Roberto Bonavato

October 12, 2020

October 12, 1937 —

Roberto hasn’t gone to the milongas for several years, but I knew where to find him on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.  He and a few friends met regularly at a restaurant located two blocks from my apartment.  I was on my way home after a visit with tango friends from New Zealand when I happened to see Roberto chatting with friends at the corner restaurant.  I had my camera with me, and he smiled.  We share the same admiration for the music of Carlos Di Sarli.  I still remember dancing a tanda of Di Sarli with Roberto in Lo de Celia.

I walk past the restaurant, but I haven’t found Roberto and Carlos Greco talking with friends.  I know that their regular encounters with friends were suspended with the quarantine.

When he takes me in his arms, my body melts

October 11, 2020

I started reading a favorite book for the second time. The sentence above is from Henry and June by Anaïs Nin. It grabbed my attention when I read those words because they resonated in my body. Nin wrote those words in her diary of 1931, and I knew exactly what she meant when I read them. I was familiar with the feeling, because of the milongueros viejos.

I described it as melting when I danced with Alito in Regin during my November 1998 visit. I wrote about the profound experience in my travel diary.

Words can’t describe the feeling. You never know who will induce a melting experience while dancing tango. It’s as difficult as predicting the weather. You never anticipate it. It just happens, and you bask in the pleasure of it. If you are listening to the mental chatter in your head, you will never melt in his arms. Melting requires being in the moment.

I am grateful that my first melting experience came with my dear Alito. It confirmed that tango is not just another social dance. It is a feeling that is danced.

Mario Hector Camartino

October 10, 2020

October 10, 1928 —

I had a wonderful time at Mario’s 2018 birthday party in El Beso, which was my farewell to the milongas.

If you’d like to talk with Mario on his birthday, call him at home: (54-11) 4683-8469.

 

 

Jorge Uzunian

August 28, 2020

August 28, 1930 —

Jorge began dancing at the age of 15.  He is resigned to a wheelchair for several years.

If you know Jorge and would like to give him a call on his birthday, he would be delighted to hear from you.  His phone number is (54-11) 4637 3936.

Pedro Sanchez

August 27, 2020

August 27, 1935 —

                  Pedro and Janis in Club Gricel (October 1998)

Send Pedro birthday greetings on Facebook or call him 4520-7093

Virtual Tango Festival & Mundial

August 22, 2020

Published by Pagina12 on August 18.

Syncopations and counterpoints are not limited to scores or dance in tango, they can also serve to understand the intense moments that the sector is going through these days, in which virtual meetings, claims on social networks and official announcements. After a long wait, the Buenos Aires City Festival offices announced at the last minute the holding of the BA Tango Festival, which surprisingly will include a competitive instance as a copy of the World Cup. Less than 24 hours later, a virtual convocation of the Federal Assembly of Tango Workers brought together 18 groups from different branches of the discipline. Some of these, such as the AFTT itself or the ACT (Assembly of Tangueros Collectives) already bring together many other associations. In addition, Página / 12 was able to obtain a response from the Ministry to some of the complaints that the sector raised in the note of August 12 in this newspaper.

The new edition of Tango BA will be held from August 26 to 30 and, as this newspaper anticipated, as in previous years it will also be directed by Gabriel Soria. The activities of the Festival can be followed from the website http://buenosaires.gob.ar/tangoba and the social networks of Festivals of the City (Youtube: FestivalesGCBA, Facebook: @FestivalesGCBA and Instagram: @festivalesgcba). There will be recitals, classes for all ages, virtual milongas, tutorials and tributes. The organization promises a program “focused on the presence and role of women in tango.” And the participation of the competitive instance, that is, the World Cup, will be done from the home of the participants. One of the claims of the sector was that Festivals would not pay all the participations in the programming. From the Ministry of Culture they went to the crossing and clarified that only the “testimonial” participations will not be remunerative, but that all the others will be paid.

In the same sense, the statements of Minister Enrique Avogadro in the announcement of the Festival also seem a response to the demands of the sector and the accusations of “abandonment” by the Buenos Aires authorities. “With our festival we seek to make the work of all our talents visible and strengthen our cultural identity in the world. Tango is an essential development platform for the City (…), we continue to bet on the growth of our artists ”. Among the confirmed names are Amelita Baltar, Sonia Possetti, Karina Beorlegui, Claudia Levyy, Noelia Sinkunas, Ana Fontán, Juan Carlos and Johana Copes, Eric Dinzel, María Nieves, José Colángelo, Nicolás Ledesa, Gabriel Mores, Pipi Piazzolla, Natacha Poberaj, Demián García and others. To the usual open microphone call “Cantá en el Festival” will be added another of tango video clips, an attention to part of the circuit in which the orchestras emphasize, both those of new tangos and those that cover classics.

As for the World Cup, this year’s modality will be notably different. The categories will be maintained (tango track and tango stage), but solo dancers or cohabitating couples may participate in the call, who must send a video through the web and, after passing a pre-selection jury, submit to the public vote to achieve the title.

On the other hand, a great virtual and federal tango meeting called by the AFTT joined positions and will request an audience from the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture, as well as the allocation of an extraordinary item to support the sector, and calls for “rethinking and unfolding” Festival and Mundial of Tango. Both events, originally separate, were mimicked a few years ago and the date was brought to August, to coincide with the winter holidays in the northern hemisphere. The Assembly also asks “to incorporate the gender perspective in all spaces related to tango”.

The meeting is a notable leap in quality for the sector. The amount of groupings present shows the degree of atomization of the circuit (or its various circuits), but the coincidence and the establishment of work tables strengthens the grouping path that has been taking place for some years. The difficulties of the pandemic and what is interpreted as “deafness” on the part of the Buenos Aires authorities did nothing more than strengthen the collective work. This is not the first time that this has happened: years ago the closing line brought different groups of milongas organizers to the same table, who suddenly gained strength and mobilization capacity, which became a promotion law and the creation of the program BA Milonga.

For this program, in fact, there were also complaints in recent days, since several months after the call closed there is still no news on which projects will be benefited or how the procedure to render accounts will be. Although this information is not yet available from the Ministry, they assured Página/12 that the subsidies will be paid between the end of this month and the beginning of September. “As a result of the very difficult situation that we have to go through, a reinforcement of extra money was made for all the regimes, in the case of BaMilonga the reinforcement was $5,400,000,” ministerial sources pointed out. While that arrives, the tango actors wait for the next measure.

 

The milongas are at risk of extinction

August 7, 2020

Translation of today’s article by Andres Valenzuela for Pagina12

“They have already closed spaces where milongas worked and others are about to do so; the quintessential cultural event in our city is at risk of extinction and if this situation is not reversed, the damage will be irreversible, ”the A.O.M. (Association of Milongas Organizers) and Mi.Se.So (Association of Milongas with Social Sense). Both groups call “for reflection and dialogue to the corresponding officials to reach solutions.”

The situation in the sector is, as in other cultural spheres, dramatic. But with the addition that the milongas anticipated quarantine by several days (they suspended their activities on March 11) and that, with devastating realism, they understand that they will be “the last of the last” to reopen: that of dancing embraced and in close contact with strangers, sometimes with foreign tourists, sounds like a chimera today. Specifically, they regret the closure of three spaces and warn for the future of many others, and for their workers. The complexity of the situation is aggravated because many milongas operate in other people’s spaces and their continuity also depends on the articulation of measures for those spaces. They also claim this year’s BA Milonga grant, which “has not yet issued the Administrative Resolutions” and say that their request for extraordinary help was rejected by the Buenos Aires Ministry of Culture led by Enrique Avogadro.

Furthermore, from the AOM they denounce that they were contacted by Festivals to join without payment “for lack of budget” for the online “celebration” of the Tango Festival. “If they who are the government, who can defend and protect culture, exploit it, what they do is bring job insecurity to an increasingly worse stage,” criticizes Julio Bassan, from the AOM. Valeria Buyatti, from the Milongas with Social Sense, points out that the extraordinary help could come precisely from the budget originally assigned to the Festival and the Tango World Cup, which should have been carried out by this time. “The budgets were already allocated since last year, they were not applied and they are not using that money for extraordinary aid,” he says.

So far La Aurora (Abasto), Estudio Mario Morales (San Telmo) and DNI Tango (Almagro) have closed. In the latter, for example, more than a dozen teachers and dancers worked and there were dozens of classes per week, in addition to a very popular afternoon practice on Saturdays. All three are from the AOM. Of MiSeSo, they say, none has yet closed, but there are “more than half a dozen spaces at specific risk, seeing how to negotiate rentals to continue when activities are reopened,” says Buyatti.

As for BA Milonga, it is a support program of the Buenos Aires government that has existed for three years and that was created after long demands from the sector, which included street milongas in front of the legislature with international media repercussions. This year there were two novelties: the expansion of the designated budget to 16 million pesos (which will not be definitively incorporated into the budget and which, the milongueros warn, did not acknowledge receipt of inflation either), and the advancement of its call, which excited to the organizers. But although the call closed at the beginning of May, there are still no results. “We are in August and the approved projects, the money or anything like that has not yet been determined,” denounces Buyatti. “In addition, the Advisory Council completed its task more than a month ago, so it is already a decision of the Ministry to approve or not the projects,” says the MiSeSo representative.

A few days after completing five months closed, from the associations the balance is dire. For Bassan, the paralysis in BA Milonga is “a shame”. “We closed when there were no protocols for anything anywhere and we continued without a protocol with which to work in different phases, something to incorporate some activities of the sector when changing phases,” he says.

“Larreta has already borrowed 150,000 million. They say that all the money goes to Health, but it is a lie. In the budget there is an item that we are reviewing with lawyers and that is called Artistic Disclosure — it is 1,856 million pesos. Tell me what artistic disclosure did. What percentage does tango have? It seems that we need help from Unesco, because here the Buenos Aires government neither helps us nor listens to us.”

Miguel Antonio Figueroa

July 31, 2020

July 31, 1937 —

Miguel is devastated by the loss of his friend Lito.  I doubt he will feel like celebrating today.

Video

Evangelista Felipe Menna

July 28, 2020

November 13, 1928 — July 26, 2020

We have lost another kind soul who danced from the heart with a warm embrace.  This is Lito, as he was known in the milongas, with his daughter on his birthday in Lo de Celia Tango Club.

What I know for certain is that Miguel Antonio Figueroa feels deeply the loss of his friend.  They always shared a table in Lo de Celia.  They liked to joke about being a couple.

Lito lived across the hallway from Jorge DeGouvea, so I called him today.  Lito lived alone and was in good health.  He was found near the elevator door on Sunday by neighbors.  He lived a full life and was always smiling.  I’ll remember him singing in my ear when we danced.

Lito dancing in Lo de Celia.

Ricardo Franquelo

July 14, 2020

July 14, 1944 —

His interview is subtitled and very interesting.