One night at the Coffee Roast
A table at a coffe shop seems the ideal place to solve the problems of
the world, to catch up with the latest gossip and to passionately chat
about The Tango Lesson; after all who better than those who have
had their share of tango lessons to Siskel-and Ebert Sally Potterís
dream come through.
by Ricky Ricardo
Copyright (c) 1997-2000, Planet Tango. All Rights Reserved
Dick saw it in Sweden and canít stop talking about the Tango
valseado that Pablo and Sally do by the Seine, reminiscent
of an unforgettable scene from An American in Paris.
Samantha was at the showing of the movie at the Venice Festival
and now laughs at her emotional outburst of contempt for what she considered
an arrogant attempt by Sally Potter to portray her movie as a love
story. Thatís not how love stories go on the dance floor, she wrote
in a letter to the editor of an Italian newspaper, but then she reasons,
every fiftysomething Brit lady gets the chance to do a movie about Tango
and make it look like half way decent. At best they get to start a war
in the Islas Malvinas or to be featured in a Monty Pyton film.
Another round of cappuccinos, cafe lattes and Kalua makes its way to
the table. The perky waitress has caught up with the conversation and she
is eyeballing Jake Manzana who looks dapper in his blue blazer and
gray flannel pants. Heís quick to say that the Tango Lesson is the
kind of outing to which I could bring a date without fear of getting
her bored. "Perky" bends over the table and gives Jake two good
reasons to make him stare at her for a moment before he turns his head
and gazes at the rain falling beyond the windows of the cafe.
She'd love to learn the Tango and a flurry of business cards fall on
her tray. Best tips she ever had...
Woody snaps, I guess the special effects budget ran short
because in the scene where they dance a milonga in the rain on the streets
of Buenos Aires, I can see that 100 feet away it's not raining.
Come on, says Camille, a contra-artist who is always on
the leading edge of creative ways to mix Tango with art, you probably
have enjoyed your quota of wet T-shirt contests in your life. Dancing in
the rain? Donít knock it until you try it.
Matt is patting his hair into place, enjoying his own reflection
in the window he's using as a mirror. He speaks to the group, but never
takes his eyes from his reflection, or his hands from his hair. The
real star of the film is Buenos Aires, the scenes at Ideal are just as
authentic as they can be. Sally, he continues with the authority of
I canít stand because she is so self-centered. On
cue, everybody looks at Matt, with a quizzical question mark in
Suzy is about to lash out something vitriolic, everybody can
see that, but then thinking that theyĎre gonna have to ride back together
she just rolls up her eyes and deliberately opens the New York Post
and reads aloud, The Tango Lesson doesn't have legs.
What does the writer know? Tammy, jumping up from her
chair, snaps, I dare him to prove that! She is in town on a grant
from the Tango Cheerleading Federation visiting local hoofer Darren,
serious, scruffy, with a trendy new growth of beard. Sit Tammy, sit.
He's a dancer; he's born again; a single tear rolls down his face.
Milenita confesses that the look Alicia gives Carlos
in the scene where he is hustling Sally is too close for comfort.
miradas que matan, rebuts Juanita with an air of complicity,
using an acquired Spanish accent that drives everybody crazy.
Do you think that Veron is French dipping in the airport scene?,
Tito with a lecherous look on his face. Itís French kissing,
you dirty old man!, snaps Margarita, his embarrassed wife.
I think Sally committed an act of wild hubris by assuming center
stage in her new film about dance and love, says Janet, who
writes for the New York Times. There is a moment of silence as everybody
ponders the depth of Janetís statement before everybody burst out
Come on you guys, give the old spinster a break. It takes a lot of
guts to put in black and white a poignant story about the lessons of Tango
capturing with a very subtle sense of humor and irony the egocentric and
chauvinist subtexts of the Tango scene both in Buenos Aires and abroad.
turn in disbelief to a bearded guy who's standing by the table, clad in
a long dripping overcoat.
Can you guys spare a quarter for a cup of coffee?, he begs extending
a paper cup with his right hand.
Outside the rain continues to wreck havoc with the traffic.
Margaritaís eyes have turned to the window where the capricious
raindrops and the reflections of the street lights have drawn a smug image
of Sally Potterís face. Ave Maria purisima, itís a miracle,
she mutters as she slowly crosses her chest...