Cultural Agenda/Events - May 2007



For a complete list of the cultural events in Chicago, see the May edition of LIAISON.

For a complete calendar of events for the French and French-speaking associations in your area, please visit their respective web sites.

Please check BUREAU EXPORTS, The French Music Export Offices, for a monthly listing of all French artists in concerts in the U.S.


May 14 at 4 p.m.: Lecture: "Staged Encounters From Théodore de Bry to Captain Cook"
The University of Chicago, Division of the Humanities presents the 2007 Georges Lurcy Lecture to be delivered by Frank Lestringant, Professor of Sixteenth-Century Literature and Director of the Saulnier Center at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne and a foremost scholar of geographical literature of the sixteenth century. His research considers utopias, Renaissance ethnography and cosmography, and the cultural significance of maps and illustrations. The The Georges Lurcy Lecture has sought to bring to the University of Chicago distinguished European scholars of not only history, literature, and philosophy, but also economics, political science, and jurisprudence.
The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow. University of Chicago, Classics 110, 1010 E. 59th Street. Click (here) for flyer. _ For directions and parking:
Persons with disabilities should contact Juanita Denson at 773/834-5880 or

GIF May 14: Lecture: Author Yasmina Khadra
Author Yasmina Khadra will read from some of his latest books and reflect on his life as a writer and will be joined by Malika Zeghal for an informal question and answer session immediately following the lecture. Audience participation will be encouraged. For complete information click (here). $10/members; $15/non-members. In French with English translation. Enter at 54 West Chicago Ave. RSVP: (312) 337-1070.

May 17: Rhone Renaissance: A Celebration of Food and Wine
Join the French Wine Society and enjoy an evening of fine Rhone Valley wines paired with a large selection of hors d’oeuvres prepared by 10+ talented local chefs. Discover the original and best expressions of the spicy Syrah-based reds and supple aromatic Viognier-based whites of the Rhône Valley, one of France’s rising star regions. This walk-around tasting will feature more than 100 wines from prestigious appellations such as Cote Rotie, Chateauneuf du Pape, Hermitage, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Saint Joseph, Cote du Rhone. $50/members, $65/non-members. Visit for tickets. Purchase your ticket before May 4th and receive a complimentary 1-year membership.

ENROLL NOW for the 2007 Midwest Pétanque Tournament - Saturday, June 2
Join teams from Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Kentucky and beyond for this exciting Spring Doublettes Tournament. Tournament will be played in Grant Park with the majestic skyline as the background. Entry fee is $15 per person, $5 for juniors 17 and under. Visit the Chicago Pétanque Club website for complete information and to enroll.

JPEG SAVE THE DATE: June 8, 2007: UFEC 30th Anniversary Gala Dinner "Chicago Blues"
Join the Union des Français de l’étranger à Chicago in celebrating their 30th anniversary at the Annual Dinner Gala. Enjoy cocktails and a gourmet dinner while Shirley Jones and her blues band entertain throughout the evening. Sofitel Water Tower Hotel, 20 E. Chestnut St. To RSVP online click (here). Reservations must be completed before May 29th. $130/members, $145/non-members. Send payment to: UFEC, P.O. Box 11492, Chicago, IL 60611. For further information: (312) 420-2760 or


Sunday, May 6: French Mass at Sacred Heart Parish in Winnetka
Join fellow Francophiles to celebrate France’s Catholic heritage and the anniversary of the end of World War II in France (May 8, 1945). The celebrant of the Mass (in French) will be Father Doug Martis. All are welcome. 5 p.m. at Sacred Heart, 1077 Tower Road (2 blocks West of Green Bay Road). 847.446.0856.

Notre Dame

JPEG May 10: Cinema: Cleo from 5 to 7
Agnes Varda’s signature strategy of mixing documentary and fiction comes to fruition in this intimate and fluid portrait of two hours in the life of pop singer Cleo Victoire as she restlessly awaits the results of a cancer test. With a distinctly feminist take on the French New Wave films of the early 1960s, Varda’s film examines Cleo’s banal yet extraordinary afternoon as she traverses Paris, bouncing back and forth between various men, intercepting and avoiding friends, enemies, superstitions, chance, and eventually love. The camera follows at breakneck speed as Cleo’s existential ennui pulls her through the city. As Cleo’s perspectives are completely rearranged by the specter of possible illness, Varda describes a world of life, possibilities, and love. University of Notre Dame, Debartolo Performing Arts Center, Browning Cinema.

