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Saturday, September 29, 2007

En Tus Brazos (In Your Arms)


Have you seen this?!!

It's called En Tus Brazos (In Your Arms), and it is a touching short film: an amazing combination of animation and a realistically told, yet fanciful, tango love story. I'm dying to know more about the guys who did this. It's really first-rate.

I can't wait to hear what you think.

Here's the link again...

***Spoiler alert: Watch the movie first and then read the text below.


Here's the information I could find out about this movie:

Enjoy the beautiful French animation movie "En Tus Brazos" about how nothing can stop a tango dancing couple ... not even fate. It abounds with creativity, sentiment and argentine tango.

The greatest tango dancer of the 20's is stuck in a wheelchair after a tragic accident. Thanks to his wife, he recovers the use of his legs, the time of one imaginary dance, ending entreating passionately "Don't stop, hold me tight."

Directed by François-Xavier Goby, Edouard Jouret and Matthieu Landour. France 2005. Presented on festivals in San Diego (Siggraph 2007, Award of Excellence), Annecy (France), Argentina (Mar del Plata), Poland (ReAnimacja), Auch (France), Miami (Romance), Spain (Animac), California (San Diego), Monaco (Imagina), France (Valenciennes), Bristol, Séoul and Paris.


Here's an interview I found with the director,
François-Xavier Goby.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Three Queens Abroad

Ms. Tango Hours mentioned it first. Ms. Nuit will have to chime in at some point, too.

We're going to Venice.

The whole thing came up very suddenly. It was a complete surprise and a magical, unique opportunity not to be passed by. The stars were in our favor. Love and thanks to one incredibly special person. You know who you are.

But now our trip is very real and fast approaching.

I know almost nothing about Venice,
the Queen of the Adriatic,” except for what lives in my imagination. I have books and maps and websites to read and study. I'm reaching out to you all, in the hopes that you have ideas, fancies, memories, recommendations, advises and wisdom to share with us. Anything you have to offer will be greatly appreciated.

In the meantime, I am convinced that Venice is the perfect city for three women of like spirit:

For us, the daydreamers:

There is something so different in Venice from any other place in the world, that you leave at once all accustomed habits and everyday sights to enter an enchanted garden.--Mary Shelley

For us, the sensualists:

Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.--Truman Capote

And for us, the tangueras:

This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty--this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.--Thomas Mann

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Don't Do It

Don't try to blog and cook at the same time while taking prescription medication.

Entre Acts

Man, I am wiped out.

Apparently, I have a virus. That is The Word, passed down unto me, according to the pre-teen resident I saw today at UCSF. I swear to god, she looked like she just got her first bra.

"Virus" is a code word for: I don't know what's wrong with you, but I'm wearing a white coat, so I have to say something that sounds medical.

Let's hope this "virus" is over soon. *sigh*

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Comedy for Free

By watching this clip (you can even fast forward to 2:46), you'll see the encapsulated version of the Kevin Pollak comedy routine that I sat through on Friday night at Cobb's--for free. This routine is pretty much verbatim.

I have just saved you $35.00 for the ticket, $15.00 to satisfy the two-drink minimum (one Cosmo and then a Cherry Coke), and another $20.00 for the appetizer plate and chocolate sundae. And then another $15.00 for cab fare home.

Now, I ask you, was it worth it?

I love a good Christopher Walken impersonation, don't get me wrong. And Shatner, to be sure. That's why I went in the first place.

But knowing I could have saved about $100 and seen the best part of an average comedy routine on Youtube for free...all I can hope for now is that you benefit from my experience. Don't even get the DVD. Just go to Youtube (until the clip is pulled due to copyright infringement.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Johanna Made Me Do It

This is a close runner-up to the tragedy posted on Alex's blog recently.

Johanna sent this to me today at work. I think we have to give her a lot of credit for finding it first.

My hives are starting to go away now, just in time for Ney and Jennifer's class at La Pista.

Oh, I can only hope that Ney and Jennifer are even a teeny tiny bit as good as the people in this video clip!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Having My Cake and Eating It, Too

I've been writing this post in my mind for over a week now. It's actually the post that I have to get through so I can move on to other things. I start it, then erase it, and then start it again. It's a topic that has been addressed eloquently in different blogs. But now here's my take.

