A Clandestine Hangout with Some Darn Fine Hummus!

Hidden off the beaten track, on a quiet side street of Alonso Martínez, you will find one of those rare treasures that even the Goonies would be going crazy for. La Vaquería Suiza (The Swiss Dairy) is simple in décor, with high ceilings, white wood and comfortable furniture. The atmosphere inside is generally pretty relaxed. Weekday evenings it is perfect for an after-work drink or to catch up with friends. During lunchtime it can get a little crowded so to avoid fighting for your food I suggest arriving before 14:00 p.m. to ensure getting a table. In the evenings it’s not a problem to dine without a reservation but if there’s a group of you going on a Friday or Saturday then ring ahead first just to make sure. The staff are relentlessly friendly and helpful, and during the quieter times they’re more than happy to chat. In a city not known for its servicio al cliente, this is one place that will put a smile on your face with the service they give.

On the menu you’ll find a variety of dishes and there appears to be no apparent ‘theme’, but that’s fine by me because I’ve tried nearly everything on the menu and liked it all. The quality and size of the portions are pretty decent and for me there are 2 particular stars on the menu. The first being the hummus, which is a great sharing dish and is absolutely delicious (especially if you’re a garlic fan like I am). Coming from a nation of hummus lovers, I’ve had my fair share of garbanzo experiences and La Vaquería Suiza is up there near the top of my list. The other culinary treat comes in the form of the mushroom crepes that are a delight for any fungophiles out there – scrumptastic! Also not to be ignored are the range of salads on offer for those of you wanting a lighter and healthier option. If you often find it hard to agree on a place for you and a group of friends then make your way to La Vaquería because the menu is varied enough to sort you all out with a happy belly.

Plates: 7-12€
Hours: Mon-Sat 09:00 a.m.-00:00 a.m. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner)
Metro: Alonso Martínez

La Vaquería Suiza
Calle de Blanca de Navarra, 8
28010 Madrid, España
Tel: 913 106 242

By Tom Burgess

Microfusa Festival – A Night of New Music

The Microfusa Festival, which supports young and alternative musicians and bands, will return to Madrid July 2nd. The venue will be the funky Sala Caracol, a noted music venue and weekend destination for Madrid’s young and lively adults. Starting at 19:30 p.m., 3 emerging bands will let loose with the hopes of increasing their following and making their audiences boogie on down. The festival’s headliner, Cycle, will kick off the night with their distinct electronic/rock sound. Most of what you’ll hear is from their newest album, Sleepwalkers. Next up is Olimpic, a band from Bilbao with a more trans-jam feel, but also electric. Closing the festival is Notes from Underground. Their new album, Crossing the Rubicon, is already making a splash with its unusual combination of electronica and “industrial” heavy metal.

The Microfusa School, an institution that teaches its students about the digital technology behind recording and producing music, puts this festival on every year. To be a student at the Microfusa school is to step into the ever-evolving world of musical technology. Founded in 1987 as a “sound laboratory, ” the institute is now Madrid’s most known space for audio experimentation and musical creation. The school also produces and sells its own musical accessories, usually with cheap prices for those on a college budget. All in all, the Microfuse School is without a doubt Madrid’s most well versed organization in musical production. What does all this mean regarding the festival? That people with refined musical knowledge and taste selected the lineup for Microfuse 2010– so the festival is bound to be a night brimming with good sound.

For free admission to the festival, print out an invite online (1 invite is valid for 2 people).

When: Friday, July 2nd at 19:30 p.m.
Where: Sala Carocol
Address: Bernardino Obregón, 18
Cost: Free with Invite

By Chloe Nash


June 30th marks the start of Gay Pride Madrid 2010, Madrid’s most festive summer festival! Most of the daytime action will take place in Chueca, Madrid’s colorful neighborhood known for its trendy bars, artsy shops and established gay community. But the festival has grown so big (attracting thousands of people from all over the world) that its events and parties have flooded into many other parts of Madrid. Although the celebration commemorates gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals, there has been a growing turnout of heterosexuals these past few years. Everyone is invited – that’s the whole point.

The parade is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the celebratory energy. On July 3rd, funky floats and folk will depart from Plaza de Independencia and march all the way down to Plaza de España.

A Breakdown of the biggest 2010 Gay Pride Madrid Parties

Thursday, July 1st
Fiesta Royal in the Sala Heineken. Starting at midnight, the “opening ceremony” will consist of animations and visual projections that will impact and inspire everyone. DJ Naxto Zamora will spin his stuff on the main stage, while the upper level will be the “Low and Dirty Zone” with mellow music, mood lighting and games.

Where: Sala Heineken
Metro: Plaza de España
When: midnight – 6:00 a.m.
Cost: 12 euros

Friday, July 2nd
Fiesta Shok brings the idea of a party to a whole new level. As if famous DJ Peter Rauhofer doesn’t make for a lively night in itself, there will also be 16 Gogo-dancers, 2 strippers and a performance by 2 acrobats. The aesthetics of Fiesta Shok were well planned by a team of creative directors so that the scenery and affect are nothing less than dazzling.

