Tuesday, December 13, 2005

David Atenborough

This Zebra run away...

The possible purchase of one of Macaya's zebras ...

Isabel la Catolica

To blog about: the exhibition "Isabel La Catolica" on the Catedral of Toledo...

Teddy Bear

Notice the gentlebearly pose of the models on a shop at Claudio Coello...

Piotr Illich Tchaikovsky

my fifth each-on-a-different-country performance of "Peter and the Wolf"

Rory Gillmore

To blog about: the "Gillmore Girls" red-sofa-potato marathon...

Carlos Falcó

To blog about: the self-indulgences at Iberwine...

Pedro Teotónio Pereira

To blog about: the visit to the backstage of an ambassadorial Residence...

John Dillinger

The sad evidence of street-crime in the Ciudad...

Jean Nouvel

the guided tour to the new jean-nouvelish hotel...

Maurice Bejart

the Maurice Béjart disciple at the Théatre de Nîmes...

Hugo Pratt

the celebration of Hugo Pratt's contribution to popular culture in a calle of Zaragoza...

William Shakespeare

the awful "Antoine et Cléopâtre" at the Théatre de Marseuille...

John Baldessari

John Baldessari's exhibition at the Carré d'Art... Posted by Picasa

Denis Brihat

a pleasant lunch & photo expo in Aix-en-Provence...

Charles Darwin

Stuff diversity...

lobster, giraffe, bat, equidna, platypus, turtle, moose, linx, armadillo Posted by Picasa

( My favourite specimens at the Natural History Museum in Nîmes. Diversity is a battered word now. Even Darwin would be a social darwinist himself, had he still been alive.)

Eros Ramazotti

Roman mythological Paganism...

Uncle Eros can play the guitar too..

Thanks to discrete but firm backstage pressure applied by local diplomatic representatives, powerful countrymen of Signore Ramazotti, I managed to overcome the small inconvenience of sold out tickets.

I thought the Honourable Reader would like to feel the contrast between a mega-concert (although not quite of stadium-grade) like Coldplay last month, and this 500 people maximum hall on the ground floor of Pasha Club. ( the upper-floor, the Cielo, has already been mentioned in this blog, per party with a tiger (living one) not moved by hip-hop music).

In a small place even a regular gig becomes a memorable event. I was expecting a late-Thirties crowd, mostly Prince Charming-dependent, eager for soap-operish edulcorated songs but in fact Eros can rock - and the audience, younger than expected, knew it.

What was really worth mentioning? Well, the new trend to use your mobile phones, with sound recording abilities, as portable karaoke devices. (Lots of fans, knowing by heart the lyrics, were singing in sync to their nokias, perhaps sharing with their romantic interests those powerful latin-lover emotions). But, above all, I cannot forget several hundred voices chanting "Eros!..Eros! Eros!!". As I remarked to my Italianate neighbours, we were being transported to some Roman saturnalia, with the masses praying the God of Sexual Love...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Mariano Garcia

Fashionable Wine-Designers..

waiting for trendy wines to be tasted...
Tasting wines on a cold Saturday morning at 10 AM is a radical X-treme sport. "Lavinia" is a very professional wine-trade business which reminds me of some St James's-based universally known joints like "Berry Bros." The wine tasting theme was "Viños de Moda" meaning that we were going to try some non-traditional new wines that have been spotted by the gourmet journalistic crowd and talked about.
"Aalto" ( 2002), made by Mariano Garcia, the famed oenologist of top class Vega Sicilia was the first one to be tasted, and was recognized as a good example of new trends in the Ribera del Duero region; "Trasnocho" (also 2002) was a portentous wine of Fernando Ramirez de Ganuza (at 65 € a bottle the experience of new Riojas do not come cheap) ; "Pintia" (2002) the venture of Vega Sicilia in the Toro region was an interesting 100% Tinta de Toro ( a Tempranillo cousin); "Calchetas" (2002) was a curious blend of Grenache, Tempranillo and Malbec (!); "Paixar" (2002) from 60 years old vines of the autochthonous Mencí­a grape variety was one of the stars of the tasting; and "Mas Doix" (2002), another Alvaro Palacios-related venture in the Priorat region, is a sure winner. ( My personal favourites were "Mas Doix" (new style), "Paixar" (new traditional style) and "Trasnocho" (best nose) ).
The social dynamics of a wine-tasting are quite unique. A dozen people around a table with rows of elegantly-looking glasses who had never met before became a cohesive end-of-term classroom just after the fourth glass.. Is it the rising alcoholemia or the shared passion that act as social lubricant?.. It doesn't matter.. A cold Saturday morning can become a very warm experience indeed...

