Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yes - drink fools!! Drink!!!

Now this - this looks like a fun bar - no? I ran across this in the weirdness of cyberspace and I felt immediately drawn to it and felt the need to examine the imagery closely with an artistic eye.

It is clear from the image that the crowd on the left have been at the La Florida for quite some time. The fellow in the foreground appears from his hyper-ruddy complexion to be one tequila shot away from a massive coronary and, based upon the body language of the young lady in the pink, she probably has one eye shut and a glistening stream of drool running out of the corner of her bee-stung lips.

It is obvious that Ponce and his crew have just stumbled in on a fluke. They seem to be much more controlled than those on the left side of the room (who at this point would welcome a burning torch carrying, machete yielding violent mob of Communist revolutionaries with shouts of glee and glass raising - which, when you think about it - loomed in the not so distant future at that point already).

I do feel concern however about what appears to be the female indigenous people member of Ponce’s crew in the right foreground. True, she has been given a glass of booze ( probably by the drunken floozy in pink), but they seem blissfully unaware of the fact that she appears to be on her last leg.

Perhaps she is seconds away from succumbing to the effects of tuberculosis and dysentery brought by Ponce De Leon and his European motley crew. Whatever the case, she certainly has an expression which seems to read “farewell my celebratory friends…”

The bartender perplexes me as well. This card is from the 1930’s before the revolution. His forced maniacal grin belays something more sinister. Perhaps he is thinking, “At last - a meeting of the capitalistic American swine who rape my land and her resources and the father of the enslavement of my people responsible for the strangulation of my country’s culture and pride. Yes - drink fools!! Drink!!! I hear the footsteps of my people taking to the streets 100,000 strong as you pickle your useless brains with the lifeblood Rum of my country!”

I have read online that the “La Florida” was a favorite hangout of Hemingway’s in the 20’s and 30’s and that the bar became famous for certain rum concoctions. The scene above certainly is a far cry from the scenes in postcards POST Castro as seen here….

This bar just doesn’t have the same “joi de vivre” as the “La Florida” In fact, I find this scene depressing. Clearly these folks have been posed in these positions. Or worse yet, perhaps they were enjoying themselves when the Secret Police, the Director General of Tourism and a flunky with a instamatic stormed in and stated “Prepare to pose for the glorification of your country!!”

This would explain the strange grouping here - the transgender with the coiffed wig apprehensively gazing into the eyes of her pimp Manuel and hoping that her cigarette doesn’t burn to her fingertips while posing like a statue for the People’s postcard. The poor African American lady in the turquoise pants and the eldest musician in the back of the room seem paralyzed with fear lest they move one tiny muscle - visions of dank dark cells and vicious guard dogs loom in their minds. Even the clearly inebriated bar maid in the foreground remains perfectly still - though she probably thinks that everyone is playing a drunken version of “red light - green light”. Alas, she’ll be waking up in a Havana prison come morning.

The strangest members of this clan have to be the blind man and his creepy counterpart in the right foreground. The poor blind man could be holding anything placed in his hands by the wiry man with the unhinged grin. Underground Cuban pornographic comics, secret plans to overthrow the government, or a promo piece for “Valley Of The Dolls”. I have a gut feeling that when the inteligesta burst in, the creepy looking fellow stuck whatever he was holding into the nearest blind man’s hands just seconds before the words “FREEZE” rang through the smoky air. Now that’s smart thinking on your feet - totally dishonorable, but smart nevertheless….


Mandy said...

I actually thought the indigenous gal looked like she might be that crew's token boy toy. It looks like someone has ripped her chest cloth away and she is attempting to cover herself. At any rate, that is one wild group. I'm glad everyone seems to get along though. I do love a good party but if I walked in on this scene, I think I might just slink out slowly- walking backwards, of course.

anessa said...

What a great and imaginative story!
Love it--

anessa said...

Hey, Michael, by the way...thanks for putting me on your blogroll I would like to do the same for you if you don't mind...I'm enjoying getting to know you through your blog.