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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Mc Farlane's Launch Postponed

For all those looking forward to the launch of Mc Farlane's 2007 presentation "India" this evening, it has been postponed to December 5th.

I guess we have five more days of waiting for Boysie's story to unfold.

La Bourgeoise

So I was pretty angry this morning after reading the paper, so to bring some humour into the day I decided to visit Trini Reveller's website hoping to see more costumes. Well, of course I was not dissapointed, this section called "La Bourgeoise" made it's debut on the website today:

Having not gone to the bandlaunching I cannot recall seeing any prior photos of this costume from that event, and while it isn't bad, is that CURLS in the guy's headpiece?

NCBA, public in the dark about Carnival 2007

What a fitting headline on the Trinidad Guardian this morning; the planned announcement by Culture Minister, Joan Yuille Williams at Queen's Hall yesterday did not come to fruition. Once again it seems that the powers that be are slighting us masqueraders, the ones who actually participate and make Carnival "the greatest show on earth", treating us with scant courtesy.

And added to my vexation this morning upon reading the following article are the insipid comments by Owen Hinds; yes Mr. Hinds we do know that mas will be played in 2007, but is it too much to ask which part of Port of Spain the Government will have us "parading" through? No offense to anyone living in Port of Spain, but I for one don't want to hear in January that the parade route goes through George Street! I have only just started coming into "town" to play mas, I don't think I am ready to deviate from that norm by too much.

You know, I think the bandleaders should come up with a plan B, I mean, if Harts used to chuck the planned parade route every year and do their own thing, why can't bandleaders come together and decide that they will have their OWN parade route? Let the Government take their merry time to announce THEIR Carnival plans, in the interim bandleaders should be looking at some venue where they can at least construct a stage and let other bandleaders who are interested contribute; with so many corporate sponsors on board some of these larger bands, I would think that they can at least sponsor a stage for us to cross. Would it be so insane to ask that the likes of Harts, Island People, Tribe, Pulse 8 and Dream Team (you know the bands that do not care about winning Band of the Year) come together and say, let's put our masqueraders first. We will decide on a parade route that is best for our masqueraders and stick to that if/when the Government's plan falls through.

It is done with Carnival in Chaguanas, Arouca and Arima, those communities stage their own "mini" Carnival with sponsors from the area, even building a stage. So what is needed to have something similar in Port of Spain.. or possibly St. James or even St. Clair? Do bandleaders need, some permission from the Mayor, City Council, Police Commissioner?Come on man, tomorrow is December 1st, we are barrelling ahead to Carnival 2007 and these self righteous, spineless, so called Government leaders are playing with "we ting"!!

And you know, it is so comical that all of a sudden Mr. Hinds has realised that not only are masqueraders paying so much money to play mas but that there used to be a bottle neck at the all these years they knew that, what measures were put in place to remedy that situation? NONE! Where will the massive Cultural Center be built?That's right at the Savannah!! So we will be thrown right back into the bottle neck situation! But of course, the obvious is cancelled out by the fact that it will be a $400 million dollar BOTTLE neck Center!! We are lead by idiots I tell you!

"The National Carnival Bands’ Association (NCBA) is placing full faith in the Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs Joan Yuille-Williams to make the right decisions concerning Carnival 2007.

However, the association and the public, remain in the dark concerning official plans for Carnival 2007 and when they are to be announced by Yuille-Williams.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday at the NCBA Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS) head office, NCBA president Owen Hinds said: “The NCBA is in support of the honourable Minister Joan Yuille-Williams in whatever she is doing.”

However, they remained tight-lipped concerning the organisation’s Carnival proposal submitted to the minister and the National Carnival Commission (NCC).

Hinds would only assure the public, “mas will be played in T&T in 2007 regardless of what happens.”

NCBA board members were confident that the minister would make the best decision concerning the Parade of Bands.

“Mas on the road means mas on the move. Over the years the press and the people after Carnival have complained about the congestion going in and out of the Savannah,” said Hinds.

He said the Savannah remained the main problem with mas, as bands continued to bottleneck at the venue.

By banning mas in the QPS it will benefit the masqueraders,“who pay so much money these days for Carnival.”

“Are they paying to stand up outside the Savannah for five, six and seven hours? No way!” said Hinds who was unable to answer simple questions posed my the media concerning judging points and a Parade of Bands route.

When asked if the planned $400 million Carnival Cultural Centre would not cause a similar “bottleneck” when constructed, he replied: “We will be trying our best as the body that is responsible for mas to do our best to ensure that whatever facility is offered to us...that the movement of the masquerader will be smoother than it ever was in the past.”

He added he was certain, “the (NCC) board will iron out their problems, if there are any problems.”

Both the NCC’s chairman Kenny De Silva and deputy chairman Ainsworth Mohammed have resigned. (CS)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Urban Legends of Carnival

Wikipdeia defines an urban legend to be “a kind of folklore consisting of stories often thought to be factual by those circulating them. Urban legends are sometimes repeated in news stories and, in recent years, distributed by email. People frequently say such tales happened to a "friend of a friend" - so often, in fact, that FOAF has become a commonly used acronym to describe this sort of story. Urban legends are not necessarily untrue, but they are often false, distorted, exaggerated, or sensationalized.”

That brings me to the Urban Legends that surround Trinidad Carnival and yes, there are a few that I have heard happened to a “friend of a friend” yet I don’t know anyone personally who can say if it is really true.

Urban Legend number one, is quite popular, that is the one where for j’ouvert some women have been duped into dancing, wining and even doing unspeakable acts with a vagrant, usually mistaking him for just another “dirty” masquerader roaming the streets of Port of Spain. In the story the woman in question is almost always some high society chick who would be mortified if the story got out. I even heard this about an ex co-worker of mine, but added to that story was urban legend number two; sex on the streets for Carnival!

Everyone I know always has a story of someone they know who had sex in an inebriated state with some “stranger” either on top of a rooftop, or in an alley or behind the North Stand on Carnival Monday or Tuesday. These encounters are reported to be hot, heavy, laced with alcohol and after the strangers go their separate ways never to see each other again. Even my husband said when he was a teenager it was always a big thing to try and catch someone in the act, but alas neither he nor I have ever seen this, only heard the stories of friends of a friend.

The most bizarre Urban Legend I have heard to date is that many “mothers” dump their children at the hospital in lieu of hiring a babysitter for Carnival. The story goes that during Carnival week, mothers take their children to the hospital saying they are suffering from some “mysterious” illness, leaves the child there overnight for observation and never returns until Ash Wednesday! The rationale is that the hospital is as safe a place as any to leave the child; they will be fed, looked after and the mother does not have to think of looking after the child until she has had her fill of enjoying Carnival.

Another popular Urban Legend is that on Carnival Saturday you can get costumes so cheap that it is almost like getting it for free. I have heard this really happened to several people, but this year when I passed by the mas camp of a popular band to check out my friend’s section on Carnival Saturday there were people still coming to purchase costumes and they were being sold at the regular price. I really want to know who has gotten a costume for next to nothing on Carnival Saturday, if they got an entire costume and with what band.

I have also heard that the Dimanche Gras show is rigged, that certain calypsonians belong to a Lodge, hence the reason they wear large, ostentatious rings and that lots of "obeah" is practised in order for them to win. The Legend goes that Calysponians play dirty on that night, trying to sabotage other's in the name of victory. I have never even been to a Dimanche Gras show, but these are the stories I have heard coming out from that event.

The scariest Urban Legend to date has to be the one that circulated one year for Carnival, where people were talking about young men who were sticking persons with H.I.V. infected, blood filled syringes. Rumour had it that they were attacking women and there was some panic about going into Port of Spain for j'ouvert because of this. Of course it all started because this supposedly happened to a "friend of someone's friend"

Finally, the Urban Legend that I have been hearing from since I was a child has to do with a certain “marse” man, I have heard “them" say that Minshall’s band has a “Jumbie”. You know, I think it started with his portrayals of Calabash and The River where it was rumored that he was “dealing” and that was why someone got killed playing with his band every year! Now, I am not saying this is true in any way, form or fashion but when the young man got his head crushed under the tire of a Minshall truck I remember hearing the legend spreading like wildfire.

Since these are all the Urban Legends that I can remember, it would be interesting to hear other’s stories, you know, the ones that happen around Carnival time to a “friend of a friend”. So, feel free to share with me any Urban Legends of your own.


Earlier this month I wrote that Stephen Derek of D'Midas had launched his 2007 Carnival presentation "Amazonia a Place and Time" for Carnival 2007.

The website for D'Midas is now up, and I will not spoil it for anyone by giving my take on the costumes, but trust me, after seeing these few go check out the website for more information and photos!

click on photo for larger view

There are 15 sections, most priced under $1625.00 TT and it is interesting to note that they are celebrating 30 years of Stephen Derek in mas in 2007.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

S.O.S Missing Costumes...

