Is It Just Me, Or Does Every Other Chick I See Downtown On The Weekend Have That Fake Tan Orange Glow?

In yesterday's New York Times Play Magazine there is a wonderful article by Michael Kimmelman about the current state of bullfighting in Spain. Bullfighting, similar to boxing in America, is a dying art. The best in each field performed decades ago, Robinson, Marciano, Belmonte, Joselito, and each faces opposition to concerns about safety and is viewed as barbaric. Papa Hem, perhaps a romantic like myself, perhaps an outsider (also like myself) or perhaps just a racist, wrote about the machismo of Spaniards in his bullfighting bible, Death In The Afternoon, and described a culture, or at least 50+ years ago, that did not fear death, instead death was a part of life. With this understanding and celebration of life and death, one is willing to do what most will not with their life.

Several years ago I travelled Spain. One rainy night I sat in the back of a taxi stuck in traffic and watched one of the most brutal beat downs I have ever seen. These two skinny little teenagers, I assume who had been kicked out of this club, would charge the four or five humongous bouncers (as they always seem to be...) screaming and swinging their fists into where ever they would land, usually the bouncer's chest or hands, and the bouncers would pick them up and throw them into the street followed by some kicks and punches, shoo fly, shoo fly. But these kids kept picking themselves up and charging the bouncers. It was like some sort of game. And every time the bouncers got rougher, punching and kicking harder and longer. It got pretty tough to watch at a certain point. My hat is off to these kids, heart and balls all day, maybe they were drunk, but as we all know the taste of blood in your mouth can sober you up pretty quick.

This has turned into a rambler...but it has almost been a year since I have had this blog and I'd say that a good third of these posts explore death. The experiences I have had flirting with death have impacted me in a tremendous way and influenced my work a great deal. Death is something I think about a lot, it is how I understand life.

Torero (Matador) Ceyetano Rivera tells Kimmelman:

"For years I stayed away from it: I went to school in Switzerland, focused on television and cinema, lived in Los Angeles. But increasingly I wondered what my father and grandfather felt so passionately about they they would risk their lives. So I became a torero several years ago, late compared to others. And I discovered what a powerful feeling it is when you are so close to death. It is something so real and strong and addictive. It is indescribabale."

"It's like what my grandfather told my my brother, 'Some bullfights are so important that your life doesn't matter.' And it sometimes happen when you are completely given over to the moment in the ring that you really don't care, you just forget about your body. And it's incredible."

Thanks Kevin for the vintage flea market photos.