Annual Freak Bros. Visit

photo: buvette in tuileries

Without air conditioning, club meetings can be held
just as well outside.

News from the 'Café Metropole Club'

Paris:- Saturday, 29. May 1999:- There are several ways to look for an apartment to rent in Paris. One of them is to go to a target area and look around for signs of vacancies.

Even with all the estate agents around, there may be few vacancy signs because most apartmentsposter: france 98 by g shelton are 'for sale' rather than rent. Another way to find an apartment is to ask people who live in the neighborhood, or 'quartier.'

I know few people so there are few neighborhoods where I can look. Gilbert Shelton lives in the 11th arrondissement, just off the Boulevard Voltaire. This is east of Bastille and a bit away from the 'high-life' of it, as well as a bit away the increasing 'high-life' around Menilmontant.

The 'Official' Freak Bros. poster for last year's World Cup is not any sort of comment about the grass at the Stade de France. Illustration©Gilbert Shelton.

After cruising the estate agents around the Place Leon Blum and down the Boulevard Voltaire, I dropped into Gilbert's atelier last Wednesday. What had been a sleepy but somewhat eccentric storefront, turned out to be still sleepy outside but rocking with activity inside.

A fellow named Hicham Jurdi was there to announce the first public showing of his TV-film about the animation-cartoonist 'Ugo,' which somehow also features Gilbert and his partner, Pik. If you are in Paris on Monday, 31. May, the world premiere is at 19:30, at the Institut du Monde Arabe, 1. Rue des Fossés Saint-Bernard, Paris 5.

The main activity 'rocking inside' the Freak Brothers' Paris home involved eating sandwiches and testing a variant of pink Orangina. For reasons not quite clear - except possibly that Gilbert wants to increase the atelier's collection of beer brands - one of the studio's activities is the creation of beer labels, mostly for Belgian brewers, who want 'Freak' labels for odd brews.

Pik showed me a unusual 360-degree label for an upmarket Bordeaux wine; which indicated that the business must be getting as goofy down there as in the brewing scene up north.

While this was going on, musician Gary Carp came in and this reminded Gilbert of his EMI distributed music CD, entitled 'Honky, Soul, Race Music, Hard Bop & Anachronic Jazz' - a selectioncd cover: shelton's selection of 20 titles chosen at random by Fat Freddy's cat. EMI seems to be a UK outfit, so the CD's ISBN number is 1-65848-567-3, in case you want to hear some old stuff.

Not only the cover of the CD, but many inside pages feature text and cartoons by Gilbert Shelton too. For the price, the music is a freebie.

Gary Carp cruises the 'quartier' a lot and was giving me a tip about an agent who has a 'lock' on three streets, while Gilbert remembered the 'Freak Brothers' official poster for last year's World Cup - "Better a year, or more, late than never" - so here it is if you haven't seen it before.

Out of the whole visit I got one estate agent's number, and no other hot tips on available flats. On top of it, there was something really odd about the pink Orangina. I think I better think it over carefully, before deciding to live in this 'quartier.' There might be a bit too much 'high-life' in it.

Informal 'Club' Meeting Held On the Champs-Elysées

Nelly and Don Smith of Seattle have been having a long holiday - and honeymoon! - in Paris, France, and surrounding parts of Europe and they made room in their busy schedule to attend a Café Metropole Club meeting on the Champs-Elysées today - Saturday - which explains why the dateline above is not the regular 'Club' day of Thursday.

As well as having a Web site called Visit Paris, Don is a photographer and he agreed to show up to take photos, so all of us could be famous for the regulation 15 seconds.

Despite the lack of an actual 'café' in which to meet, today's sessionphoto: nelly & don smith was extra informal as well as short because it occurred just before I began my 'artistic' contribution to today's 'Faites de la Peinture sur les Champs-Elysées' competition, which is also featured in this issue.

A 'first' Club meeting on the Champs-Elysées for Nelly and Don, but not their first time on the avenue.

Nelly enjoyed the 'action' of the Champs-Elysées, especially as she is a bona-fide 'Parisienne.' She said, as much as she now prefers Seattle; it is a bit more sedate than Paris. Nelly and Don told me something about the rest of their schedule; but it sounded like 'The 15 Countries In 60 Days Marathon Visit' and details of it have escaped me.

Don was packing a very huge camera with a bazooka-like lens. With the ambient background noise I couldn't hear if it was working. If it was, some of Don's photos may turn up here in following editions; but if not, they will be on his own Web site - perhaps very soon.

Reader's Reaction to the Café Metropole Club:

Email from Michael McKinnon, via the Internet: Saturday, 29. May 1999:-

Bonjour Ric!

I just completed my 6th trip to Paris this May, after a three day week-end in London first and a ride on the Eurostar - fantastic; second class was just fine.

First, I've got to say the weather was the best ever for this trip. Only one day of light rain and 70 degrees the rest of the time. We hit the country-side this time, going to Versailles - where the Fire Department had either a parade or a protest going on while we were there - and another day to Ecouen to visit the chateau.

photo: erickson by d smithIn both cases, we just spent time in their respective gardens instead of shelling out the francs to go inside. I must say I was more impressed by the chateau at Ecouen than Versailles, it looked more livable. Both cities - villages? - were interesting to walk around, looking at the blend of old and new architecture.

Your Ed with the lid, looking for inspiration. Note half-used Faber-Castel pencil. Photo©Don Smith.

As far as your 'Club' is concerned, count me in! I'll be back next spring and look forward to meeting you and other club members then. I have a feeling I just missed you on the Pont des Arts on the 15th.

And Ric Says:

Readers often have the jump on me for new things. I've yet to try the tunnel or the Eurostar, and I've never visited the Château at Ecouen - ordered built by Anne de Montmorency, and now the National Renaissance Museum - which is just up the Route Nationale 16 from Saint-Denis, or can be reached by train from Gare du Nord, with a bit of a walk.

My notes tell me the reason we didn't run into each other on the Pont des Arts on 15. May, is because Herb Malsman and I checked it out a day later, on Sunday, 16. May. We were close though.

signature, regards, ric

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