South America Blog
About this blog
Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Buenos Aires, Chile, Argentina, and Patagonia. Here he shares his vast knowledge of South America and its people.
- The Papal Cumbia
- The Uruguayan Sacraments: Tango & Mate
- Taxing the Tourist: Argentina's AFIP Aims Low
- Fortress Falklands: A Book Review
- Pope Argentinus I, The Musical: Ragtime Meets Tango
- Credit Where Credit Is Undue?
- ¿Adios Hugo?
- When "No" Is A Positive
- Chile and Its "Crazies"
- The Oscars: A Post Mortem, So to Speak
- Sacrificing the Atacama? A Chilean View of Dakar
- Chilean Oscar Faceoff? "No" v. "Kon-Tiki"
- Friday Digest: Southern Cone Nuggets
- Dancing in the Mud? The Andean Aftermath
- Floods & Mud: Summer Storms Hit the Andes
I Left My Heart in...Buenos Aires?
Somehow, despite Argentina’s constant economic travails, high-profile foreign performers continue to come to Buenos Aires. Recently, Porteños piled into the River Plate soccer stadium in Núñez to see Lady Gaga, and the equally talent-free Madonna will perform here on December 13th, with tickets starting around US$50.
I was bemused to notice, though, that aging crooner Tony Bennett will sing at the Teatro Gran Rex Thursday night, with tickets starting around US$65 and ranging upwards of US$200 (at the official exchange rate of 4.84 pesos; at the black market rate of 6.37 pesos, it would be about US$157). The 86-year-old vocalist, born Anthony Benedetto in Queens, has been around so long that he’s gone from pop phenomenon to superannuated songster to being cool again.
Born of an immigrant father from Calabria and a first-generation American mother, Bennett has a background resembling that of many Italo-Argentines so, on one level, he fits right in here. Like other performers, though, he wouldn’t be coming if somehow the local promoters didn’t have US dollars to pay him – no foreign artist is going to accept the shaky Argentine peso.
Bennett’s signature song is, of course, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” but his is not my favorite version. Rather, readers should have a listen to this version and, if it amuses you, there’s plenty more where that came from.
Gracias de Nuevo, Dr. Favaloro
Speaking of “I left my heart,” over the weekend I spent a great deal of time walking around the city despite the heat and humidity that, last night, threatened to turn into thunderstorms. One of the places I visited, if only briefly, was something of a pilgrimage site: the Fundación Favaloro, in the Congreso area of the barrio of Monserrat, takes its name from the Argentine cardiologist who devised the open-heart triple bypass that I had at the end of June in San Francisco.
It’s a credit to the late great doctor that I’m able to explore Buenos Aires without having to worry, at least excessively, about collapsing in the street. Even though I won’t go see Tony Bennett on Thursday night, that sort of brings things full circle.