A Basque in Boise

The director and producer of ‘Amama’ will visit Boise, among other towns, in October


This week’s Astero brings some really awesome news!

Thanks to the efforts of Philippe Acheritogaray and the NABO Filmategi, the film Amama and its producer and director, Marian Fernandez and Asier Altuna respectively, will be touring six different Basque entities during the month of October. From October 5th to the 15th, the film will be shown at the Basque Museum and Cultural Center in Boise, the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center, the Chino Basque Club, the WAD Center for Basque Studies, and at the Euzko Etxea in New York.

Asier Altuna, the film director, will be in Boise on October 5 at 6 pm (Basque Block location, TBD). Asier will be presenting his award-winning film and answer any questions afterwards. Light pintxos (appetizers) will be provided.

Screening dates

Wednesday, October 05, 2016     Basque Museum and Cultural Center, Boise
Friday, October 07, 2016              Basque Cultural Center, San Francisco
Sunday, October 09, 2016            Chino Basque Club
Wednesday, October 12, 2016     WAD Center for Basque Studies, Reno
Saturday, October 15, 2016          New York Euzko Etxea


When a Basque family’s eldest son opts not to take over the family farm, sensitive daughter Amaia (Iraia Elías) steps in to convince their controlling father Tomás (Kandido Uranga) of the inevitability of change. A film of rare lyricism and visual poetry, writer/director Asier Altuna’s first solo dramatic feature is a sumptuous and deeply felt exploration of the struggle to maintain the customs that form identity against the inevitability of change. Symbolically rich and rooted in tremendous performances by a largely non-professional cast, AMAMA is steeped in Basque tradition but tells a universal tale of ancestry, generational divide, and the demands of progress.

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Free App ‘Mendiak’ (Mountains) identifies more than 1,500 summits in the Basque Country

‘Mendiak’, written in Basque and developed by CodeSyntax, a company based in Gipuzkoa, is intended for all hiking enthusiasts in the Basque Country.

ScreenHunter_480 Sep. 20 10.45The app identifies more than 1,500 summits in the area and allows the users to save and share their hikes, as well as the history and rating. It also offers information about the mountains, statistics, comments, and maps.

According to the company, the objective of this tool is to identify the most important mountains in the Basque Country and nearby provinces. The idea is to expand the app by adding more mountains from the Basque Country and other areas.

Even though the app was written in Basque, it has an intuitive design that allows non-Basque speakers to navigate through it easily.

Unfortunately for iPhone users, at the moment the app is only available for Android phones on PlayStore.

Para leer el artículo en castellano, haga clic aquí.

Artikuloa euskeraz irakurtzeko, sakatu hemen.

“Argi”, Iratxe Mediavilla’s new film, will premiere on October 8 at the Arriola Antzokia in Elorrio

It is so nice to see the Basque movie scene getting more and more lively. Last week, we talked about the film Igelak, and how Basque rock band Gatibu was responsible for creating its soundtrack.

Today, I’d like to talk about the movie Argi, directed by Iratxe Mediavilla, a native of Elorrio, Bizkaia. The movie is set in the 60’s and 80’s, in the small village Elorrio, and it will be shot in both Spanish and Basque.

Argi sneak preview will take place on October 8 at the Arriola Antzokia (Elizburu Kalea, 3) in Elorrio.


Argi feels different and she makes a point of showing it despite being so young. A prisoner and an outsider in a society that seems exclude her if she doesn’t adapt to it, this imaginative and curious girl grows up under the influence of an authoritarian and alcoholic father, and the stimulating friendship with her pelotari (Basque handball player) cousin, and her flamboyant friend Paula.

Despite her efforts to live her own way and achieve happiness in her stagnant home town, after a series of unfortunate events, Argi decides to flee to Paris in search of her coveted illusions.

But luck is not on her side. Family problems will prevent her from leaving. Argi will have no choice but to stay in her town and work in the village shop run by her mother.

Frustrated and repressed, her dark side gradually starts to show, the one she hates. She will have to face herself, and everyone and everything around her to get back on track in the pursuit of personal fulfillment in order to regain hope of finding her place.

