Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"Sacred Monsters"

I've been reading Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys by Peter Evans. I even traded in a few nights of milongas to stay home with this great read.

Ari immigrated to Bs As in the 20's after his family was forced to leave their home in Smyrna (I believe the Turks refer to it as the "citizen exchange" of Izmir?) O, already this is becoming more touchy than a Tango L discussion (war) on whether one steps with the ball of the foot or the heel. Anyway, Onassis made his first million in the city of Porteños selling Turkish tobacco and he marketed his cigarettes to women who were just beginning to smoke in public. He also took tango lessons every day and frequented the milongas. Unfortunately the book doesn't delve too deeply into these years of his life but it certainly sparked my imagination. Onassis was a ruthless man. Those must have been the days of the REAL malevos in the milongas. Not the wanna be bad boys of the barrio we have today. These guys in shorts would never have made it through the rough night. Back then the rooms were full of MEN in LONG PANTS!

Of course there are still a handful of evil ones among us. There's that fellow* who used to be a gynecologist but unlike Alberto Castillo the ladies do not fall in love with him. Neither his voice nor his manner are sweet. His dance is dreadful. The word is that he used to ask his female patients to undress and put on a robe that opened in the back. Then they were instructed to lay face down on the examination table. He then pressed a button causing the table to lift their bottoms high in the air and the robes of course would part and open. Then at the right moment - meaning the derriére was raised in the most exposed and compromising spreadeagled position, he would snap a Polaroid of their vaginas. He even had the gall to snap two and present one to the ladies while informing them that the other copy was for his files. Carlos Gardel knows how many women accepted this behavior as normal. Finally one woman sued his pants off and he was forced to close his practice for good. He continued on to take up the favored Argentine occupation and become a psychiatrist. I am told that most of his patients are women. This is scary stuff. Real malevo material. This guy is not even a charming sociopath like Onassis! And what's even worse is that he could pass for the twin of one of the most evil men in America. Fuckin' malevo!

Impeach Cheney
Thanks for tolerating the political break. During the cortinas we really should take time out to Impeach Cheney and get rid of some of these culos destroying the beauty of our dance.

Now back to Ari... (according to Peter Evans) he did some of the most horrific things, like funding the hypnosis of Sirhan Sirhan to assassinate RFK. Kind of like a Manchurian Candidate thing because Ari needed Bobby out of the way to marry Jackie.

Onassis was also fond of saying "He who beats well, loves well". Ouch, that's about as milonguero as it gets. (Although nuevo tangueros say: "He who steps on the beat well, loves well".)

Nemesis is very compelling. It's easy to get caught up in the sordid lives of the rich jet set. Did you know that Jackie started her affair with Ari when JFK was still in the White House? That's right. He seduced the First Lady in Capri on his yacht, the Christina. Before that he had been sleeping with her sister Lee. O, and did I mention that Jackie also had an affair with her brother-in-law Bobby? I'm telling you, hands-down, this book outdoes our own tawdry little affairs and incestuous change of partners in the milongas. You can see why I've been staying home nights.

"Right" - some of you are saying - "hey Tiger, this isn't exactly news. All this Onassis stuff happened over 40 years ago. Even Evan's book has been out since 2004!"

Yeah, well that's what happens when you've been dancing tango for over 12 years. You miss stuff. Kind of get out of touch with the real world. Ok, give me a break here. I'm trying to catch up!

I'll just end with this. Onassis first seduced Maria Callas away from her husband by dancing tango with her all night. He must have had some good instructors. Maybe he took private lessons with El Cachafaz. Needless to say, he used all his prowess to woo and win her.

In The Queen's Throat, Wayne Koestenbaum writes:

Walter Legge, who produced many of Callas's legendary recordings, once peered inside her mouth and remarked that it was shaped like a Gothic Cathedral.

(No wonder Ari wanted to prey there.)
I don't think the divine diva of music would have fallen in love with a bad dancer. She was holy perfection. Although Koestenbaum also records that:

After the affair with Onassis began, she had a vocal crisis, retired, and then returned to the stage. She collapsed at the Paris Opera after the third act of
Norma; she sang one more Tosca in London, and then she never sang an opera again.

The tango of malevos is powerful stuff.


*Characters are entirely fictional and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Some of the characters may have certain traits and/or mannerisms that may seem to suggest actual persons but I make no claim that these traits exist at all or in this combination in any person, living or dead.

1 comment:

miss tango in her eyes said...

Don´t forget the other Onassis connection to Buenos Aires, la pobrecita Cristina perished here!