Archive for the ‘Milongueros’ Category

A visit to my second home

October 28, 2021

Yesterday I visited the place I’ve referred to as my second home in Buenos Aires for many years.  It is located only ten blocks from where I live.  My plan wasn’t to enter my second home, but to stay outside.  It was a pleasant surprise when someone else changed my plan for me.  The last time I entered my second home was September 18, 2016.  My second home was Lo de Celia.

I climbed these stairs to the salon on the first floor two or three times a week for 16 years.  I noticed that a few dancers were taking the steps more slowly.  It’s a challenge for those in their 70s and 80s, but they manage.  The descent is easier.

 

The first man who entered as I was stationed at the door was Jose Marcos, with whom I danced regularly.  I remember his soft embrace.  I recognized him with his mask on.

 

Then Eduardo Ereson (84) came down the stairs, as if he heard I was there.  After a brief chat, he went back upstairs to get Graciela Cano (82).  Both of them have a very long bus ride to the milonga. Eduardo travels 90 minutes by bus from Berezategui.  Graciela lives in Sarandi, both in the provincia of Buenos Aires.

 

Graciela came downstairs to the entrance to greet me.  She said she can only afford one milonga each week, so she comes on Wednesday to Lo de Celia.  The entrada is 400 pesos, which is less than three dollars for tourists.

Hector was the next milonguero who arrived.  Please note the suit and tie he’s wearing on a day when the afternoon temperature was 85F.  No sweat.

I’ve never seen this photo of Celia before, but I was pleased to see it prominently displayed with framed certificates for her milonga.

Jonatan Rojas invited me from the top of the stairs to come inside for a visit.  I accepted and once again climbed the stairway I knew so well.  He welcomed me back home!

Graciela and Eduardo finished the tanda and came by for another photo.

I was so happy seeing Dany Borelli after five years.  I’ve only seen him virtually during seminars.  He is a wealth of knowledge about tango music, and he has always been my absolute favorite DJ in the milongas.

I stood in the corner near the bar where I had a perfect view of the salon.  I couldn’t believe that I was actually in Lo de Celia after five years.  I enjoyed every moment. 

Dany asked Anna to join us for a photo.  Her previous job was in the kitchen, and now is one of two waitresses.

Then Dany got Jony to join us for a photo.  I couldn’t believe how my plans had changed into a big surprise.  It was more than I could have imagined.

This is the corner table by the bar that I occupied in my second home on Wednesdays and Sundays for at least ten years.  My chair was on the aisle, a perfect position for greeting those passing by. Jonatan always had a bottle of agua sin gas natural on the table when I returned from the first tanda.

Felisa and I hugged and kissed when she arrived.  She usually sat at the table in front of mine and often joined me later in the evening. It was so nice seeing her after many years.

I had to take a peek at the ladies room and was delighted to see the improvements.

Some faces were familiar, but I didn’t know their names.  It felt like I was going back in time.

The dancers removed their masks at the table, but wore them while dancing.  It won’t be long before the milongas will be mask-free!

These are the two women who cheerfully take care of the dancers with food and drinks.  I can tell they are smiling under the masks.

I felt even more at home when I saw all the dancers I could recognize even wearing masks.

Dany must have detected a problem with one of the speakers, so he and Jony took care of it while the dancing continued.

As I was leaving, Elba Estay, la madrina de Lo de Celia, arrived.  She didn’t recognize me with white hair.  I was glad I didn’t miss seeing her.

Nestor Perez Vidal was the next one to arrive.  He hasn’t changed a bit.

Then outside I saw Carlos Lombisano finishing his cigarette.  He recognized me, and we had a nice conversation.

I didn’t stop smiling for the entire hour I was in my second home, visiting with the family.  And my smile continued the rest of the night.

Rodolfo Outeda

October 23, 2021

October 23, 1940 —

                                     Salon Canning – October 15, 2000

Happy birthday, Rodolfo!

