I live just outside Little Havana but the only time I really hang out there is when the old Cuban exiles are celebrating Castro’s death or chasing off Code Pink members.
However, last Wednesday I drove to Little Havana to take some photos for a story I’m working on for Miami Beach 411.
I was supposed to meet a group of tourists who were scheduled to attend a dance studio rehearsal on Cuban music. And in typical Miami fashion, the group was running late, so I found myself photographing a group of Cuban dancers on Calle Ocho.
The dancers were rehearsing for Viernes Culturales, which is a night of festivities held on Calle Ocho on the last Friday of every month. This is a rather new event in Little Havana, meaning that it hasn’t been around since the Bay of Pigs, which is when time stood still in many sections of Little Havana.
In other words, it’s a reflection of the more recent Cuban arrivals as opposed to those who fled during the 1960s. Perhaps that’s one reason why I did not get assaulted for taking their pictures.
In fact, as I was walking back into my car, I started taking photos through a “ventanita”, which are the little windows so prevalent in Miami’s Cuban restaurants which allow you to order coffee and pastries and sandwiches from outside.
I took a few shots of the musician inside as well as a girl pouring sangria and somebody came out and started speaking to me.
My first instinct was that they were yelling at me for photographing their business from outside. But the lady was actually inviting me inside. I declined but made a mental note to check that place out some time.
I also shot a short video, which you can see below.