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News and comments and events relating to Granada, 'the city where anything is possible, Granada, 'la bella y la bestia, and Federico Garcia Lorca's complicated love-hate relationship with the city, etc


The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Mon, October 15, 2018 20:39:41

We may recall that the official inauguration of the Lorca Centre went off half-cock in the course of 2015, without pomp, without ceremony, and without the invaluable resources of the long-awaited Lorca legacy, following the enforced abandonment of the ambitious opening programme planned for the summer of 2011, thanks largely to the fraudulent actions of the Foundation’s corrupt secretary, Juan Tomás Martín.

Finally, 11 October 2018, we could visit the first exhibition made up exclusively with ítems from the “Lorca Legacy” (the collection of thousands of documents and manuscripts as well as literary, critical, and artistic works that bear direct witness to the poet’s life, times and creative activity), now that they have at last been safely stored in the Centre’s purpose-built, iron-clad strong room. It has been a long and arduous path to get here, remarked Laura García-Lorca, president of the Lorca Foundation, somewhat ruefully I’d say, at the brief and low-key opening ceremony on Thursday evening. It is to be hoped that this exhibition will mark the beginning of the “normalization” of the relationship between the Poet and his City. It hardly needs saying this relationship has been over the years anything but “normal”.

Desde el Centro: Federico García Lorca y Granada is an exhibition that has obviously been put together with a lot of sensitivity, love and care by Ms García-Lorca herself and a “small but extraordinary team”. It would be unfair to make a comparison with the 1998 exhibition, Federico García Lorca y Granada, at the Centro Cultural Gran Capitán, organised by the special centenary national committee, with access to the widest possible variety of sources. If I have sneakily made such a comparison it is absolutely and categorically more to remind myself of the splendours of that one than to belittle this one.

Without going into detail, but recommending a visit to anyone who can make it – it closes on 30 November -, Desde el Centro (From the Centre) lays bare the “intense and complex” relationship of the poet with the city, what I prefer to call a love-hate relationship. The city attracted and repelled him throughout his life, with his love for its unique beauty and brilliant Moorish past battling in his heart with a hate of its provincial narrow-mindedness and bourgeois present. This is my interpretation of “intense and complex” and was not expressed in this way in the inauguration speeches; but it is there in the exhibition.

A reference in the speeches was made to this exhibition being put together rather hurriedly, which I suppose is an indirect reference to an unforeseen hitch in the preparation of Amor (con alas y flechas) [Love (with wings and arrows], an exhibition, commissioned by University of Boston Professor and Lorca expert Christopher Maurer, which was supposed to have kicked off the Centre’s regular programme of legacy events but has been silently removed from the calendar. So it looks as if another undesired improvisation has been forced on the Centre’s administrators.

The Centro Lorca has become from this moment the centre of attraction of the city’s autumn cultural programme, announced the Councillor for Culture, proudly (defiantly?). And the Mayor described the occasion as a further step in the “permanent commitment” of the City with the Lorca Centre. I won’t explain how that is a political swipe of the social democratic mayor at his conservative predecessor(s).

Although I was present at the inauguration, for much of this post, I am indebted to Belén Rico, Granada Hoy, 12 October, 2018

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Job vacancies (2)

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Wed, March 14, 2018 17:41:49

Job vacancies at the Lorca Centre, we announced in #post 77 (21.01.2018). So far, views of the Lorca Centre always give the impression of a big empty space with little human activity. Hopefully, this will change when the Centre receives the legacy it was set up for and starts to be truly operative. The arrival of the complete legacy at the Lorca Centre they say (G. Cappa Granada Hoy, 14 March, 2018) will create the need for around 15 employees, first and foremost curators and archivists, and:

· a manager, to be selected by a public tendering process

· a programme co-ordinator,

· two librarians,

· a receptionist,

· three or four maintenance personnel (possibly outsourced)

· an accountant,

· and at least three or four office administration staff

Get your applications in now!

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Dalí's contribution to the Lorca legacy

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Wed, March 14, 2018 17:34:20

How much is Lorca worth today? we asked in #post78 (24.01.2018).

Well an insurance of 12 million Euros has been arranged to cover the transfer of the first part of the Lorca ´legacy’ from the Residencia de Estudiantes to the Lorca Centre in Plaza Romanilla on the occasion of the Una habitación propia (A room of his own)-exhibition, which is to open on 22 March.

Mind you, more than a couple of million of this insured value are accounted for by two works of Salvador Dalí that the painter gave the poet to mark their close friendship while at the Residencia in the early 20s. The decidedly most valuable part of the exhibition is the still life, also known as ‘Siphon and bottle of rum’, painted in 1924 in the painter’s brief cubist period, a painting which had pride of place in Lorca’s room at the Residencia. [See images.] The exhibition will also include the correspondence between Lorca and Dalí, as well as the poet’s correspondence with his parents. It was on at the Residencia until last October to mark the departure of the legacy which was supposed to have happened last year.

G. Cappa Granada Hoy, 14 Marzo, 2018

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The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Sun, January 28, 2018 10:19:40

In the coming weeks and months a suitable cultural programme will have to be worked out to mark the arrival of the Lorca legacy at the Lorca Centre in June this year, touch wood.