Last seen at a Band Launching and never to be seen again:











Dream Team's new Section

With the depature of the section "Exotic Rhythm" from Dream Team to Trini Revellers, Dream Team has revelaed a new section on their website. No prices are posted as yet, but the section is called "The Sway of the Lapiz Azul" and although it looks like a hodgepodge of costumes from Poison past, I think it is one of the better costumes in Dream Team's camp; I like it:

Are you a man or a manicou?

You hear it all the time, that saying that goes “Carnival is about woman!” which any spectator on Carnival Tuesday would be inclined to believe seeing as women outnumber men four to one in any section of any band. It is also quite apparent when you look at the costumes available to men; their female counterparts being elaborate, sexy and quite attractive while the majority of male costumes often look like an “afterthought”, something thrown together in the same colour scheme of the female costume. And in that light I often wonder how come some of the more ridiculous, and sometimes hideous, male costumes are sold out first? Then it dawned on me that for the most part, these men leave the choice of costumes up to their significant other , with only a few actually paying attention to the costumes at all, and thus they have no clue what their costume looks like, even though they might be bankrolling the costume for both them and their female cohort.

Now, I am not saying all men go blindly into Carnival not knowing what costume they have to wear, some men do put as much thought into the costume selection process as we women do. But for the most part you often hear men saying things like “real men don’t wear costumes” or “all I need is my short pants and wrist band” or “I want to be in the section with the most naked woman costume” so these men don’t really care if they wear just a plastic bag, as long as they are playing mas with enough scantily clad women around and they have an all-inclusive band they are quite happy.

So, as a woman charged with the costume selection process, do you think only about your costume and what you want to play in or do you take your men into consideration? I really want to know the answer to this because Dame Lorraine male was one of the first sections to sell out with TRIBE and this is what it looks like:

Lucky Charms anyone?

And, as the male who has to wear (and possibly pay for) such an “interesting” costume, do you care at all that your sweetheart chose something so atrocious , how do you feel opening your box/bag and laying eyes on that number for the first time?

I asked my hubby about that, wondering if he would leave me to choose his costume and his first question was why should we not choose a costume that we both liked even if it meant we were in different sections? Then, he said to me that he is sorry, but if all that was left in TRIBE was Pierrot Grenade male and I wanted him to play with me, it would have been a quarrel over that costume. Well, I have no desire to choose a costume for him, just as I would not want him to choose a costume for me. Maybe we are one of those “strange” couples who don’t need to be in matching costumes for Carnival to be together. I have all plans of jumping up with the hubby in his section, and vice versa, besides I also have other friends in my section that I can jump up when he needs to be in his section, like when/if we are crossing the stage.

I can understand couples wanting to play together if they don’t know anyone else in their section, first priority should be always safety and the man would want to protect his woman, not abandoning her to solitary enjoyment and play in another section. So, on behalf of the men who have no choice but to play mas in tandem with their better half, I appeal to the women with the choosing power to think about your men; do you really want them looking like a leprechaun or insulting their masculinity by swathing them in fuchsia pink and lime green ribbons? First rule about being a couple is “compromise” so try and pick a section where both costumes are attractive, a costume that will enhance his "maleness"; after all he is a man not a maincou!

And, for all the men forced to wear the following contraptions, I will be keeping a special eye out for you on Carnival Tuesday, looking to see which ones show up in the full kit and caboodle as I suspect that these “costumes” will be reduced to just a shorts and the wrist bands:

Pink and green fringe very meterosexual

What is up with pastel shades for men?

Male staute of liberty ?

err.. no coment!

Bows on the Knees!?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bra issues

Now, I am an expert of de-constructing the so called "bra" that usually came with my costume of past and redecorating MY own, well fitting, comfortable bra. I can only recall a few times that my bra fit well and that is one year with Harts, the time I played with Sonia Mack and of course, with TRIBE though I still had to adjust the shoulder straps in all cases.

Being a woman with an ample bosom, I wear a DD, I know the frustration that comes with hoping that when you do collect your costume that the bra fits. And when it does not fit I also know the stress in getting a suitable replacement. I would advise, if you have this fear, to contact the mas camp and ask about using your own bra, most of them are accommodating and will allow you to do so. However, if you have not done this, trusting that all the money you are paying for your costume means your bra should at least fit perfectly or it is now too late that leaves you with a problem. A problem of possibly getting an ill fitting bra when you reach to Trinidad. However you still have the option of either buying a bra and asking the mas camp to decorate it for you ( using the decoration from the ill fitting bra) or you can do it yourself. Harts re-decorated my bra for me one year and after that I learned to do it myself!

All you need is an exact prototype of how the bra is decorated, luckily I always have my friend's bra as a guide, but it would be wise to print out one of the close up photos of the bra that is on the band's website. You also need a hot glue gun and lots of glue sticks. Hot glue guns are pretty cheap, my mother has several so all I really need are the glue sticks which are cheap as well, just try one of those accessory stores on Charlotte street or even Samaroos. If you are really in a pinch, you can use good old needle and thread, which might take longer than the hot glue but will hold much better too. The good thing is that if you wish you can also add a little extra to your bra, either more beads or sequins if you feel it is lacking in some aspect.

Luckily, I have found a good online guide showing how to decorate a bra for belly dancers, if you look at the bras they use they look exactly like Carnival costumes. This method uses needle and thread, but like I said before, you can always use hot glue. Use it as inspiration to see how easy it is to redecorate a bra, or you might even use it to create a bra to wear on Monday for those who do not have bra fit issues. The link to the entire article is here.

Two-Hour Bra

This is a quick and easy method for creating a beautiful, well-fitting bra for performance wear. Do you have a troupe that needs a costume fast? Are you performing tomorrow night, but your last costume is too large or too small? Need something inexpensive and easy to make for your first recital? Here are some quick and easy bras that can be constructed in an afternoon.

The Lingerie Bra Base
The key for the success of this project is purchasing a good fitting, sturdy foam cupped bra with good support and shaping. The bra base has to support both you and the embellishments so it should be the best quality bra you can afford.

Tools and Materials
For this project, you will need a few simple tools. This style of bra is best created by hand sewing. With practice, hand sewing can go quite quickly.

* Thread - Use a sturdy button or carpet thread for sewing on surface embellishments to ensure they will last. I personally use upholstery thread because it is supple but very sturdy.
* Needles - I recommend buying a variety pack of needles and experimenting with the size, shape and point style that works best for you. I prefer longer sharps, but some seamstresses like the precision of the shorter sharp.
* Thimble - Protect your 'pushing' finger by wearing a thimble for pushing through multiple layers of fabric especially when sewing all the way through a padded bra.
* Pins - Any sharp straight and fine pin will do a good job of holding the parts and pieces in place prior to sewing. I like round-headed pins because they are a bit easier to maneuver. Longer pins are less precise but easier to handle.

Tribal in Two Hours - Jewelry
The tribal look is one of lush layering of ethnographic textiles and beautiful tribal jewelry. There are literally hundreds of different design elements you can put onto a bra that will create this look. Perhaps the easiest and least expensive is to simply stitch a pair of matching tribal necklaces to the bra. For a more upscale look, quickly whip-stitch a length of ribbon onto the upper edge of the bra before placing the necklace along the lower edge of the bra. Use a black bra base for the classic tribal look, no need to cover it, simply use it as-is.

Quick Coins - Ready-Made Covers
This tried and true method of building a bra is one of the most enduring costuming styles. The metal bra cover became popular in the 1960s and continues to be an option. Inexpensive binti bell models from India are available from many dance dealers. For a more custom look, you can purchase coin and chain covers that are made to order.

Pre-made bra cup covers can simplify and speed up the construction process. This pair of coin and chain bra covers is applied to the upper edge of the cup with sturdy button, carpet or upholstery thread/ See image below of the finished bra.

Quick Cabaret - Appliques and Beaded Fringe
Many dancers crave that opulent look of shimmering sequins and flashing beads. This look can be created quickly using pre-beaded fringe and elegant pre-stitched sequins. The look rivals more expensive and time-consuming beaded costumes.

The above bra was fast to put together. We began with quickly covering the bra in an opulent textured purple and pink lurex brocade. Next we tacked on two layers of gold trim, defining a space for embellishment. Three large sew on jewels were quick to attach and cover a lot of territory. A large purple sequined applique finishes off the bottom half of the cup. The appliques were purchased from Sugar Petals, the large jewels are from Gaylene's Boutique. Each cup took aobut an hour to complete.

