arts 09.18.06

Cuban Dossier

The late Emilio Sanchez was known for his paintings featuring bright, colorful geometrics intersected by areas of sunlight and shadow. He moved from Cuba to New York in 1944 but never lost his tropical vitality. He painted New York, too: who could resist "Crosstown Traffic"?…Arturo Cuenca is a contemporary Cuban artist/photographer living in the city. "Thisn't Havana," an oil on canvas, is shown here…At the Cuba Art NY website, an online photographic exhibition by Gory called "Innerland" includes "Blue Cadillac," the featured image at left…Cuba Now is an excellent digital magazine of Cuban arts and culture, updated daily.

This Wednesday at 8pm, see the NYC premiere of a 60-minute film about Cuban Popular Music on Film 1929-1960s, from Son to Rumba, with rarely seen footage. It will be hosted by film collector/ private researcher Henry Medina and drummer Eddie Bobe, who will lead a discussion following the screening. It takes place at The Stone, Ave. C [2nd]. $10.

Everyone's fleet of foot when they're dancing to a Charanga orchestra like Son Sublime, based in NYC. Listen to their CDs or book them for an event—just be prepared to dance.

· Agozar!, 324 Bowery [Bleecker] 212.677.6773
• Cafecito, 185 Ave. C [11th/12th] 212.253.9966
• Cafe Fuego, 9 St. Marks Pl. [2nd/3rd] 212.677.7300
• Cafe Habana, 17 Prince [Eliz] 212.625.2001
Cuba Cafe, 200 8th [20th/21st] 212.633.1570
• Cubana Cafe, 110 Thompson [Prince] 212.966.5366 and 272 Smith [Sackett/DeGraw] Bklyn 718.858.3980
Cuba, 222 Thompson [Bleecker/W. 3rd] 212.420.7878
Havana Alma de Cuba, 94 Christopher [Bleecker/Bedford] 212.242.3800
Little Havana, 30 Cornelia [Bleecker/W. 4th] 212.255.2212

At the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts (at Lincoln Center), there's an exhibition on now called Dance in Cuba—dancers on stage, in rehearsal halls, and in everyday life. The photographs are by Gil Garcetti, better known as a prosecutor and L.A. District Attorney.

Plan your mambo nights with the help of these two websites: Salsa NY and Planet Salsa.

One of the most popular Cuban films in recent years was "Viva Cuba" (2005), a charming and poignant Romeo and Juliet variation about a young boy and girl who face the prospect of separation when the girl's mother plans to leave Cuba. Read more here.

For some people, too much mambo is never enough. Here's a documentary just for you: Mambo tells the story of how the mambomania craze all started. You can watch the 52-minute documentary online for $4.95.

Andy Garcia's movie The Lost City got beat up pretty good by critics when it came out. Here's an interesting defense of same, by writer Humberto Fontova.

The Havana Film Festival generally takes place in late April.

Three sites that sell everything from Havana shirts and vintage postcards, to food products, to a Cuban lottery ticket from 1929:
Cuban Food Market
Cuba Nostalgia
Cuba Collectibles

The current administration has clamped down on entering Cuba via Mexico or Canada, though it hasn't exactly stopped Americans traveling to the island. Technically, it's not travel to Cuba that's illegal but spending money there is, so it's a distinction without a difference. The regulations are set out by the State Department but basically, you're supposed to be a journalist, a member of the government, or a legit researcher to go there; licenses may also be granted for academic, religious or humanitarian groups—more information at the Treasury Department. The website Cuba Pictures will whet your appetite to visit.

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