Saturday, November 28, 2015

Practica del Centro playlist, November 2015

The Monday night practica caught me more tired than I expected, after a busy weekend including Milonga Sin Nombre, a pre-Thanksgiving cleanup, and harder-than-expected days at work. So the playlist choices reflected my mood with a mix of some searches and experimentation, and a great deal of comfort / pleasure music including lots of Donato, Rodriguez, and Biagi - including valses and foxes - and fav milongas of Di Sarli's and Quinteto Pirincho.

01. Francisco Canaro - Instrumental  "Hotel Victoria" 1935 2:49
02. Francisco Canaro - Instrumental  "El cabure" 1936 2:37
03. Francisco Canaro - Instrumental  "El chamuyo" 1933 3:11
Are Rodriguez's idiosyncratic endings OK for an early / warm-up tanda?
04. Enrique Rodriguez - Instrumental  "Zorro gris" 1946 2:37
05. Enrique Rodriguez - Instrumental  "La torcacita" 1940 2:28
06. Enrique Rodriguez - Instrumental  "El morochito" 1941 2:34
07. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo "Con los Amigos (A mi madre) (Vals)" 1943 2:42
08. Ricardo Tanturi - Enrique Campos  "Al pasar" 1943 2:17
09. Ricardo Tanturi - Alberto Castillo "La Serenata (Mi Amor)" 1941 2:32
10. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá "Nada" 1944 2:45
11. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá "Junto A Tu Corazón" 1942 3:07
12. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá "Tu!...El cielo y tu!" 1944 2:59
I play Troilo's tango tandas too rarely. But this time I couldn't resist this tanda with a song of unusual provincial Spanish folk roots - "Maragata". It is originally a very old tango cancion of Carlos Gardel, inspired by his trip far South to a small town of Carmen de Patagones, at the shores of Rio Negro. The area was settled by the Maragatos, as the residents of a small historic area in the highlands of Leon were called, perhaps because they once converted into Islam before becoming Christians again. The Maragatos were known (and generally denigrated) across Spain as mule-drivers with their stubborn traditional ways of living and their percussion music. But the folk song which Gardel turned into tango may have been originally not from Maragateria! It appears to be traditional in the neighboring historical province of Bierzo, and the girl in the song isn't even called Maragata but rather Morenica, "the swarthy one", as ladies of Ponferrada in Bierzo were called.

Macachines wood-sorrels
"Morenica mia" song asks for help from Virgin of the Oak, the holy protector of Ponferrada. Even the flowers which the beautiful girl picked in the opening lines changed too. In Leon, it was pedruelos, blue sweet pea flowers, the infamous famine food of the poor Spaniards which poisoned and crippled the peasants when they didn't have any other food to rely on. But in Carmen de Patagones, the flower is very local macachine, a wood sorrel species which is even named scientifically after Rio Negro: Oxalis melanopotamica.
And to add a childhood memory to the Maragatos' mule-driving journey, let me add a tune of Spanish folk-inspired Russian ballad about the mule-driver longing for his girl on a long trip in the foothills of the Sierras:

13. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino "Toda Mi Vida" 1941 2:55
14. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino  "Maragata" 1941 2:44
15. Aníbal Troilo - Francisco Fiorentino "El Bulín De La Calle Ayacucho" 1941 2:31
16. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "El lloron" 1948 2:01
17. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Corralera" 1956 2:05
18. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "La cara de la luna (milonga)" 1959 2:29
19. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "En la huella del dolor" 1934 2:48
20. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray  "Adios para siempre" 1936 3:03
21. Osvaldo Fresedo - Roberto Ray "Sollosos" 1937 3:27
22. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "Lagrimas" 1939 2:50
23. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "Fue mi salvacion" 1940 2:29
24. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos  "Soy mendigo" 1939 2:34
25. Rodolfo Biagi  "Pájaro Herido" 1941 2:18
26. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Dichas que viví" 1939 2:16
27. Rodolfo Biagi - Teofilo Ibanez "Viejo Portón" 1938 2:27
28. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón "Jamas Retornaras" 1996 2:31
29. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Trasnochando" 1942 3:04
30. Miguel Caló - Raúl Berón  "Lejos de Buenos Aires" 1942 2:54
31. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Que lo sepa el mundo entero" 1943 3:32
32. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Mi piba linda" 1943 2:51
33. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Llorar por una mujer" 1941 2:47
34. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "Pena Mulata" 1941 2:27
35. Carlos Di Sarli - Alberto Podestá "Entre Pitada Y Pitada" 1942 2:33
36. Carlos Di Sarli - Roberto Rufino "La Mulateada" 1941 2:22
37. Pedro Laurenz - Juan Carlos Casas "Vieja amiga" 1938 3:13
38. Pedro Laurenz - Juan Carlos Casas "No Me Extrana" 1940 2:43
39. Pedro Laurenz - Juan Carlos Casas "Amurado" 1940 2:28
I already wrote about Maruja Pacheco, the most amazingly multi-faceted female talent of tango - a composer, a poet, an award-winnng singer, and a movie actress at a time when the women just weren't "supposed" to create tangos. Here is the composition which jump-started her very short tango career - the 1937 "El Adiós" which convinced Maruja's mother that her 21 years old daughter must fight to overcome the prejudices and win a tango career. All those familiar with the Russian folk music can't help hearing, in the opening bars of "El Adiós", an allusion to the famous "Gypsy Girl" a.k.a. "Two guitars" - a Hungarian-inspired 1857 composition which I occasionally play in cortinas (read more about the history "Gypsy Girl" here).  The fiery motif has already been remixed as tango in Germany too, as "Zwei Guitarren". Here are the clips of a very classic violin and accordeon performance, and of the actual Hungarian Gypsy dance from a 1964 movie.

Maruja Pacheco's creative life in tango lasted just 4 years, and she most closely cooperated with Edgardo Donato's orchestra, I think not surprisingly because Edgardo famously paid no heed to the conservative social conventions of the day. The closing tango of the following tanda, "Sinfonía De Arrabal", is another of her compositions; and in the Donato tanda just above, hers are the lyrics of "Lagrimas". Alas, when Donato's orchestra disintegrated, Maruja also left tango for good, to compose music for chidren and religious themes.
40. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "El Adiós" 1938 3:09
41. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos, Lita Morales y Romeo Gavioli "La Melodia Del Corazón" 1940 3:21
42. Edgardo Donato - Romeo Gavioli "Sinfonía De Arrabal" 1940 3:08
43. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Brindis (vals)" 1943 2:33
44. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Uno que ha sido marino! (vals)" 1944 2:57
45. Enrique Rodriguez - Roberto Flores  "Fru Fru (vals)" 1939 2:57
46. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Ninguna" 1942 2:59
47. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Adiós, Arrabal" 1941 3:10
48. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Ahora No Me Conocés" 1941 2:35
49. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá "Te quiero todavia" 1939 2:54
50. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá "Lo pasao pasó" 1939 2:36
51. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá "Tormenta" 1939 2:35
Haven't played Rodriguez's amazing tango foxes for a long time - I already wrote about the story of the 2nd song in the following tanda, originally a forbidden-yet-eternal Russian Gypsy romance. This time, let me just include a great clip of "Se ve el tren", the train song, the good-bye to the unfaithful Margot.

52. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Se ve el tren"  3:11
53. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "No Te Apures Por Dios Postillón"  2:59
54. Enrique Rodriguez - Armando Moreno "Noches de Hungria"  2:57
55. Rodolfo Biagi - Instrumental "El Yaguarón" 1940 2:28
56. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Son Cosas Del Bandoneon" 1939 2:44
57. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Cielo!" 1939 2:31
58. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá "Garua" 1943 3:11
59. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá "Recien" 1943 2:43
60. Pedro Laurenz - Alberto Podestá "Todo" 1943 2:37
61. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "Quién Será (Vals)" 1941 2:20
62. Edgardo Donato - Félix Gutiérrez "La Tapera" 1936 2:54
63. Edgardo Donato - Hugo del Carril  "El Vals De Los Recuerdos" 1935 2:18
64. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Manana zarpa un barco" 1942 3:22
65. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "Malena" 1942 2:54
66. Lucio Demare - Juan Carlos Miranda  "No te apures, Carablanca" 1942 3:34
67. Osváldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1945 2:48
68. Osváldo Pugliese - Instrumental "Malandraca" 1949 2:52
69. Osváldo Pugliese - Jorge Maciel "Remembranza" 1956 3:41
70. Angel D'Agostino Angel Vargas "La Cumparsita"  3:00
71. Damour Vocal Band  "SWAY - Damour Vocal Band"  3:49
72. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole  "Over The Rainbow" 2001 3:32
(72 total)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Empanadas de choclo

My second time trying to make corn empanada filling, and this time I opted to use cream cheese and mashed potatoes in the recipe - and liked the result a lot more.

1 can sweet corn (15 oz)
1 large white onion
1 red bell pepper
2 medium red potatoes, peeled and cooked
1/2 pack (4 oz) cream cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan
2 tbsp milk
salt, black pepper, extra light olive oil

Makes about 18 medium empanadas.

Chop and saute the onion, add finely cubed red pepper mid-way. When onion turns lightly golden browned, reduce heat, mix in drained sweet corn, keep mixing for 2 or 3 more minutes. Take the frying pan off the heat, add cream cheese and mix thoroughly as it softens. Mix in Parmesan, mashed potatoes, and milk, season and let cool some more before filling the pastries.

(The other two empanadas rusas flavors for this last Saturday's Milonga Sin Nombre were classic Russian rather than Argentine-inspired: morel mushrooms with potatoes and village-style cabbage)
Empanadas and the pre-Thanksgiving milonga decor :)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Milonga Nuestra playlist, November 2015

November is a month rich in tango history dates. Great tango orchestra directors Francisco Canaro, Francisco Lomuto, Alfredo De Angelis, Federico Scorticati were all born in November. But trying, as I often do, to celebrate all of them by showcasing additional interesting tandas turned out to be hard in a 3-hour milonga. Because the only way I could do it was by excluding several other great orchestra favorites, and in the end I remained undecided if it was worth doing...

01. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental "Ataniche" 1936 2:32
02. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental "Union Civica" 1938 2:28
03. Juan D'Arienzo - Instrumental "Champagne Tango" 1938 2:25
04. "Sting - Windmills Of Your Mind" 1999 0:24
Francisco Canaro, the most prolific of all the tango directors, was born on November 26, 1888. Much has been written about Canaro's rags-to-riches path, which started from his first violin fashioned out of an empty oil can, and about his many bands and projects. My first Canaro tanda for the night is from his 1950s instrumental quintet named after Francisco's childhood nickname. I already wrote about his quintets, and about Pirincho the bird, last year...
05. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Rodriquez Peña" 1959 2:36
06. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental  "El chamuyo" 1950 2:51
07. Quinteto Pirincho - Instrumental "Alma de bohemio" 1959 2:29
08. The Beatles "All you Need is Love cortina" 0:19
Francisco Lomuto, a pianist and composer, was born on November 23, 1893. His musical career has been strongly linked to Francisco Canaro, his 5 years older mentor and onetime employer. Neither had any formal musical education. Both grew up in large, poor families. It's often told that Lomuto composed his first tango at the age of 13, and dedicated it to Salvarsan (a.k.a. Compound 606), a syphilis drug. Of course tango of the early 1900s was never more than one step away from indecency, but this much-retold story of "El 606" isn't really correct. The drug wasn't even discovered until Lomuto was 17, and the tradition of the humorous tangos about doctors and medicines didn't start until the First Ball of the Clinical Residents (Baile del Internado) in 1914 - pioneered by Canaro (read more about it here). And indeed Lomuto's other earliest composition are dated 1915. Francisco Lomuto convened his first orchestra in 1923, and, following Canaro again, he soon diversified into jazz (and added a really powerful winds section, so unusual for a tango orchestra), and then into theater musicals, but always retained the old-guard sensibilities and its steady beat.
09. Francisco Lomuto - Alberto Acuña y Fernando Díaz  "A su memoria (vals)" 1931 2:48
10. Francisco Lomuto - Carlos Galarce "Un vals | Se fue" 1944 2:26

