Saturday, 31 March 2018

The Hole Zero

created by Iñaki Fernández

Does anybody remember the New Year’s Eve of 1980? I do. It was nice and cosy enough and... not like The Hole Zero at all.

I missed The Hole 2 when it was in Las Palmas two years ago. Now, finding myself in rainy Valencia in the run-up to Las Fallas, I was not about to miss this one (Teatro Olympia, Calle de San Vicente Mártir 44, Valencia). The Hole Zero mixes song, dance, stand-up comedy and circus and is quite unlike any live performance I’ve seen so far. Then again, I’ve never been to a burlesque show before. To shock or, at the very least, to embarrass is a part of the deal. The girls are beautiful, to quote Emcee from Cabaret. The jokes are way beyond risqué. The acrobatic numbers are breathtaking. And es de traca! I can’t honestly say I understood everything: for example, “La Terre” was chatting away too fast. It matters not: it was funny all the same.

I know, it was just a coincidence, but The Hole Zero shares a lot with Las Fallas: fun, irreverence, exaggeration, and — no way to get around it, but why one even should? — boobs.

The Hole Zero

Created and produced by Iñaki Fernández
with Félix Sabroso, Víctor Conde, Ferrán González and Pepa Charro


    MC: La Terremoto de Alcorcón
    La Diva: Lorena Calero
    Conchi: Noelia Pompa
    Salomón: Axe Peña
    DJ Santera: Bilonda Mfunyi-Tshiabu
    Bola Disco: Julio Bellido
    Bianca: Alexandra Masangkay
    Lady 54: Carla Díaz
    Lucy: María Garrido
    Dios Caballo: Daniel Sullivan
    Golden Boy — Aerial Pole Dance: Oleg Tatarinov

Guest Artists

    Bungee Trapeze: Diana Sapronova, Ruslan Gusarov, Andrei Bogodist and Nikolai Gavryushev
    Rueda de la Muerte: William Torres & Andrés Daza
    Meleshin Brothers: Vadim & Anton Meleshin
    Trio Bokafi

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Las Fallas 2018

According to my old Rough Guide to Spain (this book served me well but I left it to my flatmates three years ago), Las Fallas are one of the Spanish “Big Four”, together with Semana Santa, Feria de Abril and San Fermín. Strangely enough, the Carnival is not among them.

Now it so happened that I, quite intentionally, stopped in Valencia en route to Boston and back, being able to see some of the festival and even take some pictures of it. For the benefit of those who never heard of ​Las Fallas, I allow myself to explain what’s going on here.

La Falla Convent de Jerusalem-Matemàtic Marzal

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Battle of the Sexes

a film by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

What happened to the art of movie trailer? It is as if they don’t care any more. If I were to judge a film by its trailer, I would never watch Black Panther or The Last Jedi, let alone Battle of the Sexes. This latter was offered as in-flight entertainment on a transatlantic flight to Boston. I don’t care much about tennis and whether or not anything is based on a true story, and my, this trailer is boring.

The only reason I watched this movie was because I heard from a friend that it was good. So I gave it a try and wasn’t disappointed.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Gran Canaria’s Women Band live

Women sing.
Women dance.
Women play harp.
They also play piano.

According to Lise Karin Meling, “The foundations for which instruments women and men should play are laid already in the Middle Ages”. The flute, the violin, the oboe the horn, the cello, the double bass, the bassoon, and the trumpet all were considered unsuitable for women. And guess what, they still are. Can you name any female bassist/drummer/saxophonist/trombonist/trumpeter? I can, but all of them are jazz players, and also are exceptions, for jazz remains a men’s world. And what about women conductors?

Yesterday, Timur and I went to see this all in the shape of the Gran Canaria’s Women Band in the Auditorio Alfredo Kraus.

GCWB was founded in 2016 by Pilar Rodríguez and consists of fifty Canarian women. According to La Provincia, this is the first all-female symphony orchestra in Canarias (and second in Spain). In fact, just like Gran Canaria Wind Orchestra, GCWB is a concert band: no violins or violas (and a good thing too), just one cello and two double basses. Also, neither piano nor harp. But plenty of percussion, including a drumkit.

It was an interesting and varied programme, starting with world permière of Atman by Canarian composer Nisamar Díaz. I liked Second Suite for Band by Alfred Reed and Ruckus by Randall Standridge the most. In my view, there was not enough chemistry between the guest vocalist Eli Guillén and the band during the first two songs. The choir Coral Chelys Odalys, directed by Maite Robaina, came to the rescue. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You sung by Eli and a choir was a success. And then there were encores: a paso doble (I don’t know the name) and I Will Survive!

It looked like the show was sold out: I bought the tickets on Thursday and there was just a handful of seats left. Now how great could it be if the band could perform not just once a year, to celebrate the International Women’s Day...

Unfortunately, the programme booklet does not list the musicians of GCWB. Also, for a few songs, they credited the arrangers but not the composers.

Gran Canaria’s Women Band

Musical director: Pilar Rodríguez
Auditorio Alfredo Kraus, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Sunday, 4 March 2018, 12:00
Part I
  • Nisamar Díaz (Gran Canaria, 1980)
    Atman (world première)
  • Steven Reineke (Tipp City, Ohio, 1970)
    Main Street Calebration
  • James L. Hosay (Nashville, Tennessee, 1959)
  • Alfred Reed (New York, 1921 — Miami, 2005)
    Second Suite for Band (Latino Mexicana) (1978)
    1. Son Montuno
    2. Tango
    3. Guaracha
    4. Paso Doble
Part II
  • Randall D. Standridge (Little Rock, Arkansas, 1976)
  • Justin Hurwitz (Los Angeles, California, 1985), arranged by Michael Brown
    Highlights from La La Land
  • Mecano, de Germán Arias
  • Germán Arias
      Eli Guillén: vocal
  • Arr. by Frank Bernaerts
    What I’m Feeling
      Eli Guillén: vocal
      Coral Chelys Odalys
  • Bob Crewe, Bob Gaudio, arr. by Johan de Meij
    Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
      Eli Guillén: vocal
      Coral Chelys Odalys
  • Franck Pourcel, Paul Mauriat, Norman Gimbel, arr. by Jan van Kraeydonck
    I Will Follow Him
      Coral Chelys Odalys