Archive for the ‘ Books ’ Category

2000, April 4 – PUBLISHED “SEVENTH GRADE TANGO”

Scott and Rebecca win the tango contest at their Middle T. Harris School dance contest and only then do they allow themselves what they believe is a brotherly kiss, after all he has been a dear friend since grade school and besides that, he is going out with her best friend Samantha…but something unexpected happens, tango turns into a tangle as they discover, “seven seconds in heaven” and the all-consuming crush she had on the handsome dance instructor Mr. De Palma begins to fade…in the drama that follows, Samantha proves to be a less than ideal friend…Elisabeth Levy’s “Seventh Grade Tango” is a masterpiece; it artfully portrays Rebecca’s thoughts and emotions as she is confronted with growing up and becoming a teenager… Seventh Grade Tango”  is one of those rare books that universally earned the highest accolades possible from a wide array of observers…one girl wrote, “I would recommend this book to anyone because it is so good, well, maybe not to boys“…

***

Still another said, “I remember checking this book out of the library over 50 times when I was in sixth grade”…it is not unlike the film “Another Cinderella Story” where two young people discover love through a sizzling tango dance…author Elizabeth Levy had her first success in the third grade when a local newspaper published one of her poems….it was a harbinger of things to come; she has published over eighty children’s and young adult books winning a number of awards including “Outstanding Book of the Year” from the New York Times in 1977…she grew up in Buffalo, New York where she says she loved to daydream and it is through her fantasies that she learned to be a good writer; she once had a crush on Elvis…at Brown University where she majored in history and after college she went to New York City where she worked for ABC Television and for the legendary Senator Robert Kennedy…she says, “I write alot about real people who make mistakes in their lives…I like to inspire my audience to use their imagination”..

________________

1889 March 18 – BIRTH OF HECTOR BLOMBERG

Poet, Writer, Journalist (Pisces) – he flung open the door, rushed in and started grabbing  a few clothes,“where are you going son” his mother asked worriedly,“to Norway” he responded…that afternoon while walking the waterfront, deep in thought, he had suddenly stopped in front of a massive ship and had been seized by an inexplicable urge, “the ship leaves at 12 noon” the sailor on guard had told him…Hector Blomberg was gone for two years during which he visited far away lands and exotic ports of call; he returned with a suitcase full of poems…at the age of seventeen he had received his first recognition, a gold medal for his poem “Ode To Spain”…in time he would become one of Argentina’s great men of letters leaving behind an extensive collection of poetry books, historical novels, plays, newspaper articles, children’s books and several immortal tangos…being fluent in German and English he even found time to translate noted writers in those languages

***

He was born in the neighborhood of Montserrat in Buenos Aires; his mother, originally from Paraguay, was herself a writer and a translator…his father was an engineer and a descendant of a long line of Norwegian sailors from whom he fell heir to his passion for the sea and for travel…sometime in the late 1920s he was introduced to singer Ignacio Corsini with whom a lifelong friendship would flourish…in collaboration with guitarist Enrique Maciel they would author a waltz “La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” which was a great hit and would launch a renowned career for Corsini; the three would collaborate on a number of other successful tango like “El Adios de Gabino Ezeiza” and “La Que Morio en Paris”…”La Pulpera de Santa Lucia” was originally on of Hector’s historical novels which continues in circulation to our very day as a collector’s item at prices many times its original cost…the kind of person Hector was, revealed itself in 1920 in a poetry contest; when it came to his attention that he would be awarded first prize, he argued with the jury that the second place designee’s entry was better than his  and really deserving of first place and in fact the order of the awards was changed

________________

1898, January 31 – BIRTH OF MARIA LUISA CARNELLI

Poet (Aquarius) – one day while she was attending an important celebration, the tango “Se Va La Vida” was being played; it had been a great hit for composer Edgardo Donato…a colleague sitting next to Maria Luisa Carnelli mentioned that he liked the music but engaged on a long tirade about why the lyrics were inappropriate and amateurish…Maria Luisa could contain herself no longer and revealed to him that she, under the pseudonym Mario Castro, was in fact the author…the colleague was highly embarrassed and stammered an explanation but in fact the friendship never recovered…she often used pseudonyms to prevent her father from finding out what she was doing…growing up in an upper middle class family, her father was adamantly against tango; he had once discovered a daughter dancing tango and had severely disciplined her; …nevertheless Maria Luisa and her brothers would secretly listened to tango removing the horn from the Gramophone so as to keep the volume to its lowest possible level…

