Fallas 2015 is over. And the monuments which, for a few brief days, graced the streets of Valencia have been reduced to ash and smoke. But we’ll always have the pictures! Here are the monuments which made up the bottom half of this year’s sección especial, as voted on by the judges. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t great — some of these were among our favorites.
Definitely one of the more clever monuments this year was Sueca-Literato Azorín’s take on the Spanish relationship with Britain. From the days of Henry VIII to the Rock of Gibraltar, this falla didn’t miss a single chance for humor. We loved the spot-on comparison between tourists from the two countries (Spaniards: black-clad and somber; Brits: drunken and sun burnt), as well as the jibe about the Spanish propensity to always be late, in the face of British punctuality. [More Pics]
An homage to Hollywood, Cuba-Literato Azorín’s monument reproduced famous movie scenes, occasionally substituting a politician for an actor. It was fun to spot all the different references, which included Spider-Man, Indiana Jones, Harold Lloyd, Groucho Marx. And we loved the scene which re-imagined King Kong climbing Valencia’s Micalet — defended, of course, by a giant Rita Barberá. [More Pics]
Las Vegas came to Valencia at Duque de Calabria’s tribute to Sin City. With magicians, neon lights, and big, buxom showgirls, there was a lot to take in at this monument. This was one of the few which allowed visitors to walk underneath the main figures, and looked spectacular at night, just like Vegas itself. [More Pics]
Na Jordana prides themselves on being Valencia’s most inclusive casal grande, and they certainly made a bold claim to that title this year. Every flavor of sexual identity was recognized and honored in their space-themed monument, from straight to transgender, and the message is that we’re all family. It was perhaps too progressive for the jury, but Jürgen and I loved this Falla. Na Jordana’s ninots were hilarious and provocative, without any of the easy homophobic jabs you see often throughout Fallas. And the central figure, of an old man opening his chest to reveal a futuristic city, was beautiful. 10th place?! Unbelievable. [More Pics]
Compared to the rest of the monuments, which are more or less in the city center, relatively few people went to see Malvarrosa’s construction, especially after learning that it had finished so poorly in the judging. But we visited, and felt that Malvarrosa deserved better than 11th. Their highly-stylized and colorful rendition of Atlantis might not have been to the panel’s liking, but we thought it was well-done. [More Pics]
Nou Campanar is traditionally a Fallas powerhouse, but this year they had a rough time of it. Ekklesía was the festival’s most bizarre monument: a complicated structure of interlocking pipes, set above a floor of traditional Valencian tiles. It was supposed to act as a temporary community center, with events and concerts during Fallas. Cool in its own way, but the concept was hard to grasp, and we heard a lot of grumbling from the people visiting it. The monument wasn’t completed on time, and was eliminated from the competition (though it never would have won, anyway). Most sadly, Ekklesía didn’t even last all the way through Fallas; on the day of the Cremà, strong winds brought it tumbling down like a house of cards. [More Pics]