Rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Sardinia Journal I: Alghero
Torre Dello Sperone (photograph by Hallie Cohen)
If you want to see a carousel that’s propelled by a
bicyclist who high fives screaming children as he pedals then visit
Alghero one of the two main cities of the Island of Sardinia. On the same main
square, Piazza Sulis, you can also watch a puppeteer who delights onlookers with the delicately exquisite movements of her marionette
and this right under one of the ancient stone towers (the Torre Dello Sperone)
that populate the town and that at one point provided defenses against invading
armies. There are streets named after the famed romantic poet Giacomo Leopardi
and the Marxist Antonio Gramsci about whom the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote a poem, “Gramsci’s
Ashes.” When you arrive at the airport there's a colorful mural of the city illustrating its battlements and a poster advertising, "endless island," which is, when you think of it, an oxymoron. During the summer Alghero is teaming with tourists who gravitate
towards the art nouveau newpaper kiosk with its L’Unione Sarda” on top. Oh yes
and if you’re in doubt, sardines are definitely a Sardinian speciality. There's something garish about Alghero with its late night bazaar, which sells all
the cheap memorabilia you will never need and street musicians wailing forth in
a folk rock style derivative of American pop stars of the 70’s and 80’s. But Alghero is a place where memories are made andwhere many of the supernumeraries who populated Fellini
classics like 8 ½ probably learned their tricks.
Francis Levy's debut novel, Erotomania: A Romance, was released in August 2008 by Two Dollar Radio.
His short stories, criticism, humor, and poetry have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Village Voice, The East Hampton Star, The Quarterly, Penthouse, Architectural Digest, TV Guide, The Journal of Irreproducible Results, and other publications. One of his Voice humor pieces was anthologized in The Big Book of New American Humor (HarperCollins). He is presently the Co-Director of The Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Imagination (philoctetes.org), where he supervises roundtable discussions on topics as varied as “The Psychology of the Modern Nation State” and “Modern Traffic Theory, Behavior, and Imagination”.