August 25, 2006

Bullfight World
By Lyn Sherwood

The Bulls Were the Stars of the Day!

A beautiful herd of well-armed, astefino (sharp-horned) bulls from San Miguel de Mimiahuapan made things difficult, last Sunday, for matadores José Luis Angelino, Omar Villaseñor, and Ismael Rodriguez.

Correspondent Gary Sloan filed the following report from Plaza El Toreo de Tijuana.

With his first bull, “Maestro”, 480 kilos, José Luis Angelino did nothing with the capote in the first tercio, but did offer an excellent set of chicuelinas, following the pics. His faena was good on both sides, with Angelino taking a lot of chances with this very wise bull. The sword was low, and after two tries with the descabello, it was over.  Aplausos.

With his second toro, “Cariñoso,” 490 kilos, José, once again, did nothing with the capote, neither before, nor after the horse. He placed two pairs of banderillas, in the normal manner, and one pair “a la violín.” The faena was difficult, but well executed, with José giving all that he could with this treacherous animal. One pinchazo, then a three-quarter thrust, and it was over.  Aplausos.

With his first animal, “Graduado,” 510 kilos, Omar Villaseñor did his usual herky jerky veronicas. After the pic’ing he did a decent set of gaoneras. The faena was good, albeit crude.

Omar has a very reckless, devil-may-care, (dare we say “tremendistic”?) style with the muleta.  After several hair raising series, he brought the faena to an end with a pinchazo, then a full, very effective sword that won Omar an ear, and a slow, honorable drag for Graduado.

With his second toro, “J.P.”, 565 kilos, a really big, old bull, Omar could do nothing with the capote, at all.  J.P. knocked the horse down, hard. The faena, could best be described as suicidal, with Omar barely escaping disaster, several times. He might have won a couple of ears, had he had any luck with the sword, but after four attempts with the sword and four more with the descabello, while hearing two warning avisos, all he received were boos, and pitos.

With his first bull, “Lo Lagraste”, 475 kilos, Rodriguez did nothing with the capote. The faena, however, was a different matter. Ismael was great. Really nice work with the muleta, especially his naturales. He did three tandas of naturales that were sensational. They made the afternoon!  It’s amazing how eight or nine muletazos can be the high point of a bullfight. A good sword killed, quickly, and a well deserved ear was awarded.

With his second toro, “Por Ti,” 460 kilos, it all went the other way. A really difficult animal, that Ismael just didn’t have the experience to deal with. That’s not taking anything away from Ismael, but it would have taken an experienced maestro to have triumphed with this bull. No awards.

In spite of only two ears for the whole day, it was a very good afternoon, with Ismael Rodriquez’ naturales the absolutely, best part of the corrida. And, the bulls were difficult, but exceptionally strong and brave, as bulls of brave blood should be.

The next corrida, will be Sept. 4, at José Lopez Hurtado’s “Beautiful Bullring by the Sea,” with matadores Eulalio López “El Zotoluco,” Juan Antonio Adame, and Arturo Macias, with bulls from Maron.

The only bad news is that, for the fourth Sunday in a row, the border line for cars was monstrous, at least three and a half hours. I parked on the U.S. side, and took a taxi, both ways. There was no pedestrian line, I went right through. So my advice, again, if you go to a corrida, park on the U.S. side and take a cab, or do the Mexico coach thing.

The Gusano

In bullfighting, references to “the gusano” indicate the small worm of afición that lives in the belly of every torero, and even in some aficionados. In the absence of bullfighting—as in retirement—the gusano chews on the owner’s belly. It’s a nasty, demanding tenant.

Well, it didn’t take long for Miguelito “Armillita Chico’s” gusano to start chewing big chunks from the matador’s belly. He retired, this year, but he’s already planning to continue performing, in festivals, which will feature something very special.

A century or so ago, many top category matadores had their own flamenco singers, who would accompany their matadores’ performances. Well, it’s going to happen, again. This coming On Oct. 7, in Monterrey, there will be the first of six festivals in which Armillita Chico will perform.

He’ll alternate with Eulalio López “El Zotoluco,” whose performances will be accompanied by flamenco singer Diego “El Cigala.”

Other similar presentations are slated in Juriquilla, Cancún, Mérida, Morelia, and Mexico City. In some of the affairs, the singer will be Alejandro Fernández.

Ciao, for now.

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