Saturday, September 30, 2023
HomeCollaboratorsHappy birthday, my dear House of Culture

Happy birthday, my dear House of Culture

Jaime Noguera

I remember that my father, whom I miss every day, took me to the Casa de la Cultura de Arroyo de la Miel for the first time when I was about twelve years old. The reason: I had to do a project on Hernán Cortés for school, and in a time without Wikipedia or the Internet (my goodness, one says this and feels like an old man), it was time to take out and put in the library’s shelves for hours thick encyclopedic billets and making some muscle in the process. There I had my first contact with The Owl(Antonio, I think his name was), a Fesserian character who with his periodic “tschussss” and some expulsion of the most rebellious from the room, distributed justice in that kind of Saloon that were the spring afternoons before exams at the Casa de la Cultura in Arroyo de la Miel.

If memory serves me correctly, the youth information office, with a younger Blas Correal and Julio Vaca, was also located in the Casa de la Cultura, at least for a short period of time. From there, before moving to the Ovoide and later to its current location, the youth correspondents (some nerds full of enthusiasm and desire) took photocopied sheets to the institutes with courses and activities that were available to the young people, but of which the Young people spent (mostly) Olympics. A volunteer labor camp in Slovakia? The cool thing was going to Palladium, or Pipers, if they let you in.

In the House of Culture, the students of the IES Arroyo de la Miel did theater, adapting a youth novel by Andreu Martín (Vampire, despite myself) that I painted on rolls of continuous paper following the instructions of our “teacher” José Antonio Gómez de Toro Chele. I even painted the first two posters for the Teaching Centers Theater Show, I think in 1993 and 1994. The third year I asked if they could pay me something and I didn’t paint anything anymore.

I also danced on the stage of the House of Culture, wearing a red folk costume with gold lace, with the rest of the students of the Russian course that Bolín decided to offer in the municipality in search of Russian oligarchs with relaxed portfolios. To the sound of Kalinka andOchen Chornie (Black Eyes), despite my leg coordination problems, I did what I could on the stage of the Casa de la Cultura. We were led by an enthusiastic former Bolshoi dancer (I think her name was Liudmila) whom her Nicaraguan Ruslán had abandoned after impregnating her, to get lost in the jungle. Years later I learned that this colorful Russian had died of cancer and that her mother and son had returned to Russia.

On one occasion, when La Casa was the venue for the Nómadas art show, I took the opportunity to make a prank and hung (minutes before the opening) a painting that I was wearing under my armpit, wearing a long coat, on one of the walls. The magic ofdouble-sided tape did the rest. The infiltrated work presented a portrait of Osama Bin Laden whose head became a huge phallus. Decorated with Tipp-ex, bubble wrap and mercromine, the expo was inaugurated and no one fell in the attack until well after a while. My “protest” against modern conceptual art provoked humor and some other sotto vocecomment type “cabronasso”.

And what about the Benalmádena International Short Film and Alternative Film Festival? 24 years ago, José Ramón Martínez and someone else managed to lend us the auditorium to screen some short films and give out some prizes. Since then, the House of Culture has been the House of the FICCAB. The guests of the festival have passed by there. It had to be closed, in the face of the human avalanche, and its balcony opened so that the protagonists of No One Lives Here could greet the respectable. Almost as if shaken by trumpets from Jericho, its walls vibrated before the adolescent shouting when Mario Casas entered via live video. With one of its spotlights we “blinded” Guillermo del Toro so that he would not realize how few people had come to see him. And there was a boom period in which the building hosted catering of a certain level, for the opening and even the closing of the festival, which was attended by lovers of culture and canaperío alike. That, before swallowing a program of short films. That we must not forget: we will have screened almost a thousand shorts in these two long decades.

I’ve seen things you people would not believe. Ham cutters near Orion. I have seen trays of saladitos, tortillas, empanadas (two flavors!!) and venenciadores in the dark near the Gate of the House of Culture. And wine, lots of wine. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. It is time to wish the House of Culture many more.



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