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Friday, April 30, 2010

Las Vegas Carnival Travel Packages

Information regarding the first ever Las Vegas Carnival is slowly being updated on their website. Now in addition to an "all inclusive" costume package they have also included a costume only price. This ranges from between 700.00US to $850.00 US for the regular costumes and there is only one frontline on the website so far, costume only priced at $1200.00.

All Inclusive Price

Costume Only Price

Travel packages for Las Vegas Carnival are now available as well. I must say when I saw the prices of the Travel Packages, especially for the VIP Platinum Package (where having money is not enough since you have to be screened to be deemed worthy of VIP!) the first thought that came into my head is this was insane. However, friends of mine who come to Trinidad for Carnival informed me that the price of the masquerader package is comparable to how much money they usually spend at Trinidad Carnival with hotel, fetes and costume. Wow, I guess I never understood in dollars how much money is really spent to visit for Trinidad Carnival! So, what do you think about the Las Vegas package prices?

Travel Package Breakdown
Las Vegas Carnival has arranged preferred pricing to accommodate masqueraders visiting for the carnival and “VegasFest”. Please select a package below with options and fill out the form for us to quote you a final price.Package Breakdown is as follows: All costs in $USD

VIP Platinum Package – (Price Range: $10,000 ‐ $12,500 single, $15,000 ‐ $18,500 couple)
(all additional services will be added separately) see below; hotel options (below) determine the final price. This package is reserved for the highest profile participants and spectators of Las Vegas Carnival. Every individual wishing to purchase this package will be subject to screening and only accepted upon full approval of Las Vegas Carnival officers. This package will allow:
  • FĂȘtes ‐ Full access to all Las Vegas Carnival FĂȘtes
  • Clubhouse ‐ Full access to Clubhouse
  • Escort ‐ Underground escort to upper level VIP section of infield party
  • Bottle Service ‐ Complete top shelf bottle service
  • Access to VIP terrace and personal security detail option for those wishing to travel amongst the masqueraders in the parade.
  •  Unlimited Food and Beverage are included and will be available in all areas accessible to Platinum guests. This package will also allow for unlimited extra services designed to personalize every individual’s personal experience at Las Vegas Carnival.
  • 1st Class ‐ Round trip 1st class airfare
  •  Hotel Accommodation – Suite or upgraded room – 7 days
  • VIP Transportation (Limo) to and from event.
  •  For all Platinum Guests wishing to participate in the Las Vegas Carnival Parade premium tailored costumes will be available and personalized to each guest. Costume cost will vary based upon design. Package comes with 2 Premium Masquerader costumes (couple package) / (1 Premium masquerader costume for single)
  •  LUXURY ACCOMODATIONS ‐ Highest level of accommodations and lodging Las Vegas has to offer
  • This package includes hosts/models, champagne + premium bottle service, back stage passes at concert, meet & greet with the stars; (VIP access at concert [separate area behind and above the stage]) No Line up at fetes, guaranteed table at fetes (2 to 4 tables) with Security, guaranteed bottle service.

VIP Gold – (Price Range: $6,000 ‐ $7,500 single, $9,500 ‐ $12,750 couple) hotel options determine the final price. A select few Gold level guests will enjoy full access to the infield entertainment venue. This venue is located in the center of the venue and will also feature bonus performances of top level artists on the inner stage as well as the exotic sounds of Samba and steel drum bands. This package includes:
  •  Round trip airfare
  •  Hotel accommodation – 5 days
  •  Transportation to and from event via executive bus service
  • Full complimentary access to all food and beverage stations within the infield Carnival Village.
  • These guests will be mingling among the Platinum guests which will be separated only by the second level veranda. Access to second level will be strictly prohibited.
  • Complimentary access for up to 3 pre‐Carnival FETEs and enjoy complimentary beverages at the party.
  • 2 Masquerader costumes and assignment to band (As a member to their band they will arrive at Carnival Stadium and be escorted to their staging area) (1 masquerader costume for single)
  •  Complimentary beverage and food from around the world

 VIP Silver Package – ($5,000 ‐ $6,500 single, $7,500 ‐ $9,000 couple) hotel options (below) determine
the final price. This package includes:
  •  Round trip airfare
  •  Hotel accommodation – 5 days
  •  Transportation to and from event via executive bus service
  •  All access pass to 3 pre‐Carnival FETE in their assigned hotel (This will also include complimentary drinks at the party) until midnight.
  • Transportation to and from the event will be provided via Executive Bus Service
  •  2 Masquerader costumes (couple package) / (1 masquerader costume for single)
  •  Preferred Access to Fetes (no waiting in line)

 Masquerader Package – ($3,750 ‐ $4,500 single, $5,000 ‐ $7,000 couple) hotel options determine the final price. Will be the entry level package and provide for:
  •  Round trip airfare
  •  Hotel accommodation – 5 days
  •  All access pass to 2 pre‐Carnival FETES in their assigned hotel (This will also include complimentary drinks at the party) until midnight.
  •  Transportation to and from the event will be provided via Executive Bus Service
  •  2 Masquerader costumes (couple package) / (1 masquerader costume for single)

Spectator Package ( No Costumes) – ($2,500 single, $4,000 couple) Will be the entry level package and provide for:
  • Round trip airfare
  • Hotel accommodation – 5 days
  • All access pass to 2 pre‐Carnival FETES in their assigned hotel (This will also include complimentary drinks at the party) until midnight.
  • Transportation to and from the event will be provided via Executive Bus Service
  •  2 Concert Seats (couple) / 1 Concert seat (single)

Once at the event guests will be escorted to their assigned band. Limited food and beverage will be provided while in parade route. All additional services outside parade route will incur additional charge but be available at event. This package includes the Concert performances and limits access only to the parade route and outside Carnival Village.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Berger Boyz presents "Togetherness", Crop Over 2010

Well it seems the trend of  having early band launches is spreading!

