An expat Californian building a new life via the tango in Buenos Aires since 2003, including information on learning the tango and where to dance it in Buenos Aires.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Puerto Madero Nights

As it happened, Ruben and I were in Puerto Madero two times in two days! This after many months. It's so perfect to go there on summer nights, where it's cooler, and in truth, it's another world. Last summer we went there to dance along the river (la costanera) where a DJ sets up his booth and passes the hat.

After the milonga de Los Consagrados on Saturday, we were invited by Alberto and Lily to go there with them for a drink. We ended up at a trendy bar with rock music so loud I couldn't concentrate on the gorgeous full moon rising over the river.











Two days later, our friends and students, Bill and Mary from Minneapolis, invited us to their farewell dinner at La Cabana de las Lilas, one of the very best parrilla restaurants in the city, and this one with a fabulous view of the river.


















Amid all this trendiness and haute cuisine and glamour, right next door there is a government "soup kitchen", comedor communitario, organized by Raul Castells, which feeds the hungry of Buenos Aires.


Empanadas are like tacos, right?

Diva on Buenos Aires Through My Eyes posted this video publicizing the Argentine Film Fest in Los Angeles last year. It is SO L.A., but maybe you have to be from there to laugh as hard as I did!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY





At Ciudad Oculta, Slum 15 in Mataderos, Fundación PH15 teaches kids to photograph their dreams and sorrows.

Read more here and here:

Mira Quien Esta En Diostango??



Remember when a picture was worth 1,000 words?

Ah, but that was before computers and photo software!

This picture below of Ruben, Divya (our student from Bombay) and me appeared in the latest issue of Diostango.

Guillermo Thorp, the publisher, took several shots the night of Ruben's birthday celebration at Los Consagrados. But in the group shot with friends and students, I blinked.

And so Guillermo PhotoShopped Divya into another one. She is so lovely (Guillermo had a tanda with her that night), he was bound and determined to get her into his magazine with everyone's eyes wide open!

Friday, February 22, 2008

El Esquina Carlos Gardel




How fabulous to be taken to tourist spots by visiting friends, places where we never otherwise get to go!



Kevin from L.A. and Anu from Finland, wanted to see a tango show, so off we went to Abasto, and to the Esquina Carlos Gardel, the biggest and most famous of the tango espectaculos














On this same corner, Chanta Cuatro opened its doors in 1893 as a two-floor restaurant and hotel. There was a bochas alley, a traditional game at that time, and the reason for the peculiar name.

The old restaurant, where Carlitos actually hung out, was gutted and turned into an elegant Las Vegas-type show-room in black and white, photos of the greats from the Golden Age of Tango lining the walls.

What an operation! With two shows a night and 1000 dinners to serve to the hordes of tourists who usually come in buses, it is so well organized, well Ruben said it, not me, that the owner is for sure a Gallego, and not an Argentine!

Excellent, attentive service, but no-nonsense:
Sorry, sir, we have no steak knives to cut your 3-inch thick Angus bife de Chorizo (all the waiters speak English). Good food, lots of wine included, the show is on and then you're out of there. But not before, just like in Vegas, you've purchased your photos with the dancers in an assembly line shoot, more photos at the table, CDs, and DVDs. It's packaged superbly, and the tourist gets lots of bang for his lots of bucks.



The show includes the usual suspects with a live tango orchestra. Juan Carlos Copes dances with his daughter, Johana. (Am I the only one who finds that weird?)



Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The More Things Change...





Only a short time ago, it took me an hour a day to catch up on reading new posts on my favorite blogs. Since so many have gone private, or stopped allowing comments, or have gone by the wayside, I now whip through the list before I finish my first cup of coffee.

I miss them. Already I'm looking back with nostalgia at 2007, the Golden Age of Tango Blogging!

I learned years and years ago on the Tango-L, that there are people sitting behind their computers all over the world just waiting to take out their frustrations and anger on innocent posters.

My first flame (and not the romantic kind either) had to do with my coming back to L.A. from Denver's first close-embrace weekend and posting to Tango-L about how great it was. I received long, long private letters from two organizers of L.A. tango, calling me every dirty name in the book, and alluding to my having a bad moral character. I mean those letters were masterpieces of sarcasm and nastiness.

I'm still on the Tango-L list, but I watch my back and rarely post. I've heard it all anyway over the years. I'm also on a Yahoo group list, BANewcomers, which is a fantastic source of information and helpfulness. Still, there are the flamers, those who are so ready to take offense at the least little thing. (This week was a flame war over a woman's post that expressed her frustrations in living here. I mean, really hot flames of racism and name calling.)

