Fake Spring Surprises Paris Again

Buffet-cafe on parvis
When skateboarding at Trocadéro burns up calories; get them back here.

One Hand Claps; the Other Taps

by Ric Erickson

Paris:- Monday, 23. February 1998:- If I were a well-organized and wise person, I would not be writing this on Monday morning.

If I smoked a pipe, I would thoughtfully fill it with fine tobacco hand-picked in Brazil and place a goblet of very-old champagne cognac at my elbow, and on a quiet and peaceful evening, I would gather my thoughts carefully together after having organized them over several days, and I would slowly but steadily enter them into the maw of this consumer electronics machine grinding away right in front of my nose.

But I do not smoke a pipe and I do not drink cognac - fine or otherwise - and although the evening was peaceful, five in the morning on Monday is too. What passes for thoughts in my head are not organized and musicians at La Defense what I am entering into the grinding maw in front of me, I am doing it jerkily - and really slowly - partly because I have been doing it since noon yesterday, but also because I don't speed-type.

Aha! you say. No wonder it is five in the morning, if he types so slowly - he must have frittered away the week!

Cool jazz at near-warm La Défense last week.

I like that - 'frittered' - are there any language persons out there who can tell me about 'frittered?' As for what I did during the week, you can read about in this week's issue - unless my right hand gives out and I try and use the left. Then Metropole will become bi-weekly, at best.

Well then, what shall I say? There are a number of dubious things going on in the world, but you know about these already if you see, read or hear snappier forms of information than this plodding weekly screed.

If you generally skip this feature of mine and read all the other parts, than you will already know that 'fake' spring was around again in Paris last week. If you read this feature first, then you will hear about it here, before you get to read it elsewhere ad nauseam.

That's it. That's this week's column. Paris had 'fake' spring again last week. Hooray. I clap with my left hand, lest I wear my right one out.

Can you hear it?

From Friday's The Toqueville Connection:

Dominique Moisi, in an interview last Thursday with The Tocqueville Connection, says in the latest issue, "There's a feeling here, that American weapons are smarter than they were in 1991, but American strategy is not." Well-known foreign policy commentator Dominique Moisi, is an Associate Director of the Institut Français des Relations Internationales, or IFRI. For the complete interview, see 'Last Gasp for Diplomacy in Iraq.'

In the same issue, also see 'Windsor Marriage Revisited.' This is about a little château in France where the marriage took place in 1937. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were in the news again in the run-up to Sotheby's Thursday, 19 February auction of their belongings which was dubbed the "Royal Sale of the Century." Mohamed al Fayed, the father of the late Dodi al Fayed, bought the Windsor's villa near the Bois de Boulogne in 1986 and the objects for the sale came from this house.

Update:- Friday: A report in the International Herald Tribune - Paris' own 'worldwide' newspaper - said the first evening of the nine-day auction was a roaring success, with buyers going sky-high over the estimated prices. Sales for the evening totalled 1.9 million dollars, including $29,900 paid for a piece of the wedding cake. The buyer said he didn't intend to eat the cake and Sotheby's thought it may have been a record price for such an item.

Next Sunday: International Salon de l'Agriculture

This is the salon to go to see a lot of what you eat while it is still alive. Once you've seen some of the cows and other animals you may decide to be a vegetarian, or you may want to adopt a cute cow. It is a very big annual salon and it features all sorts of regional specialties to eat and drink, and Parisians flock to it by the hundreds of thousands. Other activities, sometimes related to the outdoors, are on display.

At Paris-Expo, Porte de Versailles
Starting Sunday, 1. March and continuing until Sunday, 8. March. From 9:00 to 19:00 daily. Métro: Porte de Versailles. Info. Tel.: 01 49 09 60 00.

