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May 1, 2007

tango and Buttes Chaumont

After three months I convinced my beau to go with me to take a weekend stage of tango at the casa del tango near the parc Buttes Chaumont> I was dancing in Florence with the tango club and got to dance with Angela Ruth and Andreas Erbsen in Milan and in Florence on the roof top terrace of a friend`s house right on the corner of Santa Croce square. That was unforgetable; dancing above the rooftops among the monuments in Florence.

Saturday and Sunday were so hot in Paris, they were calling for storms all week so the heat was that pre-storm stickiness, like a mid summer day. To get to Buttes Chaumont from where we are on rue saint jacques is a pain to take the metro but we were expecting the rain so headed off to the RER and saw no clouds only a clear blue sky. We looked at eachother and turned back to get the bikes and peddled off down boulevard Port Royal to Les Goblins and then to Bastille to make a round about aproach to Buttes Chaumont. We could have headed directly across town but then the hills are steeper, going around to the east through the 12th arrondissemnt the climb is more docile so it was easier with the mid day sun. We sweated anyway and got lost near place Gambetta and place des Fetes one of the ugliest places in paris.

Finally we arrive at the Casa del Tango and spend the first two hours of our weekend stage stepping on eachother and every one else. We were the only ones moving though. When we left we decided to go to Place Gambetta to this nice caffe for a beer but got lost and ended up in the congested area near the canal. We spent a long time looking at the map trying to figure out where we were and which road we took wrong, finally we sat for a beer at some cafe and then walked into an art gallery that was just opening for the first time with works from Mike Giant . Back on our bikes we made it to Bastille where they were having the fair of contemporary art, we stopped for a few minutes and then headed home because we were going out to dinner at a freind's in Fontany. We were both exhausted and hungry.

Dinner was a long aperatif and then around 10:15 pm out of the refrigerator came salad. Everyone was starving at this point and the brother of our vegetarian host was commenting on the perfume of the BBQ from the next yard.

Sunday morning we woke up late, tired and needy of something to absorb the excesses from the night before especially after the light food and long aperatif. Saturday it did not storm so the air was thicker than ever. After moping around we went to rue Moufftard to the sunday market to get some food for our bellies. Afterwards we took the metro back to Buttes Chaumont to the second day of our tango stage. I love tango ever more and dancing it with someone you love is great.

Finally we left and headed across the park to go to the metro. We stopped at a cafe just on the top the hill outside the park and had a beer. It started to rain, the temperature dropped 10 degrees. I don't understand why they have to put the music on so loud in cafes, it makes it stressful to try to talk and hear. When the rain stopped we headed up the street and found ourselves on rue de la Villette in the old Buttes Chaumont with the new ugly buildings and happened accross this beautiful shop called the L'Anthropo that sells very nice things from the dogon countries of Mali. They organize trips to really unusual places through Taddart. The stuff in the shop was super quality, I got a beautiful stone necklace that is an odd green stone with flecks of metal; each bead is hand carved one by one. The necklace was a gift, I don't know if I deserved it, I guess so.

In Paris you can dance tango every night. Down by the Seine in the evenings from now to September there is a place to dance. I haven't seen it yet but tomorrow I plan to go.

November 4, 2007

tango-ing again

Today was great fun we took a four hour tango lesson at Les Temps du Tango. I thinkn that the teachers were better at La Casa del Tango, they were professional dancers that have even been on the videos of Gotan Project. I love Gotan Project. But the class size at the Temps du Tango was much better and the instructors were quite thorough in their explanations.

I can hardly believe that it is November. Just over a year that I first came to Paris to visit my refound Love 20 years after we first dated. There are still leaves on the trees and the colors are a multitude of yellows, greens and orange-reds. Some trees are already barren but the autumn effect in Paris is so beautiful. Autumn has a very different feel than spring, it seems that the year starts in September. and moves so quickly with the lessening light after the time change. Then the Christmas holidays and then things slow down and winter drags on forever.

December 17, 2007

tango at the Sourdiére

Sunday we went tangoing. The more I do it the crazier I am about it. In Paris you can go every night of the week somewhere, on a bateux mouche, at Le Latina and many other places. The history of the dance is enthralling and to think that in Finland when the rolling stones and the Beatles where at the top of the charts tango songs where right along there with them.