Crop Over 2010 is three months away yet the first band  has already launched. Usually we don't start seeing Crop Over costumes until a month or so before the event, Berger Boyz launched in June last year for example, consequently the early launch comes as a surprise.

I am liking this new trend, so much so that I will not comment on the fact that  the section Wisdom has a headpiece  that is an exact replica of TRIBE's Golden Dove.

                                      Berger Boyz presents "Togetherness", Crop Over 2010:

click for larger view

De Freitas Carnival "Reign of Fire"

"One picture is worth more than ten thousand words."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And The Caribana Bacchanal Continues......

Seems like this year there is a whole heap of controversy surrounding the Caribana Festival. If you want to read about the fight over the domain name, allegations of racism and lawsuits read HERE. And, to add more fire to the heat that has been stirred up is the fact that TRIBE Toronto is challenging the Toronto Mas Band Association (TMBA) decision to ban them from Caribana, more on that HERE and please note the following press release from Andre De Freitas :

CARIBANA IN JEOPARDY! This will be the cry of many if the City Authorities do not intervene to stop the injustice that has been taking place to CARIBANA and one of Toronto’s young entrepreneurs.

Andre De Freitas is the Band Leader of a Carnival Band that has been involved in the CARIBANA parade for the last 42 years. He is the son of Ken De Freitas, one of the pioneers and founders of the Caribana Festival. In an effort to bring something new and fresh to the festival, Andre pursued his idea to bring the TRIBE brand to the festival and has received the requisite approval from the owners of the Brand – TRIBE (Trinidad). His team also envisioned a CARIBANA with endless possibilities and wanted to assist in growing the festival by attracting more international participants.

TRIBE TORONTO a wholly owned Canadian Entity was established by Andre De Freitas and the executives of the TMBA (Toronto Mas Bands Association) were notified of the name change from ‘Evolution’ to ‘TRIBE TORONTO’ for his band for the upcoming 2010 Parade.

The TMBA is an organisation that is supposed to seek the interests of all of its members and to assist in development of the younger ‘Masmen’ in carrying on the Art form. Unfortunately there is an inherent conflict of interest which becomes very evident in situations like this, where an influential member of the association and some of the other bands feel threatened by competition from one of its fellow member bands. With the “threat’ of competition looming and what appears to be some seeking their personal interests, some of the them have lobbied the support of a majority of members by making false accusations about Mr. Andre De Freitas, all in an effort to stop Mr. De Freitas from using the name TRIBE TORONTO. Due to the injustice being placed against Mr. De Freitas and unfair conduct of the TMBA many associate members have withdrawn their membership.

The Charges brought against Mr. De Freitas by the TMBA:

  •  He has broken rules and regulations with regards to the change name process
  •  He is affiliated with a foreign entity
To date the TMBA has taken the following despicable actions:

  • Removed Mr. Andre De Freitas from the Executive Board of the TMBA
  •  Suspended him from the membership of the TMBA
  •  Attempted to re-write parts of the constitution to serve some members personal interests
  •  Disqualified his band from the CARIBANA Parade Competition
  •  Sent correspondence to a third party that is potentially slanderous and libelous

The charges they brought against Mr. De Freitas are quite serious, in addition to being untrue, and as such, the basis for the suspension is clearly wrong. As well, there are questions regarding the transparency of the said decisions and the process (or lack thereof) involving these decisions. Mr. De Freitas has not been given a proper hearing or any opportunity to defend himself against these unfounded, malicious and false accusations.

The FMC (Festival Management Committee) has been notified of the injustices being carried out, but to date have been unsuccessful in bringing a resolution to the matter.

It is a fact that the TRIBE brand is recognised internationally and Mr. De Freitas has the vision to recognise that the brand will bring benefits to the festival and City by enhancing the attractiveness of CARIBANA which in turn would result in increased attention, sponsors, and participation by locals and tourists and increased revenues to the City.

Mr. De Freitas will continue to pursue all avenues on the matter until it is resolved. In the meantime, all supporters of CARIBANA are encouraged to contact the under mentioned persons to express your views on this important matter.

Contact Info:

Festival Management Committee

Councillor - Joe Milhevic

City Manager – Joseph Pennachetti

416.933.1700 / 1.877.700.0043

Mayor David Miller

Facebook page – TRIBE TORONTO

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How Far Out Of The Box Are You Willing To Go?

When you hear talk about  traditional bikini and beads costume designers stepping it up a notch to go "out of the box" for Carnival 2011, as a masquerader one has to wonder what  do these designers have in store for us? 

As quiet as the lead up to Carnival 2011 band launches is at the moment, there is a buzz that I am hearing, and it is all about doing costumes that go beyond a bra top and belt.... interesting!

"Different" is the new Carnival buzz word and I have to tell you I am dying to see just how "different" is different. I guess when you have every Carnival between here and the North American continent  producing the same generic beaded belt and bra it is time to set Trinidad Carnival apart from the others !

The one thing I am curious to know, however, is as masqueraders how far out the box are you willing to go? As much as we do ask for something apart from feathers or sequins or beads the fact is when you are presented with an alternative (like Island People's  Kutchela) it can be a hard sell as our perception of pretty mas, is pretty much standard fare.

I am throwing it out to you for some feedback since I firmly believe masqueraders do not have to be a professional designer to know what we like! After all we are the customers and the customer is always right, not so? So, here are the questions you can answer one, some or all, just give your opinions, thoughts or commentary.

When you think about costumes that are "out of the box" what comes to mind ? Are you in favor of costumes that are different or are you on the BBF  (bikini, beads and feathers) bandwagon? What elements of a costume MUST you have for it to be appealing to you ( eg feathers, large headpiece, beaded bra top etc) and  if you had to do a costume that was not run of the mill what would it look like?

Leave me a comment!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Las Vegas Carnival Update

News reaching The Sauce is that Trinidad and Tobago Carnival will not be the only Carnival represented at the inaugural Las Vegas Carnival to be held in October.

