As a two-time traveler to Cuba I can vouch for this: The arts are alive and well there, no matter what you might think of the politics. And this week you don't even need to go through all the visa hassles to get a taste of all things Havana.
At 5: 30 p.m. March 14 at the Instituto Cervantes, 31 W. Ohio, there will be a free discussion, "From Cuba to Chicago: 'Pedro Páramo' and 'Havana Blue'."You can join artists from River North Dance Chicago, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, Goodman Theatre and Cuba's Teatro Buendía as they discuss cross-border collaborations of dance, original music and theater in conjunction with their upcoming world premieres of "Havana Blue" (at the Auditorium Theatre) and "Pedro Páramo" (at the Goodman Theatre).
Panelists include River North Dance Chicago artistic director Frank Chaves; Chicago Jpzz Philharmonic founder and artistic director Orbert Davis; Cuba's Teatro Buendía artistic director Flora Lautén and playwright Raquel Carrió, and Goodman Theatre resident artistic associate Henry Godinez.
"Havana Blue" is a co-commission between the Auditorium Theatre, River North Dance Chicago and Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. "Pedro Páramo" is presented by Goodman Theater in association with MCA Chicago.