Tag Archives: Barcelona

MASTERS OF INK & NEEDLE: ALVARO LLORAR.

jaws llorar

I love Álvaro Llorar. I really do. He’s one of my favorite tattoo artists, lives in Barcelona and works at Barcelona Electric Tattoo 20 minutes away walking from The Hellhouse.

Fist time acquainted with him was through my friend Dave, who got tattooed by him in 2010. This beautiful woman whose tears water and feed the roses really caught my eye.

dave

At the end of 2012 I started thinking of getting a woman inked. I didn’t want the typical face, and thought of a woman with the eyes in flames, it made me think of something like “I’d rather burn my eyes (see no evil)”.

After assessing different artists, it was precisely before Christmas Eve supper, having some beers with Dave, he suggested and encouraged me to talk to Alvaro, and so I did. I knew he wasn’t going to fail me, as he’s a master with women, tattooing speaking (well, probably in other senses too).

When I visited him at the studio, one of the main things which confirmed me I has chosen correctly was the immediate connection to him. It was very easy for me to explain the concept of the woman in flaming eyes and he got it instantly, looking very enthusiastic about the idea. We got on well in a second. That made me feel very confident. 4 days later he was showing me two designs of a lady, both with just one eye on fire to highlight the features of the gorgeous lady, and I chose the skull clip for the hair and the chrysanthemum. The experience of getting tattooed by Llorar was terrific. Not only because we could chat a lot and he answered all my questions, but also because he was all the time making sure I was feeling comfortable and suffering the less possible. The result was Carmen, my gorgeous woman.

carmen

Álvaro was also thrilled by the result and admitted she was going to be one of the tops of the year. I’ve seen many of his works afterwards and even though they are brilliant, I gotta admit he was right.

He’s definitely a ladies artist. The way he works on the faces, the intense and wide eyes, the blush around them, the treatment of shadows on the chin and neck, lips and nose, the hair, and all the beautiful accessories added… Alvaro’s a master of the classic and traditional Mediterranean woman, very feminine, gorgeous, nostalgic and very evocative. His ladies make me think of sailors, who would be very proud of getting inked a beauty such as my Carmen.

Women Llorar

 

They are so recognizable, it happened to me some time ago at a concert a couple of guys came to me asking if my girl was inked by Álvaro, completely fascinated, and started showing me some of their tattoos done by him too.

Of course ladies are not the only field Llorar is good at. He’s got a taste for the dark and gloomy. Many of his illustrations portrait evil scenes, quite disturbing. It’s hard to understand when you get to know such an outgoing and friendly guy though. His skulls are very unique.

skulls llorar

Álvaro is guest spotting in different cities in Spain. Mallorca, Pamplona, Zaragoza, Cordoba, and also takes part of some conventions in Europe. Best advice I can give is, in case you’re interested in getting one of his wonderful tattoos, to contact him through Facebook in order to check when and where he’s available, as fortunately he’s quite busy.

Llorar is not even 30 right now, but is one of the most solid artists I know nowadays. as an artist he’s very creative and talented, and you can see he loves his job. As a person, only for the hours I spent with him, he’s straight, very easygoing and adorable. The combination of these two sides made my experience terrific, and I’m looking forward to repeating some time soon.

varios llorar

AN EVENING WITH CRY BABY (LA OTRA FILMS).

Going to the movies has turn into a luxury for many. Tickets are expensive, theatres offering films in their original version are very few, and unfortunately the bizz is focused on mainstream blockbusters. There’s the local independent cinema which is quite affordable, but the catalogue is too serious, so to speak.

People who grew up in the late 70s and 80s look for something beyond that. We want to recover those films we’ve watched hundreds of times on TV and enjoy them in big screen. Thus, Grindhouse initiatives of action, horror or sci-fi movies, are always very welcome.

Now La Otra Films in Barcelona, goes beyond that. The concept of this iniciative has to do with the lack of film festivals dealing with love. There’re horror, sci-fi, independent, foreign, gender, Asian…film festivals, but if you think about it, nobody cares about love. To be honest I hadn’t thought of it before either as typical love-cakey-drama/comedy films are not my thing. But there are exceptions of course, and love is depicted in all kind of film genres in a very different way. Remember Han and Leia in Star Wars saga, or the top 5 love disasters list told by Rob Gordon in High Fidelity, the junkie relationship between Harry and Marion in Requiem for a Dream, for instance.