 

Milonguisimo

September 28, 2021

I was browsing the TANGO BA website to see what was on the program for the ten-day Festival and World Cup.  Some milongas were already open, but I didn’t find any information about Salon El Pial.  It was listed as a venue for the festival.  When I checked, I was thrilled to discover that Oscar Hector Malagrino was presenting another edition of Milonguisimo in Salon El Pial, which happens to be located only four blocks from where Jorge Uzunian lives.  I had to get him to El Pial somehow.  Jorge had danced in Milonguisimo for ten years, partnering Oscar Hector’s sister Haydee.  I reserved tickets online two days in advance. I sent an email to one of Jorge’s full-time caretakers about taking him to the show.  She and her husband wanted to join us.  I needed her help in pushing Jorge in a wheelchair.  Luz and Ruben live in El Tigre, which is a long drive to the capital.  They made the trip in their van to transport Jorge to El Pial in style.  It was meant to be.  Without them, I couldn’t have taken Jorge for an unforgettable night of seeing all his milonguero/a friends.

Ruben is a hefty, strong man who could manage Jorge in the wheelchair. I saw that there was no way I could have done this myself.  I showed the printed forms for our reservations at the door.  We were escorted to the front of the salon where we had a perfect view of the show.

We were seated at the table no more than two minutes before Haydee Malagrino came over to greet Jorge, with whom she had danced many performances of Milonguisimo.  That was a very special moment for Jorge, as you can tell by his smile.  He has been unable to dance for six years since surgery to amputate his right leg.

I kept my camera handy to take photos at any moment.   When the milongueros saw Jorge at the table, they came to greet him.  It was like a class reunion taking place in Salon El Pial. Here with Jorge are Aldo Raspanti, Jorge Garcia (El Flaco Dany’s brother), and Carlos Tedeshi

This was our table for the show that began after 8:00pm.  I asked Jorge, when was the last time he put on a suit and tie?  Six years ago, when he danced on his birthday in Plaza Bohemia.  There is a video of that night on YouTube.

I noticed Elba Celia Biscay across the floor, so I walked over to greet her and take this photo.  I’ve known Elba as a blond and a redhead, now she and I both have our natural white hair.

The curtain was closed on the stage since they were going to be dancing on the floor.  I remember when the Orquesta Tipica Gente de Tango performed on stage for a Night of Carlos DiSarli, organized by Oscar Hector.

Milonguisimo is never the same.  Oscar Hector invites different milongueros/as to participate.  He always has new ideas for staging.  The show includes, tango, vals, milonga, and jazz since milongueros/as dance them all kinds of music.

Elba Biscay, Carlos Tedeshi, and Aldo Raspanti wait on the sidelines while other couples dance.

Elba Biscay’s beautiful feet and shoes were also featured in one of my videos.  New female dancers should study Elba and learn from this milonguera who has danced for many decades in the milongas.

After the finale, they lined up for a bow with applause from an appreciative audience who enjoyed every minute of the dancing and singing.  It was so well organized.  No one missed a cue.

Elba came over to greet Jorge after the show.  It was an unforgettable night for Jorge.

The entire cast went on stage for photos.  Oscar Hector had a photographer recording the entire show.

Oscar Hector Malagrino took a bow with his cast on stage in Salon El Pial.  He has organized milongas and shows for decades, and at 80 years of age, he hasn’t slowed down one bit.

Oscar Hector’s son, who handled the music, came over to see Jorge.

Carlos Tedeshi was pleased to see that Jorge could attend the performance in Salon El Pial.

Oscar Hector was happy to see Jorge after the long time he has been away from going to dance.

Luz Chavez joined Jorge, Oscar Hector, and Aldo for this photo.  She enjoyed the night as much as I did, and she was constantly taking photos and recording.  I got to know her during a visit with Jorge after his 91st birthday a month ago. She is such a joyful person and a perfect companion to help Jorge at home.

My YouTube channel includes a video of Haydee and Jorge dancing in Confiteria Ideal for a performance of Milonguisimo.