A Gallery of Quick to Make Bra Styles

Coin bra covers
mounted on inexpensive plain black bra.
Construction - 1 Hour
Total Cost - $62
Bra $12,
Cover $50

Lace and tassle fringe mounted on a red bra.
Construction - 2 hours
Total Cost - $18
Bra $8
Lace Remnant $3
Fringe1/3 yard $6

Tiger fabric and beaded tassle fringe bra.
Construction - 4 hours
Total Cost - $21
Bra $12
Tiger Fabric $4
Fringe 1/3 yard $7
Ribbon and notions $1
Covering the bra took the most time. The dramatic tiger fabric is eye-catching and dynamic. The fringe adds movement.

Navigating this Blog

I have written a lot of information on this blog in the past three months of it's existence, and some of you might want to access some article that is now archived. There are two ways that you can navigate this blog to retrieve past articles; one way is to use the indexed Archive list on the right hand side of this page, all my posts have been archived weekly to make things easier:

The other way is to use the “blog search” option to the top left of this page:

If you have an idea of the subject of the article you are trying to find, type it in the text box, for instance here I have typed a search for TRIBE in the text box:

Next, click “SEARCH THIS BLOG” and a list of relevant archived posts will be displayed on another page:

Here are links to archived posts that might be of interest to you:

TRIBE Band launching

Island People Band Lunching

Carnival Virgin Survival Guide

10 Comandments of Frontline H.O.ism

Dressing for Feteing

Roll Call

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Legacy's Special Sections

Since the launch of Legacy's website they have updated to add three special sections, Chutney, Seminole Nation and Kanien Keha Ka...the latter leaving me speechless as it is quite possibly one of the ugliest costumes I have seen for Carnival 2007 . I really try my best not to be harsh with my criticisms of costumes, knowing that despite it being unappealing to me someone else might like it as well as the designers did put their time and effort into creating the costume but Kanien Keha Ka needs to be revamped as the costume is WAY too busy :

I also found some information on a special section that is missing from the website, this one is called Kiowa and I really like the female costume though Legacy has 5 blue sections already, this one really stands out as the headpiece looks well made and I like the beading on the bra. I have to say the male looks like a TRIBE costume , guess they found the same supplier for the beaded chestpiece:

Applying False Eyelashes

Now, I believe in individual false eyelashes, to me they look more natural and last longer than the strip of lashes. But, for those who might just want to glam it up for Carnival Tuesday only, the strip will work as you can remove them at the end of the day. Makeup artist Crysande Hachst of the Trinidad Express WOMAN magazine has a how to guide on applying lashes in today's issue:

Your favourite stars like Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez have a secret to their red-carpet glamour-false eyelashes. These are great for bringing out your eyes, making you look more feminine and alluring. They also make you look fabulous in photos.

So for that special Christmas event, you may want to try false eyelashes to put that extra oomph into your look. It is easier than you might think to apply and no one has to know your secret but you! Everyone will be commenting that you look different, they just won't know why.

Afraid you will end up looking like a drag queen?

Falsies come in all colours, lengths and styles, so to achieve a natural eyelash enhancement, select a lash style and colour which would blend in most easily with your own lashes. Of course for Carnival you can go wild with different colours and extravagant lengths for the season.

How-to guide on applying strip false eyelashes

Step 1: Making your new lashes pliable

Take your eyelash strips from the case and bend each one gently back and forth to make them more pliable and easy to handle. Steps 2 & 3: Measure and clip

Place the strip of eyelashes against your eye to check the length against the length of your eye. If the strip is too long, then cut off a few lashes, using a pair of cuticle scissors so that it is the exact length of your eye. I have seen some ladies with false eyelashes extending far beyond the length of their eye. This, of course, would not contribute towards achieving a natural look. So remember to measure and then trim if necessary!

Step 4: Applying the glue

Many people ask me if the false eyelashes will fall off and embarrass them in public. My answer to that is to use a good quality waterproof eyelash glue that can withstand tears and humidity.

Place your glue in a narrow strip on a regular kitchen toothpick. Then, apply this glue to the band of your false lashes. Allow to dry for 60 seconds or until the glue becomes tacky.

What do we mean by tacky? When the glue loses its liquid consistency and becomes sticky.

Step 5: Putting on the falsies

Next, put the false lashes on the base of your natural lashes. Start from the outer corner of the eye and, once the outer corner has adhered, start working your way inward, pressing the false lashes to lash line until the entire band is attached.

Step 6: Finishing touches

Leave the lashes on for a few minutes to ensure the glue is completely dried, then apply a black, dark brown or navy liner, depending on your look, to the band so that it is not visible.

Opposing Points of view: NCC vs NCBA

An interesting read of the headlines at the Guardian today show the NCC predicting "chaos" for Carnival while the NCBA has all faith that Carnival 2007 will be bigger and better, wondering why people are so resistant to change, wouldn't it be nice if these two Carnival bodies can just unite? It almost reminds me of Panday and Dookeran!

Masmakers predict chaos

The decision that no Carnival 2007 events will be held at the Grandstand on Queen’s Park Savannah is causing some contention among stakeholders.

Among the controversial plans for Carnival 2007, expected to be announced by Culture Minister Joan Yuille-Williams on Wednesday, is a decision to keep all major events, including Monday and Tuesday’s Parade of the Bands, out of the Savannah.

Also, a decision has been taken to do away with the popular viewing/judging points at Adam Smith Square and Victoria Square.

“There will be no stage this Carnival,” a source close to the minister said.

The plan is to have all pre-Carnival shows open to the public, with the Panorama semifinals moving to west of the Grand Stand, near Marli Street.

The Panorama finals are expected to be hosted at Skinner’s Park in San Fernando, with yet another proposal putting the premier pan show at the Eddie Hart Grounds in Tacarigua, using the Priority Bus Route as a track for the bands.

Sources also noted a proposal to re-organise the traditional parade routes in Port-of-Spain. Details of this reorganisation, however, remain closely guarded, with all to be revealed on Wednesday.

Sources close to Minister Joan Yuille-Williams said she promised a “bigger and better” Carnival during her meetings with various stakeholders.

It was in March, barely two weeks after Carnival, 2006, that Yuille-Williams announced that the Grand Stand would be torn down to facilitate construction of a $700-million centre for the arts.

The proposed completion date for the centre was early 2008. However, with barely a month to go before the start of 2007, the Grand Stand remains standing, as do the offices of the National Carnival Commission.

Total disrespect

Meanwhile, the new plans suddenly surfacing have many in the masmaking fraternity predicting chaos, given that Carnival is barely two months away.

Reports are that the National Carnival Commission (NCC) wrote Yuille-Williams with the recommendation that the headline events remain at the Savannah.

The minister, however, reportedly ignored the NCC’s proposal. On Friday evening, NCC’s deputy chairman Ainsworth Mohammed resigned, accusing the minister of “total disrespect.”

While plans are made and remade behind closed doors, mas men and steelband stalwarts remain in the dark over arrangements for Carnival, 2007, and several of them have questioned why the facilities at the Savannah cannot be used for next year’s Carnival.

“I am upset that at this late stage that Government has not said anything definite,” said Donald Little, of the National Carnival Development Foundation.

“I agree that the Savannah is the best place for Carnival, but is not just the Grand Stand. The North Stand, when they have events is filled—we can continue to use it as it is,” said Little.

He also questioned the effects of the ban on Panorama.

“What will it be like without the drag and the stage?

It will change the whole feel of Panorama.”

For members of the pan fraternity, the major concern was cost.

“I am not in agreement with taking the Panorama finals down south,” said Wayne Singh, a member of Arima band Nutones, citing as his main reason the exorbitant costs involved, as well as a a possible lack of crowd support.

He said the cost of taking a large band from Arima to Port-of-Spain for the Panorama semifinals and finals could cost upwards of $20,000 in transportation fees, including the rental of trailers and maxi-taxis.

“Imagine the cost if the band is coming from Mayaro or Sangre Grande.”

Beverly Ramsey-Moore, of Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra in Tobago, said taking the Panorama to San Fernando would put not only Tobago bands, but steelbands from outlying areas in Trinidad, under additional pressure.

“It might be better for them to just bring Panorama to Tobago,” she said yesterday.

“Pan Trinbago has to take a holistic view of the thing. It will be extremely difficult for Tobago bands, in terms of transportation costs.”

Ramsey-Moore said the cost of taking Tobago bands to San Fernando would be crippling.

“The transport cost will be great, again putting Tobago bands at a disadvantage. The cost of moving pans and racks from a village panyard to the port, and from the port to the Savannah is a lot of money, and if you qualify for the finals you have to do that twice,” she explained.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

NCBA is all about support—wherever

The National Carnival Bands’ Association (NCBA) will support any plans by the Government to improve Carnival, says chairman Wrenwick Brown.

“I assure you our Carnival will not suffer for not going into the (Queen’s Park) Savannah, you will see something much better,” he said yesterday. We are out here to support Carnival, and wherever is chosen we will support it,” Brown added.

