A renovated farmhouse in South Africa

Mar. 26th, 2017 11:00 am
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Posted by KiM

This is a beautiful 1840's Cape Dutch farmhouse located in South Africa. I am totally smitten with its neutral decor and all the wood floors and beamed ceilings throughout. I could go on about it but I am slightly drunk (I'm writing this Saturday night) having spent a few hours hanging out at a Legion with some of my favourite people on this planet and it's got me thinking (I clearly don't drink much). I have a love affair with interior design (also pretty clear as Jo and I have had this blog for over 10 years) but this past week has really done a number on me. Hanging out at the Country Cat Sanctuary last Sunday whilst managing not to bring home any cats and staying late at work every day this past week with each day being more hellish than the next, and managing to find time on Wednesday evening to go see Kedi at the movie theatre which, being the crazy cat lady that I am, really moved me, and going to a vintage show yesterday and finally leaving 5 hours later where I got to meet some awesome new people (and one vendor I was hoping to visit with was at the hospital with a bleed in her brain) and spend some quality time having drinks with the always fabulous ladies of social enterprise HighJinx whose lives are devoted to helping others....it just makes me stop and think about the important things in life. I am grateful for this blog and this community and my passion for design. So enjoy these wonderful photos of Herbertsdale Farmhouse, and I hope it inspires you. Via VISI. (Photos: Jan Ras)

Let It Be Sunday

Mar. 26th, 2017 07:37 am
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Posted by joythebaker

Let It Be Sunday

Hello my friends,

How have you hustled through the week?  Likely with strong legs and a brave face because that’s just how we do things.  This week I released my third cookbook which… honestly and truly blows my little baker mind.  It’s called Over Easy.  It’s about brunch. It’s full of cocktails and coffee, egg techniques, sandwiches and salads, so much bacon and a good amount of biscuits, gravy and french toast (separate not together).

Continue reading Let It Be Sunday at Joy the Baker.

Cookie Crisp French Toast Sticks

Mar. 26th, 2017 03:00 am
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Several years ago I made some French Toast Sticks using Rice bubbles and they were fabulous. These were a real favourite of ours.  They were delicious and they froze well, so that made them great for having in the freezer ready to pull out when we felt like a bit of a quick and delicious treat!

 I started thinking that they would also be good if I tried making them with some other cereals.  I tried making them with Curiously Cinnamon cereal, and they were really good, but the real winner was the ones I made using Cookie Crisp cereal, and these are the ones I am showing you today.

Cookie Crisp cereal is a cereal here in the UK that looks just like little chocolate chip cookies.  I am not sure what the North American equivalent is, but I am sure that there is one.

Of course this breakfast is somewhat high in sugar by the time you add syrup, but really, if you serve it with lots of fresh fruit, you won't need a lot of syrup at all.

This is not meant to be a regular breakfast, but a bit of a treat, perhaps at the odd weekend now and again, like maybe when you have the grand-kids overnight!

You could make them a bit healthier by using whole wheat bread, make sure you pick a sturdy thick one, and that you pick whole wheat, not brown.  Did you know that brown bread is really only just white bread which has been dyed brown???

Neither did I until I took my cooking for Diabetes class.  Oh, those naughty food producers do love to trick you into think that what you are eating is healthy, when really it isn't.  It takes a saavy and informed cook and shopper to be able to discern the truth from the lie.  In any case, this is a once in a blue moon treat, weekend breakfast that the whole family will enjoy.

*Cookie Crisp French Toast Sticks*
Makes 16 to 20 sticks

Children love these.  Even the big ones!  (Hubbies)  They are crisp on the outside, soft on the inside and the perfect size for small and big fingers alike.  I like to serve them drizzled with a bit of pure maple syrup and some fresh berries.    

4 to 5 thick slices of day old bread, crusts removed
63g of Cookie Crisp cereal (3 cups), crushed
1 TBS soft light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 large free range eggs, beaten
225ml of whole milk (1 cup)
4 TBS butter, melted 

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/gas mark 5.  Have ready a large non-stick baking tray. 

Cut each slice of the bread into 4 evenly sized strips.  Combine the crushed cereal, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.    

In another bowl, beat together the eggs, milk and vanilla.    Dip each bread stick into the beaten egg, turning to coat it well and 

allowing it to absorb some of the mixture without them becoming soggy.  Drop into the cereal mixture and coat well on all sides.  Don't forget the ends!  Place an inch apart on the baking sheet.   Drizzle the melted butter over top.

Bake in the heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until set and golden brown.  Serve warm with your preferred syrup for dipping or drizzling and a mix of fresh fruit/berries.
Apple sauce is also nice to dip them in, rather than syrup.

 Todd really, really enjoyed these and I enjoyed making them for him.  I like to spoil him a bit at the weekend, don't you know.

Oh, and Happy Mothering Sunday to all you Mum's out there that are celebrating it!

My hubby got me these and I'm not even his mother. 
Oh, he does like to spoil me!  
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Posted by lisaparavisini

Trinidad Theatre Workshop - School for the Arts
The front sign of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop. May 7th, 2015.

A report from Loop news.

Theatre-lovers can breathe a sigh of relief after government announced that the Trinidad Theatre Workshop will be relocated to St Clair.


The decision was announced at Thursday’s post-Cabinet media briefing.

The Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) will be based at 6 Newbold Street, St Clair, after the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts made a request for alternative accommodation following news that the original building at Jerningham Avenue, Belmont is up for sale.

Cabinet said it has approved a five-year lease at ‘peppercorn rent’, a nominal rent of $10 per year.

The TTW will use the new location as an educational facility for theatre arts.

Public Administration and Communications Minister Maxie Cuffie said government is ‘honoured’ to be of assistance, given the contribution the theatre has made to the arts in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

“While we mourn the loss of Derek Walcott, there is no greater way to honour him but to ensure TTW is not homeless and his vision lives on.”

The Trinidad Theatre Workshop was founded by Sir Derek Walcott in 1959, who continued as the workshop’s director until 1971.

Some of the country’s well-known thespians such as Beryl McBurnie, Stanley Marshall and Errol Jones also attended the TTW.

Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the Ministry is pleased that ‘Sir Derek Walcott’s vision for and contribution to the theatre arts lives on in the TTW.”

“The Ministry is pleased to have played a role in ensuring that training in the arts continues to be accessible as a critical pillar of cultural development,” Dr Gadsby-Dolly said.

Cabinet also approved a delegation, led by Dr Gadsby-Dolly and a member of TTW, to attend Walcott’s funeral service.

