Roberto Segarra

November 23, 2018

September 16, 1920 – November 21, 2018

Roberto con su novia Olga Gomez en Club Fulgor de Villa Crespo

Roberto con su novia Olga Gomez

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Carlos Herrera

October 12, 2018

October 12, 1934 —

I almost didn’t recognize Carlos when I saw him on Wednesday at El Beso, but I did recognize his embrace.  I didn’t know if he recognized me since we have not danced together in more than two years.  I was happy to see him, and he invited me for two tandas.

Mario Hector Camartino

October 10, 2018

October 10, 1928 —

It’s been two months since I went to a milonga.  Mario invited me to celebrate his birthday at El Beso, and I didn’t want to miss seeing him.

There are two chandeliers hanging over the dance floor adding an elegant touch to the salon.

Viviana with Mario in El Beso for the 90th birthday party

Dora with Mario in El Beso for his 90th birthday party

I was so happy to see Mario for the first time since his birthday party in 2017.

Mario with his friend Carlos who always wears a suit and tie for the milonga. My wish came true when Carlos invited me to dance. It was so comfortable dancing with him. Later he invited me again for the Troilo tanda. Lucky me!

 

Milongas are no longer on my agenda

August 20, 2018

I used to go to a milonga three or four times a week.  I’ve gone only five times this year to a milonga.  It’s not that I don’t love the music and dance as always.  My incentive was knowing that I would dance tandas with two or three milongueros.  They are gone from the milongas for various reasons.  The milongas aren’t the same without them.

Roberto was one of my favorites.  We danced at El Arranque and Lo de Celia.  I haven’t seen him for a long time and don’t know if he is still dancing. What I wouldn’t give for another tanda with him!  I feel his embrace just thinking about him. We shared tango.

I had a weekly meltdown with Hector Giocci in Lo de Celia Tango Club.  But he dances all night long with Sarah.  How lucky she is.  I would love to dance all night with him.

It was a privilege dancing with Ismael Heljalil.  Every woman who had the pleasure of a tanda with him knows tango is all about feeling and sharing the moment.

I loved dancing Anibal Serena (who turned 86 on August 3).  He was a regular on Sunday at Lo de Celia, but now…

Carlos Herrera was another one of my favorite partners in Lo de Celia.  I knew his kind heart from his embrace.

Tito Aquino is gone, but not from my heart.  Every tango by Carlos Di Sarli evokes the memory of his embrace in the many tangos we shared for years.

Clodomiro (Tito) Ortega is another man with whom I would love dancing all night long.

Certain tangos always bring Alito to my thought.  I miss him so much.

Roberto danced differently to each orchestra, and proved to me tango is a feeling.  We taught together for several years.  I share what I learned from him in free private classes to anyone who is interested.  I danced all night in Lo de Celia with Roberto.  Lucky me.

A free concert agenda at the Centro Cultural Kirchner, Usina del Arte, Congreso de la Nacion Argentina, and other venues now replaces my milonga agenda.

Homogenized and prepackaged tango

July 26, 2018

Today the dancing is all so homogenized and prepackaged for exhibition. You don’t see social dancers wearing dresses with high slits, but that’s standard for exhibition couples today. You don’t see social dancers standing six feet apart to begin a dance, but that’s how “salon” is marketed today. Most of what is done in today’s exhibitions is a far cry from actual social dancing in the milongas of BsAs. While the champions are doing their perfect choreographies, social tango is falling by the wayside. When the masses no longer dance socially, it will be the death of tango. Dance floors aren’t big enough for all the egos that want attention.

 

Originally posted to Dance Forum, Jan. 17, 2014

Hugo Diaz

July 19, 2018

January 18, 1948 – July 18, 2018

Hugo started dancing tango late in life.  He was too busy working long hours as a bus driver.  Then he bought a service station on the highway and turned it over to his sons to manage. They live very well, thanks to Hugo’s hard work.

He loved tango so much that he went every evening to the milongas at Obelisco Tango, Lo de Celia, Club Gricel, Nuevo Chique and others.  Smoking was another habit of his.  He had a heart attack at home.

It is unfortunate that Hugo couldn’t realize his dream of organizing a milonga in the lower level of his historical landmark house on Chile in Montserrat.  The project was  started years ago with an architect, but his sons, who are joint owners of the house, didn’t have any interest in it.  Hugo rented rooms to foreign tango visitors.

