Welcome to our blog "All Cuba" where we provide updated information on all things Cuban as it pertains to the art scene in the New York City metropolitan area and beyond.  Please visit us often and send us your listings.  Theatre, art, music, film... read about it here!!!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ricardo Porro, Architect/Artist (Cuba 1925 – France 2014)

Ricardo Porro, Architect –Artist (Cuba 1925 – France 2014)
This December 25, 2014, passed away, in a deep peace of mind and mental clarity, the prominent Cuban-French architect Ricardo Porro, following heart failure in the Montsouris Hospital in Paris, France.

Born in the city of Camagüey, Cuba, in 1925, he graduated in architecture from the School of Architecture of Havana in the 40's. He made his first trip to Europe in 1948, when he studied at the Sorbonne and at the Institute of Urbanism of Paris. In the following years, Porro traveled to Scandinavia and Italy, where he took part in different courses at the CIAM School with the most important architects and theorists of the modern movement such as Rogers, Gardella, Franco Albini and Bruno Zevi.

Back to Cuba, in 1950, he conceived and made in Havana his first works of architecture: the Villa Armenteros (1950), Villa Ennis (1953), Villa San Miguel (1953), Villa Villegas (1953), la casa Garcia (1954), the house Abbot-Villegas (1954) and Timothy Ennis (1957). These residences are part of the most important works of the modern architecture movement in Cuba, along with those of other young architects of his generation such as Frank Martinez, Nicolas Quintana, Manuel Gutierrez, Emilio del Junco, among others.

In the second half of the 50s, Ricardo Porro moved to Venezuela, where he was recruited as a professor of urban planning and architecture in the newly opened (1954) Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Caracas. He taught there along with the important Venezuelan architect and theorist Carlos Raúl Villanueva, as well as Wifredo Lam, who made in 1957, one of the murals of the University campus.

Back to Cuba, in 1959, he was called upon by the architect Selma Diaz to act as general coordinator of the National Schools of Art project, planned to be built on a former golf club in the district of Cubanacán, in the outskirts of Havana. Porro seized this opportunity and invited the Italian architects Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi, whom he had known in Caracas, to help him conceive and build what would be his masterpiece.

From 1961 to 1965, Ricardo Porro, directed the project and works of the School of visual Arts and Modern Dance, helped by a group of young students of architecture of the time. Nowadays, the Art Schools represent one of the most important works of architecture carried out in Latin America and, without doubt, the most well-known and published work of Cuban architecture in the world.

The fierce ideological struggles and extremist policies carried out by the Cuban revolution and, specifically, among Cuban architects and builders, forced him to emigrate permanently to Europe, settling in 1966 in Paris.

From his arrival in France until 1992, Porro taught and gave lectures in various schools of Architecture in France, such as Strasbourg, La Villette, Lille and, in the recent years, as a visiting professor in Berlin, Rabat, Gratz, New York, Havana, and Tel Aviv.

Since 1966, Ricardo Porro participated in important architectural competitions such as the Paláis de l'air et de l'espace (Paris), and the urban planning of the University of Villetaneuse, in collaboration with the Polish architect  André Mrowiec. His first work of architecture built in Europe was in 1969, when, at the request of Robert Altman, an important philanthropist and art collector, he conceived the L'Or du Rhin center in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

Following this first work and in parallel to his work as a sculptor and painter, Porro began to work and achieve numerous projects of architecture and urbanism:
The Youth House, in Vaduz, as well as a Holiday Village on the Island of Vela Luka, Yugoslavia, and the Esfahan villa, in Iran, 1975.

Between 1975 and 1985, Porro, in association with the architects Philippe Louguet, Jean Robien and Jean-François Dechoux, carried out several projects for architectural competitions, such as the School Gonzalo in Marne-la-Vallée, 1976; La Forêt residences, in Cergy-Pontoise, 1978; Library of The Source, in Villeneuve d'Ascq, 1979-1980; the Dance School of the Paris Opera, 1983; the extension of the town hall, Saint-Denis, 1985.

He re-validated his bachelor of architecture in France in the School of Architecture of Versailles and in 1986 he associated, with the young French Architect Renaud de La Noue, to establish his architecture firm in Paris. In the following years, his work as an architect and urban planner takes off and develops without never taking a break, building in France about 20 major projects including schools, hospitals, parks, office buildings, hotels and homes.

His architectural models, made between 1961 and 1980, can be visited at the Museum Les Turbulences FRAC Centre (Fonds Régionaux d'Art Contemporain) of the city of Orleans, France.

Ricardo Porro was a member of the French Order of Architects and the Republic of France awarded him, for all his work as an architect, artist and urban planner, the titles of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, Chevalier of the Légion d'Honneur and Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres.

In 1991, the French Institute of Architecture organized the important exhibition 'Gros Plan 1: Ricardo Porro. Focus on his works, and architecture projects'. In 2008, the Cintas Foundation, based in the city of Miami, awarded him the Cintas Architecture prize as a recognition of his long career as an intellectual and architect.

In 2009, the American director Robert Wilson made an opera based on the life of Ricardo Porro during the construction of the Schools of Art in Havana. In the year 2012, the president of the Italian Republic awarded him the Vittorio De Sica prize for Architecture, for the project of the School of Art, Havana, along with Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi.
Currently had finished painting a new series of paintings in large format, on a proposal for presentation by Michael Connors to exhibit at the MOLAA (Museum of Latin American Art) in Los Angeles USA, whose working title of the exhibition I proposed "Myths, Symbols and Visions."
The MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York will include original drawings of their projects The Schools of Art and Dance in Havana in his upcoming exhibition "Latin America in Construction: architecture 1955-1980" from March 29 to July 19 2015 among other important Latin American architects.
In Cuba, Ricardo was already part of the pantheon of the great Cuban intellectuals. His work and thought, extremely prolific as well as controversial, represent, beyond dispute, an important part of the universal contemporary architectural heritage.

