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Easter Sparkles

photo: cafe at anvers

Saturday night crowd near Métro Anvers.

Drizzle Becomes Cloudless

by Ric Erickson

Paris:– Monday, 12. April 2004:– The is the last day of the Easter weekend. From my memory of the 25 past Easters here, I nominate this one for the 'Easter of the Week' award on account of the stupendous weather. There has been no sleet, the skies have been blue and the sun has shone most of the time.

Granted, the northerly breezes have held the temperatures down – but with the highs around 15 instead of five, there's no complaints. It may even have been the 'Easter of the Century,' but it may be too soon to bet on this as there are a few more years to go.

This rare 'Easter' weather is to continue, according to tonight's TV– weather news. Tuesday should be mostly sunny with some increasingly cloudy periods in the afternoon. The high temperature is forecast to be 15 degrees.

Wednesday should be semi–cloudy and semi–sunny all day long, with a slight temperature up–bump to 16 degrees. For Thursday we can expect a radical improvement when the skies should be mostly sunny, and another point on the centigrade thermometre gets added.

Next Friday is likely to be the same, according to this morning's Le Parisien. All in all, it would be great weather for February – so it will be kind of nice to have it in April.

Café Life

A Midsummer Night's Dream

For the centennial of the 'Entente Cordiale,' One World Actors Productions is staging the '60s 'flower power' version of this hit by Shakespeare, for most of the rest of spring. After all, as Ben Johnson so aptly noted, "William Shakespeare was not of an Age, but for all Time," including seasons that are not summer.

The show, which is in English, had its debut in Paris on April Fool's Day at UNESCO. But now it seems to have moved tophoto: fiat 500 of the week the Studio–Théâtre de la Comédie Française where performances are at 20:00 on Mondays. Upcoming dates are 19 and 26. April, 3, 24 and 31. May, and 14 and 21. June.

The first 'Fiat 500 of the Week' in many weeks.

The Studio–Théâtre de la Comédie Française is at the Carrousel du Louvre entry, at 99. Rue de Rivoli, Paris 1. Métro: Palais–Royal. The RésaTel is 01 48 28 09 26. This plug is thanks to Café Metropole Club member Tomoko Yokomitsu, who has faithfully reminded me about it for several weeks now. This is a second chance, for you, 30–odd years later, so don't miss it!

The Un–Countdown of the Week

Did I miss something? At the end of tonight's TV–news there was a short musical feature, titled something like the 'Anniversary of All–Time Hits.' The song concerned was 'My Way' by Frank Sinatra, but I don't know if it's his anniversary.

Actually, this song started out as 'Comme d'Habitude.' It was written by Claude François and Giles Thibault, and the Claude François version topped European charts after it was recorded for the first time in September of 1967.

It was translated into English by Paul Anka, and Frank Sinatra made it a world–wide hit then and forever.photo: cafe petite rotonde The Spanish version of the 'Comme d'Habitude' was done by Michel Sardou, and Elvis did a version of it as well. My favorite was the extra–long version done by Nina Simone. I think she did it in French too.

Montparnasse café terrace on Easter Sunday.

If she did, I'm sure it is seldom played in North America. While the music is the same, the lyrics diverge considerably. In fact, they are not the same song. While Frank starts off with "And now, the end is near...," Claude is trying to wake up his girlfriend. She doesn't, so he goes to the kitchen for a lonely café and then he goes out. It is cold and gray, and he turns up his collar.

When he comes back she is gone, 'comme d'habitude' – like usual. He goes to the big bed all alone and it is cold, and he hides his tears – like usual. But – like usual – she comes back and gets undressed – like usual – gets into bed – like usual – and they cuddle – like usual – and they do the same thing – like usual.

I make it 39 years since 'Comme d'Habitude' hit the pop charts. Unless there are major anniversaries for 39 years now, I think I must have missed something. In France it's hard to tell. When TV is feeling poor, it has no compunction against putting on a two hour prime time show of Claude François' 'greatest hits,' as it did quite recently.

I am not sure, but it is possible that Claude François and his 'Clodettes' – his big troupe – or with his 'Fléchettes' – a quartet, invented yé–yé. Meanwhile, America had Janis Joplin with the Grateful Dead.

Laurel Avery Takes a Trip

The popular 'Paris Journal' columns by Laurel will be interrupted for a several issues while the author is out of town. Before she left she asked for details about how to connect to the Internet from temporary locations, but she didn't say this meant that her 'Journals' will be coming from any of these.

Web Site of the Week

This came in as a 'link' request, which would have gone into the trash if I hadn't taken a look at the Web site. For zoomy coolness take a look at this. Thanks to Diana Dion–Arivas, here are the other details – the Marian Goodman Gallery is featuring Juan Muñoz until Friday, 30. April. Open hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 to 19:00, and they are at 79. Rue Du Temple, Paris 3. Métro: Rambuteau. InfoTel.: 01 48 04 70 52.

Headline of the Week

'Tout Sur la Chasse Aux Œufs de Pâques' – is Saturday's headline above Le Parisien's logo, so the type isn't as big as some of the one–word headlines seen here in recent weeks.

