Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Different-ology

The suffix -ology refers to the " the study of"...so we can interpret Bunji Garlin's composition, "Differentology" to be the study of not just what is different, but what makes our Carnival and its music different.
I will never forget being in a class earlier this year at UWI Mona and a big time lecturer in response to my research said that she "hated" soca because it had no lyrics or depth and it only spoke about jump and wave.  Now being the only Trinbagonian in the room, I  was appalled and failed horribly at trying to convince her that this was not so.  Sometimes I feel like I always have to defend or promote soca not just because I'm a Trinbagonian but because of my lifelong love affair with the genre.  People don't invest a life time in a cultural product that is meaningless and without substance; we are passionate about it because we hear ourselves when we listen to it, and we see ourselves when we look at it...yes, it is different...
What Dr Big Time lecturer needed to do was to listen to Bunji's Differentology- a powerful voice telling a story that so many of us live, combined with a rhythm that speaks not only to the way we move or the wine, but the chip, the bend over, the leg lift, the lifting of the arms, the sip of the drink, the tilt of the head,the purse or biting of the lips, and I can't leave out that oh so sexy, but subtle "wine and glance back"...It's also about the guitar sounds that call on the spirituality of the experience, one that is immaterial and connects us through an unconditional love for revelry...it is different.  When the song asks " you ready?"  it doesn't simply mean if your make up is done, if you have your boots and monday wear or if you got your costume of choice...Carnival is much more than that. Are you physically, mentally and spiritually ready for the joys, vibes,  freedom, spirits, fete, friendships, disappointments and love...in fact, can you feel it now?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Live Yuh Life Like Yuh Playing Mas?

Academic scholarship has agreed that the ideas of Carnival and Masquerade speak to a temporary adoption of an identity different from our everyday lives- one that offers escape. The idea of "freedom to the flesh" has long been associated with the Carnival. Philospher, Mikhail Bakhtin suggested that the carnivalesque spirit offered persons from the lower classes relief from their oppressive lives. During their celebrations, they mocked the upper classes, and for a short time, they voiced non conformist opinions. It was indeed a time for humor and revelry. But at the end of the festivities, the workers had to return to the reality of their lives. Today Kees and David Rudder are asking us to live our lives like we are playing mas; let's carry this free spirit and abandonment outside of the confines of Carnival.

But the Trinidad Carnival of today is outside of the realm of Bakhtin's theory. Does the contemporary Carnival protest in the same way as the canboulay, the kalinda, the early steelbands, the pissenlit or the calypso? Our Carnival is largely defined by high priced costumes, all inclusive fetes, all inclusive j'ouvert bands, and exorbitant cash prizes for the soca competitions. From my perspective, there's no culture of protest or resistance. If we look at other elements such as the dimanche gras competitions, steelband and traditional mas, there is very little evidence of oppression. What we do have are promoters, sponsors and band leaders setting high prices to attain this 'freedom'. We also have a culture of aspirants grabbing at middle class signifiers, which in turn feeds the pockets of these Carnival business persons. Where is the resistance to this greed? What matters most to these aspirants is that they got into a certain band or that they got tickets to one of the exclusive inclusive fetes. Some argue that Carnival can level social inequities. Can it really? The fetes and the road march certainly do their best to keep out certain people. Despite what we think, there's no "all ah we is one famalee"  in j'ouvert, the road march or in fetes.  In fact, the "all ah we" is only an extension of the middle class identity of the aspirant. Whether we like it or not, this is the Trinidad Carnival today.

The freedom can actually be a relief from the participants' everyday roles, but how oppressive are these everyday roles? The people who can pay up to US$1000 for a costume or US$200 for a fete ticket or who move from Carnival to Carnival throughout the year are living their life like they are playing mas. But what of those who can't afford this experience, those who live in actual poverty, what escape does the contemporary Carnival give them?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gangnam Styling at Frenchmen 2012

Highlights of Frenchmen Foreplay 2012
1. "Rain does only stop cricket" (well it depends on the type of hair you had in).
2. When god saw the greatness that was Johnnie Walker, he blessed us with a gift of coconut water.
3. Soca.
4. Private Ryan and Alicia the dutchess sell off.
5. Don't hate on Caribbean Airlines, cuz they flew in nuff Trinbagonians.
6. Seriously rate Frenchmen for flying in Psy.
7. Chris Gayle is really ah don; he doh miss nutten.
8. The girl who lifted up her dress and had on no panty.
9. Haagen dazs dulce de leche ice cream.
10. If I'm paying JA$7000 for a party, please serve my food in a dinner size plate and not in a tea plate.
11. If I'm paying JA$7000 for a party, I shouldn't have to wait in a food line for more than 2 minutes.
12. If you didn't get much food, check with the staff who kept hoarding their share.
13. The female bartender in the bar in the food section who had a box of Appleton cups put aside for herself- not cool.
14. Definitely want to go back next year.....
** pic of "Psy" taken from Skkan

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Cooler fete 101

I am so excited that the I love Soca promoters will be putting on its cooler fete this Saturday on Hopefield Ave.  This will be my third cooler fete in Jamaica and I'm very pumped! I'm desperate for anything soca so this is a must go especially since Titan and Selector Myles from T&T will be playing.
In my limited cooler fete experience, I've come up with some helpful tips for the cooler fete newbies:
1. An actual cooler will be helpful (if not, a bucket will do)
2. If you are going with a crew, enforce the " bring what you drinking" rule
3. Coolers with wheels are recommended especially if it's a female crew
4. Arrive at the fete early enough to secure a good spot for the cooler/s
5. Drop off the cooler at the entrance (with someone from the crew ) and then park
6. Do not stand on the cooler (they are not cheap)
7. Try to keep the number of hands going into the cooler limited (bacteria is not fun)
8. Don't forget your cups
9. Keep the ice for the drinks separate from the ice used to keep the drinks cold

What should be in your cooler:
Your alcoholic drink of choice (you don't need to bring drinks for everyone you meet up since they should have their own cooler)
Your chaser of choice
Ice
Drinking water to hydrate
Something cheap for the beggars

See you on Saturday and remember that a little wine never hurt nobody (well it depends on who you ask)...


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Carnival Band Virgin/Whore....

Serious talk people...142 more days to Trini Carnival and this dougla is not registered in any band. Usually around this time I am registered or I have a pretty good idea who I want to be registered with.  Out of all the bands who have launched so far, I am mostly drawn to K2K's Skeptic (see pic below). I was convinced that this was MY costume for 2013, until the prices were released...There was no better response than the effective Jamaican phrase, RAS KLAAT!!!!!. Which was immediately followed by BUMBO KLAAT, when realizing that these were the prices of the Frontline-but-really-backline costumes.

Now this wouldn't be a shock if K2K wasn't such a disappointment on the road this year. After I didn't get the advertised wings for my costume, the ridiculous late start on Tuesday, no security, being stuck in the same position for most of the day and just the general poor road management, I find it hard to hand over US$1000 to them with no guarantee that this mess will be fixed next year. So basically I don't know what to do. Even though they are promising to fix these  problems, do I just invest US$1000 with a hope that all will be well???