Look out for costumes from Barbados/Crop Over, Brazil, Notting Hill Carnival, Labor Day, Caribana and Miami Carnival to be making an appearance.

Now this is interesting!

Oh Machel!

Two questions why would he LICK that woman's head and why would she allow it? Steups!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

TRIBE and Spice for First Ever Las Vegas Carnival

Add this one to your Carnival Calender folks. On the October 10, 2010 the first ever Las Vegas Carnival takes place in Sin City. And, you can jump up in costumes from TRIBE ( Myths and Magic, Birds of A Feather) and Spice (The Spice Route). Ok then!

Check out the website for more details and YES those costume prices are in U.S. dollars!

Another Soca Star No Show

This is not boding well for the "professionalism" of our Soca Artistes!

Sources have reported to The Sauce that Fay Ann Lyons was a no show at Upscale Crowds "Dirty Sexy Soca" held at S.O.B, Manhattan last night. According to the story reaching me, it is alleged that Mrs Lyons management signed a contract but waiting until the night of the event to demand more money. I was also told that Mrs Lyons was also scheduled to perform at another event in New Jersey however she was a no show!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Machel Montano HD For Orlando Carnival 2010

Seems like Machel Montano HD will be very busy the next few months! For more information about the concert click HERE or on the flyer below.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Staycation Barbados Caricom Rates

This is for all my regional neighbors planning a trip to Barbados for Crop Over.

Barbados Staycation has published the new rates for 2010 and you can get hotels from $50.00US per night double occupancy. A full listing of all the hotels participating in Staycation Barbados can be found HERE

To take advantage of the offer you must be a CARICOM national (valid ID required as proof) and mention Staycation Barbados booking code :STAYCATION 10A when booking hotels or tours.

The Master Cleanse

The idea of a last minute weight loss plan for Carnival came about when a couple of friends and I were discussing how unhappy we were with out weight loss goals even though we were working towards them since the year before. Admittedly we were probably not  working as hard as we should have been ( I know I was great with the diet, not so much with the exercise) especially when travel and the Holidays derailed some of our goals.

I was very interested in doing the Master Cleanse since it was one of the methods other people swore gave them quick results. Reading on what to expect on the Cleanse, however, left me a little apprehensive as I was not prepared to do a daily laxative or see what form the toxins would be leaving my body. 

It was only after speaking with someone I knew personally who did the Master Cleanse did I make up my mind to try it. I must also add that every time I looked at my costume belt and realized just how naked it was I was determined that I was going to finish this 10 day cleanse. My two other friends, JG and SD, decided to join me in the Cleanse for mutual support. SD started the cleanse a few days earlier than JG and I did, in addition SD also started a low carb regimen before starting the cleanse.

The following is a day by day account that I kept of my experience with the Master Cleanse which I started on Monday February 1, 2010. Add this experience to the file of "the crazy things we have done for Carnival"

Day 1
So I got up this morning and started Day 1 of a ten day Master Cleanse, also know as the lemonade diet, made popular by Beyonce who claimed to have lost 20lbs for her role in Dreamgirls.You can check out the diet here.

First thing off is this diet needs some time allocated for preparation. To get 1 Cup of lemon juice you need to squeeze four large lemons, you can leave in the pulp as well. Maple Syrup is expensive in Trinidad, the PURE one that is so you will probably go through about 5 120z bottles by the time the diet ends. And you also need huge amounts of distilled water and a large container to keep the mix in. I will see how long this batch lasts as I followed the recipe and used 3 quarts of water, 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup maple syrup. Ideally you are supposed to drink 12 cups of this mixture throughout the day... I am on my second glass as I type.

The mix tastes like a very watery and spicy lemonade, not bad at all. The hardest part for me in this will be using the laxatives and/or salt water wash.. I haven't decided which I will use or when. I know for sure I am NOT taking a laxative every day.. that just does not sound like a good idea medically or physically.

Ok, so wish me luck! 10 days to see if I can do this right to the end.

Day 2
Day 1 went much better than expected! Slight headache in the afternoon, more like tension across the forehead area but once I started drinking more water.. 1 glass to every glass of lemon mix.. I felt better. I am totally surprised that I survived all day with no food and got no major hunger pangs. Also surprised that once I did get hunger pangs all I did was sip some lemonade and it was gone. In total I had about 7 glasses of lemon mix for the day.

I go out to work today so will report on how I fare all day at the office and it is a LONG day. Also plan on taking the tea tonight.

Day 3
Just whipped up my daily batch of lemon mix, I must say I am still surprised that I can go about as normal all day on just this mixture. No headaches, dizziness, lightheaded feeling or fatigue at all yesterday. NO cravings either since the first day and I had to suffer through the smell of food yesterday as I was around people who were eating, and of all things curry!

I was much more tired and lethargic doing low carb. Weighed myself yesterday as well for a bench mark figure and I weigh 7lbs less than I did when I weighed myself last week.

Now I have also been on a low carb diet since December so it could be just that in combination with no food that is showing as weight loss, plus I used a different scale so I am going back to the scale I used last week to weigh myself today and see what the figure says.

No Laxative or salt water flush as yet,because surprisingly I have not been constipated (TMI). Anyway I have to hunt down the tea but I promise to do that TONIGHT! I also want to try to go on the treadmill and see how long I can last as I am not feeling tired at all.

Hope all of you doing the cleanse are keeping strong!

Day 4
So yesterday I woke up all chipper and then I crashed. I fell asleep in the car on the way to work, I mean like deep sleep while we were stuck in traffic.. guess I WAS tired. Then my stomach started feelings weird, and the weirdness lasted all day...even this morning. Lets just say it is sort of like I have diarrhea without the aches and runs.. whatever solids I had in my system is finding it's way out short spurts ! TMI, I know! I did NOT need the laxative tea!

