Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tango is macho?

January 25, 2017

Recent conversations prompted my search on this topic. The following is a translation of an article by a blogger in Europe.

 

In the milonga you listen to comments from people close to you that sometimes make you happy, others make you sad, others leave you puzzled, some annoy you, and others just do not understand them, let alone in a society like the one we live in today.

It was early and the milongueros were arriving little by little, greeting others, occupying tables, changing shoes, and preparing for the night. Then a young girl, whom I’ve known for a long time, arrived. After greeting one another, we decided to catch up, but as usual, we ended up talking about tango, the milonguero codes, hugs, what we like and didn’t like about them.

She told me that she likes a firm close embrace and that she does not care for those in which she can barely move, since it is the man who marks and the woman who follows, and that, after all, tango is a macho dance. I also like the close and firm embrace, but I also like that you can breathe in it and be flexible, and what I definitely do not like is for the man to ignore me and do not bother to “listen” to me when I dance.

I was surprised by her explanation that tango is a macho dance. In my opinion, no dance is and, even less, tango. He is the milonguero – and for nothing they all are , who is sexist, whether they dance tango or not. What is certain is that if he is macho, it is convenient to say that tango is also, so as to excuse his behavior with the milongueras and in the milonga.

Some also say that the cabeceo is sexist. Again I think that is a tremendous nonsense. Maybe the one that nods is, but the eye contact itself is not. In the eye contact, it is the woman who looks at the milonguero with whom she wants to dance. Then it is they who perceive her glance, if they share the desire to dance with her, extend their invitation in the form of head movement; and finally it is she who confirms it or not. The nodding exchange is a totally bilateral non-verbal agreement.

I firmly believe that tango is a channel of communication between two people who embrace each other. What makes this communication bilateral is mutual respect and listening on both sides to the other person, in which there is a proposal and an acceptance or not of the movement. It is a free tango, nothing macho if the person proposing the movement isn’t, one who respects and has equal consideration for the other person. However, what makes this communication one-sided is a milonguero who imposes his will, who does not count on her except to follow him and do what he commands. This last case is the clear example of a macho milonguero, who surely in the privacy of his house is exactly the same: authoritarian, with an immense ego and a very accented pride.

And what does machismo have to do with tango? The same as fashion, cinema, relationships between people, labor relations,  family, and many other aspects of life itself.  Tango is just one more element in time and space, in which women have been treated and considered in a certain way throughout history.

 

 

Advertisements

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

January 19, 2017

festival-vaticano

This is the third year the Asociacion Civil Cultural Centro Historico Teatro Colon presents a series of concerts, opera, and ballet in the Plaza Vaticano next to Teatro Colon.  Last Saturday was Tosca by Puccini from the 2016 season in Teatro Colon, with the Argentine tenor Marcelo Alvarez.

I arrived at the plaza before the introduction, and some empty seats were still available.  I hoped that a friend would find me so we could enjoy the presentation together.  Marilyn spotted me, and I joined her. I’m wearing a black jacket.  No tickets to buy, no waiting in line — just go, find a seat, and enjoy the presentation on the big screen.  It’s better than attending inside because the recording bring us closer to the musicians, singers, and dancers.

I’m grateful for the outstanding cultural agenda available in the city.  I have a retirement life I never had imagined for myself.  The summer festival at Plaza Vaticano is unique.

Inflation in the milongas 2017

January 3, 2017

Foreign visitors to Buenos Aires don’t feel the economic pinch as much as porteños do.  If you have U.S. dollars or Euros to spend, you get an excellent exchange rate — now at 15.76 to the dollar. Your biggest expense is air travel and lodging.  Once you arrive, your expenses for milongas, local travel, and food are less now than they were in 2001 when the peso was equal to the dollar.

Porteños face a different situation.  One visit to a milonga may cost 400+ pesos with the cost of taxis or parking, entradas, food, drinks, tips, etc.  Portenos are not going to dance as often as they used to.  Those who live on a government retirement have to manage their money to last until the end of the month.

This is a comparison of prices in 2001 versus 2017:

Bus ride: 80 centavos/cents (2001)  6.50 (that’s $0.41 in 2017)

Subway ride:  70 centavos/cents (less than the bus in 2001)  7.50 (2017)

Milonga entrada: 3-5 pesos/dollars (2001)  80-100 pesos ($6.35 in 2017)

Bottled water at a milonga: 2-3 pesos (2001) 40 pesos + tip (2017)

I read today that highway tolls and parking fees will increase 50% this month. That means your trip from and to the airport in a taxi or remis will cost more.

The peso and the dollar were equal until the end of 2001.  Today the official bank rate is almost 16 pesos Argentine.  There is really no increase in the milonga entrada for anyone with dollars to spend; you probably pay more than that to attend your local milongas.  When I paid 3-5 peso entradas in 2001, I was going to milongas almost every day of the week.   Today my routine is Wednesday and Sunday at Obelisco Tango where I spend 150AP each night with no transportation cost — I walk ten blocks.  I consider that the best tango bargain in the world because I get to dance with the milongueros viejos.

Technical difficulties resolved

December 6, 2016

dscn9245

I’d been having internet connection problems for months every time I tried to open a new window.  I finally arrived at the point that I was without internet at home on November 21.  Calls for technical service with the local phone company didn’t get results.  The only one I could turn to for help was my friend John Morton, who just happened to be in Buenos Aires.  He came over on November 25 to have a look.  The Ethernet connection didn’t work, nor did the disk drive.   A computer shop person said the cable was good, but the old router was the problem.  Believe it or not, I still haven’t gone from broadband to WIFI.

dscn9290

I brought my notebook over to John’s apartment so he could try everything out there.  He had to reinstall programs and got everything in working order after laboring many hours on the weekend.  I stopped by this afternoon when John showed me how things work with a new system.  I have to upload some programs I had before, and I’m so grateful to John for making my notebook work again.  I went to a public internet space several times last week.

