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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Drink ah Rum and ah Puncha Creama....

So after sorrel, a trini Christmas must have Ponche de Creme (pronounced punch ah crem or puncha creama) which literally means punch with cream. I am very proud that I made my first batch of ponche de creme tonight though I'm not sure who will drink it. The recipe is pretty easy and it's a nice drink to offer guests (let's hope I have guests) especially since I'm in Jamaica. But I will not be going into details with them as to how it's made. You see Jamaicans are very conservative in their eating and drinking habits and it may scare them if you divulge that the drink is made from raw eggs...just simply say that it's a sweet milky drink with rum...they just need to hear the "rum" part...This is the recipe I used from the Naparima Girls' Cookbook (The best thing to come out of Naparima Girls' High School btw):

  • 6 eggs
  • the peel from 1 lime

  • 15 oz evaporated milk

  • 15 oz condensed milk ( I used a little more condensed milk than the book suggests)

  • 1 tsp angostura bitters

  • grated nutmeg

  • nuff angostura white oak white rum (the white oak rum has a "sweeter" taste than the wray and nephew)

After beating the eggs with the lime peel, just add everything else and mix...The amount of rum depends on how much you could handle especially since white rum hits you immediately; it's not a creeper. Let me know if you have any suggestions...

On another note, I brought up my pastelles from Tdad so I won't be making that as well as a nice black cake courtesy of Mummy. A second batch of sorrel will be sweetened tomorrow. I will also be experimenting with baking a ham with pineapple glaze and homemade bread....I will try to post the results as soon as possible.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Live and Let Live...

Wednesday was World AIDS Day and the bandwagonists were out in their numbers...and all of a sudden everybody has something to say about "get tested" or "know your status". Of course these are important messages since one of the major probems in addressing HIV is that a lot of persons don't know their status. And then there were the red ribbons...the wagonists all ensured that they wore their ribbons. But where are the ribbons today or tomorrow? My point is that if HIV/AIDS does not affect someone directly, awareness is only generated on World AIDS Day.

Last month I went to Carib cinema to watch Tyler Perry's For Colored Girls...Now, usually I don't like going to Carib. For my trinis...going to Carib is like going to Globe cinema in Chaguanas...minus the balcony. There weren't much persons there but of course it attracted mostly women. In the film (spoiler alert), there's a story line where Janet Jackson's character found out that she got HIV from her husband who has sex with men but doesn't consider himself gay. Once it was revealed that the man was sexually attracted to men, the persons in the cinema began shouting at the screen...calling the character a "batty bwoy", indicating that "batty bwoy fi dead" and continued this bashing every time the character was featured. I have never witnessed anything like that...I couldn't understand this reaction. Isn't this the attitude that Perry was trying to bring awareness to? The "down low" phenomenon is real whether we want to accept it or not and contributes to the prevalence of HIV. Why do men feel the need to be on the "down low"? Because of the attitude displayed by the women in Carib cinema. Masculinity continues to be defined as "not gay" and "gay" is associated with femininity so men who do not display any girlish characteristics are not "gay" but could have sex with men and in some cases, unprotected sex. The other point here is that femininity itself is being devalued because it's associated with being "gay" so these women who bash a man because he's gay are not helping their own devalued position.

The bigger message in Perry's film is that marriage does not protect one from HIV so again women need to check themselves...But I am concerned about how can we move forward in addressing HIV/AIDS when homophobia and gender inequality are ignored? The red ribbon symbolizes solidarity of people living with HIV/AIDS but we are afraid to deal with all of the issues that come with this solidarity....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Make a Stage...

So I'm a little late with this one but the Honorable Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston Peters aka Gypsy announced last week that the savannah stage has returned and judging of bands will take place inside the Queens Park Savannah. I'm sure there were screams from mas loving Trinis all over the world...The stage is so important to many masqueraders who live for this climatic moment every year. It's where we perform and it's where our masks become reality...

I remember my first stage experience with Legends (now Legacy)...and how excited I felt as we made each step from the hospital on Charlotte street to the savannah. All the exhausion seemed to disappear at this point. After passing Memorial square, it felt almost real as the DJ now switched to the real road march tunes Iwer's, Carnival Come back Again and Superblue's Pump Up, asking us to make our selection for the stage...we screamed for Iwer. The bandleader, Big Mike then redistributed standards to those who had left it behind or didn't bring it at all due to its uncomfortable nature. Everyone who played with Big Mike back in the day knows how important a standard was to him! In true Legends fashion, they opened with some kind of dance performance in line with the theme followed by the infamous strong men and rude girls' section. We stood behind the human barrier waiting to burst through and enjoy those 15 minutes we had paid our TT$850 for, sat 6 hours to get our hair braided, applied several packs of silver loose glitter, used portable toilets throughout the day and exhausted the 32 shots in our cameras.....it all led up to this moment.....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bliss Carnival 2011!

So I'm finally registered in BLISS....I can't believe that I've abandoned my "spicequeraders"...but sometimes you have to go where your wallet leads. It's cheaper for me to play with Bliss and I really love the Titans costume more than any costume in Spice. I also don't mind giving a new band a chance to see what they have to offer....

Bliss has a very non traditional process for costume registration that worked well for me especially since I'm not in Trinidad. They asked that you send them an e-mail indicating your top 3 costume choices and your measurements. A week later a response is sent with online payment guidelines. Two days, after payment online, a receipt with your downpayment, sizes etc. is sent.

The second option in true Tribe style, is to register through a committee member. Once this person provides Bliss with your registration information and e-mail, they will send you the information about online payment. I also heard that they did have unadvertised registration at the Carlton Savannah hotel in September. I know I've said many times that I will not play in Tribe again because I'm not into the rush and fight down and line up to get into the band and if you do, it's you and thousands of people, hundreds of trucks pack up tight tight on Carnival Monday and Tuesday...I not in dat! But Bliss' registration was pretty easy and their website even shows that Caprica is still available (another one of my fave costumes). The band is also quite small and promises an intimate experience....I'm all for this! So Same Vibe different Tribe!

A couple of weeks ago, Bliss sent me an e-mail with specific requests for measurements so it seems that it's more that a small/medium/large/xlarge standard fit but they want to ensure that the costume fits well. I was unable to respond then because I need to purchase a measuring tape....You know things are bad when the only measuring tape you have in your house can't make it around your hips......

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Trini Carnival Fete Calender 2011!

Whey all the Fetes is for Carnival 2011 has posted a Carnival Fete Calender for 2011 on facebook. I am so excited because it reminds me how close Carnival is! This season is a long one so the options are greater. All I could think of are outfits, linking with my friends and how the hell I'm going to fund this!

I won't be there until the Wednesday before Carnival so I can't enjoy the earlier fetes. So far on my list is Girl Power (cuz my Mom loves this fete) on Friday and Sunny Side Up on Sunday morning. I'm still not sure about Thursday and I really want to try a new Friday fete.

Kudos to David Wears for this FB group....Ensure that you join the group because he gives much needed info about tickets, prices, reviews and other updates about fetes.

******JANUARY 2011******
Saturday 8th January 2011*
TRIBE ICE (Insane Cooler Experience) - Jenny's Carpark, Cipriani Avenue.

