In January 2017, Antonio Banderas suffered a heart attack that changed his life. That was the day the 61-year-old Spanish actor decided to return home to Málaga, leave the Hollywood stress behind him and pursue his lifelong dream. In 2019, he launched Soho Theater, where he returned to the stage with the musical A Chorus Line. But the theater – which has an annual budget of close to €7 million ($7.88 million) – is just the tip of the iceberg of Banderas’s long-term plan. The actor is also planning to build a second stage for experimental theater, an auditorium and a technical school for theater production and management. Meanwhile, he has also created a television production company, a symphony orchestra, and opened four restaurants. A jazz club is also set to be added to the list. Banderas has 300 employees, a strong real estate portfolio, and his work in films such as Uncharted and Indiana Jones 5 helps him balance his accounts. “Now I know that everything is possible in Málaga,” he said during the premiere of Company, his second musical, in which he directs and stars.
Banderas has always been linked to Málaga, his home city, but now he has intensified his involvement in local life. He lives downtown in an attic he bought in 2014, although he also has a house in Marbella. Meanwhile, he has sold his Los Angeles mansion, which he shared with former partner Melanie Griffith, for €14 million ($15.75 million), while his house in London is on the market for €3.51 million ($3.94 million).
Since returning to Málaga in 2019, he has participated in numerous events, such as the switching on of the city’s Christmas lights. He is a regular at the Starlite Festival held in the area, takes part in Easter processions as a member of a coalition of religious brotherhoofd named Cofradías Fusionadas and is even considering becoming a shareholder of Málaga’s soccer club. He is known worldwide, and his very presence has had a great economic impact on the city.
“He has boosted bookings. He’s the excuse for many of our clients to come and stay for several days. I wish there were more Antonio Banderas in other cities,” says Yeyo Ballesteros, communications manager for the hotel chain Room Mate. “His commitment to Málaga is beneficial for us; it gives us great visibility,” adds Francisco de la Torre, the mayor of Málaga.
The actor has his own perfume line, multiple real estate properties in Spain’s Costa del Sol and his company, Glassmore Investments, has capital of €8 million ($9 million). Soho Theater, however, is at the center of his future plans. “He may or may not be liked on stage, but his entrepreneurship is unquestionable,” says Javier Domínguez, Banderas’s brother and right-hand man. “He keeps us all on our feet,” he says, laughing.
Domínguez is the manager of his brother’s companies and theater, a dream that has been long in coming. Banderas thought first about opening a theater in Madrid in 2000, but ended up losing a million euros. In 2004, he became interested in the auditorium that was planned for Málaga’s western area but that didn’t work out either. And in 2017, the actor almost fulfilled his dream after winning an auction for a plot of land in Plaza de Merced square, which he abandoned due to all “the insults, personal attacks and humiliating treatment” of local politics.
Banderas finally achieved his dream when Alameda cinemas agreed to rent the movie theater to Banderas for €225,000 a year ($253,000), a cost that is covered by the Antonio Banderas Theater Foundation, which also paid for the site to be completely renovated. “When I die, I won’t be able to take any money with me,” he said in an interview with EL PAÍS.
The 800-seat theater has allowed Banderas to bring renowned Broadway productions to Málaga. The latest show to hit the stage is Company, a musical with a cast of 14 people and 26 live musicians that cost €2 million ($2.25 million). The economic risk is high, the show has to sell out to cover the costs. But Company has succeeded just as A Chorus Line did. More than 40,000 people have attended its first 50 performances. It is the only chance to see Banderas on stage. When the show travels, another actor replaces him. The strategy works. Half of the audience in Soho Theater comes from outside of Málaga. Ticket sales are key to paying the 200 theater workers, including the cast of A Chorus Line, who are now in Madrid. It was in the Spanish capital where a Covid outbreak paralyzed performances for a week, leading to losses of €800,000 ($899,000). The health crisis has been his biggest headache. “What is the worst that can happen if you buy a theater? A pandemic? Well, there it is,” the actor said.
Antonio Banderas has boosted bookings. He’s the excuse for many of our clients to come and stay for several days
Yeyo Ballesteros, communications manager for Room Mate
During Spain’s home lockdown, while theater workers were placed on the government’s ERTE furlough scheme, Banderas got to work on other projects. He created an audiovisual production company, and premiered a TV show on Amazon Prime. Then came the 2021 Goya Awards (Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars), a campaign for Málaga’s provincial government and a spot for the Giants, an eSports team. Now he is producing Las Tres Puertas (or, The Three Doors) for Spain’s national television broadcaster, TVE.
