Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tango on UNESCO World Intangible Heritage List

ALX_0509_PSPhoto by Alex.Tango.Fuego

Tango on UNESCO World Heritage List
By BARBARA SURK Associated Press Writer
Published: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:43 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:43 a.m.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Tango was declared part of the world's cultural heritage by the United Nations on Wednesday and granted the international seal of approval Argentina and Uruguay have long sought for the dramatic dance and its sensual moves.

The 24 members of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Committee of Intangible Heritage granted the tango dance and its music protected cultural status at its meeting in Abu Dhabi.

The designation may make Argentina and Uruguay, which both claim to be tango's birthplace, eligible to receive financial assistance from a specialized fund for safeguarding cultural traditions. It will also help both governments justify using public funds to preserve their most famous export after to beef.

"We are very proud," Hernan Lombardi, the minister of culture of the autonomous city of Buenos Aires told the Associated Press on the phone from the Emirates' capital. "We hope this decision will help spread the tradition of tango all over the world."

Tango emerged as a dance style in the late 1800s in the suburbs of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Uruguay. It is popular in Europe, Japan and the United States. The recent spike in tango's popularity throughout the world is in part attributed to the Broadway hit "Forever Tango" and TV's "Dancing With the Stars."

"Tango is a feeling that can be danced, and that feeling of course is passion," Lombardi told the AP on Wednesday.

The popular image - willowy, spike-heeled women spinning, kicking and lunging across the floor in the arms of tuxedo-clad men - is known as show tango. The kind danced in milongas, or tango dance halls, is more waltzlike, but equally sensual.

Argentina and Uruguay have long been embroiled in a clash over the birthplace of the great tango crooner Carlos Gardel. They kicked aside their differences last year in a joint effort to persuade UNESCO to list tango among UNESCO's traditions worth safeguarding for humanity.

India's Vedic chanting and Japan's Kabuki theater are among the dozens of U.N. protected traditions.

By BARBARA SURK Associated Press Writer

Monday, September 28, 2009

I like to watch, or "You might want to sit down for this vals."

It might make you dizzy. A found YouTube object by Rigoberto. Real Tango. Tango Tango. Okay, vals, really.

This video is further evidence supporting my theory that Tango Tango does not involve white shoes, and that when white shoes are present (on the male of the species), Tango Tango is not what is being danced.

Sebastian Arce y Mariana Montes.

Enjoy. And comment. I like comments. (In the voice of Chauncey Gardener (Peter Sellers) in the film 'Being There', when he says to Shirley McClain's character, "I like to watch.")

(flip the switch if you don't want it in high will load faster....)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One hell of an enrosque...or if all New Yorker readers danced tango

Cartoon by Danny Shanahan of The New Yorker.

Caption by Alex.Tango.Fuego.

I hope I don't get in trouble for copyright infringement.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

New Blog :: Poesía de gotán ::The Poetry of the Tango

I just ran across this on Facebook. Check it out.

Derrick Del Pilar has extensive experience studying the history and language of tango in Buenos Aires. He also has a B.A. in Creative Writing and Spanish & Portuguese from the University of Arizona, and is currently working on an M.A. in Latin American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. His specialties are Argentine literature and Iberian Linguistics.

To foster an appreciation of the poetry of the Golden Age tango lyricists in Anglophone dancers.

Freely available translations on the web! Just visit the blog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Life Trumps Tango

Feelin' proud of my trench...

This blog is two years old today. I went back to check the date of my first post last night and was caught by surprise. I thought it was later in the month.

So, I'm caught and fraught without much to say on this anniversary. I let the first one pass by without fanfare last year, without so much as a mention. I'm not one to brag about visitor statistics, or where all my hits and visitors and readers are around the globe. Visitation is not much to brag about anyway.

I suppose I should look back at the blogging year, like we look back and reflect on our year when our birthday comes around. But it's early in the morning, I need some coffee in me, and I've got to get my day going. Life calls. Life trumps blog. Life trumps tango.

