ON THE TOWN

Restaurants and bars, movies, theater, dance, sports arenas, even the home… Keep abreast of what’s going on where, and how you can have the greatest fun.

HUMOR À LA ÓSCAR TEROL: THE ANTIDOTE TO THE COLLECTIVE FEAR OF PUBLIC EXPOSURE

Oscar Terol is arguably the comedian who has made Spanish audiences laugh the most these past couple of years.  His career started off inadvertently when it occurred to him to send out a video to his family for laughs. And what do you know? In just a matter of hours, the video went viral! Terol’s shows highlight the funny side of the surrealistic situations people are confronted with. Terol’s new show, staged at the Teatro Marquina in Madrid on 1 and 2 July, is titled “Mundos Para Lelos (Worlds for Fools)” which is about the incomprehensible world in which people struggle incessantly to hide their “yo tonto (Me, the fool)” from public view.

ANTONIO GADES EXHIBITION: TIERRA, MAR Y FUEGO

An extraordinary retrospective exhibition “Antonio Gades. Tierra, Mar y Fuego” has been inaugurated in the Teatro Fernán Gómez del Centro Cultural de la Villa dedicated to the internationally renown dancer Antonio Gades. The exhibition traces Gades’s triumphant performances and brilliant choreographies from the very beginning of his career to the legacy he has left behind, which revolves around three basic concepts: Earth, Sea and Fire, the latter symbolic of his passion for his art.

WE’RE SMACK BANG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FIESTAS OF SAN ISIDRO, MADRID’S PATRON SAINT!

If you happen to be in Madrid these days (up to 16 May), PLEASE join the festivities celebrating the feast of Madrid's patron saint, San Isidro Labrador. They're the stuff good old Madrid is made of! You won't want to miss those, will you?

KAULAK EXHIBITION IN THE NATIONAL LIBRARY

A highly versatile intellectual who developed an intense cultural activity in a variety of areas, Antonio Cánovas del Castillo Vallejo, a.k.a. Dalton Kâulak, was passionate about photography. More than 160 of his works are on exhibit at the Biblioteca Nacional till 28 August 2022. The exhibition is a must-see!

BACK TO THE MIDDLE AGES, FOLKS!

Buffoons, hunchbacks, rogues, squires in their fineries, alchemists with their magic formulas, quack doctors, ogres, blacksmiths, innkeepers who once peopled medieval towns will come back to El Alamo to haunt the visitors. It's all part of the witching game! Concerts, culinary, arts, and crafts stands, and general fun and games in the Middle Ages will be all over town.

SUMMIT FOOTLIGHTS

One of the first things Dr. Jill Biden, did when she landed in Madrid to be with her husband for the NATO Summit was to shop for alpargatas, the typical summer footwear once worn only by peasants. Somehow that endeared her to the Spaniards and she's just about to end up being looked upon as some kind of instant folk hero! The First Lady got off on the right foot, didn't she?

NATO SUMMIT IN MADRID SETS THE ALLIANCE’S STRATEGY FOR THE NEXT DECADE

"NATO Leaders are meeting in Madrid at a pivotal time for our security. Russia's war against Ukraine has shattered peace in Europe, caused far-reaching energy and food crises, and shaken the rules-based international order. NATO's response has been swift and united. . . At the Madrid Summit, the Alliance will address other challenges, like China’s coercive policies or the security consequences of climate change. It will continue to adapt to a changing world and keep its one billion people safe."

IS SPAIN LIBERAL OR AN UNREPENTANT LIBERTARIAN?

One might understandably take it for granted that in Spain, reputed to be a country where National Catholicism was a dominant part of its ideological identity not so very long ago, cohabitation, divorce, and children outside of marriage are rare. Surprisingly, there’s nothing further from the truth.

A GUIDEPOST REPRINT: “The Secret Spring of Spain,” 12 April 1968

If you are not careful, you’ll miss spring in Spain altogether and spend most of your life wondering how you did it. It’s not hard, because the meteorological border is pretty indefinite; one day it is a dull, cold, rainy winter day and POW… suddenly it’s summer. There are ways to catch it though, and it all depends on how much attention you pay and where you are in the very changeable land of Spain.

HISTORIC DROP IN UNEMPLOYMENT: FAKE NEWS?

The Government of Spain's good news: Unemployment, which stood at 14.1 % in November 2021, with youth unemployment at a staggering 29.5%, dropped from its 15-year perch of plus-three million jobless to 2.92 million in May 2022. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz are elated about the startling phenomenon. Opposition leader Alberto Nuñez Feijóo has accused the Government of massaging the figures.

TWA Layovers: Del Hotel Plaza al Cielo

During my thirty years as a TWA flight attendant, I spent many a layover at the Hotel Plaza. Whether coming off a new Boeing 707 in the sixties, the whale-sized 747 in the eighties or a sleek 767 in the nineties, the Plaza was my home away from home. The hotel was nestled inside the Edificio España, wrapped in a cozy cocoon of cafeterias, bars, restaurants and watering holes that catered to all tastes. There always seemed to be fruit floating in the water of the pool in the top floor from someone's sangria. And once in a while, a naked Maja was seen running across the balcony chased by a Don Juan Tenorio.

A GUIDEPOST REPRINT: The Spanish Scene, Spain’s Massiel Wins Eurovision Song Contest, 12 April 1968

The Spanish song entry "La, La, La" took top honors in the 13th edition of the continent-wide Eurovision Song Contest held in London last week. Twenty-year-old pop singer Massiel belted it out with enough energy to squeak through with a one-point victory over the English song "Congratulations" sung by Cliff Richards. It was Spain's first Eurovision triumph. When the results were announced, Massiel lit up like a Christmas tree in her sparkling mini-skirt outfit and launched into a real knock-out version of the tune.