While the NCBA chairman was reluctant to reveal plans for the Parade of The Bands, he hinted that it would follow a format similar to New York’s Labour Day parade.

He also made assurances that the proposed changes would vastly improve the spectator experience.

“Spectators will see the bands flowing. People will go out and see bands moving; not people standing,” he said.

Brown also questioned the chorus of complaints and objections directed at plans to take Carnival out of the Savannah.

“Why is it a problem if we are improving the parade in such a way to eliminate hours of waiting?”

Brown also scoffed at concerns about the staging of major events, such as the Kings and Queens competitions, at alternative venues.

“We put the Kings and Queens of the World in the (Hasely Crawford) stadium in 1998, so it has been proven we can take these things out of the Savannah without a problem.”

Brown also said it was regrettable that as the Mecca of Carnival, T&T had so many problems staging the event in the past.

“I don’t know why people resist change. There are one million and one complaints about the way things are run. Now we trying to change things there are complaints,” he said.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Pierrot Grenade is sold out!

As we approach the last week in the month of November another section in TRIBE is gone, Pierrot Grenade is now listed as sold out. The frontline costume is still available however, so there is still a one off chance that someone who was on the fence about Pierrot to get a costume in the frontline section (though I prefer the backline).

So, here are the sections still available:

Imp Female

Bat Female

Majorette Female

Cow Mas Male

Slim pickings remain for the latecomers, and males just have one option of Cow Mas.

NCC Top Brass Resigns

Well, the drama surrounding 2007 Carnival has escalated to the level of the Government, with Minister of Culture, Joan Yuille Williams having been accused of wanting to plan Carnival without the input of key players like the National Carnival Commission (NCC) leading to the resignation of the Deputy Chairman of the NCC.

Supposedly all of the Ministry's plans will be revealed at Queens Hall next Wednesday, including the revelation of the planned parade route. I have to say that the same thing happened with Carifesta when the Chairman of that event, Kenny De Silva (who was also chairman of the NCC) resigned and the portfolio was taken over by Minister Williams, well anyone who went to Carifesta can tell you how poorly the event turned out.

I don't want to forecast on what these new developments mean for Carnival 2007, clearly the persons now involved with it's planning and implementation do not have the years of experience as persons of the NCC. Hopefully all this will be sorted out and all parties involved can come to a mutually respectful truce where the interest of Carnival is put before interest of politicians.

Both the Trinidad Express and Guardian have reports on this breaking news, the following is reported by the Guardian:

More resignations hit Carnival body

NCC in disarray


The National Carnival Commission (NCC) is now officially without leadership, after the abrupt resignation of its deputy chairman yesterday, senior officials of the organisation said.

Deputy Chairman Ainsworth Mohammed became incensed after learning of a clandestine meeting held by the Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs Joan Yuille-Williams and a trio of stakeholders in an attempt to plan Carnival 2007, without the input of the NCC.

Mohammed had harsh words for Yuille-Williams who he accused of “total disrespect” after a stormy board meeting at the NCC’s Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS) head office.

“I refuse to even reconsider participation in an environment where the Minister of Culture is leading a conspiracy against the chairman and majority of board members,” he said.

“The minister’s demonstration of disrespect for the NCC chairman and board is not new but has now reached an intolerable level.”

Yuille-Williams met on Thursday with Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) president Michael “Protector” Leggerton, Pan Trinbago president Patrick Arnold and the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) vice-chairman Felix Celestine.

Arnold made the revelation at NCC’s board meeting after accusing Celestine and Leggerton of “being less than forthright” about the meeting.

It was reported that representatives of Udecott also attended the meeting where a full plan for Carnival 2007 was mapped out and was scheduled to be announced next Wednesday at Queen’s Hall.

Udecott’s communication’s manager Danielle Jones when contacted did not confirm or deny the fact.

Sources have stated that differences between Yuille-Williams and NCC chairman Kenny De Silva led to him tendering his resignation in March.

The minister has yet to acknowledge De Silva’s resignation.

Celestine has reportedly been tipped to replace De Silva although he has dismissed the claim.

Leggerton is the public relations officer in Yuille-Williams’ ministry.

NCC’s six government-appointed commissioners were not made privy to the secret meeting although the body is legally appointed to make all decisions related to Carnival on a national level.

“While acting as chairman earlier this year, I had several meetings with her in an attempt to reconcile this situation, all of which were futile and she remains arrogant and intransigent,” Mohammed said.

“So since she is not moving and unlikely to be moved, I took the decision to remove myself from the structure.”

He accused Yuille-Williams of “government-sponsored mutiny” against De Silva and added that NCC’s recommendation for the 2007 Carnival included keeping the QPS as the main venue.

“She apparently doesn’t care what anyone—including the Prime Minister—thinks and wants to run the entire Carnival without reference to the people who are charged with that responsibility,” said Mohammed.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Friday, November 24, 2006

Machel dropped a new tune today!

So as I was driving to work I heard Allan from 96.1 FM announce that they would be dropping a new Machel this morning! Excited to get to work and put out the bulletin that bloggers should tune in to station I got in office, logged on , checked my blog and then the net went down! Damn TSTT because DSL service was only now restored and I am back online.

Well, I heard the new Machel and 96.1 has been playing it all day so tune in and you are sure to hear it before the day is out. My first impression is that the song is sort of slow, not road march material but I am loving it!! They also debuted the new Patrice and Zan which is called "Till Tomorrow", that one I don't like too much because it sounds a bit too much like R&B and less like soca.

The name of the new Machel song is "One more Time" from his album for 2007 entitled "Machel Montano H.D. - High Definition".

Costume Resale Market Heating Up!

I must say, business at Carnival Junction started early this year with advertisements for "costumes wanted" out numbering those actually for sale. However, as we are coming to the end of November I am seeing more and more costumes listed to be sold. Can you imagine what will happen in December and January when people realise they cannot make it to Trinidad or that some unexpected expense came up or that they are pregnant!? And with sections still open in bands I think sales on costumes won't be as lucrative until the bands are completely sold out....if ever!

Tribe's Majorette, Jab Jab and Dame Lorraine are some of the latest costumes to go on the market with Island People's Mirage, Oasis and even Goddess and Defenders listed earlier this month. I also like reading people's reasons for selling their costumes, well at least those who give a reason; the young lady who is selling her Goddess costume says "I have already made the deposit of $150 US and decided to play w/another band." I wonder which band she is going to be playing with now?

Then there are those who want to exchange sections, which as we all know if very difficult to do at the mas camp since most bands have a strict rule against this. One person has a Jewel of the Nile costume and is looking for a Sacred Sand, what is interesting is that she does not care about sizes and has this to say:"I have a deposit on a Jewel of the Nile backline...But I'm loving Sacred Sand and would like to exchange...don't worry about sizes...I can make it work." And someone else wants to exchange a Bat frontline for Majorette because "My little sister is playing in Majorette and I need to exchange to keep an eye on her." personally, I would keep the Bat frontline costume but let's hope the little sister does not read the advertisement and see that she will be closely monitored for Carnival.

Even over at Harts' on their Notice Board costumes are listed for sale, though I cannot understand why someone would buy a costume on the "for sale" listing when the sections are still open for registration like Xen and Olympus! I have to say, I do like Harts Notice Board idea, not taking anything away from Carnival Junction, but it is nice to see that they offer a section where their masqueraders can post costumes for sale instead of using another website. Additionally, I know you can put your costume up for sale at TRIBE's mas camp, just call them and give them the details and they will try to match a buyer to a seller when enquiries come in for costumes wanted.

It's going to be fascinating to watch this trend over the next few months, one of the caveats of registering early I guess, but it also makes it easier for those who wait last minute to get their costume. In closing, for all those purchasing costumes please ask for some sort of letter/email from the seller stating that the the costume was sold to you, contact the mas camp with this information and have the registration changed to your name. I know people who sold their costumes this year, did not update the mas camp and collected TLC cards that were really due to the person who bought the costume, so it is important to get this information sorted out....and, you really don't want some unscrupulous person showing up on collection day, paying only the balance and collecting a costume that YOU made the down payment (or full payment) for!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Fete and More Fete!!

I was just peeping over at Islandmix and saw this listing of Carnival fetes posted; not sure of the source and if all the dates are correct (since I read that Bliss would be on January 13th) but just thought I would share anyways.

