Since the communist revolution of 1959, Cuba has been on an economic rollercoaster. The country has lurched from dependency to self-sufficiency, in a bubble of isolation where technological time stopped. Our correspondent, who in 2016 visited the artists and self-taught engineers who have kept Cuba running throughout its bizarre ride, updates us on Cuba’s declining fortunes in the years since.
Written and photographed by ROB WATERS
A good conductor can lead an orchestra with almost anything — even a chopstick. Leonard Bernstein was known to conduct a full symphony with just his eyebrows. Why, then, in this age of cheap manufacturing, are handmade, custom conducting batons still in demand?
While many gardeners take their flowers seriously, few devote almost all of their time to growing one breed—the dahlia—then drive hundreds of miles to go mano a mano against other fanatical growers, for nothing more than a blue ribbon. But that’s exactly what Deborah Dietz does.
Written by THOMAS COOPER
Photography by JAK WONDERLY
A bicycle made of bamboo might look a little silly—brown and fat, with swollen joints. But Craig Calfee, a respected pioneer of carbon fiber bicycle frames, swears by their strength, flexibility, and ecological value.
OK, so some of them may look silly—brown and fat, with oversized joints. But Craig Calfee, a respected (and highly successful) carbon frame builder, swears by the strength, flexibility, and ecological value of the bamboo bicycle.
Written and photographed by JEFF GREENWALD
Incense has been around for millennia, and is relatively simple to make. It can be purchased at any gift shop for a few dollars, so why spend more for the handmade, whole-plant version? Mike Paré, one of very few traditional incense makers in the U.S., explains to our author why his craft still matters. My…
In an era of chronic drought, could desert crops become the new sustainable dinner?
By CHRISTOPHER D. COOK
Throughout history vintners used clay vessels to age their wine, until the French discovered the marvels of the oak barrel. Now—for fun, for distinctly different flavors, and to save some fine old trees—a few wineries are giving clay a second chance, Roman style.
California, where much of our nation’s food is produced, is facing a historic drought — again. It’s become a familiar refrain, year after year, and the growing climate crisis is only expected to make things worse. Our food system has to change, and a few forward-thinking farmers are adopting some ancient, low-water agricultural techniques for…