Art as Vengeance – Part III

Juan Abreu in his Emanaciones #1548 (my translation):


Right before sitting down to write this I did a quick sketch of the painting I will do of Alicia Alonso. Of course, the witch will not be spared. She is the witch in my drawing that looks like a species of raven that in its arms (arms that look more like claws and meat cleavers) rocks its beloved treasure Fidel Castro. Alicia Alonso has always looked to me like a bird of prey, so my wild imagination immediately came up with the rest.

You accomplices and ass kissers should start getting used to the fact that the time of vengeance has arrived and there is no place you can hide.



3 thoughts on “Art as Vengeance – Part III

  1. The witch would have sold herself to anybody who ensured what she craved: eternal divahood and the life of a queen. In other words, it’s nothing personal, really, just going with whatever will get you what you want.

  2. By 1959, Alonso was pushing 40 (which is getting on in years for a ballerina) and past her prime. She would have been unable to compete much longer at the top level in a free international arena, and she wasn’t about to put herself in a situation of diminishing returns leading to inevitable retirement (which is what would have happened if she’d left Cuba and tried to continue her career abroad). She didn’t want to wind up a faded relic in some small New York apartment surrounded by old photos and yellowing press clippings. In other words, she didn’t want to be a Norma Desmond. Also, it helps to be a big fish in a small pond–being supreme in Havana is much easier than being supreme is London, Paris and NYC.

    No matter how great a dancer may have been, the show cannot go on beyond a limited period—unless, of course, the dancer controls the stage and can impose her terms upon it. That’s what the “revolution” offered Alonso: full backing and support of every kind, indefinitely, and Cuban ballet as her personal fiefdom to run as she pleased for as long as she wanted–with herself as the unchallenged star. For someone with distinctly dictatorial tendencies and a steely determination to remain a diva for life, as well as live like royalty, it was an irresistible deal. This was contingent, of course, upon her being a “revolutionary” artist/icon, not just implicitly but overtly, and she has always kept her end of the deal–even to the point of signing a public document supporting the summary execution of three young black Cuban men for the “crime” of attempting to leave Cuba “illegally.” In Castro’s Cuba, art is VERY political, like everything else. And incidentally, during the 1950s, Alonso was perfectly willing to accept very generous subsidies for her own ballet company from the government–the Batista government.

    The only reason this horrid woman is worth notice, especially at this late date when she’s virtually a walking mummy and frankly grotesque, is that she once had serious, world-class talent. Her case is an anomaly, as the vast majority of Cuban “artists” who hitched their wagon to Castro, Inc. were far less distinguished, if not downright mediocre or worse. A “globo inflado” like the abjectly servile Silvio Rodríguez, for instance, would never have gotten far in a normal Cuba, where he simply would not have been competitive in a free musical marketplace. Alonso, like Leni Riefenstahl in another field, had the real goods; it just so happened she put them at the service of evil for personal gain.

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