World bids farewell to Derek Walcott

Mar. 26th, 2017 01:36 am
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Posted by lisaparavisini

Screen Shot 2017-03-25 at 9.35.54 PM.png

A report from Jamaica’s Observer.

Derek Alton Walcott, born in humble surroundings on Chaussee Road and who mesmerised the world with his poetry, plays and paintings, was buried here on Saturday, one week after he died following a prolong illness.

The Nobel Laureate, who died at the age of 87, was eulogised during the just over two-hour state funeral service, as a man who gave Caribbean people  an opportunity to “have dreams and have visions”.

Monsignor Patrick Anthony urged the congregation to “be proud of what Derek has done for us as a Caribbean people,” saying that like other great Caribbean icons, including the late Jamaican singer Bob Marley and the athlete Usain Bolt, Walcott has allowed the Caribbean people “to lift our heads high and say we can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world.

“Let us be proud of what Derek has done for us, a Caribbean people,” Monsignor Anthony said.

Governor General Dame Pearlette Louisy and Prime Minister Allen Chastanet led the local and international dignitaries at the state funeral held at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in the capital.

Much of Walcott’s work was used during the service and as his coffin, draped with the national flag of St. Lucia was being taken out of the Church, some of his poems were being read out.

Walcott’s long-time friend, Professor Emeritus Edward Baugh of the University of the West Indies (UWI), in his eulogy, said that the prolific and versatile poet, who was widely respected as one of the greatest writers of the second half of the 20th century, was “never one to blow his own trumpet”.

He recalled the “canny jokes” of Walcott, “the boy of Chaussee Road” who was also “considerate of others working to promote talent where he spotted one”.

Walcott was born on January 23, 1930 in the capital, Castries and he had acknowledged that the experience of growing up on the isolated volcanic island, an ex-British colony, has had a strong influence on Walcott’s life and work.

After studying at St Mary’s College here and at the UWI in Jamaica, Walcott moved in 1953 to Trinidad, where he worked as theatre and art critic. At the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems, but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night (1962).

In 1959, he founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop which produced many of his early plays.

With passions ranging from watercolour painting to teaching to theatre, Walcott’s work was widely praised for its depth and bold use of metaphor, as well as its mix of sensuousness and technical prowess.

“I am primarily, absolutely a Caribbean writer,” he once said during a 1985 interview. Walcott received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1992 and the Swedish academy said “in him, West Indian culture has found its great poet”.

Among his best known literary work is the 1990 classic “Omeros”, a 64-chapter Caribbean epic.

Walcott was one two St. Lucians to have received the prestigious Nobel Prize, following Sir Arthur Lewis, who won the award for economics in 1979.

He won the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2011. Walcott received numerous awards including a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen’s medal of Poetry and a MacArthur Foundation genius award.  In 2016, as part of Independence celebrations, he was given the title of “Sir”, one of the first to be knighted under the Order of St. Lucia.

Walcott, who is survived by his three children Peter, Elizabeth, and Anna, was buried at Morne Fortune, near the Inniskilling Monument, a site vested in the St Lucia National Trust and within close proximity of fellow Nobel Laureate, Sir Arthur Lewis

During the homily, Monsignor Anthony quoted from Walcott’s 2004 work, “Bounty” in which he said “I cannot remember the name of that seacoast city, but it … my own epitaph, “Here lies D W This place is good to die in”.

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Posted by lisaparavisini


A report by Judy Cantor-Navas for Billboard.

“Sabiduría,” the Latin wild cat’s first full-length since 2006, coincides with a tour titled after his milestone birthday.

In press photos for Eddie Palmieri’s new album Sabiduría, the elegant octogenarian is seen holding a big cigar. No pun may be intended by the twinkly-eyed Palmieri, but even if a cigar is just a cigar, the album makes clear that he is still smoking musically as he leads a line up of multigenerational musicians.

The wild cat, who both salsa and Latin jazz musicians claim as their own, hasn’t stopped letting loose on the world’s stages with his incredible band. But this is Palmieri’s first new album since his 2006 collaboration with Brian Lynch, Simpático, which won a Grammy for best Latin jazz album.


Participants in Palmieri’s birthday jam album include Fania violinist Alfredo de la Fé, saxophonist Ronnie Cuber, bassist Marcus Miller, drummer Obed Calvaire and bata player Iwao Sado; as well as Plamieri’s core group, which features the great timbale player Luisito Quintero and Jerry Rivero on congas.

Sabiduría is set for release April 21 on Ropeadope. Palmieri, who started his 80th birthday celebration tour last fall (he officially turned 80 on December 15, 2016), will play a string of dates this spring, starting with an appearance with his Latin Jazz Septet March 30 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. His EP @ 80 trek continues through the end of the year. See the full schedule here.

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A report by Lilly Workneh for Tri Country Sentry

Harry Belafonte’s long and respected personal history as a humanitarian earned him a distinguished honor in New York.

The 90-year-old singer, actor and activist was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Jefferson Awards Foundation, which identifies itself as the nation’s most prestigious and long-standing organization dedicated to powering and celebrating public service. Belafonte, who was recognized alongside other notable people who took home separate awards like Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and entrepreneur Peter Diamandis, proudly accepted his honor and made a plea for us all to keep fighting for human rights.

“It’s a pleasure to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Jefferson Awards Foundation,” Belafonte said in a statement to The Huffington Post. Former recipients of the award include tennis star Billie Jean King and journalist Tom Brokaw.

“Throughout my life, I’ve been committed to social change and while this is a celebration of the progress we’ve made, there is still work to be done in the fight for human rights and racial unity,” Belafonte added.

Belafonte’s activism spans six decades, during which he worked with and fought alongside some of the leading figures of the civil rights movement. As an actor and singer, he used his platform to speak out about the need for social justice and has been dedicated to this cause throughout much of his career.

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Posted by lisaparavisini


A report by Ruth Behar for Forward.

You may have heard that the Yiddish-Cuban opera “Hatuey: Memory of Fire,” made its way to Havana in early March. Despite issues with a finicky old sound system, the premiere was a huge success and the opera has received extensive coverage in the Cuban press.

It may seem like a miracle that this opera, based on a work written by a Jewish writer, made it to Cuba and was performed by La Opera de la Calle, which has no ties to the Jewish community.

But there’s a story behind the miracle. The story of how the opera got to the island is one of building bridges between Cubans and Cuban Americans. I know the story, because I was the matchmaker. I made the shidduch, uniting the Cubans and the Americans, so that “Hatuey: Memory Of Fire” could find a home in Havana, the city of my birth.