I've been thinking of a post titled "Maturation or saturation?". It will be, or would be, about the maturation process in tango. Our feelings and needs and emotions and goals change with regard to this thing tango in our lives. It would be about how I don't have much to say on the subject of tango anymore. Believe me, I do rack my brain on a daily basis trying to make something shake loose and spill out. But it doesn't.

The stimuli aren't there anymore. I'm not dancing much. I don't attend classes or workshops or festivals anymore. Partly due to nano-economics, but mostly due to the fact that my brain is saturated with past stuff. There is tons of information up there that I've never incorporated into my dance. Changes of direction. Single axis turns. The Fabian and Gustavo volcadas. Tons of stuff. Practice. Practice and conditioning are needed, but that is a subject for another post.

There has been a burst of fairly good discourse on Tango-L of late. But it's all ultimately a bunch of drivel, signifying nothing. So I unsubscribed the other day.

I'm not reading the other tango bloggers' blogs like I should. I'm not playing the Blogger game and engaging with commentary on their posts, nor the tit-for-tat dialog with commenters on my posts. Oh, I forgot. I don't get any comments on my posts. Not like some of the other more profound and eloquent bloggers. Whining is not attractive, dude.

I'm not watching YouTube, or even keeping track of new videos that pop up. Not much these days on YouTube moves me to post them and/or talk about them. I could bitch and moan about the prevalence of white shoes that I am seeing in the videos, but to what end? To put the white tango shoe cobblers out of business? What about my own (never worn) white shoes? How do I explain that? Better to keep my mouth shut on the subject.

I don't write about my local community. I don't nickname and write about the women I dance with. I don't write about what I feel and think, what it feels like, to dance with them. I don't write about technique or teaching or teachers or community building. It's all too close for comfort. Plus, that's just not me to talk about how some woman's hairy mole affects my posture and tweaks my lower back. Oh yeah, there was "Miss Delicious Mons", I almost forgot about her. (Grin)

I don't write about organizers who stage tango workshops, then cancel them, then don't issue refunds. Or at least not timely refunds. It's called wire fraud, a Federal crime, and this is not a tango crime blog. Luckily, these stories are few and far between in our tango world.

I don't write about or review festivals or workshops, because I don't attend them any more. Not that I ever did much reviewing, or was comfortable about what I did review in the past. The one thing I would like to see at future festivals is a green room. I did recently think about an angle on the proliferation of festivals. It seems they must be getting diluted. I even thought about organizing my own milonguero festival in Austin - with no visiting instructors, no performances - just dancing. Tom's mantra - by dancers for dancers. Malevito has a good post on "not" attending festivals.

Come to think of it, I don't write. One of my goals in this blog was to get more practice writing. Actually WRITING. Composing. Editing. Structuring. Literary type bullshit. That went out the window long ago. Pretty much every post has been off-the-cuff extemporaneous. Oh well. I'll write my masterpiece someday.

I ponder my addiction to tango. It "was" my life for mas o menos four years. (Sheesh, I just realized I'm at the five year mark.) Is this the normal tango maturation process? Where it's relegated to the back seat of our lives? Where it becomes about quality and not quantity? Where it becomes more about friendships and good solid connections than festival/milonga hopping to seek out the next tangasm? More about tango the community and the culture and less about tango the dance and the technical. Maturation or simply evolution?

I came out of the end of the tunnel of twenty-five years of married life and had a head-on collision with Argentine Tango. It saved me, I suppose. In a way. It saved me from my own oblivion. The oblivion of continuing on the path of the average white man with absolutely nothing in his life. (Excepting my beautiful, intelligent daughter of course.) I was living the upside-down life in Aspen, Colorado. Lost. Up shit creek without a paddle. Boxed in in a box canyon.

They say that you don't choose tango, that tango chooses you. They say that everyone who comes to tango has something missing in their life. Some key element that tango somehow fulfills, replaces, rejuvenates, substitutes, corrects, satiates, is the thumb-in-the-dike. The answer.

Tango has enriched my life in so many ways. This blog has enriched my life. I've made some great friends through this blog. Friends I look forward to getting to know much better. Friends I have yet to meet. There's the answer I was looking for in this post. Tango, and this blog, have enriched my life.

