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36. Gerry Dawes's Spain: An Insider's Guide to Spanish Food, Wine, Culture and Travel gerrydawesspain.com

"My good friend Gerry Dawes, the unbridled Spanish food and wine enthusiast cum expert whose writing, photography, and countless crisscrossings of the peninsula have done the most to introduce Americans—and especially American food professionals—to my country's culinary life. . .” - - Chef-restaurateur-humanitarian José Andrés, Nobel Peace Prize Nominee and Oscar Presenter 2019; Chef-partner of Mercado Little Spain at Hudson Yards, New York 2019

12/03/2020

James Michener's Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections: More Autographs & Stories Behind the Signatures. The Legendary Bullrunner Matt Carney & Big Dave Pierce, pg. 501

  
* * * * *
All photographs by Gerry Dawes©2020, except the one in Iberia, which is by Robert Vavra, photographer of Iberia.
 
Autographs in my copy of Iberia, Matt Carney (in the photo) and Big Dave Pierce, pg. 501.
"To Gerry Dawes,  God love ye for putting the story (a tale about a haunted house in Louisiana, channeled from comedian Brother Dave Gardner) in my lap. We'll all do right." -- Matt Carney

"I hope all your life is one big San Fermines, but without the runs." Big Dave (Pierce)

 Matt Carney, Bar Txoko, Pamplona 1971.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2020.

 

Big Dave Pierce, Pamplona, 1970s.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2020.

 

 Big Dave Pierce and Matt Carney, Bar Txoko, Pamplona, 1970.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2020.

"I left the dinner party and wandered back to the square, where by purest chance someone said, ‘That’s Matt Carney over there. You want to get the straight dope about his fight with Hemingway?’

It was in this way that I met the legendary Carney, a forty-year-old California Irishman who, his friends are convinced, will become a first-rate novelist. Many years ago he came to Europe to finish a book but as he was knocking about Paris he was spotted by an agent whose job it was to find male models for advertising. Carney had the rugged New World look of a Mississippi gambler, and French advertisers flocked to him in such numbers that he earned a great deal of money. He was conned into posing for high-fashion ads and soon found himself the pin-up boy of Paris. For the past seven years he had been working on a novel, Run Out of Time, but had been somewhat sidetracked by the© purchase of a bar in Torremolinos. He loved Spain and spoke like a drunken angel, with fiery Irish eloquence, and as he approached my table I saw that his handsome features were marked by a colossal black eye, which made him doubly Irish and doubly handsome.

‘Who hung the mouse on you?’ I asked.

‘A Basque woodchopper with a right hand of phenomenal speed. But as I went down I had the presence of mind to kick him in the balls and when he doubled up I knocked out one of his front teeth. So now he’s a Basque woodchopper with a phenomenal right and one missing tooth.’" - -  James A. Michener, Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections. 

 

Gerry Dawes (left, center), American novillero Bill Cimino, writer Toby Williams, Juanito Quintana (Montoya in The Sun Also Rises), Matador John Fulton (center, not in focus), un-IDed, unIDed, Teddy Bloom Harry Hubert (far left),  David Black (aka DOM, The Dirty Old Man) and Matt Carney (far  right), Bar Txoko, July 7, 1970.  Photograph with my camera, possibly by David Black.

 "After the encierro, we walked over to the Plaza del Castillo and within five minutes I found myself sitting at the same table at the Bar Txoko with the legendary Matt Carney, an American model and would-be writer who lived in Paris.  Michener had immortalized Carney’s bull-running and supposed brawling at Pamplona in Iberia.   Carney was as handsome as Michener had described and he was in fine spirits.  I was excited about meeting Carney after all I had read about him in Iberia, but I was a little apprehensive about his reputation as a brawler.  When Fulton introduced me to him, Carney flashed his famous Irish grin and something about him made me feel I belonged, that I was no newcomer, no outsider, at his table.   Over the years, I would subsequently observe Matt welcome other people to the fiesta in much the same way.  Carney had a big heart and his idea of San Fermín was a fiesta of sharing, not of exclusion.

