Thursday, July 21, 2011

Chicanonautica: ¡Viva San Fermín!

I thought I was going to brave the over 110 degree Phoenix heat, go to work, and check in with coverage of la Fiesta de San Fermín online to relax. The week had other things in mind for me. Emails with impending writer biz came in. Suddenly, I was running around, working on the adventures of a Chicano space artist and an Aztec detective, going to work, and trying to keep up with the festival in Pamplona.

Fortunately, Luis Carvajal from Guadalajara, Jalisco sent me a link to where I could watch live coverage of the bullfights. Muchas gracias, Luis!

And it's an especially exciting fiesta.

More women are running with the bulls than ever -- most of them are from Australia. Cross-dressing and gay revelry are happening along with the wine-soaked T-shirts and breast-flashing. And I saw more black guys running.

All this and the cultural cross-pollination between San Fermín in Pamplona and Mardi Gras in New Orleans jazzing things up, it looks like we’ve got diversity and globalization bursting out here.

The energy spilled over into other bullfighting events: Female bullfighters Milagros Sánchez and Conchi Ríos made the news with their performances.

But, of course, it wasn’t all blood-spattered paradise:

One guy tried to run with the bulls, in the nude! Police in red berets stopped him, and blotted out the faces of the officers, making the photo seem like a scene from a fanciful dystopia.

Then there was the goring. Australian Mitch Davie, after chasing a bull in the ring, rather than getting out of the way, had his femoral artery severed. I hope he knew that foreigners running with the bulls are expected to have insurance.

To quote his poor mother: “Mitch had to tell me over Facebook because his phone ran out of credit, I was just a sobbing mess.”

Then came the highlight of the fiesta, the high-speed, record-breaking encierro in which a bull named Resistón stole the show by plowing through the runners, jumping over them, and knocking them aside with his horns. This is what San Fermín is all about. Words fail here, you have to see it:

Unfortunately, Resistón’s performance in the ring wasn’t up to his run, but still he has made his place in history.

On a sad note, news of rapes, that are usually covered up, broke. Looks like another job for the faceless policemen. Women groups are taking action. Next year should be interesting.

Now that the fiesta is over, it’s back to my writer biz and the day job. I’m feeling energized. Ready to live life to its fullest.

Ernest Hogan’s story “Guerrilla Mural of a Siren’s Song,” that was exploded into his novel Cortez on Jupiter, can now be read free online. Soon it will be available in the anthology Alien Contact, and Cortez on Jupiter will available as an ebook.