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Didier Lestrade: Gays are forgetting their history

Butt (previously) interviews Didier Lestrade, former publisher of classic French gay zines and periodicals like Magazine (scanned archives) and Têtu. “Unlike many young fags today, we knew our gay history. We were learning all the time about all kinds of stuff and we were always eager to lean more…. It freaks me out to think how quickly we went from creating our own history to not caring about gay history anymore! It happened so fast. No one has even begun to collect and preserve all the material from the Paradise Garage, the Saint, etc., and now gay people don’t seem to even care.” [more inside]
posted by joeclark on Jan 7, 2011 - 31 comments

Icky Leak

The French government today said it was the victim of an "economic war" after Renault, the partially state-owned car maker, suspended three top executives over suspected leaks of secret electric car technology. The French industry minister, Eric Besson, told French radio: "The expression 'economic war', while often outrageous, is for once appropriate here." He said the case illustrated "the risks our companies face in terms of industrial espionage, and economic intelligence".
posted by infini on Jan 6, 2011 - 28 comments

Maybe next year.

"The Festival of Lights is an annual event taking place in Lyon between 8th and 11th December 2010. The people of Lyon place candles or little candle lamps in their windows in honour of the Virgin Mary. The origins of the festival date back over 150 years, to 1852 when a statue of the Virgin Mary on Fourviere Hill was to be inaugurated."
posted by IndigoJones on Dec 14, 2010 - 5 comments

Fous ta cagoule!

Fatal, the story of a country bumpkin from Savoie who passes himself off as a streetwise rapper. In reality the satirical creation of Michäel Youn, the French equivalent of Andy Samberg or Sacha Baron Cohen, rap group Fatal Bazooka have already had worldwide European success with Fous Ta Cagoule (an exhortation to attire oneself properly on the ski slopes - English lyrics here) and Parle à Ma Main, featuring Yelle. Other work includes Mauvaise Foi Nocturne and the Sean Paul/Benny Benassi/Eric Prydz-inspired J'aime Trop Ton Boule. Youn is also responsible for the familiar-sounding Comme de Connards and the completely nonsensical Stach Stach which was the number one single in France for almost four months.
posted by djgh on Nov 29, 2010 - 14 comments

A G.I.'s WWII Memoir

Robert F. Gallagher served in the United States Army's 815th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion (Third Army) in the European Theater during WWII. He has posted his memoir online: "Scratch One Messerschmitt," told from numerous photos he took during the war and the detailed notes he made shortly afterwards. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 23, 2010 - 7 comments

Lest we forget

"A pious, peaceful man, York had fought his country's enemy only after great deliberation and had to be convinced that war was sometimes necessary."1 On this day let us remember Sergeant York.
1 Celluloid Soldiers: The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism By Michael E. Birdwell.
posted by unliteral on Nov 11, 2010 - 14 comments

Colette Magny

Colette Magny (1926 – 1997) was a French song writer, composer and singer. Overlooked by the media because of her political engagement, she had success in the 1960′s with her blues-oriented repertoire and a big hit with her song “Melocoton (and gum balls)” (1963). Gifted with a strong and melodious voice, she was one of the few French singers at ease with blues and jazz. She sang the poems of great French poets (Rimbaud, Artaud, Aragon, Villon) as well as the repertoire of great blues and jazz singers (Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday) or her own, very creative, songs. Discover or rediscover the rich voice and soul of the great Colette Magny! Basin Street Blues::French Lullaby::Rock Me More And More::Frankie and Johnny::House of the Rising Sun::"Les Tuileries " chanson, texte de Victor Hugo::more.
posted by puny human on Oct 25, 2010 - 6 comments

La beauté est dans la rue

French general strike is going on. It's against a proposal by the French government to raise the normal retirement age for public pensions from 65 to 67 and early reduced pensions from age 60 to 62. All society is concerned. Voilà the manifestations of high-school students, so damn chic.
posted by - on Oct 23, 2010 - 89 comments

doublin down on new style hip hop with Les Twins

Les Twins at 2010 World of Dance - identical twins Laurent & Larry Bourgeois of Paris (aka Ca’ Blaze and Lil’ Beast of the Criminalz Crew) are turning heads among the b-boys and poppers for their creative "new style" dance moves and freestyle hiphop.
2010 dance battles: vs Bones+Pee Fly VS Laura+Boubou Flexing New Style Dance; vs Old Future Crew; vs MEENR and Russell aka Ironman, pt.1; Part 2
2009: Phone Home and Just Debout pre-selection Paris; 2007: twins criminlaz
At World of Dance, Ruffian posts more background and more clips on Les Twins.
posted by madamjujujive on Oct 17, 2010 - 15 comments