The making of Argi

The Director

IratxeIratxe Mediavilla is a native of Elorrio. She spent several years studying both audiovisual and advertising such as movies, mainly linked to videoclips and the art department. In November of last year, she directed a short film called Il Marquesse, winning first place at the Arriola 24-hour Short Film Festival. And that’s why she decided to start a new project, which became Argi. She considers the movie her gift to the village of Elorrio.

If you’d like to know more about the movie, you can click here, or go to their Facebook page.



Gatibu presents their new video from the movie ‘Igelak’ soundtrack

Igelak is the new comedy from Patxo Telleria, filmed in Basque and featuring Friend Zone‘s Gorka Otxoa. Gatibu, a Basque rock band from Gernika-Lumo, was responsible for creating the soundtrack for the movie. Today, they presented the main song and its new video at Sede Keler in Donosti.

Igelak (Frogs), directed by Patxo Telleria, to be screened at the Basque Film and ETB Gala, follows a corrupt banker on the run. This is the third time that the actor, screenwriter and filmmaker from Bilbao has premiered a film at San Sebastian after having written and directed with Aitor Mazo La máquina de pintar nubes (The Cloud-Painting Machine, 2009), winner of the Versión Española Best Screenplay Award, and Bypass, in 2012, Best Film Comedy Award at Michigan.

The History of Basque Women as Sports Professionals in Frontons, published by Basque Tribune

Basque Tribune strives to provide information about the Basque Country, in English, but in a different way than other sites. This digital magazine does not provide everyday news, but instead pieces of interest written by experts and specialists in various fields including politics, economy, culture, sports, history, society, and Basque language. They also feature a special section on the Basque Country. Visit them online or on Facebook, as well as on Twitter @basquetribune.

The History of Basque Women as Sports Professionals in Frontons

JUNE 12, 2014

Courtesy of Basque Tribune and www.aintzinakolanbideak.net

Courtesy of Basque Tribune and www.aintzinakolanbideak.net

Women with rackets in hand, dressed in white, wearing berets, and with colored bows and ties. They were not the same players you would see at Wimbledon (England) during the same period, the second decade of the last century. They were racket players, women, who broke into the professional Basque pelota industry in 1917 and for 63 years, until 1980, took their game to different cities with frontons in Spain and beyond, to Mexico, Cuba and Florida (USA).

All of this started from nothing. Or better said, from a visionary entrepreneur, former jai-alai player, named Ildefonso Anabitarte Anza. The first shots from the 16 racket players in the line-up were on at 19-meter-long court, the Cedaceros Fronton of Madrid. Success was immediate; within days of opening, events were filled. Anabitarte, the promoter who made a fortune as a player in America, bought the “Moderno” Fronton on Doctor Cortezo Street in Madrid. He demolished it to build the Figaro Theatre (being married to a Zarzuela singer) and just across the street, he constructed the “Madrid”, which did not take long to become considered the Cathedral of racket games.

The integration of women into professional sports in Spain at that time was a true revolution. Two years later, in 1919 (to give us an idea of the social context in which this phenomenon occurred) women’s tennis at Wimbledon emerged by the mere fact that a Swiss player, Suzanne Lenglen, dared to play exposing her calves and forearms, causing quite a scandal in the prevailing Victorian morality among the English.

In fact, it is likely that Anabitarte’s revolutionary idea was inspired by women’s tennis, since the racket modality was an adaptation for frontons from what was being played on tennis courts; however, introducing the racket modality to the betting world, the backbone of the industry of professional Basque pelota in all of its modalities. In addition, Anabitarte introduced various changes, the racket as a tool was modified to be more robust and adapted to hit new material; the balls, as opposed to those used in tennis, at the core the rubber would be sheathed in leather, reaching a weight of 70 grams.

As with other modalities such as Jai-Alai, the changes resulted in a faster game; and in the end made the game even more spectacular. The visionary entrepreneur created different schools in the Basque Country in order to provide labor and new blood. From now on, to be a racket player would be viewed as a job and as such, it was common that the apprentices paid for their training, and were responsible for acquiring their own equipment (rackets, balls, clothes) in addition to paying for court rental for the time used.