On a monthly basis La Otra offers a Thursday evening of love, music and beer.  I christening was last Thursday with John Waters’ Cry Baby.

cry baby la otra

For those who might not know this fact, I love his films. Pecker, Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Hairspray, Serial Mom, Cecil B Demented… This fascination for the disgusting and the filth in his early films stole my heart. I still remember that late Tuesday night when a TV channel broadcast Pink Flamingos and the day after at the high school everybody was talking about the final scene of Divine eating dogshit. It was repulsive, but at the same time, so shocking, trashy and awesome, we all started searching for more of his stuff.

I’ve always loved his regular cast of actors: the queen of filth and shock Divine, Mink Stole, fascinating Patricia Hearst (millionaire William Randolph Hearst’s granddaughter and heiress, who was also kidnapped and convicted for armed robbery), David Lochary and his ‘stache, Mary Vivian Pierce with that 1920’s unique beauty, Ricki Lake who is not overweight anymore, Edith Massey and her eggman…

cast

Cry Baby is a funny tribute to all 1950’s films featuring squares and rebels. it’s a trasher version of Grease, as it tells the story of an instant crush between the beautiful and straight posh girl, Allison, and the rebel and leader of a gang, Cry Baby Walker, raised by his grandma after his father was fried in the electric chair. Love at first sight for real. Another Romeo & Juliet modern review, with of course, a happy ending, an impressive soundtrack, and very funny moments. Such a story, with a young Amy Locane, Traci Lords at her maximum splendor (leaving her porn time behind, guys), Johnny Depp’s taking off from 21 Jump St series (who could have foreseen the success of his career?), Iggy Pop, Willem Dafoe, had to be a winner.

You can read a “proper” review of the film I wrote long time ago for Popcorn and Movies. Believe it or not, it’s the most visited post in this comatose blog.

So imagine Thursday evening after a couple of beers, when we arrived at the cinema it was packed with people. Everybody was in a great mood. They were serving free beer, there was a photocall with a Triumph motorbike and Cry Baby leather jacket so you could pose, and then there was a short opening performance. The band Miedo (Fear) was pure rubbish, but bearable anyway.

It’s great to watch these kind of films with lots of people. The word to define the event is FUN. Everybody laughing, whistling, booing, clapping…and the peak of the night, with Mr Jailer musical number, with confetti blowing all over the place. What a blast!

I wonder why such events are not held more often. I think there’d be enough people motivated enough as to attend. It seems that movies to watch at theatres have to be new releases, or old classics, but, what happens with OUR generation classics?

Thanks to La Otra for such wonderful evening. I’m sure there will be a next time.

Wanna join?

DANGER, DANGER @ HEY HO! BAR

Sometimes I got the feeling I don’t do much stuff, but there are moments I need to stop to take breath because my life is reckless. In just a week I’ve received two visits from very close friends, and in less than 3 days I’ve dj’d twice.  And it’s August. Weeeeird!

Danger Danger

I discovered this place named Hey Ho! Bar some months ago, and liked it immediately. It’s like punk skate oriented, trashy yet groovie, and the atmosphere is pretty cool. Somehow it reminds me of some Alphabet City bars in NYC. I usually meet my friend Jaumie over there for some Eur 1 beers on our Gossip Thursdays, and we always have a great time.

It was precisely one of those Thursdays I asked El Sr Raker if I could play some records some evening, and we agreed one Saturday in August seemed like a good date for a trial. Saturday, yet not packed. I suggested it and he found it quite reasonable.

Many factors predicted a great night: friends In Barcelona in August with no interesting plans and in a party mood, my soul bro Pamp in town spending few days at the Hellhouse, Saturday night, and the previous session two days before still fresh. Ah! And my brand new acquisition: the coolest Hawaiian shirt in the world. Positive it was going to be a winner and my target was accomplished successfully: everybody danced and got knackered, the bar didn’t get empty, and the owners seemed to be happy and told me they’d look for another date soon. Believe me, my self esteem is on top right now. At the end of the day, I love amusing and entertaining people.

