Deconstructing the night: The house that was Thursday
The problem with the Casa de la Trova is not to get there, just a short walk from anywhere in the city is enough. It's not hard to find either: located on one of the busiest streets in the Spirituan downtown — note the love that goes with irony — has no loss or confusion.
It is one of the reference spaces in the town of Sancti Spíritus, which are used to give directions and define distances.
The really difficult thing is to queue, get around the groups, endure the wait and enter a Thursday . Yes, because the rest of the week La Trova closes prudish and judicious at 12 o'clock but not on the day that corresponds to the FEU (University Student Federation), to which it gives one more hour. Thus, Thursday has become an agreed date for the mob. Of course, everything has its knack. Here is a tip: the best time to enter is around 10 at night and the strategy is to make friends with Lázaro, who is a doorman, debt collector, even security if necessary. And he's also a good guy.
The popularity of Thursdays is not random. To begin with, El Colgao, the fashionable café, is given a break that leaves the university students who come from their municipalities to pursue a career and social life in this city without protection or leisure. The entry price also influences, which until a few months ago was just five pesos in national currency, although it is already double. Life things. The crowd does not seem to mind because it is still very affordable and leaves a margin of expense for the beer and the star product: the bottle of rum on sale + soft drink combo.
Those who arrive first grab a table, settle in, and keep stalls. Those on the side of the bar are unpopular, due to the proximity to the bathrooms and the drinking of the drinkers. All seek the ones that mark the sides of the central patio, from where you have control of the entrance, the movements of those present and everything that happens on stage. However, the tables are never enough for the crowd that overflows the steps to the central patio, the flower beds that divide the space and any supporting wall.
Once inside, the Casa de la Trova can become a sociological case study. If at the door the queue is an indefinable mess, in the patio of the house it is rearranged and located. It is easy for the observer to distinguish young teachers — dressed in that programmed ease that uncovers them — students — boys with hairs in all directions, wardrobe between trend and nonconformity, who group together to buy a bottle among all of them—, nostalgic young workers —who do not detach from their university freedom and make space a tricky time machine— and those who never went through college and are attracted by young girls or the opportunity to spend the night better —they have other clothes, other accessories— and that surely passed through the Lazarus filter, to let them in. I repeat, he is a good guy.
Este mosaico de seres y estratos, esta convergencia anómala, es la prueba de que La Trova de los jueves es un saco en el que todo cabe. La falta de espacios perfilados según públicos, de ofertas de acuerdo a la demanda, han hecho de la casona el espacio donde cada cual se acomoda a lo suyo y con los suyos. Y, extrañamente, funciona.
The night thickens and it is difficult to walk. Among so many people, the tall and anthological mangoes, those who dance, those who try to converse shouting at each other and those who smoke, time begins to slip away. The DJ tries to please the tastes, building the night atmosphere according to the public, the requests, the fashion playlist: pop rock to start, some salsa in the intermission and sometimes some reggaeton. In some moments of the night Miguel Ángel Cruz, who also carries the page “la descarga Universitaria” on Facebook, encourages the typical and promote detuned singing competitions, dance attempts or questions of mental agility with a bottle as a prize. There are many who dares in this pedestrian competition that is lost among the good intentions to end in a moment sometimes uncomfortable.
By schedule, the second Thursdays of each month there is space for performances and choreographies of future doctors. The fourth Thursday plays ADN, a band that plays retro covers of Carlos Varela, Maná and David Blanco. I want to think, in order not to feel old, that these are someone's contemporary classics.
The university party on Thursdays at the Casa de la Trova is a mirror of the city itself. The town, aged and stiff in its ways, receives a youthful crowd confused who needs spaces to have fun and be. In La Trova, where the trios animated the night with pieces from another century, a FEU without a house has found a way to fill today a house of yesterday.
Of course, sometimes La Trova feels like a flimsy copy of El Mejunje villaclareño and reasons are not lacking: the open air space, the bustling youth in an ancient building, the cheapness of the entrance ... and if Silverio's project managed to inspire this is a happy event, but unfortunately it lacks the drive, the rebellion, the different. Because also sometimes La Trova tastes like a reduced copy of other spaces to which these future engineers, psychologists and doctors would go if they were more solvent. But they are here, they chose to stay and they are the faithful conspirators on Thursdays.
At one in the morning the music ends and the door fills up again. Some go to snack nearby, perhaps later to the park or to sleep. Others will follow the night in that kind of post-party and post-all of the city that is the Parque de los Viejos, near the Hostal del Rijo. There, as long as they don't disturb the tourists, the enthusiasts will continue with a guitar and what is left of the party. They will return next week to the door, to the patio and to say good night to Lazaro.
Gladys M. Quesada