Madrid Weekend Roundup

You can tell from the special music and lights filling the streets of Madrid that this week carries the city into an even more festive atmosphere. We are in the last weekend of 2010 and 2011 is just around the corner! If you’re staying in Madrid this weekend, believe it or not, there are plenty of activities happening in the city that will ring the fun into the new year.

On Friday, the San Silvestre Vallecana race will take place, which is a 10km dash starting on Calle Concha Espina (Metro: Santiago Bernabéu) leading through to the Vallecas district. This race has been a tradition since 1964, and has one of the highest participation rates in the world. If you aren’t signed up, stop by to watch this race in connection with Nike for the run against AIDS in Africa. The amateur race starts at 17: 30 p.m. and the international competition starts at 20:00 p.m. For more information click here

If you still want to buy some Christmas related items, the Madrid Christmas Market is still open until the last day of December. This market, which you can find in Plaza Mayor boasts more than 100 stalls selling ornate statues, nativity scenes, and more. If you haven’t done so already, stop by the market and pick up a little something that strikes your fancy.

The research group Habitar is holding Re-inhabit in nine episodes, an exhibition on housing in Spain. It will be open until this Friday in the Arquería de los Nuevos Ministerios Exhibition Hall. This exhibition, which explores the course of a living space over a year, shows us new ways housing can be used in Spain. The point of the exhibition is to demonstrate ways we can take advantage of old space instead of unnecessarily building new homes, when we can “re-inhabit” the old ones. The exhibition is free, so check it out! Address: Paseo de la Castellana, 67 Metro: Nuevos Ministerios Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 14:00 p.m./18:00 p.m. – 21:00 p.m. Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 14:00 p.m.

If you want to see the latest collection of Madrid artist Pablo Palazuelo over the years you can go see his exhibition, El Palazuelo Ultimo in the Cayón Gallery. This exhibit includes 50 of his small to medium unpublished drawings. Address: C/ Orfila 10 Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 14:00 p.m./17:00 a.m.-20:30 p.m.

Another exhibition, Feminism: A look at femenist vanguards, will also be shown in the Reina Sofia Museum until the 31st. This exhibit shows us women throughout history, basing its theme on the marginalization of women and their representation and roles in art and society. The entrance is 3 euros but is free after 19:00 p.m. Address: C/ Santa Isabel 52, Hours: 10:00 – 21:00

Until the 2nd of January, Compañia El Efecto Galatea will host Ciudad Deseo, which is an activity for children. In this activity, the participants can explore building a city of wishes through cardboard houses, plastic tubes, and an air pump. There will be six performances per day: Mornings: 11, 12 and 13 h. Evenings: 17, 18 and 19 h. Head down to La Plaza de Colon in the Jardines de Descubrimiento for this free activity!

The Dutch company Odd Enijers will be holding the exposition Wood of Steel in the Ciudad de los Niños this weekend. At this expo, participants will be able to compose their own music through different bell chimes installed at the site. So, if you’re interested in this unique activity, head down to Plaza de Colón until the 2nd of January to try it out. Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 14:00 p.m./ 17:00 p.m. – 20:00 p.m.

On the same site, you can also wander into El Laberinto, which is hosted by the Compañía Itineránia. Experience a transparent maze with doors that allow you to pass with each completed puzzle. You can check out this activity until the 2nd of January. Hours: December 23 evening only, 24 and December 31 morning only Morning: 11:00 a.m. – 14:00 p.m. Afternoon: 17:00 p.m. – 20:00 p.m.

If you’re in the mood for some theatre this weekend, Jana Producciones is showing Blancanieves Boulevard or Snow White Boulevard in Teatro de Madrid. This 20’s style reinterpretation of the classic fairy tale Snow White won Best Musical at the 2010 National Musical Theatre Awards. This show, under the direction of Javier Muñoz, features 17 original songs, 25 actors who play more than 120 characters, stunts, special effects and choreography to the modern rhythms of Charleston, swing, rock, and funky. Cost: 12 – 24 euros Address: Avenida de la Ilustración, La Vaguada.

Teatro de La Abadía is also showing el Auto de los Reyes Magos or the Mystery of the Magic Kings. This unique musical and theatrical performance directed by Ana Zamora is based on the first theatrical text in Spanish literature about the three kings and their sighting of the bright star that led them to baby Jesus. The interpretation plays up traditional symbols that may have been forgotten and reacquaints us with this familiar story during the holiday season. Cost: from 15 – 20 euros. For tickets click here. TLF 914 481 181 Address: C/ Fernández de los Ríos 42

There are many festivities going on this weekend in Madrid.  On New Year’s Eve, the crowds like to go to Puerta del Sol to watch the fireworks at midnight – and don’t forget to ring in the new year by partaking in the Spanish tradition of eating a grape per each bell chime leading into 2011! Enjoy the celebrations this weekend and stay warm!

By Anna Soria

Top Madrid Museums

Having a difficult time trying to pick the perfect Madrid museum to visit? Then check out the top ten Madrid museums below.

