Tags: Awesome Sauce Drool™, Be the sauce, Betty Esperanza4hire, Bloggers Wanted, Cheese melts, flaked out, Stick a fork in it
Children of Buena Vista participate in the first global day of play inspired by Caine’s Arcade and Imagination Foundation to foster creativity and entrepreneurship. Check for your city event at http://www.CainesArcade.com
Tags: clandestine, cuba, Havana, philanthropy, recycle, revolution, skateboards, surf
Skaters in Havana built their skate park with recycled materials. All the ramps are metal. Landing is brutal and noisy but the skaters practice taking risks which lead to injuries. The day we shot these photos, Yoan and Hernandez skated for 45 minutes in 40 celcius and fell hard a couple of times. Hernandez even cut his finger on the edge of the metal ramp. The motto shared by these courageous Cubans is “Patina o Muerte”. (Havana, Cuba, September 6, 2012 Photos by Betty Esperanza © 2012)
Tags: Andrés Cortina, Antonio Carmona, Francisco Gattorno, freedom, Fresa y Chocolate, friendship, Havana livre, historia de amistad, homosexuality, Joel Angelino, Jorge Perugorría, Juan Carlos Tabío, Marilyn Solaya, Mirta Ibarra, pelicula Cubana, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Vladimir Cruz
Diego, a cultivated, homosexual and skeptical young man, falls in love with a young heterosexual communist full of prejudices and doctrinary ideas. First come rejection and suspicion, but also fascination. Fresa y chocolate is the story of a great friendship, that is, a great love between two men, which overcomes incomprehension and intolerance. Written by
Diego, a cultivated, apolitical, sceptical young artist living in Havana initiates a friendship with fiercely communist homophobe David with the intention of seducing him. David, knowing this, allows the relationship to build so he can spy on a person he sees as aberrant and dangerous to the communist cause. Despite their conflicting sexualities and political ideologies the two slowly build a relationship out of their differences, proving that camaraderie and friendship can overcome the most divisive superficialities.
Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea y Juan Carlos Tabío .
Starring: Jorge Perugorría, Vladimir Cruz, Mirta Ibarra, Francisco Gattorno,Joel Angelino,Marilyn Solaya,Andrés Cortina,Antonio Carmona.
La Habana, 1993. Dos seres humanos buscan su verdadera identidad, David, estudiante de ciencias sociales en la universidad de La Habana, y Diego, un homoxesual obsesionado de la cultura. El encuentro entre ambos da lugar a un complejo mundo de relaciones interpersonales,entre las que se mezclan la amistad y la pasión,que llega a poner en grave riesgo la libertad de ambos.
Major media attention has been given to Cuba’s version of Hip Hop culture-a culture originally developed in the Bronx, New York in the late 1970′s as a vehicle of expression for disenfranchised youth. Serving the same purpose within the socialist Cuban society, Cuban Hip Hop is both defying numerous misconceptions anti-Castro propaganda has lead foreigners to believe about censorship in Cuba (via its highly critical lyrics), and also reaffirming certain limitations the Cuban society faces under Castro’s regime (i.e. the lack of commercial success for artists). International attention to Cuban Hip Hop grew after the first annual Cuban Rap Festival, held in 1995, however this film indicates that the foundation for the growth of Hip Hop in Cuba was set in the 1970′s, contemporaneously with the US. Based on first-hand investigation carried out over the course of four years, including observation of and participation in Cuban Hip Hop concerts and colloquiums at the eighth annual Cuban Hip Hop Festival in Havana, and interviewing the most influential Cuban Hip Hop artists and producers, this documentary traces Cuban Hip Hop step by step in a way that has yet to be formally recorded or published.
CLICK ON THIS LINK TO WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HOG_SwRL18s#!
Tags: AIDS, Boleto al Paraiso, clandestine cuba, esperanza4hire, filmmaker, Gerardo Chijona, Havana, Hip Hop revolution, Over the Edge, taboo subject, Ticket to Paradise
On my last visit to Cuba this April 2011, I strolled the streets of Infanta, one of my favorite streets in Havana (with a few secret vinyl vendors). This last time, I walked past 3 movie theaters on the broad avenue where I noticed repeated posters of a local Cuban film called Boleto al Paraiso (Ticket to Paradise), by Gerardo Chijona. The poster hit my sentimental nerves due to the resemblance of the 1979 American film Over the Edge (Matt Dillon’s first big film). The soundtrack was genius with Cheap Trick, Ramone’s, Van Halen… and the heartbreaking “Ooh Child”, the Valerie Carter version.
Just as I stared at that album cover back in the days, I found myself stopping at every poster on Infanta, approaching it and getting to know the faces of these new protagonists, hungry to see the world and flex their independence just like their 70′s American disenfranchised counterparts. Over the Edge, was a dark reflection of a society that’s turned its back on its young citizens. Over the Edge was also a commentary on the generation gap which leads us to our Cuban version of this story released earlier this year on the island.
Boleto al Paraiso is melancholic, but illuminating. It’s also very provocative because it digs up all the old demons of the “Special Period”, a painful era full of economic crash from 1990′s Cuba. The Special Period is mentioned on this blog often due to the fact this exact period is what birthed the Hip Hop revolution in Cuba. In this particular movie, the characters from the 90′s era are the “rocker kids”, which was a different musical youth movement that came together in protest.
