Archive for the 'Art & Culture' Category
Pornosurf Ride The Rock Wave To Las Galletas

A scatter gun drum barrage, thrashing guitars, and even a bopping blow up doll, Pornosurf have a new CD out and their wave of surf inspired punk washed into the rocky bay at the edge of Las Galletas. Matinal Beach Club was no place to chill out as the wonderful Tenerife band had the outside deck jumping with some classic rock and newly penned tracks from “Verano Sin Fin” (summer without end).

Originally a Ramones tribute with Beach Boy influences, they have grown over the years and are now finding a new audience, they have quite a large following in Japan. I first saw them at the Underground in El Medano and they had me hooked. Normally a three piece, Teby on bass and vocals, Javi on guitar and vocals, and Ale on drums, they were joined by keyboard player Mattia Carrara who is featured on the new disc.

The set up took a while as they perched their equipment on the edge of the decking within serving distance of the bar. As this gig was for the filming of the video promotion clip there were plenty of angles to cover with a camera on the roof and another fixed to a small photo drone plane. As we waited in the late afternoon sun, the new disc belted out 11 new tunes and an up tempo cover of the Elvis ballad Can’t Help Falling In Love. It was enough to assure me that they still have that raw edge that makes them so good.
With sun and sea bathers cooking BBQ’s and sipping cold drinks, Pornosurf ripped into the evening calm with a blistering mix of old and new. Surfing USA, Let’s Dance, Barbara Ann, Shout, and the surf instrumental favourite Wipeout had us all bouncing. The doll started off wedged between the drum kit but was soon body surfing with many helping hands, and other parts, from the audience. It was quite a precarious stage but that didn’t stop the band from climbing amps and dancing with the fans.

Rather than take their glowing bodies home, many of the beach crowd were drawn to the music and gave in to the pounding beat. These guys are real pros, no problems juggling beer and instruments at the same time. The opening slow notes of Can’t Help Falling In Love teased a few new converts into expecting a breather but once the drum kicked in it was full steam ahead. Something special was needed for a climax (no not the dolls) and it came in the form of Surfin Bird, it would have sent Peter Griffin right over the edge.


The CD, Verano Sin Fin is on sale for 8 euros at El Corte Ingles and Carrefour and some smaller independent record shops. For a taste of their live act try the Son Atlantico free concert from 5pm at Playa Honda, Las Americas on Sat 23 August and you can find plenty of their music on You Tube. Gabba Gabba Hey, there’s a corner of Las Galletas that will now always be Rockaway Beach to me.


Peder And Oscar, Men Of Extraordinary Vision In Tenerife

You can take your ear plugs out now, I have stopped ranting about the oil rigs. My day in La Laguna and Santa Cruz did have some unexpected uplifting highlights. The odd spot of drizzle and some gusty wind wasn’t enough to dampen my enthusiasm but it all perked up nicely when I popped into Parque Garcia Sanabria in Santa Cruz.

I knew the flower clock was back from Germany after a lengthy repair but there was a nice bonus, some of the palm trees just above the clock had informative panels built around them to explain more about the clock and its importance to Santa Cruz. In Spanish and English they paid tribute to Peder Christian Larsen, this inspiring Dane arrived originally as secretary to the Danish Consul and later took on the dual role as Consul to Denmark and Finland.

The donation of the flower clock, made by Swiss experts Favag, was just one contribution to Tenerife, he also helped to introduce a new Telex Siemens phone system to the island, co produced the first detailed tourist guide book, built the Santa Cruz outdoor swimming pool, and set up a Scandinavian shipping agency. His legacy also lives on in the south, he was instrumental in setting up Clinica Vintersol in the then fishing village of Los Cristianos, that was the building block for the tourism expansion of my home area.

Another palm tree revealed the world interest in flower clocks, they are as widespread as Australia and India, there is even one in Edinburgh. What an amazing man, and let’s not forget Garcia Sanabria, a former Santa Cruz mayor who recognized and nurtured the community spirit of Peder. On a more modern level, I was pleased to see the results of the latest restoration work in the park, the sculpted archway in the garden area has been cleaned up to show its stylish face, yet another reason to visit this wonderful park.