I’m what they call a “Juban”— Jewish, Cuban and American. I’m Ashkenazi on my mother’s side and Sephardic on my father’s. I left Cuba with my family after the revolution and came to live in New York when I was 5 years old. Most child immigrants never look back. A few, including me, are like Lot’s wife, forever looking back.

I have been traveling back and forth to Cuba since the early 1990s. Baba, my beloved Yiddish-speaking grandmother who lived to be 92 and would wave goodbye to me in Miami before every trip, used to say, “What did you lose in Cuba?” She was afraid for me. Cuban Americans who sought to build bridges to Cuba were subject to harsh criticism. The Jewish Cuban banker Bernardo Benes needed to wear a bulletproof vest in Miami for years after he negotiated the release of political prisoners with Fidel Castro in the late 1970s. As a Cuban-American you used to tiptoe to Cuba; you didn’t announce you were going.

I couldn’t explain my obsession to Baba. I felt a pull toward the island, a desire to reclaim the homeland we’d lost. The Jews who arrived in 1920s and ’30s Cuba escaped anti-Semitism and economic hardship, created a tropical oasis. There were Yiddish day schools, Yiddish newspapers and Yiddish theaters, kosher restaurants and bakeries. The Sephardim had schools and associations and a radio station that played tunes in Ladino.

As an anthropologist, I carry a passport that never expires, that beckons me to travel to exotic places. And so I’ve made it my profession to study the Jews of Cuba. It’s a tiny community of about 1,000 people, but this is a kabbalistic number, since exact numbers are hard to find. Many are making aliyah to Israel or heading on to Miami. But a vibrant core of Jews remains. They have become an object of curiosity and a source of admiration to American Jews, who see them as a brave remnant, keeping the flame of Judaism alive in a country that is charting an uncertain path between post-socialism and pre-capitalism. Busloads of Americans arrive daily to catch a glimpse of these exotic Jews.

There are three synagogues in Havana, but most visitors go to the Beth Shalom Synagogue, known as the Patronato Synagogue. It is run by Adela Dworin, who is fluent in English and Yiddish. In recent years, the Patronato has turned into a hopping cultural and intellectual crossroads. On any given day you might catch a New York filmmaker premiering new work, hear a Miami cantor sing, meet a group of American senators, bump into the owner of the Giants or even see Madonna.

Observing how the Jewish synagogue of my childhood has become a popular destination, I started to wonder whether some outreach to the local Cuban public was needed. It seemed to me that non-Jewish Cubans might want to learn about the Jewish presence on the island. The film “Schindler’s List” has played on Cuban television, but most Cubans know little about the Jews in their midst. In turn, among American Jews, many have heard the tragic story of Cuba turning away the St. Louis in 1939, filled with Jews who perished in the camps. But, in fact, Cuba has been a longtime refuge for the Jews.

I felt it was time to honor the tolerance with which Cubans have welcomed Jewish immigrants to the island. Even in the heyday of revolutionary atheism, there was a consciousness of Jewish dietary needs, and the Jewish butcher shop was allowed to operate in Havana, as it continues to do to this day.

In conversation with an American friend who lives in Cuba, I hatched the idea of organizing a celebration of Jewish culture. There was seed money to get things going. My friend had a younger cousin who wanted to donate his bar mitzvah money toward a project related to the arts in Havana.

In mid-March 2016, on the eve of President Obama’s historic visit to Cuba, I attended a comparative literature conference at Harvard University and found myself on a panel about Caribbean/Jewish literary intersections with Rachel Rubinstein, who teaches American literature and Jewish studies at Hampshire College. She wrote a paper about “languages and homelands in Cuban-Yiddish poetry of the 1930s.” She spoke about the 1931 epic poem “Hatuey” by Asher Penn (in Cuba he is known as Oscar Pinis). The poem, written in Yiddish, was translated into Spanish in 1935 and distributed in literary circles in Cuba. Penn was an active Yiddishist, co-founding the Yiddish-Spanish newspaper Havaner Lebn in 1932, and immigrating that year to New York, where he became the city editor of the Forverts.

“Hatuey” is a work of intersecting cultures, written in Yiddish but not about the Jews. Its subject is an indigenous Taino leader who resisted the Spanish conquest, choosing to be burned at the stake rather than convert to Catholicism. It’s easy to imagine why a young Jewish author, who together with his family fled the pogroms in the Ukraine to find refuge in Cuba in 1924, felt empathy for “Hatuey.” Penn knew that the figure of this indigenous leader had been both idealized and tarnished. In the 19th century, when Cuba struggled for its independence from Spain, “Hatuey” was hailed as a revolutionary icon in Cuban drama and poetry. But by the 1920s, Hatuey had become the brand name of a premium beer brewed in Santiago de Cuba. After Castro came to power, the Bacardi family, the owners of Hatuey beer, took the beer brand with them to the United States.

 At the Harvard panel, Rubinstein ended her presentation by saying that the poem “Hatuey” was being turned into a Yiddish-Cuban opera. The dream was to present the opera in Cuba.
My ears perked up. If I could make that opera happen in Cuba, it would be a way of finally giving an answer to Baba, who’d wanted to know what I’d lost in Cuba. Maybe what I’d lost is the Yiddish that she and others of her generation had once spoken so naturally in Havana, when they’d arrived off the boats from Europe, removed woolen garments and made a life for themselves in the tropics.
Rubinstein put me in touch with Michael Posnick, the son-in-law of Penn. I met him in Havana in May. I again felt a calling to the project. Bringing the opera to Cuba, where Penn had written his Yiddish poem of empathy for the indigenous people of the island, would be an act of remembrance, showing how deeply the Jews had identified with the independence struggles of the island.

On our return to the United States, Posnick set up a conference call with the “Hatuey” team, later to be known as the Hatueyeros. I spoke with Elise Thoron, who is the author of the libretto for the opera and who created crisscrossing historical moments that move between the era of the Spanish conquest and the Machado dictatorship of the 1930s, with Penn (in a fictional imagining) busily composing his poem in a cabaret. And I spoke with Frank London, klezmer trumpeter and longtime salsa musician, who dreamed of staging a Yiddish-Cuban opera in Cuba. No one had any clue how to bring the opera to Cuba. Did I have any ideas?

