Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Lead :: Tango Quotes, Tango Sayings

From Steve Brown (Dallas) on Tango-L, on a woman telling him about her dance with Pablo Veron....

"It's not so much that he led me, but more like he willed my movements..."

The Today Show :: More bad press for tango

Not bad press per se, but good press for bad tango. Brought to our attention by Steve Brown of Dallas on Tango-L. This clip is from the Today Show segment "Where in the world is Matt Lauer" - shot just under the Obelisk on Avenida Nuevo de Julio in Buenos Aires.

Is even bad press good press? Is even national media exposure showing bad stage/performance/pro tango a bad thing? Sensational press driving/striving for higher ratings uses and abuses sensational tango.

The misrepresentations, and misconceptions, continue.

See for yourself. Let me know what you think.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/24350515#24350515

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Me 31 years ago...


DSC_0149
Originally uploaded by erajuliet

I have a photo like this of me...buried in a box somewhere...me and my kayak buried in a big hole on a Class 4 rapid on the Guadalupe River near New Braunfels, Texas. I believe it was called Rust Falls on the upper Guad.

Whitewater Tango


DSC_0167
Originally uploaded by erajuliet

Fartin' around on the computer...ran across this on Flickr...bring backs memories for me when I used to canoe and kayak...this was my addiction long before tango...until I started feeling very mortal...several very experienced canoeist and kayakers who I admired died in big water....so I quit....cold turkey....

This open boat badass is executing a killer low brace, shifting his weight just a bit downstream and surfing a small hole...

ABC's

Here's a cool video found by m i l e s of tangobliss...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Gustavo y Giselle :: U.S. Summer Tour


Giselle Anne & Gustavo
Originally uploaded by Métempsycose



July 4-12 :: Nora's Tango Week [San Francisco]

July 17-20 :: Ronda y Manuel/TangoRio [Atlanta, Georgia]

July 22 - Aug 04 :: Brian y Deb/TangoEncuentro [Boulder, Colorado]

Seduced by Tango :: Ms. Laura Tate [repost]

Interview :: [Embedding disabled by request]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQcS5Gp6HFM

Demo with Orlando Paiva, Jr. ::

Tango Seduction :: Raquel & Walt

These guys are homesteaders in a remote/rural/small town...thanks to Niki for finding this one...

Interview ::



Demo ::

Seduced by Tango :: Brenda y Michael

No interview (it's optional)...only a dancing demo...

Seduced by Tango :: Brian & Deb of Boulder

Here's their interview for the Seduced by Tango/Tango Seduction documentary for PBS...

I love Brian & Deb. I only had the opportunity to take a few classes with them, and have only danced with Deb like once. They have a great thing going in Boulder, Colorado. They also bring Gustavo y Giselle Anne in for an intensive workshop in the summer - July I think.

Here's their website :: www.danceoftheheart.com

Interview ::



Demo ::



A vals in Copenhagen ::

Gaston y Mariela :: Tango Nuevo

No more judgement...there is only tolerance...acceptance...and love...

I'm waxing philosophical here, and very personal. No doubt our blogs are a reflection of us, a mirror into our souls. I'm going to be really open and honest here. Baring my soul.

Way back when, I posted a video of some high school students dancing some really, really, unpleasant-to-watch tango, under the "Good Tango, Bad Tango" theme. I immediately felt bad after posting it. They were doing their best. They didn't have a tango dancing dance teacher to help them. They didn't think to contact a local AT teaching couple to help them with their skit. I'm sure they worked long and hard on it. For those of us who know what tango is about, it was painful to watch. For their friends and teachers and parents who watched their performance, I'm sure they were impressed, and proud of them for working so hard to do this. You know the saying - "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." I'm sure it will be a lasting memory for them. Who knows, perhaps many Argentine tango seeds were planted both in the students, and the audience members.

This brings me to Niki & Scott. I was aware of their blog for a week or so before I received a comment from Niki asking me to add their blog to my blogroll. First I thought I wanted to wait a while and get a feel for the tone of their blog, the quality and character of their writing. Then, as I checked out their tango photos, the whole fedora thing was off putting. Here I am, making a judgement about two people, based on some preconceived notion that I may have about fedoras and people who wear them - even if only in a photo.

I feel bad about my "On the fedora" post. Who am I to say? To judge? If a guy wants to wear a fedora, let him wear the fucking fedora. No harm, no foul.

We all bring to tango, and derive from tango, what we will. For some folks, fishnets and fedoras represent what tango is. For others, a sexy bustier and flowy low-waisted pants from TangoLeva, and Comme il Faut shoes represent what tango is for them. For some it may be a nice dress, a smart suit, suspenders, and black and white patent leather wingtips. For lots of people, tango is what they see on Dances with the Stars, or "the rose in the mouth dance".

We all bring our own goals, aspirations and dreams, real and imagined, to our tango, and to tango at large. It's inevitable that we all bring our own demons with us.

It's the nature of the beast that some people will never get it. Who is to say that the guy I know who has been dancing for four or five years, taking lessons and workshops along the way, but still is not really dancing tango, but is having fun and not hurting anyone - who is to say there is anything wrong with this. Some women enjoy dancing with him, some women don't. He's there, he's on the floor, he's dancing. He is filling his cup with tango.

Some people never learn to love golden age tango music and prefer instead to dance nuevo exclusively. Some people like the new collision of swing and tango - swango. Some may only dance tango in the privacy of their homes, with or without lessons. Some may only dance with the love of their lives, some may prefer to mix it up.

For some, it may be more about the steps and less about the connection. Some may never experience the bliss of a tango trance or a full blown tangasm. The perfection of the perfect connection may elude some for many years, or an entire lifetime.

Some may be there solely to find a mate, accomplish that goal, and then tango passes from their lives. Some may be there to dance primarily as a social outlet/activity, unexpectedly find a mate, and live happily ever after with tango the driving force in their lives. Some may view tango solely as a means to getting laid. Some may have taken up tango for they mental/physical/athletic challenge. Some choose tango as an artistic endeavor. We've all met both leaders and followers like these.

Sadly, most will never experience dancing tango in Buenos Aires - many may not have means to make the trip. Many may simply have no desire, no intention, of ever going.

None of this is neither good, nor bad. It just is. It's the nature of the beast. It's the nature of the universe. It's the nature of humanity. It's the nature of tango.

We are all just people, trying to get by in this life, smitten by this thing we call tango. 99.99% of us are good people, nice people, with good hearts, wishing no one ill will of any form. Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, and tango.

Judgement is negativity. Judgement operates on a lower vibrational plane. Lower energy. I don't want this negative energy in my life.

Even though I am one of the most open-minded and non-judgmental people you will find, I want to be better. I want to be a better man than that. I want to be a better soul than that. It's not me. It's not who I want to be as a man.

So, I'm going to be less judgmental in life and in blog. If you catch me, call me on it.

And lastly, my apologies to Niki and Scott for judging you from my far off vantage point, simply because of a fedora and a photo. I'm sure you are fine people - struggling with, and loving tango - just like the rest of us. I look forward to getting to know you better through your blog. Who knows, perhaps our paths will cross some day.

(P.S. I am happy to credit this partially on Johanna and her book, The Tao of Tango, for rekindling the smoldering Taoist in me. There was but a single glowing coal down deep within in me. I've strayed from the path of the Tao for far too long. The other part I credit to my heart...)

New Blog :: Niki & Scott

Brand spanking new, launched earlier this month, just a few posts. Looks like they will be blogging about their tango trials and upcoming sabbatical in Buenos Aires.

Have a look.

http://tangotrails.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My heroes have always been cowboys :: Waylon Jennings



A couple of my favorite lines are:

"Pickin' up hookers instead of my pen...I let the words of my youth fade away..."

"You could die from the cold in the arms of a nightmare..."

You ask :: "And who the hell are Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers?"

I saw them with a couple of other bands at an outdoor concert at the Ross Barnett Reservoir outside of Jackson, Mississippi...at age 13-1/2...I was an 8th grader...

I think we gathered returnable coke bottles for the five cent deposit and mowed yards for money.

Iron Man by Black Sabbath



A little known factoid about myself. I didn't even know it myself because it was buried so deeply in the primordial sludge in the back of my brain.

I attended beaucoup's of live concerts - Black Sabbath, Black Oak Arkansas, Foghat, Savoy Brown, ZZ Top, Jackson Browne, Larry Raspberry and the Highsteppers, Deep Purple and others I can't dredge up - way back when - all before ripe old age of 14.

Back in the days of Acid Rock.

Me and my buds would roll up our sleeping bags, strap them on to the backs of our ten speed bikes, ride the 20 miles or so to Jackson, Mississippi, and go to these concerts under the guise of "camping out". You might call it parental "disinformation". We would sleep on the ground, roll up the next morning and make the bike ride home. No harm, no foul. I don't think my Mom knows to this day that I did stuff like that.

It's a good thing I was a good kid.

Iron Man :: Dick Flick

At the chick flick, they played the trailer for the dick flick "Iron Man", with none other than Robert Downey, Jr. playing the lead.