The new modality of racket ball was an artificial creation. The presence of women in Basque pelota and early twentieth century rural sports was none at all in the Basque Country. So it was therefore a revolution to integrate women into a modality created specifically for industrial exploitation. The new profession of racket ball acted as a tremendous attraction for future candidates. It can be explained by the upgrade in living conditions from traditional, small towns, to big cities, with the possibility of travelling and the idealization of opening horizons and getting to know the world. I, myself, as a former professional jai-alai player, experienced that feeling. The temporary return to places of origin from where they were playing created even more interest. In the early days the place of origin of racket ball was the Basque Country, however, with the opening of new frontons, schools were founded in several cities in Spain like Madrid, Valencia, Seville, Salamanca etc.

Women racket players, considered the great forgotten of Basque pelota, raised, at that time, a similar or greater passion than the male pelotari figures of other modalities. They were after all, the princesses of Basque pelota, the first female athletes to have a professional contract in some forty courts spread throughout Spain, Mexico, Florida and Cuba. The first appearances overseas were in Marianao (Cuba), in 1921. One year later, in the Habana-Madrid fronton of the Cuban capital with a team of 17 racket players in the line-up coming from Madrid. It is estimated that in 1946 there were some 300 young women players with professional contracts at different frontons. The city of Barcelona housed four frontons for professional women racket players. A craftsman from Mutriku (Gipuzkoa), Valentín Zumalabe, famed builder, manufactured up to 3,000 rackets a year.

According to Aitor Acha, Professor of the Cardenal Cisneros University School, the beginning women racket players of the 1940s earned about 300 pesetas per month. In 1957, stars earned about 5,000 pesetas a month, when the average was at 2,500 to 3,000. However, according to the same sources, in Havana, one could expect to earn 30,000 pesetas per month. And in Mexico, at the Metropolitan fronton in 1960, players made over 216,000 pesetas a month.

The racket modality suffered a serious blow after the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). In the new socio-political context, the Franco dictatorship, for the Female Section of the regime, the woman was to be considered a minor who passed from the father’s tutelage to the husband’s. The woman was to be a housewife, mother and devoted wife. Her main task was caring for children and the home. New rulers with the Franquist General Moscardó as a national delegate of sports felt that the profession of racket player was improper for women and decided to close frontons.

There was a belief that the practice of the sport by women would cause sterility. The reaction in the industry was swift and managed to soften the measure replaced by preventing the opening of more fontons and by banning new Federal licensing. The racket players that continued active also had to adapt their professional attire, lengthening skirts and making sure that tops had sleeves.

However, going back to the year 1922, during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, authorities banned betting in Spain except in frontons, national lotteries and football (soccer) betting. This measure, which was not changed until the arrival of the democracy in 1976, contributed to the flourishing of the Basque professional pelota industry including, of course, the racket modality. This protective measure for the world of Basque pelota industry (prohibited casinos) explains the boom that various forms of industrial Basque pelota experienced (hand, pala, jai-alai, remonte and racket) throughout most of the 20th century.

Interestingly, pelota modalities with a playing instrument, including the racket for women, diminished as the Spanish state modernized until becoming a residual game or disappearing completely. The boom of professional ball was due in large part to the legal norm banning betting with the exception of at the frontons. There the female form of racket found its place, giving work to hundreds of women.

The flame for the sport of women’s racket was gradually extinguishing until 1980 when it was completely put out. Now, virtually nothing remains from the professional racket modality (except perhaps the practice of racquetball). From that reign of women racket players, putting on a show, exposing arms and legs at a time when everything was considered sin, there is no more left than a memory and testimony of the many players recalling a glorious time, aware that those times are gone forever.

For the original article with photos, please visit http://basquetribune.com/the-history-of-basque-women-as-sports-professionals-in-frontons.

Did you know that Lehendakari Agirre played for Athletic de Bilbao?

