THE REPUBLIC OF PLEASURE – LA VIE PARISIENNE
18 AUGUST 2018
An extraordinarily large audience of 86 members, testament to the popularity of Michael’s earlier talk on Paris and Baron Haussmann, were led through a journey of the development of late 19th century art, music and dance.
Michael contended that the frothy image of Parisian dance halls, entertainers and singers as expressed in the poster art of Toulouse-Lautrec and others was more than just the “naughty Paris” image of today.
For Paris’s less affluent workers, entertainment was provided by cabarets, bistros and music halls. Bohemian lifestyles gained a different glamour. Amongst the clowns, singers and dancers was the development of a sense of modernity with serious, controversial singers such as Aristide Bruant, avant-garde writers, impressionist artists and the beginnings of modernism. All this led to Paris becoming the centre of La Belle Époque, an antidote to the memories of preceding wars and civil disruptions.
Michael populated his talk with many images of the music halls and the dancers such as La Goulue and Jane Avril, recordings of songs by Bruant and Yvette Guilbert and examples of the posters by Lautrec, the Moulin Rouge the Folies Bergere and the Can-can.
Michael has a passion for Paris and a depth of knowledge that impressed all members of his audience.
Mark Denniston, Course Co-ordination Team