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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

One of these things looks ...

.....looks just like the other!!!!

Snow Owl

Katie Price aka Jordan
(Dwight Yorke baby mama!)

Hmmmmmmm, even the belt looks almost the same!!! Shame, shame, shame on the "designer"!

Anyway, I forgot to review Snow Owl, which I think is pretty nice costume except for the silver octopus legs coming out the back...why? Is that suppose to be a creative way to mimic wings? No, I don't think it looks cute!

Not a bad costume, even though Ms Jordan showed up at her book signing on July 18th wearing it first!!

Photo Source: The Daily Mail

Feathers, Feathers,Feathers.. Rain, Rain, Rain!!

Ah yes, I remember clearly Carnival 2007 and being caught in the downpour on Independence Square which soaked the entire band leaving feathers streaking colours on people's faces and going limp as the got wet. For the most part the plumes fluffed back up nicely, but some of the feathers did not look the same after they dried.

I know you dear readers forget to search the archives for topics that have been covered before so I am bringing this back for all of you looking at the LOADS of feathers in headpieces, back packs and tails and wondering how the hell you are going to prevent that from getting wet by accident, if water or drinks are thrown in the air, or if you just happen to get misted passing by the cool zone or if God forbid it rains like 2007 again! Another reason to waterproof your feathers is because some of the embellishments on the costumes and feathered backpacks touch your skin and the feathers can get wet just from sweating; you can apply the fletch dry powder or other water proof product to these areas to avoid the wet fowl look.

Check out how the feathers are wet !

In addition you can check out my tips for cleaning and protecting your costume HERE which is where I first mentioned the FLETCH DRY POWDER (buy about 5 bottles) and other similar products for waterproofing feathers. The first water proof experiment can be found HERE where I used Scotch Guard and Hairspray.

BIG Thanks to CB who tested out the Fletch Dry Waterproof Powder for feathers on a headpiece, sharing the results and her photos below:


After a successful attempt at waterproofing individual feathers, I decided to do an actual headpiece, so here are some pics of my attempt:

1. Here are my materials—headpiece, plastic bag large enough to hold headpiece and seal, Fletch-Dry:

2. This is the product I used:

3. And this is the amount I started off with (remember this is a little less than a full bottle because I'd used some for my first experiment):

4. This gives an idea of the amount I used. I sprinkled some powder in the corner of the bag, I placed the headpiece into the bag, then I sprinkled some of the powder directly over the feathers, just so I could get a better idea of how much coverage I could get with the amount of powder put in the bag:

5. This is what the feathers looked like after shaking the bag to evenly distribute the powder. See how the feathers look dusty? That shakes off quickly enough, however.

6. Okay, only a few minutes later, I have the headpiece ready for "rain." Notice that the colour is back to normal after having shaken off the excess powder.

7. Now, check out how cool the water beads up and rolls off the feathers:

8. These pics are after about a minute of being placed under the water stream. See how I changed the flow from a sprinkle to a constant stream, just to test the extent of the waterproofing.

9. So, here are the feathers as they're drying. You notice that they're a bit on the spiky side. I refused to blow dry them, as most of us won't have access to a dryer on the road.

10. Now, after the feathers were completely dried, they fluffed up okay. You could tell that they'd gotten wet, but still looked nice. One thing I'd noticed was that where the water beads remained (that I'd intentionally not dried off), there was some discolouration or marks that look like burn/scorch marks. Just remember to wipe off the excess water from your feathers and you should be fine.

11. Okay, so here's the headpiece after the experiment:

Looks pretty good for a post-rain headpiece, no?

Blogger Monique had enquired whether I'd rubbed some extra powder into the barbules of the feathers. I didn't want to do this because I don't like how the powder feels on my hands, and if as I jump up all day all that excess powder begins to fall and land on my body, that might cause a skin irritation. Of course, if you make sure to shake all the excess off, I don't see why you can't perform that extra measure of protection.

