14 Sep 2007

A Confetti of Paper
(a.k.a How to get info in Buenos Aires)

In the present moment, Sept 2007

At some milongas and practicas in Buenos Aires, one is hit with a shower of slips of paper with information about upcoming events of the milonga, other milongas, clases & seminars, advertisements on shoes, clothes, apartment for rental etc etc. The list goes on.

Rather than being a total waste of paper, these slips are a useful source of information. Because often they are the only means of getting the most updated news on a monthly basis, short of actually dropping into the establishment. Or calling up to ask, especially if the option isn’t available for the linguistically challenged.

In this age of internet penetration, we rely heavily on websites as an essential source of getting info. But Buenos Aires doesn’t work this way. Some teachers, milongas or shops do not have a website. Or more often the case, the info listed is outdated. Here in Buenos Aires, that means last month’s info. Be warned about this, because this month’s schedule is likely to be different.

One has to understand a basic fact of the Buenos Aires tango world. Events are often planned from month to month and not 2-3 months ahead. It is just how it works here, so accept it.

In other cases, some websites have simply stopped working. As one of my friends here, a Korean girl named Rey says “all the info one needs is found HERE in Buenos Aires”.

So for tango visitors coming to Buenos Aires without time on your side, look out for these confetti slips of paper. In addition, arm yourself with the tango publications big and small (see previous post La Primera Vez). Else you should pop in the shop or school to get the new schedule for the current month. By the way, there is a scrabble to get the 3 larger tango magazines “El Tangauta”, “La Milonga” and "B.A. Tango" in the 1st week of each month. Yes, the mags are not released at the end of the preceding month. Or at least they only become widely available in the 1st week. Everyone zealously guard their own copies at this time ☺

But a word of warning, in case some readers takes these 3 tango magazines as the absolute tango bible guide. Although they cover the main scope of information, it is not a total comprehensive listing. Or, on occasion the current month’s schedule published is not accurate. For "El Tangauta", it is better to rely on the schedules published by the schools or the personal adverts of the teachers. The schedules listed via days of the week under the section "Tango Guia/Clases" can be invalid.

Just to illustrate the extent of variability, the teaching schedule for 2 popular schools of tango, DNI & Escuela Argentina de Tango, changed month to month since I have arrived. Why? Because teachers are going overseas for teaching and festival assignments. Otherwise they have just returned after months of teaching abroad. Understandably the timetable has to shift accordingly.

Occasionally, changes to the teaching schedule/venue happened after the monthly submission deadline for adverts to the tango magazines. You could double check the overall schedule with teachers or the establishment once you are there for classes or milongas. People are generally patient with such questions. Better yet, just ask for the updated schedule and you will be given yet another slip of paper to add to your growing collection of paper heap.

Despite of what I said at the beginning about websites, there are some good ones. That's for my next entry.

Footnote: If all fails, you can always download your monthly copy of El Tangauta online ☺

New addition, 2 Oct 07
You can also check out 2 other tango publications online:

La Milonga Argentina - Sadly (because its really quite colourful) its drawback are 2-fold. The online issue is at least 1 month late. And mostly in Spanish.

Punto Tango - The pocketbook guide. Issue is updated! ...though all in Spanish.

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