And don't ask me about playing another band...I just can't do the band virgin thing again.  There are only so many times you can call yourself a virgin and at some point,  the virgin becomes a whore, which can be tiring....


Monday, July 30, 2012

Bikini, beads, feathers and.....

Since Tribe, Spice and Fantasy launched, I'm tired of critics complaining about the lack of originality in the bikini mas, the loss of "carnival culture" due to the dominance of bikini mas, and the loss of "Trinidadianess" in the production and design of costumes. Now what is mas culture in Trinidad? There's no one representation as culture evolves and becomes different things at different times. The political, social, religious , global, and technological issues of the time influence how a cultural tradition is conceptualized, created and interpreted. Basically our society is changing and it is inevitable that Carnival like almost every other aspect of society will undergo change. However, I'm not saying the we discredit our traditional Carnival, but to accept that it has undergone change.

First of all, we have to accept that our costumes have been bikini based from the 1980s, which means that we have had almost 30 years of this tradition; so why condemn it? It is also a known fact that women have dominated Carnival during the same period, so it is expected that the costumes will remain in the bikini trend. Carnival has always been a site of resistance, mimicry, masquerade, revelry, gender inequality and identity transformation and none of these have changed in the contemporary Carnival.  In addition, modern feminism has moved away from the belief that in order for women to be taken seriously, our bodies must not be a distraction. As such women do not need to feel ashamed about their bodies.  For some, this can be a literal interpretation of a "freedom to the flesh" or " carne vale". What is also important to note is that as women lewdly display their bodies on the streets of Port of Spain, they are challenging their unequal status in everyday life. They ultimately decide who would be the victim of their vicious skills while "bracing" some men, and they are mostly to be found in the company of other women. Then they put on their best business attire for work the next day to continue in a job that paid for this freedom. The power to choose is the most important action here- the choice to display their bodies without fear.

The traditional Carnival has always been scandalous and in poor taste.  For example the pissenlit bands of the 1870s were about men portraying blood stained menstrual cloths which was a sure way to upset the Victorian ideals of the time.  Carnival also never used original ideas. The pre 1980s saw the precedence of sailor, Native American, African tribal, devil, and animal inspired themes; none of which are original. Carnival costumes "portray", so it must be based on an interpretation of a concept, thus it is subjective.  Carnival is a masquerade, thus we adopt an alternate identity. And where is it written that we can't recycle, reuse, revisit and reinvent? Fashion does it all time.  However I do acknowledge that bands need to start thinking outside the box and change up the game.  For years they've argued that the younger masqueraders want the bikinis, but I don't think that this is completely true since we've seen masqueraders supporting non bikini mas.

If you didn't get the memo, we are living a global economy. Ultimately, globalization, free trade, competition, bottom line ( and all the other economics jargon) will affect the business of Carnival, in the same way it has affected other industries.  This era has made many jobs useless, so why don't we expect it to do the same where Carnival is concerned? The fact is that it is cheaper and more efficient to produce costumes in China. Why is it then that we don't have a problem with all our souvenir key chains, fridge magnets, dolls, pens, tshirts, bags, pot holders, cups, mugs, coasters etc being made in China? And yes, there's very little need for wire benders for bikini mas ( i guess if they may be needed with the rise of the cage bra).   But I don't see the outsourcing of costumes as a "loss of culture". The technology of the culture has changed but it doesn't make our Carnival less Trinidadian.  The passion that we bring to Carnival cannot be imported from China or Rio; that passion is purely Trinbagonian. How we parade, wine, grind, let loose and throw our worries away is what we bring to the Carnival and imports have never taken that away from us, and we have not let them.

Whether you like it or not, culture evolves.  Some of us may feel a sense of loss because we are always nostalgic about the past. What is more important is how we use the technologies of change in the interest of our people. We may no longer need wire benders but there is potential for new entrepreneurial and artistic skills. Why aren't we marketing Carnival to tourists? What is wrong with a 2nd Carnival in Tobago? Why aren't we hiring qualified persons without political affiliations to run various Carnival bodies?

And since we are on the topic of the government- they can ensure the preservation of our Carnival history through education in schools, preservation of artefacts, support for re enactments, training, regularizing imports, quality assurance, upholding consumer rights, support for research and documentation, a Carnival institute, and I can go on....

My point is that we can use inevitable change in our favour to create and sustain the Greatest Show on Earth...

***pic of Fantasy's costume from Trinidad Carnival Diary's page on fb


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Carnival 2013- Exercise, Diet and Brazilian waxes

Well after Spice's an Tribe's launch in the last week, one thing is clear- The bikini, beads and feathers costumes for Carnival 2013 will be uber skimpy. The body wear for these costumes have taken on new cuts that can make even slim chicks feel conscious about their bodies. I already see them obsessing over the gym and fitness classes; you better include jogging, aerobics, zumba, weights, boot camp, pilates, trx, glide, insanity, p90x, hip hop abs, kickboxing etc. So make sure you up your workout to 7 days (twice a day) and don't forget you will need to diet. I hear that the HCG produces results in a short time- especially if you have a preference for apples and lettuce. If not, there's always the Master Cleanse, Lemonade diet, Salt water cleanse, baby food diet, Grapefruit diet, 7 day color diet, Cabbage soup diet, The cookie diet, Macrobiotic diet, 3 hour diet, Atkins, South beach, Weight watchers etc.  And most importantly, since most of your vajayjay will be exposed, invest in a series brazilian waxes or even better, take off everything...


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Masqueraders or Masochists???

I haven't blogged in forever simply because I didn't have any burning issues to comment on and life has been just about work and my thesis. But you know it's that time of the year- band launching time so I'll be having lots to blog about.

One of the main things that we Carnival commentators look forward to is the launch of new bands. If you've been following my posts, you know that I'm somewhat of a new band expert, but I have to admit that it has been a disappointing and tiresome ordeal.  At the end of all of this, I'm wondering where can I apply for retribution for the pain, suffering and inconvenience? Yes, I made the choice to give these bands a chance hoping for a much better experience, but they took advantage, got my money (usually in the ballpark of US$1000) and I was left with a below average Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

And I'm not tolerant of excuses such as "it's our first year, please bear with us"...bear with you? Because I have US$1000 to just throw away right? I don't know about you, but I have to work extremely hard to save that amount of money. So what do hardworking masqueraders expect from a new band....

Good quality costumes
In 2011, after picking up my gorgeous Titan costume from Bliss, I decided to try it on in the restroom. The braid that held the bra together came apart.  As a result I had to wait several days for them to redo the wholepiece. My weekend fete plans were disrupted since I had to spend most of my time up and down from the mas camp. I eventually got my costume on Sunday night, but to have the bra part detach from the rest of the swimsuit on Tuesday. I ended up writing a letter of complaint to Tribe/Bliss and big surprise- they never responded.


