Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Feliz Navidad

Christmas greetings to all my readers.

The Fury Of Padilla

A patch covers the eye he lost sight in due to a goring and his face has been converted into a permenant snarl due to the nerve damage caused by the same injury. What should have been a career-ending injury has spelled rebirth and phenomenal success for Juan Jose Padilla.

Recently, Padilla came to Mexico and in Mexico City realized yet another maximum triumph.

He came. He saw out of his one good eye. He conquered.

He left in triumph on the shoudlers of the crowd.

The fury of Padilla. The force. The ferocious determiantion to acheive against the odds. Once more, Padilla has accomplished.

Padilla, si!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Padilla! Torerazo!

Monday, December 10, 2012

El Chino Book Review

El Chino is a kid's book, but nonetheless worth a look by any aficionado.

This short and heavily illustrated (drawings) book tells the story of novillero Bill Wong, who was born in China, grew up on the Arizona/Mexico border and caught the bull fever in Spain.

Wong, however, died in  a car crash before seeing  his full potential.

The book is a fitting tribute.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Death Of Curro Ortega

Retired matador de toros Curro Riviera died in October after a  lengthy illness. He was in his 80s.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Ortega was a brave and promising torero. He was especially liked on the border in plazas such as Juarez, Nogales and Tijuana.

A major leg goring in Tijuana ended his career in the early 1960s. Though for a time, it was feared he would  lose his life and later his limb, he survived, but was no longer able to fight the bulls.

The Death Of Armando Montes

It is saddening to report the death of Mexican matador Armando Montes, not from the horns of a bull, but via an uncanny accident in his Zacatecas home, where he was electrocuted while trying to fix a microwave oven.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Death Of Antonio Cavazos

Longtime aficionado and member of the Barrera Taurina bullfight club of El Paso, Texas, Antonio Cavazos, passed away recently.

No other details are available at the moment.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


Bullfighting bars have been around in Madrid forever. Some have lasted for decades. Others have closed down. The Criollo and Callejon, for example, have disappeared, but others have come up to replace them.

The Malacatin on Calle Ruda 5 in the heart of Madrid has been around for years. 

They offer not only food and especially an outstanding wine list, but have murals on the  walls with bulflighting themes and other materials on display related to the corrida.

They are truly worth a visit

Information at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Farewell To Fundi

No, he has not died.

He is, however, retiring.

After a long career, El Fundi made his farewell appearances throughout Spain this season, to the sadness of many who have followed him over the years.

Fundi gained a reputation for facing animals many figuras avoided, such as the Victorinos and Miuras, not only caping them, but triumphing with them.

In the past few years, however, he found himself in increased trouble as age snuck up on him, including one major goring and an instance where he was tossed, landing on his head and neck.

Fundi was capable in all phases of the corrida, but especially known for his skill with the banderillas.

Aside from being a consistent favorite in Spain, Fundi had great cartel in France, especially Nimes.

The aficioandos bid a fond farewell to Fundi.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Farewell, Mariano

Mariano Ramos, Mexico's beloved retired matador, died yesterday from natural causes in Mexico,.

Always a top draw in his native land, Ramos also made it to Spain in the 1970s. During his presentation in Madrid he cut no ears, but took a vuelta which considering this crowd is reported to be the toughest in the world, would be an astounding success.

Ramos registered many triumphs in the border plazas of Juarez, Tijuana, Mexicali and Nuevo Laredo. Ge was also a regular in Plaza Mexico and Guadalajara as well as other important plazas..

Farewell, Mariano.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Forcado The DVD & 2013 Release

After lengthy delays it seems Blue Kat Boneyard Productions out of Ohio will be releasing the DVD  Forcado, sometime in early 2013.

An uncanny horror story with a bullfighting theme, Forcado deals with a devil-worshipping forcado by the name of Vitor Dos Santos and a pact with Satan to be brought back to life through a series of ritual sacrifices.

While awaiting the film, the actual horror story may be found within the book, From A Dark & Murky Place at

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Remembering Paquirri

September 26th marked the 28th anniversary of the passing of Paquirri following one of the most controversial deaths in modern bullfighting.

On September 26, 1984, Paquirri appeared in Pozoblanco, Spain alongside Soro and Yiyo, in what was turning out o be a triumphant corrida for everyone.

Paquirri's second bull of the day hooked into him during opening moments with the capote and for what seemed an eternity he dangled on the horn. Finally thrown free, he made a weak attempt to rise form the sand and fell backward as the ring workers rushed to carry him out.

Incredibly, a cameraman was allowed to follow him to the infirmary and record the panic as doctors inspected the massive leg wound.

In what ended up a controversial, in fact fatal decision, the medics determined the infirmary was too  poorly equipped  to handle such a goring and Paquirri should be transferred to Cordoba for better care.

He died in the ambulance.

Paquirri  rests within the San  Fernando Cemetery in Sevilla. Long gone, but always remembered.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fernando Cruz Is Recovering

Fernando Cruz is recovering from perhaps one of the worst nonfatal gorings in history. Some weeks ago while working with the muleta , he was gored twice. One wound was of serious consequence in the leg, but the other was of major concern in the stomach.

