Testimonials

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Victim

She was an unwilling victim and he was her knight.

Simply written; the girl in the photo became a statistic.

The scene brought back memories of my high school graduation, way back when.

Victim

Plaça de la Seu, 2008

My aunt, too, was wounded by this prey. Those who sat around her became her victims.

No one who attended the ceremonies and sat in the sub-Saharan temperature of the non air-conditioned auditorium, in New York, was spared that day.

Aunt Anna subsequently found herself sitting alone.

What happened to this couple?

She suffered a similar indignity as my relative.

Pigeons!

Enough said.

 A Candid View of Everyday People View barcalunacy's A Candid View of Everyday People FLCKR photoset.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Circle of Reason

I haven’t posted construction photos much, if at all, and they are my favorite pictures to shoot.

Memo: I will have to show you more in the future.

Anyway, barreling down Gran de Gràcia, in my usual lithe way, I saw these wonderful circular holes being drilled through a grandiose slab of white marble.

DSC_6029_3

Gran de Gràcia
Barcelona, 2008

Cutting through marble, (a sacrilegious deed as throwing away Hershey Kisses Candy, gosh forbid) pains me immensely and I wondered why these workers were doing such a deed.

As I was taking pictures, un viejo antiquo, (an old man) turned to me and began talking.

He was very disgusted about the work he saw and explained to me in his animated way that these holes would never have been put there during Franco’s regime.

I got caught with my pants down. I didn’t expect simple picture taking to take on a political note.

I have enough trials and tribulations trying to make heads or tails on the American political system, the Bank Bailout, and Sarah Palin.

For me, I saw these holes as just holes placed in store fronts to protect them from stray cars veering into them.

Oh well … he had his idea and I had mine.

 A Candid View of Everyday People View barcalunacy's A Candid View of Everyday People FLCKR photoset.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Shanty Dass

His name is Shanty Dass meaning “servant of peace”.

He has followed his dreams for 40 years, traveling the world, learning many languages and even meeting with the Dali Lama.

Shanty Dass

Shanty Dass
Barcelona, 2008

How many of us can say that?!

His life has been filled with some ups and downs -- and lots of peace and tranquility.

How many of us can say that?!

Shanty Dass

Shanty Dass
Barcelona, 2008

The next time you enter la plaça de Pi, be sure to look around for a mild-mannered looking man with smiling eyes.

You won't be disappointed.

 People of Interest View Shanty Dass and others in barcalunacy's People of Interest FLCKR photoset.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Autumn Delay

It was Wednesday and la festa de Mercè was celebrated through out all of Barcelona.

In 1687, Barcelona was riddled with locusts and where banished by the Virgin of Mercy.

The miracle has been celebrated ever since with songs, parades, musicians and activities for all ages, on September 24th.

But the miracle of all miracles was the sound of water.

Autmn Delay

Jardinets de Gràcia, 2008

Yes! The fountain at the Jardinets was turned on and so were ALL the fountains from there to plaça Catalunya.

What a treat!

Spring was finally here.

They've been quiet since last summer as the city has been experiencing a dry spell this year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Bad is YOUR Life!

Chances are if you are looking at this photo, you have a computer, extra clothing, food and a roof over your head.

When you’re down and feeling abandoned, desolate and empty this day, maybe you can remember this fellow.

I first saw him about 2 months ago dressed in the same attention-grabbing tattered clothing but in a better state, then.

How Bad is Your Life?

Barcelona, 2008

Can you imagine that?

How does anyone get to this situation?

Looks like his best days are worse than your worse day.

There are so many people without homes, with different tales to tell and lessons that we can learn.

And, maybe, just maybe, he makes us thankful for our god-forsaken day.

 A Candid View of Everyday People View barcalunacy's A Candid View of Everyday People FLCKR photoset.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Dream Come True

On the day prior to my taking this photo, my camera and I were on disagreeable terms.

My Nikon refused to focus where I wanted. It put shadows where it sought. I kept tweaking over and over, as many of you who follow my blog know and I was about to put it on a time-out.

Even people and places of interest were not interesting, until we found ourselves at la plaça de Pi.

The sun was magic, uplifting my spirits and making a promise to me of better minutes at hand.

A Dream Come True

Juan de Pi
Barcelona, 2008

I listened and watched and discovered Juan.

He was sitting on a step, watching and smiling at me and having a good time with another attention-grabbing fellow.

He called me over and told me not to be scared. See, he knew I wanted his photo.

And, I clicked my accommodating camera that appreciated my nervous and exciting energy and it too knew that this was a special man.

Los Manos de José

Los Manos de José de Pi
Barcelona, 2008

We exchanged good-byes and I went about my business, but I couldn’t escape leaving the plaça de Pi.

A little while later, Juan called me and showed me a magic trick. He was feeling good and important that I had no idea how the card trick was a trick. But I knew.

