Tag Archives: Spain

Happy 161st Birthday, Antoni Gaudi!

25 Jun

Antoni Gaudi, Catalan architect of insanely intricate, bone-like structures, was born on this day in 1852.  When I was backpacking through Europe, I stopped by his La Sagrada Familia.  You can read about it in my Church Hopping column on Burnside Writers Collective.

Gaudi was beaten and imprisoned when he showed up at a demonstration against banning Catalan.  The language is now considered an endangered language.

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Your Invite to the Record-Setting Human Towers Being Built Tonight at 230 FIFTH

20 Jun

 

Filmmaker Ram Devineni is proving to the world the beautiful complexity of human language.  In On the Road with Bob Holman, he traveled the world, documenting the plight of languages headed toward extinction.  In The Human Towers he picked up his suitcase again, this time to film the art-sport-poem that is castells, human towers.  Castells have been recognized as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Tonight, 150 people from the Catalan’s finest castell group will attempt to build the first-ever eight-story human tower on a rooftop at 150 FIFTH  (@27th Street, NYC), and YOU can witness the incredible spectacle for free.  It starts at 8pm.

The Wall Street Journal has already created some buzz.

Here’s the press release:

One of the world’s most unusual and spectacular team endeavors – the Spanish region of Catalonia’s three hundred year old tradition of building multi-storey human towers called castells – will make its New York City debut on June 20 at 230 FIFTH, when the 150 member Castellers de Vilafranca will attempt a new world record by building the first eight-level castell ever assembled on a rooftop. The performance, which will also include the building of several other towers in different configurations on 230 FIFTH’s palm punctuated roof deck, will inaugurate a series of free public castell buildings throughout New York City from June 20 to 24 in honor of the rebuilding of the World Trade Center complex. Each tower will be an exercise in intense concentration, strength and balance as the bare footed participants form successively smaller tiers – resembling a human wedding cake – by climbing up the bodies of each layer to mount the shoulders of the previous tier until the tower is topped by a single 9 years old child. An almost balletic, decidedly athletic and heart-stopping feat orchestrated to the inspiring melodies of a quartet playing Catalonian music.

The series of performances will be the first by any castell team in New York City; the Castellers de Vilafranca, considered Spain’s best, have been planning for years to build in the Big Apple as a means of introducing to the United States the activity which UNESCO has recognized as being amongst the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Their trip coincides with an official visit by President of the Catalan Government, Artur Mas.

The Castellers de Vilfranca will perform in Central Park and Battery Park for the Make Music NY Festival on June 21st. They will also build a human tower at the United Nations on June 22nd and are scheduling other venues throughout the city including Times Square and Brooklyn Bridge. In addition, the team will participate in the presentation of the global documentary about their passion as practiced in Catalonia, Chile and India on June 22nd at Goldcrest Studios Theater, West Village. The Human Tower is directed by Ram Devineni and Cano Rojas and distributed by Goldcrest.

The record breaking roof building of a human tower by the Castellars Vilfranca at 230 FIFTH will take place at 8:15 p.m. again at 9:30 on June 20, with several different towers created by the team between 8:20 and 10. Like all of the team’s performances in New York City, the event will be free and open. 230 FIFTH is located at 230 Fifth Avenue at the corner of 27th Street, (212) 724-4300, www.230-fifth.com. The rooftop event is supported by Barcelona’s Estrella Damm Beer.

See you there!

Church Hopping: Don Justo’s “Trash Cathedral”

14 Apr

Image via Wikipedia

Hola!  The latest entry in my Church Hopping column at Burnside Writers Collective is up, and it’s probably one of the most unique churches I’ve featured to date.  It’s Don Justo’s “Trash” cathedral in Spain.  A lot of my friends said the church is “interesting” in that tone that means “strange,” and while I agree it’s definitely not your traditional cathedral, I think the symbolism behind it is astounding.  What do you think?