Question and Answer With Band Leader

What are your thoughts about live animals being used in launches? i had quite a problem with the birds at TRIBE's launch and was even more disturbed when i learned that the zoo was involved. is this not crossing the line where we would do anything for the sake of entertainment?
Having the zoo involved is a plus. These people are experts in the care and handling of these birds. The use of animals as entertainment has a long history, even a zoo (and personally I don't like zoos) make money by exploiting animals. I have always disliked caged animals.But I also understand sometimes the need for these animals to be caged, as in those raised in captivity. They can not be released to the wild for they have no idea how to survive.And hopefully the money raised by zoos go to benefit and protect wildlife. In my eyes the birds at Tribe's launch were no more exploited than they are at the zoo.Once they were not mistreated, I have no problem.

Quiksilver I totally agree with you re: animals, its amazing what people can get away with in T&T due to a lack of regulation.I think it was Gandhi who said 'The greatness and morality of a nation must be judged by the way it treats its animals'. In this respect Trinidad saddens me.

I agree, but what saddens me even more, is how this nation treats it's poor, and homeless. I love animals, but I love PEOPLE more.

Why is it that costumes often look fundamentally different from what is presented in the booklets? are these booklets printed long in advance of the final touches?
They sometimes are, but nothing excuses costumes differing greatly from the prototypes displayed. I am assuming here we are talking about the costume you collect being of lesser quality than the prototype. As I have said before sometimes components (for whatever reason) may be unattainable and a replacement is used. Trust me for a band leader to make such a change,is something we do only as a last resort, after exhausting every avenue possible to acquire the desired component. But once this decision is made, then all masqueraders in the section would be contacted and informed of the change and given an opportunity to swap for another section if they choose. Anything less than that is unethical.

What is your take on live (band) music vs. DJ's while on the road?And also for Road March, do you as a band leader help make the decision as to what your band will cross the stage too or is it in the DJ's hands?
Unless there is some kind of choreographed performance requiring special music, pretty much it's up to D.J The only requirement is that whatever is played the crowd responds to it.It's important they enjoy themselves on stage so that it reflects well on the whole presentation.

Why is it the costumes advertised and the costumes collected/bought are heavily different costumes...esp the headpieces? I can appreciate the exaggerated marketing at the band launch, but the costumes advertised on the online registration, don't seem to match what I get in the box (more so the head piece as that is what I base my decisions on).
I addressed this in the question before ,but also be careful when you are registering that you know precisely what you are booking. The costume that is on display is normally the more expensive option, and all bands offer a cut down version i.e. smaller head piece, no back piece, less appliqué or a cheaper version. Be sure to check over your registration carefully, some times people complain and say that's not what they ordered only to find out that they made a mistake on registration. This happens a lot online If not , then you are being taken advantage of.Don't stand for it!!!

How do they select the order of the sections on Monday/Tuesday? Do they just do a random draw or is there some "strategy"?
Normally the order of the sections cross by color you want the contrast of colors to make an impact. Sometimes if they is a specific story line this might be factor in the decision as well.

Is "Monday" wear important to them? Only a few bands seem to care whilst others just leave you stranded.
Of course bandleaders would like masqueraders to wear their costumes on both days. And enough so the security can tell them apart from outsiders.But ultimately it's up to the individual masqueraders.We can't really force them.

Dear Bandleader,
I would like to see more bathing suit options modeled at the launching and on display at the mas camp and online. For example, if a tankini, whole piece or corset option is available, what does the detailing on and overall presentation of these pieces look like in comparison to the bikini option? If a boy short is available as an option, what does the belt look like with it?
Usually with the different options like boy shorts, tankini, wholepiece there is no difference in the belt, skirt or fallpiece. There maybe variation in how the tops are decorated, mainly because of cup size. Larger cups require more attention and more decorating. Which I already know is a sore point with women with larger cup sizes

It would be nice to have all the options on display. But to be honest it would be quite difficult to facilitate every section with a display of every option. If you are curious as to what a bath suit may look like i.e. cup size , takini , wholepiece or any other option there are. normally samples available at the mas camp.