This of course will be the second time such a programme has had to be devised.

Seven years ago, a truly impressive programme, the aim of which was to position the Centre as ‘one of the most important cultural assets’ in Spain, was announced for the planned opening in the summer of 2011. I wrote about it in //, dated 20 October 2010, and in //, on 30 January 2011. The programme included:

· an exhibition about Lorca’s poetry collection Poet in New York.

· an artistic staging of the public readings Lorca used to give of Poet in New York in the 1930s

· an exhibition on Dalí, Lorca y la Residencia de Estudiantes

· a performance of the ‘impossible’ play How Five Years Pass

· a production fusing the unfinished play we call Comedy without a Title with its ‘play within the play’ Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

All this was not to be. As we now know, thanks largely to the fraudulent actions of the Foundation’s corrupt secretary Juan Tomás Martín, a financial hole of several million euros appeared in the accounts which prevented the completion of the work on the building and meant the ambitious programme had to be scrapped (//, 9 June 2011). When the Centre was finally opened in 2015, it was a low-key affair without pomp, without ceremony, - and without the legacy. (//, February 2017).

There is some urgency in finalising the new programme, as suitable sponsors need to be found for each of the chosen events.

It hardly needs adding that La Caixa will be a prime candidate for a role in these sponsorship plans. Compare #post76 dated 20 January 2018

Starting point for this post was also G. Cappa’s article in Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década

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The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Wed, January 24, 2018 17:53:37

As a poet-playwright, Lorca started making serious money when his plays, particularly Blood Wedding, got put on in Buenos Aires in the mid-1930s. In the years of the Second Republic he was doing alright. But the money he was worth during his lifetime pales into insignificance when we consider how much his works are worth today.

Of course, one would have to say that it’s impossible to put a price on the literary legacy that Lorca left us. In 2007 Christie's auction house actually had a go, estimating its value at between 11 and 17.5 million euros, but that was ten years ago. The consortium responsible for financing the Centre more recently used a figure of 18.7 million as an estimation to set up as a security for a one-million-euro debt. Otherwise it has been common to talk about 20 million euros or more.

Unfortunately, the private agreement between the Lorca Foundation and La Caixa (see post#76, 20 January 2018) failed to put a figure on the estimated value of the legacy, which is a pity because, even if we agree the collection is priceless, an erroneous valuation could have negative financial and even culture-political consequences.

For it is not only the legacy, but the value of the legacy, that attracts tourists to Granada. A legacy valued at 11 million euros will not have the same pull as one worth 20 million.

Lorca y Lola Membrives después del estreno de "Bodas de sangre" en 1933, en Buenos Aires. Marilyne Gourel de St Pern

Acknowledgement: Facts and figures from G. Cappa’s article in Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década

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The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Sun, January 21, 2018 16:27:18

The Lorca Centre needs librarians, archivists, filing staff, and such, to keep a track of the thousands of original manuscripts and documents that make up the invaluable literary legacy left behind by the city’s outstanding poet.

Apart from the manuscripts, correspondence, and first editions in its unique collection, the Foundation is also in possession of a huge collection of books: all the books that have ever been written and published about Lorca in all the world’s languages, apparently!

Once the Centre starts operating properly, not only will staff be needed to manage the archives, there will also be a need for personnel to advise and inform the public and to assist researchers who will come from all corners of the globe. It is clear that the work will require specially trained employees with expert knowledge.

What a fabulous environment to work in. Any takers?A cross-section of the Centre, its library, and the purpose-built, iron-clad strong room where Lorca's material legacy will be kept.

Acknowledgement: information taken from G. Cappa, Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década

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The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Sat, January 20, 2018 18:41:35

La Caixa, once a savings bank for the Catalan working class, today Spain's third largest financial institution, is claiming its stake in the Lorca legacy, an invaluable collection of thousands of documents and manuscripts that bear direct witness to the poet’s life, times and works.

Their claimed share in the legacy is in exchange, it seems, for the part they played in filling the financial hole left by the Juan Tomás affair {, 5 Feb 2017}, thus making the transfer of the legacy to Granada possible. It includes the right to display the company logo in the Centre’s foyer and on its webpage, as well as to figure as sponsor to various events it may organise. The presence of La Caixa in the cultural activities of the Centre is supposed to be low-key, and it will be maintained for ten years.

Exactly what low-key is supposed to mean is not entirely clear as details of the agreement between the financial institution and the Lorca Foundation have not been made public. It’s a private agreement, explains the Foundation’s new, honest secretary (Juan Tomás’s replacement and previously director of the Reina Sofía Museum), and it also covers things that don’t have anything to do with the Centre or the legacy. - I wonder what they are? I ask myself suspiciously - “But,” we are reassuringly assured, “all the involved parties have been fully informed of that part of the agreement that does have to do with the Centre”. Nevertheless, the exact nature of the participation of La Caixa in future activities has been left open, and besides, it is La Caixa’s policy, we are told, never to give details of its collaboration agreements. This I somehow find less than reassuring.