Sunday 23rd January 2011*
Trinity College's Soka In Moka - Trinity College, Maraval - 4pm

Friday 28th January 2011*
St Francois Girls College Annual All-Inclusive - St John’s Hall, Wrightson Rd, POS - 4pm

Saturday 29th January 2011* Blazin' Soca (Fire Services Fete) - Wrightson Rd, POS - $125 TTD*
Hysteria "D Crazy Cook-out" - Chaguaramas*
Outta De Blue - QRC All-Inclusive - QRC Grounds - St Clair, POS*
Chutney Soca Monarch Prelims

Sunday 30th January 2011*
Island People Amnesia

******FEBRUARY 2011
******Saturday 5th February 2011*
Dunhill ONE Fete All-Inclusive - QP Oval*
Bishop Anstey All-Inclusive - Bishop Anstey Grounds, POS - 4pm*
Chutney Soca Monarch Semi's

Sunday 6th February 2011*
UWI Annual All-Inclusive Carnival Fete- UWI Grounds (St Augustine) - 2pm

Friday 11th February 2011*
Bacchanal Factory (Bazodee Friday) - Pier 1, Chaguaramas - 9pm

Saturday 12th February 2011* Blue Flame All-Inclusive - Blue Range Courts*
"Fete With The Saints" -All-Inclusive - St. Mary's College ( POS) http://www.cicpsu.org/*
Chutney Glow

Sunday13th February 2011*
Yorke All-Inclusive - UWI* Bel Air All-Inclusive - La Romain*
Soca Monarch (Semi-Finals)

Wednesday 16th February 2011*
Carnival Under The Trees - The Normandie

Friday 18th February 2011*
Central Bank All-Inclusive - Central bank - 8pm*
Ladies First - Pier 1, Chaguaramas - 9pm

Saturday 19th February 2011*
Wicked in White - QP Oval*
Licensing Fete -* WASA Fete - St Joseph*
Gal Farm - Venue T.B.A.*
Chutney Soca Monarch - Skinner Park

Sunday 20th February 2011*
Friends of Blood Bank Fete – All-Inclusive* University School - All-Inclusive

Friday 25th February 2011*
Misty Ridge – All-Inclusive – Hadeed Ranch* Wild Meat – All-Inclusive –Tunapuna*
Army Fete - QP Savannah

Saturday 26th February 2011*
Campus Carnival - All over UWI!!!*
Fatima College All-Inclusive -*
Karma Sutra 9 – Country Club, Maraval – 10pm*
Chutney Brass

Sunday 27th February 2011*
Friends to the Max All-Inclusive (form. CAREC– All-Inclusive) – 2pm*
St George's College All-Inclusive - School Grounds*
T&TEC Soca Shoka– St John’s Complex*
Kari People All Inclusive - YWCA, St Clair, POS

Monday 28th February 2011* (PNM) Fete – POS – 9pm*
Mardi Gras- 10pm

******MARCH 2011
******Tuesday 1st March 2011*
Eyes Wide Shut – Queens Park Oval – 9pm*
Zante – Macqueripe Rd, Chaguaramas – 4pm

Wednesday 2nd March 2011*
S.O.S. -Dutch Inclusive (La Flor)– The Anchorage*
Bacchanal Wednesday

Thursday 3rd March 2011*
Beach House – All-Inclusive – 2pm -8pm*
Escape to the Sanctuary – All-Inclusive Salybia – 11am*
TRIBE Ignite – Venue to be announced - 9pm*
UWI Splash - Chaguaramas*
New night time fete - more info soon

Friday 4th March 2011*
Island People Girl Power – 9pm*
Privilege ‘RISE’ – All-Inclusive – Moka, Maraval – 9pm*
Blue Range Cooler Fete – Diego Martin - 9pm* Break Biche -2pm*
Soca Monarch Finals

Saturday 5th March 2011*
PANORAMA FINALS - 7pm (steelband competition finals)*
Trini Posse Fete – Bowen Marine Hanger, Chaguaramas*
Island Style INSOMNIA – Midnight*
Dawn, Sunrise In The City – Jenny’s Car Park - 2am*
Lions – All-Inclusive – Lions Civic Centre (Port of Spain)

Sunday 6th March 2011*
D’Original Breakfast Party – Diamond Vale, Diego Martin – 3am*
Mania 2010 – Free Drinks - Country Club – 10pm*
Sunny Side Up Breakfast Party – Palm Avenue West, Petit Valley – 4am*
Dancing In the Sanctuary – All-Inclusive - Windsor Road, Valsayn – 11am*
Brian Lara – All-Inclusive – Chancellor Hill, Queen’s Park West – 2pm*
Harvard Club All-Inclusive Fete – Harvard Club, St. James – 4pm*
Is Just A Fete (TASA) – Queen’s Hall, Port-of-Spain*
Cotton Tree Foundation – All-Inclusive – Spanish Acres*
DIMANCHE GRAS - calypso finals, king & queen of bands costume finals

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Me and my Crew

I've always played mas with crew...I even remember the 1st time I played, one of the most important aspects was getting a crew together to decide to play in the same section. That year, it was pretty unanimous that Unity was our section of choice in the now defunct Legacy. For a couple years Poison then became our band of choice, even with some of the crew opting for different sections Being with these girls made the experience a lot more fun...Some of my closest friends today came out of these mas crews.

Today, I can safely say that there's no crew...Some became die hard Tribers, some have abandoned playing mas together, and some have gained new priorities. There are a few people I consult about band or section choice but I found that they have lost the zeal. The high cost of costumes and the rush to make a decision have deterred some of my crew. My first year with Spice reunited me with some of the crew and we had a blast...but by the second year, the cost became a problem and I was alone but I had fun. This year the crew from Spice is silent although they have voiced that they were very disappointed in Spice's costumes but no alternative have been proposed....So my crew may be reduced to 2 next year again...me and the bf.

A crew is important but never depend on them to have a great experience...you can even consider meeting new crew members.....

Monday, September 27, 2010

Family, Celebrations, Food and Funerals

Unfortunately, my bf's grandmother died about 5 weeks ago here in Jamaica. I was then able to experience the rituals involved in a Jamaican funeral which is an interesting research subject. The most shocking aspect was that the funeral was held 4 weeks after the death. This delay allows for family members from all over the world to get time off from their jobs and fly in. It also allows time for the family to get the large sum of money needed for the funeral. The relationship between the "foreign"family and the local family during the planning stage is also noteworthy. The foreign family sends a list of demands for the funeral that they believe are in good taste and can't be left up to the home based family such as the type of coffin, the style of car to be used as a hearse, options for a mourning car etc. It is assumed that the home family cannot make such decisions since in most cases the overseas family will cover most if not all of the cost.

Once the date for the funeral has been set based on the approval of the foreign family, there's much back and worth about the details of the funeral...who will read the eulogy? tributes? verses? sing? dance? pall bearers? do we need a glass chariot? (yes, a glass chariot), who will host the nine-night and the repass? etc.

On the week of the funeral, it's all about finding accommodations for the foreign based family, as well as getting them from the airport. This task can difficult because everyone comes in at different times and depending on the size of the party and their luggage, it may require more cars or more living space. Once family members are here, it also means getting them around Jamaica to see all the people they need to see and feeding them their missed local dishes on a regular basis.

Before the funeral, a nine night is held where family members and friends visit the home of the deceased for several nights. The nine night I attended was not so much like a wake but more like a "session". Yes, there was the traditional tent with people singing hymns but there was also a DJ and a live band that led the singing of the hymns. In addition, there was a lot more than the staple fish and bread but drums cooking pan chicken, a big pot of manish water, curried goat, roast breadfruit, fried chicken, rice and peas, green salad and dessert.

On the opposite side of the food, a complete bar was set up with red stripe, guiness, smirnoff ice black, soft drinks, and hard liquor (mostly wray and nephew white rum). It's safe to say that the family, friends, neighbors, friends of the neighbors, friends of friends, friends of the family and everybody else did not leave hungry or thirsty.

