Last week I kicked off a special weekly section on the blog, a new look at this city that I've called home for six years. In The Faces of Culture, I will be interviewing the key cultural players in San Sebastián. In 2016, San Sebastián is one of Europe’s Capitals of Culture. And once a week you will hear from a different figure who figures into the music, art, food, sports, and language that make San Sebastián THE BEST PLACE EVER.
Presenting this week:
Mitxel Ezquiaga is a prominent local journalist and television personality in San Sebastián. After studying at the UPV, he moved on to work at the Diario Vasco, making it all the way up to Editor in Chief. Now he spends most of his time writing, and has published several books, from the Teoría Incompleta de Donostia, 101 Vascos y Medio, and Museo Chillida Leku. His show, Keridos Monstruos, airs every TUESDAY night on Teledonosti and perfectly captures the ‘donostiarra’ spirit.
*Current gig: Journalist, specializing in culture and food in the Diario Vasco, and presenter of Keridos Monstruos on Teledonosti.
*I’m reading: I change books each week for work, but Los Diarios de Iñaki Uriarte is always in the bedside table.
*I’m listening to: Thanks to my daughter, Xoel López and Tulsa are stuck in my head. Thanks to my son, always Springsteen. For sadder reasons, I’m going back through Bowie.
Where are you from?
I’m from San Sebastián, but since they accuse me of being ñoñostiarra sometimes I say I’m from Tolosa, my father’s village, to even things out.
How long have you lived in San Sebastián?
San Sebastián in one word: An older woman with a playful spirit. Moderately sexy.
What is your favorite way to experience the culture of San Sebastián?
My work obligates me to live culture deeply. I enjoy it through the art exhibits and concerts, but my favorite thing to do is go to Trueba movie theater on a weeknight..
What is the café/bar/restaurant you find yourself in most often?
Rekondo is my paradise. The warehouse of Bar xxx (CENSORED BY ME BECAUSE THIS PLACE IS TOO GOOD TO MENTION HERE) is the place they take me to conspire. San Telmo is where I go for a snack with my family. And El Frontón de Tolosa is my second home.
What’s your perfect Saturday plan in San Sebastián?
A good morning walk on Igeldo, bookstores in the afternoon and some pintxos in the evening. If the opportunity arises, a Dry Martini in the Maria Cristina.
What is your favorite pintxo?
In my memory, forever, the fish pudding in the old Astelena, later Hika Mika.
The best spot for a selfie in San Sebastián?
The shoreline of the Zurriola, at night, with the Kursaal illuminated in the background. (What the humble Mitxel doesn’t mention here is he has 365 days of selfies behind him).
What changes do you see happening here in the next 10 years?
The city has been opened. There is already a broad base of cultural activity that isn’t always valued. And there is a tourist invasion, most noticeably the French tourists with their go-to-Zara-and-have-a-pintxo plan.
What is the thing you hope never changes?
Her human side. We have things from a big city (the festivals, for example) but a medium size. To get from your house to Woody Allen’s clarinetis only 20 minutes walking.
It’s January 20th, the day of San Sebastián. What are you doing?
For many years, I was working in Teledonosti. This time, I’ll be playing the drum in the Union Artesana and watching tamborradas on the street.
In your opinion, what makes San Sebastián stand out, what makes it different?
It unites the advantages of a small city and, sometimes, the positive aspects of a big city.
What is the moment you have felt most proud to be donostiarra?
Any summer sunset—when the sun hides behind Igeldo, it makes you want to applaud, as if it were the finale of an opera.
If San Sebastián were your best friend, what advice would you give her?
Preserve your mature beauty…don’t even think about plastic surgery! But wear a mini-skirt more often.
If you were a foreigner, what would the ‘insider’ tip that you would like to know about San Sebastián?
Knowing at what times there are less people in different places.
The most overrated thing about San Sebastián:
We know that cuisine is our great trump card in the world, but we’re not only pintxos...
A typical day for you:
A morning walk along the bay, heading to work at the newspaper. A light, work-related lunch and more work at the newspaper. A relaxed dinner.
Come back every Friday for a new Face of Culture from San Sebastián. If you missed last week's, with Fernando Álvarez of DSS2016, click here.