Powered By Blogger

Monday, March 28, 2011

Imij at Mas Camp

Imij and Company has been a staple at Bacchanal Jamaica's mas camp friday sessions as long as I could remember. 2 Fridays ago, I opted to pay JA$2000 to see one my fave bands, up front and centre in the VIP section. First, let me address this folly called the VIP in mas camp. Just because I have a great view of the stage, does not mean that you have to rob me of the rest of the VIP experience. The drinks were so limited...I asked the bartender what were the chasers available for the Smirnoff green apple vodka...she indicated that I had a choice between ting and tonic water...eewwww. Eventually they located some orange juice so it was vodka and orange juice for me which still wasn't a VIP kind of drink.

Imij gave a great performance as usual but I really enjoyed that they did many of the 2011 songs as well as their own. So yes, Imij has their own songs! Michelle's Feteing for Days (which I Love!) and Ricardo Drue's No Boring Gyal are great compositions with catchy tunes. Ghetto Flex's salute to Buju was the best part of their performance...so yes, Trinis could sing reggae too! But I'm not feeling the band's back up dancers; their choreography is weak and does not flow with the rest of the show. The performance lasted for over an hour and was well received by the audience.

The mas camp crowd was not as large but I was told by many that this has been the case for the past couple weeks. Even a report on the local entertainment show ER, highlighted some of the shortcomings- the selector, the same themes and the early end. Last year, I decided that I would only attend on the band nights because it's just BORING without a band with the same 10 songs in repetition. But a lot more people are not feeling the mas camp vibe so the mas camp authorities need to look into revamping their formula....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Soca 2011 at the Deck

If you don't have to wake up too early on Monday morning, then you can check out SOS at the Deck every Sunday until JA Carnival. I like that there are using the opportunity for persons to get familar with the 2011 soca and just have a nice Sunday lime. Judging from the SOS fete last Sunday, their music is really good- very little repetition and all of the 2011 hits. I may check it out one Sunday if I can convince a group of friends to go....

Back to JA Carnival

So the focus shifts to JA Carnival for the next month...I'm gonna try and do as much posts to keep my fave 23 ppl updated and some cool people who've sent me positive messages about the blog...If you have any questions or suggestions about JA Carnival just send me a msg either on FB or an email...

I get the feeling that this year is going to be a BIG year for Bacchanal Jamaica...There are many first time masqueraders...There are more sections than ever...And it's also going to be a GLAM Carnival. There have been a lot of ads for boots, make up sevices, accessories, customized bags, body painting etc. It seems that people are expecting the Carnival to move with the times. And of course there must be some bacchanal brewing among all of this excitement...

There's been an additional Frenchmen section which I have addressed in a previous post, Catalona which is different from the pic that was posted on their fb page. It's a cute gold costume; with the old school- Samaroos mardi gras beads which is going for JA$19500 so I guess you have to be extremely desperate or rich to play in that section.

The most disturbing section is the all female section is Capetian, what the hell is that- a pink mess with strips of fugly fabric. I understand this was not the original design that was advertised and persons who registered with the first design are very upset.

SOS seems to be catering for a mature crowd with a sailor inspired costume. The male costume is okay but the female costume is a mess. I mean who still wears a cycle shorts???? However at their fete last Sunday, I saw they had another sexy sailor option on display which is way better than the original female option. I suggest that they scrap the first female option and offer a longer top for the more conservative ladies. This section is JA$12000.

2 plus 1 is a private section whose costume Sona I like. The detailing on the bra and belt is really nice but I find the colours to be a bit bland but sometimes these colours look different on the road. Check out their fb page for pics of the costume and registration information.

On the bacchanal side of things, some frontline masqueraders have been complaining about problems with the "complimentary" services that were offered at the time of registration. Apparently, if you can't fit into the "complimentary" boots which come in mostly hobbit sizes then you have to find your own...if you know more about this, hit me up....

I took these pics with my phone so the quality is not the best...Blackberry curve needs a camera with flash eh...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Carnival Next Year?????

After a severe case of Carnival tabanca, I've had time to reflect on my 2011 Trinidad carnival experience to see what I can do better for May in Ja or next year in T&T...

Probably I should lose weight; people with flat tummies and no love handles, don't have to worry about corsets, or costumes that cover up their front area which limit my choices. But I really did love my costume, whether the wholepiece option , bikini or monokini. I would have selected the costume even if I were 50lbs lighter.

But the problem with the wholepiece is that it's really hard to maneuver when you have to pee...so if I don't lose weight (most likely I won't), then a corset is a better option.

Again, what's with me and these damn belts? I thought I learned my lesson about these hanging gems but even without them, the belt still ripped my tights....Probably the width of the belt was the problem so what do I do....forget the belt? sigh

Talking about tights; Micles tights are always reliable and reasonably priced. I tried the toeless which is a better option than the footless. Because of the wholepiece, I selected the regular waist instead of the low waist which comes in the "Silky" brand. Although Micles claims that the "Silky" and "Micles" brand are the same, I saw a difference in the salmon shade because I wore "Micles" toeless and Monday and "Silky" regular on Tuesday and saw a clear difference with the "Silky" having a "white" tinge that I hate. I will NEVER go stockings free so Micles please get these shades right next year! I am considering trying the Peavy brand that are worn by the Hooters girls but there's too much trial and error with a brand I've never worn and will have to purchase online. Check out the Hotlegsusa website for pics.

The Shoekeepers boots were so uncomfortable this year! My Picadilly boots I bought in 2009 were so nice with a nice cushy sole that I did not even consider another brand this year. The boots were cute and I loved the bronze colour but after a couple hours, even with the insoles couldn't save them, so you just lost a customer Shoekeepers. I'm now going to experiment with Carnival Kicks for Ja carnival. I'll let you know how those go.

The Monday wear situation still sucks for me. It is now an indisputable fact that costumes cannot hold up for 2 days, so bandleaders don't even try and convince me to wear a part of my costume on Monday with shorts. I don't understand why other bands that cost the same or less than Bliss offered some kind of Monday wear. Even when I played with Spice, I didn't get why we had to pay an additional cost for the Spice tshirt. However, I saw persons in really creative outfits on Monday. Maybe I'll get something customized for my Monday wear next year.

I LOVED my makeup on both days! It was a great decision to have make up done on Monday and Tuesday. I kept asking myself, why hadn't I done this in the past???? I would never go without professional makeup on both days...EVER...I mean my Monday pics are so fab because of the make up so big up to Makeda from Shades of Sugar!

Weave, weave, weave!....A lot of people kept asking me why I wanted hair extensions/weave; even the sales rep at Hair it Is, was reluctant to sell me hair. Yes, my hair is medium length but I wanted it LONGER! I also wanted a different look. I had to eventually settle for a 14 inch because it was hard to get human hair in a longer length. The hairdresser who put it in suggested that I try the actual ponytail extension in the future which will be easier to do myself and I will get it in longer lengths. I think I'm going to look for a 20 inch ponytail for Ja. Ponytails can be chic, require little maintanance, and are practical for Carnival. There is no worry about sweating out your hairstyle or water damage (assuming you got bought that good hair).

I've already mentioned that I'm not sure who I'll be playing mas with next year. I do get caught up in the hype over the big bands during the launch season and love the bougie nature of the all inclusive bands, but I need to remember that my love has always been for the MAS, to parade in a lovely costume, and have a great time with my friends. Lunch stops, premium drinks, toilets and monday wear were never priorities. I'm now looking for a small band with a great FL or individual costume where I'll be treated as a masquerader and not just a customer....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Feteing for Days in Trini

After planning out the fete schedule for Trinidad, it did not go as planned. I was able to go to Beach House but didn't get the tickets for Soca Monarch or Sunnyside. I wasn't disappointed that I did not go to Soca Monarch since everybody and their tantie went and there was a much better view from my living room. With Sunny Side Up, I plan to follow their directives next year and reserve the tickets in adavnce. So I eventually attended Beach House, Girl Power and Trini Posse.

Every year, I swear I will never go to Girl Power again, but after failing to get tickets for Soca Monarch and Blue Range, I gave in and went to Girl Power (VIP) on Carnival Friday. Surprisingly, it wasn't bad at all. I got there in time to see Kes the Band who gave a great performance. Strangely, I found that he performed better at Girl Power than at the Soca Monarch. Big up to the lady in the crutches who got a sweet wine from the groovy monarch. I didn't see any other performers even though I left the fete at 5:30am which is my problem with Girl Power- everyone is at Soca Monarch. Besides the performance, the food was tasty but there were limited options. For TT$700, I expect more than bake and shark, doubles, corn soup, desserts and baked chicken with wedges. Also, the wait at the bar was way too long for a VIP. Probably they needed to have another bar in the VIP area or more bartenders. Overall, I had a great time but should have paid for a regular ticket and not VIP.

Trini Posse fete on Saturday was also a last minute decision and like UWI Splash, I am skeptical of going to any fete in Chaguarmas because of the traffic. But I know that most people were going to Insomnia, so the traffic would be much later. We got there about midnight and for the second time, I just missed Imij and Co. I love to see Imij perform so that was a disappointment for me. I chose VIP again, but since this was my first time at this fete, I didn't know that Trini Posse's VIP did not include any food or drinks but just a space that was close to the stage; not even a better view of the stage. Fine, there was no food or drinks but the drinks were damn expensive! And the only options for food were lamb gyro or sushi...fail....sushi is not something I would buy from anyone especially at a fete and they could have had more options for the gyros than just lamb (This is what matters when you don't eat before you leave the home). I did eventually secure a good viewing spot on the elevated area next to Darren Ganga! So this was a real VIP...lol

I saw Kes the Band again, with Nadia who got her 5 minutes of performance time but I guess it's all about Kees this year. Kees gave a great perforamce but Machel was the highlight of my night. Lip synching, cocky, buy votes, brown nosing the PM or just being $2 million richer, say what you want but I doh care wha all yuh say... Machel could mash up a fete! It was hit after hit with Zan, Patrice, Nappy and Lil Rick putting in their 2 cents. And the dancers boy...Kees' dancers are girls who just like to dance but the HD dancers are beasts! Big up girls like Brithany Dookie...who make reall girls feel like dem is gogo too. Machel made this fete for me but the lack of food options in the VIP, and the overpriced drinks were major downfalls.

Now on to Beach House which was actually the first fete that I attended on the Thursday. I'm not sure what kind of exclusive fete is Beach House because they failed to exclude anyone..I mean how many tickets were sold? I heard people complain that they couldn't get tickets but it didn't seem to me as if they ever stopped selling tickets? I'm going to skip through the 2 hrs it took me to get from my home to the fete which is usually a 20 minute drive to the parking area which was probably the source of the traffic. With such a big fete, you'll think there will be security guards managing the parking to ensure that there's a good use of the available space. So you know it's put on your club lock, keep your fingers crossed and hope that your car will be there at the end of the fete kind of situation because I didn't see any guards in sight until I was near the venue . Make note that it took us 20 minutes from the parking areas to the entrance and another 15 minutes to actually get in.

Again, when you don't eat before a fete, the food at the fete becomes your first priority. At first I thought they contracted Subway because it's only at Subway I've seen these kinds of lines. Imagine a 30 minute wait for doubles or appetizers! So I reall glad when I got to the top of the line and then to my surprise I was told, to "wait eh" so that the attendant could share some of the shrimp for herself...wth! thus the 5 shrimp in my plate. After the food fiasco, the fete was still a good lime, especially since I met up with a lot of people I had not seen in ages. The drinks were flowing easily without any long wait. I expected this fete to be a smaller more intimate fete with food and drinks galore but for what it is sold to be, Beach House 2011 did not live up to its reputation and wasn't worth the US$125 nor all the drama to get the tickets. It seemed to me that the organizers had no problem taking people's money and knowing fully well that they had not catered for such a crowd because they know that while some like me may grumble...the same fight down for tickets will take place next year...but not me again...fool me once....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tuesday in Bliss

Big apologies to my 23 followers about the late posting of my review of Tuesday in Bliss. I have been playing catch up at work, cleaning the apartment, and unpacking the large cargo that was brought back from Trinidad (if those customs officers only knew!).

So we ended Monday happy, the feet lil tired but after a long soak in epsom salts and hot water and a painkiller, I was ready for Tuesday. I got ready fairly early (by my standards) and ate a good breakfast because I knew that I wasn't going to catch Bliss' breakfast. Now the Titan's belt did not have any hanging gems but a fabric fringe so I did not expect to be cut again by the costume belt (if you read my review of Spice last year, you know that same thing happened so I thought I learnt my lesson). Apparently it is now a norm for costumes to lose gems before they are worn so most of the gems came out of the metal clasp and the prongs successfully ripped my stockings and my skin...why am I cursed to have ripped stockings every year??? I probably used quarter of a bottle of clear nail polish the entire day to keep the holes from turning into runs.

Ultimately, I had to wait to get my make up done because I was late as usual and my spot was rightfully given to other customers. But it was worth it. Again, I loved Makeda's makeup- not too much but just my style. I was extremely pleased with the results which held up the entire day with only a little blotting powder applied in the afternoon. So you know I missed the stage! I met the band the same place as Monday but no scene because I had crossed many stages in my mas playing life but my disappointed was that I had never done so as a Frontline masquerader.

By lunch time we are at the same lunch spot in St James but I did not get there as early as I did the previous day and could not secure a blanket nor a space under a tent. This reall sour me because I had on a white costume and I needed to take of the backpack. However, a couple of the rope ladies were so kind to lend me their table for the backpack and I used the bandana from the goodie bag to sit on. I opted for the barbeque lunch that day which again was warm and very adequate. I then had an LLB and a water. Now to use the bathroom...reall pressure... It wasn't so much the wholepiece but the belt had to removed in order to use the toilet and to make matters worse, it was impossible to remove it on my own because it was laced up in the back so this had to be my only pee stop for the day.

After lunch we headed back up St. James following the same route as Monday. At first I was skeptical about this route that avoided the spectators but I saw the benefits; there was no one trying to get into the band, we had the streets to ourselves and it just felt safer. What I wasn't too clear about was the need to turn down the music when we passed the mosque on Mucurapo Rd and the call for masqueraders to stay on the left side of the truck out of the view of the mosque..is this some kind of law I'm not aware of? If it was some kind of morality thing...then explain why some men from the mosque were straining their necks to watch the band? As my mother always say, if something bothering yuh, doh watch or close yuh ears!

Like Monday, I loved the music...although I felt one of the DJs played a tad too much older songs which was unnecessary because there are so many many new tunes. I also wanted to hear Benjai's Trini played more often. I read that Yuma had 17 trucks so I'm glad for the 3 dj trucks and 2 drinks trucks in Bliss; it's supposed to be an intimate experience anyway so why would we want so many trucks hogging space for masqueraders? However there were 2 smaller trucks at the back of the band before the toilet truck; after trying to get a drink from those attendants I was told that both trucks were for a "private truck"...no eh how much more "intimate" can you get?lol

Because of the not peeing stance, I held back on the alcohol on Tuesday because I don't really like to drink too much when it's really hot and Tuesday was waayyy hotter than Monday! And the drinks were flowing; kudos to the bar and the bar staff. But with my fass self I drank 2 flutes of champagne....bad idea! I just liked how cute the flutes look but note to self- "self, champagne and sun doh mix!". I then started feeling warm all over and nauseous so I decided to sit in the rest bus. I walked up and down looking for this bus...no rest bus! If any Bliss masqueraders read this post, please let me know if there was a rest bus. Thank you to a lady with a bar on Tragarete road who let me sit on one of her chairs and gave me some ice cold water...bless

Not too long after, I was back in the band heading down French Street to Arapita Ave, deviating a little from the Monday route. We then crossed the Victoria Square judging point so I say well we going downtown for sure today...but then they made a left on Richmond Street to head back to Jenny's for the after party. I am not keen on this after party business; I just like being on the road but I later learnt about the jam up downtown which would have been horrible so I guess going to Jenny's was the better decision. So my day ended there which is was fine with me.

Now I saved the best for last...so all this time I was enjoying myself I didn't tell you that one side of the bra became detached from the rest of the wholepiece. As the afternoon passed, more and more of the stitching became undone leaving me with a fear that one of my boobs will pop out for sure...I would like Bliss to tell me what a masquerader is supposed to do at that point; this problem could not be fixed with glue or pins so am I supposed to walk with a sewing kit as well???? Now you maybe thinking "well that's made in China for you!" but no, the swimsuit was made right at the Carlton Savannah, Port of Spain Trinidad. After paying TT$5600 for the costume, don't tell me no crap about you also have to pay for the all inclusive experience yada yada...as far as I am concerned I paid TT$5600 of my Government of Jamaica frozen wages for a costume cuz playing mas means wearing a costume so if anything is supposed to be of the best quality is the costume. I am so fed up of masqueraders complaining about their costume or parts of their costume falling apart...this should not happen! And the bandleaders pay no attention and continue to sell low quality products for exhorbitant prices. I have no problem paying the exhorbitant cost if the quality and design of the costume match the price...

Overall being on the road with Bliss was loads of fun but my primary concern with playing mas is my costume, not if I got to drink JWB or pee in a scented toilet so I feel like I was robbed of my money. Imagine that you purchased an outfit and when you wore it for the the first time, it ripped apart; what would you do? You would return the outfit and probably never shop there again. If you've followed my blog or know me, you know that I don't have band loyalty and would jump ship very quickly if I am dissatisfied especially with the cost of the band so I am not grateful that Bliss accepted me to play in their band; I don't owe them any favors so I don't have to play with them again. And honestly I don't know if I will. I had a great time because I didn't want to let the costume issue spoil my carnival experience and the customer service to address problems was extremely impressive but I can't move move past the fact that the main part of my costume did fall apart.

The cost of playing mas has been increasing but the quality of the costumes has been decreasing and yet people still continue to support these bands (me included) so it's really up to the individual masquerader to decide to take a stance. I admit without apology that I love the stooshness of these bands and the extra perks they offer but at some point I want to feel as if I'm not taken for a fool because I'm willing to throw money after them. So I'm glad that Tribe/Bliss has indicated that we can submit suggestions...I'll be sending that e-mail very soon.

I've not thought it through yet but I feel as if I need to take a break from playing mas next year (and no, I'm not heavily medicated or intoxicated) or even play with a low key small band in a really gorgeous FL or Individual costume. The bf even suggested that we try Sando mas but the point is that I will be doing something different next year.....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Carnival Monday with Bliss

After the set ah lemons ah get from Bliss ah decided to make some margaritas on Carnival Monday.

I was able to remove the decorations from the complimentary bra and glue it to a white vest which I wore with white shorts and my customized headband. After getting my make up done at Makeda from Shades of Sugar, I was feeling bess and ready to enjoy the day.

We met the band after the stage at the savannah around lunch time and headed to the lunch stop in St James. I loved the idea of the blankets and setting under a tent. While I secured our spot under the tent, the bf opted for the Popeye's lunch for both us...it was warm and not oily so it wasn't too bad. I also had a nice cold green sands (I love green sands!) and chilled with some friends. I made sure to use the toilet which was clean and I was able to wash my hands with soap; they also had mouthwash, deodorant spray and panadol.

After about an hour and a half, we were on our way to St James to come down Mucurapo Rd and then onto Tragarete Rd. I had the best time on this part of the route. The music was sweet with a wide selection of songs being played by Private Ryan (my fave soca DJ by the way). And of course the Johnny and coconut water was flowing. Monday ultimately ended at around 5:30pm which I had no problem with since I like to get home early to rest for Tuesday...

I heard lots of people complain that there was no vibe and the band was boring. I guess some people missed the Tribe hype and crowd which was I was hoping not to encounter. After leaving Bliss, I met up Yuma on Arapita Avenue and noticed the unformity that their Monday wear brought to the band. I know that Bliss said from the beginning that they will not offer Monday wear because they probably wanted masqueraders to wear part of their costume as is customary. All this would be great if the costume could hold up for 2 days! I am sorry but I cannot pay to have another Monday costume made nor am I artistic enough to make my own so my only complaint would be that some form of Monday wear should have been offered.

Basically once the music was good, I got what I wanted to drink and the security was on point...Monday with Bliss was bess...

Monday, March 7, 2011

First Fail for Bliss...

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my government salary has been frozen until further notice so I'm not amused when people play de ass with things I pay big big money for...

It all started when I went to collect my Titans costume at Carlton Savannah. I had paid off for my costume a while back and therefore qualified for "fast track" collection. On this particular day, the term "fast" was open to many interpretations. I had to join a line to collect a receipt and a number; then join a next line to wait for the number to be called; and when that number was called then I would join a further line to get the costume. All of this would be fine if the entire process didn't take 2 hours 45 minutes!

Great, I got my costume and to my disappointment there was no cold shoulder whole swimsuit but just a plain white wholepiece with a gold braid for one of the straps...this was not what was advertised. I couldn't do anything about that so I decided to try on the costume...bradap! straps burst off! wth!

So I went to Customer Service where I asked the rep to replace the gold braid with a regular bra strap...she said no problem and made me complete a form and told me that Bliss would contact me when the adjustments were made...no scene...

Despite not getting the call, I decided to just go the Carlton Savannah to find out if the adjustments were made. To my short delight, the rep gave me the bag with the adjusted swimsuit...you could believe these people put back the same gold braid that I told them was not strong enough to act as a bra strap? Of course I was pissed so I asked to talk to the designer who suggested that the swimsuit be redesigned with a halter bra so I wouldn't need the braid; and it would be ready at 3:00 the following day. Great!

You know I'm coming from far so I got there at 4:30pm. Guess what? They hadn't even started working on the swimsuit but it would be ready by 6:00pm. Like an idiot, I just smiled and said okay and I used the opportunity to get an eyebrow wax and got back to Carlton around 7:00pm. If you are following this account closely, you know what happened when I got back...It was not ready and these people looking at me with a straight face and telling me to come back at midnight because apprently when I went to the do the eyebrow wax the aesthetician wrote "jackass" on my forehead without me knowing.

By this time, I was the only masquerader in customer service still waiting for my costume that was supposed to be "fast tracked". Any who, thanks to Val and Sonji (wrong spelling) who walked it through production, I was able to leave at 9:45pm with a complimentary decorated bra for Monday and extra cuffs. I also got numerous apologies from the reps but I was mad especially since I had to be so inconvenienced based on an error on their part.

I acknowledge that other masqueraders may have experienced something totally different and positive but it's not their money and time...as a customer I don't want to be the exception to what may have been a norm of great customer service so Bliss yuh get ah big FAIL for dat!