Day 1 at Cannes. Deboning sea bass and avoiding the rain.

June 21, 2009

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Sunday night and my first night back at Cannes. Maybe Mr. Lazare was right (see previous post): I do like being where the action is! In any event it rained this evening. My small group zipped from awning to awning along the famed Croisette, heading toward our dinner spot along what I like to call the “crooked road.” That is not the road’s real name, of course, but this is what I’ve been calling it since I first saw it, nearly a decade ago. The crooked road meanders up into old Cannes and is as quaint and charming as one could imagine, with smoothed-over cobblestones flanked by centuries-old buildings, each containing a marvelous cafe or restaurant.

We chose one randomly or, more the case, one was chosen for us. An aggressive but charming owner promised us a coveted outside table with awning. You can’t not sit off the road. The parade of people are as interesting as the food is good -save for the shirtless Brazilian drum team, who’s obnoxious act felt more at home at a street fair in Chicago.

We all had sea bass, which came grilled whole. One of my dinner companions was grossed out by this fact but his hunger overpowered any cowardice over taking apart the sea creature. (Small and trout-like, these were not the same sea bass as we know them in the States.)

Time out! I just reread the above paragraphs and they sounded like notes from a novice travel writer. I’m sorry; it must be the location and circumstances. I beg your pardon. But it’s hard to stay fixated on advertising when you’re in the south of France!

Being Sunday, there is not much business to discuss. I did see a few adveratti, however. My two favorite sightings were David Lubars running up the crooked road in a downpour and the ubiquitous Bob Greenberg holding court at the Palais. David (BBDO) is chairing the films jury and Bob (RGA) is chairing… whatever he damn well pleases. Seriously, his shop, RGA is one of the most successful digital shops in the world. That he has become a poster child for this festival seems only fitting.

When I first started coming to Cannes, the old ad guard were still clinging to prominence, brandishing TV as the penultimate expression of our craft. Guys Like Joe Pytka ruled the roost. Now Greenberg and Bogusky comprise the A-list. And while a Lion for film is coveted, the integrated Lion is what everyone is talking about.

Off to bed I’m afraid… the jet-lag is beginning to make my hands shake! #canneslions

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