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Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011 Trinidad Carnival - Shine , Fatima All-Inclusive

And my peeps, so we come to Shine, the 2011 Fatima All-Inclusive party and as a Fatima Old Boy, I must admit to a certain amount of bias when I describe my Alma Mater’s event. However, being biased does not really matter if my observations are 100% correct. In the past I have claimed that the Fatima All-Inclusive is the best party for the carnival because of the variety of food, drink, entertainment, and of course beautiful people found therein and after attending many different events over the years, I have yet to discover any fete to challenge what is put on by my fellow brothers of the grey shirt. This year I expected a repeat of the excellent service and selection which is the trademark of a Fatima event and I was not disappointed.

On my way to the party, I could see the Vigilance Blimp hovering over the venue and I began to feel an excitement usually reserved for Christmas morning. You know the excitement to which I am referring: it is an anticipation of good things and wonderful surprises waiting to be opened (at least for those of us who don’t get socks and drawers). We parked across from the school and simply crossed the road and entered the party with no fuss or wait at all. We breezed through security and immediately were greeted by smiling ladies with champagne and sushi. NICENESS! 

 After passing the Hall, we walked into the courtyard and I was amazed yet again at the creative decorating on display this year. The theme was Shine and in the late afternoon sun, the college shone and shimmered because of the streamers stretching across the entire length and breadth of the party area. The Hall and all the windows were hung with silvery streamers that twisted and turned in the gentle breeze and looked like waterfalls all over the school. As amazing as this looked in the light, when the sun went down and the lights came on, the yard was transformed yet again. I have several pictures of this light show and when coupled with the stage and its MAGNIFICENT screen serving as a backdrop to the artistes, the venue felt spacious yet intimate all at the same time. AWSOME job Fatima, truly AWSOME. Of course, I wasn’t here to just admire the scenery, I was hungry and thirsty so I went to see what goodies were provided to satisfy these needs.

I won’t bother to list all the foods available because that would take too long. I did take a picture of the menu so you can peruse it at your leisure. The food tents were laid out around the perimeter of the fete and let’s just say that I attempted to eat my way around the fete and failed miserably. The usual ultra-premium alcohols were available; Johnny Green, Hennessy, Moet, and Angostura Single Barrel to name a few. Again, I have pictures of all the specialty selections available and of course the main bars were flush with all types of alcohol as well as Goose (my drink of choice) and while I did my best to make a dent in their stocks I had very little actual impact. There was however, one specialty drink neighborhood that I repeatedly found myself drawn to and that was the Brewhouse.

Ahh the wonderful Stag/Carib Brewhouse where lovely bartenders plied you with beastly cold draft beer while the Brewhouse ladies wined up and down and all around on the stage. It was paradise and while Goose was my usual drink at such events, it seemed like I was drawn over and over again to the flashing lights and twirling hips at the Brewhouse almost against my will and of course while there I had to drink a beer or two and take a picture or 10. I guess this is my way of forewarning you that there will be plenty pics of the Brewhouse ladies. PLENTY eh! Fellas, enjoy; ladies, well, wha yuh go do?

As the afternoon turned to evening, the DJ’s had the crowd moving to some excellent music and when the live entertainment began, the crowd was ready to be taken to the next level. Roy Cape started us off and they rocked the joint! They gave us a diverse performance of tunes from back in the day to current big chunes and the crowd was feeling the vibes in a big way. After that, Dil e-Nadan came on, and if we thought we were hyped before, we went through the roof now. Again, they put together a performance that appealed to every generation in the fete and while there was a wide range present everyone was getting on bad and enjoying the stage show to the max. I am not going to attempt to describe how Iwer MASH UP THE PARTY because I was too wrapped up in following his instructions to take many pictures or even to remember clearly what went on. Suffice it to say, he was the high point of the night’s artistes.

After Dil e-Nadan wrapped up a much appreciated performance, the traditional “Wine for yuh Wife” competition took center stage. The premise is simple, a man comes up on stage and wines for his wife (or significant other) in the audience and based on crowd response, a winner is chosen. This year’s winner Raymond Samms, a Fatima Old Boy, put down a piece of jub-jub leg wining that left the MC Nikki Crosby speechless (if you were there you would know exactly what that looked like). Well done Sammy, well represented!

After that heated competition, I decided to go get a drink and get situated for the next and final artist, Destra. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Destra and I will stalk her in a heartbeat (kinda have already actually). Ever since I saw her in QRC’s Outa De Blue in 2004 where she performed Bonnie and Clyde, looked me in my eye and told me to drop lyrics on my rag (which I did without hesitation), I was hooked. She could do no wrong in my eyes and now that she was back this year with some hot tunes and a hot body to match, I was going to be front and center. 

