Archive for the ‘ Special Events ’ Category

1970, December 17 – NOTE PUBLISHED ON GARDEL’S FATHER

At the time that the hapless, desperate Maria Berthe Gardes tells Jean Paul Lasserre that she is carrying his child, why did he not marry her ?…these were difficult times for Maria, her father who had been a humble merchant had died suddenly and had left an impoverished  family behind…in desperation Maria and her mother had even once boldly gone to Caracas, Venezuela with a promise of a better life but it had been another disillusionment and with little to show for the venture, they had returned to France…for many years it was believed that Paul Lasserre had not married Berthe because he was already married with numerous children…on December 17, 1970 one Luis Angel Formento published, in La Razon newspaper, a long note on the subject, a note which he claimed had been given to him by Armando Delfino, Gardel’s administrator…the note essentially confirmed what Delfino had stated in his book, that Lasserre was a traveling salesman, married, with children at the time of meeting Berthe; but was he ?…

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Later researchers combing through the archives in Toulouse did locate the birth certificate of one Jean Paul Lasserre born on August 1, 1866…his parents (1.e., Carlos Gardel’s grandparents)  consisted of a father who worked in the manufacturing of carriages and a mother who was an ironing lady, interestingly the same profession as that of Berthe Gardes…the same file however, also revealed that Paul Lasserre had married Ann Marie Broyer in 1998; Carlos Gardel was born in 1890…clearly then, at the time Paul Lasserre was not married, in fact he was one year younger than Berthe…what had happeded, was he already promised to Anne-Marie Broyer...was her age a problem, these were times when the prime marrying age was much younger…had Berthe merely been an adventure with a girl he happened to meet at his mother’s work place; they were both ironing ladies after all… the birth of little Charles was the greatest joy in Berthe’s life, a life in a sea of troubles and it was he that gave her the courage to one day board the steamer,in steerage, for the long trip to Buenos Aires…she arrived there on March 9, 1893 toting a three-year old Charles Gardes who would one day grow up to be the greatest tango legend in history “Carlos Gardel”….sometime after World War I, Paul Lasserre, now a  widower traveled to Buenos Aires to “offer his name” by offering to marry Berthe; she refused…he returned to France and soon afterwards passed away

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  • CLICK HERE– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZweLtHcFmY to hear briefly Berthe Gardes speak briefly about her beloved son followed by Carlos Gardel singiing “Silencio”a tango which he composed; the lyrics are by Alfredo Le Pera
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1964, November 25 – JULIO SOSA DIES IN CAR WRECK !

Singer (born February 2, 1926, Aquarius) – his love of fast cars cost him his life, he was 38 years old and at the pinnacle of his career…awaiting him were plans for other films, tours of europe and south america; he was very much in love with a new girlfriend…in the 60s he was the only tango singer who could still command crowds; tango had by now passed from fashion and rock and rock was all the craze….he was born in Las Piedras, Uruguay to a dirt poor family; his father was a day laborer and his mother was a washer woman; Julio himself had to quit school while still very young and he worked at a large variety of menial jobs comforted by the tangos of Radio El Mundo, but in the evenings he would sing at local cafes for spare change; more than once the police would escort him out for he was underaged…the streets matured him quickly where the voice of Carlos Gardel inspired…his first marriage at 16 which all too soon ended….

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His big break came one evening while he was singing at the Los Andes Cafe in Buenos Aires, lyricist Raul Hormaza happened to walk in and was impressed with the young, gaunt singer…an overwhelmed Julio found himself at the elegant Cafe Picadisi auditioning for Armando Pontier one of the most renown orchestras at the time…for Pontier he sang “Tengo Miedo” and that very evening he debuted in a borrowed, ill-fitting suit…but somegthing unexpected happened; people stopped what they were doing to actually listen to Julio sing whose gesticulating, emotional, stage presence was different and mesmerizing…in 1960 he published his book of poems, “Dos Oras Antes Del Alba (Two Hours Before the Dawn) whose stanzas revealed that beyond the strobe lights of success, somehow the pain of his childhood, like that of Tita Merello, had never really been erased from his soul

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1913, November 17 – KAISER WILHELM BANS TANGO !

Then Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany forbade his officers to dance the tango while in uniform, describing the dance as “Rinnsteinkind”, (a child of the curbstone)…but tango was all the rage among the high classes especially in Germany…it was fashionable to throw elegant “Tango Tea Parties” but it began to incur the wrath of government and church leaders….Cardinal Amette in Paris declared that “Christians should not in good conscience take part in it.”…Pope Benedict XV complained “An outrageous, indecent, heathen dance, which is an assassination of family and social life”...Despite these bans the tango survived, particularly through the First World War, as people sought distractions from the horrors of war.

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Kaiser Wilhelm II had a withered left arm; the result of having been a breech baby and perhaps to compensate he was militaristic and a megalomaniac who was almost never out of military uniform …until relatively recently, historians believed that his ineptness as a statesman was the cause of World War I…The Kaiser’s severest royal critic was also Europe’s most respected royal, Queen Victoria…Eight years later he would have equally disdainful things to say about the premier of “The Four Horsemen and the Apocalypse” with Rodolfo Valentino…In a letter to her daughter, Wilhelm’s mother, the British queen described her least favorite grandson as “a hot-headed, conceited, and wrong-headed young man, devoid of all feelings…very unhealthy and unnatural state of mind.”

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  • CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npqVXIqdj8E to listen to “Micaela” a tango composed in the 1930s by Ludwig Schmidseder who trained as a banker to please his father but secretly took piano lessons…he found himself in Rio De Janeiro washing dishes but eventually formed a musical trio and went on to become a renown composer

1933, November 7 – CARLOS GARDEL EXECUTES WILL !

