Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Monthly Meeting FEBRUARY 2009


(Also showing this month at the "Festival del Habano" in Cuba)

Presentation of the Documentary Short...

Con El Toque De La Chaveta

(With a Stroke of the Chaveta)

Image Credit:

Pamela Sporn (USA 2007)

28 min
Spanish with English subtitles

This film takes viewers into the legendary cigar factories of Cuba where we witness the unique tradition of “la lectura de tabaquería,” the collective reading of literature while tabaqueros roll habanos. The film has been described as a poetic documentary that leaves us wondering where to draw the line between "worker" and "intellectual."

Thursday, February 26
6:30 PM (program starts at 7:00pm sharp)
The Little Chapel (University of Arizona)

Admission $ 5
Includes Film, Cuban food,
and music by Duo Libre (Yasel y Alejandro)

About the Film Director

Pamela Sporn is a Bronx based educator and documentary video maker. Since the late 1980s she has guided New York City teenagers in producing videos that reflect the unique perspective of urban youth. She has also produced two other films related to Cubans in New York. The documentary short "Con el Toque de la Chaveta" won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Short at the festival Cine Las Americas in Austin Texas in 2008. It has been shown at the Los Angeles International Latino Film Festival, the London International Documentary Film Festival, the Ybor Festival of the Moving Image in Tampa, Florida, and at the Festival del Habano in Havana, Cuba in 2009.

What is a Chaveta?

It's the knife used in a cigar factory for cutting the wrapper leaf

A long and venerable tradition

In the cigar factories of Cuba, a unique tradition persists: ‘la lectura de tabaqueria’ . Every day, specially employed workers read out loud to the two or three-hundred tabaqueros as they sit rolling the country’s famous cigars.

From classic novels to national politics and local baseball results, for many years this daily tradition has been an education for the workers. But after years of listening, they are now knowledgeable and demanding, and the readers must be at their very best if they are to keep their discerning audience interested.

Cigar makers. One, perhaps two or three hundred sat in rows at wooden tables, skilled fingers rolling moist leaves of tobacco. The lector. Only one sat at the tribuna raised above the workers. Two hands held a book, maybe a newspaper. Words rolled off the lector’s tongue, resonating throughout the factory.

Together, tabaqueros and lectores traveled to the Spain of Don Quijote, the France of Victor Hugo, and the Cuban battlefield of Antonio Maceo. They followed the debates between anarchists and socialists, as well as the local baseball scores.

Sometimes they laid down their tools—chavetas and books—and walked out of the factories to demand their rights . Through 'la lectura' cigar workers were entertained, educated, and developed a sense of class solidarity. The reader's voice is no longer heard in most places. But in Cuba, cigar makers defend their tradition of 'la lectura' with pride.

1 comment:

dnis said...


Como estas? Me da mucho gusto saber que estás enamorado, casado y feliz.
Espero que volvamos a vernos algun dia!! Claro, espero te acuerdes de mi, que yo llevo al Lírico en mi corazón.
Saludos a tu mujer y felicidades de mi parte!!

Denisse (La mexicana-chinita jajaja)