Fancy a whirlwind tour of Popular Chanson? A broad term referring to contemporary French popular music, "chanson" applies to a startling array of stuff. Just how broad do I mean? Let's start with Grand Corps Malade, sublime slam poet/lyricist. Les voyages en train. Quatre saisons. [more inside]
Frédéric Madre's BOARD is a "diptych joining quotidian poetry and collages of terms issuing from web nomenclature, which is to say all the expressions which one reads without seeing". (via, and source of quoted description)
@mateurdart is a French-language blog on erotic art in a wide variety of eras and styles. (NSFW)
The hippest of today's French youth can't get enough of Tecktonik--a dance (YT), cultural movement and apparent marketing ploy (in French), Tecktonic is a style of dance characterized by its lack of footwork and embrace of various ridiculous arm gestures. Coupled with a strong fashion sense (in French) involving copious amounts of neon, pseudo (or full-on) mullet haircuts and jeans that could be painted on, Tecktonik is a dance craze that, since its birth in 2000 at a Parisian nightclub, has only increased in popularity. [more inside]
Israeli-French singer Yael Naim, recently featured in this Macbook Air commercial, might just be the Next Big Thing. A little bit of soul and a little bit of folk have snagged her Album of the Year in World Music at the annual Les Victoires de la Musique French music awards this year. She currently only has two English songs released - one of them an absolutely lovely song entitled New Soul with an equally charming music video, and the other a slow and jazzy rendition of Britney Spears' Toxic, finally somewhat redeeming that song. Official Site.
Alain Robbe-Grillet, French author, member of the Académie française and subject of this recent Mefi post, has passed away at age 85.
Henri Salvador died yesterday, age 90. "In his 70-year career, Henri Salvador also gained popularity as a dancer, pantomime artist and TV personality. His musical range included prewar chansons, whispery bossa nova, children's favorites and rock 'n' roll." And his English wasn't bad.
YouTube user lightning49 has 160 of videos of French singers which she has subtitled with her translations. Her biggest collection is of Jacques Brel videos but there are also songs performed by George Brassens, Charles Aznavour, Edith Piaf as well as a smattering of other stuff. To start you off with a few songs here are three of my favorite songs by Brel, Je suis un soir d'éte, Le moribond and La valse à mille temp along with Charles Aznavour's La boheme, Edith Piaf's Milord and Georges Brassens' Les passantes.
110% is a classic convivial québécois
sports Habs-centric debating talking heads french TV show, broadcasted every weeknight on TQS from 22:45 to 23:30 and daily episodes are posted online almost in their entirety (usually only missing some minor bumpers) at around 00:30 AM everyday, if you can figure out how to start the weird flash player (tip inside) and stand the chopping of the main part of the show in four randomly-sectionned parts. [more inside]
Luc Sante has started a blog (according to Sasha Frere-Jones). Two entries so far, the first on a book cover from the 60's and the second on a picture of a rockabilly band. From the 2nd blog post: And that is why we come here once a year to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown rockabilly band: to persuade them to rest, and lay off the young. But just have a look at them--they were never meant to be! They should never have tried occupying the same stage, and they should have left music to find its own way home. The piano player, with his incipient Mickey Mouse ears, was clearly destined for a career working with puppets. The twins on guitar and bass were natural-born casino greeters. The other guitarist has the fine tapered hands of a pest-control agent specializing in silverfish. And the drummer--he was meant as an example. What happened to him should have been shown to driver-safety classes in every high school in the country. [more inside]
Are you a Nutella connoisseur? Can you tell the difference between French and German Nutella? An informative 4 minute lesson on YouTube.
Claude François was one of France's most successful popstars, a complete song-and-dance act who remained at the top of the charts for almost ten years before his career was tragically cut short when he tried to change a lightbulb while in the bath (youtube ahead). [more inside]
This post isn't about the great Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine - too many guitar posts recently - it isn't about the Belgian singer Katerine (nothing to say). It is about the French singer Philippe Katerine, who has been changing the way lyrics are written, as well as giving a whole range of new topics to French song. With Je vous emmerde (F*** you) he explains what's on a loser's mind. Excuse-moi is about the things a man focuses on during sexual intercourse in order to avoid early ejaculation. The individual struggling with an meaningless society is always present : Borderline (warcraft version with English subtitles). His lists and his humor clearly link his work with the texts of Poets like Raymond Queneau, Boris Vian (and Serge Gainsbourg), or the prose of Georges Perec. He can be Elegiac, Paradoxical, Funky, prosaic, he's always twofold.
To me, he embodies The classical guitarist with all the clichés attached. But he can also make any material his own, or use forms with humor. He's got good compositions too.
French jazz guitar is often mistaken for swing guitar, or gypsy style guitar. It's true that great french guitarists, like Bireli Lagrene or Christian escoudé, are still playing in this style. But curiosity is a trademark of most of the French guitarists, and even Bireli Lagrene gave a try to various kinds of jazz. French guitarists have been attracted to Be Bop from the start (btw, even Django has been). Maybe you've heard of Sacha Distel ? [more inside]
First she was a dancer but after an injury she had to sing to make a living. She still dances a little during her songs (a rare feat among flamenco cantaoras). I first heard about her when she made a whole record (cd) of Edith Piaf's songs in spanish. You can get a taste here. She talks about it here (spanish + french, excerpts). She sang les feuilles mortes too. But nothing equals seeing her, I think : so here she is with two covers from a recent documentary : a song by Edith Piaf, a song by Lola Flores. Btw, If you get into french songs in the flamenco idiom, try this.
The French Fry Coated Hot Dog and other artisan hot dogs from Korea.
"I've hidden myself and covered myself for too long. Now I want to show myself fearlessly, even though I know my body arouses repugnance. I want to recover because I love life and the riches of the universe. I want to show young people how dangerous this illness is." French Comedienne Isabelle Caro, 27, an anorexic who weighs just 68 pounds, was displayed on Milan billboards (NSFW) for fashion designer Nolita as the city celebrated fashion week. The prevalence of eating disorders within the fashion industry have only recently been addressed officially, however Georgio Armani has complained that since Caro isn't a model herself it proves "even people who take no notice of fashion get anorexic."
The Theatre de la Mode exhibition featured scaled down haute couture designs from Paris's top designers on miniature mannequins, and was intended to help revive French fashion after WWII. If you're in the area, you can go see the exhibition where it ended up-- the Maryhill Museum, established by a rather unique guy named Sam Hill (who also built a full-scale poured-concrete replica of Stonehenge nearby) in a small town in south-central Washington state.Or you can just look at some flickr pictures (hey, look, it's "Metafilter's own" Harvey Girls!) Or get the viewmaster disk.
Some more great french guitar players. Nelson Veras first came to France to meet Pat Metheny (he was 14 then, it has been documented on video by Frank Cassenti) but upon meeting some other jazzmen , he decided to stay in France and to experiment in various settings. Robert Crumb isn't exactly a "great french guitar player", but his decision to move to France (his or his wife's decision) and later his responsability in the creation of Les Primitifs du Futur has played a part in the rebirth of ancient french styles ("musette") and the renewed interest in old jazz and blues forms. [more inside]
Flamenco clearly belongs to spain. But so many immigrants came to France to find work or escape from the civil war that there is a small community of guitarists in southern France who are playing it with original voices. Bernardo Sandoval was the subject of a post in mefi music some time ago. Antonio "kiko" ruiz is about to come to the United States with Renaud-Garcia-Fons : their work can be seen here. Serge Lopez is another great guitarist who puts some guitar parts on his website. Salvador Paterna adds to the traditional sound of flamenco both the 'oud and the violin. They are all from or nearby Toulouse.