In the last six months, Banderas has also opened three restaurants – Atrezzo, La Barra de Doña Inés and Doña Iñes – which are all located next to Soho Theater. This has required an investment of €3 million ($3.37 million) and around one hundred new employees. The restaurants attract diners from the theater, which as well as putting on Broadway musicals, also hosts performances and concerts. Banderas began in the restaurant business in 2017, acquiring the premises and part of the shareholding of El Pimpi, a classic Málagan restaurant. This venture was done in partnership with Pablo Gonzalo, who is also his partner in the three new restaurants. The team put in a tender for the management of the restaurant Casa de Botes, but ended up withdrawing it. Now they are planning to open a jazz club near the theater. The Soho neighborhood has come alive thanks to Banderas. “He acts as a point of great interest for the city,” says Rebecca Evans, manager of the ICON Malabar hotel.
As Banderas searches for land to build his theater school, auditorium and experimental theater, he is also promoting films such as Uncharted, which also stars Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg. Soon he will be doing the same for Official Competition and he is also set to travel to finish the shooting of Indiana Jones 5. He makes few trips to Hollywood these days, the million-dollar paychecks last a while. “Theater doesn’t pay. It is in the movies where money is made,” clarifies his brother, who emphasizes that the theater project is non-profit. “If there are profits, they are reinvested in the next show,” explains Domínguez. The project receives no public aid, but it does count on many sponsors. CaixaBank is his main partner, but El Corte Inglés, Metrovacesa, Málaga Towers, Cervezas Victoria, Vithas and Porcelanosa also contribute. Málagan companies also provide support in exchange for certain privileges, such as attending an annual dinner with Banderas in one of his restaurants. It all adds up.
The end of the world, as written by women, has neither zombies nor asteroids | Culture
The world ends and no gigantic, unpredictable asteroid has fallen. Neither have armies of zombies taken the cities. The world ends and it happens as we knew it would. Lakes and marshlands dry up, rivers are polluted, oceans boil; the air is unbreathable, plants and animals are dying, heat has risen to extremes, there is extreme rainfall, the winds are extremely strong. Then, fights over water, massive migrations, chaos. In the dystopias written by women what takes place is reality. At the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), authors like Agustina Bazterrica, María Ferencuhová and Elisa Díaz Castelo present their works examining climate crisis, a subject also addressed by others such as Gabriela Jáuregui and Margaret Atwood.
The atmosphere is so oppressive it suffocates. Dozens of women survive trapped in a world where butterflies burn, where there are no more mammals and children don’t know what a tiger is, where all the seasons happen in a single week and stepping outside means having your skin break out, being smothered. The state disappeared long ago, incapable of containing the failure. Violence has taken advantage and is now everywhere.
Agustina Bazterrica’s protagonist in Las indignas [The unworthy] has no name. She was born years after they had to close the schools. Her mother died when they couldn’t go out to look for water or food after a brutal flood; the child survived and became a drifter. After years of wandering through devastated lands, she is on the brink of fainting when she arrives at the walls of a house, run by a religious cult, which functions as refuge and hell. Bazterrica’s world is cruel, but that’s because the world is cruel.
“There are people living their own dystopia at this very moment. Women in clandestine brothels being raped dozens of times a day. That is a dystopia. People who live on garbage. That’s another,” says the Argentinian writer, who uses her art history training, her visit to a monastery in Cusco, her exhaustive reading of the Bible and her ordeal at a convent as the seed for a novel where liberation does not seem to exist. With violent scenes of torture and women being sacrificed, Bazterrica again nods to reality: she took them straight out of documents detailing what the Argentine dictatorship did to kidnapped women, and the Inquisition to witches.
Violence against women does not end when the world ends. Margaret Atwood has written about this in The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments. “All it takes is a political, economic or religious crisis to bring women’s rights back into question,” Bazterrica says, recalling a prediction made by Simone de Beauvoir.
This view becomes even more compelling in the face of the U.N.’s persistent warning: women will suffer most from the planet’s crisis. They already make up 80% of all climate-displaced people. “Longer displacements increase exposure to violence outside the home,” says the international organization. The Geneva Centre for Security Policy has additionally found that gender-based violence soars in the aftermath of climate catastrophes. Practices like child marriage also increase. Families in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya, for example, forcibly marry off their daughters to make up for what has been lost in a drought, storm, or through repeat flooding.