ABC Museum: The newest museum in Madrid is a converted beer factory in the neighborhood of Conde Duque.

The Reina Sofia Museum: The illustrious Reina Sofia National Art Museum sits in a large square at the end of the Paseo del Prado and in front of Madrid’s Atocha train station.

The Prado Museum: The Museo del Prado is home to the world’s finest collection of Spanish paintings from the 12th through the early 19th century.

Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum: Originally the private art collection of Baron Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the museum named after its patron has a collection made up of over 800 paintings.

The Sorolla Museum: The Sorolla Museum is dedicated entirely to the works of Spanish luminist painter Joaquín Sorolla.

The Lope de Vega House and Museum: The Lope de Vega House and Museum is located in the Barrio de las Letras (Letters Neighborhood), which is only fitting, as Felix Lope de Vega was one of Spain’s most famous poets and playwrights of the Golden Age.

Caixa Forum: In the heart of Madrid´s cultural district lies one of the city´s greatest freebies. The Caixa Forum is home to exhibitions and events all year round, all of which are free to the general public.

Museo de Arte Público: The Museum of Public Art is another of Madrid’s free museums, but this one is entirely outdoors and located under a bypass.

The Romantic Museum: The Romantic Museum shows off Spain’s Romantic period, and contains works of art by world renowned Spanish artists of the time, such as painter Francisco de Goya and poet Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer.

Museo Naval de Madrid The naval museum is filled with everything and anything related to Spain’s period of maritime expansion. What’s more is that all of this is free!

Observatorio Astronomico: Free admission: completed after Charles III’s death in 1790 the observatory was designed by Juan de Villanueva.

Caixa Forum Madrid

In the heart of Madrid´s cultural district lies one of the city´s greatest freebies. The Caixa Forum is home to exhibitions and events all year round, all of which are free to the general public. Spread across four floors, the facilities include 2500m2 of exhibition space, a 310-seater auditorium, two audiovisual suites, a café, a restaurant and a bookstore. The resources available at the Caixa Forum make it the ideal venue for a wide range of events and activities, and the roster frequently includes various art & photography exhibitions, conferences, music events, family activities and educational workshops, amongst many others.

Situated on the Paseo del Prado, the Caixa Forum is the product of La Caixa´s Social Foundation and is one of a number of examples of the Spanish bank´s ventures into cultural and community projects. (There are also CaixaForum centers in Barcelona, Lleida, Palma, Girona and Tarragona). They renovated what was originally the Central Eléctrica del Mediodía (lit. Midday Electrical Centre) and is now one of the iconic buildings of Madrid. The building itself is something worth a visit with its extreme, cave-like, overhanging entrance and the beautifully herbaceous neighbouring wall which is home to hundreds of plant species. Inside the entrance space is a blast of modernity with sheets of exposed metal, stark corners and a host of juxtaposed surroundings.

With the line-up changing frequently, you can keep an eye on what´s on and what´s coming up by checking their website. You can even subscribe to the Caixa Forum Madrid newsletter which will ensure that you don´t miss a trick.

La Caixa Forum
Paseo Prado, 36, 28014 Madrid
Telephone: +34.913.307.300
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 10:00-20:00 (Closed 1st & 6th January and 25th December)
Metro: Atocha

By Tom Burgess

Madrid’s December Live Music Preview

The last month of 2010’s live music calendar features a stellar line up.  Check out this month’s live music preview with December’s CocertMAP:

M.I.A 12/6 – La Riviera:  She is one of the biggest stars in the Music industry today and also one of its most polarizing characters.  Don’t miss the chance to catch her live on the heels of her latest release, Born Free.

Caribou 12/11 – Circulo de Bellas Artes:  Indie + Electro + Psychedelic gets you somewhere in the neighborhood of the sounds of Dan Snaith.

Lady Gaga 12/12 – Palacio de Deportes:  Gaga gagaga, basically if you haven’t heard her music over the past few years, you’ve been living under a rock that’s under a rock on the ocean floor. For tickets click here.

Owen Pallet 12/12 – Sala Heineken:  Coincidentally, he happens to be playing on the same night as Lady Gaga, and might be the complete opposite of her music.

Marnie Stern 12/14 – Moby Dick:  Another difficult to describe musician, but one that is definitely worth a listen due to her patented guitar finger tapping and unique songwriting.

MGMT 12/17 – La Riviera:  Their comically titled sophomore album, Congratulations, threw those of us expecting more tunes like “Kids” and “Electric Feel” for a curveball, but that is what should be expected from the duo of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden and no one knows what to expect from one of their concerts.

Best Coast 12/18 – Sala Heineken:  A smaller name that might get lost in the sea of bigger names coming to Madrid in December, but their debut album, Crazy for You, is one of the year’s best.

Motorhead 12/19 – La Riviera: Metal fans rejoice!  One of the all time leaders of heavy metal comes to town.

Fito y Fitipaldis 12/30 – Palacio de Deportes:  If you’ve been in Spain long enough you should know their names, if not it’s about damn time. For tickets click here.

Happy Holidays from your friends here at MAP!

By Coleman File