The following morning we were at the funeral for a service which lasted almost 3 hours. However I was told that this was a very short service because it can last up to 4 or 5 hours...wow... Following the burial, we headed a family member's home for the repass or gathering for family and close friends. Food is also served at a repass but like any large event with free food, greediness is always present...and no offense to my church going peeps but church people is the greediest people in the world...I've seen it too many times to say it's just a coincidence. Imagine the church had their own bus to transport their congregation to the repass even though most of them did not know the deceased. And they eat their belly full; even asking for seconds and plates to carry home for their families! and without any shame! don't you feel ashamed or a little guilty for imposing on an intimate family gathering and eating food that was not catered for you????

Greediness at a funeral is not specific to Jamaica ....there's just shameless greedy people all over the world and I hate it! But i did enjoy seeing the family get together and celebrate rather than mourn their mother and grandmother. It made me think a lot about family in Trini and how much I take them for granted sometimes...life is short and unpredictable...so let's make the best of it and appreciate all of our blessings :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Frontline Wallet

YUMA's Taurus is one of my all time fave Frontline costumes. It really does epitomize the fabulousness that a FL costume should portray: the large plume feathers, a sensible and attractive mix of colors and a non traditional bikini top. A FL costume should also provide distinctive details on the belt, headpiece, as well as on the neck, arm and leg pieces that sets it apart from the Backline version.... It shouldn't look like the BL costume with more feathers. If you opted for this FL, I hope that you got all of the pieces; I don't think I would like it without the backpack. However it would set you back TT$4790+ TT$1200 (for the backpack). As I told a friend...if yuh want Frontline costume, yuh betta have Frontline wallet!....

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This Carnival Rewine Fete Now has my Attention!

After trying to find out about Gems Jamaica....I was still hesitant about their Carnival Rewine party. But then I found this in my inbox:


I'm guessing that the "Bake and Fish" is an alternative to bake and shark...but the doubles and corn soup...wicked! I've had trini food from Cuddyz (owned by Courtney Walsh) and it was really impressive. I know that the manager is trini so these dishes should taste like they're supposed to. So most likely I will be checking out Rewine, not just for the music but for the food....

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Gems Jamaica's Carnival Rewine

I've been hearing about this Carnival Rewine on Facebook for a while....I have not heard of Gems Jamaica but I'm guessing it's a new Carnival organization...so Gems, hit me up and give me some bio.

I'm glad that there's someone trying to promote Carnival outside of the season in Jamaica. I'm really tired of some Jamaicans boasting that they LOVE Carnival so much and they are Carnival "to de bone" (no offense to my JA peeps)...but after easter, I don't hear anything from them until February. The truth is that many of them believe that Carnival and soca is seasonal. To me, if you are such a soca "addict" then that addiction should be 364/5...that's just my opinion.

I hope that Gems ensure that the DJs are highly soca educated and don't play the same 10 songs in between a dancehall set. We know they love Roll it Gyal and the Destra but they are so many other songs. Also, songs from 2010 are welcomed...if you don't know it...find it!

CARNIVAL REWINE The Return of Mas!!...Saturday Oct 2nd, 2010@ The Mango Ranch Sporting Complex16 1/2 West Kings House Road (Beside Truck Stop)

Music by: ARIF COOPER [Fame FM] ZJ ICE [Zip 103 FM] DJ CHIN [Hurikane International]

$800 Presold$1000 @ Gate2 FOR 1 ADM FOR FEMALES BEFORE 11PM

FREE COCONUT RUM MIX FOR FIRST 50 PATRONS-FREE BODY PAINTING-Digicel credit Giveaways-Display of 2011 Carnival Backpieces.-Soca Karaoke Competition -Food by Cuddy'z Sports Bar -Free & Secure Parking+ more

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Yuma, a new band has been getting a lot of attention on the blogs and facebook. The band says that they represent "Young Upwardly Mobile Adults" resulting in a new "vibe" for carnival...I'm not too sure what that means but all new bands always promise a new experience as a way to draw an already captured market.

Yuma's presentation, Zodeak is extremely sexy and does well with their interpretation of the beads/bikini/feathers genre. What I especially like is their promise of a small band; somewhere in the region of 1500 masqueraders. In the new band scene, Yuma seems to be the most appealing. Spice has to seriously consider Yuma as a threat since they lost designers Richard & Anthony to this band. These designers are what made Spice attractive in the first place.

I love the idea of choosing the section that represents your Zodiac sign. Luckily for me, Leo is a hott costume...a bit too naked...but I would definitely consider this section. The mane in the headpiece is creative as well as the lion's nose. But the back of the FL option leaves nothing to the imagination! just bare bamsee!

It's hard to mess up a red costume and the Scorpio FL is no exception...again....sexy. Richard and Anthony do the monokini so well and it has become their trademark in terms of Fl costumes.

Skepticism is usual for a new band...my biggest fear is an ill prepared and disorganized band. The fancy website, Ipads at the mas camp and an excellent marketing team are not as important as effecient customer service, proper replicas of costumes, sturdy costumes and an overall good road experience. Another negative is that Yuma is not providing any wholepieces or tankinis for the conservative sisters but masqueraders can supply their own corsets for an extra cost. So you will have to pay full price for the costume, buy your own corset and pay the additional charge to get the corset decorated.....Spice 1....Yuma 0

***yuma pics came from trinidadcarnivaldiary's FB page

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ah Feeling ah Bliss!

So Bliss is the "new" band on the scene....it's a part of Tribe and purports "Same Vibe...different Tribe". Apparently it falls under Tribe's management but will operate as a different band catering to a small number of masqueraders..."an intimate experience".
So is it really Tribe? A Tribe within a larger Tribe? How will I know if I am really in Tribe? or am I in a different band all together? (okay, I really did enjoy the movie Inception!).

I am really feeling the Titans costume and seriously considering playing in this band. I love a white costume and I also like that you can opt for the monokini or the wholepiece with the large belt. The wholesuit suits me and my muffin top very well and the belt should hide some of the love handles...The one shoulder feathers are gorgeous in both the Frontline and Backline and I have no problem with the small headpiece. According to their website, the FL is TT$5495 and the Backline TT$3950, which doesn't seem bad compared to what I paid in Spice last year. Although they have not provided registration information, the downpayment is TT$3000 (frontline) and TT$1500 (backline). However, since this will be an "intimate experience", you need to know someone on the committee to register and there's no online registration and I ain't know nobody being a nobody myself so let's see...Bliss 1...Spice 1
Come on Spice, you need to release your prices!

***pics of costumes are from their FB page

Monday, August 16, 2010

Spice's Lookbook

The Spice lookbook is now available on their website. I must admit that the electronic version of the costumes look a lot better than the triniscene photos. Kudos to Spice's marketing team for such a creative spin to their lookbook. I like that they included tips on choosing a costume to fit your body type and other information that will be useful to international or first time masqueraders.

However, Spice has to realize that masqueraders expect their actual costumes to look like the prototype which was a major concern for the Caspian Sea masqueraders this year. Also, costumes should be comfortable and practical. If you look at Spice photos, you will see so many headpiece-less masqueraders including myself because they were uncomfortable or just would not stay on. The large stones and braids are gorgeous but they can rip stockings or cut the skin which was my experience. And most importantly, where are the prices??????

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I was very disappointed that I was unable to view a live stream of Spice's launch on Sunday since triniscene opted to stream Yuma's launch which was held on the same night. After viewing the pics on trinidadcarnivaldiary, I wish I did go to the launch to view these costumes first hand because I felt deceived. I am trying to convince myself that I need to see the costumes in person because it probably looks way better than what I'm seeing. Honestly I'm not sure what went wrong with these designs and I am very disappointed since I've been singing Spice's praises since its inception.