Terre Haute

JPEG May 18-20: Cinema: Look at Me (Comme un Image)
In this wistful comedy of manners, writer-director Agnès Jaoui sets a cast of characters on various collision courses. Central to the story is Lolita, an overweight voice student whose father treats her as some kind of footnote in his busy life. Lolita’s teacher Sylvia also treats her indifferently - until she learns that her father is a famous and influential writer. Knowing that this could potentially help her own husband, a lesser-known writer, Sylvia’s interest in her student blooms. Lolita finds she also has a would-be suitor who happens to have a useful relationship with her father. It is understandable that she has trouble sorting out whose feelings are genuine, and whose are primarily self-interested. Community Theatre of Terre Haute.

Cedar Rapids

JPEG May 2: Concert: Les Yeux Noirs
This Paris-based septet, whose name means “dark eyes,” offers an irresistible invitation to participate in some of the most rhythmic and emotional sounds emanating from any part of the world. Part Gypsy, part klezmer, with a nod to jazz, this is music that has moved people to sing and dance around the world for centuries. Legion Arts. 1103 Third St SE.


JPEG May 4-6: Cinema: Into Great Silence
Nestled deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months, filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and outdoor excursions. The transcendent, closely observed result-a film that seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one-is one of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created on film. More meditation than documentary, this total immersion into monastic life is a rare, transformative theatrical experience. In French and Latin with English subtitles. (162 min.) Detroit Film Theatre.

JPEG May 20: Madame Cadillac Dance Theatre 25th Anniversary Celebration
Join the Alliance Française, Harriet Berg and the Madame Cadillac Dancers in a celebration of their 25th Anniversary on Sunday, May 20th at 2 p.m. at the Scarab Club. This dance group brings to life the individuals and customs of the first French settlers of Detroit. Dressed in 18th Century costumes and accompanied by authentic musical instruments, the company performs the dances and music enjoyed by the pioneers of Fort Ponchartrain. Click (here) for complete information and registration form.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

May 2: Concert: Air
Air embraces the new. Each album is a move away from the last and a journey towards something else. Their music is intellectually stimulating and empty-headedly simple; elegiac and triumphal; beyond pop and yet resolutely of it, too. First Avenue Club.

May 3: Concert: "Les Yeux Noirs"
Sponsored by the Alliance Francaise de Minneapolis/Saint Paul. See above for complete description. Cedar Cultural Center.

4 mai, 6.30 pm: Conférence: « Les manifestations de 2005 et le malaise des banlieues en France »
Brake School Minneapolis et l’Alliance Français de Minneapolis St.Paul présent une conférence en Français de Sébastian Roché, Docteur en Sciences politiques, directeur de recherche CNRS de Grenoble. $5 Membres AF, $8 Non membres. 113 N. 1st Street. Tel: 612.332.0436.

May 11 - June 23: Film: Michel Gondry: The Science of Dreams
Art and film come together easily in the vividly imaginative mind of Michel Gondry. Question and answer with Michel Gondry and Jonathan Rosenbaum to follow screening. Walker Art Center.

May 1 - June 30: Cinema: Michel Gondry’s Short Films
The program includes Gondry’s poignant short film The Letter (La Lettre) (1998) and his animated Three Dead People (2004). Walker Art Center

May 4: Lecture: "The 2005 protests in the French suburbs"
Join the Alliance Francaise of Minneapolis/Saint Paul for this lecture by Sebastian Roche, Research Director at the CNRS in Grenoble. The 2005 protests in the French suburbs. Occurring several months apart, the riots in November and the university and high school student protests brought to the fore questions of segregation, urban precariousness and losses in social standing, but they brought attention as well to intergenerational inequalities at the heart of the social debate. The areas and individuals involved reveal the motivations and dynamics at play. Beyond the recurring and growing tensions between youth from working-class neighborhoods and the police, the intensity of the protests brings into question the « French model of integration » as well as the manner of governing. Sponsored by the Delegation de l’Alliance Française. The Blake School, Northrop Campus, 2nd Floor Library. 511 Kenwood Parkway. Parking in the West Lot. $5 AF members; $8 non-members.
RSVP: 612-332-0436. Seating is limited.

May 11: Reading by Author Yasmina Kadra
When novels by ’Yasmina Khadra’ first appeared, literary France thought it had at last found the authentic voice of the Arab woman. But then she turned out to be a man - and not just a man but a veteran Algerian army officer. Yasmina Khadra is the nom de plume of the former Algerian army officer Mohammed Moulessehoul. He is the author of six other books published in English, among them The Attack and The Swallows of Kabul. He took the feminine pseudonym to avoid submitting his manuscripts for approval by military censors while he was still in the army. Sponsored by the Delegation de l’Alliance Française. Book signing to immediately follow the conference. $5 Membres AF, $8 Non membres. Hotel Sofitel, Bloomington. 5601 W 78th St. Tel: 952.835.0126.

May 29: Concert: Raphy Rafael
The French Academy of Minnesota presents Raphy Rafael singing French songs for children ages 3 to 12. French Academy of Minnesota, 6800 Cedar Lake Rd, St Louis Park.