But, today, my first day at San Fermín, I was going to see both sides of the coin. Within ten minutes after we had pulled up chairs around Matt’s table, his demeanor suddenly changed.  “That’s a lie,” I heard him say.  Then he shouted,  “You’re a goddamn liar.  Take that back, I said, take it back!”  He jumped up and slapped hit the spectacle-wearing man sitting beside him.The man’s glasses flew off.   

‘Wow,’ I thought, ‘Carney sure lives up to his reputation.  Michener was right; Carney wanted to fight Hemingway, he got clocked by a Basque woodchopper. . . and now, right in front of me, he’s slapping the Hell out of someone named David Black.  I’m going to be damned careful what I say in front of this guy.” I was sure that Carney regularly blew up like Old Faithful and that after Iberia was published, he must have thought it was his duty to keep up his brawling since, along with his bullrunning, broad Irish smile and gravelly jota singing, his whole persona now bordered on a conjunto artistico-folklorico, an artistic-folkloric ensemble, on the verge of being declared of touristic merit. Nothing could have been further from the truth.  I subsequently knew Matt Carney for another 18 years and spent parts of ten sanfermines with him.  Other than the slapping around of David Black, known far and wide as "The Dirty Old Man" and a man so contemptible, obnoxious, and purposely provocative that there are few regulars at Pamplona who had not hit him, I saw Matt Carney in just one other fight, one he did not provoke.  Carney had been running the bulls for a couple of decades, but tomorrow July 8, I had my first date with the encierro." -- Gerry Dawes, Homage to Iberia (a work-in-progress), the authorized sequel to James A. Michener's Iberia:  Spanish Travels and Reflections

 
Gerry Dawes, American novillero Bill Cimino, writer Toby Williams, Juanito Quintana (Montoya in The Sun Also Rises), Matador John Fulton, un-IDed, unIDed, Teddy Bloom Harry Hubert (far left),  David Black (aka DOM, The Dirty Old Man), Bar Txoko, July 7, 1970.  Photograph by Matt Carney, who had been sitting between me and David Black.

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 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

  Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/30/2020

James Michener's Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections: More Autographs & Stories Behind the Signatures. Juanito Quintana and Kenneth Vanderford, Picnics in Roncesvalles

 
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Professor Kenneth Vanderford (center, autograph on page 495), Juanito Quintana (Montoya, the hotel owner, in The Sun Also Rises, autograph on photograph) and Conde de la Corte, a famous bull breeder, Plaza de Toros, Pamplona.  Iberia photograph by Robert Vavra.  Quintana signed "Para mi gran amigo Gerry Dawes con un fuerte abrazo, Juanito."

Juanito Quintana (Montoya, the hotel owner, in The Sun Also Rises, Bar Txoko, Plaza del Castillo, Pamplona, sanfermines, July 7, 1970.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2020.
 
 
Juanito Quintana (Montoya, the hotel owner, in The Sun Also Rises), and Matador John Fulton, Plaza de Toros, Pamplona, sanfermines, July 7, 1970.  Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2020.
 
 
 John Fulton & Juanito Quitana strolling and chatting in the Plaza del Castillo, Pamplona, 1970s.
Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2020.
 
 

Kenneth Vanderford, "Hemingway's Double," at a picnic in Roncesvalles, early 1970s.
 Photograph by Gerry Dawes©2020. 
 
Excerpt below from Homage to Iberia (a work-in-progress), the authorized sequel to James Michener's Iberia and for which Michener wrote the foreword before his passing.
 
Hemingway's Burguete & Mythical Feasts in the Mists of the Historical Pass of Roncesvalles in Navarra 
 
"Always, during those years, about halfway through the fiesta, about the time everyone needed a break from the noise and jaleo of San Fermín, we formed a caravan of cars and headed back up into these same hills to the pass of Roncesvalles, just north of Burguete, where we had picnics that became legendary.  A couple of kilometers above the monastery of Ronscesvalles, along the road to France, I knew a splendid Brigadoon-like glade with an icy little stream that only the initiated can find. My friend John Fulton, the American Matador-and-artist, who had gone there with James Michener, who described it his Iberia:  Spanish Travels and Reflections,  and had introduced me to it during my first time at the Fiestas de San Fermín in 1970. 
 
 Matador John Fulton, who was prominently featured in several chapters in James Michener's Iberia, and Gerry Dawes in the Plaza de Toros de Pamplona, early 1970s.  Photo by the great Jim Hollander.  
 