***

She was born in the city of La Plata Argentina and already as a young girl she learned to love tango and to write poems…she became a tango lyricist in 1927 when, under the pseudonym “Mario Castro”, she wrote the lyrics for “El Malevo” composed  by Julio De Caro…just three years later  she won first prize in the celebrated Max Glucksman tango contest with “Linyera”…her “Se Va La Vida” became a hit when Carlos Gardel’s dear friend Azucena Maizani recorded it…in her career, like the legendary Homero Manzi, she would become a renown journalist and author although she once commented that she earned more from the royalties from her biggest hit “Cuando Llora La Milonga” than from the eight books she had published…she traveled to 24 countries in journalistic pursuits which was an unheard of feat for a woman in those times…she was admired for her personal valor as correspondent in the Spanish Civil where she was befriended by the mythical Martha Gellhorn (Hemingway’s 3rd wife)…she had passionate opinions about tango believing after the 1940s, it was not tango, “it is too sophisticated, contrived, too technical…it has lost its porteno soul” she would say with absolute certainty…some of her other hits were Moulin Rouge”, “Dos Lunares” and “Primer Agua”

___________________

1914, January 11 – Futurist F.T. Marinetti “DOWN WITH TANGO!”

Instead of stylized, virtual sex through tango, people should have the courage to have real sex…this was part of the message of  Filippo Tomasso Marinetti in his famous, hilarious manifesto “Down With Tango and Parsifal” published in Milan, Italy…for Marinetti the tango craze  and the chic tango teas then spreading all over the western world, represented the fads of popular culture and the conventionalism of the bourgeouis…in his attack on the tango he says, “is it amusing for you to look each other in the mouth and examine each other’s teeth, like two hallucinated dentists…to yank, to lunge…is it so much fun to arch desperately over each other, trying to pop each other like two corked bottles and never succeeding…to possess a woman is not to rub against her but to penetrate her!”he was equally disdainful of Wagner and Parsifal and makes a facetious comparison between tango and Tristan and Isolde

***

Fillipo Tomasso Marinetti, a complex intellectual and provocateur was born on December 22, 1876 (Capricorn) in Alexandria Egypt…his father was an italian lawyer then advising the Khedive Ismael Pasha…a lover of literature and poetry, he graduated from law school but chose to devote himself to writing….in 1908 he published his provocative, passionate “Futurist Manifesto”in the prestigious French daily Le Figaro thus founding the Futurist Movement whose powerful effects continued to be felt to our very day…he founded the Futurist Political Party which was absorbed into Mussolini’s fascist political movement; he was however, an early demonstrator against anti-semitism…though no longer a young man, his nationalist fervor inspired him to volunteer for the Russian front during World War II…Futurism’s influenced was felt in every medium of art, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, theatre, film, fashion, textiles, literature, music, architecture and even gastronomy.

____________________

  • CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_ubT6r-Uzw to see a visual presentation of “Zang Tumb Tumb”, one of Marinetti’s sound poems…it is an account of the Battle of Andrianople which he witnessed as a reporter for L’Intransigeant

2007, September 28 – PUBLISHED, “TANGO LESSONS FOR LIFE”

“To surrender when you dance is a sign of trust and deep spiritual faith” says Jeannette Potts in her book “Tango Lessons of Life”…Jeannette turned her passion for tango into a series of seminars on how to live better through the lessons of dancing tango…she hugs her students and talks about the spirituality of the embrace…tango is the embrace and it gives us a feeling of power and yet vulnerability, “as when we fall in love” she says….ah! and she cautions of the women on female narcissism, “self indulgence and self obsession is an addiction and it destroys the dance”…she talks of giving and loving; “happiness is a by-product of helping others”…she uses the lessons of tango to help tired executives, to improve leadership, to be better parents, to reawaken femininity and to learn how to heal ourselves…but in her day job, Jeanette is a Urologist specializing in infectious diseases and chronic pain…