At least from this schedule, it shows most of the all-inclusive parties but I find there are way too many of those already! I mean, some of these parties do "buss" right? There is no way that there can be five different all-inclusive parties on one night and each one of them is well attended. Seems like everyone is getting on the "all-inclusive" bandwagon,with Trinidad's inflation rate now at 10% I can only imagine the prices that the party promoters will be calling for 2007:

Saturday January 6th, 2007
* South Carnival Launch
* Fire Services Fete - Hasley Crawford Stadium (Port of Spain)
* BGTT Energy-Inclusive Fete - Chaguaramas Golf Club

Sunday January 7th, 2007
* Trinity College's Soka In Moka - Trinity College (Maraval)
* TRIBE All-Inclusive - Jamboree Park

Friday January 12th, 2007
* 4 Kings Show Pt 1
* Legacy Fete - Hasley Crawford Stadium (Port of Spain)

Saturday January 13th, 2007
* National Flour Mills Silo - Hasley Crawford Stadium (Port of Spain)
* QRC Outta de Blue VII All-Inclusive - QRC Grounds (St. Clair)

Sunday January 14th, 2007
* ISLANDPeople Amnesia Fete - Pier 1 (Chaguaramas)
* UWI 17th Annual All-Inclusive Carnival Fete - UWI Grounds (St Augustine)
* Jess & Friends All Inclusive Fete (Valsayn)

Friday January 19th, 2007
* Legacy Cooler Rama - Hasley Crawford Stadium (Port of Spain)

Saturday January 20th, 2007
* Trini Revellers Fete - Pier 1 - Chaguaramas
* Bishop Anstey All-Inclusive - Bishop Anstey Grounds (POS)
* Wicked In White
* Broadway for Youths - Hasley Crawford Stadium (Port of Spain)
* South Rotary
* International School
* Holy Faith Couva

Sunday January 21st, 2007
* Amoco All-Inclusive
* Crews Inn All-Inclusive
* McLeod - Pier 1
* Hilton All-Inclusive
* POS East Lions
* Diabetic Assocciation
* Safari (Regiment)

Friday January 26th, 2007
* Bazoodee Friday - Pier 1 (Chaguaramas)

Saturday January 27th, 2007
* Blue Range All Inclusive Fete - Diego Martin
* De Polis All-Inclusive
* St Mary's All-Inclusive Fete - St. Mary's College (Pembroke St, POS)
* Outrageous In Red Fete - Pier 1 (Chaguaramas)
* Pearl Garden All Inclusive Fete - Petit Valley
* Newsday All Inclusive - Pier 1

Sunday January 28th, 2007
* Caribbean Wet Fete '07
* Yorke Inc. Annual All Inclusive Fete (St Clair)
* Parrot River Lime
* Mt Hope All-Inclusive
* Poison All-Inclusive
* Magnolias All-Inclusive
* Seals All-Inclusive
* BPTT All-Inclusive - Trinidad Country Club
* Lions All-Inclusive Fete - Lions Civic Centre (Port of Spain)
* Crews Inn All-Inclusive Fete (Chaguaramas)

Friday February 2nd, 2007
* Central Bank All Inclusive - Eric Williams Plaza
* Ladies First

Saturday February 3rd, 2007
* NGC Sports Club All-Inclusive (Country Club)
* Woman IV - Maska Compound
* Royal Bank All-Inclusive
* O' Farrell's All-Inclusive - Mobs 2
* South Cancer Society
* Farm Fete

Sunday February 4th, 2007
* Mc Leod All Inclusive - Pier 1 (Chaguaramas)
* Annual Blood Bank Fete - Country Club (Maraval)
* U.S. Embassy Annual All-Inclusive (Chaguaramas Golf Course)
* Friends of ASCC All-Inclusive
* Ntl. Cent for People with Disability All-Inclusive
* Maritime All-Inclusive

Friday February 9th, 2007
* Misty Ridge Premier All-Inclusive - The Ranch - Santa Cruz
* Till Drunk Do Us Part - Hasley Crawford Stadium (POS)
* Cooler World II - Queens Park Oval (Woodbrook)
* XYZ Fete

Saturday February 10th, 2007
* Machel's Alternative Concept 5 - Queens Park Savannah
* Caribbean Brass Festival - Hasley Crawford Stadium (POS)
* Kama Sutra Fete - Trinidad Country Club
* Chutney Brass 5 - Guaracara Park (Point-A-Pierre )
* Fatima College All-Inclusive
* Skin to Skin Fete

Sunday February 11th, 2007
* Hearts On Fire All-Inclusive - Hotel Normandie
* 3 Red Men - Screamers II (Southland Mall)
* T&Tec Soca Shoka VII - Hasley Crawford Stadium (POS)
* Jamboree Park Fete - Mobs 2
* CAREC All-Inclusive - Federation Park (St. Clair)
* UNC All-Inclusive Fete
* Citibank All-Inclusive
* Heart Beat Hilton
* Nestle All-Inclusive

Monday February 12th, 2007
* Mardi Gras - Queens Park Oval
* PNM Fete - Balisier House

Tuesday February 13th, 2007
* Eyes Wide Shut CARNIVALE - Queens Park Oval
* AWOL at Soul Beach - Bay View Maracas
* Island Style Glow '07 - Mobs 2 - Chaguaramas
* Bishops Junior School All-Inclusive Fete

Wednesday February 14th, 2007
* Island People Fete
* Bacchanal Wednesday - Chaguaramas
* Customs Boys Fete - Hasely Crawford Stadium (Port of Spain)

Thursday February 15th, 2007
* Michael Headley's All Inclusive Fete - Salybia
* Beach House Carnival - Ortinola Estate (Maracas)
* Soca Thursdays Grand Finale - Hasely Crawford Stadium (POS)
* TRIBE Carnival Thursday - Queen's Park Oval
* Blanchisseuse All-Inclusive
* UWI Splash - Chaguaramas
* T&T Police Assoc. Annual Carnival Fete - Police Training College

Friday February 16th, 2007
* IslandPeople Girl Power - Queen's Hall (Port of Spain)
* Red Eye III (Dawn Till Dusk)
* Taste A La Carte - Ambassador Hotel - Long Circular Rd
* VIP Friday - Normandie Hotel - St Ann's
* Blue Range Cooler Fete - Diego Martin
* Fete'n On De Boat - Treasure Queen (Pier 2, Chaguaramas)
* Hedonism 3 All-Inclusive - Hilton Poolside (Lady Young Rd, Port of Spain)
* Rise All-Inclusive - Country Club (Maraval)
* Cooler Fete - Pier 1 (Chaguaramas)
* Fusion Friday - Macqueripe Bay

Saturday February 17th, 2007
* Island Style Insomnia Fete - Mobs 2 (Chaguaramas)
* Dawn - Sunrise In The City - Jenny's Car Park
* Atlantis Ultra All-Inclusive - Club 'O'
* Trini Posse All-Inclusive Fete - Chaguaramas
* Sunny Side Up All-Inclusive Breakfast Party - Palm Av W, Petit Valley
* The Cotton Tree Foundation Saturnalia All Inclusive Fete - St. Ann's
* Lions All Inclusive Fete - Lions Civic Centre (Port of Spain)
* Hilton Poolside - Hilton Hotel (Port of Spain)

Sunday February 18th, 2007 (Carnival Sunday)
* Soca Tutorial - UWI Grounds
* MANIA - Country Club All-Inclusive
* Hilton Poolside - Hilton Hotel (Lady Young Rd, Port of Spain)
* Moka All-Inclusive Fete - Maraval
* Brian Lara All-Inclusive Fete - Chancellor Hill
* Harvard Club All-Inclusive Fete
* Headley All-Inclusive

Monday February 19th, 2007
* Parade of the Bands
* Carnival Jump Up - Hilton Hotel (Lady Young Rd, Port of Spain)

Tuesday February 20th, 2007
* Parade of the Bands

Wednesday February 21st, 2007
* Ash Wed Boatride - Treasure Queen (Pier 2, Chaguaramas)
* Beach Lime - Maracas Bay, Las Cuevas, Blanchisseuse Bay
* Wild Meat Cool Down - Balandra Bay

Thursday February 22nd, 2007
* Premiere of Talk Tent - Queen's Hall, Port of Spain
* IslandVybz All-Inclusive Boatride - Treasure Queen (Pier 2)

Friday February 23rd, 2007
* Carnival Lovers Annual After Carnival Beach Party - Store Bay, Tobago
* Talk Tent 2007 - Queen's Hall, Port of Spain

Saturday February 24th, 2007
* Champs in Concert - Queens Park Savannah (Port of Spain)
* Talk Tent 2007 - Queen's Hall, Port of Spain

Monday Mas!!

Believe it or not when I first started playing mas I would only play on Tuesday. Monday mas was something I attempted once after playing j’ouvert and had to leave the band at the Savannah near Q.R.C. since I was so tired I could not move another inch!Having a greater love for j’ouvert at that time I sacrificed playing Monday mas in order to enjoy j’ouvert in all its rum soaked, mud and paint glory! Friends of mine thought I was crazy to pay for a costume for ONLY one day, I thought I was not missing much since Monday mas to me was only half day and I had a much better time at j’ouvert.