Roman de la Rose Digital Library

The Roman de la Rose Digital Library intends "to create an online library of all manuscripts containing the Roman de la Rose poem." The site currently offers illustrations, transcriptions, and bibliographical data for over one hundred manuscripts. One of the most influential poems of the Middle Ages, the Roman de la Rose was authored in part by Guillaume de Lorris, in part by Jean de Meun (who stepped in four decades later to finish it). Depending on which author is at work, the poem offers very different takes on its allegory of courtly love. The Roman de la Rose soon crossed the Channel as The Romaunt of the Rose, which may or may not be a translation by Geoffrey Chaucer. Notably, the poem's attitude to women spawned what came to be known as the "Quarrel of the Rose," led by Christine de Pizan (in French). In its long afterlife, the poem's influence has been felt everywhere from tapestry to pre-Raphaelite painting to allegorical gardens.
posted by thomas j wise on Oct 12, 2010 - 5 comments

Walking the Rope at 4074 Metres

SKYLINER: A short documentary about highlining in the French Alps.
posted by gman on Oct 12, 2010 - 10 comments

Mocking the Burqa Ban in France

Les Niqabitches stroll around Paris fully veiled from the waist up, but in hotpants and high heels waist-down, to protest the burqa ban in France. Also calling themselves Mi-putes, Mi-soumises, a pun on the admirable organization called Ni-putes, Ni-soumises, they believe the ban is unconstitutional, as calls for similar bans occur in other European countries.
posted by Azaadistani on Oct 5, 2010 - 96 comments

Welcome to the Evil Federated Empire of Europe

Europe according to... is a project to map stereotypes of European countries according to other countries and groups of people. [more inside]
posted by desjardins on Sep 22, 2010 - 57 comments

No Baggage Challenge

Rolf Potts will travel through 12 countries in 42 days, with his current location updated here. He intends to do all this with no luggage, no backpack, no man purse -- not even a fanny pack. [via mefi projects]
posted by gman on Sep 15, 2010 - 51 comments

The Lady Was a Spy

Eileen Nearne was found dead in her flat in Torquay on September 2, apparently alone and forgotten. But it turns out, she was neither.
posted by CheeseLouise on Sep 15, 2010 - 18 comments

Journeyman Pictures

Journeyman Pictures has uploaded nearly 4000 videos to YouTube. Many of these are trailers for the documentaries they sell, but they have also posted hundreds of full-length videos. Most are for short documentarie, but there are a lot of features too. It's somewhat daunting to explore, but the playlists are a good place to start, and so are the shows: Features, Shorts, News and Savouring Europe, a European travelogue series. Here's a few interesting ones: Gastronauts, about French culinary students working to make astronaut food more palatable, Demon Drummers, about student Kodo drummers, India's Free Lunch, about the effects of free school lunches on Indian society, The Twitter Revolution, about YouTube and Twitter's role in the 2009 Iranian uprising, Europe's Black Hole, about Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova, Small Town Boy, about a gay male carnival queen in a small town in England, The Vertigo of Lists, Umberto Eco talks about the ubiquity of lists in modern culture and Monsters from the Id, about scientists in the science fiction films of the Fifties.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 24, 2010 - 10 comments

France asked to repay Haiti billions in reparations.

Many have pointed to the debilitating payments that Haiti had to make to France to compensate slave owners at the begining of the country's history as the key reason why it has been mired in poverty ever since - in stark contrast to it's neighbour the Domican Republic. Now there are calls for France to repay $23 Billion via an open letter. Of course, the US has had it's own debate over this sensitive issue for a while now.
posted by helmutdog on Aug 16, 2010 - 41 comments

A Home Movie Featuring Adolf Hitler (SLYT)

A family traveled to France and Germany in 1938 and shot this footage which features two appearances by Adolf Hitler. It's creepy seeing this Nazi spectacle shot by an amateur. It's a perspective I don't know if I've ever seen. The video opens in France and the Nazi footage starts around 1:45.