In Feral (2022), Mexican writer Gabriela Jáuregui found a way out for women in a world that has withered after seven centuries. “Outside, it still rains blood. Outside, the palm trees die, the pines, the oceans spit out garbage and their monsters, the lakes dry, fill with poison,” goes her description of Mexico. And the women? “We hid ourselves, trembling with fear, with rage, anger, bristling, frazzled. To survive we vibrated so low we were subterranean. We sunk into foreign debris to save the world with each scream.” The women crawled into the earth, created caves, tunnels and burrows, endured without water, began to run on all fours, their long nails became claws. And so they survived, ready to keep a record of what happened. “While above everything burns, that which resists under the earth keeps digging until a possibility of future is built in the midst of catastrophe.”
Poetry in the face of disaster foretold
In 2011, Slovakian poet María Ferencuhová came across photographs of the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Fukushima. She felt the images screamed “emergency” and wound up writing Threatened Species. “But in 2012, it was too early to raise one’s voice over planetary emergency in Slovakia,” she says in an event at FIL Guadalajara, “they thought poetry shouldn’t deal with such issues.” But she didn’t let go.
Years later she published Černozem [Black Earth], in which she explores a universe on the verge of collapse. “With a single exhalation / I will scatter bowls / dishes jugs vinegar tablecloths / dusty flowers books / towels and mattresses / I will break dirty windows / I will scour the earth / I will tear you up by your roots / I will water you with saliva / and let you dry,” she writes in the poem Drought. “We are creating stories about a vanishing world, but we cannot save the world with literature,” says the poet and film critic, who has turned poetry into the only way of channeling the urgency of rescue.
Elisa Díaz Sotelo doesn’t think she has figured it out. “I worry nearly every day about climate change, the sixth extinction in which we are immersed and even so, it is one of those subjects that I have not yet been able to deal with from the poetic,” says the Mexican, who approaches the matter indirectly in her latest collection of poems Planetas inhabitables [Inhabitable planets]. “I arrived at the red continent, where April has another name and one must dig in the earth so that the sun rises and it is daytime. There, the few bees that remain in the world and the synonym of the first words were still alive.”
Faced with this prospect, German creator Judith Schalansky — who has an asteroid named for her and is a collaborator at Oslo’s Future Library, an art project that has been worked on for 100 years and for which she delivered a “secret manuscript” addressed to whatever is left — proposes: “Our stories are wrong. We don’t need to build a hero who saves everything, but instead look for a collaborative project, a solution into which we all fit.” At the same fair, on another day, in another place, Díaz Sotelo offers her own remedy: “Literature is a habitable planet in a world that is less and less habitable. Even if we don’t use it as an escape, it is a way to face the crisis, to start working on it. These are just small worlds where one can stay and feel safe, at least for a while.”
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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20
By Clint Bailey
— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website, Choco.com, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.
Let’s explore the journey of Choco.com and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.
- Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
- Website: www.Choco.com
- Head Office: Berlin, Germany
- Year Established: 2018
- Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
- Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
- Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
- Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
- Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.
Simplifying Supply Chain Management
One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.
Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.
By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.
Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers
Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.
Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste
Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.
Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.
Expanding Reach & Impact
Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.
Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.
Future Of FoodTech
Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.
As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.
We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!
— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
— For More Info. & News Submissions: info@VoiceOfEU.com
— For Anonymous News Submissions: press@VoiceOfEU.com
The Hat Worn By Napoleon Bonaparte Sold For $2.1 Million At The Auction
Yes, that’s $2.1 million!!
The signature broad, black hat, one of a handful still in existence that Napoleon wore when he ruled 19th-century France and waged war in Europe, was initially valued at 600,000 to 800,000 euros ($650,000-870,000). It was the centerpiece of Sunday’s auction collected by a French industrialist who died last year.
But the bidding quickly jumped higher and higher until Jean Pierre Osenat, president of the Osenat auction house, designated the winner.
‘’We are at 1.5 million (Euros) for Napoleon’s hat … for this major symbol of the Napoleonic epoch,” he said, as applause rang out in the auction hall. The buyer, whose identity was not released, must pay 28.8% in commissions according to Osenat, bringing the overall cost to 1.9 million euros ($2.1 million).
While other officers customarily wore their bicorne hats with the wings facing front to back, Napoleon wore his with the ends pointing toward his shoulders. The style, known as “en bataille,” or in battle, made it easier for his troops to spot their leader in combat.
The hat on sale was first recovered by Col. Pierre Baillon, a quartermaster under Napoleon, according to the auctioneers. The hat then passed through many hands before industrialist Jean-Louis Noisiez acquired it.
The entrepreneur spent more than a half-century assembling his collection of Napoleonic memorabilia, firearms, swords and coins before his death in 2022.
The sale came days before the release of Ridley Scott’s film Napoleon with Joaquin Phoenix, which is rekindling interest in the controversial French ruler.
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