Photos: Cuba Libre
BY Christopher Harrity
May 18 2013 5:29 AM ET
You have called Cuba your favourite exile. How did you first get interested by the country?
When I rose up out of the tunnel leading into the heart of Havana, into the crumbling architecture, I knew instantly I was in love. But that was mostly an entirely aesthetic response. Havana is otherworldly: the architecture, the ruins, the feeling of far-stretching time, the presence of ghosts and history everywhere — it really ought to be impossible, but there it is. Like a castle in the clouds. I love the joy of life I see everywhere. I try to tell my Cuban friends that in Canada, it’s cold and gray and we hide in our houses and we don’t know our neighbors and we work and we work and we talk about celebrities and mortgages. But in Cuba, there is theater everywhere. There are people everywhere. There is joy and beauty everywhere. And at least as far as I can see, they know how to live, they know how to love, they dance and drink and smoke and fuck and celebrate life. But it was the second time in Cuba — this time we went directly to Havana — that stirred up my love and my obsession too with working in Cuba. My favorite exile? Cuba is almost out of synch with the rest of the world. I don’t mean to say that it’s backwards or wrong. It is, or at least it has been, almost removed from a global consciousness. There is no other otherwhere that I have experienced that is, or at least was, as otherwhere as Cuba.