Yes, it is called something like the little happiness bar, the Ptit Bonheur la Chance, but last night it was real big happiness at the little happiness bar. All you have to do is check out the videos I caught of the jam sessions upstairs that followed the open mic to see that this was real, bona fide, big time happiness jam shit.
I mean, this night at one of the best open mics in the city just went on from start to finish in the same happy nice way. And then when the bar closed at 2 AM, it was off to another bar in the area where we ran into numerous Bonheur people and people from other bars, including, hey, the Highlander and the Coolin – two other open mic bars I write about frequently.
It was such a great night last night at the open mic, speaking to people, playing music, listening to other people’s music, etc., that I was more satiated than usual, and have decided to keep this blog item to a minimum, pack my bags and get off to Milan tomorrow. Hoping to find music other than opera….
Curious mixture last night was. But in Paris, the pickings are slim. (How can I slide into cliché?)
I had two or three choices and went for two of them: One was my friend Baptiste Hamon, who calls himself and his band “Texas in Paris.” And he is original and authentic, despite being a Frenchman with a degree in chemical engineering from a university in Sweden. What? Forget I ever said any of that. Just check out the videos I did of him playing at l’International last night. And if that is not enough, check out the Paris In Texas myspace site.
Baptiste is very, very cool. And I must agree with the summation of one of his co-workers who saw him perform last night for the second time. “Baptiste,” said the friend as we stood outside the International – a cool bar with a concert space in the basement, located near the metro Menilmontant, “When you perform you look like you’re having an orgasm.”
I told the friend not to give Baptiste a complex. But I knew that such a statement never would give Texas in Paris a complex. It is pretty closely true, that statement, and I added that this was possibly what made the act acttractive to women. I’m not sure about that, but Texas in Paris does have its appeal. It’s fuckin’ great, in fact. Check him out – the Frenchman who sings cowboy, country, and his own weird punk country stuff that he has a logo for: “Real punks ride horses.” Riotous!!
Next up at the International was a band called UNCLE MEAT AND THE HIGHWAY CHILDREN. This was of particular interest to me since Uncle Meat is also the name that Frank Zappa gave to Sandy Hurvitz, now known as Essra Mohawk, the former wife of my friend Frazier Mohawk, who ran the circus I worked in as a teenager….
Just as I was getting deep into conversation with Baptiste and other friends and I was offered a drink and a time to hang around at the International, I cut out because I said I had something else planned. I mean, shit, I had paid 34 euros to buy myself a black linen shirt to wear to the Gothic party at the Espace Madeleine, near the Madeleine metro, near the Place de la Madeleine in Paris.
This I did. I’ve only been to about two other such gothic parties, but the phenomenon is extremely interesting, and anyway, I had started the evening by having a date who was supposed to show up to the party. She ended up being very wishy-washy about whether she was going to go or not, and eventually sent me a fake message to the effect that she was there – when in fact she clearly was not. (Don’t bother asking the details on that one, please.) (Oh, yes, not to mention also that I saw at least two other women who looked very much like her; which, this being a gothic party, was certainly of no surprise.)
Suffice it to say that this was the wildest, fullest, most riotous one that I had yet attended. There is something very bizarre, yet interesting, about being amongst a group of people all with similar black clothes, hairstyles, hair color, and musical culture and dance mannerisms. And with this one located in the posh 1st Arrondissement of Paris and only a given number of people allowed out in the street to smoke – or consult telephone messages – and a queue at the doors for the rest wanting to go out – it was a bit of a phenomenon. I took a bit of video of the dancing on my iPhone but it all came out black… not surprising, right?
nightloo gothic night at the place de la madeleine in Paris
A wonderful moment of the evening came when I was outside the locale in the street trying to capt phone messages and a biker with tattoos and a look said to me, “Is it good? The evening? Are there lots of people?”
“Yeah, it’s packed,” I said.
“And people of my age?” he said, and then he smiled and said with the familiar “tu,” in French, “Well, that is to say, of your age?”
Thanks guy, I said to myself, wondering if I really looked as old as he did, and then I said, “Yeah, there’s two or three…. But not many….”