After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Which Tango Show?

This is a constant question, and the truth is, I don't have a good answer. Please take the survey (at right) if you've seen a show that you liked.

Cafe de los Angelitos above

Certainly I haven't been to every show in town, nor do I want to. In my opinion, if you've seen one, you've seen them all. They all have in common a live orchestra, a singer or two, and pairs of tango dancers; the music is usually Piazzola, and there is a comedy milonga number, with "historical" costumes; there usually is a scene in a brothel with a knife fight that ends (or begins) with men dancing together.

I admit to being fond of Tango Argentino because it's the first Argentine tango I ever saw--1988 at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood. And I'm partial to Forever Tango because Gavito was in it. I really enjoyed Tanguera because it was much more than a "tango show," and in fact, went twice.

Here are some websites that list several shows with links. It's a tough to get a price on the web, though, but most of the big dinner shows are around $100 usd/person.

Gala Tango above
This site has photos and a listing of more shows.

Rojo Tango

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Where Have All the Theaters Gone?

The famous corner of San Juan y Boedo still bustles after San Lorenzo wins a football game and during the Murgas.

But here in the old Barrio de Tango, it used to be where the elite meet and greet.

The famous cafe on the corner, Esquina Homero Manzi, was the in place to have coffee after going to the theater and then dancing a half a block away in what is now Rodo, a big appliance store. The only sign of the building's old glory days is a large golden angel plaque high up on the back wall, so out of place now in this big bare white space full of refrigerators and vacuum cleaners.

A few decades ago, instead of shorts and flipflops, beautiful people wearing suits and furs came here to dance tango and hear the best live orchestras. And then went to the corner to hang out with Homero Manzi, the famous composer of Sur, and other tango notables.

Two blocks down Boedo, is the Coto supermarket where we shop. I don't know what it was before, but if you stand back you can see it once was a gorgeous elaborate building like so many that have vanished from old Buenos Aires.

I lament that my barrio has no cine, but the building is still there, just a half block away; now it's an evangelical revival temple. Here you can see it from my terrace. Sometimes I can hear the hymn singing on Sundays. But when I want to catch a film, I have a ways to go.

I can only imagine what it used to be like living in Boedo, el barrio de tango.

Monday, February 16, 2009

More on Murgas y Carnaval in Buenos Aires

Here's when and where to catch some of the festivities from the Ministerio de Cultura Gobierno de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires. Just watch out for the spray cans of foam!

Carnaval Porteño ´09: desde el 7 de febrero al 1º de marzo

Los corsos se presentarán los sábados de 19 a 2 y los domingos de 19 a 24.

Abasto: Av. Córdoba entre Agüero y Sanchez de Bustamante.
Almagro: Av. Corrientes entre Medrano y Bulnes.
Bajo Núñez: Ramallo entre Vuelta de Obligado y Arcos.
Balvanera: Av. Independencia entre Matheu y Rincón.
Núñez: Av. Congreso entre Cabildo y Moldes.
Boedo 1: Av. Boedo entre San Juan e Independencia.
Boedo 2: Av. Belgrano entre Columbres y Maza.
Caballito 1: Av. Avellaneda entre N. Oroño y F. Sarmiento.
Caballito 2: Av. Gaona entre Trilles y Boyacá.
Colegiales: Av. Federico Lacroze entre R. Freire y Martínez.
Liniers: Tuyutí entre Carhué y Cosquín.
Lugano 1: Av. Riestra entre Leguizamón y Murguiondo.
Lugano 2: Av. Cruz entre Murguiondo y Lisandro De la Torre.
Mataderos: Av. Alberdi entre Araujo y Av. Escalada.
Monte Castro: Av. Juan B. Justo y Lope de Vega.
Parque Avellaneda: Av. Directorio entre Av. Olivera y Lacarra.
Parque Centenario: Lambaré entre Sarmiento y Corrientes.
Paternal 3: Av. San Martín entre Juan B. Justo y Seguí.
Piedrabuena: 2 de abril entre Av. General Paz y Montiel.
Pompeya 1: Av. Cruz entre Las Palmas y Av. La Plata.
Pompeya 2: Av. Perito Moreno entre Ochoa y Taborda.
Saavedra 1: Av. Balbín entre Plaza y Machain.
Saavedra 3: Av. Balbín entre Pico y Arias.
San Telmo: Av. San Juan entre Bolívar y Balcarce.
Villa Crespo: Av. Scalabrini Ortiz entre Av. Corrientes y Padilla.
Villa del Parque: Av. Nazca entre Lascano y Baigorria.
Villa Pueyrredón: Moscóni entre Terrada y Bolivia.
Villa Urquiza: Av. Triunvirato entre Roosevelt y Rivera.
Versalles: Jonte entre Juan B. Justo y Barragán.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Remembering Enrique