Bliss- Titans FL 2011 (i know, not a great pic)
But my first time costumes in Spice (2009's Scotch Bonnet) and this year's Dead Sea from K2K will always remain my faves.
 
K2K Dead Sea FL 2012

Spice Scotch Bonnet FL 2009
A Good Road Experience
I had a ball in Spice on the road and the security was tight.  Drinks were always flowing and easy to get.  When we got tired, the rest bus was nearby. We got a reasonable lunch at QRC, but they needed more seating arrangements.  I had a similar experience in Bliss, but blankets and adequate toilets were provided. Fast forward to 2012 with K2K, which was the worst road management I've ever seen. The  trucks met the band at the meeting spot at almost lunch time, so masqueraders had just been waiting for hours with no drinks, music, security or any sign of the K2K team.  Consequently, we were stuck in the savannah jam up and the band hardly moved for the day, so there was no rest stop or "lunch"  until after dark.  I have to admit that the drink service and music were commendable, but where was the security???? The lesson here is that just because a band has gorgeous costumes and great designers, it doesn't mean that they know how to manage the band on the road. The solution was simple- hire someone who can do it; designers are not road managers. We don't see Anya from Spice doing anything else than looking gorgeous on the road...

The Extras
Because we are Trinis and because we pay a ridiculous amount of money to play mas, we expect some extra goodies to make us feel special.  These goodies can range from a bag of free samples to massages on the day.  Trust me, I don't care for condoms, panty liners, gum, bodywash etc., I just want Monday wear and a souvenir cup. Kudos to K2K for being the only band I've played with who offered a real option for Monday wear. It was stylish, suited all body types, went with the theme and gave the band that much lacking uniformed look on Monday. And those other bands better don't feed me any crap about wearing the costume for both days as they very well know the costumes cannot hold up for that long.

I'm sure we are going to see fabulous costumes from these new or almost new bands.  They are going to wow us at the band launches, we will be talking about these costumes for days, even weeks, sharing pics of our fave costumes on various social media, and trying to break barriers stronger than the Mexico/US border to get into certain bands until finally handing over loads of cash. So the bands will always come out the winners- they already have our money and we give them free publicity.  We cuss when we realize that we are being short changed but we do it all again the next year....

Monday, April 30, 2012

Costing Carnival in Jamaica


This post was inspired by a conversation I had with some people last week about how some girls finance their carnival experience (which we will not go into), but what we concluded is that carnival can cost A LOT. I had suggested that for women, costs can run into JA$100,000 (US$1149) which is nuff money...It then seems fair when some critics conclude that Carnival is geared to the uptown crowd.

So I decided to list all the expenses for all the major carnival events which include:

Mas Camp fridays (including drinks and food)- US$150
French Lyme Wednesdays- US$45
Island mas soca village- US$45
Soca vs Dancehall- US$22
Beach Jouvert- US$45
1 night at hotel after Beach Jouvert-US$60
Boat to Soca at the Sandbar-US$5
Food and drinks at Soca at the Sandbar-US$25
Sundown Cooler fete- US$17
I Love Soca- US$28
Blocko (including drinks and food)-US$50
Bacchanal Jouvert (including drinks and food)-US$50
Breakfast party- US$28
Bazodee- US$80
Lock it Down- US$28
Outfits for fetes- US$180
Costume (with Frenchmen)- U$267
Boots-US$35
Insoles-US$10
Tights- US$11
Carnival Bag- US$12
Hair and Makeup- US$100
Total= US$1293 (JA$112,491)

Of course this breakdown is extreme since there are very few people who attended all the events. It did not take into consideration travel expenses, food after the fetes, fitness regimes and diet plans. Some people may have spent more on their hair and outfits while some opted to do the makeup themselves. The costing also did not consider upgrades to costumes which could have cost up to US$300... On the other hand, some persons did not spend as much on the costume, opting for tshirts or a cheaper section. Even if you did not spend JA$112,491, I'm sure you spent a lot but was it worth it?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bacchanal Carnival 2012- Thunder storm and I'm soaking wet!


It all started when I collected my Supernova costume on the Thursday before Carnival. I got to mas camp one hour ahead of the scheduled time for collection, which was a really good idea since I was fifth in the line. However, it did not turn out to be such an advantage since it took me over 45 minutes to collect. It was not even noon yet and the service was at snail's pace. This probably would not have been a problem if Bacchanal had abandoned the "family and friends" first policy. As I stood there waiting, numerous persons bypassed the line with several receipts in hand and were given costumes before me. After finally getting my costume, I noted that the bra was bigger than I had ordered and did not even match any of the stated equivalent sizes. But I had already made up my mind to take whatever was in the box and make it work...

On the road, the costumes looked almost like the prototypes. It was clear that several ladies were having bra problems, which were either too big or too small, with mine fitting too big. I really hope that next year Bacchanal can provide sample sizes during registration, which would help us to choose the right one. The waistbands were also a problem with them shredding many tights to bits...

It was a relief to see more people opting for Frontline upgrades by Lehwego or Darrel Bulze. I even had my own customized corset and collar (from Carnival Divaz) which looked Fab btw...I also observed an increase in the number of persons wearing their own costumes- some from Trinidad Carnival and some designed by Explosion mas band. I heard that some people had their own designed by Solange Shaw-Gopaul from Tribe, which looked okay, not great. But the bigger point here is that people want more than Bacchanal's recycled offerings...

As usual, I joined the band late, and people were having a blast. Even when the rains came, it didn't kill the vibes. I was happy that I opted for airbrush makeup from Paul March; ultimately, it was worth the long wait that morning because it held up fine...I stayed with the Pure Country truck with Private Ryan and Alicia the Duchess, which played the best tunes and it got even better as we approached Waterloo Rd and went down West Kings House rd. I have to mention that we had to literally run after the trucks as they apparently forgot that there were masqueraders who came to dance and enjoy themselves and not take part in a sprint...

The food can best be described as the same as every year, but I was happy for the jerk chicken and pasta option since the chinese was very bland. The drinks on the other hand, were flowing and easy to access. I will stress here the importance of walking with your own cup especially when the sponsor of your section did not provide any...

In addition to the poor security and a looonngggg route, the biggest fail for Bacchanal had to be that mess to get back into the stadium at the end of the day. As I stood in the thick crown waiting to get in, two men tried to pick the pockets of a masquerader that stood in front of me. At this point there was little or no security and order to help us get safely into the venue; it was all push and shove. Once I was in the clear, I was on my way home so I'm not sure what the after party was like...

Overall, this was a fun year. Like every year, there's bitching and moaning about the costumes and their prices, but everyone ends up putting these complaints away and enjoying themselves, which is really what carnival is about. But as I will say every year, Bacchanal needs to step up. They have been in this business too long to not get it right. More and more people are taking part in this carnival and I was even more surprised to hear that so many people flew in to take part so there's even more reason to make the event more contemporary...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bazodee 2012- Mud and Soca

After it had rained for the entire day on Saturday, I was almost sure that I wouldn't be going to Bazodee. But after spending JA$6500 on my ticket, I had to ensure that I was there- rain or shine.