His hands were fun and fascinating and I have a penchant for hands of the older genre.

Yes! He was a photographer’s dream come true.

I got my many pictures, one better than the next, and he made a friend.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Metro Gig

We were descending the stairs of the metro, when we heard this strange but beguiling music.

As I got to the last stair, the young man moved his body to the music without skipping a beat on a most unusual and unfamiliar instrument I’ve ever seen.

Metro Gig

Barcelona, 2008

Even if he did skip a beat, I wouldn’t have known better but the music did sound enticing.

I had my wide angle lens, and I so wanted to get a shot with fantastic distortion.

For those who have used this type of lens you have to almost get within inches of your subject, invading their space, becoming familiar with one another that you almost feel like you should put them on your Christmas list

And,

Sometimes causing them to wonder why the heck they let you even take a photo.

But, the wide-angle is lots of fun. In the next few week I will post more photos and show you what I mean.

By the way, if anyone knows what the name of the stringed instrument is, please let me know.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hola! Diga!

Do you remember the old high school senior pictures from way back when?

No. Marisa and Celsa didn’t graduate from anywhere when I took their photo; even though it certainly appears that they did.

They work at La Taberna del Cura, where just about every Sunday, we stand in line with the many others humans, to buy pit de pollastre or rotisserie chicken, and hear the famous words greeting us and every customer,

Hola! Diga!

We met Marisa for the first time; she captivated us with her warm persona, good natured spirit y una sonrisa que me encanta (a smile that enchants me).

Marisa

Marisa, 2008

We see Celsa’s cheery face each time we go there. She is a person with a wonderful personality, disposition and a great wink of the right eye.

Celsa

Celsa, 2008

And the hats! Overwhelming, remarkable and colorful, eh?

So, if you don’t want to cook, or you want to picnic some where with take out food, not to be confused with fast-food, and you don't mind waiting, then go to la Taberna.

DSC_5661_3

La Taberna del Cura, 2008

Or eat in the restaurant, that is adjacent to the take-out area. You won’t be sorry. The lunch specials are delicious and very affordable.

It’s located on Carrer Gran de Gràcia. You will see many people lined up to buy not only pollo, farm or range raised, but rabbit, lamb and other good food.

La Taberna is an off shoot of the famous Botafumeiro restaurant, known for its quality seafood, ornate décor and attention to their customers.

It’s a classy, elegant and refined joint and La Taberna a few notches down, fitting my requirements, casualness.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Take One and Cut!

It is not my way to take photos of people sitting in an outdoor café but I couldn’t resist just this one time.

When I first saw him, I thought him a most striking man.

I think the white beard and white hair added to his maturity.

Take One and Cut!

plaça Rius y Taulet, 2008

So, I picked up my camera, ever so delicately, and shot the one shot.

Who does he look like to YOU?!

And, more importantly could it be?

You tell me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

L’hora del Jazz

We were just a block from plaça Rius y Taulet when we heard music resounding.

As we turned the corner, the entire plaça was filled with people of all genders and sizes.

L’hora del Jazz

plaça Rius y Taulet
Barcelona, 2008

There was not a place to sit. We were completely taken by surprise because our objective was to unwind, relax and sip a cup of coffee.

DSC_5631_3

Una DIVIDAM
Barcelona, 2008

It was L’hora del Jazz or the Hour of Jazz featuring the DIVADAMS. Three main vocalists, Araceli Aiguaviva, Carol Brunet, Loni Geest and on guitar Peter Lemberg, on base Manel Vega and on drums Pau Bombardó were entertaining the crowds.

L’hora del Jazz

plaça Rius y Taulet
Barcelona, 2008

I didn’t know about this event, because quite frankly, between la festa de Gràcia and la Diada Nacional de Catalunya, 2 big events in Catalunya, I was pretty pooped.

Imagine being tired having FUN.

And I still have many photos of la festa to download and photos of individuals that are just plain fun.

Bulletin: Les Festes de la Mercè, or Festival of Our Lady of Mercy, Patron Saint of Barcelona, one of the biggest events in Barcelona will be celebrated by all on September 19th to the 24th, a 5 day affair.

Sorry, got to go; got a lot of resting to do.

  L'hora del Jazz View MORE PHOTOS of L'hora del Jazz People FLCKR photoset.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Robert Kalman

A fun sidebar to my photo activities is the people I meet and have met.

It is not unusual to find others like me taking photos of YOU!

And so it happened one day I saw the legs of this very VERY tall man whose upper torso was hidden underneath an impressive Zorro like cape taking photies.

Robert Kalman

Robert Kalman
plaça Rius y Taulet, 2008

I pretty much can tell the pesky tourists from the locals taking pictures and this guy I didn’t know.

He peeked me TOTALLY!

My partner was curious but to chicken or cowardly to ask who he was.

Yes! It’s true, Robert, if you read this post.

So, in my classy, confident and assured way, I mustered up the courage to introduce ourselves to him and his smiling, warm companion.

He was Robert Kalman and she, Linda Kalman of NEW YORK, which happens, coincidentally, to be my birthplace a googolplex of years ago.

We exchanged pleasantries and that was nice.

But! Alas! The tables were turned.

He wanted our photograph! Can you imagine that?!

We obliged in that way many natives of Catalunya had with us.

He showed us his wonderful book of portrait’s taken in New York.

I don’t know if we will ever appear in Robert’s book, for you see, Robert’s hobby is photography taken with a view finder and where I unfortunately don’t remember at all the manufacturer’s name.

And,

A heavy, serious not for the foolish or unwise, wooden tripod.

But! I provide you with a link to his web page. Just copy and paste:
http://www.robertkalmanweb.com/index.html

Robert’s been around and YOU might see your photo. Let him know what you think. I recognize with delight some of his retratos of Barcelona’s favorite. You might too!

P. S. Robert and Linda … thank you for your short time with us.

Maybe someday, maybe again.

 People of Interest View Robert Kalman and others in barcalunacy's People of Interest FLCKR photoset.

Friday, September 12, 2008

La Senyera

I mentioned in my previous post, I would take photos that would show how Catalunya was celebrating la Diada Nacional de Catalunya.

I was excited to gallivant anywhere in Barcelona for the day was sunny and just a slight tad to annoyance, humid.

I forged ahead and ahead and ahead, perspiring in a way that would make a truck driver proud.

La Senyera

Plaça de la Revolución
Barcelona, 2008

The town was eerily dead, silent and comatose. Not a political rally, nor music nor any other festivity to be seen or heard; just as if Garcia’s citizens had been sucked up by a powerful vacuum.

What the heck happened? Somewhere in this beautiful city, memorial services were held and I totally missed the WHOLE affair!!

La Senyera

Plaça de Rius y Taulet
Barcelona, 2008

I made an executive decision consisting of one to take photos of la Senyera, (the Catalan flag) with its 4 red bars on a yellow background.

Legend says that the 4 red bars represent the bloody fingers of a dying Catalan patriot as he scratched the earth. Actually, the colors represent the coat of arms from the king of Aragon.

La Senyera has such a colorful history that you might want to check out Wiki or some other source for I couldn't write about the flag any better than what I've read.

I roamed through the 5 major plaças in the heart of Gràcia and some side streets.

You might be interested to see the plaças you have read about and for those who've moved away maybe a bit of nostalgia.

Enjoy!!

 La Diada Nacional de Catalunya, 2008 View barcalunacy's La Diada Nacional de Catalunya, 2008 FLCKR photoset.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

La Diada Nacional de Catalunya

I love Spain. They have a holiday practically every month and the natives here just got back from a month long vacation.

Memo: If you work for the American Consulate you get the United States’ and Spain’s federal and Catalunya’s holidays.

La Diada

Forn de Sant Tirs (Gràcia)
Barcelona, 2008

Tomorrow, September 11th, is a holiday in Catalunya with festivities, political demonstrations, and concerts to be held through out the province.

It is a day to remind those of Catalonia’s fall on September 11, 1714 to Philip V, their eventual loss of self-government and condemnation of their language, further repressed during Franco’s regime.

Around 6 years after Franco’s death, the Government of Catalunya made September 11th the National Day of Catalonia or La Diada as it is commonly called.

For now, I upload a photo of pastries to give you a taste and flavor of the holiday. (Pun intended). The pastries are decorated in the colors of the Catalan flag.

La Diada

Forn de Sant Tirs (Gràcia)
Barcelona, 2008

Come back tomorrow to see pictures of the festivities.

P.S. Ironically, the United States remembers its own 911 and I will never forget too.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Souly Ours

In the heart of the Gothic district, the center of Barcelona, is the Plaça de la Seu, where the famous Cathedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia is located.

From the cathedral steps, I sat looking down into the plaça and I realized that the open space was almost completely absent of any humans.

Souly Ours

Plaça de la Seu
Barcelona, 2008

At any given time, a scene like this is highly remarkable.

I took this picture at the end of August, 2008. There are 2 reasons I thought of then and there might be more.

First, the natives leave for their summer homes if they have one, the others go away to a place out of Spain and the rest of us, who are few, stay. For us, Barcelona is SOULY OURS.

Second, the decline of the dollar didn’t bring many American tourists to Europe and the loads of non-Spanish Europeans opted to stay in their native land, probably enjoying THEIR summer homes.

I will probably never get a chance to see such quiet in such a big plaça in a long while.