ScreenHunter_471 Sep. 02 09.57

This year is the 80th anniversary of the first Basque Government chaired by lehendakari Agirre. EiTB has developed the ‘Portrait of what we are’ campaign to remember his name and his values.

I took the video from EiTB’s website and added the English subtitles so more people can enjoy and learn about lehendakari Agirre.

For the original article in Spanish, click here.

The William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies is looking for an Assistant Professor of Basque Studies

According to Astero news bulletin, The William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies has opened a search to fill an Assistant Professor Position that will be available July 1, 2017. All interested individuals should can apply by clicking on this link. For the original posting, click here.


Position Information

Job Title Assistant Professor, Basque Studies
Department Center For Basque Studies
Department Web Address www.basque.unr.edu
Full Time Equivalent 100%
Position Type Academic Faculty
List Rank/Range(s) II
Tenure Track Tenure Track
Job Description The University of Nevada, Reno invites applications for a tenure-track (12-month contract) position at the William A. Douglass Center for Basque Studies at the rank of Assistant Professor to start no later than August 1st, 2017. Deadline to apply is November 1, 2016.

The Center, was created in 1967 as part of the Desert Research Institute at UNR, which was formed to investigate various aspects of the Great Basin. A Basque studies program was proposed because the Basque-American population forms a prominent minority in the region and has contributed a great deal to its development. The primary mission of the Center is to facilitate, conduct and disseminate the results of interdisciplinary research on the Basques to a local, regional, national and international audience, and by extension to draw attention to the human experience of small ethnic groups. Currently, the Center administers a minor in Basque Studies and Tutorial Ph.D. Program. Diversity is central to the mission of Basque Studies. Our faculty, staff and students strive to foster an environment that is conducive to exploring, engaging, and expressing diverse perspectives and respectful of diverse identities.

The position will be available beginning July 1, 2017. Normally 60% of the scholar’s time will be devoted to research, with 20% earmarked for teaching and 20% for service. Responsibilities include conducting original Basque-related research and publishing its results; participating in regional, national, and international conferences; and teaching undergraduate and graduate level Basque Studies courses in English. The successful candidate will be a series editor for the CBSPress and will contribute to the various outreach activities of the Center with institutions and networks in the Basque Country, the Basque diaspora, in international academia, as well as in the UNR community.

The University of Nevada, Reno is the flagship campus of the Nevada System of Higher Education with a student population of approximately 21,000. The university offers 70 M.A. and Ph.D. programs in nine colleges. Reno, the “Biggest Little City in the World,” is a vibrant, growing city of 300,000 located on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, about 200 miles east of San Francisco. Reno is only 30-45 minutes from Lake Tahoe and major ski resorts. Reno is rated as one of the top locations in the US for living and outdoor recreation. The University and its metropolitan area enjoy a flourishing and diverse intellectual, artistic, and cultural community. For more information about the city and the surrounding area, please visit www.cityofreno.com and www.visitrenotahoe.com.

Required Qualifications Requirements include a Ph.D. in a social science discipline in the liberal arts, with first preference in economic anthropology or in economic history, with a focus on the economy and economic history of the Basque region and its cooperatives. ABD’s will also be considered if the degree is confirmed by August 1, 2017. The successful candidate will have a demonstrated record of scholarship and original research resulting in scholarly publications about the Basques, as well as experience in undergraduate teaching. Fluency in English is required.
Preferred Qualifications Secondarily preferred disciplines include political science and gender studies. Fluency in Basque, French and Spanish is preferred. A demonstrated ability to prepare successful grant proposals would be beneficial, as would any previous administrative experience.
Contact Information for this Position Kate Camino
775.682.5565 (tel)
Special Instructions to Applicants Please attach a CV, contact information for three professional references and a detailed letter of application, which also indicates how you would contribute to the diversity and excellence of the academic community through your research, teaching, and/or service.
Job Open Date 08/31/2016
Job Close Date 11/01/2016
Open Until Filled No
Search Number 72162
Note to All Applicants HR will attempt to verify academic credentials upon receipt of hiring documents. If the academic credentials cannot be verified, HR will notify the faculty member that an official transcript of their highest degree must be submitted within thirty days of the faculty member’s first day of employment.