Incredibly, the torero is already speaking of a comeback, though for a time he was at the door of death.

Luck to Fernando Cruz and may he be back in the ring soon.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Juarez Bullring Book

Matadores Latinos, out a few years back, is still available via and orderable in most big book stores. While the title is in Spanish, the book is in English and covers the history of the Plaza De Toros Monumental in Juarez, long since torn down.

The book offers brief profiles of many toreros who appeared in the Monumntal, though not all. Some have passed, such as Manuel Capetillo, Felix Briones, Bernardo Valencia and Pepe Luis Hurtado, since the book was released and are thus dealt with as still alive at the time of publication.

There are several fine photos, including several published no place else before. Queretano, Jesus Solorozano, Fernando Dos Santos, Cavazos, Silverio  and Gaston Santos are some of them.

Bios include Manolo Dos Santos, Paco Camino, Cordobes, the Capetillos, the Silevtis, the Arruzas, Marcos Ortega, the Armillitas, Rafael Rodriguez, Calesero, Luis Procuna, Jaime Bravo, John Fulton, Guillermo Montes Sortibran, Guillermo Carvajal, Felix Briones,  Mauro Liceaga, Manolo Martinez, Eloy Cavazos, Mariano Ramos, John Fulton, Sidney Franklin, Francisco Ruiz Miguel, Miguel Villanueva, Mario Sevilla,  Raul Ponce De Leon, Rafaelillo, Antonio Del Olivar, Antonio Urrutia, David Renk, El Charro, Alfredo Leal, Jose Antonio Gaona, Rogelio Leduc, Cesar Giron and more.

Colmenar Viejo

The end of August brings the annual fair in Colmenar Viejo near Madrid, with a week of bullfighting and other festivities.

The traditional feria has not been without disaster.

In 1985, the rising matador de toros Jose Cubero "El Yiyo" came to Colmenar as a last mintue substitute for Curro Romero. From the final bull of this particualr corrida he gave a glorious faena and delivered a devastating sword thrust,  but was tossed and while on the ground, gored from the back/side into the heart. He was posthumosuly granted two ears.

Decades before, another incident happened that has been all but forgotten by history. The 21 year old brother of Paco Peribanez, Tomas Peribanez, was gored while testing a bull for his brother with the capote. He took a massive wound in the groin that extended into his intestines and caused his death a short time later.

Still, many top names in the apst were regualrs at this festival, including the beloved Antonete, who ahd great cartel in this plaza.

Once again, this year's festival starst the last week in August.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bloody Pamplona

There have been an abnormal number of gorings already in this year's San Fermin bull runs. By my count we are up to 7 already and there is a long way to go..

It is going to be a bloody summer.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Florentino Ballesteros

Florentino Ballesteros was born in Zaragoza, Spain  in 1893. At a young  age he started to do well with calves and graduated to the rank of novillero, where he really caught on. Such was partly due to a rivalry with oen Jaime Balelsteros "Herrerin" who was also from Zaragoza and shared the same last name thought they were no relation.

For a time, the rivalry between the two new toreros was the  talk of Spain and they appeared numerous times together,  but any anticipation of  extended glory died along with Herrerin, when he was killed by a bull that gored him in the chest.

Ballesteros carried on without his frequent alternate on the carteles and lived long enough o take the alternativa in 1916 at the hands of Joselito.

The 1916 season saw him with a deluge of contracts both as a novillero and a matador de toros, but his season ended unexpectedly with a major goring in Motol.

He was not completely recovered when 1917 rolled around and it showed. Still he strove onward until a big Madrid corrida. There he met his end.

While working with the capote, a veronica was poorly-timed and the bull slammed into him, lifting him high off his feet with a horn in the lung.

He died a short time afterward.

The remains of the unfortunate new matador were taken to his native Zaragoza for burial. Both he and his formal rival, Herrerin, sharing gravestones with busts bearing their likenesses, very near each other.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Madrid Page

My bullfight columns will start appearing in English in which is a page designed to promote tourism in Madrid.

Look for more here soon

Viva Madrid! Viva Las Ventas!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Freddy Villafuerte

Freddy Vilalfuerte was born in Peru in 1963 and has become an institution within that country as a torero and an empresario.

In the early 1980s he ventured to Spain as a novillero and caused a reasonable sensation within many of the rings where he appeared. This would lead to many contracts in years to come in both the pueblos and major plazas.

With the Spanish triumphs on record, he returned to his native Peru, fought more, then took the alternativa in Lima at the hands of Galan and Nino De la Capea. Though he performed brilliantly with the muleta, misses with the sword lost the ears.

Continued trips to Spain, this time as a matador de toros, saw him well-received as well. He liekwise built cartel throughout Latin America, though his stronghold was and always will be considered his native Peru.

In his many years as a matador, he would make continual appearances in Lima.

Though Roca Rey may be considered the top torero at the moment in peru, Villafuerte has traditionally been accepted  as an endearing and long -lasting figura.

Away from the bulls, he enjoys traveling with his family, as well as fonton and soccer.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Dale'sTales-Expanded Version

I have done an expanded version of my Dale's Tales book, designed mainly to sell at lectures I do on varied topics, which may be ordered on Lulu at now

The book consists of a number of blog-like chapters on a variety of things ranging from bullfights to making garlic bread.

There is an offbeat number of topics to be found,. The Erie Railroad in Akron, Fallon's   amusement park, wrestlign at the Pheonix Madison Square Garden, high school memories, adventures with a number of stupid people I have encountered over the years, movie commentaries and more. I added several new segments recently which make the book longer and more interesting it so I hope.

Bullfighting material abounds. There is a story on a near miss I had at a capea, a lengthy profile on the Silveti family, accounts of how my books came to be, a lament on the downfall of the Plaza Monumental in Juarez and more. The death of the legendary Pepete, the San Fernando Cemetery, the bullfighting museum in Madrid, a look at the corrida in South America, the comic torero Tin Tin, the life of Dominguin and more are included.

There is also a piece on the making of Museo Taurino from my short story in Bullring to a low budget, in fact no budget dvd.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Damaso Gonzalez

Times have changed for Damaso Gonzalez now is retired and has a grandson fighting the bulls, but throughout the 1970s and 1980s, this  sad-eyed torero with his slender facial features, slicked down hair and characteristic nose, graced countless carteles with his image, while his name was prominently featured in an effort to draw in a large nob of fans who followed his every move.

Though as artistic as they could come when he wanted to be, he was also known for his special adornos, dropping to his knees before the bull and staring at it face to muzzle. He was likewise acclaimed for his work with the capote and especially his quites as major palzas such as those in Sevilla, Madrid and Barcelona saw again and again.

Born In Carrassco, Spain in 1948, Gonzalez gained early acclaim as a novillero, with several triumphs in the smaller towns as well as interesting presentations in Madrid and Barcelona.

His actual alternativa at the hands of Miguelin and Paquirri in 1969 was a frightening experience in its own right, based on blood and passion,. Dressed in pink and silver, he looked impressive enough with the capote and had started well with yhe faena when he was suddenly tossed. Losing his temper, but not his nerve, Gonzalez returned to the offending bull and forced it through several passes before being tossed again,. Four times this happened, until he was finally gored.

Refusing to go to the infirmary, he delivered a fatal sword thrust and was thrown again as he did so, The bull fell dead, he was given an ear and was then assisted to the awaiting doctors.

By the time he confirmed his alternativa in Madrid,  in 1970,  he was much more refined. The ceremony was confirmed at the hands of El Viti, who was the triunfador of the day, though the newer matador likewise looked promising, Again, his work with the capote showed great skill..

He would continue to be a favorite in Las Ventas until his  final retirement,

Mundo De Los Toros, a weekly newspaper in the 1970s and 1980s, would continually praise Gonzalez and frequently feature him on the front page, Several books, including those by the Botan family, would also carry photos of him in action. In 1988, a commercial postcard depicting him in one of his familiar adornos, kneeling before the bull, became popular among the tourists visiting Spain.

Gonzalez, like many of his associates, would retire, only to come back to the sand a few years later on at least two occasions. Now, of course, he is out of the suit of lights for good, with a praiseworthy career behind him.Incredibly, he still does pick up the lure and appear in a charity festival while wearing the traje corto.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Alfonso Ramirez "Calesero" was the founder of a great dynasty of Mexican toreros, followed by his sons Alfonso "Claeserito", Curro "Calesero" and El Capitan.

On the same hand, the tradition continued with Alfonso "Calesa" from the bloodline of one of Calesero's daughters.

Calesa took the alternativa in San Luis Potosi in 1997 at the hands of Miguel "Armillita" and Manolo Mejia.

This was confirmed in Plaza Mexico in 2000.

On both afternoons, her showed the Calesero trademark for great work with the capote, which has always been a major thing for this band of toreros.

Monday, April 30, 2012


Federico Pizarro has been a mainstay in Mexican bullrings for many years now, rising from the ranks of a charismatic novillero to a full matador de toros. From his early showings in Plaza Mexico onward to some of the smallest of pueblos he has always maintained and endured. In bullrings large and small, he has made his name known.

Within the Mexican interior, Zacatecas, Jalpa, Orizaba, Torreon and Rio Grande  have been some of the settings for repeated triumphs,  while on the border, Tijuana and Juarez have been locations where he has offered some amazing faenas.

Though he has continually shown with the muleta, it is arguably with the capote that he is the strongest.

Pror to it being torn down, Pizarro was a familiar face at the Plaza Monumental in Juarez. He was seen regularly the last few seasons before the arena was demolished. One of his greatest showings there came in the summer of 2000 when he cut two ears.

 Pizarro was born in Mexico City in 1971 and first started gainign attention for himself as a major novillero in the early 1990s. He took the alternativa in Juriquilla in 1993 at the hands of Nino de la Capea and Jorge Gutiererz. The ritual was confirmed the following year in Plaza Mexico with Capea and Gutierrez again carrying out the ceremonies.

 Though he is not as active as he once was, he has put together quite a career for himself and one to be proud of.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Manolo Mejia

During the 1980s, Manolo Mejia became one of the foremost of Mexican toreros. Starting out as a child facing salves, he rose to stardom as a novillero paired alongside Valente Arellano and Ernesto Belmont. Together they formed quite a team, sharing the banderillas. giving motivated faenas and scoring numerous triumphs.

