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Friday, October 23, 2009

The "Backline Individual" does she exist?

Now I am all for "individualizing" your costume, adding extra touches to make it more custom made for you, whether it is as simple as adding extra beads to your belt or as elaborate as adding a feathered collar for instance. However, there are a group of masqueraders pushing for the category of "Backline Individual" which to me is somewhat of an oxymoron, since an Individual is the masquerader that usually leads the section in a unique one of a kind costume that bears no resemblance to any other costume in the band, someone that is certainly not in the backline! Therefore is a backline costume with extra embellishments really a "Backline Individual" or a backline with "extra stuff"?

For those who are unfamiliar with the hierarchy of a section let me break it down for you:

Regular Costume/Backline


Individual/Section Leader

The fact is masqueraders have always been adding extras to their costumes, I know Samaroos saw me many a times in the past, when I used to play backline, looking for sequin and gems to add to my costume. There was one year I reconstructed my entire bra, taking the decorations from one and adding it to another and I made jewelry to match the costume too!

Even when I play frontline I always add something to my costume, I never wear the costume as is out of the box; that is just me. So, to hear now that this form of customization makes you an "individual" is quite amusing to me as I never thought of this personalization as being an Individual in the true sense of the word; there are still several hundred people in the same basic costume as me so the change would have to be very significant to stand out as being unique, meaning I would have to be in a completely different costume from head to toe. I have also been an Individual Character once, so I know very well the differences among the section hierarchy as I have played in each category.

Apparently the phenomena of a "Backline Individual" is really taking off and many masqueraders are talking about adding lots of extras to their costume. The group has been even debating the whether the "Backline Individual" has the "right to push up in front because she is different"! Which leads to the question of the day: does the backline individual hold as a legitimate category of costuming? How many of you subscribe to the backline individual movement? Why is the backline individual becoming so popular, is it because of finances or an outlet for creativity? Would you consider a backline costume with extra embellishments an "Individual"? And finally, does a "Backline Individual" have the right to lead a section because the costume is "different"?

My one bit of advice to the ladies who want to do something very elaborate with their backline costume is to contact the mas camp or section leader, not only out of courtesy to inform them that you will be tweaking the design, but maybe the band or section leader will recognize your individuality and bump you up to "Individual" status for real!

2009 Miami Carnival - DV8 Miami

Greetings Peeps, Kermit D. Frog here, bringing you scenes from 2009 DV8 Miami. For those of you who are not familiar with DV8 Miami, this is a fairly new event to the Miami Carnival scene. Its first appearance was in 2007 as a small invitation-only event (which was held primarily to gauge interest and as a dry-run) and after its overwhelming success, the party became a full fledged all-inclusive fete in 2008. Due to bad planning, I did not attend in 2008 and all the reports I heard indicated that I missed a truly great event. I was determined not to make the same mistake twice, so 2009 found me on the road to the fete bright and early Saturday afternoon and while the venue was not as far away as it was in 2008, it was still quite a distance from anywhere. Still, I expected the fete to be well worth the extra effort.

I arrived around 6:00 p.m. which, admittedly, was REAL early even for me, and found the party to be pretty much empty. No problem there since I would be able to wander around and get a good look at the venue. As I entered the party, I found myself in the main dance area in front of the DJs; I followed the path to the left and came to the wine station where several varieties of chilled wines were available for consumption. Further along the path was the main bar which was very well stocked and staffed and past that was the restroom area. Keep walking and you would see the food huts and eventually the path would circle back to the main dance area. This venue was very picturesque with waterfalls, benches, and little secluded spots sprinkled liberally throughout the grounds and after making a circle of the area, I found myself back at the main bar introducing myself to my bartender for the night. After an hour or so, with music playing and the sun setting, the crowds began to arrive so I decided to head to the main dance area and see what was up.