Well, when I met my husband to be he insisted that I try Monday mas since I had no idea what I was missing. My girlfriend, who also slighted Monday mas in the past for dirty mas in Arima, and I decided to take his advice that year and journey into new territory. That year we both skipped j’ouvert and having no inclination to wear our costumes, we got our matching Monday gear of hot shorts and a tank top, and I think we wore our neckpieces as the stipulated “wear part of your costume rule”.

The first thing that made me seemingly regret the decision to play Monday mas was hitting the streets when the sun was up. Now, on Carnival Tuesday I usually leave home as the sunrises and it is nice and cool out; having to journey into Port of Spain in the blazing sun to meet the band had me sucking my teeth all the way. The next thing is we were late to meet the band and had to walk all the way back up St. James to meet our section, having gone to the meeting point and they had already left! In the back of my mind I had already given up the whole idea and kept threatening to abandon playing mas that day since I was not having fun.

My then boyfriend (later to become husband) kept encouraging us to just try it for a while and if we still were not enjyoing it we could leave in two hours or so. Eventually we met the band, found our section and had a drink after racing to catch up with them. My first impression was that many people were in costume, sans headpiece, and that the band was moving at a much freer pace than on Tuesday. I like the fact that we kept moving, and after a couple more Johnny Walker and coconut water I started enjoying the fact that the streets were not as congested as they are on Tuesday making it easier for me to “free up” in my section.

There were less people in the band as well, so it was like one big, moving party as we made our way easily through Port of Spain on our way to the Savannah. All my complaints about the broiling sun went up in mist when they brought out the cool zone! Usually I avoid cool zones on Tuesday, not wanting the mist to dampen my feathers, but I had no costume to worry about on Monday and I was all up in that cool zone! The two hour testing period I was giving Monday mas flew by and before I knew it we were headed to the Savannah, congestion free!!! That was something to experience, not having to wait or line up to hit the Savannah stage, what freedom! We floated across the Savannah and hit that stage with mad abandon. There was no “getting in your section”, we all melded into one, huge party and I kept going back and forth on the Savannah stage until I was exhausted!

By the time I made it to the car park after the long day, I was converted, Monday mas was the greatest!!!!! And what made it even sweeter was contrasting my virgin Monday mas experience to the next day, having to make my way through crowded streets, fight up with “stormers” trying to infiltrate the band, staying at a standstill for HOURS on Charlotte street and then the long wait, slowly inching into the Savannah. The experience was like night and day; that was when I realized on Tuesday we don’t spend as much time “playing mas” as waiting to cross the stage! Monday was when we had the opportunity to really play mas and I was mad at myself for missing out all those years.

Now, I won’t think of NOT playing Monday mas, to me it’s much better than Tuesday! Don’t get me wrong, Tuesday mas is when I get to put on my pretty costume, come out in full glory and get my high on the Savannah stage in front of the spectators and cameras. But Monday mas is about freedom; freedom from worrying about your costume, freedom from the crowds and freedom to move! So for those who might be on the fence about trying Monday mas, thinking if it is worth it, take the plunge and just do it! It gives you the best of both worlds for Carnival and with all this money we are paying for costumes these days, get your money’s worth! See you on the road on Monday; I am changing it up a bit and will be in “costume” for 2007!!!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Making a way for Carnival

Editor at Large, Keith Smith of the Trinidad Express has an excellent article today on the issue of the Savannah stage and comments made by Culture Minister, Edward Hart on the proposal to have "mas on the move":

Supposing there's no Carnival next year. "Now we only supposing," as the calypsonian Composer once sang in what the old Dave Elcock would have described as a "delightful ditty", that what Lloyd Best once called "the central rite of the civilisation" does not take place in 2007 - at least in the form to which we have become accustomed.

Already, the Minister in the Ministry of Culture, Eddie Hart, has reaffirmed the Government's, which is to say Prime Minister Patrick Manning's determination that no Carnival feet will set foot in the Savannah, Mr Manning fed up with the old "horse shed" and persuaded, for all I know, by Benny Hinn that the place is crawling with demons, Hinn expostulating in his ear:

"I see dragons, imps and devils - my word, they are blue rather than black - and I see women gyrating in a most sinful way and men staggering in their cups - Good Lord, devils and devils by the dozens!"

Seriously, though, the Savannah is out and nobody knows what is in. Well, if Mr Kenny de Silva and the rest of his NCC colleagues know they are not telling, which I find difficult to believe, men of their experience knowing full well that Carnival is upon us, dragons breathing down our necks and minstrels crooning in our ears, to say nothing of the fiery likes of panmen like "Boogsie" Sharpe and "Wire" Austin hot on the Panorama trail.

I hear tell that Mr Hart has said that mas is for the road but I don't know if, like Archimedes or whomever, this is to be taken as a "eureka!" moment, meaning that next year's mas will now go not into but around the Savannah as the old John Humphrey has long suggested, the "world's biggest roundabout" (Humphrey again) ringed with bleachers, the crowds (hopefully) cheering, steupsing or maybe just sleeping as MacFarlane, Trini Revellers and the rest make their way unimpeded (again hopefully) around the Savannah circle.

Is either that, I suppose, or mas along the foreshore on the way to the Stadium, a move that would move me almost to tears since it would mean carrying the mas even further west but here, if the truth be told, I may very well be guilty of cultural bias, mas for me from boyhood incorporating the colourful steaminess of Nelson and George and Piccadilly streets, now allegedly "high risk areas" and leaving the door open for those who don't understand, as the Bajans do, that Carnival is of the people, men, women and children packed in the yards and the "galleries" and on the sidewalks, waving and shouting and serving drinks as they watch their costumed "friends" pass by.

All of this speculation on my (our?) part would have been avoided if the new state-of-the-art Carnival centre had been delivered on time as promised but not a boom has been raised or heard, for that matter (and this being seemingly the new style in Trinidad and Tobago, nobody has taken the responsibility of telling us what's the matter) so I guess Carnival next year will have to catch as catch can, which may not necessarily be such a bad thing, necessity having to power the imagination and what, pray tell, is the Trinidad Carnival but imagination taken to the nth power.

Again if the truth be told, I am not the least bothered simply because, for me, Carnival has never been the official infrastructure and certainly not the competitions. I am not knocking either but, maybe - just maybe - there may be something sane about reverting to a pared down festival. Take all the pending Panorama prize money and split it among the steelbands in accordance with a ranking system and let them play pan up and down and all around, let the calypsonians and soca artistes sing in their tents and the fetes even as we hear their CDs on radio or along lines of bar-owning DJs on the streets or play them (legally purchased!) from our entertainment centres ("entertainment centres" - what a development from the days of black and white TV and "Blaupunkt radiograms" before that!), all melding into the making of merry mayhem, free of rules and regulations and points and judges at this point and that point.

I say to you - what unregulated fun! Not that it will ever happen, of course just as, regrettably, in this KFC town, we will never get back to black pudding sizzling pungently on Park Street, Carnival now having its own built-in establishment, all those people who have to be paid, all those interest groups for whom Carnival is an annual raison d'etre, all those thousands of folk for whom Carnival is a structured event and not a spontaneous general wine-down, the mas made personal - you or the two or three of you with a bad, which is to say good, head in a street crowd, dancing in the old-time spirit of gay (ooops!) abandon, time standing still and the lime laughing in the sun, rain or wind.

For those of you wishing to voice your complaints and displeasure about the Savannah situation and wish to make a petition to have a Savannah "Langniappe" for 2007 Carnival, here is a list of the relevant media and Government bodies to whom you can address written complaints by email or fax:

Fax#: 868-625-8362







HOTT 93:




Mr. Terry Joseph
Public Relations Officer
Queens Park Savannah

FAX: 868-623-1391

David Cameron
Public Relations Officer
Queen's Park Savannah

FAX- 868-625-9772

Ms. Candace Ali
Communications Coordinator
Tourisim Development Company
Level 1, Maritime Centre
Barataris, Trinidad
Fax: 868-638-7962

Mr. Donald Little
143 Belmont Circular Road

FAX: 868-621-3405

Ms. Sherma Mitchell
Communications Specialist
Ministry of Tourism
Clarence House
125-127 Duke Street
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad & Tobago

868-625-0963 / 623-9604
FAX: 868-625-0437

Roslyn Khan Cummings - Deputy Permanent Secretary
Finbar Ryan - Director of Culture
Joan Yuille Williams - Honourable Minister of Culture
Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs
#8 Jernigham Avenue,
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

PHONE: 868-624-0119,627-8669 FAX 868-627-5954,623-1650

Trini Revellers, the new Poison ?

