Where Ideas Come From?

La Palette - Bar Central
The bar that might be the most 'Bar Central' in Paris.

If I Drank, I'd Find Them In the Bar Central

by Ric Erickson

Issue 2.23:- Metropole Paris - Monday, 9. June 1997:- It is not always on Mondays that I plan the contents of the next issue of Metropole. This is a fly-by-the-pants-seat operation and I seldom make any contents plans on Tuesday.

I have a pile of interesting clippings on the floor which is slowly getting bigger, and if I get stuck for an idea I can just pick one up and make it into a feature. I haven't actually done this yet but I hope I will sometime before I get fed up with the clutter and throw the whole lot out; and then wish I hadn't the next day.

Readers of this magazine are sending in a regular stream of ideas for articles, even if they don't always realize what they are doing. It might be a simple question - about a hole in the ground they saw in Paris one time - and that will get me going and my newspaper scrap pile gets a little bigger.

Last Wednesday I went to the Middle Ages Museum and Roman Baths of Cluny to answer one of these questions, and I found the place so fascinating I forgot to pose the question.

Someday when I get a day off, I will go back there to give the museum a really good look over and I'll probably forget to ask the question again; but it'll be okay because it will be my day off.

About the longest I plan ahead is 90 minutes and I do this sometimes Wine bar on Tuesday's or Wednesdays. Planning ahead means trying to talk to people on the telephone. Talking to robots on the telephone is easy; getting real people is hard, so I avoid doing it if I can.

This might be somebody's 'Bar Central' too. This is a wine bar, in the Quartier Latin.

I think it works the other way too because sometimes when I actually make a connection, the live person at the other end of the wire knows the answer to my question or can get me what I want within the time I need it.

With the sample photos from the Bibliothèque Nationale I lucked out. I received a written list of photos to choose from and instead of asking for all of them, I only asked for two. What I forgot to read was that these are contemporary photographs; which are to photography about what modern art is to art.

The photo below, beside the plug for the BN's show, was done by Serge Clément in 1992, and is shown here courtesy of the BnF, which is their shorthand for themselves. I did the scan of the photo, which didn't improve it at all. If you like modern art, I'm sure you'll find some interesting photos at their show.

On Fridays, if I haven't got any ideas, I just go downtown to Paris. I always get ideas there. Some of them turn up here. If I stop now, I'll just make this week's deadline.

A Little Bit About WICE

Now that I'm getting around to writing something about WICE, it occurs to me that I have no idea what its name is supposedWICE catalogue to mean. It is a non-profit educational and cultural association in Paris. It offers its programs to both members and non-members, and it is because of the latter that I've wanted to mention it for some time.

I've been getting their regular catalogue for some time now and I couldn't figure out how to make use of it. In the meantime, this problem has been solved as WICE has just put up its own Web site.

WICE has a lot of activities in its program which could be of interest to visitors - if visitors could find out what they are and if they could reserve places, and now anybody can do both.

For example, if you have been thinking of taking in the Fernand Léger Retrospective now on exhibit at Beaubourg, WICE's instructor Chris Boicos is leading a group to see it next Wednesday from 19:00 to 21:00. For non-members, the charge is 110 francs plus the entry fee to the museum.

My catalogue is almost out of date, so that is why you should check out WICE's Web site to see if they have anything planned that may interest you.

Photographie au Présent

The photographic collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale was enriched by the acquisition of 7,000 newBN photo photographs in 1996. From these, 120 original prints by 38 artists have been selected for display by the BN at their Galerie d'Exposition at the Tolbiac branch. This show runs from Tuesday until 31. August.

Photo by Serge Clément, courtesy of the BnF.

The BN's total collection of contemporary photographs numbers some 100,000 works of every sort imaginable, and some unimaginable. The acquisitions are made by way of donations, or through the 'depôt légal system, or by the generosity of the photographers.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Galerie d'Exposition de Tolbiac
Quai François Mauriac, Paris 13. Métro: Quai de la Gare, and bus number 62 or 89. Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 to 19:00: on Sundays from 12:00 to 18:00. Closed Mondays and public holidays.

Coming Events:

The 'art' event of this season is the show at Beaubourg and there have been a number of articles about it in the press sufficiently contradictory to incite me to go. Therefore I again repeat last week's 'Coming Event,' which is on now:

Fernand Léger - Exposition Rétrospective

Homage to the rich and lively personality of an artist, who took part in the major changes of his time; whose bold pictorial vision was of modernity itself - illustrated by 200 works, both paintings and designs.

Centre Georges Pompidou
Plateau Beaubourg, Paris 4. Info Tel.: 01 44 78 12 33. Until Monday, 29. September. Open from noon to 22:00 weekdays, from 10:00 to 22:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. Always closed on Tuesdays.

Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 1.16 - 10. June 1996 featured the columns - Metropole 'Diary' - French Movies - No Popcorn; and 'Au Bistro' - Mini-Heatwave, Rocket Flop, No Strike and Bats. Articles in the issue were: A Warm Stroll in the rue du Faubourg Montmartre - Lost and Found, Rues and Boulevards. There was also a film review of 'A Very Discreet Hero,' and a CD-ROM review of the genial "Art Puzzle." Plus the week's Paris Posters and Ric's Cartoon of the Week.

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 2000:

Only 936 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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