétu
- 2007: Claudia Hommel, Bob Moreen, Jean-Claude Baker
- 2008: Sophie Freud, Frédérique Hébrard, Louis Velle
- 2009: Florence Delay, John De Mado
- 2010: David Slavitt, Ruth Hartz, Margo Moore
- 2011: Linda Urbach
- 2012: Joan Nathan, French Cajun Celebration
- 2013: Charles Rearick, Sophie Michaux and Artem Belogurov
- 2014: Kathleen Turner, Guila Clara Kessous, Dr. Jeremiah J. Lowney Jr., Dr. Laura Morelli, Eric Vincent
- 2015: Jacques Pépin, Sarah Lew Miller, Joyce Lazarus, Mo Willems, Kate Betts, Lucie Therrien and Josée Vachon
- 2016: Valéry Freland, François Furstenberg, Pierre Thiam, Annie Royer and Les Garçons Musettes
- 2017: Alan Hoffman and The Bourbonnais Regiment, Pauline Frommer, William Alexander