Wednesday, June 27, 2012
castellers,” or “human tower builders” in the northeastern region of Spain from which they hail. But this week in New York City I got to witness them in person for the first time, as a team from Vilafranca de Penedès painted the town with it's magical stunts. It was a mesmerizing scene, to say the least . . . Like ants building a mound or bees crafting a nest, each member of the 'colony' had his or her distinct role: stockier men formed the center of the “pinya,” or base, while all manner of men and women surrounded and supported them; additional stocky men comprised the second base or “folre” that anchored the first tier with strength and stability; a dozen or so men and women created the central scaffolding of the tower; our hero, an “aixecador,” or “riser,” helped seal the tower and provide support for the cherry on top of the cake; and finally, the baby-faced “enxaneta” or “rider,” ascended, waved, descended, and made it look so very easy.
The Human Tower, Enxaneta) that team bonding among castellers is extremely powerful and often provides participants with a lifelong second family. What’s more, in a part of Spain where bullfighting was recently outlawed, casteller displays and competitions deliver a powerful and symbolic contrast to that other, more barbaric Spanish 'sport'.
I hope you enjoy this handful of images from one of the castellers’ recent New York performances. If you’d like to see more, the full set can be viewed over on Flickr. ∞
Saturday, June 02, 2012
The Mets. Have. A no-hitter! For a team that has so often been composed of loveable losers, this feat is particularly sweet. Congrats to Johan Santana for making it happen in such dramatic fashion. And now, I'm off to watch the replay. ∞