After such a great presentation by Tribe, I expected more from Spice; also, their theme Signature Collection has so much room to be creative that their costumes did not need to look recycled. The colors are not mind grabbing or original and most of the designs look almost the same from 2010's Spice Route. I know that Anya loves the bling factor but some of these gems are grapefruit size that looks more gawdy than sexy. It is always a bad sign when you see the models holding up the headpieces at a launch which means that you will be doing the same on Carnival Tuesday. As for the male costumes....come on Spice...please...I am really tired of these bands who believe that guys are only concerned with drinks and the girls...which is no excuse to give them crap to wear!

If I had to chose, my faves are:
  • Haute Couture...which is grey, a unique colour for Carnival and the FL is just my style.
  • Jubilee .....the signature for this section is Fab and it always had my attention because I am a sucker for a white costume.
  • Vines of Syrah...the FL is also a lovely contrast of green feathers and the attachment of the bra to the belt is creative.

Spice also needs to take into consideration the criticisms they received for poor customer service, long waits for costumes; poor replication of costumes and the disorganized lunch stop. I believe that these problems would deter those masqueraders who decided to give Spice a chance this year.

I'm still not sure if I will be with Spice next year but all depends on the costing of the costumes and the availability of corsets because I need to hold down my muffin top.....

***see more pics on their FB page

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tribe's "The Way of the Warrior"

Some people may know that I'm not a big Tribe supporter; don't get me wrong I've played mas with them before and it's the best service I've ever experienced as a masquerader. However, what really turned me off was the frenzy to get into the band. I'm not going to rush and fight to get into any band but kudos to the Tribe die hards who will do what it takes (and I mean anything!)to get into this band.

But I have to say that their presentation this year caught my attention...I am glad that some of their costumes even though still within the bikini/beads/feathers genre, do not look like something we've seen before. However, it will definitely be a Frontline or Buss situation because the Frontlines sell off! Also, the males have been finally recognized and there has been a significant improvement in the offerings to our guys; they even have Frontline/Individual options!

My top 3 faves are:
Xi'an Warrior (Sandra Hordatt)- I love love that there are no gems and feathers and it looks so Xena-like.
Iroquois (Rhiannon Pemberton)- The color scheme is wicked and that cage bra is so sexy!
Masai Tribal Warriors (Peter Elias)- I like Peter's use of the Kinte cloth and the color scheme for the males...it's so warrior-ish.

Like always, Tribe's costumes are sexy and skimpy and there would be a serious problem if I wore any of these costumes...but I do hope that there are some sexy cover up options for the sistas who have muffin tops. Most importantly, it's one thing to like the costumes and to hold a desire to play in the band...but how do plan to get into the band???
***pics came from mimi's blog, where you can also see the entire presentation.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

More Options for 2011!

Things are heating up for Carnival 2011; another new band has emerged with their spin on the bikini/beads/feathers genre. Yuma (Young, Upwardly, Mobile, Adults) is a new band on the scene, with a design team that includes, Crystal Aming Marcus, Richard Dookhdeen, Anthony Hall, Lee Aleong and Gina Maingot. My favourite costumes in the past were from Crystal and Richard and Anthony so I'm not surprised that Yuma's costumes are FAB. Two of their thirteen costumes from their presentation Zodeak were released at their media launch: the Oracle and Aquarius. There are lots of feathers, bling and I'm feeling the sparkly knit dress thingy on the Aquarius costume. Now people don't get chain up; not all of us including myself will look like these models if we decide to wear such a costume so will there be variations or some cover up options? And my verdict is still out on that "upwardly mobile" slogan cuz if that is referring to the finances, Bruce and the Government of Jamaica has ensured that my wallet not upwardly going a damn place. I really believe that masqueraders will be getting a lot of options for 2011 so don't feel the need to bribe, steal, brown nose, or line up like you going for a visa to get into Tribe. As for me, costume pricing will be the deciding factor next year......

*photos taken from the Yuma FB page

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean- Check me out!

One of my articles, I found my East Indian Beauty, Locating the Indo Trinidadian Woman in Trinidadian Soca Music was published in the journal, The Indian Diaspora in the Caribbean which was edited by Kumar Mahabir: "The collection in this volume consists of 13 chapters written on a broad range of themes such as indentureship, migration, racism, violence, conversion, acculturation, music, education, politics, identity and globalisation. Four of the chapters are on Trinidad, four on Guyana, one each on St. Vincent, Grenada, Suriname and Martinique, and one on the Caribbean in general. The contributing authors are Neil Sookdeo, Brinsley Samaroo, Ellen Bal, Kathinka Sinha-Kerkhoff, Lomarsh Roopnarine, Kumar Mahabir, Preethy S. Samuel, Leon C. Wilson, Kai Abi Barratt, Ron Sookram, Savena Budhu, Smita Tripathi, Teruyuki Tsuji, Sherry-Ann Singh and Baytoram Ramharack. The volume is the latest, and one of the most comprehensive works published on East Indians in the Caribbean".

You can get your copy for TT$220 (apparently, it's a hard cover so it kind of expensive!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Signature Lines?????

Spice will be featuring a "Signature Line" which is a level above Frontline! The featured costume will be a Signature Line option, entitled Jubilee, the Signature Line from the Diamonds are Forever "cluster". Now, this costume is gorg...very Victoria's Secret Angels kind of thing...and I lOVE to see a white costume; Spice is also fulfilling their commitment to the bling factor....However, if a backline costume cost me TT$4200 (with corset), this year....I don't even what to guesstimate what "Signature Line" costumes will go for. Does this mean that the backline costumes will look like horrific scale downs of this option???? The position of the backliner will be diminished! Forget media attention backliners because not even the Frontliners will be privy to such attention with these Signature costumes....I'm still not sure what I think about this hierarchy in sections

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Well Girls, it's that Time Again!!!!!

You are surely being missed D.B. .....

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Spice Presents: Season 3....The Signature Collection!

I saw this ad on FB today: Spice Carnival presents Season 3....The Signature Collection....*containing my excitement*. The theme sounds very couture and I'm seriously expecting some Lady Gaga inspired costumes. Richard and Anthony will not be designing for the band this year and word has it that Anya, the bandleader will be taking on this role; so let's see what happens on August 8, 2010, 6:00pm at the Zen.....

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

And the Season begins.....

Peter Ray Blood recently published the dates for some of the band launches in Trinidad:
July 4, 2010
The Anchorage

July 7, 2010 (tentative)

July 24, 2010 (tentative)

Island People
August 13 or 20

August 14
Country Club

August 22, 2010

Ronnie and Caro
August 28, 2010

Pulse 8
September 10, 2010

I also learned on Carnival guru, Saucy's blog that we should expect at least 5 new bands, particularly Skullduggery, Yuma, a break away from Island people, Oasis, formerly Elements (Ele-mess!), Eye mas, who boasts of 2 former Peter Minshall designers and Gems. Once again, everyone is promising something "different"...ah yes...where have we heard this before???

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Music with Visas

Soca King, Machel Montano recently showed his support for the Jamaican dancehall artistes who have been denied entry into several Caribbean countries (including T&T, St. Lucia, Guyana and Barbados). He further expressed that he is willing to "join picket lines" to defend his Jamaican colleagues.

Preventing dancehall artistes from performing is a tricky issue. Being an academic, my first question would be, has there been any evidence to prove a link between dancehall music and the increase in violence in say, Trinidad and Tobago? We have to look at the bigger picture...what about the role of the family, the community, government, education systems etc.? There are so many other forces at work that it seems superficial to blame music. On the other hand, artistes themselves must acknowledge their social responsibilities. Their behaviour and attitude strongly influence what is deemed to be "popular" and therefore strongly impact their young following. We also do not want to ignore the experiences of those in the lower classes by priveleging "high culture". At the same time, I do not support glamorizing violence or the incitement of violence to specific communities.