 Peeps, I was hyped and when she took the stage, the groupie in me came out just a little bit but then I composed myself and started to take some pics and enjoy the show. After around 15 minutes or so, I felt a peculiar feeling come over me. I was not feeling as excited as I expected and I thought that maybe I had hyped myself up so much that I had gone past hyped and back to normel. Well, I’ll just give it some more time; my girl Destra is just warming up and soon everybody will be mashed up fine fine like chillibibi. After another 15 minutes passed and I was not gripped by any kind of frenzy, I looked around to see if I was the only one not really feeling the show and apparently I was not. Much of the crowd was on their BlackBerries and cell phones with fingers blurring as they typed away. As I found out afterwards, people were updating Facebook profiles with yawns and remarking how Destra was putting a whole fete to sleep and she really was! 

 Mind you, her performance was flawless. The audio as well mixed and she sounded clear and in tune, the band was excellent, her song transitions were smooth, and her dancers danced in unison and moved on and offstage with a grace that bespoke long hours of practice. The problem was that this was not a fete performance, this was a show. This was something best viewed from a seat or in an amphitheater somewhere but it was definitely not suited to a hyped-up fete with people ready to ramfle something…anyting…ting….ting…ting! Sigh. I decided that I would get a drink (Brewhouse here I come) and maybe something to eat and for the rest of her performance I was chowing down on some jerk chicken and festival and drinking cold Carib. Swappy’s set did liven things up considerably and after watching him and his Swappish and Swappilicious dancers do things that would make a chiropractor shake his head, the crowd woke up a little bit and started showing signs of life but alas, when Destra resumed, the vibe dissipated rapidly. Destra girl, you put on a great show, but we needed a great performance. Still love you though and I will be front and center at your next show, camera and heart in hand.

After the Destra show, the Dj’s came back on and tried their best to restart the party but sadly, the vibe would not reach the level it was at before the Destra’s show. Nevertheless, the rest of the night passed delightfully drinking and dancing and enjoying the company of friends new and old and that is unequivocally the biggest strength of this party. The crowd that attends the Fatima All-Inclusive is as wide a cross-section of Trinidadian people that you will ever encounter.

As I mentioned before there were at least three generations present in the fete and everybody partied together and enjoyed the camaraderie all night with no problems. The drinks were cold and they never ran out, the food was hot and was still being served when the “rhythm section/J’Ouvert/fete over go home now” music started playing and you could see on the people’s faces as they chipped past me on their way out that they were well satisfied with what they experienced tonight and, God spare life, they would be here again next year.

Congratulations Fatima on another first rate fete and I look forward to doing it again next year.

Enjoy the pics peeps, Kermit out. Zante is next………

2011 Carnival - Misty Ridge 7

Greetings peeps and welcome to Kermit’s coverage of 2011 Trinidad Carnival or as I will be calling it: THE BEST CARNIVAL EVER! Yes peeps, I said BEST CARNIVAL EVER. It wasn’t just that the music was excellent or that the vibes were always on point, or even that the weather was perfect; when you combine all those factors there was a synergy present in 2011 that I have never experienced before and I can hardly wait to show you its effect on the people I was around.

My carnival journey begins on February 25 at a fete called Misty Ridge 7. After a nice happy hour warm up at the Sandbar earlier that evening I made my way to the fete around 11:30 pm ready to keep the vibes going and from the very start I had a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be a good night. As you walk into the fete, you are immediately drawn to the Johnny Green and Hennessey bars. Ahhhh! Refreshing! Then came the food tents and after chowing down for a while, we decided to follow the flow and head to the main party area.

We made our way down the path and up the canopied steps and walked smack-dab into a fete in full swing. The main dance area was laid out directly in front of the house and there were folks dancing and liming to the right by the pool and further off in the back. There were bars everywhere so after snagging drinks we settled down to enjoy the party. It goes without saying that the women were looking fine and the men present were either jealously hovering around their date or looking to flirt with someone new. Everybody was having a great time and just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, out came Kess.

He appeared on the balcony overlooking the main dance floor and the crowd went wild! He apparently fed off that energy and elevated his performance to another level; well maybe elevated is not the most accurate word to use in this case but he certainly elicited a gasp or two from the crowd. For most if not all of his performances this year Kess’ choice of, ahm, “performance wear” appeared to be red jeggings. Nothing is wrong with skinny jeans but jeggings man? In any case, the ladies love it so I can’t fault de man at all, go brave soldier! On this night though, he wasn’t rocking his trademark red jeggings but it appears that wearing them so often somehow gave him the impression that he was a superhero and tonight he thought he was Spiderman. As you will see in the pics, first he came out singing; then you could see when he caught the spiderman-vaps and thought that he could jump off the balcony; next, he was throwing his leg over the banister; then the crowd on the deck was looking down in amazement with a photog on the deck documenting the jump. I really didn’t think he would jump but then again, I don’t wear jeggings so I am not subject to their vapses. Apparently he landed just fine because the singing never faltered and he delivered a rocking performance from right there in the middle of the crowd.

The whole night was pretty much a haze of drinking, wining, drinking, drinking, wining, making a run back downstairs for some more food and meeting the Dasani ladies (water never looked so sweet). The party ended around 4:00 am and as we exited I was very happy with how my carnival began and since Shine, my Alma Mater Fatima’s all-inclusive party was next, I knew things would only get better and boy was I right.

Enjoy the pics peeps, Kermit out.

Shine, Fatima’s All-Inclusive is next……………..
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