Scene - More May Not Be Better

photo: concorde fountain

Although spring broke out on Thursday, waders managed
to stay out of Concorde's fountains.

Crazier Yes - Better, Not Likely

Paris:- Saturday, 13. March 1999:- The big event coming up next week is the opening of the 19th Salon du Livre on Friday, 19. March. For a big show - it is all about the 'French Lit.' business - it only has a short six day run - until Wednesday, 24. March.

As I mentioned last week, this salon represents anniversary time for me as the self-named 'Paris Internet Reporter.' Without knowing what was up, I 'covered' the Salon du Livre in 1995 - and managed to spell it wrong 38 times.

This year, the 'guest of honor' is Québec, which will be present with 61 authors and probably as many editors and publishers. The salon will also emphasize France's own regions and 18 of these will be represented. Finally, there will be professional exhibitors and authors from 22 other countries.

'Multimedia,' whatever it is, will have a place of prominence in keeping with the amounts of money editors think they can make off it; and Issy-les-Moulineaux will be beating its drum here by promoting its vision of 'Internet-everything-with-education and multimedia too.'

Last year the Cafés Philos had their day and it looks like this year the 'Bar des Sciences' is going to take up the baton, in partnership with the Société Française de Physique. With philosophy you can talk about anything, but with 'science,' the talk may be mainly about our 'bio-future,' or lack of future on account of it.

For many, the best part of the salon will be to see, hear and meet their favorite authors; since hundreds of them will be all over the place.

Unlike the program I did in 1995, there should be a complete one with details of what is going on each day and by the hour, available on the official Web site. If there is a particular author you want to hear or meet, be sure to check it before planning your visit.

Books, magazines and multimedia, all at the Salon du Livre, from Friday, 19. March to Saturday, 24. March. At Paris Expo, Porte de Versailles. In the big Hall 1. Open daily from 10:00 to 19:00; on Tuesday, 23. March until 22:00. Entry: 30 francs; kids under 12, free.

Le Théâtre du Châtelet - will not reopen until October of this year, but the reception area of the Hôtel de Ville now has an exhibition featuring the history of Châtelet and the theatre. Both were featured in Metropole in 1997 as, 'On the Way to Somewhere... Close By - Châtelet' and 'Walking Around Châtelet and a Lot of History.'

A quick run through this exhibition last week revealed that it contains a lot of interesting items, including many stage models for shows that have been performed there. It is certainly worth a look even if there is no entry charge and it is open daily from 9:30 to 18:00, except on Sundays and public holidays. This exhibition continues until 15. May. At the Salon d'Accueil, 29. Rue de Rivoli, Paris 4.

Le Printemps des Poètes - is a general manifestation of poetry and spring, scheduled to last - officially - from Sunday, 21. March to Sunday, 28. March. It is somehow connected to the Fête de la Musique - for which I have no information - but should be taking place on street corners as well in places where poetry is habitually conducted. Well, because it is poetry, it will be conducted in places that are not habitual - so look for it wherever you happen to be.

What Is Bratsch? - whatever it is, it is at the Maroquinerie until Sunday, 28. March at 20:30, except on Sundays when it is at 17:00. It takes Wednesdays off. From the poster, I see what looks like five guys with one clarinet.

If you want to see these guys, go to 23. Rue Boyer, Paris 20. This is near métro Gambetta. Take the Martin Nadaud exit. Then follow along the Rue de la Bidassoa, to the third right, which may the Rue Boyer. Bus 26 and 96 are almost as good or better; especially if you get off at Pyrénées or Ménilmontant. If none of this pinpoints the location for you, call the Info. Tel.: 01 40 33 30 60. Tickets can be obtained at fnac and France Billet too.

Festival International Exit - if you survive the trip to see whatever Bratsch may be, you might be in fine fettle to attempt an outing to Créteil. What may look like a carrot on the tiny poster reproduced here, is actually a wrapped-up alligator.

You see? There is more to 'Exit' than you think. There is theatre, with Robert Wilson. There is dance, with Vincent Mantsoé. There is 'Performance' with Kung Fu. I am not making this up. There is 'Installation' with a 'Cabinet des Curiosités.' Finally, there is 'Asian Club' from London, with Joi, Pathaan, Bobby Friction, Round Eye, and Mo'Magic, among others.

