Monday, November 17, 2008

Spain - Day Three

Plaza De Espana


Day three in Madrid began exactly as day two save for one small difference - I was set to interview a man whom I admired greatly just after breakfast. This is definitely a good way to start a day! So, once again, an early wake up call, shower, breakfast, and then a taxi over to Jorge's lovely home.

The cabbie had a bit of a tough time locating the address (not sure why, it wasn't far away or too secluded) but Carlos reported the same thing from his taxi driver too. When I arrived, Carlos and Anita were waiting just outside for me. I hopped out of the cab (forgetting to get a receipt - which I did at least a dozen times, not good for an expense report) and the three of us headed up to Jorge's home.

Jorge met us at the door where I was introduced to him and his wife. After a few moments of conversation between Carlos, Anita and Jorge who were catching up on various current affairs, we sat down in a well lit corner (amongst Jorge's thousands of books) for the interview. I began by telling him of my admiration for his work and especially for the film that has brought him the most international acclaim, The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (1974). If you are not familiar with this film and you consider yourself something of a zombie aficionado then you must get a hold of this film. It is a true masterpiece of the genre.

Ray Lovelocke in:
No Profanar el Sueno de los Muertos (The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue)

Me and Jorge Grau - a great guy and a wonderful interview

My interview with Jorge went perfect. Anita Haas had generously (on several occasions) lent her translation skills - my Spanish is good enough to get the gist of conversations, but one small word can completely change the meaning of a sentence or group of sentences. In the case of Jorge, her skills were definitely needed as Jorge spoke little to no English and my Spanish was reliable enough to follow his answers but not in total comprehension. Carlos, of course, was indispensable (the running joke was to be careful with my compliments, I had already called him a genius, a saint, nearing God-like proportions, and Anita was telling me that his head was growing measurably with my compliments).

After our visit with Jorge, the three of us went to their friend Jesus' DVD store. Unfortunately, Jesus was waiting for a shipment of many of the titles I was on the market for. It was still a lot of fun and I was able to buy several movies that I needed for my dissertation which are not readily available in the States. Anita had asked if I had a suggestion for something that her English students would both enjoy and learn from (as we're both educators). After a brief moment, my knee-jerk reaction (with Halloween rapidly approaching) was Walt Disney's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." I was very pleased to hear a few days later that my suggestion was a big success with her classes (well, how can you go wrong with Bing Crosby and Washington Irving?).

Jesus and I bonded over our love of Natalie Wood

Jesus had a great selection of titles - one in particular is below!

One item that I was THRILLED to find in Delocio Negocio was Max Ophüls' sublime masterpiece and 7 hanky tear-jerker "Letter From an Unknown Woman" 1948. It is criminal that one of the great masterworks of the 20th century is so hard to obtain. The dvd was multi-region and loaded up in the university dvd players when I returned home. I adore this film - it is the quintessential romantic film, bittersweet, tragic and heartbreaking. I am anxious to show this film to classes - I always wanted to screen it for the history of film courses, but alas, it was extremely hard to come by. So, in addition to a few titles that Jesus had in stock that I needed - this hidden treasure made the visit to the store all the more special.

Next up? Lunch of course. Nearby was a place that Carlos and Anita were very fond of - La Taberna Andaluza la Flamenca or "La Flamenca" on calle Alvarez. The meal was fantastic, really incredible.

A Modest Entrance - Great Pleasures Inside

An Andalucian Flamenca keeps you company while you dine - we sat underneath her.

The Spanish Saint of European Horor, The Toronto Majesty of Terror and The Chocolate Cake that I can still taste in my mind...

Lunch was, like all the lunches in Madrid, incredible. We three said adios until later and I headed home, but not before snapping a pic of this lovely fresco outside of the Tavern.


After relaxing in the hotel for a little bit - chilling out with a good Spanish soap opera, a few ciggies on the balcony - I got restless and it was time for a gran paseo. On the way back from this long walk I stopped to take some photos of a great shoppe across from the Prado. It is quite famous in that area - it's called "Objetos de Arte Toledano" and I bought a few things in there a few days later. My only regret was NOT buying one of the Templar rings that they had for sale. Nevertheless, I've found some similar ones on ebay and Christmas is coming up... Overall, my favorite shoppe for gifts and Medieval items. Just look at the facade of this place!

Very life-like

A Museum of Medieval Templars? I'm ON IT!

"I dub thee... Blind Templar # 4 in Tombs of the Blind Dead"

Loved this place. A Templar ring is mine come Decemeber.

