Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Culture Follies

An art exhibition and a film festival add to the innumerable cultural venues that reflect the unfortunate fascination with all things Cuban. It is a misfortune for ordinary Cubans, because the interest never seems to extend to the oppression which colors their lives. It gets to be a dance, vetting events, sponsors, content, etc…

The Havana Film Festival New York runs from April 11-17, 2008. The name is something of a misnomer, since it “celebrates” Latin American cinema. So question, why the Havana? Why can’t it be the Quito Film Festival New York? Kvetching aside, it is a “project” of the American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba, one of those “building cultural bridges” organizations, giving me more than a few reservations. The opening night film is La Noche de los Inocentes / The Innocent’s Night, a film by Cuban filmmaker Arturo Soto. The festival is also bestowing tribute on a variety of island film types- the director of Strawberry and Chocolate, the greatest actor in all of Cuba, yada yada yada. Go at your own risk. More details here.

Feeling left out of all of these multi ethnic events, Charleston is holding the First Charleston International Arts Festival with a concentration on Cuba starting today. If there’s ever a city that doesn’t bring Cuban to mind, it’s Charleston. Love the city; love the barbecue, but Cuban? So it is with trepidation that I read

"The objective of the exhibition is to present living artists from Cuba and the hardships that they have to overcome on a daily basis in order to create their masterpieces, from making their own paper to preserving traditional values of the nation such as Santeria. Santeria, a Westernized interpretation of ancient Yoruban tribal practices, is reflected in several works that will be presented at the exhibition

Now really Santeria as a “value of the nation”? I don’t mean to be a stickler here, but as far as I now, it was a religion for a few and a quasi avocation for many, many more. This is the best they can do? And then there’s this:

“The second part of the festival will take place April 6 at El Bohio Cuban restaurant… with a movie premiere of "Sipping Jetstreams" and a Cuban fiesta.

Is a fiesta different from a party? Oh yeah, it must be the Mexican hats.

Before I get any sillier, here’s the article. And here is the website for the festival. You gotta go “Beyond the Door” where you’ll not only “enjoy” the gullibility of the curator, but you’ll also find Sandra Levinson. Think I’ll link directly there. Ah, the plot thickens.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm getting tired of these get to know the natives events.

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