By Lyn Sherwood
Beefed-up security at the borders into and out of Mexico, last weekend, dramatically cut down on the numbers of people attending Saturday's festival and Sun-day's corrida de toros in "The Beautiful Bullring by the Sea." Even those who left their cars on the San Ysidro side of the border, and took buses or cabs, were, upon returning to the border, held up by lines of walking people that stretched a quarter mile from Customs into Tijuana, resulting in delays of up to two hours.
According to correspondent Gary Sloan, Saturday's festival was dominated by retired matador Pepe López Hurtado and Tijuanense novillero "Joselín," who alternated with aficionados prácticos Emilio Palomino, Santiago Gonzalez, Paco Perez, Coleman Cooney, Joe Esca-lante, and Christoble Ludwig.
"This event came off, as most do, with some good and some bad. Everyone tried very hard, but the animals weren't very good," Sloan wrote.
Hurtado's bull appeared to weigh about 400 kilos, a very respectable size for a festival. The bull had nothing for the cape, but in the third act, Pepe López delivered a grand faena, demonstrating great aguante and temple. Following a very well-placed sword, Hurtado was awarded a pair of ears.
Joselín's novillo was even larger than that of Hurtado. The young novillero greeted the animal with a sensational set of Verónicas on one knee, the kind that grabs you by the throat. The remate was a media Verónica, also on one knee. It was one of the best sets of lances that I have ever seen.
His faena continued the joy, with long, tight muletazos on both sides. The performance was unforgettable. The sword, albeit a bit low, was effective and brought ears and tail. This was one of the best afternoons that I have ever seen in the plaza.
But, Sunday's corrida wasn't nearly as successful. A crowd of only about 1,500 was on hand to witness Mauricio Por-tillo, Jorge Mora, and the Spaniard, Vencente Bejarano face a weak herd from Pro-greso San Mateo.
Portillo continues to have bad luck in Tijuana. His first bull wanted nothing to do with the cape, was weak against the picador, and was a total manso in the third act. Applause. His second bull was even worse and allowed Portillo to accomplish very little.
With his first bull, Jorge Mora delivered the best performance of the day. Following a grand set of Verónicas, he gave a great set of Gaoneras. His faena was very strong on both sides, climaxed with a somewhat low sword, winning an ear. His second bull ran out of gas before Mora was able to accomplish much.
The classy Spaniard, Beja-rano opened with a grand set of Verónicas and the climaxing media. In the third act, the bull quickly tired, but Bejarano's performance was still a thing of beauty. Problems with the sword denied consideration for awards.
It was a similar story with his second bull, a good performance, capped with poor sword work. Applause.
The announced card for Sept. 30 is Uriel Moreno "El Zapata," mano-a-mano with Antonio Barrera.
Some 25,000 spectators filled the Vasguén Sargasián stadium, Sept. 8, to see Jorge Jesus "El Glison" and Manolo Bejarano face a herd of bulls from Domingo Hernández in the first bullfight ever held in Armenia.
And, although the crowd seemed to love the affair, it wasn't without its complications. El Glison's second bull leaped out of the arena and took up residence on a soccer field. Police, from inside an ambulance, shot at the animal seven times, but were unable to convince the animal to lie down and die. In the meantime, El Glison sent one of his assistants back to the hotel, to fetch one of his swords. He then killed the bull in the soccer field.
The final results were that the crowd was demanded that any future bullfights in Armenia will be on the Spanish style, as opposed to the non-killing Portuguese style. Officials agreed to consider the petition.
Meanwhile, in Moscow, a debate is still raging over a Portuguese-style bullfight which was canceled, following an organized protest by an animal rights group, led by former actress Brigit Bardot. But, organizers of the affair are threatening to sue Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, on the grounds that the legal basis for the ban is unclear. Backers stand to lose the equivalent of nearly a million U.S., if the bullfight is not presented. Some 10,000 tickets had already been sold.
Julián López "El Juli" has contracted to perform in 50 corridas this coming fall and winter in Mexico.