 

Antonio Busto

July 15, 2018

September 29, 1936 — June 28, 2018

Antonio started dancing when he was 14 or 15 years old, practicing with other boys in the neighborhood. His favorite orchestras were Anibal Troilo (with Francisco Fiorentino) and Osvaldo Pugliese. It’s difficult to talk about the milongas without making comparisons about the way they were and the way they are today with so many foreigners. He said there is so much mediocrity in the milongas. He mentioned the places he went to dance in his younger years: Club Buenos Aires, Club Oeste, Club Premier, Club Social Rivadavia, and Palacio Rivadavia. Everyone danced well in Club Buenos Aires, his favorite place. He is sorry to see men wearing sneakers in the milongas. Although he says that many foreigners dance well, they are completely changing the milongas of Buenos Aires.  How true.

Antonio was one of only two milongueros who went to visit Alito in the hospital and the geriatrico.  He stopped dancing in the milongas six years ago after a stroke and dealing with Parkinson’s.  Video

His son Ruben wrote me through this blog to let me know of Antonio’s passing.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

June 15, 2018

Retirement has its perks, and one of them is free time to talk with friends in the late afternoon over tea.  John Morton and I have done this regularly during his visits over the last few years.

Bar de Cao on Av. Independencia and only one block from my apartment, was our afternoon place for tea and long talks.  It’s more than 100 years old and is a preserved historical landmark.

This is tea service at the Eloisa Coffee Shop.

Tea time, known as merienda in Buenos Aires, is a tradition for late afternoon since portenos don’t eat their last meal of the day until after 21 hs.  Cafe con leche or te con medialunas is perfect.

John is a regular customer of the Eloisa Coffee Shop (corner of Riobamba & Peron) which has a casual atmosphere.

We sat on the sofa in the rear for more than two hours, and no one asked us to pay the bill and leave.  Most cafes have the daily newspapers for their customers.

Our next outing was to the historic corner of Cafe de Los Angelitos (Av. Rivadavia y Junin) where the Gardel/Razzano duo once performed for patrons.

The waiter easily convinced us pan dulce would go so well with our tea.  It was the best.  We could have ordered another serving, but we both resisted the temptation.

The service is excellent, and the atmosphere feels like you’ve gone back in time to the 1920s.  Photos of tango celebrities cover the walls, and there’s a dinner/tango show in the intimate theater.

We were walking in the Retiro neighborhood one afternoon, so we made a point of going to the French Embassy mansion so Claudine could see it for the first time.  When it started to rain, I suggested we stop at Cafe Bonjour Paris on Uruguay near Santa Fe.

There is seating inside and on this small patio.

Today, June 15, is John’s birthday, and his age is a closely guarded secret.

Claudine and John shared a decadent dessert, and I watched them devour it.

After seeing an exhibition of Latin-American art at MALBA in Palermo Chico, we had merienda at Ninina next to the museum.  Claudine and John ordered tea and French-style pastries, and I had a delicious juice blend of kale, green apple, lemon, mint, and ginger.

It was a beautiful day for having tea outdoors in nature.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement where there is always time for sharing beautiful afternoons for merienda and conversation with tango friends.

What would you miss most if you left Argentina?

May 9, 2018

That question was the title of a thread on BAexpats.org by a man from the UK.  Many reasons quickly popped into my head that resulted in my post:

I’d miss being greeted on the street by the neighbors
I’d miss being greeted by name at stores
I’d miss the blue sky and lovely warm days
I’d miss walking this beautiful city
I’d miss all the incredible free concerts the city offers in dozens of venues all year-long
I’d miss walking at the ecological reserve and Palermo park
I’d miss tango dancing with lifelong milongueros
I’d miss the magnificent architecture of the city
I’d miss connecting with friendly portenos in daily life
I’d miss all the hug and kisses I receive and give to friends and acquaintances in this grand city

I will never leave Argentina.

Then today I noticed that someone quoted and liked my post.  That person wrote the following:

I love your posts and your passion for this city. This forum is often used as an outlet for people to express their frustration with living in Argentina as an expat, which I completely understand, but your posts serve as a constant reminder of all the reasons to come in the first place, and reasons to continue living in Buenos Aires. Your free concerts thread is one of the best things on the forum!

I will admit that it touched me and caused immediate sniffling.

Six years of Cumbre de Tango

April 28, 2018

The first program was broadcast on April 29, 2012, in the studios of Mundo Sur on Avenida de Mayo.  Chino Fanel does the broadcast live every Saturday from 1:00-3:00 pm BA time.  Listen to Chino’s excellent selections of tango recordings on Facebook or MundoSurFM.