By Brian Winter
In a e-book that's half travelogue and half historical past, the writer inspires his immersion in a depressing underworld. He visits previous dance salons, brothels, and shacks at the dusty Pampa, trying to find the tango's shady origins within the wish that figuring out may also help him dance greater. alongside the best way, he discovers that the tango, with its stories of jealousy, melodrama, and misplaced glory, may well carry the key to the rustic that's inexplicably disintegrating ahead of his eyes.
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Additional resources for Long After Midnight at the Niño Bien: A Yanqui’s Missteps in Argentina
Farther north, on the left, there was the unremarkable Parque Las Heras—a forest of undernourished trees and cracked sidewalks—which, despite its privileged perch in the posh half of the city, had the rotten luck of being constructed in the 1960s, when grand things were no longer being built in Argentina. The park had been erected on the wreckage of an old prison, which was now commemorated only by a sunken plaque; “Here in 1956 was the massacre of. . ” After passing within three blocks of my apartment, the #60 bus slowly snaked its way past the notorious Villa 31 shantytown, through the prosperous northern suburbs of Nunez and Vicente Lopez; picked up speed as it passed the walled estates and tinted windows of San Isidro; and then chugged in to its final destination of El Tigre (no relation whatsoever to the dancer), the muddy river delta and one-time playground for the rich where I could still see signs for English rowing clubs, long since closed.
It had begun the century with a higher per capita income than Sweden or Spain, and on par with Germany. Perhaps no other nation had fallen so far, so fast. Yet there had been no devastating wars, no epic plagues, floods, or droughts. There had been no one tyrant, no Idi Amin or Josef Stalin who had single-handedly run the place into the ground. A country blessed with some of the earth’s richest farmland was now having problems feeding its people. And while the world is full of countries with abundant natural resources that have failed to reach their potential, perhaps none of them also possess Argentina’s wealth of human capital: a vibrant and skilled population that is nearly 100 percent literate.
I could see why they had felt it necessary to dramatize the tango for the movies; as seen here, the movements might have been too understated, too incremental to convey real drama on the big screen. But the understatement, the subtlety of the real thing in person made it much more intimate—and infinitely more sexy. We sat down. “Good crowd tonight,” Carlos observed. ” I didn’t know anything about any legends, and of course I had never seen the tango in person before, but it was clear to me from the beginning how to distinguish the pros from the amateurs: if a couple danced particularly well, the woman would close her eyes and smile.
Long After Midnight at the Niño Bien: A Yanqui’s Missteps in Argentina by Brian Winter