Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tango Hands

I've been working on the fourth small quilt (OMG, this is addictive). The sleeve looked fabulous, but once I appliqued her arm on top, it wouldn't lay flat. I left it in frustration and headed to bed. When I have a concept in mind and it just won't work, sometimes it is best to just let it be. Five minutes later, I was up again using the same idea in a different manner. I took both to class last night, in about the same state of unfinishedness. The census was unanimous, the better of the two was the one that won't lay flat, but a couple of suggestions on fixing the problem should solve it--a nip here, a tuck there. Good thing, as that is the one I prefered.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

It's All in the Name

I was talking to a friend the other night. We were discussing more on the topic of why some women dance and others don't. He mentioned that the woman in question is sweet. Sweet? I'm sorry, but when you get to be a certain age, sweet just isn't how I would want to be thought of. That might work for some, but I stopped being sweet somewhere around the age of… well, not very old. Might have something to do with the fact that I was only nine when I had my first kiss.

I would rather be thought of as fiery, sexy, sensual, passionate, intelligent etc. Can't quite wrap my head around the idea of being sweet. I doesn't work with sensual. Or passionate. Or tango.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Tango Quilts

I was working on this idea and couldn't figure out if it would work. I made up a sleeve and pinned it on the background.

I layed the photo on top to see if her arm would also work. Wow! I'm still a little overwhelmed about the whole arm made flesh, but one step at a time!

Thursday, February 22, 2007


Last night a friend called and asked if I'd like to go to Japan with her this summer. She is going for her son's wedding, and he will pay for accommodation for herself and a friend. So she called me. Tonight we booked our flights! Wow, I'm going to Japan in July. Don't you just love sponteniety!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tango Hierarchy

In Buenos Aires, the hierarchy of dance was quite set. Beginners had to earn their place on the dance floor. Touristas rated lower than beginners until they proved themselves and then were danced with according to ability. Tangueros watched from the sidelines assessing posture, footwork, and connection. And it was hard to break in as someone had to take that initial risk.

In Victoria, it seems that beginners rate higher than those that have earned their place. I question this. Is it their personality? Ability? I'm all for working with our beginners to get them up to speed, but not when it comes at the cost of leaving out those who have danced for years.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Broken Heart

My heart is now finished, and I'm very happy with the end results. I have an idea for the next one, purchased fabrics, laid them out on the cutting table and wondered if I was on the "right" track. It seems light, almost boring compared to the last one. From something that makes a statement to "just because". Hum, is this what I want?

A fairly firm idea has been sitting in the back of my mind for a series of tango quilts. These will stretch my boundaries in ways I can't even describe. Good thing they are so small! Hand are next, so I spent time searching through photos for just the right angle and position. Snip, clip, enlarge. And this is perfect.

Hum, think I will do the beach scene, just so I can figure out how exactly those hands are going to work. Eeep.


I've been planning to go back to Argentina in November again this year. I've mentioned it at work on numerous occasions. Not so subtle hints like "When I go back to Argentina in November..." Then on Friday, my boss announced he and his wife are going on a cruise from the 11th to the 18th of, oh gee--November. And of course both of us can't be away at the same time. That's the problem when you both look after the publishing end of things.

Okay, that's fine. I'll spend Christmas in Argentina this year. "Well, my wife and I are thinking of taking the kids to Florida at Christmas to visit her parents. The kids haven't seen their grandparents in a while." I refer you to comment the first regarding not being away at the same time.

Great, just great. The two best times to spend in Argentina weather wise are March and November. I'm starting a kitchen renovation, so March is out. Now November is out. Guess I will just have to go to Portland Tangofest in October. It's always nice to have options.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Closed vs. Open Minded

According to the latest Tango Vita newsletter, "the DJs make sure that twice a week there is music for us to dance to that ensures that we have, in Victoria, the same tango experience dancers have in the best Buenos Aires milongas. Dancers coming to the Gallery are sure to have no surprises: they will only dance to the tunes of authentic Argentine tangos, milongas and valses."

Note the statement of "no surprises". This is a direct slam the music played at Cafe Casablanca, as well as the "Open Minded Milonga". I recently spent three weeks in Buenos Aires. During that time, at one of the best Buenos Aires milongas, I had the priviledge of watching Narco Tango perform live. Authentic Argentine tango. But nuevo music. Research the history of tango music itself. Research the history of Astor Piazolla specifically. His music was originally shunned because of it's sound. Now we commonly dance to Piazolla and consider it "traditional".