I’d heard great things about Ulises Aquino, director of La Opera de la Calle. Aquino, a baritone and Cuba’s most renowned opera singer, is the son of Rafael Aquino (also a baritone), who was a soloist in the Cuban National Opera and taught his son to sing. Opera was derided after the revolution as a bourgeois form, but it had staged a comeback thanks to the efforts of Ulises. He’d worked incredibly hard to create his street opera company 10 years ago. It was briefly shut down by the government, but the company was on its feet again and putting on lush and extravagant performances.

I sent a long email to Aquino in early June. I told him about the Jews of Cuba, Penn’s poem and the dream of bringing “Hatuey: Memory Of Fire” to Cuba.

He replied immediately. The project was of interest to him. And the Ministry of Culture in Cuba was supportive of the idea.

There were emails back and forth, but music and scanned pages couldn’t be accessed via the slow and patchy internet in Cuba. I asked Ulises if he wanted to come to New York and meet the “Hatuey” team. He had one of the five-year visas the U.S. government now gives to Cubans who are not potential immigrants. He could travel easily.

When Ulises arrived in New York in early August, there was that feeling that we fellow Cubans sometimes get with each other — that we’ve known each other forever. He was strong, compact, determined, looked you in the eye and would tolerate no bullshit.

Thoron opened her home in SoHo for our meeting. By then the “Hatuey” team had grown to include Diane Wondisford, who runs the Music–Theatre Group, in New York, and would be a producer of the opera. Around a long wooden table we discussed every aspect of the project, from the fabric needed for the costumes to how the opera would incorporate Yiddish by having the actor playing Oscar Pinis (Asher Penn) sing in the language. The rest of the opera would be in Spanish. We shook hands, and “Hatuey: Memory Of Fire” began its journey home to Cuba.

In December I took the actor Rasec Peña, who plays the role of the Jewish poet in the opera, on a visit to the Patronato. I showed him the sanctuary and the Torahs brought by the Jewish immigrants, and then to the library to see the original Spanish edition of “Hatuey.”

Afterward I introduced him to Ida Gutstadt, whose father was a survivor of Auschwitz. Gutstadt is among the handful of people in Cuba who speak Yiddish, and she agreed to coach Peña. With the passion and dedication that only Cubans can summon, and under the strict discipline of Aquino, in six months La Opera de la Calle had the opera ready to premiere in Havana. “With a m0dest budget, we did it,” Aquino told me proudly. “It could never have happened in New York.” Then he said: “I want to tell you that you can always count on me for any project, especially anything to do with the Jews. I think I’ve come to know you all a bit.”

Opening night, March 3, was sold out. Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the U.S. ambassador, was there. Dworin attended, accompanied by several members of the Jewish community. She told me she loved the performance.

The mostly Cuban audience knew nothing of Yiddish and little about the Jews. Yet they rocked to the Yiddish songs. And everyone adored La Opera de la Calle’s rip-roaring rendition of Irving Berlin’s 1920 classic “I’ll See You in Cuba.”

At a moment when Cuba is on every American’s radar, the words to Berlin’s song could not have been more relevant:

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A report by G. Clay Whittaker for Man’s Journal.

Pianist and songwriter Avo Uvezian passed away on Friday at 91, leaving behind over seven decades of musical history, and a legacy of cigars.

He built a name for himself late in life as a jazz pianist who traveled the world playing with many of the greats, writing for one of them. Avo Uvezian had traveled the world already by the time he hit it big. He played for the Shah of Iran and before that spent a year in Baghdad. His band, the Lebanon boys, toured the middle east until Uvezian found his way to America to attend Juilliard in the 1960s.

Promised Land Calling: Remembering Chuck Berry, 1926–2017
By then the accomplished pianist, who had been born in Lebanon in 1926, spoke a dozen languages, including Farsi, French, Turkish, and English. He once told Cigar Journal, “I usually count in Armenian in my head,” in 2015. “I find the best language to swear in is Turkish, and when dreaming of pretty women, French is the best language.”

But in it was the 1960s, and in English, that he finally got to write some melodies of his own. It was probably tough, trying to make the transition from performer to songwriter in his late 30s, but he had some good material. The first song to make it big was an enchanting melody, called “Broken Guitar.” And boy did it make it big.

Uvezian was living in New York, but a friend knew a singer from New Jersey that was looking for new standards. The man’s name was Frank Sinatra. In 1966 Uvezian played “Broken Guitars” for Sinatra, who fell in love with the melody, but convinced Avo to throw out the title and the lyrics. He wrote new ones, and gave it a new title. He called it “Strangers in the Night.”

Uvezian won’t be remembered as the composer. Bert Kaempfert is credited with the melody while many argue the documentation supports Uvezian.

Following “Strangers in the Night” making it big, Uvezian started over in Puerto Rico, filling the hot nights’ air with music. In the ‘80s, he went to Switzerland to have his daughter Christened, and enjoyed his first cigar.

Uvezian was immediately smitten with the smoke, but balked at the price and vowed to make his own brand of quality products. He went in search of someone to make them, and found Davidoff legend Hendrik Kelner in the Dominican Republic. Many of the first cigars sold out of a box atop Avo’s piano, but their popularity exploded. 100,000 in the first year, 750,000 in the first three. Davidoff ended up buying the distribution rights outright in 1995 for $10 million.

He continued to represent the brand though, going on multi-city, international tours to celebrate every year when a limited edition “birthday” cigar came out.

Uvezian’s health had deteriorated in recent years. A car accident added to a growing list of reasons not to travel. Still, he’d managed a few appearances, each with at least a few minutes reserved to play for his guests. He turned 91 just three days ago, and the last “birthday” cigar was released this month.

He’s survived by his wife Nivia, daughter Karyn, sons Jeffrey, Robert and Ronny, and a legacy of rooms where smoke and music filled the air.

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The Digital Animation Accelerator is a unique two-day intensive pitch workshop that will help up to 10 selected Canadian creators of colour to develop their animated digital short projects. On completion of the workshop, three (3) final projects will be selected to receive a commission of $1000.00 each to produce a “proof of concept”.

The three finalists will go on to participate in the CaribbeanTales Market Incubator Program in September 2017. From this development process, 1 project will be selected for production.

The Digital Animator Accelerator is a competitive pitch workshop that is specifically targeted towards the creation of original, digital animated content and focused on building sustainable audiences.

The Digital Animation Accelerator is open to Canadian Animation Creators of Colour. For the purpose of this Digital Animation Accelerator, “creators of color” include those who self-identify as any of the following: Black, Caribbean, African, Hispanic, Indigenous, Middle Eastern, Asian, and South Asian. Women, persons of the LGBTQIAP2S+ community, those with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.
Deadline: April 30th 2017


Selection for participation in the Digital Animation Accelerator will be based on a) the quality of the application and b) evidence of the applicant’s’ previous work, and/or contributions to the Animation industry.