That seemed more than enough inspiration for one day but a brief visit to another favourite, TEA – Tenerife Espacio de Las Artes in Avenida San Sebastian brought another blessing. The lady on reception offered me a free entry ticket to the Oscar Dominguez exhibition “Between The Myth and the Dream”. I visited it around five years ago when it was an original display when TEA opened but I really like his surreal art so didn’t need asking twice. The great artist was born in La Laguna, his house there is now Café Oscar but when I first saw it the doorway was made like a sardine tin complete with a key at the top of the frame.

Tacoronte was another of Oscar’s homes and there is a nice little plaza there (above) with some artistic tributes to him and his former home is identified with great pride. TEA is a fantastic place to visit, just across from the “African Market” of La Recova, just the look of the building is enough to tweak your appreciation and it houses the huge library, a café, and a cinema. The work above is a self portrait of Oscar, well we have all felt like that in the morning, and one of many interesting pieces. Tenerife is very good at preserving the memory of those who have contributed to its culture, I was pleased to have found out more about just a few of them.


Ten Diez Fills It’s Biggest Canvas Yet At Magma

Art comes in many forms and the Ten-Diez Movement embraces them all, their reputation and ambition are both flourishing at their latest exhibition at the Magma Arts & Congress Centre in Playa de Las Americas. Who wouldn’t be touched by the emotional impact of Nazaret Hernandez life studies above.

Santa Cruz kept me away from the big launch on Saturday night but determined to get in ahead of the Saturday 2nd November finish I went and gave my eyes a feast. The iron sculptures in the main entrance hall were just a taster of the range and scale of pleasures to come, they have attracted 65 artists from as far away as Brazil and Australia, displaying 650 works covering every medium imaginable. The sweeping stairway by the reception desk was my portal to well set out hall divided into unequal sections encouraging an informal voyage around the works.

Don’t feel you have to be an intense art lover, there’s plenty of light and shade here, the plate eyes of Victor Ezquerro Barrera playfully followed me around the room and the four striking Dali influenced figures of Aaron Rodriguez Diaz  were bold and challenging. The Viejo Lobo del Mar (old wolf of the sea) was a multi layered reminder of life around the coast, Carlos A Ortega really brought out the bond between man and nature.

For something a little different Australian Jenny Papalexandris series of black and white photos of a dead Brown Honeyeater may sound a little morbid but they brought out the weak and vulnerable side of the magnificent bird. Black and white studies also caught my eye through the lens of Goretty Gutierrez with some evocative urban scenes like Baker Street tube station. There was plenty of varied materials used, the drawings bordering on animation from El Orejon made me smile as did the Jack Brain graphic design that added a modern promotional spin on Tenerife history.

The artists cover a wide range of ages and experience, Ten Diez want to encourage as many artists as possible to find an outlet in Adeje and they are already planning an even bigger event next year. The Magma is a great flagship for the art movement, its location next to the bus station makes it easy to get to and its own bold style makes it a fitting partner. The concrete structure of the building is celebrated rather than hidden and that made a particularly good background to the large graffiti style works of Drew Wall in the big alcove room. I had another look at the soothing swim image of Sara Acosta before ending my full and very stimulating tour.

Entry is 3 euros, this Friday (1st November) the exhibition is closed for the national holiday but Wednesday and Thursday they open 9am to 5pm (closed 2 to 3 pm) and Saturday they finish with a packed all day special including interactive talks from several artists and a closing party from 8pm to midnight, the website has full details.


Loaves And Fishes In Los Cristianos

All over Los Cristianos cats were purring and licking their whiskers as the smell of freshly cooked fish wafted in from the old quay. There’s always room for another celebration in Tenerife and with perfect timing the Feria del Pescador arrived just ahead of the Virgen del Carmen celebrations to honour the patron saint of the fishermen.

