THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED:
Video (no audio) begins at approx. 31:32 with the seating of the distinguished guests including Cuba’s President Raul Castro, and Cuba’s prima ballerina Alicia Alonso. U.S. President Barack Obama’s v/o introduction in English begins at approx. 41:19 (with audio).
Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the Cold War embargo between the United States and Cuba is coming to an end. Normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations will enter a brand new era. Truth be told, hints of the thaw, were apparent in 2008 even in Little Havana. And oppositiono about the announcement will begin to sound like the crotchety old guy yelling “get off my lawn!”
The bulk of the GOP comments suggested that, for now at least, the conservative base remains firmly committed to keeping relations with Cuba in the deep-freeze where they have been for half a century. That position, however, is increasingly at odds with the view of the electorate at large.
Even the Pope has given his blessing after making a divine intervention. Others played parts too both secular and sacred leading up to this moment.
Questions still remain re prisoner exchanges. For one American (Alan Gross), Cuba welcomes back three nationals arrested for spying in the U.S. Two more Cubans remain in custody. Will there be another prisoner exchange? Or an exchange of prisoners for U.S. political fugitives. The next chapter is yet to be written.
Something tells me the last 2 years of the Obama Presidency will not have a lame-duck finish. Fasten your seatbelts….
Artists, journalists, religious institutions, students and academics still have a shot at getting their mojito on with a Treasury Department license. But no cigar and rum smuggling please.
And jazz is still hot!
Maybe hotter than the 95 + degree heat.
I’m sure in anticipation of the end of the embargo, Wynton Marsalis was checking Havana out for the next jazz superstar who will be young, passionate about the music, and bring a unique groove to the sound. Hey, they even had a Facebook sign up sheet for the Jazz at Lincoln Center event in Havana! I can say I was there before Wynton (jazz and all).
Arts and commerce often bring down walls without firing a single shot.
A monthly party with all the AfroCuban vibes & beyond.
A project from Asho Productions.
This Thursday October 14th, 2010.
New Location!!! NO COVER!
Sutra Lounge in Adams Morgan.
2406 18th Street NW,
Washington DC 20009 www.sutraloungeadamsmorgan.com
Music by resident DJ Asho playing ALL night the best of salsa, timba, guanguaco, cuban reggaeton, rumba y yoruba.
Chucho Valdez Quartet and the Afro Jazz Messengers
Saturday, October 30, 8 PM
Tickets available here.
Multiple Grammy Award-winning pianist Chucho Valdes, “the dean of Latin jazz,” has made an illustrious career performing with countless jazz masters, including Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, and Chick Corea. “Valdes demonstrates a dizzying exuberance at the piano…like [he] can barely contain his enthusiasm” (All About Jazz). “Compared to everyone from Oscar Peterson and McCoy Tyner to Duke Ellington and Count Basie, Valdes is spoken of in reverent terms throughout the community of jazz musicians” (Los Angeles Times). Sample his new album in this rehearsal video.
Here’s the next Food and Folklore event for January:
Here’s the menu:
Passed Hors D’ouevres
Mojito Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers
Tostones topped with Black Bean Puree and Habanera-Lime Sour Cream
Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche
Empanadas de Queso
Avocado-Mango Salad with Jalapeno Lime Vinaigrette
Grilled Pork Tenderloin or Red Snapper with Guava Glaze and Mojo Sauce
over Black Beans and Rice
Coconut Caramel and Rum Flan
WHEN: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 6:30 PM
WHO: NPR correspondent Tom Gjelten will share highlights from his biography of the Bacardi family (Bacardi and the Long Fight for Cuba), founders of the rum company that inspired the “Cuba Libre”; and Daphne Muse, writer and mixologist specializing in “rhum,” will introduce her recent creation, the “Zojito” a libation paying tribute to Zora Neale Hurston. Muse was a judge for the first US International Cane Spirits Festival Competition presented by the Ministry of Rum. (Proper ID required for rum tasting.)
Make that reservation:
email@example.com or call 202-332-ZORA (9672) Eatonville Restaurant
2121 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
When Richard Wright came to Chicago from the South, he worked as a postman just before his first book was published.
JaBen Early plays Bigger Thomas in Richard Wright’s adaptation of his first novel Native Son for the The American Century Theatre directed by Bob Bartlett. “Native Son” opens tonight, April 14th (Arlington, VA). Rising from the Shreds
Easter Sunday, mezzo soprano Denyce Graves wore a dress given to her by the contralto Marian Anderson as she performed Anderson’s historic 1939 concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Two days before the event, Graves put Anderson’s dress into the dry cleaners for special handling and cleaning. It was returned in shreds. Fortunately this wardrobe malfunction happened under the counter. Like Cinderella’s fairy godmother, the costume teacher from the Duke Ellington School for the Arts and the crew from the Washington National Opera reconstructed the dress overnight before Sunday’s event. Ellington’s Beverly Johnson took a bow. Over 2,000 people showed up for the free concert which was followed by a ceremony for new citizens taking the oath of citizenship. A great day.
President Barack Obama Eases Some Travel Restrictions to Cuba
The embargo’s still on, but Cuban Americans don’t have to wait years to see their families, and some U.S. telecoms will be able to drop calls on the island. Only AT&T had service when I visited in 2000. The visit picked up for me once I got out of the tourist areas and into the neighborhoods. That’s how I met a photographer named Leslie Sinclair. Anyone with any interest in art, culture, jazz and getting around like a true native eventually hooked up with Leslie. He now lives in Switzerland with his wife and daughter. Below is a photo from Leslie’s portfolio. I’m still on the look-out for an exhibit space here in the U.S. to display his work. Click herefor a 4.4 MB PDF sample (note: pdf quality does not accurately refelct photo quality).
Tax day is tomorrow – April 15
Sandra Cisneros’ The House On Mango Street turns 25!
25 years already??!! This is one of my favorite books. It’s a collection of short stories, actually vignettes about a young girl, Esperanza Cordera, growing up in Chicago. One of the vignettes is titled “Hips.”
One day you wake up and they are there. Ready and waiting like a new Buick with the keyes in the ignition. Ready to take you where?
One Book, One Chicago is celebrating with a city read of The House On Mango Street. Cisneros has a schedule of readings starting this month to mark the anniversary. Check out her website – www.sandracisneros.com.
Neverland Gets a Grown Up Dose of Today’s Reality
Maybe Peter Pan has joined the Navy SEALs, but Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is being downsized and its contents auctioned. The wake “viewing” is today at the old Robinsons-May building. Admission is $20. Bids are already being taken at juliens-auctions.com. Expectations are high for a single glove to rake in $10,000 (minimum bid). Jackson’s debt is estimated at approximately $24 million.
The exhibition is loosely organized into three categories — stage wear and music memorabilia, toys and Disneyana, and furniture and decorative arts. There are numerous music honors — awards from People’s Choice, Billboard, the NAACP, MTV and more — record displays, a Madame Tussauds wax figure of the star and a letter from President Reagan. A ceremonial crown, scepter and faux ermine cape, cropped military jackets and costume brooches are reminders of Jackson’s 1980s fashion icon status.
As far as I’m concerned, this man-child Michael is still missing.
Update: Apparently the King of Pop gets to keep his treasures. Juliens Auction House has been told to “beat it” after reaching a settlement. But the “viewing” still goes on. It is now a “promotional exhibit.” Hmmm, I sense a little PR chain yanking here.