Mar 28, 2010

Visions from La Casa de Bernarda Alba

bernarda ~ lounge
Last night I watched Teatro Espada de Madera's (Calle Calvario, 21) presentation of Lorca's La Casa de Bernarda Alba. The theatre is housed in the old Jewish quarter of Madrid, Lavapies, on a steep street where centuries ago, Calvario No 21 were sentenced to death by stoning. The theatre interior looks like a restored synagogue, though I don't know if this is actually the case.

Impressions from the upstairs lounge
bernarda ~ lounge
bernarda diptych
bernarda ~ lounge

The ticket ladies
bernarda diptych2 ~ ticket ladies

The theatre chamber with wooden choir benches surrounding the stage.
bernarda ~ inside the chamber

In this version directed by Antonio Díaz-Florián, the characters are dwarfs. The performances were wonderful and even with my terrible Spanish, I was able to follow the story without any prior knowledge of the plot or characters. Yay for me.
bernarda ~ the performance

bernarda ~ cast
After the play these lovely ladies were generous enough to pose for a photo and to give my friend a copy of the playbill. The last performance of La Casa de Bernarda Alba is tonight, so if you're in the neighbourhood and there's seat, I recommend that you go to this play.

Mar 27, 2010

Photo Essay: Quick Peeks, a trip from Córdoba to Sevilla

Córdoban path
Courtyard in Córdoba
patio in Córdoba in winter
birds in a checkered square in Córdoba
street in Córdoba
patio in Córdoba
A tourist and a very persistent gypsy beggar. These gypsies were ubiquitous!
Córdoba. a tourist and a very persistent gypsy beggar.
A horse with tassels and bells in front of his carriage.
nice horsey
Córdoba is a wonderful city to just wander around, explore and peep into people's verdant patios.

On the road from Córdoba to Sevilla:
el toro from the car

Bursting and fragrant with oranges
Notice how the horses and carriages here are posh compared to the rustic ones in Córdoba.

Views from the cathedral:
vista of Sevilla
vista of Sevilla
Jardines de Murillo
Large man-eating tree in Sevilla
Plaza de España

gypsy wedding party in Plaza España, Sevilla.

A night of Flamenco

All photography by Shehani Kay, taken in January 2008 on an extended weekend road trip.

Mar 26, 2010

Photo Essay: Impressions of Toledo

Toledo Set by Shehani, on Flickr
This mosaic of photos comes from one of the first day-trip excursions I took out of Madrid when I arrived in Spain in 2006. I fell in love with the charm of the historical centre but was rather put off by the locals who mocked me for taking photos of their doors and churches.

"Sí sí mi casa es muy bonita," jeered a steel-haired abuela. I'll never forget the ringing of her heckling in my ears. Qué Fuerte!!

Later a group of townies tsk tsked at me and said the equivalent of 'sheesh it's only Toledo'. I was truly stunned by the lack of pueblo pride, in my opinion, this town so richly deserved.

A friend of mine recently moved to Toledo for a job and she tells me that she'd heard the same crusty things about the locals, so she was pleasantly surprised to find them quite helpful the many times she got lost in her new town. Perhaps the recession has softened the sharp tongues of the these tourist-weary townies. Who knows. My friend invited me to come and hangout tomorrow night but I can't for various reasons. Instead I decided to riffle through old photos and do up a post on this beautiful place. I plan to go back soon and this time, I'll have a few choice expressions of my own to toss out at anyone who bugs me about being a shutterbug! Holy Toledo, will I ever. Ha ha...

Toledo, which is seated on a hill above the River Tagus, is the former capital of the Spanish Empire and was once a place where Christian, Jewish and Moorish cultures coexisted. Earlier than this, Romans built a fortress and the Visigoths made Toledo their capital in the 6th century AD. Nowadays, Toledo is known for its right-wing religious leanings, throngs of tourists and its magical beauty.

To see photos individually, click:
1. Toledo, 2. Toledo, 3. Toledo, 4. Toledo, 5. Toledo, 6. Toledo, 7. Toledo, 8. Toledo, 9. Toledo, 10. Toledo, 11. Toledo, 12. Toledo, 13. Toledo, 14. Toledo, 15. Toledo: Dress Rehearsal, 16. Toledo

Mar 19, 2010

Madrid's Ghost Station: Metro Chamberí

Chamberí ~ ghost station
Chamberí ~ ghost trains
Chamberí ~ antique ads
I first discovered Madrid's ghost station as a fleeting vision while I was riding the Metro. I only caught a glimpse of a darkened station, gorgeous tiled adverts and the red diamond sign of Chamberí for a few seconds while the train was whizzing along on Line 1, but I was intrigued.

Chamberí used to be a Metro station on Line 1, between Bilbao and Iglesia. The station, part of the first subway line in Madrid running from Cuatro Caminos to Puerta del Sol, was inaugurated on October 17th, 1919. In May 1966, during work to extend the platform, the Ministry of Public Works discovered that since the station was built on a curve, it'd be too difficult to modify it to accommodate the longer six carriage trains, so they decided to close down the station. Since Chamberi was placed very close to Bilbao and Iglesia this wasn't an inconvenience to anybody.

"They simply switched off the lights and closed the entrance. Everything was left as it was on that last day, even the used tickets and newspapers. It was like this for more than forty years," explains my friend, Dario, a Madrileño. "It became a legend with children (and not so young people) travelling on this line. From time to time, some TV programs would talk about this 'ghost station', and some of them were allowed to enter the place and shoot images of this dusty time machine. In the nineties, the place became a target for adventurers and, unfortunately, some hooligans too. The remains of the station quickly became more and more damaged, until finally the authorities decided to restore it and convert the old station into a museum."