Paris is somewhat of a poor relation when it comes to Easter egg hunts. The only two locations mentioned were Bercy Villagephoto: cafe la rotonde and the Parc de Belleville. TV–news showed kids receiving Easter eggs in return for doing puzzles, rather than for finding hidden ones. In France, there are lessons to be learned for everything – but 'discovery' isn't one of them.

More Easter in Montparnasse on Sunday.

Other Ile–de–France departments had Easter egg contests too, with a reported 200 villages in Seine–et– Marne taking part in handing out 400,000 chocolate eggs as prizes. For the first time Disney Village mounted an Easter egg operation, but it wasn't as free as the neighboring municipal efforts.

The Second Monthly Repeat of Plugs in April

Tip this link to a recent issue's 'Café' page, where the usual plugs encouraging 'support for this magazine' and its 'Lodging' page are quietly waiting for you to visit them. The commercial page for Metropole's 'Partners' needs an occasional re–read too.

The Most Recent Café Metropole Club 'Report'

Keep up to date with your club by taking look at the last meeting's version of the 'Members 'On Location' report. The 'location' in questionphoto: sign, rue des chartreux wasn't the club itself, but movies being filmed 'on location' around Paris.

The coming meeting of the Café Metropole Club is on Thursday, 15. April. The Saint's Day of the Week will be Saint–Paterne. Each week I look at the calendar and then I look in the saint's book, and week after week the saint of the club day isn't in it. However, Saint–Paterne is a town in the Sarthe – or it was, in 1967, when the saint's book was printed.

Some minor but important details about the club can be found on the 'About the Club' page. The virtual club membership card on this page is as free as standard air and valid for your whole lifetime, everywhere in the world.

This Was Metropole One Year Ago

Issue 8.16 – 14. April 2003 – the Café Metropole column's headline was 'How Much of This is True?' This was followed by the brief 'Au Bistro' column in only 2 words, 'France Wins!' The week's feature was titled 'Scenes of the Crimes – Désolation des Filles de Joie.' there was a Wine News update, titled '90 Minutes of Pouring.' The Scène column was repeated. The Café Metropole Club update for 17. April was titled as the 'Mark Kritz' Firstphoto: sign, rue de la monnaie 'First' report. There were four new 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon of the week was captioned 'Passive Hustling.'

This Was Metropole Two Years Ago

Issue 7.16 – 15. April 2002 – this week's Café Metropole column's was titled the 'Weather News Is All There Is.' The 'Au Bistro' column was headlined 'Before You Know It the Elections Will Be Over.' The Café Metropole Club update on 18. April was titled the 'New First Extinct Volcano' report. There were four wonderful 'Posters of the Week' and Ric's cartoon Caption of the Week was, 'Out of Gas?'

Countdowns – Are Back!

It seems to me that since the 'old' countdowns last ran, several new ones have been suggested. Luckily I have mislaid them all, except one from Jim Auman. He wrote to remind us all that the Père Lachaise cemetery is having the 200th anniversary of its opening, on Friday, 21. May. This is 40 days from now.

Sadly, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Frédéric– August Bartholdi, the designer of the Stature of Liberty. His death occurred on Tuesday, 4. October. This anniversary is 176 days from now.

For a major literary dude, we can also be 'counting–down' to the 150th anniversary of the birthdate of Jean–Nicolas–Arthur Rimbaud, which is on Wednesday, 20. October, 192 days from now.

An even bigger literary razzle–dazzle will be made this year for George Sand, who was born 200 years ago on Sunday, 1. July 1804. This year will officially be the 'Année George Sand' all year long. The anniversary is 78 days from today.

The date of the Normandy landings in WWII was on Tuesday, 6. June 1944. The 60th anniversary of this fateful day for 2,846,439 allied liberators is 56 days from now, on a Sunday this year.

Another WWII event 60 years ago to note is the Liberation of Paris. Its official date is Friday, 25. August 1944, which will be celebrated 133 days from today. The 'Liberation' started on Tuesday, 15. August, with a strike – by the Métro and the police – followed by more strikes until the shooting was over. Some sporadic strikes still continue.

Some Olympic Fans may be out of their heads with joy to learn that the Olympic flame will be hustledposter: vdep, salon de la maquette through Paris by a series of torch–bearers on Friday, 25 June – as part of its journey back to Athens for the summer Olympics – which are called 'JO' here. This is only 75 days from today.

After getting hired flunkies to vote in favor of inventing the title of 'Emperor' for Napoleon on 3. May 1804, the Senat passed the measure without quibbling. A plebiscite was held and 2569 reckless souls voted against it. The results were only announced six days before the coronation that took place on Sunday, 2. December.

Part of the official record is David's painting of it. But slighted by getting only two entry tickets for the ceremony, the artist depicted Napoleon crowning Josephine instead of himself. David also added his own inlaws who were not there because they were uninvited, and Napoleon's mom, who was sulking in Italy at the time. The 200th anniversary of this dubious event is 235 days from now.

Beyond the End of December, 2004 Won't Last

If this year will be worth remembering is still questionable. The most we can do is hope it isn't. As of today there are about 263 days left in this year. In Paris nothing is getting any younger by the day, just as it has been not doing so every day for over 2052 years – which amounts to, very roughly, about 749,014 days.

'Ric's Day Off' last week was put to good use by not taking it 'off.' However, no real good came from this at all, so I promise not to do it again.
signature, regards, ric

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