Without a doubt, Ricardo Porro will remain in our memories as the great teacher, professor and inspirer of numerous generations of architecture and art students in the entire world, as well as one of the greatest intellectuals and architects who lived in Europe and Latin America between the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

All my condolences to Elena Freyre de Andrade, his beloved wife, dearest companion and friend throughout his life, as well as the rest of their family and friends.

Juan Luis Morales Menocal
Architect, Artist. Atelier Morales
Paris, December 26th, 2014

Translated by Fernan Morales

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

US brokers deal with Cuba

Breaking News!!!

Today history was made when President Obama addressed the Nation to deliver the message that US and Cuban relations will take a brand new course.

Office of the Press Secretary

Fact Sheet:  Charting a New Course on Cuba

Today, the United States is taking historic steps to chart a new course in our relations with Cuba and to further engage and empower the Cuban people.  We are separated by 90 miles of water, but brought together through the relationships between the two million Cubans and Americans of Cuban descent that live in the United States, and the 11 million Cubans who share similar hopes for a more positive future for Cuba. 

It is clear that decades of U.S. isolation of Cuba have failed to accomplish our enduring objective of promoting the emergence of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Cuba.  At times, longstanding U.S. policy towards Cuba has isolated the United States from regional and international partners, constrained our ability to influence outcomes throughout the Western Hemisphere, and impaired the use of the full range of tools available to the United States to promote positive change in Cuba.  Though this policy has been rooted in the best of intentions, it has had little effect – today, as in 1961, Cuba is governed by the Castros and the Communist party.

We cannot keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.  It does not serve America’s interests, or the Cuban people, to try to push Cuba toward collapse.  We know from hard-learned experience that it is better to encourage and support reform than to impose policies that will render a country a failed state.  With our actions today, we are calling on Cuba to unleash the potential of 11 million Cubans by ending unnecessary restrictions on their political, social, and economic activities.  In that spirit, we should not allow U.S. sanctions to add to the burden of Cuban citizens we seek to help.
Today, we are renewing our leadership in the Americas.  We are choosing to cut loose the anchor of the past, because it is entirely necessary to reach a better future – for our national interests, for the American people, and for the Cuban people.
Key Components of the Updated Policy Approach:
Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has taken steps aimed at supporting the ability of the Cuban people to gain greater control over their own lives and determine their country’s future.  Today, the President announced additional measures to end our outdated approach, and to promote more effectively change in Cuba that is consistent with U.S. support for the Cuban people and in line with U.S. national security interests.  Major elements of the President’s new approach include:

Establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba-
·         The President has instructed the Secretary of State to immediately initiate discussions with Cuba on the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were severed in January 1961.
·         In the coming months, we will re-establish an embassy in Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between our two governments as part of the normalization process.  As an initial step, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs will lead the U.S. Delegation to the next round of U.S.-Cuba Migration Talks in January 2015, in Havana.
·         U.S. engagement will be critical when appropriate and will include continued strong support for improved human rights conditions and democratic reforms in Cuba and other measures aimed at fostering improved conditions for the Cuban people.

·         The United States will work with Cuba on matters of mutual concern and that advance U.S. national interests, such as migration, counternarcotics, environmental protection, and trafficking in persons, among other issues. 

Adjusting regulations to more effectively empower the Cuban people-
·         The changes announced today will soon be implemented via amendments to regulations of the Departments of the Treasury and Commerce.   Our new policy changes will further enhance our goal of empowering the Cuban population.

·         Our travel and remittance policies are helping Cubans by providing alternative sources of information and opportunities for self-employment and private property ownership, and by strengthening independent civil society. 

·         These measures will further increase people-to-people contact; further support civil society in Cuba; and further enhance the free flow of information to, from, and among the Cuban people.  Persons must comply with all provisions of the revised regulations; violations of the terms and conditions are enforceable under U.S. law.

Facilitating an expansion of travel under general licenses for the 12 existing categories of travel to Cuba authorized by law-
·         General licenses will be made available for all authorized travelers in the following existing categories: (1) family visits; (2) official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; (3) journalistic activity; (4) professional research and professional meetings; (5) educational activities; (6) religious activities; (7) public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions; (8) support for the Cuban people; (9) humanitarian projects; (10) activities of private foundations or research or educational institutes; (11) exportation, importation, or transmission of information or information materials; and (12) certain export transactions that may be considered for authorization under existing regulations and guidelines. 

·         Travelers in the 12 categories of travel to Cuba authorized by law will be able to make arrangements through any service provider that complies with the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) regulations governing travel services to Cuba, and general licenses will authorize provision of such services. 

·         The policy changes make it easier for Americans to provide business training for private Cuban businesses and small farmers and provide other support for the growth of Cuba’s nascent private sector.  Additional options for promoting the growth of entrepreneurship and the private sector in Cuba will be explored.

Facilitating remittances to Cuba by U.S. persons-
·         Remittance levels will be raised from $500 to $2,000 per quarter for general donative remittances to Cuban nationals (except to certain officials of the government or the Communist party); and donative remittances for humanitarian projects, support for the Cuban people, and support for the development of private businesses in Cuba will no longer require a specific license.

