This Scene Is Full Up

photo: kanterbrau st lazare
If the museum doors are shut; plenty of others are open.

The Next Scene Is Not Far Behind

Paris:- Saturday, 12. December 1998:- This 'Scene' feature is getting a bit discouraging. I picked up an order form from the Culture Ministry forposter: saisons cultural 98 98 a guide to the 1998-99 cultural season. Its 700 pages list 12,000 events; throughout France, that is. For 60 francs, I guess it's certainly worth the money.

This is my discouraging calculation: if you managed to attend two events a day, it would take you not only all over France, but it would also take you 16 years to take them all in. And mind, this is only for the 'winter' season; presumably another volume will follow in the spring.

As it now is, most of Paris' major events are in the program that follows; and many dates run well into the new year. If my memory serves me correctly, the current events will run out of time around the end of January and then there will be a month or six-week pause while the spring and summer events are put into programs and places.

The 'Cultural' Strike News

As of this weekend workers at the Louvre have it closed down and part of the Grand Palais is shut too. I think I heard the Gustave Moreau exhibition at the Grand Palais is open though. Some workers at the Musée d'Orsay are on strike, but the museum is open. Their complaints are similar; too many of you are trying to see the exhibitions.

Part of this has to do with the general introduction of France's 35-hour working week. A combination of popular exhibitions and tardiness in hiring extra staff to fill the shorter working hours are causing discontent.

Of course the 'reason why' is small consolation to those who particularly wanted to see the exhibitions. TV-news has been broadcasting the comments of visitors who have spent a lot of money to come a long way to get to stare at closed doors - so what is happening is not going unnoticed.

23rd Paris International Marathon

The Marathon International de Paris - to be run on Sunday, 4. April 1999 - is nowposter: cabaret belle epoque taking inscriptions. When I checked the Web site last week, it said it was 'under construction.'

To register for the Marathon, I have only a fax number at this time: it is 33 -1 41 33 15 69. The name and address is Athletisme Organisation SA, BP 182, 92135 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France. If necessary, I will scan the registration form and email a copy to anyone who requests it.

Inscriptions made before 15. January 1999 cost 190 francs for residents and 250 francs or US$45 or 75 DM for visitors.

After the date above, from 18. January to 19. March, the rates rise to 250 francs for residents, and to 370 francs - US$75, 115 DM - for visitors. The rates for signing up after 19. March are quite a bit higher and entries are limited to 25,000. If you wait and the quota is full on the sign-up deadline, you'll be out of luck.

If this big-time stuff is not your beat, there is also a Semi-Marathon; which will be run in Paris on Sunday, 7. March 1999. Take your pick.

La Chine au Festival d'Automne

The festival always has had a theme of sorts. This year's is focused on eight centuries of Chinese Opera. These are in turn focused at the Grand Halle de la Villette, the Théâtre Paris-Villette, the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, the Opéra National de Paris, and by the MC93 at Bobigny - which is mentioned below. The Festival d'Automne also has a European cultural half, which includes contemporary music, theatre and dance.

Tropiques Métis - It is difficult to tell whether France belongs to its former colonies or the other way around; for they are very much present in everyday life. Guadeloupe, Guyane, Martinique and Réunion export not only people to France, but music, art, folklore, lifestyle and food too.

There are also a series of concerts, held in the auditorium of the museum, including a 'Chanté Noël' on Tuesday, 23. December, from 14:00 to 16:00, and this will be followed by a film, 'Les Avants de Noël.' There is a program of plays and Carnaval workshops for the young, on Wednesdays in January and March.

Toss in a bit - 400 years - of history, and you can find it all in one place until 12. April, at the Musée des Arts et Traditions Populaires. 6. avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Paris 6. This is inside the Jardin d'Acclimatation. Métro: Sablons, in Neuilly, plus a seven-minute walk. Open daily except Tuesday, from 9:30 to 17:15. Info. Tel.: 01 44 17 60 00.