Despite losing its mystery and charming decay since the restoration in 2006, the station still manages to retain a ghostly vibe, especially when you hear the echoed high-pitch song of the train approaching the platform. For those who enjoy the beauty of old subway stations, tiled adverts and a little history, this abandoned Metro stop turned museum is a delightful place to let your imagination wander back to a time long gone.

Andén Cero (Platform Zero), Chamberí Metro Station is open Mondays to Fridays from 11:00 to 19:00 and Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00 to 14:00. The nearest metros are Bilbao, Iglesia, Alonzo Martínez and Ruben Dario. Entry is FREE.

Mar 16, 2010

A Saturday Afternoon Stroll ~ an art date with myself.

Guardianes collage  ~ what's he hiding up there?
I began with the "Guardianes" sculptures by Xavier Mascaró on Paseo del Prado. I love the way everyone has a peek up the flute to see if he's hiding anything up there.
Arte Salvado collage ~ red truck
Then I walked across the street. These are photos of the kind of truck used in the rescue of Spain's cultural treasures, the priceless works of art that were in the Prado Museum, during the civil war. Arte Salvado is an outdoor exhibition that celebrates the 70th anniversary of this rescue, which was coordinated by the "International Committee for the Rescue of Spanish Art Treasures". Arte Salvado recreates the events and problems that occurred when several museums in Europe united to save the works they considered to be a fundamental part of humanity's cultural heritage. The black and white photo in the center is an archival photo of one of the truck used in the rescue mission.

Next stop, the Caixa Forum. Fortunately, my timing was good so when I entered just after Spanish lunch, there wasn't a queue. I went to check out Miquel Barceló's show. If you are in town and haven't yet had a chance to see the show, I highly recommend it. Barceló's prowess in various media is phenomenal. His nocturnal images are like visions of Cthulhu. His film, Paso Doble, a performance of the creation of a large piece, is crazy weird and brilliant. All the rooms feature a different aspect of his work, each impressive on their own (from water colours of African scenes to pieces of fruit to Pinocchio's skull), but put together this exhibition showcases the genius creativity of a master artist.
Caixa Forum ~ Up Down, Inside Outside
Above is the staircase of Caixa Forum, up and down. In the center are photos of a view out of the grated window on the top floor and Barceló's Elephant in front of the building.
Other People's Children
Other people's children. There were so many kids running around so I decided to take some candids of them. The top 2 were taken in the large gallery room on the bottom floor. I wondered if there was a pijo memo sent out to all the parents requiring their little girls wear the combination of white tights and black Mary Janes. Ha ha. Seriously, I love how timeless, classic and darling these children look. The bottom 2 photos are reflections I took of 3 gabby girlfriends on a window in the lobby of Caixa Forum. The little girl's face in the photo on the right reminds me of a Renaissance painting. Qué bonita.
Dos caras de una Mujer
Dos caras de una Mujer. On the way home, I saw this mannequin in a shop window and had to take her photo.

As I was walking down my street, I felt better than I have in a long time. I figure, I'm a pretty good date. Me and myself, we like the same things, we walk at the same pace and we have the same taste. So I'm going to make this habit and take myself out more often and enjoy the time I have left on this leg of my journey. Best of all, this entire art stroll didn't cost a thing. Madrid is full of free art shows, you only need to look.

Mar 12, 2010

Reflecting on something shiny

Reflecting on something shiny I
Reflecting on something shiny II
Reflecting on something shiny III
Reflections on the sliver sculpture that sits between Torre Picasso and Ahorro Corporacion in Madrid. For those not in the know, this is the hub of Madrid's financial district. Until 2007, Torre Picasso (designed by Minoru Yamasaki) with its 51 floors was Madrid's tallest building. Nowadays this honour goes to the infamous four towers, which do a superb job of scratching the skyline.

I know, I know, I've had a fetish for reflections lately... but they are so much fun to play with.

All photography by Shehani Kay

Mar 11, 2010

Window Paintings

Window Painting I
Window Painting II
Reflections from the windows on the BBVA building on Paseo de la Castellana. The reflections look like impressionist paintings to me. For some reason the trees remind me of Camille Pissarro's work.

I teach a couple classes in the Picasso Plaza area and I decided it was high time I captured a different part of Madrid so I've been taking my camera along with me. I took a bunch of photos of views from a window on the 21st floor of Torre Picasso, some reflections shots off a gleaming silver sculpture and architectural type photos. I'll share these with you over the next few blog posts.

All photography by Shehani Kay

Mar 5, 2010

The Fifth Floor

The Fifth Floor I
The Fifth Floor II
The Fifth Floor III
The Fifth Floor IV
The Fifth Floor V

I wandered up to the fifth floor of my building yesterday to look at the hobbit size doors and the view. No one lives in these hobbit rooms, they are for used storage. I love the haunted feel of the photos and the light so I put them together as a photographic poem.

Sometimes you reach the top and then there's no where to go but down...

All photography by Shehani Kay

Mar 4, 2010

Book Browsing on Cuesta de Moyano.

Book Browsers I
Book Browsers II
Book Browsers III
Shoppers browse the wooden, secondhand book stalls that line the gently sloping Calle de Claudio Moyano (commonly known as, Cuesta de Moyano), a wide walkway that leads towards the southwestern corner of Parque del Retiro from the Atocha end of Paseo del Prado. One of the most quintessential outdoor Sunday scenes in Madrid, these book stalls and kiosks have been around for decades.

All photography by Shehani Kay
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