After watching the trailer, I shared something with my female friend (the first time in like two years that I have been to a movie with a woman) who was sitting next to me.

I whispered, "If you want a peek into the male ego, watching that just made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I think it's the warrior instinct, mixed in with something about being invincible."

It goes into nationwide release on May 2. Chicks do your dicks a favor. We go see chick flicks with you, so be nice and go see this with him. Even better, surprise him with tickets, or the suggestion to go see it and see what happens.

Here's the official trailer, and of course I have already visited iTunes to purchase the song by Black Sabbath...kewl...

Forgetting Sarah Marshall :: Chick Flick

I just saw this today. It's cute, light, hilarious, romantic, with only one or two serious spots.

Here's the "official" trailer from YouTube:

Another Tango Documentary :: Sort of...

From Deby @ TangoSpam/LaVidaConDeby [via her Tango-L post]...and also via Tango Padawan...

Simply for the record...to store it as a resource...I haven't watched the entire thing...

But, one correction, tango is not "already three centuries old"...that would mean it existed in the year 1708...it has, however "spanned" three centuries...the latter part of the 19th, through the 20th, and then these first few years of the 21st...

From Clarin.com, here is the link [then click the red Especial Multimedia - Tango link] :

http://www.clarin.com/diario/2008/04/15/conexiones/inicio_tango.html

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tango in Beijing?

My first hit from Beijing, China was today. Someone Googled "tango's photos" (sic). There may not be actual tango dancing in Beijing, but there was at least a tango thought.

Who knows, it's probably someone who drives a Cadillac Escalade.

tango n°004


tango n°004
Originally uploaded by grispo

tango n°003


tango n°003
Originally uploaded by grispo

tango n°002


tango n°002
Originally uploaded by grispo

tango n°001


tango n°001
Originally uploaded by grispo

June 10 (tango)


June 10 (tango)
Originally uploaded by romanlily

No words needed...

The Tao of Tango :: Johanna Siegmann

The Tao of Tango

I'm taking the liberty of plugging Johanna's book, "The Tao of Tango". Her blog, "Tangri-La", is very modest and non-descript in the promotion of her book. There is just one little tiny link.

I'm embarrassed to say that although I have known about her book for some time now, I only just now bought it. I have tried to special order it through bookstores in the past, but they never called me back, and I never called them back. It wasn't meant to be I supppose. Until now.

On Page 2 of the book, Johanna hit me with something very profound. I'm not going into the details of my personal stuff as it relates to the book, but suffice it to say that when a book hits you with something big on the second page...well, in the words of Martha Stewart, "It's a good thing".

I have read only the first few pages, but I like what I'm reading, and look forward to more. I'll keep you posted.

Books like this should be required reading for all tango dancers everywhere.

Wait a minute. There are no other books like this.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hi, my name is Alex, and I have a foot fetish....

Tango foot fetish

Holy shit...

Click here or on the photo for the large version...

Ever since taking up tango...and it just get worse and worse as time passes...shoes, feet, calves, legs, smooth skin, little fuzzy blond hairs glinting in the sunlight...it all pretty much fucks me up in the head...

On The Fedora

Fedora, After the Flood :: by Sean Duggan [f1.4] on Flickr
Photo by Sean Duggan [f1.4] on Flickr

I'm not a good enough dancer to wear a fedora yet. I can't wait until that day. You have to reach a certain point in your tango life, then when you put it on, you will instantly be an even better dancer. The fluidity, grace, economy of motion that have eluded you will come down from the tango heavens and infuse you, infuse your dance, with magical tango powers. Musicality will be gifted and heaped upon you. Your connection and embrace will be sought after by hordes of women far and wide. You will get a smug sense of satisfaction at the lamentations of the women begging you to dance with them. Your gentlemanly arrogant demeanor will be solidified. You will become latin. Your penis will be bigger.

This is a joke. My twisted sense of humor.

The fedora is to tango as clown shoes are to, well, shoes I guess. Apparently, the fedora came about in the early part of the 20th century, along with the cravat tied around the neck. It was worn by the compadrito and the dandy.

Thankfully, not many leaders wear fedoras. If the fedora was a big part of tango, I doubt I would even be dancing tango right now, that's how strongly I feel about it. I have only seen a few leaders ever wear them, and it's what I would expect from these leaders - their lead is bad.

They don't get it. They don't get tango. They don't get the lead.

In a way, I don't want to influence these guys to "not" wear a fedora. It's like a big red flag to followers. It's also a big red flag for leaders, because we can see the followers who dance with these clowns. I don't invite women who dance with fedora-wearing leaders. Sorry, I know I'm being finicky.

So women, when you dance with a bad leader, like Ms. Modern Tanguera, at the end of the first dance of the tanda, unleash every feminine wile within yourself, and in your sexiest sexy voice, say "Your lead is sooo good, I'm on cloud nine. I would think you'd be wearing a fedora. You should get one." And then turn your back on him and walk away.

This whole post is tongue in cheek, over the top.

But the fact remains that fedoras, on the dance floor, bug me. For gentlemen, hats are for the sun, the rain, the snow, or the cold, and are taken off when indoors.

I like the photo though...very cool.

Tango Rap :: Bajofondo Tango Club "Miles de Pasajeros"

This is a cool music video by "NoSanto" I found on YouTube. The song is "Miles de Pasajeros" by Bajofondo Tango Club.

Another nuevo song I like - with a rap component.

Tango Rap :: Gotan Project "Mi Confesión"

It's tango nuevo, but I suppose you could also call it tango "rap"...there is a definite rapping component...

When I'm not listening to Golden Age tango, or the artists/songs like the ones on my imeem player (to the right), this is what I listen to.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Seduced by Tango :: Patrick "Shoaf" Gray

I like this guy. He's got personality. He's got great camera presence. The awkward waiting for the song to get to the spot where he is to start singing is classic.

One correction to one thing he mentions, it's not to be "produced", but "hosted" by Robert Duvall.

Here is his singing audition tape for "Seduced by Tango".

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Santa Fe :: On life, tango, and the universe...

Taos Tree
Photo by Alex :: This is a tree I shot between Taos & Santa Fe - closer to Taos - heading south where the road drops into a narrow canyon and follows the Rio Grande River.

Note: Listen to Track #4 on the imeem player to the right - "Lay Lady Lay" by Bob Dylan - for maximum effect while reading this post. Click "Launch Standalone Player" to listen to the full version. I take that back - not Track 4 - but Track 13 - "Melissa" by the Allman Brothers. Either track will work, but Track 13 is better.

The prior post made some memories bust loose and float to the surface in the primordial sludge in the back of my brain.

The first time I went to Santa Fe was back in 1975. I was 15. My Mom and Dad and I drove out that summer to visit my brother and his girlfriend, Laurel. Laurel is still a very close family friend, as are all of my brother's exes. Except for the sing-song (she didn't talk, she sang) heroin dealer. I think she may still be in prison. In my brother's defense, she wasn't dealing when he was with her. He was into weed, but that was it. You see, my brother has that rare knack for being able to remain friends with his ex-girlfriends. I'm pretty sure they were all at both of his weddings.

My brother had an old blue Dodge pickup truck with a camper top. He and Laurel were hanging out and camping around Santa Fe and Taos for several weeks that summer. I remember riding and bumping along the dusty back roads of Santa Fe in that pickup truck, looking for art galleries. I remember Coors beer and watermelon chilling in the creek. Those were the days.

The summer I turned 18, I passed through Santa Fe and Taos on my way north to Lander, Wyoming for a month long mountaineering course in the Wind River Mountains. I drove a tricked out VW Rabbit in those days. Orange. I was there on my birthday. I hit on a waitress in a restaurant. I got drunk in the bar on a drink called "The Tidal Wave" waiting for her to get off work. I stayed there an extra three days. In bed. In August, when I passed back through on the way back down to Austin, I visited with her again. Joanne. Her name was Joanne. She was 26 and never believed that I was 18. I had to show her my driver's license.

Over the years, I passed through Santa Fe on summer vacations. Being close to Texas, it was drivable - family camping vacations. My daughter learned to ski in Taos. I learned to ski down in Ruidoso, farther to the south past El Malpais, the vast areas of prehistoric lava flows.

I brought my first wife there. I made love with my second future ex wife in a cute hotel there. We were on our first ten day "road trip" date - before we were married. A mountain biking/camping trip. Stucco walls, kiva fireplace in the corner, vigas y latillas overhead. The scent of burning cedar in the fireplace and sagebrush in the air. Hot sunny days. Crisp cool starry nights. Mm. [Uttered with a nasal intonation and rolling your eyes back in your head...Mm.]

When I lived in Aspen, I would "escape" down to Santa Fe to get away from the cold and snowy and long winters. The narrow valleys and box canyons in the thick of the mountains would get to this "southern boy" after a while. Canyon fever. Cabin fever. I needed wide open spaces. I needed a 90 mile horizon. There were times that I would pull over on a lonely road and find a good, warm, flat rock to sit on. The desert has always been a comfortable place for me. I feel at home there. High desert. Big country. Wide open. Quiet. Some people can't handle the overpowering quietude of the desert. For me, it is always best experienced alone. Pondering the universe. Pondering my universe. Contemplating my navel. Taking photographs.

