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inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #26 of 40: From George Mckray (captward) Mon 2 Jan 12 00:33
My notes from the book:
"We were all angry about it, and scared, but in a way it made the
tango more...intense.  Because it was at risk.  That was when I really
came to understand tango for the first time.  The music is full of
despair and yet you dance to it.  To me that says everything."

"Once you see yourself in your enemy, you're lost."

"The point is that even as our bodies show this incredible ability to
heal, we can't keep up neurologically.  Human beings are far more
sensitive than we give ourselves credit for and violence does much more
damage than we want to admit.  It fosters more violence and numbs us
to the effects, which fosters more violence yet.  It's a disease, and
it's contagious."

Enjoyed your novel although it could lead some to believe that torture
is a prerequisite to dancing the "true" tango.  Sure is a rabbit-hole
that can swallow you up.  It's like playing chess with the musicians
and the music, your partner and the others dancing, the present moment
and the imagined tango in your mind.

BsAs is a marvelous city.  The Argentine reaction to "The Crisis" has
many lessons for people around the world.  Lots of self-organizing to
rebuild an economy that was destroyed.
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #27 of 40: Lewis Shiner (lewis-shiner) Mon 2 Jan 12 06:10
@angus  It is, in fact, all my short fiction except the collaborations
(which I'll get to eventually) and one story I wrote on a bet with Joe
Lansdale that really doesn't need to be seen again.  (I bet him that
it was too stupid an idea to be published; I lost.)

It's impossible to know for sure whether the free downloads hurt. 
When Bill Schafer (of Subterranean) and I first decided to do it, the
evidence indicated that free downloads increased sales--people would
read for a while on-line, but not want to read an entire novel sitting
at their computers.  This was of course pre-iPad and before the Kindle
et al. really caught on.

I should probably put up a link to let people donate a buck or two
when they download a novel, strictly honor system.  Maybe I'll do that
this year.

@captward  'it could lead some to believe that torture
is a prerequisite to dancing the "true" tango.'

You mean it isn't?

Good point about BsAs.  Maybe the most interesting self-organization
is the way the city handles recycling.  (George, you obviously know a
lot about this, so feel free to chime in with corrections or updates--I
got most of this from hearsay.)  There are no domestic trash cans in
BsAs--people put their garbage in plastic bags on the sidewalk outside
their doors.  Post-Crisis, the poor and homeless began going through
the garbage and taking out anything they could recycle and carrying it
down to the recycling center to sell.  The word for cardboard is
"cartón," so these recyclers became known as "cartoneros."

Over the years this got more and more organized until there was a kind
of mafia that controlled it--you would see them late at night, pushing
long lines of stolen grocery carts full of cardboard and plastic and
cans.  There were skirmishes over turf, and eventually the weakest got
squeezed out.

Various corporations saw that this was actually profitable and tried
to get the government to let them chase the cartoneros off and take
over, but as far as I know the government has held the line and let the
street people stay in control.
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #28 of 40: Lewis Shiner (lewis-shiner) Mon 2 Jan 12 06:13
And Happy New Year to all!
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #29 of 40: David Wilson (dlwilson) Mon 2 Jan 12 06:51
I've always been fascinated with Buenos Aires as a city even though
I've never been there.  I got it from novels--Roberto Arlt, Borges, and
Cortizar which gives you a taste for the immigrant metropole.  Then
there is the music, films, and the HBO series Epitifios.

Everyone writes about how Buenos Aires resembles Paris.  But I have to
think that the "feel" is much more like New York, albeit a more
Italian dominated place than one with a Jewish overcast.

In New York, the rhythm of life has been captured in jazz and
expressed that way in films, novels, and TV.  When you go into the
outer boroughs it becomes more rock n'roll/r&b, salsa, and hiphop.

So I take tango as a given for providing that backdrop to the pace of
things.  Does this match your experience?      
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #30 of 40: for dixie southern iraq (stet) Mon 2 Jan 12 07:11
A chance to repeat the old description: an Argentine is an Italian
speaking Spanish who thinks he's English.
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #31 of 40: those Andropovian bongs (rik) Mon 2 Jan 12 09:59
There's a big colony of Canadian expats there that expands during our 
winter as their friends all come down for vacations.
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #32 of 40: Lewis Shiner (lewis-shiner) Mon 2 Jan 12 10:15
"Paris with palm trees" was the shorthand I'd heard, and while that
makes it sound more tropical than it really is (the climate is pretty
similar to that here in North Carolina), it's a pretty good
description.  I find the architecture in general more reminiscent of
Paris than of New York, though the microcentro (central business
district) does look a lot like the less glamorous parts of midtown
Manhattan.  Maybe the flowers and potted plants everywhere are part of
what gives it the European feel.