Poison was a phenomenon unto itself, usually the band would launch in October and up until (sometimes) January there would be new sections appearing on the website weekly. I admit, I was one of those who would check the website repeatedly knowing full well that my efforts would be rewarded.

Today, I find myself doing the same with Trini Revellers and their 35 sections, which to date is the largest of any band out there and is quite reminiscent of Poison and the number of sections that band had. Ten sections are still not on the website, so I guess I have to keep checking, like I used to do with Poison, to see when they make their appearance.

Another thing that reminds me of Poison with Trini Revellers is that many of the sections are outside sections, some with their own websites. While this might give independent designers a chance to hone their skill and craft under the Trini Reveller’s banner, to me the same fate which befell Poison has now struck Trini Revellers; the sections don’t look like they belong to the same band!

When there is a collaborative effort in costume design, to me, it shows. The sections not only fit the theme but the costume themselves are usually of an equal standard in construction, quality and creativity. We have some sections in Trini Revellers really standing out in their ability to fit the theme of the band and in their superior design while others look like remnants from the band Poison “all bikini and beads” which look incongruous next to some of the corseted and clothed costumes.

Another caveat of having separate “outside” sections each providing their own all-inclusive is that the consistency and quality of the all-inclusive experience varies. One section might provide full all-inclusive on both days while another might only provide limited drinks and food. And or course, the curse of Poison (in my opinion) was that meant being tied to your section all day in order to enjoy the perks of all-inclusive, whereas in other wholly all-inclusive bands you are free to roam as you choose since the entire band is all-inclusive. On the flip side, having the choice of either all-inclusive or non all-inclusive appeals to those who don't want to be catered to on the road, prefering cheaper costumes to having an all-inclusive experience with all the bells and whistles with a high price.

The only positive thing I can say in this Trini Revellers /Poison comparison is that to their credit over the past years that they have been competing as a large band Trini Revellers have managed to cross the stage first, even beating out Harts which held that distinction for years! I remember walking to meet Poison one year and Trini Revellers were already on stage having reached to the Savannah by 8:00AM!!

With “mas on the move” for 2007 it is anyone’s guess how freely bands will move and how this will affect Trini Revellers and their massive band. I am just enjoying the fact that I still get my fix, checking the website for new costumes, something I thought would have been lost with the departure of Poison from the Carnival scene. I just hope that Trini Revellers does not poison themselves by having a band that grows to a size where masqueraders no longer enjoy it; being number 35 of 35 sections is no fun! And I hope in future the designers would all come together and pool their ideas into a collective melting pot instead of making costumes for costumes sake; they have taken Band of the Year for three years running, but something tells me that we might see a new Champion in 2007.....

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Savannah question is answered, mas on the streets!

The answer to the million dollar question is that Carnival 2007 will be taken to the streets as reported by Cordielle Street for the Trinidad Guardian:

Mas belongs on the road - Hart

No Carnival events at Savannah


There will be no staging of Carnival events in the Queen’s Park Savannah (QPS) for 2007—that is, if the words of the Minister of State in the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs Eddie Hart hold true.

He made the announcement at the launch of the Valencia Regional Carnival celebrations on Saturday.

In a phone interview yesterday, Hart reiterated the point that QPS is now off-limits for Carnival.

“Have no fear. We are going to have a bumper Carnival 2007 despite the fact that we are not going back to the Savannah,” he said.

Hart’s announcement followed the silence of Minister of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs Joan Yuille-Williams on the issue.

Yuille-Williams recently received proposals by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and other interest groups concerning alternative venues for the various events that were traditionally held in the QPS.

Yet, most of the proposals requested that the Government stay its hand and allow Carnival one more year in the QPS before demolishing the facility and forging ahead with plans to construct a $400 million Carnival Culture Centre on the existing Grand Stand facility.

“Mas always belongs on the road,” said Hart, who described the QPS as a “bottleneck.”

The idea of a Parade of Bands flowing through the streets of Port-of-Spain was recently supported by the National Carnival Bands’ Association.

Pan Trinbago President Patrick Arnold said his organisation proposed hosting Panorama on the paved section of the QPS obliquely opposite Victoria Avenue.

Hart, however, dismissed that claim. He said Pan Trinbago’s proposal currently before Yuille-Williams was for the staging of Panorama in Skinner Park, San Fernando.

“We moved Best Village to the Jean Pierre Complex and it was a resounding success. So don’t worry about events like Dimanche Gras. It is not a problem,” assured Hart.

Meanwhile, facilities at the Grand Stand remained standing as construction was yet to begin on the site.

©2005-2006 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Masquerade Band Launch

Both and have photos of Masquerade's band launching which took place at the Anchorage on Saturday. Masquerade's 2007 Carnival presentation is called "Golden Heritage...A Tribute to Mas". The website has not been updated as yet, but you can check out the pics at the aforementioned photosites.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Regional Carnival 2007 Launch

The following article on the Regional Launch of Carnival 2007 was taken from Article
Posted: November 20, 2006

The Regional Carnival Launch 2007 took place on Saturday 19th November, 2006, in the exquisite region of Valencia. This launch was said to be the biggest launch in the history of Regional Carnival launches and the residents of Valencia were certainly proud of that fact. The Carnival Mas procession began at the Valencia gas station and ended at Festival Park opposite the Valencia Government Primary School. Traditional Mas characters such as Blue and Red Devils, Moko Jumbies, Midnight Robbers, Jab Jabs, Red Guarahoons, Fancy Sailors and others were on display and journeyed the short distance to the park to partake in the formal ceremonial launch.

The ceremony began with the National Anthem played by the Point Fortin Iron Giants Rhythm Section which was an unusual but equally delightful interpretation of the anthem.

Mr. David Gadar, Councillor of the District of Valencia, then welcomed all and expressed his pride and honor that Valencia was able to host the launch. He was also honored by the presence of Minister Eddie Hart and other officials and invited all to share in the wonderful experience of the 2007 Carnival Launch in Valencia.

Chairman of the Regional Carnival Launch Committee, Mr. Mukesh Harrikissoon brought greetings. According to the Chairman, he had no doubt that the choice of Valencia to host the Regional Carnival Launch was a good one. He also stated emphatically that it was the most successful launch thus far. Although the standard set in Valencia was very high, Mr. Harrikissoon maintained that the standard must continue to grow more and more every year. He also used the opportunity to thank the Parade Master, the infrastructure engineer and others who put the entire production together.

Chairman of the NCC, Mr. Kenneth de Silva was also present to give a brief address. According to Mr. de Silva, last year's launch in La Brea was a good one but Valencia was chosen for this year for special reasons: the famous Valencia River, the popularity of Parang in Valencia and the fact that Valencia is the home of Olympian Neil de Silva. He observed that it was the largest participation for Regional Carnival and he was proud of that fact.

He also intimated that this was the only launch during his tenure where he witnessed five beauty queens (regional queen winners) assembled on one stage and that he was proud to be in their presence.

Mr. De Silva also expressed that the Regional Carnival Committee is the only Carnival committee to operate twelve months of the year with hardworking and dedicated people and that he hopes that this trend is continued to ensure further success.

He praised the works of Commissioner Paula Atherly who, to him, is one of the most passionate and dedicated people in the industry.

He lastly observed that more money has been dispersed by the government of Trinidad and Tobago for Regional Carnival. In fact, he pointed out that in 2002 the government allocated $300,000, and in 2006, $7,000,000 was allocated in the budget for Regional Carnival.

Mr. Eddie Hart then appeared with words of praise to the people of Valencia and to the organizers of the 2007 Regional Carnival Launch. In fact, he said that the sight before him was , "... a beautiful spectacle" and he congratulated Valencia for hosting the most successful Carnival launch in Trinidad and Tobago. He thanked all responsible for the launch and apologized for the absence of Joan Yuille-Williams, but he indicated that it was an honour to formally launch the Regional Carnival.

Chairman of the RCC, Mr. Lennox Toussaint, then presented a vote of thanks. He thanked those who went before for making the event the way that it was; he thanked the Point Fortin Iron Giants, the Valencia Sports and Cultural Foundation Committee members, the Chairman of the Launch project, the Chairman of the NCC Mr. Kenneth de Silva, Ministers Eddie Hart and Joan Yuille-Williams and all the participants and supporters of the Regional Carnival Launch for 2007.

Commissioner Paula Atherly, who arrived moments before the formal segment ended, quickly mentioned that she hoped that all present were proud to bear witness to such a magnificent event in the history of the country.

Mr. Guptar, the President of the Valencia Sports and Cultural Foundation, then made presentations to Senator the Honourable Joan Yuille-Williams, accepted by Minister Eddie Hart on her behalf. The Chairman of the NCC, Mr. Kenny de Silva and Mr. Gadar presented a token of appreciation to Commissioner Paula Atherly for her hard work and commitment throughout the years.