·         Remittance forwarders will no longer require a specific license.

Authorizing expanded commercial sales/exports from the United States of certain goods and services-
·         The expansion will seek to empower the nascent Cuban private sector.  Items that will be authorized for export include certain building materials for private residential construction, goods for use by private sector Cuban entrepreneurs, and agricultural equipment for small farmers.  This change will make it easier for Cuban citizens to have access to certain lower-priced goods to improve their living standards and gain greater economic independence from the state.

Authorizing American citizens to import additional goods from Cuba-
·         Licensed U.S. travelers to Cuba will be authorized to import $400 worth of goods from Cuba, of which no more than $100 can consist of tobacco products and alcohol combined.

Facilitating authorized transactions between the United States and Cuba-
·         U.S. institutions will be permitted to open correspondent accounts at Cuban financial institutions to facilitate the processing of authorized transactions.

·         The regulatory definition of the statutory term “cash in advance” will be revised to specify that it means “cash before transfer of title”; this will provide more efficient financing of authorized trade with Cuba.

·         U.S. credit and debit cards will be permitted for use by travelers to Cuba.

·         These measures will improve the speed, efficiency, and oversight of authorized payments between the United States and Cuba.

Initiating new efforts to increase Cubans’ access to communications and their ability to communicate freely-
·         Cuba has an internet penetration of about five percent—one of the lowest rates in the world.  The cost of telecommunications in Cuba is exorbitantly high, while the services offered are extremely limited.

·         The commercial export of certain items that will contribute to the ability of the Cuban people to communicate with people in the United States and the rest of the world will be authorized.  This will include the commercial sale of certain consumer communications devices, related software, applications, hardware, and services, and items for the establishment and update of communications-related systems.

·         Telecommunications providers will be allowed to establish the necessary mechanisms, including infrastructure, in Cuba to provide commercial telecommunications and internet services, which will improve telecommunications between the United States and Cuba.

Updating the application of Cuba sanctions in third countries-
·         U.S.-owned or -controlled entities in third countries will be generally licensed to provide services to, and engage in financial transactions with, Cuban individuals in third countries.  In addition, general licenses will unblock the accounts at U.S. banks of Cuban nationals who have relocated outside of Cuba; permit U.S. persons to participate in third-country professional meetings and conferences related to Cuba; and, allow foreign vessels to enter the United States after engaging in certain humanitarian trade with Cuba, among other measures.

Pursuing discussions with the Cuban and Mexican governments to discuss our unresolved maritime boundary in the Gulf of Mexico-
·         Previous agreements between the United States and Cuba delimit the maritime space between the two countries within 200 nautical miles from shore.  The United States, Cuba, and Mexico have extended continental shelf in an area within the Gulf of Mexico where the three countries have not yet delimited any boundaries.

·         The United States is prepared to invite the governments of Cuba and Mexico to discuss shared maritime boundaries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Initiating a review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism-
·         The President has instructed the Secretary of State to immediately launch such a review, and provide a report to the President within six months regarding Cuba’s support for international terrorism.  Cuba was placed on the list in 1982.

Addressing Cuba’s participation in the 2015 Summit of the Americas in Panama-
·         President Obama will participate in the Summit of the Americas in Panama.  Human rights and democracy will be key Summit themes.  Cuban civil society must be allowed to participate along with civil society from other countries participating in the Summit, consistent with the region’s commitments under the Inter-American Democratic Charter.  The United States welcomes a constructive dialogue among Summit governments on the Summit’s principles. 

Unwavering Commitment to Democracy, Human Rights, and Civil Society
A critical focus of our increased engagement will include continued strong support by the United States for improved human rights conditions and democratic reforms in Cuba.  The promotion of democracy supports universal human rights by empowering civil society and a person’s right to speak freely, peacefully assemble, and associate, and by supporting the ability of people to freely determine their future.   Our efforts are aimed at promoting the independence of the Cuban people so they do not need to rely on the Cuban state.

The U.S. Congress funds democracy programming in Cuba to provide humanitarian assistance, promote human rights and fundamental freedoms, and support the free flow of information in places where it is restricted and censored.  The Administration will continue to implement U.S. programs aimed at promoting positive change in Cuba, and we will encourage reforms in our high level engagement with Cuban officials.

The United States encourages all nations and organizations engaged in diplomatic dialogue with the Cuban government to take every opportunity both publicly and privately to support increased respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba. 

Ultimately, it will be the Cuban people who drive economic and political reforms.  That is why President Obama took steps to increase the flow of resources and information to ordinary Cuban citizens in 2009, 2011, and today.  The Cuban people deserve the support of the United States and of an entire region that has committed to promote and defend democracy through the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Two Films by Ricardo Bacallao

Art Installation honors Dr. Cortina

Dedication to Dr. Cortina
An Art Installation by Luis Romero

Union City, NJ)  The City of Union City, Mayor Brian P. Stack & Board of Commissioners will be hosting an Art Installation by Louis Romero as a Dedication to Dr. Cortina opening tomorrow, Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 6:00 PM at the William V. Musto Cultural Center, 420 - 15th Street in Union City.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM 

William V. Musto Cultural Center
420 -15th Street
Union City, NJ

This exhibit is an installation consisting of an oil painting, three drawings, a photograph, a low relief sculpture/medal, and an informational video about Dr.Cortina, amongst other things. Everything in this installation is designed and made by Luis Romero, including the sign.  For the last two weeks, this installation was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he is employed.  Dr. Cortina visited the Met last week with his family to attend the exhibit and they were all very moved and impressed by it. 