BRITS CELEBRATE ELIZABETH’S PLATINUM JUBILEE IN BENIDORM

Spectacular events have been lined up for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, particularly in London. But obviously there are celebrations throughout the UK and the Commonwealth as well. And in Benidorm, Spain too? You bet. It's the most British town in Spain after all.

A GUIDEPOST REPRINT: “THE ORIGINAL TOURIST IN SPAIN”, 5 May 1967, Last Installment

Although some passages in his book are dated, they make us realize what hardships The Original Tourist endured in roughing it on horseback across torrid plains and hostile mountains. Much has changed since Ford's day, but among the trifles of which he wrote so well remains unaltered today. "Gatherings from Spain" is more than an extraordinary eye-witness report on Spain in the early 19th century; it is more than a travelogue teeming with adventure and erudition; it is an honest record of a remarkable Englishman's reactions to a country he described as "the most romantic, racy, and peculiar of Europe, which hovers between Europe and Africa, between civilization and barbarity".

A GUIDEPOST REPRINT: “THE ORIGINAL TOURIST IN SPAIN”, 5 May 1967, Second Installment

Rich with racy flavour, "Gatherings from Spain" is the earliest comprehensive account of Spanish travels that exists in English, written by Richard Ford, the master of vivid description of the country, Spain, that he loves so deeply, and the singular people who are "scarcely European living on a neutral ground between the hat and the turban". With characteristic zestful perspicacity, Ford would underscore above others the "Orientalness" of the Spaniards.

THE REAL MADRID

Any and everything about the fascinating capital city of Spain — and the Autonomous Community of Madrid — from its rich history through its vibrant present to what the future holds, recounted from every angle imaginable.
This category, however, goes beyond Madrid; it embraces stories of what occurred, are occurring, and will probably occur in the Spanish nation whose capital is Madrid.

  • NATO SUMMIT SPAWNS FREE BUS RIDE

    FREE RIDE on EMT buses throughout the city of Madrid during the NATO Summit from the 28th to the 30th of June.  The measure is in line with the plan of the Madrid City Council to momentarily wean users from private vehicles that will not only snarl up traffic but will also make the enforcement of security measures for the Summit all the more complicated. Passengers may use their transport pass to take the bus without the ride being charged against the pass. Or, if the passenger has no transport pass, the bus driver will issue a free ticket.

  • A GUIDEPOST REPRINT: “PACO: THE DOG WHO ADOPTED MADRID,” 17 May 1968

    Paco was not a pedigreed, aristocratic dog such as those that used to swagger down the Prado with their haughty masters. But Paco was an exceptional dog. He had a sharp eye for benefactors such as the Marqués de Bogaraya. As the marquis ate regularly in Fornos, so Paco too would drop in at dinner time and be assured of at least a modest meal and not a few pats on the head. Paco might have continued his libertine life to ripe old dogdom had he not been the unfortunate victim of an amateur novillero who was making a mess of his bull. The spectators were indignant and Paco jumped into the arena, ran up to the clumsy amateur and barked at him from closer range. The matador, furious at the bull, the public and specially at the nagging dog, directed his sword at Paco and ran him through with one thrust. Paco died. His death constituted a veritable day of mourning in Madrid.

  • TWA Layovers: Del Hotel Plaza al Cielo

    During my thirty years as a TWA flight attendant, I spent many a layover at the Hotel Plaza. Whether coming off a new Boeing 707 in the sixties, the whale-sized 747 in the eighties or a sleek 767 in the nineties, the Plaza was my home away from home. The hotel was nestled inside the Edificio España, wrapped in a cozy cocoon of cafeterias, bars, restaurants and watering holes that catered to all tastes. There always seemed to be fruit floating in the water of the pool in the top floor from someone's sangria. And once in a while, a naked Maja was seen running across the balcony chased by a Don Juan Tenorio.

  • MEET THE NEW TOURIST ATTRACTION AT PLAZA ESPAÑA

    Since opening last 8 April, the Zara megastore at Plaza España has been converted, perhaps inadvertently – or is it? – into a tourist attraction! This Zara, and its sister-store Stradivarius on the west wing of Edificio España, were the first Inditex stores to be opened immediately after heiress Marta Ortega assumed her post as Chairperson of Inditex, the world's largest apparel retailer. The inauguration of this Zara marks Marta Ortega’s debut in the stratosphere of Inditex’s hierarchy.

  • THE REMARKABLE DOS DE MAYO HEROISM AND THE UGLY PANDEMIC DEBRIS

    Finally, the Madrileños can once again celebrate Dos de Mayo. Join them in commemorating how they liberated Madrid from the French imperial forces. These days when it’s coming out that undesirable elements of Madrid society have enriched themselves during the pandemic, it’s good to remember that the great majority of the Madrileños are noble-spirited and quite capable of heroism in the face of adversity.

  • COME RAIN. . .OR COME SHINE!

    THE rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain… but if a few stray showers should sprinkle Madrid´s streets, Casa de Diego will happily see to it that all men, women and children are appropriately armed to fight the torrents. Founded in 1858 at Puerta del Sol, customers pack the premises… even with sunny skies overhead.

  • YOUNG AND IN NEED OF FREE ACCESS TO CULTURE? JOBO WILL OBLIGE!

    To be culture maven you've got to start early. Free tickets to temples of culture help. In Madrid, that's JOBO, for you.

  • AMERICAN CLUB OF MADRID JANUARY 2022 NEWSLETTER

    With their JANUARY NEWSLETTER, the American Club of Madrid wishes everybody A HAPPY NEW YEAR!