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Sunset over La Defense © Paris Update

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Paris Update What’s On

Links to events happening this week in Paris

English-language theater festival

ParisUpdate-ParisFringe-Geometrika300

> Paris Fringe returns for its second year of English-language theater and comedy. Various venues, Paris, May 18-28.

Pre-Edinburgh play
> Sugar Baby, by Anne Penketh and starring Holly-Rose Clegg, will play in Paris before moving on to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  La Chapelle des Lombards, Paris, May 20.

Annie in English
> The International Players present the musical Annie. Le Quai 3, Le Pecq, May 18-21.

Late-night art
> Museums stay open into the night for free and hold special events for the Nuit Européenne des Musées. Various locations. Paris, May 16.

Left Bank gallery crawl
> Open house at 50 galleries for Art Saint Germain des Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

Gold in galleries
> The Carré Rive Gauche, an association of Left Bank galleries celebrates its 40th anniversary with an event called ExtrORdinaire, featuring gold in works of art. Opening night: May 18. Various venues, Paris, May 18-June 3.

All that jazz...
> Jazz acts ranging from amateurs to big names at the Festival Jazz à Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Various venues, Paris, May 11-22.

Literary Latin Quarter
> Readings, book signings, storytelling, concerts and more at the Quartier du Livre festival. Various venues, Paris, May 17-24.

Emerging artists
> The Salon de Montrougehas been exhibiting the work of young artists every year for 62 years. Le Beffroi, Montrouge, through May 24.

Plays from all over Europe
> The Chantiers d'Europe festival presents theatrical performances from Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Greece, Croatia and the United Kingdom. Théâtre de la Ville–Espace Pierre Cardin, May 2-24

Hollywood glam
> Marilyn Monroe, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner, Marlene Dietrich and more in classic films from Hollywood's Golden Age for the Glamour cycle. Forum des Images, Paris, May 3-31

Photo shows galore
> Le Mois de la Photo has been moved from autumn to spring, with 96 exhibitions taking place all over the greater Paris area. See Web site for locations and dates.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Emmanuelle Cuau’s Pris de Court, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, May 19.

Virtual reality
> Drop in on Saturday or Sunday from 2pm to 8pm for a free virtual trip at the VR Express festival. Forum des Images, Paris, through June 30.

Dance in historic sites
> Monuments en Mouvement offers free dance performances in national monuments like the Pantheon in Paris, the Abbaye de Cluny and châteaux. Various locations, through Oct. 21.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, through May 28.

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Hot Topics - C'est ironique !

 

Eavesdropping

Paris cafe

In a crowd, you're just one of the overheard.

Walking down Rue des Martyrs the other day I crossed paths with a young father and his three-or-so-year-old son. A police car was racing up the street in the opposite direction, siren ...

Paris cafe

In a crowd, you're just one of the overheard.

Walking down Rue des Martyrs the other day I crossed paths with a young father and his three-or-so-year-old son. A police car was racing up the street in the opposite direction, siren blaring and lights flashing. When I passed the guy, I heard him saying to the kid, in a patient pedagogical tone of voice, “No, it's not a taxidermist. It’s the police.”

I love absurd julienne slices of life like that. To put it another way, I am an incorrigible snoop. For me, one of the advantages of living in a big city is having lots of opportunities to eavesdrop on strangers.

Here's another of my favorites: I was standing at the bar in one of those alleged “Irish pubs” that Paris seems to have on every block when I overheard the following exchange (in English):

Young guy (to bartender): I'll have a Guinness please.

Guy next to him: Hi! Are you Irish?

Young guy: No, American.

Guy next to him (shouting): I should f--ing kill you!

He didnt.

I should also admit that my unsavory curiosity extends beyond the audible. During last summers heat wave I went to my favorite butcher's shop on Rue Lepic to get a chicken. Since this was France, where butchers keep poultry carcasses whole until purchased, the bird had to be beheaded and befeeted and begutted and so forth, which takes a while, and since I was also very thirsty I decided to do my waiting at the café across the street in the company of a glass of something cold.

Once inside I immediately noticed two things:

1) I was in the now-famous Café des 2 Moulins, as seen in the hit movie Amélie – which I realized not so much from recognizing it as from ruling out any other explanation for the high density of Japanese tourists and wall-sized Amélie posters.

2) A fair number of the other patrons were would-be writers from out of town.

How could I tell? They were young, seated alone in a famous café with a notebook and pencil in front of them, staring thoughtfully and distractedly into the distance. Its the look, also quite common around Saint Germain, that says, “Heres me: writer. In Paris!”

I happened to be sitting just behind a young woman in the sidewalk (smoking) section who looked to be about the right age for Creative Writing 102. Her table held a ruled tablet open to the first page with two and a half lines scribbled on it, a brimming full ashtray and three empty coffee cups. She was nursing her fourth and, to complete the tableau, wearing a beret.
Being me, I was aching to see what she had written. To my delight she got up to go to the WC, giving me a clear look at her novel in progress. Here
s what she had so far (quoted in its entirety and translated verbatim from the French):

The telephone rang in the big apartment. Michelle, groggy after yet another long night of lovemaking,...

I guess she was drinking decaf, because that was it. And she didnt make any more progress by the time I drank up, paid up and went back across the street to pick up my dinner, so I never did find out who was calling Michelle and why. I like to think it was a taxidermist, phoning to say, “I should f--ing kill you!” If she could write her way out of that opening, she'd have a future in fiction.

David Jaggard

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