Archive for the ‘ Debuts ’ Category

1914, September 21 – FIRST “BAILE DEL INTERNADO”

It was the custom during the “Baile Del Internado” (Interns Ball) to play grotesque pranks using dead body parts and sheets to simulate ghosts…every  year on the first day of Spring, an interns ball was held and it was customary that tango orchestras would debut new tangos at these events….on the eleventh ball, on September 21, 1924 Osvaldo Fresedo debuted “El Once” (the eleventh)…it was to become one of the most beloved tangos in history and to this day, there is probably not a milonga somewhere in the world that does not play “El Once”…interestingly, it was a piece that he hurriedly improvised at the last moment…however, during this ball, during the one of the pranks, one of the students accidently got killed and the authorities thereafter forbade the balls..


The first ball was held at the legendary Palais de Glace, the site of important tango events including, purportedly, the altercation where Carlos Gardel was shot in the lung…it was also the cite where a young Angel D’agostino debuted his first orchestra…the tangos premiered at those balls were generally tongue in cheek compositions…“El Matasano” (to kill a healthy person) was written by Francisco Canaro to celebrate the first such dance…others included  “Cura Segura” (sure cure) by Juan De Dios Filiberti, “El Serrucho” (the saw) by Luis Teisseire, “la Muela Careada” (the infected tooth) by Vicente Greco, “El Frenopatico” (the loony bin) by Osvaldo Pugliese, “Mano De Oro” (hand of gold) by Eduardo Pereyra, “El Cirujano” (the surgeon), “Anatomia” (anatomy) by Eduardo Arolas, “Aqui se Vacuna” (here we vaccinate)




In the colorful paper envelope, the boys could feel their heart racing as the appointed moment neared…suddenly, the enveloped burst open to reveal the trio singing surrounded by adoring, beautiful girls…many years later, a frail 70-year-old Martin Podestà would look back on this part of his life as one of sheer happiness; “perhaps I should have had the courage to continue” he would say…at the age of 33 in the midst of a successful career he gave it all up to become a state employee…life as a tango singer, even for the successful ones, was always fraught with uncertainly…the competition was immense and for every tango singer who reached acclaim there were 100 vying for his post….a successful singer could be living a life of plenty one month and starving the next…Martin Podestà  grew up in the neighborhood of Flores with Hugo Del Carril who would one day become a legend in the tango and musical culture of Argentina….with Del Carril and another neighborhood boy, Martin formed a trio…


With unbridled enthusiasm the boys spent long hours practising in a small room to the delight of passersby would stop and enjoy the music….the day finally arrived when they tested their work by serenading a young girl in the neighborhood with the waltz “Trovas”; the response was ecstatic and trio became the pride of Flores…”Trio Paris” was born and debuted to great acclaim on Radio Del Pueblo…at age 22 Martin received his first break when he was recruited by the Pedro Maffia Orchestra with which he toured including a performance at then famous “Casino” at Villa Del Mar in Chile; it was, Martin would recall in his waning years, “an experience beyond his dreams”…with Maffia he made one recording, the waltz by Sebastian Piana and Homero Manzi “Sombras Portenas” …it was used as the theme song for a film by the same name which premiered in 1936…the highlight of his career, however, occurred when he was recruited by the Pedro Laurenz Orchestra with which he recorded four tangos in four months including “La Vida Es Una Milonga” which premiered on September 5, 1941



Chaplain is a tailor’s assistant and he and the tailor discover in a client’s suit pocket that a Count is expected at a high society ball…at the ball, they both pretend to be the Count seeking to win the favor of the daughter of a wealthy man who is called “Miss Money Bags” who is played by Edna Purviance…in the midst of alot of slapstick, he dances a facsimile tango with “Miss Money Bags”…Edna Purviance, the leading lady in over 30 films with Chaplain, grew up in Lovelock, Nevada  where she dreamed of being a concert pianist…she reluctantly heeded the advise of her mother and went to San Francisco to study business…one day while sitting at “TatesRestaurant” an agent for Charlie Chaplain happened to see her and thought she would be perfect as a leading lady for Chaplain’s new film “A Night Out”…she not only won the part but was Chaplain’s lover for many years…for this film Chaplain was not only the director but did the writing and editing as well…


Two years earlier Chaplain danced the tango in another short “Tango Tangles”…actual tango dancing appears only briefly in the opening scene where a couple is dancing what appears to be a parody of a tango which metamorphosis into a ballet style movement…Charlie Chaplain plays an inebriated dandy who shows up at the “Dark Town Strutter Ball”, a  masked affair, makes a pass at the hat-check girl played by Sadie Lamp….her favors however are being sought by two other characters, the orchestra leader played by Ford Sterling and the clarinetist Roscoe Arbuckle, all legends of the silent movie era…George Bernard Shaw would say, “he was the only genius to come out of the movie industry”in real life Charlie Chaplain was an enthusiastic tango dancer…Julio De Caro would recall in his memoirs that in their debut at the Palais De La Mediteranee in  Nice in 1931, Chaplain suddenly began dancing while they were playing “El Monito” and everyone marvelled at how good he was


1994, September 1 – PREMIERE OF “IL POSTINO”

