loading...

Off the Beaten Turf: The Cuban Poster Gallery

by Shilpi Paul

image
Bill Brubaker in his shop.

We first ran this post in May of 2012 but wanted to remind folks about this gem, which is having an open house tomorrow, Saturday Oct. 12, from 10am to 5pm.

This week in Off the Beaten Turf, UrbanTurf visits a small shop tucked away in a Georgetown basement that aims to satisfy the desires of a very specific customer: fans of Cuban movie posters.

A few times a year, the doors to the English basement of 3319 O Street NW (map) open and interested patrons can browse through one of the largest collections of Cuban movie posters in the world.

Bill Brubaker, a former Washington Post reporter, has been collecting the posters for the past two decades and has amassed a collection of about 500. Three years ago, Brubaker and his wife Freddi decided to start selling the posters. They set up the basement of their row house as a shop, The Cuban Poster Gallery, and have been quietly spreading the word, often joining in the Georgetown Flea Market on Sundays and opening up during the neighborhood’s annual house tour. The next open house of the spring is scheduled for Saturday, October 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, open houses are rare and Brubaker makes most sales by appointment.

“A lot of people like the fact that the posters are from Cuba,” Brubaker said, as he showed UrbanTurf around the small shop. “It’s this kind of forbidden island that culturally has a lot to offer, in terms of painting, music and graphic arts.” The Cuban Poster Gallery is filled with 20 inch by 30 inch silk-screened posters, ranging in price from $49 to $159 each (a few bins hold medium-sized prints for about $30). Brubaker has also been collecting propaganda posters from Cuba, North Korea and the Soviet Republic, as well as folk art.

image

The posters themselves are colorful, sharply lined, sometimes playful, sometimes dramatic. Since getting there is tough, Brubaker gets many of his posters shipped directly from Cuba (the embargo on exporting Cuban goods excludes informational materials) and the rest from other collectors. While he populates his own collection, Brubaker will buy multiple copies of particularly cool posters for his shop.

On UrbanTurf’s visit, Brubaker treated us to some interesting tidbits about the artists, like Eduardo Muñoz Bachs, a former ad man who became a prolific movie poster artist after the Cuban revolution, and the movies, like “Vampiros en La Habana!,” an animated film that pits American vampires against Eastern European vampires. Each poster comes with a paragraph summary about the film.

image
Two posters for sale at The Cuban Poster Gallery.

Brubaker’s interest is a bit personal; growing up in Miami, many of his friends were Cuban refugees. After making several trips to Cuba as a journalist, he got his hands on some posters, and his interest grew from there. In his home, Brubaker has about 50 posters framed and displayed and the rest are stored carefully. One day, he said, their collection will be sold or donated to a museum or university. Right now, in addition to selling the posters, he is working on cataloging the collection and perhaps having an exhibition at some point.

For those interested in Cuba, graphic arts, movies or who just have an expanse of wall to fill with brightly colored art, The Cuban Poster Gallery is worth checking out. For more information, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

See more Off the Beaten Turf:

* Off the Beaten Turf: DC’s Tastiest Chinese Restaurant?
* Off the Beaten Turf: DC’s Newest Mini Golf Course
* Off the Beaten Turf: DC’s First Gin Distillery
* Off the Beaten Turf: Quarry House Tavern
* Off the Beaten Turf: Fab Lab DC
* Off the Beaten Turf: Uncle Chips Has More Than Just Cookies
* Off the Beaten Turf: DC’s Supper Club
* Off the Beaten Turf: The Cuban Poster Gallery
* Off the Beaten Turf: The Dupont Underground Tour
* Off the Beaten Turf: Spanish Steps
* Off the Beaten Turf: The U.S. National Arboretum
* Off the Beaten Turf: Blind Dog Cafe
* Off the Beaten Turf: Hana Japanese Market
* Off the Beaten Turf: A. Litteri

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/off_the_beaten_turf_the_cuban_poster_gallery/5531

1 Comment

  1. jose gomez said at 10:05 pm on Sunday April 27, 2014:

    I enjoyed the above article. I started buying silkscreen Cuban movie posters from Bill. Now that I have a little more of context about him, I can see more clearly why he collects the posters. Not only are they rare but also of great beauty.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.



DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