Francophone Fest: Shakin' it at the Roosevelt

Los Angeles Times | Brand X Daily, November 20th, 2009

Brand X is now defunct, so this link no longer works.


If there’s an art to balancing a plate of hors d’oeuvres, a fat glass of wine, a cell phone and shaking your bootie all at the same time, the guests at last night’s Francophone Fest had it down pat. Fueled on the just-uncorked harvest of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau and driving, multi-ethnic beats from all over the French-speaking world, party goers worked up a glow (chic speak for “sweating like a cochon”) on the Roosevelt Hotel’s Blossom Ballroom floor as they danced the night away en français.

The Polynesian hula girls and Moroccan belly dancers, who, how you say, warmed up the main stage earlier in the festivities, may have raised the bar on the collective shimmy factor, mind you. There’s nothing that says “hot” quite like feathers, sequins and lots and lots of shiny, glittery skin.

The Afro-Caribbean dancers then took that bar, dropped it down to about a foot off the floor, bent themselves in half, and limbo'd backwards underneath it like brightly-colored, human elastics.

The dance floor wasn’t the only part of the bash that caught fire, though. In the tiny courtyard just off the ballroom, smokers lit up with abandon at one of the few events left in Los Angeles where it might actually be considered more rude not to smoke.

The more than one thousand guests at the Francophone Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural fête hailed from all over: Morocco, Algeria, France, Lebanon, Tahiti, Senegal, and even Togo. The language of the evening was French, though Anglo partiers got by with a few, strategically-placed “Ooh la la”s and the night’s most important phrase: "Beaujolais, s’il vous plaît?"

--Melissa Henderson

Photo credit: Patrick Bastien

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