The Queen’s Gambit of Cuba

Beth Harmon of Netflix's The Queens Gambit. Cuba's champion, Maria Teresa Mora Iturralde To be a girl in a sea of men. This is one of the themes in Netflix’ new series, The Queen's Gambit. The show follows Beth Harmon (exquisitely played by actress Anya Taylor-Joy), a child who ends up parentless, and eventually gets…

Celeste Mendoza at Hotel Nacional

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RY6sYlAYvGM I’d like to share a snippet of a performance from a woman who helped shape Cuban music. Her name is Celeste Mendoza, and I find that the majority of my American friends do not know her name. In terms of the Cuban pantheon of female greats, if Celia Cruz was the Queen of Salsa,…

Queen & Slims’ Cuban-American Director

(Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie-Turner-Smith, Dir Melina Matsoukas, Writer Lena Waithe) The film Queen and Slim is the creation of Director Melina Matsoukas, born of a Cuban mother who was raised on the island, and migrated to New York at 10 yrs old. If you’ve seen Beyonce’s music video “Formation”, a solidarity love letter to New Orleans,…

3 Reasons to See “Give Me Future”

If you're a fan of Major Lazer, here's a doc you'll appreciate. If you have no idea who Major Lazer is, yet have a deep curiosity for Cuban youth culture, then this doc will equally intrigue you. In full disclosure, I worked on this film as one of the Producers, with the excellent team of…

Klayman tells the Carmen Herrera story

I had the pleasure of meeting Director Alison Klayman, who arrived at the Havana Film Festival to screen her documentary, The Hundred Years Show starring Carmen Herrera.  The truth is, I was secretly a fan of Alison from watching her first documentary, Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, a ballsy account of art activism at its…