Monday, June 20, 2011

Klezmer in Kordoba

Dada Mini is a great bar/restaurant in Cordoba, in the Guelmes barrio which hosts a big arts fair every weekend and is pretty much ground zero for the creative life of Cordoba, Argentina's second largest city, which is pleasantly small along the lines of Portland, Ore. We lucked into some great Klezmer music here at Dada... I love Klezmer is the true music of clowns... and for anybody who's been to a Jewish wedding you'll know how fun it is....just totally fun, and makes you want to dance with, grandmas, you name it, which is how it goes at a Jewish wedding.

the fab decor

the interesting food....curry quesadillas

Like I say, Klezmer makes you want to dance..with kids, grandmas...dogs!! This little guy wears a sweater that says 'Dada Mini' as well as his name 'Roberto' and a little note that says 'Tengo facebook'. I haven't found him yet though :)
My boon companion, Fede, and I spent the day out at a Jesuit estancia in Jesus Maria (we kept joking..where's Joseph?), which is basically one of the big haciendas the Jesuits set up to raise money for their university in Cordoba, while educating the local indigenous and basically just kicking butt producing wine, food, leather goods, etc. and supplying the mines in Potosi when Argentina was a remote part of the viceroyalty of Peru. This is why Cordoba was the first and most important city, before Buenos Aires because Buenos Aires was not allowed to trade (thus it's smuggling those days, everything had to go through the port of Lima, Peru). In 1776 Buenos Aires finally got its due when they created the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, which wasn't a good thing for Cordoba...BsAs has never really been beneficial to the rest of Argentina, thus its complicated history. It's been more like a self-serving city state which uses the provinces for its own benefit. But before all that happened, the Bourbons came along in Spain, and being generally French and more business savvy, immediately shut down the Jesuits who had become a rival force in the Spanish colonies. Funny, because the Jesuits were formed as a response to the reformation...they basically were a victim of their own success. They're worth reading about..... if you don't want to read about them, see the movie, The's a great illustration of its clash with the Spanish Crown and it was filmed in Argentina.....on a completely tangential note, my father was always trying to convince us to go a Jesuit high school because he admired their discipline and felt they created the best quarterbacks :) I wasn't interested in discipline or football and thankfully dear old Dad always insisted it had to be our choice (very Protestant of him :) and besides, I could never get out of my head his stories of his own Jesuit matriculation where the priests used to pick him up by the ear. But I'm glad for the Jesuits as when my mother needed to find a priest to give the stamp of approval for my being queer, it was a Jesuit who stepped up. I also have a Jesuit grand uncle, who's a swell chap and smart

There was also some great art in here but no photos were allowed. The indigenous renderings of angels with rifles are especially noteworthy. I mean, they are about power and how is a sword different than a rifle? There were also a series of incredible Marys of every kind, making me realize there are definitely more versions and renderings of Mary than Christ (at least in Mediterranean Catholicism). It's a goddess religion, plain and simple, and Mary's basically a buddha forever reconfigured depending on the qualities desired or the needs at hand

an enormous and Spanish overly-dramatic Christ. But I still prefer these...Catholics get bloody and pagan and earthy, and that's a good thing. I'm sick of the cleaned-up Protestant lifeless cross. I'm very aware of how much I find this catholic stuff, on some level, very earthy and comforting, reminding me what an insane disconnected mental mess US protestantism has become. I've come to the conclusion that the US is not in fact a religious nation at's just sort of mentally disturbed and juvenile. Most of what passes for religion in the US has zero to do with anything sacred. It's a sad conclusion to make and scary...we have some serious problems and we aren't addressing them at all...Rick Perry, case in point..... It appears that Protestantism has certianly benefitted us economically and yes, it has freed the minds of millions through history. But it's important to realize the cost of those benefits. God, do I sound Catholic or what? Believe me, I'm far from it...I have little but disdain for the institution itself, but as a culture and a sacred tradition, it kicks ass over these so-called reformed versions (I do want to single out Episcopalians/Anglicans for doing the best with saving the good stuff and getting rid of the bad) which have just bled the life out of it. Imagine chucking Mary...that I never got...once you exile the female, you end up with just an unbalanced and lifeless mental construct. Yes, it's horror I'm hinting at and it doesn't make me want to come home.

the river 

Santa Evita, making an appearance on the main drag of Jesus Maria

Wonderful Fede who is a great travel companion, game for everything and just sweet as a peach. He works two jobs, is helping put his sister through law school and is just an all around total mensch. He's made Cordoba a really great experience, and is an awesome cook too!

I'm continuing to write tons and have realized this trip has resurrected my writing life, which is 'something' and not an easy thing to resurrect!

This just struck me as funny...San Martin is the hero of South American liberation from two centuries ago, along with Simon de Bolivar. 

Jesus Maria is big on the gaucho circuit and they have a huge rodeo stadium here. Incidentally, Fede's grandpa was a gaucho.

Meanwhile, back in the 21st century......Nueva Cordoba, where I'm staying this of my fave cafes where the handsome mozo has perfected the 'todo bien' of my fave phrases...pronounced totho vien....all is well or all's great.

KGB bar, a good place to write, drink or people watch

Capuchino's Church

This is a fine cafe...and like I say, Argentina is just rife with superb cafes...this one is great at night too as it has heaters....Cordoba's winter is milder even than LA's so it's pretty much like spring or fall here....Fede even mentioned with a straight face that it was autumn--winter's in month of winter...nice :)

the complicated roofs of Cordoba, there's always a lot going on up there which gives the skyline an interesting texture

I just notice certain things....tragic pruning

It was cool to see this little's basically exactly like the cabin I inherited from my dear friend Ernest Posey. Being that it has helped finance this trip, it was nice to see it here in Argentina. ....I'd always dreamed of keeping it and taking it with me wherever I went as it seemed so portable to me....well here it is ..thanks Ernest, you are with me always

the ever photogenic Fede

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