This controversial, handwritten will states, “First I am French-born in Toulouse, on December 11, 1890 and I am son of Berthe Gardes”… there had been no previous public notice that Carlos Gardel had any relationship with France whatsoever…on the contrary, when asked about his nationality, Gardel would repeatedly answer that he was Uruguayan, born in Tacuarembó…when he had obtained his first official identity document (“Constancia de nacionalidad”) in Buenos Aires on October 8, 1920, he declared to have been born in Tacuarembó to “Carlos and María, deceased”..several other documents stated the same thing including the charred passport found in his inner suit pocket when his body was pulled  from the airplane wreckage in Medellin, Colombia…in the deliberations that followed, an original birth certificate of a child born in Toulouse to Berthe Gardès on December 11, 1890 surfaced…following extensive deliberations on the matter, on April 14, 1937, the government of Uruguay declared Doña Bertha Gardés the universal heir of her son Carlos Gardel

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In all likely hood he had done this to protect himself from the French government who at the beginning of World War I was sending draft notices to its citizens all over the world…Interestingthis was also the date of Gardel’s departure from Buenos Aires never to return alive again..in Europe he made brief stops in Barcelona and Paris before traveling to the United States, to make a debut on the most important radio network in the world, NBC of New York…around this time would emerge the idea of a tour through Latin America; the one during which his plane would crash on the runway during takeoff and end his life tragically at the age of 40…in 1967 a group of previously unknown “relatives” surfaced claiming that Gardel had in fact been one Carlos Escayola Oliva born in the rural estate of Carlos Escayola Medina, in the Uruguayan department of Tacuarembo.

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1957,October 11 – NINA MIRANDA GETS MARRIED !

On October 11, 1957 Nina Miranda was the happiest woman in the world…she had just married the love of her life….for 46 years they would have a good marriage…however, for love she made one big sacrifice; she ended a promising singing career…her new husband had asked to her leave singing, “continue, what for….you have everything”, he had said….in 2004 her husband died…in her deep remorse she turned to singing again and to her surprise she discovered that her voice was intact and at the age of 79 she returned to the stage to the delight of a grateful public…four years later, in a dream come true, she found herself singing before ecstatic crowds in France, England, China and Brasil…as a child she loved to sing and she would recount the story when once, in church, at the age of three, she suddenly began singing a tango she had heard on the radio to the embarrassment of her mother, a devout catholic…

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At the  age of 15, while watching her idol Libertad Lamarque in the film “Puerta Cerrada”, she decided that one day when she was a professional singer she would adopt as a stage name, the name of Libertad’s character in the film “Nina Miranda”… her first break came when she was invited to sing with an all girls group “Las Golondrinas” with whom she toured Latin America…in 1952 while waiting in a studio for colleague Ernesto Fama, the orchestra leader noticed her and asked her to substitute immediately in a recording session for a singer that did not work out…she protested saying, “but I don’t know the music, I haven’t practised it”…he responded, “you have a natural ear, you’ll do fine” (in fact she was completely self-taught)…the piece recorded that day,  “Maula”, became an instant hit…this led to an invitation to perform in the play “Tu Cuna Fue Un Conventillo” which had great success and where she premiered another hit “Tu Corazon”…many events followed including the creation of her own group…she wrote the lyrics to the tango “No Hagas Caso a La Gente” and the music to “Cancion Para Mi Amor” which was recorded by Colombian star Mirta Perez

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1907, October 8 – PREMIERE OF “EL SARTORIO”

It did not take long for the ingenuity of mankind to realize the potential of applying film making to pornography…in 1899, in Paris, only four years after the invention of motion pictures, Eugene Pirou and Albert Kirchner produced the first porno film, “Le Coucher De La Marie” (The Bridegrooms dilemma)…it starred Louise Willy as a prostitute who does a strip tease…in fact the word “pornography” was part of the French language in the early 1800s… it entered the English language in 1857….erotic depictions are as old as civilization; venus figurines and sexual rock art have existed from pre-historic times…the 1860s excavation of Pompei uncovered highly erotic art that so scandalized the world, that the artifacts were sealed in secret rooms…”Fanny Hill”, written by John Cleland in 1748 was the first pornography novel and became one of the most prosecuted and banned books in history

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“El Sartorio”, produced in Buenos Aires in 1907, is the earlier surviving porn film and is possibly the first to use extreme close ups…in it, three young women are bathing nude in a river and they eventually all have sex with each other…the devil appears and forces one of the women to give him oral sex…he then has sex with all three women…Tango, of course has always had a strong sexual element beginning with the fact that one of its strong influences were the houses of prostitution…in the early part of the century, there were hundreds of thousands of lonely singe men who had come to Buenos Aires to work and this naturally gave rise to a thriving prostitution industry and many tangos have some form of sexuality as their theme…the great classic “A Media Luz” (in darkened light) for example, speaks of an apartment in downtown Buenos Aires which is used for sexual escapades…there is of course the ironic coincidence that Alberto Castillo, one of the most popular tango singers in history was in fact a gynecologist by profession…in 1913 Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany forbade his officers from dancing tango…perhaps the film which most strongly associates tango with sexuality is the 1972 classic “Last Tango In Paris” which was actually banned and its copies confiscated in some countries

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CLICK HERE – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snFzaEFXHP8 to watch a short Spanish  erotic film from the 1920s

1925, September 25 – GARDEL SINGS WITH JOSEPHINE BAKER

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

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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”

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