Confiteria Ideal and Obelisco Tango

September 5, 2016

Although my primary emphasis is to expand the depth of my pilgrimage, learn the city, absorb the culture, figure out Tango, there are certain things that must be experienced…not just as a tourist…but, to acquire the feeling so that you can learn to understand it.  Thus, Confiteria Ideal and Obelisco Tango becomes a must.  First,

Confiteria Ideal!!  An amazingly historical place in the history of Tango and Buenos Aires…to the degree that the BBC did a specific special on it.  There are regular rumors that this place will be closing down. So, I wanted to make sure I had the opportunity to visit, absorb, check it out…and get a dance in 🙂  Now, as I mentioned, I am on a journey of sorts.  I make no projections that I am a milonguero, Tango expert or anything near those levels.  As my friend April Parker says, I’m just a Tango baby…and I’m trying to find my way 🙂

One of the things I find so interesting about this place, is that locals will show up during lunch hour or whenever they have a break or when they just want to dance throughout the day.  And so, even in the early afternoon, you will find regulars here as well as entranjeros (foreigners) enjoying their Tango.

This place is absolutely beautiful.  You can order food and drinks…whatever your palate desires and get your dance on.  Now, I am going to be forthright…being a Tango baby…it can be rather horrifying to come to a place such as this, or El Beso, Gricel, Obelisco, and Salon Canning when you are learning to dance.  You may see people that look like they could use a walker, but when they hit the floor and the music comes on…they move with the grace of a Gazelle or Ballet dancer…and here I am…feeling as if I am fumbling around.  But, eventually I engaged in the Cabaceo…and started dancing.  And, it was such a wonderful feeling to overcome that fear and dance in Confiteria Ideal!!  And, at the end of my dance…La Senorita said to me, “Senor, tu caminata is muy bueno”…ha ha ha ha…man…talk about walking on cloud 9!!!!  It was all I could do to keep from running back at that moment to Alejandro Gee and Erzsebet Tamas and yell…I did it…I did it…talk about taking an internal pilgrimage and learning about yourself…ahhh…so good!!!! 🙂

Confiteria Ideal is a landmark in and of itself, but has many collectors items within giving testament to the history of Tango.

And, of course…there must be tributes in place to the historically amazing Carlos Gardel…

Needless to say, that when I walked out of there, my feet were not even touching the ground.  There are a great many things to be said about facing your fears…which begs the question…are you growing as a person, are you really on an internal pilgrimage if you have not faced your fears.  As Pema Chodron would ask, “have you faced the snake…have you faced your greatest fears…and made peace with them” …then you grow… if not…then your are not…

Walking outside, I love to see the markers for some of the basic Tango steps…it is in the life blood of the city…whether many Argentinians respect their historical Tango or not….

Later on that day….while I was still on Cloud 9, I get back to Alejandro’s Tango House.  Alejandro says to me, “aren’t you coming out with us tonight”…sometimes I was tired, sometimes admittedly I was a bit unsure of myself – only a few people I know want to intentionally look like an ass 🙂  Ha Ha…but, yes they are out there…not something I would do on purpose 🙂  In this case, I was on my cloud and said, “sure, why not…thank you.”

So, this evening I met Alejandro Gee and Erzsebet Tamas at Club Obelisco Tango.

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And for those that are curious and for entertainments sake, here is a posting of some rules and some Tango art 🙂

 

As we arrive and I sit at Alejandro’s table.  And, it is common that the regulars have their own reserved table.  So, I sit with Alejandro…a few of his friends are there and more are arriving until we eventually have about eight (8) people at his table.  Now, admittedly my Spanish is limited…although it is significantly improving 🙂  All of these gentlemen are older…as I talk with Alejandro…some of them have been dancing together over 60 years.  Of course, me…I am a Tango baby I’m not fawning or flopping all over the place.  I don’t know much of anything about Tango…I’m learning…All I know is..it isn’t the typical club scene..people are sipping a little…maybe some Champagne, wine, a taste of liquor here and there…and empanada or such and some water…and although I’m learning Spanish…they are still talking to me…and I’m talking to them…like we are all understanding each other….I watch them dance, I dance a little (YES YES) ha ha…and I am having such an awesome time… that I ask for a picture to be taken…talk about some of the coolest people…sitting there with them I learned so much about Tango that isn’t really taught…and so, I got this wonderful photo of us:

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Going left to right is: El Flaco Dany, Tango Alejandro Gee (my friend that I stay with at his Tango house), Osvaldo Centeno (kind gentleman that gets me back and forth to the airport), Tito Rocca (am amazing Tango singer), Ricardo Luis Gallo (el pollo; what a fun man), Cacho Latronico, and Tito Franquelo.  Just absolutely fun and amazing people…

We get through the night….one of my best nights ever…walk outside and I’m just taking in the night air..and snap this photo…you to take at least one picture of Che Guevara…if you don’t…especially if you are from the U.S., then you probably really need to see somebody professional 🙂 It’s not the best picture..but, it is Che…

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So, it’s been a long day…and a long night…I get back to Alejandro’s…do a bit of reading and post the picture I got with the Milonguero’s….now I don’t know much…I’m still learning…but, in the morning when I look at my facebook page…I see a note from my friend and instructor in Atlanta (April Parker ) that says and I quote:

LOOK AT THAT Malik Watkins!!!! Holy mother Mary of ****, you’re hanging out with the Tango Gods! Dany El Flaco FTW!!!!”

So, then people start asking me…how did you get to sit with them…I’m like…ehhh…with who…I don’t know…I am Alejandro’s friend…so I just followed him like he…uhh…said… Well, now that I’ve done more reading…and am learning the history of Tango…it would be similar to a foreigner coming to the United States  and following a friend…and you join your friend at a table with George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and etc….and, these Milongueros were so accepting….so cool…and never treated me like the clueless Americano…which I certainly was…I learned so much about Tango that evening….it isn’t just the dance….Thank You so much to the Milongueros that evening, they treated me like family…and I felt a part of a family….and nothing but Love to Alejandro and Erzsebet….and you too April Parker (funny lady)….

Buenas Noches!!

 

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