Lead actor Massimo Troisi was oddly attached to the idea of a mid production change in the script in which his character “Mario Ruopolo” dies in the film “Il Postino”…when he died of heart failure immediately after the film was finished at the age of 42, it seemed to make sense of that attachment; perhaps somehow he had known that the end was near…Massimo Troisi had that rare gift of never having lost the genuineness of the small town just outside of Naples where he grew up; a colleague said of him, “fame and money did not change him…he remained like a teenager who lived everything like a gift; like an unexpected dream”…in fact,”Mario Ruopolo” in Il Postino was Massimo Troisi; simple, funny, humble, unassuming…a child bout with rheumatic fever damaged his heart a condition which was exacerbated when his mother died when he was young compelling him to begin difficult physical work…he had postponed heart surgery to do the film and during shooting a double was inserted whenever possible to preserve his strength


In one of “Il Postino’s” most beautiful scenes, on his birthday Pablo Neruda receives an emotional audio tape of congratulations from his beloved friends in Chile; in the background Carlos Gardel is singing “Madreselva”….“Madreselva”, composed by Francisco Canaro with lyrics by Luis Cesar Amadori, appears several times in the film…in a romantic  scene, when Mario is visiting, Pablo Neruda and his beloved wife dance a tango to “Madreselva”…the dance continues outside with shots of the magnificent view of the island Salina where Il Postino was filmed….later Mario’s wedding feast, Pablo Neruda dances with Beatrice to “Madreselva” which is played by an accordion player…still later when Mario returns to Neruda’s now empty house, he plays the record “Madreselva” and imagines again Neruda dancing with his wife…”Il Postino” directed by Michael Radford  had great success internationally…for many years it was the largest grossing non-English language film ever made…it was nominated for five academy awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor…Massimo Troisi was posthumously  nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Actor”


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



The tenderness which he poured on his grand daughter “Zoe” was part of the simplicity and generosity which helped make him a beloved singer all over the world…Nestor Fabian was a devoted family man, motivated perhaps by the longing as a child, for the family which he never had…a tragic accident had made him an orphan and he was brought up by “Dona Rosa” who, with love and devotion, helped heal his pain…however his adoptive family was poor and he had to leave to school to work in a bag factory…during rare moments of leisure he listened to his idol Carlos Gardel…he loved to sing and would imitate the singers on Radio Belgrano to which he was totally devoted…on free nights he would sing in local bars and cafes of his San Telmo neighborhood for donations….his big break came at the age of 23 when his friend Norberto Aroldi arranged an audition for him with Maestro Mariano Mores…


To his astonishment he was hired and found himself singing with an orchestra of 40 musicians; it was a dream come true…on August 30, 1961, he debuted on the popular program “Luces De Buenos Aires” on Channel 7 with “La Noche De Mi Amore”…the response was overwhelming and it launched his career….a career which included fabulously popular concerts in the Soviet Union in 1974 with the Attilo Stampone Orchestra and in 1988 a renown concert in Granada Spain…he starred in a number of films including “Buenas Noches Buenos Aires” where performed alongside Virginia Luque, Julio Sosa and Anibal Troilo….in “Los Muchachos De Antes No Usan Gomina” he first sang his hit “Tiempos Viejos”…he first met the popular singer Violeta Rivas in 1964 on the set of the TV drama “Todo Es Amor” …three years later their marriage became a major social event


2002, August 29 – PREMIERE OF “FRIDA”

“I penetrate the sex of the whole earth…its heat embraces me and in my body everything feels like the freshness of tender leaves …it’s dew is the sweat of an always new lover …it is not love, nor affection, it is the whole of life”…thus wrote Frida Kahlo in her diary during recovery from one of her numerous surgerys and three heart breaking miscarriages…at age 18 the bus she was riding collided with a trolley and a piece of metal entered her pelvis and exited at her vagina; her back was broken in three places…miraculously she survived and she poured her pain and disappointment into her paintings…in the latter part of her life the suffering increased; first her foot was amputated and then her leg and then numerous operations on her back, courageously she wrote, “feet, what do I need them for when I have wings”…but bedridden for a year she was deeply depressed and contemplated suicide but she stayed on for Diego Rivera who needed her maternal sustenance …she knew she was dying and wrote, “I hope to exit with joy and to never come back”…she was fascinating and seductive and enchanted the likes of Picasso and Andre Breton…


She seduced Leon Trotsky who had sought asylum in Mexico; shortly after he was murdered by Stalin’s agents…it was not entirely clear that she and Diego had not been involved in the assassination…Diego had told her that he was a womanizer when they married and she accepted it; she had her own affairs with both men and women…but when she discovered the affair with her own sister, it was more than she could handle….they divorced and she turned to alcohol…eventually they both realized that they irrevocably bonded and remarried…interestingly, both Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were descendants of jews; she on her father’s side from Hungarian Jews who had immigrated to Germany and then Mexico…Diego was the descendant of Spanish nobility which had been “marranos”; jews who had pretended to convert to Catholicism…Salma Hayek, who played Frida in the film, believed passionately in the project and struggles for eight years to have it produced…it also starred Mia Maestro who had starred in Carlos Sauras “Tango” in 1998, Antonio Banderas and  Alfred Molina as Diego Rivera…the film, which was nominated for six oscars, includes a very sensual scene where Frida dances a tango with another woman