Yesterday when I drove up the hill towards La Ceiba Gráfica in La Orduña for my Tai Chi class, I was surprised to see the road lined with cars. It turned out a film crew had arrived to use the hacienda for a setting. Martín, my Tai Chi teacher and one of the two heads of La Orduña, had no idea what they were filming for; renting opportunities to use the hacienda as a setting is just another way of making money.
Martín and I (I am still the only student – what a shame! Martín is an excellent, very patient teacher) have class on the long side of the second story veranda with views through giant old trees of the jumble of small, sometimes crumbling industrial buildings, the old church, and piles of brightly painted houses. And above them, the glorious mountains and the clouds puffing and tumbling slowly around them.
The lesson was not its normal calm and quiet self. Cameramen and technicians and boss-types were everywhere, shouting and climbing as they ran cables and lugged cameras and sound equipment and who knows what else, here and there and here again. At one point Per, the other boss of La Orduña, poked his head out one of the French doors onto the balcony where we were pretending people weren't running up and down alongside us as we practiced our slow, precise moves, and, in what seemed near panic, waved Martín over and rolling his eyes and with all the muscles of his face in a dance of despair said the film crew was going to blow all the electricity! They needed to find another source outside! Martín told me to keep doing what I was doing (I certainly needed the practice) and left with Per, putting a comforting arm around Per's shoulder.
Per is, in addition to being one of the jefes of La Ceiba Gráfica, a scholar of lithography and a master lithographer. A stocky Scandinavian who appears much shorter than Martín though he is not, he is probably in his sixties, with a blocky, shaved head and a warm and nervous smile. I think his current art must reflect his anxieties. He is into skulls. This seems really to be an effort to deal with his own mortality: one bigger piece is a long piece of pleated paper. As you walk towards it from one direction, you see Per. As you walk awayin the other direction, you see his skull.
The electricity did not go off. Martín, the opposite of Per returned, calm and smiling, and resumed the lesson.
There is an updated web page for La Ceiba Gráfica. Check it out here.