JPEG May 11-24: Cinema: Avenue Montaigne
Directed By Danièle Thompson, AVENUE MONTAIGNE takes place on the fashionable Paris street from which the film takes its name. People from a theater, an auction house, and a concert hall gather in and around a central bistro where Jessica has wiggled her way into a temporary job, having just moved to the big city. At the auction house, Jacques Grumberg is selling off his lifelong art collection and trying to reconnect with his son, Frédéric. At the concert hall, classical pianist Jean-François Lefort is tired of being on the road and wants to settle down into a more easygoing lifestyle, much to the consternation of his manager/wife, Valentine. Meanwhile, at the theater, soap opera star Catherine Versen is trying desperately to impress director Brian Sobinski in order to play Simone de Beauvoir in his next film. And in the middle of it all is wide-eyed Jessica, who has an innocent love of life that captures the heart of just about everyone she comes into contact with. Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


May 4: Concert: "Les Yeux Noirs"
Fronted by two violin-wielding brothers, the group incorporates drums, electric bass and guitar into their own compositions of this nomadic music that perfectly reflects the lives of a persecuted people in exile and their unshakeable will to live. At home everywhere from churches to biker clubs, this French group weaves their magic with extraordinary energy. Scott Recital Hall, Holland Performing Art Center.


GIF May 25: Concert: May Music - L’Enfance du Christ
James Conlon leads a special multimedia performance of Berlioz’s L’enfance du Christ at Music Hall. The work, which tells the story of the birth of Christ and which Berlioz described as a trilogie sacrée, will be accompanied by a visual presentation assembled by curators at the Cincinnati Art Museum displaying various artists’ depictions of the nativity story projected onto a screen. James Conlon leads the May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, with soloists mezzo-soprano Michèle Losier, tenor John Aler, baritone William McGraw and bass-baritone David Pittsinger. Sponsored by Len & Sherie Marek. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra Music Hall


May 4-6: Cinema: Indigène
For complete Cinematheque schedule click (here).
The Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque.

Cleveland Heights

GIF Through May 20: Theatre : Tony Sandler in "Chevalier: Maurice & Me"
Kalliope Stage Theater is pleased to present Tony Sandler, of the famous Sandler and Young singing duo, starring in the life story and music of the legendary performer Maurice Chevalier, star of the Academy Award-winning film "Gigi." Kalliope Stage.


JPEG May 18-19: Cinema: Towards Mathilde
Directed by Claire Denis (2005), Towards Mathilde is an intimate portrait of Mathilde Monnier, France’s leading contemporary choreographer. Denis captures the radical choreographer as she explores the birth, formulation, and performance of several new pieces. With music by P. J. Harvey. Wexner Center for the Arts.

JPEG May 23: Cinema: Chris Marker X 2 : The Sixth Face of the Pentagon & The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer
The Sixth Face of the Pentagon offers firsthand documentation of the antiwar march on the Pentagon of October 21, 1967, in which Marker participated, and so has a place in the ongoing chronicles of political resistance that are central to the exhibition and to Marker’s work as a whole. (28 mins., video)
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Singer—an affectionate cinematic portrait of singer, actor, and activist Yves Montand—connects to another thread that runs through Staring Back: Marker’s interactions with friends and colleagues such as Simone Signoret (Montand’s wife), Montand himself, and others. (60 mins., 35mm)
Wexner Center for the Arts

JPEG May 12-August 12: Exposition: "Chris Marker Staring Back"
Legendary French filmmaker, writer, and multimedia artist Chris Marker has assembled almost 200 black-and-white photographic portraits spanning six decades for Staring Back. You’ll be able to study faces Marker has seen in his global travels—and also those that have witnessed his own observant gaze. Images of the political demonstrations he’s witnessed and participated in are central to the exhibition, interspersed with images associated with Marker’s inimitable films, including La jetee, Sans Soleil, and The Case of the Grinning Cat, among others. Although some of the portraits depict well-known individuals (such as Simone Signoret and Akira Kurosawa), most are of unidentified citizens to whom Marker and his camera were drawn in the course of his progress through Asia, South America, Scandinavia, Africa, Russia, and elsewhere. Wexner Center for the Arts.

May 3: Lecture: "Images of Lament, Lamentable Images"
Professor Georges Didi-Huberman from Ecoles des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris) presents this exciting lecture. Wexner Film/Video Theater, Wexner Center for the Arts. Presented by the The Ohio State University Department of History of Art. RSVP: (614) 292-7481 or via e-mail :


May 3: Lecture: "The Politics of Sex and the Sex of Politics in the French Presidential Campaign"
Eric Fassin (École Normale Supérieure, Paris)is a sociologist, a "professeur agrégé" at the école normale supérieure where he has been teaching since 1994 (while running the doctoral program "Sciences sociales" ENS/EHESS until 2005). Fassin has spent several years in the United States, in particular as Assistant Director of the Institute of French Studies at New York University. His research focuses on sexual politics in France and in the United States, as well as racial politics, and the sociology of intellectuals. The Center for European Studies , 6191 Helen C. White, University of Wisconsin Madison.

