Archive for September 25th, 2011


French newspapers in 1925 were ecstatic about Carlos Gardel…Le Figaro waxed with child like enthusiasm, “his consumate artistry…his magnetic charm over the public…perfectly cadenced”…his photo graced the cover of the magazine “La Rampe” in a luxurious end of the year edition…Gardel was stunned by his success and almost incredulously he wrote to a friend, “I am living like a millionaire in the best hotel in the best neighborhood”…Gardel was more than happy to oblige his fellow countryman and mentor Paul Santolini when he asked him to perform at a charity event at the Femina Theater to help the victims of the Island of Guadaloupe…it had been ravage by the 165 miles per hour winds of the famous 1924 “Cuba Hurricane” the earliest officially classified Category 5 Atlantic hurricane…interestingly, it was at a charity event to help victims of an earthquake that “Evita” first met Juan Peron


Among the performers at the Femina Theater that evening, was the great Josephine Baker…growing up abandoned and in abject poverty in the slums of St. Louis, she left school at the age of 12 to work in a series of menial jobs, surviving in makeshift cardboard shelters…her street corner dancing attracted attention and at the age of 15 she was recruited to dance in a vaudeville show…she found success in New York Harlem’s dynamic night club scene and eventually she was invited to Paris where her exotic looks and erotic dancing captured the imagination of the public…beloved by the French public, she became famous and rich at a time when she would be denied entry into a restaurant in her own country…her love of France was such that during World War II, at great personal risk, she used her notoriety to spy on the Nazis…she would become the first American woman to receive the French military honor, the Croix De Guerre…she was a mentor and inspiration to tango and jazz guitarist Oscar Aleman, one of the greatest entertainers in Argentine history…among her numerous lesbian lovers was the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo…Ernest Hemingway would call her “the most sensational woman anyone ever saw”