Artist Louis Romero has been a Union City resident since his family migrated to the US from Cuba back in 1974.  Last year, the City of Union City honored Dr. Francisco Cortina before his retirement at the age 90 and after more than 40 years of serving our local community by naming a street after him ("Dr. Cortina Way").  

As a person indebted to Dr. Cortina for the medical services he has provided to Mr. Romero's family and to the community at large, Mr. Romero has worked diligently for the last year on this installation to honor the doctor in his own way.

Everyone in the community is invited.  Free Admission.  The exhibit will run from September 17 - October 6, 2014.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


a New Play... exposing abuse against women

(New York, NY)  The Hudson Fine Arts Foundation & The Grace Theatre Workshop, Inc. will be presenting the provocative new play, "Comfort", opening on Friday, July 18, 2014 at The Jewel Box Theatre in New York City and running through Friday, August 8th with a Special Gala Performance at Lincoln Center.  

"Comfort" deals with the horrific acts of violence towards "Comfort Women" or "sex slaves" by the Japanese during World War II.  The Japanese government would kidnap young girls as young as 14 years old from various countries including China and Korea and send them to their soldiers in the battlefield to "comfort" them.  Details from some survivors attest to being raped fifty to two hundred times a day.  But, more so, the play dares to bring forth the difficult subject of sex trafficking and physical abuse of women world-wide.  The current political issues around this topic are expressed through movement and straight dialogue. In the play, the leading character "Peter" must produce a documentary film about Comfort Women, but his boss disagrees with Peter's chosen subject matter.   In the meantime, Peter meets "Roksun", a comfort woman, in his dream.  With a great mix between experimental movement & poetry about serious political matter the play presents an important subject in a palpable artistic way.

"Comfort" is Written & Directed by Jung Han Kim; Produced by Megan Fernandez; Lighting Design by James Vitale; Costume Design by Ashley Rogers; Ou Hyuk Im, Production Manager; and Luis Camacho Dilorenzi, Stage Manager.  It stars Lucio Fernandez, Shannon Kelly, Taylor Schramm, David Couter, Josh Tucker, Audrey Smith, Kelsey Knight, Cat J. Lane, Ian Jesse Curtis, and Pallavi Seth.

presented by
Hudson Fine Arts Foundation, Jahye Kim, President 
& The Grace Theatre Workshop, Inc., Megan Fernandez, Artistic Director

Jewel Box Theatre
@WorkShop Theatre Company
312 West 36th Street, 4th Floor

Friday, July 18th @ 6:00 PM
Saturday, July 19th @ 7:00 PM
Saturday, July 26th @ 1:00 PM
Sunday, July 27th @ 6:30 PM
Friday, August 1st @ 7:30 PM

Admission:  $18.00
For tickets, please visit: www.midtownfestival.org
or call:  866-811-4111


Special Gala Performances of "Comfort" on Monday, August 4th and Friday, August 8th, 2014 at The Bruno Walter Auditorium @ Lincoln Center, NYC.  Special guests at the Gala Performances will be South Korean victims from World War II ("Comfort Women") as well as other dignitaries.

The Bruno Walter Auditorium 
@ Lincoln Center, NYC
40 Lincoln Center Plaza
Entrance at 111 Amsterdam Avenue, just below 65th Street

Gala Performances - "Comfort"
Monday, August 4th @ 7:00 PM
Friday, August 8th @ 7:00 PM

Admission: $18.00
or call: 212-868-4444

For further information, please visit:  www.HudsonFoundation.org or www.GraceTheatre.com

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Benefit Gala to Support Art Youth Group

The Grace Theatre Workshop, Inc., a not-for-profit youth based organization dedicated to providing free classes in the performing arts to children, will be holding their annual Spring Benefit Gala on Thursday, June 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM at the elegant The Graycliff, 122 Moonachie Avenue, Moonachie, New Jersey.  The Gala will feature live performances, delicious dinner, dance music, and a great time.  The organization will also be presenting Community Service Awards to individuals who have contributed to the betterment of the community as a whole.  

The evening will feature first class performances by West Hudson Opera members John Jay Hebert Jacqueline Thompson accompanied on piano by Jason Hart; a special performance by Jeanne Koehler on the harpand Eric Grossman on violin with Lida Mancheva on piano.

Donations for the Spring Benefit Gala are $100.00 per person and can be purchased by visiting:  http://www.gracetheatre.com/annualspringbene.html

Now into its fourteenth year, The Grace Theatre provides free classes in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap/Rhythm, Folkloric Dance/Salsa, Flamenco, Singing, and Acting to children from Hudson County as well as free admission to professional performances to the students and their families. This school year alone, over four hundred students received free classes at the Grace Theatre.

The Grace Theatre Workshop, Inc. has received much critical acclaim for its professional theatrical productions and is the premiere presenter of bilingual and Spanish language theatre in the State of New Jersey.  This year alone, the Grace Theatre has been the recipient of the prestigious ACE Award as well as the ATI Award.