By 9:30, the crowd was small which made parking and the shuttle ride easy. I was really glad I decided to break in my boots that night because it was mud and more mud in the food and bathroom areas. Luckily the main dance area was covered where most people had congregated.

The food area was set up in the thick of the mud so it was really difficult to maneuvre the booths. Obviously, I went to the Trini booth first to get my doubles fix. My other faves were the barbeque pigtail and beef sirloin. Everything else was bland or just tasted bad. The dessert station was blah with an assortment of donuts. I mean who cares for donuts at an all inclusive fete? I want mini cheesecakes, fruit plates, chocolate covered strawberries, red velvet cupcakes etc. But kudos to the Haagen dazs crew for a real dessert station.

Once the Johnnie was flowing, I was fine and boy did it flow! It was very easy to get drinks which is always a plus at a fete.

The restrooms were always clean despite the mud. They also provided, lotion, mints and gum in the female restroom.

The music was really good with a wide variety of tunes coming from Private Ryan, Alicia the Duchess and Smoke. But even with the drinks and good music, there was something lacking. I'm not sure what it was, but the vibes were not has high as last year, or it could have been the rain, or that the fete was a replica of years past. Probably Frenchmen needs to change up the formula because I've attended this fete too many times and it's become boring for me, but whatever it is, I will be there next year...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tips for Jamaica Carnival


As we prepare for the road tomorrow, keep a few tips in mind:

Get some a good night's sleep. You will be on the road for a long time and it doesn't help to start the day tired.

Use gel insoles in your boots or sneakers. Toe protectors can also be used to cushion the pressure on your big toenails.

Cut toenails

Shave/ wax!!! especially if you are not wearing tights

Use lots of sunblock

Use milk of magnesia under your foundation to reduce oiliness

Use a fix it spray to set your makeup

Leave valuables at home. Keep the sunglasses, jewelry and smartphones generic. If you must have your phone, carry a ziplock bag, to protect it from rain or any water. The bag can also be used for your camera.

Have a good breakfast at home

Get to the Stadium early enough for a parking spot. If you are running late, keep in contact with someone in the band so you will know where to meet them.

Go easy with the alcohol. There's no need to go hard too fast. It is important to drink as much water as you do alcohol; hydration is key.

Carry your a mug or cup; preferably one with a lid

Blot! don't wipe when you sweat

Always be aware of your surroundings and the people in said surroundings. Yes, you will feel to wine on anything but not eveything deserves to be wined on. And while wining on strangers, be aware of the location of your phone and camera. The band has security but they cannot keep track of everyone. Your safety should be a piority.

Ensure you get a meal at the lunch stop and use the opportunity to get a brief rest and use the restroom. But don't rest too long; you won't want to leave. The ladies should also use the opportunity to touch up their makeup.

I would also caution masqueraders about the Half Way Tree part of the route. It tends to get a bit rough as stormers try to get in the band.

Always have epsom salts foot bath once you get home to ease the pain and any swelling especially if you have to go to work the next day.

Enjoy! and stay cute :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Love Soca...Yes, we do...


More and more I am convinced that the Island Mas crew will be responsible for taking carnival in Jamaica to the next level. Unlike the Bacchanal organizers, Island Mas is set on improving their offerings and making the fete scene as contemporary as possible. Although I Love Soca was a small event, it exceeded my expectations.
The Palms was well suited for the small crowd and the open air feature made it even more fitting for a carnival fete. The bathrooms were sufficient, kept clean for the entire night, and toilet paper was never lacking.

The most impressive aspect of the fete was the drinks! I mean the drinks were flowing...it was Johnnie, Johnnie and more Johnnie, and the 3 bars helped with getting drinks easily and quickly.

The music was for the most part on point with Smoke and Dei Musicale (from Trinidad) playing the best sets. DJ Sanjay played all the usual out of date tunes, which would not have been my choice, but in Jamaica, these selections are absolutely necessary...I know I am biased but I really agree with bringing DJs from T&T. For one, it makes some of these wannabe soca DJs look like amateurs and if they have any sense, they would try to learn something and move away from the standard 10 songs from the last 10 years...

Overall it was just a cool night with good friends, good music, a vibesy crowd and nuff drinks. I am really looking forward to what Island Mas has to offer next...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

French Lyme 2012


It's pretty clear that Mas Camp Fridays is facing some serious competition with alternatives such as Island Village and French Lyme. French Lyme was held on the last 3 Wednesdays at Barbican Beach with no cover charge (yay!). Although I only went to 2 sessions, I really enjoyed myself. It was also obvious that there seems to be no problem among the patrons with feteing on a Wednesday night.

On the first night, I was not impressed with the initial DJ (not sure who he was), who obvioulsy loves Bunji Garlin's Irregular, but the music picked up once Smoke took over with lots of new tunes. Another shortcoming was that the service at the bar needed to be more effecient. I also felt that the one toilet was insufficient. But I can't complain too much since the vibes were plenty and I can't ignore that there was no cover charge.

I hope French lyme makes a return next year, and if it does, I'm sure it will attract a much bigger crowd...

Again, the unofficial tdd photographer fire the wuk so I had to borrow a pic from SKKAN Media's page on fb

Monday, April 9, 2012

Miss Beach Jouvert? Yuh Mad?


I can safely say that Beach Jouvert made a decent recovery this year and I can safely say that this is the best one I've been to since 2009...Why? Because that was the last time Machel Montano had performed...

Since I was late (as usual), I was worried that we would not get a good parking spot and would have to park on the main road. To my surprise, there was a large space that was cleared to accommodate parking. This was a great idea that eased parking woes. In addition, a shuttle was provided to carry us from the parking lot to the venue. Thank you Bacchanal for making such a breakthrough!

I got into the venue about 5:30pm and the paint distribution was in full swing. I then made my way to the bar which was also an easier task than previous years. I've also learnt to bring my own cup to fetes since I can't deal with these itty bitty disposal cups and the constant trips to the bar, so yes, I will walk with my own 16oz cup...

Wow, and was there vibes...vibes that cyar done! People just need soca, alcohol and paint and they let loose, leaving all their Kingston stress behind. And the outfits were on point (well for the most part)...the dress could best be described as skimpy-sexy...

The music was okay, but I'm concerned about Bacchanal's approval of Bambino as a soca DJ. Please, I beg you, do not hire this man again. I am sure that he's pretty good at regular parties and dancehall sessions but for fetes, no. The man just chat, chat, and chat some more. He could not let a song play without opening his trap. I wished that the mic would just stop working, but then again he's so caught up in himself that he would probably just continue chatting...

