Paris Partygoers, Bored and Short on Cash, Look to Suburbs/巴黎太無聊 跑趴族改衝郊區
In a darkened makeshift theater in a former movie studio, dozens of 20-somethings recently sipped beer from plastic cups as they watched a film about their shared passion: the rise of suburban dance parties.
Even before the projector stopped and the film's soundtrack ended, a rising bass line of techno music drove the crowd toward an expansive dance floor, where a full-fledged party broke out at Espace Albatros, an arts center in Montreuil, a suburb east of Paris.
Though most major European cities have lively urban party scenes — Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg in Berlin and Leidseplein in Amsterdam — Paris has witnessed much of its night life decamp to the socially and historically estranged suburbs, like Montreuil.
There, a new generation of partygoers have homed in on local communities, establishing a cheaper, more energetic alternative to the mainstream urban dance clubs.
"They've been bored with the parties that used to be in Paris," said Leny Decret, a 26-year-old junior manager at a digital advertising agency. He is a co-founder of Tangible Utopia, a music collective that produced the documentary film shown at Espace Albatros.
Decret's parents came to watch the documentary and told him the whole phenomenon had a hippie vibe, he said.
"Maybe it's this thing about coming together for real, sharing a moment," he said.
The shift of the dance party scene from the city to the outskirts started around 2009, when a headline in Le Monde called Paris the "European capital of boredom."
In an effort to revive the city's after-dark appeal, Eric Labbe, a record-store owner turned dance-club promoter, started an online petition to urge city authorities to ease strict noise ordinances and improve late-night public transportation. His effort garnered 16,000 signatures, but it did little to loosen public restrictions.
So young and mostly middle-class Parisians banded together to establish informal collectives of musicians and other artistic types to perform regularly at venues in suburbs, with immigrant and working-class histories.
"There's an adventurous side to going beyond the peripherique to party," said Labbe, who manages public relations for the Zig Zag club in the 8th Arrondissement of Paris, referring to the ring road that separates the French capital from its suburbs.
Organizers of these suburban dance-music festivals have created a more open, free-spirited milieu than the exclusive — and expensive — club scene in Paris.
此外，舉辦派對的英文常見說法有give/hold/host/throw a party，其中throw a party為口語用法，而party thrower則指籌辦派對的人。例句：The party was initiated by a girl who lives at the home and was given permission to throw a party by her parents.（這場派對由住在這間民宅的一個女孩所發起舉辦，並獲得她的父母同意）
Tug of War in Fine Print of Your Electric Bill/美國某些州 家戶太陽能板難回本
It was only two years ago that Elroy Holtmann spent about $20,000 on a home solar array to help cover the costs of charging his new electric car. With the savings on his monthly electric bills, he figured the investment would pay for itself in about a dozen years.
But then the utilities regulators changed the equation.
As a result, Pacific Gas & Electric recently did away with the rate schedule chosen by Holtmann, a retired electrical engineer, and many other solar customers in this part of California. The new schedule will make them pay much more for the electricity they draw from the grid in the evening, while paying those customers less for the excess power their solar panels send back to the grid on sunny summer days.
As a result, Holtmann's solar setup may never pay for itself.
"They've taken any possibility for payback away," he said with resignation, looking up at the roof of his 1970s ranch-style house in this suburb a short drive east of Berkeley.
The paradox is playing out around the country. Even as policymakers at the federal and state levels promote clean energy to fight global warming, the economics of electricity can often be at odds with those goals.
Thrust in the middle are utility regulators. Even if they support greening the grid through technology adopters like Holtmann, the regulators are also responsible for ensuring that the utilities can afford to supply power to the largest number of customers at the most equitable rates. That includes people without the money or inclination to install solar collectors.
"The grid is no longer just a cheap way to get electrical commodities to people," said Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission. "People want choices, they want customized services," he said. "And how do you make that fair to everybody, because not everybody is moving as adopters at the same pace?"
Similar dynamics are playing out in some parts of Europe, including Spain and Britain, as public officials push for green energy to justify its costs.
For more than a century in the United States, the public utility rate system assumed a one-way flow of electricity from central power plants to their customers. The role of utility regulators was to adjudicate reasonable rates for the consumer, while allowing an adequate rate of return on the money power companies spent generating and distributing the electricity.