Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Literary Footsteps in Buenos Aires


Too much going on in Buenos Aires to absorb in a week or a month.  So best to mosey around and enjoy street scenes, protest art, people watching and the architecture.

Mosaic floor at La Prensa 
On a bright April day I strolled along Avda. de Mayo -- a downtown boulevard -- to the old La Prensa building.  The right-wing newspaper's former headquarters is now a cultural center.  The mosaic floor, paneled walls, and ornate facade are intact.

La Calesita antiquarian bookstore at number Av. de Mayo 769,  opened another world of old well preserved books, literary journals from the 1950s, antique toys, and oddities from three continents.  Here I whiled away several hours discussing the imagery in Argentina's national shield, the country's flag, and the shields of the states.

Jose Luis Costanzo, the bookstore's proprietor, owned another bookstore in times past at the same location and told me he sold books to Borges, knew him for over 40 years.  Borges was blind and the books were read to him by his mother or associates.

Naturally, I had to see where Borges had lived and found my way to the address Sr. Costanzo gave me.  There's an historic marker on the building, so it is no secret.  I photographed nearby buildings, windows and doorways.

Near San Martin metro ("sube") stop, the Centro Cultural Borges annexed to an urban shopping center Galerias Pacifico, offers performance space, bookstore, cafe, film club and workshops.  I turned up for a screening of 90 Grados Sud, a restored print of the 1910 expedition to the South Pole by Scott.  Herbert George Ponting released the print in 1913, redone in 1933 with sound.  Pretty amazing footage.

36 comments:

LWPON said...

The bookstore name La Calesita refers to the charming old style versions of carousels found in Buenos Aires. http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calesitas_de_Buenos_Aires

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I believe that the main intention is to present a precise panorama of modern culture in a context of quality and coherence. It is like there is a mixture of the visual arts, design and media with the art of tango, photography or fine arts. Even auctions and international competitions are held here. Julio Bocca's dance studio is housed here as well. I loved it. I remember being in my buenos aires apartment when I found out about this place. I went with my boyfriend and we spend a real nice time there.
Hope you feel the same way!
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