The three way competition ended shortly after Arellano took the alternativa, for in the summer of 1984, he was killed in a tragic motorcycle crash.

Both Belmont and Mejia went on to become matadores, taking their respective alternativas and continuing in the profession.

Mejia went further  than Belmont and endured much longer in the bullrings, where he is still active to this daym though not with the consistency of times passed. He made it to Spain and France as well, where was was continually impressive . He even faced the Miuras.

Tours of South America also proved profitable, including a successful tour of Peru. 

Tijuana has been a ring where Mejia has scored repeated triumphs, exciting the crowd with a combination of kneeling passes and cortos placements with the banderillas, along with some genuine artistic moments.

The Calafia bullring in Mexicali is another plaza where he has gained great cartel, again offering a variety in his work that thrills all the aficionados in one form or another.

The Plaza Monumental in Juarez was also a plaza where he registered many triumphs, prior to the ring being torn down some years back.  One of his best afternoons came in a corrida there many years ago alongside Rafaelillo and the late Pepe Luis Hurtado, where all three men cut awards and with three distinct styles, managed individual success beyond the hopes of any fans in the stands.

Yet Mejia has not been taken seriously just along the border, having been seen in virtually every major bullring in the Mexican interior and many minor plazas as well. He has been seen often in Plaza Mexico, where aiming other things, he took part in bestowing the title of matadora upon female bullfighter, Hilda Tenorio in a very important corrida.

Over the years, Mejia has alternated with all of the Mexican stars of his era,  including Manolo Arruza, Federico Pizarro, Alfredo Gutierrez, Jorge Gutierrez, Miguel ":Armillita:, Eloy Cavazos, Mariano Ramos, Fermin Spinola and more, bringing out the best in them as well as himself.  In many cases, he has outlasted his rivals.

Ole, Manolo, ole!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Guillermo Carvajal

A charismatic matador de toros who overcame a near-fatal bout with hepatitis, multiple gorings and many political enemies behind the scenes of the bullfighting world, Guillermo Carvajal came from Durango, Mexico to become a popular figure in the 1950s through the 1960s.

Carvajal was known for his skill with the capote and muleta, though his kills were inconsistent. He placed the banderillas on very rare afternoons , when the mood fit him.

Though never a true figura, Carvajal found success in both mexico and Spain. He received the alternativa in the old wodoen ring in Mexicali that was there before La Calafia and utlimately burned down. The ceremony took place in 1953 with Pepe Dominguin and Humberto Moro bestowing the honors.

The ritual was confirmed in Mexico City  at  the hands of Calesero.

The next season saw him tour Spain, confirming his alternativa in Madrid at the hands of Antonio Vazquez and Mario Carrion.

In 1961, Carvajal was prominently featured in  Ann Miller's difinitive bullfighting book at the time, Matadors Of Mexico. He was also noted in the works of Cossio.

During the 1960s, Carvajal slowed down considerably due to the gorings,   the deterioration of his health and a series of injuries to his hands which further hampered him with  the kill. He eventually retired from the ring, but lived long afterward and finally passed away in 1995.

During his long career, Carvajal offered many respectable showings when he returned to Plaza Mexico. He also had continual success in the Mexican border bullrings. Tijuana, Nogales and Juarez were three of the cities where he held great cartel.

Cristian Valencia

Cristian Valencia comes form a family of Venezuelan toreros and in his own right  made waves as a novillero. On the rise and gaining an international reputation for himself, he has proven to be complete in all phases of the bullfight.

Not only has Valencia found success in his native Venezuela, but has also triumphed in Ecuador. A trip to Spain also saw him gaining success with special note in regard to a triumphant novillada in Algeciras..

Valencia remains especially talented with the banderillas. he has gained such a reputation for placing the sticks that in rings where he chooses to leave the handling of the barbs to his banderilleros, protests grow until he is forced to take the sticks himself in his usual form.

He has developed a reputation for the el quiebro method of placing the sticks, where he allows the bull to come to him rather than running toward it and the placing of the cortos, breaking down the shafts to make the danger paramount.

Keep an eye on Cristian Valencia, as he is a rising star.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

La Esperanza

The Plaza De Toros La Esperanza in Chihuahua, Chihuahua Mexico saw inauguration in 1965 and has remained a hot spot for bullfighting in the nrothern part of Mexico for decades. Aside of corridas and novilladas, the bullring has held concerts, wrestling, boxing and other events.

Sadly, int he past two years or so, corridas have been few, but hopefully this will change and once again La Esperanza will see loads of action.

Over the years one of the all-time favorites in this ring was Raul Contreras "Finito" and this stood to reason as Chihuahua was his home town. A valiente known for more nerve than grace, he was nonetheless a top draw in this bullring, where he appeared numerous times. Finito was especially known for his skill at the supreme moment and seldom required more than one entry with the steel to finish his work.

This came to an end in 1974, when Finito died following a car crash.

Others excelled in La Esperanza as well, including Manolo Martinez, who proved before crowds here that his reputation was deserved.