Crime et Châtiment - by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, is presented by L'Equipe de Création Théâtrale of Grenoble, and is directed by Chantel Morel. At the Théâtre de la Tempête, in the Cartoucherie on the route du Champ de Manoeuvre, Paris 12. On until Sunday 20. December, at 19:30 and on Sundays at 16:00. No shows on Mondays and Tuesdays. Info. Tel.: 01 43 28 36 36.

Glaz'Art Goes Up-Market

First off, Glaz'Art has moved its publicity from photocopies to printed posters, and it now has a program of sorts. 'Boris et les Quincaillers' and 'Nery' launch the festival 'Latcho-Drom,' starting on Wednesday, 16 December and continuing until Christmas Day.

By the way; this is Paris' Afro-Funk-Techno-World-Rock and very live and loud. At Glaz'Art, 7 to 15. avenue de la Porte de la Villette, Paris 19. Entries are 50 to 70 francs. Métro: Porte de la Villette. Rare free parking! Info. Tel.: 01 40 36 55 65.

Galleries Louise Weiss - The modern art galleries groupedposter: cabaret chez ma cousine in the rue Louise Weiss, Paris 13, are planning a new collection of exhibitions. The new series runs through to Saturday, 23. January - with a break from 24. December to 4. January for hols. Opening hours are usually from 14:00 to 19:00 daily, except for all of them being closed on Mondays. All galleries: métro Chevaleret.

Russian Icons - Russian soul, from the collection of the Kolomiensky Museum in Moscow; featuring about 50 icons and other items on view outside Russia for the first time. An added attraction of this exhibition is that it is located on the top of the Grande Arche at La Défense, and the entry price of 60 francs includes the elevator ride up to the top. Open daily from 10:00 to 18:00, until 31. January. Métro and RER: Grande Arche de la Défense. The view is free.

Livre des Timbres '98 - For the holiday season - and for philatelists - the Poste is offering a new book. From what I can gather, it contains illustrated histories surrounding the new stamps issued in 1998. In addition, it contains 323 francs' worth of actual stamps. If ordered before 7. December, the price is 419 francs: after that it costs 459 francs. The book comes in a prestige box.

'La Poste's' services for philatelists are accessible by the Web to interested collectors. Although it is not explicit that La Poste takes foreign orders, it does offer information about its subscription service in English, German, Spanish and Italian, in addition to French. La Poste also accepts payments made with Visa or Mastercard.

The 'Peony Pavillon' - This is a 'detail' from the ongoing 'Festival d'Automne' and it is at MC 93 Bobigny - in Seine-Saint-Denis again! - production. Along with it being an 'Italian Autumn' in Paris, it is also a bit of an oriental one.

Thus 'Peony Pavillon' has a Chinese author - Tang Xianzu - an English translator - Cyril Circh - with music by Tan Dun, and the director is Peter Sellars; who I am pretty sure is French. In very tiny print, a note says it is in Chinese and English, with French 'over-titles,' whatever these may be. This may be Chinese opera as many of the performers are Chinese and some of them are tenors. Two of the musicians are Chinese too. This show runs until Monday, 22. December.

The MC93 in Bobigny is a busy place. Also playing is 'Aimer Sa Mère,' directed by Alfredo Arias, with Mairlú Marini. One day Mr. Arias saw a graffiti which said, "Mange tes parents" and this piece is the result. It runs until Sunday, 20. December; from Tuesday to Saturday, at 20:30 and on Sundays at 15:30.

Reservations and Info. Tel.: 01 41 60 72 72. The MC93 in Bobigny can be found at 1. boulevard Lénine, 93000 Bobigny.

Paris' Mois de la Photo - 10th Edition

This annual 'one-month' event kicked off lae in October and is continuing well into the new year. It started with Edmond Bacot and Olivier Mériel's photos of Victor Hugo, which can be seen at the Maison de Victor Hugo in the Place des Vosges, until 24. January 1999.

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