I spent my first tango year in Aspen perfecting my fucked up walk. Luckily, I recognized that I needed outside help. Professional help. Cecilia Gonzales was doing a workshop in Santa Fe. I was going come hell or high water. Hell bent for leather. Tango shoe leather. I scheduled a one hour private with her. My buddy was envious and excited for me - "I can't believe you're going to dance with Cecilia Gonzales!" he said. "She's 'famous'!"

She was great. Patient. Beautiful. Tiny. At least to me. The group class afterward was nice as well. The dancers in Santa Fe are all very nice folks. At the milonga that night, Luren introduced me around. She even chased me when I went outside to cool off - she wanted to make sure I wasn't leaving. She wasn't going to let me leave early. Now that's personal attention by a milonga hostess.

The Sante Fe dancers have a reputation of being very advanced for such a small tango community. It's a very mature community - one of the oldest I think. As such, I was intimidated, but I did dance with four or five followers. I spent most of my time dancing with a French woman - a French teacher - it was her first time to see tango - no classes, no nothing.

The last time I was in Sante Fe was for a friend's opening at an art gallery there. Roughly two years ago. The Blue Rain Gallery. He's my best friend's brother. Randall LaGro is his name. I remember being smitten by his new girlfriend. She was a typical southern Colorado/northern New Mexico woman. Tan. Beautiful. Outdoorsy. Sexy. Intelligent. Educated. Liberal. With a Manhattan twist. All topped off with a hot bod. I had to contain/restrain my interest in her. Thou shalt not covet thy best friend's brother's new girlfriend. Sherri. Her name was Sherri.

Below is a still life I shot inside Randall's studio in Taos. There's a story behind the building - it's really, really old - but I forget the story. I think it was a famous artist's studio long ago. Another mnemonic burst - a party at Randall's studio a year or so before this. Amazing party, amazing people. Artists, writers, bohemians. Barefoot girls in sundresses. Grilling meat and getting drunk on red wine. Sneaking off to kiss a girl in the darkness. A deep, long, heady, drunken, sweet kiss. The next day, a frantic early morning back road circuit (in the ubiquitous old Chevy Apache pickup truck) of several of the local yard sales - followed by a trip to the farmer's market for fresh vegetables and fruit.

Santa Fe (and Taos) hold many good memories for me - including one small tango memory. And that, my friends, is a very large understatement.

Still life of an artist's studio :: Taos

Santa Fe :: On life, tango, and the universe...

Taos Tree
Photo by Alex :: This is a tree I shot between Taos & Santa Fe - closer to Taos - heading south where the road drops into a narrow canyon and follows the Rio Grande River.



The prior post made some memories bust loose and float to the surface in the primordial sludge in the back of my brain.

The first time I went to Santa Fe was back in 1975 or so. I was 15. My Mom and Dad and I drove out that summer to visit my brother and his girlfriend, Laurel. Laurel is still a very close family friend, as are all of my brother's exes. Except for the sing-song (she didn't talk, she sang) heroin dealer. I think she may still be in prison. In my brother's defense, she wasn't dealing when he was with her. He was into weed, but that was it. You see, my brother has that rare knack for being able to remain friends with his ex-girlfriends. I'm pretty sure they were all at both of his weddings.

My brother had an old blue Dodge pickup truck with a camper top. He and Laurel were hanging out and camping around Santa Fe and Taos for several weeks that summer. I remember riding and bumping along the dusty back roads of Santa Fe in that pickup truck, looking for art galleries. I remember Coors beer and watermelon chilling in the creek. Those were the days.

The summer I turned 18, I passed through Santa Fe and Taos on my way north to Lander, Wyoming for a month long mountaineering course in the Wind River Mountains. I drove a tricked out VW Rabbit in those days. Orange. I was there on my birthday. I hit on a waitress in a restaurant. I got drunk in the bar on a drink called "The Tidal Wave" waiting for her to get off work. I stayed there an extra three days. In bed. In August, when I passed back through on the way back down to Austin, I visited with her again. Joanne. Her name was Joanne. She was 26 and never believed that I was 18. I had to show her my driver's license.

Over the years, I passed through Santa Fe on summer vacations. Being close to Texas, it was drivable - family camping vacations. My daughter learned to ski in Taos. I learned to ski down in Ruidoso, farther to the south past El Malpais, the vast areas of prehistoric lava flows.

I brought my first wife there. I made love with my second future ex wife in a cute hotel there. We were on our first ten day "road trip" date - before we were married. A mountain biking/camping trip. Stucco walls, kiva fireplace in the corner, vigas y latillas overhead. The scent of burning cedar in the fireplace and sagebrush in the air. Hot sunny days. Crisp cool starry nights. Mm. [Uttered with a nasal intonation and rolling your eyes back in your head...Mm.]

When I lived in Aspen, I would "escape" down to Santa Fe to get away from the cold and snowy and long winters. The narrow valleys and box canyons in the thick of the mountains would get to this "southern boy" after a while. Canyon fever. Cabin fever. I needed wide open spaces. I needed a 90 mile horizon. There were times that I would pull over on a lonely road and find a good, warm, flat rock to sit on. The desert has always been a comfortable place for me. Big country. Wide open. Quiet. Some people can't handle the overpowering quietude of the desert. For me, it is always best experienced alone. Pondering the universe. Pondering my universe. Contemplating my navel. Taking photographs.

I spent my first tango year in Aspen perfecting my fucked up walk. Luckily, I recognized that I needed outside help. Professional help. Cecilia Gonzales was doing a workshop in Santa Fe. I was going come hell or high water. Hell bent for leather. Tango shoe leather. I scheduled a one hour private with her. My buddy was envious and excited for me - "I can't believe you're going to dance with Cecilia Gonzales!" he said. "She's 'famous'!"

She was great. Patient. Beautiful. Tiny. At least to me. The group class afterward was nice as well. The dancers in Santa Fe are all very nice folks. At the milonga that night, Luren introduced me around. She even chased me when I went outside to cool off - she wanted to make sure I wasn't leaving. She wasn't going to let me leave early. Now that's personal attention by a milonga hostess.

The Sante Fe dancers have a reputation of being very advanced for such a small tango community. It's a very mature community - one of the oldest I think. As such, I was intimidated, but I did dance with four or five followers. I spent most of my time dancing with a French woman - a French teacher - it was her first time to see tango - no classes, no nothing.

The last time I was in Sante Fe was for a friend's opening at an art gallery there. Roughly two years ago. The Blue Rain Gallery. He's my best friend's brother. Randall LaGro is his name. I remember being smitten by his new girlfriend. She was a typical southern Colorado/northern New Mexico woman. Tan. Beautiful. Outdoorsy. Sexy. Intelligent. Educated. Liberal. With a Manhattan twist. All topped off with a hot bod. I had to contain/restrain my interest in her. Thou shalt not covet thy best friend's brother's new girlfriend. Sherri. Her name was Sherri.

Below is a still life I shot inside Randall's studio in Taos. There's a story behind the building - it's really, really old - but I forget the story. I think it was a famous artist's studio long ago. Another mnemonic burst - a party at Randall's studio a year or so before this. Amazing party, amazing people. Artists, writers, bohemians. Barefoot girls in sundresses. Grilling meat and getting drunk on red wine. Sneaking off to kiss a girl in the darkness. A deep, long, heady, drunken, sweet kiss. A trip to the farmer's market the next morning. Good memories for many, many years. And that, my friends, is a very large understatement.

Still life of an artist's studio :: Taos

Murat & Michelle in Santa Fe :: May 9-11


morning moon over santa fe
Originally uploaded by slight clutter




http://www.santafetango.org/

Throw caution to the wind, book a flight to ABQ, rent a Toyota Prius hybrid, and get your asses there.

I've never taken a workshop with them.

But I would.

If I could.

It sucks that I can't just pick up and go.

This thing called "life" is getting in the way of my tango.

Suckage.

Great big suckage.

Codigos :: Not to beat a dead horse, but...

Did you ever notice when someone says "I don't want to beat a dead horse..." they fully intend to "beat a dead horse"? Like I am about to. Isn't that just a strange colloquialism?

Anyway, this comes on the heels of my post "An argument for longer cortinas...", to which, you will find, I issued a complete retraction in the comments section. I would call it a "throwing gas on the fire" post.

The thread that prompted my post on Tango-L continues. It started out as a discussion about gender imbalance, and leaders who stay on the floor for multiple tandas when there are more followers than leaders at a milonga.

I wanted to post Stephen Brown's very lucid comments about codigos. Stephen is from Dallas and is the guy behind the fantastic website www.TejasTango.com.

I didn't want to post this for debate or commentary really, but feel free to comment. I wanted to post it "for the record" if any beginners, or other interested parties happen across this post. There is some good info here.

Here are Stephen's comments in the thread, with some mixing of gender imbalance discussion and codigos:

I hope it's not too confusing to follow.


Wednesday, April 23

Astrid wrote:
>the gender balance in Tokyo is about 50:50, or rather samll shortness of
>women, while in tango there are about 3 women for every man. The two have

>nothing to do with each other.