It seems as if 'Exit' is a performance festival, starting on Thursday, 25. March and continuing until Saturday, 3. April. Mo'better information may be on the Web site, or you can try the Info. Tel.: 01 45 13 19 19. At the Maison des Arts et de la Culture André Malraux, Place Salvador Allende, in Créteil. Métro: Créteil-Prefecture.

Festival de l'Imaginaire - seems like a logical follow-up to the proceeding, and it has Chinese opera, Korean dances, African and Japanese stuff; as well as 'Vilokan' from Haiti and a Qawwali ceremony from Pakistan and a Riho de Mestia choir from Georgia, which I do not think is the one in the US.

As is more the case nowdays, the Festival de l'Imaginaire has a Web site as well as Info. Tel.: 01 45 44 72 30, to get the complete program. For reservations, call fnac at 01 45 44 41 42. Probably at the Maison des Cultures du Monde, 101. Boulevard Raspail, Paris 6. This festival has already begun, but it continues until mid-April; so you haven't missed everything exotic.

A Demain Cette Nuit - is described as 'like' an 'impossible' rendezvous. If you've been to the three events above, I can believe it. The best thing about this piece of musical and dancing Dada is that it is playing in Paris and it was written by Claudine Galea and directed by Eric de Dadelsen; and it comes to us thanks to Le Preau and the Centre Dramatique National located in Basse-Normandie.

Performances of 'A Demain Cette Nuit' begin on Tuesday, 23. March and continue until Saturday, 10. April; at the well-known Café de la Danse, 5. Passage Louis-Philippe, Paris 11. Métro: Bastille. This is the one you get to by taking the Rue de la Lappe and turning off at number 21. No show on Sundays. Tickets from fnac or Info. Tel.: 01 40 21 70 70.

The above are new events. Below are events already mentioned in this column; minus the ones that have left the scene. Also below, are some of this week's new posters and other images - so take a skim anyway. There are probably dozens of other 'new' events lying around here, but they are underneath a steadily growing pile of paper. If I do happen to stumble across them, I'll add them too unless their date-stamp has expired.

'Saint- Pétersbourg/Vavin - is about the first lot of 'Russians' artists to invade Paris. From Vasilieff, Chagall, Soutine, Orloff, Zadkine and all the others, here are 40 of their works.

The Russians - who were not all Russians - arrived in waves from the turbulent east. They came at the turn of the century, before the War and the Revolution, and after them. Many came from Saint Petersburg and stayed first at the atelier-village of La Ruche, to form the first 'Ecole de Paris.' Later, with a bit of prosperity, they took over the area of the Champagne-Première and danced at the Bal Bullier.

Ambiance: 23. February 1923; the Bal Transmental, organized by the Russians in honor of Illiazd and Terentiev, initiators of the 'Zaoum' poetry. This 'Bal' is remembered for the quality of the public, which rivaled the costumes.

Remembered also for Kiki's entrance. At each step down the grand staircase, she discarded a piece of her costume. At the floor she was wearing only a diadem of Ostrich feathers. A year later on 14. March 1924, the Bal Banal was no less a success, but it is not remember what Kiki wore, if anything.

A parallel exhibition features the little-known Slovenian artist and photographer, Veno Pilon. He began at the Beaux-Arts in Florence and washed up in Paris in 1926. From the remains of the eastern empires, he settled into the Montparno melting pot with ease - and recorded it in line, portraits and photographic halftones - the terraces and the artists.

Musée du Montparnasse, 21. Avenue du Maine, Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse. The Russian show continues until 1. August. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 13:00 to 19:00. Entry: 20 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 42 22 91 96.

Today's Russians in Issy - this is how the announcement begins about our second lot of Russians - which is about the celebrationbrochure: annenkov painting at issy of the 200th anniversary of Alexandr Pushkin's birth, which Issy intends to do in a big way until Sunday, 11. April.