Eloy Cavazos also showed his mastery with the muleta and the sword on varied occasions.

One of the underdogs who also turned in outstanding afternoons in Chihuahua was the diminutive Ernesto San Roman "El Queretano who proved himself the mighty mite of Mexican toreo. Exciting the aficioandos with his faroles de rodillas and insane capote passes set the stage with him, to do great banderillas work, equally reckless faenas and usually, quick kills.

Curro Rivera turned in one of his legendary faena in a corrida alongside Manuel Capetillo hijo and Benjamin Morales.  On this day he cut ears and tail, while Capetillo was applauded and Morales was gored.

Rejoenadores have also been popular here, ranging from the lesser known Jose Luis Rodriguez "Praga" to Pablo Hemroso De Mendoza, the maximum figura form horseback.

The ill-fated Minuto also left a great impression on the Chihuahua public prior to his untimely death from kidney cancer when he was still in his 20s.

In the 2000s, Oscar San Roman, the nephew of  Queretano, was one of the favorites in  this ring.

Rafael Ortega

A fiery matador de toros, Rafael Ortega was born in Apizago in 1970. He took the alternativa in Puebla in 1991 at the hands of Manolo Arruza and David Silveti. This was confirmed in Mexico City in 1993 via Geno and Pepe Luis Herros, then finally in Madrid in 2001 with Leonardo Benitez and Ruiz Manuel.

A complete torero, though sometimes criticized by the purists for overdoing the kneeling passes and adornos, he has nonetheless captivated the Mexican aficion. He is skilled with the capote, especially showy with the banderillas, capable with the muleta and more often han not a good killer.

Though he has done well in plazas large and small, one of his greatest showings would arguably have been in his lone appearance in the Nogales bullring, on the Mexican border, where in 1995, he registered the maximum of triumphs. In a spectacular corrida he and Leonardo Benitez cut ears from all four animals. This was considered to be one of the single greatest corridas in the history of this ring. Both matatdores excelled with banderillas, muleta and sword, creating spectacular faena after spectacular faena.

On the border, Ortega became a regular in Tijuana and Juarez, where he gained spectacular cartel in the 2000s.

Again arguably one of his best Tijuana showings came while alternating with Pablo Hermoso De Mendoza and Zapata. Though he cut no awards due to problems with hes word, the faena to his second bull of the afternoon was sine of his best. had he not missed with the steel he would have surely gained a tail (which Mendoza did cut, while Zapata won two ears)

Willing, dashing and complex as a torero, Rafael Ortega has made a name for himself in his native land as well as other parts of the world. Other Mexican rings over the years where he has triumphed in one degree or another include Morelia (where he won the Golden Sword trophy n a competitive corrida), Motul, Villa Alvarez, Aguascalientes, Puebla, Leon, Guadalajara, Monterrey and San Luis Potosi, just to name a few.

Pepe Luis Vargas

Pepe Luis Vargas was one of Spain's most beloved of toreros during his time. Born in 1959, he showed great promise as a novillero and exceptional skill with the capote,  which endeared him with the aficion. His specialty was to receive the bull kneeling puerta gayola for a unspectacular larga cambianda pass, but more on that later.

Vargas took the alternativa in 1979 at the hands of Curro Romero and Manili, following impressive actions in Madrid, Sevilla and other less important plazas during his time as the aforentoed promising novillero,.

He continued to appear for many years to follow, in bullrings large and small. In 1981, he traveled to Mexico and was a hit there as well.

It was in Sevilla, however, that he came closer to dying than arguably any other man. As he knelt on the sand for his famed kneeling pass with the capote, the bull veered into him and delivered a massive goring in the groin that hit the femoral artery. As he rolled over and attempted to rise, blood shot out of the wound like water from a fountain, indicating in no uncertain terms how badly he had been injured.

Had it not been for the skill of the doctors in charge, Vargas surely would have found himself among those on the black chronicle of deceased toreros.

As it was, Vargas made a successive return to both the bulls and to Sevilla, with the public sympathy behind him. The whole ordeal was accounted for in a book released in Spain dealing with the goring and recovery. A nightmarish photo of Vargas on the sand with the blood gushing out of him illustrated the cover.

He became known not only as a fine and capable matador, but one who cheated death.

The composers were impressed as well, for in the late 1980s two pasodobles in his honor came out on records. They are still heard to this day in the Spanish plazas de toros.

Vargas presently works at the ayumtameinto in Ejica.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Las Ventas

Few bullrings have captured the attention or the atmosphere of la fiestas more than Madrid's massive brick bullring, Las Ventas. An architectural masterpiece, it also includes several statues on the exterior and a fine bullfightign museum within.

The Spaniards who have been  triumphal there are many. Cordobes, Lalanda, Manolete, Dominguin, Antonio Bienvenida, Curro Romero, Nino de la Capea, Galan, Manzanares, Litri, Pepe Luis Vazquez, Camino, Ordonez, Viti, Antonete, Manolo Vazquez, Chamaco, Morante, Juli, Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza, Pedres, Ortega Cano....We could go on and on.

Ditto for foreigners from Portugal, France, South America, Mexico and other lands as well. Richard Milian, Manolo Dos Santos, Curro Rivera, Castella, the Girons, Rincon, Carlos Arruza,....

