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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 !

 

Among the Brutes: The Salon de l'Agriculture and Other Bestial Behavior

Sometimes It Pays to
Act Like an Animal

Paris Update Salon Agricult

Illustration by Charles Giai-Gischia. Visit his blog, Traits-Drôles, for a larger version and more drawings.

The pig population of Paris peaked last week. One reason for this was the Salon de l’Agriculture, the annual farm and food fair that turns half of the pavilions at the Porte de Versailles exhibition center into a gigantic barn, teeming with thousands of cows, sheep, goats, horses and, of course, pigs, and the other half into a gigantic food court teeming with thousands of fairgoers making pigs of themselves.

Including me: it is a matter of public record (see my reports on this event from 2012 and 2011) that I love the Salon, primarily for its high concentration of superb, hard-to-find products from the four essential food groups: foie gras, wine, cold cuts, odiferous cheese and microbrewery beer.

Oops — that’s one too many groups. But it’s hard to count in the midst of a dense, noisy crowd of farm fans who have had one too many. Samples from group five, that is.

I made the mistake of going to the Salon’s nocturne this year — the night it closes at 11 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. Being there after dinner exacerbated one of the less attractive aspects of the fair, which has to do with how the beverage makers market their wares.

Most of the wine sellers only serve tiny tastes, for free, with the expectation that the people they offer it to will order by the case, but the beer barrelers pump the stuff out by the glass at promotional prices, typically a couple of euros a head, so to speak.

This tends to encourage the sucking of suds. On previous visits to this event, I had noticed that at any given moment, even at 10 in the morning, it was not difficult to find people who had already maxed out their microbrew capacity.

But last Friday evening, by about 9 p.m. it was difficult to find anyone who did not already have a snootful. Or rather a snoutful. The livestock exhibits may have been an animal barn, but the food section was Animal House.

By 9:30 I had had enough of wondering which drunk would be the next to stumble, spill or spew in my direction and decided that it was time to go see a man about a hog.

There was one particular exhibitor I was yearning to find. An extraordinary man. A man who has reached unprecedented heights in his field. A man who is the living embodiment of the timeless values of dedication, creativity and perseverance, whose legacy will stand for generations as the gold standard in his chosen discipline.

And that, of course, is the discipline of... Wait — perhaps the best introduction can be found in this report from BBC News. (Please watch the video before reading on.)

Yes, readers, meet Noël Jamet, French Grand Champion Pig Imitator, the man who transformed the Salon’s annual hog-calling contest into a mudpit marathon, with costumed competitions in four grueling events: The Fleeing Piglet, The Boar in Rut, The Suckling Sow and, Monsieur Jamet’s specialty, The Dying Pig, or “Kicking the Lard Bucket.”

Youthful uncertainty, sexual awakening, the maternal instinct, the inevitable passage to that great sty in the sky... It’s a brilliant, lyrical metaphor for life itself!

Well, okay, it’s a pretty good metaphor for life. Well, let’s just say it’s a kind of a metaphor for something or other. If I find out what, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I couldn’t find Mr. Jamet that night (even pig imitators are smart enough to get out of the feedlot when the real rooting and rutting begins), which is too bad, because after seeing that BBC report I had a couple of questions for him:

1) Parties and weddings? The former I kind of understand, having been to a few parties where a porcine impersonator would have been a welcome distraction, and even more where he would have gone entirely unnoticed, but weddings? Please tell me he’s not the ring bearer. What other kinds of events does he do? Baby showers? First communions?

2) The circuit? You mean there’s sufficient demand for this type of, ahh, “performance” that pig imitators barnstorm around the country like political candidates, stock car racers and strippers? Or is that all one circuit?

And, most importantly:

3) His fifth national title? And I didn’t know about this until now? Readers, please accept my deep-felt apology for having not brought this to your attention years ago. I have been guilty of slop journalism.

Speaking of deep feels and guilt, old “Jambon” Jamet was not the only squealer making headlines in France last week. On Thursday the daily newspaper Libération published a story containing this sentence:

“In its entire history, has the normally urbane 17th court ever heard so many references to ’pig’ and ’swine’?”

The occasion was a civil suit over a book entitled Belle et Bête, which could be translated either as “Beauty and Beast,” as in the fairy tale title but with a “the” missing, or as “Beautiful and Stupid,” as in comely but with a screw missing. But, in this case, not missing a... Oh never mind — you’ll see what I mean:

The author is an Argentine-born lawyer named Marcela Iacub, and the book is a “kiss and tell” tale about her eight-month relationship with Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chairman of the International Monetary Fund and current chairman of the Dominique Strauss-Kahn Sex Scandal Generating Plant. I haven’t read it, but from what I have been led to understand about DSK’s personal life, I doubt that there was much actual kissing to tell about.

In any case, the old boar was suing for invasion of the glare-faded, dog-eared remnants of his privacy — and won! Sort of: he didn’t succeed in blocking the book’s release, but he was awarded €75,000 in damages.

When I read the news, I could hardly contain my indignation. It’s an outrage! A travesty! An abomination! Think of it: Strauss-Kahn gets €75,000 whereas Noël Jamet gets nothing. A notorious debaucher wins the better part of a hundred thou while France’s five-time national champion in the subtle art of fakin’ bacon wins nothing more than a bunch of flimsy-looking trophies and bragging rights.

Oh, and snorting rights. But anyway, mark my words: there’s no justice in this country!

Speaking of lacks of judgment, if DSK can get €75,000 for an attack on his private life, why can’t I? I figure that I have more privacy but, arguably, less of a life, so it should balance out.

Seventy-five grand is a lotta chitlins. All I need now is a mistress with liability insurance, no shame and a publishing contract. Simple, right? And think of all the beer I could buy at next year’s Salon de l’Agriculture!

David Jaggard

 

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Reader Barney Kirchhoff writes: "It may be true that there's a sucker born every minute, but not everyone gets a book out of it by exploring DSK's southern hemisphere."

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