Live from Havana - Day 3

Havana Day 3

Every travel experience seems to have a day of cancelled appointments and near misses--today was that day. It started well, with breakfast with Scottish filmmaker pal Eirene Houston, whom I met at last year's Havana Film Festival. Her film, The Cuban Way, tells of the exuberance of contemporary Cuban dance. A cancellation suddenly freed up my afternoon, which allowed me to take the long walk up 23rd, where I had the worst pizza I have ever eaten (most of the Cuban pizza I've had is quite tasty) and discovered a vendor who sold me some of X Alfonso's CDs, including his fabulous reinterpretation of Beny Moré. 

Our pal and Executive Producer Rick Swig mounted his first ever photo exhibit at Fresa y Chocolate (Strawberry and..well, you know), named after the iconic Cuban film from the 90s. Great jazz by the Lopez-Nussa brothers and Yaroldi on percussion, with Aldo Lopez-Gavilan sitting in for a few tunes, sore shoulder and all. Their music is beautiful and their joy is infectious. I am still moved that people can express such a range of deep emotion through music. The sound coming out of their piano sounds nothing like what I hear in my living room--no offense to my family. Roberto Chile, master cinematographer and close collaborator was in the house, along with Ever Fonseca, one of Cuba's finest painters, Roberto Salas, whose photography tells the story of Cuba from the 50s to the present, Mundo Piña of Los Van Van, and a host of other music, art and photography masters. I left feeling the warm embrace of the Cuban arts community, and headed for dinner at our friends Shona (formerly of San Francisco) and Paver's California Cafe.  Am currently writing on La Rampa, one of Cuba's first public wi-fi hotspots and a nightly party. People of all ages manage their facebook pages and communicate with loved ones on and off the island. One can buy an card (similar to a phone card) for hourly access, or find a resourceful hacker who can connect you through an ap on their laptop. Someone will surely soon write a dissertation on internet access on the island; for now, people withmodest means can log on

Jazz fest officially opens tomorrow night, and i plan to be there.

- Ken