Likewise, there have been disappointments, like the much hyped confirmation of the alternativa of Manolo Martinez from Mexico, who proved a bitter disappointment in this ring. The same holds true for the Madrid presentation of the American, John Fulton, who bombed on the sand here. 

There have been the fatalities. Marquez, Coli and Campeno to name a few, Then there were the young hopefuls, Casarrubios and Eduardo Liceaga, who did well in their Madrid presentations, but were killed elsewhere before taking the alternativa, the former via a goring in San Sebastian De Los Reyes as he placed the sword and the latter in San Roque, when caught in a badly-timed molinete.

There have been many nonfatal gorings that came close as well,. Perea, Raul Galindo, Antonio Rojas, Paco Pallares, Simon, Julio Aparicio hijo....

A virtual who is who in bullfighting has been seen in Las Ventas, as well as so many others who left without  pain or glory.

Fandi, Fundi, Rafael Ortega, Rafael de la Vina, Fernando Dos Santos, Raul Garcia, Rafaelillo, Gitanillo, David Silveti, Vicente Montes, Mariano Ramos, Pepe Mata, Luis Segura, Rafael de la Vina, Soro, Julian Maestro, Sandin, Curro Camacho, Avelino de la Fuente, Adrian Romero, Mario Cabre, Arturo Ruiz Loredo, Queretano, Bernado, Ruiz Miguel, Morenito De Talavera, Ojeda, Puno, Manuel Capetillo, Joseito Huerta, Alfredo Leal, Encabo, Corpas, the Esplas, Andres Vazquez, Teruel, Miguelin, Manolo Arruza, Ostos, Chibanga, Rafi Camino,  the Peraltas, Zoio, Paco Aguilar, Javi, Calerito, Martorell, Paquiri, Rivera Ordonez, Estudiante, Diego Puerta, Fermin Murillo, Rafael Llorente, Andaluz, Roberto Dominguez, Jose Fuentes, Curro Vazquez, Raul Zorita, Raul Aranda, Jerezano, Inclusero, Manolo Moreno, Mariano Lopez, Rovira, Vito, Gaston Santos, Moura, Luis Miguel Arranz, Damaso Gonzalez, Galloso, Espartaco, Marcelino Librero, Salvador Farelo, Santiago Lopez, Munoz, Pepe Caceres, Mesquita, Damaso Gomez, Sanchez Bejarano, Parrita, Cid,  Califa, Jesulin, Ponce, Jose :Joselito" Arroyo, Vitor Mendes,  Manolo Gonzalez, Manuel Caballero, Celso Ortega, Manolo Cortes, Juan Cuellar, Pedro Castillo, Carlos Corbacho, Abellan, Vicente Barrera, Pablo Lozano,Victor Puerto,,,again we could go on forever. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. Some tell stories of glory. Some tell tales of woe.

The embodiment of Blood & Sand!

Triumphs and tragedies, life and death, success and failure. Madrid's Las Ventas has seen it all. ,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lazaro Mayoral

I first saw Lazaro Mayoral in 1989 when in Spain, training at the Vidrie ranch and then in a novillada sin picadores  in Guadalajara (There is a Guadalajara in Spain as well as Mexico).

In this novillada, he excelled with a capote and the banderillas, with the notable placement of a pair of cortos. He also gave an inspired faena and cut an ear.

He spent varied years as a novillero and  put together a number of triumphs, but like many in an i overcrowded profession, did not find the backing to become the figura it was hoped he would be, though he remained a fine journeying torero.

Mayoral eventually left the trade as a novillero to become a notable banderillero.

He presently makes his home in Pinto, south of Madrid.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Diego O' Bolger

Born James Bolger in New York, this torero came to Mexico on a motorcycle in an attempt to learn bullfighting and learn it he did. Becoming Diego O' Bolger, which he felt to be more colorful, he embarked on a career as a novillero after some early appearances in amateur capeas and eventually took the alternativa in Tijuana in 1968.

As a matador de toros, Nogales was his stronghold, where he appeared numerous times in both the Plaza Monumental and the ill-fated Guadalupe arena on the outskirts of town. In fact, O'Bolger inaugurated the short-lived Guadalupe ring along with Jesus Solorzano in 1976, in a spectacular Cinco de Mayo corrida that saw each of them cut ears.

In 1977, O' Bolger offered the greatest showing of his life in the Guadalupe ring when he shared the bill with the retiring Eliseo "El Charro" Gomez. Gomez cut four ears and a tail that day. O' Bolger cut two ears and a tail.

O' Bolger also appeared numerous times in the Monumental bullring in Nogales and triumphed there as well.

As far as style was concerned, O' Bolger was an enigma. With the capote and muleta he varied hsi performance to match the mood of the  audience. He would drop to his knees for frightening passes if he  sensed that was what the public wanted and would perform standing in artistic form if he sensed that was what the audience desire instead . He was especially  skilled with the banderillas and often placed the cortos el quiebro, where he broke down the shafts of the sticks to an incredibly short length and let the bull come to him  rather than running to it. He usually killed well.

