Paco de Malaga and Ana Martinez receive La Cruz de Oficial de la Orden de Isabel la Católica. November 24, 2008
Paco de Málaga, Ambassador Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo and Ana Martínez. (photo courtesy of Natasha)
When I first arrived in the Washington DC area in June 1991, I used whatever resources that I could (there was no Internet for civilians back then!) to find out where to see some tablao-style flamenco. And I was pointed in the direction of a Spanish restaurant called El Bódegon where a couple of highly-respected local flamenco artists performed several nights a week. It was guitarist Paco de Málaga and his wife dancer Ana Martínez.
I was already playing and performing at the time (got my start in flamenco in Los Angeles in 1990 with the Blanca Luz Dance Academy in Buena Park) and as an eager student of flamenco, I took it upon myself to visit El Bódegon as often as I could to learn from the masters.
Fast forward almost 18 years later, I've come a long way and learned a lot about flamenco from Paco in particular as I attended his many many performances, took a few guitar lessons and hung out at his store the Guitar Gallery and "talked shop" and occasionally gossiped about flamencos—hey who doesn't?
Just this morning, I received an email from my dancer friend Natasha alerting me that Paco and Ana were presented with La Cruz de Oficial de la Orden de Isabel la Católica by the Ambassador of Spain Jorge Dezcallar de Mazarredo this past Monday. From what I've read on the Internet, receiving La Cruz is one of Spain's highest honors, recognizes outstanding achievement in promoting Spanish culture and is the equivalent of being knighted! Please join me in congratulating Paco and Ana!
Ana Martínez and Paco de Málaga. (photo courtesy of Natasha)
Flashback from Miguelito's trip to Madrid a few years ago. This is a view of the Rastro flea market held on Sunday mornings. June 12, 2005 9:49am
It's 9:54am on Saturday morning as I type these words. It's been a pretty normal but enjoyable week of flamenco for me so far. Did my shows at Cafe Citron on Monday, at Las Tapas on Tuesday, subbed for Torcuato at Cubano's on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday I chilled out at home (last night's show at Cabanas was canceled). I don't have any other plans for today (Saturday) except for the DC Dance Collective fundraiser at 8:00pm tonight.
I've been in vampire mode the past few days which means I've been literally staying up all night and having to catch up on sleep through short naps throughout the following day. Been thinking about lots of stuff personal and professional—I'm pretty much a night person which among other things means I'm more mentally focused late at night. I should've been born a vampire.
Having been involved in the DC flamenco scene for the past 17 years I've seen a lot of changes. What's cool for me is having seen quite a few beginner flamenco dance students grow artistically into experienced knowledgeable performers. Sometimes my colleagues and I have these conversations, very much like sports fans do, trying to predict who amongst the latest crop of beginner students of today will blossom into the inspiring performers of tomorrow.
I won't go through a list of names, for fear of inadvertently leaving someone out, but many talented and inspiring flamenco dancers have taught or still currently teach at the DC Dance Collective. We have many very respectable dance studios in the DC area, but most of the time when I overhear dance students talking (and as you know, I hang out with dancers a LOT!) the DC Dance Collective comes up again and again as the place to go.
Sara, Marcela, Marylin, Natalia, Ayhan and Laura at Bodega. October 18, 2008 12:15am
It's 4-something on Friday morning as I type these words. Got home a while ago after hanging out at Bodega with a couple of flamenco friends. My favorite bartender Sachi was working and of course she kept our glasses constantly filled with sangría. Good times!
It's been at least a few weeks (probably close to a month) since my last blog post. I've been busy, what can I say? Oh well...better late than never, right? Anywayz, here are some random pics from the most recent juerga at Bodega.