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Primera Persona

Primera Persona 2019

Autobiographic Live Sessions: Tragicomic Monologues, Pop Music, Theatre and Narrative


The year 8 of Primera Persona brings together creators from various artistic disciplines who base their work on their own life experience. The festival has its eighth outing in 2019, striking a balance of generations and genres, and underlining its three distinguishing characteristics: special proposals by big names, a showcase for new voices, and thematic capsules of subculture, sociocultural phenomena and secret histories of the city, among others.

Friday 10 May

Session 1 / 19.00 / CCCB Theatre

“Anti-Fascist” (Mark Bray, Jordi Borràs, Helena Castellà Duran and Carles Viñas) / Nik Cohn with DJ Kosmos / Peter Hook with Agnès Marquès

“Anti-Fascist” opens year eight of the festival. Stopping fascism is a moral imperative, but how to go about it? Physically confront it in the streets or deny it the oxygen of publicity? “Cordon sanitaire” or legal strategy? Silence or denunciation? In the first session of the festival, we will try to answer these questions with a panel of experts: Mark Bray, historian and author of Antifa. The Antifascist Handbook (2017); Helena Castellà Duran, politologist and advisor at the European Parliament; Carles Viñas, doctor of Contemporary History (Barcelona University UB) and expert in youth trends and radical football supporters, and Jordi Borràs, photojournalist specialising in national far-right movements, in Catalonia and all over Europe. Language: English and Catalan with simultaneous translation (Catalan)

They are to be followed by the Irish writer Nik Cohn, father of the rock writing and epic chronicler of street culture over fifty years. He wrote his first novel, Market, when he was eighteen. Four years later, he published Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom (1969), a definitive saga of rock ‘n roll, written with arrogance, boldness and speed. Thereafter, his prowess at pinball inspired the Who’s Tommy; his mythic rock novel I Am Still the Greatest Says Johnny Angelo (1967) influenced Ziggy Stardust; and his article “Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night” (1976) became the basis for Saturday Night Fever. At Primera Persona he will be accompanied on stage by DJ Kosmos, a Barcelona-born DJ and producer, pioneer in electronic music in Spain. Language: English with translation (Catalan)

Last on stage will be the English musician Peter Hook, co-founder of the legendary band Joy Division, on bass alongside Bernard Sumner and Ian Curtis. After Curtis’s suicide, which was traumatic for all of popular culture, they reinvented themselves as New Order. Despite touring worldwide with New Order, with radio hits such as Blue Monday, for a long time they went around with 20 pounds in their pockets. The reason? You’ll find it in his new book, The Haçienda. How Not to Run a Club (2010), the story of the most mythical—and ruinous—club of the second half of the 20th century: the Mancunian cathedral of music, opened in 1982, was a pioneer of electronic music, motor of the Manchester sound, and a laboratory for many highly respected bands. The story goes that Hook and the other owners didn’t earn a penny in the 15 years it was open. But that’s legend for you; he’ll be telling all in the first person in a conversation with the journalist Agnès MarquèsLanguage: English and Catalan with simultaneous interpretation (Catalan)

Session 1 - Buy Tickets


Session 2 / 22.00 / CCCB Theatre

María Sánchez / Julieta Venegas

Closing day one of the festival is the Mexican singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas, who has sold over twelve million records worldwide, but there’s nothing she likes better than holing up with a book under an angle poise in her bedroom. Her photographer parents didn’t let her turn on the television and signed her up at an early age for painting and ballet classes, and she learned classical piano, cello and musical theory, though she soon started listening to Suzanne Vega and David Bowie. And, above all, becoming an intuitive self-taught reader: she started with romantic novels by Corín Tellado, to then see herself reflected in the pages of Jane Eyre. She now lives in Argentina and will be sharing her passion for reading at Primera Persona in the form of recitals and live songs. Language: Spanish

We open the second session with field veterinarian, poet and writer María Sánchez. Author of the book of poems Cuaderno de campo (La Bella Varsovia, 2017) and the essay Tierra de mujeres (Seix Barral, 2019), Sánchez is a regular collaborator in digital and print media on literature, feminism, extensive livestock and rural culture. She coordinates the project Las entrañas del texto, in which she invites reflection on the creative process, and Almáciga, an incubator of words from the rural environment in the different languages of the territory. She is also a contributor to Carne Cruda Radio, with the “Notas de campo” section, a sound journal from the outskirts, packed with stories, people and animals who live in and look after the rural environment. Language: Spanish

Session 2 - Buy Tickets


Saturday 11 May

Session 3 / 19.00 / CCCB Theatre

Mad women(Maria Manonelles and Montse Batalla with Laura Fernández) / Emil Ferris with Ana Galvañ / Thomas Page McBee with Use Lahoz

