Scenes from Tango, an Argentine Love Story

Here’s Pato, aka Patricia Jacovella, best guide, Spanish teacher, girlfriend, and host of I shot Pato around San Antonio de Areco, her home. It’s Gaucho Central – oh, those three young gauchos loved posing for us.

Tango 101 Reading List

When I first began to be swept up by tango and it became a metaphor for everything, I found few books available on the subject that expressed what I was feeling (so, naturally I wrote my own). Eventually I realized that no one book can capture tango’s essence—just as no one book captures what Zen […]

Tango for armchair observers

You are coming to Buenos Aires the birthplace of tango. Que barbaro!-that’s local slang for How far out! You can spend upwards of $100 to see show tango (also called fantasia tango), with its fancy tricks, costumes, and highly choreographed routines. Strolling around San Telmo, Recoleta, or La Boca barrios, you are sure to stumble upon street tango, also designed to impress tourists. But, best of all, for 10 to 15 pesos (about $3 to $5), you can also see the dance of lovers the way it has evolved in halls and salons in its true improvisational mode.

10 Hidden Facts of “Tango, an Argentine Love Story”

3. I didn’t love tango from the beginning (as I state in the book), but the Zen-Tango connection was strong for me from the start of my taking tango classes. Still, I had no inkling I’d write about it. The more I wrote about it, the stronger and clearer it became, and deeper its influence went. Stillness precedes wisdom and Writing precedes consciousness.

Mother Seton Class ’69 Reunion

Calling you if your name is on this list: Kathleen Barnes Raffaela (Rae) Cardone Leggett, Marjorie Connor, Theresa Cosmas, Mary Coyne Zena, Francine Esposito, Paula Fleno, Mary Fletcher Stancheck, Elizabeth Godfrey, Patricia Haney, Sheila Kenny Cuono, Pat Landis, Lorie Mac Dougall, Ellen McCarthy, Lynn Paskowitz, Jane Reed Eleanor Robinson, Mary Roemer, Mary Schopfer, Kathleen Walsh, Pat Varga Marzullo, Jeanette Ziobro Fitzpatrick

I’m in the Red Room

I’m proud to announce that I’ve been accepted as a Red Room Author at the Web site of that name. I’ll be in the same Room with such luminaries as Barak Obama, Maya Angelou, Salman Rushdie, and my much-esteemed former writing coach, Ericka Lutz, not to mention many writers like myself, who are not widely known. Yet. What an honor. The site’s hosts accepted me over night—waiving the usual two-week period of approval. How affirming is that!

Happiness is a Warm . . . Book Review

Cusumano, Camille. Tango: An Argentine Love Story. Seal, dist. by Publishers Group West. Oct. 2008. c.272p. ISBN 978-1-58005-250-4. pap. $15.95. DANCE Tango has been the subject of several recent books, from Marina Palmer’s Kiss and Tango to Irene D. Thomas and Larry M. Sawyer’s The Temptation To Tango to Robert Farris Thompson’s Tango: The Art History of Love. Cookbook author and novelist Cusumano, as her web site ( declares, “is a writer who dances tango,” and here she recounts her journey toward self-awareness set in the context of an extraordinary year spent in Buenos Aires.

Missing in Patagonia

A brief encounter with a fellow traveler turns into a wrenching “What if…?” scenario as a young man goes missing after setting off for a hike in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park.

Tango Links

No, it’s not a story about a sensual golf course . . . just a list of tango-related links I think are useful to any tango aficionado.

from Tango, an Argentine Love Story

I’m being eaten by mosquitoes on the terrace of La Pharmacie, a restaurant in a former old drugstore on Charcas. But I wouldn’t dream of wimping out and saying, “Let’s go inside.” My thick-skinned companions, photographer Alison Wright and writer Lynn Ferrin, live in San Francisco, where fog limits outdoor supping, and they want to eat al fresco. As uncomfortable as I feel, I realize I’d probably jump in the contaminated Río de la Plata if they asked me, so I sit tight.

