Hugo dark Blue ad
by Georgina Oliver
Blue, bluer, bluest... Know that melancoly mood? Summer is over. And winter is on its way. Suddenly Paris bridges seem bleaker... But, why not take a walk on the brighter side of the blues? What could be cooler than looking at la vie through blue-tinted spectacles?
Rhythm & Blues
If an award had to be given to the coolest object on display at the Champs-Elysées Virgin Megastore, it would probably go to the translucently azure vinyl version of Italian techno/dance trio Eiffel 65s diamond disc Blue (Da Ba Dee). However, this falls hottest musical phenomenon is the cross-fertilization between rhythm and blues and hip hop. Although diehard purists maintain Once a diva à la Whitney Houston always a diva..., the frontier separating R&B from urban tribes is increasingly fuzzy. In a brazen bid for street credibility, Mariah Careys Rainbow album features rap celebs such as Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg and Missy Elliott.
Pitched as the essence of rap and R&B, a former underground fanzine called Da Niouz has hit the news-stands. Surfing back and forth from Mary J. Blige to Public Enemy, to streetwise trends like blues hip hop hardcore... this trimonthly treats soul divas and banlieues emcees with equal respect. (45, rue de la Chine, 20e, tel: 01.48.09.08.86.)
The Real Thing
The Home of Real American Blues, the Maxwell Café on the Ile de la Jatte makes in-house recordings of the dinner-concerts it organizes with a view to producing a collection of live CDs, as well as videos aimed at music channels. While the highlight of the café's November program is a Chicago Blues Festival (Nov 18-20 & Nov 25-27), R&B devotees planning private receptions can rent a 1,000 sq meter locale available for birthday bashes or business wingdings. (Contact: Jean-Lou Ruscon, 16, bd Vital-Bouhot, 92200 Neuilly, tel: 01.46.24.22.00.)
Even businessmen occasionally get the blues. A few years back, a world famous jeans manufacturers sales dwindled to such an extent that its marketing buffs began to feel like desperados. Then a hero came along... French Touch video director/musician Quentin Dupieux agreed to lend a hand by bringing his childhood confidant an egg yolk-yellow flannel puppet out of the closet. Renamed Flat Eric for the purposes of Levis Sta-Prest publicity campaign, Dupieuxs cuddly comfort toy became an international advertising icon. Now, Levis is back with several successful sportswear lines and Dupieux (aka Mr Oizo) is top of the pops. His latest release? An F. Communications CD dubbed Analog Worms Attack. (Levis Store, 161, rue de Rennes, 6e, tel: 01.40.49.07.87.)
Zee sassiest mens fragrance on the market? A ginger and lime-based after-shave/eau de toilette targetting upwardly-mobile executive clubbers... Presented in a cocktail shaker-shaped flacon, Hugo Boss Dark Blue is advertised as the darker side of Hugo.
The Mafia is no laughing matter, yet Parisian movie-goers have been fighting to get into a Hollywood comedy in which mobster Robert De Niro consults a psychologist (endearingly camped by Billy Crystal), when panic attacks start to interfere with his work. The French title of Analyze This? Mafia Blues.
No need to be a shrink to know that November spells nostalgia. Walking along the banks of recently refurbished Canal St-Martin, scenes from French cinema classic Hôtel du Nord spring to mind... Affectionately known as HdN, the films original location is now a fashionable bistro proposing a morale-boosting slate of stand-up comedies and concerts billed as Laughing & Music Matters in Paris. (Hôtel du Nord, 102, quai de Jemmapes, 10e, tel: 01.53.19.98.88.)
How else to shake off those November blues? Perhaps, by joining the clan of fin de siècle revelers who flutter from one futuristic festivity to another. The wilder your weekend, the better! On Saturday, after midnight, head for the Elysée-Montmartres Kings soirée. Nicknamed The Godfather of House NYC DJ Frankie Knuckles was king of the hood on October 16 and the organizers have booked a roster of star remixers. For instance, Laurent Garnier... (72, bd de Rochechouart, 18e, tel: 01.44.92.45.49.) On Sunday, from 8pm to 2am, make a bee-line for the AZBar. Upstairs at Sir Terence Conrans Alcazar restaurant on rue Mazarine, several weekly events including a regular DJ/dinner rendezvous called Back Stage Les Dimanches du Bar de lAcazar are all set to electrify the turn of the millennium. (Reservations: 01.53.10.19.99.)
The falls best fiestas? To celebrate the reopening of Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauches St-Sulpice menswear boutique, ever on-the-pulse concept store Colette and Visionaire magazine threw a black tie Dance Party at the Opéra Garnier. Then, Le Printemps Haussman followed suit, launching its de lhomme department with an equally VIP techno evening.
The place de la Madeleine is generally thought of as a traffic-plagued hive of touristic activity. Yet, a lobby of local traders sees it a potential browsers quarter, with wider sidewalks and pedestrian alleyways. Why not envisage a major overhaul along the lines of the Champs-Elysées successful facelift? On Saturday, December 4, rue Vignon hosts a motor-free street party featuring jazz concerts and fanfares. (Contact: Françoise Bernier, Brasserie Le Select Vignon, tel: 01.47.42.27.83.)
Need to jazz up an evening gown for a special occasion? Then, go see Cerize, a boudoir-like gallery-shop with changing rooms in which clients can try on designer hats, baubles and bags for effect. And where habituées are encouraged to rummage through jewelry box-like drawers in search of the ideal accessory... (380, rue St-Honoré, 8e, tel: 01.42.60.84.84.)
Electro-pop ace Jacques Lu Cont alias Les Rhythmes Digitales is at LElysée-Montmartre November 30
Da Niouz Cover
Blue jeans from Levi's fall '99 catalog
Italian techno / dance trio Eiffel '65
Advertising icon Flat Eic
The Elisée-Monmartre's "King" soirée in full swing