And this is what happened…

And this is my shirt. Sorry butI HAD TO post it. Ain’t it great?

hawaii toi

SMELLS LIKE 90’S – JULY

Good morning y’all!

It’s finally Friday. For me it’s my last official day of this mini summer break though, which has been a pretty good one, even though I haven’t travelled far away or climbed any mountain or, you know, haven’t done anything super significant. I can’t complaint though. Caught up with some friends, went to Nimes for a very special show I will tell you about later, watched some movies and series, sweated like swine thanks to this disgusting humid heat and I spent last night at Psycho R&R Club bringing back the Smells Like 90’s session.

pump-up-the-volume

I wasn’t pretty sure whether I had my set because there are summer fests in the neighborhood with live shows and many other activities on the streets, but since at midnight everything finishes in order people can sleep, the party moved to the bar, and there I was, recovering hits from the past.

It was a very cool session, partly because I was quite relaxed in the sense that I didn’t have the pressure of working the following day, so I could stay till closing, and being the bar so packed with people, always encourages me to play louder and puts me in a party mood.

Nevertheless there was this Italian bunch of youngsters reeaaaaally drunk, who were bombing me with song requests not related to 90s which really pissed me off in the end. On one hand it’s not my fault it’s a theme night held monthly. On the other, I’m not a fuckin’ iPod or Karaoke. I’m not a pro dj either and I use CD’s for my sessions, from my personal collection, so stop questioning about it and please, do not dare to touch my CD case under your responsibility. Likely that will be the last thing you do in your miserable life, fella.  Really, I don’t have any problem if someone asks for a band politely. Sometimes I don’t have what they look for and I even apologize and offer other options. What really pisses me of is people coming to my workstation DEMANDING not a band, but a certain song. Go fuck yourselves! Aaaah! You know I cannot be so straight and say that, but I’m actually boiling inside.

From all the nonstop requests I received the best was from a guy who was looking for something emotional as he was apparently flirting with this girl and was trying to impress her. What he didn’t know was that the girl was a dyke, and second, he asked me for, you’re not going to believe this, FRANCO BATIATTO! I couldn’t stop laughing for 5 minutes. I don’t think he was even 30! WTF?

Anyway. As someone who occasionally tries to amuse people with music, my advise or loud voice wish is that, you who are having beers and enjoy, try to enjoy with what’s happening in that moment at that place. You’ll have plenty of time to play the music you like best at home with no one bothering or ruining your session. Thanks!

And this is what happened last night.

After Pretty Tied Up, Nasty Ho by Neurotic Outsiders followed. Pity it’s not available. I’m talking about their album this week. Stay tuned!

TORCHE, I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE!

There’s no better way to start a placebo 7 day holiday break as with a powerful show, don’t you think? This is one of the reasons I love summer. Every weekend there’s some cool event, and at least during the first half of July it’s usually music related.

Last Saturday it was time for Torche. I had been recommended by several friends, had read many positive reviews and had recently listened to their last album Harmonicraft, with a positive feeling about them and thinking that a live performance could be a good one. the attendance confirmation by several friends made me finally decide to join them, and luck was on my side, as thanks to my dear Rockzone magazine friends, I eventually got a freebie. The night was promising.

Torche 048 small

Salamandra, the venue the show was scheduled at, is a good one, sound quality is more than acceptable and is very comfortable for the audience, but since its capacity is for approx 800 people and I reckon we weren’t even 100, the feeling was that it was too empty, and it contributed to the shyness of people, who weren’t approaching much to the stage.

I had been explained by the promoter that Torche’s sets usually last about 45 minutes, which is quite poor for a headlining band, so they were requested to extend to minimum 65 minutes, and they stuck to this minimum timing. Their show was pretty intense and powerful, barely interacting with the audience, except for Andrew Elstner, who had this permanent smile. The band focused on their new album, more accessible and let’s say “friendlier” than their previous ones, and very energetic, with Kicking, Reverse Inverted, Snakes Are Charmed or Letting Go, although they had the chance to include songs from their older stuff such as Grenades or Healer. I personally enjoyed more the most dynamic parts in the show rather than the heavier.

