Sunday, September 23, 2012

12-09-24 Hello World!

Monday, September 24 @ 02:20 : Baltimore, Maryland, US
Monday, September 24 @ 02:02 : Williston Park, New York, US
Monday, September 24 @ 01:44 : Barcelona, ES
Monday, September 24 @ 01:32 : Duncan, CA
Monday, September 24 @ 01:18 : Mount Juliet, Tennessee, US
Monday, September 24 @ 01:02 : Upland, California, US
Monday, September 24 @ 00:58 : Los Angeles, California, US
Monday, September 24 @ 00:56 : Mountain View, California, US
Sunday, September 23 @ 23:50 : Pleasantville, New York, US

12-09-23 Barcelona – Merce 2012 – Bravissima!

Shoko Shoko in Placa Catalunya, would be a rave party in Placa de Reial, while Love of Lesbians are the local kings.  Today, only Messi/FCB, Catalonian Independence, and resistance to the banksters can get Catalans excited.  Once they get the latter two issues accomplished, they would get more excited about dancing and music.  In the meanwhile, La Merce could benefit from more visitors from abroad, to liven up the party.


The proclaimed Kings of La Merce 2012 – local pop/rock group Love of Lesbians

BBarcelona, September 23 – I hardly pulled myself out of bed at 12:30pm, went out for a breakfast of queso fresco cubes with tomatoes and thinly sliced onion rings with the obligatory café con leche, and review the local papers.   La Vanguardia’s main headline above the fold:  Parliament is preparing a proclamation of sovereignty, with inside sections reviewing the manifold implications of such unilateral move; below the fold – thousands cram into the old facory Damm de Barcelona for a pop-rock concert, with inside section proclaiming the male pop-rock group Love of Lesbians the unchallenged Kings of La Merce.  I could not get the number of those who attended last night, but the number for the corresponding concert in 2010 was 15,000!  For some unknown reasons, both headlines were glossed over in the online edition of the same publication… For example, on La Merce the online edition keeps harping Convivencia y Respect, and no mention of the pending Proclamation of Sovereignty by Parliament.
Last night brought to the front a deep philosophical, existential question, why the Catalans don’t move their butts…
I started the evening late, as usual, at Placa de Catalunya.  Around midnight a concert was just beginning of a South African group, hereinafter designated “Shoko Shoko”.  These two words were often used, in double, treble, or quadruple entendres.   The lead singer was black, dressed in colorful pajamas.  Most of the instrumentalists (some 4 electric guitars, a keyboard, two in the brass section) were white, except for a couple of drummers on conga and jemba drums.  There were also three white sixties-style girls providing soprano harmonies in the back, and several gogo girls and gogo boys, shoko shoko, which would have been perfectly at ease with Josephine Baker.  One of the gogo girls performed part of the time in blackface, which in the United States would have been considered a major racial slur. 
The music was super.  There first few songs were sexually explicit in both verbally and in body language, meant to get the crowd going.  There were also a song dedicated to the Mothers, and another one, Love of My Heart, which the lead singer explained was from his native region.  The impressive, mostly instrumental piece, South African Buffaloes, showed the drummers at their best.
The sound system was fabulous, two huge three-story towers, all perfectly equalized in advance.   The effect was that you could hear the concert almost equally well at any part of the huge square, and a block or so beyond. 
The problem was with the People.  At some 5,00o people, the placa could have easily held much larger numbers.  The crowd was older than the crowd at the Museum of Contemporary Art the night before (I guess all the younger folk were at the Damm), and a good part of them were elegant and middle-aged, a fatal combination, who appeared to have come as spectators, but not participants in the fiesta.  If you took the blacks in the crowd out of the equation, hardly anybody was dancing.  One middle-aged seniora, in her staple, little black cocktail dress and oversized glass jewelry (you wouldn’t wear the family jewels en la calle…) was watching me with total disgust.  Part of it may have been that she thought I was engaging in lewd public conduct - I was just doing modest middle eastern pelvic gyrations and flexions on a base of Los Angeles techno.  The other part may have been that she mistook me for a priest misbehaving.  It happened before, no matter how many times I explain that my garb is of uno terrorista internacional... 
There was no need to ask anybody what the political views of the Shoko Shoko were.  It was clear by their composition.  They also repeatedly proclaimed, we are here in Barcelona, Catalunya, and never mentioned the word “Spain”.  However,  when the group failed to get the crowd energized and dancing, at one point the lead singer called to the crowd “Tranquilos”, and shouted “Wake up Barcelona!”  They just went on drinking beer and smoking pot.
The same group in Los Angeles could definitely get the crowd going, and in Tel Aviv, people would have been jumping up and down even before the music started.
On La Rambla, around 2:00am, it was super packed.  Some youth were singing old rock n roll standards and dancing.  I was asked for a dance by one of the prostitutes, and accepted.  She seemed surprised that I could do the old rock n roll…
Just a couple of blocks away, in Placa de Reial, there was a separate concert, a DJ was mixing live techno-trans music.  Again, a fabulous sound system.  The whole enclosed square and surrounding buildings were vibrating, but not the People. They were standing, drinking huge quantities of beer, and talking politely.  In the Israel, only a few places come to mind that could even remotely compare with this public space in the tradition of the Moslem Khan (caravans inn). One is the Khan in old Acre, but it is not a living public space.  Had a similar concert been staged there, it would have clearly turned out to be the Israeli rave party of the year…
At 5:30am I had a couple of pocadillos at Jessica’s. The place was busier than ever, then dragged myself to bed.  Today is busy, cocktail party in the Data Analytics conference at 6:30pm and then another night of La Merce…  These computer science professors are not so nerdy after all, scheduling meetings in Barcelona on La Merce
The bottom line
Today, only Messi/FCB, Catalonian Independence, and resistance to the banksters can get Catalans excited.  Once they get the latter two issues accomplished, they would get more excited about dancing and music.  In the meanwhile, La Merce could benefit from more visitors from abroad, to liven up the party.

P.S. - Placa de Espana
In Placa de Espana there is a nightly multimedia spectacular around the fountain.  The entire Placa is a fascist monument.  The only conceivable remedy for this public space would be artistic, designed destruction of the pompous colonnades.  The end result would be a pleasing, functional, modern conference center and a collection of high-priced designer shops among the ruins of a Forum Romanum look-alike. It would be even pleasing, and draw more People to the square, which is typically deserted at day and night.   
Readers, adept at Photoshop and with some artistic abilities, are called upon to send in proposed simulations.

Forum Romanum; Placa de Espana