Sophie Marceau and 007
© 1999 Danjaq LLC/K.Hamshere
Paris is not enough
by Georgina Oliver
Talk about The World is Not Enough, the Bond blockbuster co-starring French actress Sophie Marceau... To this citys new centurians, Paris isnt enough! They want the old-world charm of their arrondissement plus the buzz of belonging to the global village. On Saturday, they raid Le Bon Marché department stores Grande Epicerie for world food, then hit the club scene in search of new sounds that take world music one step further...
One DJ is not enough. Hence the success of mambo/afro beat/sophisticated house compilations recorded at uptown nightspots like the Budha Bar and Hôtel Costes.
One club is not enough. Every two or three months Mélisandre and her merry gang of helter-skelter hedonists organize a Busparty aboard a battered yellow bus that transports electro/techno/ethno groovers from one music venue to the next: Batofar, Rex, etc. Ticket: 50F. Contact: 01.49.23.16.40.
Laid-back hippy chic is not enough. Described by Time Out as a soon-to-be-giant cross of chanson, jazzy rhythms, Latin and Oriental style, French band Paris Combo has taken tout le monde by storm with a très speed CD titled Living-room. The frantic five play La Cigale (120, bd Rochechouart, 18e, tel: 01.49.25.81.75) on March 21.
Le Paris Bagdad
Promoted as un groove d'Orient, Iraqi musician Fawzy Al-Aiedy mixes trance and tradition. Dubbed Le Paris Bagdad, a series of January gigs at congenial theater/concert hall LEuropéen heralded the release of his latest album Oud Aljazira (BUDA Musique).
A French take-away chain reckons one menu is not enough. Throughout Paris and the banlieues, Mondo Express delivers four kinds of food: Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Italian. Nine hotlines are available, along with an Internet address: http://www.eatonline.fr
Brit clothes designer Paul Smith is the éminence grise behind another mondo catering concept. On the fifth floor of the Printemps de lhomme menswear store, in a decor reminiscent of a travelers scrapbook... the World Bar proposes tastefully exotic designer dishes elaborated by Flo, along with an international wine list. (Tel: 01.42.60.93.30.)
A trendy transatlantic magazine called Nylon (as in New York/London) spotlights Paris one-stop boutiques filled with objects from around the world... If its not enough to browse and shop, you can lounge, eat and read too. The most minimally exotic? Zampa. Incense. Ethno-techno music. XXL candles from Santa Cruz. Transcultural attire and furniture. (10, rue Herold, 1er, tel: O184.108.40.206.24.)
The most experimental? Le Laboratoire (36, rue du Temple, 4e, tel: 01.48.87.14.78.) A tiny city souk with a DJ label (Neurospora/Mixcity), le labo unearths creative sparks. Soundmakers. Visual artists. In January, Françoise Lejeune whose show was titled New York is my house. To February 29, Clémentine Balairs Mendiants d amour paintings. Talented young designers are handpicked by fashion coordinator Khiet, whose own psychedelic spring/summer collection was presented at the Opus Café last month.
At the helm of Le Balzac (1, rue Balzac, 8e, tel: 43.59.05.00), an independent cinema just off the Champs-Elysées, Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky considers that its not enough to tote up entries. An annual fee of 250F (350F for couples) entitles members of Le Club des amis du Balzac to reels of privileges. And... Schpoliansky emcees thematic soirées featuring concerts and laptop buffets that place each movie in its cultural context. Recently, an all-night Russian screening sponsored by Petrossian. Next? An advance box office bookings absolument obligatoires Restos du coeur benefit combining Ettore Scolas La cena with Italian music and gourmet antipasti and deserts prepared by top French chef Pierre Gagnaire. (Feb 15, 200F.)
The Balzacs most successful film this season? Wim Wenders Cuban music documentary Buena Vista Social Club. Where to dine after such a wow! world movie experience? At the Paris branch of legendary Havana bar/restaurant B del M. (Bodeguita del Medio, 10, rue des Lombards, 4e, tel: 01.44.59.66.90.)
What could be more exotic than a Gallic edition of the National Geographic (15F)? The December issue included a photographic essay by David Alan Harvey capturing the mysterious stormy weather luminosity of Trinidad, Cuba, while Februarys zeroes in on the Chinese New Year and the Fleuve Amour or Black Dragon river.
Spicy Saint Valentines
Think the world of someone? Want February 14, 2000 to be special? Then, reserve for a luxury Thai tête-à-tête complete with candles,
orchids, indoor waterfall and spicy delicacies. (The Blue Elephant,
43, rue de la Roquette, 11e, tel: 01.47.00.42.00).
A feature focusing on the theft of Picassos Dora Maar sculpture. A tribute to the Latin quarter by Umberto Eco... Such is the editorial content of La Gazette de Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a new 10F magazine published by a group of Left Bank aficionados. (Contact: O220.127.116.11.39.)
What is the future of experimental composition in an era dominated by electro/techno/world music? Check that out at the 10th edition of the Maison de Radio France's Présences festival. All concerts free. (Feb 4-20, London Sinfonietta Feb 8 & 9; reservations: 01.42.30.15.16.)
DJ promoter Art 226 hosts free events. Part lounge (Salle Wagram), part 100% house (Salle Montenotte), their latest Open House featured art installations as well as young video and filmmakers. Pass infoline: 01.42.49.19.81.
Paris Combo's "Living-room" CD
"Costes la suite" compilation
Cinema La Balzac's millenium greeting card
© Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky
The World Bar
courtesy of Printemps/Marketing
Mondo Express world food
courtesy of world express
"Open House" flyer