Here are some more shots from my collection of this year’s Festes de Gràcia. These come from streets whose themes included musicals, the Amazon jungle (which was this year’s winner, Verdi) and a trip to Japan thanks to Plaça Rovira i Trias. I’ve also got some shots from Perla, which continued with the musical theme, though a bit more psychadelic in nature, which was accompanied by day with a concert featuring Rumba Catalana, a form of music born in the neighborhood of Gràcia and by night concerts that were a bit more rock n roll.
As a zombie buff, I was quite pleased to stumble upon carrer Progrés, which last year won the Grand prize for their Jurassic Park-themed decorations. While they didn’t take the prize this year (it went back to habitual winners carrer Verdi), in my book this display was the clear winner. It’s certainly not to everyone’s taste, and I heard some disapproving comments as I was walking through the display, but for me it brought back memories of childhood haunted houses, one of my favorite amusement park attractions.
I’ve accumulated an incredible amount of material over the last few weeks, between some trips through the center of Barcelona, the Festes de Gràcia and my 5-day mini vacation to Copenhagen, which is a treasure trove of interesting street art. However, for today’s post, I’ve decided to include this tribute to actor Robin Williams which appeared some time during the festivals last week. There was another tribute which formed part of a zombie-themed street decoration which I’ll be posting in the next few days as a part of my annual Gràcia festival feature.
A little over a year ago, I posted this image from my neighbourhood of Gràcia, with a Dalí-inspired crucifix under one of the characteristic high-voltage warning signs: an interesting juxtaposition of triangles. Last week, while cycling through the old city centre, I discovered another electrical shock warning decal, this time with the image of an indigenous child underneath. I wonder if this child, in his innocence, would know that this sign warns him to stay away and not encouraging him to peel away the metal plate and check what’s inside.
It seems that this is indeed a case where the B-side is enjoying as much popularity as its higher-profile counterpart, as I had mentioned in a previous post. In fact, when I passed by the wall this time, there were more people snapping photos of the B-side than the “official” installation. I checked the Murs LLiures website and there is now a Ciutadella Park wall listed, so it appears that this has become a part of the project. Fortunately it’s on a path which I frequently take to and from my gym, so I will be checking it as frequently as I can.
These shots are the latest evolution of the free walls project in two of the locations, the first on carrer Bolivia and the second on carrer Josep Plà, which is very near the Diagonal Mar shopping mall. Later this week, I hope to make a trip to the Tres Xemeneies near Paral·lel. As I’ve just begun my vacation period, I’m also planning to make some outings around Poble Nou to find any new developments around the neighborhood.
I want to start this post off with a confession. While the vast majority of the pictures I post on here are images I’ve stumbled upon by accident, today’s photo is the result of an initial tipoff from local Barcelona TV channel BTV, which ran an article on this piece last week. I of course wasted little time hopping on the nearest Bicing bike and, with broken bell and screeching front brake, made my way to the corner of carrer Ciutat de Granada and Almogavers. The corner was empty, and it was overcast, and dusk was just beginning–perfect conditions for a shadow-free photo.
The image shows the sister of current Spanish king, Felipe VI, Cristina de Borbon and her husband, former Olympic star and disgraced entrepreneur Iñaki Urdangarin, known together as the Duke and Duchess of Palma (Mallorca). Iñaki, the Duke, has been embroiled for the last two years in a money-laundering scandal which involves businesspeople and many high-level politicians. His wife, formerly known as the “Infanta Cristina”, or daughter of the ex-king Juan Carlos, had managed to dodge suspicion until recently. She has now been implicated in the case and will likely have to testify.
If this blogger had to make a bet on the outcome of the situation, I would say that don Iñaki will likely be sacrificed while the former royal daughter will be spared. The damage to the image of the Spanish monarchy is undeniable, however, as can be seen in this image.
Now that most music is stored, exchanged and enjoyed digitally, some of the peculiarities of the days of physical music formats are fading into obscurity. One of those is the convention of A-sides and B-sides on record singles. Back when single songs were sold on the small, 45-rpm vinyl records, record companies placed the popular, radio-friendly track on the A-side, while the instrumentals, or inferior tracks were used to fill the B-side.
On a few notable occasions, the “inferior” B-sides become more popular than their A-side counterparts. Some examples include Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” and The Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday“. On a few occasions, both the A and B side became hits, as with the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out” and “Day Tripper“.
Indeed, taking the extra four or five minutes to flip to the B-side, or spending the extra quarter to play the lower track on the jukebox would sometimes reveal a pleasant surprise.
The other day, when riding by the Tricentennial Installation featured a few weeks back, I noticed someone taking some pictures of the backside of the concrete wall. I decided to explore. On the B-side, I found a few tags and some murals, along with the image of an antique pistol which seems part of the “official” project. The B-side artwork is very similar to what can be found on the Mur Lliures which pepper the city.
While this B-side may not enjoy the hit status of “Ruby Tuesday” or “Ice Ice Baby” (B-side to “Play That Funky Music“), it does show the value of going a little further below (or behind) the surface.
Along with the stencils and colourful murals which punctuate the city landscape, there are thousands upon thousands of pasteups, of various sizes, black and white, colour, with different messages, some more apparent than others. Of the three I’m posting, the most colourful one can be found downtown in the old city, and the other two, one a tribute to Jimi Hendrix and another a tribute to the funny faces we created with our hands as children (or adults).
You may remember the post from back in February regarding the Galeria de la Magdalena, an empty corner turned art project near the via Laetana. I was in the neighbourhood last week and decided to check for any interesting changes, as this is a farily high-traffic corner. I wasn’t disappointed. In these shots you can see that someone has added an armchair (in Spanish sillón) as well as a few new images including a flag from the Basque country, known as the Ikurriña. The Ikurriña recently received some attention in the Spanish media thanks to an unlikely source: Miley Cyrus, who proudly waved this flag in her recent Barcelona show. She would be ill-advised to repeat the gesture at her gig in Madrid.