***

She studied fine arts in college and sold automobile parts internationally before deciding to enter medical school….but it was her beloved grandmother Lily in Mexico City, a lover of dance, who bedazzled her with dancing stories and encouraged her to dance…she studied salsa and cumbia and even did slam dance at an inner city punk bar…one day she discovered tango in Cleveland and it changed her life…she later perfected her tango in Mexico City and Buenos Aires…through her infectious enthusiasm, her human warmth, the gleam in her eyes and he natural elegance she began to share her observations and lessons of life through highly successful seminars which include a passionate tango dance demonstration…one student said, “it reminded me of all the great artists I have ever seen…you brought the meaning to light and brought it all together as a humble teacher”

____________________

  • CLICK HERE –

1977, September 22 – PREMIERE OF “SOLDIER OF ORANGE”

 “We were looking for a situation in which to bring the hero and the anti-hero of the film together and came up with the tango.” said director Paul Verhoeven …he had remembered Jack Lemmon and Joe E Brown dancing tango together in Billy Wilder’s 1959 film “Some Like It Hot”; there was the answer…“I grew up admiring that scene” recalls Verhoeven…his other inspiration was Bertolucci’s “Last Tango In Paris”…considered as one of the best European films in history, “Soldier of Orange” is about a group of friends in the Netherlands and how the onset of World War II leads them to different paths…two of those friends, Erik played Rutger Hauer and Alex played by Derek De Lint have widely divergent fates; Erik works for the resistance and Alex becomes an SS Officer…

***

Eric, as an undercover spy, runs into Alex at a Nazi dance party where they dance a tango together during which Alex says, “It’s a pity we are not fighting on the same side”, “yes, it’s a pity” answers Eric…The film is based on the memoir “Soldaat Van Oranje”, the personal World War II experiences of writer Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema who helped supervise the film…the film had a budget of 5 million dollars at the time the most expensive film in Dutch history…it went on to win numerous awards including a Golden Globe nomination for “Best Foreign Language Film”…in 2006 Rutger Hauer would write, direct and narrate the critically acclaimed, short film “Starfish Tango”

__________________

2005, September 20 – PUBLISHED, “TANGO THE ART HISTORY OF LOVE”

The topic of “Race” is still a topic which awakens deep passions….Robert Farris Thompson’s, “The Art History of Love” in which he makes a strong argument for the African roots of tango, even precipitated a heated battle of critics over the subject…in startling acrimony, reviewer Anthony Howel says of Thompson’s book “this irrelevant and dishonest book…the author makes irresponsible claims and insists in implying that white folk stole tango from the blacks”...in a counteraccusation, reviewer Christopher Everett defends Thompson and in a point by point rebuttal…”Tango, The Art History of Tango” is in fact a thoughtful, well documented and well written book…the number of people of African descent in Argentina went from 34% in 1810 to 2% in 1887 and their disappearance is a subject of controversy and a source of racist humor among the residents of Buenos Aires…reportedly, when the great Josephine Baker visited Argentina in the 1950s, she asked the bi-racial minister of public health Ramon Carillo, “Where are the Negroes ?”, Carillo responded laughing, “there are only two, you and I”…nevertheless, Thompson, renown Yale Africanist and art historian, demonstrates how their presence can be clearly traced through the tango culture…

***

He asserts that the word “tango” comes from the Ki-Kongo word which means “moving in time to a beat”…he explores tango’s relationship to cakewalk, ragtime, cubanhabanera and even rossini’s opera and he observes that the custom of dancing tango while moving in a counter-clockwise direction may have been influenced by the African myth that moving in a counter-clockwise direction means long life…he mentions that renown dancer Juan Carlos Copes was taught by Afro-Argentine Carlos “El Negro” Anzuate…he cites renown Afro-Argentine tango greats like Celedonio Esteban Flores, the black poet of tango, Rosendo Mendizabal composer of the immortal “El Enterriano” and Oscar Aleman one of the greatest entertainers which Argentina has ever produced…one reviewer said of the book, “Thompson mines working class origins and its emotions of defiance, freedom, self-control, humor, love and redemtion”

___________________