Painting of Jean Pougny by Iouri Annenkov © Issy-Media

Issy-les-Moulineaux gets this honor because of the many Russians who settled in the area after the Revolution. The show will be a double one: rare books illustrated by Russian artists and a hundred portraits by 36 painters. Just as the French spellings of the names need translation, I also need to clear up what will be where - between Issy's Médiathèque and the Musée Française de la Carte à Jouer.

Le Premier Techno-Mariage On-Line de l'Histoire Numerique.' (Hit 'Technomariage') Whether this is a 'first' or not, I don't know. It may be, in 'numerique' but doubt if it is, in 'digital.'

Mr. André Santini is the mayor of Issy - as well as deputy in the national assembly - and he will officiate at the online marriage ceremony of Fred Forest and Sophie Lavaud, on Thursday, 18. March, starting at 16:30 at the Hôtel de Ville in Issy. You are invited to assist with the ceremony too.

All of the above, except for the Russians in Montparnasse, has something to do with France's coming 'Fête de l'Internet.' This year, with current online events the way they are, there may be more sparks. For beginners, there are two 'official' organizers are they are not talking to each other. For their different viewpoints, see the AFI site and the AFUU site. And no, I have no idea what the initials stand for or against.

Les Rues de Paris au XVIIIe Siècle - 'As seen by Louis Sébastien Mercier.' A few years before the Revolution, the writer Louis Sébastien Mercier (1740-1814) ploughed the streets of Paris, threaded his way through the crowds, looked in shop windows, observed the work of artisans, heard the cries of street vendors - 'for 30 years.'

Not content with this, he set it all down in his 'Tableau de Paris,' written between 1781 and 1789. In 12 volumes with 1,050 chapters. He knowspainting: jean philibert debucourt whether Parisians were eating cakes, bread or nothing. He went on the write a science-fiction novel, set in the year 2,440.

Painting by Jean-Philibert Debucourt © PMVP

Paris' history museum, the Musée Carnavalet, is going to be showing a selection of Mercier's works - reduced to 8,000 pages - along with a whole assembly of paintings, household objects and even pots and bones dug up by the Vieux Paris commission.

Daily life in Paris has not been the centre of historian's attention in the past. This show should do much to upset this imbalance - and should do much to show us Paris as it was, in the streets of the 18th century.

Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris - from Thursday, 18. March until Sunday, 20. June. 23. Rue de Sévigné, Paris 3. Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 17:40. Entry: 35 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 42 72 21 13.

L'Age d'Or de la Céramique Chinoise - is a big show that has recently started. This is a public exhibition of the private collection known as the Meiyintang Collection, and it features 99 selected pieces from the beginning of the Sui dynasty in 581 to the period of the Yuan dynasty, or about 1368.

This show is a concentrated version of a wider show of the collection, mounted in London in 1994. It also follows the Cernuschi museum's recent exhibitions of Chinese art objects in 1997 and 1998. The show's catalogue has been written by the well-known authority, Regina Krahl.

Musée Cernuschi, 7. Avenue Vélasquez, Paris 8. Métro: Villiers. Open from 10:00 to 17:40 daily except Mondays. Info. Tel.: 01 45 63 50 75.

Autour de l'Ordonnence de Villers-Cotterêts - In August of 1539, the Chancellor of François 1st composed a general order concerning justice and the police. For good measure, twoposter: bratsch a la maroquinerie articles of this order - the 110th and 111th - also laid down the rules for the writing and editing of administrative, judicial and notarial laws or decrees.

Basically the two articles ordered the usage of the French language, which was not in universal use throughout the country at the time. Basically, the new orders said Latin was no longer considered to be one of France's official languages.

See what I mean? Five guys; one clarinet. Bratsch!

The original of this document is on show at the Archives Nationales, Musée de l'Histoire de France, Hôtel de Soubise, 60. Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 3. Métro: Rambuteau. Closed Tuesdays; open Monday to Friday, from 12:00 to 17:45; and weekends from 13:45 to 17:45. Entry: 20 francs. Info. Tel.: 01 40 27 62 18.

Short Takes: - See the Federico Garcia Lorca play 'La Casa de Bernarda Alba' at the Théâtre de l'Est Parisien, 159. Avenue Gambetta, Paris 20. Métro: Saint-Fargeau. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 20:30; Wednesday and Thursday at 19:00; and on Sundays at 15:00. Until Sunday, 21. March. Info. Tel.: 01 43 64 80 80.