Tradition is simply how we have always done it. I go back to the quilting I'm doing at this point in time. I am working on a very traditional piece, but have been caught up in the intrigue of art quilts. Traditional quilting is easy. It takes no thought as the path has been set for me already. It has its place in my life, and always will. But the other stretches my boundaries, my thought proccesses, my creative juices. It makes me feel alive.

I want in my life to feel fully alive. My experience in Buenos Aires proved to me that there is so much more to tango than I had ever imagined. On the dance floor, their dancers have moves that I only experienced previously in Seattle and Port Townsend. Dancing is tight and intimate—necessary with crowded dance floors. But the moves had all the elements of the nuevo tango we dance, only with the energy of close embrace. It stretched my boundaries and made me feel alive.

So here's the question. As dancers, which would you prefer? To be closed to new ideas? To only be allowed to hear music that is chosen by a select few? Or do you want to feel alive? I dance authentic argentine tango to a wide range of music—and enjoy it all.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Heart

For the first time in years I'm creating art. I have missed creative expression in my life so much. Although I've done hand work for almost as long as I can remember, there is a large difference between craft and creation. Using a pattern, the outcome it already pre-determined. It is a bit like having the picture on the box in front of you while creating a puzzle—it takes the mystery out of everything.

I had an idea for the heart in the back of mind. It sat there formulating and morphing the entire time I worked on the shoes. Yesterday, I spent time on the internet looking for patterns that would work for the quilting on the background. Here is a shift in direction for me—quilt first, finish later. Because a large portion of the vision I have in my mind includes flowers that aren’t flat, I knew I would have to quilt it before I finished it.

I also had an image of how the flowers grew out of the heart itself. I found several pages of designs that I thought might work. At this point, everything still had a nebulous feel in my mind, an idea half formed and still mutable. The designs I thought would work the best wound up tossed aside for one that I had some doubts about. As I laid fiddley bits on top, envisioning flowers, butterflies and more, I became so excited. The quilting solidified the vision to become exactly what I wanted!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tango Politics

I have never been a member of Tango Vita. At the time I started dancing, the rifts had begun as well. I came into tango via Cafe Casablanca and support it fully. Because I did not want to feel that my loyalty was divided, chose not to become a member. The time has come to do something about that though. Through membership, my one vote will speak up for not just the cafe, but for what I feel is right. Slighting people is NEVER right.

David sent out a great email the other day. We need to continue to reflect on the purpose of Tango Vita in Victoria. At present, it seems to exist purely to promote a few members, ignoring members, teachers and venues. Here (in edited version) are some of his comments—in case you didn't see them. Think about it. Can we continue to call Tango Vita and association if it ignores over half of its paid members?

... but on this rare occasion of the 10th Anniversary of Tango in Victoria the Mad Hatters have put on their thinking caps instead to produce a What If scenario like this:

What If ...
A way could be found to heal the wounds that have been paining our tiny tango world so unnecessarily for the last few years.

What If ...
We could return to the good old practices that governed our tango lives so well for the first several years.

What If ...
We set them down as A Renewed Association's Ten Commandments

An Association which encourages ALL types of of tango styles to be danced and enjoyed in Victoria.

An Association which encourages ALL types of tango music to be played and enjoyed in Victoria.

An Association which uses its funds for the good of ALL members and Local Tango Activities.

An Association which schedules its own Events to complement, not compete, with other Local Tango Events.

An Association which offers variety in its own Events and encourages members to hold other events as well.

An Association whose Fair and Open Website lists ALL Local Tango Events and encourages members to contribute to its postings.

An Association whose Fair and Open Website lists ALL members who act as DJs and promotes ALL the Local Venues in which tango is danced.
An Association that treats ALL Teachers Equally -- and whose Presidents and other Board Members excuse themselves from teaching while holding positions of authority.

An Association that, as much as possible, tries to balance tangueros and tangueras together on the Board.

An Association that, as much as possible, alternates between male and female Presidents.

Justice for all requires a delicate balancing act. We know that emotions have been strong, feelings have been hurt, and positions have been taken which are difficult to change—but change is essential if harmony is to be restored. We believe just as strongly that recent Executive Boards—while trying to do their best for the small picture of tango in Victoria—have lost sight of the word's full and inclusive meaning. That meaning—the promotion and growth of ALL aspects of Argentine Tango, through an ASSOCIATION of lovers of the Dance and musica in ALL its rich diversity—was the collective beating heart of the handful of individuals who came together nine years ago to form the First Executive.

Recent decisions by the Executive Board of Tango Vita have suffered from narrowed vision. Their laudable attempt did manage to provide a place of refuge for a minority of members who longed for the feeling of security obtained by "the safety of familiar things in a home of one's own."