I would think that at least three factors could affect the gender balance
for tango in a city.

1) The cultural attitudes toward women and men participating in such
activities;
2) How the teachers filter the population to create the tango community;
3) The gender balance for *single* men and women in the city.

I'll expand on the third point a little:
In most U.S. cities, the vast majority of tango dancers are single.
Estimate I've seen place the number of single people dancing tango in most
U.S. cities around 75-80%. If most adults in a city are married, the
gender balance for single adults may be quite a bit different than for the
population as a whole.

If the pool from which tango dancers are drawn is not gender balanced, it
would seem as though the lack of gender balance should affect
participation to at least some degree. Arguing otherwise would require
claiming that the cultural attitudes and/or filtering are so strong that
they completely dominate any potential gender imbalance.

With best regards,
Steve

Tuesday April 22

Chris, UK wrote:
>Actually those teaching tango have first an obligation simply not to
>sabotage the natural tendencies of intersocial behaviour from which the
>codes arise. A bit more consideration of that can save loads of time
spent
>issuing milonga etiquette directives... with the added advantage of
>actually working.

I agree. Bad teaching can contribute to poor floorcraft and an inability
to observe the codes. Tom Stermitz once commented that many people have
walked into the first tango lesson completely able to navigate through
crowded dance floor. After their first lesson they couldn't.

Let's try to get to a few details that might facilitate a natural
understanding of the codes:
Beginners should be taught the line of dance.
Beginners should be taught that tango has pauses.
Beginners shouldn't be taught rote figures.

How will beginners learn about tandas and cortinas? about the cabeceo?

What if you organize a milonga and a number of people who show up dance
performance-style tango, not social tango, and virtually none of these
people observe the ronda or other aspects of the codes?

By the way, I should mention that a milonga that I deejay for regularly is
quite devoid of problems that might arise from people failing to observe
the codes. Most of the dancers are experienced, and the facility has many
of the physical characteristics that Tom Stermitz described as
facilitating success. Sometimes early the evening, the density is a bit
low, which encourages just a bit of random navigation.

With best regards,
Steve

Tuesday, April 22 [Another Post]

Previously I wrote:
"I don't think it makes much sense for an organizer or a group of
community
leaders to impose a set of rules on those attending milongas. People go
to milongas to have fun dancing tango, not to have a bunch of rules
imposed on them,..."

I recognize that in Buenos Aires, the organizers don't make the codes of
behavior for milongas. The codigos were established a long time ago,
those codigos help create a smooth running milonga where everyone can
enjoy dancing. The failure to observe these codes typically comes from
ignorance or a lack of caring. As someone who participates in the
organization of milongas and deejays on a regular basis, I understand the
desire to help people understand the codes and ensure that milongas are
run as smoothly as possible.

Those teaching tango have an obligation to teach the codes as way to help
their students participate successfully in milongas. Community FAQs and
etiquette lists also may be helpful. What I don't think will work very
well is a milonga organizer distributing *and* enforcing a formal set of
rules.

With best regards,
Steve


Tuesday, April 22 [Tom Stermitz' comments on Stephen's post above...]

You can set up the milonga to discourage good behavior, or to enable a
better chance of success:

(1) Enough tables and chairs for everyone to have a seat
(2) Tables around the dance floor, with aisles BEHIND the seating
(3) Rectangular dance floor, small enough to focus the energy.
(4) Good sight-lines between the tables.
(5) Aisles to the floor so you don't have traffic jams.
(6) DJs that know how to build excitement and social interaction

The whole point is to create a good flow and navigation on the dance
floor, keep walkers OFF the floor, and make it easy to reclaim your
seat in between tandas.

Good navigation and floorcraft require a certain density of dancers.
If you have too much space, the leaders don't get used to dealing with
traffic. More than two or three steps of clearance between the
couples, and navigation gets very random.

A practice would be set up differently. For example, you may need
large open expanses of floor so people can try their moves without
endangering the navigation and social feel.



On Apr 22, 2008, at 12:28 PM, Stephen.P.Brown@dal.frb.org wrote:

> Those teaching tango have an obligation to teach the codes as way to
> help
> their students participate successfully in milongas. Community FAQs
> and
> etiquette lists also may be helpful. What I don't think will work
> very
> well is a milonga organizer distributing *and* enforcing a formal
> set of
> rules.
>
> With best regards,
> Steve


Monday, April 21

Many years ago, rumor had it that a milonga organizer in a major North
American city would run out onto the floor and give people tickets for
breaches of tango etiquette. People ridiculed her for the behavior. I
would have found such behavior funny (both humorous and odd).

I don't think it makes much sense for an organizer or a group of community
leaders to impose a set of rules on those attending milongas. People go
to milongas to have fun dancing tango, not to have a bunch of rules
imposed on them, and that includes a forced rotation of partners. Various
communities have drafted social etiquette rules which are intended to be
informative rather than requirements. For some examples, see
http://www.portlandtango.com/faq.html
http://www.tangovita.com/page.php?page=14
http://www.tangomuse.com/TangoManners.html
http://www.close-embrace.com/invitingetiquette.html
http://www.tejastango.com/faq_dallas_tango.html

Of course, severe breeches of what is considered acceptable social
etiquette may require intervention on an individual basis.

I don't think it serves the milonga well for the dj to force everyone off
the floor with a second cortina or a lengthy cortina. The cortina should
be long enough to allow the floor to clear--not to force it cleared.
Dancers know what the cortina means. If they want to stay on the dance
floor that is their choice. (If one of them is being coerced to stay on
the floor that is another issue.)

Some ideas that I've seen work at milongas (that had the right spaces) to
promote more positive social interaction (not force rotation).

1) A milonga has a break zone--an area where people could sit or stand
and talk without being asked to dance.

2) A milonga has two dance floors--one for practicing and one for dancing
the ronda.

3) A milonga has three seating zones: single males, single females,
couples. Couples who want to interact as singles may sit with their own
gender in the singles area. The cabeceo is used as a matter of social
etiquette--not rules. Anyone is always free to reject invitations that
have not been properly offered.

With best regards,
Steve

Lucid Dreaming Dreaming

Sofie by Petter Hegre

I'm sitting here at the computer, reading news and farting around, when it hits me.

This dream I had last night - Boom! Wow. I almost forgot about it.

Now that I am thinking about it, trying to remember the details - and boy-o-boy were there some absolutely incredible details - I realized something interesting.

I'm hit with how much detail was in this dream. But in the dream, I was somehow aware that I was dreaming, and was amazed (in the dream) at how much detail there was (in the dream). Was I awake, but dreaming that I was dreaming? I think I was dreaming that I was awake, but aware that I was dreaming. Sheesh. Whatever. A mindbender.

Now I'm just wondering who she was...or will be...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

So what did I just say?

Cadillac Escalade - The Land Yacht
Photo by AutoExposureCanada/Flickr.



I write my "Green Bullshit" post just last night, talking about "green" houses and touching on the six billion folks who are clamoring/aspiring for our way of life, and the finite resources we have to go around, then I wake up this morning and am greeted with this headline on MSNBC.com

Gas guzzlers are a big hit in China
Newly affluent want larger SUVs to fill with state-regulated $2.90 gas


It appears that American automakers are willing to accomodate the American market with hybrid (gasoline & electric) vehicles and move to higher mileage "gas only" vehicles, especially SUV's.

But not out of any sense of duty or responsibility to the environment or global warming, because, you see, they are perfectly willing to turn around and sell 12mpg gas guzzlers over in China.

It's always about the dollars.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Green Bullshit

Elizabeth's new neighbors are building a "green" house. They knocked down a nice little livable home and hauled it to the dump (no re-use/recycle). Then they nuked seven nice mature trees. Fuckers.

I was going to comment (again) on her post, but it would have been too long. More like a diatribe and less like a comment.

Here's how a house would have to be built to be "truly green"...

#1 Less than 2,000 square feet. Even smaller would actually be better.

#2 Passive solar design. Avoidance of solar gain in summer. Heat sink elements for thermal collection and release on heating months.

#3 Passive common sense cooling - bring back higher ceilings with transoms above interior doors, double hung windows that go to the ceiling, whole house ventilation (remember the whole house fan in the hallway?), and other passive ventilation - like in the "old days" before air conditioning.

#4 Active solar - photovoltaics - either an array in the backyard or on the roof, or photovoltaic shingles. Solar hot water system - or at least as a backup/supplement.

#5 Wind turbine if in a windy locale...the idea is to be self sufficient energy-wise and get the thing off the grid...the electric utility company is only a back up...

#6 Geothermal or earth coupled heating and cooling...ground source heat pump...

#7 Thicker walls/insulation...carefully crafted insulation installation...draft barriers...foam @ all penetrations and outlet boxes...weatherstripping, etc....this is huge...and needs Owner supervision...the crews/labor will fuck it up...pay extra for this to be done properly...oh, and use "green" insulation materials...cellulose or recycled blue jeans...