May 12-13: Film Series: Made in France: Contemporary French Cinema
JPEG May 12: Me and My Sister (Les Soeurs fâchées)
Louise, a wide-eyed and gauche beautician from the countryside, travels to Paris for three days to meet with the publishing company she hopes will publish her first novel. Overjoyed at her prospects and dazzled by the big city, she injects a breath of fresh air into her sister Martine’s hum-drum life. But Martine, who seems to have lost her ability to have fun, doesn’t take well to her sister’s joie de vivre. Isabelle Huppert and Catherine Frot give masterful performances as the clashing sisters in this moving and funny debut from Alexandra Leclère.
JPEG May 13: The Role of Her Life (Le Rôle de sa vie)
Claire (Viard), a mousey typist, gets the role of a lifetime when she’s hired as the assistant of Elizabeth (Jaoui), a famous movie star. Although the two don’t hit it off initially, they quickly grow to become fast friends. But when both women fall for Mathias (Zaccaï), a handsome gardner, their lives are thrown into disarray. First-time filmmaker Favrat directs a spot-on romantic comedy that offers an engrossing slice of Parisian celebrity life.
Cinematheque, University of Wisconsin Madison. Sponsored by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


May 2: Demonstration: French Cooking Class
Join the Alliance Française of Milwaukee and David Swanson, author and owner of Braise on the Go Traveling Culinary School for a special cooking class. David, who previously was a chef at Sanford, will share the secrets of preparing a “fresh from the sea” French Bouillabaisse. He will reveal the key to mastering this tasty and healthy, typically French meal. $60. RSVP: 964-3855 or

May 4-5: Lecture: "The Politics of Sex and the Sex of Politics in the French Presidential Campaign"
Eric Fassin (École Normale Supérieure, Paris)is a sociologist, a "professeur agrégé" at the école normale supérieure where he has been teaching since 1994 (while running the doctoral program "Sciences sociales" ENS/EHESS until 2005). Fassin has spent several years in the United States, in particular as Assistant Director of the Institute of French Studies at New York University. His research focuses on sexual politics in France and in the United States, as well as racial politics, and the sociology of intellectuals. Free Event. University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Curtin Hall 175. For more information, contact the UWM Center for 21st Century Studies at 414-229-4141.

JPEG May 10: Soirée Bretonne - Réunion annuelle de l’ Alliance Française
Join the Alliance Française of Milwaukee for an evening of food, cidre and camaraderie. Share a potluck dinner, wine, and learn about the culture of Brittany and the AF’s accomplishments of the year. Enjoy a special crêpe demonstration by Meg Morello, a graduate of the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. Come for the food, music, and good company. Alliance Française de Milwaukee, 1800 E. Capitol Drive. Free and open to the public! Please RSVP by Tuesday, May 8. For more details, contact 414-964-3855 or email:

May 10: Cinema: Triplettes of Belleville
Nominated for Best Original Song and Best Animated Feature at the 2004 Oscars, "Les Triplettes de Belleville" is about an orphaned boy, Champion who is raised by his grandmother Madame Souza. Her gift of a tricycle starts a craze for cycle-racing that becomes the cornerstone of their life together. After years of relentless training, Champion makes it to the Tour de France; however he and a handful of other top competitors are mysteriously kidnapped during the race. Supported by her faithful sidekick, her fat and flatulent dog Bruno, Madame Souza sets off to rescue her beloved Champion. An epic adventure leads them across the Atlantic to a vast seaport metropolis named Belleville, headquarters of the notorious French mafia. Lost and confused in the threatening darkness of the great city, Madame Souza and Bruno encounter the Belleville Triplettes, who, in their youth, were a glamorous close-harmony act. Now, these three batty old women are a bizarre jazz combo. Mme Souza joins the band, and at their very first gig she discovers that Champion is being held captive by the mafia Godfather himself! All hell breaks loose, and the chase is on! University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Union Theatre.

JPEG May 14: Trans-Atlantic Competitiveness in a Global Economy
Join the Alliance Française of Milwaukee for cocktails and an informative talk on the global economy. Presented by Michael Maibach, the President of the European-American Business Council, an association of 70 European and US companies, pursuing a commercial policy agenda to enhance Trans-Atlantic trade, investment and innovation. Hosted at WE Energies Headquarters, 231 W. Michigan Ave. Tickets: $20. Co-sponsored by Johnson Controls, Alliance Française, Milwaukee World Trade Association and World Affairs Council of America (WACA). RSVP: 414-964-3855 or email:

Last modified on 07/05/2007

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