It was with mixed emotions that I arrived at Region Leonesa for the milonga. Last week was so much fun, and this week we all were remembering that Enrique is no longer with us. And suddenly I recalled that for the first time in memory, a week ago Enrique walked way down to our table and kissed us. He never has done that. Normally he sat right by the door to greet people. But last week he came to kiss us. Now that we know he was to pass away the following day, it feels like he came to say goodbye.

So it was difficult to go and not see him in his usual place, to know we never will see him again on earth.

I've known Enrique since he had a milonga at Italia Unita, and then when he was at Celia's. And then for many years at Leonesa, where Ruben and I first danced together four years ago. Enrique and the Milonga de los Consagrados have been a huge part of my life, Ruben's life, and our tango professional life.

Last night the mood was somber in the salon. Perhaps because it was Valentine's Day and some folks had other plans, but mainly it was because we all were missing the presence of Enrique. There was a minute early on--not of silence--but of applause, for his life, for his contribution to tango, for the person he was.

Daniel and Miriam, Enrique's children, plan to continue the milonga as always. Good luck to them--they have big footsteps to follow.

Last night they made a presentation. Ruben and I were called up and given this gorgeous pergamino (certificate) that everyone had signed. Para Ruben y Cherie: La Milonga de los Consagrados les agradece su apoyo incondicioal y su constante presencia.

And here are the Valentine roses that Ruben brought to the milonga for me--and I like to think for Enrique as well.

Photo by SallyCat.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Murga, Corso, Carnaval? I'm still trying to figure it all out!

Last weekend, being the first weekend of February, the barricades and bandstands came out here in Boedo (as well as all over Buenos Aires), for the Murga.

It is very easy to confuse the Murgas with the other special events held in Latin countries (as well as New Orleans) at this same time of year, events based on music, dancing, singing, and costumes.

BUT. There's no nudity at the Murgas (check out the typical covered-up costumes below), the special dance to the distinctive bass drum has nothing to do with the sexy samba, and the songs often are political. Plus the Murgas have nothing whatsoever to do with Lent. Besides watching and imbibing, traditionally the spectators spray each other with cans of soapy foam. (Watch out for your eyes.)

Now Carnival, or Carnaval, is all about having fun, and having as much as possible before Ash Wednesday (40 days before Easter), when Catholic life turns away from the pleasures of the flesh to remember Christ's suffering in the wilderness and the agony which is to come. Live today because tomorrow we die sort of thing.

Thus Carnaval celebrates eating, drinking, dancing, partying, and sex. In the long distant past, Carnaval was only celebrated on the night before Ash Wednesday--Mardi Gras, (Fat Tuesday in France.) But then it was so much fun--and such a tourist attraction--that Carnaval stretched itself out for weeks, especially in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro, Guayleguachu, Argentina, and Venice, Italy. As luck would have it, February is hotter than heck in Rio and Argentina, so it's only natural to dance 3/4 naked, right? But it's winter in Venice, and so the wardrobe of Carnaval is elegant--and warm.

Now Corso is the parade--floats, dancers in feathers, bands--and if there is a special place for the Corso (as in Guayleguachu), it's called the Corsodromo--with grandstands for the spectators.

A friend sent me this photo below from Venice. It was a dream of my late husband and me to go one year, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. I'm sure he's watching now, dressed in his own angel wings.

Here I am participating in the Carnaval parade in Evian-Les-Bains, France, as a Dalmatian. I remember it was SO cold (March 4), that I had enough layers under my costume to make me feel and look like a sausage--no feathers here!

If you pay attention to the lyrics of tango, you will notice how much of the letra is about Carnaval!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Your Advice Requested

I have a problem.

Thank goodness I have lots of friends and acquaintances. But how should I respond and how should I feel when people write to me to ask what's new, what have I been doing? People who know I write a blog and have the URL to tangocherie?