In Iberia, Michener wrote about this very glade:  "I had spotted it on my pilgrimage to Santiago.  We were eight as we left Pamplona after the morning running of the bulls:  Patter (Ashcraft) and her husband; Bob Daley, long-time European sportswriter for The New York Times and his French wife, both with a sense of what makes a good picnic; Vavra ((Robert Vavra, photographer of Iberia) and Fulton; the Hemingway double (Kenneth Vanderford) and I.   We were headed north, toward the pass of Roncesvalles, that historic and mystery-laden route through the Pyrenees which Charlemagne had used in 778 for his retreat throught the mists and where he had failed to hear the battle horn of his dying Roland. . .and there in a glade so quiet, so softly green that it seemed as if defeated knights might have slept in it the evening before, we spread our blankets and prepared the meal."
    
With an odd collection of companions, each year we made the pilgrimage to this historic little valley in the pass that is haunted by the ghost of brave Roland and by the spirits of generations of pilgrims who passed this way over the centuries walking the Chemin de Saint Jacques, the great Camino de Santiago, a trek across northern Spain that from this point at Roncesvalles to the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, where Saint James’s bones are said to reside, is over 600 miles. 


Sometime around July 10, Diana and I would round up a crazy band of picnickers that included the thin, but sassy, seventy-something Alicia Hall, the doyenne of foreign bullfight aficionados; Kenneth Vanderford, Ernest Hemingway's "double," a curmudgeonly university professor with long-billed ball cap, a white beard, and portly girth; and Lindsay Daen, an internationally known New Zealand sculptor.  The goateed Daen lived in Puerto Rico and Madrid, wore bush jackets and a strange looking glass device around his neck, drove a red Kharmann Ghia and showed up each year at the Bar Txoko in Pamplona with a new lady (or ladies), usually a young, impressionable art student.  

Invariably Lindsay met these young women on his scouting forays into the Prado Museum in Madrid and just as invariably, when he showed up with one of them, we would slyly ask him, "Where did you meet Sally or Bev or Ronnie?"  I referred to these women as Lindsay's "recent acquisitions from the Prado."  One year, he arrived with a pretty young lady and claimed that he had met her when he saved her from a piece of cornice stone falling from a building in Madrid.
    
“Shocking that they have allowed the Prado to fall in such dis-repair!” was my comeback. 
(Photo: Gerry Dawes at San Fermín 1971.)
 
In subsequent years, word of our band of Roncesvalles merry merienda makers got around and we were joined by an eclectic crew of adventurers and of the women of several nationalities who came to San Fermín with them each year.  Some of these regulars had been coming without fail for decades to the fiestas.  Many of them could best be described as the spiritual descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s Jake Barnes and other members of the Lost Generation.
    
Arriving at the hard to find spot on the eastern side of the steep road that climbed up to a pilgrim's sanctuary at the top of the pass, we unloaded the luncheon bounty from our cars.  The men helped Alicia down the steep, grassy slope to the green, mossy banks of the stream, where Diana, who had recruited some of the women to collect the food at the Pamplona mercado municipal that morning, laid out our splendid repast: Anchoas, salty anchovies cured in oil; roasted red pimientos; streaky pink slices of jamón;  garlicky red-orange chorizo; white Parmesan-like Roncal from the Pyrenees east of Roncesvalles and smoky Idiazábal ewes’ milk cheeses from a town south of San Sebastián; aceitunas, olives cured with rosemary, thyme and garlic; crusty, country bread; and fruits—blushing ripe peaches, big black picota cherries, and honeydew melons.  I put a dozen bottles of Las Campanas Navarra rosados (the same wines Hemingway carried in his car around Spain with him) and claretes (rosés and lighter red wines) and melons in the cold rushing little rivulet to cool, then dispatched a detail of volunteers for dry firewood to build a little fire.
    
The country food of Navarra is delicious, even more so in the mountain air, the wine flowed freelyand laughter came easily. Every now and then someone would step away from the group and stare out across the splendid green woods and watch the rivulet run down the valley.  They knew that back in the  frantic hustle of modern city life, these hours spent in the Garden  of Eden would ripen with age and retelling. 

  
 Birney Adams and George Semler at one of our meriendas in the magical glade of Roncesvalles, 1971.