Tango and Relationships: Is it possible to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't dance tango if you are?

In short, yes. I think it is possible. I'm not saying it's always easy, though. As you might have experienced yourself, it's really difficult to put into words why you need to dance--to someone who doesn't. Of course, we can talk amongst ourselves in our little tango world, and every word we say all makes perfect sense. But try expressing the myriad of feelings you have to someone outside that little world, and you can sound like a crazy person.

Last week seemed like a battle of wills both inside myself and with my boyfriend. I felt like I was going to have to choose between my boyfriend and tango. Not because of jealousy of a particular person or partner, but because I'm not home some nights. Or I think that's what the difficulty was last week. But whatever the trigger was, the end result was that I felt like a line was drawn in the sand. A line I drew myself, for myself. But I don't want to have to choose. I don't want to have to give up anything.

I want to have my cake and eat it, too.

It got me thinking about relationships in general, and why different kinds of relationships are vitally important. In one of my recent incarnations (in this life), I was married and I was someone's entire world, or so it seemed. It was a very tiny world. Needless to say, it was a lot of responsibility that at first I was willing to shoulder. And then a few years into it, I realized I didn't want the life I had been living. And since that world wasn't going to change, I had to leave it behind. Even though it was very hard at the time, it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I've never looked back in regret.

It took a divorce for me to learn that there is a big beautiful world out there, and lots of amazing people are in it. I resolved to try to meet as many of them as possible, and some days I feel like I've doing a pretty nice job of it. That's where tango has played a big part in expanding my world, both socially and internally. My inner life is richer and more rewarding because I dance. My outer world is filled with faces I look forward to seeing, and the anticipation of new ones that will come my way.

I guess what I was feeling last week was a flashback to my previous life. And I don't ever want to feel like that again. So I panicked for a sleepless night. (And cried the next day at work and was a total basket case.)

The resolution came from a funny place: my blog. All of the words that sound silly in conversation must make more sense in written form. My boyfriend, bless his heart, finally started reading my blog. (Where has he been?) And then, I think he understood what I've not been able to articulate out loud. Yay!

Happily, I can say that he likes my writing, too. And for some reason, he also thinks that I am the Second Coming of Anaïs Nin, which I find very amusing. So I am acting accordingly. *smile*


Ms. Malena wrote a beautiful post last week addressing the topic of tango and relationships. Her writing, and the comments that followed, made me feel less alone during my inner travails. And of course, the Sisterhood of the Spirit was my invisible safety net.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well, Oprah Has One, So Why Can't I?

A Book Club, that is!

My blog has opened so many doors (and windows) for me, in a remarkably short period of time.

One of the delights of this experience has been to communicate with the gifted Johanna Siegmann, an accomplished dancer and author. I'm sure many of you already know who Johanna is.

I've been reading her book, The Tao of Tango. I love it, plain and simple. This is the kind of book you want to read, and then read again. It's also the kind of book that makes you want to have someone else to share it with, to discuss the concepts and inspire conversation.

So, will you be in my book club? Johanna has said that she will be adding her voice to the conversation, so what could be more perfect than that?! I think we should christen our virtual literary salon "The Tao of Tango Book Club."

If you are interested, send me an email or write back in the comments section. The Tao of Tango is available through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com, and Borders.com. Let's give you all till November 1 to order your book, and we'll start our first discussion shortly thereafter.

Looking forward to reading and sharing with you!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Missing You

Where has the week gone? I have much to tell you.
But in the meantime, I had to listen to this song about ten times.
I love love love Harold and Maude.

I want to be Ruth Gordon when I get old.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Today was one of those days on public transportation where you wished you had a big gas-guzzling limo and driver to take you wherever. Home, Jeeves.

We were all hanging, like so many sides of beef, suspended from bars and handles, not that any of us could have fallen even if we wanted to. There was no where to move in the crush of bodies on the N-Judah.

Since it was hard to ponder anything else, I wondered why it was that this same type of contact, in the arena of the dance, is pleasurable, and yet the same type of closeness on a commuter train causes such stress and displeasure and whining.

I think what struck me most is that even though both situations require us to be physically close, often with total strangers who we'll never see again, that the need to be embraced or to embrace is what is paramount. In our day-to-day lives, it's so hard to get a passersby to even meet your eye, let alone smile at you. So how do we change so much from this public persona to such an intimate embrace? The person you are sandwiched next to on the train could just as easily be your dance partner at a milonga later that night. Maybe they should try playing tango music on the trains and see if we all get a little more comfortable with the commute.

