Sunday, April 29, 2007

Flamenco! Ole!

The troupe was exciting! They were really very good! I hadn't expected this level of talent from a local crew. After all, this is just a city of 40,000 or so population.

The occasion was the Rio Flamenco show at the Elks Opera House last night. Gypsy music from Andalusia has been my most favorite for longer than I can remember. My own deepest involvement with the form (aside from bruising the palms of my hands by loud clapping to accompany guitar music played by friends, my husband or WFMT) came the night my daughter was born.

My husband had made a connection with a guitar player whose flamenco style was excellent (though he really wanted to be taken seriously, i.e., Bach partitias). Said guitarist knew a young woman dancer from Guatamala who was coming to Chicago. We had another friend, a male dancer who knew enough of the steps to serve as foil to the star.

All was arranged for the back room of an Old Town saloon: two movie cameras, a sound person, assorted handy persons, guitarist and dancers. One night only. All volunteers.

I was very pregnant. I owed the magazine a column (way past deadline.) My daughter chose that day to arrive. Husband had to leave my side to keep his date.

The baby arrived while the troops were shooting the dancers. Once over, husband showed up to see me and his new daugher. He said, "she's beautiful!" To this day, I've never known whether he was referring to the daughter -- or the dancer!

The sad denouemont of this tale: we were poor at the time; the dance session was shot on war surplus black/white film and it sat around the apartment for several months because of the high cost of professional processing, especially for old film. Finally, my husband (an engineer by trade) built his own processing machine out of wood, film spools, rubber and stainless steel sheets. We processed the film one hot Chicago summer night. The film reticulated and the beautiful dancer had an alligator skin! End of grand plan.

Rio Flamenco has a website (but lacks a smoldering male dancer.) The musicians only will give two shows May 12 at the Sharlot Hall Blue Rose theatre. Mexican and Latin music. Put it on your schedule!


hermano said...

I note, with interest, that the guitar picker on the left has a 10 string gitfiddle. I've seen mini 10 stringers (churingas?? sp) that have an armadillo shell for the pot. 10 biggies are new to yo.

Do you need any holes dug?? We've recently become the parents of a mostly staffy X who is an expert and enthusiastic excavatrix.


Anonymous said...

I've seen a few performances in Spain. Always enjoyed them.

Granny J said...

Bro-- Tony explained that his ax was a Puerto Rican cuatro; it is strung in pairs -- and would have a fine place in country/western music with a twangy sound.

So are you talking about a new dog???

Steve-- I would have preferred hearing the same performers in a darker, smokier environ than an auditorium, tho at least they did sell wine! Just not from a goatskin.

catalyst said...

I would think Sharlot Hall would be better suited for the audience. I attended last year's performance and the flat floor of the Elks Theatre meant bobbing back and forth to catch a glimpse through heads and shoulders of those in front. No more Elks Theatre performances for me until they get raked seating.

Granny J said...

Perhaps that should be first on the list for the restoration that was being promoted out in the lobby of the theatre! I fortunately had an empty one seat over one aisle ahead, but you can tell from the heads that do show in the pix. I still say a smokey tavern or cave is the proper setting.

coyoteradiotheater said...

Hey Catalyst,

Don't I remember the balcony having better sightlines than the main florr?

Lane said...

Never knew that story about cousin's arrival!

Granny J said...

Lane -- oh, yes -- those were the days!!!

Granny J said...

Lane -- oh, yes -- those were the days!!! Of course, that's not the sort of story that would go over big with your granny, so she never heard it!

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