Friday, October 30, 2009

My thoughts on strippers

Resurrected from my brief stint over at Wordpress blogs...from October 18, 2009...

I want a stripper. I need a stripper. I’m going to have a stripper.

The visual overdose of her lines and curves intoxicates me. My fingers caressing her smooth skin elicits something primordial deep within my veins. I lift her and place her gently in the enfolding cool darkness. She is light, like a feather. As I mount her, I feel her settle in to me, and I further into her. Our combined mass sinks us deeper into the darkness. My knees splay a bit, pressing outward on the inside of her thighs, getting a better grip, getting better leverage, for that which is about to happen. The stiff shaft of my blade caresses the darkness, tiny soft ochos turning us into the fetch, the free and clear where we begin to quicken our pace. A few light dabbles with my blade, in foreplay. But then, full penetration, deep and full penetration followed by swift withdrawal and deep penetration again. My shaft and my blade begin to pump rhythmically. Impaling my blade into the darkness, sweetly, softly, powerfully, stressing the long shaft with my energy, propelling her forward, ever faster and faster. We reach the crescendo of the full hilt full tilt rhythm. Thrust and withdrawal. Thrust and withdrawal. And then I collapse, breathless, exhausted, heart pounding, sweat pouring off me, dripping onto the porcelain skin covering her ribs and running down into her loins. I rest, floating, and catch my breath, my shaft leaning upon her hip. We turn and now position ourselves for another run, a straight shot, back to the shore.

She is a Flatwater C-1, built to Olympic competition specifications. The “C” in C-1 stands for “Canoe”. These ladies are normally built of red cedar strips, but I will build mine of blonde cypress. Thin, narrow, light wood strips, individually and laboriously hand-laid, taking on the extreme lines and curvaceous form of this baby. Narrow, long, lean, fast, and extremely unstable. She will be 18ft-6in long, 32in at the beam, 28lbs. She will slice like a knife through the water. It will be like trying to kneel and balance on, and paddle, a wooden 2 by 4, at an extremely rapid rate of speed.

These days, I'm building the workshop in which I will build the stripper. The dream is still alive, and the river is still there.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Directions the Body Gives ::: Tango Short Film

Short documentary actually. A film by Marie-Jo Mont-Reynaud and Johanna Sophie Santos Bassetti for a documentary production class as Stanford University.

For the record.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

International Day of Climate Action :: Today!

I've been seeing and hearing bits and pieces about here and there, but now I'm keyed in on their website. They are the organizers behind October 24th being "International Day of Climate Action".

It appears that their mission is to go beyond mere action, and build a movement. Sounds like my kinda organization. Big-picture-thinking-there-is-no-box-kinda-folks.

More info at

I've just discovered it this morning, so I'm behind the eight ball on any meaningful action, so I'll have to go with spreading the word via this blog.

I'm off to read more about this...have a great weekend my friends!

Easy Like Water

Easy Like Water is a feature documentary about floating schools, solar power, and the fate of the earth.

In Bangladesh, solar-powered floating schools are turning the front lines of climate change into a community of learning. As the water steals the land, one man's vision (Architect Mohammed Rezwan) is re-casting the rising rivers as channels of communication, and transforming peoples lives.

More info at

For me, stories like this give me hope that humanity can rise above the floodwaters of petty squabbling and full blown military action, eschew the politics of power for the power of the sun and the wind, and eventually find that the profits of lives and lifetimes lived are about community and family and friends, art and music and creativity, literature and education, and not about capital gains and living the luxe life. Human endeavor is not about money.

I, for one, remained convinced that capital gains and profiteering remain the root source of the largest environmental challenge this planet and its occupants will ever face. I hope that three billion of us can figure that out very soon, for then, the tides will change. Spread the word my friends.

Come to think of it, see if you can get the documentary shown in your community. Here is the trailer.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Acid Tango

I was driving home to the ranch, having attended the rare milonga last night, and something popped into my head. If you've dug deep into my past posts, you'll know that some obtuse shit pops into my head.

Acid Tango, like acid rock, like LSD/acid. The hard stuff. That which addicts. You can trip on acid tango. Head trip, heart trip, soul trip, energetic trip. You can get high on it. You can have an out of body experience on it, transporting yourself to another time, another era, another city, another country. The Acid Tango addiction, like none other.

You have to be careful with it, though.