The collector writes: "The Basement Collection presents: An 8mm film bought at an estate sale back in the 90's. This reel is part of a series of a family vacation movies to Europe in 1938. On this reel the family visits France and then Germany. The footage of Hitler is from a celebration in the Berlin Stadium on what I think is a May Day celebration (May 2, 1938) then another celebration at Berlin's Lustgarten. (on May 1st). (I think the reel was edited together out of order)."
posted by zzazazz on Aug 12, 2010 - 95 comments

Joe Dassin is alive and well and living on YouTube

Joe Dassin was the son of a Russian jewish American film director a Hungarian virtuoso violinist. [more inside]
posted by mvuijlst on Aug 7, 2010 - 6 comments

Ra ra, ah ah ah, roma, roma-ma, GaGa, oh la-la, don't want your Bad Roma

In the wake of a deadly clash between Roma (better known as Gypsies) and police in the Loire Valley region of France, French President Sarkozy order the French government to “systematically evacuate” Roma illegal immigrants and dismantle their camps, citing "reasons of public order". [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Jul 29, 2010 - 167 comments

Daily Paper for Children Defies the Craze for Digital

Kids in Paris are reading Mon Quotidien, with a devotion that surprises people in this age of everything digital. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 27, 2010 - 19 comments

So you just won the World Cup...

Thierry Henry is one of the biggest stars in Association Football. With AS Monaco, Arsenal, FC Barcelona and the French national squad, he's won about every trophy that there's to win: 1996-97 French Ligue 1, 1998 World Cup, Euro 2000, 2003-2004 English Premier League, and the unprecedented 2008-2009 "perfect season" for Barcelona: Spanish Copa del Rey, Liga, and Supercopa, European Champions' League, European Supercup, and Club World Cup. He's also won a large number of French, English and worldwide "Player of the Year" accolades. However... [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Jul 24, 2010 - 54 comments

Because they're Woerth it

Forget the Ewings, the Carringtons, or the Channings and Giobertis, France is in the grip of the real-life soap opera of the Bettencourts, heiresses to the L'Oréal cosmetics empire, featuring a suave gigolo, a scheming wealth manager, a paradise island, feuding lawyers, embarrassed politicians, squabbling magistrates, New Media, another major multinational, and even a butler with a tape recorder... [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Jul 15, 2010 - 25 comments

Marchons, marchons!

Happy Bastille Day y'all! (previously) Why not celebrate with a few stirring renditions of France's first national anthem? You can get your La Marseillaise traditional, By Edith Piaf, by Django Reinheart and Stephane Grappelli, in a classic movie, in 1907, by a F1 Renault, all punked out, or as a Reggae (a performance of which lead to bomb threats, causing Serge to take the stage and sing it alone.)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 14, 2010 - 33 comments

France denies citizenship to man who failed to assimilate into French society

A Moroccan man whose wife wears a veil has been denied citizenship on the basis that he has failed to assimilate into French society. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Jul 10, 2010 - 91 comments

mutuelles des fraudeurs

Paris Metro's cheaters say solidarity is the ticket. Scofflaws who jump the turnstiles or enter through the exits of the Paris public transit system have formed mutuelles des fraudeurs — insurance funds that pay the fine if they get caught.
posted by hat on Jun 23, 2010 - 67 comments

Another one bites the dust?

Beloved Toronto independent bookstore This Ain't the Rosedale Library is at risk of closing. A rallying of the community might stay the execution, but what happens next? [more inside]
posted by Felicity Rilke on Jun 23, 2010 - 69 comments

the countries of old men drift like the waters

A Tale of Two Films. Bertrand Tavernier's In The Electric Mist nee Dans la brume électrique [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Apr 9, 2010 - 6 comments

Elle est partie!

“But I decided on the Mona Lisa, which was the smallest painting and the easiest to transport.” “So there was no chance,” asked the court, “that you decided on it because it was the most valuable painting?” - From Vanity Fair, the twisting, engaging story of how the Mona Lisa was stolen in broad daylight in 1911. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Apr 8, 2010 - 13 comments

The Man Who Planted Trees

The Man Who Planted Trees (part 2, part 3) is an Academy Award winning 1987 Canadian short animated film directed by Frédéric Back, based on the 1953 story by French author Jean Giono. See also/Previously.
posted by stbalbach on Mar 24, 2010 - 10 comments

Vernacular French signage

Not necessarily “naïve”; more like “vernacular.” Jules Vernacular posts dozens of photos of vernacular or unschooled signage on French buildings (in the site’s punning slogan, lettres œuvrières et incongruités typographiques). As ever, it’s amazing that this typography, most of it hand-drawn, hasn’t been wiped out by progress and regularized into Arial (or the Arial of 2010, Papyrus). [more inside]
posted by joeclark on Mar 20, 2010 - 18 comments

Tree:Kite::Tunnel:Van

A tunnel in Paris becomes famous [more inside]
posted by _dario on Mar 16, 2010 - 73 comments

Hero of WWI. Traitor of WWII. Honored in Milltown, NJ.