Until some newcomers not present during the early years of these outings, decided one year by popular decree that the should move the show down out of the historical mists to an easier-to-get-to spot, thus destroying the magic, our picnic had a formula that didn't vary from the first year until the year we stopped having our picnics,   : Drink some wine, eat wonderful Navarrese food, drink some more wine, get mellow, lay down on the mossy slopes and tell jokes to a well-primed audience until the mystical fog drifts in, as it often does by mid-afternoon. The joke session began that first year, when Hemingway’s double Kenneth Vanderford, a man then in his sixties, who was sitting in a folding chair he carried in his car, began to hold court with the group sitting on the ground around him.  While stroking the arm of a attractive, flaxen-haired young model, who had worked for a Senator from California (and, with whom, I had had a mercifully short liason), Vanderford had drifted quite naturally onto the subject of sex and how, in our society, it was not easily accessible to men of his age.
    
“The only thing available to men like me,” he said, “is loneliness and masturbation.  In this society, sex seems to be forbidden to the very old and very young. ”
    
“That's not the case in all societies” the sculptor Lindsay Daen, himself obviously no stranger to the randy arts, said.  Then he told a tale of how he had once watched a five-year old girl openly masturbate on the veranda of a house in Polynesia, while he and her parents were carrying on a conversation.
    
“Her parents didn’t seem to find anything wrong with what she was doing,” Lindsay said, “and when I thought about it, I didn’t either.”
    
“Well,” I chimed in, “there’s plenty I find wrong with it.”
    
“Like what?” Daen asked.
    
“The kid could go blind, get pimples, and, if she continues masturbating, she will undoubtedly go crazy.  Look what it’s done to you and Vanderford.”
    
Any serious drift the conversation may have had disintegrated with the peals of laughter, then the jokes started.  After a few risque jokes in English got the group warmed up, a Swede had us rolling on the ground in fits by telling a particularly dirty joke in Swedish, which only the three other Swedes at the picnic, including my friend Birney Adam's wife Lotta understood.  No interpretation was necessary.  It didn’t matter, the food, the wine, the camaraderie, and the reverie of the country afternoon made these picnics the stuff of vintage nostalgia. 
 
The most incredible thing that ever happened during the five years we gathered for these picnics, was the near conversion of the Hemingway look-a-like, Kenneth Vanderford, a died-in-the-wool atheist and a friend of Madeleine Murray O’Hair, America’s most vociferous non-believer.



Kenneth Vanderford, "Hemingway's Double," at a picnic in Roncesvalles.
    
One year, early in the proceedings, a mist of metaphysical caliber had drifted into the upper tier of our little hidden valley.  Things were getting spooky and we were worried about Lindsay Daen, who had still not arrived.  We had already had some food and wine, when I coaxed Vanderford, a history professor, into telling us about the legend of Roland blowing his horn to summon his uncle Charlemagne's army as he fought for his life in this pass.  Vanderford ended his tale of the famous Chanson de Roland and remarked that, like lots of other religion-based legends, the popular accounts of the retreat of Roland and his death were mostly nonsense.  At that precise moment, several notes that sounded like a bugle call from Roland himself came from high in the woods.  Vanderford looked heavenward and seemed momentarily shaken by what he must have thought was a call to reckoning.  It was Lindsay blowing his bugle as he tried to locate us.  We never let Kenneth Vanderford live that day down. 


 Lindsay Daen blowing his bugle in Roncesvalles.
    
If it were not for the bullfights, for which most of us had tickets, we would have passed the whole afternoon here, immersed in the camaraderie we shared and in the reverie of this magical place.  Reluctantly, for the fight was to begin at six and Pamplona was at least an hour away, we packed up and wound our way back down the curvy mountain roads to the fiesta with another tale to add to the legends of the pass of Roncesvalles. 
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 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

  Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/28/2020

More photographs of the inscriptions in my copy of James A. Michener's Iberia from people about whom he wrote in the book.

 
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Oliver, son of English aficionada Tigre and actor Conrad Janis, p. 479.

More photographs of the inscriptions in my copy of James A. Michener's Iberia from people about whom he wrote in the book. With my photographs of some of the people mentioned.The text is from Homage to Iberia by Gerry Dawes©2020 (a work-in-progress).
 