Kent Island, Maryland, traffic escape

In light of a horrific tragedy, labeled a “historic wreck,” I offer the link to a short piece I wrote on Kent Island —the oldest settlement in the state and a well-kept secret in summer especially. Had these drivers read my article on Kent Island (above link and below), they might have suffered less.

It is a Sunday now as I write and the Highway 50/301 going over the Bay Bridge that spans the Chesapeake is a parking lot to say the least. A pall of silence fills the air. I only learned of the terrible accident as I rode my bike over the Cross Island Trail that parallels that road in part and I could see the cars were at a standstill. How maddening that must be.

My Kind Tanguero

The earth stood still and I lowered my gaze. The heavens opened up and angels’ trumpets backed up the bandoneons of the tango music playing. Behold, before me, a true bodhisattva—one of those enlightened beings who volunteer to stay behind and help others reach liberation before they will enter Nirvana.

His kindness and selflessness were rare in the milonga. Instead of scaring away newbies, which happens frequently, he was treating them with compassion. Not with the haughtiness of those jaded ones who think they have the steps down and you will make them look bad if you don’t match their level.

Recipes from La Cucina di Carmela Cookbook

That’s why I am so excited to finally present these recipes, old and new ones, to my ten children, their spouses and partners, my twenty-four grandchildren, my fifteen great-grandchildren, plus, at this writing, the seven great-grand-kids on the way (in the oven, so to speak) and to my many good friends. As we Sicilians say, a tavola, mangiamo!

Tango-dancing Buddhist Falls from Grace

. . . and sees the Light It was fall in Buenos Aires, which is spring in the States. Late one morning, light poured through my two open terraces into my eighth-floor Recoleta apartment. It was the soft but vibrant autumnal light that always arouses such nostalgia in me. So, before setting to work at […]

Why Tango is Not Macho

Last century, in the early ’70s when I first went to college and began to learn about the inequalities between men and women, I had the audacity to come home and at gatherings of my traditional patriarchal family, share my raised consciousness.

The changes I thought the world needed went over like a lead pizza. I took a lot of ribbing for years. But what my brothers, uncles, and, most especially, my father, did not realize was that I was talking about men’s liberation, not women’s.

Why Tango is Yoga

“Lo que a muchos averguenza, a otros hacer gozar.” “What shames many, gives joy to others.” -Caption to a tiled mural that features tango dancers, Retiro subway station, Buenos Aires, Argentina Following is an excerpt from Chapter 8. Falling Down and Getting Back Up Again, in my travel memoir, Tango, an Argentine Love Story (Seal […]

Images: Buenos Aires, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile

Tree Creature in my Palermo Park, Buenos Aires, on a lazy Sunday. Side street in Historic Colonia, Uruguay. Gaucho Museum in San Antonio de Areco. M My sister, Grace, in front of El Balcon Colonial, San Antonio de Areco Interior of the little Recoleta church (Nuestra Senora de Pilar) where I take refuge when my Zen […]

Tango is Zen

Excerpt from Tango an Argentine Love Story (Seal Press). “Stay close and do nothing or you might miss it.” Tenshin Reb Anderson, Zen monk, speaking on enlightenment Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2006 . . . Tango’s spell for me was gradual, not sudden, but when it hit home, it moved into my life like a long […]

Mom’s Cannoli

Mom’s Cannoli Yield: 24 Servings Shells: 3 Cups Flour 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon 3/4 Cup Dry Red Wine 2 Tablespoons Sugar 2 Tablespoons Shortening 2 Quarts Light Oil Mix flour, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix in shortening as you would mix for pie, making a crumbly mixture, then add wine slowly until a ball is formed. Knead […]

Meet Carmela, my Mom

Finally, I’ve posted some recipes from her cookbook—which is hot off the press ready to be distributed to her kinfolk and close friends. This is at her table in Annapolis, MD. One Saturday, four of us kids (Jim, Terry, Grace, moi) dropped in and as we sat on her patio she cooked up lunch, below, […]