La Chinoise, La Vietnamienne et La Francaise

I made a new friend tonight. Her name is Yipeng, a Shanghainese who runs an art gallery in that booming Chinese city and brings cool electronica-influenced musicians from Norway and other distant countries across the Pacific to the Middle Kingdom. A friend of a friend, Yipeng is visiting the U.S. for the first time. Another friend and I decided to show Yipeng how the artsy-fartsy folks in Los Feliz live by taking her to see French torch singer Adele Jacques at Tangier restaurant. I had an ulterior motive; I wanted to go somewhere within walking distance of my house and get my fill of mid-week martinis. Jacques stuck with a repertoire of songs originally sung or composed by Serge Gainsbourg. It was a fine choice. In the duets where she played the Brigitte Bardot/Jane Birkin part, her pianist channeled Gainsbourg in his striped pants, wide-cuffed pink oxford and dark blazer. I waited and waited until they sang "Bonnie and Clyde," which is my favorite Gainsbourg song. The small but cheerful contingency of French expats bellowed along to "Elisa" and other popular tunes. After "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Ford Mustang," the only other song I knew by heart was the scorchingly sexy "Je T'aime, Moi Non Plus," which was originally a duet Gainsbourg had recorded with Bardot until he met and fell for the British-born Birkin. After the show, Yipeng and I hung out at my apartment until her sister came to pick her up. Yipeng asked to look at my CD collection. I happily obliged and played some Goldfrapp, OOIOO and Gainsbourg for her. The verdict: "You have good taste in music," Yipeng said. I felt as if Chairman Mao himself had given me a red star sticker.

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