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.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ushuaia Prison Museum; Carlos Gardel -- a Convict?

Will tangocherie ever stop blabbing about her cruise around Cape Horn?

Eventually. But for now that glorious trip still sticks in her mind as one heck of a fabulous AH HA! for two weeks of experiencing, enjoying, teaching tango, and learning about Argentina and Chile.

And in the best of all ports, Ushuaia, I learned in the Prison Museum that our Tango God, Carlos Gardel, purportedly served time! I tried to find out for what, but it seems that it's just another Gardel myth, like his birth place and real name, among others.

As with all icons, don't try too hard to find the truth. And so the powers that be of the Museum have made the most of the myth by decorating his supposed cell with a mural and stories about the "Charles Gardés" incarcerated there in the early teens of the 20th Century (see bottom photo).

No matter who the actual prisoners were, it's a fact that they constructed the prison from 1902 to 1920. They also built the railroad, the southernmost railway in the world, and just about everything else in the little port town of Ushuaia at the End of the World. The prisoners did everything important in the town, from logging, telephones, newspaper, electricity, and the fire station. The jail also had several ships, which makes sense when you think about how prisoners got there and how isolated is the port.

The building's circular area in the first photo above was the convicts' latrine. The sign is sure prettier than the reality.

More info here (in Spanish.)

Read here the Letter refuting Gardel's imprisonment by Juan Carlos Esteban.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oh No, Maxi!

Maximiliano Guerra is the heir of Julio Bocca and his Ballet Argentino. Maxi is the ballet rock star of Argentina since Bocca retired, and I've been thrilled to watch him on stage doing his classical thing many times. This past year I've also had the pleasure of watching him as one of the judges on TV's Talento Argentino.

But by chance I caught him on Mirtha Legrand's talk show yesterday, where he appeared with Mora Godoy, to promote, guess what? His new tango dinner show, Puerto Buenos Aires, in Madero Tango. I guess just because someone is a great and respected talent, it doesn't preclude him jumping on the bandwagon to earn lots of tourist dollars; Buenos Aires can't seem to have enough of those darned tango shows that tour buses flock to every night. Even Clarin called the show tango for export.

But I somehow expected more of Maxi, the gorgeous ballet warrior god.

Just goes to show that not even the greatest and most highly trained Argentine dancer can dance tango well. And proves that some things just don't translate.

Check out Maxi's tango here:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Miss Cherie's advice on how to successfully crash a milonga in Buenos Aires;

There's been some discussion around tango bloggerville about behavior in BsAs milongas. Here's a repeat of a post more than two-years old. Some things are classic.

I enter the dance hall alone. Wearing a simple black dress, I pull out all the stops for a dramatic arrival, sweeping through the crowd behind the maitre d’ to a table on the edge of the dance floor. I walk tall and straight as if I were the headliner on stage at the Follies Bergeres. I make sure everyone sees me. If I had a full length fur, I’d drag it on the floor behind me. Then I cross my legs, and fan myself with a red Spanish fan.

I look around the room for partners with expectation and animation, seeking the eyes of men I would like to dance with. I’ve already changed into my tango shoes in the lobby or the taxi. I’m ready to dance and it shows. The only time I leave my table is to accept an invitation to dance or to go to the ladies’ room. Waiters bring my drinks, and there is no table hopping. When a stranger asks me to dance, I immediately am enclosed in his intimate embrace as if we were exchanging a loving hug, my arm around his neck, his breath on my cheek. Where am I?

You can be sure it’s in Buenos Aires.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


But Ruben can handle it!
This was the tanda of tropical last Saturday night at Los Consagrados.

(Check out Ruben's famous tango gang dance here.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It takes two (Argentina and Uruguay) to tango

The Rio de la Plata divides Argentina and Uruguay.

Argentina and Uruguay united over the tango? I never thought I'd see the day, but now the two countries are petitioning Unesco, the UN cultural heritage organization, to protect tango as the cultural heritage of both. The two countries have historically argued over all things tango, including which side of the Rio Plata tango comes from and where Carlos Gardel was born.

Not quite sure what advantage will come out of Unesco status, but it's always a good thing.
A decision will be made in September.

Maybe Unesco protection will prevent foreigners from distorting tango into nuevo, alternativo, quilombo, or the growing-in-popularity, tango boludo.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

"Enjoy the Tango of Learning Spanish" by Demian Gawianski

If you are a tango dancer and want to learn Argentinian Spanish, or Castellano, this method will increase your knowledge in both areas. One of our students from Seattle swears by it. It's a super idea because many tangueros want to increase their knowledge of Castellano during their study of tango, to better understand the lyrics of the tangos, and to understand the classes they take with Argentinian teachers.

Two CDs are included in the set.

Read my friend Sallycat's blog entry on learning Spanish here.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Step- Film Short: Lonely Woman Dances Tango

Here it is, full of all tango cliches: loneliness, cigarettes, alcohol, sex.
My problem with it is that probably it is all too true in many instances.
So here it is for your viewing pleasure and comments:

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cuando Un Abrazo Es Necesario

Tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy was about the healing properties of hugs. How a hug can calm a panic attack, slow the heart rate, and bring about a general feeling of well being.

Of course all of us tangueros know the importance of the embrace. But perhaps some don't know it also has medical benefits.

There are many current studies proving that dancing tango helps folks with medical conditions--Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Down's, depression. Even without official research, those of us who dance it know we always feel better afterwards, no matter what was bothering us physically or emotionally when we arrived at the salon. It's the endorphins, the exercise, the sheer fact of being held tightly in someone's arms.

We can spend an evening embracing friends and moving to music, or we can get our hugs for free on the street. This collage is from photos taken in Berlin during their Free Hugs Campaign. For more info, check out Abrazos Gratis.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Pedro's Parrilla

Last week on a beautiful autumn night, my old friend Pedro Sanchez invited us to his home for an asado.

Great folks, great food (including a whole baby pig--before anyone thought about the current news from Mexico), and of course, Tango was there too.

Wish you had been there as well!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Expresiones Tangueras -- Last Chance to See

My lovely artist friend from Australia, Jan Rae, a tanguera herself, has an exhibition at the Borges Center of her tango paintings. Hurry, it closes soon.

Lunes a sábado de 10 a 21 hs.
Domingos de 12 a 21 hs.

Entrada general $ 10,00.-
Entradas estudiantes y jubilados $ 7,00.-

Centro Cultural Borges
Viamonte esq. San Martín

More Jan Rae on tangocherie here and here.