Alejo Sauras on Being Himself

Do directors sometimes tell you just to be yourself? I asked Alejo Sauras, Spanish film and TV actor. I was writing about actors portraying themselves onscreen and off and thinking about the burdens of stardom when it occurred to me that I could interview my friend Alejo. Without hesitation, he answered, “No, never! Be yourself, no! Don’t be yourself.” He pointed to the table. “Be this one on the paper!”

Oh! I thought. There goes my central idea. All my interview questions had been built around the ironic notion of actors playing themselves, the meta idea of self-reflective acting. Well, I told myself, carry on with the interview, and later I will find a way to fit the pieces together. Watch me now as I try.

(Alejo at Wiggy-Okie at the House of Fish.)

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Alejo Sauras On Being Famous in Spain

You want to be famous, don’t you? I can read it in your eyes, the hunger for attention.

Well, we all want people to adore and admire us, to fuss and fawn over us, to call us good-looking and talented. But if the genie of celluloid granted your wish, would you enjoy the fame? Or would shout “Leave me alone!” and punch the paparazzi?

I have a friend who is famous in Spain: Alejo Sauras. He has been in fourteen movies, ten shorts, six TV series, a guest role in nine other TV series, and five plays. You may not know who he is, but people recognize him wherever he goes in España. He is fairly well-known in Latin America and even Central Europe (where they have started showing his TV series Los Serrano). Even here in San Francisco, fans come up to him on the street. Nevertheless, he told me, “I can walk a little more freely in every country but mine.”

(Alejo kicking back in Dolores Park on Easter Sunday.)

I know from talking to him that being a celebrity is not not all glamour and glitter–sometimes it is a kick in the groin–but would he trade celebrity for an ordinary life? I was working on a post about actors playing themselves, mulling over the benefits and drawbacks of stardom, so I decided to ask him.

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Las Meninas: A Metapainting

Las Meninas is a truly great metapainting, a painting about paintings. A metapainting is a painting about paintings, a painting about painters, a painting about the process of painting, a painting that reminds viewers that they are looking at a painting rather than real objects, a painting that breaks the conventions of painting, a painting that obscures its borders or plays with levels of reality. Las Meninas does all these things.

At this point I count at least 23 meta aspects. Take a look at the painting yourself and see how many you can identify:

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