Cuban Collaborations: Cultural Happenings Unite Cuba and the U.S.

Courtesy TBS

Diplomats in Cuba and the United States may be moving tentatively toward normalization—50 years of mistrust have left scars—but these recent and upcoming collaborations prove that, culturally speaking, U.S.-Cuba relations are healthier than they’ve ever been.

The Hemingway biopic Papa, the first Hollywood movie shot in Cuba since the 1959 revolution, was filmed last summer in downtown Havana and at Hemingway’s home, Finca Vigía. The film comes out later this year.

Conan O’Brien relocated his TBS talk show, Conan, to Cuba for four days in February, indulging in rum and cigars and delighting onlookers with bad dancing.

In conjunction with this summer’s Havana Biennial (from May 22 to June 22), New York’s Magnan Metz Gallery ( will install an ice skating rink by Brooklyn artist Duke Riley, referencing the short-lived Cuban ice hockey team from the 1930s.

Salsa, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, a musical directed by Fela! choreographer Maija Garcia, premiered in Havana in January and is eyeing a limited run in the United States.

Cuba’s Malpaso dance company ( premiered a composition at New York’s Joyce Theater in March and performs it again at Jacob’s Pillow (, in the Berkshires, from August 5 to 9.

More than 100 contemporary works from the Bronx Museum of the Arts ( take up residence at Cuba’s National Museum of Fine Arts from May 21 to August 16. Next spring, more than 100 pieces from Cuba will travel north as part of the art swap.

The Minnesota Orchestra ( travels over the straits in mid-May, giving two concerts at Havana’s International Cubadisco Festival as the first full U.S. orchestra to play on the island.