In the film, each of the characters are each going through their dark lives, starting with Eunice who flees home to escape her fathers sexual advances. She joins a crew of other runaway buddies as they all head towards Havana. It’s lots of bonding, emotions, and adventures. More importantly, the reflect and question their fates, and the paradigm they’re living within their own country — bonded through loneliness and emptiness. And just like the 90′s scene, some of the radical rockers in Cuba injected themselves with AIDS as a statement of their preference to die rather than live in a drone existence. The film touches upon this moment as well.
This film makes you want to grab the Rocker kids, give them a big hug and assure them that new days are coming. Hang in there guys! — “things are gonna get easier… ooh child things will get brighter”.
Text by Jauretsi
Photos Courtsey of production company
Tags: Ahi na`ma, azucar, Black Sun Cinema, clandestine cuba, cuba, Cuban dances, Cuban flavor, cuban hip hop, Cuban Hiphop, Cuban traditions, film about hiphop, graffiti, Havana, hip hop, skateboarding
Photograph courtesy of Ashley Stohl 2010.
AUTHOR: RICHARD BURNETT – The Montreal Gazette – December 22, 2011. http://blogs.montrealgazette.com/author/bugsburnett/
Montreal photographer and videographer Betty Esperanza‘s cigar-chomping 80-year-old godmother lives in Havana’s famous and poorest barillo Buena Vista, alongside a bunch of poor kids making do the best they can.
Which is why Esperanza is returning to Havana this holiday season with a bunch of skateboards to give the most deserving kids helping out in the local neighbourhood.
“The skateboards are leftovers from last year’s trip that never made it to the kids,” says Esperanza. “[Renowned Peru-born, Montreal-based] graffiti artists and skateboarders brothers, Peru and Chris Dyer gave me the equipment, and [another renowned skateboarder] Che Alejandro will join me when we give the kids their skateboards. There aren’t given randomly – Che tells me which kids have worked hard and earned it. The kids don’t know they’re getting anything, so it’ll be a surprise. We’ll go in with my camera and film it all. Then the next day I’ll get all the kids out to the makeshift skateboard park in Havana for a group shot and film them skateboarding.”
Cuban kids clean Havana’s makeshift skateboard park (Photo by Ashley Stohl, courtesy Betty Esperanza)
The plan went over beautifully last year when Esperanza spent $518 for her return flight and hotel. The cost is closer to $800 this year, but Esperanza is hoping folks can cough up a few bucks to help defray the estimated $100 or so to pay the extra airline costs of transporting the skateboards.
Esperanza – whose day job is Regional Director at the Canadian Liver Foundation; whose photography has been shown in many photo/ art exhibits; and who as a videographer has filmed and interviewed, among others, Montreal artists Kat Coric, Zilon, SoCalled, Fringe head honcho Amy Blackmore, as well as Under Pressure’s Sterling Downey (read my POP TART story about Under Pressure”s battle with Chevrolet by clicking here) – wants to film the whole trip for a short video she will broadcast on YouTube.
“And if somebody wants to pay their own flight and join me for a week, I could use a helping hand transporting the stuff and filming the kids,” says Esperanza. “I guarantee they’ll experience Havana and Cuba with the locals. They’ll be immersed in local Cuban culture.”
Esperanza also started the Clandestine Cuba website (click here) posting work by Cuban performers, writers and artists.
To donate money or join Betty Esperanza on this trip to Havana – she hopes to fly out of Montreal by December 26 – call Esperanza at (514) 591-8256 or email her at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Los Orishas began as Cuban rap group Amenaza in the early 1990s. Led by Joel Pando, Amenaza became the first rap group to address the issue of racial identity in Cuban society. In 1998, the members of Amenaza traveled to Paris to perform and accepted a record deal with a European label. The transition to Europe was critical in their musical career, as many rap groups in Cuba lacked the resources for professional recordings. In fact, of the hundreds of rappers in Cuba, Orishas is the only group that has achieved international acclaim As of 2006[update].
Their first album, A Lo Cubano, was released in Spain in May 1999 under the Orishas moniker. In the summer of 1999, Orishas began a two-year tour across Europe and the United States, which brought them international notice. In December 2000, Orishas returned to Cuba to perform two concerts, attracting tens-of-thousands of young Cubans. As one of Cuba’s pioneer rap groups, Orishas garnered fame both at home and abroad.
In 2006 they guested on the Track “14Me” recorded in Cuba by occasional The Black Eyed Peas producer Poet Name Life. The track was eventually released on the album “The Revolution Presents: Revolution”, (Studio !K7 & Rapster Records) a Cuban dance crossover album which also featured Norman Cook a.k.a Fatboy Slim, Roisin Murphy and Rich File from UK Trip Hop pioneers Unkle.
As of October 2009[update], the members of the trio currently live in different European cities (Madrid, Milan, Paris), with the band based in France. Their incorporation of traditional Cuban beats like salsa and rumba into their rapping is an angle that brings appeal to older Cubans, while simultaneously driving some aspiring Cuban rappers to “look at them with both awe and disappointment” for “selling out to commercial pressures to evoke Cuban nostalgia.” Roldan himself has a tendency towards traditional Cuban music, and purposely distances his music from some of the stereotypical characteristics of hip-hop, such as the degrading treatment of women and “everything [else] you do in U.S. hip hop shows”.
WATCH THE VIDEO: