Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tango

We read on the paper:
Tango was declared part of the world's cultural heritage by the United Nations on Wednesday and granted the international seal of approval Argentina and Uruguay have long sought for the dramatic dance and its sensual moves.

We know most people probably have this stereotypical misconception of the dance: a good looking woman---shiny, tight split dress along with some killer stilettos and a sensual body ---spinning cheek-to-cheek very fast across a dance hall with a good looking man---tuxedo of course, rose clenched between his teeth---kicking and hurling back and forth...And that, my friends, is the ultimate cliche.

Reality could be much more complicated than a movie or a TV show. The reality and meaning of tango goes beyond that cliche. A history that goes back over a hundred years. A history of poor European immigrants and their American dreams, of cheap bordellos and accordions... A tale full of sad stories (usually about heartaches related to love relationships that went sour), family ties, homesickness, life in the poor suburbs...

In Argentina you dance tango slowly. It is a sensual dance, of course, and it takes time to master. Nowadays, there are thousands learning the steps. A new generation that includes even Japanese and Germans (the biggest fans) along people from all over the world.

They are leaning how to dance a sad feeling. A passion. That is tango.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Viewpoint of millions










We stumbled upon this painting/collage of artist David Datuna by chance. It had a very powerful presence even in a wrong location, with generic lighting and surroundings.

Immediately we started taking photographs and realizing how interesting the whole concept was. The artist was not there, so unfortunately we never met him. In the painting we found Abraham Lincoln next to Bill Clinton, Marilyn, George Clooney, Michael Jackson, Britney, Jackie O...the list goes on and on.

From a sign above the painting we extract:

"American flag is one of the most powerful and energetic banners in the world...
USA or Viewpoint of millions consists of more than a thousand optical lenses...

Red and white stripes of the flag are made from the clippings from periodical publications
Stars in the blue canton display faces of people who have been making the history of this country with their achievements and triumphs as well as failures and scandals...

Numerous lenses of the collage represent people's individual perceptions of America.

Magnifying and shrinking lenses symbolize viewpoints of those who are concerned about the USA or indifferent to it.
No matter how different the viewpoints may be, people of all over the world are continuously focused on the USA".

Monday, September 28, 2009

Roots of a land









There is an area in the furniture world that is a little difficult to understand. Some people call it "rustic"or "lodge style"or maybe "cabin style". And then there is another version, an Argentinian one, that is handcrafted by the indigenous people (that is, the ones that were there before the Spaniards arrived). That craftsmanship is still alive, although barely surviving.


Ricardo Paz always thought this tradition needed to be kept alive. He opened a store in Palermo Viejo called Arte Etnico. This is a neighbourhood that has a small scale, full of old houses, trees, blue skies. In the store he showcases a fascinating collection of furniture, textiles and objects that some people could call "rustic". Trees become animals, branches become screens, wood panels covered in parchment become tables...Each piece is unique of course, and it shows the slight imperfections of a handmade object.


Antique rugs and textiles, colourful and happy, cover walls and sofas. Small chairs with seats made out of cowhide hang from the ceiling...A magical space, as unique and original as the objects exhibited.

Ricardo Paz
El Salvador 4656 - phone 4832-0516

Friday, September 25, 2009

Gisele and I wish you a great weekend


Gisele Bündchen from up above Crosby St---courtesy of London Fog---and The Chukker from his headquarters in Soho wish you a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Turkish Delight













When we visited Istanbul recently, we couldn't help but notice the vibrant energy of this fascinating city. Crowded, a bit noisy, but extremely interesting. A place where History is alive, you can almost feel it. You go from one century into the next without a warning.

We stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel, near the entrance of the Topkapi Palace. This particular hotel is a former prison---believe it or not---although you would never guess the luxurious rooms were cells in a previous life. We were facing Saint Sofia, and were often intrigued by this phenomenal symbol of faith and beauty.

A visit to the Grand Bazaar was de rigueur and it took us most of the day. A really overwhelming experience, even if the goods were mostly occidental we found a few authentic stores (Abdulla is one of them, selling towels, robes and everything for the hammam experience). Another store full of treasures is Murat Hashas, they sell the best fabrics and cushions ever.

After a couple of days enjoying the warm weather and the great food, we took off to Bodrum.

But that is another story.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New York minute



Hanging out on this particular corner of Downtown Manhattan is a little bit like stepping in a time capsule. Actually, it is like going back straight to the 70's: we are talking about 200 Water Street, designed in 1971 by Emery Roth & Sons.

The famous "Grid Clock" is still working, after years of neglect (the building was a NYU dorm for a while). Nowadays the owners converted the building into residential, so everything is back to its former glory, clock included.

There are also some colorful benches, and even some phone booths (without public phones of course...when was the last time we used a public phone? 10 years ago?). Everything is painted in bright primary colors, as it should be. We are talking about the Seventies here.
So there you are: a New York minute in the world's largest digital clock.

video

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Buenos Aires bars, part 1



When visiting Buenos Aires most people find that porteños have dinner really late for international standards (after 10 PM is the usual thing when going to restaurants). Going for dinner at 8 or 8.30 PM is something unheard of.
Even at 9 restaurants are empty, or the only people there are tourists.

Therefore, a good way to kill a couple of hours before eating that steak is to go to a nice bar and have a drink. There are plenty of places, so we will start with a few:


Milión
Paraná 1048 (Barrio Norte)
This is still a good place to go (it opened a few years back). The place is stunning: an old mansion converted into a couple of restaurants and bars, including an amazing terrace and a patio. Great cocktail list and an international clientele make this bar/restaurant a must.


Ocho7Ocho
Thames 878 (Villa Crespo)
Behind the unmarked door in this up-and-coming neighbourhood you will find a great spot, with some of the best cocktails in town. A little out of the way, it is great when you grow tired of Palermo Viejo and want to try something different (and very good).


Supersoul
Baez 252 (Las Cañitas)
This place rocks. Always good, always crowded, always fun.


Mundo Bizarro
Serrano 1222 (Palermo Viejo)
Still around after a few years, this dim reddish bar still has very good cocktails. Hit or miss.


Congo
Honduras 5329 (Palermo Viejo)
Tucked away besides the railways tracks, this is a great pre-club bar. Having an enormous outdoor space is one of the best features (especially in a sticky summer night)


If you want something a bit more tranquil or refined, especially if you are exhausted after a long day of walking around the city , there are other options. We like the Old World atmosphere of the Bar at the Alvear Palace Hotel for a chic cocktail. Or maybe the Oak Room at the Duhau, where you can appreciate centuries old paneling (brought back from France when the house was built 75 years ago) while sipping that fancy scotch.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week a la Argentina in pictures














We had a great time last night in the Argentina Designer's show.
Absolutely packed, visitors from Buenos Aires (among them international top Model Valeria Mazza)and lots of press (Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, Vanidades Latin America, Oprah, Elle, WWD...) We were talking with gracious Mary Alice Stephenson, who really enjoyed the show.

The team behind this amazing event (the Consulate of Argentina in New York and A. Cicognani Communications plus the unbelievable stylist Amanda Ross) as well as the designers Benito Fernandez, Cardon, Eufemia, Min Agostini and Zitta delivered an impeccable performance, that was truly enjoyed by the crowd.

Our pictures are worth much more than we can say...