After two injections into my knee, my favorite orthopedist grounded me. "No dancing, no pilates, no gym, for 15 days. Then we will see." He said to me. The damaged cartilage in my knee was causing all the pain. The same as before. Amazing how your knee can make your entire lower body so miserable.
The reality is, that it is OK. I tell my friend Ed in Sacramento, I need a tango vacation. "But you are on a permanent tango vacation." he writes me. This is the problem when you speak two languages. Sometimes you express yourself incorrectly in both of them. What I mean to say is that I need a vacation from tango.
After reading my own blog, I realize I have way too much drama in my life. I need to chill. The most drama I had in my California life was when all the workstations would go down and the servers would crash in a client's office and I didn't know why. That was respectable drama. This is some other kind of drama and I am a little tired of it.
I decide to discover parts of BA that I don't know. My friend Frank who owns Sugar and Spice Bakery tells me about the Open Gallery night. (HIs blog is listed on the left side) The art galleries in Barrio Norte and Retiro are opening their doors from 7 until 10 to the public. He says there will be free champagne in all the galleries from Chandon and his cookies in La Europa. Those are two good enough reasons to go.
I email two of my friends Cris and Sandra to see if they want to go. Both are enthusiastic. Except on the night of the event both cancel on me. Sandra is too tired. Cris has to retrieve the family car. It was stolen. Dealing with bureaucracy is always a headache. I decide I am going to go anyway. I am in my "new version of Deby mode". Nothing is going to stop me. I am not staying home on a Friday night, and I am not going to dance tango, even if I could.
I wear all black. I usually do anyway. What does one wear to one of these things? It is not like I hang out with the art crowd these days. I take the bus down Santa Fe. This is one of the few Fridays that I have not gone to dance tango in months.
As I walk down Parana to Arenales I notice several galleries. They are full of people. When I get to La Europa there is a crowd in front. An artist is in the window doing caricatures. That is not for me. I enter. The gallery is sort of not a gallery. It is more like interior decorating for offices, hotels. I like it. They have some really cool art on the walls.
There are several levels. I walk up the next level. The champagne level. I take a glass of Chandon and proceed to walk around. Next level. Two guys are sitting on the couch in a living room setting. I am not sure if they are part of the art or are just resting. I walk around and check this floor out before going up to the next where I find my friend Frank.
Frank is greeting people with a tray of his savory offerings. I think he is a little surprised to see me alone. I explain to him how my friends all flaked out for various reasons. However because I am on a mission to change my life, I decided to fly solo. I am sure he thinks I am crazy. I say good bye and head up to the next floor.
As soon as I enter the salon I notice an elaborate living room set. A woman with sparkly legs, a sparkly dress, and shoes that do not match anything, and an over made up face is splayed across a divan. I watch her being photgraphed. I turn away and start to go look at some of the art when a young woman touches my arm. She tells me they would like to photograph me. I am a little speechless. So they ask if I speak Spanish. "Claro que si."
Me and all my black are arranged on a huge chair with lots of pillows. I really do not like having my picture taken. They are moving me around with the pillows, asking me to make faces. It is sort of funny. I have a feeling I am a much more interesting subject than sparkly legs with the shoes that didn't match. I am actually more interested in the camera the photographer is using. I keep trying to ask her questions, but she is more interested in shooting pictures of me. They tell me they will email them to me. Oh goodie.
When I am done I retrieve my glass of champagne and continue up the rest of the floors. When there are no more floors, I decide it it time to go check out the other galleries. I pick up a booklet for the evening. There are 71 galleries participating. I look at the map and plot my route.
I start down Arenales. I go into my first gallery. I love modern art. The paintings are amazing. So are the people looking at them. I go on to the next gallery. This one is two floors. They have sculptures and paintings. The art is very interesting.
I cross the street. There is a gallery on the other side. When I get there it looks like it is full of gorgeous guys. I go to open the door and it is locked. A waspish face young woman is standing on the side walk puffing a cigarette. She tells me there is no more room inside. I look into the gallery again. The cute guys are looking at me. It appears they cannot get out and I cannot get in. I wonder if this is part of the art. Waspish face is more intent on smoking her cigarette and talking to some people on the sidewalk. This was the only gallery all night that was locked. How weird. Maybe she was keeping all those men for herself. I move on.
It dawns on me as I check my map and look at the streets that I am like a tourist. It has been a long time since I walked around a city with a map in hand looking to get around. I actually feel like a tourist. This is like when I was in Paris seeing museum after museum. It feels very similar, only instead of museums, they are art galleries. Actually it feels kind of cool. I am an accidental tourist.
I cross Pelligrini. There are many galleries on this side. I had no idea. I look at the people. An interesting cross section. I go into a gallery where it is mostly young people. A group of young guys are hanging out by a glass staircase that is going downstairs. One of them greets me. I smile back. I am never sure what to do here. I always end up doing the wrong thing and making a problem. Tonight I just want to enjoy the art and not have any problems.
I go down the glass stairs. Big mistake. They are freaky. I do not like going down stairs and these are worse because they are glass. They are making me a little dizzy. I try not to think about it. Once I get downstairs, the trip is worth it. The art is great. Lots of modern art, collages. Then I have to go upstairs. I hate those glass stairs.
I go into another gallery. They have a poster of Gone with the Wind in Spanish. I like it. I must be standing there smiling. This really really tall guy is taking all kinds of pictures of the art. Then he takes a picture of me. He tells me he likes my face. He doesn't say much more than that and turns away to take more pictures. Very Warhol.
So many galleries, so much champagne. I am being good. Not too much champagne. I really am not much of a drinker. I never knew that Suipacha had so many galleries. The LAN airlines building has a gallery downstairs. Several levels. The art is not very interesting. I check my map again.
I look at the people. Most people seem to be in the 40s age range. There are some younger. There are some older. The ones in their 50s are interesting. Couples. Women who have made their husbands come with them. (Eduardo vamos a las gallerias - si amor) The women are busy looking at art and the men are looking at art too - only it is other women. I know, because I have never been cruised so heavily by men who are with their wives. They are bored to death.
Lots of gay men, in couples and groups. Groups of women. Groups of guys. The singletons are mostly women. I hear almost no other languages except Spanish. No one seems to be talking to anyone. For such a crowded event it is oddly quiet. This is very strange for Argentines, who are not exactly known for being a subdued sort.
I realize looking at all this wonderful art, how much I have missed my art, and art in general. Maybe I should just rent 1 room and use the other to do my projects. I go into a gallery that has prints. I begin to fantasize about being an artist. The fantasy of my childhood. Me and Vincent Van Gogh. I don't know why I fantasized about him, he wasn't even one of my favorite painters. Maybe I should forget tango and start to paint again.
It is almost 10 pm. I am really impressed with all the wonderful art this city has. I have been to over 30 galleries tonight. I walked for almost 3 hours. I walk towards the bus stop. Sometimes you have to be a tourist in your own city to appreciate it more.