It can burn a hole in your life.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vida Mia

Here is an instrumental version of the song "Vida Mia" by Osvaldo Fresedo, featuring Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet. It was written in 1933 - music by Osvaldo, lyrics by his brother Emilio Fresdedo.

According to the details of this video (of photographs) on YouTube, they played together at the Night Club Rendezvous Porteño in 1956. From the looks of the photograph, there is audio recording equipment on a table - I'm not sure if this is the recording they made that night. Does anyone know?

This version of Vida Mia has been one of my favorite songs for some time now. I gather that Fresedo is something of an acquired taste.

There were five recordings with five different singers over the years - 1933/Roberto Ray, 1934/Tito Shipa, 1944/Oscar Serpa, 1945/Pedro Vargas, and 1952/Héctor Pacheco. I'm not sure which one this is below.

Boy I'd sure like to get my hands on the Tito Shipa version. I've got the original La Cumparsita, before it was re-arranged by Francisco Canaro, with Tito Shipa singing. That one may actually be my all time #1 favorite tango song.

Here are the lyrics:
Siempre igual es el camino
que ilumina y dora el sol...
Si parece que el destino
mas lo alarga
para mi dolor.

Y este verde suelo,
donde crece el cardo
lejos toca el cielo
cerca de mi amor...
Y de cuando en cuando un nido
para que lo envidie yo.

Vida mia,
lejos mas te quiero.
Vida mia,
piensa en mi regreso.
Se que el oro
no tendra tus besos,
y es por eso que te quiero mas.
Vida mia,
hasta apuro el aliento
acercando el momento
de acariciar
Sos mi vida
y quisiera llevarte
a mi lado prendida
y asi ahogar
mi soledad.

Ya parece que la huella
va perdiendo su color
y saliendo las estrellas
dan al cielo
todo su esplendor.
Y de poco a poco
luces que titilan
dan severo tono
mientras huye el sol.
De esas luces que yo veo
ella una la encendio.

And here is a translation by Ruddy Zelaya:
Always the same is the road
that illuminates and gilds the sun...
It seems as if destiny
extends it even more
for my pain.

And this green ground,
where the thistle grows
afar touches the sky
near my love...
And from time to time a nest
so that I may envy it.

Life of mine,
from afar I love you more.
Life of mine,
think about my return.
I know that gold
will not have your kisses,
and that is why I love you even more.
Life of mine,
I even hurry up my breath
shortening the moment
for caressing
You are my life
and I wish to carry you
fastened to my side
and thus drown
my solitude.

It seems already that the track
is losing its color
and the appearing stars
give the sky
all of its splendor.
And little by little
lights that flicker
give a somber tone
while the sun flees.
Of those lights I see
she lit up one.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Secret of Golden Age Tango Music

BandoneonesPhoto by Alex.Tango.Fuego

There is some dialog going on right now on the Tango DJ group about "We need new danceable music!" and "If you must play alternative..."

Reading the various posts, I was reminded of something I posted to El Tango back in January of this year, more or less on topic with the Tango DJ topics. It's about the crucial elements that make Golden Age Tango sound the way it does, and why it is so difficult/impossible for contemporary orchestras/musicians/groups to reproduce that sound we all love so much.

I've been wondering lately what it is that makes so many people "not" love the sounds of Golden Age Tango - perhaps the subject of another post.

As the first paragraph states, I was simply recapping others' posts, and expanding on the subject a bit...that's what the names are about...

Here it is:

To Pat's question about crucial elements that may be required to achieve the character and quality of Golden Age tango sound...recapping prior posts to help gel my own understanding...note that I am not a musician, nor have any special technical knowledge...I just know what sounds good, what moves me, and what doesn't sound good...

Critical Elements :: Interesting points made by posters [paraphrasing]

1] Zeitgeist - World/Social Context :: The time period during which the music was played...[Ron] 'Inflected' by world events and social mores of the time ... this cannot be reproduced...ever...