Now the high point was Machel's performance which lasted a little over 2 hours. It was tune after tune, after tune, and he didn't even start to sing tunes yet. And even the great Machel can sing other artistes' songs. His voice was clear, he had a great selection of songs, the band was consistent, Patrice was blah, the dancers were ok, Nappy was his usual self, and the crowd enjoyed every moment of it. My only complaint was that he stopped too many times to allow the crowd to sing the lyrics to some of the songs...But if you didn't know the songs, I strongly suggest you get a copy of the Double M album.

Beach Jouvert has always been one of my favourite events in Jamaica, but this year, there was a clear improvement in the organization, which should be expected with the increase in price. It is also important for them to note that a big headline act is important so it was a really good idea to keep Messtra, oops, I mean Destra for Jouvert this Friday...

I don't have any of my own pics since the unofficial photographer didn't want to carry his bashy camera so I borrowed from TriniJungleJuice's Teaser pics...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Double M for Beach Jouvert!


I think that it is fitting to have Machel and his band perform at Beach Jouvert as we need to recover from that Mess that was Beach Jouvert last year. In addition, the last time I had a ball at BJ was a couple years ago when Machel performed...it shaat!

So we expect nothing less than perfection from Mr HD,especially coming off his triple win in T&T. I will say it again and again, Machel Montano is soca. There is no other artiste that has taken the genre to the level that he has...so get ready to PYF!

Also, remember your essentials for beach jouvert:
http://dougladiaries.blogspot.com/2011/04/who-say-beach-jouvert-later.html

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sundown Cooler fete


I heard about this fete pretty late but you know a Trini can't hear about a cooler fete and don't get excited. So almost immediately the planning for the contents of the cooler began. Mind you, I don't have a cooler, nor did any of the planners. So we decided to take Swappi's advice and get a bucket (since we can't afford to buy a cooler). But this excitement didn't last for long as we got a cooler borrowed from a good friend.

The fete was advertised from 4pm-11pm, but we got there around 8pm. Let's just say it was quite easy to get a parking spot at that time. By 9:30/10:00, the crowd came in but the fete wasn't ram; just the way I like it. The Constant Spring golf club's poolside was a smart choice as it accommodated the crowd and the coolers well.

Shotmaster J from T&T played for the most of the night and the tunes kept coming. Please note DJs in Jamaica, this is how you play soca, not the same 5 tunes playing over and over....He played lots of 2012 tunes, (which the crowd knew btw) mixed with some older songs which was cool.

I really enjoyed this fete especially the music. The vibe was nice and the drinks were flowing, which is one of the benefits of carrying your own. The cooler concept has definitely found a place in Jamaica and I look forward to doing this fete again next year...

***the pic is from Bad Dawg's fb page

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Your Guide to Carnival in Jamaica 2012

I'm not in Jamaica right now so my posts about their Carnival have been limited. However, I will be back at the end of the month with much to talk about. So if you are new to the carnival, here's my take on the major events:

Mas Camp Fridays- Stadium North
These weekly parties aim to get the crowd hyped for Carnival and sometimes feature a live performance from a popular band or artistes. I'm not a regular at Mas Camp because the DJs shy away from the latest tunes, but I'm there once a good band is featured.
Cost-
JA$1000 without performers (presold)
JA$1500 with peformers (presold)

Island Mas'Soca Village- Village Blues Bar
Kudos to Island Mas for introducing something new to the Carnival scene. Their weekly Saturday fetes are reasonably priced and the soca selection is much more contemporary.
Cost- JA$500

French Lyme- Barbican Beach
March 21st/28th, April 4
This fete is hosted by Frenchmen and the Ambassadors and promises only 2012 soca. This should be good.
FREE

Soca Vs Dancehall- Devon House
March 24th
I'm sold on this fete probably just on the drink selection. I really hope that music is also good and focus is placed on soca and not on the dancehall since this is the carnival season.
Cost-
JA$2000 (females)
JA$3000 (males)

Sundown Cooler Fete- Constant Spring Golf Club Pool
March 31st
This fete is advertised as being in association with Scorch (from T&T), so it must be good right? There will also be music by Shotmaster J from T&T's RedFm, so the selection should be on point. For cooler fetes, I just need three things- my bottle of johnnie, coconut water and a cup!
Cost- JA$1500

The Cooler fete- Drax Hall
April 6th
I love the concept of a cooler fete so I think this fete will be a great addition to the line up. The fete has advertised Iwer George, Kees and Xcaliber. However, I heard that Kees was not booked for the event so I don't know if we should expect too much. But this issue with Kees should be addressed.
Cost-
JA$500 (early bird)
JA$1500 (pre sold)
UPDATE: Kes the Band will not be at this fete, but Iwer George and Swappi. However, they are still advertising DJ Private Ryan, who tweeted that he will NOT be there...hmmmm

Beach Jouvert- James Bond Beach
April 7th
Thank God, Machel Montano will be there especially after that disaster last year with Destra. But this is usually a great party, great vibes, lots of drinks and plenty paint. You may want to consider going with a bus or stay overnight at a hotel. Check out Soca Republic's for their bus package and Jamaica Grande for their special Bacchanal Jamaica rate.
Cost- JA$4000 (presold)

Soca by the Sandbar- Lime Cay
April 11th
This is a cool day fete at the beach if you are lucky enough to miss work that day. It's a free event but you'll need to pay for transport to get there.

I Love Soca "Soca Bliss"-The Palms
April 11
This is another Island Mas event featuring Dei Musicale from T&T (yay!), and it's drinks inclusive.
Cost-JA$2500

Frenchmen's Blocko- Jack's Hill
April 12
Honestly, I've never been to this fete but it has received good reviews from its regulars.
Cost- TBA

Bacchanal Jouvert- Stadium North
April 13
I've never been a fan of this Jouvert and I really don't know why. This year Destra and her band will be there...and we know exactly how that will go
Cost- JA$2000 (pre sold)

Sunrise Breakfast Party - Constant Spring Golf Club
I don't have all of the details for the breakfast party but I know that J-Lava from Dei Musicale will be playing. But I am very interested to see if the breakfast party concept will take off in Jamaica.
Cost- JA$2000 (females)
JA$2500 (males)

Island Mas' Water Party- New Kingston Gold Academy
April 14
If you like wildness, then this is the party for you. Water, alcohol and girls in skimpy clothes tend to bring out the worse (or best), but I look forward to the pics. Also, look out for a performance from JW and Blaze....
Cost-
JA$1000 (pre sold)

Frenchmen's Bazodee- Cherry Gardens
April 14
If you've been following my posts, you would have concluded that this is my favourite fete of the season. Like the Blocko, you have to reserve the tickets. I'm not sure what's the cost this year, but this is usually an expensive venture because it's all inclusive.
Cost- JA$6500

Road March
April 15
Ofcourse you need your costume, plenty vibes and plenty action...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Best of Soca 2012

It's really sad that in Trinidad and Tobago, there's a concept such as "soca switch". If this is the home of soca, why is there a need to "switch"? But if the people who could change this, do not care to change it, then soca will remain the genre that could...But for people like me, soca is 365, whether I'm in T&T or in Jamaica.


