In Bed With Invader
One night in Paris with street artist Invader (SLYT)
Those Americans who are familiar with the name Claude Lanzmann most likely know him as the director of “Shoah,” his monumental 1985 documentary about the extermination of the European Jews in the Nazi gas chambers. As it turns out, though, the story of Lanzmann’s eventful life would have been well worth telling even if he had never come to direct “Shoah.” In addition to film director, Lanzmann’s roles have included those of journalist, editor, public intellectual, member of the French Resistance, long-term lover of Simone de Beauvoir and close friend of Jean-Paul Sartre, world traveler, political activist, ghostwriter for Jacques Cousteau — I could go on, but it’s a good deal more entertaining to hear Lanzmann himself go on, and thanks to the publication in English of his memoir, “The Patagonian Hare,” we now have the opportunity to do so. (previously)
French hospitals have rooms where medical students (internes
) can rest, lunch and vent off steam between calls, but these salles de garde
are not your usual staff room. They are brightly decorated with lively mural paintings showing the current internes
, the doctors and other hospital staff engaging in very (very) explicit sex acts. The frescos are done by the students themselves or commissioned from local artists, and are replaced on a regular basis. Here are some choice examples (sorted by hospital):
, Louis Mourier
, Institut Gustave Roussy
, Robert Debré
Many other images can be seen on the website of an association of former internes
. [Totally NSFW unless you're a medical student training in France
] [more inside]
France has passed a law that all cars must carry a road safety kit
that includes a breathalyzer, .. [more inside]
Le Club des Croquers du Chocolat
(The Chocolate Cruncher's Club
) is an exclusive private association of 150 connoisseurs who gather four times a year to sample and judge the best in French chocolate. Clotilde Dusoilier,
the blogger behind the well-known Paris-based food blog Chocolate and Zucchini, gives her readers a peek inside its workings
. [more inside]
Last year it was Amy Chua, Tiger Mother
(previously on mefi
). This year, Paula Druckerman has written Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
, inspired by a trip to a coastal town when her daughter had temper tantrums and French parents didn't. French kids eat the same food as their parents, and aren't constantly snacking. And "when French friends visited [...] the grownups had coffee and the children played happily by themselves." It's about patience
-- let the kids cry it out a bit, let them learn how to play alone instead of hovering. And perhaps obsess a little less -- the French don't even obsessively buy books about how to parent. Wall Street Journal article, and video interview by WSJ's Gary Rosen
have begun around Europe
after the secret
treaty was signed
in Tokyo last Friday
for Saturday 11 February
. The European Parliament will formally consider ACTA in June.
) [more inside]
This stealthy undertaking was not an act of robbery or espionage but rather a crucial operation in what would become an association called UX, for “Urban eXperiment.” UX is sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde—confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new—its only audience is itself. More surprising still, its work is often radically conservative, intemperate in its devotion to the old. Through meticulous infiltration, UX members have carried out shocking acts of cultural preservation and repair, with an ethos of “restoring those invisible parts of our patrimony that the government has abandoned or doesn’t have the means to maintain.” The group claims to have conducted 15 such covert restorations, often in centuries-old spaces, all over Paris. - Wired.com "The New French Hacker-Artist Underground
In one of the strangest new bids to get tourism dollars, Yves Jégo
, the current veep of France's Radical party and the former Overseas Secretary of State, has announced plans to start raising funds for a new theme park dedicated to Napoleon
. [more inside]
As part of the Festival of Lights, CT Light Concept, created a giant interactive pinball game with 3D projection mapping
on the facade of the Celestine Theater in Lyon. [more inside]
Back in Town
is a song by Izia
, a French rock band fronted by and named for Izïa Higelin. Even though she comes from a showbiz family, the band initially found little favor on French radio. But after a string of blistering live performances
all over France, the self-titled first album became a hit and won a couple of awards at the prestigious Victoire de la Musique ceremony, where Izia performed the song Let Me Alone
. There are a bunch of live performances online, including of Life is Going Down
, a cover of AC/DC's Touch Too Much
and a duet with Iggy Pop
. This past November, sophomore album So Much Trouble was released, featuring such songs as the title track
, On Top of the World
, and my favorite, Baby
Was Dominique Strauss Kahn set up?
This recent NYRB article suggests that there was some serious skullduggery going on, although that doesn't mean that DSK isn't guilty of something
(mostly en français
) is a French collective that explores organic
and abstract geometric [ I
] (PDFs) approaches to the art of origami. Read the white papers, browse the gallery
or watch videos
of artworks being made or being used in still-motion animations
Hanover Historical Texts Project
is a collection of primary source texts from ancient times to the modern era in English translation. There is a great number of interesting texts, for instance accounts of Zeno
, he of the paradoxes, the diary of Lady Sarashina
, a lady-in-waiting in Heian era Japan, a letter from Count Stephen of Blois and Chartres
, a crusader writing to his wife, Arthur Young's travels in France
before and during the Revolution, a report by the American ambassador in St. Petersburg on March 20th, 1917
, immediately after the February Revolution, and finally Petrarch's letter about his graphomania
. That last one is from what is perhaps my favorite part of the website, a trove of Petrarch's Familiar Letters
. But there's much more in the Hanover Historical Texts Projects besides what I've mentioned.
