El Cervantes & My Father

My Father, Alberto Wainer has written a short history of the Teatro Nacional Cervantes, (Buenos Aires; Argentina).

It has been published in its own website http://www.elcervantes.org. I highly recommend it if you read Spanish.

Using the history of  T.N.C. he explores the trajectory of Argentinean Theatre in general and – by extrapolation – its tangled thread of art and politics for over a century.

At this point he is trying to get some form of hard-copy publishing under way. You’d think the T.N.C. would jump at the chance to get the material out there, but it hasn’t made it past the “promises” stage. Pretty sad, really; and a telling indictment of the situation of the venerable institution.


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Laughter and love

“There had been a girl who had laughed with him, the laughter deep inside her throat…” Clifford D. Simak – A Choice of Gods.

Laughing, we are told by Hans Ruesch in his book “Top of the World” (that I knew a long time ago by his Spanish title “El País de las Sombras Largas”; a much more inspired title indeed), is what the Eskimos call making love. Having lived in Canada for 27 years, and having spent some of them in the north, and furthermore having known at least one Eskimo in person (Hey Johnny! I wonder how you are doing these days….) I am no closer to verify that tidbit of information that I was when I read the book all the way back in Buenos Aires, and all those years ago, in my adolescence.

It seems to me that even if it wasn’t true, the concept behind it is good enough to merit adoption. I know, for myself, that of all the passionate moments I shared with my Gabi, those in which we shared a laugh are the most lasting ones. Sharing a poignant, or a dramatic event can tie you to a person – even sharing a traumatic event I imagine can do the same, or so we are told in countless books, movies and TV serials – but sharing a laugh with a person you love gets you closer than anything else ever will. The more you laugh the more you love her, and the more you know her. 


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How will this all end up?

I fantasize about suicide, I fear heart attacks, cancer, acts of agression or simple accidents. Yet I still ask myself constantly “how…?” and “when…?” as if the question didn’t actually mean “why would I ever…” – after all, I am the dreamer.

I am scientific minded, you could say. I do not meant to imply I have special claims to mastering a science, or a long, medium or any-sized actual experience with science. I just mean have a mind that clicks better with the idea of science than with the idea of faith.

I discovered very early that I cannot lie to myself. That is, not if I can see what I am doing  (there is all kinds of lying that we do that we know nothing about, and regarding those I have no special powers).

It was right after my granmother’s death. I was seven years old and I needed reassurance that I will see her again and above all, that that awful thing that just had happened to her wouldn’t ever happen to me. So I turned to God – or I rather tried, because it didn’t take. Even at seven I knew that I was just wishing there was a God, but I didn’t really believed in it. And I knew that without proof I could never believe.

The thing I like about science was never so much the science itself, but its philosophy, its ethos. Don’t get me wrong, from my adult perspective I’d love to have studied physics, cosmology or math; but back when I was a teenager there was this artificial and arbitrary divide between the worlds of arts and letters (to which I thought I fully belonged), and the world of hard sciences. But even then I thought as a scientist as far as the burden of proof goes. Because, mostly, atheistic marxism is very much like science in that aspect, and that was the soup I was cooking in.

By this I do not meant I refused the spiritual world. To this day my favourit stories include a healthy dosis of the supernatural and with it (and without it) a sense of the higher purpose. But just as I do not equate higher purpose with religion, I resent the appropriation of the spiritual world by the spiritual types.

Some of the spiritual things I believed in are: love between two persons -love that is so strong and lasting that it creates a third person that is both of them and more; the incredible affinity between animals of different species such as man and dog – dogs and their unbelievable talent for self sacrifice, us and our constant need for reassurance; the powerful connection to other person’s mind that is reading; music, music, music; the instant surrender that happens when you first see your child… you get the gist, right? I am contending that the powerfully emotional is often akin to the spiritual.

Throughout the years I lived in a sort of divided state. My convictions are fundamental to me, and my convictions on the issue of death are and have always been very clear: we cease to exist as an entity, we decompose and disappear. There is no “energy” or “intangible” that remains behind. No essence of our beings survives other than what we live in other’s memories – but that residue has no awareness of itself. Yet, on the other hand, I detect a mockingly detached part of me waaay in the back, by the shadows, that “knows” that death and annihilation of the self – of *this* particular self – is simply impossible.

I have tried to shut that guy up a thousand times; there is nothing I despise more than false hope. But he refuses to go away. I fear that when I grow old and in all likelihood atherosclerotic, I may give in to him. If that moment ever comes, please shoot me. You have my blessing and absolution.


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There’s Something to talk about!

Well, it seems to me right and proper to start at the beginning…. The beginning, of course, is an arbitrary point just like any other… but is also the best way to call the idea of immersing oneself in a story at once – and the beginning was…

… most likely it was when Alice dropped by for a cup of coffee – I’d just leaned that the cute bronze pot with the wooden handle was actually called an Ibrik and this awaken a thereto dormant passion for Turkish Coffee – she dropped by, I was saying, bringing the exciting but hopelessly mistaken news: I was dead

Needless to say, I immediately made sure the opposite was actually true and, stirring the foam in and pulling the IBRIK out of the flame for a brief moment to allow the coffee grinds to settle, I begin to wonder what item from my rather scarce wardrobe would be adequate for the extraordinary circumstances… Alice was ecstatic. The black satin dress she bought when his mother died was still unused, courtesy of his cataleptic mother’s revival. Here at last she’d found the awaited occasion to wear it.

Truth be told, I did not stray too far out of my way to convince her I was alive – or that even in the event of my death, our relationship was not of such depth as to require mourning garments. I knew her well enough to know that nothing could dampen her enthusiasm, so the Ibrik returned to the stove and I started seriously considering about the bonanza of happy secondary effects my timely death should entail.


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In the beginning there was the Verb.

And the verb was such that it shall not be pronounced in the company of children and women. Let us just say loosely that the Verb described an attempt at reproduction that while not often successful was nevertheless fun.


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