Take some assorted body armour. Attach an assortment of castor wheels to just about every part of your body and you become Rollerman Flash. His real name is Jean Yves Blondeau, a former design student and proud owner of the world's only rollerblading supersuit. It may be handy for zipping in and out of traffic, but the fun really starts when you roll down an alp QT, reaching speeds of up to 60mph with oncoming traffic. Is this insane, or an extreme combination of inline skating and street luge.
Deleuze's ABCs A year before his sensational suicide by defenestration, the philosopher Gilles Deleuze, known for his refusal to appear on television, offered to set the record straight with close student and friend, Claire Parnet, on the condition that it not be released until after his death. The interview, spanning eight hours, was conceived as an abécédaire, like a child's ABC book, with headings of "A comme animal," "B comme boisson," C comme culture". L'Abécédaire de Gilles Deleuze: [Part 1][Part 2][Part 3]. Overview.
Whether you think they're good PSA's or not, these French Aids Awareness ads are wonderful.
(Definitely NSFW, Single Link, Wired Blog, Animated walrus, cowboy and squid sex)
(Definitely NSFW, Single Link, Wired Blog, Animated walrus, cowboy and squid sex)
A gast-flabbering awesome. single link YouTube post
Stephane Halleux is a French sculpture artist whose work feels like Jules Verne as realized by Tim Burton; the sculptures all share cartoonish steampunk vibe that's really appealing. Sadly, the site is 100% Flash, so no linking to specific favorites, but at the very least the navigation remains fairly straightforward.
L'inventaire Fantôme - an excellent and creepy animated short film (official site). Liked it? You might also enjoy the charming L'Animateur, not least for its soundtrack. Both found via StopMoShorts.
One fast motherf#%*^@$ train warning: video and in french
Like most boys, I grew up dreaming of a life filled with action and adventure. Unlike most men, I was able to live out those boyhood dreams during my five years in the French Foreign Legion. Previously.
Beatboxing in France? Who knew? (warning: lots of YouTube coming up.) The Art of Noise had their Beat Box (and live) . It's all good and well but maybe this beatbox is just a bit more interesting. There's even a very well documented history behind it. The Fat Boys did it, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh did it and we've already seen Super Mario Beatboxed with a flute. Roxorloops takes another turn. And even more French beatboxing.
Verrines are described by the L.A. Times as layered luxury in a glass and are defined as appetizers or desserts that consist of a number of components layered artfully in a small glass. Feast your eyes on these uniquely prepared culinary items. Prepare your own at home by following these sweet and savory recipes.
Karakuri automata are representative of the highest technology in the Edo period (1603 to 1867). Automata were also crafted hundreds of years ago in Europe: The Dulcimer Player by Pierre Kintzing , made in 1772; The Singing Lesson, created by Robert-Houdin; three androids by Jaquet-Droz; the Pooping Duck by Vaucanson (the first link at the top). Ancient robots. The first automaton was created by Al-Jazari: video of his clock. The history of automata [pdf]. Contemporary toy automata. [more inside]
"We are fed up with getting older. Why should we follow the fashion? Stop this mad race towards death."
NewsFilter: War in Iraq taxing the military? Why not just replace our soldiers with foreigners?
The Mapmaker's Wife tells the extraordinary story of Isabel Godin, the first woman to travel down the length of the Amazon. Her journey brought an end to the first scientific expedition to the New World, which was led by Charles Marie de La Condamine.
Another fucking elephant post. This one however is followed up by a link to inhumanly good animation done by another French dude at the same company.
Carnets de voyage : illustrated notebooks of travel (french site)
The Afghan Elvis (with YouTube clip), the Soviet Elvis (played by Tom Hanks), the French Elvis (now seeking Belgian citizenship), the Mexican Elvis, the Swedish Elvis, the Filipino Elvis, the Chinese Elvis, the Sikh Elvis, the Japanese Elvis who became a Prime Minister, and other foreign Elvii.
Port Revel sits at the foot of the French Alps near Grenoble, France. Since 1967 [PDF], its landlocked harbor has been the place to go if you want to learn how to sail a fleet [PDF] of the world's largest ships.