 
 
 Actor Conrad Janis (of Mork & Mindy fame), who is mentioned in Iberia several times.  I was with Janis several times during sanfermines and in Sevilla.
__________________________________________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

  Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

James Michener's Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections: Photographs and Recollections from Iberia and from Gerry Dawes's Homage to Iberia

 
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Gerry  Dawes giving a derechazo to a vaca brava at a tienta at Concha y Sierra ranch, 1971.  Photographs
of me showing my arte taurino and vino courage by Robert Vavra, photographer for James Michener's Iberia.
 
Although the passage from James Michener's Iberia below my Homage to Iberia excerpt doesn't have an autograph, it has a personal story behind. One day in 1971, I was lucky enough to be invited by Matador John Fulton to a tienta (a testing of the fighting stock) at Concha y Sierra ranch. Joining us was Iberia photographer Robert Vavra, the novillero Curro Camacho (about whom Vavra was writing and photographing a book), another bullfighter aspirant and my friend, the up-and-coming novillero Alonso Morillo, who had already had several triumphs in the La Maestranaza, Sevilla's La Scala of bullrings. 
 
Giving a derechazo to a vaca brava at a tienta at Concha y Sierra ranch, 1971.  Photograph by Robert Vavra, photographer for James Michener's Iberia.
 
The professional toreros gave passes to several of the vacas bravas as I photographed them from a burladero (the protective barrier behind which the toreros stand when the animal first comes into the ring). There was also plenty of Palma del Condado vino, a Sherry-like wine made in Huelva province. I had drunk my share to work up my courage in case they might invite me to try my hand at some passes.
 
Interior patio of our first home at Justino de Neve 3 in

the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of Sevilla.
 
I had been living in a lovely house in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, the old Jewish quarter of Sevilla. Some nights when my pareja Diana Valenti and I came back from a night of in the tapas bars of Sevilla, in the Plaza de los Venerables, right off our street, Justino de Neve, we would encounter a very friendly big black and white hound that I called "Hombre."  Hombre was very playful, so I began pulling out my pocket handkerchief, unfurling it and giving the perro bullfighting passes. I had done this numerous times. Surprisingly, it was not much different from fighting a bull, except a bull is much, much larger and has horns that can kill you. 
 
Fulton and the others did not know that I had been practicing with the big dog plus I had the advantage of several of those glasses of 15% alcohol Condado de Palma wine, which mercifully was a fear inhibitor. So, when they asked me if I wanted to give some passes to that Concha y Sierra vaca brava, I was very pleased to get the chance. 
 
 Gerry  Dawes giving a derechazo to a vaca brava at a tienta at Concha y Sierra ranch, 1971.  Photograph by Robert Vavra, photographer for James Michener's Iberia.

John Fulton gave me his muleta and lighter wooden fake sword that is used to spread the cloth for right-handed passes. I went out into the ring for my date with destiny, a several hundred-pound cow from fighting stock, with horns. Cows, which are tested to see if they are brave enough for breeding fighting bulls, have wounded and killed numerous bullfighters. The most notable was the great Antonio Bienvenida, who was killed when a cow that had been fought and let out, came charging back into the ring, caught him behind, lifted him into the air and dropped him on his head, which broke his neck and caused his death. 

But, with my Condado de Palma-induce bravery and having seen El Cordobés, the most popular bullfighter in those days, advance towards a bull crossing the trajectory as they say, slapping his outer thigh and shouting, "Ey, ey, toro," imitating El Cordobés. I advanced slapping my left thigh.
Fulton shouted, "Don't do that, Gerry, you will call her in on you."
 
  
 
 
Giving a derechazo to a vaca brava at a tienta at Concha y Sierra ranch, 1971.  Photograph by Robert Vavra, photographer for James Michener's Iberia.


But, when I advanced the muleta (the red cloth), the vaca brava charged like she was "on rails' and was an excellent very brava specimen. She went for the cloth and not for me, for which I will forever be grateful. I got off seven passes, three of them linked, and actually heard "Ole's" from my professional torero friends and Bob Vavra, my photography mentor. Fortunately, Vavra used my cameras to capture my "faena" for posterity. --from Homage to Iberia, a work-in-progress by Gerry Dawes©2020
 
 
Giving a derechazo to a vaca brava at a tienta at Concha y Sierra ranch, 1971.  Photograph by Robert Vavra, photographer for James Michener's Iberia.

