Barcelona, August 5th, 2013 2:54pm


Another interesting day! I'm guessing Alan Warren thought we were going to talk for a bit, maybe get a bite together. Nine hours later, when he saw me off at the metro station he probably wondered where the day went. I met him, in his tilly hat, down near the end of the Rambla, and he took me to a little restaurant which opened right before the Civil War. It was written about by some of the Brigadistas, and it hadn't changed much. The food was great - though much more than my budget, but you know how it is - someone takes you to their favorite place, and it's hard to say "Whoa! Is this decimal point in the right place?" So I plunged in. Alan and I started talking about the war, and the history of the volunteers, and then about the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, and it turned out we had a few mutual friends! Not only that, he'd actually seen me and Velina perform in a show for the Civil War vets in San Francisco a few years ago! So that got us talking about a whole different set of politics and art, and how the Vets organizations are handling the transition to more service organizations. He wanted to take me on a tour of the battlefields, which sounded great, but it was a couple of days and nights, and that I could just not afford on this trip. After we ate he took me for a walk around the area, showing me things that the tour I took on Saturday didn't have time for. He also took me to an anarchist bookstore run buy the CNT - which was the primary anarchist union/organization in Barcelona during the war. If it weren't for the CNT Barcelona may have fallen at the very beginning of the fascist uprising. So they had some great posters from the war, and a few documentaries I want to go back and get - once I get over the whole sticker shock of the dinner. He then took me to a coin shop that had some money printed by the collectives. Buying souvenirs from the Civil war feels a bit weird for me. It's kinda like the visiting battlefields thing. Does a souvenir trivialize something? Alan is also in the final stages of post-production on a documentary about the son of one of the vets who returned to the battlefield where his father fought and died. Very moving stuff, and hopefully it will get some play from the next Spanish Civil War vets conference in the States this Fall. He's also friends with the creator of "Goodbye, Barcelona," a musical out of London about the International Brigades! He's going to put me in touch with the writer, who is translating His show into Catalan, too, and who wants to get it to the States. I don't know if I can help, but I do know a producer in NYC who specializes in musicals, so we'll see. So by this point we had be wandering through the radical, anarchist neighborhoods for about three hours, the sun is going down, and he turns to me and says " You want to crash my wife's birthday party?" This is the sort of thing I always say no to, so I said yes. And off we went, back to his apartment, where his very nice wife was having a few friends and family - and a Black American who doesn't speak Catalan or Spanish - help her celebrate her birthday. It was kinda awkward, but everyone was very nice - even though I noticed Alan's Catalan introduction of me got shorter and shorter with each new person entering. By the time the last person came in I think he just said "This is Michael. He's working on getting something by Orwell into Catalan." But everyone was very nice, and Alan and I talked most of the time about an idea he has to partner with foreign schools to bring student over to study the history of the men and women who gave up everything to fight in a land so far away. Eventually I had to go, as I wanted to try to catch Velina with a call while she was at home! I missed her. damn! But now, after meeting Alan, I have a lot more to think about. And tomorrow Lluis-Anton and I get back to work on the script!


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