But this post is about my fave songs for 2012, so let's move on. Even though 2011 saw the best that soca has to offer, 2012 wasn't too shabby. It must be noted that 2012 was the year of the groovy with very few power songs to talk about. I was even secretly hoping that a groovy would have won road march. Ultimately there's something definitely wrong with the power tunes and it seems like that formula needs revisiting.

I am Soca- Patrice Roberts and Kerwin Du Bois

This is my absolutely my fave song of the year! I felt like if I were a writer, I would have written this song. Loving soca is all about being soca...

Bacchanalist- Kerwin Du Bois

Let's just say that Kerwin was like the salt of soca this year- in every ting! writer, producer, singer, and pleasing to the eye. This song is definitely my 2012 anthem as it embodies how I feel about Carnival and the whole idea of revelry. The first line of the song is also unforgettable- "Hello and greetings, first time we meeting, ah hope yuh not leaving, just stay a lil bit...". In fact, all of the songs on that Antilles riddim are great- Erphaan's In your Eyes, Nadia's Shiver and Machel's Vibes Cyar done...


In your Eyes- Erphaan Alves

I LOVE this song! This is what a groovy song is supposed to sound like- feel good catchy lyrics with amazing vocals. Erphaan has been doing his thing from school's soca monarch and has come a long way as a writer and singer. Soca has to watch out for this young man...


The People's Champion- Benjai

This tune maadddd! I used to think that Benjai was cheesy. I mean who still has gold teeth? and what about that blurry tattoo on his neck? But after an unforgettable song like Trini, it would have been difficult to follow it up with another hit. But it seems that not winning competitions is an inspiration for many tunes...so I can't wait to see what hit he'll come up with after taking 3rd place at the soca monarch groovy...


Bubble on a DJ- Swappi

Swappi is one of this artistes you don't want to like. Sometimes I feel sorry for him because he was not born in Jamaica, but so it go (you are not Kartel). But this tune is a reall bruk out tune. It really makes women feel that they can wine on anything, and men wish that they were DJs...


Stress Away- Kes the Band

You know I must have my boy on this list. So he didn't do too well at the soca monarch but Stress Away (not the remix with Snoop) is a great composition with a creative video. Why can't I be carelessly walking down the street and led to a secret tea party with Kees? Yes, I'm serious. But the line I love in the song is -"For all di suckers dem, ah bring cockset!"


Miss Behave- Faye Ann Lyons

For the rest of the year, this song will be known as "the people's road march". I'm not going into the archaic criteria for choosing the road march winner, but for some reason, the DJs decided that this song will not be played while bands crossed the stage. I'm gonna behave this year and move on...


Come to Meh (part 2)- Iwer George

I know this post is about my fave songs of 2012, but I have to mention this piece of nonsense composed by Iwer. He's lucky that he came second at the soca monarch because if it was up to me, he would have been placed last without apology. How you could sing verse 2 of your song from last year and expect to win? Nah man Iwer, this is not diesel, you can't get off so easily...


Any song by Machel Montano

I will say this many times- there's no one who could match the skill, consistency, originality and professionalism of Machel. Even if you don't like his personality (and I don't know why you would, unless you know him), you cannot dispute that he is way ahead of all of the current artistes in the game. Bottle of Rum, Mr Fete, In charge, Vibes Cyar Done, Represent, On the Avenue, Revelers, Make yuh Rock and PYF reflect Mr HD's versatility and ability to turn out hit after hit in one year. For all his critics in the industry, stop hating and try to learn how it's done.....

Friday, March 2, 2012

Trini Carnival Wrap Up



Although I only played one day of mas, I have to include a review of my carnival essentials:



Stockings



After a reader of the blog suggested the Peavy tights, I decided to purchase a pair from Carnival Kicks. I wasn't too sure about the shades, but I think that the Pecan shade in the Peavy is equivalent to the Salmon in the Micles. I paid US$12.99 which is a lot for tights, but Farrah from CK promised that it would be worth it since the denier was higher making it "run resistant". When I got home on Tuesday, there was absolutely no runs in the tights, and can even be worn again. A definite thumbs up for Peavey!

Boots

I am hoping that this was a bad batch of Carnival Kicks' jump up metallics because the boots were ruined while trying them on. Most of the metallic of the pewter boots flaked off before I even wore them, and by the time I got them on, there was nothing on the back. I know someone who got the gold and experienced the same problem. However, the problem only seems to be with the metallic, and the suede ones are fine.

Makeup

I am glad that I decided to stick with Makeda from Shades of Sugar because this was her best work yet. I finally got there early for once! I now see why masqueraders do their makeup early-it's less hassle and you get enough time to meet up with your band. As I said before, this was my fave costume ever and the make up completed the look. I also used the "No Sweat", which is designed to wear under costume make up and wigs. I really like the product, and it works better than the milk of magnesia. I will be using it again for sure.

Sling Bag

I already featured my Bacchanal Divaz bag in a previous post. The bag went well with the costume and held all of my essentials with lots of extra space.

I will now be prepping for Carnival in Ja, so stay tuned for updates and reviews....

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The K2K Review

K2K asked that masqueraders provide feedback about their experience with the band. I'm using their headings as a guide for my review. I'm also sending this post to them.

Registration Process

I found online registration to be very easy and any questions I had about the costume was immediately addressed. I then got a quick confirmation for payment and registration. However, I felt that the user should have been able to select more than one costume in the shopping bag, but I guess this was to prevent mass purchasing.

Website

I loved the professional pics on the website, which gave a good idea of what the costume looked like. Viewers saw the various options for each section with all of the important registration information. I like when a website is simple and easy to maneuver.

Mas Camp Experience

I first visited the mas camp on Feb 3 and was blown away by the prototypes. At this point I was, extremely excited especially when Mummy Norman allowed me to be to try on the wings for Dead Sea. However, the many questions that I had about the Monday wear and accessories were not really addressed, but I wasn't bothered since it was a bit early.

The following Friday I returned to try on the corset and for the hubby to try his pants. The adjustments for the corset and pants were noted, which is not typical for bands who expect you to deal with adjustments on your own. The hubby did order a size 38 pants even though he is size 36. After years of not getting an actual size 36 that was not too small, he decided to order the bigger size. But in this case, it was way too big. A few days later, the adjustments made the pants too small, and another adjustment was promised.

Costume Collection

I must admit I felt that K2K announced costume collection too late, and the collection on the Thursday and Friday before Carnival was also too late. But once I got there, it was a very easy and a smooth process. As late as this was, we were told that we had to return on Sunday to collect the Monday wear as they were not ready. I also did not get my head piece. I think any masquerader would agree that it would have been better to collect all pieces on one day.

As a small band, the venue for costume collection worked, but when the band grows next year, a new venue will have to be considered because parking in a residential area could be a problem.

