Well, with the Mexico City season over, bullfighting now moves to the frontiers and certain interior plazas, such as Aguascalientes.
It wasn't a great winter season. Only the Spaniards, particularly the incredible rejoneador Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza, were able to show very much. And, La Plaza Mexico is still embroiled in a hot controversy over shaved horns, underage novillos passed off as bulls, and all sorts of other scandals. A constant battle has been kept going by Novedades Taurine writer José Mata, against whom the empresa of La Mexico brought legal charges for that which more or less translates to defamation of character.
Spain, of course, is getting ready to open its big seasons, with the big guns José Tomás, Enrique Ponce, El Juli and several other top figuras leading the pack. The only problem is foot and mouth disease, plus Mad Cow Disease, which have put the season in jeopardy. Currently in Spain, all fighting bulls must be cremated. They can't even cut ears, for it is illegal to distribute bovine parts to the public. And, in France, it seems that there will be no season at all. The government has put a prohibition on the shipping of all livestock. And, Mexico thinks it has problems!
In the meantime, we have Tijuana, with reviews provided very capably by Gary Sloan. In the meantime, this reporter is moving heaven and earth to get back to Southern California. If any reader knows of a good advertising/public relations agency that needs a talented writer, please let me know, in care of La Prensa San Diego.
In last Sunday's corrida, according to Gary, a light turnout some 4,500-5000 spectators was on hand to see Jorge Gutierrez, Antonio Barrera, and Javier Gutierrez "El Cachorro" face five bulls from Valparaiso and one from Monte Cristo. The bulls were a mixed bag; a couple of them presented very difficult problems for their matadores. Although the posted weights seemed a bit optimistic, they were all strong against the horses.
In his previous Tijuana appearance, Jorge's performance was rather flat and tepid. But, last Sunday, he seemed ready to redeem himself. His first bull, "Buena Suerte," announced at 470 kilos, was very difficult in the first act, so Jorge wasn't able to show much with the capote. The bull made three entries to the picador and was willing to make a fourth, when Plaza Judge Jaime Gonzales changed the act.
In his faena, Jorge brought Buena Suerte to the center of the ring and proceeded to deliver a very good third act. There were two strong series on the right and a great one on the left, followed by a fine set of naturales ayudados. (The difference being that a classic natural is performed with the sword on the hip or pointing at the ground, while the natural ayudado is assisted with the sword in front of the matador's body.) But, alas, two missed sword attempts and six with the descabello ruined any chance for an ear.
With his second bull, "Consentido," at 470 kilos, was as its brother, it offered nothing in the first act. The bull was then over-pic'ed, leaving the animal winded in the third act. Jorge turned in a credible faena and was applauded.
Antonio's first bull, "Tijuanense," at 466 kilos, was from Monte Cristo. The matador opened with a farol de rodillas, followed by a nice set of Verónicas in the Sevillano style, feet together. Tijuanense was strong against the horse, accepting two good pics. Barrera's faena was good on both sides, with great temple, even doing two Dosatinas, followed by a great chest pass. He killed on his first entry and was granted an ear.
His second toro, "Zacatecano," 435 kilos, was greeted with a couple of nice Verónicas and a nice finishing lance. Following two pics, there was a short faena that had some moments. But, the passes weren't linked, and he gave nothing on the left. A good sword and a great descabello, but applause was Barrera's only reward.
This young matador wins the "most improved torero" honors from Bullfight World. Nevertheless, he opened with good Verónicas, but switched to Chicuelinas, without climaxing the Verónicas, an unpardonable sin. After two hard pics, he placed banderillas and was applauded. He gave a good faena to both sides, but lost ears with the sword.
His second bull, "Amoroso," 470 kilos, was the best of the day. Cachorro opened with five kneeling cape lances (faroles de rodillas) as well as a kneeling half Verónica. Amoroso was fierce against the horse, knocking down one picador.
Cachorro then placed three fine pairs of banderillas. In the faena, he work alright with lots of temple. He then placed a great sword and the bull crashed, hooves in the air (patas arriba). One ear was awarded.
On the whole, it was a pretty good afternoon, although there was no announcement about the next corrida. Bullfight World will keep you posted.