I remember something that Shaggy once said, that Jamaican artistes need to produce songs with visas. He simply meant that their music should not offend the audience they expect to finance their career. You don't have to be a "sell out"; just produce a variety of music that is indigenous and conscious. For instance, Buju (I'm not sure if he's a good example) has made a successful transition from hardcore dancehall to positive, "culture" dancehall. If the artistes would like to take their music beyond Jamaica, it's clear that they have to down play the violence in the lyrics.

To some extent, I understand Machel's sentiments. Machel has received overwheling support from his Jamaican audience as well as Jamaican artistes. Trinbagonian artistes have never experienced any problems with the Jamaican authorities and he probably feels that there's no regional reciprocity in this aspect...

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Bacchanal is not Carnival"?

The following statement was made by Keith Noel, a contributing writer to the Jamaica Gleaner on April 15, 2010:
"In recent years, the capitalist urge has led to a number of designers outfitting their groups in pretty but skimpy clothing and although their groups are still colourful, one associates them with this rather than with their artistry. The celebratory, highly sexualised, aspect of the celebrations are also a focus. It is this 'branch' of carnival that was 'transported' to Jamaica and has become very popular. This is an integral part of carnival, but when it is the only focus and the cultural aspects are removed," it en really canaval yuh have! So dat is why I, a big, big Trini, not in dat!"

I respect any Trinbagonian's decision not to take part in Carnival in Jamaica especially if you expect it to be exactly the same experience as in Trinidad. In fact, the first thing that I tell any Trinbagonian when they ask me about Carnival in JA is that they should not expect the experience to be like Trinidad. I think that Mr. Noel failed to conduct proper research before making his assertions. First of all the Trinidad-style Carnival was brought to Jamaica by the Trinbagonian and Eastern Caribbean students who resided on the Mona campus in the 1950s. The activities included fetes, ole mas, a Carnival Queen show, a las lap fete and pan. By 1976, a group of affluent Jamaicans who made their annual visit to Trinidad formed the Orange Carnival which took place in the uptown residential community of Cherry Gardens. It eventually became a four day event that consisted of an all inclusive fete that featured calypsonians such as as Mighty Sparrow, Denyse Plummer, Gypsy and Singing Sandra. Byron Lee and the Dragonaires as well as the UWI Panoridim provided music. The event ended with a day long parade of masqueraders.

By 1990, Byron Lee had created his own "Jamaica Carnival" which featured costumes by Trinidadian designer Stephen Derek and Stephen Lee Heung as well as Peter Minshall's infamous King and Queen, Tan Tan and Saga Boy. In the early nineties, Byron Lee's Jamaica Carnival consisted of a Calypso Tent, steel band and a Junior Carnival parade. The mid 1990s, saw other activities being introduced such as wet fetes and j'ouvert by other emerging groups such as Oakridge and Jokers Wild. By 2000, there were two major organizations for Jamaica Carnival: Bacchanal Jamaica and and Jamaica Carnival. Bacchanal Jamaica became the main body for groups such as Frenchmen, Oakridge, Revellers, Raiders and Jokers Wild. Bacchanal Jamaica focused on their Friday night fetes, soca aerobics, j'ouvert and road march. By 2003, Byron Lee announced that his organization would be reducing its number of Carnival events and concentrating on their adult road march. In recent years, Bacchanal Jamaica is the dominant organization for Carnival events in Jamaica. Jokers Wild continue to host a J'ouvert and Island Mas promotes an annual wet fete.

It is true that there has been a reduction in traditional Carnival activties in JA which is also true of the Carnival in Trinidad. We have seen the slow death of the calypso tents, less persons at the pan yards and very little support for the King and Queen competitions as well as the Calypso Monarch. In Trinidad, sponsors flock to the fetes, j'ouvert and the road march which whether we like it or not, these are the dominant events for the Carnival. During the road march, the beads, bikini and feathers are the costume choice for the majority of masqueraders. In addition, one cannot ignore the impact of Jamaican dancehall on soca music whether through sound, performance style or collaboration. So if someone were to implement a model of the Trinidad carnival, soca music and the skimpy costumes would definitely stand out since this is what we have decided represents the festival. I'm not sure what "cultural aspects" have been removed since costumes and soca music are what currently define the Carnival culture of Trinidad. I believe that Mr. Noel means that the "traditional" aspects have been removed from the Jamaican interpretation but this phenomenon is also occurring in Trinidad. It should be noted that cultural expression evolves in any society and of course the older generations would feel a sense of loss and ultimately criticize the new forms.

I would also like to ask Mr. Noel if he attended the Soca on Sundays fete in March which featured a Trinbagonian DJ who played calypso and soca from the 1980s to present? What about the pan fete on April 7th at the Pegasus with steelbands Invaders and UWI Panoridim? or even the Calypso show on April 10 with Calypso Rose?

The idea is that Carnival means different things to different people, even in Trinidad and Tobago... but its liberatory nature is always constant...so who is Mr. Noel to say that Carnival in Jamaica is not "carnaval"???

Note: Keith Noel's article could be retreived from http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20100415/cleisure/cleisure4.html

More on the history of carnival in Jamaica can be found in the article "Carnival as Lived-Meanings: Producing Trini-Style Carnival in Jamaica" (2005) by Hilary Brown.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Emerging Divas in Soca Music

Last weekend I attended a conference, Gender, Bodies and Technology hosted by the Virginia Tech's Women's and Gender Studies Program. I presented a paper based on research I've been doing on female soca artistes in Trinidad. I've been interested in the way women use cultural expression to assess, contest and redefine gendered discourse. Here is an excerpt from the paper on Faye Ann Lyon's experience being pregnant during the 2009 Carnival season:

At twenty eight years old, Faye Ann’s decision to continue working until near her delivery is not unheard of for contemporary women. For her, pregnancy does not mean the end of her career or even her sexuality. By publicly declaring that she was not ill but pregnant challenges the ideas of some areas of Western medical care that the pregnant body is in a state of disability and all women are just simply in a state of waiting for the birth of their child. Faye Ann also brought new ideas of sexuality to the stage with her pregnancy. The pregnant body takes up more space than the female body is expected to inhabit and the body no longer maintains the slender image that society approves of especially in the performance space. A contradiction emerges here about the status of the pregnant body. On one hand, it is evidence of sexual activity, but since female sexuality is expected to be hidden, pregnancy makes this difficult to conceal. On the other hand there is a supposed loss of sexuality as the woman has submitted her body to reproductive function. But Faye Ann’s glamour and confidence never faltered and she did not attempt to suppress her sexuality as she continued to wine and maintain her diva status during her performances.

Faye Ann Lyons proudly declares, “I always said that I want to be the female version of my father or surpass that in terms of performance”, which she has achieved and more as she is the only woman to capture three Road March titles and the first female Soca Monarch in Trinidad. She has accomplished her own signature as an artiste. She makes it a point to condemn the industry’s expectations of women and advocates that they should be seen as more than just sex objects but in the same light as men which is, as serious and talented soca artistes. She does not depend on her body or sexuality to achieve success but focuses on the strength of her voice, crowd incitement and writing her own songs. Her additional roles as daughter, mother and wife has not reduced her commitment to her career as she clearly wants to be on equal ground with her male counterparts. Faye Ann definitely will not take her role in the industry lightly and is prepared to continue contesting the male dominated ideas until there is significant transformation for female soca artistes which she has already contributed to.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Harts or Bacchanal?????

