Who is Sex Toy and Why Are They Buried at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery?

Like so many other visitors in Paris, my family and I had a visit to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in our vacation itinerary. The combination of history and infamy drew us to to the gates expecting to see the resting spots of Jim Morrison, Georges Melies, Amedeo Modigliani and Edith Piaf. We dished out a couple of Euro for a map of the cemetery and while scanning the list saw “Sex Toy.” This we had to see for ourselves.

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The map was unclear and the labyrinthine layout of the ancient cemetery made our search for the grave more complicated. We wove through narrow, age worn rubble pathways and well manicured newer paths but could not locate the elusive grave. After almost an hour of searching we came across an inconspicuous, in-ground headstone with a rugged, street-style image of a turntable adorned with a heart surrounded by birds. The font of the name was a heavy baroque style which deepened the mystery. Who is Sex Toy? How were they famous and/or wealthy enough to be permanently laid to rest near some of the most respected artists, politicians and thinkers in France’s history?

sextoy

DELPHINE PALATSI
1968-2002

The name Delphine Palatsi, both exotic and beautiful, as well as the shockingly short lifespan deepened our interest. Delphine died just short of her 34th birthday  Simple web searches revealed that Sex Toy was the professional name for a groundbreaking Parisian electronic DJ. She was thin and sensual. Covered in tattoos she wore her hair short in the back, long in the front and is covered in tattoos, including a tribal marking above her eyes.

sextoy

Although we had never heard of Sex Toy she was very popular in the music scene in Paris. She was an outspoken lesbian and her early death from a heart attack shattered the electronic music scene.

Ambassador of the major electro hard-core scene, she was regularly invited to Parisian clubs such as Pulp, Rex, the Batofar. She also ran the music for several shows of designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. Sex Toy was also in great demand abroad having performed in New York, London, Japan, Moscow. She had published several discs. His latest album, “Lick”, was published during 2001 at UWE.

In a statement, the Mayor of Paris Bertrand Delanoe has honored an “amazing artist,” which had become “by his talent and daring one of the emblematic figures of electronic rhythms in Paris and internationally.” She hosted the 20th Music Festival June 21, 2001 on the steps of the City Hall in Paris.”  (from ClubXtrem).

Two French language films have been made about Sex Toy. (The grammar and translation below was obtained courtesy of google).

TRAILER “SEXTOY STORIES” from Anastasia Mordin on Vimeo.

Trailer of SEXTOY STORIES : DOCUMENTARY by Anastasia Mordin & Lidia Terki
More infos on
http://djsextoy-lesfilms.com

SEXTOY STORIES : DOCUMENTARY – 52’40” – Part of our tribute to Delphine Palatsi aka DJ Sextoy. The tribute offers two documentaries radically angled differently but so complementary. SEXTOY STORIES is one of them.
Who is DJ Sextoy? She was one of the first French women that had been accepted and respected in the techno and house music Dijing world witch was male dominated in the 90s.
Thirhteen years after her death, no trace of her work remain as testimony although somesay that the girl foreshadowed artists like Lady Gaga, also the movement FEMEN.
Thanks to this tribute, we want to show who was really this tiny five-feet tall woman but also try to understand her sources of motivations to became the very “sexy and trashy bad girl” named DJ SEXTOY. We think our work takes place as a duty towards cultural diversity.
Regarding SEXTOY STORIES we inspired “Hollywood Stories” whose style has became cult. For the story, Delphine was a big fan of this TV show.
A long period of preparation allowed us to bring together innumerable photographic archives, many original videos, even some TV french shows from the 90s devoted to the young DJ Sextoy. To this precious material we added many of our personnal footages filmed between 1993 and 2002.
Thanks to long interviews generously gathered, artists but also friends, collaborators and journalists offer us slices of life they have shared with Delphine/Sextoy, each one with their own sensitivity and emotion, but always with joyful tenderness.
Step by step we also discover Delphine, practicing body modifications such as surgery and tattooing to finally shaped her ideal self : DJ Sextoy.
SEXTOY STORIES reveals the whole complexity of a character, whitch is only suggested by coded clues in the other part of the tribute : THE SEXTOY PROJECT (most experimental cinematographic treatment and
most intimate relashionship with Delphine aka DJ Sextoy).
The movie soundtrack is essentially made of Sextoy’s electronic music production (in collaboration with DJ Decay, DJ El Doctor, Jennifer Cardini and Chloé DJ).

And: Le Project SexToy (WARNING: clip contains nudity). This clip shares a close look at Delphine Palatsi’s numerous and varied tattoos including the heart surrounded by birds which is on her chest.

Through weeks of research I never learned anything about why Delphine Palatsi was laid to rest in Pere Lachaise Cemetery except for the hint that perhaps it had to do with the fact that she had performed for the Mayor of Paris. Perhaps the information would have been more easily obtained 13 years ago when she passed away.

Although many of us had never heard of her previously, hopefully others will look into her interesting story and look at the groundwork that she laid for current and future female artists by beginning to push the limits of the role of women in the music industry.

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3 comments

  1. nestor potkine

    The script on her grave is not “heavy baroque”!!!!
    It’s a modernized version of gothic script.

    Like

    • Thanks for your comment, but I stand by my original description. I’ve double checked both styles of text, and it appears as if the text is closer to a Baroque style than a Gothic style.

      Like

  2. Ira

    Indeed… You had a good intuition: it is thanks to the Paris maire of that time that Sextoy had the privilege to rest in Le Pere Lachaise. Since it was her favorite cemetary, we asked for his backing, and he was glad to do so, since He had a really nice memory of her, when she played for the city hall.

    Like

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