It will be forgiven that half of Cuba streets doors are closed today, as every store, restaurant, spare space, artist and available pair of hands were devoted to transforming the street into an epic weekend for the revival of the Cuba st. Carnival, the Cuba Dupa.
Even though I’ve walked or cycled up and down that street three times a week in the last 25 years, this weekend, Cuba Street shone in a new light.
Out of virtually no hype, zero expectation, and no over excited face book traffic that I could see, the lid on the bottle of the magic mulled for a bit during a drizzly saturday and then as dusk moved in, exploded into a plethora of awesomeness that made one remember why this city is like no other.
What were the magic ingredients that left me with such a delicious taste?
The SPACE; the removal of cars and traffic created a blank canvas to play,explore and be in. I am always amazed at how freeing this act is. ( apart from Viv of course, as a few friends were nearly bowled walking carefree into state highway no1).
The PEOPLE, the PEOPLE, the PEOPLE– the best, the worst, the regulars, the friends, the artists, the extravaganza stars, they all came. And they came with an open attitude, prepared for fun.
The IMPRINT- that was already laid down. Homage must be given to all those who created the early version and vision of the Cuba St. Carnival. So for many it wasn’t a foreign feeling, this is how Cuba Street always was and is. It has just been enabled after being been cooped up like a battery hen for too long.
The COLLABORATORS – we think it is normal, but it is not. It is quite a talent to drop the ego and work with others. Collaborations were rife, from Steve Logan of Logan Brown making Paua Fritters at the front of Lucky’s fruit shop, to Adam Page conducting the Mass Cuba St. Orchestra made up of nearly every musician in the city, to the actors, choirs and community groups who made The Grand Opening at the Opera House such a riot. I get such a kick seeing musicians running onto the stage of already performing bands, arriving slightly late after a previous performance but determinded to be there non the less.
The CHERRIES; each will have their own but for me, the Hairy Lollies, the Saturday finale on the Upper Cuba St. stage, were off the hook, with such good Welly musicians and songstress divas, who were there because….. They LOVE it. The second to last song was a funky Mariachi track, with a dirty slide guitar and trumpet that just kept evolving. It was so good I nearly couldn’t take it anymore.
The kids and I trouped back in on the Sunday determined to make it to The Grand Opening . The geniuses of Barbarian Productions took us on a wild ride to get to a show that we didn’t know we were already starring in. All I can say is I have never experienced anything like that before.
Thank you to all those who consented and contributed to the weekend that was the first Cuba Dupa. An even bigger thank-you to all those who curated and organised it. I would have lost sleep for months trying to pull that off.
But most of all thank-you to Wellington for being there with the spirit that is the Soul of Cuba street. To me, letting our creative culture reign is part of the long term sustainability and prosperity of our city.
So please may we have another slice of that… PLEASE!!!!!!!.
# Why Wellington # Cuba Dupa
Mass Cuba Street Orchestra
Steve Logan, cooking mean paua fritters at the front of Luckys fruit shop
the Hairy Lollies funking up a storm
Just some of the Cast or crew at the Grand Opening.