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Friday, February 27, 2004
But what I really want to do is direct...

Today is the opening of Miramax's Havana Nights: Dirty Dancing 2. I first learned about this film well over a year ago, when Jay Warner, my publishing administrator, called me up to let me know he had submitted the first Mamborama album to the film's music supervisor, and they were very enthusiastic about it. Jay said that there was a strong possibility that they would use as many as three songs in the film.

This was great news, and I was excited about the film. Not just for the fat five-figure license fees that each tune would bring in, and not just for the exposure that Mamborama would get from a major Hollywood film. I thought that this would be a killer opportunity to turn people on the the smoking hot Cuban music scene of today, sort of an anti-Buena Vista Social Club thing. I started to think of ways to get Van Van cds to the music supervisor. I offered to score the film. I was into it.

But. (sigh). Then I found out that the film was set in 1959. Oh. That's different. Gee, nobody's ever done that before. Sarcasm aside, I can't think of a major Hollywood film involving Cuba that has been set in anything but pre-revolutionary times. By this time, I had just sent them the new Mamborama album, but now I had little hopes for any of it making the cut. After all, it didn't sound anything like the Cuban music of 1959.

Still, they kept one Mamborama tune as source music: La Noche en Habana. Makes sense, considering the title. The film kept getting its release date pushed back (not a good sign), and finally, the scene with the Mamborama tune was left on the cutting room floor. That's show biz.

The film opens today, and I don't have any plans to see it. Not sour grapes on my part at all, it just sounds like its a really bad film. And my fears about my music not sounding like 1959 were apparently unfounded, because one reviewer questions why these 50's kids are dancing to a hip-hop beat. ¿Como?

Why, oh why, couldn't they have set this movie in present day Cuba? Wouldn't that make for a more interesting setting? The Romeo & Juliet story line could be exactly the same, you only need to have the girl's father be the head of the US Interests Office. They could have hired a Canadian second unit crew to film on location instead of substituting Puerto Rico, and they could have packed the soundtrack with Los Van Van, Pupy, Manolito, and even Mamborama. It could have started a Timba craze in the US just as the first Dirty Dancing movie started the short-lived Lambada obsession.

Note to Miramax: If you ever start developing Havana Nights: The Next Generation, call me, I'll hook you up. Let me write and direct, it'll be a smash. Let's do lunch--have your people call my people, OK? Kisses...
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
MSNBC - U.S. silences Cuban beat: "'Castro sends hundreds of performers to the United States to earn dollars to send to the regime... " Wow. I didn't know that Fidel had his own booking agency. Actually, the article goes on to quote Samuel Formell saying that the opposite is true:

"We can’t be paid under the blockade [the term Cubans use to describe the U.S. trade embargo]. So we play for free because we want to break into that market."

Good to see an article like this in the mainstream press. People need to know more about this stuff.
Friday, February 06, 2004
Sigh... here we go again... Grammy nominees denied U.S. visas. Aparently, allowing 77 year-old Ibrahim Ferrer come to LA to attend the Grammies is "detrimental to the interests of the United States." Give me a break. It's only detrimental to the interests of the Bush campaign. Got to keep those folks in Miami happy, don't you George?

Mamborama news and the world of Cuban music, accompanied by occasional self-indulgence.

Extensive Cuba trip report now online.

Here's an online scrapbook of photos of La Habana and some of the recording sessions for the new album.

August 2003 / September 2003 / October 2003 / November 2003 / December 2003 / January 2004 / February 2004 / March 2004 / April 2004 / May 2004 / June 2004 / July 2004 / August 2004 / September 2004 / October 2004 / February 2005 / April 2005 / June 2005 / December 2005 / March 2006 / April 2006 /

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