2] Space/Suspense :: Golden Age orchestras/musicians deliberately or unconsciously allowed for space, suspense, suspension, openness in the arrangements...versus modern orchestras/musicians (in general) not recognizing this, and hurrying the music, just as many/most dancers hurry their dance... [Tom]

3] Orchestra Dynamics :: The smaller size of orchestras today versus in the Golden Age, the larger size of orchestras and the increased number of violins and bandoneons provided a richness and depth to the sound...[Christopher, Myk] Inexperienced musicians without sufficient practice time and not enough emphasis on ensemble playing...[Christopher]

4] Subconscious Awareness :: The fact that the human mind 'knows' that this is no longer the Golden Age, and may impact how we 'hear' Golden Age vs. Modern Age tango... [Bruno] Were the listeners of the Golden Age as moved by the music then, as we are today? Who knows?

5] The Fifth Element :: Whether you ascribe to Ilene's 'magic' quality, an intangible that simply cannot be reproduced, or believe that there may be some other quintessential element, possibly metaphysical energy, which takes this 'magic' quality, and pulls in the Zeitgeist of that time. Add to the mix the emotional energy of the composers, orchestra leaders, and individual musicians - more musicians, more energy. Finally, top it off with the emotional energy of the dancers and listeners they were composing and playing for at that time. Let's just call it 'energy'. This had to be a profound influence, in my view.

I doubt that the sound and emotion of that music, from that time, can ever be reproduced. More importantly, why? Why even attempt to reproduce it? Not that Pat suggested this in the originating post, but there does seem to be a gentle undercurrent of a desire to somehow reproduce the sound. It's interesting to discuss and ponder, which I'm sure we all have, and will continue to do.

My feeling is to leave it alone. I'm not saying not to discuss or ponder it, but to let the music be what it is. Let the musicians of today create their own music - free in their own creative juices. They say "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", but I think in this case, it is not. There is something very beautiful about spontaneous, unhindered, free flowing creativity. Let ColorTango be, and sound like, ColorTango. Let the others be and sound like themselves. When a painter today is commissioned for a work, hopefully the patron doesn't say "make it look like a Matisse..." - the patron wants the artist to create a uniquely individual, one-of-a-kind, work of art.

One of my favorite tango quotes is by Jorge Luis Borges. He said "The tango can be debated...but it still encloses, as does all which is truthful, a secret."

Let's keep that magic, that energy, that secret...let's keep it secret...

Or, you may ascribe to the philosophy that tango is "just a dance..."

Ilene also added a comment after my post about the recording technology of the time. No doubt that played a role as well - as compared to the digital recording technology in use today. There is good, skillful, highly crafted digital recording going on today, resulting in very rich sounding recordings and then there is the not-so-good.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Spread of Tango

Just an FYI...this blog received a hit last week from Libya...a tango related search string entered into Google.

And then today, a hit from Tunisia, from someone googling "tango quotes".

As I recall, there was a hit from Namibia sometime last year.

Who knows, it might be the same person. I suppose I could take note of the IP address.

I've also started getting a few *non* Monica Bellucci hits (tango hits) from within Saudia Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and a few others.

Anyway, just found it interesting....

Friday, October 2, 2009

Looks pretty milonguero to me :: Another vals

I unsubscribed to the Tango-L daily digests a while back, but this morning, I figger'd I'd check the archives and see what was going on.

The original poster of the message "Nuevo Milonguero" feared his posting of the video was tantamount to treason, and went on to express his fear that what is shown on the video would spread like wildfire to the far corners of the world. I'm paraphrasing and embellishing a bit here - for dramatic effect.

First, the video is from a 2006 Seattle workshop with Susanna Miller and Maria Plazaola. So it's nothing new. They are doing what appears to be a didactic demo at the end of a class. A vals class I suppose. Again, nothing new.

I can only guess that what he might be talking about is the switch-up of lead roles during the dance between the two women. Or perhaps same sex dancing? Can two women dance milonguero style? Sure. Can two women interchange the lead during one dance - assuming they both enjoy leading and are good leaders? Sure.

So, from the self-appointed/anointed arbiter of all things milonguero, it looks pretty milonguero to me. I'm not concerned about some new "nuevo milonguero" movement or influence bubbling up somewhere on the planet. El Tango es El Tango. Milonguero es Milonguero. Nuevo es Nuevo. They are different animals. There is no mistaking them.

Admittedly, this is a weak post, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

A couple of final notes on the video: I don't care for the rotational, up-and-down movement of the leaders' hands at times - not-so-milonguero if you ask me.

Also, the demo doesn't feel very "vals-y" to me. It's not the vals I aspire to.

It's still nice to watch - and it would make me happy to see this danced on the pista in my community.

Very happy.