Ruben doesn’t dance tango, but he knows tangos.  He was singing along during the show at our table.  He ordered pizza and wine before the show.  Ruben and Luz insisted on driving me to my door in Balvanera, so the four of us had more time together after the show.  I arrived home minutes before 11pm, so after they got Jorge to his apartment, they had the long drive to El Tigre.  It was very late when they arrived. What a happy couple they are.  It was so nice that they wanted to be with Jorge that night.

A visit with Mario Camartino in Parque Chacabuco

September 18, 2021

I was passing by the cafe two blocks from my apartment yesterday and recognized Carlos Greco’s curly hair as he was seated at a table with a group of friends.  I tapped on the window to get his attention, and he came outside to talk with me.  The Mistica Cafe Bar is where I regularly saw Carlos with Roberto Bonavota, both of whom I know from the milongas.  Carlos wasn’t wearing a mask and neither was I, but that was not a problem for either one of us.  He greeted me and then we embraced one another.  He hasn’t danced in two years.

Carlos seemed cheerful as always.  I didn’t see Roberto at the table, so I asked Carlos about him.  He reported the news, that after being hospitalized, Roberto Bonavota passed on in January.

February 2020 was the last time I saw Roberto at the Mistica Cafe at the corner of Av. Independencia and Pichincha.

I walked three blocks to catch 126 to Parque Chacabuco where Mario has been living since January, so he is closer to his daughter Gabriela’s house.

My timing was perfect.  The cleaning lady was leaving at the same time I arrived.  Mario came down to the entrance of the high rise apartment building to greet me.  When his wife passed on in January, Mario’s daughter rented a fifth floor apartment with a northern exposure for him.

When I arrived at the building, I thought to myself, I would love to live here, but can’t afford to. The area around the building has a garden with benches, and is impeccably maintained.

Mario lives a two-bedroom apartment with a balcony with all the furnishings from his former home in Lugano.  He has an impressive music collection of LPs and cassette tapes of tango and jazz.  As Mario told me a story about each of the framed pictures on the bookcase, I had to take photos to share here.

Mario received this certificate on a Night of Milongueros organized by Oscar Hector Malagrino.

Mario wore a suit when he was only five years old!  Isn’t he darling?

This is a photo from his daughter Gabriela’s wedding.

Cuqui is one of Mario’s favorite tango partners.

Mario’s wedding photo.  Now that’s a handsome couple!

Bonsai is one of Mario’s hobbies.  That little tree in the center is actually an ombu that he has kept from growing to full size.

Mario has lots of plants to tend in his balcony garden.

We sat at the dining room table where I filmed Mario talking about work and the milongas for two hours.

Then he put on some romantic music by one of his favorite singers. He opened his arms and I entered his embrace.  I closed my eyes and was in another place. It was a surprise that we were dancing since Mario has back and knee problems.  I hope he will be able to dance in Nuevo Gricel one day soon.

The bus stop was only a half a block away, but Mario escorted me there.  I kissed him on the cheek and thanked him for the evening.

Mario will turn 93 on October 10th.  Can you  believe it? I can’t.

A visit with Jorge Uzunian in Flores

September 5, 2021

 

I called Jorge and asked if a visit at 5:00 would be okay for him. The trip to Flores would be the farthest I’ve traveled in the city in years. It took me only a half hour bus ride and a three block walk to reach Jorge’s apartment building.  I once considered that a long trip for dancing when I went to Salon El Pial in Flores.  I had my camera with me and took this photo minutes after my arrival.

These are two photos of Jorge with a former girlfriend, when they were a young couple (right) and on his 90th birthday (left).  She wanted to marry Jorge, but he preferred being single all his life.

No, that’s not a photo of Fred Astaire.  That’s Jorge who was a professional tap dancer.  He performed on stage and had an agent.  That leap onto one leg takes practice and strength. I learned about this part of Jorge’s life for the first time yesterday.  That’s why I had to take shots of these photos on the wall.

Jorge could have doubled for Gene Kelly with this photo.  He was an elegant dancer who was elegantly dressed.

