Thursday, January 6, 2011

December 30 - January 5

Thursday, December 30, 2010
Verdi Club Milonga.
There was no lesson beforehand, and the milonga started an hour earlier than usual. When I got there shortly after 8, it was already quite follower-heavy, though not hugely full. The steady flow of people soon remedied that, and we eventually became a very packed house. A strong crew from Santa Cruz came up, and it seemed like everyone who didn't have to work the next day (and quite a few who did), showed up at the milonga. The band, QTango, played two brilliant sets. Later on, the cast of Forever Tango came by. We were blessed with the unexpected treat of three performances from them. First, Marcela Duran and Gaspar Godoy did a solo dance. Then, the entire cast, including Cheryl Burke, did a performance. Finally, Martin de Leon sang to QTango playing Malena. After their performance and they had their fill of our local pizza, the cast of Forever Tango was amazingly gracious and social danced with those brave and bold enough to ask. Being starstruck me and having a penchant for getting autographs, I was sorely tempted to get the Forever Tango program from my car, but my feet hurt and the car seemed an awfully far way away, though it was only half a block. I figured that I might have the opportunity next week to have them sign since the show will be in town until January 9, 2011. It was fun dancing to the music of QTango, and alternating it with the fabulous DJing of Emilio. The dance floor was extremely crowded at times, which made for difficult floorcrafting. Thankfully, lots of folks seemed content to sit things out at times rather than navigate through the tight conditions. Before midnight I started to bonk, but thankfully Jr. Scout Extraordinaire came to my rescue with a holiday goodie bag: fresh shelled walnuts, locally grow in the Clear Lake area by some buddies of hers. That was enough to fuel me to dance another 90 minutes or so before I called it a night.

Friday, December 31, 2010
New Years Eve Milonga at Club Florida.
Club Florida is the same place as Zambeleta Dance Studio, and is only a couple of blocks away from CellSpace. So parking is comparable to parking at CellSpace. The space was very thoroughly and sophisticatedly decorated with the studio mirrors completely covered in white, black or gold drapes. There were ~20 tables of 8, all filled. The food was beef turnovers (mini empanadas), spanikopita, chicken breast skewers, a cheese platter with an amazing assortment of cheeses (gouda, cheddar, goat cheese, strawberry cream cheese, fresh baby mozzarella balls, baby bells, cut up pieces of string cheese, among many others). The crackers were whole grain, and there was also cheese crostini and cheese bread sticks. Desserts were fresh fruit, which was very refreshing after a season of indulging in way too many candies, cookies and cakes. There was a self-serve wine and soda/water area. Everyone came out dressed to the nines, with many of the gentlemen in tuxes or coats, and the ladies all decked out in their finery amped up a notch or three. The dancing was nice. DJ Joann did a fine job, as usual, so the dance floor never got close to being worked up into a frenzy. There were more Followers, so I got a chance to just sit and watch a fair amount of time. I was amazed that there were so many people who I had never seen before. Some were visitors, some were new to tango, and some were regular visitors whose path I hadn't yet crossed. There was a champagne toast at midnight with a balloon drop (since it was a little stubborn, a couple of stick-wielding tangueros gave it a good poke/whack or three to get all the balloons to drop). After the drop, it seemed the tangueros were channeling their inner children as they gleefully stomped on the balloons to pop them all. Pampa Cortes and Ann Beck did a nice demo, as did Facundo Posadas and his partner, who came into town specifically for just this event. It was a very nice, elegant night, and there was something extremely right about it being topped off with being escorted to my car afterwards by our ever-faithful tango security guy (and budding tanguero) Darnell.

Regarding the future Steve/Joann/Adolfo Club Florida milongas: the ink is not yet finalized and dry on the contracts. But as soon as it is, we will hear...

Saturday, January 1, 2011
Sausalito Milonga.
I did not go to the lessons beforehand, taught by Gustavo and Jesica Hornos. The milonga itself was only lightly attended, but with very high quality dancers. So I had a very good time. I danced with Miguelito de San Francisco proper (like I am) who I never danced with before. It still amazes me how I can go to all these San Francisco Bay Area milongas, and still manage to come across someone who has obviously also been around the San Francisco tango community for quite a while too (i.e., he was not a beginner or a recent transplant), and yet never dance with him before. Anyway, he was fantastic and I was shocked that we had never danced together before. I also danced with Maestro, which was a truly amazing experience. Afterwards, I had to decompress in the snack room to gather myself, it was so mind-blowing. J-Z and Pam were there, and told me that the Baywest NYE milonga was also very well attended, and a nicely elegant affair as well. Such a pity we couldn't all clone ourselves to attend all the milongas that night (Magdalena too!).

Wednesday, January 5, 2010
CellSpace Alt Milonga. I skipped the lessons, and got there around 9:30 p.m. It was already crowded. But after that, it didn't get too much more crowded, so it was fun dancing. Someone commented to me how floorcrafting and dancer quality has improved from a couple of years ago, and I agree with that comment. Plans are in the works to have more live music at CellSpace, largely credited to Homer Ladas and his connections through meeting musicians and bands on his many travels, so it will be fun to see how that unfolds. People are no longer completely shocked that I show up on a non-Homer night, so maybe I will attempt to completely blow their socks off and become a bonafide regular. ;o)

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