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benjamí had a studio in the barcelona neighborhood of el raval, on a street where hookers, black-mustached men, children that still play outside and a lost tourist or two would wander up and down.he invented a bar in a corner of the studio where he would become a bartender on sunday afternoons, behind a real bar with martini ashtrays, toothpicks and bar glasses.  he loved to ask us what we were having, crack-open the beers and serve us tapas.  when the ambience got going, he would release a sheet from that ceiling covered with paintings and wood and suddenly… we were at the theatre.  he would take out his box of hats from morocco and india…, and he would dance a shadow dance behind that white sheet.amid a cactus-man protecting himself from the rain with an umbrella; two lovers arguing on top of a planet; the silence of sundays in the eixample; mermaids and cabaret dancers amid columns and palm trees; elephants, thousands of elephants; rita hevia, ben amin and isidre tarragona; stories of eloi, with which his friends (myself included) have been welcoming every month year after year; notepads painted in the fleeting instant of a traffic light; booklets that open only at nightfall to let the gypsies out; a suitcase painted with opera divas in the midst of one of “our” parties, that is still the center of attention at airports; amid so many afternoons of searching for poetry with paintbrushes.

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