#8 Truly "green" products/finishes throughout...low voc...low toxicity...low/no outgassing...paint, carpet, cabinets, everything....this also means no fucking imported Italian marble trucked and railed and shipped and trucked across the ocean and quarried in a big ugly polluted hole/scar on the earth...no fucking articulating gesticulating expectorating German faucets...think local local local local

#9 Low flow everything...faucets...shower heads...toilets...include a bidet and shower less...sorry, but no gigantic two person japanese soaking tub...this means no water "event" computerized vibrating articulating gesticulating expectorating automatic gigantic rain head and side body sweeping and ass spraying shower systems...

#10 Four Car Garage, with plugs for electric cars...or hybrids...or hydrogen fuel tank...or recycled cooking oil...or a two car garage with a car stacker...or even better...a four car garage with a wood floor would make a nice ballroom...

#11 This is a biggie for me in cooling climates...use the "loft" principle and locate ductwork in the conditioned space...exposed...not in the 250 degree hot attic!

I could go on and on...you get the picture...

Less is more...small is beautiful...we are consuming too much energy in our way of life...if we were all as "green" as we could possibly be, we would still be consuming too much energy...we live on a finite planet with finite resources...even renewable resources become "finite" when faced with eight or nine billion users of those resources...

1 billion of us have begun to damage (or already damaged) the planet in less than 100 years...what do you think will happen when the other 6 billion who aspire to the western, industrialized way of life, start consuming and wasting, to the degree that we have...

It ain't gonna be good...

Milonga con Traspie :: New Milonga Product

2-3-4stop-4back-5-6-1-2-3-2
4d-5-3-2-4d-5-3-4stop-4back
5-6-1-2-5-6-3-4d
5-6-5-6-1-etc

The "etc" is the really cool part...the follower feels this really "swooshy" thing...

Leaders, for the "4stop" and the "4d" parts, it's best if you wear your white tango shoes, with black laces...and black socks...

And, don't read "The Economist", or do any calculus problems for three days before and three days after practicing this new move...or your head will explode, or at least ooze blood from your ears...

Got it? Enjoy!


(I'm not linking back to the particular YouTube video where I ran across this...a kindasorta well known teacher in a kindasorta small but well known distant kindasorta resort place where I kindasorta know some people...but not Aspen...)

Noelia y Pablo in Ljubljana


Noelia y Pablo in Ljubljana
Originally uploaded by Métempsycose

A photo...



Originally uploaded by maxloxton (Off)

Tango Parody from Johanna

Look what Johanna [Tangri-La] found! It's a hilarious tango parody...with fantastic musicality...

Tango Trance

Connected
Photo by Alex...Denver Tango Festival...Outdoor Milonga @ Cheesman Pavilion...dancers Heather & Nick...I just realized that my very first tango trance was with Nick's Mom at the Tango House in Denver...



From Dan Boccia & www.tangotrance.com way, way up in Anchorage, Alaska...

I have not seen it said any better...ever...

"The state of being so completely immersed in the music, and so profoundly connected with your partner, that movement flows from within the partnership, uninhibited by conscious thought." Dan Boccia

Psychoanalysis by Day, Argentine Tango by Night

Here is something I ran across on www.exploredance.com...

PSYCHOANALYSIS BY DAY, ARGENTINE TANGO BY NIGHT
By DR. SUSAN KAVALER-ADLER
February 2, 2003


Also see www.kavaleradler.com.

REFLECTIONS ON INTERSUBJECTIVITY OR "It takes Two to Tango": March 15 2002, conducted by DR. SUSAN KAVALER-ADLER AND ELLEN SOWCHEK

They came from Canada, Israel, Massachusetts, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California and New York City. They were psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic patients, psychotherapists, dancers, and Argentine tango dancers. They all gathered in the Pierre Dulaine dance studio (35 participants) to hear about the overlaps between "being in the moment" in psychoanalysis and Argentine tango. They heard Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler (psychologist-psychoanalyst-28 years of practice--and Argentine tango dancer) extemporaneously speak about the lack of anticipation for the follower in Argentine Tango being like the "lack of memory or desire" in the psychoanalyst, which is accompanied by "free floating attention", corresponding to the "free association" of the psychoanalytic patient (analysand: the "leader"). A multitude of analogies followed concerning the partnership in analysis and in tango.

Then they heard and saw Ellen Sowchek's (Argentine tango teacher, ballroom and Argentine tango dancer, hostess of Pierre Dulaine's Tuesday evening milonga TangoElegante) narrative on Argentine tango history with video taped clips of famous and infamous tango couples, with distinctions between Rudolph Valentino movie stereotypes and Argentine tango couples performing today. Ms. Sowchek challenged the workshop participants to tune into the degree of connection in videotaped tango couples, and to see whether they held up as authentic or bit the dust of contrived stereotypes contaminating the couples connection. All this interacted with what Dr. Kavaler-Adler described as "potential space," "play space," "inter-penetration," "psychic dialectic," "love-creativity dialectic," "dialogues of holding and receptivity," "true versus false self," and "disruptions through the contrived agenda." What is the spontaneous emergence of self in the moment, through the authentic self core, through the partnership, and through the music? How does spontaneity differ from impulsivity, from compulsivity, from breakdowns in dialectic due to the sealing off, dissociation, or repression of self parts?

How do disruptions in a tango coupling kill off or facilitate a potential partnership? How can self awareness within disruption allow for interpersonal dialogue that brings the psychophysical experience in dance to the verbal level so that communication can repair the coupling and possibly facilitate the partnership? This was the focus of Dr. Kavaler-Adler's "psychic visualization" experience in the workshop, which she led as the participants closed their eyes and focused on their breathing, their bodies and the thoughts tripping or plodding through their minds and on the people appearing within their internal worlds that they wished to communicate with. Does the person respond or not when they speak to them? Can they share their internal visions with the group? Thus, another dialogue in the group began.

The dialogues in the workshop evolved as Dr. Kavaler-Adler referred back to her own personal experience with "free association in movement" in her early 1970s dance therapy training with Blanche Evan, one of the pioneers in the beginning field of dance therapy. Following earlier experience in modern dance, and simultaneous with getting a Ph.D. in clinical psychology (prior to her training as a psychoanalyst and her founding of a psychoanalytic training institute: The Object Relations Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis) Dr. Kavaler-Adler had experienced what it was like to dance from one's own unique, in the moment, self expression. She conveyed to the audience that it followed naturally to later fall in love with the Argentine Tango, and it also followed naturally to later fall in love with psychoanalysis, where she "listened with a third ear," (Theodore Reik) and turned her unconscious like a "receptive organ" to the unconscious of the patient (Sigmund Freud), as she as a follower in tango turned her intuitive body receptors to the body gestures of the leader. But coming out of her office, where she sat still listening to those who sat up or lay on the couch to convey the often dark terrors and struggles of a rich internal life, to the excitement and thrill of body concentration and release in Argentine Tango, did not totally shield her from the pain that could haunt those living deeply in the tango world. She felt the hurt too, when a connection didn't happen, and she was dropped by a potential partner. She also struggled with the ups and downs of an ongoing tango partnership with her husband. Sharing some of this allowed others in the workshop to begin to talk about their frustrations and longings within the tango world, and to share their own insights and philosophies of this unique culture. One participant from Canada spoke of how important the "pauses" were both within the dance, and within the intervals before and after, and claimed that New Yorkers were more in a rush to actually dance than those in Canada, which she felt could forestall the sustained intensities of the tango, disrupting the pauses and foreclosing that which Dr. Kavaler-Adler was referring to as "potential space."

Ellen Sowchek shared fabulous pictorial images in drawings, sheet music, photographs and videos, of Argentine tango back to its inception among immigrants in the Buenos Aires' brothels. She showed the accompanying fashion of the dance as it emerged from 1913 into the post-Victorian world and eventually burst forth into modern life. Then, after a dinner break, from which all returned, Ellen taught a lesson in Argentine Tango for all participants.

The final part of the day came in the early evening, when both Susan and Ellen performed some Argentine Tango for the workshop group. Susan danced with both Helmut Salas and her husband, Saul Adler. Ellen performed two numbers with Helmut Salas. Both Susan (and her husband) and Ellen have studied with Helmut Salas at DanceSport. Susan also studies intensively with Ronan Khayat at DanceSport.

For those interested in related reading, Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler is also the author of several books on the creative process, including The Compulsion to Create: Women Writers and Their Demon Lovers (Routledge, 1993, OtherPress, 2000), The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity (Routledge, 1996) and Mourning, Spirituality, and Psychic Change (Routledge, in press).

BEING IN THE MOMENT: IN PSYCHOANALYSIS AND ARGENTINE TANGO,

October 19, 2002: "It Takes Two..."