This Side of Paradise, Revisited

This weekend I went to the Art Deco Society's Annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon. I was invited to go months and months ago by some friends, and as the date approached, I started thinking of all of the other things I could/should be doing (like dancing, grocery shopping, etc.) because I was kind of afraid that I was going to be stuck with a bunch of odd characters, like the kinds of people who re-enact Civil War battles or go to Renaissance Faires and adopt really bad Elizabethan accents.

So I was kind of expecting to be hanging about with some wannabe drunken Zeldas in their rented flapper outfits, but I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I was super pleasantly surprised. I had an absolute ball.

For starters, these Art Deco people are serious. They were into not just the clothes, but the history, the slang, the dancing, the whole period. There was not a rented costume in sight. (I have to admit that my outfit was stellar and I fit right in...I'll post pics if they do me justice. Otherwise you will have to imagine that I looked fab.) The most amazing hats, parasols, lace, shoes...and that was just the men. (No, I'm kidding!) But everyone put such care into how they dressed, including their hair, makeup and accessories. They looked good. It was like being an extra on a film set.

All of the picnics had vintage linens, china, glass and silver. No paper plates. No styrofoam cups. Cell phones were not allowed, if you can believe that one. People picnicked around their vintage cars. There was a Charleston contest. The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra played, and the singers and emcee sounded just like they stepped out of 1925. The Deco Belles, the bathing beauties, paraded with their gartered stockings and one-piece swim suits in vivid colors. Charles Lindbergh could have shown up and he'd have felt right at home.

This was the period, just after World War I, that tango dancing exploded in Europe. (See, I found a way to bring this all around.) Even though most of the dancing at the picnic was Lindy or Charleston-centered, they did play a few tangos but not the kind we are accustomed to hearing at milongas. I did get to dance one great tango with a new-found dance partner and overheard a couple of little whispers from the sidelines: No, they're doing Argentine tango.

I just came across some really interesting info on the history of tango in this century as the dance made its way through Europe and then back to the USA. Although it's not the kind of tango we prefer, I got a kick out of thinking of our predecessors dancing such a scandalous dance in their scandalous new way of dress (no corsets, the bra wasn't invented yet) and you know what...these people paved the way for us today. Your grandmother or grandfather might have been one of them!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Chasing Beauty

I was reading something about Kiki de Montparnasse, who was the muse and lover of Man Ray. Just the mention of Kiki's name got me thinking about Man Ray, and how his images are so moving to me, and then that got me thinking about other things that give me the same feeling.

Each of us have certain sights, sounds, scents, tastes that we crave, repeat, long for--sensations that evoke some private, fleeting bit of heaven. I know that's why I dance tango: it's an easy way for me to be in that moment. But there are other situations, perhaps more sublime or transitory, that will do that too.

Are tango dancers more sensual beings than other people? I don't think so, but perhaps we've just found a way to get our fix faster?

I've had a bad headache today. It's finally, finally going away after all day, but the little headache that lingers puts me in this hyper-aware state. Things seem a little louder, a little brighter, a little more forceful than usual. Perhaps that's why I'm so fixated on this topic of sensation today.

What transports you? Tell me. I found it interesting to see how these sensations are grouped, for myself. I'm curious to see what you come up with.

Paintings by Gustave Moreau in his atelier in Montmartre
The Caress, pictured above, by Fernand Knopff
Paintings by Giorgio de Chirico
Photos by Man Ray
Works by Andy Goldsworthy
Red figure and black figure ancient Greek pottery
The last mysterious segment of 2001: A Space Odyssey
The hallway scene in La Belle et La Bete, by Jean Cocteau
The Eagle Nebula, as captured by the Hubble Telescope

Privet or boxwood trees
Redwood trees
Double Delight roses
The smell of certain old stairwells in Paris (what is it, the plaster, the wood, the past?)
The smell of Metro stations in Paris (it's a warm, greasy smell)
Chanel No. 5, Hermes 24 Rue Faubourg, and D&G's Sicily perfumes
Fresh thyme
Tomato leaves when you rub them between your fingers
The jasmine bush in front of my neighbor's house
A little male perspiration and a faint whiff of cologne mixed together

That first "pop" when you bite into a juicy hot dog or sausage (you know what I mean)
Really really good hamachi sashimi
Foie gras (no judgement here, please)
Crunchy salt
Soft polenta with lots of butter
Coffee with cardamom in it (the kind they sell at Middle Eastern stores)
A perfect bing cherry
Bittersweet or dark chocolate
Red Vines
The tiny little drop of nectar that's inside a honeysuckle blossom (wow, that's an old memory!)

