by Jim Benning | 03.13.12 | 4:44 PM ET
This looks great. Nominated for a 2012 Academy Award for best animated feature, Chico & Rita is set in Havana, New York and Paris in the 1940s and ‘50s and features some great music by the likes of Bebo Valdés. A.O. Scott just gave it a rave review in The New York Times, calling it “an animated valentine to Cuba and its music.” He also notes that Havana’s streets “are exquisitely rendered and meticulously colored.”
It’s playing in select Landmark Theatre locations; in Los Angeles, it’s at the Nuart through Thursday.
Here’s the trailer:
by Michael Scott Moore | 09.08.10 | 12:37 PM ET
In an excerpt from his new book, "Sweetness and Blood," Michael Scott Moore tracks down the origins of surfing in Cuba
by Jim Benning | 09.08.10 | 12:32 PM ET
Jim Benning talks with the author of a new travel book about the spread of surfing around the globe
by Jim Benning | 06.08.10 | 5:02 PM ET
In 1999, two years before we created World Hum, Michael Yessis came back from a month-long trip to Spain and told me about a song he’d heard in a bar in Madrid. Two nights in a row, sometime well after midnight, the bartender played an anthemic folk song on the stereo called “Ojalá,” and as Mike recalled it, each time the song came on, the patrons erupted in singing, with dozens of locals joining in.
He wasn’t sure what the song was about, but he thought I’d like it, and sure enough, when I finally tracked down a copy of it, I did. I’ve been a big fan of its singer-songwriter, Silvio Rodríguez, ever since.
Finally, the Cuban folk singer, now 63, is touring the U.S. He has already played to a sold-out Carnegie Hall—this New York Times piece and this Christopher Baker blog post are well worth a read—and he’s scheduled to play Oakland, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Orlando.
Rodriguez is a controversial figure outside of Cuba. Many Cuban exiles despise him because he has, at times, defended the Revolution. I love him for his music, not his politics. Besides, as the New York Times put it, “Through the decades Mr. Rodríguez has become more poet than propagandist.” He sings about life.
How excited am I about this tour? I’m going to reschedule a flight and eat a hefty penalty fee so I can see him play.
Here’s a video of Rodriguez performing “Ojalá” in Madrid’s Plaza de Toros—you can hear the crowd singing along, line for line, and imagine the scene in that Madrid bar. I’ve since heard the song played by folk singers in cafes and bars from Mexico to Argentina. It’s wildly popular. Its meaning is the subject of great debate.
The version of the song below is available on the album “Mano a Mano”—an excellent live album that also features Spanish trovador Luis Eduardo Aute performing.
by World Hum | 05.04.10 | 2:13 PM ET
A dog sits on a stool in a bar in Havana, Cuba
by Lauren Quinn | 03.26.10 | 10:21 AM ET
With some help from the locals (and Rick James), Lauren Quinn lets down her well-learned defenses
by Eva Holland | 03.08.10 | 2:54 PM ET
The faces and daily rituals of Old Havana, Cuba:
by Jim Benning | 09.29.09 | 3:33 PM ET
by Jim Benning | 09.01.09 | 4:58 PM ET
Andrew Zimmern’s Travel Channel series “Bizarre Foods” has evolved into Bizarre World, and it debuts tonight at 10 E/P. The first show goes where few American travel shows have gone recently: Cuba. Judging from the description of the show, it would seem that bizarre foods still have a place in “Bizarre World”:
Andrew participates in the Santeria ritual that leaves him covered in blood. He devours the biggest tree rats he’s ever seen, and he discovers how to grow world-class tobacco.
by Jim Benning | 08.27.09 | 1:16 PM ET
by World Hum | 08.26.09 | 3:29 PM ET
A street entertainer in Havana yesterday.
by Jim Benning | 07.27.09 | 1:23 PM ET
And a few refrigerator magnets. And a green and red Che Guevara beret. And some postcards.
Crazy story here about an American freelance entertainment news producer who wants to be fined for his Cuba visits so he can challenge the travel ban. So far, to his chagrin, he has been met with little more than indifference from U.S. authorities.
Here’s hoping that U.S. officials have quietly stopped enforcing the stupid law—and that President Obama and Congress will act soon to revoke it.
by World Hum | 06.05.09 | 9:26 AM ET
Indulge your armchair traveler with seven wanderlust-inspiring travel photos from around the world
by World Hum | 05.11.09 | 6:11 PM ET
Men fish from Havana's seafront boulevard, El Malecón, in front of the colonial-era Morro Cabanas fortress
by Eva Holland | 05.08.09 | 11:43 AM ET
Eva Holland talks Che and the meaning of his ubiquitous image with the founders of a new travel photography site
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