I feel that if someone really is interested, they will check my blog once in a while. Then they will know about our trip to Tigre, that Ruben's car was stolen, that we danced an exhibition in Boedo Tango.

Is it necessary that I rewrite this news in private emails to these people? Am I wrong to feel offended?

Please give me your advice. I'm not at all worried that the folks in question will read this.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Enrique Rosich

"El Gordo" Enrique Rosich, the organizer of the Milonga de los Consagrados died today alone at his home. He was one of the oldest milonga organizers in Buenos Aires, and he made his milonga the very best. His son will continue to keep us dancing on Saturday afternoons at the Region Leonesa.

The Velatorio will be tomorrow, Monday, February 9, from 8-10 a.m. at Maximo Paz 501, Lanus Oeste, Provincia de Buenos Aires

Gordo, que descans en paz.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tagged in Another Photo Meme

Johanna tagged me for a photo meme.

It's fine for her and for TangoBaby and other photographer bloggers out there, but I'm just a snapshotter. And anyway, I didn't even take this one, but it's on my Flickr account.

Choose the 4th image on the 4th page of your online photostream (whichever service you use).

So this is it, folks--my 4x4 Flickr image:
If I were to just choose a favorite photo, it would be one of the many I've taken of the Buenos Aires sky from my terrace.

One very hot summer night Ruben and I were "tagged" to do an impromptu show in the Esquina Osvaldo Pugliese in Boedo. We were with a couple of students, and Mary was kind enough to lend me her Comme Il Fauts so I didn't have to dance in flipflips!

So I pass on the challenge to Beatrice, Joli, Jackson, and anyone else who cares to do it.

Just don't blame me, ok?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Generation Y in Cuba

Currently running on Argentinian TV is an "expose" of life in Cuba, initiated perhaps by the timing of Argentina's El Presidenta visiting Cuba and chatting with Fidel on Obama's inauguration day.

I have an especial affinity in my heart for Cuba. Ever since I left the theater after The Buena Vista Social Club and bought a ticket to Havana, I feel connected to the small island nation that has had so much trouble with the U.S. I was thrilled to receive a license from the U.S. Treasury Dept. to conduct tours there.

I devour anything on Cuba, as many of you know, and have visited the island six times since 2000. (You can read here my 2007 post on dancing in Havana.)

And so last week I learned from Argentinian TV about the award-winning Cuban blogger, Yoani Sanchez, who writes for cyberspace, somehow and against all odds, from Havana. Her eye-opening and heart-tugging blog, Generation Y, is available in English, and is required reading for anyone interested in this amazing 500 year old country, 90 miles from Miami.

Especially poignant is her post, Come and Live It, for all travelers who would like to know what life in the "real" modern Cuba is like.

Dance, Don't Think!

...To dance thinking is the
least advisable way, it restricts to the maximum every creative
impulse. Dance is emotion, senses, instinct.

--Pablo Veron, in El Tangauta, December 2008.

Or as Ruben always says in lessons, Dance! Don't think!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Want to Dance Stage Tango?

My faithful readers know how I feel about
students learning stage tango moves and
then coming to Buenos Aires
expecting to dance them in the milongas.

But of course there are dancers who want
to learn to dance stage tango from the
getgo; the same as ballet dancers
learning how to dance in ballets.
They have no interest at all in
tango social dancing
--another dance form altogether.

I recently received an announcement for
a stage tango course (which started
last week in New York).

A partner is required.

And the course was full before it even started.

I am so curious as to who the participants are,
seeing as in New York there aren't
many tango stage shows to audition for.
Maybe a lot of the students are
Dancing With
the Stars wannabes?
Or perhaps they are ballet dancers who hope
to dance in a Julio Bocca tango ballet?

Don't get me wrong: I believe in any and all forms
of dance studies. The more we have control over our
bodies, the more we can express with them.
I just think nothing can beat ballet training
for professional stage dancers. With ballet
technique nailed, the steps of
stage tango are a piece of cake.

Maybe this Tango-Pointe shoe 
should be required

More information at

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Gotan Boyanka!

This Bulgarian girl, Boyanka Angelova, is amazing. Her music is Milonga del Amor by the Gotan Project--which in my opinion is better suited to rhythmic gymnastics than dancing tango.