Unto day 4, feeling more energy this morning, no cravings at all and no headaches. Lets see how the day progresses. Oh no treadmill yesterday either, got home too late, went for a costume fitting... let me say again, my belt is NAKED!

Day 5
Ok I forgot to do a post yesterday so I will do one today. Yesterday was HARD! I was craving a roti SO bad it is not funny and I kept getting hungry. I don't know if it is because I am not drinking enough of the mix but as soon as I take two sips and the hunger pangs go away I drink some water and leave the rest of the mix. I am going to try drinking all in one go instead of sipping it and see if that stav's off the hunger longer. My mood yesterday was also VERY foul, could be the diet or could be good old PMS but I was pissed off and bitching at everything and everyone. Sorry for all who felt the wrath. I had some peppermint tea last night, not bad at all, I think I will have some in the mornings now to break the "gas". It is allowed on the cleanse, I just added a few drops of the maple syrup to mine for a lil touch of sweetness.At least I am half way there, weighed and my weight has not budged, did not lose or gain anything.

Day 6
Woke up this morning FULL of energy so I did a lil 15 minute circuit, on the threadmill, with weights, thigh master, bands and ball. I feel fine after so I will TRY to add this to my morning routine. Going to have some peppermint tea, whip up a batch of lemonade then off to class from 9 to 1.. lets see how hungry I get then!

Day 7
Yesterday I was pretty good in class, no hunger pangs even though I just had water after my "breakfast" batch of lemon mix. I also did the laxative tea last night and it was not bad at all, guess I had nothing solid in my system anyway so there was nothing to come out. Today is supposed to be the hardest day according to my friend SD who is also on the diet with me, she started a few days before I did so her video blogs of her experience have been letting me know what to expect.The day started off well enough, I got up, whipped up my lemon mix and was sipping it all day until I had a break down upon smelling jasmine rice and curry! I will confess I tasted a spoonful of curry and felt instant regret of having come so far and succumbed to temptation.. sigh.

Day 8
TODAY was the hardest! I don't know if it was the curry I sampled the day before, but I could not stomach drinking the lemon mix all day. As a result I drank more water than anything which made me hungry and I suffered from cravings and hunger pangs. Not good at all. I also went into panic mode that I had broken the cleanse and had to start all over, so I just decided to extend it by a day.

Day 9
The light at the end of the tunnel! I am actually CRAVING broth , the thought of soup makes me so excited! After the awful day yesterday I made sure and  drank my entire batch of lemon mix today and there were no hunger pangs. Although I was waiting to weigh myself until after I was done with the cleanse I decided to do it today because my pants were falling off and I felt as if I had lost more weight. Ok, so are you ready for the total weight loss figure? 12lbs! I am shocked! My friend who completed her cleanse before me lost 10 so I am pretty amazed at the numbers on the scale. I am showing off to everyone the before and after print out from the BMI machine. I also collected my costume today and I  am in LOVE!

Day 10
Today is the day I should have been done with the cleanse, but I have an extra day to look forward to because I cheated and had a spoonful of curry.. sucks. The cleanse has also ruined all my plans of feteing this week, I missed out on Fall Out Fete yesterday because try explaining showing up at an all inclusive fete with your own special bottle of brownish tinged lemon mix.SOUP! That was all I could think of today and motivated by the number of lbs lost I stuck to drinking  my lemon mix today. I am amazed I lasted 10 days drinking only this stuff!

Day 10.5
My extra day since I cheated but  I could not make it to the end, by evening I was dying for soup. Now the day after the cleanse you are suppose to ease off the cleanse by drinking orange juice all day, but I was craving soup so much that I whipped up a broth , threw in some veggies and had that this evening. It felt so weird to have something with taste and texture in my mouth and I did not have much soup at all. I had to re learn eating solid food again by eating VERY slowly  and taking in VERY little at a time. The other weird thing is that I am no longer feeling to eat any of the crap I was craving WHILE I was on the cleanse, what the hell! I did have a craving for citrus so I also had a portugal.

Day 12
Pay back for not following instructions is terrible. I had the most awful stomach cramps and diarrhea today. I guess that is my body's way of adjusting to food. I could barely stomach plain watery broth today with no veggies in it. If you ever do this cleanse, please, please follow the steps for coming off it! Good thing I was home all day, I was in a mess!

Day 13
After my awful experience yesterday  I decided to try eating some  steamed vegetables today along with my broth because it is Carnival Saturday and I need to know that my stomach will not be acting all weird on the road Monday and Tuesday. Talk about cutting it close! SD was done with her cleanse in time to go to all the fetes. I was fine for the most part so hooray for me! I also have to mention that my other partner in this cleanse, JG lost 11lbs! So good job to all the ladies who stuck it out, especially JG as she had some really bad symptoms on the cleanse; muscle ache, joint pain, chills, caffeine withdrawal headache for the first two days, severe cramping, dehydration and fatigue.
The Results 

Although this cleanse is not a diet the side effect is weight loss. It was a pretty extreme way to lose weight for Carnival and I am never going to go this route again even though it worked very well in such a short space of time, better results would have been had with diet and exercise the healthy way.Since the cleanse I have gained back 6lbs to date and though I did not crave certain foods or junk food for a long time after the cleanse ended I eventually started eating all the "bad" stuff I had on my list!

I will contemplate doing a cleanse for the health benefits in the future, as I had a very positive experience relating to health issues that were resolved while on the cleanse and after. This is in no way an endorsement of this Master Cleanse, I just wanted to share my experience in losing weight for Carnival and if you do want to try it I suggest reading as much as possible about it before you even decide to do it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

No Mas for 2011? Serious As a Heart Attack!

