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 origina of this document is on show at the
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