Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fuerza Bruta

“Fuerza Bruta” (translation...Brute Force) – On tour in London, NYC, Rio. Back in Buenos Aires for a limited engagement. It's Cirque de Soleil on steroids. It's heart pounding...mind blowing.

We go with Kirk and Genaro...

and have no idea what to expect as we walk into a large dark space – black curtains, black walls, high ceiling, strobe lights, fog, aerial cables, 2 platforms stacked high for DJs, and Latin techno music that increases in intensity as it gets louder and louder. Over the next 20 minutes, perhaps another 3,000 people (mostly young) join us. Wall to wall people. No seating...standing room only...waiting, looking up.

Blue lights, red lights...more fog...the tension of anticipation. And then the “show” begins. I can hardly describe the next 90+ minutes. All I know is that it's a continuous assault on the senses...and is best shown through the videos that David took and that make up most of the rest of this blog entry.

A man on a treadmill running for his life through mist and fog, a "brick" wall and a tunnel of wind...

(NOTE: You have to CLICK on the Video to see them...and you might need to lower the volume!)

women in tutus directly above my head doing wild acrobatics while swinging from aerial cables against a pulsating mylar wall...

people in business suits suspended from cables, running, climbing a staircase, stepping into space...all the while, the music is blasting...

an Amadeus-lookalike DJ who's wildly playing music that increases in intensity as gusts of wind, confetti and a watery mist simultaneously waft in waves over our entire body is vibrating from the raw power of the amplifiers and speakers...

and then the crowd all around us begins to break into spontaneous dance, even as buckets of water pour from the ceiling, soaking those just a few feet from us...and still the intensity heightens...

It's crazy!!! My entire body is pounding and, for the first time in my recent adult life, I feel like I know what it must be like to experience the energy and intensity of today's discos! And I feel kind of old...ughhh.

It's exhilarating and overwhelming in a way I've never before experienced and will never forget!

When the show ends at 1:00 a.m. we leave, though it appears that most of the crowd stay to dance for who knows how many more hours! We are so wired that we all go for coffee and don't say good night until 3:00. Don't go to sleep till after 4:00 cause by then the caffeine has kicked in!

David says it's the best thing he's done since he's been here!

And that, my friends, is how this year's blog ends. We arrive home on May 12th and will not be blogging again until next January when we return. We had a great time with old friends, new friends, and those who came for a visit, and thank all of you at home for following our adventures and staying in touch.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Home Stretch

With just one week to go, there are still things to going to the Palacio Errazuriz; aka the National Museum of Decorative Arts. We've passed by, had lunch in the courtyard, but never taken a tour...until now. The only early 20th century French styled mansion in BA regularly open to the public, it's elegant and beautifully crafted.

Original furnishings are on display, as are 15th to 18th century tapestries, sculpture by Rodin, and paintings by Corot, El Greco, Fragonard, and Manet, all collected by Chilean diplomat Matias Errazuriz and his Argentine wife, both of whom lived in the palace after its completion in 1911 until 1937, when it was donated to the state by the family.

Unfortunately, after taking just one photo in the reception area, we are told that no picture-taking is allowed...que lastima (what a shame).

Two nights later, we go to a “closed door” restaurant or, as the guide books refer to it, a salon for food and conversation. No mention of the address, no sign announcing its existence on the side of the building, the only way you'd know about it is by word of mouth. Reservations are necessary, and a mix of languages (in our case, English and Spanish) is a given.

The “restaurant” is actually the living and dining rooms of a private apartment, and the chef is also the apartment owner. The feel is casual but very dinner party-ish; a maximum of 12 individuals can attend, as there are only 2 communal tables, one seating 8 guests and another for 4.

The menu constantly changes...and is often thematic. In our case, it is duck and chocolate. Every meal is different, and every meal can be combined with a 5-wine tasting menu (one for every course). We go with our friend Michael, sans his wife Bettye, who is visiting family in San Fran (we miss you, Bettye!!).

We meet some really interesting people, including Natalie (to my right) and her husband Cesar (who's not in the photo), and Yuki, Akiko, and Phillip.

A few days later, friends Lynne and Joe come from the states for a week long vacation. We haven't seen them for 5+ years, so there's lots and lots of catching up to do. We spend the day walking around the Recoleta, including a “”tour” of the cemetery, of course...

and the following evening, we have a 3 ½ hour dinner at the Evita Museum Restaurant and slowly polish off a bottle of Malbec and 2 bottles of champagne...

Not surprisingly, getting up the next morning is slightly more difficult than usual! But we have to rally, because that evening we're off to our friend Michael's Cinco de Mayo party, where there are lots of new people to meet, pitchers of margaritas, and a buffet with great home made food. Due to an overdose of booze the night before we forget to bring our camera, so no incriminating photos!

When Thursday rolls around, we take it slow in the morning and start to focus on packing or, more to the point, throwing away paper and sorting clothing into 2 piles...what we leave with friends and what we bring home.

Fortunately, by mid-afternoon, Kirk saves us by suggesting we go to buy tickets for a Friday night performance of “Fuerza Bruta”. We don't know anything about it, but because we think it's something like Cirque de Soleil, and it's literally a 10 minute walk from our apartment, we decide to go and buy tickets at the Recoleta Cultural Center.

When we get to the Cultural Center, we're surprised to find a labyrinth of giant “plastic art” posters and realize it's the 2nd Biennial Borges-Kafka Festival, and Buenos Aires is the host city.

Organized by the International Foundation Jorge Luis Borges, in collaboration with the Center Franza Kafka in Prague, the intent (as I understand it) is to encourage new generations of readers to explore the similarities in the writings of both authors. That being said, we are fascinated by the art...perhaps 20 of these posters, one more surreal than the next.

Once we make it to the ticket booth, we buy tickets for the 11:30 p.m. show (what are we thinking??) and then head home, via outdoor space with street art (which changes every so often).....

and restaurants on one side with open air dining on the other. As we pass the Kosher Sushi restaurant, where they are simultaneously blessing the sushi and preparing tray after tray of the stuff, David feels a photo op coming on and the guys inside are more than happy to be in the picture.

And then there are the kioskos (one on almost every corner) where you can buy all sorts of candy.

But the best is this sign in a restaurant window...

which I think is a message to us until....

David and Kirk see a “Pancheria” stand where they buy foot long hot dogs. They both claim it is their first ever in Buenos Aires ( I suspect not)!

We have one more blog in us before we leave here, so stay tuned.