The second Psychoanalysis and Argentine Tango workshop was very actively involved with the dance of Argentine Tango itself and with the etiquette of tango dancers in the Argentine Tango atmosphere, touching on important gender issues and gender feelings. As in the first workshop, the psychological seminar, conducted by Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler, preceded the historical and videotape seminar conducted by Ellen Sowcheck. The participants in this workshop played a very active role in creating dialogues and discussion. Consequently, a group interaction blossomed. The latter part of the day included an Argentine Tango lesson conducted by Ellen and dance demonstrations by Susan (Dr. Kavaler-Adler) and Helmet Salas, Susan and her husband Saul, and by Ellen and Helmet (two dances). The lesson focused on each participant exchanging roles of leader and follower to appreciate the subjective experience of each partner in the dance. The intersubjective experience of the dance created a third subject (or character), the dance itself, within the "potential space" and "play space" existing between the leader and follower.

Susan's lecture/discussion focused extensively on the concept of surrender and on how a mutual surrender was required by both partners in Argentine Tango just as it is required (in different ways) for both partners in the psychoanalytic couple (Analyst and Analysand or patient). Susan spoke about the confusion that people often have between the idea of surrender and the idea of submission. She articulated critical differences between surrender and submission, particularly in terms of the retaining and owning of one's power in surrender (being the agent and having one's own axis) in contrast to giving up one's power to the other in submission. The term surrender was explained in its psychological sense which is distinctly different than how it's used in the military field. Susan explained how yielding and letting go of control in surrender is a high level capacity in psychological development. She spoke of cases of well known women artists and writers who she has written about in The Compulsion to Create and The Creative Mystique to illustrate two different levels of development in relation to the ability to surrender. Trauma within the first three years of life can disrupt self development and create profound forms of defensive controls. The repetition of such trauma is compulsively enacted in the life of women artists as a "demon lover complex." This is a syndrome characterized by an attempt to transcend the self in a state of surrender, which dramatically fails. This results in submission by women to male possession as the woman is forced to give up her power rather than yield to it. In the literature and artistic work of women with the "demon lover complex," sadomasochism results, instead of surrender and sensual and erotic modes of merger. Possession is followed by abuse and abandonment by the male "other" onto whom the woman has projected all her own power. The repetition of early trauma as repeated symbolically in literature creates incessant themes of possession and death. When the desired surrender to an all powerful muse results in submission to a demon lover the alter ego characters of the women artists and writers all die both psychically and physically (the voice of the woman poet being extinguished, as in the work of Emily Bronte). Emily Bronte speaks of the hoped for moment of creative ecstacy, imagined by the woman poet as she cried "My outer sense is gone, My inner essence feels." Then her fantasy masculine god muse turns into the negative side of the father image. This negative father image is pyschically imposed on the inner child self. It is imposed onto the internal helpless two year old psyche with primal mother loss, evocatively creating the psychic projection of a demon lover figure. Possessed by the projected demon lover, the female poet's voice is extinguished and her poetic character meets her death in the image of a tombstone (see The Compulsion to Create, 1993, 2000). Her inner being is annihilated. In her novel, Wuthering Heights (see Kavaler-Adler, 1993, 2000, The Compulsion to Create) Emily Bronte has her male character, Healthcliff, extinguish the life of his female "love" (Catherine), when he is compelled to possess her. The sheer force of his controlling manic erotic intensity knocks her out of consciousness and then out of her body, and further, out of life.

How well we know that in Argentine Tango the woman can never surrender to the soul of the dance and its music unless she can surrender to herself. To allow this, the leader, usually male, must clearly direct her and support her in the frame of the embrace (similar to the analytic frame surrounding the analyst and patient). If instead, the leader controls the woman she can only submit or rebel, and can never surrender. One of the workshop participants spoke of how in the 1980s, when Argentine Tango was first taught in New York, the teachers were performers involved in "Tango Fantasia," rather than teachers and practitioners of social tango. The male workshop participant got up to demonstrate to the group how a teacher from that time had a woman in a class down on the floor, commanding, "You don't move! I will drive you!" He totally abrogated the woman's own sense of self agency, demeaning and defacing the visage of Argentine Tango as it is known to us today.

The topic of surrender versus submission opened up many other topics related to the Singles Scene in the Tango world and the partnerships within couples in the Tango world. Susan spoke of her experiences both in dance partnership with her husband and dancing on her own, with other partners. One ballroom couple in the workshop group spoke of a repeated dispute between each of them concerning where the husband should put his hand. When Susan initiated a psychic visualization in which everyone closed their eyes, breathed deeply, and imagined a dance in which they attempted to repair a disruption in the partnership as it occurred in the dance, often bringing the experience to the verbal level of communication, the husband in the ballroom couple spoke of having a conversation with his wife in his visualization that was better than any he had had in reality. In his visualization he spoke about how he felt when she corrected him during the dance, by moving his hand into the position she wanted him to have his hand in.

A woman in the group spoke of being in mourning during the visualization for her deceased husband. She cried during the visualization and was able to tell the group that she had imagined dancing with her husband again, with whom she had "done every dance except tango." This woman, a hypnotherapist, said that although her marriage with her husband had much friction in it, sometimes being volatile and leading to psychic separations, she and her husband seemed in perfect harmony when dancing. In her visualization, she imagined dancing with her husband again, and she wept for the lost mutual surrender into harmony, saying she couldn't imagine there being a disruption in the partnership while they were dancing.

Since this workshop member had spoken of her "in the moment" mourning experience within the workshop group, Susan spoke of how intimately connected the capacity to surrender was to the capacity to mourn. She spoke of her monthly therapeutic mourning group in which individuals can mourn with the support of the group and of how she has written books and articles on how the ability to mourn allows for love and creativity to unfold anew throughout a life time. She spoke of how Charlotte Bronte could mourn, in contrast to her sister Emily, since her critical losses took place after the age of five, rather than during the first three years of her life (her mother dying when she was five and her sister only two and a half). Charlotte Bronte had the psychic development to mourn within her creative work, as she demonstrated in her last novel, Villette, where her alter ego character, Lucy Snowe, grieves the losses related to unrequited love. Through the mourning process Lucy Snowe (Charlotte Bronte) is able to renew herself and proceed with her psychic development. Then she can surrender to a man's love and have him surrender to her, with the result that both characters transform and evolve. Charlotte Bronte's characters stand in sharp contrast to Emily Bronte's characters who are psychically arrested and who kill each other off. In real life, as well as in her fiction, Charlotte Bronte mourned and surrendered. It was only after she wrote her last novel, Villette, (after her more famous novel Jane Eyre) that Charlotte Bronte was able to yield to a man's marriage proposal and was able to enjoy the intimacy-in the moment surrender-of marriage.

And what about the biographical story of Suzanne Farrell and George Ballanchine as it stands in contrast to the story of the sculptress, Camille Claudel and the sculpture Rodin, written about by Susan in The Creative Mystique: From Red Shoes Frenzy to Love and Creativity? Suzanne Farrell never demonized Ballanchine despite his rather demonic behavior towards her. She was able to separate through a psychic mourning process, even when he demanded she marry him, even when he blacklisted her all over America when she married someone else, and even when she was forced by him to leave his New York City Ballet company. Suzanne Farrell separated, found a job as a prima ballerina in Europe and was later able to return to Ballanchine.. Farrell continually sustained a positive image of Ballanchine in her mind. She never submitted to his power, and she never projected an image of an early bad mother onto him. She kept him as a muse and never turned him into a demon lover.

By contrast, the female sculptress, Camille Claudel, projected all her rage onto Rodin when she and he broke up a long term affair. She never dealt with the cold and narcissistic mother who had emotionally abandoned her from her earliest years. Instead she projected the hate towards her mother onto Rodin, turning him into a demon lover in her mind, assigning blame for emotional abandonment onto him, and thus projecting the image of her mother. She, unlike Suzanne Farrell, could not mourn, because the loss of a mother had occurred so early. Consequently, she could not separate from Rodin, nor could she retain a positive image of him. In hating him rather than her mother who had rejected her from birth, she never let herself consciously know that it was her mother who was responsible for her being incarcerated in an insane asylum for the last thirty years of her life. Her mother had the power to release her and always refused. Camille blamed Auguste Rodin and ended her days in psychic as well as social isolation, the consequence of not being able to mourn her early mother loss, preventing her from transforming through the grieving process into someone who could create and sustain interpersonal connections, which involves the capacity to understand the separate perspective of another person. Suzanne surrendered and Camille submitted. Suzanne continued to dance psychically, even when retired from the stage due to a hip operation, as she taught students to dance and to dance Ballanchine ballets. Camille Claudel withdrew from sculpture as she withdrew from Rodin. She refused to continue her art, even when offered to do so in the Asylum. She submitted to an empty incarcerated life, and submitted to psychic denial, never wanting to know the truth about her mother. She submitted and opposed, but never surrendered to her art, to herself, or to a man again!

Another workshop participant's psychic visualization was about one sublime Argentine Tango with a mysterious partner in Argentina. She said that she has never experienced the sublime ecstasy of surrender that she experienced at that time since.

Yet, when this Argentine male partner asked to see her after the dance she could only think of getting enough sleep to attend her workshop the next day, and she further evaded him by failing to go where she had told him she would go the next day. The whole workshop group (21 people) sighed as this lady exposed her story, when she was prompted to return to her Argentinean experience within Susan's guided psychic visualization. The lady then wondered and pondered her own behavior. Why would she not go out of the bounds of the dance of tango when she was single and might have had a romantic experience with her male acquaintance? This report intermingled in the workshop dialogues with discussions of the Argentine Tango world allowing for intimacy without involvement, and the Singles Scene built around this ethic. The positive and negative sides of this equation were commented on by various workshop group members, mainly women.

