Visiting La Bomba del Tiempo, Hombres Vertientes, Ojos Cerrados, Museo Nacional de Bella Artes, & Malba: Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires.
Making memories, seeking beauty.
During our month in Buenos Aires, we enjoyed a range of art and dance offerings from the city that prides itself on unique shows springing from a talented pool of artists and performers.
As in any city, there are the over-hyped events and true gems.
We’d heard of La Bomba del Tiempo, the Monday night drum show in Buenos Aires attracting tourists and long time fans. For the two of us, it turned out to be an excursion that fit the cliche to a tee: vast crowds of young people grasping large cups of beer and smoking endless cigarettes (no heed paid to the “No Fumar” signs on every surface); hippies and druggies, a few fifty-something tourists looking disenchanted. A 50 peso tab that kept us longer than we may have otherwise chosen to stay.
Drummers played their gig, but the spirit felt tired.
By contrast, we received tickets to a Friday night performance of Hombres Vertientes and enjoyed the edgy, artful performance. Something akin to Cirque de Soliel, except not. Water, strobe lights, ropes, and music. “Expect to get wet!” our friend Maria warned us, insisting we go.
We wound our way to a graffitied courtyard at the back side of Recoleta Cemetery and waited with the small crowd in the humid late-summer heat. When the warehouse doors opened, we filed in to a dimly lit space rigged up with stage and lighting equipment and tell-tale puddles of water on the floor, hinting at the show to come.
Our tickets for the small balcony afforded us a view of the show and the audience below on the spare, cold concrete.
A collection of water droplets plummeted from the sky in unison: one orb of water landing on a platform, spraying out to greet the surprised onlookers. Before we could catch our breath, another splash! A third!
The cool, falling water settled the air, and then the music began.
Spanish boomed from the speakers, and a man soloed in a beam of white light painted an introduction to the following hour and a half’s heavy beats, projections, and aerial acrobatics. Perhaps not the beat of live drummers, but a richly spirited performance pulsing with the beat of the city.
Ojos Cerrados: a sensory journey guided by skilled artists and traveled by active imaginations. The evening of unusual entertainment came as one of the richest experiences of our stay, thanks to the recommendation from Jed of LandingPadBA. Jed’s company offers customizable tours and local experiences for visitors to Buenos Aires.
Ted, Kaylea, and I attended the 11:30pm Saturday evening performance. Aside from knowing that it was a “blind theater,” the first show of its type in the city, founded and run by a local gentleman that Jed knew personally, we went in with undefined expectations and open minds. The introduction and instructions, entirely in Spanish, mostly escaped my understanding, but the anticipation grew. The crowd giggled nervously and exchanged “What’s this?” looks before donning eye-masks and being led by hand into a sightless span of time.
At risk of destroying the incredible delight of discovery for any of you who might one day visit BA and attend a beautiful performance, let me simply share that out of the blackness of blindness, the evening came alive in each of our minds and provided basis for animated conversation amongst the three of us for the next few days.
Ojos Cerrados artists guided the seventy or so of us on a simultaneous journey, but we were each deeply, beautifully lost in the worlds of our own imaginations.
Personally, I wandered through a forest in the company of CS Lewis’ talking animals, sailed the high seas on a merchant’s ship amongst sailors clothed in vivid fabrics from far eastern ports; I wandered the aisles of a frenzied bazaar and smelled foreign aromas, I shivered during a rainstorm in the jungle and later found myself dancing to lively accordion tunes along the waterfront in a provincial village under midnight strands of white lights…
Ted and Kaylea revealed later, over beers at Buller Brewery, that while I’d been deep in woodland forests, they’d spent time in other scenes entirely: Kaylea found herself amongst convincing sounds of chickens and cows in a morning farmyard, Ted lived adventures on a gypsy wagon and sat under stars on a beach in the warmth of a crackling fire.
Amazing what grows from the imagination.
For still more creativity in the city, we enjoyed visiting a few lovely galleries on tree-lined streets on the edges of Recoleta and Palermo:
Museo Nacional de Bella Artes: Free and Beautiful!
Tuesday-Friday 12:30pm-8:30pm | Saturday-Sunday 9:30am-8:30pm | Monday closed
Av. Del Libertador 1473, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Buenos Aires’ public art museum. We spent an afternoon admiring the lovely 19th century collection of Degas, Gauguin, Monet, Renior, Van Gogh, and more…including this incredible piece by Goya and this beauty, Nymphe Surprise, by Manet.
Malba: Modern Pieces on Display.
Avenida Figueroa Alcorta 3415, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Thursday-Monday & holidays 12:00pm-8:00pm | Wednesday until 9:00pm | Closed Tuesdays
How can you not love a place named Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires that has wooden benches vining their way like houseplants throughout the building?
La Bomba del Tiempo: Touristy to a Tee
Monday Nights: Show starts at 7pm, La Bomba plays 8-10pm
Konex, Sarmiento 3131, Buenos Aires
Hombres Vertientes: Cool Performance for a Hot-City Summer
Wednesday-Sunday, Check Site for Performance Times
Sala Villa Villa – Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires
Ojos Cerrados: Love is Blindness
Wednesday at 9:30pm, Saturdays at 11:30pm
Teatro la Comedia: Rodriguez Peña 1062, Buenos Aires
Travel, art, adventure: as far away as a foreign city in summer and as near as closed eyes and daydreams…
When it all boils down, our top three favorites of art and dance in Buenos Aires: Ojos Cerrados, Museo Nacional de Bella Artes, and a tie between Hombres Vertientes and Malba. (Yes, to end with a tie seems like a terrible trick, but there you have it!)
What about you? Favorite performances? Exhibits? Future dreams or memories of past visits?
Many thanks to this post’s sponsor: LandingPadBA. Customizable Tours and Genuinely Interesting Recommendations for Visits to Buenos Aires. This piece is part of our series If…Then Buenos Aires: Trendy Hole in the Wall Adventures Around Town.