15th Banlieues Bleues Continues

Normally this would translate as 'Blues in the 'Burbs' but in this case it is the name of a long-running annual jazz festival which runs through to Thursday, 9. April. There are 36 evening performances billed, featuring 53 bands, with 19 new creations. The info card I have for it says the festival will be playing in 16 different towns in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, so for this one, you should call the Info. Tel.: at 01 42 43 56 66 to get the full details.

Le Retour - Musée Khombôl

I have received a interesting-looking invitation to the opening of a new exhibition - but I have had to hunt high Musee Khombol and low - by low, I mean down to the surface of one of my desks - to find out anything about it.

Here it is: Driss Sans-Arcidet is an artist who comes from near the village of Arques, where Ossip Zadkine had a second residence - where part of Zadkine's work now occupies a museum which is sort of an annex to the one in Paris.

Apparently, Sans-Arcidet, who was born in 1960, has 'followed Zadkine through WWII' and is the founder of the Museum Khombôl, which is only dedicated to 'Universal Conservation.' In the case of the exhibition in Paris, this seems to involve a collection of suitcases, bags, carry-alls, wicker-baskets, steamer trunks, old satchels; some sort of Noah's Ark full of stuff which may be luggage, which may evoke eroticism or deportation or you name it.

Musée Zadkine, 100 bis, rue d'Assas, Paris 6. Métro: Vavin or Notre-Dame-des-Champs
From Wednesday, 11. March until Sunday, 24. May. Open daily from 10:00 until 17:30; except Mondays

Coming Soon: 18th Salon du Livre

Everything French or foreign publishers want you to see is on view at this popular salon, including the latest multimedia products and a lot of other odds and ends, which include comics. Meet live authors, take part in literary discussions, or just talk about books. Guest country of honor this year is Brazil, and it is the first Latin American country to be invited.

This salon takes place from Friday, 20. March until Wednesday, 25. March. Monday, 23. March, is reserved for professionals. Location: at Paris-Expo - Porte de Versailles, in Hall One - all of it. Info. Tel.: 08 36 60 00 51 - warning: this is a toll number, costing twice as much as the Minitel. Organizer is Reed-OIP and their email address is livre@reed-oip.fr

Coming Sooner: 'Lulu'

I once used Wedekindplatz in Schwabing in Munich as sort of a living room for a period of about six or seven weeks, so I have had a feeling for Frank Wedekind for a long time; partly because Theatre Chaillot - 'Lulu' the open-air platzsittting was a long time ago.

From what I was told, old Frank was a Schwabing sort of type, and they seemed okay to me. Frank would put on a play nobody could understand and the bourgeoisie downtown would go berserk about it, and Frank would get arrested - which hardly ever happens to play writers these days.

If it is the same 'Lulu,' then nobody knew how it was to be played, and it is only within the last 20 years - or is it 15? - that it has been staged. If it is not this 'Lulu,' then I am thinking about some other 'Lulu,' and I'm sorry I mentioned it.

This version is directed by Hans Peter Cloos, and features Romane Bohringer, Brigitte Catillon and Rediep Mitrovitsa.

'Lulu' by Frank Wedekind; at the Théâtre National de Chaillot
1. place du Trocadéro, Paris 16. Info. Tel.: 01 53 65 30 00. Métro: line six or nine.
On from Thursday, 12. March until Thursday, 30. April. Performances at 20:30 and 15:00 on Sundays; closed Mondays.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago:

Issue 2.08 - 24. February 1997 featured the columns - Café Metropole - 'Rare Piece of Fiction Marks 53rd Issue' andcount-down eiffel 'Au Bistro' had - 'Sports, Porno, Short, Tall, Organ and Flop Stories.' The articles in the issue were 'Personal Opinion: France Is In Neutral - Between Past and Future' - ''Grands Boulevards' to Get Overdue Face-Lift' and 'Springtime on the Champs-Elysées - Date: 23. March 1995.' There were two 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's Cartoon of the Week was One Bougie for Metropole.'

The Tour Eiffel Countdown to 31. December 1999:

Only 677 days left to go.

Regards, Ric
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contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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