In the background, the orchestra rehearses tonight’s gig. Sat on a chair in the adjacent room, Miss Lilipi talks to herself in her extravagant mink scarf. One leg crossed over the other, she covers her coat tightly on her frail silhouette. Her left shoe comes off and dangles as she wriggles her foot to the beat of the contrabass. She jabbers away and waggles her head, as her eyes spy on every move the servers, musicians and dancers make. She mainly whispers but at times shouts orders across the room. This place would be lost without her. She has been running it since she cannot even remember, still a child when her parents were themselves the owners. Now she is the one who overspills her passion for music, dance, and cocktails to anyone who crosses the front step of the “Renoir c’est noir” cabaret. Her life is made of lust and sincerity, two notions which don’t mesh well but, in the case of Miss Lilipi, coexist perfectly. She symbolizes the perfect Parisian woman attracted to style and sophistication while nurturing simple tastes and an open-heart. She pretends to smoke, although she hates it, she sports her mink fur even though it gives her a skin condition. For the love of her art, of being Miss Lilipi running “Renoir c’est noir”, she remains seated, talking nonsense and entertaining in Paris now, and forever.
Listen while reading: “Django’s Tiger by Django Reinhardt