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Totally Crazy for 25 Years

Maybe you’re tired of hearing about Nice and the South of France…and maybe not. All I can say is that when I got on the train this morning to head back to Paris, thinking of the heat in Paris without air-conditioning in my apartment, the stack of work awaiting me that would make your head spin, and having said goodbye to Henri-le-Cactus and his new friend, “Henriette,” Le Matisse, all my Niçois friends and the Baie des Anges…I was sad.

This is not to say that I love Paris any less than I always have. Paris is Paris and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the world’s most beautiful city (except for the less-than-perfect weather) and living there these last 25 years has been a dream of a lifetime. Now having Nice and the Côte d’Azur in my life about 25 percent of the time, is just about perfect — like having both a husband on which one can depend and a lover to make it exciting, all at the same time, without either one minding or being jealous. (Why can’t we have it all?)

Train Delay Refund

The train back to Paris was delayed more than two hours “thanks” to an accident on the tracks west of Antibes. My daughter’s train to Nice from Paris experienced the same kind of accident, involving a person, which I hope was not a suicide. As I write this, I’m on the train, making use of the time. In First Class, I have a plug and WiFi, a dining car just next door and freedom to move around, so in all honesty, it’s not half bad. Being stuck on a plane is a whole lot worse. And the good news is that I’ll get a refund of up to 75 percent of the cost of the ticket for a delay in excess of 30 minutes. At least there’s compensation for the inconvenience, also not offered by the airlines.

Next week, on September 4th, my daughter and I will celebrate 25 years in the City of Light. When I asked her how she’d like to celebrate, her first response was: “Let’s go to the Crazy Horse!” Lord, I hadn’t been there in many years. While it’s normally an attraction that appeals more to men than women, I can fully understand why she’d want to see it. So I immediately agreed and bought the tickets. Then, I chuckled to myself that a mother and daughter combo would be spectators at an all female nude caberet. How weird is that? But according to the press, even Madonna, Warren Beatty, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, President John F. Kennedy, Christina Aguilera, Prince and Jean Paul Gauthier have been in the audience.

The other Crazy Horse

Alain Bernardin obituaryAlain Bernardin obituary

TotallyCrazyHorse

If you don’t know what the Crazy Horse is, then consider it one of Paris’ main attractions. It IS NOT the Lakota war leader of the Oglala tribe who took up arms against the U.S. government to fight white settlers. Nope. The Crazy Horse Saloon, or a.k.a. Le Crazy Horse, is a cabaret well-known for its nude dancers (all female, naturally, and actually only really topless), who perform a very specific kind of dance routine behind the special effects of particular lighting techniques. The original founder and owner, Alain Bernardin, who opened it in 1951, committed suicide a few days after we arrived in France, on September 15th, 1994. At the age of 78, he shot himself in his office at the club at 2 a.m., but the dancers went on as usual as they were kept hearing about the bad news. He left no note, leaving us all in suspense about why he did it.

I once saw the Crazy Horse dancers perform in front of about 500,000 spectators on the Champ de Mars at the Eiffel Tower in the summer of 2000 as the opening and complimentary act to a Johnny Hallyday concert he called “Le Feu.” We picnicked on the Champ de Mars while he did his thing — sing-scream out his famous lyrics, while he was accompanied by the beautiful and talented topless dancers…live and in person, up front and public. Did anyone blink an eye? No, there wasn’t even a lot of staring. (I was there and remember how shocked I was, not to see the nudity, but the fact that it could be done in such a public place!) I swear this is true. See it for yourself.

It’s not just women on stage — the show is a venue for other performers, such as magicians, jugglers and mimes. Prestigious strippers have enlightened the stage including Dita Von Teese, Carmen Electra, Aria Cascaval, Arielle Dombasle and Pamela Anderson. Bernardin’s vision was to make the show “magic” in every way. The MGM Grand, which once also produced the Crazy Horse in Las Vegas (but, no longer), described the show as “famous for celebrating women in an inimitable, sophisticated and glamorous way. The Crazy Horse show consists of a series of highly aesthetic and visual ‘tableau vivant’ in which exceptionally beautiful and talented dancers perfectly integrate the sensuous choreography of their performances and their spectacular bodies. Each dancer is bathed in richly colored and textured lighting designs. The colors and images from the stunning lighting effects are so overwhelming that it is hard to determine where skin ends and the color reflections begin…The result is a unique show that engages the mind as much as the eye!”

I agree…but, of course, until I see it again after so many years, I can’t really comment. I only hope for it to fulfill those expectations! Stay tuned for a full report in the September 9th Parler Paris Nouvellettre®.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - in Paris, 2002

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

(in Paris, 2002)

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