Dazed Digital


Gran Avenida

March 28, 2012

Journalist Ignacio Franzani hosts the latest show on Chile's public TV channel exploring real life Santiago streets

  • Text by Nico Castro

There are plenty of ways to show a city on national television. Chile's TVN, the national equivalent to BBC, chose Gran Avenida (as in Great Avenue, the name of one the main streets in town) hosted by journalist Ignacio Franzani. This inspried show is not studio based. Instead, he meets different public characters in the streets of the city, where they explore the places that inspire them, with a candid chat along the way. We spoke to Franzani about the show, its goals and his own favourite spots in town.

Satellite Voices: How did "Gran Avenida" happen and what would you say is its mission on national TV?
Ignacio Franzani:
It is a show that places the streets, the people and regular citizens as main characters within our agenda. It works without a TV set and goes out to public spaces to find artists, creators and authors. It responds to the need of gathering and rescuing our idiosyncrasy, our popular culture, and getting to know the noteworthy artists in their intimacy and creative spots, more than stuck in a stage.

SV: Could you tell us in advance some of the characters and places that you're gonna show on the first episodes?
Ignacio Franzani:
Giorgio Jackson, leader of the student's revolution, and El Compadre Moncho, a cult TV personality. We'll be seeing the new Persa Bío-Bío gastronomic route, where in the middle of antique stores, vinyls, spare parts and junk you can find the best Thai, Mexican, Colombian or Peruvian dishes to taste.

SV: What are the strengths of the city that are going to be seen on your show?
Ignacio Franzani:
We'll see the real Santiago here. We've become tourists in our own city and have discovered that many times we protect visitors by showing them only a brief glimpse. We take them for a ride with dark windows only to sightseeing places. On Gran Avenida we get closer to people that goes where you can see the real side of Chile, with its contrasts, faces, colours, tastes. It's an organic version of Chile. I recommend the "La Bicicleta Verde" tours, as well as the bicipaseos.cl, which is a patrimonial tour with historians that's also for free!

SV: What's your opinion of the present version of Santiago and how do you feel it's shown on TV?
Ignacio Franzani:
Santiago has grown a lot in the past years. You can tell there's a strong progress in terms of constructions, highways and public spaces, but at the same time it shows a less visible social inequality close to the suburbs. This is a city of powerful contrasts. 

SV: What are your top five places in Santiago?
Ignacio Franzani:
Persa Bío-Bío, by far. I've been loving that street market for years now - it holds a massive tradition. Its history has existed since the Spanish colony and you can find everything there. From a bolt to that Beach Boys's lost edition vinyl; Calle Mac Iver, at the heart of the city's downtown. It's a good spot to impregnate yourself with some Santiago's hustle and bustle. You can stop by El Completo to have the best hot dog in town with a tradition of 30 years; Bar Liguria, a traditional Chilean restaurant. It never fails; Vega Central, with its colours and flavors. There you canned find the best fruits, vegetables and portraits of Santiago; and Parque Bicentenario, a pretty new park that suits for a nice walk. It's the ideal picnic spot. 

Gran Avenida airs every Tuesday night at midnight, on Televisión Nacional de Chile (TVN, Channel 7)

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