Sunday, October 6, 2013

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight was a Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright who despite his early sympathy for Fidel Castro and the 1959 revolution, grew critical of and then rebelled against the Cuban government. His work focused on political and social injustices. Today's Out Spotlight is  Reinaldo Arenas.

Reinaldo Arenas was born into poverty in the countryside, the northern part of the Province of Oriente, Cuba, July 16, 1943, later moving to the city of Holguín.   He wrote his first poems by carving words into tree trunks.

 In 1961, Arenas moved to Havana and joined Fidel Castro’s revolutionary forces. He studied philosophy and literature at the University of Havana, but did not graduate.

The following year, he began working at the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí. While there, his talent was noticed and he was awarded prizes at Cirilo Villaverde National Competition held by UNEAC (National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists) In 1966, his novel "Hallucinations" received a First Honorable Mention award from the National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists.

His writings and openly gay lifestyle were, by 1967, bringing him into conflict with the Communist government. Arenas left the Biblioteca Nacional and became an editor for the Cuban Book Institute until 1968. From 1968 to 1974 he was a journalist and editor for the literary magazine La Gaceta de Cuba. Many of his works were not reprinted in Cuba, but were published in other countries. In 1974, Arenas was imprisoned  after being charged and convicted of 'ideological deviation' and for publishing abroad without official consent

Arenas escaped from prison and tried to leave Cuba by launching himself from the shore on a tire inner tube. The attempt failed and he was rearrested near Lenin Park and imprisoned at the notorious El Morro Castle alongside murderers and rapists. He survived by helping the inmates write letters to wives and lovers. He was able to collect enough paper this way to continue his writing. However, his attempts to smuggle his work out of prison were discovered and he was severely punished. Threatened with death, he was forced to renounce his work and was released in 1976.  While imprsoned, he secretly wrote “Farewell to the Sea,” regarded by critics as one of his best works.

In 1980, as part of the Mariel Boatlift, he fled to the United States He came on the boat San Lazaro captained by Cuban immigrant Roberto Aguero.

In the U.S. he published his works including his autobiography, "Before Night Falls." Arenas wrote about government control and social injustices under Castro's regime and in America. His writing gained popularity during the height of the AIDS epidemic when readers connected with Arenas’s oppression.

In 1987, Arenas was diagnosed with AIDS. In 1990, because he was no longer able to write, he committed suicide. Arenas left behind a letter urging Cuban exiles to continue fighting against Castro’s rule.

His autobiography, "Before Night Falls" was on the New York Times list of the ten best books of the year in 1993. In 2000 this work was made into a film, directed by Julian Schnabel, in which Arenas was played by Javier Bardem. It was showcased at the Toronto Film Festival and the Venice International Film Festival and was screened around the world.

An opera based on the autobiography with libretto and music by Cuban-American composer Jorge Martin was premiered by the Fort Worth Opera on May 29, 2010, with baritone Wes Mason singing the role of Reinaldo Arenas.

“If you cannot live the way you want, there is no point in living.”


just saying said...

She knows he's married. She is grandmother to his and Austin's kids.

And yet she and Maggie both ringingly endorse a false relationship which spits on the truth.

^^ I don't believe it and you don't know if your assessment/speculation is true.

You really need to stop acting if you know "The truth", because you don't.

You Really "Don't"!

But I guess if you just need to hang onto Jake and Austin being married, having 6 hidden children and his mother and sister involved in such a lie, make yourself happy. All of that rings stupidity run amuck.

Stupid for in the closet stars to have 6 children thru sorrogacy, hide them from the public, say to everyone listening/writing, "I have no children", then mother and sister lie about something so important. So I guess Mom and Maggie will be acessories in the children abuse and neglect case if your story rings true huh?

Hey, to each his own, but at the end of the day wishing of a J/A marriage with 6 children may be paradise for some...

Sorry, No Proof, Not true.

prairiegirl said...

Oh calm the heck down. You can use 1000 different names, doesn't change who you are. You're the same person with the same mantra.

And you've been shown the door. Use it.

prairiegirl said...

You really need to stop acting if you know "The truth", because you don't.

You Really "Don't"

Yeah. I Really "Do!!"

the real m said...

Those pictures of Jake as a child are adorable. He really stares at the camera in them - not afraid to have his photo taken even then. And he does have a nice soothing voice too. Like PG said, great for reading stories to his childern whether 1 or 6. At least one, of that I am sure. And to the one asking for proof, have you not been reading for the last 4 years?

prairiegirl said...

They read, they're only here to troll, m.

What an interesting and sad Spotlight. What a life, what a struggle. And so he made it to freedom in America only to contract AIDS and lose his life by suicide. How terrible.

If only he had lived to see his works be brought to life.

destiny said...

“If you cannot live the way you want, there is no point in living.”

What a great quote. Such a sad ending after all the struggles to break free, but he did all he could to try and live the way he wanted.

I saw the movie when it came out, it's very good.

Florida Tom said...

What a great game at Tropicana Field tonight. It was so exciting.