'Les Acteurs à l'Ecran' is a modest festival celebrating film actors by showing them in about 100 films. Some of the actors will be present after the screening and two prizes will be awarded. From 19. to 28. March, at the Ciné 104 at Pantin and the G. Méliès in Montreuil. For the program, write to Les Acteurs à l'Ecran, 61. Boulevard Jules Guesde, 93200 Saint-Denis. Info. Tel.: 01 48 20 99 20.

The '10th Biennale de Danse' goes on in 20 towns with 50 performances, in the Val-de-Marne. Starting on Wednesday, 10. March, it runs until Friday, 16. April. For the complete program, dates and locations, Info. Tel.: 01 46 86 70 70, or hit the Web site.

'Journée de Noces Chez les Cromagnons' by Wajdi Mouawad and directed by Jacques David, is playing until the end of the month at L'Etoile du Nord theatre, 16. Rue Georgette Agutte, Paris 18. Métro: Guy Môquet. Info. Tel.: 01 42 26 47 47. This production is part of the Printemps du Québec en France 1999.

Laves Emaillées - Prolongation - made for the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul church in the 19th century by Jules Jollivet, and stashed for decades in obscurity because they were judged 'immodest,' these works have be restored and can be seen in an exhibition that has been prolonged until Sunday, 2. May. On view in the atelier of Ary Scheffer, at the Musée de la Vie Romantique, 16. Rue Chaptal, Paris 9. Métro: Pigalle. Except Mondays, open daily from 10:00 to 17:40. Info. Tel.: 01 48 74 95 38.

Que la Lumière Soit! - is how the Samaritaine department store describes a display that began last Thursday - of lamps by contemporary designers. These lamps are of two types: 'Earthposter: festival int'l exit and Nature' and 'Contemporary Design' and they will be on view in Magazin 2 on the third floor for two weeks. Samaritaine is, of course, at the north end of the Pont Neuf.

The Centre Culturel Suisse: - is a small but busy establishment in the Marais, which promotes Swiss culture. It also has temporary exhibitions and the next one will be of Michel Huelin's 'paintings and vidéo.' This starts on Saturday, 6. March and runs until 6. June. In parallel, there is also an exhibition at the Galerie Zürcher, which runs until 8. April.

Centre Culturel Suisse, 38. Rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris 3. Métro: Saint-Paul. Open Wednesday to Sunday, from 14:00 to 19:00. Info. Tel.: 01 42 71 38 38. Galerie Zürcher, 56. Rue Chapon, Paris 3. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 11:00 to 19:00.

Rimbaud, Dernière Escale... - a play based on the correspondence of the Rimbaud family, written by Michel Rachline with Laurent Malet. At the Théâtre Molière Maison de la Poésie, in the Passage Molière, 157. Rue Saint-Martin, Paris 3. Performances continue until Sunday, 21. March; Wednesdays to Saturdays at 21:00 and at 17:00 on Sundays. Info and Resa Tel.: 01 44 54 53 00, plus at fnac.

'Vivre Paris' - is an exhibition featuring 30 artists from Latin America who live and work in Paris. From the description, 'grand masters' are placed beside upcoming 'young Turks' and varying styles are placed edge to edge.

On Wednesday I paid a quick visit and found the Espace Electra to be an attractive gallery, and a glimpse around a corner wall revealed some visitors inside a sort of pink shower; so I think you may find some amusing as well as interesting works here.

'Vivre Paris' can be seen at the Fondation Electricité de France's Espace Electra, 6. Rue Récamier, Paris 7. Métro: Sèvres-Babylone. Until Sunday, 18. April. Info. Tel.: 01 53 63 23 45.

Banlieues Bleues '99 - If you like the Blues and you don't mind the 'Burbs, then you'll want to take in all or some of the 16th edition of Banlieues Bleues which takes off in various locations in Seine-Saint-Denis starting Tuesday, 9. March. This festival features 57 groups and lasts for six weeks, until Friday, 16. April. This is a lota Blues and a lota Banlieues!

Besides individual entries, there are combo tickets available. For reservations or more information, Info. Tel.: 01 49 22 10 10, or Fax.: 33 1 49 22 10 11.

