CRACK BANG BOOM CON, Argentina--PART 3
WE VISIT THE NATIONAL BANK AND EAT TOO MUCH MEAT!
The day begins with a trip to the National Bank to cash some checks. There’s no teller lines...everyone just gets a number and waits in a big room for the number to appear on a TV monitor. It’s a bit like being at an OTB: packs of people standing around, clutching tickets in their hands staring up at a TV screens in a place stinking of money and desperation. Jim almost causes an International incident because he’s texting on his phone...a big scary guy with a submachine yells at him to stop. Maybe they think we’re casing the joint...we get our dough and get the hell out of Dodge.
Back at the hotel. the ninjas appear and whisk us off for the ASADO. It only occurs to me later that I just got into a stranger’s car with no cell phone, a wad of cash in my pocket and no idea where we were going or who was taking us there. Sometimes you just gotta let it roll.
Now we don’t know what to expect of this lunch – i’m guessing they will be taking us to a restaurant – but instead we arrive at a the ARTE HOSTEL. It’s a typical youth hostel but it’s covered with amazing paintings, murals, sculptures and such. They lead us into an enclosed courtyard (this is where they’re going to whack us!) and waiting there is a table that must be 25 feet long covered with place settings, salads, wine, beer, sodas, chips and a lot more! In the corner of the courtyard is an grill that’s really an oil drum cut in half and one of the guys from the day before grilling about 20 different kinds of meat. It’s an amazing spread!
We re-introduce ourselves and proceed to have one of the most wonderful meals of my life. Just the perfect blend of food, drink and conversation. It’s all over too soon...we exchange contact info, kiss about 1000 times and then it’s back to the show. I do a bunch of portfolios reviews (tipsy ones!) and the day and night passes in a blur. At some point we hit an Irish pub (every city in the world has one!) and I’m in bed by 3AM.
Over breakfast, i look at about 80 portfolios in an attempt to trim down the number of people i will meet with one-on-one. Over the course of the weekend i’ll look at over 200 portfolios and meet with about 30 artists out of that number. It’s hard – you want to talk to everyone – but i really treat these trips as a talent search and so i need to focus mostly on artists i feel really have a chance of getting work in the American market. It’s still a great way to get discovered – my trips to Italy over the years have borne that out.
I don’t have review until 4:30, so the plan is to have lunch with MARCELO FRUSIN, his wife Jorgelina and their beautiful daughter, Sophia. Marcelo is the the artist we worked with on LOVELESS and HELLBLAZER. He takes us out to his favorite Asado place where we get Empanadas that are too die for. Azz and Marcelo mock me relentlessly because i won’t eat the BLOOD SAUSAGE ...apparently i’m not “MUY MACHO” enough! But, this is news?
Afterwards, we visit his apt/studio – another lovely view of the city – and then it gets serious. Marcelo is a HELADO (ice cream) snob. The ice cream in Argentina is incredible – this luscious mix of Italian Gelato and American Ice Cream – and it comes in flavors you can’t even imagine. He drags us to his fave spot and proceeds to order TWELVE different flavors. He’s like the Caligula of Helado...My favorite is a coffee colored one called SUPER SAMBAYON that tastes like WINE! By the end, my heart is racing and i have to unbutton my pants. Marcelo helps me buy some soccer jerseys for my kids (BOCA JR!) and gets me back to the show an hour late. As one of the other Argentines later says, “Marcelo has an interesting notion of time.” No kidding.
I have no idea what i’m telling these artists by now. But cut me some slack...It’s 5:00 PM and I’ve already had three steaks, three Empanadas, a bottle of wine, four espressos and TWELVE scoops of ice cream. It’s a miracle i’m not in the morgue.
Dinner is once again at EL CAIRO (i had fish and salad!) and we finish the night at a sushi bar (?) drinking FERNET & COKE...if you’ve never had it, it sorta taste like a melted tire. Not my favorite. Bedtime is 3:30...at least i'm consistent.
MONDAY: WORST TOUR EVER = BEST TOUR EVER!