Where: Sala Macumba
When: midnight – 6:00 a.m.
Metro: Chamartin
Cost: 15 euros

Saturday, July 3rd
Infanta 2010– Widely known as the most popular party for everybody, 6 musicians/djs will pump the volume from 23:00 p.m. until 7 in the morning. If your ears need a break, fear not – in addition to the main dance floor, there will be 4 zones boldly catered towards different preferences.

Where: Telefonica Arina Madrid
Metro: Casa de Campo
When: 23:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.
Cost: 45 euros. Yes I know – Yikes! But if you do the math it is only 5.63 an hour, and the incredible energy, music and people will surely make up for the slight blow to your wallet.

Sunday, July 4th
The Shower Party on the Terrace of Chamartin will be a refreshing finale to the week full of celebrations.  The open-air site will transform into a water park with giant sprinklers, public showers, lounge chairs, fans and sunglasses. Of course, there will also be music. A couple hours later, the “Pride Space” Party will begin in the Sala Macumba, plunging into the final wave of festivities. The legendary trio of animation, projections and sound will elevate the crowd to the party-peak. DJ Danny Leblack will be the music man.

When: Shower party: 10:00 a.m. Pride Space: 12:00 p.m.
Where: Sala Macumba & Terraza Chamartin (Venues are adjoining and both can be reached through the Plaza de Chamartin)
Metro: Chamartin
Cost: 30 euros + Drink for entrance to both events.

If everything appeals to you, you might as well buy the 60 Euro Pass, with which you can attend all the parties listed above. Enjoy this week of Gay Galore!

The parties listed above are only a fraction of Gay Pride Madrid 2010. There is also a night-long festival specifically catered for lesbians, a party with fetish-y undertones for men, the official closing party, and more.

By Chloe Nash

Creative Family Bonding: Rhythm and Movement Workshop

Hats off to The Casa Encendida for always extending their artistic offerings to children! Whether you are a traveling family or settled in Madrid, you and your child will greatly benefit from this feel-good activity.

The workshop offers a time and space for children (and adults!) to be creative and expressive through dance and rhythm. Daily objects (pens, keys and spoons, to name a few) will transform into percussion instruments, so that everything learned in the workshop can be re-created from any house (or hotel room). The objective of the 3 hours is to create an atmosphere that emotionally brings together parents and children, reinforcing and enriching family ties through musical expression and dance. The experience will undoubtedly benefit the creative and corporeal world of children.

Pilar Parea, the workshop leader, stimulates and encourages the active participation in musical and artistic processes through loosely instructed ‘games.’ The workshop approaches different styles of dancing from around the world through movement, physical expression and rhythm games with daily objects. Experimentation and improvisation is subtly but surely encouraged.

Pilar Perea is a piano and art instructor from Madrid whose teachings have strong roots in the Waldrof pedagogy.

To sign up, reserve a space online or over the phone (+34 902 43 03 22). The maximum capacity is fifteen families per class. For each child, one parent must also attend. Families with children 7-11 years old are welcome.
Where: La Casa Encendida
Address: Ronda de Valencia, 2
When: June 26th and July 3rd
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 14:00 p.m.
Cost: 15 euros

By Chloe Nash

Contemporary Dance: Nederlands Dance Theatre Company at the Teatro Real

From now until the 26th of June, you can catch the celebrated Nederlands Dance Theatre Company (widely known as NDT) at the Teatro Real. Four pieces by four different choreographers constitute the program. Due to the scenery, music and composition, the pieces all have a theatrical undertone. The show includes the two sections of the company. NDT I consists of 30 dancers that vary in age from 23 – 40, while NDT II consists of 16 young and emerging dancers up to the age of 23. NDT II and I will dance together for one piece, and separately for the others.

The Nederlands Dance Theatre has a fascinating story. It was founded in 1959 when 22 dancers “broke free” from the Netherlands Ballet. The radical ballerinas were passionate about dance but wanted more creative license. With the guidance of Carel Birnie and Benjamin Harkavy, they moved steadily towards professional modern dance. Now, NDT is one of the principal modern dance companies in the world. The combination of the dancer’s artistic approach and comprehensive training makes for a viewing experience that attracts full houses worldwide. The current artistic director, Jim Vincent, has greatly augmented the aesthetic of the company. His first and foremost interest is to fortify the connection between dance and society, creating a unique and complete experience for the audience.  NDT’s influence extends wide and far. After being a part of the prominent company, many dancers begin their own company that has roots in and ties with NDT.

Tickets can be purchased at the venue Monday – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 13:30 p.m. & from 16:30 p.m. to 19:00 p.m. One can also buy tickets online or by calling (+34) 902 244 848.

Where: Teatro Real
Address: Plaza de Isabel II
When: June 25th at 20:00 p.m.  &  June 26th at 17:00 p.m. and 21:00 p.m.
Cost: 15 – 90 euros depending on seats. For children, prices start from 6 euros.

By Cloe Nash