Tuesday, December 4, 2012

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, he 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 it’s not my favorite version of the song. 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, this evening, may 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 pioneered 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.


Chile Travel Adventures - the App is Live!
I won’t get back to Chile until next year, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be pay attention to the country across the Andes. Last year, in partnership with Sutro Media, I published my first iPhone app Argentina Travel Adventures, which recently came out in an Android version as well. More recently – just a couple days ago, in fact – Chile Travel Adventures has gone live to complement Argentina in both iPhone and in Android format, so that readers can explore southernmost South America on their mobiles as well as in print. At just US$2.99 each, the apps are, figuratively if not literally, a giveaway, with regular updates at no additional charge.

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