'18 Heures - 18 Francs' - is how the poster, which looks like it's a rerun from last year, puts it. Paris film houses, in cooperation with the city, will be offering entries to movies at 18:00 for only 18 francs - and not, as I reported, 18 movies for 18 francs. Final day is Thursday, 18. March. At a cinema near you, if you happen to be in Paris.

David Hockney's 'Espace / Paysage' at Beaubourg - This is Hockney's first reappearance in Paris since 1974. Since then a lot of new water has been run through his ever blue pool; which now includes a hole no less than the Grand Canyon represented here with a panoramic collage of panels, 12 metres wide by three high. This show continues until Monday, 26. April; from 10:00 to 22:00. Closed Tuesdays. This is in Beaubourg's Galerie Sud. Info. Tel.: 01 44 78 46 25.

The The Pompidou Centre - AKA Beaubourg: is open from Monday to Friday, from 11:00 to 18:00 and on Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00. Info Tel.: 01 53 01 86 53 and Fax.: 33 1 42 72 97 47.

At the Maison Européenne de la Photo you can see the 'Courant Continu' show by Ralph Gibson as well as the 'Portraits - Réel/Virtuel' exhibition by Catherine Ikam and Louis Fléri. On show until Sunday, 30. May. Theposter: festival de l'imaginaire address is 5-7. rue de Fourcy, Paris 4. Métro: Saint-Paul or Pont-Marie. Info. Tel.: 01 44 78 75 07.

The 23rd Paris International Marathon: - The Marathon de Paris - is to be run on Sunday, 4. April 1999. To register, try the fax number 33 -1 41 33 15 69, or give the Web site a hit.

This marathon is the big one for those who don't like the short run of the little one in March. The marathon starts on the Champs-Elysées and ends up in the Avenue Foch after the regulation international distance.

Two Shorties: - both start Friday, 12. March. One is the 21st 'Festival International Films de Femmes, with has a lot of details on the Web site. This festival will be onscreen at the Maison des Arts in Créteil until Sunday, 21. March. Info. Tel.: 01 49 80 38 98.

The other is 'Chorus des Hauts-de-Seine' - part of the 12th Festival de la Chanson - which continues until Wednesday, 31. March. Info. Tel.: 01 47 74 51 11.

Un Ami de Cézanne et Van Gogh; le Docteur Gachet. The poster all over Paris features the Van Gogh portrait of the good Dr. Gachet, with whom Van Gogh stayed for the last 70 days of his life, at Auvers-sur-Oise. What might have been better, is Dr. Gachet's death portrait of Van Gogh; one of the best paintings he did.

Exhibition at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, until Monday, 26. April. Open daily except Tuesdays, from 10:00 to 20:00; on Wednesdays until 22:00. Reservations required for visits before 13:00. Tickets available at fnac, Virgin and Carrefour. Resa Info. Tel.: 08 03 80 88 03.

Cent Ans d'Histoire de Paris - Is not just about the past 100 years, but about the efforts of the 'Commission du Vieux Paris' to save old Paris before the bulldozers turn it into first rubble, then into designer-plastic. Along the way, the Commission pushes Paris' history back 5,000 years, by showing a 7,000-year-old pot, found in a local building site. Great stuff!

Hôtel de Ville, Salle Saint-Jean, 5. Rue de Lobau, Paris 4. Métro: Hôtel de Ville. Until Tuesday, 31. March. From 11:00 to 19:00 daily, except Mondays. No entry charge. Exhibition catalogue available.

Paris' Musée d'Art Moderne - Mark Rothko at the Museum of Modern Art - 70 works areposter: a demain cette nuit, le preau on display, done between 1935 and 1969. This amounts to a span of work covering 34 years and it is arranged in chronological order; so you can see either where the artist was going or where he came from. Until Sunday, 18. April.

Rosemarie Trockel and Casten Höller - live and work in Köln and they have ten installations called 'Maisons' on show here until Sunday, 28. March. Also, until the same date, see the works of Peter Fischli and David Weisse, from Zurich. Focused on flowers, their work is made up of superimposed photographic projections.