There was this one masquerader last Sunday whose individual costume caught my attention. It did not match any of the other costumes and it just seemed really familiar. I decided to send a pic of the costume to Saucy, the carnival costume guru and the creator of http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/ and I asked her if she knew this costume. Lo and behold, she confirmed my suspicion that this costume Life in the Waters/Earth Crisis came from the Trinidadian Carnival band,Harts 2010 presentation "50". I have no problem with people using their Trinidad Carnival costume in Bacchanal carnival because you paid a lot of money for it and it looks better than the Bacchanal costume. And in this masquerader's case, she stood out and got lots of attention from photographers. I saw her in both newspapers and tagged in a lot of FB pics. She also seemed to a part of the "Bacchanal VIP" so I guess it was no big deal for her to wear her Harts costume. But again I wonder if all is equal in Bacchanal because there's a clear policy which states that, "Only costumes purchased from Bacchanal are permitted- you will be asked to leave the band and your armbands removed if found in any other costume". Now I wonder if I came in my Thailand costume from Spice if they would have thrown me out?

Pic of the Harts Costume: http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/
Pic of the Masquerader: Jamaica Star Newspaper

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bacchanal Jamaica 2010: A Success???

I don't know much about PR but Bacchanal Jamaica really think I really stupid and that I have short term memory because I got a message from them in my FB account this week singing their praises. Now, I am not saying that I didn't enjoy myself cause I real palance and some people probably have that on camera, but don't expect me, a paying customer to forget the sh$t that people went through since the band launched earlier this year.

Furthermore, they have the audacity to quote one of their people praising the band, "Bacchanal Jamaica PR manager Renee Hartley said, 'It was an amazing and fulfilling bacchanal journey and the rain just added to the merriment. Seeing the love and unity between everyone this season makes me only look forward to another successful and unforgettable year." Steups, I know for sure that there was no love and unity when dozens of people didn't get their entire costume on the Friday before, or when people realized that the costume didn't fit the way it should or when people waited for up to thirty minutes to get their lunch. So Ms. Hartley stop feeding people this PR bullsh$t. In fact you should address some of the following:
  • Registration began without any prototypes of the costumes on display.

  • Female masqueraders should have been able to try on the bra at registration.

  • Come on, we all know that Frenchmen was not sold out when you said it was.

  • The tshirts should have been ready the same time as the costumes.

  • What's with these Bacchanal babes??? Why would you help to promote body discrimination by allowing these people to "select" their masqueraders based on a full length photograph. These people are paying their money; it's not like the costume free!

  • All of the costumes should have been ready for the stipulated distribution time.

  • Some of the bras should have fit better; check your suppliers for quality.

  • You need to recognize that all of your masqueraders are not the same size so consider the diversity of body types.

  • The distribution process is too slow and disorganized.

  • Please explain the mishaps at the lunch stop: why were some people unable to get their lunch in an effecient manner? Because someone was not in babes or Frenchmen does not mean that they should be completely disregarded.

  • Where were the security guards in Half Way Tree?

  • On a personal note, I did not get my complimentary Pure Country orange juice!
So stop acting like everything was fine and dandy because there are people like me who know that when I give you my money, you are not doing me a favour so treat me like a paying customer. Guess what? Mas is a business so act like you know how to run it.....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bazodee 2010- Review

I have to tender apologies to those who I influenced to attend this fete. I am so disappointed with The Ambassadors this year and their recession fete. I'm not an economist in any capacity but how can you increase the cost of the fete and offer less?

We got there about 9pm and used the courtesy shuttle to get from the parking area to the venue (which took about 2 minutes). After collecting my complimentary metal cup, that looked very much like a fancy enamel cup, I headed to the food. It should be no surprise that I began with the doubles, samosas and the bake and saltfish. Later on I had the roast lamb with noodles and the barbeque pig tail. The dessert station was a bust...it lacked the variety of cakes and pastries like previous years. If you love doughnuts, you would have made your name here. I'm sure they still have doughnuts remaining. I've never seen so much doughnuts on a buffet table; they even ran out of space for all these doughnuts. They also did not have the haagen daz station which was a major let down for me.

There were less bars which made it difficult to get drinks and the cocktail and wine bars were noticeably absent. They didn't even have apple vodka or premium drinks; I know they had Johnny at one point but it was finished by the time I asked for it. So it was regular Smirnoff vodka and coconut water for me...

For the first hour, the same mess DJ from mas camp was playing his usual sh$t....soca from the 90s mixed with 2 2010 songs and Destra's It's Carnival, which he played about 10 times. The sad thing is that this man feels he's the best thing since frozen patty. I really don't have court clothes so I going to leave the man alone. I was so glad when DJ Smoke took over and the vibes picked up a lot after that....next thing I know....I am hearing the 90s music mixed with 2 2010 songs and It's Carnival....guess what? time to go home!

There were some good aspects of the fete: DJ Smoke, the food was tasty, I had the opportunity to lime with a lot of my friends and there were a lot of trini celebrities (Shurwayne Winchester, Michelle Xavier, Doug E Slaughter and Wendy Fitzwilliam). Most importantly, I did not need any zantac!

Not sure if I will do this fete next year because you know they will definitely increase the price again and I definitely felt like I did not get my money's worth...so I suggest that the Ambassadors go back to the drawing board and plan this fete better next year....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bacchanal Jamaica Palance 2010

I was very happy that I did not to meet the band on time at 10am on Sunday because by 11:30, the band was no where to seen on Wellington Drive. I then decided to meet the band at that point and waited for almost 30 minutes until they got there. Once we got with the band, the vibes were nice and the music was good. Again, big up to Private Ryan, a real soca DJ as well as DJ Smoke from Renaissance. The band looked great even though I didn't really get to see the costumes in their sections. There's really a difference when you see the prototype costume and when you see it on the road in the daylight with masqueraders in their glam makeup and accessories. There were a couple of individual costumes, not sure how legit these were since they didn't really go with the theme...some did look good though. On another note, why are some men still wearing cycle shorts with their costume? Hello...not even Colin Lucas wearing cycle shorts anymore! The male costume comes with the board shorts so that means you have to make a special request for the cycle shorts....which is more disturbing.

So everything went well, we palanced down the road.. in the hot hot sun...people, drought sun is the worst sun. And you know if the sun hot, you get thirsty...these people only distributing tiny bags of water and the bar did not give a bottle of water but poured it into a 6 oz cup so I real vex I left my cup at home (I'm one of those people who want to "save" their complimentary cup to carry to work). I suspect the water situation had something to do with the sponsors.

About 1:30, we got to the lunch stop on Lady Musgrave Rd. and this is where the mess happened. Because I was in Frenchmen, I went to our designated 2 tents...if you see push for lunch and you know your girl not in that wildness so I waited a little for the hungry people to get their food first...I don't now why these people couldn't just form a line. So I opted for Chinese roast chicken and then made my way for a drink. There were mimosas, wine spritzers and fruit juice. I had a couple of mimosas and asked for an orange juice. Now I don't know if I blight with Pure Country orange juice but I was told that I couldn't get the juice in a bottle, only in a small cup....I real like my juice and I was really thirsty too so a little cup of juice would have done nothing...so I take the lil cup and humble myself...I should have brought my own damn cup! Frenchmen masqueraders could also choose from fruit plates, hot dogs, jerk chicken and rolls. There were a lot of chairs, sinks and portable toilets in their lunch section.