The Grace Theatre Workshop, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization, and therefore donations are tax deductible.  Any contribution is greatly appreciated.  If unable to attend but would like to make a donation, please log on to:  www.GraceTheatre.com

Or mail a check or money order payable to:
The Grace Theatre Workshop
P.O. Box 4412
Union City, NJ 07087

For more information, please visit:  www.GraceTheatre.com 

Please support the arts and our children.  
It will undoubtedly be a wonderful evening. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Interview with Ricardo Bacallao

The Way of the Art: An Interview with Filmmaker Ricardo Bacallao
by Amy Evans

As an African Diaspora dramatist with an American passport, I occupy a position of unequivocal privilege. I can cross national borders without applying for a visa or even undergoing so much as an eye scan. And yet even this privilege fails to alleviate the feeling of emptiness, of something missing, something situated far beyond the borders of my present location. In everything I write, I directly address this emptiness, and with each new piece comes a new incarnation of who I am. 
Writing from this position poses a complex dilemma. How do I as a Diaspora artist negotiate the task of sharing truths with audiences that are not ready to hear them? How do I avoid the trap of becoming a spokesperson rather than a storyteller, a translator instead of an inventor? My solution has been to seek out scriptwriters whose work explores questions of race and identity without compromising artistic integrity. 
One such artist is Ricardo Bacallao, one of the most versatile and prolific young filmmakers to emerge on the New York scene. Since he was a kid, Bacallao had it in him to tell stories. He grew up in Havana next to a cinema and played there after school: “The workers in the cinema were friends of my family. It was like my backyard.” That he would one day pursue a career in filmmaking was not a choice, but a given. Bacallao attended the prestigious Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA) in Havana and graduated in 2002, his thesis -- a feature film in three segments, one of which he would later develop into the short film Mondongo cubano (2010) – having been censored the year he was meant to finish. He finally completed his studies at ISA with a different project, a documentary on the Havana Film Festival and society entitled Mimesis. This film was also censored, this time by the film festival itself, and was only shown in festivals outside of Cuba.
In 2002 Bacallao left Cuba for Germany, where he completed two of his best-known documentary films, Short Radiography of Hip-Hop in Cuba  (2004) and The Maji-Maji Readings (2006). He relocated to the United States and is now in his final year in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Asia Program, which has brought him to yet another part of the world: Singapore. I interviewed him a few weeks before he was due to head back to Singapore and asked him what the term ‘Diaspora’ meant to him. “Diaspora for me is a big journey,” he says. “Physical, spiritual. Cultural … it’s a big journey that never stops.” 
The first leg of this journey was Berlin, a city with a pulsating arts scene and a brutal colonial legacy: it was during the Berlin Conference of 1884 that the so-called ‘Scramble for Africa’ was formalized, and the continent was effectively divided up among European nations. “When I was living in Cuba, I never thought I belonged to any Diaspora. It was only when I started living in Germany. In Germany, if there’s another Black person [on the street], he says hello to you, greeting you. This was something very weird to me. I said to myself, ‘Why?’ I realized at that moment that I belonged to a community, the Black Diaspora.” Making documentaries was a way for Bacallao to explore this shift in perspective. The Maji-Maji Readings features some of Berlin’s most prominent creative and intellectual voices -- Ekpenyong Ani, Philippa Ébené, and Grada Kilomba -- reflecting critically on everyday racism and German popular culture. “It’s like when you are far away, there’s something pushing you to go on this kind of journey, the journey to find out who you are. In Cuba, this pressure is not going to be there in the same way.”
What is the driving force behind this push for self-discovery? Under the British, the slave system in the United States sought to permanently wipe out the languages, religious practices and traditions that enslaved Africans had brought with them from the continent. The manner in which the slave system developed in Cuba differed significantly, resulting in a greater sense of connection with African traditions: “In Cuba, African culture was so strong,” says Bacallao. “We don’t look toward going to Africa because Africa is in Cuba.” And yet, for Bacallao, leaving Cuba – traveling abroad and looking back from a distance – has created a new urgency to embrace what has been left behind. “As an artist it’s important to go out traveling, to see what’s going on outside in the world. This is the good side of being in the Diaspora. At the same time you have many questions about who you are and where you are going. You’ve left behind your own people, your family, your friends, you start up a new life. Sometimes it’s very traumatic, this kind of thing. Not sometimes - all the times. It’s something you’re not ready for. You think you’re ready, but you’re not, because you don’t know. Diaspora is not voluntary. It’s a situation where there are external elements pushing you to move.”
Bacallao admits that he would probably not be making the same kinds of films if he had remained in Cuba: “When I was living in Cuba, [the films] were more about social conflicts, communities.”  Being far away has challenged him to move in a more intimate direction. In Offering to Yemaya: Goddess of the Sea (2009), Bacallao allows his audience a measured glimpse into the world of Santería, a religion brought to Cuba by Africans who had been captured and transported to the Caribbean as slaves. The film documents a Santería ceremony in which worshippers pay tribute to Yemaya, the mother of all the Orishas, or deities of Santería. “I decided to do something about Santería because I needed to know more about this. That was my feeling, like, ‘Oh, I need to do something there.’” Aware that he stood a chance of alienating viewers who might find images of the ritual overwhelming, Bacallao made careful choices about what to film and what to cut. “For me it was so fascinating to be there inside of the ritual, but I realized for many people it’s too much. So I cut out many scenes. I showed some part of the ritual, and for me, it was enough.” His strategy for achieving this level of accessibility is to take an economical approach: “You don’t try to say too much,” he says. “I think this is the challenge: to be specific with the audience but at the same time not be superficial. A good story is a story people will understand.”
The strategy seems to be working. Whether the setting is in an impoverished Cuban household, the ultra-trendy streets of Berlin, or a shrine in downtown Singapore, Bacallao’s films, while unapologetically political, are at heart good stories:, challenging, bittersweet and unpredictable. In his short fiction film The Offering (2008), a young African widower going to pay tribute to his dead Indian wife at a local shrine is turned away by a Chinese caretaker who insists that Blacks – as well as dogs – are not allowed inside. Defeated, the young man starts to leave, but an act of divine intervention leads him back to the shrine and inspires him to fight for his right to honor his loved ones. Shot in black-and-white in a style reminiscent of 1970s kung-fu films, Bacallao weaves humor and irony into a touching story about pride and redemption without downplaying the contentious issue of racism in Singapore: “I think this is the way
of the art, to give light or illuminate conflicts.”
So how does an artist with such a broad range at his disposal decide what stories to tell? Bacallao’s response is to remain true to himself and to his own point of view in seeking out stories that have universal appeal: “The challenge is to be explicit with the audience without being superficial,” he says again. “This is the challenge for any artist who lives in a different country.” Mondongo cubano (2010), his latest film, is set during the ‘Special Period’ in the 1990s during which Cuba was plunged into the most disastrous economic crisis since the Cuban Revolution. An ageing zoo-keeper, unable to bring himself to poison the zoo’s last lion, decides to bring the animal home and take care of it himself. His family, struggling already to make ends meet, balk at the idea at first – until they realize that the scheme might persuade the state to grant them a new and better house. Certain the additional hardship will pay off in the future, the family welcomes the beast into their home -- with desperately tragic consequences. How does this story translate for mainstream American viewers – many of whom were too busy celebrating the collapse of the Soviet Union to notice the devastating knock-on effect it had in Cuba? “Before starting to shoot, I deleted many political situations I had written before,” says Bacallao. “I tried to concentrate more on the story instead of the context.” Political tensions become familial tensions; the desperation of an entire nation is encapsulated in a single family’s willingness to gamble their lives on the promise of a better future.  
“I’m always part of the minority,” says Bacallao. “When you’re part of the Diaspora, you’re part of a minority everywhere you go. It’s curious … I have been some places where I say, ‘Whoa, if I’m not here, there’s no Black person!” For Bacallao, this means he has a duty to come to voice, to ensure that his story and the stories he gathers throughout his travels are told. “I realized, ‘OK, there’s something you need to tell that nobody has said before.’”
Ricardo Bacallao is currently at work on a feature film set in New York and New Jersey, a thriller featuring another Diaspora to which he belongs: the Cuban community.
Playwright Amy Evans seeks through her work to critically examine the impact of displacement, alienation and political violence on the human spirit. Her newest play, The Most Unsatisfied Town, based on the death-in-custody of Oury Jalloh, was completed while in residency at the Institute of Cultural Inquiry in Berlin earlier this year. She is based in New York. www.scriptingrage.com

