Showing posts from August, 2012

The daily dance

Bailarinas at Havana's Gran Teatro.     HOW COULD flamenco, soulful and intimate, not find a home in the rhythmic celebration that is Cuba?     The flamenco dancers, or bailarinas , who grace the lost Chevy commercial belong to a troupe that practises at the Gran Teatro de la Habana. In the still shot above, provided by Tony Robertson, the dancers are descending the theatre's magnificent staircase.     Below, our bailarinas wait as a scene is set up with the 1957 Bel Air with which they co-star. Then they share a ride with a Habanero and his rooster, said to be a rare bird used – but not sacrificed! – in SanterĂ­a rituals.     Just another afternoon in Havana?

Sacrifice and ingenuity: The Harlista story

    A NEW E-BOOK is out on Cuba's Harlistas, and it promises to be a thumping good read. Cuban Thunder, by U.S. journalist and longtime Cuba watcher Tracey Eaton, is based on interviews with more than 40 Harley-Davidson riders, including Sergio Morales, the mechanic who has kept so many of the bikes running decade-in and decade-out, and Ernesto Guevara, son of the late Ernesto "Che" Guevara.    For Eaton, a former Havana bureau chief for the Dallas Morning News who now is an assistant professor at Flager College in Florida, the book was a chance to tell a story "of sacrifice, valour, ingenuity and friendship." Readers can be confident that Eaton will tell this story well, with the same objectivity and clear style he brings to his Along the Malacon blog.    The 181-page book has more than 1,000 photographs and includes a slide show of images taken at an annual rally for vintage cars and motorcycles.    Cuban Thunder is available for $5.99 from iTunes . You

A whole lot of little

   Fans of microcars often drop by this blog to check out the photos and video of a BMW Isetta and Messerschmitt KR201 in daily use in Cuba.    If you count yourself among that number, you may want to also stop by the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia, on Feb. 15 and 16. That weekend, the museum's entire collection will be sold by RM Auctions, a Canadian firm that specializes in exotic vehicles.    If you're lucky, you'll get to bring home an Isetta, a Messerschmitt or even a Goggomobil Transporter. There's also literature, signs, models and other microcar collectibles.    And if you aren't a successful bidder, you'll at least get to see what is undoubtedly the world's largest and best microcar collection – with some 200 vehicles, many of them rare and all of them cuter than a bug's ear – before it is broken up.    Speaking of which, Weiner himself doesn't seem too broken up about bidding farewell to his marvellous miniatures.

The family jewel

   Tony Robertson of Toronto served as location scout and production co-ordinator for the Havana Chevy commercial . His duties included finding all the cars, identifying places to shoot and organizing a casting.    Tony, who provided the production stills you see here, recalls that the commercial took three days to film.    The director, producer and cameraman came from Canada, but the other crew members were Cuban, and Tony has high praise for their professionalism and resourcefulness. One even made available the red-over-metallic blue 1957 Bel Air that appears throughout the commercial.    "The car inside was actually at one of the Cuban crew's home, and it was like the car was right in the living room," he says.    The driver of that prized Chevy is actually a Cuban government official who worked with the team to secure the necessary permits.    "His English is very good, with a great accent, but for some reason they decided to use that English voice-over