TIPs (This is Paris) appears regularly on Tuesdays (discipline prevailing)
Located on a less scenic section of the Canal St. Martin, Point Éphémère is nonetheless a gem of a destination for those seeking a dynamic and alternative arts center. A former construction shop, Point Éphémère owes its radical transformation to L’Usine Éphémère, a nonprofit association whose mission is to rehabilitate industrial sites for creative purposes.
It had been awhile since I stopped by Point Éphémère. After a good concert this past Saturday – part of the Ici and Demain festival – I wondered why I had stayed away so long.
The sprawling venue wears no less than 6 hats: rehearsal space, artist studios, gallery, bar, restaurant, and concert hall. Grab a drink with friends, browse the artwork on the walls, eat a little something, then hear some music. What more could you want? (Answer: spring to come, so we can have an apero by the canal!)
No longer the queen of nightlife (ok, reality check – I was never the queen of nightlife), the 6:30 concert time struck me as strange – and completely welcome given my growing granny tendencies.
The concert hall is an intimate, dark – well, hole in the wall – capable of housing up to 300 people. The surroundings matter little once the music starts, however, and can actually add to the enjoyment. The small room ensures you’ll get a good look at the performers (unless someone really tall steps in front of you). I like seeing how performers hold up under the bright lights, watching the minutia of their craft.
Four musicians took the stage, calling themselves Lilt. I was already sold when I saw that a cello was one of the instruments. I love when classical instruments (especially the violin and cello) are used in rock/pop music. Opens up so many possibilities.
As soon as the girls fronting the band opened their mouths, the sale was complete. I’m a sucker for harmony. Two pretty voices are better than one, right? It was clear these talented songstresses spent many a long night up there in Nord Pas de Calais where they’re from making sure their voices match up just right.
Lovely as the songs were, at times the lyrics left something to be desired. For one thing, they were singing in English, obviously not their native language. Props to them for that, except in some lines the meaning got a little confused and I was pretty aware of the accent. ‘The’ often came out as ‘zee’, but unlike the French I don’t ridicule accents. I think they’re charming.
I had to stifle a laugh, though, when one of the songs opined “there’s a doppelganger sitting on the floor.” Really? A doppelganger sitting on the floor? Let me try to picture that.
They were such sweetcakes, though, and harmony in a world of conflict means I’ll overlook a lot. During a pause for re-tuning they asked if anyone (including the band members) could dance to fill up the increasingly awkward silence.
It was then that I remembered why I hadn’t been to Point Éphémère in awhile. I had come for a dance class – some method called ‘Axis Syllabus’ – and I quickly learned that this particular technique seemed to consist almost entirely of spinning around in circles. I was flat on my face in less than 15 minutes.
I don’t hold it against Point Éphémère, though, and I think my nausea has passed. I just bob my head up and down now like everyone else and enjoy the sweet tunes.
Check it out:
200 Quai de Valmy
(Metro Jaures, Louis Blanc)
Website (with some parts even in a funny English!): http://www.pointephemere.org/
To listen to some of Lilt’s lilting tunes, click here.