Dear Sergio Trujillo: We’re crying for Argentina

Dear Sergio Trujillo:

As tangueros, when my husband, Ian Ono, and I attended the Pantages production of “The Addams Family” on Wednesday night, we were looking forward to the Act II musical number, “Tango de Amor.”

We remember from the movie with Raul Julio and Angelica Huston, the tango was closer to American tango and went to ridiculous extremes with the spins. There was, indeed, a little paso doble and flamenco (clam shells), but it was over the top funny. We can live with that. When we heard the first few measures of the music, we perked up. It was, no doubt, Argentine tango.

What we saw on stage was really bad Argentine tango–awkward ganchos and turns. Then, to add to our visual agony, you added some paso doble and a little flamenco-ish flourishes. There is a tango in flamenco, but this is quite different from the Argentine tango.

With the popularity of “Dancing with the Stars” the American public has been exposed to both Argentine tango and the ballroom version of the dance as well as the paso doble. While I love the cape work by Douglas Sills, I would love it even better if the feeling of the Argentine tango was better expressed. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

Consider Al Pacino and “The Scent of a Woman” or Antonio Banderas in “Take the Lead.”

Pacino was supposed to be blind, but the number was innocent and understated.

Banderas was all attitude and posture, but paired with a professional dancer.

On stage, “I Love You, You’re Perfect Now Change” usually features an amusing American-style tango.

We were hoping for something more along the lines of the “Masochism Tango.”

I’m not the only Addams Family fan with that thought.

We were even hoping for lyrics in the same vein as Tom Lehrer’s tango which both fans used here.

Below are the lyrics for “The Masochism Tango” which was originally from the 1959 recording made in Sanders Theater in Harvard for the album “An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer.”

We need a modern masochism tango, and are disappointed that Andrew Lippa didn’t compose one and that the choreography was so poor. That wouldn’t cut it for “So You Think You Can Dance” and we really think that leading man Douglas Sills can dance.

That’s a triple disappointment in an otherwise fun show.

I ache for the touch of your lips, dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips, dear.
You can raise welts
Like nobody else,
As we dance to the masochism tango.

Say our love be a flame, not an ember,
Say it’s me that you want to dismember.
Blacken my eye,
Set fire to my tie,
As we dance to the masochism tango.

At your command
Before you here I stand,
My heart is in my hand. ecch!
It’s here that I must be.
My heart entreats,
Just hear those savage beats,
And go put on your cleats
And come and trample me.
Your heart is hard as stone or mahogany,
That’s why I’m in such exquisite agony.

My soul is on fire,
It’s aflame with desire,
Which is why I perspire
When we tango.

You caught my nose
In your left castanet, love,
I can feel the pain yet, love,
Ev’ry time I hear drums.
And I envy the rose
That you held in your teeth, love,
With the thorns underneath, love,
Sticking into your gums.

Your eyes cast a spell that bewitches.
The last time I needed twenty stitches
To sew up the gash
That you made with your lash,
As we danced to the masochism tango.

Bash in my brain,
And make me scream with pain,
Then kick me once again,
And say we’ll never part.
I know too well
I’m underneath your spell,
So, darling, if you smell
Something burning, it’s my heart.
Excuse me!

Take your cigarette from it’s holder,
And burn your initials in my shoulder.
Fracture my spine,
And swear that you’re mine,
As we dance to the masochism tango.






About Jana J. Monji

I've written for the Rafu Shimpo, LA Weekly, LA Times, and, more recently, the Pasadena Weekly and I formerly worked for a dot-com more interested in yodeling than its customers.

Posted on June 8, 2012, in Special Events. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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