A Local Street and a Lesson in History [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 7, 2010 - 20 comments

Stolen Descartes letter found at Haverford by Dutch scholar's online detective work

A letter by Rene Descartes, stolen in 1840s, recovered in 2010 by online detective work. The letter was stolen by Guglielmo Libri, inspector general of the libraries of France, who stole thousands of valuable documents and fled to England in 1848. Since 1902 it's been in the collection of Haverford College, its contents unknown to scholars, and nobody there realized that it was an unknown letter. But because they had catalogued it and recently put their catalogue on line, Dutch philosopher Erik-Jan Bos found it "during a late-night session browsing the Internet". (A Haverford undergraduate thirty years ago had translated it and written a paper on it, in which he recognized that the letter was unknown -- but nobody followed up and the letter had sat in the library since then until it was listed online.) The letter includes some last-minute edits to the Meditations, and some thoughts on God as causa sui. Haverford, whose president was a philosophy major, is returning the letter to the Institut de France.
posted by LobsterMitten on Feb 26, 2010 - 21 comments

Casanova's "Histoire de ma vie"

Remembering the pleasures I enjoyed, I renew them, and I laugh at the pains which I have endured and which I no longer feel. Of Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt ‘s Histoire de ma vie, Kenneth Rexroth wrote: Purity, simplicity, definition, impact — these qualities of Homer are those of Casanova too. … He has equals but no superiors in the art of direct factual narrative. ... Time and its ruining passage color all the book. His sense of his own imminent death lurks in the dark background of every brilliantly lit lusty and bawdy tableau. After an unusually colorful history, the manuscript has been donated to France's National Library. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 18, 2010 - 6 comments

Scalp the Zazous

"Imagine, amid the grey serge of wartime France, a tribe of youngsters with all the colourful decadence of punks or teddy boys. Wearing zoot suits cut off at the knee (the better to show off their brightly coloured socks), with hair sculpted into grand quiffs, and shoes with triple-height soles - looking like glam-rock footwear 30 years early - these were the kids who would lay the foundations of nightclubbing. Ladies and gentlemen, les Zazous." [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Feb 8, 2010 - 15 comments

Georges Méliès, the Cinemagician

He invented or popularized a startling array of the fundamental elements of film: the dissolve, the fade-in and fade-out, slow motion, fast motion, stop motion, double exposures and multiple exposures, miniatures, the in-camera matte, time-lapse photography, color film (albeit hand-painted), artificial film lighting, production sketches and storyboards, and the whole idea of narrative film.
By 1897, in a studio of his own design and construction – the first complete movie studio – his hand forged virtually everything on his screen. Norman McLaren writes, "He was not only his own producer, ideas man, script writer, but he was his own set-builder, scene painter, choreographer, deviser of mechanical contrivances, special effects man, costume designer, model maker, actor, multiple actor, editor and distributor." Also, his own cinematographer, and the inventor of cameras to suit his special conceptions. Not even auteur directors such as Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, John Cassavetes, and Stanley Kubrick would personally author so many aspects of their films."
Inside: 57 films by Georges Méliès, the Grandfather of Visual Effects. [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Feb 3, 2010 - 31 comments

"A giraffe, refusing to condescend to all the fuss, stood calmly in the rising water and later died of pneumonia."

Around the time of the flooding in Troyes a plant in the south-east of Paris which supplied compressed air to the owners of ‘pneumatique’ equipment – lifts, ventilation, industrial machinery – was submerged. Parisians were fond of compressed-air technology. It was how the postal service delivered mail from one office to another in small brass shuttles propelled along a network of tubes. It was also used to keep the clocks ticking on the streets of the city and, by subscription, in private apartments. When the plant went underwater during the night, pneumatic time stopped dead.
Pavements Like Jelly is an article by Jeremy Harding describing the 1910 Great Flood of Paris which started 100 years ago today. Photo exhibition with 1300 photographs focusing on Paris. Even more photos, taking in the entire Seine. Both sites are Flash heavy, for a smaller selection of non-Flash pictures go here and here. [1910 Paris Flood previously on MetaFilter]
posted by Kattullus on Jan 21, 2010 - 14 comments

La Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet de Castelnaudary

"Our sole purpose is to defend the glory and the quality of our cassoulet."
posted by Joe Beese on Jan 12, 2010 - 33 comments

Eric Rohmer, French filmmaker, dies at 89

"In many films, people never discuss ideas, whether moral ideas or political ideas. And if those kinds of discussions are in fact introduced, they always ring false. But I think I've managed -- and this is what I'm happiest about with my films as a whole -- I've managed to show people discussing morality, whatever that morality might be, in a completely natural way." Eric Rohmer, French filmmaker and editor of Cahiers du Cinema, has died at 89. [more inside]
posted by tractorfeed on Jan 11, 2010 - 40 comments

Si Star Wars avait été Français...

French Star Wars (SLYT), takes a different approach than the turkish adaption. (via cynical-c)
posted by ts;dr on Jan 9, 2010 - 42 comments

Eiffel Tower blueprints

So you want to build your own Eiffel Tower. Then you'll need 7,300 tons of iron, 2.5 million rivets, and some blueprints. (You may also need a copyright lawyer.)
posted by Joe Beese on Dec 29, 2009 - 10 comments

French politics lip dub

So the French do lip dub too? Sometimes it's good and fun (starring employees of the W9 TV channel) and sometimes bad and corny (starring many French political celebrities from president Sarkozy's party, such as the minister of economic affairs and the secretary of state for sports).
posted by rom1 on Dec 14, 2009 - 10 comments

Ça vous étonne / Mais c'est comme ça

5bis rue du Verneuil is the home of Serge Gainsbourg in Paris. This short film peels off the layers of graffiti left on the wall there.
posted by creeky on Nov 22, 2009 - 12 comments

The Hand of God, Part Deux

The world of soccer has been rocked by a French player's game-defining handball in the much-anticipated qualifier match between France and Ireland. Thierry Henry has admitted to the offense, but said ultimately it is the duty of the linesman to make the call. His action and subsequent admission have drawn strong reactions, including attempts to vandalize his Wikipedia page. [more inside]
posted by lovermont on Nov 19, 2009 - 112 comments

The Economist: The World in 2010

In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.

The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 14, 2009 - 60 comments

The Surprisingly Accurately Named Thirty Years War

The Thirty Years War is a website covers that ginormous kerfuffle that consumed Europe in the first half of the 17th Century from the Second Defenestration of Prague to the Peace of Westphalia. It has a handy map with a place locator which will help you tell your Schweidnitz from your Schweinfurt. Here are some other maps, The Religious Situation in Central Europe about 1618, Principal Seats of War, 1618-1660 and Europe in 1648 - Peace of Westphalia.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 29, 2009 - 55 comments

Quoi, moi me préoccuper?

In 1948, in the aftermath of the Second World War, with Europe still in ruins, three young Belgian comic strip artists, Joseph Gillain (aka Jijé), Maurice de Bevere (aka Morris) and André Franquin, crossed the Atlantic with the intention of settling in the US. All three would eventually return to Belgium, their hopes of working for Disney ultimately dashed by the turmoil of the McCarthy years. However, in the meantime they made the acquaintance of their colleagues of the Charles William Harvey Studio in New York, including a cosmopolitan young wit named René Goscinny. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Oct 29, 2009 - 37 comments

Jean Fouquet

Jean Fouquet, peintre et enlumineur du XVe siecle is an exquisite French-language exhibition devoted to the fifteenth-century painter Jean Fouquet. Fouquet--known, among other things, as the painter of (possibly) the first stand-alone self-portrait--is best remembered for the Melun Diptych, now split between two museums. His illuminations include the Book of Hours of Étienne Chevalier and contributions to the Book of Hours of Simon de Varie, among others.
posted by thomas j wise on Oct 22, 2009 - 7 comments

Podcast about the history of the Normans

Norman Centuries is a new podcast by Lars Brownworth, best known for his podcast series 12 Byzantine Rulers (previously). Norman Centuries, as the name suggests, recounts the history of the Normans, those literal vikings who gained Normandy and then England, Sicily, Malta, Antioch and, well, a whole heck of a lot of other places too. They were a conquering bunch. First two episodes are out with more to follow. [iTunes link]
posted by Kattullus on Oct 15, 2009 - 18 comments

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