Lola Cruz,
"Damisela Encantadora"
I occasionally play this Lomuto's unusual, habañera-scented vals, but haven't retold its story yet. Actually there are two real stories in one, a story of sisterly love and a story of a beauty and ruin. The vals was composed by famous Cuban pianist, Ernesto Lecuona, who was first taught and supported by his equally talented older sister Ernestina. An early marriage stopped Ernestina's musical career and she invested everything into her kid brother. Nearly 30 years later, after all Ernestina's children grew up, Ernesto invited her to try touring together - and soon her career took off again, and then she visited Argentina for the first of many times. But she didn't just promote her own compositions, she showcased her brother's work as well, and that's how "Damisela encantadora" entered the world of tango. The vals was a part of Ernesto's zarzuela play, "Lola Cruz" which premiered just the year before. Lola Cruz, a Cuban beauty of a mythical stature, was known "the Pearl of Yumurí Valley" (where the Lecuonas hailed from, too). Poets, musicians, and painters fell all over themselves to immortalize young Lola. She married a rich and influential landowner and arts patron, José Manuel Ximeno, and moved in to a 60-room palace. But soon, the Ten Year's War, the first salvo of Cuba's protracted fight for independence, broke out. The Ximenos were ruined; then Lola's husband died suddenly, but she wouldn't stop supporting charities, selling off her increasingly meager possessions, growing old back in her parents' modest house...
11. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "Damisela encantadora (vals)" 1936 2:58
12. Bonobo  "Flutter 1 (cortina)" 2003 0:23
13. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Así era el tango" 1944 2:49
14. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "Shusheta (El aristocrata)" 1945 2:47
15. Ángel D'Agostino - Ángel Vargas "A Quién Le Puede Importar" 1945 3:11
16. "Sting - Windmills Of Your Mind" 1999 0:24
These vocals with Jorge Omar are my 2nd and final Lomuto tanda. Thought to play a milonga too and just couldn't fit it in :)
17. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "Nostalgias" 1936 3:05
18. Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar  "A la gran muñeca" 1936 3:01
19.  Francisco Lomuto - Jorge Omar "La melodia de nuestro adios" 1938 2:20
20. Zhanna Aguzarova "Cats" 1987 0:21
The two earliest, slowest milongas which marked the rebirth of the milonga genre in 1933 - and a milonga remix of an old tango which was reportedly the first tune little Canaro extracted from his oil-can violin.
21. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Milonga Sentimental" 1933 3:10
22. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Milonga Del 900" 1933 2:54
23. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "El Lloron" 1941 2:14
24. Bonobo  "Flutter (slower cortina)" 2003 0:29
Alfredo De Angelis, a pianist and tango composer born on Nov 2, 1910, put together a tango orchestra in 1940 and started recording only in 1943. His is a prolific orchestra, but often considered to be second-rate, "just good for the dancers" whatever it should mean. I often play De Angelis's late, dramatic instrumentals, and his great valses, but I find it harder to build a worthwhile tanda with vocals. Here's my newest attempt, yet again not 100% satisfying me... 
25. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental "Pura mana" 1943 2:47
26. Alfredo de Angelis - Floreal Ruiz "Marioneta" 1943 2:49
27. Alfredo de Angelis - Floreal Ruiz "Dejame asi" 1943 3:01
28. "Sting - Windmills Of Your Mind" 1999 0:24
29. Edgardo Donato - Horacio Lagos "Se Va La Vida" 1936 2:44
30. Edgardo Donato - Romeo Gavioli "Amando En Silencio" 1940 2:51
31. Edgardo Donato - Romeo Gavioli, Lita Morales "Yo Te Amo" 1940 2:50
32. The Beatles "All you Need is Love cortina" 0:19
Three great valses from the tie when "OTV" was directed by Federico Scorticati, a virtuoso bandoneonist (born Nov. 6, 1912). I already mentioned some details of his bio, but I didn't add that, by his own admission, Scorticati couldn't stand the administrative chores and was happy to quit OTV to become the leading bandoneon with Di Sarli and Lomuto. We'll hear his amazing bandoneon solo with Di Sarli's orchestra a bit later...
33. Orquesta Típica Víctor - Lita Morales "Noches de invierno" 1937 2:47
34. Orquesta Típica Víctor - Ángel Vargas "Sin Rumbo Fijo (vals)" 1938 2:18
35. Orquesta Típica Víctor - Mario Pomar  "Temo" 1940 2:55
36. Bonobo  "Flutter 1 (cortina)" 2003 0:23
I rarely get a chance to play Canaro with Famá, because Roberto Maida sang many more popular tangos. But I gotta try playing both tonight...
37. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "No me pregunten porque " 1939 2:54
38. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Tormenta" 1939 2:38
39. Francisco Canaro - Ernesto Famá  "Te quiero todavia" 1939 2:54
40. "Sting - Windmills Of Your Mind" 1999, 1999 0:24
41. Miguel Calo - Alberto Podesta  "Si tu quisieras" 1943 2:44
42. Miguel Calo - Raul Beron  "La abandone y no sabia" 1944 2:50
43. Miguel Calo - Alberto Podesta  "Yo soy el tango" 1941 2:46
When the cortina pulsates with rock, you may guess that alternatives are coming...
44. Victor Tsoy  "Blood Type (cortina)"  0:36
45. Color Tango  "La luciernaga"  2:19
46. Miguel Di Genova "Amor Que Se Baila" 2005 4:10
"Amor Que Se Baila" is an outlandishly long for a milonga, so I'm evaluating the floor as it plays, then decide to add the third track to the set...
47. Otros Aires  "Los Vino`" 2010 2:43
48. Bonobo  "Flutter (slower cortina)" 2003 0:29
49. Cirque Du Soleil "Querer" 1994 4:35
50.  Carlos Libedinsky "Otra luna" 2002 3:43
a less known track of this set, this Dutch song sings of sadness of singing tango.The Al Sur project was part classic tangos, part Piazzolla, part their own compositions
51. Van Esbroek - Sexteto Tango al Sur "Lied Van Welk Verdriet" 1989 3:27
52. Bonobo  "Flutter 1 (cortina)" 2003 0:23
Possibly a wrong order of tandas here - it may be harder to sustain the energy of a small block of alternative tandas past as lyrical a tanda as the previous one; once it's over, a "wake-up call" of high-drive classic tangos may work much better than an energetic but still kind of amorphous alternative tanda:
53. 5Nizza "Soldat" 2003 3:13
54. Soha  "Mil Pasos" 2008 4:07
55. Javier Alvarez  "Por que te vas" 2001 2:55
56. The Beatles "All you Need is Love cortina" 0:19
57. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante y Julio Martel "Soñar Y Nada Mas" 1944 3:04
58. Alfredo de Angelis - Carlos Dante y Julio Martel "Flores Del Alma" 1947 3:00
59. Alfredo de Angelis - Floreal Ruiz "Mi novia de ayer (vals)" 1944 2:36
60. Bonobo  "Flutter (slower cortina)" 2003 0:29
Final Canaro tanda for the night. Alas, no time for his valses, slow and fast, and many more flavors of tango music...
61. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Envidia" 1936 3:18
62. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida "Solo una novia" 1935 3:23
63. Francisco Canaro - Roberto Maida  "Invierno" 1937 3:25
64. "Sting - Windmills Of Your Mind" 1999 0:24
65. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "La Chacarera " 1940 2:24
66. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Son cosas del bandoneon" 1939 2:44
67. Rodolfo Biagi - Andrés Falgás "Cielo!" 1939 2:31
68. Zhanna Aguzarova "Cats" 1987 0:21
Two of the three milongas are Uruguayan, but this Ángel Sica's piece which I haven't played before comes a bit too light...
69. Cuarteto Roberto Firpo - Instrumental "Milonga del 38" 1938 2:12
70. Ángel Sica - Instrumental "Milonga Oriental" 1942 1:57
71. Emilio Pellejero - Enalmar De Maria "Mi Vieja Linda" 1941 2:26
72. Bonobo  "Flutter (slower cortina)" 2003 0:29
and here we find Federico Scorticati again - in the only Di Sarli's recording of then-half a century old El Choclo, prefaced by the words of Di Sarli himself professing the love of his life, the eternal love to the music of tango. The Lord of Tango had just 5 years left to live when he embarked on his project of remixing the oldest tangos, and he probably already sensed that the time was running short... Carlos Di Sarli never liked giving to big a role to the bandoneon before, but now he broke his rule to allow Scorticati to play an extensive solo segment.
73. Carlos Di Sarli - Palabras de Carlos Di Sarli "El Choclo" 1954 3:00
74. Carlos Di Sarli - Instrumental "Milonguero viejo" 1955 2:48
75. Carlos Di Sarli - Instrumental "Nueve Puntos" 1956 3:27
76. "Sting - Windmills Of Your Mind" 1999 0:24
77. Osvaldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel "Farol" 1943 3:23
78. Osvaldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel  "Corrientes Y Esmeralda" 1944 2:49
79. Osvaldo Pugliese - Roberto Chanel  "Rondando Tu Esquina" 1945 2:49
80. Alla Pugacheva "Million Scarlet Roses" 1982 0:19
81. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Mi dolor" 1957 2:51
82. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Pavadita" 1958 2:50
83. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "Felicia" 1969 2:47
84. Alfredo de Angelis - Instrumental  "La cumparsita" 1961 3:33
85.   "silence"  0:06
86. Goran Bregovic  "This Is A Film (feat. Iggy Pop)" 2003 4:18
87. Carolina Chocolate Drops & Luminescent Orchestrii  "Knockin'" 2011 5:28
88. Apocalyptica  "Nothing Else Matters" 1998 4:46