Oddly enough, O' Bolger's closest brush with death came in a bloodless bullfight in Kansas where he was knocked down and gored in the mouth, with several teeth needing to be capped afterward.

O" Bolger is retired and now lives in Tucson.

Rocky Moody

This American novillero who got is start by jumping into rhe ring as an espontaneo and trying to cape a bull belonging to Rafael Rodriguez, was known for crude valor, but a lack of knowledge of terrain came back to haunt him. Ironically enough, it was Rodriguez who later helped to train him fro action, in spite of their questionable first meeting and help him gain some contracts.

Moody was especially stylish with the banderillas, but so-so with the capote. he was frightening with the muleta and prone to passes on his knees that showed more raw nerve than control. Yet his courage was one of a do-or-die nature and he was determined to succeed or be gored in the process. Sadly. it was the latter in Juarez that ended his career in 1958.

The torero had been better than average with the capote, had placed the banderillas with his usual flash and predictably, started his faena on his knees by the fence. As he arose, he took the bull standing with a few testing muletazos and was gored in the groin.

Damage to the arteries and blood loss was so severe, his leg had to be amputated.

Not to be outdone, Moody did the incredible. he attempted to return to the bullfight and perform while walking on an artificial leg.

His labors were appreciated, but not successful and he had to call it quits for good.

He retired to Texas and lived there until 1991, when he died from a  heart attack.

Silviano Tanori

Silviano Tanoriof No gales, mexico, started off as a protegee of Jose Antonio Gonzalez "Chilolin" and through him gained a number of novilladas in the pueblos from the late 1970s into the earl;y 1980s.

His Nogales debut in the suit of lights came after he already had several appearances within he interior to his credit, when he was allowed to act as a sobresaliente in a novillada with Chilolin and Raquel Martinez. After the official novllada with the billed attractions, eh was given a smaller novillo to face and did well enough with it, though he cut no ear.

In the years that followed, Tanori would stick closer to the border and in some cases promote his own novilladas in Nogales and in the lienzo charro in Agua Prieta.

Two of his best showings came in Nogales in 1993. The first was a novillada with Chilolo and Antonio Diaz, in which he gave a magnificent faena to his second animal of the day and cut an ear.

In a return novillada the following month he would be seen with Chilolo and Carlos Gonzalez, where he would again cut an ear from his second adversary.

In recent years Tanori only appeared before the bulls as an active participant in festivales, but has been invovle din the business end of the corrida. He was sentimental in the push of rising Tijuana star, Pepe Hillo. He has also worked several years as a para-legal.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Manolo Arruza Book

The story of Manolo Arruza as told for the first time in English in the book, Manolo Arruza, orderable at for $10.65 and mailing.

The book is not the fanciest, but contains loads of data and materiel not covered in book form before, while offering a look at one of Mexico's most beloved toreros.

Sections include chapters on the lives of Carlos and Manolo Arruza, plus accounts of Manolo's varied corridas.

The corridas accounted for include the Siete Grandes and Golden Sword corridas from Texcoco in the 1980s, the presentation of Arruza in Nogales alongside Gilio, a Tijuana corrida with Mayito, Arruza and Sanchez, the indulto of Buen Amigo, another older Tijuana corrida with Arruza, Rafaelillo and Leduc, plus the Mexico City Despedida.

There is also a section on the Capetillos. Guillermo and Manuel are half-brothers to Manolo Arruza.

Worth having.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Masters Of The Weird

Masters Of the Weird is not a fancy book and is not on bullfighting itself, but something I designed to sell at lectures or horror film fests.

It may be ordered at

Lugosi, Ed Wood, Karloff, Rathbone, Naschy, DeOssorio, Morricone, Goblin, Jiohn Ireland, Dillman, Davis, Piquer. They are all here.

There ism, however, some bullfighting material.

There is a long profile on Guillermo Capetillo and his acting as well as bullfighting.

There is a bio on the late Mario Cabre.

Sections devoted to the cast of the Indy film, Museo Taurino,  abound.

There is a bio on the late Laird Cregar, the corrupt critic Natlio Curro in the one Blood & Sand film.

There is a section on the late Nacho Martinez who played Diego Montes in Matador.

Not a bullfight book, but enough bullfight material for most aficionados.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Padilla Returns

On March 4 if 2012, Padilla returned to the bullring just  months after the goring in the face that caused him to lose vision in his left eye.

With a patch over his eye and looking like a pirate in a traje de luces, he showed he had lost none of his previous courage since this goring obtained when he slipped placing a pair of banderillas.

Padilla demonstrated his trademarks of old, including placing the sticks again and the execution of his kneeling passes with the capote.

In the end he left on the shoulders of the crowd.

Not much more to say on this blog.

Padilla has spoken for himself.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Museo Taurino! The Film.

Museo Taurino  is a low budget DVD filmed by a company in Ohio. Orders may be taken via the producer, Jeff Stoll, by writing or found by various distributors online. There are some web pages devoted to the same as well and some trailers on You Tube.

The film revolves around a crazed father who suffers through the death of a novillero  son and subsequent suicide of his life, which drive him mad. He lashes out against those who in his eyes are the blame for the death of his son in the ring and lures them to their death by inviting them to see his Museo Taurino or  bullfight museum. In truth there is no museum, but only a kill room.