Last night I had my first dream about costumes for Carnival 2011, usually leading up to Carnival I am plagued with anxiety filled dreams of losing the band or not getting my costume. However last nights dream was unusual since I am not even sure I will be playing mas for Carnival 2011 and it is way too early for Carnival dreams! I think the subconscious is battling with my decision on if to sit out Carnival 2011 or not, and for all who were wondering that decision did not come about because I am pregnant ; people have been asking me over and over if I am since I made that announcement in my post Carnival review.  Apparently no one believes me when I say I do not know if I am playing mas in 2011.The fact is there comes a time when as a masquerader you have to step back and holistically reevaluate the value one places on Carnival experience that is steadily increasing it what it costs financially to the diminishing returns of satisfaction it gives you. In simple terms, you have to ask yourself is it all worth it?

I don't think anyone fully grasps how dissatisfied I felt on Carnival Tuesday, I was ready to go home after crossing the Savannah judging point, but only pushed on because I felt I owed it to myself to try and salvage some enjoyment for the rest of the day. Did I really want my Carnival to end at 3:30PM on Carnival Tuesday afternoon? The answer was no, so I forced myself, yes FORCED, to enjoy what I could , eventually giving up after fighting for breathing room on Ariapita Avenue.

As much as we TRIBE  masqueraders have been calling for a smaller band for the past two years, reality is that a smaller band means less profits for the band leader; why not take advantage of the overwhelming demand to be part of TRIBE, right? And, for every dissatisfied masquerader there are 50 waiting to take your spot, so I have resigned myself to the fact that TRIBE is never going to reduce the size of the band by a significant amount, one that makes an impact in how much freedom as a  masquerader you have on the road. 

So, that leaves me with the option of looking for an alternative band, but which one? As much as I try to think about an alternative I come up empty! The first issue I have is that everyone in my social circle plays in TRIBE. I look at photos of other bands and there is not one familiar face I can identify; no one from school or work or even someone I see when socializing. Demographically TRIBE is where I fit in. The other issue I have is with service, all around customer and costume service. I know what I am getting with TRIBE even if I have a problem. Which other band is going to cater to a request such as giving them my own bra when some of them refuse to even cater to certain bra sizes? And if I am dissatisfied with my costume when it does not look like the prototype, will my only recourse  be having to cuss someone out for a refund if I were to go to another band? I also have some other requirements of a band such as must be all inclusive (rules out Harts), must have a lunch stop and must have good security. See, these are the questions I have to ask myself when deciding if not TRIBE then who else?

Admittedly I may just be spoiled by being a TRIBER all these years and unwilling to contemplate a new band, but asking me to choose a new band is akin to asking me to vote for a new political  party; as the old people say "better the devil you know (than the devil you don't)!".. or something like that. Just as I would need to see a manifesto for a party asking me to sway my vote , promises of all that they plan to do, so too would I need a new band to convince me that they can meet or surpass my expectations. 

Which leaves me in the dilemma I am in now, to play mas for Carnival 2011 or not and with whom? My alternative would also be a nice vacation to an all inclusive resort or maybe even a cruise.After the whopping amount of money dropped on two costumes this year (mines and the hubby's) I have been thinking about how many different ways that money could have been spent; Carnival is NOT cheap and I am still asking myself if the experience for 2010 was worth it.

As much as I am excited for band launch season to see costumes, my excitement over the prospect of actually playing mas for 2011 is tempered as it is all up in the air. I do not expect a smaller band with TRIBE and therein lies the source of my quandary. Will there be a costume to excite me enough to warrant facing another TRIBE jam session or will another band beckon? Who knows, I myself surely do not but I will keep you all informed of my decision once it is made.

One thing I DO know and that is if I estimate that my Carnival "experience" is no longer worth what I am paying for it (and the jury is still out on Carnival 2010) I will NOT be playing mas for 2011. Serious as a heart attack! 

Machel Montano HD For DC Carnival 2010

Sources say this is the Friday night event to compete with VALE and Taboo:

click for large view

More information about the event can be found at  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Well Look Who WILL Be Taking Part in Caribana!!

So, there is a NEW band taking part in Caribana after all.....join their facebook fanpage HERE. A little bit more about this NEW band:

Every summer thousands gather to celebrate Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival (CARIBANA) festivities. To no surprise 2010 is shaping up to offer the most illustrious surprise yet. As if the multitude of upcoming festival events was not enough to stir excitement, a long awaited brand will be making its first ever appearance down the Lakeshore. The brand known as DE FREITAS CARNIVAL has announced its grand entrance into the festivities for CARIBANA 2010.

Ken De Freitas &; Justin Hospedales the Band Leaders of this venture and their committee promise to bring the inimitable Carnival experience from the streets of Trinidad to Toronto. They are envisioning a Carnival which redefines the possibilities and offers the unexpected. From prestigious parties, flavorful concerts and luscious costumes, this team has come to add a new spice to CARIBANA. Ken De Freitas, a long time veteran in the MAS making has definitely thought of passing on his skills to assist in developing a new generation to continue a cultural legacy that will ensure that his team brings Caribana to a higher level in the next 5 years.

His seeked participation worldwide in developing MAS with prominent bands and his originality remains one to be rivaled. There is no question as to why the Toronto people already believe that DE FREITAS CARNIVAL will be a hot commodity that will SELL OUT and leave many hopefuls on extended wait-lists for 2010. The DE FREITAS family prides itself on offering nothing less than a "total experience". Placing the masquerader as their first priority, each costume will be professionally tailored and made to custom fit the individual. It is difficult to truly comprehend all that DE FREITAS CARNIVAL will be without firsthand indulgence! Luckily, Toronto will continue to have its chance during CARIBANA 2010 under his restructrued band.

For more information and sponsorship opportunities regarding Toronto’s 2010 DE FREITAS CARNIVAL experience, contact Justin Hospedales: 416.209.0834

The first paragraph sounds VERY much like the write up TRIBE Toronto had when they first released that they were going to Caribana, check out my post on that here since you can no longer find it on the world wide web!