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Being a tango non-profit

Table of contents

  1. Summary
  2. The dance clubs used to operate under IRS Sec. 501(c)(7), what changed?
  3. Today, a typical dance club is a 501(C)(4) nonprofit. What is it supposed to do to comply with this designation?
  4. Being a state corporation helps
  5. Accounting and tax forms.
  6. State and local taxes
  7. Bylaws details


In the past, it seemed so logical for the social dance clubs to operate as "social clubs for members" (a 501(c)(7) nonprofit). The reality turned out to be a whole lot more complicated, with tons of burdensome rules which the IRS started to enforce. So a typical 2015 nonprofit dance club is chartered under a different IRS category, as an "organization promoting social welfare" (501(c)(4)). A "social-welfare" designation requires a club to concentrate on educational and community-empowerment activities. Organizing social dances becomes a secondary goal, and membership discounts are limited. But it isn't too hard to comply with the 501(c)(4) regulation, to minimize paperwork, and to stay tax-free.

The dance clubs used to operate under Sec. 501(c)(7), what changed?

The 501(c)(7) status requires the social functions (such as milongas) to be open only for members and their invited guests, rather than to the broader public (some dance clubs do operate like that, especially when their purpose is to provide social venues for the membership, rather than to teach, and to demo to, the general public). The biggest problem of the 501(c)(7) dance clubs was lax separation between income from admitting members and income from admitting guests - quite naturally, they just charged everybody admission! But in fact the moment a 501(c)(7) club receives more than 35% of its revenues from non-members, it's to lose its exempt status (A 501(c)(7) organization has to file an accounting with the IRS if more than 15% of its gross income derives from non-club-members. ) 