The movie shows the killer, Don Guillermo, working up to the day where he tarps and kills Don Carlos, a young bullfighting author, though it is not established until the very end why the madman has targeted this victim.

He reveals his reason and does him in with a pair of mounted bull horns.

There is lengthy bullfighting action in the opening and end title, as well as a long (too long) and surreal dream sequence. One is able to make out clips of a number of Mexican and Spanish toreros, off of old archive movie film. One might pick up Curro Rivera, Alfredo Leal and some other deceased figuras by looking closely.

The film was made on a shoestring budget that would make Ed Wood look rich, so it is NOT great by any means, though it is creative. It is also not a bullfighting movie int he truest sense of the word, but a horror film.

There is a My Space page for this movie at and coverage of it, both pro and con on varied web pages and internet review pages.

Worth adding to any taurine collection just for the novelty element. Not a great DVD, but not a horrid one either.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Death Of Diego Puerta

Diego Puerta, one of the most beloved figures of  Spanish bullfighting in the 1960s and 1970s, died recently   after a lengthy illness. Following his retirement from the ring, he had spent decades operating a bull ranch where he raised animals for younger men to fight.

At the height of his career, Puerta was considered a figura. He had triumphs in Madrid, Sevilla, Barcelona and all the other major rings in Spain as well as success in the smaller rings. while he likewise made appearance sin Mexico and South America.

He frequently alternated on carteles with other toreros of maximum power from the same era, such as Paco Camino, El Cordobes and Antonio Ordonez. At times he even surpassed them. He was willing to face the Miuras and other breeds many of his contemporaries avoided.

The torero paid the price for his persistence, taking a massive amount of punishment and several near-fatal; gorings for his efforts, but he always made a comeback.

Many books in English devoted sections to him and photos, including The Swords Of Spain, Bullfight and How To Fight A Bull. Much more was written about him in the Spanish books, of course, with particular reference to the Botan releases from the late 1960s-early 1970s, covering an annual photographic recap of the Madrid season.

Two pasodobles written in his honor also survive him.


Paulo Jorge Ferreira was born in Azambuja in Portugal and trained under the late cavaleiro, Zoio, to learn the art of rejoneo. On the Portuguese bullrings he found a good amount of success, both in the large and small plazas. The odd  part is, he would find his greatest triumphs elsewhere.

A few years ago, Ferreira appeared in a set fo bloodless bullfigths in the nroth fo California, where for many years now, they have offered complete toemproadas un the Portuiguese-American communities. Bulls fof ightign syock atre used, toreros pergorm and a series of small bullrigns have been built. In keeping with American law, the bulls do not face pciadadores, do not receive banderillas and are not sworded.

 The new form of bullfighting, placing rejones with Velcro rather than barbs to not penetrate the bull was unusual for this cavalier at first, but he caugth on quickly, as well as having to adapt to the circumference of much smaller bullrings. 

 Ferreira found so much success in the USA, he decided to stay, where he makes his current home in Hilmar, California.

 Though he has gained the recognition of being a "Bullfighter For The United States" in the Iberian press, he still contends to make trips and performances in Spain, as well as his native Portugal.

It is just that he has found such overwhelming popularity in the USA, in this uncanny form of bloodless bullfighting, that it seems unwise to change a good thing.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Garza Gaona

With a bloodline like his, it is no wonder the new novillero Garza Gaona is finding such success.

The grandson of Lorenzo Garza and the great grandson of Rodolfo Gaona has created an interesting heritage for this fiery new torero.

The 2011 season saw him taking Mexico by storm and there are indications even greaster things will be in store for him in 2012.

Garza Gaona has left a lasting impression upon aficionados from Mexico City to the pueblos. He has especially shown talent for the big capote where making other things he has a natural connection to the gaonera pass.

The 2012 season could well be the year of Garza Gaona.

Time will tell.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Guillermo Alban might well go down in history as Ecuador's greatest torero. While this country has been known for holding great ferias and corridas, it has not produced that many matadores, though there have been some good ones in the past. Alban, however, might stand above them all.

Born in 1971, Alban first started making a name for himself in the Mexican palzas where he went to campaign in the early 1990s. The year, 1993, was tremendous for him and he received much favorable acclaim. During the next few seasons he continued to shift between Mexican soil and South America, then toured Spain for the first time in 1996. He again gained ground as a fiery performer and saw repeated trips to Spanish plazas.

Alban took the alternativa in Quito in 1999, at the hands of El Juli.

As a matador de toros, his reputation continued to expand even beyond that of his long career as a novillero. He received bookings around the globe and triumphed in the large rings as well as the small.

In 2003, he confirmed  his alternativa in Madrid at the height of yet another successful Spanish tour.

In the years that followed, he built up his fan base, though some of his greatest showings in recent seasons have been back in the South American plazas. Maracay, Venezuela, served as a scene for some spectacular faenas. Quito likewise became a stronghold for him.

In 2010, Alban earned a chapter in the 500 page book, More Tales From The Bullring, orderable at from Lulu Publishing.

There are also many You Tube clips and web pages online carrying information on him and his career.