 Below:

Part of Jim Michener's description of his outing with John Fulton to visit Concha y Sierra ranch in Las Marismas in the province of Huelva. 
 
Photograph of a page about Concha y Sierra with a photo of a burladero at the ranch. Iberia, p. 213.  Photograph by Robert Vavra.
 
"I was fortunate in visiting Las Marismas for the first time in winter, for this was the rainy season and I was thus able to see the bull ranch in maximum swamp condition; it seemed to me that about seventy percent of its land was either under water or was so water-logged that if I stepped on what appeared to be a solid tussock, it collapsed beneath me with a soft squish, so that my feet were again in water. It was on such land that the Concha y Sierra bulls flourished, but it was not until the matador led me to the dry area on which the ranch buildings stood, and I saw the famous brand of an S inside a C scrawled on the side of a corral, that I was ready to believe that this was the territory of the bulls about which I had read so much. 

The Concha y Sierra bulls had a brave history, and many a noble head had gone from the bullring to the taxidermist’s and from there to the wall of some museum, with a plaque beneath to inform the visitor as to what this bull had accomplished before he died. 

On June 1, 1857, the Concha Bull Barrabás participated in what the books describe as ‘one of the most famous accidents in the history of bullfighting’ in that, with a deft horn, it caught the full Iberia 228 matador Manuel Domínguez under the chin and then in the right eye, gouging it out. It was assumed that Domínguez would die, for his face was laid open, but with a valor that had characterized his performance in the ring he survived, and three months later was fighting again as Spain’s only one-eyed matador, having stipulated that for his return the bulls must again be from Concha y Sierra. For another seventeen years he fought with only one eye and enjoyed some of his best afternoons with Concha bulls. He is known in taurine history as Desperdicios (Cast-off Scraps, from the contemptuous manner in which he tossed aside his gouged-out eyeball)." -- Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections, James A. Michener, page 213 in the original copy of the book.
 
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 Gastronomy Blogs

 About Gerry Dawes

Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 

Gerry Dawes was the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio program on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

 

Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/25/2020

 
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Iberia Autographs pp. 286-287 John Fulton with Antonio Ordonez.  Fulton signed my copy of Iberia in 1969 and drew horns on the head of the great matador Antonio Ordoñez with whom he had had some unpleasant experiences.
 
More photographs of the inscriptions in my copy of James A. Michener's Iberia from people about whom he wrote in the book. With my photographs of some of the people mentioned.
 
The text is from Homage to Iberia by Gerry Dawes©2020 (a work-in-progress).
 
"John Fulton, with whom I had a close relationship for several years and was his agent in southern Spain for his paintings, lithographs and books and ran the John Fulton Gallery in Marbella for a year, signed my copy of Iberia in 1969 and drew horns on the head of the great matador Antonio Ordoñez with whom he had had some unpleasant experiences. Fulton often complained about Ordoñez, Ernest Hemingway´s friend, the star matador in The Dangerous Summer and in his later years a friend of mine. I believe John clouded Michener´s judgement of the maestro Ordoñez, who was one of the greatest matadores ever. 
 
I took this photograph of Antonio Ordoñez in one of his superb post-retirement appearances at the Corrida Goyesca in Ronda, his hometown. Antonio signed this photograph to me in early January 1996 in New York City when we had dinner together several times during his annual Christmas season visit to the city.
Photo by Gerry Dawes©2020.
 
With Antonio Ordoñez, his wife Pilar and legendary aficionado Tom Weitzner at Dock´s Restaurant, New York City, December 1995.
 
 
With John Fulton in his studio at his home at Villa Santa Cecilia in Sevilla in 1995, the last time I ever saw him. He died three years later of a heart attack at age 65.
 
______________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Gerry Dawes is the Producer and Program Host of Gerry Dawes & Friends, a weekly radio progam on WPWL 103.7 FM Pawling Public Radio in Pawling, New York.

  Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 

11/22/2020

James Michener's Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections: More Autographs, Iberia Photographer Robert Vavra

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Robert Vavra, Photographer of Iberia, in his study at his typewriter at Villa Santa Cecilia in Sevilla in 1969.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2020.
 
