Changing of the guard

May 23, 2016

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Celia wanted her milonga to continue as usual in her absence, so she did what was necessary in that regard.  The new owners of Lo de Celia Tango Club took charge on May 15, introducing themselves to us during the Sunday milonga. Carlos Vera invited us to join him in a few moments of silence for Celia.

Carlos and his wife Laura (who trained with Celia) perform nightly at Esquina Carlos Gardel.

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Franco Vera held a special place in Celia’s heart.  He will be part of the organization in years to come.

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Celia also gave charge of Lo de Celia to Fabiana.  We all are confident that Carlos and Fabiana will continue to manage Lo de Celia as the best milonga in Buenos Aires.

Mario Allan Candamil

May 13, 2016

May 13, 1929 —

Alito and Juan Esquivel at Geriatrico Neuquen

I don’t know how he is because I’m not allowed to visit him at the geriatric home.

I miss him.

Maria Celia Blanco

May 9, 2016

May 17, 1950 – May 9, 2016

Celia Blanco celebrating her birthday on Saturday night.

I feel a bit numb after receiving a phone call with the news of her passing.  I’m trying to imagine Lo de Celia Tango Club without Celia Blanco.

This is how I’ll remember her.  Her spirit will live on in the place she created and where so many have enjoyed tango.

Franco was hoping to dance Chacarera with Celia one Sunday evening, and Celia couldn’t refuse his invitation.  I recorded what is probably the last time she danced.

Here’s a video of Celia dancing in her milonga.

Emilio Lopez Varela

May 9, 2016

May 9, 1944 —

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Ernesto Hector Garcia

May 8, 2016

May 8, 1936 —

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I was on my way home from Lo de Celia on a Wednesday.  I saw Dany at the entrance of Obelisco Tango, so I stopped to chat. He said he’s living most of the year in Dubai where he has lots of work and that he doesn’t want to live anymore in Buenos Aires which was a big surprise.

Dany asked me where I go to dance.  I told him that I go only to Lo de Celia on Wednesday and Sunday.  He said, I’d like to dance with you, so I’ll see you there soon.  That only confirmed that he didn’t recognize me.  Dany doesn’t go to Celia’s.

I’ve danced only twice with Dany, once in Club Gricel in 2000, and at a private party in 2001.  Milonga is his dance, not tango. This recent video proves it.

 

The Cachirulo story

May 3, 2016

I found this video today which tells the story of how Hector and Norma began their milonga Cachirulo in Lo de Celia Tango Club.  They moved many times — first to Centro Region Leonesa, then Plaza Bohemia at Maipu 444, then Club Villa Malcolm in Villa Crespo, and finally Obelisco Tango for the last three years.

The best vals of my life

May 2, 2016

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I have Jorge De Gouvea to thank.  Yesterday I danced a vals tanda in Lo de Celia.  After the third dance of the tanda, I said to Jorge: That was the most incredible vals of my life. I wish I had a video of our dancing.

He called me today and came over for a visit in the afternoon.  He wanted to see all the videos I recorded of him in the milonga before it’s too late.  Jorge is losing his eyesight and held a magnifying glass in front of the computer screen.  Ten years ago, he and Irma competed in the milonga champship.  Jorge saw the video for the first time today.

After our visit, I checked my YouTube subscriptions and found the only video that Erwin recorded on Sunday at Lo de Celia.  It was the last vals of the tanda with Jorge.

Hector Giocci

April 21, 2016

April 21, 1936 —

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Video

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

April 11, 2016

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I’ve lived one quarter of my life in Buenos Aires, and I’m here to stay.  I fell in love with Buenos Aires and the people during my first visit 20 years ago.  It was an easy decision for me to start a new life in Buenos Aires.  I’ve never regretted the move to Argentina.

A couple of months ago, a tango friend and I were attending an outdoor concert.  Luis knows I’m from Chicago, and asked me an interesting question: “Can you tell me the best thing about Chicago?” I thought for a few seconds and said, “Luis, I can’t think of anything.  I haven’t been there since October 2006, and I’m not going back.  My life is in Buenos Aires.”

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I had to acclimate to a new culture and language through total immersion on a day-to-day basis.  There was no information on the internet about living in Buenos Aires as we have today.

Marge and Ed Kenyon dancing tango

Marge and Ed Kenyon dancing tango (1960)

We had tango music in our home during the 1950s. My parents bought long-play records of various orchestras that were popular in the USA.  I remember that my sister and I asked our parents to show us the steps they learned at the park district dance classes.

We had to learn a second language in high school — German, French, Spanish or Latin.  I chose Spanish and studied it for two and a half years.  Even though I didn’t use it for many years, I was glad I learned vocabulary and verb conjugation.  I needed to speak Spanish to survive in Buenos Aires.  There was a period when I was afraid to answer the telephone, preferring to avoid conversation.  I listened how Argentines use the language for three years before it made any sense.  My accent is obvious to Argentines, but I can make myself understood. That’s all that matters to me.  I hear more English being spoken these days in Buenos Aires than when I arrived in 1999.  Argentines are the best English speakers in Latin America.

I left my American lifestyle behind and embraced a new culture.  Instead of having to depend on a car for transportation, I walk and take the bus.  I gave away my television five years ago, and I don’t miss it.  I don’t have air-conditioning in my apartment when a small fan keeps me comfortable on hot days.  I don’t use a credit card or even a cellphone.

Life today in my Buenos Aires neighborhood reminds me of the way it was growing up in Chicago during the 1950s. Neighbors knew one another and took the time for some conversation.  Shopkeepers knew customers by name.  I regularly meet neighbors on the street who have time for a visit.  The friendly shopkeepers who call me by name are the ones I patronize. It’s nice to feel part of the community.

I have a great life in Buenos Aires — no stress,  mild weather with mostly sunny days, loads of free concerts to attend, good friends, and most of all, tango with the milongueros viejos.

Sexteto Disarliano

April 10, 2016

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They started out in 1981 as Orquesta Tipica Gente de Tango playing the Carlos Di Sarli style.  I met the musicians in 2006 at a rehearsal.  The older members have retired.  Now they perform as a sextet, still with their singer Hector Morano.

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