For a moment, I felt like one of my favorite photographers, Henri Cartier Bresson, known for pictures like the one I took.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Keeping Contact

For the past many weeks I’ve been writing about a neighborhood, or barrio, called Gràcia.

And, Gràcia can teach many cities, municipalities, states and countries a thing or two.

DSC_2232_3

Barcelona, 2008

Sometime in April or May of this year, Gràcia made available to its residents, wireless internet connection.

That means you can bring your laptop anywhere within its area and be “hooked up”, that is, have access to the World Wide Web for

Are you ready for this? FREE!

All you need is a laptop and you can sit, or squat in any café, restaurant, plaça, bathroom or vegetable stand and not miss any news on Amy Winehouse, Brittany Spears, Penelope Cruz and the more important United States presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain.

Why would anyone even bother is not my business.

Hmm … now there is NO excuse to be uniformed. All you need is a universal external battery to enjoy this great community service.

Got to go!

 A Candid View of Everyday People View barcalunacy's A Candid View of Everyday People FLCKR photoset.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

carrer Verdi

It's been many-a-days since I last posted.

I've been delayed because there are so many pictures and I wanted to do justice to each of the contestants at la festa de Gràcia, 2008 and the people who were kind enough to let me photograph them.

So, today, I begin with the people on Carre Verdi.

We met Esther, studiously, methodically and carefully mixing the paint on her palette to capture the right mood and intensity of the street.

carrer Verdi

Esther
Barcelona, 2008

Esther didn’t realize that she became part of the picture for there was a BIG BLACK SPOT on her teeny, tiny upturned nose.

Carrer Verdi

Esther's Palette
Barcelona, 2008

Further down, behind the beverage counter was Julio Soto from Cuba, in Barcelona for about 3 years. He had a bright face y una sonrisa que me encanta. (A smile that enchanted me) and I couldn’t resist taking his photo.

carrer Verdi

Julio Soto
Barcelona, 2008

He couldn’t resist my effervescent, bubbly and sparkling personality and charm, either. (Wow!! I sound like a cool beverage of lemonade on a hot, humid day!).

I think he was surprised that anyone would want to photograph him because carrer Verdi itself was clearly the star, festooned in array of flamboyant colors that would make a lover of Las Vegas happy to be here.

Anyway, carrer Verdi’s theme was on Mexico. When you look at the flickr photo stream, you will see what a great job they did.

Carrer Verdi received 3rd place of honor out of the 15 of those who participated.

We congratulate carrer Verdi and I thank Julio Soto and Esther for indulging me.




 la festa Gràcia, 2008View barcalunacy's la festa Gràcia, 2008 FLCKR photoset.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hasta Mañana

Sundays in Barcelona are peaceful with families strolling along the sidewalk, activities in the plaças and on rare occasions and I do mean RARE you see somebody actually working.

So it happened as I crossed the street, I saw this man stooping, wiping, and painting the steel persiana with the orangest gloves you ever so and a most serious look.

Hasta Mañana

Barcelona, 2008

I began taking pictures and explained that his motions and silhouette were more to my interest and not his face.

As he relaxed (in that way I have of making people feel good), I complimented him on a job well done. He explained that he promised the proprietor 8 years ago to do this job and the day finally came when his chips were called in.

She had nagged he said (but I think he really meant a gentle nudge) to do the job and under what circumstances he agreed now to do it, I will never know.

She, the proprietor, was his wife and we all know that wives are these patient, good-natured and understanding genders.

NO?

 A Candid View of Everyday People View barcalunacy's A Candid View of Everyday People FLCKR photoset

Monday, September 01, 2008

plaça Rius y Taulet

Many years ago, what seems like a googolplex amount of time passing, the Smurf’s were a popular television show, as American Idol and Dancing with the Stars are today.

Come one Halloween year, I convinced one of my sons to be Papa Smurf. I didn’t sew then and I don’t now but I thought my brilliant, outlandish idea would be fun, using old clothing and what not.

plaça Rius y Taulet

plaça Rius y Taulet, 2008

Oh, yes! The best part of my imagination was working and coming to reality. You, who have no stitching skills, would appreciate this. I made the hat out of felt material, and I got ballerina shoes, improvising them to look like Papa Smurf’s shoes.

Now wait!

I, his mother, in my creative wisdom, used Elmer’s glue (yes, you read it correctly) to paste about 20 cotton balls, on his cute little face. (Yes, I am biased.)

My son was Papa Smurf and I was swollen with pride and his face was just swollen.

plaça Rius y Taulet

plaça Rius y Taulet, 2008

Oh, how he would have been at home at plaça Rius y Taulet.

Plaça Rius y Taulet received 7th place honorable mention out of 15 who participated in la festa, Gràcia! 2008.

Congratulations to you!

 la festa Gràcia, 2008View barcalunacy's la festa Gràcia, 2008 FLCKR photoset.