Every summer thousands gather to celebrate Toronto’s Caribbean Carnival (CARIBANA) festivities. To no surprise 2010 is shaping up to offer the most illustrious surprise yet. As if the multitude of upcoming festival events was not enough to stir excitement, a long awaited band will be making its first ever appearance down the Lakeshore. The Trinidad Mas band known as TRIBE has announced its grand entrance into the festivities for CARIBANA 2010.

Bringing their inimitable Carnival experience from the streets of Trinidad, TRIBE challenges Toronto to envision a Carnival which redefines the possibilities and offers the unexpected. From prestigious parties, flavorful concerts and luscious costumes, TRIBE has come to reshape the very essence of CARIBANA. Although launch dates have yet to be released, the anticipation is in the air.

Ah yes,a rose by any other name shall still smell as sweet! Well played folks, well played!

Skullduggery...Sections .. Part 5

I am really liking the fact that Skullduggery is the only new band for  Carnival 2011 actively marketing and creating their own hype (just check out their fan page on Facebook!). The section teasers are brilliant and if you visit their recently updated website not only are the sections listed but they also have information on which ones are male, female and unisex. Clues of what the costumes are going to look like are in the description:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Trinidad Carnival 2011 Airfare Deals..

I know several people have who already secured their airline tickets to Trinidad Carnival 2011, here are some of the prices paid so far:

March 5th to March 13th - MIA to POS -$372.00US- AA

February 25th to March 13th - DCA to POS - $592.30US- AA

February 26th - March 13th -JFK to POS- $602.50US-Caribbean Airlines

February 24th to 10th March - Gatwick to POS - £599 - BA

February 24th Feb to 16th March Gatwick to POS- £599 - BA

March 3rd to March 10th Gatwick to POS £599 - BA

Just like last year I am asking those of you with tickets in hand to share your airfare deals. Please share the price you paid, the dates, airport of departure and airline so that someone else may benefit from any low airfare prices at the moment. Leave a comment, thanks!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gems 2011 Teaser.....

Here is a teaser photo of one of the sections from Gems 2011 presentation "Conquest of Alexander"

No Shame in a Remix and Rename

Once again it is the start of the band launches for regional (and international) "summer" Carnivals. As it is every year I look forward to spotting the costumes from Trinidad Carnival that appear re branded under a different name in another Carnival. This time it is D Krewe's section "Sorcerers" that has shown up in Vincy Mas:

Ahdrenalin Mas - Night of Debauchery

D Krewe - Sorcerers
Well, Vincy Mas has sure stepped up their costume game!

And the rest of Ahdrenalin Mas sections from their presentation entitled "WESTERN MAYHEM: The Decline Of Western Civilization", Vincy Mas 2010:

Exotic Dilusion

Wings of Hope


Mistress of Mischief


Material Girl

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Myst Antigua Live Launch Tonight

The Myst One Zero season begins with the unveiling of its portrayal for 2010, prompt start of the presentation at 8pm.Please note, live stream is only for persons OUTSIDE Antigua, if you are Antiguan the only way you are seeing the presentation is buying a ticket to the launch!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

2010 Trinidad Carnival - Tribe's Carnival Tuesday

Good morning peeps, Kermit here bringing you stories and sights from Carnival Tuesday 2010 here in Trinidad. After getting a full night’s sleep (the first in many nights) I awoke on Tuesday morning refreshed and ready to tackle the day of partying hard in the streets of Port-of-Spain. Tribe was providing breakfast so after a cool shower I whipped on my costume and headed downtown to catch up with the band.

I arrived at the meeting point around 30 minutes after Tribe was scheduled to depart but I was not concerned since Tribe provided air conditioned vans to transport tardy masqueraders directly to the band’s current location. On this occasion however, it would not be necessary to avail myself of that particular convenience as I was informed that the band had not gone that far and was in fact only a few blocks away. No problem, I thought, I will just walk and catch up and so after a brisk 5 minute walk, there was Tribe spread out before me in all its glory.

I immediately hit up one of the breakfast trucks and ate my fill of hot doubles then moved on to a nearby Tribe mobile bar and commenced drinking. Fully nourished and fortified, I whipped out my trusty camera and looked around for subjects to shoot and as the number of pictures in the albums will indicate, I had no problems there at all. Everywhere I looked there were beautiful Tribe people talking and liming and warming up for the day’s activities so I wasted no time in getting some fantastic shots. It was at this time that it occurred to me that while I was in Tribe, I was at the very back of Tribe and my section, Charmeuse, was in the middle. I decided to take a walk up the length of the band to get in mih section and see what I could see up front so off I went which brings me to one of the few criticisms I have with Tribe.

I started walking past section after section of Tribers trying to make my way to the front of the band and while I was not making my way straight there, after 20 minutes or so, the front was still nowhere in sight. True I was pausing to take pictures and hail out people I knew, but I felt that for the length of walk I had walked, I should be near to the front by now. Eventually I did catch up to cluster #1 by Rosary Boys School and it was then that the size of Tribe struck me. Tribe was stretched along Park Street all the way from Green Corner to Rosary Boys and while it is somewhat understandable that a large band in the middle of the day would be this big, Tribe was nowhere near full size right now. It is barely 9:00 am and while there were lots of masqueraders present, most of the road space was being taken up with the music and drinks trucks so I can only imagine what the streets would look like when the entire complement of Tribers were present.

I must comment that Tribe’s choice of route that morning was a very good idea. I'm sure they knew the chaos that a band that size would experience navigating downtown at full strength so their plan to bypass the downtown judging point and to head straight to the Savannah was very sound indeed. Even at 50-60% (my eyeball guesstimate) the band was proceeding at a crawl and at 9:00 am this was not a problem for me as there was an entire day of palancing on de road before us and there was no need to hurry de curry or rush de brush! For now, the pace was just right and soon we would cross the Savannah and it would be ON from there forward.