Monday Costume

The costume for Monday was FAB! I am so over wearing a tshirt and hot shorts on Monday. Sadly, I did not play Monday but on TV, they looked great. Everyone looked uniformed, and it was a welcomed break from Monday tshirts. The dress could have been worn several different ways and guidelines for draping it were included in the very cute organza bag. K2K's attention to these little details is what I enjoyed the most. I really hope they keep this Monday concept and don't leave it up to the masqueraders.

Tuesday Costume

The hubby eventually got his pants to fit but opted not to wear it since he did not like the feel of the material. But you know men, they don't make a big deal about these things, so he just wore a black cargo pants that he bought and settled with that.

On the other hand, I took my costume more seriously. I'm glad that I wore a cami under the corset because the material was itchy. But everything fit really well, and it was not heavy or cumbersome. I did not feel hot in the black or with so many pieces of costume. And most important at the end of the day, the costume was in tact as if I could have worn it again.

Even though frontline masqueraders were told that we would receive our wings on Tuesday, Dead Sea got no wings until much later in the day. On arrival, I asked one of the team members about my wings and was told that "it was on its way"....2 hours later, it was still on its way.

Bar Service/Meals

Although there were 2 bars, it didn't seem like this crowd was big on the hard liquor. I also had to opt for soft drinks since I was heavily medicated. The lucozade, water and coconut water were flowing until we lost the bar at the entrance to the savannah. No one could have known that the wait would have been that long and tiresome, but this is when we really needed our drinks and food. It would be a good idea to have carts or a roving bar and food service at this point especially if we know that we would not get to the lunch stop on time.

I really hope K2K can do Id bands next year because I saw lots of masqueraders from Ronnie and Caro being served drinks from our bar.

Road Experience

On Tuesday, the band left their starting point at Lord Harris Square too late at almost lunch time. If the trucks left their departure point at 6:00am, they would have gotten to the square very easily. It is sad that the band took most of the day to get from the Square to the Savannah which is less than a mile. If we left earlier, we would have gotten to the Savannah earlier and avoided that tiresome wait. The NCBA also has to take some of the blame in this instance. There needs to be a system to accommodate the large number of bands crossing the stage because this nonsense cannot continue.

Security

Now this was a big problem....where was the security???? The number of security guards was inadequate. This is an important aspect of band management and the safety of masqueraders must be a priority. This has to be addressed next year.

Music

The DJs were good. My only complaint is that I wanted to hear more of the road march contenders on the road, and not just on the stage.

Wee wee Truck and Spa Truck

Shockingly, I didn't use the wee wee truck or the spa truck (even more shocking), so I can't really comment on them. But please keep the spa truck!

Overall, I expected a lot more from K2K. The excellent promotion of the band in the beginning made it seem like everything was in order. They had all the elements of a great band, but failed in many areas.  Carnival is more than just about costumes but the experience on the road.  I've been with 2 bands in their first year, so I know there must be hiccups but there were too many in K2K. Masqueraders are not interested in hearing about problems with suppliers, tailors or seamstresses; we just want what was promised in a timely manner. On the road, we expect easy access to drinks, a meal at a reasonable time in the day, clean toilets, a rest truck and adequate security. In fact, this is what we believe we are paying for along with the costume.

What you can't beat K2K with, is their costumes. This was the best costume I've ever worn which made me actually feel like I "played mas". The costumes were original, lacked the generic bikini and beads factor but was still  contemporary. This is their strength; they just need some experienced personnel to fill in the blanks for road management. Would I play with them again??? Yes!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Welcome to the House of Bacchanal

Pan Semis


After not being to Pan Semis in 10 years, I was really clueless about the Greens. I am ashamed to say that I had no idea that the Greens and Pan do not go hand in hand. But I have to admit that the lime in the Greens is like no other especially if you moving with Caesar's Army who offered a package that included a tshirt, lunch, snacks and drinks. The Caesar's Army posse had lots of vibes, but I still wanted to hear more Pan. There was a small set up near the stage for persons who wanted the Pan exerience, but it was not an ideal viewing or listening position. If I ever get the opportunity again, I will definitely opt for the North stand.


Kes the Band at Normandie

Well if you have been following this blog, you will know that I LOVE Kees so there was no reason for me not to attend this show. I even got my Dad to purchase the tics before I got to Trinidad! The parking was easy and I got a good viewing spot once I was inside. On a side note, Normandie needs to reduce the number of chairs which just took up wining space. I mean who really wants to sit during a performance from Kees???

As usual, Kees gave a bess performance with some guest perforances from David Rudder, Shal, TC, JW and Blaze, Michelle X and Lord Nelson. I really enjoyed this show which was on time, well choreographed and just confirms why I love Kees. It was also a plus that Normandie always has reasonably priced drinks and yummy local dishes. The show was over by 11:00pm but the DJ played until about midnight. This show was another plus to arriving in Trinidad early.

Mai Tai

I was skeptical at first about Caesar's Army's Mai Tai on Sunday since there were no advertised performers and there was an animal print dress code. But then they released that Bunji and Benjai would be there. The female tickets were TT$300, which included drinks. It was a long drive to the venue, but once you got to the designated parking, there was a shuttle service to the venue. I must commend the ample security in the parking area and even at the venue. The premium drinks were flowing and there was little wait at the bar. Even though the fete was promoted as a drinks inclusive, we were treated to corn soup, douples and geera chicken. Well done Caesar's Army!

Machel Monday

I was looking forward to Machel Monday more than any other event since I've never attended this show. The biggest lesson learnt here is either get there very early or get someone to drop you because parking is a bitch. Showtime was advertised as 8:00pm, so we were there about 7:15pm which was very late. It took me almost 2 hours to find a spot close enough to the stadium until I eventually got a park in Movie Town for TT$40, which apparently is the new rate for parking. I would like to think that this TT$40 goes to Movietown management and not that security guard; yes I would fool myself with that one.

After missing Kes the Band *sad face*, I was finally inside the Platinum section which should have been called "General 2" because there was nothing special about this section- no drinks, food or vantage point included in the TT$500, just people and more people. The bars were over crowded and there extremely long lines for food. Let's just say that Machel made his money off us fools in Platinum.

Overall Machel gave his best proving why he is the greatest soca artiste in the world. Most of the guest performers were pretty good. I was actually surprised that I like Pitbull's performance. I wanted to hear more from the Iz from the Caymans. Benjai, yes I love you too-keep it up. Kerwin, you are the BOSS- Bacchanlist is my theme song! And Beenie man, you shoulda stay home...

Bacchanal Wednesday

After my Trini Posse experience last year, I said that Johnny Soong will not catch me with his nonsense again so I got a General admission ticket for TT$300 for Bacchanal Wednesday. Somebody please tell me when did they start charging to park on the beach opposite the Hangar in Chaguaramas???? And yes, the secuiry guards who apparently own or leasing the space charged the standard TT$40.