True about the Canadian expats--the first couple of visits, we rented
a room in a flat owned by French Canadians.  That was a bit of strain
on my brain--speaking Spanish in the street and French in the
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #33 of 40: Angus MacDonald (angus) Mon 2 Jan 12 14:08

        With respect to the recycling, does the non-recyclable stuff just get 
left in the bags, and does some entity gather that for landfill or centralized 
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #34 of 40: From George Mokray (captward) Mon 2 Jan 12 16:13
The cartoneros are one story and a still ongoing, complicated one at
that.  I was thinking more about the workers who took over their own
closed factories during the crisis and rebuilt the businesses as
cooperatives.  Saw one documentary on some of the examples and know a
former US union organizer who studied how it was done.  From Wikipedia:
 "Throughout the 1990s in Argentina's southern province of Neuquén,
drastic economic and political events occurred where the citizens
ultimately rose up. Although the first shift occurred in a single
factory, bosses were progressively fired throughout the province so
that by 2005 the workers of the province controlled most of the
"In the wake of the 2001 economic crisis, about 200 Argentine
companies were 'recovered' by their workers and turned into
co-operatives. Prominent examples include the Brukman factory, the
Hotel Bauen and FaSinPat(formerly known as Zanon). As of 2005, about
15,000 Argentine workers run recovered factories."
Been to BsAs only once a few years ago and danced my clumsy tango at
El Beso and Confiteria Ideal.  The scale of the city is mostly around
six stories or so although the newer section around Puerto Madero looks
to be "modern" jewel box high rises and smells of money, new money, at
least from a distance.  I didn't explore there in the short time I

Recently read a short biography of Carlos Gavito, that elegant dancer,
and found a lot there to help with how to dance [_I Wanted to Dance: 
Carlos Gavito:  Life, passion and tango_ by Ricardo Plazaola Stuttgart,
Germany:  Abrazos, 2010 ISBN 978-987-24481-7-2].  Now I have to go to
a practica and test out the possibilities.

I am happy to share my notes if anyone's interested.

PS:  The family name is Mokray not McKray.
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #35 of 40: Lewis Shiner (lewis-shiner) Tue 3 Jan 12 16:27
@captward  Yes, those recovered factories are a great example of
rebuilding the system from the ground level.  I have a friend who was
in BsAs with a company that made low interest "microloans" to groups of
workers who were doing that kind of recovery--a worthy cause.  He is
now back in the States doing a similar business, though the groups here
tend to be service oriented (of course, since we don't make anything
in the US anymore).  Like worker owned cleaning services.

@angus  Yes, there is regular garbage pickup--the cartoneros generally
put everything they don't want back in the original bags and leave it
for the trash collectors.
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #36 of 40: Angus MacDonald (angus) Wed 4 Jan 12 14:01

        Looping back to tango: Is the music something that's enjoyable for 
listening, even if one isn't dancing? Are there recordings you'd recommend to a 
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #37 of 40: Lewis Shiner (lewis-shiner) Wed 4 Jan 12 18:04
I'm going to take the easy way out on this one, and link to one of the
posts I did during my blog tour for the book:

This goes into the musical side of tango extensively, with some

That said, I have to confess that I don't love tango music as much as
my protagonist does.  (I don't know why I feel guilty saying that, but
I do.)  I like it well enough, mind you, but I have friends who went
completely nuts when they discovered it and want to listen to nothing
else--in the car, in the kitchen, on headphones at work.  That's how I
felt (and still feel) about salsa, but tango never completely stole my
heart in the same way.  Which is one of the reasons that tango comes in
third on my list of favorite dances, after salsa and Lindy Hop.
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #38 of 40: Lewis Shiner (lewis-shiner) Wed 4 Jan 12 18:06
For those who might be interested, here are links to all five of the
blog posts I did on my "tour," plus an interview:
inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #39 of 40: David Wilson (dlwilson) Wed 4 Jan 12 18:25
I know several Argentine people who are not enamored with tango at

The music was almost moriband until Piazzolla came along.  You can
listen to him as straight up tango or as art music.

One of my favorites is Horacio Salgan the Afro-Argentine piano player.
 His duets with electric guitarist Umbaldo DeLio are wonderful
miminalist pieces.  Plus I love to watch DeLio's droopy eyes and beagle
hang dog expression while playing.

inkwell.vue.429 : Lewis Shiner, Dark Tangos
permalink #40 of 40: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 4 Jan 12 22:14
A new Inkwell conversation is starting, but this one doesn't have to
end. We want to thank Lew and Angus for the verbal tango! And we
encourage you all to download Dark Tangos, read a few pages, then buy a

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