Category Archives: Typical Chilean Characters * Personajes Típicos

Street performers

Language Play & Politics a la Chilensis: The Answers

Yesterday’s post featured the October 14, 2010 cover of Chile irreverent weekly news The Clinic,  which appeared shortly after the successful rescue of “Los 33,” the miners trapped in the San José Mine. There were 10 faces on that cover, and I left you with a challenge–a test of your knowledge of Chile’s current events. How many of those people could you identify?
If you haven’t read the original piece yet, go take a look now: Language Play & Politics a la Chilensis.

The Clinic, mina, language, politicians, journlists, TV personalities

And now, as promised, here are the answers: Continue reading

Postcards from Chile: Peanut Vendor (Manicero)

Vendedor de Mani--Peanut Vender

El "Manicero." Old-time peanut vendor.

Continue reading

Elvis Junior, alegrando mi día

No hay nada como un poco de Elvis -es decir, el mismísimo Elvis Junior chileno- para alegrar una tarde santiaguina.   Click here for English

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Santiago tiene su cuota de personajes, esas personas de la calle que todo el mundo reconoce, aquellos que son parte esencial del paisaje urbano y que aportan una dimensión humana que hace de esta ciudad un Santiago inequívocamente santiaguino. Continue reading

Elvis Junior, Brighten Up My Day

There’s nothing like a bit of Elvis—Chile’s own Elvis Junior, that isto brighten up a Santiago afternoon. Para español, hacer click aquí

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Elvis Junior and his amazing homemade 1-man band

Santiago has its share of characters… those folks on the street that everyone recognizes, people who are an essential part of the cityscape and who add to the human side of making this city unequivocally Santiago. Continue reading

Coré, Coke, Lukas & Pepo: “I demand and explanation!”

Condorito by Pepo

Condorito by Pepo

Pepo’s Condorito, Core’s El Peneca, Lukas’ Bestiario, Coke’s Topaze magazine, and more.
Plop!
Exijo una Explicación: 200 Years of Graphic Narration in Chile” at Santiago’s Bellas Artes Museum leads Chileans down an illustrated memory lane…

 Usa la herramienta de traducción para leerlo en Español… 

 Expressions such as ¡Plop! and ¡Exijo una explicación! (I demand an explanation!) became part of everyday speech in Chile through the pages of the Condorito comic,
Verdejo, the well known "roto Chileno" character by Coke

Verdejo by "Coke"

the work of artist René Ríos Boettiger, better known as Pepo (1911-2000). Condorito first appeared in 1949 as a response to the 1942 Disney animation “Saludos Amigos” that Pepo felt unfairly represented Chile. The anthropomorphized and very Chilean little condor is still a beloved figure today, and current editions of the comic are available at any newspaper stand.
 
The Bellas Artes Museum is currently running a large exhibition of the country’s most popular comics that provides an interesting review of two centuries of Chilean politics and  social  commentary. Chileans will enjoy revisiting old memories, and foreigners will appreciate the pointed view of Chile by Chileans themselves.
Topaze magazine featured political satire by illustrator Coke
Political satire by “Coke”
 Jorge Délano, better known as Coke (pronounced “CO-kay”), is remembered for his “Verdejo” (vair-DAY-ho) character that represents the “roto chileno” figure in Chilean literature and culture, as well as for the political satire that he incorporated into the pages of Topaze magazine (pronounced “to- PAH-say”), which began in 1931 and ran through 1970 and later reappeared as a supplement of the La Tercera newspaper from 1989 to 1996. It was known (and loved or hated) for its sharp political satire and came to be known as a “barometer of Chilean politics.” 

The exhibit includes an ample selection of illustrations by 56 artists, including the well known Lustig (Pedro Subercaseaux), author of the Federic Von Pilsener character; Coré (Mario Silva Ossa), who illustrated the El Peneca magazine and the cover of the country’s most popular reader, the Silabario Hispano Americano), Lukas (Renzo Pecchenino), whose many works include his Bestiario and a lifetime of illustrations of Valparaíso, Jimmy Scott (Santiago Scott Reyes), whose has regularly poked jabs at Chilean culture and politics for decades), and many more.

The exhibit will run through January 11, 2009.

Museo Bellas Artes
Parque Forestal s/n, Santiago de Chile
Phone: (56-2) 633-472
Web: http://www.mnba.cl

 

Farkas mania

Farkas presidential candidate

Farkas presidential candidate

Never heard of “Leonardo Farkas”? Then you certainly haven’t been in Chile over the past few months. Rarely a day goes by that he doesn’t make the news. Go ahead, google him; you’ll find 242,000 entries on Farkas for President; Saint Farkas; Farkas the savior of the Teleton, Farkas, man of the people… and most of all, what you’ll find is Chile’s latest personality of the moment.

Para español, usa la herramienta de traducción o lee el resumen de abajo…

Chile seems to go through major personality obsessions about once a year or so. Some are harmless enough, such as Bombalet, the flamboyant sportscaster, or Gonzalo Cáceres, the rather gender-ambiguous showbiz “opinologist.” Others are criminals, such as the aged German cult leader Paul Schaeffer who managed to avoid authorities for years after being accused of sexually abusing children, or pedophile businessman Claudio Spiniak, whose arrest and trial occupied headlines for months. Others are just plain silly, such as the mysteriously elusive “Chupacabra” that had rural folks scratching their heads over animal massacres a few years back.