HOWEVER, what should have evolved and broadened into a true ASSOCIATION of ALL the rich talents and individuals that were the inevitable outgrowth of our first seven years of successfully encouraging Tango diversity in Victoria, instead became identified with a single and separate physical location.

It is undeniable that part of our local tango world still feels a need for such a haven BUT the "Cosy Haven" should be run by that group of dancers themselves, with a name and distinctive identity in the same way that Passion for Tango, and Mano a Mano, and Tango Caminar, and our own Tango Inspiracion have evolved.

The incoming, newly elected Board, might even see fit to advance a couple of months' rent to help such a "Cosy Haven" group get on its feet.

No longer tied psychologically to a single physical location Tango Vita would then advance into our Second Decade in a liberated state: an ASSOCIATION whose vision is broad enough in spirit to feel equally at home in ANY venue, and welcoming in a TRUE PARTNERSHIP the changes that are inevitable and desirable in any growing art form, and embracing equally ALL the Advocates and Promoters who bring about such exciting changes.

In fact, your two Mad Hatters (David and Diane) are NOT running for office because the New Tent needs NEW People. It needs tangueras and tangueros who bring only willing hearts and open minds. Lovers of Argentine Tango in ALL its magnificent forms of choreography, and music from ALL its golden eras. Tangueros and tangueras who can't wait to dance to that music.

For the entry cost of two milongas, take out a Membership if you don't already have one. Watch for the list of Nominees that will be posted. Ask those Nominees if they agree with our Ten Commandments for a Renewed Association. We feel confident that their answer will be a resounding YES—But if it isn't... Nominate Yourself. Come to the AGM. And Vote with both dancing feet for the last letter of the word VITA ... ASSOCIATION

Buenos Aires Shoes

I received an email from a friend the other day with a list of places to purchase shoes in Buenos Aires. They are listed by area with web sites etc. I’m not sure how I missed some of those stores—GretaFlora and Mala Yunta. Walked right by them and didn’t see them. How bizzare is that?

My teal shoes, zebra stripped shoes and the cream shoes with the flashy red heels all came from Lolo Gerard.

Aurora Lubiz is only there two days a week, so you will have to contact her if you want to see her shoes. I’m not sure what her shoes are like as I didn’t have time to connect with her.

Looking over the list, I see stores I checked out but didn’t purchase shoes at and others I didn’t know of. Hum, more shopping next time!

Susana Artesanal - Anchorena 537 -- 4865-3713
Mala Yunta - Anchorena 563 -- 4867-2457
GretaFlora - Anchorena 575 -- 4776-6807/cell 15-4991-8428
Lolo Gerard - Anchorena 607 - 4962-3860
Madreselva -- Corrientes 3190 -- 6311-4466
Tango8 -- Anchorena 602 -- 4864-0471

Susana Artesanal - Riobamba 448 - 4953-6874
Neo Tango -- Sarmiento 1938 - 4951-8694
Tango Leike -- Sarmiento 1947 -

Candela -- Bravard 1194 by appt. only 4854-0990

Delia Gardel -- Virrey Loreto 3124 -- 4552-9661

Palermo Viejo:
Fattomano - Guatamala 4464 - 4832-3156

Comme il Faut - Arenales 1239 #3M -- 4815-5690

San Nicolas (downtown):
Centro Artesanal del Tango - Suipacha 256 -- 4326-5377
Darcos - Suipacha 259- 4326-0232
Flabella - Suipacha 263 - 4322-6036
Scarpe Mahara - Suipacha 332 -- 4328-3528
Bailarin Porteno - Suipacha 251 - 4390-4067
Tango Brujo - Esmeralda 754 - 4325-8264
Mirtha Paulo - Esmeralda 461 - 4328-5970
Victorio - Montevideo 224 - 4375-0237
Alanis -- Av. R. Saenz Pena 936 (Diagonal Norte) --

San Telmo:
Delie shoes -- Piedras 843 - 4300-8521
Aurora Lubiz -- Carlos Calvo 960 P.B. 3 -- 15-5699-3537
Artesanos para el Tango -- Av. San Juan 410 -- 4300-9845
Artesanias Ar-Sil -- Avenida Juan Garay 908 - Tel.4362-3936

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Lovely Legs

I spent time in the fabric store the other day looking at fabric looking for fish net stockings. Cream background, pale black square. Of course, there wasn’t anything exactly the way I wanted. But I found some pale tan with a wash of purple. I also picked up several other choices, just in case. And now my little lady now has a stunning set of legs. Too perfect, don’t you think.

The piece is actually bigger than a traditional Journal Quilt, as it is approximately 17" square. Guess this makes it an Art Quilt, not a Journal Quilt.

I've started the next one already. The idea is a broken heart, repaired somewhat, held together by what ever is at hand, in this case snap swivels used in fishing to hold lures and weights on. There will be bleedy bits coming out of the heart, but on the ends will be flowers. If you can't mend your heart, grow flowers instead.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Valentine’s Day

Well, the “big day” is less than a week away. Do you all have your chocolates? Your flowers? Your expectations set too high? Got to say, one good thing about being single is that there aren’t any expectations. Can’t be disappointed by what your guy doesn’t bring you when you don’t have a guy. It helps to prevent the whole drama thing.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Politics of Dancing

Two things that don’t belong together. A bit like church and state. When one person, or group of people attempt to impose their will on others rather than allowing them to think for themselves, it is never a good situation. Think jihad. Like little kids in a sandbox, screaming I’m right, it is childish and immature. Do what you will where dance is concerned. Dance at the gallery if that is what your heart leads you to do. Dance at the cafe if that is what you prefer, but please, stop this childishness. We all make choices. Your choices are not better than my choices, they are just your choices. That doesn’t make them right.

I have the hardest time understanding why some on the Tango Vita board, or members of Tango Vita are so opposed to Cafe Casablanca. Here we have a warm setting, nice seating, the ability to dance as long as we like without cleanup. We are treated like family by Chuck and Eve. Certain people then have re-payed that generosity by claiming it isn’t like “this” in Buenos Aires. Hey, I have news for you guys—every milonga I attended in Buenos Aires had a club owner and staff.

I have been part of several church splits. They started very similar to what is happening here. The “old guard” gets upset because of music, worship styles, change in pastor and suddenly nothing is right. They lobby for things to remain the same, claiming that everyone else is destroying the spirit of worship etc. This is much the same. Change is frightening. It requires an open mind, and a willingness to accept those that are different.

Ultimately, no matter what the outcome of the upcoming Tango Vita elections, I will continue to support Cafe Casablanca. Yesterday, I was part of a survey on health and Canadians. One section dealt with our support network. I was asked whether there were people in my network that I could call on for home support if necessary, hugs when I needed them, people to talk to about issues that were stressful. My answer was yes to all these questions—I have a great support network. If I leave the Cafe, I leave my support network. Who in their right mind would do that? And thanks to all of you that I consider part of my support network!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Journey of a Journal

The top is almost finished. I had a bit of frustration on the weekend once the shoes were complete. I was trying to create the illusion of a dress, but it wasn’t working. Each attempt looked like the fabric had just been dumped at the top without any thought. It wasn’t cohesive. I spent the next two evenings at tango watching feet and legs, but it still wasn’t forming in my mind. When I thought about it, the dress idea wasn’t the image I wanted. It felt too heavy somehow.

So I spent some time watching tango videos on YouTube. One video clicked. Her footwork was exactly the image I wanted. So I watched, rewound, watched, paused, and watched again. There! The pause button froze her feet in the precise movement I was looking for. I started to lay cord to create the illusion of her legs, running back and forth between the sewing room and the computer. Hey, wait a minute, this thing is a lap top. Never said I was the quickest one in the room—and I’m the only one in the room! Once the laptop was on my sewing table, things fell into place much quicker and now she has legs. Now I think she needs stockings though.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dance Partner

Before I left for Argentina, I'd been contemplating how nice it would be to have a dance partner. Since returning, I've realized that if I am going to continue to dance, it might not just be something that is nice, it might be something that is necessary. Here's the thing though, unlike Terry, I don't want to train a partner either. I made a promise to myself four years ago when I started this that I would not tell a man how to dance. I know this leaves me almost no options. Not like I'm asking for much right--unattached, dances at my level, willing to learn and possibly travel for workshops etc. Please submit your resume stating dance experience, etc. Fringe benefits based on dance chemistry and previous experience. Wimps need not apply. All assholes will be carefully screened.

I think that about covers it.

Creative Expression

Quilting and tango have two things in common--artistic expression. Quilting is a form of singular artistic expression. As I was working on the shoes, I found that same sense of inner stillness I find during a great dance of tango. The two forms are very different. One relies completely on yourself, and one relies on another, but the end result is the same. Athletes describe it as the "zone", but this is such an inadequate term for the joy I get from creating.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tango News

Interesting to note that in this weeks Tango Vita newsletter, Cafe Casablanca does exist. Only one line, but it is nice to know that an email to the board regarding the lack of mention helped a small amount. June’s Passion for Tango event is now also listed. She had also been excluded in the mention of upcoming events. Please note the calander link at the side. This has listing of upcoming tango events for people to participate in.