March 25, 2017

Today's Handy Portuguese Phrase Is...

"Estou constipado." Translation: "I have a cold." Looks like the long flight + no central heat + late nights + lots of smoke finally caught up to me. I've been laying low the past few days, resting a lot, trying to kick it. The good news is that it is moving through quickly and I'm now feeling like the worst has passed. And I've got a lot of work done on my upcoming artist talk for Invisible Places. But because of this there isn't a lot to report. I try to get out and walk a bit each day, usually first down to the beach if the weather is nice (it's been spotty), and then around town. The waves have been quite big lately, and at night I can hear the sound of the surf echoing off of the houses on the hill behind us.

Diana Diegues has been organizing a series of events that were originally curated by her late husband, João Da Ponte. The series is called Pontes (Bridges), and has a theme of encouraging dialogue between artists from different disciplines. They got government funding to do it, so Diana has carried on in tribute, and there have been things happening in different venues around Ponta Delgada every night this week. I've managed to make it to a few of them. Monday there was a film screening and photography exhibit at a great gallery called Arco 8.

I liked Paulo Abreu's film NYC 1991, which is all Super 8 street footage in the tradition of Bruce Baillie, with a soundtrack by Lee Renaldo.

There was another screening/discussion at an old, but still functioning factory that makes sugar out of beets. They now only use this factory about one month out of the year, and it operates at a big loss, but they keep it going to help the local beet farmers and the workers. It will eventually be turned into a museum.

Eduardo Brito showed his very beautiful short film, Penúmbria – a Calvino-esque fictional documentary about a town that was founded in an impossible location, marketed as the most melancholy place on earth, and eventually abandoned.

Penumbria was founded two hundred years ago, in a distant isthmus - a place of arid soils, angry seas and violent weather. The city was due its name to the almost permanent shadows and cloudiness. One day, its inhabitants decided to leave, offering Penumbria to time. This is the story of an uninhabitable place.

He shot it in several different locations in Spain, Portugal, Chile, and I think somewhere else, but somehow managed to weave them all together into one seamless locale. This very brief trailer barely hints at what a wonderful little film this is.

Last night I roused myself from bed to go to the concert by Medeiros/Lucas, who I have mentioned before on this blog. Carlos Medeiros is a great older singer, coming from the more folk end of the spectrum. He lives here, in a little house on Diana's property in São Vicente. Pedro Lucas is a young guitarist now living in Lisbon who combines folk elements with sampling and electronica. Last night they played with a keyboardist in a small church high on a hill overlooking the whole town.

I should mention that the audiences for all of these events have been quite good, with a lot of familiar faces every night I attended. People really seem to come out for things here. And of course there are big social dinners afterwards. Last night I skipped that part and came home to continue recuperating, and today feel quite a bit better. I was very happy to finally see my friend Emanuel last night, and look forward to spending some more time with her when I am back on my feet. Rehearsals for my project at Arquipélago start on Monday.