The old beach was still busy after another scorching day and it was a full house in the marina and port. Many of the fishing boats were moored up after a busy day and the Fred Olsen and Armas inter island ferries were straining at their anchor chains near the harbour wall. The idea of the new fair was to show off some of the history and lifestyle of the industry that gives Los Cristianos much of its unique character. There were photos of the catches being landed, charts showing the different fish they capture and the minimum size restrictions placed on them.

A stage had been set up on the quay and the traditional musicians and dancers were limbering up for action. Many of the visitors had already noticed the cooking area where mountains of bread rolls were being cut open and two huge paella pans were poised ready for action. My taste buds were twitching too but first of all it was time to enjoy the music and dance, it set a lovely relaxed tone with the sun shining on the sea behind them and families lapping up the sand and beach to the side. The ladies swirled their dresses and the gents looked dapper in their waistcoats, those thick leggings must have been a bit warm though.

Back at the food station the pans were sizzling away with sardines and tuna steaks as the Canarian potatoes, tuna salad and mojo sauce took their place on the serving table. The queue soon stretched back a fair way but I joined it and had two generous plates full of delicious ready to devour. Large wine barrels made sturdy tables but many people sat along the edge of the beach enjoying the fruits of the sea as another group of musicians took over the stage. Soft drinks and beer served from a small bar surrounding the scaled down statue of the Virgen complimented the food. Back at the serving area the queue stretched even further but the loaves and fishes showed no sign of letting up – maybe it was a miracle. What a wonderful way to spend a sun kissed evening, roll on next years event.


Ten-Diez Brings Art To The Heart Of The Tenerife Tourist Zone

If you believe the stereotypes and clichés a Playa de Las Americas work of art would be a unusual display of blotchy sunburn, and a sculpture would be a sand castle on the dark beach. Tenerife is always ready to surprise and just a short flip flop stroll away from the sea front the Magma Arts & Congress centre has just opened its doors to the latest exhibition from Ten-Diez an art movement made up of locally based artists and creative ideas. The distinctive concrete building nestles between the water fuelled fun of Siam Park and the main bus station and has provided me with plenty of diverse stimulation since its opening in 2005.

The frontage of the Magma Arte & Congresos is a little foreboding but a very pleasing exhibition in September 2012 made me keen to see the latest offerings. Ceramics, photography, painting, sculpture, and sketching all unfolded in front of me as I entered the side hall feeding off from the main reception. A Cuban waterfront scene (top) caught my eye on the first wall, bright, full of action and with some political undertones it was my pick of works by Chloe y Zoard.

It was early afternoon and I was the only viewer but that has often been the case when I venture into large museums and galleries in Santa Cruz. Each of the 14 artists selections were accompanied by some background notes on their training and inspiration in Spanish and English. All the works are for sale with prices ranging from 800 euros to 3,750, I don’t think my pocket full of loose change would have got me far but the exhibition is free to visit. As I browsed gentle jazz burbled away over the sound system and the rough concrete walls and low ceilings added to the mood.

One of my favourite paintings was La Biblioteca de Los Sueños (library of dreams) in the main part of the hall, an acrylic work of great detail and humour by Carlos Ortega. The hall led off into a small lounge that used to service a bar but that seems to have gone now, however the smaller space had some diverse pieces such as black and white dog portraits by Andy CR and an iron sculpture, El Patron Chico, that held court in the centre of the room. I have to admit my eyes were drawn to A Little Romance, a series of semi nude photos taken by Mimi Mitsou in Tenerife, I gave them an extra close study.

It’s a good exhibition, hopefully it will encourage more local artists to get expressive. If you are near that way pop in and cast your eyes over the display. Ten-Diez is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 2pm and 3pm to 5pm, plus Saturday from 7pm to midnight. They were a little vague on how long it runs for, presumably it depends on sales and response, check out the website


All Singing, All Dancing, All Drinking As Sal 2 Packs The Streets Of Santa Cruz

People didn’t go to the shops, the shops came to them, all around the centre of Santa Cruz shopping stalls spilled out onto the street to boost trade. Dancing girls, marching drummers, and live music did the trick and ensured that customers were flowing between zones featuring fashion, electronics, childrens clothes and toys and even art and books.