A 501(c)(7) may get around the nonmember income problem by framing admission fees as suggested donations, and then, if it is done carefully, it may not matter who donated, a member or a non-member ... but the IRS views the suggested donations schema as a dirty trick and tends to pay special attention to such claims. In 2006, the IRS cracked down at another practice of 501(c)(7) dance clubs - signing up guests as members right at the events. The problem was that membership in a 501(c)(7) must be restrictive, and when anybody from the street can just walk in and join the club right away, that's against the IRS rules (admittedly the member selection criteria may be as simple as having attended a class)

A San Diego club was instructed that their rules were too lax in that they didn't prevent guests from attending without an invitation from a member. Every visit by every guest must be documented in the books. That's a major paperwork hurdle. Even worse, a 501(c)(7) organization is not allowed promote its social events to the general public

A typical 2015 dance club is a 501(C)(4) nonprofit. What are we supposed to do to comply with this designation?

501(c)(4) is for organizations promoting social welfare of whole communities.

Under IRS Revenue ruling 66-221, a 501(c)(4) organization may conduct social activities such as dances, and may derive most of its income from such activities, if the purpose of these activities is to bring the community together and to raise funds for betterment of the community

However ruling 68-46 explains that if most of the club's expenses go towards venue rentals / paid staff / food / drinks for social activities, then it's inappropriate for a 501(c)(4) organization. Noncharitable purposes are OK for a 501(c)(4) - but only as long as they don't become its main purpose. By definition, socializing and recreational activities are _not_ social welfare and may be the means but never the ends of a 501(c)(4). But educating the broader public on how to do a specific activity better already becomes a social welfare role (Rul. 66-179). So it is a good idea to run educational workshops under the aegis of the club. Tango practicas / practilongas, milongas with included classes, festivals where admission includes classes, and educational shows also count as social-welfare activities.

Ruling 78-131 OK'd encouragement and development of public interest in a form of art as a worthy goal for  501(c)(4) organization - but the public was admitted for free to the respective art shows (although sales were made & commissions were charged). Basically it didn't matter that some money exchanged hands, because the broad goal of serving the community has been met by the show's community orientation and participation.(I read it as, "not limited to members", but they later explain that some services may even be limited to members as long as making this service available to a narrow group of people still benefits the community as a whole, for example when you train teachers or organizers).  (The art show organization in question was also helped by using volunteer effort, and by providing exhibition space free of charge for grade school students) So we may need to grant discounts to the disadvantaged, and/or to underscore the community work done for free.

Having a show where the participants pay a fee, where a fee is paid to a promoter, and/or where newsletters are supported by commercial ads, are generally contrary to "serving the community" as they are no different from conducting commercial business with the general public. Note that Ruling 67-109 allows charging nominal admission fees as needed to defray operational expenses. In Club Gaona. Inc. v. United States, 167 F. Supp. 741 (S.D. Ca. 1958), promotion of regular public dances qualified as social welfare, but the Club's downfall was its accumulation of massive funds which it then invested and lent out, rather than directed for community benefits (Gaona was a Mexican American club, unincorporated during much of its history, with operational expenses level at about 50% of the revenues, which they tried to justify by their sending gifts to the US servicemen, but it turned out to be a pittance). So we may prefer to show that our admission fees are not much higher than needed to defray operational expenses - hopefully not twice over the expenses.

Regarding the question of membership discounts: The IRS has provided guidance "that Membership in the organization is open to any interested person or business enterprise in the community and the benefits of its activities were extended to both members and nonmembers on equal terms." (Rev. Rul. 75-386) (but reserving some benefits to the members for the specific purpose of training and empowerment of community organizers and volunteers is OK). And giving free membership with a purchase of a discount card / coupon book should be OK too.

Also if a festival served the community by showcasing the history and traditions of this community, then it superseded the admission considerations (Ruling 68-224) Sounds like it may be a good idea to honor both local and ethnic cultural history at our events?

Open membership (w/o rejecting applicants) is a good sign. Providing scholarships not restricted to members lines up very well, too.

