- Soca 2019! -

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Every year I hope for my best Caribana yet. I anxiously await the band launches and hope there is at least one costume that has that WOW factor for me. Every year is so different, and this year is no exception, with the name change and late band order announcement.

What will make Carib2k11 Carib2kHeaven for me?

#1 of course, would be a sensational costume. I began this season wondering will this be the year I’d get a perfect purple costume? (My favourite colour, & I haven't played in it yet!) I scored a pair of purple boots from Stitches warehouse thanks to Tara, courtesy of a tip from Nationz Jeannine. But even if this isn’t my purple year, I have my eye on costumes colours I haven't worn before, and that aren’t difficult to match up boots or shoes to.

A heavenly bod, or alright, okay, to be my fittest yet. So as always, I’m working extra hard to be fit. I’ve been taking Zumba®, cardio kick, abs, Spinning, body blast, Pilates, and Latin dance classes, and doing the elliptical, Stairmaster & treadmill, etc. since December. I’m also kicking butt in Survivor Boot Camp.

Caribana heaven for me would also be no stormers. Now that’s not entirely impossible, especially if the band has security. I’m so over rude ignorant people breaking into the band and causing our parade to be more of a free for all than a cultural display. I want security this year considering we’re paying more, and I just know we deserve security. I realize some persistent idiots do get into the band in spite of the best efforts of security, and that’s understandable.

Heavenly treatment from a band is also extremely important. Examples are: to have my phone calls and emails responded to promptly & politely; section leaders/designers communicate with me about costume changes (but ideally, there are none!) and pickup; enough water on the road and a tasty lunch; not sooooo much repetition of the same damn songs dj, throw in some of the many, many, MANY other tunes; fun friendly on the road vibes, with all band staff showing they appreciate masqueraders; and to carry on the positivity in Hamilton & Barrie.

Going down the road second, third or fourth would be heavenly for me. I don’t want to be first (10 a.m. is too early). I’m just used to crossing the stage at noon and having the rest of the afternoon to jump up. I personally wouldn’t want to be waiting around at the CNE at 2:00. Now if the band had security, then that would help. But by 2-3:00, the route is thick with the cheap non costumed youngsters wanting to carry on, and they’re swarming like mosquitoes trying to get into a band.

What are your expectations this go around, have they changed? Are you expecting more, or less from your band? From many of the comments I’ve read, I’ve noticed many of you have said you went with a different band last year, or would be trying out another band this time. How did you reach that decision? What would make this Caribana ideal?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

FMC gives reason for renaming Toronto Caribana

I saw this on YouTube and I think it makes some points that I haven't seen in the media coverage, what do you all think?

The confusion continues, and with the exact name itself! Some media reported it as (Scotiabank) Toronto Caribbean Carnival, like in today's Metro, and CTV News, whereas others called it (Scotiabank) Caribbean Carnival Toronto, like Globe & Mail, the Star, TO Life and the CBC.
Even others are calling it (Scotiabank) Caribbean Carnival.

So what is it?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Visiting Tribal Knights mas camp

Legends of Cleopatra Section lead & frontline SOLD OUT, May 28

One of the things I enjoy doing for this blog is visiting mas camps and talking to the band leaders. We chatted with Dexter about not only the new things happening with his band, but other carnivals he participates in, and next year's theme Candyland, which he is quite excited about.

The costumes, as always, are designed with attention to fine detail and quality. Care is also put into giving men great looking costumes, not just board shorts. This is something that discerning masqueraders must appreciate, I mean, they pay for it too! I'm drawn to big headpieces, and have many favourites, particularly Spain & Northern Lights.
Dexter told us four sections are about to be sold out. Can you guess which ones?
Legends of the Orient Section lead & frontline SOLD OUT, May 28

Legends of Spain Section lead & frontline SOLD OUT, May 28

Legends of Spain Section lead & frontline SOLD OUT, May 28

Legends of Africa Section lead & frontline SOLD OUT, May 28

Legends of the Black Pearl Section lead & frontline SOLD OUT, May 28

The Northern Lights Section lead SOLD OUT, May 28

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bitter Lemon Carnival 2011, Monsoon Wedding, before the storm

Last night we were treated to the launch of Bitter Lemon Carnival's premier presentation of Monsoon Wedding, before the storm. We got much more than a band launch, it was more of a cultural presentation. The evening opened to the sounds of the Flambeaux drummers, these guys really set the mood for the the rest of the night. We were also treated to performances by the Humming Bird dance and performing company, who did a couple numbers as well as a limbo presentation. There was a performance from Calgary's reigning calypso monarch Newton P., who will also be performing this year at "De Masters Cove Calypso tent."
And we also saw a new Toronto soca/dance hall band called T Dot Boys.

Bitter Lemon has taken up the challenge of carrying on the tradition of how mas was. They have made a conscious decision to reject the barely there bikini, with the standard beads and feathers trend that now dominates the carnival experience. They are demonstrating that you don't have to embrace nudity to create a mas band. So if you feel you want to play mas, and contribute to the festival, but you don't want to go down the Lakeshore considerably more than half naked, then this might be your band. 

