Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March 25-31

Friday, March 26, 2010
Free Last Friday of the Month Movie Night at La Pista: “Si Sos Brujos”

We began with viewing two dance clips suggested by students. The first one, suggested by Frank, was of Chicho Frumboli y Milena Plebs

The second one, suggested by Tom, was of Gavito

The movie summary was pretty accurate. “Si Sos Brujo is a heartfelt, inspiring film that could do for Argentine Tango what the Buena Vista Social Club did for the music and musicians of Cuba illuminating an evolving culture, a way of life and the triumph of preserving one of the most intricate musical traditions of the world, following nearly 50 years of relative obscurity. This beautifully shot documentary brings the compelling story of a group of young Argentine musicians racing against time to learn and preserve the elegant and nuanced music played by the legendary Golden Age tango orchestras of Buenos Aires in the 40s and 50s. If you are familiar with the names of Pugliese, Troilo and Piazzolla, this film is essential viewing. Yet it has broad appeal, and anyone interested in the creative, musical process will love this film."

The movie itself was great, very inspiring.

Santiago and Amy were witty, fun hosts. There were passed communal bowls of popcorn, and some people brought wine to share. The seats were the same covered metal and plastic ones from the milonga upstairs. If I ever go in the future and can remember beforehand, I’d bring a cushion. Santiago and Amy won’t be here for the next or subsequent ones for a while since they will be on the road, but they have promised to send a movie every month. It’s nice that there are events such as these that are related to tango culture, but don’t involve actual dance participation. It makes our tango education all the more rich. It was hugely generous of Tom to donate his space, equipment, and time to make this event a success, and I am sure he and Mila will be fantastic regular co-hosts.

This was one of Santiago & Amy’s last Bay Area events before they take their show on the road. Their Goodbye Milonga is this Sunday, April 4, at Café Cocomo. The lesson is free, and if you are one of the first 20 of their regular students at the lesson/milonga, the milonga is free as well. This is hugely generous of them, and a wonderful gesture of thanks to the San Francisco Bay Area tango community.

Saturday, March 27, 2010
The Late Shift Milonga.
I did not go to the lesson beforehand. The milonga itself was OK. It was only lightly attended, but had more leaders than followers, so I danced quite a bit. Actually, I think we all did since the dancers who were there were of the social, community building, skill improving bent (more than the couples who dance exclusively with themselves or the tango ambushers who pick off the same few substantially superior-to-them dancers, over and over and over). I got to dance with several new-to-me leaders, who came up from the South Bay. I guess they did not want to make the additional drive over to the East Bay for the other milongas that night. Floorcraft was generally not a problem since it wasn’t crowded, though at times there were some gentle bumps since dancers took the opportunity to enjoy the freedom of having the space to do more real estate-intensive moves.

Interestingly enough, I realized there was a strategy some folks employ of looking into the milonga before they actually commit their $ to attending it. This comes to mind since JSE mentioned doing it last week. Since I got to this milonga late (I usually attend the lesson), I never noticed that a certain number of people who are part of the tango community take the time to look in first, to check out who is dancing inside, and then decide whether or not they want to go in. I have never done this personally, since I can’t be bothered with turning around to go back home (or to a different milonga) when I’ve already showered, dressed, and driven to the place, and made up my mind that this was the particular milonga I wanted to go to (as opposed to one in a different county or across town). But I can certainly appreciate the logic and the luxury of having an “out” before committing, and this would have saved me from going to the few milongas where I’ve regretted going and thought it was a complete waste of time and $.

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