So I understand why, after putting your heart, soul, and life out there for all the world to see and criticize on a blog, some people have decided to pull in their heads and tails.

Yesterday I had some extra time and I posted to a new forum about buying tango shoes, and where to go to a tango cena-show. I was a reference librarian; I like to help people with information. Hoo boy!! I got my head taken off for the trouble because my responses were too late for that particular tourist's trip to Buenos Aires. The thread wasn't closed, and the questions were classic, so I thought someone else might find the answer useful.

But I learned my lesson.

So far I've been really lucky with my blog, and the only negative comments I've ever received in two years of tangocherie, were about my post on the nudity in Melina Brufman's tango show. I got a real kick out of the argument that ensued. So, so far I appreciate every comment and publish them all. But I suppose if I were harassed and hassled over and over, like several blogger friends have told me they were, I'd reconsider my options.
WORDLESS WEDNESDAY





It was two years ago in Los Angeles that I first saw the astonishing exhibit of photographs by Greg0ry Colbert, Ashes and Snow. Erected on the sands of Santa Monica just like Cirque du Soleil, the show comes self-contained with its own multi-media gallery. Next stop: Mexico City.

The photos aren't faked or PhotoShopped, but taken with lots of patience to illustrate the union of humans and animals.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


The Great Cafés: Confitería Ideal, Buenos Aires

An article by Terence Clarke, part of The Great Cafes series,
came out yesterday, the same time as my local rag, Desde Boedo, published a poetical piece, Buenos Aires 41 en la Ideal, by Edgardo Lois.

La Ideal has been a significant presence in my tango life. A previous post, Midnight Service at the Church of Tango, likens the old hall to a cathedral. The Tango Ghost lives there, as well as the spirits of thousands of great dancers, musicians, wannabees, and lookyloos. La Confiteria Ideal has been the center of Tango Buenos Aires for milongueros, tourists, movies, encuentros for decades--if the walls could talk, they would recite an encyclopedia of stories.

I myself in my 11 years of dancing tango, have at least one book of stories and tango tales from La Ideal.

Not much has changed since I first went there in 1997, when there was no running water in the ladies' room.

That has been more or less repaired, as well as a big hole in the granite dance floor, but everything else just continues to deteriorate. Oh the clothes I've ruined on the splintered old wooden chairs! The personal relationships I've made and lost and watched in the tarnished mirrors lining the walls.

The famous incident of a couple of years ago when a chandelier fell onto a milonguero whose wife thought he had gone out to make photocopies. Maybe a result of the Phantom of La Ideal taking revenge on all the married people who go there secretly to dance?




Everyone who has danced tango in Buenos Aires has a story of La Confiteria Ideal. Even though I rarely go there anymore (without a student), long may this faded Belle Epoch temple of tango stand.
May el duende de tango live long and prosper in La Ideal.

Milongueando!





Los Reyes de Tango playing D'Arienzo's greatest hits! Count 'em, FOUR bandoneones.


















































































































Susana Miller y Cacho Dante



Friday night in La Nacional, we were invited to the special milonga of the Milongueando en Buenos Aires festival. The salon in the elegant but decrepit Asociacion Italiana was packed to the gilded rafters and I honestly don't know how they squeezed everybody in.

We had the perfect table, front row in the middle. The student participants from the week-long festival were in attendance as well as the teachers, and several local milongueros. It was impossible to dance. Really. So we did a half tanda to Calo because it's "my" orchestra (D'Arienzo is Ruben's), and a couple of milongas and then we just sat back to drink champagne and enjoy the show.


The exhibitions were nice, although El Flaco Dany was off his game. Maria Plazaola was beautiful and very, very pregnant. I really liked Ruben
Harymbat and Alicia Pons dancing, he of the very special style of picking up his feet and she of the gorgeous feet. Tete's vals with Silvia was flowing, nice, making a charming point of leading with his impressive panza milonguera. Coca wore some gorgeous new sexy shoes.

The finale was the best, when everyone danced and then changed partners, even some same-sex couples. Tete leading Osvaldo was a riot. The mood was light-hearted and warm (as well as the actual temperature).

What delight to be at a festival full of foreign tangueros and teachers and everyone dancing estilo milonguero! No ganchos, no jumps, no turning women upside down. We felt right at home.

And when the Reyes de Tango broke into Loca, the new energy made the crowded salon sparkle.




I can't believe that this is me at 4 a.m.!! My eyes are actually open, if bloodshot.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Oscar-Nominated Tango Short Film




Argentine Tangos,
or Tanghi Argentini (Belgium, 13 min.) by Guido Thys and Anja Daelemans is up for an Academy Award next week. A strange and quirky short film about a nebbishy Walter Mitty-type office worker, who gets an Internet date on the condition that he learns to dance the tango -- for which passion and poetry are the key ingredients. Our guy has neither. What to do? He begs his imperious boss to teach him, with mischievously ambiguous results.