SonSublime... NEW Music Video

New York's Premiere Charanga Band has a new video.
Check it out:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KVlrZichgc

(Courtesy of www.HavanaNewYork.com)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014 @ 3pm
The Union City Performing Arts Center presents:

in concert, pianist 
Angel Roque 
& his Orchestra

A musical journey through his recordings.

Union City Performing Arts Center (UCPAC)
2500 Kennedy Boulevard
Union City, New Jersey 07087

Tickets: $50., $40. & $30.

For tickets and info, please call: (201) 348-4332

Tickets for sale at:
America's Stationery, Inc.
4302-04 Bergenline Ave.
Union City, NJ, 07087
(201) 348-4332

Free Parking
available at the 23rd Parking Deck between Summit & Kerrigan Avenues.

For more info and directions go to: www.unioncitypac.com

For more info on Angel Roque, please go to: www.aroquemusic.com

To listen to and/or purchase Angel Roque's album "Romancero" go to:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fiesta del Mamoncillo

Saturday, June 21, 2014 - 1pm to 8pm
El Club Cubano Inter-Americano presents:

The Original Traditional

Fiesta del Mamoncillo
(Recordando el Mamoncillo)

3 Live Bands!

La Charanga 76
Grupo Irék

DJ Broadway

Once again, El Club Cubano Inter-Americano is proud to present the event that made them legendary ---La Fiesta del MamoncilloThis year we’re back in Queens, New York featuring 3 live bands: SonSublime, La Charanga 76 and Grupo Irék plus DJ Broadway in-between sets.  This traditional Cuban event that dates back to 1920s Havana, and which was started here in the NYC Metro area 45 years ago in 1969 by El Club Cubano Inter-Americano, has throughout the years, attracted Cuban music lovers and dancers from the tri-state, as well as states as far away as Florida, and has become the leading event that maintains Cuban culture and history in the North Eastern United States.  This event is open to the public - all are welcome. 

Please join us on Saturday, June 21st, 2014 for an outdoor music and dance festival like no other ---A true original!

at the beautiful outdoor garden of
B31 Restaurant & Lounge 
58-05 31st Avenue,
Woodside, NY 11377
For map and directions, click here.

Admission: $40 p/p. Advance tickets only, space is limited.

To purchase tickets online, go to: www.elmamoncillo2014.eventbrite.com

For tickets by phone, please call:
in NYC & Westchester: Jesse Herrero 914-373-4468
Bronx: Elena Martos 718-367-8409
Brooklyn: Merline 718-462-1779

Tickets also available at:
Casa Latina - 151 East 116th Street, New York, NY 10029
Tel: 212- 427-6062

This is a very popular event - Order your tickets early!