Sound was pretty impressive, guitars were perfect, bass presence was strong musically and physically, as Jonathan Nuñez didn’t stop for a second, and voice was quite decent too, but again it happened, I loved the drummer right away.  Powerful riffs and machine drummers are the key for this sludge/stoner style, and this guy, Rick Smith was excellent.

Nothing to complain about except  for the short length of the show. A couple of songs would have improved the final result in great deal, but still, it was a fine one, and the added value was that the band came out to have a beer with us and we got the chance to exchange impressions. Very nice guys, split in Atlanta and Miami and combining the band with standard jobs as they cannot afford living of this yet. What a pity, but seeing the lack of attendants at the show in Barcelona, it’s understandable. Very humble, hardworking and quite pro, yet another underrated band which delivers awesome albums, but is barely known by anyone who is not into the style.

Torche 035 small

The sentence of the night was said by a glorious San Francisco girl I meet in the show named Melissa, when trying to convince the band to have some drinks with us after words, started to ring a bell at the venue saying “Torche, I know you’re in there” very insistent. The guys had quickly left the building as they had to catch a flight to Italy at 5 AM on Sunday. What a great laugh!

I’m quite pleased with this personal revival of stoner music I’m going through lately, discovering a bunch of very interesting bands, and enjoying brilliant live performances. From time to time I seek for pure energy in music.. Now I got it with bands like Torche, Clutch or The Sword. Great scene, good bands, great live performances…Good times!

MASTERS OF INK & NEEDLE: ROTOR FINERATS

It’s been long time since I don’t write about tattoo artists and now that I feel a bit cold turkey and Summertime is definitely the worse season for tattoo artists due to warm weather, I’m in the mood to talk about Rotor Finerats, a 200% artist, not just talented with the ink and the needle. Beyond the tattoos, this guy has an immense talent and creativity reflected on his illustrations, very inspired in the lowbrow art movement.

rotor viking skulls

Some people have asked me why I never talk about Spanish artists, wondering whether I’m not interested in the national product. I’ve been thinking about it and I can only reply that I never got the chance or perhaps foreign artists came first to my mind. At this point I’m so into this world, I reckon there’s an impressive community of Spanish artists spread throughout the peninsula, and especially settled in Barcelona. I’m very lucky on this regard.

Thus today I’m talking about Rotor, my first Spanish tattoo artist I haven’t had yet the pleasure of visiting myself for my piece. But I’m pretty sure eventually that day will arrive and I’ll get one of his post-nuclear tattoos.

Rotor works at Aloha Tattoos studio in Barcelona, at this point I’d say it’s the most established and popular studio in town, ousting the classic LTW studio in Tallers st. It used to be the place of reference, but since it’s always been very expensive and the rotation of artists is too frequent, Aloha eventually won the crown, thanks to Rotor, El Carlo, El Javi, El Monga, Tai Iglesias…too much talent at that studio.

I think it was a year ago when I saw  a tattoo of Rotor’s for the first time and it really blew my mind. I can’t be 100% sure, but I’d say it was this one.

rotor mechanical whale

I felt fascinated with this mechanical whale, as I like to name it, and the combination of the industrial element with one of the most amazing creatures on Earth. Nature corrupted by industrialization? Replicant animals in the future to replace extinct breed? Who knows, only Rotor, there might be lots of symbols or perhaps none, but these post-nuclear tattoos are his trademark, making his designs very unique.

post nuclear tattoos by Rotor

Rotor’s style is closer to old school than Miss Arianna, for instance. Even though both artists prefer thick lines, Arianna enhances details through shading while Rotor prefers this style of  lining, in order to provide his pieces of this classic roughness. No doubt he can also stick to a more complex or detailed style too, but to be honest I’m not as interested in that part.

His universe also includes weird creatures, vampires, or aliens, quite vintage looking, keeping this childish and reckless halo.

Rotor Creatures

And I love everything he does involving skulls.

skulls rotor

Rotor, together with Ibie, is co-editor of Fine Rats illustration magazine, recovering the works of many independent artists who unfortunately cannot expose their work in public so in this way these compilations can achieve more audience. I had the chance to purchase the first five issues, printed in very good quality and offering a different kind of art, much more trashier and rude. I will write about this publishing in a near future, on a separate post.

