Monday, April 30, 2007

Yale Tango Fest 2007 - part 2

So it took me a while, but here is the conclusion to my first Yale Tango Fest post.

In the last year I didn't spend too much time working on my photography. It kind of got pushed aside by tango, my motorcycle passion and new duties created by owning a house. So, at this festival, being the "official" photographer, I got to do what I used to do. Be trigger happy, take hundreds of pictures and get the joy of "nailing" a few really good ones. Of course I had forgotten the amount of work that goes on post processing, but well, you can't win everything... Another festival organizer after seeing the pictures from this one and others, is considering having me as the "official" photographer, which is great, now I can combine two of my passions into one, and, by selling a few prints, maybe mitigate some of the costs associated with the two rather expensive habits ...

At this festival I realized, I'm not obsessed anymore to dance every tanda, but rather concentrate on getting good dances. That involves watching people dance and ask the ones I think I would dance well with. I'm also less likely to dance on music I don't like or dance when the conditions are ... adverse (like crowded floors which I still dislike, even when the floor craft is decent). So, compared with other events, I didn't dance as much, but they all ranged from good to fantastic.

It also became obvious that taking a full day of workshops and then go to a milonga, especially an all night one, is a bad idea. So the next time, I hope I can learn from my mistakes and take it easier.

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Satellite radio, if you like quality audio, buy CDs

I got myself an XM Radio receiver, as I was getting tired trying to get FM radio to work in the car. My fault, I haven't done my homework before, but boy, I'm disappointed.

The music sounds like a highly compressed mp3 file, flat and lifeless, the talk channels are even worst (as they are even more compressed). My 1950 FM radio (the one that looks like a piece of furniture) sounds twice as good as this ultramodern device. Every time you drive on an underpass the sounds cuts off and it also cuts off without any good reason.

I spent $50 for the radio and another $13 for a month subscription, I'll chuck this off to be an expensive reminder to do homework before making purchases. I can't even return it as it was a "final sale" from a closing store.

Anyone wants to buy a brand new XM radio?


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That time of the month ...

Saturday it was that time of the month again, the time for the (only) regular all night milonga in the New England area at Providence tango. It goes from 9PM to 5-6AM. I left around 4AM as I was getting tired and my "mojo" was spotty.

As always this milonga attracts great dancers from NY, Yale and the surrounding areas. This month, one of my favorite dancers from Montreal was there and I had the pleasure of dancing with her a tanda. Lovely as usual (despite my less then stellar mojo). I might be able to make it to Montreal this weekend for the TangoNuevo Festival, so hopefully I'll have better luck in finding my "mojo" then.

Speaking about Montreal, if any of the readers are from Montreal and can host me for the weekend (friday, saturday and sunday nights, well, more like the saturday, sunday and monday mornings ...), please let me know. I will be happy to return the favor any time you come to Boston.

Back to the Longamilonga. I had the chance to dance with a few people I haven't danced before, including Y, a "beginner" from NY. She started tango in August and you'd think she's been dancing since kindergarten. Very light embrace, but great presence, good balance and great musicality. Some people have it all naturally, the rest of us need to work harder. Looking forward to dancing with her again.

I also had the opportunity to dance again with Shorey Myers, she is an amazing dancer, a great teacher and my favorite DJ of all time. I found out she's going to be in the area for a little while longer, so if you're looking to take a private with someone really good, I would highly recommend her (I took a private lesson with her a while ago and it was the most useful private lesson I took to date).

I had a good time, I wish there were more all nighters in this area, but for whatever reason, they don't seem to be popular with the Boston crowd, as very few people from Boston attend these events, even with Providence only 45 min away. I'm kind of curious why ...

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hey, look what followed me home this weekend!

Those of you who've seen my other posts know I have a motorcycle. It's a sports/touring bike and it's fantastic. But wanted to "play" with a big bore twin engine, so this weekend I went ahead and got this baby, so now I have two! Now if only the weather would cooperate so I can go play!

P.S. Since I trailered the bike home, it actually "followed me" ;)


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yale Tango Fest 2007 - part 1

I got back yesterday from the Yale Tango Fest, where I didn't get much sleep, but there was a lot of tango. Three milongas (of which, one was all night), two practicas and six workshops in 56 hours ... And since I was the "official photographer" I also took a few hundred shots and took videos of the performances.

Here are the high points of the festival (for me, that is), and they are not in any particular order, I'll list them as I remember ;)

Sunday night I had the pleasure of dancing a tanda with Jennifer Bratt. While in the last six months I took a number of workshops with her and Ney Melo, it was the first time I had an opportunity to dance with her. There were no surprises there, she is a fantastic dancer, and the only thing I remember is having trouble to get back on the planet Earth at the end of the tanda... I just wish I wasn't as exhausted as I was Sunday evening, as when I'm exhausted my musicality (not to mention motor control) suffers. I did OK though, I just wasn't at my best. Jennifer and Ney will be teaching a couple of workshops at Harvard on April 13-15, I am planning to take at least the milonga workshop.

Just before I jumped ship Sunday evening, as I was waiting for D to finish dancing so we can leave, a woman I've seen around but never danced with, came to me and asked for a dance, as she really liked the song and wanted to dance on it. While I was barely awake, I remember it was a song I also like and after explaining that she is not getting the best of me, as I was exhausted, off we went. Wow, that was a very pleasant surprise. She is a great dancer, she is musical and playful, we had a great time. And as it happens, for the 10 minutes the tanda lasted, I forgot all about being tired and about the pain in my feet. Such is the magic of tango (what a wonderful thing endorphins are ... ;).

I've had the pleasure of dancing again with T, from NY. While she comes to Boston quite often, we didn't have a chance to dance lately, so I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy dancing with her. She is one of the very few people I can dance milonga with, somehow she manages to read my muddy leading, and she also has a rare quality. Her movement doesn't get "muddy", even when my lead does. So instead of going into a downward spiral effect, like it usually happens when I lose it, she "keeps the boat afloat" until I can get it back together. And what is cute is that she doesn't believe me when I say she is one of the best dancers I ever danced with.

(to be continued ...)


Monday, April 09, 2007

Appologies & clarifications ...

It recently came to my attention that parts of my post titled "DJs and captive audiences ..." were misinterpreted by some of the readers, so I feel I need to clarify some of the statements I made.

Neither one of the people I mentioned in that post, said nor implied they don't like Jackie or her music selection. The comments they made, which I was referring to, were in reference to a particular song or tanda, not to the music Jackie plays as a whole. More then that, one of the persons I mentioned, recently told me they really like Jackie's music a lot, and they felt I used their names to "give weight" to my opinions about the music played at the event.

I am very sorry I inadvertently put them in a difficult position, that was certainly not my intent, as I value them very much, as tango teachers and as the wonderful people they are. While as a general rule I don't use names in my postings, I usually make an exception in the case of tango teachers, DJs or hosts as I feel they can use the publicity, being in this business. Sadly, in this case, it seemed to backfired and I may have to reconsider my policies.

As far as my opinions, they are just as I stated, opinions. I stand by them, and I have no need or desire to "validate" them by using other people's names. Maybe should have said this sooner, but when you read my posts in this blog (or when you hear me in person), don't look for hidden meaning in my statements. I say exactly what I mean and I mean exactly what I say.

I am so sorry some of the people I care about got caught in the crossfire, and I offer my sincere apologies.

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