I was without my notebook for two weeks.  It was nice to unwind and relax.  I have a backlog of emails and posts to write for the blog.   I’ll get to them.

II Tango Congress – Academia Nacional del Tango

September 22, 2016

dscn8789

The second annual free conference was held at the Palacio Carlos Gardel on Avenida de Mayo in the tango museum.

dscn8790

Gabriel Soria is president of the Academia Nacional del Tango.

dscn8785

The display cases house memorabilia from various contributors of tango.

dscn8786

The shoes of Carlos Gavito’s are on display with other items he donated to the museum.

dscn8787

The tango world has many collectors who contributed to the Museum.

dscn8788

The walls are covered with photos of tango greats.

dscn8793

dscn8794

I heard talks on the origin of social tango, tango lyrics before Contursi, and the dance before the 1930s.  Carlos Puente, a record collector, spoke about the music of the 1940s and provided recordings for our listening pleasure.  Carlos could talk for hours about his passion, but speakers were given 20 minutes.  A well-known stage performer from Tango Argentina spoke about the era from 1935-1983.  He has no first-hand knowledge of the milongas.  In fact, I saw only three familiar faces from the milongas.  When the microphone was open for questions, a man from the milongas couldn’t remain silent and to share his sentiments about tango as a social dance.  He had heard enough from the academician.  As was the case last year, only the famous stage professionals speak at the congress about their careers on stage, with no mention about social dancing in the milongas of today.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

September 21, 2016

dscn8834

Strawberries and blueberries are in season from September through December, and they’ll be in my breakfast bowl every day.

 

dscn8854

This is the biggest strawberry I’ve eaten in my life!

dscn8835

Most of the produce comes from Argentine farmers.

dscn8836

There are packages of chopped vegetables prepared for a salad and soup.

dscn8837

This is a sample of what I bought for about US$15 at the fruit and vegetable market one block from my apartment — strawberries, brussels sprouts, fennel, mushrooms, avocados, bananas, apples, mandarin oranges, lemons, kiwis, and asparagus.

dscn8853

I am happy there is always a good supply of fresh produce for my whole food plant-based diet.

Dia Mundial del Folklore

September 20, 2016

I attended a celebration of World Day of Folklore and Argentine Folklore in Congress with musicians, singers, and dancers including a special tribute to Don Atahualpa Yupanqui by guitarist Carlos Martinez, who played the works of the renown composer.

dscn8718

The Salon de los Pasos Perdidos was overflowing with folklore aficionados.

dscn8719

They danced Chacarera and Zamba in the aisles.  This short video captures the celebration while the audience sings Luna tucumana.

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

September 15, 2016

dscn8707-bicycle-station-on-pasco-y-chile

I walked past this corner many times wondering why they installed this barrier.  I had no idea that its purpose was part of the public transportation system of bicycles.

When the bike share system began, you had to have residency with a DNI.  I was eager to get citizenship and my DNI so I could use the bicycles.  Before I did, the city made the system available to tourists.  I registered yesterday with my VOS card to use a bicycle on the large network of routes in the city.

dscn8708

This bicycle station is only two blocks from my door.  I don’t need to store a bicycle or carry it up the stairs.  All I need is a helmet and gloves.  Retirement is great in this people-friendly city.

200 Years of Independence

July 10, 2016

This July 9th wasn’t just another Independence Day for Argentina, it was the 200th anniversary of independence from Spain.  Many events took place around the city, and I chose to attend the international parade of military bands in Palermo at the Polo Grounds since I’m a big fan of marching bands.

DSCN8587

The military band of Bolivia started off the parade at 11:00 a.m.

DSCN8589

DSCN8597

These young women in the Argentine Coast Guard stayed in step.

DSCN8599

I had to ask if their rifles had ammunition.

DSCN8600

DSCN8602

This was the walk back after marching miles down Av. del Libertador.

DSCN8603

There were hundreds of young cadets from the many branches of  service participating in the parade.

DSCN8604

DSCN8606

I had to get a close-up of the camouflage makeup on this soldier who reminded me of The Hulk.

DSCN8605

You can tell from their uniforms and boots that they rode horses.

DSCN8611

This helmet was impressive with a horse hair tail.

DSCN8612

Check out the fancy riding boots.

DSCN8613

The federal police women wanted a photo with this handsome guy in uniform.

DSCN8616

You don’t have a military parade without horses.

DSCN8617

This is when I thought about the incredible organization for the parade — military marching bands, service men and women, and then all the horses!

DSCN8618

Each branch has a different breed of horses.

DSCN8619

The parade lasted three and a half hours, ending with the combat veterans from the Las Malvinas war.  I didn’t take any photos of them because my hands were busy applauding the veterans.

People entered the Polo Grounds to watch the military bands perform on the field — Uruguay, Brasil, Perú, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, France, Spain, Italy, United States Navy Band, and Marrakesh, Morocco.  Argentina had several bands in the parade.

After the parade, I went home to watch the military bands for two hours on public television.  It was an amazing six-hour event, and thousands went to watch it.  Everyone had a flag in hand.  Viva la patria!

 

 

Buenos Aires is a great city for retirement

July 8, 2016

DSCN8528

Buenos Aires is a great city for walking and handholding.  There is no need to have a car when public transportation takes you everywhere.

DSCN8534