For more info, you can check out their website at www.bitterlemonmas.com
There mas camp is at 60 Barbados Blvd, Unit 2 and they have a grand opening blocko on Sunday June 12th, so you can go help keep the tradition alive. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bitter Lemon Carnival launches this Saturday

You are cordially invited to wedding of Radika and Ramjit during the ever-turbulent Monsoon Season. They have a family who know no boundaries and chaos and mayhem is to be expected and anticipated. Come join us!

Band Launch!- Saturday May 21st
Legion Hall 345: Victoria Park and Peard: Loads of free parking
8pm-midnight: Costumes on display at 10:30pm $10 adv/$15 door

DJ (Ian) Bad Lad, DJ Jay P. Williams, MC Dick Lochan, Chutney artist Joeezy, suprise Calypsonian...the Hummingbird Dance and Performing Company featuring Keith Pascall. Registration available on site! See you there!! $10 in advance, $15 at the door. 81 Peard Rd, Victoria Park/St. Clair (Legion Hall)MC DicK Lochan

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Costume selection causing disruption in my domestic affairs

I have to preface this post by saying that Karabana has washed her hands of this post and these are my opinions.
caribbeanstars.com(photo credit)

I have played mas in Toronto about 17 times. 11 of those times have been with Karabana at my side. In 16 of those 17 times I have played with the same band.
In the beginning, I started playing with them because they were the biggest, most successful band with the best entertainment (In my opinion). Over the years, as the parade changed, new hot bands came on the scene, I got older, and my stormer tolerance decreased. I began to notice that I enjoyed my experience a whole lot more if I went down the road earlier in the day.
Eventually, I told Karabana that I wanted to implement a rule to wait for the order of the bands to come out before we made a selection. We would wait until June, they would announce the order, and she didn’t have a problem finding a costume she liked among the first few bands.
This year, we hear, the bandleaders have decided to postpone this draw until mid July. Karabana is feeling the pressure to make a choice, and she is transferring this pressure to me and my rule. I don’t need stress in my relationship, this is my happy time of year. I have been playing mas long enough to realize Carnival is about woman. More importantly, I have been married long enough to realize this isn’t a difference of opinion I care to get my way on.
So, we are going to choose a costume blind of their parade position. For her, the most important factor is how much she likes the costume. I want to play mas freely without having to fight my way through thick crowds just to get out of the CNE grounds. You see the dilemma?
I know of two of the Class A bands who place security as a priority, and they display this by having fences around the band. I don’t know who, if any, of the other bands use ropes or fences. You all can let us know in the comments.

If I am being persuaded (I didn’t say forced) to choose a band without knowing their position in the parade, I think the least they can do is let us know what measures they plan on taking THIS YEAR to keep the non-costumed out of the band should lady luck put them in the back.

Am I being unreasonable? Let me know.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Caribana, er, Toronto International Carnival updates

Some Saldenah front lines were marked closed on Sunday.

Your designs are dynamite Daryl!
Frozen Abyss of Sirius (SOLD OUT AS OF MAY 24 weekend.)
Cosmic Bliss (SOLD OUT AS OF MAY 24 weekend.)

Galactic Tango (SOLD OUT AS OF MAY 25) Milky Way - Sold Out May 28Cyborg: SOLD OUT May 28
and Hailey's Comet (XPats)

Umbriel SOLD OUT as of June 14
Supernova SOLD OUT as of June 14

Solar Flare SOLD OUT AS OF JUNE 19

Keepers of the Universe
This is such a smart business idea, it's about time! Cute sneaks decorated to match your costume.
Lunar Eclipse

D Visitors

Cosmic Nebula
I'm extremely impressed with Saldenah's costumes, most designers had fun with the Outer Limits theme and worked in different materials/elements, especially Cyborg, D Visitors male and Supernova. The colours are overall super strong, as are the headpieces. Adjustments should be made to some to ensure that the beauty is functional (stays on), particularly the gorgeous Cosmic Bliss ultra front line.

This year presents the hardest decision yet as to not only what section to play in, but what band to play in. With all the A bands bringing their A game and putting out such fierce costumes, most masqueraders probably have many choices, including me!
As well, we heard this weekend that the order of the bands will be chosen the week before Jr. Carnival, so that is another big factor (for many) in deciding what band to play with.

What to do, what to do?

As to Caribana going back to being called Toronto International Carnival (or something else), I feel the same way about it as when I was first told about it on May 4th: steups, whatever! I'm not renaming my blog!I'm quite unimpressed with Caribana Arts Group chair Henry Gomez saying it will do everything in its power to prevent the festival from going forward. Wow, how nice! You want to kill something cultural that you created? Another big steups.
Louis Saldenah was quoted in the Toronto Star as saying:
"We’re glad that they changed the name. When we go to the private sector for sponsorship and they hear the name Caribana, it gives a negative vibe because of all the problems we had for years.”

Yahoo news article.
Carib2k11 is not without some bacchanal...

Caribana 2010 slideshow

Mardi Gras, Hamilton

Mardi Gras, Hamilton

Blog Archive

J'ouvert 2008!

J'ouvert 2008!

Mardi Gras 2010

Buublenut, Megan & Karabana at Caribana 2007!

http://www.westindiantube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=bcbeece3d9128ae855 a7


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