Farkas Party MST2008

Farkas Party MST2008

Today, the King of the Headlines is Leonardo Farkas, the golden-tressed Chilean who made a name for himself in the Vegas music scene and then came back to take over the family’s mining interests. What’s the big deal? In a country where those who truly have money tend to be reserved about displays of wealth, the man is ostentation personified. He rides around town in a new Rolls Royce. Where others leave a $1 tip, he leaves $100. He offered a poll worker his diamond-studded gold watch when he went to vote. He’s in line to be Chile’s first space tourist. He has (very publicly) donated millions to charity (most recently to the Teleton, Chile’s version of the Jerry Lewis Telethon), and now he apparently has 150,000 people signing a petition asking him to run for president!

Of course his curly golden locks make him very prone to caricature, and his rising popularity among the masses calling for his presidency can make one wonder if democracy is really such a good idea… But the flip side is that all of his very public spending has shamed some of the more traditional pocketbooks into opening more widely, and a more just redistribution of wealth in a country with a pronounced difference between the very wealthy and the very poor is ample can’t be such a bad thing… can it?

What do YOU think?

  • EN ESPAÑOL

Si no han oído hablar nunca de Leonardo Farkas, significa que no han estado en Chile en los últimos meses. Se trata de un personaje muy particular que en estos momentos se está convirtiendo en unas de las personalidades más populares del país. Tras mucho tiempo haciendo un trabajo de posicionamiento de su imagen en los medios (con sus peculiares rizos dorados, que lo hacen muy caricaturesco), ahora está consiguiendo 150.000 firmas para presentarse como candidato a la Presidencia de la República. Tiene muchos fans que se lo piden en la calle, que lo consideran como el ídolo salvador de la triste realidad política chilena. Yél no es un político, es un empresario enigmático que se pasea con su Rolls Royce por las calles de Santiago, regalando plata a la gente, ganándose la popularidad en base a sus actos de solidaridad (donó recientemente mil millones de pesos a la Teletón, la versión chilena de Jerry Lewis Telethon: http://www.mda.org/telethon/history.html). En las elecciones municipales pasadas le ofreció a uno de los vocales de mesa cambiarle el reloj por el suyo, de oro y diamantes. El caballero vocal de mesa no llevaba reloj. Pero estas anécdotas las hace siempre frente a las cámaras y sabe manejar bien su presencia en los medios.

¿Qué les parece el personaje?

farkas-pinera-clinic-200w farkas-farkazo-insulza-clinic-200w

Los cantantes chilenos de la micro

Aunque el progreso y el ya famoso Trans Santiago se ha arrasado con una amplia cultura comercial arriba los buses urbanos, los cantantes de “la micro” siguen entreteniendo a los pasajeros.

For English use the translator tool or see the summary below.

En Santiago hubo una modernización del transporte urbano que arrasó con muchas costumbres capitalinas relacionadas con la venta y comercialización de productos “arriba de la micro”, en el autobús. Se vendían desde diarios a herramientas de jardinería, borradores mágicos de tinta, calculadoras, bebidas y helados en verano, chocolates y dulces en invierno, parche-curitas (bandas adhesivas con esponjita para proteger las heridas), calcetines, llaveros, linternas, paraguas, quitasoles, pilas, relojes, sombreros plegables, chalas… Todo se acabó. Prohibido. Pero pese a ese cambio en el transporte urbano hay un gremio que era tan típico y autóctono que permaneció: los cantantes de micro. Esos maravillosos “cantores”, que le diría un amigo argentino, que piden permiso al chofer para subirse al bus y entonar una canción (guitarras, charangos, tambores, panderetas en unos casos y en otros, los raperos, generando los sonidos con la boca, por parejas o tríos).

Si ves subirse a uno, préstale atención, seguro tiene mucho que decir, son gente de oficio, son cantores de micro, no son cantores de escenario o de plaza o de fiesta, son otro tipo de cantores, tienen su particular público que se sube y se baja y te golpea para pasar, tienen otras habilidades. Y casi todos son muy buenos.

¿Te has topado con algún cantor de micro en Santiago? ¿Qué música cantaba? ¡Cuéntanos!

A continuación puedes ver el video de un cantor ciego en una micro por Av. Vespucio, de noche:

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  • ENGLISH SUMMARY:

The recent modernization of Santiago’s public transportation system did away with an entire way of doing business on the bus. Vendors would board the bus to sell everything from gardening tools, magic marker erasers, calculators, cold drinks and ice cream in the summer, chocolate and other candy in the winter, bandaids, socks, key chains, flashlights, umbrellas, batteries, watches, fold up hats, sandals… you name it, but that’s all gone now. Kaput. It’s a shame, but the one hold-over from the old homegrown transportation system are the wonderful busline singers. They ask the driver for permission, and then start to sing and play their guitars, charangos, drums, and/or tamborines in some cases, and in others, perform their raps in pairs or trios using the human voice to provide rhythm and backbeat. It’s quite an experience–and most are quite good! Watch the video above for an example.

Do you have a story about singers on the buses? Let us know!