Just a thought more than anything else really :-
Do you think that there is an over-emphasis on frontline costumes more recently, and insufficient focus on the detail and showcase of regular costumes? Especially as the backline is by far the majority, and I imagine where the biggest profit margin is.I suppose it could just be the case that they make for better photos?!
Yes I do, especially this year. With all the rivalry between bands they want to put their best foot forward, even though most of what is being displayed the average masquerader can not afford. They are beautiful but will be verrrrry expensive. And yes you are also right, the backline is the meat. But we bandleaders like to make an impression, especially to show up our rivals.I have to admit though, it's fun.

Why is it that at the launches you don't have models of various shapes and sizes to truly replicate what would be seen on the road? Or is one type what you want in your band.
We tackled this question last week. And to cut a long story short, slim and sexy sells. I know it's unfair but true.Look at your average Fashion Magazine all the models used represent maybe 1% of the female body type, but women buy it. So it's up to as well, if you have issues with this, take it up with the band you play with. If we want things to change we must do more than complain.

I am not sure I can phrase this right but I'm going to try anyway.

My question for the bandleader is "What do you hope the masqueraders will take away from your band? What do you hope they will remember most after their time with you?"

I understand that mas is as much (or more) business than pleasure. I look at the bikini'n'bead offerings and yes, I'd love to look like the glam models. I understand that I'm being asked to put up a month's rent on a costume that for two days will make me feel that I AM a glam model.

But then I see ideas like Brian McFarlane's concepts which seem to be something "more" instead of "less" so I wonder if being sold on glam is actually cheating the experience.

Which is a very long winded way of asking what do you think is the most important part of mas. If you had to pick only one or two things that you wanted the people in your band to walk away *feeling* about the experience, what would it or they be?
The most important thing is that you have a good time. Celebrate the differences between bands. Not everyone can be the same, or will want to play the same type of mas. Some prefer to push pan, some jouvert, some vintage mas like robber and sailor. What is most important is that you have a choice to celebrate your carnival the way you want. The rivalry is good, but we must not take it too seriously. I want you to play mas with me, but if choose to play somewhere else, fine. I am just glad you PLAY MAS.

A lot of people work out really hard hitting the gym at all ungodly hours of the morning.If they want to show off and decorate their bodies, they have maybe more right than anyone to do so. I am not a slim person, but I admire the hard work, dedication and sacrifice it takes for these people to look their best. They would think it ridiculous to cover up. So they might judge you the same way. Who cares?? play where you feel comfortable. Most importantly like I said just PLAY MAS!!!!!!

Similar to Jady Lion's questions

1. I would like to know what do you think is the real meaning and focus of playing mas.

Having Fun Your way

2. As a bandleader are you seeing the importance of our culture perpetuated and highlighted year after year in Carnival presentations?
We need to preserve our culture but done via incentive like more prize money for vintage mas presentations, rather than censoring certain types of costumes or presentations

3.In your opinion is mas becoming/have become a mere commercialization of our culture.
Yes it has, But you can not fight progress. I have said before carnival is a living spectacle and like all living things it must grow and change.

4. Coming out of T&T's Carnival heritage do you think the true elements of 'what is' Carnival is present today? If yes in what form?
Once people are having fun and enjoying masquerading, then are achieving the whole essence of what carnival is. Carnival is about the freedom to be something or someone you are not for 2 days of the year. No one can define carnival for anyone or impose on people their definition of carnival. That in itself would destroy Carnival.

5. (We can all answer this question ourselves but I would like to hear what said bandleader view is)

*What is the difference between playing Mas with a band like Mac Farlene and playing mas with a Bikini band.
None. That is like asking the difference between having fun or enjoying yourself. Just different ways of doing the same thing.

Thanks again for another week, talk to everyone soon.
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