The University of Nevada, Reno is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action in recruitment of its students and employees and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, creed, national origin, veteran status, physical or mental disability, and sexual orientation. The University of Nevada, Reno employs only United States citizens and aliens lawfully authorized to work in the United States. Women, under-represented groups, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

Supplemental Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * How did you initially learn about this recruitment/job opening?
    • unr.jobs.edu
    • higheredjobs.com
    • Chronicle of Higher Education. Specify print or online below.
    • Other online resource. Specify URL below.
    • Newspaper or Professional/Trade Journal. Specify title below.
    • Association or Listserv. Specify below.
    • Personal Contact. Specify person and affiliation below.
    • www.tedjob.com (Top Higher Ed Jobs)
    • www.workreno.com
    • www.latinosinhighered.com
    • www.indeed.com
    • www.insidehighered.com
  2. If applicable, give more details on specific resource(s) indicated above.(Open Ended Question)

Required Documents

Required Documents

  1. Letter of Application/Cover Letter
  2. Reference Contact Information
  3. Resume/CV

Optional Documents

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Job listings for Game of Thrones in Zumaia will be posted on Sept. 5

(Courtesy of EITB)

(Courtesy of EITB)

I can’t comment personally on the success of the series as I might be the only person on Earth who hasn’t seen it. But judging by what I’ve been reading online, maybe I should!

Job listings

In any case, for all of you hard-core fans in the Basque Country, here’s your opportunity to get a bit closer to the action, as the Gipuzkoan city of Zumaia was chosen last month as the place to film several scenes of the series’ 7th season. On September 5th, you will have a chance to register in Alondegia for different jobs, from 11:00 to 17:00, by filling out a form indicating your characteristics and personal information. Some of the available jobs are gardening, cleaning, and security.


If you rather be an extra in the series, you will need to visit ModExoir International for participation requirements, but details will not be available until October, as the company just announced on their Facebook page. We do know that the castings will be in person, and that they are not looking to cast women in the north.

You can read the original article in Spanish on EITB’s website.


Astero Weekly Bulletin: SSFCC Jaialdia, Menditarrak, and International Mus

Astero’s weekly bulletin always brings interesting news related to the Basque Diaspora. This week, we learn about the San Francisco Basque Cultural Center Jaialdia, how you can enjoy Menditarrak in Gardnerville, and information about International Mus.

If you would like to have Astero, NABO’s weekly bulletin, sent directly to your inbox, you only have to fill out this form.

San Francisco Basque Cultural Center Jaialdia

SFBCCThis weekend the San Francisco Basque Cultural Centerwill be celebrating its annual Jaialdia August 26-28th. The weekend will include a wide range of activities, along with the NABO Pilota Finals that will be held on Friday and Saturday. The Center is happy to welcome singers and musicians Menditarrak from the Basque Country. This group, comprised of sheepherders and sons of sheepherders, will provide singing entertainment for all to enjoy. After Saturday night’s dinner, Beñat and Jean Louis, also from the Basque Country, will provide music for everyone’s dancing pleasure. For complete information about the weekend, including meal prices, please visit their website.


MenditarrakMenditarrak at J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room

If you are unable to travel to San Francisco this weekend you’ll have another chance to enjoy Menditarrak on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at the J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room in Gardnerville, NV. Dinner is served from 5-9pm and everyone is welcome to enjoy an evening with the group, along with a great Basque meal. For more information please visit them on Facebook.

International Mus

cmteThe Territorial Commission on Mus in Euskadi, hosts of this year’s International Mus Championships in Donostia October 8-15, 2016, have contracted Equinoccio Viajes to handle all of the travel and lodging arrangements for the event. They have just let us know that a 10% discount is now available for people wishing to attend, if you travel with Iberia. This offer is only valid for individuals, not groups. To make a reservation or get more information on the deal, please visit Equinoccio’s website.