Coincidence or Luck?

Coincidence maybe, conspiracy theory, not. In the case of the stolen wedding dress, it was probably dumb luck and the stupid curiosity to hunt down the gown.

I always wondered how to connect the thief, police, undercover detective and guard at the pound to which they tow cars. The Renault was burglarized and stolen while parked in front of the hotel and across the street from the Spanish Guardia Civil, national force. Of course, it was past midnight on  Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Shuffling from police station to station to acquire the necessary papers for insurance took most of the following day. Only at tapas time did things change. It suddenly occurred to me that the areas was louche with more than usual street life. A Latino, not Spaniard, with a round face, stood out. Playing the dumb blond, I approached. He was South American so more open at first, but my stolen car story made him nervous. Was I accusing him? Suddenly in swooped Francisco, a local. He brushed aside the South American and started asking me questions. To this day, I cannot tell if this was a set-up. I knew that cash would lead to clues.  I initiated the conversation in an effort to find the dress, the car, …Coincidence or luck? Like the children’s game of truth or dare, we maybe are always playing with fate.

 

via Daily Prompt: Coincidence

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Please, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (about Flamenco)

Olé. Oh, Flamenco (Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood)

The song Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood is probably most famous in its disco-flamenco version, but the original slow blues recording plus Nina Simone’s rendition remain evocative, equally yet distinctly.

Disco, flamenco, Cliché?  Out of date? Traditional? Perhaps. Fashions do recycle, though, hence the popularity of the disco hit.

Flamenco can still evoke Spain’s ethos. The fact the gypsies originated this dance/ music remains significant. Spain is the sum of her historical and regional parts, e.g.,  Andalucia, Asturias, Cataluña, to name a few. These three are vibrantly diverse regions influenced by waves of invaders or immigrants (Visigoths, Moors, Gypsies, North Africans).

The odd time signature, the haughtiness of the dancer’s posture, the fervent longing in the cantante’s voice, the clapping and pounding, all combine ideally in the presence of the spirit, el duende, that entrances and transports the performer.

Manos de plata, one of the greatest flamenco guitarists and singers remains revered. Carmen Amaya, Queen of the Gypsies, too. Carmen Amaya incarnated flamenco on the world stage and screen. Breathtaking.  To capture the essence of flamenco, look on youtube for anything by either artist.

Like tap dancing, flamenco requires dancers making the correct step and sound with the feet while moving their arms and head to the music with the appropriate facial expressions. Flamenco offers men the opportunity to show off a slim waist and fancy footwork. However, women have the chance  to smile while swirling coquettishly (Sevillanas), glare while teasing arrogantly (BurlerÍas), and even rage on a stage the size of a postage stamp. Like vintage wine, older flamenco artists offer distilled emotion and experience.  However learning flamenco, like so many art forms, must begin young. My Spanish friend’s daughter  possessed the beat, stare, and perfect costume by age 6. I tried at 30. Too late for one with little talent but never too late for one seeking to appreciate more fully this incredibly intense experience. If you can attend a performance live, go! Andale.

 

 

One Dress, One Day’s 24 hours translated!

The ancient Greeks knew about theatre. 24 hours. Lots of drama. Perhaps some comic relief. Barcelona is the setting. All the action takes place within 24 hours.

SETTING Written in English, my story unfolds in Spain. Lots of local flavor, little need for translation. Hemingway and Orwell used Spanish settings over 75 years ago. Reading their descriptions transports you to  the running of the bulls or the naïve early war years (in Spain the war is always the Spanish Civil War). One Dress, One Day takes you to 1990, a time of no cellular phones but plenty of pop music.

TIME The ancient Greek tradition stresses time over place.  Aristotle prescribed 24 hours. Famous tragedies like Antigone and Electra follow this rule, more or less.  As the title suggests, One Dress, One Day divides into the components of a Spanish day: madrugada, manana, mediodia, siesta, tarde, anochecer, noche, altas horas de la madrugada, amenacer.  Cultural nuances appear in the divisions of the day.  Sunrise and sunset come to mind as basic; whereas, a specific time for tea or tapas may also be added. Older words and synonyms like alba, tertulia, sobremesa, reveal the patina of Spain’s Golden Age and aristocratic heritage.  These nuances make translation interesting. Basically in English: Dawn/Early Morning, Morning, Noon/Mid-day, Siesta, Afternoon, Nightfall/Twilight, Night, Wee Hours, Daybreak.

The one day of this tale falls within Holy Week, the Lenten period before Easter. The Semana Santa, or Holy Week, must be experienced in Spain. The heavy, pervasive mourning resounds in the various processions of the penitents who parade their religious symbol (usually a Virgin Mary statuette) or Paschal scene as a float.  Some participants fast, bear a cross, and walk barefoot in rough robes.  It is an impressive sight for believers or non-believers.

MUSIC The primitive drums mark time for the processions. Sometimes a trumpet and a small brass section complete the corps.  Mournful, haunting, the sound at night evokes the pain of the Passion. Yet, many Spanish churches hold Lenten concerts of classical music, usually religious like Stabat Mater, to prepare those awaiting the Resurrection.

Music underlies the plot of One Dress, One Day.  Stay tuned for the soundtrack/play list!

APPLYING THE QUANTITY TIME RATIO

One Dress, One Day

The simple title evokes the essence of this tale:  what happened to one wedding gown in 24 hours.

One Dress, One Day reminds us how precious a dress can be to the wearer or wearers. Little girls play dress-up; women spend a fortune for that special moment. The Italians excel at keeping alive the traditions of puffy veil, full train, frilly parasol, lace gloves and shawls alive.

On the Spanish honeymoon, this bride discovers her Italian gown, indeed her car, have vanished from the perfect parking spot on Las Ramblas. Who stole it? How to get it back? How much to pay? With no clues and little help from the police, the newlyweds soon forego spending the honeymoon in Barcelona. The thief splits the bridal outfit into three pieces (shawl, tulle overskirt, sheath dress).  That one day during Holy Week offers time for siestas, tapas, and midnight processions. More on Spanish days later.  However, this is Spain in 1990, so twists and turns follow a pop culture beat without cell phones ringing or pinging. One listen to the atmospheric playlist will send you there, no ticket required. Stay tuned. As the late Barry White once sang throatily,”let the music play”.

ONE DRESS, ONE DAY

A former Italian bridal model’s tale of what one dress and one day can mean.

This is a new hybrid literary genre that relates the tale of a stolen wedding gown that divides and unites various couples in Barcelona with Almodovar’s early cinema in mind. Was the dress cursed? Deceit, desire and disappointment interweave various lives over 24 hours during Holy Week.  A nostalgic, entertaining look at Spain in the 90s with no cell phones, much pop music, and many quirky characters. Based on a true story. Ready for Pedro Almodovar or Jean-Paul Gaultier to read it!  To be continued on twitter.