The Solitary Walker
- a blog (mostly) about walking.
35 days, 2822 miles through 9 states at a cost of $252.51 ($7.21 per day).
George 'the Cyclist' Christensen spends a good part of each year
bicycling through a different country and wild camping in places like Iceland
, the foot of Mt Fuji
and around Lake Victoria
; And writing about his travels on his blog from libraries and internet cafés. For the past eight years, too, he has also followed the Tour de France
after first watching upwards of 70 films [in 12 days] at the Cannes Film Festival
Frédéric Back was born in 1924 in France, where he studied drawing and lithography. He was lured to Canada by Jack London's stories
and Clarence Gagnon's paintings
, as well as correspondence with a Canadian pen-pal
. Back moved to Canada in 1948, married his pen-pal Ghylaine Paquin, and was hired by Radio Canada at the birth of their television network
to create still images for display on and to promote moving pictures. The drawings lead to experiments with animations
, which lead to a series of animated shorts, starting with the wordless short Abracadabra
(9:23, YT) in 1970
. You can read and see more about Frédéric Back on his extensive website
, and see more animations inside. [more inside]
The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience.
- Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
Novelist and H.P. Lovecraft biographer
Michel Houellebecq is missing. Houellebecq was due to give a reading from his new work Le Carte et le Territoire
, in the Netherlands on September 12th. [more inside]
is a modern artist who shares her time in France and Spain. She says of her collection Sleepdrunk Vademecum
, "The body is made up of a large set of rounded painting formats. Medical instruments, high precision technology, scientific devices, anatomical models, clandestine laboratories and human representation become the object of study and thought. The bizarre represented objects reflect a mixture of past and future, and an ambiguous clinical atmosphere
flows in them. On many of these painted surfaces, a soft cool-cold gradient isolates the represented elements and gives a non-gravitational character
to the compositions." [via
Architectural theorist David Gissen
has recently been travelling through France to learn about wine. His dedicated Twitter account @100aocs
has attracted the attention of sommeliers, importers, and winemakers. Edible Geography
caught up with Gissen to discuss wine, wine culture, geography, and Gissen's re-thought wine map of France
based on Metro maps such as London's Tube map
How Wine Became Metropolitan: An Interview with David Gissen.
16 of France's mega-rich signed a petition urging the goverment to raise their taxes.
Despite relatively high taxes and a wealth tax
signatories such as the L'Oreal heir and the head of a major oil company, Total, are asking the government
to raise their taxes to help solve the country's financial issues. Original petition
Babies by nobody and for nobody are an institution in France
and a hundred-thousand+ dollar illegal commodity in LA
. [more inside]
Starting last month, the French daily Le Monde
has been publishing an economic thriller in series, called Terminus pour L' Euro
(in French) (The End of the Line for the Euro). The series is behind a subscription wall, but Presseurope has started republishing the series in ten languages, including English
The story narrates the events of summer 2012, as Germany decides to leave the Euro and what follows. It has caused a stir in France, as rumors about the true identity of the author (who signs the series as Philae
, after an island in Egypt apparently) continue to circulate, and some think he is the French agriculture minister Bruno Le Maire
. Some say
that the rumors that led to the precipitous fall
in French banks' stock a few days ago, were due to misunderstanding the fictional character of the story...
that Germany threatened to leave the Euro last year, were dismissed by its Chancellor
, yet as the eurozone crisis develops, no one is certain any more that the series is simply fiction and not a possible, real scenario, advocated
AC GM, nicknamed "the White Mouse", was an heroic resistance fighter
in Occupied France in the period 1940 - 1944 and reportedly the Gestapo's most wanted person
. She died yesterday. [more inside]
Evan Osnos joins a tour group from China as they traverse Europe. In the front row of the bus, Li stood facing the group with a microphone in hand, a posture he would retain for most of our waking hours in the days ahead. In the life of a Chinese tourist, guides play an especially prominent role—translator, raconteur, and field marshal—and Li projected a calm, seasoned air. He often referred to himself in the third person—Guide Li—and he prided himself on efficiency. “Everyone, our watches should be synchronized,” he said. “It is now 7:16 P.M.” He implored us to be five minutes early for every departure. “We flew all the way here,” he said. “Let’s make the most of it.” [more inside]
After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?!
That's right. The Late Late Show
's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer
-- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences
(including the iconic animal puppets
by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance"
by Irene Cara, "On the Floor"
by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka"
by Shakira, "Men in Black"
by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant"
by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
by Wham!, "It's Raining Men"
by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)"
by Tino Rossi.
Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious
-- he responded to Arthur's "homáge
" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
is a French-made Matrix fan film, released on the 21st of May 2011, which has been noted for the high quality of its special effects. The entire 55-minute film is now available to stream for free from its site. [more inside]
There's really not much to find out on early '80s pop chanteuse, Henriette Coulouvrat
. Not even a wiki. Just a long neglected web site
. She's French, and she's dance and she's synth-pop, and seems to be remembered for these two songs, Rockin' On The Red Book
and Paddy Field
, along with several appearances
on French tv
The story begins in 1879. Cheval, then 43 years old, had been working as a rural mail carrier in the southeast of France for 12 years
. Because his daily routine involved walking about 20 miles (32km), mostly in solitude, he did a lot of daydreaming. One day (perhaps while his mind was elsewhere), he tripped over a small limestone rock.
He picked up that stone and over the next 33 years went on to build his dream
, Le Palais Idéal,
an amazing fantasy palace
. [more inside]
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF and likely French Presidential Candidate, was arrested in New York for sexual assualt today.
The Port Authority of New York removed Strauss-Kahn from the first class cabin of an Air France flight ten minutes before it departed for Paris and handed him over to the NYPD, whose Special Victims Unit is handling the case, for questioning. He is expected to be arraigned later tonight. [more inside]
Safari Disco Club / Que veux-tu
double-feature music video for two tracks from Yelle's second album
The Airtight Garage
(some images may be NSFW) is a blog that explores the artwork of Moebius (Jean Giraud), France's most acclaimed comic book artist. It is named after The Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius
, a comic loosely based on Micheal Moorcock's protean hero.
Moebius was recently the subject of an appreciation in Comics Alliance.
"I don't think the chief of police drinks water when he's having a meal."
Members of the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité, the French riot police, are up in arms about a new regulation forbidding them to drink alcohol during the workday. The ban is said to be a reaction to widely publicized photos of riot police drinking beer while policing a high-school student demonstration
"[T]he real target of Western bombers and soldiers is in no way the wretched Gaddafi...For the target of the bombers is definitely the popular uprising in Egypt and the revolution in Tunisia, it is their unexpected and intolerable character, their political autonomy, in a word: their independence." Philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the left's support for the NATO intervention in Libya.
Background: Europe's economic entanglements with Gaddafi's Libya
in the Irish Left Review.
WANTED: Known as 'La Bête' but kills under three aliases. Reddish brown with dark ridged stripe down the back. Resembles wolf/hyena but big as a donkey. Long gaping jaw, 6 claws, pointy upright ears and supple furry tail - mobile like a cat's and can knock you over. Cry: more like horse neighing than wolf howling. Last seen by people mostly now dead.
Wolf, werewolf, hyena, baboon or mesonychid: In many respects the beast of Gévaudan was like other creatures in the annals of cryptozoology - but for one: historical records indicate that, over a 4 year span, it (or 'they') killed around 100 people - eating most of them
. [more inside]
"War has returned
to the Ivory Coast
in the guise of massacres
, a besieged capital
, and a humanitarian nightmare
." Several months after incumbent Laurent Gbagbo stole the presidential election
, the conflict in Cote d'Ivoire has escalated
as the forces of rightful president Alassane Ouattara have reached Abidjan
to force Gbagbo's surrender
. [more inside]
The Légion Étrangère
is a French special forces unit comprised mostly of foreign nationals who wish to fight for France, and the promise of a French citizenship. They are today considered an elite unit, on par with or superior to the British SAS or Russian Spetsnaz, and have in their long history served in campaigns as far-flung as Mexico
, but are most famous for their image as colonial shock-troops in North Africa and the Middle East. Legionnaire fought Legionnaire in the Second World War during the Syria-Lebanon Campaign
, as the Vichy's 6e Régiment Étrangère d'Infanterie lined up against the Allied 13e Demi-Brigade de Légion Étrangère in a critical, yet unsung battle for North Africa. Their first campaign was in Algeria
- will their latest be in Libya?
NintendoFilter: Remi Kart
: Mario Kart in the streets and grocery stores of France (via
). The Legend of Zelda as a 1980s teen movie
, the rest of your life
: "The life and times of Barney Wilen
, the legendary jazz musician who at age 18 was already playing with Miles Davis, and whom many called the “greatest European saxophonist.” Exiled to Zanzibar in the 70s, hero of Loustal's
cult comic strip, The Blue Note
, Wilen was as famous for his brilliant appearances as for his inexplicable disappearances. This film essay reconstitutes his rich, mysterious life even as it attempts to distinguish the man from the myth." (French, subtitled, 54 min) Barney Wilen & Bud Powell - Autumn In New York
:: Cannes Film Festival 1958
:: The Shadow of Your Smile
:: Mary Moor - Pretty Day