Unrelated business activities aren’t federally taxable if they are “not regular” (defined as occurring for specific windows of time during specific events, maybe a week or two in duration, once or twice a year). So perhaps a dance club may sell shoes or photographs or snacks during a special festival - or even at a county fair booth - without arguing if it is an activity related to its goals. But if the sales are occurring all year round then it must be “substantially related” to the purpose of the organization. A dance club wouldn’t be allowed to sell tulip bulbs all year around without taxation - it’s only OK on an infrequent / irregular basis. Selling merchandise with a club logo or accompanied by a booklet about the club activities might make almost any kind of business “related”.  Anything is substantially related to our purpose if it has a picture of tango on it! Technically unrelated activities, when run by the volunteers to generate funds for the organization, are also generally considered “related” - only having >15% paid staff (except incidental employees) is a disqualifier. Compensating volunteers for the actual out-of-pocket expenses is fine - just can’t compensate them for the time worked.

Of course more recently, there has been an outcry of condemnation of Section 501(c)(4) since it also covers such big political players as the NRA or the Sierra Club, which are allowed to lobby and campaign without disclosing donors. So who knows, perhaps the rules of the game will change again in not-so-distant future

Being a state corporation helps:
It is true that certain unincorporated associations can get federal tax exempt status. But, even unincorporated nonprofits still need to submit their bylaws / articles to the IRS when applying for the exempt status - and anything unincorporated won't shield its members from liability, too.

Accounting and tax forms.

Both 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(7) organizations had to file an accounting with the IRS if their gross income exceeded $25,000, but until 2008, the IRS didn't require any tax returns for nonprofits with smaller incomes. Then, the IRS set up a simplified electronic filing (990-N) for nonprofits with smaller incomes. The new form is simple - it just has a checkbox that your gross receipts are under $50,000 (as increased in 2010), and no more numbers - but the need to file something with the IRS made the smaller clubs more aware of possible mismatches between the IRS code designations and the actual club practices, accelerated the transitions from 501(c)(7)

State and local taxes

Sale taxes may still apply, depending on state rules, both for merchandise / food and sometimes also for the event tickets which include food or entertainment. There may be additional state restrictions on types of merchandise, locations and frequency of the events, etc. For example, in Utah, soliciting money / fundraising may require registration with the state which costs $75 annually, and only 501(c)(3)’s have blanket exemption from sales taxes. Admissions to dances and concerts (but not to the lessons or educational events) is subject to Utah sales tax. However, isolated or occasional sales in Utah aren’t taxable.

What needs to change in the bylaws to reflect a 501(c)(4) designation?

Many tango clubs bylaws contain vestiges of their 501(c)(7) history. They may need to be amended for better match their current 501(c)(4) status.

In particular, a Purpose Statement befitting 501(c)(4) should start approximately as follows:
Promote interest and involvement of the public in music, dancing, and culture of Argentine Tango in the [area/community] as a means of education, artistic fulfillment, socialization, recreation, and physical activity, by holding, hosting, sponsoring, organizing, and otherwise encouraging Argentine tango classes, practice sessions, workshops, demonstrations, and social events, and by collaborating with musicians and other dance organizations in joint projects designed to encourage the growth of Argentine tango dancing in the regional communities. Share listings in its newsletters and upon its website for instructors, educational and social opportunities to advance the development of the culture of Argentine Tango.

(Some recommend making a specific reference of the Section of the IRS Code we strive to operate under, as one of the purposes: "to qualify under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code"; it's also possible to add a reference that we ought to be bound by this section of the IRS Code in the contracts section. Our state further suggests adding “to engage in any lawful act or activity for which corporations may be organized under the Utah Revised Business Corporation Act

The criteria for membership: The only criteria should be payment of dues: open to any person upon payment of annual dues as established by the Board of Directors

Another interesting clause is in regard to disposition of assets. The more generic wording would be, “In the event that it becomes necessary to dissolve the corporation, any assets held by the corporation shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c) 4 of the Internal Revenue Code"