Back to the hotel - relaxed for a bit and then I felt I should get to a computer and prepare for my interview with Eugenio Martin which was scheduled for the next morning. It was incredible to be interviewing another director whom I held in such high regard and had contributed so much to the canon of Spanish cinema. My friend Antonio at the hotel desk gave me loose directions to an Internet Cafe that was supposedly nearby on Atocha. And so about 7 o'clock I felt I was up for an excursion - sure enough I found it - didn't take too long. Let's see if I can bring it up on Google.

Well dammit, I couldn't get Google Street to give me a pic of the internet cafe - but it was about 20 yards to the right of this pic on Atocha. You paid about 2 bucks for the hour - cheap enough. I quickly had a seat and checked email - and for fuck-sakes, I wound up answering emails from students about assignments and such for about 15 minutes - you go 7,000 miles away and there is just NO ESCAPE from teaching. Okay, so after that, I essentially just did some more research about Eugenio Martin's career apart from the films I was familiar with in order to have a productive and efficient interview with him in the morning. I farted around for a bit - and then headed back to the hotel - stopping by for a quick beer on the way.

I didn't eat dinner that night - instead after the beer I stopped in a store and bought some snacks for the room and big ass bottle of mango juice - which was soooooo good. Once again, I just couldn't get to sleep despite being OVER tired, Madrid just wouldn't let me - it kept whispering - "no, don't sleep - enjoy as much as possible" - and I did. Somehow I found energy every morning despite only getting a few hours a night all week long. Must be some magic dust in the Madrid ether.

Eugenio Martin on day 4.


Kimberly said...

How wonderful! These posts about your trip are fantastic. The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue is such a terrific movie (I have a big crush on Ray Lovelock) and it must have been amazing to sit down and chat with Jorge about it.

JMR said...

d'oh! i still haven't seen "the living dead at the manchester morgue" yet...i think that it was re-released recently...need to pick that one up.

we need to have another movie night at my place.

are you attending the buffy meet-up holiday dinner?

uraniumwilly said...

Hey nice to not only see you back in action but traveling the globe and interviewing horror film directors. fantastic man. I admit my ignorance in that I am not familiar with the man or the film but I am now and and will research it if I can get it.

I have to get back and read about days one and two now...


Taliesin_ttlg said...

I always regret that, when I am out in Spain, I never seem to be able to find decent DVD stores - must be the region I'm in (Malaga region), Jesus' store looks fab.

I have been enjoying your travelog - though to date not commented - and look forward to the next part.

Chick Young said...

Kimberly, thanks again for your kind words and visit to my blog. Jorge Grau is a great guy and we had a long, great chat and formal interview. I couldn't agree more about Manchester Morgue - absolutely one of my favorite horror films. And, yeah, Lovelocke was amazing! I especially love Zombie/Hippie Lovelocke and his revenge on Arthur Kennedy was legendary! Cinebeats remains a benchmark for creativity and productivity - you're amazing.


@Joe - for Goddsakes man, get on that! Manchester Morgue is sublime. I think another pizza/movie night is in order too. Over the holiday break? The get group get-together is certainly possible! I've got a 20 year high school reunion coming up and the end of the semester is usually chaotic - hopefully there'll be time.

Bill - thank you buddy. It's good to be writing again. I've been soooo busy as of late that there's no time for anything (and I've been getting up quite early too to make more time). I intend on being around a bit more and posting a bit more while the memories are still fresh. Looking forward to spending some time in the Uranium Cafe when things settle down. Take care good friend.

Tal baby. Same thing to you as I said to Bill above! Haven't been able to do much lately. But, yeah Spain (as you know) was a great time. Always a great time there. I was lucky to have Carlos Aguilar show me the best places to shop for things (posters, books, movies, etc) without him it would have been more difficult! I'll haunt your blog later tonight and try and catch up!

Keith said...

I've just come across your blog. Wow. I'm really enjoying these posts about your time in Spain. The pictures are great. I bet that interview was incredible.

Chick Young said...

Hey Keith!

Many thanks for the compliments. I've been checking out your Dino site and it's twin cheescake bog. WOW, great stuff. I'm espcially LOVING the Sharon Tate pictorial, I am not familiar with a few of those photos, and wow, what can I say, she's always been a favorite of mine (and Wrecking Crew is, I think, the best Helm movie because of her). As for Spain, yeah, fantastic trip and great fun. And, yes, I was grateful for Carlos' suggestion of Hotel Mora - it was perfect!