Musée d'Art Moderne, 11; Avenue du Président-Wilson, Paris 16. Métro: Iéna or Place de l'Alma. Open Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:30 and on weekends from 10:00 to 18:45. Info. Tel.: 01 53 67 40 00.

The Musée Zadkine - Pierre-Claude de Castro and Alain Sonneville want you to see their 'Strange Beds.' These two nighttime museum guards have some sort of exhibition which features their after-work fold-up or down beds, mixed with administrative notes about their jobs, against a background of Ossip Zadkine's 'Odalisque' and 'Dormeuse,' all under the subhead of 'Inactions Interpassives.' In short, it's all Dada!

Musée Zadkine, 100. bis, Rue d'Assas, Paris 6. Métro: Vavin or RER, Port Royal. Except Mondays, open from 10:00 to 17:30. After 17:30, Pierre-Claude de Castro and Alain Sonneville need the museum to guard.

'Carnets' for Euros - if you have Euro cheques or Euro plastic, the RATP will start accepting the new currency on Monday, 15. March for payment when you buy métro tickets, carnets, weekly or monthly tickets, or any of the combo passes they sell. Apparently you can do this already, but on 15. March all prices will be posted in Euros and francs.

Long-Running Exhibitions, Shows and Events:

Historic Writer's Route - is a tour of 12 famous French writer's homes, located west of Paris on both sides of the Seine valley, as far as Normandy. Even if you don't actually visit the houses, this would be a good trip and would probably take a couple of days or wandering around.

Mallarmé, Louis Aragon, and Chateaubriand are not on the route itself, but are in the Ile-de-France. Those on the Seine route are Tourgueniev, Dumas, Zola, Maeterlinck, Michelet, Corneille, Flaubert, Hugo, and Jean de la Varende down at Le Chamblac near Broglie.

There may be more information about it on the Web site of the Ile-de-France regional council, but in the quick look I took I didn't find anything except for a note that the site was undergoing changes.

Royal Paintings: - actually in the Ile-de-France, at Fountainbleau, there is an exhibition of a collection of 48 paintings grouped together for the first time. Some of these are decor for royal surroundings, and Rubens was among the 'decorators,' which will give you an idea of the class of the act.

The Musée du Château de Fontainbleau, is in Fontainbleau with a lot of other sights to see. The main museum is closed on Tuesdays and open from 9:30 to 12:30, and from 14:00 to 17:00 all other days. Info. Tel.: 01 60 71 50 70.

Another Photo-Web site worth a visit is Centre National de la Photo, which is located in the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, 11. rue Berryer, Paris 8. Info. Tel.: 01 53 76 12 32.

Closed - Temporarily - The Maison de Balzac is currently closed for renovations. It will reopen on Thursday, 20. May, for the exhibition, 'La Toise du Savant et de Vertige du Fou - Figures de l'Artiste Chez Balzac.' The museum's library remains open until Saturday, 3. April; then it will close until 18. September. Maison de Balzac, 47. Rue Raynouard, Paris 16. Info. Tel.: 01 42 24 56 38.

Bibliothèque Forney - this library basically contains a quarter million works on art, design, engraving, painting and sculpture, plus art deco and the crafts of art - all from the 18th century to today. Worth a visit; a friendly place. Temporary library cardsbrochure: le pouvoir aux poetes can be obtained by showing a passport. The Bibliothèque Forney, in the Hôtel de Sens, 1. Rue du Figuier, Paris 4. Métro: Pont Marie. Info. Tel.: 01 42 78 14 60.

Scheduled Eclipse Not Yet Sold Out: - There are still seats available for the scheduled eclipse of the sun by the moon, on Wednesday, 11. August, between 12:16 and 12:32. In Rouen and Reims and 4,998 other towns and villages, it will be total. In Paris, only 90 percent, which is not too shabby considering this is about the maximum amount of sun we see.

This sort of celestial event has not occurred since 1724. If you can't make up your mind to catch this one, the next eclipse is programmed for 2081. If eclipses are your bag, book your flight today!

Some of the above items have been carried over for many issues of this magazine. If you require more information - such as addresses or phone numbers - check 'All Past Issues' either from here, or from the top or bottom of any page in the magazine.

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