December 14, 1990 |
In Havana, Robert Redford gets more out of Cuba than he did out of Africa. In what begins as a classy reunion with Sydney Pollack - their last collaboration was the Oscar-laden Out of Africa (1985) - Redford's remarkably honest and open contribution proves a saving grace. Artistically, Havana follows the political course described by the revolution led by Fidel Castro. It commences in hope and promise, only to give way to confusion and disillusion. In this case, the fault lies not with the stars or Pollack, who has proved that he can work on the sweeping scale that Havana aspires to. The blame lies primarily with the screenplay by Judith Rascoe and David Rayfiel, which is all sizzle and no steak.
October 16, 2006 |
Sometimes it pays off to be a security guard at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As the Spirits of Havana band, a Canadian-Cuban collaboration, was doing a sound check Friday afternoon, Miguel Santos approached the Cuban conguero and timbale player and asked to jam. During the band's first set Friday night, Santos sat in on bongo during a descarga, and after the set, the former Orquesta Lucena member from North Philadelphia was radiant. Such is the power of Cuban music. Saxophonist Jane Bunnett, from Toronto, has devoted her energies to producing some of the most honest, intellectual Cuban-jazz fusion, and the now-infamous city of Guantanamo is where her sights are set now. On Friday, some of the most radically musical passages came when Bunnett was isolated, either in duo or during extended improvisations, with pianist Osmany Paredes, chiefly on "Lagrimas Negras" and "La Comparsa.
January 5, 2012 |
GUILLERMO Pernot may be Argentinean by birth, but his heart and palate belong to Cuba. It's not just that Pernot's wife, Lucia, is a native Cuban whose family escaped Fidel Castro's communist regime in 1959 when she was just 9 months old. The Caribbean island-nation is also home to cuisine that, as far as the 55-year-old chef-partner at Old City's Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is concerned, is second-to-none. "It's a basic style of food," Pernot (pronounced per- NO )
January 12, 1991 |
I knew all about Robert Redford's new movie, Havana, before I walked into the theater. As a matter of fact, I could have told you the plot right from the moment I first heard a movie was being shot about the last days before the Castro revolution: Hard-bitten American goes to Havana, pursues decadence, finds violence, falls in love with beautiful radical, discovers his true self, revolution brings redemption for all, The End. I was right....
February 19, 1988 |
What do you get when you cross Rocky and Bullwinkle and Bram Stoker and The Untouchables and plop it all down in Cuba, circa 1933? You get confused. You also get Vampires in Havana, a screwy animated feature about bloodsucking monsters, bloodsucking mobsters and bloodcurdling Fascist bureaucrats - all of them in hot, hairy pursuit of a trumpet-playing naif by the name of Joseph Emmanuel, a.k.a. Pepito. Written and directed by Juan Padron, Vampires in Havana is a fast, freewheeling comedic cartoon about gangland Draculas and a mysterious potion called Vampisol that enables the dagger-toothed nightstalkers to bask in sunlight just like us normal folks.
April 30, 1998 |
"Who the Hell Is Juliette?" answers the question posed in its title, but raises another. What the heck is "Who the Hell Is Juliette?" Part documentary, part fiction, the movie fits no easy category. Mexican director Carlos Marcovich uses both forms to arrive at what he hopes is the truth about his subject, a Cuban teen-ager named Yuliet Ortega. Marcovich met Ortega in Havana, where he had traveled to film a music video. He hired her as an extra, and was captivated by her hard-luck story: abandoned as an infant by her father; her mother committed suicide soon after.
January 7, 2001 |
It's a wintry night in the new Old City. Frosty winds slap street denizens like ice cubes tossed at a frat party. Coats are tucked as tight as bedsheets. Tucked, that is, until the door of Cuba Libre is reached. Then it's time for heat to escape like steam from a radiator. Old City's newest bistro, Cuba Libre - owned and operated by Larry Cohen and Barry Gutin of Egypt and Shampoo fame - is like a thermos, holding in moist heat while giving off sensuous aromas and spicy flavors.
January 19, 2000 |
The sad, dark eyes of Elian Gonzalez, framed behind a chain link fence, look into the gathering crowd in Havana. He looks like a tiny prisoner, and to thousands of Cubans, that is exactly what he is. They call him "The Kidnapped Child. " In the streets of Havana, where many today pointedly wear T-shirts with the legend "Liberen a Elian" (Free Elian), the case of Elian Gonzalez has become a symbol of U.S. injustice towards Cuba. To be sure, the demonstrations demanding his return are carefully organized by the government.
January 4, 1998 |
After studying rare and exotic marine life in Cuban waters, a group of U.S. scientists captured the island's biggest fish. Fidel Castro boarded their boat in Havana on Friday night to learn about the monthlong expedition. "We've had a lot of surprises scientifically and culturally," environmental writer Bill Belleville said yesterday. "Fidel is vital for his age and very engaging. He wasn't just spouting rhetoric. He was genuinely interested in what we are doing. " Belleville is among 41 researchers and crew members conducting the first deep-water exploration near Cuba.
January 24, 1992 |
Rich and Dave Posmontier don't perform together much anymore. The Posmontier Brothers Quintet broke up a few years ago, but Rich apparently has trouble accepting that. "I wouldn't call the group dead," he said. "I hate to pronounce something dead before its time. " Whatever, the Posmontier Brothers Quintet has been on hold long enough to declare tonight's performance at Havana in New Hope a reunion. And Rich Posmontier clearly was excited about the happening during a conversation this week.