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Monday, June 20, 2011

Bridge to fusion: visions of liturgical tango dance...

Andre sings with Joe

6/17
Newark Airport, waiting for my son to arrive from Hawaii. Frantic call from Amanda. A firetruck has arrived at the church, lights  flashing, sirens roaring. What’s up? Steven and Woodshed are holding auditions. Completely taken by surprise.  No one is supposed to be in this building the fire guys say. Say what? Great confusion. Did someone  call and complain? Is this, like random?  I explain that last December, before the clean up day, I’d spoken to the local firehouse and was told that because we left voluntarily, there was no inspection necessary. 
I finally reach my son. He’s still in Hawaii. I drive to the church as fast as I can. Danielle is sitting on the steps. She has handled the fire department professionally, all is well, for now.  
Musicians from Joe Powers’ group are arriving for a sound check.  Concert time fast approaching. 
The Prophet is sitting on the steps. African? Ethiopian? Caribban? He’s got his open 40 of Ballantyne in his hand. Walking stick beside him. I walk over. Sir, you’re weclome to be here, but you can’t have that open bottle here on the steps.  He holds the bottle out to me, I go to take it from him and he won’t let go. He begins muttering anxiously, I lean in close. Takemegodtakemegodtakemegod... then hearmelordhearmelordhearmelord....then amenamenameanamen...holding tight to his 40. I decide to let it be.  Work to be done. 
Marty is hangign out in front of Dunkin Donuts. Wants to know if litigation will pay for our renovation. No time for extended concersation. 
The doors open. Audience slow in coming. It’s going to be another small night, it looks like.  The night opens with Bernardo Palumbo of El Taller talking about our realtonship, our year of concerts back in 2006. When  I look at the house, I remember how disappointing it was to have done such amazing concerts for so few people.
 Then Octavio Brunetti and Machiko Ozawa of the Urban Tango Trio begins. Little did we know that Octavio is currently the most respected tango pianist in the US. Bernardo is impressed that  we’ve brought him in, thanks to Rochone’s reasearch and negotiations, and Joe Powers is anxious (to say the least) to play with Octavio.
Octavio and Machiko ease into tango, the pefect metaphor for the evening, Bridge to Fusion, wiith its mix of euro and latin, drama and sensuality, classicism and dark cabaret edge. His fingers genty dance across the keys, Machiko’s violin wrapping itself around the music from the piano. The set dances from Buenos Aires to Paris and back.
Jor Powers brings a kind of Harry Connick, Jr. with a harmonica vibe. He’s a showman, working every minute, playing the crowd as well as his harmonica. His sound takes me back to the work Bill Schimmel, founder of the Tango Project, brought to West-Park in his years here. Did any other church have tango in its worship? Some people were absolutely not ready for that. That’s not what I want to feel in church, one of our singers said. That feeling, there, is for someplace else...
Joe does some pieces with Octavio. Then brings Andre up to sing Georgia on my mind...
We all go upstairs. Intrigued by the Japanese tangeras. One is explaining how we could transform McAlpin Hall into a home for molonga, the tango dance parry. Just need to sand the floor and finish it smooth. The semi-ruined feel has the decadent feel of Berlin.  Perfect. 
Tangeros and tangeras drinking wine, laughing, talking. Octavio and Machiko mugging, posing, all around the room. Then they put on a cd and start to dance, all drama and sensuality. Her leg wrapping around him, just as her violin playing did. 
So we learned that we can produce world class events for intimate grouos of people. (Been there before.) Tonight is good, but not enoug 
I walk up the street, visions of  liturgical tango dance in my head....

1 comment:

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