by Georgina Oliver

Did you say bizarre ?

A strange atmosphere pervades pre-Halloween Paris... In everything from advertising to music videos, a plethora of uncanny computerized images exorcize the bizarrest fin de siècle fantasies.

Bizarre Billboards

The 3 Suisses mail order firm launched its fall/winter catalog with a series of billboard and magazine ads titled "C'est une chance d'être une femme" (loosely, "Lucky to be a woman") featuring — among other stunning visual juxtapositions — two bald men with antlers on their heads, contending for a lady in a red dress, in the depths of the woods.

Scary Movies

Beyond the hype surrounding Hollywood blockbusters such as "Star Wars" and "Sixth Sense," a new generation of supernatural movies has cast a spell on the city. After dark, Champs-Elysées cinema-goers queue to see Johnny Depp in Roman Polanski's "The Ninth Gate" and everybody's talkin' about "The Blair Witch Project," a documentary-style indie horror flick, dubbed "one of the most frightening films ever made."

Monster Morphing

Even TV-glued duvet-clutching couch potatoes are a prey to the inescapable presence of digitally-designed monsters. "X-Files" is back on M6, a horror-hooked French television channel which also broadcasts a "Saturday night trilogy" spotlighting Sarah Michelle Gellar in the role of Buffy, an alien-looking blonde whose mission on earth is to combat present-day vampires. And, TF1 presents "Animorphs," a children's program in which a gang of ultra-cool schoolkids mutate into all kinds of animals in order to fox the enemy: a yucky species of slugs called "Yirks" who literally infiltrate their victims' brains by slithering into their eardrums.

So much for family programming... On MTV Europe, the best clips are bizarre. The eerie video promo of David Bowie's "Hours" album uses "morphing" technology to describe the angst felt by a man who literally sees himself aging in front of the mirror.

Witch Album

In another life, rebel/top model turned singer/composer Leslie Winer used to make an exhibition of herself by brandishing her middle finger at international catwalk audiences. In her current incarnation, she has released a CD named "Witch." A bizarrely sophisticated mix of protest and "hubble, bubble... dabble with dub."

Spooky Woolies

A bizarre boutique in the heart of Les Halles sells fluffy, hairy woolen garments and eccentric fashion acccessories to notorious wild things like actress Béatrice Dalle. While this arty den highlights the owner's extraordinarily inventive collection, several "designer corners" are devoted to young stylists as well as to "labels-to-watch" like Kiliwatch. Antoine Akopian, Le Magicien de la Maille, 12, rue Pierre Lescot, 1er, tel:

Strange Pix

In spite of its reputation as an ineffable temple of minimal chic, Colette has always showcased creative spirits with a quirky urban attitude. From October 4 to 30, Paris' number one concept store focuses on très leather American designer Jeremy Scott's favorite photographer, Marcus Mâm, then shows "Sidewalks," a succession of incongruous New York City pix by Jeff Mermelstein, (Nov 1 to Dec 4, Colette, 213, rue St-Honoré, 1er, tel:

Digital Weirdos

More amiable than their gothic/metallic/post-punk... counterparts, a new strain of DJ-struck weirdos has taken control of the club scene. The rentrée has been and gone, yet all will recall dancing the night away at Emporio Armani's September of '99 "electrosound" party, before letting it rip at the last Techno Parade of the century.

Paris-born, Reading-bred Jacques Lu Cont is only 21, but his pop- and disco-influenced electro-ecstatic Les Rythmes Digitales recordings and concerts are already world famous. His dress code? Spiky red hair. And anti-fashion elegance. His latest hit? A CD called "Darkdanger."

3 D Dracula

Fancy a "dark and dangerous" Christmas present to outscare the turn of the millennium? A computer game produced by Index in association with France Télécom Multimédia and Canal + Multimédia envisages a chilling possibility... What if Dracula were still alive? For a sneak preview of "Dracula résurrection," consult, (PC release date: October 20; Mac version out in November).

National Geographic

A further September inaugural was the launch of the legendary National Geographic magazine's French edition. A key publishing event marked by an exhibition of hand-picked National Geographic pix, simply titled "Les Photographies." To Oct 25, Musée de l'Homme, Palais de Chaillot, 17, place du Trocadéro, 16e, tel:

Pleats Please

Fans of Japanese designer Issey Miyake's "can't crease 'cause it's already creased" Pleats Please fabric will be pleased to learn that a new outlet for this functional yet hyper-creative collection has opened. Pleats Please Issey Miyake, 3 bis, rue des Rosiers, 4e, tel:

Accoustic Thrill

For informed eardrums only? Not necessarily. As always, Radio France's recitals target "good listeners" with an "inquiring ear"... On October 9, at 6pm, the increasingly popular Percussions de Strasbourg will execute a selection of experimental and multicultural sound pieces in the Maison de Radio France's Olivier Messiaen studio/concert hall. Featuring John Cage's "First construction in Metal" as well as several créations mondiales, the program is meant to be perceived as a game of "musical mirrors." (116, avenue du Président Kennedy, 16e; tickets 50F, reservations:

Psychedelic Eurostar

To celebrate the re-release of the fab four’s 1968 motion picture experiment “Yellow Submarine” as a home video, DVD and CD remix, the Eurostar cross-Channel railway has unveiled a specially “customized” Beatles Express. The magical mystery service will run three times a day between London, Paris and Brussels until December. Asked if he planned to ride the psychedelic shuttle soon, Paul McCartney said “I won’t go on ceremony... I’ll just show up on it one day.” Which means the artist formerly known as “the cute Beatle” could pop on the train anytime at all.

Brooke Nevin in "Animorphs"

Bowie's new album cover using morphing tehnology

Leslie Winer's "Wtich" CD cover

Woolen ensemble by A. Akopian

Incongruous photo by Jeff Mermelstein

Les Rythmes Digitales "Darkdanger" CD

Pleats Please fall/winter 99/2000 creation

Eurostar's "Yellow Submarine" express