Summer 2015

Jubrique Update

Visiting our Andalusian stronghold

Veteran Cabinet readers may remember that in January of 2012, we published an article by Jonathan Allen about the Andalusian village of Júzcar, whose financial straits had led it to make a deal with the Belgian menace known as the Smurfs. To promote the Smurfs’ new film, the production company, Sony, painted the village—one of southern Spain’s pueblos blancos, famed for their all-white houses—the queasy-making blue of the small, deeply irritating critters. While researching the article, Allen was living in the next village over, Jubrique, whose centuries-old white façades had escaped despoilment. Through Allen, Cabinet was put in touch with Jubrique’s mayor, David Sánchez, who agreed to an unorthodox publicity campaign that would attract more tourists to his village and also make Cabinet better known in the beautiful region of Andalusia. Here in New York, we made a copy of Jubrique’s historic coat of arms and proudly paraded it around the city, while a local artist in Jubrique made a copy of our decidedly less historic coat of arms to be carried by Sánchez during the village’s two most important annual festivals. A year later, Sánchez went one step further, commissioning a tiled mosaic of our coat of arms to be placed permanently on a building in the village.

A typically charming street in the village of Jubrique, Spain.

Fast forward to the summer of 2015, when the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Sina Najafi, found himself in Andalusia on a tour of important Smurf sites around the world. Taking his life into his own hands, he drove up the implausibly windy road to Jubrique to visit Sánchez and see the permanent evidence of our transatlantic friendship. After a tour of the town and a visit to the mosaic—which was in fact located on an exterior wall of Sánchez’s mother’s house—the mayor graciously treated his guest to a Coke at the local bar. The conversation soon turned to aguardiente, or “fire water,” a local spirit made in a gourd-shaped copper still that can be seen on the village’s heraldic shield. After explaining that no one in the town currently possessed an official license from the provincial authorities to produce the heavy-duty tipple, Sánchez informed his guest that the bar owner nevertheless made the very best that Jubrique had to offer. Armed with two large bottles of contraband hooch, generously procured by his host, Najafi somehow made it down the now even more implausibly windy road. Taking his siesta later that afternoon under the influence of fire and water, Najafi had a terrifying vision that the Smurfs had come to the Gowanus canal area and painted the Cabinet offices blue.

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