Category Archives: Arts

Buenos Aires Street Art

Buenos Aires 09

Our time in Buenos Aires is limited, so I’ve decided to capture some of the city’s beautiful graffiti before I reach the point of departure and regret. The air is still pretty chilly but proper walking weather, especially in the early afternoon sun. I took these photos on the way to meet the lovely Tango Goddess (TG) for a vegetarian lunch in Palermo Hollywood.

TG has the inside story on the best restaurants in town. She can also dish delicious secrets on milonga life.

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Filed under Argentina, Arts

La Chascona | Pablo Neruda’s Home

La Chascona
Photo Credit: magical_world

The Chilean Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda owned three homes in Chile–two outside Santiago and one in Barrio Bellavista in Santiago. His home in Bellavista is named after his third wife Mathilde: “La Chascona” which pays tribute to her unruly hair.

Neruda was one of the strongest influences during my graduate studies in poetry. His use of the sea, death, harvest, and light is potent. I always imagined that his home would be full of pretty odds and ends like the lyrical inspirations that poets often collect for their work. We are like scavengers, often with a penchant for eccentric collections outside of language.

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Filed under Arts, Chile, Santiago

Six Random Things About Still Life


Photo Credit: Celeste

Happy Halloween everyone!

I’ve tried to remain a mysterious shadow behind this blog since its birth. Readers must surely ask, “Who is this person behind Buenos Aires?” I’ll tell you: she’s a thirty something, North American, Midwestern [section redacted].

Ricki of Diet, Dessert, and Dogs posted a “Six Random Things About Me” post in early October and tagged bloggers who might be game. Ricki used to be an English professor, and she can write. Well, it’s about time I divulged something about myself; although each time I try to write about myself, I think, “Don’t you want to hear about Buenos Aires?”

Six Random Things about the writer:

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Courtesies of Tango

Tango Dancers in San Telmo

Photo Credits: Andrea Balducci

To me, one of the most appealing things about tango is that it is accessible across social levels and includes all types of people, from lawyers to taxi drivers. It’s a working class dance, initially cultivated by mariners and immigrants who missed their homelands and wanted to experience an embrace–to remember loves left behind, lost loves, or the hope of future loves.

On the dance floor, everyone starts at an even stature until his or her dance skills are displayed.

Tango has also taught me more courtesy and empathy. The dance hall can be a community. Hosts regularly greet their guests who come to dance and send them off with hearty goodbyes and kisses on their cheeks. Milongueros greet familiar dancers as they enter the hall. Codigos are set to protect a dancer’s wishes and pride. Regular milongueros greet elderly dancers with the utmost reverence. 

The moments I miss a step or catch my partner’s foot, he usually takes the blame: “No, no, it was my fault.”

I am developing my steps, technical abilities, the weight with which to balance my feet, and the way my knees need to brush as I walk. The pleasantries and courtesies have taught me how to be a more thoughtful person as well.

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Filed under Arts, Tango

Vivir Lo Nuestro

I found this vintage video of two of my favorite salsa singers–Marc Anthony and La India. This song always makes my heart soar–I have to sway my hips to it. The singers were just starting out as artists when they recorded this song together. La India is holding a cigar while singing, an homage to her late grandmother. Marc is a little flat sometimes, but I still love their vocal chemistry. (I think he’s improved a little bit.)

The lyrics to this song seem inspired by Neruda:

En un llano tan inmenso
tan inmenso como el cielo
voy a podar un jardin
para que duerma tu cuerpo
en un mar espeso y ancho
mas ancho que el universo
voy a construir un barco
para que nade en el sueno

In plains as immense
as immense as the sky
I’m going to place a garden
where your body can sleep.
In a sea as expansive and deep
more deep than all the universe
I’m going to construct a boat
for you to swim in dreams

Are there any salsa (or tango) songs that make your heart soar–that have been overplayed on your Discman or iPod but you keep coming back?

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Filed under Arts, Music

Feria de Mataderos

In April, near the beginning of fall, I went to the Feria de Mataderos. This feria (gathering of arts, crafts, food and entertainment) is an hour outside of Buenos Aires and a Sunday fair. It is held during the Argentine fall. Each week, a different region of Argentina is represented. Dancers and folk artists present regional dances and songs.

Gaucho Drinking Mate

Gauchos, Argentine cowboys, perform stunts where they mount a horse and race towards a small hook above the street where they try to loop a ring. This gaucho was the head of the games. I caught him in a mate break.

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Filed under Arts, Food

Lost on the Floor

Dancers in San Telmo

My second tango experience didn’t go quite as smoothly as the first. I still love the dance, but my first rejection on the dance floor smarts.

I have to tell you–tango is not easy to wing. While some men may be patient with beginners, most dancers want to dance with a woman of their caliber. I can understand this. I would too. With the right dancer, though, I can usually find the rhythm and improvise a bit, as long as my partner doesn’t try to turn the dance floor into a lesson.

At the beginning of this night, I saw a young man at the table next to me raise an eyebrow–an invitation to dance. He looked to be in his early twenties with stiff, gelled hair, a starched lavender shirt, and pungent musk cologne.

When he locked me in the tango embrace, I noticed that he had a tight, forceful way of dancing.

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Filed under Arts, Tango