The whole topic of women asking men to dance Argentine Tango in America, as opposed to in Argentina, was also addressed. Participants commented on how it felt in terms of the woman being married or not. Susan spoke of being glad to be in America where she felt free to ask many men, some male friends, some strangers, to dance, as well as dancing with her husband. Ellen spoke of needing to be respectful when in Argentina of the Argentinean traditions, which differed from American traditions in relation to gender politics. She spoke of the "coda" that allowed a man to tell from a woman looking at him or not whether she would accept an invitation to dance. Ellen also spoke of how men "lost face" in Argentina and had to literally leave the milonga if they asked any woman to dance who refused the offer.

Ellen's views were enlarged in her part of the workshop, where she expounded on the origins and traditions of Argentine Tango, bringing us back to the poor male working immigrants who gathered in brothels to escape isolation and to seek female company, beyond the actual sexual format. As she spoke of the evolution of Argentine Tango in this environment the rituals of male and female stereotyped roles in Argentina today became more understandable. Ellen also showed how Tango was used to advertise clothing, and even hair pins, in 1913, the 1920s and 1930s. When she followed this with vivid video clips of modern day Argentine dance couples, the workshop group was able to take an active part in looking at what appeared to them as genuine connection within the actual dance between the male and female partners, (including sons and mothers, and fathers and daughters), as opposed to stereotyped or stylized interactions (as she showed in movie clips of Rudolf Valentino, despite the passion expressed). The workshop participants voted on the degrees of connection in each couple. Ellen was intrigued to find that the votes were on par with those of the last workshop, much agreement being seen in what was considered connection: sensual, playful, and or romantic.

So in a workshop that began with analogies between the "in the moment" experience of psychoanalysis and Argentine Tango we arrived at a place where one female workshop group member could say that "When men learned the steps of tango they often lost the ability to connect that they had in the beginning of doing tango." Learning steps that create an agenda in the man's mind can interfere with him surrendering to connection with himself, with the music, and with his partner in Argentine Tango. Similarly in Psychoanalysis, the analyst, like the female follower, needs to surrender all agendas, allowing free floating attention that opens the analyst's unconscious mind to being a receptive organ for the unconscious of the analysand (patient), as first spoken about by Sigmund Freud. The female follower in tango needs to relinquish anticipation of the leader's next moves, similar to the analyst surrendering "memory and desire" (British theorist, Winnifred Bion), when listening to and responding to the analysand (patient). The analyst allows all theory to be in the back of his/her mind as she surrenders to the moment and to tuning into where the patient is within that moment. The patient, like the male Argentine Tango leader, must be in the moment of the dance, allowing free associations to flow from the internal and unconscious life, not inhibiting himself with the defense of conscious controlled thinking through agendas. When this cannot happen resistances must become conscious and be addressed so as to open the avenues to true self spontaneity in the moment. The analyst, like the male tango leader listening to the music, listens to the music of the patient's internal life through associations, as well as through emotional and body feelings. As the male tango leader senses which foot his partner is on, the analyst senses which part of the person in her consulting room is speaking at any one moment, whether speaking on the symbolic level of words or on the protosymbolic level of body language and feeling state expression. Neither partner, leader nor follower in tango, nor analyst or patient in analysis or psychoanalytic psychotherapy, can allow the dance of the process or the process of the dance to proceed without relinquishing conscious control and surrendering to the inner life of the creative moment. To be too conscious of the steps or the technique is to impede the process. The analyst and the tango partners "listen with the third ear" (Theodore Reik) and have states of "reverie" (Bion and Thomas Ogden). The analytic patient listens with a third ear as well as he or she learns to go beyond awareness of his/her manifest communications to those of the latent unconscious and preconscious levels. This is how we can "be in the moment" as the workshop participants were in these two special and successful workshops on Psychoanalysis and Argentine Tango.

Vidoetapes of the workshop are available by calling Dr. Susan Kavaler-Adler at (212) 674-5425. Those who wish to purchase her books, or who want information on her mourning therapy group or her writing and creative process group, as well as those who want information on individual therapy, can also contact Susan Kavaler-Adler for information.

Dr. Kavaler-Adler is in private practice in New York City, and has both uptown and downtown offices. She is also the Executive Director of the Object Relations Institute for Psychotheapy and Psychoanalysis, which trains psychotherapists and psychoanalysts. She has a new book coming out this spring through Routledge, entitled: Mourning, Spirituality and Psychic Change.

Ellen Sowchek, M.S., M.A., is a University Archivist at Pace University in New York A long-term student of ballet and ballroom, she has been studying and dancing Argentine Tango for seven years, and frequently flies to Buenos Aires to study with the great masters. She teaches Argentine Tango at the Pierre Dulaine Dance Club, where she hosts both Tuesday night and Thursday night tango salons, and holds classes with prominent Argentine tango teachers

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Good Stuff :: Boz Scaggs/Duane Allman & Loan Me A Dime



The imeem info for this song says Boz Scaggs. It's Boz Scaggs on vocals, Duane Allman on lead guitar, from the "Duane Allman - Anthology" Album released in 1972. The song was written by Fenton Robinson.

Here are the lyrics:

Somebody loan me a dime,
I need to call my old time, used to be.
Somebody loan me a dime,
Mmm, I need to call my old time, used to be.
Oooo, little girl's been gone so long,
You know it's worryin me.
Hey, it's worryin, worryin me.

I know she's a good girl,
But, at that time I just didn't understand.
I know she's a good girl,
But, at that time I just didn't understand.
Oh, you know I didn't.
Somebody loan me a dime,
You know I need, I need a helpin hand.
Somebody.

Yeah, she's a good girl,
But, at that time I just didn't understand.
Oooo, I know she's a good girl,
But, at that time I just could not understand.
Whoa, no.
Somebody better loan me that dime,
To ease my worried mind.
Whoo.

Now, I cried, just cried,
Just like a baby, all night long.
Ooo, you know I cried, just cried,
Just like a baby, all night long.
Whooo, somebody better loan me that dime,
I need my baby, I need my baby here at home.
Oooo, yeah.

Tango in Film :: Tango Music in Film

Since you have started dancing tango, do you notice tango music in film a lot more? Sure, there is the whole topic of tango the dance in film, but there is also a lot of tango music in film that has no dance featured at all. Granted, most of the music is what we call Nuevo

Case in point, the Sundance Channel was just playing upstairs, and I heard some Piazzolla come on. I ran upstairs to check it out and the credits were running. At first I thought is was "Adiós Nonino", but a quick look on IMDB.com tells me it's "Oblivion".

The film was "La Meglio Gioventù" or "The Best of Youth". I wasn't watching it - cooking dinner and being domestic. I may NetFlix it - it looks like it might be good.

Anyway, I just find it interesting that filmmakers are using tango music more and more in their soundtracks. I would love to hear any others that you know of - by all means leave a comment.

Alberto Dassieu y Paulina Spinoso :: A Vals

Mario brought this to our attention on Tango-L...

Alberto y Paulina bailan "La Tapera" un vals hermoso por la orq. de Edgardo Donato, en La Milonguita.

It's rather poor quality video, but that doesn't take away from a beautiful dance.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Ezequiel y Geraldine

What do we think about this?

Visit Argentina for 14 days and become a great tango dancer!

Great Dancer

I was browsing around on Amazon.com and ran across this little tidbit. It's a shame that people can get away with this misleading advertising. The bigger shame is that unsuspecting people fall for it.

This (and others like it) could be the source of all the crappy leaders (who think they are "great" dancers) running around out there.

It's a good thing there are guys like me who still think their lead pretty much sucks, or at least still has a long way to go.

P.S. I take that back. I just clicked the link and the teacher is Mora Godoy. So maybe if someone with two or three years experience went down there and studied with her for 14 days, they might be well on their way to being a great dancer after another two or three years of effort.

I take that back...."teachers are 'managed' by Mora Godoy"....who knows...

Friday, April 18, 2008

An argument for longer, deeper kisses...Part I

Gustav Klimt - The Kiss

I have stopped trying to figure out how my mind works. It's a losing battle. But somehow, after I posted the "Argument for longer cortinas" post, I started thinking about a woman I kissed once. Then I started thinking about long, deep, sweet, warm, connected kisses. It's almost as if I had totally forgotten about kisses. It's been that long for me.

I take that back. There was a fantastic 15 minutes of kissing in the parking lot at the Fandango de Tango in Austin last Thanksgiving.

I love to kiss. I miss it. Because I'm tall, I most often end up kissing a woman like Gustav Klimt's "The Kiss" - when it's a standing kiss. My head is down, hers is nestled to the side against my left pec, my right hand is cradling her neck, my fingers in her hair. Okay, I'm having one of my "holy shit" moments.

Anyway, here's the story...