 
More photographs of the inscriptions in my copy of James Michener's Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections (Random House, New York, 1968) from people about whom he wrote in the book.
 
This autograph is from Iberia photographer Robert Vavra, with whom I shared many outings and adventures. I was a budding photographer and I apprenticed with Vavra, working on several shoots with him as he was photographing bullfighter Curro Camacho, about whom he was doing a book of photographs. 
 
Other signings in Iberia include photographer Robert Vavra, Matador John Fulton, Alice Hall, Juan Quintana, Professor Kenneth Vanderford, Matt Carney, Conrad Janis and others Michener wrote about. I will be publishing more photos, excerpts from Homage to Iberia and commentary over the next several days. 
 
   
Robert Vavra's inscription on the Introduction page in my copy of Iberia in Sevilla in 1969:  "For Gerry as a recuerdo of Sevilla and of the other people and places you know in Spain and of un amigo, Robert Vavra, 1969, Spain.   Photo by Gerry Dawes©2020.
 
 
Robert Vavra photographing bullfighter Curro Camacho, about whom he was doing a book of photographs. Curro is perched high atop one of the famous Osborne bull Veterano Brandy signs, more that 800 of which were scattered along the highways of Spain. Most of them are still there, but since laws were passed prohibiting billboards along Spain's highways, the Osborne Sherry people use black painted to cover over the advertising part, but by popular demand left the bulls. Photo by Gerry Dawes©2020.
 
The excerpted text below is from a work in progress, Homage to Iberia.
 
Gerry Dawes, first day in Sevilla, 1968.  Photo by Tom Sims.

"Villa Santa Cecilia became a Mecca for serious Spain aficionados and fans of John Fulton and Iberia, which had been published just a few months before I met Fulton and Vavra, who were still very much basking in the afterglow of Michener’s book. Iberia, which at 800-plus pages was a doorstop of a book—not too long by the reckoning of many of its admirers, myself included--featured scores of Vavra’s masterful black-and-white photographs and had numerous tales of Michener’s adventures in Spain with both men, sometimes together, at times separately.
 
During the early years with Fulton and Vavra, I began to meet many of the other people James Michener had written about in Iberia. In fact, I always carried Iberia in the car with me on trips around Spain. I met a score of people chronicled in the book—bullfight aficionada Virginia Smith, Professor Kenneth Vanderford (Hemingway’s “double”), author Robert Daley, architect Brewster Cross, actor Conrad Janis, and socialite Patter Ashcraft, among others. Many of them wrote inscriptions in my copy of Iberia and left indelible impressions in my memory and in my heart.
 
 
______________________________________________________  

 Gastronomy Blogs
 About Gerry Dawes

Dawes was awarded Spain's prestigious Premio Nacional de Gastronomía (National Gastronomy Award) in 2003. He writes and speaks frequently on Spanish wine and gastronomy and leads gastronomy, wine and cultural tours to Spain. He was a finalist for the 2001 James Beard Foundation's Journalism Award for Best Magazine Writing on Wine, won The Cava Institute's First Prize for Journalism for his article on cava in 2004, was awarded the CineGourLand “Cinéfilos y Gourmets” (Cinephiles & Gourmets) prize in 2009 in Getxo (Vizcaya) and received the 2009 Association of Food Journalists Second Prize for Best Food Feature in a Magazine for his Food Arts article, a retrospective piece about Catalan star chef, Ferran Adrià. 

In December, 2009, Dawes was awarded the Food Arts Silver Spoon Award in a profile written by José Andrés

". . .That we were the first to introduce American readers to Ferran Adrià in 1997 and have ever since continued to bring you a blow-by-blow narrative of Spain's riveting ferment is chiefly due to our Spanish correspondent, Gerry "Mr. Spain" Dawes, the messianic wine and food journalist raised in Southern Illinois and possessor of a self-accumulated doctorate in the Spanish table. Gerry once again brings us up to the very minute. . ." - - Michael & Ariane Batterberry, Editor-in-Chief/Publisher and Founding Editor/Publisher, Food Arts, October 2009. 
 
Pilot for a reality television series on wine, gastronomy, culture and travel in Spain.
 
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