2018 is the ninetieth anniversary of Lorca’s poetic masterpiece Romancero Gitano and to celebrate the event I am half expecting a new commemorative edition to come out: The La Caixa Gypsy Ballad Book

THE LORCA LEGACY – brought to you by ...
Acknowledgement: What you have here is my interpretation of facts I read in G. Cappa’s article in Granada Hoy, 17 January 2018 El emblema de La Caixa respaldará el Centro Lorca durante una década

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legacy - agreement signed and sealed

The Lorca CentrePosted by Simon Fri, January 05, 2018 16:30:35
An agreement between the parties involved in financing the Lorca Centre has been signed and sealed and the invaluable archive containing the poet's legacy will be delivered into its purpose built iron clad strong room before the end of June 2018.

But before you get too excited, read on.

The first time I blogged about the Lorca Centre, situated in Granada’s Plaza de la Romanilla, just a stone’s throw from the Cathedral, was in October 2010. The Centre had been due to open by December, but earlier in the year a shortfall of 4.5 million euros in the estimated costs had come to light, leading to wrangling among the participating financial backers as to who should pay what. The opening was put back to an unspecified date ‘early’ in the following year. [//]

The setback was not unprecedented. In March 2007 it had been falsely announced that the Centre, due to start operations in the course of 2007, would open its doors to the public before the end of 2008. The project went back to at least 2003 when it was declared that there was a unanimous agreement and a political will shared by all the financial backers of the Lorca Foundation to build the Centre, on which work was actually started in 2005, and which was to be an important cultural landmark and tourist attraction in the city, housing the poet's legacy, an archive of documents consisting of over 2,000 sheets of original manuscripts, thousands of other documents, original drawings, musical scores and photographs, all of them relating to the poet’s work and life, which until then had been kept at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid.

"Look out for news on the opening dates!" was my excited and overoptimistic conclusion to that #post4 of October 2010. In view of my knowledge and experience of Lorca’s Granada, the Granada of contemplation, dreams, and inertia, of grand projects that are rarely fully realised, I should have refrained from such boldness. By January 2011 it was clear that the much anticipated grand inauguration scheduled for the celebration of the 113th anniversary of the Lorca’s birth on June 5 that year was not going to come off. “It’s unbelievable," lamented Laura García-Lorca (President of the Garcia Lorca Foundation). "The Lorca Centre should never have been a problem.” But it was, and now she was doubtful as to whether the Centre would be operational by the end of 2011. Nor were there any guarantees for 2012! Worst of all, the ambitious inauguration programme that so much work had gone into had to be scrapped. [//]

In July 2011, the official opening was rescheduled for March 2012, but that didn't happen, either. Then: October 2013. The workmen have moved in! To finish the job! It's actually happening. [//]
"Work is being resumed on the Lorca Centre and it will be finished by June," I blogged then. "This time - it’s true!"

It wasn't of course. But even Laura García-Lorca, who had reason enough sceptical if anybody did, was quite confident that the Centre would be opened in time for the 116th anniversary of the poet’s birth on 5 June 2014. "I am totally convinced (this time),” she said, “that the problem of financing the Lorca Centre has been resolved and that we will soon see it open for business”.

I was in London during these years and it was easy for me to take my eye off the latest developments in this pathetic saga: there weren't any. The problem continued to be the 4.5 million euro hole that the original budget had not accounted for.

It turned out that this 4.5 million euro deficit more or less corresponded to the amount that was embezzled by the Lorca Foundation’s secretary Juan Tomás Martín, who had been entrusted to handle the Foundation finances. When we were assured that the legacy archive would be transferred from Madrid to the purpose-built Lorca Centre in time for the 119th anniversary of the poet’s birth on 5 June 2017 (it wasn't), I couldn't help wondering if this was such a good move in view of local corruPSOE petty crooks like Juan Tomás, constantly on the lookout for any opportunity to line their own pockets. [//]

In the meantime, the Centre had been inauspiciously opened in the summer of 2015. It was a low-key affair, without pomp, without ceremony, and, of course, without the legacy.

A little short of two years later, Laura García-Lorca was at the Centre on the occasion of the Lorca Poetry Prize award ceremony. It seems that in the meantime she had fled Granada for Madrid and had not shown her face at the Centre since the Juan Tomás affair. The latest auditing of the Foundation's post-Juan Tomás accounts had been approved, she declared (triumphantly?), and now no obstacle stood in the way of the transfer of the archive. Only technical questions, formalities, remained to be dealt with. "My presence here is to show how advanced the project is and how near we are to realising it, as and how it was initially conceived." And once again she expressed her 100% conviction that it would all be done and dusted by the end of the year, 2017.

Actually, the Residencia de Estudiantes shared Ms García-Lorca's conviction for in June 2017 an exhibition was held there to commemorate the poet's time at the Residencia and to mark the imminent transfer of the legacy it had kept safely for the past 30-odd years to Granada (tierra del chavico/tuppence ha'penny land).

So now, weighing up the evidence so far, tell me: how certain do you feel that the legacy will be in Granada by the end of June 2018? Has the last bridge really been crossed; the last i been dotted?

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