When I was a single man in Aspen, I would sometimes get a craving for a really good filet mignon - with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon. There are five or six restaurant there that have some of the best steaks you will find anywhere in the world. On this particular Friday night, one summer a few years ago, I was making the rounds looking for an empty bar stool to have dinner. You see, on a summer night in Aspen, especially a Friday night, it would be pretty much impossible to get a table without a reservation. Plus, when I'm out alone, I don't like to sit at a table by myself. The restaurants there all offer the full menu at the bar.

So, my first choice was Campo de Fiori. As I walk up to the door, there is a group of women, five or six of them, smoking and chatting in the vestibule. As I walk through them, I make eye contact with one woman in particular. Not your usual eye contact. But, being mr. shy man that I am, I keep walking through the door to check out the bar. No seats. Shit.

I turn around to leave, and this group of thirtysomethingbabes is coming back in the door. The woman I made eye contact with says "Leaving so soon?" to me. I say "Yes......but if you want me to, I'll come back."

Stay tuned for Part II. I need to check and see if I already told this story.

An argument for longer cortinas...

Carol Shepard on Tango-L mentioned something that I think is a good idea.

The thread started out about surplus followers and/or leaders. There is also discussion about couples who stay on the dance floor, through the cortina, for multiple tandas. Whether it is leaders "hogging" followers, or followers being too timid (to end a dance), or simply that the two dancers are really, really, really enjoying each other, it does present some problems.

In Atlanta - I was pretty good about adhering to my rule for the festival - one follower - one tanda. I say "pretty good" - actually I would say it was "pretty half assed" now that I think about it. I think there was one occassion when I wanted another tanda, but at least I had the courtesy to move to the edge of the floor - off the floor - and wait for the cortina to be over.

There have been times that I have missed dancing all together with a particular follower because she was retained/detained/restrained/constrained on the floor between tandas - she was never "available" to be invited. At least not when I was looking.

There is also the common courtesy of sharing. As much as I would like to dance the entire festival with half a dozen followers - I'll call it my festival sweet spot - I resist the temptation. It is a difficult temptation to resist. I am your typical "findsomethinggoodandstickwithit" kinda guy. So, I force myself not to ask women for repetitive tandas - at least on the same night. Is this stupid? As I write this it sounds stupid...

Anyway, you can check out all the debate for yourself on Tango-L.

Carol's idea was longer cortinas. She suggested up to two minutes long. This would, in theory, discourage couples from hanging out on the dance floor and "force" them to mix it up with other dancers. In other words, make it glaringly uncomfortable for them to stay out there for that long.

I have a few 45 second cortinas in my bag of DJ tricks. But I only rarely played them. I have some minute ones...a minute thirty...but I never thought to play them. I thought they would be way too long. I have always tried to stay in the 30-40 second range.

I may need to re-think that. That is, if I ever find another place to DJ, or get an invitation to guest DJ somewhere.

Have you read "Kiss & Tango"?

Kiss & Tango

I'm in the process of reading it. Here is a book review from the Washington Post from 2005.

Reviewed by Jabari Asim
Washington Post
Sunday, July 3, 2005


KISS & TANGO
Looking for Love in Buenos Aires
By Marina Palmer
Morrow. 323 pp. $24.95

Marina Palmer's chatty memoir of her adventures in the Argentine capital
arrives at what seems to be a propitious time. HBO has shelved "Sex and the
City," "Desperate Housewives" is in reruns, and the American appetite for
vicarious sensuality is being only partly sated by a new series that
features ballroom dancing. "Dancing With the Stars," in which professional
ballroom champions pair with vaguely familiar "celebrities" to trip -- make
that stumble -- the light fantastic, has been a hit since it began airing
last month. So Kiss & Tango , a frank, explicit diary of an attractive
young woman's many amorous and terpsichorean couplings, seems ideally poised
to fill a gap in the zeitgeist.

Palmer, "Greek and American by birth, English and French by education,"
discovered tango dancing in January 1997, during a two-week visit with a
cousin in Buenos Aires. She had little idea what to expect on her initial
visit to a milonga (a party where folks gather by night to mingle, flirt and
dance). At 2 a.m., her cousin escorted her to what looked like a sports club
or gym. Once inside, she took in "a brightly lit dance floor filled with a
swirling mass of rotating bodies that were pressed together so tightly, they
looked like a can of sardines come alive." Still, Palmer was instantly
smitten, a process she describes in language that sounds more painful than
enchanting. The beautiful music, she breathlessly recalls, "wrenched my soul
from its socket." Her first tango lesson a few days later proved equally
transformative: "I felt myself lifted up into a cloud. I was at one with
myself and everything around me. It was a moment of pure happiness.
Happiness as I've never felt before."

Such ecstatic moments were rare back in the States, where she lived a
"nightmarish existence as an account executive at a large New York agency."
Determined to retain a bit of that bliss, Palmer returned home and signed up
for tango lessons at three different studios. Soon she became a milonguera ,
a tango addict who goes out dancing every night of the week. But all the
whirling and twirling only reminded her of what she lacked. "I don't know
when it started," she noted in March 1998. "But it has hit me hard. This
craving for a tango partner. One my own age. One I might conceivably fall in
love with. . . . I can't imagine my life without the tango. . . . It's true
what they say: You do not choose the tango. It chooses you."

Her epiphany led to a radical departure. "It was all so clear, so simple,"
she realized. "I was going to quit my job, move to Buenos Aires, and find
myself a partner." Her parents, who lived in London, were not enthusiastic
about her new plans. "I didn't put you through Cambridge for you to throw it
all away like this," sighed her dad, a well-off banker. Eventually he agreed
to subsidize her to the tune of $2,000 a month. Palmer arrived in Buenos
Aires in March 1999, envisioning a career as a professional tango dancer.
This is a little like showing up at La Scala and demanding a role in "La
Bohhme." But Palmer was 31, about 10 years older than the partners favored
by male tango pros, and mature enough to know that she would have to work
hard. As in extremely hard. She took ballet lessons three times a week to
improve her flexibility, studied tango with various local masters and hit
the milongas every night.

A veteran traveler who had already lived in five countries, Palmer had
little difficulty picking up the local Spanish. "I've noticed that you don't
even need to understand that much to get the gist of what somebody is
saying," she observed. "Which proves that most of the words we use are
superfluous." Alas, this sage perception had no detectable influence on her
method of diary-keeping. She can't resist telling everything, even in
instances where a mere hint would be sufficient. Her wordiness is often
leavened by a dry kind of wit, though. For example, she recalls her visit to
a decaying tearoom where "retro globe lights hang like bunches of grapes
from the ceiling, except they are not retro because they have not been
replaced since 1966." But then she goes on to add, "Neither have the
dancers, by the looks of them."

That last little zinger shows the dangers of her warts-and-all approach. One
of Palmer's most persistent and disturbing blemishes is her lack of
appreciation for anyone who's been on Earth long enough to reach retirement
age. "You know how old people go stale?" she lamented in a passage dated
Jan. 27, 1998. "No matter how much cologne Armando [an aspiring suitor in
his sixties] doused himself with . . . it couldn't cover up that sickly
sweet smell of putrefying flesh." All Argentines frequent cafes, she noted
in September 1999, "even the old, who in other countries have the decency to
stay out of sight." Elsewhere, she describes an elderly female dancer as an
"old bag." Of retired men, "It goes without saying that the very idea of
them having sex in the first place is yucky."

If it is true, as Palmer notes, that "political correctness has not made it
this far south yet," it's also true that she didn't bring any with her. But
she did tote plenty of baggage, most of it involving her failure to land Mr.
Right. Although she soon learned to glide across the dance floor with
confidence and considerable grace, her attempts at romance met with many a
misstep and pratfall. She bedded several promising studs -- their romps are
recorded in unsparing detail -- but they seldom pleased her. The few who
left her satisfied usually wound up leaving her altogether. The problem, she
concludes, is that "in the eyes of . . . men, I'm not wife material. I'm not
even girlfriend material. They take one look at me and think: SEX!" It's no
wonder, really, since her mates' myopia was oddly congruent with her own
philosophy: "If you can't beat 'em, you might as well go for a roll in the
hay."

And so it goes, through an exhausting and intermittently interesting
succession of ballroom and bedroom partners. Palmer notes near the end of
her three-year sojourn, "I remember every face and every name of every man I
have ever danced with." I doubt that most readers will be able to say the
same. Her crowded dance card left me scrambling to remember the differences
between Julio, Javier, Diego, Frank, Pablo and all the other beaus fortunate
enough to behold Palmer's flashing fishnet stockings and stiletto heels at
close range.

While the author's private melodramas unreeled, events in the outside world
loomed in far larger dimensions -- with far starker consequences. Only when
such developments threatened to inconvenience her did she catalogue them in
her diary, briefly mentioning the destabilizing Argentine currency, the
turmoil in the executive branches of the government, the violent unrest in
the streets. Mostly she focused on more intimate subjects, such as wondering
"if people realize how difficult it is to dance tango while on the brink of
orgasm." Readers with enough stamina to stick with Palmer to the end can
rest assured that she will tell them just how challenging that is.

Jabari Asim is deputy editor of Book World.