Four hours later as we inch past the POS General Hospital (a mere 5-6 blocks from where we were at 9:00 am) I began to wonder if we would ever pass the judging point. To say that the pace was slow would do an injustice to the word slow. Now mind you, yes we moving slow, but the PAHTY SHWEET! Tribe is 115% on point when it comes to the road experience as the music is excellent both in terms of volume, clarity, and selection, the drinks provided are cold, plentiful, strong, and never far away, and the quality and quantity of the masqueraders has to be seen to be believed. Tribe’s security was out in force lining the roadway on either side of the band and they were very vigilant and highly active with respect to clearing space for us to pass and keeping non-masqueraders out of the band; now if only we could stretch our legs a little bit and move more than a shuffle at a time. As I mentioned before the PAHTY SHWEET but to me it felt like just that, a party, and while we all enjoy Tribe parties (Ignite immediately springs to mind) we didn’t come here today to party.

Oh no peeps, this was Carnival Tuesday and this was the time to don sexy costumes and parade through the streets of Port-of-Spain wowing the onlookers with the vibrant colors and variety of styles exhibited by the different sections; this was the time to kick up your heels (literally) and jump around and display the exuberance you felt knowing that you were a vital part of a living, breathing, wining, (and this year palancing) serpent as it meanders its way through the city exciting everyone that witnessed its passing. There is a time and place for everything and the time and place for partying was over and now is the time for mas yet we find ourselves creeping along in a mishmash of sections and groups definitely still having a good time, but somewhat missing the point of the occasion. Maybe I am old school and long for different times and maybe these times have come and gone never to return, but my past experiences on Carnival Tuesday differ so fundamentally from my present experiences that I had to comment on it and I wonder if there are others who think like me and feel that, although this version is SHWEET, something is still lacking.

After maybe 30 minutes or so, we find ourselves approaching the Savannah judging point and this is my biggest and most heartfelt criticism of the whole mas-playing experience. WE NEED A STAGE! I played mas in 2006 which was the last time the Grand Stage was used and below I have attached an excerpt from my Carnival Tuesday commentary from that year:

We have finally partied all we could party, and feted all we could fete. We wined on all the big bottom gyal we could find, we get madder dan dat, we jump, we wave, we drink, we trip over cooler and fall down but still manage to pelt two good waist before we hit the ground. We did everything possible to enjoy the 2006 Carnival season and here we are now, ready to be unleashed in full costume on the streets of Port-of-Spain.

As I mentioned in my previous album, Tribe was the band of choice this year and for me it was an eye opening experience. Of course the band was all-inclusive. Food and drinks would be provided on the road but it was the quality of and the manner in which these were provided that made the experience so memorable.

I met the band at 7:00 am on Tuesday morning, enjoyed the breakfast that was provided and after a small lime, the trucks revved up and started moving off. As we made our way downtown towards the first judging point, the sun really started to shine so we were glad to have some kind of shade as we moved through the buildings in Port-of-Spain. We hit the downtown judging spot first and rocked across the stage as we now started to get our waists warmed up for the main event…..the Grand Stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Yes peeps, there are few icons that define Carnival the way the Savannah stage does. I have heard people say that if you didn’t cross the savannah stage, you didn’t play mas at all and I am inclined to agree. There is something almost mystical about that stage. At one point, it was the largest stage in the world and although that particular title has long since been lost physically, it remains as large as ever in our hearts. Since this is the last year that bands will parade across its hallowed surface, we were determined to make the most of it. As you approach the entrance to the drag (the lane leading up to the actual stage) you can feel the energy beginning to build as the masqueraders collectively take a deep breath in preparation for the wildness they are about to unleash. As we get closer to the stage, the music trucks whip the masqueraders into a dancing frenzy until finally we get the green light to take the stage and we are free to jump and play we self to our heart’s content (or for the 5 minutes that security gives you on the stage).

The feeling of euphoria that takes hold of you when you are actually on the stage is extremely hard to put into words. Ask anyone who was there to describe the experience and immediately they will smile and sigh. You cannot help but relive those glorious moments when you hear the road march song “Band of The Year” play. Even as I write these words here in cold Washington, DC, I am still feeling the hot midday sun on my face as I cavorted on stage for that one last time. If there was any doubt in your mind as to what should be the 2006 Road March, it was erased at that point. “Band of The Year” lent itself so perfectly to the moment and vibe that it could not help but win. Sadly though, all good things must come to an end and we were ushered off the stage after what was, at least in our mind, much too short a time.

I am sure that after reading this many of you now have a faraway look in your eye and your heart is beating just a little bit faster as you remember your own special Savannah Stage moments. Maybe you are recalling that time you moonwalked past the security line and tiefed a jump in another section (or 2 or 3), or maybe you remember when your entire section simply refused to budge and you stayed on stage forever, or maybe you remember crossing the stage after a full day of parading in the streets and as you crossed the stage with the sun setting and the cool breeze blowing and all the stage lights blazing you wished the day would never end. Call me a sentimentalist, but in my mind that is what the Carnival Tuesday experience is all about. Carnival Monday is perfect for a street jam but Carnival Tuesday, with everyone dressed to the nines in every piece of costume you could get/make/add on, and with the ladies (and some fellas) bedecked with body art, makeup, and more accessories that you would imagine existed, there needs to be a specific spot, a particular moment where all lights and eyes are upon us – the masqueraders.

This level of detailed preparation clamors for an appropriate venue on which to proudly display the months of hard work it took look as spectacular as we look now and to say that the current stretch of road by the savannah being used for this purpose is NOT ADEQUATE IN THE LEAST is a gross understatement. To the casual onlooker, Carnival Tuesday looks like a group of people who simply put on a pre-made costume that they were given by their band of choice. This could not be further from the truth.

