Friday, 30 November 2012

Paris Lit Up

New community site for all things literary in the anglophone scene in Paris: events, readings, publications, workshops, reportage and so on. Please visit regularly

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Graffiti Latest

No sooner had the hoarding gone up on Cafe Hugo this week (Place des Vosges, 4eme) than the street artists were out and about.

In particular Monsieur Chat paid a visit with this rather super cat and roses image - powerful, simple lines

and he left another new cat  just around the corner.

Other things appearing in the very near vicinity this week included this helpful reminder (N.B. Syria, Israel, Palestine).

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part Two

All good things come to and end, eventually. So it's goodbye to bad acting, terrible wigs, too much white make-up, implausibly glittery vampires, new borns without voracious hunger (how does that work?), werewolves who somehow manage to transition back into human form already dressed in cut off denims (really, how does that work?), Taylor Lautner's six pack (pity), the house in the woods (want), the woods and the whole Cullen shebang.

As you can tell I have sometimes had trouble suspending my disbelief, but it was a sad day yesterday when the Twilight saga drew to a close. It's been an entertaining few years and there aren't that many films you can go to with your teenagers, or rather that your teenagers will let you tag along to. I will miss the silly, flawed plots and soppy teenage luv, but the value of several hours of escape from the serious world should not be underestimated, nor the power of the fabulous North West scenery. Adieu.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

English Language Bookshops in Paris - La Belle Hortense

Bit of a cheat this one, but they do have a shelf or two of English books, honestly.

What they have rather more of are decent bottles of wine. A lovely place to buy a book and settle down for a nice glass and a good read, all just ten minutes from my front door. I think I might start calling it the Mother ship for its perfect invention.

Get down to rue de Vielle Temple in the 4eme pronto if you want to sample its delights.

Two Door Cinema Club - Zenith

It's not often I go to a real big name band gig these days as I've been to hundreds and am partially, well a little bit, deaf as a result, but when I do I like to pick a good 'un.

Two Door Cinema Club are one of my current favourites for their ability to play a very tight tune. Their set last Thursday at Zenith in Paris was an almost perfect performance. They played for just over an hour, which as my companion noted is all one can expect from a band with only two albums to their name; The Cure they are not.

Still, these are two albums of stonking stuff. The new one, Beacon, is a must buy if you haven't already. And it is so, so much better to see them indoors than in a muddy field in Reading where I saw them last. Congrats on a great show boys.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Le Foulard

Lucy Hopkins' current show, Le Foulard, which won the Prague Fringe Festival Creative Award this year, was in Paris for two performances this week. She has been touring it all over the UK this summer and early autumn and is heading off to Australia shortly. Lucky Aussies I say. If you are there, do not miss it.

Lucy has written and performs a one woman Art Show using four characters, or representing four different aspects of the self. It holds the perfect balance between wit and seriousness without descending too far into either. Lucy is a physical performer in that she uses her body to its fullest and it is a joy to watch her move. She also has a voice lovely and versatile enough to sing and more or less simultaneously translate La Vie en Rose.

Le Foulard is scarf in French and she cleverly uses a huge cape-sized one to signal the character changes, some at break-neck speed. This is a simple device that works most effectively enhancing the sense of movement on stage.

My favourite part of the show is her interpretation of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive in a thick Eastern European accent. Hilarious!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Graffiti Latest

Early graffiti by the prisoners in Chateau Vincennes -lit and preserved now for its historical importance.

How might current work be considered in three hundred years?

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hopper, The Grand Palais

Calling all Night Hawks. This is a must see before January.

An extremely well curated exhibition taking its time to show his influences, especially those in Paris, of course, before letting one lose on his journeyman work (magazine frontispieces), etchings and water colours, interspersed with massive projections of black and white film of early twentieth century New York and photographs by diCoria showing Hopper's own influence on contemporary artists.

The reward for all this is in the final room where most of his well known paintings (like Night Hawks, above) are generously hung. The final work in the show is Sun in an Empty Room ,which sums up the ennui of city life where the most important things are a night cap and a woman sitting alone at a window sewing.

A great retrospective and worth every cent of the 12 Euro entrance fee. Be warned though, either book in advance on line or be prepared to stand in a queue for hours, literally. If you want to get in by 10.30am, you 'll need to be to be in line by 8.30am. I kid you not. He is that popular here. Enjoy. I certainly did.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Islamic Art Galleries, The Louvre

Opened by Francois Hollande on 18 September, the new galleries are seriously well worth a visit.

Candelabra beaten from a single sheet of metal

Arranged chronologically, the art works are mainly ceramics, glass, metalwork and calligraphy on all kinds of surfaces. I love art that is basically a celebration of the word.

There is an impressive selection of mediaeval Persian carpets and the mosaic tiles are all fab.

Moghul jewelry and jewel-encrusted daggers could have found their way home in my pocket, along with the odd sanctuary lamp, rock crystal ewer and lustre-glazed bowl.

Worth the price of admission to the Museum alone. Try to pick a less crowded day - public holidays are probably not the best choice.

Frankenweenie, Tim Burton

Opened yesterday in Paris, the latest animation from Tim Burton is a triumph: part-pastiche, mostly lovable if the gothic is your thing. And it is mine.

Inspired by a strangely Vincent Price looking science teacher, Vincent revivifies his dog Sparky. Unfortunately his less well-intentioned class-mates try to imitate him with disastrous results (giant rampaging tortoise/godzilla, weird cat/bat creature and so on).

Set in the same kind of anonymous black and white American suburbia as Edward Scizzorhands, this was the perfect Hallowe'en treat as we are in a city where the night of tricks is not really celebrated.

Five stars all round. Excellent. Go see, no need to take a child.