I went back to meet the hubby and lo and behold, he had not moved in the line for the Kashmir, Kahlahari and Diamonds masquerders. I realised that the food was now being boxed by only three persons whereas everyone else's food was already in boxes. People got very agitated and a fight broke out; it got even worse when they sent the sanitation workers to collect their food at the same tent. (Imagine the sanitation workers had their own section: Binny..). The masqueraders were in that line so long that I saw a girl pass out right there...they couldn't even get water to her because there were no drinks inside the lunch stop. Eventually he got his lunch and we ate...the food was horrible...I regretted not having the hot dog and fruits instead of the uncooked rice and cabbage but the chicken was edible. I went to the Frenchmen bathrooms which were extremely clean with toilet paper and went back on the road. The lunch stop was poorly organized; it seems as if you are not in Frenchmen or Bacchanal babes (BB had an two tents for themselves while 6 sections battled it out under two tents), you had to put up with poor organization amd horrible service; at the end of the day, everyone was a paying customer. I am really tired of this segregation in the mas, with some people getting preferred treatment over others, and we know that a whole heap of people in the stoosh sections, get their costume free.

The palance from Lady Musgrave was fun...the sun was gone, I had plenty protein in my system and I had 2 bags of water. I was still with the Private Ryan truck and even saw some of my good friends along the way. We got to the beach village and didn't see much people there (somebody please tell me how that went). The whole Waterloo Rd stretch was the best! The rain came and we well palance in that rain. I put my phone and camera in a zip lock bag and I real enjoy myself. By the time, we got to Half Way Tree, it was clear that the rain wasn't easing up and you know Half Way Tree real nasty and I was walking through some black water up to my knee which grossed me out. Also, most of the security guards had disappeared by that point. Now I not in the business of getting ring worm and rash and those kind of things so I jumped in mummy in law's car and went home about 5:15pm.

Although, I didn't go the entire route, I enjoyed myself to the max. The costume held up well and the toe protectors were okay in the boots. I had a previous cut on one of my toes so I'm not sure how effective the toe protector was on that toe. Also the boots were drenched in water, so that also hindered their use but I will try them again next time. Surprisingly, the music was better than expected (Private Ryan to the world!), and the rain came at a good time.
There's a complacency when a band does not have competition; they know that there are no alternative bands so they take on a "take it or leave it" attitude. The customer service at mas camp is horrible and their organization skills are ineffective...we are no longer in the 1990s so step it up and get with the times with your music, costume purchase and distribution and quality and design of costumes. Give us back packs, collars and tails. PLEASE explore new colour combinations and give the men something better to wear....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Carnival this Weekend in Jamaica!

So folks the weekend is finally here with lots of events to choose from to get your Carnival fix. I heard that the Frenchmen's Blocko (not to be confused with the Bacchanal Jamaica Blocko) that was held last night was a success. The party had a good vibe and it was well worth the JA$2000. Later tonight, Shurwayne Winchester and Y.O.U. along with Imij and Company will be at The Bacchanal J'ouvert at mas camp. The paint will be distributed at mas camp before they go on the road in New Kingston. Some persons are opting to meet the band on the road without going to the show which is fun too. Bacchanal will also be providing water trucks for people to wash off the paint before they get home because of the water restrictions. I know that paint is necessary for J'ouvert but unlike the paint used in Trinidad, this paint is very difficult to wash off because I think it's not mixed properly. Considering the critical water situation, using valuable water to wash off J'ouvert paint seems selfish. Most importantly, I urge everyone to be careful on the road...there's usually very little security and it becomes a free for all kind of thing.

Apparently Joker's Wild J'ouvert has been cancelled and I don't why the people acting as if it was never on. It's a good thing I saw the flyer with my own eyes. But I am not surprised: how did they expect people to pay all that money to see no one perform?? Best of luck next year!

Tomorrow Island Mas will be hosting their WATA party, another sore issue with me. Firstly, there should be no water parties during this period even though they will be getting the water trucked from outside of Kingston. Guess what...it's still water being wasted...I don't care if the water coming from the moon...the fact is that there are people who have not received water since December and that water can be used by someone who actually needs it for their survival. In a later press release, Island mas claimed that they will abandon the water truck idea and it will now be a foam party because this needs less water....it's still a waste of water!

You can also do Bazodee on Saturday which is all inclusive and expensive but if you can afford it...I fully endorse this fete. They are even offering a Trip for 2 to Crop Over as the gate prize (keeping fingers crossed!). I collected by reserved tickets yesterday at the Pure Country Building on Deanery Rd. so I'm not sure how people will get tickets tomorrow. Will let you know how this one goes...
The road march is on Sunday from about 10am to 4:30pm but if you didn't get a costume, you can check out the Socamaloo Soca Road March Watch Party (the name real long boy). It will be held at the Keycard Beach Village on Trafalgar Rd. from 10am until 10pm complete with the whole beach vibes which include sand and Hellshire fish and lobster on sale. I get the feeling that this fete will attract a lot of persons because of its location.

Just a follow up to the last post: I still didn't get my complimentary bottle of Pure Country Orange Juice! Doh worry, there's still tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beach J'ouvert 2010- Madddd!

As I said before...Beach J'ouvert is a must-go fete during carnival in Jamaica and the fete delivered this year.
As usual, James Bond beach is an appropriate venue for the fete. It offers a large space, bathrooms and a covered area for those who do not want the paint. If you got there too late, you had to park on the road (some people told me that it is actually a highway). Now I don't mind parking on the road because I got there about 5:15pm but why the hell I must pay JA$300 to park on the Government of Jamaica road (or highway)???? And the people who collected the money were definitely not employees of the Government so why the a$$ I must take my hard earned money and pay a man not to tief my car???? especially when there are loads of police officers everywhere! Lo and behold when I walk the mile and a half to the venue, I hear a security guard telling another guard to let people park inside...so I paid JA$300 to park on the road when if I was 15 minutes later, I could have parked closer to the venue...steups.

Anywho, so I reach inside and another security guard by the entrance confiscated my Republic of Trinidad and Tobago flag! So I get vex one time...how the hell you would confiscate a national flag? So then I thought about it...why am I assuming that the guard knows that this a national flag...so I proceeded to explain to her that I am from Trinidad and this is our national flag yada yada.. My girl would look to tell me that I'm carrying a weapon and that the sign clearly states "no weapons allowed"...So by this time, I'm keeping back the line and person getting disgruntled so I told her that I did not plan to hurt anyone, I just wanted to wave a flag...so she took the flag off the stick and kept the stick...and I left it that...no time for no CARICOM argument. I say flag...you say weapon...whatever...

I'm finally inside and realized that the paint wildness was going on so I hid near the no paint zone because I don't like that wildness...trini to the bone...doh play mas and fraid powder...stoosh...whatever....not me and that paint attack.

Every year there's this guy (don't know his name, so is nobody popular) that takes control of the microphone in an effort to hype up the crowd...I think he's some kind of Bacchanal Jamaica mascot of some sort. First of all, the beach j'ouvert crowd does not need to be hyped up so this man continues year after year to make a fool of himself. He just becomes a distraction to the music...just let the DJ play the music and leave this man's annoying voice and antics out of it. Talking about Djs, you know these people bring the same mas camp DJs to play the same 10 songs that they play in mas camp...steups...I'm not going down that road again. But thank you Bacchanal Jamaica for bringing a REAL soca Dj to the fete...Big up to Private Ryan...the best soca DJ outside of Trinidad and Tobago (he's from Miami)...let me tell you that this man saved the fete!

Now I was not happy about seeing Ding Dong perform and boy was I right...a bunch ah man on the stage and they alone know what was going on...There were so many people on the stage that I'm not sure if Ding Dong was actually there. Let's just say that the performance was awful. Again, leave the dancehall and Ding Dong for another event.