It has been my privilege to observe carnival preparations from a different point of view from mine and maybe even different from that of a casual masquerader. My own preparations are minimalist at best: I get my costume and ensure that the shorts fit, I try to find an alternate pair of shorts to wear on Monday that would match my section’s colors and I make sure I have one hell of a sun block ready and my preparations are done. A dedicated group I know begins their carnival planning many months before Carnival Monday and Tuesday and their preparations and infinitely more intricate and involved. Once their sections are selected and costumes purchased, there are in-depth discussions about weather proofing the feathers, accessorizing the bras, belts, and bottoms, selecting appropriate footwear (sneakers vs. boots) and accessorizing those to match the costume as well.

Makeup appointments by this time have already been reserved and confirmed for Carnival Tuesday morning and since all of this merely serves as a complement to the wearer’s body, aerobic training as well as dietary modifications are suggested, evaluated, and implemented many months before the actual parade and while I can comment about this group of lovely ladies that I personally know about, I am sure that this is the case for the majority of masqueraders on the road. The long and the short if it is peeps, what you see on the road does not happen by chance. The beautiful ladies I was fortunate enough to photograph did not merely throw on a costume and look as fabulous as they did. They worked very hard both physically and mentally to look their best for their moment in the limelight and without a suitable venue to properly display this beauty for the world to see and appreciate, they are being done a grave injustice. WE NEED A STAGE!

I hear talk that plans and momentum exist for building such a place and I implore the powers that be to take their time and do it right. It is better to measure ten times and cut once, so take the time to discuss EVERYTHING INVOLVED with the people who know about such things as well as the people that will actually use the facility and then decide on its features. When it comes to things that matter deeply to us, we are a patient people and once we know there are good reasons for a slow and deliberate pace we will accept it, just make sure you do everything you can to ensure that you get it right because what you build now will shape the perception of Trinidad carnival for not just this generation, but for the one after this, and the ones yet to come.

After passing the savannah judging point, Tribe was due for a break so the band headed over to their customary rest area where delicious meals and snacks awaited the somewhat weary masqueraders. We feasted on hot food and cold ice cream and lounged under the trees on the blankets that were spread out all over the square. Some masqueraders availed themselves of the foot massages that were offered while some made use of the powder tent to reapply and touch up their makeup. Most of us however, just rested and grabbed a quick nap because we knew we were only at the midpoint of the parade and after this, there would be no resting. We stayed at the food village for some time gathering our strength and when the music trucks started up again we roused ourselves from our various manners of repose and followed their call down into the heart and heat of the city. By now, the band’s sections were in complete disarray as everyone was everywhere and the section markers were there only for show and as we flooded down the streets past the Queen’s Park Oval we encountered what would prove to be the defining aspect of the rest of the evening’s parade, congestion.
Congestion (n): To overfill or overcrowd

If you recall, I complimented Tribe for leaving early in the morning and heading directly to the savannah because, due to the size of the full band, Tribe would not be able to maneuver easily within the confines of downtown Port-of-Spain. Well here we are in the afternoon and now that Tribe is at full size, we are experiencing the congestion we only semi-avoided earlier. The streets chosen by the band were definitely too narrow to comfortably support the massive numbers of Tribe masqueraders plus the onlookers trying to get a glimpse of the band and though the drinks were still flowing it was much more difficult to even get close to the mobile bars.

The music was coming through loud and clear but there was barely room to wine much less palance comfortably so most of the band just stood and limed and chipped along whenever the trucks moved forward. Tribe, despite all its yearly claims to reduce in size, yet again was clearly way too large and hence was unable to move freely unless it was on the largest of thoroughfares. By now the security, which had been doing a commendable job of keeping a wide space clear for Tribe as well as keeping the band clear of stormers all day, seemed to lose their enthusiasm for the job and consequently the space available for the costumed members of Tribe shrunk markedly.The fact that the crowds along the Avenue were very thick definitely contributed to the lack of space and as a result the masqueraders’ space shrank to a strip in the middle of the road right next to the music and drink trucks. The disappearance of much of the security forces also exacerbated the situation.

Maybe they were only paid to secure up until a certain time and since that time had come and gone, they were gone too. Mind you, security was still present but definitely not in the large numbers as before. We headed down Ariapita Avenue towards the judging point for a very long time and I chipped along until around 6:00 pm when I decided that I had done enough chipping for the day and with no indication of anything else in the near future, I decided to call it a Carnival and head home.

Despite the difficulties with the slow pace of the march through the streets, my carnival experience with Tribe was, as always, absolutely first class. I have no complaints whatsoever concerning the quality and quantity of the food and liquor available to me on both days and the music was excellent. My fellow masqueraders were as beautiful, sexy, and as fun loving a bunch as I could have wished to spend the carnival with and I am grateful for their company. I do think the band was too large and this likely necessitated the unduly long lunch breaks each day as everyone had to be given ample time to eat and rest and it was a bit difficult regaining momentum after an almost two hour stop but we made do as best we could.

Keep doing what you are doing Tribe but listen more to what your masqueraders are saying and take note of their suggestions as they are being made not out of spite or acrimony, but rather a genuine attempt to help improve on the carnival experience you provide and to help keep Tribe at the forefront of mas in Trinidad and the world. I for one would love to be playing mas with Tribe whenever the new carnival venue is christened and I am truly looking forward to that experience. It would be a huge loss to Trinidad carnival should Tribe go the way of Poison and implode under the weight its own success.

I hope you have enjoyed this look into the 2010 Trinidad Carnival season as seen through my eyes and, once the green is still smooth, rest assured that I will be back again next year.
Kermit D. Frog

Click On The Photo Below For  LOTS  More Pics 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Imitation, Copying or Inspiration?

I was told that the readers of Trinidad Carnival Diary are "digging way too deep for s**t" when looking for comparisons between Bachanal Mas' costumes  and costumes from TRIBE and Island People.

You be the judge of the HOTLY debated topic. Are these costumes imitation, copying or a result of inspiration?

Pierrot Grenade


Tyrian Purple


Sahara Jumbie

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