Once inside, I was happy that I was in General. I got a good spot near the stage and had a good view. Destra and her band was up first which can best be described as a lackluster performance. Remember that she was booed severely at this same fete 2 years ago, so I would think she would have done better. But the Bacchanal Wednesday crowd is tough and showed very little appreciation for Destra even when she drew for her old songs. Not even her Power soca contender, "Link up", did anything for this crowd. At one point, the crowd started chanting "Kerwin, Kerwin!".....no comment.

Kes the Band was better and got a better response, but the man who mash up the party was Swappi. I'm trying really hard to not like Swappi, since he just seems like he's pissed he wasn't born in Jamaica. But the bucket is the new must have item for Carnival....I left before Machel got to the fete.

What I did not like about this fete was the cost of the drinks. I mean, TT$50 for a Johnnie Walker and coconut water and the bartenders not even fulling the cup! That was a major fail. To top it off, you could only buy the drink chits in $100 batches. So the math is simply 4 drinks= TT$200. Bigger FAIL!


Blue Range

This was my first time at Blue Range which I would recommend as a good choice for carnival Friday. The ticket was only TT$250 and coolers had to be in by midnight. The parking was easy and there was a shuttle service to and from your car. This was a well organized event with great vibes. We even saw Bunji and Faye Ann, who gave their usual good performance. Chutney Soca Monarch, KI, also did his "Single Forever". I left about 3:30am so I'm not sure if there were more performances, but Blue range is a definite do again....


Sunny Side Up

Even though I had my tic, I had to miss this one *sad face*. Unfortunately, I became really ill on Saturday and had to even go to the doctor. Big up the Health Centre in Chaguanas where the workers wanted to go home and dealt with patients really quickly....And the sadder news is that I did not play mas today even though I had my gorg Monday wear and accessories. This was the doctor's order, but Tuesday will see me for sure even if it's not for the whole day!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Bacchanal Jamaica 2012- No Shock

Well yes, Bacchanal Jamaica is using the theme "Future Shock" for 2012. I'm guessing this refers to the shock I did not feel when I saw the costume pics; make note that there are no prototypes available at the mas camp.


The No Shock factor lies in the fact that there's no wow factor with the costumes which are recycled designs and colors; no shock at the website was not launched on the promised date; no shock that the registration process is slow; no shock that it's a cash deposit since there are no point of sale machines; no shock that there is only ONE booklet at the mas camp with poor quality pics for potential masqueraders to view, and no shock that Frenchmen does not have the best costume, But wait, there is one shock- the prices which have significantly increased....


The prices range from US$189- US$246. The bright side is that you can pay less if you take the crown option and not the headpiece. Wow, is that supposed to be a shock? we are so lucky (my attempt at sarcasm).


No shock, but I'm registered in Frenchmen's Supernova (in the pic) without the headpiece, which is US$226. Supernova is not my fave costume but it's either you want to be in Frenchmen or you want a pretty costume. No shock, but Frenchmen is almost sold out. 2 out of the three sections are sold out at the mascamp, but you may be able to get them online if the website ever launches. The remaining section is an awful red which even Digicel had to reject...I guess the ugly factor on that costume could be a Shock.


But not all the costumes lack the shock factor. I really like Smirnoff's Avatar (not the headpiece) and Observer's Encleadus. They are very contemporary and lack that "samaroo's look" (no offfense to Samaroo's). I also hear that Smirnoff"s Avatar is going fast. You can view the costumes on their Fb page.




  • So if you are going down to register, don't wait to decide- please know your section before hand.


  • Know your sizes- bra, bottom piece and hip (where you wear the belt).


  • The downpayment is JA$7000 in cash only.


  • If you are registering your friends, have their address, telephone, and email as well.


  • The registration is at the new mas camp at Stadium north from 10am-3pm.


  • Registration for the tshirt sections is not open.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

T&T Carnival Picks

Most persons arrive for T&T during the week before Carnival Monday and Tuesday. There are so many options which seem to be growing and could become confusing. So far, these are the decisions I've made:


All Inclusive fete

For US$300, I am dying to know what the Ultimate Lime fete (at the Hyatt) will be offering. The reviews from last year were great and for the price, this has to be the best fete ever.


Regular fete

Honestly, you can't beat UWI Splash as a regular fete. You get the same venue and almost all the performers as Bacchanal Wednesday and Trini Posse, just at a lower price.


Carnival Friday pickI'm seriously thinking of doing Break Biche since I've heard good reviews and I'm all for day fetes. It's only TT$400 drinks inclusive, but has the same performers as Sunny Side Up.


Breakfast fete

In my opinion, Vale Breakfast is old news. My pick is Sunny Side Up (tics are available in Ja), but I'm also feeling UP. (I find that the promoters could have been more creative with the name.) But UP has Machel Montano as its headline act so they will pull a good crowd.

J'ouvert band

I am recommending Caesar's Army AM Bush on Saturday morning as an alternative to traditional J'ouvert. Since all j'ouvert bands have to go to POS, the uptown j'ouvert crowd may not like that scene so if you want to try something different, consider AM Bush.


Airline

Now doh start meh on Redjet and dey bull. These people cancelled my flight on Feb 5 and I didn't get an email or a phone call- nutten. No apology- nutten. I am not amused especially since the new date they gave me is later than I want to leave. The lesson is if your dates are not flexible stick with Caribbean Airlines.


Carnival Band

Everybody else will recommend Tribe, Bliss or YUMA, which is fine depending on what you expect from a band. I love the new band scene and since I do not hold any band loyalty, I'm giving K2K a chance this year. Someone described K2K's costumes as Tribe meets MacFarlane which is an ideal description so I'm excited to see the end product. I'm also excited about their Monday wear and make up packages.


Boots

My Carnival kicks boots were extremely comfortable and much cheaper than the piccadilly boots. I am also not feeling the decorating of the boots. It's probably just me, but I'm over the gems and feathers on boots- it's just over done. Carnival kicks will be delivering in T&T and you can also purchase the boots from a dsitributor in St James (868-622-7151).


Stockings

Cant go wrong with the good old Micles stockings. I would like to try the Peavey brand but I'm not sure about my shade. Peavey promises that these tights have a high denier so they are less resistant to runs. We'll see right...


Makeup

I'm not sure if I'm going to opt for K2K's makeup. If not, I'll stick to Makeda from Shades of Sugar. She's done my makeup for 3 years and I'm always satisfied.

I'm officially excited for Carnival! See you there!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

K2K's Monday Wear

OMG! My wish has been granted! K2K will be providing fabulous options for Monday wear as a part of our costume package. The fabric aspect of the costume is complimetary, but the accessories and undergarments will be available for purchase at the mas camp. The band is also offering makeup and airbrush (for an additional cost). I love that they are providing us with these options even if we have to pay for it, which reduces the stress of having to look for additional monday wear and carnival services. However, I do hope they have sufficient artistes to cater for the number of masqueraders without long and frustrating lines. Did I mention how excited I am????

You can view the entire Monday wear album on K2K's Fb page and learn more about the designers in this article in the Trinidad Express.