Applications must meet the following criteria:The project must be no more than ten (10) minutes in length
The project can be either 2D or 3D animation (animation can be stop move, mixed media, etc.)
The project must have a targeted audience for children and/or young people;
The project must be owned or co-owned by a Canadian creator of colour as described in the ELIGIBILITY section;
The team must include at least 1 producer with a strong track record and significant animation production experience.

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Rachel DeWoskin for the New Yorker.

One night in the fall of 2002, I was out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with the poet Derek Walcott, who had been my professor in the graduate poetry program at Boston University. Another of my former teachers, the poet Kenneth Koch, had died recently, and in my purse was a remembrance of Koch that I had written for the journal Teachers & Writers. I had agonized over the text, wanting to render real Koch’s difficult wit in class, the terror and inspiration he inspired in his students, his occasional cruelty in the intimate workshop he ran, and his unusual ability to demystify poetry. I took the pages out and passed them across the table, holding my breath. Derek liked to say that any prose we wrote was a waste of lines that might have been better used for poetry, but he read my Koch essay gamely and afterward asked, “Will you write the memoir when I die?”

I remember thinking to myself that he seemed unlikely ever to die; he was seventy-two but so exuberantly full of life that he seemed ageless. I assumed, too, that he was joking; what did he mean by “memoir”? But I said yes, and Derek replied, “Excellent. You will write the memoir when I die, and I am going to write an elegy on the death of poetry.” He had just returned from the University of Iowa, where he had delivered a talk after which one student had apparently confessed that he found it easier to understand John Ashbery than Dante. A preference for Ashbery’s sometimes mysterious abstractions over the formal, measured clarity of Dante rendered Derek incredulous. “Do you understand,” he asked me, “why this signals the

It was not, in fact, the end, not for Derek, or for his students, or for poetry. During the next fifteen years, he would go on to publish three more collections of poems, and although he was often critical of the direction in which he thought we young poets were headed, he also told me that night that he “wasn’t depressed” about the state of poetry, or anything else. “You can be depressed until you’re fifty,” he said. “And then you’re just grateful.”

In the wake of Derek’s death, at the age of eighty-seven, I, like many of his former students, felt an urge to celebrate all that he gave us—most of all, his way of joking us out of our own seriousness while somehow also taking our work so seriously that he allowed us no slack, no unanswered notion, no lazy margins. Once, one of his playwrights, Zayd (who would later become my husband), wrote a play in which two human beings wake up together only to discover that they are in a cage, a zoo of sorts. Derek, who believed and taught us to believe that plays are, by their nature, lyrical—poetry unfolding on the stage—complimented Zayd on his dialogue but said that the whole play would have to be scrapped unless “the question” was answered. “What question?” we asked, and he stood up: “Where is the toilet? You think you can have two people in a cage overnight and not tell us where they use the toilet? You cannot.”

Derek was correct, of course: if the logistics of a narrative are flimsy or absent, then it hardly matters how lyrical its lines are. I have called upon this and additional bits of Walcott’s wisdom countless times in my own writing and teaching. He once said, of another student’s play, “If a character’s problem can be fixed with medication, then it’s a story of chemistry, not of tragedy.” When I wrote a poem that included the disastrous line “The sky in Beijing is a mosaic of coal smoke,” Derek was appalled. “Not only is it a terrible cliché,” he said, “but it makes no sense.” He drew tiles on the page in front of us. “This is mosaic!” he told me. “Tiles! They are hard. How can smoke be this?” “You’re right,” I agreed, anxious for the conversation to end. But we spent another half an hour talking about why I had put the line in there at all, whether for the sake of sound (a possibility that made him angry) or because I thought (for some deranged reason) that it was “necessary.” I didn’t know why I’d included it.

Derek made it clear that a good poet must know the exact reason for each of her lines, and he had absolute faith in the deliberateness of the writers he admired. A classmate of mine, smart and thoughtful, once asked why Thomas Hardy had used the word “ooze” to describe wind moving through trees. Why not “pour,” or “move,” or any other more natural-seeming choice? Derek rose from his chair and thundered—for the rest of class, forty-five excruciating minutes, against anyone who would dare to question Hardy’s word choice. Derek’s own way with words was at once epic and immediate, physical, literal, abstract, lyrical, guttural. I’ve thought often this week of the profound final lines from “Midsummer, Tobago,” a poem about the passage of time: “Days I have held, days I have lost / days that outgrow, like daughters / my harbouring arms.”

But in person Derek could be raucous, silly. Once, after I had recited Auden’s “The Fall of Rome” during his office hours, Derek said, “My god! Are you chewing gum? That was like an audition for ‘Guys and Dolls.’ “ At the Mexican restaurant where I showed him my pages about Kenneth Koch, Derek joked with the waitress, who had announced that the special was cactus soup. “Are there prickles in it?” he asked. English wasn’t her native language, and she wasn’t sure what he was asking. She said, twice, “I’m sorry, sir, we don’t have pickles on the menu.” He asked again, “Are there prickles in the cactus soup?” And she said, “No, no pickles,” and he asked, “What if there are?” I was too shy to correct or translate, but finally the waitress smiled. “If there are pickles, you won’t have to pay.” Derek, delighted, ordered a bowl of soup for each of us.  Once, over a different meal, Derek turned to me and asked if I was “actually Jewish.” It was possible to be Jewish, he told me, but not Jewish enough; black, but not black enough. When I asked enough for what, he told me, “to be clear.” At the time, I thought, Who wants that? But Derek knew that, on some level, we all do. He spent his life in exile, writing the islands, painting the sea with watercolor as well as words; he was an outsider, an insider, a citizen of the global South, a black man in the Northeast. In 2007, the colicky critic William Logan wrote a harsh review of Walcott’s “Selected Poems,” suggesting that Walcott’s work was shallow and conceited, the reflections of an invented persona. Indignant at the attack on our mentor, my friend the poet Kirun Kapur and I weren’t sure exactly how to set the record right, only that we had to try. We stayed up late crafting a letter to the editor, explaining how Walcott’s poems captured the experience of an entire generation in exile, how it showed that individuals can be made of more than one place, how it reflected “his particular ancestry and tongue, but also those of anyone who has ever felt alienated, bicultural, lost or re-found.” When the letter ran and Derek saw it, he called me to say, “It’s as if I’ve died and you’ve written the memoir.”

