Art

Alfonso XIII: Playboy King and Porno Pioneer

Spain’s first pornos As with the internet, it didn’t take long for pioneers to see the pornographic possibilities of film with early pornos appearing pretty quickly after the Lumiere brothers first displayed their invention in Paris in 1895. However, unlike the internet, this was no democratic tool, the first silent pornos were mainly made to …

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Ateneo de Madrid’s Turbulent History

Ayuso squares off against Ateneo Ateneo de Madrid, one of the city’s most important cultural institutions, has just had its 100,000 euros per annum local government funding abruptly shut off. The only local organization hit by a total funding cut, speculation that the move is politically motivated is rife. The heart of the problem seems …

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Caught on Canvas: a Rogues’ Gallery of Spanish Rulers

Caught on canvas or let off the hook? Portraiture is a tricky business. An artist has to balance capturing the true likeness of the subject with flattering their ego. If said subject is a nasty piece of work, the job just gets even trickier. This post features three portraits of Spain’s most notoriously nefarious rogues, …

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Tabacalera then and now

Community collective Anyone wandering through the chilly graffiti-splattered corridors of Tabacalera would be forgiven for thinking that the former tobacco factory has been abandoned by the powers that be. Rundown, raucous, and rough around the edges, the space feels more like a Berlin squat than a state-owned community centre. This is mostly down to bad management …

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Muy majo: Madrid’s fiercely independent working class tribes

Chulapos and majos If you’ve ever attended a festival in Madrid, you may have seen ladies in polka dot skirts and headscarfs hanging on the arms of gents in tight dark trousers and checkered caps, both sporting bright red carnations. These are the chulapos and chulapas who were immortalized in literature and song during the 19th …

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Carlos III: a revolutionary king

Responsible for belatedly dragging the city out of the dark ages, Carlos III (1716 to 1788) is arguably one of Madrid’s greatest architects. Besides commissioning many iconic monuments, he also introduced street lighting, a proper sewage system, and a rubbish collection service to the city. Nowadays he’s remembered as “El mejor alcalde de Madrid” (Madrid’s …

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