Tag Archives: Cuba

Update: Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts

Here’s a look at more resources for helping the victims of Sandy, both in the U.S. and abroad:

  • Operation USA is taking donations online, by phone (800.678.7255) or via $10 text donation (text AID to 50555), with its efforts focusing on Cuba and Haiti.
  • ReliefWeb reported that the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched preliminary emergency appeals for donations to help victims in Cuba, Haiti and Jamaica.
  • In the U.S. roups like Interoccupy and Occupy The Hood are updating their efforts and volunteer and donation needs regularly.
  • The Occupy Sandy Relief NYC group posted this list of items requested by the Coney Island Generation Gap, a youth mentorship group:

Mops
Buckets
Brooms
Clorox cleaner (for molding)
Lysol
Febreeze
Face masks for cleaning
Plastic gloves for cleaning
Plastic gloves for serving food
Styrofoam food containers with lids

  • The group also said volunteers are needed to help local senior citizens clean up their homes and get them to voting locations on Nov. 6.
  • Speaking of Election Day, Gothamist has a list here of 60 voting sites in New York City that have been moved. Residents’ voter information can also be checked at this Board of Elections website or by phone at 1.866.VOTE.NYC (866.8683.692).
  • The Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter for homeless LGBT youths, is asking for donations after its’ drop-in center in Chelsea was rendered “uninhabitable” by the storm.
  •  The Red Hook Initiative in Brooklyn has posted an extensive list of supplies needed, and has information on where and how to donate food and volunteer services.
  • CBS New York also has this roundup of American Red Cross and Salvation Army chapters in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

What Race Is Your Dog?

Courtesy arizonafoothillsmagazine.com

By Guest Contributor damali ayo

It was one of those rather nice plane rides where the passengers all felt like friends, particularly in our little corner in the back of the plane: I slept; the woman next to me knitted; the people in front of us chatted and got to know each other.

It was an all-around good time. As the plane touched down, two people in the seats behind me struck up a lively conversation like two friends who hadn’t seen each other since elementary school. My knitting neighbor and I exchanged a look as if to say, “Geez, these two are getting along so well, why didn’t they start talking several hours ago?”

We shrugged and got back to listening to them. The woman in the conversation had what sounded like a Spanish accent, and the man spoke working-class New York. Every so often the woman searched for a word in English. The two were both dog lovers, and the man pulled out a photograph of his dog to show to the woman. They both seemed so excited that I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I craned my head a bit to see if I could catch a glimpse of either them or the dog photo, but no luck. The man was in the midst of explaining all the things that make his new puppy great a companion when the woman enthusiastically interrupted him. I heard the woman grasp for a word.

“What–uh, what–um–what race is your dog?” She asked.

There was an awkward silence.

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Much Ado About Race, Class, Gender, and Cuba [Culturelicious]

Borachio and Margaret

On Sunday, I walked into the Shakespeare Theatre to join a bunch of academics in a three part discussion about the currently playing update of Much Ado About Nothing. I tweeted about the event that morning, and while we were in the green room, I received a link from Tony Adams of the Halcyon Theatre in Chicago pointing me towards an amazing analysis of race, stereotypes, and using culture as window dressing by Marisela Treviño Orta.

I read it eagerly, especially as it spoke to some of the questions I had viewing the play. But, there was a conundrum – I was called to specifically discuss modern gender portrayals in conversation with a gender scholar specializing in the Renaissance era. Added to that, most of what I know about Cuba I learned from Yoani Sanchez and The Lost City – which really amounts to a few glimpses and a bunch of knowledge gaps.

So we went ahead with the discussion as planned. For my part, I discussed with Holly Dugan how Claudio is essentially the crackerjack prize for Hero when compared to the other men in the play. We also framed the conversation around the death of intellectual equals in pop culture – how the banter and game of match wits that was so popular in classic films is remembered fondly but has mostly vanished. It didn’t seem as if the crowd was really into modern culture – a lot of folks came up to me afterward saying they had never seen Mad Men, much less anything else I brought up, so who knows that they actually got out of what I was saying. Makes me feel like it’s time to dust off that copy of Nobrow and do a serious write about the imagined boundaries between “high” and “low” culture. But I digress.

Towards the end of the segment, I decided to bring up Orta’s piece, noting that “setting a work on a plantation is a very loaded act,” added a couple of questions I had, and toss it to the next panel who dealt with the portrayal of Cuba and Cuban history directly.

But I couldn’t bring up all of Orta’s analysis right then, so some things (like the reason she wrote the piece in the first place) so it wasn’t addressed – some of the choices that pulled the play from homage to problematic. Orta explains:

There’s a character in Much Ado with the name Jose Frijoles. What the what?!

This required further investigation. I went to the theatre’s website to look at the “Artists Involved” (that’s where you’ll find the names of the actors and the characters they play).

Guess what, there’s also a character named Juan Arroz.

Isn’t that awesome [sarcasm], there are two characters named Rice and Beans. [...]

The choice to rename two characters Arroz and Frijoles in my mind is a flippant one. Or how ‘bout this: a gimmicky one. [...]

[W]hen I come across characters named Arroz and Frijoles I am little irked. It feels like the play is going for the easy laugh, it feels like very little real thought was put into naming these characters, like it doesn’t really respect the culture it is supposedly trying to reach or celebrate with its Latino production.

Oh, but it’s a joke. Don’t you get it? They’re the clowns, so they have clownish names. (Rib jab, rib jab).

Well, guess what. I’m not laughing. And I’m not the only one.

Orta then goes into a detailed explanation of why the naming was so off, particularly considering the dominant culture of the people attending the play and some conversation around the flippant naming in light of director Ethan Sweeny’s heavy reliance on the sexy, macho, and the exotic stereotypes to evoke certain reactions in the audience. But most damning, she writes, is “that the culture and setting, while well-researched, is nothing more than a well-designed prop, an adornment.” Continue reading

Coming Attractions: Juan De Los Muertos Revives Cuban Cinema

By Arturo R. García

Now this is the kind of horror movie I can get behind. What’s a guy to do when he finds himself up against a zombie apocalypse?

Why, make a little freelance money, of course.

That’s at least one of the plots driving the upcoming Cuban release Juan De Los Muertos (a.k.a. Juan Of The Dead,) which borrows the title, but seemingly not much else from Shaun Of The Dead. Director Alejandro Brugues told the BBC the film is about how Cubans react to a crisis (“we’ve had a lot of them over the last 50 years”), and the title character’s pragmatism comes across early on in the film’s trailer.
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