Mojito bar, authentic Cuban food, and beverages will be for sale on premises. Valet and street parking available. Event will be held indoors in case of inclement weather.

Absolutely no outside food or beverages are allowed to be brought into the B31 premises.

El Club Cubano Inter-Americano
is a Cuban cultural and social club established in 1945 by Cuban residents who saw the need to develop a cultural space for Cubans and Latin Americans living in New York, regardless of race, sex, creed, political affiliation or religious preference. El Club Cubano's objective is to celebrate Cuba's rich cultural heritage through programs and events, serving as a conduit of information about Cuban culture, here and abroad. El Club Cubano Inter-Americano, legally registered in the state of New York as The Cuban Inter-American Cultural and Social Club Inc., a not for profit organization.

For information on El Club Cubano Inter-Americano go to: www.ecciny.org

For more info on La Fiesta del Mamoncillo go to: www.fiestadelmamoncillo.org

Also visit www.HavanaNewYork.com your guide to Cuban music & more…

Cuban Filmmaker in Union City

Conversation About Cuban Film
with renowned filmmaker Ricardo Bacallao… "The Cuban Woody Allen"

& World Premiere of the film "Mondongo Cubano"

The City of Union City presents Conversation About Cuban Film with renowned filmmaker Ricardo Bacallao, known as "The Cuban Woody Allen" on Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 8:00 PM at the William V. Musto Cultural Center, 420 - 15 Street, Union City, NJ.  There will be live music and refreshments.  Admission is free.

The evening will be dedicated to a discussion about Cuban cinema, its style, and its influence on filmmaking world-wide.  The World Premiere screening of  the short film "Mondongo Cubano" will be followed by a question and answer period with its director/producer, Ricardo Bacallao.

About Ricardo Bacallao
"There is a small group of modern filmmakers who have made a significant impact in the New York City film industry, and in doing so, revolutionized the industry as a whole and most importantly how the general public sees their respective communities; most notably Spike Lee, Martin Scorsese, and Woody Allen.  These three exceptional filmmakers are New York.  What was missing?  The Latino perspective.  Now add to this short list a hungry, young, Cuban filmmaker trained at some of the world's most prestigious film schools, and you have Ricardo Bacallao. 
Ricardo Bacallao was born in Havana, Cuba. He graduated as Director of film, TV, and Radio from Havana's Superior Institute, and received his MFA in film from NYU (Tisch Asia school of the Art, in Singapore). While living in Madrid and Berlin, Ricardo participated several times in the Berlin Film Festival, including being awarded as the first Cuban representative to the festival's Talent Campus at the first time event in 2003 and awarded again in 2004. In 2010, a segment Ricardo produced for CUNY TV's magazine show Nueva York won a New York Emmy Award. Since that time, he has been working as a freelance director, Cameraman, producer and editor of documentary and Fiction.  “Mondongo Cubano”; “Christmas Therapy” are the latest short films. His current documentary is “Rite of Passage” for California Endowment Fund, about the curriculum program of Dr. Maulana Karenga, who created Kwaanza.  Ricardo first came to the U.S. in December of 2005 from Germany, when he was invited to tour universities around the United States screening his documentaries on topics such as race, immigration, Santeria, and madness in the arts. Bacallao is just completing "The Uncle’s Request”, his first feature film, a Political thriller, and Romañach, a dramedy, is in pre-production. The goal of Ricardo is to produce a feature film every year in the U.S. with the background of the Cuban perspective as Woody Allen, Scorsese and Spike Lee did films for their communities.  No doubt that Ricardo will accomplish this goal.  If the aforementioned filmmakers are synonymous to NYC, then we can safely say… Ricardo Bacallao is "The Cuban Woody Allen". "

--The Hudson Independent News

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tania Baez presenta Voy Por Mas

(New York City, NY)  La aclamada periodista y locutora Tania Baez les trae un conferencia especial "Voy Por Mas" el Domingo, 18 de mayo, 2014 de 4:00 PM a 7:00 PM en el HSA-UWC 4 West 43rd Street, NYC, NY.  Ingreso: $65.00 por persona.  Para formalizar tu registro y aprovechar el precio de la Preventa - hasta el 16 de Mayo 2014.  Visite:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/voy-por-mas-new-york-tickets-11117054409

Un nuevo día,   una nueva oportunidad!….¿La vas a aprovechar, o la vas a dejar pasar?….

Descubre ¿Quien eres? ¿Cual es tu Pasion? , ¿Que quieres y Como Conseguirlo? Quieres retarte a salir de la zona cómoda que te distancia de tus sueños? ¿Quieres mayor productividad en tu vida laboral y mas plenitud en tu vida personal?  Te garantizamos compartir herramientas para crear una vida extraordinaria!

Tania Baez
Basándose en su propia experiencia y en la de hombres y  mujeres exitosos -en lo personal y profesional-,  la conocida Comunicadora, Coach y  Conferencista,  brinda consejos concretos y herramientas para ayudarnos a conseguir nuestro máximo potencial.  La mejor inversión para iniciar el 2014 empoderandote de lo que hasta hoy solo eran sueños y a partir de este encuentro convertirás en metas realizables. 

¿De que hablaremos?

*Descubre TU PASION
¿Qué mensajes recibiste (creencias) y como pueden limitar tu potencial o usarlas a tu favor?
El poder  de las palabras
Define tu propio camino y establece tu marca
Decide y planifica tu futuro. Plan de Metas. Plan de acción.

¿Como lo haremos? Una conferencia/ Taller ágil, profunda, Interactiva sin dejar de ser divertida. Con ejercicios prácticos provocaremos la pasión y ambición para reconectarte con tu fuerza interior y atreverte a salir de la zona cómoda para garantizarte el crecimiento que mereces.

Tania Baez
Experiencia de mas de 25 anos en los medios de comunicación de RD (TV, Prensa escrita, Radio). Coach Certificada por la ICC y con una Certificación en Neuroliderazgo.  Experta en temas de capacitación y crecimiento profesional, Tania,  comparte  con la audiencia sus artículos motivacionales   a través  de su columna: "Vive, Ama y Agradece" en la Revista Ritmo Social del periódico Listín Diario, por la revista Forbes RD,  y por el programa de radio que conduce, "Las Hijas de su Madre"; así como también vía las redes sociales donde tiene una presencia muy activa y miles de seguidores. Tania esta en la fase de creación de un libro autobiográfico y de auto ayuda que saldrá en el 2014 y en la creación de un proyecto de Liderazgo y emprendimiento que se inaugurara su primera versión en Mayo 2014 en Santo Domingo.


Mas Sobre Tania Baez

Es TOP 5 Líder en Publico AB  *Liderazgo en credibilidad en Mujeres de 18 a 35 anos y 40+ Es una de las figuras de mayor credibilidad y popularidad entre las mujeres de entretenimiento de REPUBLICA DOMINICANA.

Conozcamos mas de su trayectoria: 28 anos de carrera, Exitosa productora de TV, creadora de “Hola Gente” durante 15 anos, una de las producciones televisivas mas populares de la Rep. Dominicana que se transmitió también a Estados Unidos a través de Televisión Dominicana por las señales de Dish y Direct TV.  

Conductora en el 2009 del reality Misión Patagonia, filmado en La Patagonia Argentina por Endemol. 
En 2010 produjo y condujo el exitoso reality “La Finca”, líder de audiencia en verano de ese año

Una de las figuras de mayor prestigio y admiración del mercado Dominicano, según estudios realizados por empresas privadas. Además de la conducción de los mas importantes eventos del país, ha incursionado como actriz en Cine en la película “Un macho de Mujer” y en septiembre 2008 en el teatro musical junto a su colega Milagros German, como protagonistas y productoras generales del musical: “Glamour Sexo Divas y otras mentiras” en el Teatro Nacional, llenando a capacidad 5 funciones con 7500 personas.

Creadora y Editora Revista OH para periódico Listin Diario (1997 al 2000). Editora Revista Viu y directora de Revistas Periódico El Siglo. (2001 al 2003)

Ganadora de importantes premios como: Premios Casandra, Latín Pride Awards, Jaycees como Joven Sobresaliente y múltiples reconocimientos por su destacada trayectoria profesional.

Es una de las Top 10 con mas seguidores en Redes en Rep Dominicana con cerca de 320,000 seguidores en twitter y 28,000 en Instagram. 

Esta certificada en Coaching y Neuroliderazgo, ejerce como Conferencista Transformacional.

Creadora de los Talleres/conferencias #VOYPORMAS donde desafía a los asistentes a conectarse con una versión superior de ellos mismos. 

Realiza una notable labor social a favor de los niños con cáncer y con discapacidad.

Tania Baez 
Conferencia "Voy Por Mas"
Domingo, 18 de mayo, 2014 
de 4:00 PM a 7:00 PM
4 West 43rd Street
Ingreso: $65.00 por persona 
Para formalizar tu registro y aprovechar el precio de la Preventa - hasta el 16 de Mayo 2014.  
Para mas información:  VoyPorMasNewYork@gmail.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Cubanoson: The Story

(Union City Artist Award Winner, Papo Ortega & his lovely wife, Rosa)

Catch multi-award winner Papo Ortega in this mini documentary about his life and his musical group, Cubanoson.

Son Cubano
40-4 Riverwalk Place
West New York, NJ 07093

New Cuban Cinema

The Bildner Center 30 years 2

New Cuban Cinema

55 Years of a Shared Dream

This event features the screening of three films followed by a conversation between Luciano Castillo, Director of Cuban Film Archives, and Professor Jerry Carlson, Bildner Center Senior Fellow. This event is a collaborative effort by the Bildner Center and the Havana Film Festival and forms part of the Bildner Center's Cuban Music and Arts Initiative.
Films subtitled in English
Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 6PM
The Graduate Center, Room C204/05

Films screened:
El Cowboy - Jesus de Armas
El Cowboy
Jesús de Armas|Cuba|1962|Animation|8min
A short animation that satirizes American Western films.
Corto de animación que satiriza las películas norteamericanas del oeste.
Now - santiago alvarez now-150x150
Santiago Alvarez|Cuba|1965|Experimental|6min
One of Álvarez’s most famous works, Now! discusses racial discrimination in the USA and includes mixed news photographs and musical clips featuring singer/actress Lena Horne.
historias-de-la-revolucion-Tomas Gutierrez Alea
Historias de la Revolución
Tomás Gutiérrez Alea | Cuba | 1960 | Fiction | 81min
The first feature film after the Revolution was Gutiérrez Alea’s directorial debut, which reenacts three important episodes of the armed struggle. One of his least-known works, it depicts three stories about the fight against Batista’s dictatorship in 1950s Cuba: “El herido,” “Rebeldes,” and “La batalla de Santa Clara.”
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To reserve email bildner@gc.cuny.edu