Other presentations of tokens were presented to Mrs. Lyris Smith-Hayes, Mr. Steve John, Mr. Clyde Constantine and Mr. Lennox Toussaint.

Following this, and brief speeches from some of the winners and participants of various regional queen competitions, the traditional Mas characters came on stage and represented the regions from which they came.

Later on in the evening the audience was treated to sweet Kaiso music by legendary Calypso artiste Brother Valentino who guest performed for the evening, as well as the contestants of the Regional Carnival Calypso Monarch Competition. The twelve contestants, their selections of choice and their placement are as follows:

Calypsonian / Song / Placement

Kizzie Ruiz / "Developed Country Status" / 1st place

Tameika Darius / "Through the Eyes of a Dancer" / 2nd place

Sheldon 'Sheldon Nugget' Bullen / "A Woman's Worth / 3rd place

Anthony 'A One' Lincoln / "Fantasy Island" / 4th place

Wayne 'Wayne P' Pierre / "No Man" / 5th place

Francelia 'Lady Tallish' Jackson / "Procreation" / 6th place

Amrika Mudroo / "Wake up Parents" / 7th place

Ezekiel Yorke / "I am a Patriotic Trini" / 8th place (tie)

Kathy-Ann Sarjeant / "What Goes Around" / 8th place

Emrold 'Soft Touch' Peter / "Reflection" / 10th place

Vivian 'Young Poser' Lockhart / "One Song" / 11th place

Roger Johnson / "Black" / 12th place

During the intermission period while the judges tabulated the scores, the crowd was entertained by Chutney Soca artiste Heeralal Rampartap, Calypso icon Eric 'Pink Panther' Taylor, legendary artiste Marilyn Williams and Commissioner Paula Atherly who surprised the audience with her lovely voice.

The first, second and third place winners of the Regional Carnival Calypso Monarch Competition were not present to collect their prizes of $10,000, $7,000 and $5,000 because they left to participate in other competitions. However, the audience was very forgiving and continued to enjoy the nights activities with music by the Roots and Branches Orchestra.

Regional Carnival 2007 Launch in pictures:

Purple Topaz

So, when I heard that D Krewe had scrapped the "Topaz" (yellow) costume and in it's place was going to be a new, lavender costume I never expected that the replacement would be one of Dream Team's costumes now christened "Purple Topaz"!

click for a larger view

The weird thing is that the costume is STILL on Dream Team's website as "Exotic Rhythm" priced at $2345.00 backline and $2995.00 for frontline:

click for a larger view

On D Krewe's website Purple Topaz is priced at $2159.00 backline and $2980.00 frontline, a bit cheaper than it was going for at Dream Team. Well, I have to say I was momentarily confused when I saw the "new" costume on D Krewe's website, having seen it up close and personal at Dream Team's launch!

I wonder what the deal is? The same contact person Nikki Luke is listed on both websites, and I had no idea that a section leader could just take their costume to another band. What about contracts and the people who might have already registered for the costume under Dream Team? This whole situation needs some investigating!

But, I have to say I am disappointed, here I was waiting for a "new" lavender costume all week, when all D Krewe's people had to say was "oh, go check out the lavender costume on Dream Team's website, that's coming over here!". I also think Purple Topaz is not on the same level in design as the other costumes, it is a nice enough costume but looks inapt in design. At least the designers could have tweaked the headpiece, bra or backpack so that it looks as well done as the other three costumes where you can see the attention to detail, lush, full backpacks and headpieces.

And is says volumes that one day a costume can represent an "Exotic Rhythm" and the next it is part of the "French Revolution". That leaves Dream Team with only 13 of 15 sections, having lost one costume to Trini Revellers and the costume "Bossa Nova" never making it to the website from the launch.

Whatever the deal is, I have to say Carnival 2007 is full of equal doses of surprises and bacchanal!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Boots gone wild!

Victoria's Secret has some FABULOUS boots, even though they might be somewhat impractical for Carnival don't they look great? I am IN LOVE with the gold sequined boots, but I will not be caught dead in stilettos for Carnival; I'll leave that to Wendy and the other divas!Check out the website for more boots.

Ebay has IT

You know that advertisement on T.V. that shows whatever "IT" is ebay has it? Well, it's true! Imagine you can purchase authentic Brazilian Carnival frontline costumes!The store is Sidney Brazil USA and the prices are not cheap at $899.00 to $1199.00 US for used costumes, but hey, if you want to live out your fantasy of being a samba dancer, this is the site for you!

The costumes are pretty, though they look quite similar to some of the costumes that available for Carnival and our prices are slightly cheaper. You know, I think one of these local bands should have for Carnival 2008 a presentation called "Rio" or "Brazil" so that the costumes can actually match the theme of the band...for once!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Show meh how yuh does wine!

With all the talk of wining over at Kevian's blog, I decided to join in the foray and give you guys a wine for my birthday!

This article was written by Lisa Allen Agostini, a young lady I know from way back in the day and I found it quite appropriate to the topic of the day. Enjoy!

by Lisa Allen-Agostini

Carnival time — get ready to wine. Lisa Allen-Agostini offers a vocabulary lesson

When I was a little girl, it was bad form for a middle-class lass to play Brown Girl in the Ring and actually wine when she had to “show them her motion”, as the game instructs. Today, that kind of mild schoolgirl wining is passé. I’ve seen tiny tots wine down to the ground at Carnival time, displaying a wondrous nonchalance to how far we’ve come in just twenty years.

Jamette culture is truly ascendant. The word jamette comes from the patois “diametre”, meaning someone from the fringes, a socially unacceptable person. Well, what’s on the fringes depends on your centre. Wining, which was once jamette behaviour, is not only acceptable now, it’s celebrated.

At Carnival, people of all colours and social strata engage in wining. To wine, if you don’t know, is to move your hips and waist in a “winding” motion, hence the name. The dance is peculiar to calypso, although someone with real skill and dedication could wine to any kind of music.

I have identified roughly twenty terms associated with wining. There are few words in our language, this lilting thing that is Trini, with such versatility. Wining not only has fine and delicate gradations — degrees of wine, as it were — but has come to have particular resonance as a metaphorical act. Wining, in metaphor, is an act of insouciance, of superiority. I didn’t just beat you; I wine in your face.

The actual wine, the thing done typically between a man and a woman, to music, at a party, has come to mean so much more than what it is. How a wine is carried out could portend the start or the end of something, or indicate a person’s stature or lack of it. For, even with the democratisation of jamette culture, a real enthusiastic, no-holds-barred, down-to-the-ground wine reveals you as either an artist or a member of the working class. The converse, the barely-there social wine, marks the pretender to class and status.

You’ll hear these wining terms in calypso and soca (I love when calypsonian David Rudder sings, “She do a dollar wine on the party line”, in the classic “Ballad of Hulsie X”), but increasingly they are creeping into everyday language.

Wine up: to wine vigorously

Wine down: to wine while lowering the bottom to the ground in a squat

Wine around: to wine in a circular motion, or to move around while wining

Tief a wine: to creep up behind or in front of someone and wine on them surreptitiously

Take a wine: to boldly do same

Give (someone) a wine: to allow someone to wine on you; a pity wine

Wine back: to actively participate in a wine initiated by someone else

Wine to (music): self-explanatory

Small wine: a short wine

Hard wine: a particularly vigorous wine, usually on someone

Slow wine: a wine to a slow song, or on every other beat

Sweet wine: a wine that feels good, arousing

Dutty wine: a wine with bad intentions, a true jamette wine, uninhibitedly sexual

Rough wine: wining fast and hard, usually with someone

Social wine: a polite, non-sexual wine, done by someone who either can’t wine well or who wants people to think they’re too high-class to wine well

Stiff wine: an awkward wine lacking the fluidity of spine that characterises a fine wine

Tourist wine: the half-a-beat-out-of-time and amateurish wine practised by tourists who don’t know the art

Dollar wine (after Colin Lucas’s 1991 hit “Dollar”): to wine from left to right, then back to front. The song lyric invites you to put a one-cent piece in your left pocket, five-cent in your right, ten-cent in your back pocket, and a dollar in front under your belt; then you thrust your hips in the following pattern: cent, five-cent, ten-cent, dollar

Wine in time: correct wining, done to the dominant beat of the music

Wine out of time: incorrect wining, done to the offbeat or no beat at all

Walk and wine: in a display of sauciness or impertinence, or overt sexuality, a woman (or man, usually gay) may walk while shaking her bottom

Wine on (someone): to wine against someone, either facing them or from behind

Wine in (someone’s) face: metaphorical. To trounce, to lord it over someone

Wine off (one’s something): to wine so hard that something surely must be broken

Just a wine: Though a wine could mean more, sometimes it is just dancing and nothing else.
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