Now how long before it'll be on the internet for download?

UPDATE Feb. 25: The winner was 'Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets)'

Thursday, February 14, 2008

For My Valentine


















FOR MY VALENTINE


Querido, I never told you how I truly feel
Hiding my feelings is far from ideal
Never shall I kiss someone else's lips
Never will we make any boring trips

I would rather have you than a million bucks
You are like a black swan amidst ordinary ducks
Words cannot express
How beautiful you are, no matter how you dress

Querido, you mean so much to me
I never knew this could be
You are my sweetheart day by day
I hope you will never dance away

This tango shoe is for you, I hope you will like it
Because to me, you are my biggest hit
This poem has come to an end
I look forward to our next event


Want to create your own love poems to your Valentine with only a few clicks? Go to Festisite.

For more do-it-yourself sentiment, check out last year's Valentine post for R y C's Romance Novels:


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Filete Porteño



What a great idea to cover the Obelisco with the quintessential Buenos Aires designs! (Or is it?) I do really like his name of Totem Porteno. It's so accurate and uh, masculine.

This artist Jorge Muscia won a grant in 1995 for his proposal above.
From the Portal de Tango website:

Etymologically the word “filete” comes from the Latin “filum” (thread) and it means "fine line serving as ornament". Its equivalent in English is fillet; in French, filet and in Italian, filetto.

In Buenos Aires, the terms “Filete” and “Fileteado Porteño” are used interchangeably to refer to the popular pictorial art that emerged in this city between the late 19th century and early 20th century. “Fileteadores”, on the other hand, were the artists that developed this unique visual art.

The Filete Porteño has its origin in the decorative art of greengrocers, milkmen and bakers’ carts, which later expanded to other animal-drawn vehicles and finally, trucks and buses. More recently, this technique has been used in architecture to embellish restaurants, bars, house interiors, furniture and objects.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tangocherie's Blogworld












Who hasn't Googled themselves at one time or another for curiosity and/or ego fuel? While not Googling myself but checking my blog stats, I found a few blogs of other internet Cheries. So then I searched for more just so I could see the graphics with my name on them(!), many of which I copied and put in this post. Why? Just to see more graphics with my name on them, I suppose. These other blogs are a country singer's fansite, family, a bakery, Christian, everything but tango (thank goodness!)

While pursuing this worthwhile enterprise, I noticed that the favorite logo colors of other internet Cheries are pink and blue.

This black one is kind of special because my youngest son is named Jason and I guess I like how our names look good together. (My oldest son is named Adam and I sadly didn't see any Adam & Cherie blogs.)





























Do I have too much time on my hands or what? Actually, I'd rather be dancing!

Friday, February 08, 2008

So Many Stories!


SO MANY STORIES!

What a lovely surprise to see by chance tangocherie
selected on the So Many Stories blog as outstanding!
That's great praise from anyone, let alone a general, not a tango, blog!

Here's what they say about us:

I stumbled across this blog through Wordless Wednesday. When I first looked at it, I thought I was just looking at someone’s family blog. The first photo showed a group of smiling people and, to be honest, really didn’t grab my attention. I had made a promise to myself that I would be good with leaving comments, not just pop in, look and go, so I read the description and that caught me. Cherie is a dancer, a tango teacher and a writer. Her descriptions of the dance competitions and the places they are held are fascinating and full of flavor. She writes with compassion but also enough of a distance so you feel as if you are getting a written snapshot. Her latest entries are about Cuba and the day to day lives of its people and once again I am reminded that it’s the little details that bring things to life.

Muchisimas gracias, somanystories.com!
I'm glad you like my stories, as I've got so many more!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

More Barrio Mio!

M


Last night after their tango lesson, our wonderful students from Minnesota, Bill and Mary, very kindly invited us to dinner to celebrate their last night in Buenos Aires. What a perfect opportunity to show them our Boedo!







First we had a tasty parrilla dinner at the packed and lively Cafe Margot.












Then we walked down to Esquina Homero Manzi to have coffee, but their tango show was going on. We walked back to Esquina Pugliese, where they were also having a show, but we were welcomed to come in.


Next thing we knew, Ruben and I were on on the tiny stage dancing two tangos as part of the show! (Luckily Mary lent me her new Comme Il Fauts.)








As Ruben put Mary and Bill in a taxi, I snapped a picture of another of those ugly public art sculptures, as yet still unfenced. (see previous post below)



What is this thing anyway? Is this what makes Boedo "Bohemian?"