With Fidel Castro's retirement and his brother Raoul's hints about doing the same, the long-standing isolation of Cuba from the U.S. economy may soon be broken. But the Caribbean island nation remains a mystery to many, despite its rich colonial history, vibrant arts, and world renowned music.
This month Santa Rosa Junior College is attempting to educate its students and Sonoma County about Cuba, with a four-day mini-festival on both its main Santa Rosa campus and the campus in Petaluma.
“Sons of Cuba,” Andrew Lang’s award-winning, emotionally charged documentary, will screen in Petaluma on March 27, and Rebeca Mauleón and Her Cuban Collective will give an Afro-Cuban Jazz Concert at 8:30 pm in the the same location on Friday, March 29. Both events are free.
In Petaluma, a multi-media Cuban art exhibit is now ongoing at the Mahoney Library Gallery at the SRJC Petaluma Campus, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway.
Other films and music events will be on or near the main SRJC campus in Santa Rosa, including a fundraising dinner and concert.
The full schedule is attached as a PDF to this article.
First up is the film “Cuba’s Literacy Brigade," on Wednesday, March 27, at noon in Newman Auditorium in Santa Rosa. It tells the story of the 250,000 volunteers who taught 700,000 people to read and write in Cuba in just one year, 1961 – shortly after Castro took power. SRJC instructors Susana Ackerman and Dr. Orlando Raola will share their own personal stories connected to this historical event. The screening is free.
“Sons of Cuba” follows a group of 10-year-old boys as they spend a year at the legendary Havana Boxing Academy. Director Lang will be in conversation at the screening, on Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. in the Carole Ellis Auditorium in Petaluma. “Sons of Cuba” has a general admission fee of $5 or $4 for SRJC students.
The next evening “Lucia,” spotlighting three generations of women, all of them named Lucia, whose lives reflect the society around them. Facilitated by SRJC instructor Dr. Orlando Raola, a native of Cuba, it shows on Thursday, March 28, at 6:30 pm in Newman Auditorium. This presentation is also free.
A fundraising dinner and concert, benefiting the Concern for Las Cruces Clinic in Guatemala, will be held on Saturday, March 30, from 6 to 8 pm at Worth Our Weight, 1021 Hahman Drive in Santa Rosa. Music will be by Carlitos Medrano y El Sabor De Mi Cuba. The event is prepared under the guidance of Cuban-born SRJC instructor Orlando Raola; tickets for the fundraiser are $45.
Among the music events, Grammy-nominated composer Rebeca Mauleón will lecture on Cuban music on Friday, March 29, at 12:30 p.m. in Forsyth Hall, Rm. 105, in Santa Rosa. Mauleón will also give a master class on Cuban rhythm that same day at 2 pm. in the same location, and will conclude her contribution with her Cuban Collective in an Afro-Cuban Jazz Concert at 8:30 pm in the Carole Ellis Auditorium in Petaluma that evening.
Cuban native Carlitos Medrano and his quartet will perform salsa and jazz both at the March 30 fundraising dinner and a free performance at 8:30 pm that night in the Bertolini Student Activities Center on the Santa Rosa Campus. Born and raised in Cuba, Carlos came to the US four years ago and plays with many of the Bay Area’s finest Latin bands.
All SRJC Cuban Film and Music events are free and open to the public unless indicated above. The two live concerts require free ticket vouchers, which can be obtained in Student Affairs on either campus. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call Student Affairs at (707) 527-4224 (Santa Rosa) or (707) 778-3637 (Petaluma).