Archive for the ‘ Books ’ Category

1933, August 31 – BIRTH OF SUSY LEIVA

Her life, like that of Julio Sosa, was cut short in a tragic car accident…like Julio Sosa she was at the height of her career…she was 33 years old; Julio had been 38…Susy was born in Buenos Aires and raised in Mendoza where she began singing as a teenager on Radio Nihil…her first break occurred when she was invited to sing on Radio Belgrano where she garnered great acclaim…a key event in her career occurred on May 1, 1954 where at an annual convention of unions, presided over by Juan Peron, she won “Miss Workers’ Day”… she made a splash on the populat TV show “Casino Philip” and was later invited to join the Juan Canaro orchestra with whom she  toured Japan and several south american countries.


In Mexico at the house of Libertad Lamarque,  Mariano Mores happened to be present and an impromptu performance impressed him so much that he asked her to join his orchestra…she began to sing his composition “Frente al Mar” which catapulted her to great fame and was to become her trademark tango…returning from a performance in Rosario, with her husband at the wheel, they crashed into a trailer hitch and she died instantly…she will be remembered for her special interpretation of “El Patio De La Morocha” and “Sombras Nada Mas”…she starred in three films including the celebrated “Buenas Noches Buenos Aires” directed by Hugo Del Carril which premiered in 1964




“I wake up every day with gratitude and the intention to go through life with a true sense of forgiveness”, says Joan Moran in her sometimes touching, sometimes funny, sometimes sad book “Sex, Sixty and Tango”…and it all begins at a tango dance; a Milonga…one evening while at her customary Saturday milonga, Joan Moran said to a friend, “I want to do a stand up routine about men and sex because sex was so very different in the 60s…”…”Joan, that’s a book, you can do stand up any time” responded her friend“Sixty, Sex and Tango” which has received enthusiastic reviews, is in essence about how to discover spiritual balance while living with great joy, sex, and romance…more concretely, using honest and courageous language, it is a book about men, dating, relationships, sex, about being a grandmother…in the section about parenting, for example, she speaks of the need to raise her children to be independent, to give them roots and then wings


Joan Moran, a self-described jewish wanderer was educated in catholic schools and has been an actress and a drug counselor and aspired to be a stand up comedian…she is a yoga teacher …at a certain point in her life, she lost her life’s partner to illness in the middle of raising her two boys…she says, “I started taking tango lessons when I was in full menopause…I felt the music moving through my body, it was like falling in love all over again”….lugging her MacBook around from milonga to milonga, from tango festival to tango festival, she observed and reflected about how the old cliches about a woman getting older were no longer appropriate…she talks about the tensions in relationships and dating and the need for sex…“I like sex” she confesses; she even manages to make a topic like female masturbation funny….she teaches tango and has been to Buenos Aires over 13 times…Joan says, “the best lesson I ever learned in my sixtys to ‘just let it be'”



Tango is the sensuality and seduction that goes on between a man and a woman…but deeper things are going on; it is a conversation in an Alice In Wonderland language…as Johanna Siegmann discovered in The Tao of Tango, “it is a conversation in some language of the soul that resided in some part of me I never knew existed.”...each of us has passive, feminine energy and masculine, active energy…In order to dance tango properly, whether we are a man or a woman, we must be in touch with both of our halves, both the confident masculine part, and the sensitive feminine part…opposite energies combine to create one harmonious energy…Johanna says, “True happiness lies in the mutual embrace of both our masculine and feminine energies”….in tango, when the man leads, he is using his active energy and the woman is following with passive energy but when the man waits for her to complete her figures, she is using active energy and he is using passive energy….thus they are constantly shifting back and forth like in a conversation


But, Johanna points out, that as relationships are the building blocks of every aspect of our lives, tango’s “conversation” between a man and a woman, becomes a way to improve our lives…in fact, The Tao of Tango is more than a dance book; it is a system of spiritual training for helping the person find inner equilibrium; it offers a way to find the harmony both inside and outside of the tango couple…Taoism, meaning “the way” is a philosophy developed in China over 2500 years ago with three principles, compassion, moderation, humility…it describes “the force behind the natural order”…everything in the universe has within it, its own natural balance…the more we fight our inner nature the less happy we are; balance and harmony follow when we respect that nature…within this fabric, tango is an art, a physical discipline and a philosophy…The Tao of Tango could indeed signal, according to one observer, the dawning of a new mens critic said of the book, “The Tao of Tango is one of the most compelling, thought-provoking, informative and sensitive books I have ever read”…


2009, April 22 – PUBLISHED, GU HYE SUN’S “TANGO”

She awoke in the hospital from a car accident surrounded by her parents and doctors who were trying to reassure her but she had other things in mind, “where is my manuscript” she said, “the manuscript to Tango”…the manuscript was just fine and she would publish her book,  the story of  the love and pain which a young girl experiences as she becomes a woman based on the memories of her own first bittersweet love…“Tango” was a hit selling over 30,000 copies in the first week alone…Gu Hye Sun is a creative prodigy…by the age of twenty-seven she had written and directed two short films “The Cheerful Caretaker” and “A Pleasant Helper”…she had directed her first full length film “Magic” which was nominated for “Best Asian Film” at the Tokyo International Film Festival…she had starred in the hit television drama “Pure In Heart” for which she sang the theme song “Saranga” and for which she won numerous awards…she had starred in a number of musical videos……she had released “Breath” an album of eight piano pieces she composed…


She wrote “Tango” while filming the drama “Boys Before Flowers”  for which she als sang the hit “I Don’t Know Anything But love”…her credentials include having hosted a national awards television program and having  modeled for renown fashion designer Andre Kim….Already as a child her unique intelligence and creativity became very evident; she composed her own children’s songs and sang them at friend’s parties…Gu Hye Suns was born in Incheon, Korea to parents who were immensely supportive; she has been called “Renaissance Girl” and “Gu-onardo da vinci”…she was inspired to write the book when she heard renown pianist Ryuichi Sacamoto’s song “Tango”…in addition “Tango” is an illustrated novel as it contains forty of Gu Hye’s drawings; at an exhibition of the art work over 10,000 people showed up…interestingly she did not particularly like school; it was too confining while she yearned to experience life …“what is your secret ?” she was once asked, “I am a workaholic, if I don’t work I feel uneasy” she answered



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”..


2007, October 25 – published “THE MEANING OF TANGO”

Book – one critic said of this book, “The Meaning of Tango is presented with an appealing combination of humility and authority and is logical, open-minded and clear throughout”.…using elegance and cohesiveness, the book traces the roots of tango, from its birth in poverty-stricken Buenos Aires, the craze of the early 20th century, right up until it’s revival today…it has a valuable section which explains the technique using simple illustrations…perhaps no other book ever written about tango does it better


Christine Denniston (born December 31, 1963, Capricorn) was a graduate in theoretical physics from Cambridge University in the UK, when one day, she happened upon a couple dancing tango on the street and was so smitten that she began a passionate and years long odyssey into understanding and learning to dance tango…she has taught tango all over the world and has appeared as an expert on radio and television programs….Christine says, “when tango is done properly, it reaches a level that no other social dance reaches, it is the purest essence where two people can reach a kind of shared Zen state…the man’s job is to please the woman and the woman’s job is to allow herself to be pleased.