Sound (these links all have sound--turn up the speakers and close your eyes):
Nessun Dorma, as sung by the late Luciano Pavarotti, may he rest in peace
The Flower Duet, from Lakmé
Ave Maria, by Schubert
Gymnopedies III, by Satie
Summertime, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
My Sweet Lord, by George Harrison
When I can hear the faint sound of a foghorn while I'm still in my bed, sometimes happens around 5 a.m.
Rain (any kind, from drizzle to thunderstorm)
Little kids laughing

Walking in mist, especially mist on my face
How my legs feel after I've shaved them and put lotion on them
My hair after Kat blows it dry at the salon
A kitten on my lap
Very lightweight silk
When someone else touches my hair

Okay, now it's your turn!

Kiki, encore

The Queen of Montparnasse.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Sisters of the Spirit

Well, not those kind exactly.

I am very fortunate to have two kinds of sisters: my incredibly fabulous baby sister who I have loved since the day she was born (perhaps with a tiny bit of moderation during some of the teenage years), and a growing community of women who are my confederates and confidantes in the world of the dance.

Last night I was feeling particularly lucky because I got to meet one of my inspirations in person, Ms. Tango Hours, at La Pista. She fairly sparkles with joy, and is petite, elegant and completely charming. The night was not nearly long enough to bask in her company. And through her I met two other lovely ladies whom I'm sure I'll enjoy being with again, a bonus!

Last night made me realize how many special people (particularly women) that I have had the very good fortune to meet because, once upon a time, I decided to start learning Argentine Tango. It also made me realize that when you have a sisterhood of the spirit, all triumphs and beautiful moments are shared. My sister's good fortune is my own. When she is happy, I am happy for her.

So for today, here are my thoughts on this Sisterhood of Tango (feel free to add your own to the list!):

We rejoice to see our sisters looking fabulous on the dance floor.

We jubilate when they have a breakthrough in their dancing technique.

We celebrate their newest shoe purchases and do not covet.

We revel in their bliss and thus share a little bit with them.

We commiserate when they've been hurt.

We give thanks that there are such kindred spirits in the world, and how fortunate are we when we find them!

Friday Morning Diva

This is both a product testimonial and a cautionary tale.

Without a doubt, the Shu Uemura fake eyelash adhesive is a fantastic product. This rubbery glue is almost a little too fantastic. It's not watery like the drugstore brand adhesives and dries quickly. When used with care, it allows you to reposition your lashes until the glue is completely set.

When used a bit overzealously, it will keep your diva eyelashes on all night and even into the next morning, with the lashes looking quite flawless even though the rest of you may be a bit bedraggled.

However, if the sultry, smoky eyed look is not what you had in mind for the office the next day, try to use a little less glue.

A nice thing about my office mates is that they politely ask, "Dancing last night?" when I come into work on Friday with mile-long eyelashes that I apparently grew overnight. When the truth of the matter is that I had a wonderful time Thursday night at La Pista and didn't bother with the makeup remover before falling into bed.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Mad Hatteress

It's midnight, I can't sleep, and for some reason, I feel compelled to buy a hat.

Caterpillar: Who are YOU?
Alice: This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. I -- I hardly know, sir, just at present -- at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.

Help me choose which hat to buy so I can go back to sleep, or go down the rabbit hole.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A Change of Scenery

My Tango Crush has turned into a Tango Cad.

I know this situation happens all the time and more eloquent and better writers have described this type of situation much better than I, so I won't recreate the wheel here.

But it is so disappointing, nonetheless. One can't help but be a little heartbroken.

So I am running away from home for a time. There are new classes and new milongas and new people to meet.

I just hope that guy will be a little sorry, but frankly, I'm sure he won't even notice I'm gone.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Harold Lloyd in Love