Quick Items of Note: Gernika film, Red Bay, Iparralde, Be Basque Talent Network

gernikaA film about the bombing of Gernika, appropriately entitled Gernika, is currently being shot in Bilbao. As opposed to other films about the Spanish Civil War, this one focuses entirely on the city of Gernika and that fateful day in April.

red-bay4_3324859bLikely you’ve heard about the Basque presence on the eastern Canadian coast. Red Bay is the heart of that historical activity. Red Bay is both a Canadian National Historic Site as well as a World Heritage Site, as designated by UNESCO due to the various archeological finds related to the Basque whaling operations in that area that have been discovered since the 1970s.

07FRENCHBASQUEJP3-articleLargeI’m admittedly biased in my “coverage” of the Basque Country, tending to focus on hegoalde where my dad and my mom’s grandparents are from. Of all of the time I’ve spent in the Basque Country, the vast majority of it has been in hegoalde. I’ve spent, at most, maybe 3 or so days in iparralde, most notably a couple of nights in Baiona with my wife a number of years ago. That said, the French side has much charm of its own and is certainly not to be forgotten. This article from the New York Times reminds us of that.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 9.21.45 PMI’m not quite sure what Be Basque Talent Network is exactly. It seems to be a LinkedIn for people with a connection to the Basque Country or any interest in Basque. The reason to join it is, as stated on the website: To be part of the largest network of top professionals from over 75 countries around the world who are or wish to be linked to the Basque Country, regardless of origin. If you are a professional wishing to have stronger ties to the Basque Country, this might be useful.



Basque Soccer Friendly Rescheduled

basque-soccer-friendly2-2So, Athletic Bilbao did not win the Copa del Rey, Barcelona did. That means that Bilbao has to play a qualifying match for the Europe League championships on July 30th and cannot make the original July 29th date (in my last post, I got the date wrong — thanks to Teresa Franzoia for pointing that out) for the Basque Soccer Friendly against Tijuana. The good news: they are still coming, just a little earlier, now on July 18. You can still get tickets at the same places. The bad news: I can’t go now. And I know you are all disappointed. But, hopefully this is a huge success and maybe there will be other matches like this in the future. Can’t have too much of a good thing, can you?

Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean by William A. Douglass

BEPO Cover MapBetter2.inddWilliam A. Douglass, one-time Coordinator of what is now the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno and prolific author on Basque history, is out with a new book on the Basque explorers who navigated the Pacific Ocean, from Elkano (the Basque sailor who took over Magellan’s expedition when Magellan was killed in the Philippines) to later explorers.  Basque Explorers in the Pacific Ocean recounts the stories of these Basques and their role in Spanish and ultimately European activities in the Pacific. From the website:

The Pacific Ocean was for several centuries, from the discovery of the Strait of Magellan in 1520 until Cook’s voyages in the 1700s, considered to be the “Spanish Lake.” However, Spain was never a monolithic entity and this book then considers “Spanish” exploration in the Pacific from the perspective of the Basques, who have an important maritime tradition and were key figures in Pacific exploration. From Juan Sebastián Elkano’s taking over command of the Victoria after Ferdinand Magellan’s death and completing the first circumnavigation of the planet to Andrés de Urdaneta’s discovery of the north Pacific route from the Philippines to modern-day Acapulco, Mexico, Basque mariners and ships were pivotal in European incursion into this vast area. 

Basque Soccer Friendly Store Opening

basque-soccer-friendly2-2While the ultimate fate of the Basque Soccer Friendly, to be held on July 30 in Boise, rests on the performance of Athletic Bilbao this weekend against Barcelona, one thing that is not in doubt is that you’ll still be able to get your Basque Soccer Friendly gear! A retail space is opening up on 8th Street in Boise. In addition to being a place where you can get your team gear, it is a place for volunteers to meet and for people interested in the match to gather. It is open Wednesday-Sunday each week. Check it out!

Online Basque Art and Gifts

Here are a couple of links to online Basque artists, both of which specialize in traditional art. If you are looking for something special for that old friend you’re going to see at Jaialdi, these might be the places to start.

peine-del-vientoIrrintzi specializes in wood, clay and steel, with items that highlight the Guggenheim Museum and the Basque history of boating. They also have some panoramic photos of various scenic views from the Basque Country, including in Bilbao and Donostia, where they also have stores for those that prefer a more tactile experience.

argizaiolaIxiart has even more traditional items, such as the wound candles (Argizaiola) that are common especially in Gipuzkoa and are used especially on All Saints Day. They also carry some interesting novelty items, such as stylized wood carvings of scenes from Picasso’s Guernica and a series of wooden spoons.


Basque themed bottle opener

130729_3436BottleOpener130803_3480BottleOpenerI’d thought I’d posted this one a while back, but apparently not.

When I was a student at the University of Idaho, one of the guys in the same dorm as me found this bottle opener on the street somewhere. This was after I’d spent a year living in Donostia and my Basque fanaticism was no secret. So, he gave it to me.

It’s a pretty hefty bottle opener, with the ikurrina on one side and a representation of the Basque coat-of-arms on the other, with each panel of the coat of arms surrounding the tree of Gernika, all set over the word “Euskalerria.” There are seven panels, as you can see in the photo, which is interesting design as, while there are sort of seven panels on the normal coat of arms, two of them combine to form one. (Nafarroa and Behenafarroa share one, the chains, so that there are really only six different coat-of-arms for the seven provinces.) From what I can tell, the seven panels on the bottle opener belong to (clockwise from the first): Nafarroa/Behenafarroa, Gipuzkoa, Bizkaia, Araba, Lapurdi (the 5th and 6th panels), and Zuberoa. The ikurrina on the other side is a bit worn. In particular, the white has chipped away, though the red and green are still very much intact.

Has anyone seen a bottle opener like this before? I’m very curious as to where it came from/who made it and what else might have also been made by the same designer/company.

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