After liming in the front for a while, I noticed people strolling around with little plates of food so I headed to the back to investigate further. Appetizers were indeed being served and after a short wait, I prepared a plate of chicken wings and grilled chicken (I’m not a fan of shrimp so I did not take any) and made short work of it. Unfortunately, by the time I finished my plate and considered getting a second helping, the current batch had run out. The young lady overseeing the station informed us that the food was being prepared fresh and new batch would be brought out in a short while but rather than wait, I decided to refresh my drink and pass back later as I was sure that by now dancing must be in full swing in the front.

The venue was filling up more rapidly now but due to the layout of the fete, people were spread out all over the grounds with larger concentrations on the dance floor and at the bar. Some people remarked to me that this took away from some of the party atmosphere as this dispersion of the patrons did not particularly lend itself to a fete kind of vibe. Initially, I believe this might have been the case but once the masses arrived, the crowd that was in the main dance area was certainly feeling a fete vibe and, pretty scenery or not, they were there to eat, drink, and wine and by George, that is exactly what they did!

As the evening progressed, the volume of the music decreased markedly and after enquiring, I was informed that this was not due to technical difficulties as I had first surmised, but rather because of noise complaints from neighbors. Neighbors? Peeps, did I mention how far this place was? This venue was surrounded by fields and on the drive in I saw ABSOLUTELY NOTHING resembling neighbors anywhere near. I was told that the “neighbors” were approximately 2 miles away and that they were complaining. STEUPS! The music was still being played (albeit not as loudly as before) but the problem was that the speakers were located in the front of the party by the main dance area and when the music was being played at “fete level” the sound would carry easily to all over the venue. However, with the reduced volume, folks not close to the front found it difficult to hear the music which caused some consternation among those so affected and while some articulated their displeasure, much of the crowd in the back was in the back primarily to mix and mingle and since loud music was not a necessity for that, they sipped their drinks, continued chatting, and made lemonade out of lemons.

While waiting for the music situation to resolve itself, it was announced that the main food courses were being served and since I was busy phototakeouting, I entreated a group of lovely ladies who were heading back to the food area to bring me a plate and being the sweethearts that they are, they agreed. They eventually returned with a plate of ribs, lean pork, potato salad, and noodles which I jortsed down in two two’s. I had heard that when the food was initially brought out, there was, of course, a rush for it. This created a bottleneck since access to the food station was via small walkways and the area where the food was being served was quite small. Fortunately, this was a problem for only the first 30 minutes or so as once the initial hungry rush was satisfied, there was ample space for the more moderate stream of people that came after. The quality of the food provided was excellent and the quantity, plentiful and despite the occasional wait while fresh batches were prepared and brought out, one could not have asked for better.

My belly being full, I swung back to my bartender for another refill and as was the case all night, I was organized in less than 5 minutes. In my opinion, this bar was one of the best organized bars it has been my pleasure to experience in a long while. There was never a long wait for drinks and they never ran out of anything. The bartenders were very easy on the eyes and were always ready and eager to mix whatever concoction you requested and they seemed to be enjoying themselves doing it. I guess that was why their tip buckets were always filled and really, I did not begrudge them a single dollar.

As the night went on, a compromise regarding the noise complaint issue was reached, the music volume was raised, and the party took off in earnest. The drinks were flowing and the people were fed and wining hard and it looked like it was on like boiled corn but alas, this momentum would not be maintained. A helicopter began circling the party and our first thought was that the compromise had been compromised, and the party was about to be shut down for good by the police but this was not so. Apparently there had been an automobile accident outside the party in which a lady had been knocked down and the helicopter was here to medevac her. After the helicopter departed, the music resumed but by then much of the festive mood had dissipated so the remaining partygoers decided that since it wasn’t yet 1:00 a.m., they would head out while the night was still fairly young to see what else they could get into.

DV8 Miami 2009 was a very good fete which would require only a few minor tweaks to make it excellent and I look forward to DV8 Miami 2010 with great anticipation.

Enjoy the pics peeps, Kermit out.


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