Fashion Designer Wayne James Directing Film on Golden-Age Cuba
Georgetown University law graduate and former United States Virgin Islands senator Wayne James seems to do it all—from fashion to furniture to food to federal prison. And now the über-talented, ever-resilient author of the critically acclaimed Manly Manners can add yet another “F-word” to his credentials: filmmaker. Going…Going…Gone: The Grandeur of Golden-Age Cuba is a 90-minte docufilm featuring more than 450 photographs of Cuba during its heyday between 1890 and 1925. The film will premiere in Miami in December. But in many ways, Going…Going…Gone has been coming along for almost a century. In 1918, at age 29, James’ maternal great-uncle Alexander Messer, born on St. Croix in 1888, migrated to Cuba to work as a sugarcane laborer and musician. And while living in Santiago de Cuba, the island-nation’s second-largest city after Havana, Messer would occasionally enclose with his letters to his parents and siblings tobacco cards issued by Henry Clay and Bock Co., Ltd., manufacturers of fine cigars. The cards featured beautiful images of Cuba: churches and cathedrals, municipal building, private mansions, parks, bridges, monuments, casinos, theaters, bays and beaches, plantations, factories, etc. “This was before the proliferation of the instamatic camera,” James said. “For Uncle Alex, sending picture-cards of Cuba was the best way he knew how to share his adopted homeland with his beloved family.” Messer’s cards, totaling about 100, remained in the Prince-Messer family’s ancestral home in the town of Frederiksted, St. Croix, until 1973 when Alexander’s younger brother, Alphonso Messer, died, the seminal collection passing to James.