French Performance Art (cont’d) So

French Performance Art (cont’d)

So Laurent Laurent was more “Laurent Laurent” than i ever could have imagined.

We met him in a very charming hole in the wall place in the 10th. Laurent Laurent is man of many talents, he writes, he dances, he puts on art shows. He also puts away his drinks with a vengeance. His gig right now is his group “MalsapĂ©-Paris”, which is French slang for “Badly Dressed – Paris”.

He takes a quick and deep drag off his cigarette and leans in close to us,

“The question,” [pause for effect],

“is,” [another pause and a quick drag off his cigarette after which he tosses his head back dramatically and exhales],

“here, now, in the year 2001,” [excruciatingly longer pause for effect],

“Who is badly dressed?”

A smile creeps across my face. Since this entire conversation is in French i’m wondering if i am understanding it incorrectly. I’m hoping not because this is the best entertainment i’ve had in months. He continues on, with total seriousness. He explains that through this question, we can get to a deep philosophical understanding of the nature of man. Laurent Laurent’s thesis is that, in fact, no one can be called badly dressed anymore. Everyone has a valid style and statement with their clothes. Everyone has something to say. “What about people who try too hard?”, I ask, “I mean they come off pretty badly don’t you think?” His face lights up, “But no! There you can see the man’s weakness. [pause for effect] The weakness of man.” I’m sort of confused at the point, but i try to go along with it. “You see all styles are valid!” he exclaims. He finally admits that there is one exception, fanny packs. I can’t keep a straight face anymore. It’s a miracle that i haven’t openly started guffawing. So i’m attentive at the table with an enormous grin on my face.

Nils, on the other hand, is hanging on his every word. he keeps saying, “Yes! Yes! You are soooo right.” Much to my relief, i discovered later this was all an act. You see, Nils has this dream to be famous and rich without actually doing anything, except for being goofy. See his Stupid Dance to get an idea of this. So he’s convinced that if goofiness is going to get him to notoriety and riches, performance art is the medium that will expose his talents to the universe. I love Nils, btw. If anyone deserves riches from sheer goofiness, it’s him.

After trying to keep up with Laurent Laurent’s drinking, we’ve each put away 5 beers in under an hour and a half. I’m kind of tipsy at this point, but mostly i’m gassy – that’s a lot of carbonation for under an hour and a half. Our role in this piece tomorrow night is to carry a huge banner through the crowd while smiling in a Vanna White kind of way. The Palais du Tokyo is the spot in Paris this week, so Laurent Laurent must be doing something right to be invited to perform on the Friday night of it’s opening week.

After we parted, Nils and i walked for about 25 seconds, a safe distance away, and then we grabbed one another, the two of us just reeling with laughter. We kept going over parts of the conversation and cracking ourselves up. After we took our separate trains, i continued chuckling to myself the whole ride home. I must have looked like a loon. And all morning today, every time i think about it, i start giggling. My face hurts from all this laughing. Thank god for Laurent Laurent. I was having a really shitty week before last night.

So anyway the performance is tonight. I’m hoping someone will be documenting the spectacle, either in photos, or even better in video. I’ll be sure to give a full report.

Oh and here’s an interview with The Artist that i found – The google translation is in the link… hehehe

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