I have a life. There is true love and laughter in my life. There is growth in my life - where I was stagnant for so many years. There is deep, contented sleep in my life. I have a place on this Earth to finally put down a tap root. I have my health, and someone who cares about it. Thank God. So many people don't have this.

Tango is a part of that. Albeit a smaller part. I'm coming to grips with that these days, but I have a better understanding of what's going on having written this post.

That first post, two years ago, stated that I was going to use this blog simply as an archive for 'cool' tango stuff that I ran across. A repository. It grew into much more. A dear diary. A too-much-information, Alex. A soapbox. A diatribe-unal. Was that a quasi-Freudian slip? A diatribe-urinal? I suppose I'll keep at it, struggling for something to write about, vacillating on an almost daily basis about whether to delete the damn thing.

Nine hundred forty-four posts. In two years. I've already said a lot of what I have to say on the subject of tango. And life. And the universe. You will have to dig deeply into the archives for the good stuff.

Thanks, friends and loved ones and kind readers. Thanks for being here. In this blog and in my life.

Now for that coffee.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

BBQ & Blogging in Real Time

So, we're not at the Denver Labor Day Tango Fest. Oh well. There will be others. Dos Equis cervezas, muy frias. Slow cooked pork tenderloin, green beans and yellow/orange bell peppers on the grill. Somehow I have become something of a master bbq'er, even if I do say so myself.

The tango deck was a higher priority. I'm calling it a tango deck, but it will be a multi-purpose facility. Dinners al fresco with friends and family, birdwatching, sleeping under the stars, working out with the dumbbells, and last but not least, a stage of sorts for making music.

There's a deer, a doe, a fe~male deer, about 50 feet to my left right now. I can hear the squeaking sound as she pulls the blades of grass up. There is quite a menagerie of wildlife (and domesticated animals) right under our noses. More about that later.

So here are some photos of what I've been up to for the past few weeks. In my spare time while I'm restin'.

The bbq pics are real time. The deck pics, with the chair and plants, were taken about 30 minutes ago. The chair and plants were scored at the local flea market thingamajigger. Cheap.

The cat is a new addition. Stray or feral, I'm not sure which. Friendly and purry. I think she may have to go to the pound. No kill facility, so don't fret.

The deck initially was intended to be built from a salvaged deck. The original was built on 2x10 structural framing, I needed 2x6's for this one. Plus, the deck boards were in pretty bad shape. On top of that, the idiot carpenters long ago screwed about 50% of them bark side down, so they cupped. But, for 30 year old lumber (treated), they are in good shape. I will use them on the workshop/storage shed.

No. 1 rule for decks - screw the boards down bark side up. That is, if you're using real wood. The boards will be less inclined to cup that way.

The gaps between the deck boards are less than 1/4". Better for followers to not catch their heels. Plus, I'll be sanding the thing down in spots to ensure smoothness. The boards are running the long way, so I think it will dance pretty good. No joints to cross over until you get to the end and turn to come back.

It's 12 feet by almost 40 feet. 480 square feet. 40 dancers comfortably. 50 cozy.

Kind of a "build it and they will come" thing. More to follow as things progress on that front.

Otherwise. Happy Labor Day. Happy Tango.



Structure complete

A cool chair...



This is happening right now...

The Denver Labor Day Tango Festival. One of the best in the world if you ask me. For dancers, by dancers. The Cheesman Pavilion Milonga is in full swing right now. Potluck bar-b-que type thing put on by the Denver tango community.

It may not be obvious, but I'm not there. We talked of going, but higher priorities called. Perhaps next year. The other priorities are tango related. The next post about it is coming down the pipeline in a few. I'm uploading the pics now.

Okay, so the photos are from the Memorial Day Tango Fest in 2007 - the last time I attended. But you get the idea.

I miss ya'll. I know you're having fun and getting in some great dancing and visiting with old friends. Tell everyone I said hello.

Pavilion @ dusk

the smile says it all...

Julio y Corina 2