What’s New, Buenos Aires?
Evita Perón, First Lady of Argentina, you labor-lovin’, suffragette-serving, fashionista. Prior to a trip to Buenos Aires and long stretches of time spent in the Evita Museo, all I knew about you was what Ricky Martin narrated to me on the Broadway stage – some song, some salsa, and what the heck, a little bit of Argentinian plebeian strife.
Passionate and combative Eva Perón became a powerful advocate for labor rights as First Lady, creating work for single mothers, building hospitals and schools, and probably funded from some political arm-twisting. Congress named her the Spiritual Leader of the Nation.
During her “Rainbow Tour” of Europe, she wore tight-fitting, extravagant clothing and movie star-inspired up-dos. While beautiful, she was often not well received (tomatoes and stones were thrown, ruining her dresses and cars) and from then on she wore more serious clothes befitting her political persona.
When Evita died, Argentina practically shut down and the streets of Buenos Aires overflowed with mourners. Her embalmed body chillaxed in her office for two years – can you imagine dying and then being forced to live in your office for two more years – while a monument was built. Her body subsequently went missing for sixteen years.
At the Evita Museo in Buenos Aires, you can view fantastic video footage, her fashions (I particularly loved all the little things she kept in her purses, like her embroidered handkerchief), and paintings from Argentinian artists.
The restaurant at the Evita Museo, in a beautiful back garden with black and white checkered floors, was a magical experience for New Year’s Eve. Argentinian steak, handmade crepes, dancing and confetti, and toasts with strangers made us feel like we were at a family wedding and in on the fun. It was a magical experience – warm and sparkling and the most unexpected, marvelous surprise.