“Mad women” will open day 2 of the festival. Mental illness has been the subject of numerous works of art. In novels and films it is common to find the figure of the mad person, be it the romantic artist with a severed ear, the wise fool, psychotic killer or endearing eccentric (or hysterical woman who poisons her children, on too many occasions). The incidence of mental disorders with the appropriate accuracy and seriousness is rather less common. Saturday’s first session of Primera Persona welcomes two comic book artists who take mental illness (in the first person) as the theme of two new works: Maria Manonelles, with her comic Dormo molt (2018), and Montse Batalla, with Manicomio (2019). They will be joined by journalist Laura Fernández. Language: Catalan

They are followed on stage by the US writer and cartoonist Emil Ferris. For years she worked as a freelance illustrator and toy designer. In 2001, at the age of 40, Ferris contracted West Nile Virus (a rare infection for which there is no vaccine) from a mosquito bite. Three weeks after going to hospital, she became paralysed from the waist down and lost the movement of her right hand. While recovering from her paralysis, Ferris worked on her graphic novel My Favorite Thing Is Monsters (2017). This expressionist book, influenced by Crumb, written in the form of a diary notebook, tells the story of Karen Reyes, a ten-year-old girl and fan of monster films (like Ferris herself) who, growing up amid the social tensions of the sixties, investigates the death of her neighbour. Ferris talks to the Spanish comic book writer and illustrator Ana Galvañ. Language: English and Spanish with simultaneous translation (Spanish)

Finally, to close the third session of the festival the US journalist and amateur boxer Thomas Page McBee takes the stage. McBee was the first transsexual boxer to fight at Madison Square Garden. But, of course, that’s just a headline; his story goes far beyond that achievement because his is not a simple narrative of overcoming or of success. Born with the body of a woman, he couldn’t have surgery until he was thirty. When he did, it not only changed his body, it changed his perception of the world. In Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man (2014) he explains in the first person how that in turn changed his view of masculinity and its privileges. He realized that he had learn to relate in a different way, so he enrolled in a boxing gym to explore issues such as violence and identity. At Primera Persona, McBee talks to the writer and lecturer Use Lahoz, author of novels such as Los Baldrich or Los buenos amigos. Language: English and Spanish with simultaneous translation (Catalan)

Session 3 - Buy Tickets


Session 4 / 22.00 / CCCB Theatre

Brett Anderson with Xavi Sancho / Mala Rodríguez with Silvia Cruz

We begin the session with Brett Anderson, lead singer with Suede and one of the foremost figures of Brit Pop (the press called him a cross between Bowie and Morrissey). He underwent the predictable stages of stardom and addiction, and got through both. Although Suede’s tempestuous history ended in 2003, Anderson has continued to record: in 2004 and 2005 with The Tears, alongside ex-Suede member Bernard Butler, and since 2006 solo, with four albums to his name. In 2010, Suede got back together and have since made three new discs, the latest being the brooding The Blue Hour (2018). In 2018, Anderson published Coal Black Mornings, magnificent black-and-white memoires that end with the rise of Suede. At Primera Persona, Anderson is interviewed by the cultural journalist Xavi Sancho. Language: English with simultaneous translation (Catalan)

Finally, the rap singer, icon of flamenco and Gitana feminism Mala Rodríguez takes the stage to close the eighth edition of Primera Persona. Her first LP, Lujo Ibérico, made her a phenomenon of the rap back in 2000, with a gold disc and 50,000 copies sold. That was followed by albums, TV censorship and more gold records. One of her strong points is her choice of collaborators, from rapper Focus (also the producer of Eminem) to worldwide Latin stars such as Juan Magán and Romeo Santos. A habitual voice on soundtracks and winner of several Latin Grammys, her discourse remains fierce, as shown by recent singles such as Gitanas. At Primera Persona she’ll be explaining how this discourse is forged by social class, ethnic group, rebellion, gender and passion in a talk with the journalist and writer, specialist in flamenco Silvia Cruz. Language: Spanish

Session 4 - Tickets Sold Out

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Nik Cohn with DJ Kosmos

The Irish writer Nik Cohn, father of the rock writing and epic chronicler of street culture over fifty years, wrote his first novel, Market, when he was eighteen. Four years later, he published Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom (1969), a definitive saga of rock ‘n roll, written ...

Watch the video

Julieta Venegas

Recitals and live songs

The Mexican singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas, who has sold over twelve million records worldwide, but there’s nothing she likes better than holing up with a book under an angle poise in her bedroom. Her photographer parents didn’t let her turn on the television and signed her up ...

Watch the video

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