I can hear him saying the same thing now. And saying, too, as he did that night over cactus soup, “There’s a thread that runs through poetry, or that is supposed to, and that’s truth.” I was writing down everything he said on the back of my Kenneth Koch eulogy.

“The problem with students,” Derek continued, “is that they’re not taught love.”

I said, “In life, you mean?” And he said, “In poetry.”

One of the many lessons Derek Walcott taught us was how to watch and listen for the overlap between the two.

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong
(Well, the evidence is fairly overwhelming that he doesn't read books, full stop, but it has been specifically reported that he says he hasn't read any presidential biographies.)

This suggests Bannon and Short haven't either:

One Hill Republican aide who was involved in the last-minute negotiations said Mr. Bannon and Mr. Short were seeking to compile an enemies list.

Alternatively, they read about Nixon's "Enemies List" and thought ooh, that sounds great, we should do that, it worked out so well for him.

(Seriously, I don't actually imagine that this is literally Watergate 2.0 or going to play out exactly like that, because that would be too weird and history doesn't work like that, which is one reason why it's so odd when Trump and co. seem to be borrowing such highly-specific things from the Nixon playbook.)

ETA: Do you think they saw a reference to an "enemies list" somewhere and thought whoa, that sounds super-hardcore and badass, we should have one of those? Has nobody told them yet?

Also, these are beautiful words to read:

Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, according to people familiar with White House discussions, described what happened as a flat-out failure that could inflict serious damage on this presidency — even if Mr. Bannon believes Congress, not Mr. Trump, deserves much of the blame.

Dear USians, please enjoy these words and take strength from them.
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Posted by ivetteromero


The Havana World Music Festival (HWM) is under way and ends tomorrow. Today, it joined forces with the Orange Day program, an initiative promoted by the United Nations to bring awareness to the struggle for non-violence against women and girls. This was announced by announced the artistic director of the event, Eme Alfonso, part of the Network of Artists UNiTE, which promotes actions in favor of gender equity. [Also see previous post Cuba to Host Havana World Music Festival.] Prensa Latina reports:

‘On the main stage of the HWM – in the Almendares Park of the Cuban capital – the project La Flota will performed today, composed of four members of the Network of Artists UNiTE: the singers X Alfonso, David and Ernesto Blanco, and the percussionist Yissy Garcia,’ she said.

The organizers of the festival, along with the project Todas contracorriente, led by Rochy Ameneiro, invite to wear some orange clothes to join an afternoon-evening for non-violence against women and girls [. . .].

UNiTE is a UN campaign aimed at putting an end to gender-based violence and to raise awareness about it, it proclaimed the 25th of each month as ‘Orange Day’. Now the HWM invites public and invited artists to this initiative supported by States around the world.

The meeting of the world’s music in Havana, attended by more than 100 guests from some 15 countries will be extended until tomorrow. ‘This event, which was born in 2014, currently attracts the attention of many bands interested in coming to this island,’ said Eme Alfonso. ‘For this fourth edition musicians come from Haiti, Mexico, Colombia, Norway, Algeria, Bulgaria, Romania, in addition to local participants,’ she said.

The Norwegian hip hop band Madcon, the Colombian group Systema Solar and the Cuban popular music orchestra Havana D Primera lead the lineup. In addition to concerts, the event includes exhibitions, performances, workshops and conferences, in order to exchange on current trends of music at an international level.

For original article, see http://www.plenglish.com/index.php?o=rn&id=10828&SEO=havana-world-music-tinges-orange-rhythms-against-gender-violence

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Posted by ivetteromero


Marcus Rediker’s The Fearless Benjamin Lay—a book about the Quaker abolitionist who tackled slavery in Barbados and Pennsylvania in the 18th century—will be published by Beacon/Verso in September 2017.

Description: The Fearless Benjamin Lay chronicles the transatlantic life and times of a singular and astonishing man—a Quaker dwarf who became one of the first ever to demand the total, unconditional emancipation of all enslaved Africans around the world. He became an abolitionist in Barbados in 1718. Years later in Philadelphia he performed public guerrilla theater to shame slave masters, insisting that human bondage violated the fundamental principles of Christianity. He wrote a fiery, controversial book against bondage that Benjamin Franklin published in 1738. He lived in a cave, made his own clothes, refused to consume anything produced by slave labor, championed animal rights, and embraced vegetarianism. He acted on his ideals to create a new, practical, revolutionary way of life.

Marcus Rediker is Distinguished Professor of Atlantic History at the University of Pittsburgh. Among his many books and articles, he published Outlaws of the Atlantic: Sailors, Pirates, and Motley Crews in the Age of Sail (Beacon Press/Verso, 2014); The Amistad Rebellion: An Atlantic Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom (Viking-Penguin 2012); The Slave Ship: A Human History (Viking-Penguin 2007); Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age (Beacon Press/Verso 2004); and the co-edited volume Many Middle Passages: Forced Migration and the Making of the Modern World, with Emma Christopher and Cassandra Pybus (University of California Press 2007).

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Posted by Black Girl With Long Hair

Black lives matter. So do black memories, black communities and black day-to-day life. Perhaps an implicit sense of this motivated 11-year-old Laura Fitzpatrick to keep a detailed photo diary of her life in 1930s and 40s Brooklyn that historians say is unprecedented.

Fitzpatrick’s scrapbook of 500 photos dates from 1938 to 1948 and was shot in and around Williamsburg Brooklyn at the height of black migration from the South to the North. Fitzpatrick, whose family came from Alabama when she was 10 years old, meticulously documented her community, including names and dates.

Fitzpatrick’s son Dan Evans recalled his mother’s passion in an interview with CNN;

“She took a lot of portraits of individuals and portraits of families. But then sometimes she would just catch people on the street. She lived in a tenement building in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, on a street called Broadway, and they had a low roof. And she turned the rooftop into a photo studio.… My mother took it as a personal mission to become the historian for this time period because no one else had a camera.”

Fitzpatrick maintained her habit of photography her entire life, but never as detailed as the decade she spent documenting her life in Brooklyn. Her photos will appear at the National Museum of African American History & Culture’s Everyday Beauty exhibit.

16-year-old Laura Fitzpatrick in Brooklyn New York in the early 1940s
Laura Fitzpatrick’s mother, Elizabeth Fitzpatrick, stands at the right in this photo.


A friend of Fitzpatrick’s in front of a building in Riverside Park in Harlem.
Fitzpatrick’s friend, Lula, swims at Coney Island in 1945.
Fitzpatrick’s friends pose near a lamp shop.

Go to CNN.com for more of Fitzpatrick’s incredible photo diary.

alt alt alt alt alt alt alt

Antigua Sailing Week 2017

Mar. 25th, 2017 06:20 pm
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Posted by ivetteromero


Hosted by the Antigua Sailing Association, the 2017 Antigua Sailing Week is one of the best known sailing regattas in the Caribbean. This year, it will hold its 50th edition at English Harbour, Antigua, from April 30 to May 05, 2017.

Description (from ASW): Antigua Sailing Week is one of the premier sailing regattas and Ondeck Antigua’s Home Event and 2017 is an extra special year as [they] celebrate the 50th running of the event. Antigua Sailing Week consists of six challenging days of top class racing in, what are regarded as, the best sailing conditions in the World.

With a fleet of both owned and managed yachts and [their] base in Antigua Yacht Club Marina, Ondeck Sailing can offer you comprehensive local knowledge and the unique experience of being part of a local company with an unrivalled fleet with over 70 sailors all racing under the Ondeck banner. ASW “The 50th” training Friday 28th, RTI race Sat 29th and Racing 30th April -5th May (lay day 3rd May).

Scuttlebutt Sailing News reports: [. . .] Whilst yachts from Antigua and the Caribbean will be racing in numbers, the majority of sailors will come from Europe, especially Great Britain and Germany, as well as from North and South America, Scandinavia and as far away as Australia. Antigua Sailing Week produces a fine cocktail of top Caribbean sailors blended with yachtsmen and women from all over the world.

The CSA classes boast several previous class winners from overseas – Mike Slade’s world record breaking 100-foot Maxi Leopard 3, Sir Peter Harrison’s 115-foot ketch Sojana is back, as is Richard Matthews’ Oystercatcher XXXI. Other previous class winners from overseas include Adrian Lee’s Cookson 50 Lee Overlay.com, Ross Applebey’s Scarlet Oyster, Chris Jackson’s Arthur and Andy Middleton’s Quokka8.

[. . .] For decades, Caribbean sailors have come to Antigua Sailing Week for the last big battle of the season. The 50th Antigua Sailing Week will be a special one and as usual will feature trophies for Best Antiguan and Caribbean Yachts. [. . .]

For more information, see https://www.sailingweek.com/ and http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2017/01/24/antigua-sailing-week-celebrates-golden-edition/

[For image above and video, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYdhw4Mi6_o.]

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Posted by ivetteromero


I am not 100% sure how to describe the SOUVENIR project, but I promise to get more information; it is described on the poster as a “Limited Edition Exhibit Shop.” For now, I share this intriguing announcement sent out by architect/photographer Raquel Pérez Puig. Today (March 25, 2017) is The SOUVENIR Project’s first exhibition at 154 Fortaleza Street, 3rd Floor, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

There will be a selection of objects on display, selected from a series of creative people in different fields (designers, architects, writers, craftsmen, artists) who share “a high level of artistic expertise, depth in concept, and excellent execution.” The result is a select series of objects that will be on display starting at 3:00pm. If you are in Old San Juan, don’t miss it (and feel free to tell us about it)! There will be an opening celebration with cocktails at 6:00pm.

[Many thanks to Teo Freytes for bringing this item to our attention.]

See more on the organizer at http://perezpuig.format.com/

Cuba Libre

Mar. 25th, 2017 02:17 pm
al_zorra: (Default)
[personal profile] al_zorra
     . . . . . Hey there! Maybe . . . you were fortunate missing this expedition, for an expedition is more accurate a description than 'vacation' for the exertion, lack of sleep, constant moving and the misery of spending so many hours in the bus's bad seats and the worse chairs. None of we women avoided the dreaded edema of ankles and calves, and some of the men suffered it too. I'm guessing only one person managed not to get sick in some way or other during this expedition, though  only for a day -- she is tiny, and an old Cuba hand, which may have something to do with it. 


In Baracoa, oldest ville in Cuba and first capital, located in Guantánamo province, we stayed in Casas Particulars, as the single hotels still isn't open for business since Hurricane Matthew tore off the roof.  Baracoa is my favorite place in Cuba. If I lived in Cuba, this is where I want to live. Baracoa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Most likely the constant movement and lack of sleep did it. The food was of high quality ingredients and well prepared. Still, I quit eating about the last four days because of gippy tum.  I wasn't really sick, just felt awful. Still do, generally. 


I got bitten by something the first or second night in. Due to having to move so fast and the dimness of the light in the hotel rooms (hotels very nice!), I didn't notice the big bruise on my neck until my fingers encountered a series of large bumps radiating from my throat and around to the spinal bump below the skull.  I got scared, thinking of eggs laid, etc. But it was a rash (which in Cuban Spanish comes out as 'herpes' thereby scaring me even more) I was told by the clinician I was taken to see, irritated by sweat and my long dangling earrings. Soap and water. I used mouthwash as a disinfectant too, washing it frequently with a cotton swab, since sweat was unavoidable. I put cortisone on it too, though first neosporan. 


Our Lady of Assumption Church in Baracoa.  It houses what remains of the Sacred Cross of Parra. planted by Christopher Columbus in 1492 -- but it is made of native Cuban wood, thus not from Europe.  This bit of material history honestly gave me shivers when I viewed it.



This is what remains of a much larger cross.  Over the centuries pieces were taken as holy and material history relics. Now what is left remains on public display but behind a glass enclosure.


My own ankles swelled long before we ever got of the Holguín airport and to the hotel -- recall we arose at 3 AM and then didn't get to the hotel until around 4 PM. This was followed almost immediately by dinner -- with scheduled music at the lovely restaurant, not a group assigned by the state -- and then to another music event -- with those terrible seats. The circulation is cut off for the entire time. This may be where I got bitten, since the tables were on a (beautiful) patio. 


By the time we did the reverse trek and B and I got back to Thompson Street -- I've never been so depleted in my life. Not only physically, but mentally. There was never any time to process what we were seeing and hearing. B commented to me on the way home that maybe this time "even el Vaqueor gets it, that he was over-programmed." I was too worn out, hurting and sick to sleep the night we got back. So up at 6 AM -- another night of less than 5 hours of sleep. But by 6:30 PM Wednesday I was O-U-T.  Slowly my bedtime has been inching a little later, every night now.  I may make it to 10 PM tonight! 


However, again, this was a most splendid and intrepid group of Travelers. They took everything in stride and they loved the music. Their only criticism, if they had any, was, they'd have liked some time off and not such a rigorous and relentless schedule. They were wonderful and they are what made the trip work all the way down the line. I just loved them all and enjoyed getting to know them so much. One has tended to forget that our nation is filled with kind, intelligent, decent, generous people who are also fun to hang out with. Just this alone was good for us all. 