Here you can watch this video introducing Rotor who explains a bit about his work and influences. It was recorded to support him in a contest held by Jägermeister. Unfortunately he didn’t win, but it was a good promo for him.

Rotor is on my list of artists I would like to get tattooed by. All this sci-fi, vintage future designs are terrific, and his post-nuclear creatures are simply awesome. His style might look very simple, but it’s the imagery, all the complements added to the main figure, which enhance the effect of them. His work is very special.

FOUR SMALL DREAMS

These last weeks are being pretty intense but  unfortunately the bad side of the coin is that I don’t really have much time left for writing. Seems that everything happens in Spring-Summer, and with the arrival of good weather and longer days, everybody is planning activities, feeling like socializing and including me in those plans, which is great.

Last weekend was a crazy one. I attended two events completely different from each other, but very pleasant and funny all the same.

Since Norma Jean Magazine is getting quite popular and apparently influential on social networks, we’ve started receiving invitations  for events such as art exhibitions, movie premieres, book presentations, fashion shows…We cannot attend most of them because these are held in different cities, or just because the event is not something we might be interested in.

I went to my first event as one of the Norma Jean girls last Friday, and I enjoyed lots. There was a party held by Quicksilver which consisted on an opening cocktail, with lots of wine and great food, to warm up, and then the projection of an audiovisual experiment directed by Thomas Campbell, a quite established name in the skate universe.

chiwoks

I think I already explained here skateboarding is one of my main frustrations as I’ve never learned nor found anyone who was willing to teach me, and now I think it could be a bit risky to start doing it, even though I’d try something easy and calm. I’ve also been fascinated with the skate universe, photography, exhibitions, aesthetics, and this punk-metal 90s side of this way of life. Truth is that if I was asked I could only name about 5 famous skaters, Peralta, Alva and Adams, Tony Hawk and Burnquist. I’m an ignorant.

Thomas Campbell, the director, is a multidisciplinary artist: painter, sculpture, photographer and now filmmaker, and his relationship with the skateboarding world is really tight. For many, this California guy is an important and established reference.

His last project, is an audiovisual experiment named Four Small Dreams. A piece of 22 minute length, shot analog on 16mm film, featuring Basque skater Javier Mendizabal and young Madars Apse. The sequences, shot in different Spanish cities, Canary Islands, Mallorca and California, are excellent, and the lysergic soundtrack provided by an unknown band named Chiwoks, who were playing simultaneously, created a great atmosphere with real epic moments.

Analog shooting is very expensive, much more than digital even though the equipment might be more modest, so think of the limited possibilities of something as unpredictable as skate boarding. The way Javier Mendizabal put it, you had to be very careful, very concerned, and achieve a decent level of skating to provide footage worth enough editing for the project. It sounded like hard work, many hours and money invested.

Another curious aspect related to Four Small Dreams was all the promo and the support from Quicksilver. I was explained that big skate/surf brands which have become too mainstream getting away from the original philosophy, are starting to recruit established and independent pro skaters and artists related, support their projects and in that way attract that community left behind at some point in the past targeting more mainstream.

The party was held at a very cool place, the Chapel at MACBA. We were around 200 guests, bloggers, skaters, hipsters and other personalities. Catering was excellent and there was lots of booze. Sound was perfect, projection outstanding. And at the end of the party we received a t-shirt of the film as a gift. Think of this party repeated in several cool cities. Make calculations. Promo budget is scary. And the question which comes to mind, regardless the quality of the product (which is good and I recommend it), is obvious: is it really worth it? How could success be measured in this case? Will Quicksilver recover their committed to skate image? Will they stop being regarded as a mainstream non exclusive brand?

mendizabal y toi

I have no idea, but what I can tell is that personally it was a great experience, and I enjoyed talking to the director (we ended up discussing about QOTSA discography)and adorable Javier Mendizabal. Both were extremely friendly and accessible and I really liked it. I really wish Four Small Dreams reaches more recipients than the 200 people at the chapel.

 ** Yep, I was wearing my vintage Nashville Pussy t-shirt reading LET THEM EAT PUSSY. I was acting on behalf of Norma Jean Magazine, and really it couldn’t be more appropriate considering Michael Douglas’ last week statement blaming his throat cancer on cunnilingus (bastard!).