Rock and roll broke the canons of dancing in a couple. What is dancing about anyway? One of the things that I like most about Paris is that you see people of every ethnic origin mixing together. Last night at the Sourdiére the mix of people was great to see all embracing, swirling to the rythm of the bandeneon of the orchestre Les Grisettes. It was packed and the air conditioning had to be on. With the freezing temperatures outside the sides of the halls were packed with coats

December 21, 2007

a day in Bordeaux

What a cool town Bordeaux is. I got to spend a day walking around seeing the sites and discovering restaurants.
How funny that just accross the street from our hotel the Saint Catherine Quality Hotels was the Bordeaux Tango Club headquarters.
The temperature was 10 degrees celcius and sunny much better than the -3° in Paris and cloudy. Bordeaux reminded me of Florence but the color of the stone is white when cleaned. Tons of houses are empty. Real estate is cheap compared to Paris but it must be frikken hot in the summer and expensive to renovate those stone facades. I didn't get out to the periphery but was told that is just as ugly as the downtown was pretty.
there was a beautiful Christmas marché where we bought stuff for presents.

Definitely a town worth going to visit. Such cool shops and cafes.

February 21, 2008

Why I like Argentine Tango

Tango became part of my life a few years ago in Florence. There were friends of mine that raved about it and those are people that I Iike so once I went to a milonga at Le Caldine. After that I took a course with the tango club of Florence that organizes the Tango Festival every May in Florence.

The way one has to move their body in response to the partner whether they are leading or following reminds me of karate. In karate , the little of it I did I could feel the energy in my hands. In tango it is in the chest. It is impossible to dance tango slunched over.

It is like a language and takes a hell of alot of practice, every partner is different. I remember the first time I really was dancing, my legs were killing me that night.

I had the great luck to dance with Andreas Erbsen. A German architect with the most crystal blue eyes. Andreas original trainting was in martial arts and then he discovered tango so took classes in classical dance to understand something about dance. He is an incredible teacher and after dancing with he and his companion Angela Ruth I really became hooked.

A friend of mine had a crush on Andrea's girlfriend Angela so he asked me to be his cover and dance with Andreas while he got to dance with Angela. He paid for dozens of private lessons that we did in this roof top apartament on the corner of Santa Croce square in Florence. We danced in the early evenings on this 150 squre meter roof top terrace, turning one way to face the facade of Santa Croce and then the duomo and the towers of Palazzo Vecchio and the Bargello. Another turn and we were looking at the hill of San Miniato al Monte. It was surreal and unforgettable.

In Paris one can dance tango every day and night of the week. My header photo is dancing on the quai of the Seine in the summer. I like the people that dance tango, especially here in Paris. Most are couples with men leading and wome following but there are men / men and women / women couples and mixed couples of every origin. The faces of everyone is serious, concentrated, no one chats while dancing. It takes alot of concentration and can be slow or fast but is always an inprovisation that follows the music.

In Finland when the Beatles were at the top of the charts tango songs were up there right along with them. From the beginnings of the dance in Argentina that were a mixture of African, Indios and European influences the dance has evolved to something new. It seems that the music is more upbeat less tragic.

Dancing with a good partner is rewarding but dancing tango with someone you love is a completely different thing.

I cant wait to get back to it.

March 19, 2008

motherhood and an ipod

I broke down and got an ipod - 8 giga. I chose pink, why pink? I guess because I am supposed to be having a girl. I say supposed to because sometimes they mistake the mothers chromosones then a boy is born. I thought that I can listen to the ipod in the hospital and then maybe when I get home to not hear the baby crying.

I also thought about listening to it at the studio so that I can have music and not be harassed by the creepy studio mate Louis. But I'm not doing him any favors. I can't wait for him to leave. He has to leave. I decided that I hate him. I think I hate two people in the world, now three. A friend told that expecting mothers have a highly tuned sense of danger. I can't imagine bringing in the baby to the atelier and having that creep there wanting to look at her or get close to her. Ewe!

I had a beautiful calico cat in Florence in 1987. She wasn't just mine but was the house cat, one of the other students brought her home and before you know it we had six kittens. We were lucky enough to have a yard so she would bask in the sun next to her little fluffy kittens. There were some other cats that looked like males that would come and hang out but keep their distance sitting on the roof of the little garden house we had at the back of the garden. One day two of the cats started to fight and Mamma cat was so puffed up it was scary, her tail was huge and she was growling at the two cats fighting ont the roof. They locked together in a blur of paws and claws and rolled off the roof together falling over two meters to the ground. I will never forget seeing Mamma cat in two bounds was on top of the pile with both paws stretched out in the air above her, she literally dove into the thrashing pile embracing it. She was effective because the two fighting cats disappeared fast.

The idea of schizo Louis wanting to see the baby makes me feel like Mamma cat. Enough of him. He's rented too many of my brainwaves already. I've found a new studio mate that will be in my space for the next few months until he leaves. Last straw is 30 June. The new studio mate is a really cool woman from Virginia, a serious professional with two kids and a real good friend of a friend. She knows about the whole saga and she's not taking any of his whining.

The first thing I am putting on my ipod is Tang Around the World by Putumayo Productions

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