Cat Power, Pizza and Faina

I’ve had a tough week. To top it off, my highlight was going to be the Cat Power concert at Teatro Gran Rex which I went to Thursday night. It may have been the highlight, but it certainly wasn’t the highlight I was expecting. For me, the fun was laughing with my friend Naty and wondering what the concert would be like if only we’d been on LSD.

My camera saw the concert as if on LSD at times.

My camera saw the concert as if on LSD at times.

At one point, Cat Power disappeared for what seemed like fifteen minutes and we listened to the band improvise the beginning of what should have been (and eventually, 15 minutes later) was the next song. Maybe she had to run to the bathroom, we thought.

Whered she go?

Where'd she go?

When she reappeared all she said was a quick, “Sorry.” But when the song got going, and the next song did, and the one after did, they all sounded exactly the same as the first five we’d heard before Cat Power disappeared leaving us with a repeating electronic opening and purple lights, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was just too old to get this type of concert or if everyone else there was thinking the same thing: “WTF!”

Naty pulled her cell phone out of her bag to see if anyone had called. That can’t be a good sign for a performer. I, too, was no longer paying attention to the concert, I wondered if Cat Power is the type of singer that you can like at home because you can mix her up with other groups you like. I almost never listen to one group or album all the way through anymore. They’re grouped by genre or by my playlists which I carefully put together and have a variety of music that is similar, but by various artists. Could I ever listen to Cat Power and nothing else for over an hour?

Each time a song began I’d think, “haven’t we heard this one?” Then Cat Power’s incredibly smoky voice would remind me that I do love her music. I just don’t love it for hours on end. Finally there was a surprise, and for certain, the highlight of the evening. She sang a song in Spanish (here’s the setlist from the concert). It was the only song I felt she cared about all night. Her body language changed and she seemed to connect with the audience.

At the end, I think it was the most boring and strangest concert I’ve seen. It wasn’t just that every song sounded the same and that the songs I most wanted to hear weren’t sung. It was the fact that she made no attempt to connect with us. Besides the one “sorry,” after her disappearance, she never spoke to the audience. Was it because her Spanish is not great? Maybe, but I’d guess that the people who want to see a Cat Power concert understand some English. A simple “Hello, Buenos Aires,” and “thank you for coming,” would probably do the trick. Instead we were left thinking, “WTF?”

Back on stage.

Back on stage.

On another note. If you go to a show on Corrientes, Buenos Aires’ Broadway, the place to head to after for a quick bite is Guerrin. It’s a pizza place, but more than pizza Guerrin is sort of a right of passage for theater goers in Buenos Aires. It’s not the best pizza in town, but it’s good pizza. It’s the atmosphere that brings in the crowds.

Pizza and Faina at Guerrin

Pizza and Faina at Guerrin

There’s even a song about this right of passage by the Argentine rock band called Memphis La Blusera. The song is called Moscato, Pizza y Faina.

Here are the lyrics:

Las luces se encienden,
calle Corrientes,
se llena de gente,
que viene y que va,
salen del cine,
rien y lloran,
se aman, se pelean,
se vuelven a amar,
en la Universal,
fin de la noche,
moscato, pizza y faina,
moscato y pizza.


The lights turn on,
Corrientes Street,
fills up with people,
that come and go,
leaving the movies,
laughing and crying,
they love, they fight,
they fall back in love,
in the universal,
to end the night out,
moscato, pizza and faina,
moscato and pizza.

Pizza y Faina

Pizza y Faina

Pizza and faina is a common combination here in Buenos Aires. Faina is made from chickpea flour and often has herbs or onions mixed in with it. It usually comes on top of the pizza slice so you can cut through both and eat them together. According to the song, and to tradition especially at Guerrin, it’s best with a glass of Moscato.



Filed under argentina, buenos aires, music, restaurants

12 responses to “Cat Power, Pizza and Faina

  1. I have never heard of Cat Power before, too bad the concert was terrible, but whenever I hear smokey voice, I love it. So I will have to check her stuff out. Some people are just better to be heard and not seen I guess.
    At least you had good food!

  2. Bummer about the concert. 😦 You know, I’ve never tried fainá. I think it might be a food that’s only popular in Capital Federal because I’ve never seen it served anywhere else. It sounds tasty though. I’d be willing to give it a whirl.

    P.S. Thanks for all the comments you left on my Flickr photostream!

  3. I love Cat Power. Funny, too, because your photos look very similar to the ones I took at a concert of theirs in Atlanta last summer.

    Sorry we missed you at Empujon, but I’m sure we’ll meet another time.


  4. @Dave and Deb… hey guys.. nice to see Twitter friends here. Yeah, I love her voice, too. And I still do. And yes, the food was well worth it.

    @Katie… Thanks for dropping by. I actually had a great time at the concert because Naty and I cracked up all night. But it wasn’t what I was expecting. If you like chickpeas, you’ll love faina. Next time you’re in BA, let me know.

    @Leigh… I love Cat Power, too. I should have read reviews of her concerts before going. Then I would have known they’re a bit unconventional. I still love to listen to her at home. And yes, I was sorry I didn’t get to meet you guys. Hope you all had a great time.

  5. Guerrin! !! !!!!!!! Ohhhh nostalgia.

    Actually I always preferred the pizza at Los Inmortales, but you are right – the atmosphere at Guerrin draws la gente, and it’s a right of passive one must go through. 🙂 Oh I miss walking on Avenida Corrientes at night so much. Sigh… :-/

    And faina’ with moscato! Yes! I really like making it 🙂 I bet you already know this but for others who may see it, it’s originally from Genova (Genua), Italy – Faina’ is short for farinata. Most English speakers tend to pronounce faina’ with the accent on the “i” but it really should be on the “a” at the end. I like to make it with olive oil, sea salt and rosemary. yummy.

  6. duh, meant to say right of *passage* – what can I say, it’s late.

  7. and double whammy for me, I should have said “Genoa” and not Genua. Dang. Maybe I need moscato and faina.

  8. Hahahaha… Tina, that was hilarious. A late night commenting classic. Thanks for all the bits of info. I knew moscato was Italian, but had no idea where it was from. Nor did I know faina comes from the word farinata. I love the Italian influence in Argentina. Your olive oil, sea salt and rosemary version sounds a lot like a focaccia with chickpea flour… Yum, have to try that one.

  9. Mmm, that recipe for farinata sounds yummy. I think I need to make that too. 🙂

  10. P.S. Ah – and Moscato is not from Genova. I meant to say that Faina’ is from Genova, Italy. 🙂

    Moscato in Italy is generally Piemontese. 🙂

  11. Ah-ha… Thanks, Tina for the faina recipe and Italo/Argentino info. I’m going to have to hit the gym if I learn to make faina and focaccia. Carbs!

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