Friday, May 4, 2012
The sun is shining, the temperature is climbing and the outdoor cafés and restaurants are filling up. Spring is here! Flowers are in bloom and marvelous scents fill the air. In spite of the economy buildings are being renovated and new spaces are being created. A number of festivals are in the offing. The next two months should be full of fun things to do.
Susan had coffee with Zahava yesterday morning and we decided that we would meet up at El Molinón for lunch. The place was quite full and we took our seats at one of the two empty tables. Our lunch consisted of a house salad replete with sunflowers seeds, hardboiled eggs and sprouts, buñuelos de bacalao and costillas a la sidra – ribs cooked in cider. The only other extras were the bread and a glass of wine. We finished the meal with coffee and could not resist the offer of a copita de ronmiel. We made our way back home rather slowly.
There was a meeting of the veteranos last night and it took place at the home of Jerito. Jerito is one of the founders of the magic scene here in Valencia. He is in his early 90’s and is a veritable fountain of knowledge about the evolution of magic here. As he himself explained to me last night, starting out in magic there was very little available. Purchasing effects was out of the question because there was no place to purchase them. Occasionally they would hear about an effect that included some of the details of how it was performed and they would go from that scant bit of knowledge and try to recreate it. He then proceeded to show me several of the effects that he had made himself. One was a very primitive version of a Dye Tube that had been constructed from the cardboard the once held a roll of toilet paper. He also showed me his version of a rising card deck that still works today. Lastly he showed me a version of Ultissimo that he had constructed from cardboard and colored paper. The effect is still being sold today and here is a link where you can see the modern version being performed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfmG3zZLw4c&feature=player_embedded
In the course of the evening he shared with us two of his photo albums. One of them chronicled his career in magic and the second album featured photos of magicians of the past. The last bit of information that he shared with us was the fact that there used to be a playing card manufacturing company here in Valencia. Simeon Durá opened his card factory in 1871 and it the factory closed in 1940. Here is another link that talks about the company and includes a number of images of the cards that they manufactured. The factory used to sell seconds, but not by the deck. They sold them by weight. So magicians would take themselves to the factory and purchase a kilo of cards. The meeting that started at 7:20 wound up a little before 9:30 and since it was Paquito’s birthday we decided we would go to Carusel and celebrate.
Jordi placed before us a dinner fit for kings. We began with a large wooden tray filled with a variety of embutidos. Next came a plated of Valencian tomatoes with mojama. Mojama is dried red tuna. After the tomatoes came a plate filled with what looked like mini-hamburgers buns and all. They were, in truth, figatells, similar to the ones we had tried at Maridaje the previous night. Lastly we were presented with a plate of presa ibérica, which is another name for secreto ibérico. In the course of the meal the six of us managed to do in several bottles of wine and there were the usual chupitos at the end of the meal. Gurrea dropped me off at the house and when I walked through the door it was a little after midnight. I stayed up for another half hour letting the meal digest and then I headed for bed.