Friday, December 09, 2005

Ornithorhynchus anatinus

Taxidermized Monotremata..

A tender-looking platypus..

In Nîmes this blogger of yours also indulged in his passion for stuffed animals by visiting the local Natural History Museum. Now, the Honourable Reader might have some legitimate or well justified reservations against naturalizing the corpses of mammals and other animals.. but what about extremely rare species that one has fantasized about but never actually seen? Difficult argument, I know.. How can one explain the sheer pleasure of possessing the hard to find chromes of a platypus or of a echidna for a Natural Sciences Class project in High School, in the early 70's? How can one share the tenderness, yes tenderness, one has felt for these strange chimera, part-mammal, part-reptile, part-bird?
I was strolling around the XIX century-scented rooms of the Museum, old varnished wood display cabinets one after the other, when I found a timid platypus. Euphoria! Jubilation!
(I think I can tell you a secret here. A mentally sound adult can "talk" to a stuffed animal in much the same way a primary school boy talks to his teddybear. (Ysmailov, my stuffed penguin being a case in point) . The platypus in the Nîmes museum stroke a cord in the heart of this visitor. From the severely restricted ecosystems in Australia and New Guinea where the Ornithorhynchidae strive to a backwater town in Provence.. From a XIX Century scientific exploring mission to a contemporary fate in a forgotten display room.. What a Journey! .. What a Destiny! )

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Baron Foster of Thames Bank

Classical Roman Stone Architecture
Modern Aluminium and Glass Architecture

Foster's Carré d'Art dialogues with the Roman Temple at Nîmes

In the areas surrounding a jewel of Roman Architecure you have to be either extremely conservative (better still, go for an empty space) or daringly bold. Norman Foster 's boldness rewarded the city of Nîmes with another jewell that not only does not impair our enjoyment of the old temple but actually enhances our understanding of lines, space and other architectural stuff of the Roman limestone box. Bravo!

Marcus Aurelius

(Bull)fighting all the way from (Roman) History times..

the Roman arena in Nîmes

A recent trip to Provence confirmed the obvious. What modern use can be made out of almost intact Roman arenas? Operatic summer festivals? No, the answer of Verona does not strike the purists as a credible one. Open air museums of Roman Antiquity, with thousands of shorts-wearing tourists? Too gross, I'm afraid. The mathematical beauty of the buildings and a sense of Tragedy that can be still felt on those stones demand more. What can better a real life&death struggle between a gladiator in Traje de Luces and a horned black beast? Nothing indeed.
Enjoying a three-courses installment of the Mediterranean Diet followed by a bullfight in a Roman arena is the closest you can ever get to "Pane et Circensis"...

Sarah Jessica-Parker

Sex and the City (Barcelona) ...

A buddhabarish experience in downtown ramblas...

When one has a a credit-car slim SONY Cybershot digital camera permanently in one's jacket upper pocket and one feels the urge to research new material for one's blog what does happen? Well, the Honourable Reader is at this point quite aware that this blogger of yours can go to whatever lengths are needed in order to keep the customer happy (I mean you, dear Honourable Reader) .
I was spending a night in Barcelona as a stop-over in an otherwise too exhausting SUV drive from Parc Talabot in Marseille to Barrio de Salamanca in Madrid. My blog correspondent in the capital of the Catalan national identity, the TibetanCaravaggio, had suggested a trendy restaurant where a successful crash course on the night buzz of the Ciudad was guaranteed.
It was in fact one of the countless clones of the Buddha Bar, with obligatory huge goldenish statue of the Siddartha and chic-cool lounge music. Next to our table three designer-dressed blondes were re-enacting a Sex&theCity routine. One of the thirthysomethings was speaking on her tiny mobile phone and I really felt the image would be worth a thousand words.
Now, I cannot just start taking pictures in public spaces just like that, so I had to refrain from paparazzing crudely.
The food was very good, in particular a tuna carpaccio with an anchovy sauce that was really a good effort at sexyng up a sometimes too bland first course. The wine from Toro helped too. I remembered the famous Doisneau photo of a kiss ( "Le Baiser de L'Hotel de Ville") immediately after the Libération when all the supposed spontaneity was revealed afterwards to be the result of a careful mise-en-scène.

I gathered all my Toro-induced courage and went to the next table. "Would it be acceptable to take a photo?"- I asked, with my most charming smile. "And would it be asking too much if a simulation of talking at the mobile phone could be carried on ?" (My smile was as warm as a non-professional theatre actor can possibly muster). I'm glad to report that a positive feedback was obtained, on both counts. I returned to my table and I saw again in front of me the photographic vignette that had so impressed me almost an hour before. I took two photos and thanked the blonde model of that improvised photo-shoot.