El Cid endures … powered by fifty years of flamenco


el cid Mikey WallyIt was heady, returning to Los Angeles after two weeks out of town, to drive directly from LAX and drop down — and I mean literally drop down a double staircase into a ravine off Sunset Boulevard and land at El Cid, the venerable Spanish-themed restaurant and live music venue, located in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake Sunset Junction.

Over the past weekend, a two-day Flamenco Festival took place at the historic restaurant which has presented flamenco to Los Angeles audiences since 1963.

Upon our arrival the party was in full swing on El Cid’s the charming outdoor patio. There we chugged sangria and scarfed Andalusian paella which had been prepared outdoors, in a humongous skillet; the chicken-seafood-rice combo got doled out in nice portions for ten dollars a plate.

el-cid-bar-0To watch the excellent performance, we repaired to the cave-like theater-restaurant for masterful sessions of firey flamenco dance backed by the half-howling, gut-wrenching singing and guitar playing that makes you either want to kill yourself or, at the least, cool down.

Not a problem. You’ll never go thirsty at El Cid; there’s a bar everywhere you turn.

A hugely community oriented affair, the Flamenco Festival.comprised two days of flamenco activities, guitar and dance master classes,flamenco arm and hand movement class, art displays, and three full flamenco-themed performances each day.cihtli

Yaelisa of Caminos Flamencos, Fanny Ara, Timo Nuñez, Mizuho Sato, Antonio Triana, Jason McGuire, Adam Del Monte, Ethan Margolis, Gabriel Osuna, José Cortes, Antonio de Jerez, Briseyda Zarate, Cihtli Ocampo, Sir Sultry Quintet, all joined in the program.

We enjoyed a nice conversation wth Ms. Ocampo, a beautiful native San Diegan who has an extremely diverse dance background, and who has lived in Spain and New York but is now back on the West Coast and enflaming the flamenco revival here..

The nicely organized festival was staged by flamenco entrepreneurs arte y pureza, headed up by Ethan Margoles. The group offers a nice calendar of classes as well.

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