I had a rough plan for what I wanted to see but drifting with the tide in Calle Castillo I was in no particular hurry. Little pots of fruit flavoured Actimel were being offered at every corner by some rather nice promotions girls, I had so many of these healthy drinks I’m now convinced I will live to be 150. I caught some of the early dancers on the main stage in Plaza La Candelaria and then popped along to Plaza del Principe where a carousel of tapas was the big attraction.

A dozen stalls were offering a tapa and a drink for 2 euros so of course I sampled a few, it was a lovely setting in the park area with plenty of seating in the shade, families were making the most of the relaxed feel and the wine samples from the stage were eagerly tasted – I tried a few glasses of the red just to balance things up a little after the healthy options. The previous night I attended the Excelencia 2.0 awards in Los Cristianos rewarding good use of social media and in the park I was impressed by a promotion run for Krakis, a new chocolate and nut biscuit with sweet chocolate cream inside mmm. Free bars came with a competition to pose in front of their giant internet screen to post a shot on your facebook page – the queue was massive all day.

Moving across to Parque Garcia Sanabria a sea of attentive children were enthralled by a puppet show. It was like Punch and Judy but involved a big ferocious looking dog – the teeny audience were made of stern stuff but it petrified me and I was found quivering like a jelly behind a bush. Parents were loving the free entertainment, the open air café was full as the grown ups enjoyed drinks and snacks with their offspring safe and in close view.

Cutting back through Calle Castillo I stopped to enjoy some street dancers evoking the spirit of Carnaval. I love living statues and a silver plated Robocop had me chuckling like a drain as he whirred into life to make passers by jump. A bit of rock music was on my list of must sees and I arrived back at the big stage just as a latin salsa academy were shaking their bodies. Los Descendientes then took to the stage and I was very impressed, their guitar sound owed a bit to Nirvana and the lead singers snarl reminded me of Alice Cooper at his best.

I had a few more calls to make away from Sal 2 but it was still in full swing with a10 pmfinish loosely kept in mind. Hopefully theSanta Cruzbusiness community will have topped up their tills and as for visitors they must have enjoyed the buzz that it brought to the capital city.

Hot Salsa And Cool Fashion At Los Cristianos

Can fish dance? Taking a cooling off sea break from the Salsa y Moda afternoon at Los Cristianos I’m sure they were twitching their little fins in rythmn to the salsa music belting out from the quayside. They couldn’t have picked a hotter day to get people up and dancing but as the old beach was packed they soon gathered at the quay end to join the stage dancers who were whipping them up into a sweaty frenzy. Many people were inventing a new hybrid of swimming and dancing but there were even more pleasures to come as young local volunteer models got ready to show off their leisue wear from local shops.

Little changing booths lined the quayside wall and the fashion catwalk stretched along just above the sand, when the salsa dj’s took their breaks it was time to admire the costumes. It was mainly young ladies showing off beach and leisure clothes but a few chaps strutted their stuff as well as one at a time they strode out in front of an appreciative crowd before posing in a group of five or six before the next stylish wave rolled in. Hopefully many onlookers will have been inspired to check out the local shops to find that perfect outfit to catch the eye in the Tenerife sun.

The fashion interludes were just long enough to draw breath before the music struck up again and it was time to groove in the sand. The stage crew with some keen volunteers pulled up from the crowd went through some basic moves and then with wild enthusiasm led the beach gang on a merry dance. Like the tide of the sea the crowd pulled back slowly and then surged up to the stage, a conga proved hard to resist and the party crowd circled the dance area before snaking down to the sea for a mass soaking. Even with the evening marching on the sun was powerful but a little lower in the sky, more converts to the cause flooded in to mix and match music and style.

The fiesta mood was infectious, sun bathers gyrated on the beach and swimmers dived off the top of moored boats just off shore. It was all good practice as the next big fiesta Virgen del Carmen is only weeks away but those thoughts were far away as people lost themselves in the moment and had a great time in Los Cristianos. There is a full gallery of photos here.