A little after 8pm, Faye Ann, Bunji and the Asylum band came on the stage...madness...They performed all of their popular songs and these two really improved their act. Forget being husband and wife, there's a clear chemistry in their performance. Their voices were clear, the delivery was strong and there was a lot of energy. The majority of the crowd were not familiar with a lot of the songs but everyone else enjoyed them. Faye ann's out fit was a little boring which didn't matter to me because her performance was that good...and no one cares what Bunji wears anyway. The freestyle bits by Bunji were not too much and he got a good response from the crowd. Their performance went on for over an hour and ended with Faye Ann's True Lies (my absolutely favorite song!).

What I loved about their performance was that it was enjoyable...no glitz...no lip syncing...no imitation...just a legit show. At one time Faye Ann said, "I'm not Rihanna and I'm not Beyonce....I am Faye Ann Lyons"". This is the point that I was trying to make about Destra...stop trying to imitate other artistes...just do you...nothing was wrong with you before. Is it that we are not confident in our cultural capabilities so we imitate others? Faye Ann's attitude will make soca stand out by not making it into R&B or dancehall performance.

All in all I had a ball...it was a great fete...one of my favourites outside of Trinidad....and talk about Trinidad...if you see how much Trinbagonians were in this fete...down to meh girl Wendy Fitzwilliam...so the Trinis represented well!

Bacchanal Jamaica Costume Collection

Friday, April 2, 2010

Toe Protectors for Carnival

I read about toe protectors on http://carniaddicts.blogspot.com/ and it caught my attention since I've lost many big toe nails over the years all in the name of mas. I did some research and purchased a Visco-Gel Toe Protector from PediFix. It's a soft fabric sleeve that is lined with a gel and it stretches easily over your toe. It's large enough to fit over your big toe but can be used on the other toes as well. The aim is to protect your toe especially if you are prone to ingrown nails, corns or any form of toe discomfort and the fabric allows your toe breathe while in the sleeve. I purchased it on amazon.com for US$6.38 and it arrived in about one week. I'm going to try it with my boots for carnival in Jamaica but it could also be worn with sneakers too...will let you know how it goes....check out the reviews on amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pedifix-P82L-Visco-Gel-Toe-Protector/dp/B0002DUSXY/ref=pd_sim_hpc_1

Monday, March 29, 2010

Beach J'ouvert 2010

Beach Jóuvert is a must-go during the Jamaica Carnival season. I absolutely love this fete even though it can cost you a pretty penny. First of all, it is not Jóuvert in the way that Trinbagonians would conceptualize Jóuvert. It takes place between 2pm and 10 pm so it does not go into the early morning and does not serve as an "opening"to carnival...It's just a fete on the beach with paint. James Bond beach is a good venue even though it's about 2 and a half hrs outside of Kingston (you know for Trinbagonians, that real far) and there's always a really energetic performance from a band from Trinidad. Last year I had a ball with Machel's performance which went on for over an hour so I'm looking forward to Faye ann and Bunji this year....you all know how much I love baby blue!

Now I know how much the JA peeps love Ding Dong and this Holiday sh$t...I'm sorry but if I ever have to hear that song again.....it's another one to lock away in the songs-never-to-be-heard- again vault. I really am not looking forward to Ding Dong at Beach Jóuvert; it just doesn't seem appropriate similar to Busy Signal at the Destra show on Friday and no, I am not hating on dancehall (just Ding Dong).

Kudos to Bacchanal Jamaica for keeping the price of the fete the same as last year at JA$3800 (drinks inclusive), but there may be some other costs invloved. You may need to stay overnight at a hotel because as I stated earlier that's a long a$$ drive (that is, if you are a Trinbagonian), and there are also other events on that weekend so you may want to make the most of it.

Some other considerations you may want to make note of:
  • Although it is a J'ouvert you may want to ditch your painted clothes from the last 3 J'ouverts. The paint session does not begin until 4pm so you may want to look cute until then. Choose an outfit that you have worn a lot of times and you don't mind throwing away. I would suggest shorts and a vest with a bikini top; a swimsuit with a cover up dress/pants or if you are real sexy, you can just wear the swimsuit.
  • I know some of my ladies are concerned about their hair so choose a hat/cap that goes with your outfit or just keep your plastic steam cap on hand; this paint is very difficult to wash out of your hair especially if the hair is not yours so keep your hairstyle cheap.
  • Leave all valuables at home; some cheap costume jewelery to accesorize your outfit can work.
  • Again, use an old handbag or clutch to carry your keys, some cash and a generic cell phone (leave the blackberrys at home).
  • A ziplock bag for your camera is necessary because there will be paint everywhere; or a disposable camera can work.
  • You should have a change of clothes in the car as well as a towel.
  • Please line your car seats and head rests with plastic or towels because the paint does not come off easily. Even the seatbelts will be tainted.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Where was Destra?

I have been a Destra fan for a very long time. I remember when I first saw her perform Tremble it at a Spektakula show I attended with my family. Days later my brother could not stop talking about how good she looked in the nude body suit she wore and that he was in love. Since that night, I've looked forward to seeing her perform at my favourite fetes. Even when there were reports of her "diva" attitude throughout the years, I still remained loyal to my Dee. I felt that her songs offered more than the typical jump and wave but they were more about the emotions and passion that we all attach to carnival. I was proud when I came to Jamaica and saw how much they worshipped her.

Last year, I saw her perform twice and was very disappointed to see that there was a lot of lip syncing involved in her set. There was a clear change in her style to incorporate more of the "Beyonce type" dancing and singing which I did not appreciate since I believed she did not need those antics. What happened to days where artistes just focused on delivering their songs? I know that you are doing a show but never forget the primary focus should be your songs.

I know that it's difficult for women in the soca industry especially those who are wives and mothers. Male artistes just like other men in society are not subjected to the double burden of a career and a family. Destra made a huge sacrifice to her income when she took time off to have her daughter. So I understand the need for her to get back into the game as soon as possible.

Last night everyone was excited to see the return of their carnival diva. After a performance by Busy Signal (big steups), Destra came on the stage in one of her usual leotard type outfits which looked pretty good. She also had on some serious heels which I initially felt contributed to her energy lacking performance to the first couple of songs. She then went backstage to change into her Dereon boots (I guess that Beyonce is really one of her role models) and I expected a change in the pace of the performance...there was no change. It's the same performance I've been seeing for the last 3 years minus the energy...dutty wining and all...can you say yawn? If I ever have to see the bit that she does to I dare you ever again..... She calls a groups of guys and girls on the stage and asks them to demonstrate their best wine and then they wine one each other and the crowd decides which pair was the best yada yada yada....Moving on....since Denise Belfon and Alison Hinds weren't there, she wanted some volunteers to help her sing Obsessive winers...guess what? no volunteers after much begging and pleading. And I also need to mention the mini destras whose dancing I guess was supposed to give the set some kind of excitement. After about 3-4 costume changes...it became a distraction...bigger yawn.

But all was not bad because Destra did get support from her loyal fans especially when she gave them their favourites:Tremble it , Rag in de Air, Max it up, It's Carnival and Bacchanal. These last 2 songs were really the highlights of the performance and I did sweat a little at that point. She also performed for over an hour so the patrons got their money's worth.

I am not going to agree with persons who say, "It wasn't that bad, remember she just had a baby". She is in a profession where people are paying money to see her perform (and sing) so you need to ensure that what you put out is top notch. I am not trying to be unsympathetic but if you are not ready for the stage, take some more time off and perfect your craft. If you cannot give the audience the same fast paced performance then change your entire style; give us something new...reinvent yourself. Please don't use pregnancy as an excuse...it's not an illness...it's just a new phase of life..I'm not sure how empowering that statement is :)