Short Version: An hypnotically beautiful book by Lorne Resnick is in its last minutes of being crowd-funded at Kickstarter. Even if you’re not interested in contributing, the video is delICIOUS!
Long Version: There was a time I wanted to go to Cuba more than my little brain could almost handle. It wasn’t for the regular reasons. I didn’t want to beat the crowds that will smother it with tourist love, for instance.
I wanted to experience at least one more time the most seductive thing about Eastern Europe (before they rebranded themselves Central Europe). Actually, any place that’s avoided glittering high design works for me.
I like amenities – a lot. I like luxury. I like design. I like sophisticated experiences – in cocktail lounges and theaters. I do, I do, I do.
But I really like a place not designed to charm. I like the fluorescent flickering in a joint with old tile floors and laminated table tops. I like hearing a clock tick-tick-tick on the wall while customers play chess. I like the decay and the dirt of age. People can’t hide so easily in these places; I’m not sure they even try. They read and think and dream, just like anyone anywhere. They make noise. They argue. They laugh. They get drunk. They get surly. They keep their culture on their terms.
Those times in those places have inspired ideas and projects – not to restore, exactly, but maybe re-energize little cultural jewels. I worked to save libraries, to develop home grown tv programming, to advocate for healthier habits. I worked at helping the newly homeless and hungry and helping the rail system recover some of its historical romance. It doesn’t matter what I did. What matters is there was a yearning to re-imagine cultural stories without turning them into American or British or French or German ones.
Anyway. I haven’t gone to Cuba. I probably won’t go to Cuba. I don’t have to go to a place to be taken there. I just need the material – images and stories and hints – and my imagination will take over. Besides, Cuba doesn’t need me. The people who’ve made Cuba’s story their purpose are doing a beautiful job without my little bit of help.