Jorge has more pairs of shoes than I do.  He took out one of his tap shoes to show me.  This proves to me how much he loved tap dancing, known as zapateo Americano here.  I learned to tap in my teenage years and attended classes at the nearby park where my mom was the pianist.  I couldn’t resist buying a pair of tap shoes a few years ago that I found at a house sale in BA.

The one large room is his bedroom and dining room.  The apartment has a large balcony with lots of plants and a small vegetable garden.  Jorge’s work was landscaping, so of course “El Jardinero” has a garden.  The walls are full of photos and memorabilia.   We watched videos when Jorge danced for the last time for his 85th birthday in Plaza Bohemia and also a special tribute to the milongueros several years ago at the National Congress.

This happy young woman is Luz, who is a nurse and his full-time caretaker. She prepares his meals and takes good care of him.  She is full of love and joy.  If you want to connect with Jorge, you can send your message and/or photo to her email.

I had a wonderful three-hour visit with Jorge and Luz.  I’m invited back anytime for another visit.

Jorge Uzunian

August 29, 2021

August 29, 1930 —

I’m hoping to have a visit this week with Jorge at his apartment in Flores after not seeing him for several years.  I stay in touch with him by phone.  I want to give him a CD I made for him.

If you know Jorge and would like to give him a call for his 91st birthday, he would be delighted to hear from you. His phone number is (54-11) 4637 3936.

Pedro Sanchez

August 27, 2021

August 27, 1935 —

Our Tango Chat happened to be scheduled on Pedro’s birthday, so of course we had to wish him a happy birthday by singing.  I thought it would be a short visit, but Pedro joined us from almost the beginning until the end.  Tango is his favorite topic of conversation so he loves sharing his life in tango with us.  We feel privileged to have long conversations with Pedro that are recorded.

His grandson Nicolas (27) was there, so I asked him for a photo with Pedro. Then later his daughter Silvia arrived at the house.  I have spoken with Nicolas and Silvia by phone, but this was the first time I met them on Zoom.  While listening to tango recordings, Silvia took the opportunity to film Pedro as he listened to El Abrojito by Orquesta Osvaldo Pugliese (posted on my FB).

Jorge Ruben Orellana

July 8, 2021

July 8, 1931 —

Jorge was among the first interviewed when I bought a camcorder to document them dancing in the milongas.  I called Jorge today for a chat on his birthday.  He turned 90!  I will always remember dancing with Jorge at the milonga Viejo Correo during the first several months of 1999 when Buenos Aires became my new home country.

Alberto Luis Ayala

July 6, 2021

July 2, 1941 — October 2018

Years had passed since I saw or spoke with Beto.  His 80th birthday was a few days ago.  I called his former employer to ask if they were in contact Beto.  The man suggested I search Facebook for his son.  That’s what I did and hoped for a reply.  His son wrote to me today with the news that his father passed in October 2018.

I am grateful we have recordings of Beto teaching, dancing, and talking about his life in tango that are posted on my YouTube channel.

Rogelio Heredia

July 3, 2021

September 21, 1932 — May 27, 2021

DSCN7523Yesterday I made a list of people from the milongas that I want to call, especially those I got to know in Lo de Celia.  The first call I made was to check up on Rogelio.  His wife Julia answered the phone.  When I asked how he is, she told me the sad news that he passed on May 27.  They went to Cordoba in February by bus.  When they returned, Rogelio said he wasn’t going to get out of bed anymore.  The doctors wanted to do many things that didn’t help Rogelio.

I remember Rogelio for his smile and joking around.  After Lo de Celia, he and a couple of friends always went for dinner at the restaurant on the corner.  On one occasion, my friend Jean and I stopped to talk with them.  Rogelio kept us laughing constantly.

Julio Ale (1932-2014), Victor Alberto Ramire (1932-2001), Roberto Alvarez (1933-2010) and Jorge Orellana (1932-) at the milonga El Arranque in Nuevo Salon La Argentina organized by Juan Carlos La Falce.

When I was getting ready to take this photo, Rogelio got up and walked away.  He was at the table with his friends, but for some reason, he didn’t want to be in the photo.  I didn’t ask why and never knew the reason.  I remembered this later and wanted to share it.