Anne-Marie Sandrini considers herself a “miraculous”. A violent Covid-19 at the start of the epidemic, three weeks in a coma, as much care intensifies, months of rehabilitation. Leaving the hospital, the 79-year-old former dancer wondered: “If I must still live, what remains for me to do? » The answer is obvious: “The priority is to save the memory of Tabarin”the famous music hall which was that of his parents, in Pigalle, and where Joséphine Baker, Damia, Django Reinhardt, Juliette Gréco… but also a number of German officers paraded.
Two years later, the goal is almost achieved. A commemorative plaque will soon be affixed to the facade of 36, rue Victor-Massé (Paris 9e). The Paris City Council voted in principle in June. Only the official green light from the co-owners is still missing. For the occasion, the town hall is also preparing three podcasts to virtually revive the great competitor of the Moulin-Rouge. A place, a key moment of Parisian nights.
From the old Montmartre institution, everything has disappeared, or almost. The astonishing building, with its ornate facade surmounted by a lyre and its sculptures galore? Shaved in 1966, it gave way to a graceless building. The frescoes by Adolphe Willette which adorned the room and the bar, like The Triumph of the Leg ? Passed into private collections. Shows ? All that’s left are black and white photos, and a few quivering silent films. Customers ? Mostly dead and buried.
The very name of the Tabarin ball seems erased from memory. Patrick Modiano is one of the few to remember. “I would like to know what has become of two dancers from this establishment”, Gysèle Hollerich and Lydia Rogers, he writes in Paris Tenderness (Hoëbeke, 1990). “Gysèle, my father saw her for the last time in August 1940, in Les Sables-d’Olonne [Vendée]he slips. She lived near the Tabarin, at 63 rue Pigalle, and her phone number was Trinité 05-82. (…) I’m waiting for news. »
His great show reviews are successful, thanks to a moving decor, posters by Paul Colin
Gysele? “Yes, I remember, we called him Gysie, I think”, answers Anne-Marie Sandrini. From a cupboard in her living room, in Paris, near the Trocadéro, she puts out an archive filing cabinet. “Look at this photo, the pretty blonde with bare breasts coming down the stairs raising her arms, it seems to me that it is her. » In 1941, an article by The Work on the news “fairy” du Tabarin actually mentions “the beautiful Gysie and Lydia whose bodies are flawless”. The magazine, designed to make people forget the war, was then called “A real paradise”. Ephemeral Eden.
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