Nevertheless, I was still astounded at how quickly "the bus" bonded with each other, our guides and the driver -- who all were so splendid, and so different from those we had on the January 2016 tour. 


B also mentioned during the trek back home that the inability to spend much if any time online with the devices also incited people to interact with each other, the landscapes and experiences much more than if there was constant internet service. I'm not sure that would have been the case with this bunch -- they were such passionate music lovers, and only two of them were professionals, again, unlike the January 2015 expedition. 


That by-and-large they weren't professional music people made them more fun, at least for me. They all had specialties and professions, and whatever was needed at a moment, one of us could provide. This is also hard for more than just me on the bus, to spend every waking moment with other people, but we all managed that splendidly too, and that has to do with who these people are. 


The eastern part of Cuba has been having a terrible drought. Santiago had seen no rain for year. I arrived, however -- and the rains began! Just as on my trip in January 2016, it rained and rained, almost all the time. While on Ned's other two trips with Travelers, during which I stayed home, there was not a drop of rain. So Santiago owes me . . . and it is indeed, by its lights, repaying -- see further down . . . 


How quickly the trees, flowers, crops and other botanicals, the whole countryside, responded to even a little rain. The dried out trees began perking immediately, so much so that it was visible at least to me, who recalls what this part of the world usually looks like. By the time we left, the sides of the mountains that were brown as we flew from Ft. Lauderdale into the airport of Holguín, were turning green. Maybe I could hire myself out to drought-ravaged places? But wait! What about my own city and state? 


The eastern province, Oriente, has changed enormously. It's still the poorest part of of Cuba, and Guantánamo the poorest of the poor parts. I have been there before though, and to my eyes, it too looked enormously perked up, materially. Additionally, there were things I wanted to buy as gifts, which I've never had the least interest in doing in Havana, and in Holguín particularly, the center of the diversified agricultural region, the airport tiendas were a thousand thousand times nicer -- the departure lounge in every way was nicer -- than Havana's Jose Martí's. Good place to get duty-free. The things I bought outside of the airport are still in Ned's suitcase, as I swapped such things out in exchange for taking all his dirty laundry home -- mountains and mountains of dirty laundry from both of us -- an expedition in a hot, sweaty and rainy-to-monsooning period will do that. 


I was so happy finding things for gifts even more, maybe, than my other favorite totally personal bit -- when a brilliant woman from Alabama, who was raised a good deal in San Antonio, and now, among other things runs white water rafting expeditions down the Grand Canyon for challenged people who would otherwise never be able to have such an experience -- blind people, people who can't walk, autistic -- and imagine what kind of organization and back-up there is for this! -- well, Martha and I broke protocol and went and peed in the monte instead of standing in line for the baño, standing guard for each other. We felt like such outlaws. 🚽 Then A bought us beers, applauding our pluck, beers since we'd peed we now dared drink before getting back on the bus -- and the beers were -- Heineken, not the national Bucanero or Crystal. 🍺 


El V left us early on Tuesday, the day the rest of us flew back to the US. He's still in Havana; yesterday he had lunch with Pablo Milanés -- a very big deal. 


Wednesday, el V and CD were summoned to a meeting with the two women who run the Casas de Cultura of Cuba, and Culture policies and activities in general. These officials are 1000% behind what he and CD are doing with these Postmamboist Music seminars and want more -- he called me from habana vieja's casa de los abanicos where he was replacing my worked-to-death fan. They were laughing, and I would even describe Cd as giddy -- something one doesn't see often. Again as Ben observed on our flights back to NYC we didn't get to see her brilliant, beautiful smile and laugh much this round -- she was far too busy (she's also organizing Cuba Disco, the annual Cuban international music festival in Havana, which is coming right up) and anxious that everything go right -- working working, working, every minute.


I had told them both I was never going back to Cuba -- it's just too physically hard, but from casa de los abanicos Ned chortled, "O yes you are!" Both el V and I are officially invited to a cultural and history conference in Santiago early in July. The conference is going to pay for our airfare and hotel !!!!!!! -- Cuba!!!!! paying for somebody!!!!! -- to do a presentation of Slave Coast. 


Well, it will be good preparation for what we will have do for the Vera Cruz performance in October -- in Spanish. And if I didn't go, it would be a dis to those who invited us, and that wouldn't be good for el V. I can't do that. Also, I . . . don't . . . think . . . I have to ride a bus for hundreds of miles . . . . and never get any sleep. 


The breadth of music and culture the Travelers experienced -- is not to be compared with anything others get out of going to Cuba, at least in a group. And much of what the Travelers experienced could not be set up for an individual. Without el V and CD, this can't happen. No one can copy his tours. Nobody else knows all the ground, the people and have the connections and experience -- and the trust of everyone involved.


It was so good to be away from everything here. 


We all felt that way. While in Cuba no one was impatient to connect when connection was possible. People checked in on their kids and so on when opportunity arrived (kids basically adults, of course, not little kids or infants), but otherwise didn't bother.  Had no interest in the news outside of learning that back home it was snow and deep freeze, while where we were was beautiful and warm.


We regained equilibrium, perspective, sanity and dignity, despite the grueling aspects of the expedition.


Nor could it have happened without such a prepared and passionately involved group of people. I miss them.


El V gets back on Tuesday -- direct flight, no 3 hour layover, only a single security and customs line instead of two, and he's had a week of being able to sleep and not travel, so he'll be rarin' to go.


In the meantime I'm curious about what el V's been up to in Havana.  They -- he and CD -- apparently are doing a smaller group thing for the Rumba Festival in October.  He cannot let this one pass him by as CD got Rumba categorized as a UNESCO world heritage patrimony this year, and she got to rumba via el V.  This will be casas particulars not a hotel -- the rooms are exhorbitant in the hotels -- but also a bus for transport. This would be self-selected set of rumba heads, so it may well work.


That Wednesday meeting with the Directors de Casas de Cultura and Patrimony -- whatever it / they are called -- I can't keep these agencies and the people who run them straight -- seems to be directed toward more actitivies.  Other potential Cuba projects are being thrown at him as well. Who knows?  But unless things go entirely off track in the USA -- always possible -- more Cuba in the future, it looks like.  Nothing could make el V happier.


skywardprodigal: Beautiful seated woman, laughing, in Vlisco. (Default)
a princess of now

October 2010

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