- Soca 2019! -

Friday, June 24, 2011

Get that bumper ready!

It's time to get serious gyrls about fitting into those skimpy costumes!

GoodLife Fitness Membership Consultant Janelle says she's fully aware it's Caribana crunch time, just under two months left and everybody is hustling to get the body just right to have it adorned in the fabulous costumes. So she wants to reach out with some information and a special promo. GoodLife Fitness has lots of summer promotions taking place right now on fitness memberships - where you can get full access - group excercise classes, tons of equipment, and over 280 locations nationwide...many being 24 hr locations. She can offer a free 1 week all access pass to anyone who wants to try out the gym and see if this is the route they want to take to get the best Caribana body.

They provide excellent and exciting classes such as Zumba, a hip hop dance class called BODY JAM, a bootcamp style class called BODY ATTACK, Yoga, Pilates, a weight training class called BODY PUMP, Spinning (Spin class), Step, a 1/2 hr strictly abs called AWESOME ABS and more.
GoodLife also has excellent promotions on short-term personal training packages where you can get 60% off!

Right now Janelle has a promotion she can offer Karabana readers for the next 2 weeks: you can get started on a membership for $0. No hidden fees. The membership would include access to all our equipment and group exercise classes, as well as all of their over 280 locations.

Show Off Soca Queen!

Anybody who is interested can contact her at this email address: Janelle.Powell@Goodlifemakesiteasy.com

Janelle S. Powell
Membership Consultant
GoodLife Fitness (St.Clair/Yonge Coed Club)
12 St. Clair Avenue East
Toronto ON M4T 1L7
Tel: (416) 927-8042

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The cost of Caribana

Do we all have fabulously feathered, diamond and gold crown dreams like Rio Carnivale Samba Queen Luiza Brune?

I remember in 2008 when the A band costume price jumped from $110-$120 to $140, and being shocked. So costumes are maxing at $185 now. Some front lines and ultras are $500. What are these expensive mas materials that have resulted in such a price increase? 24 carat gold wiring? Swarovski crystals, not rhinestones? Um, no, the usual feathers and plumes. Last year I honestly couldn’t get over how some front lines were actually called front lines when they were seriously lacking in any extras. Are we getting something else that we didn’t get 3 years ago? No, only one band provides extras such as port-a-potties, an air conditioned bus, & the top soca star Machel. (and Toronto Revellers costumes are $10 less.)

For Trinidad Carnival, where Caribana takes its cues from, masqueraders like to justify paying $500+ because they have 2 days of playing mas (although many don’t wear their costume on both days, resulting in another expense, Monday wear). Many bands are all inclusive, so you have endless alcohol & some food.

But Caribana isn’t Carnival. We can’t serve liquor, and ours is a one day parade. There’s nowhere near the amount of masqueraders who go to Hamilton Mardi Gras & Barrie Caribfest. Which is personally fine with me, I like the fact that these two carnivals are smaller and give you a different vibe.

That got me to thinking why someone would pay double for feathers? I imagine when seeing a captivating costume in all its gigantic glory, you become overcome with a grand diva fantasy and realize you MUST wear it on the Lakeshore. Cost is beside the point. Frontline isn’t for everyone – personally, my fabulously frugal nature won’t allow me to pay that amount for anything that I can’t utilize. i.e. what do I do with all those feathers after wards??? Nothing. As well, knowing how much of a mash up the Lakeshore is, & how costumes get destroyed, I know how annoyed I’d be wearing a target on my back. I also don’t want to be encumbered, playing mas isn’t about posing for me, I need to have space & feel free to jump if I want.

The costume is just the start, there is footwear to consider. I'd say about 5 years ago, boots hit the parade in a noticeable way, another Trinidad influence. If you score a pair at the end of spring, you can go as low as the very reasonable $10. But many people buy them now, and pay the (high) price.

Louboutin's to die for, and on the road, fall for

Then there are those who go with professional makeup, body paint, hair, nails...

Daring divas deserve diamond manicures

What are your thoughts on the rising cost of playing mas, particularly the (on average) almost double in price front lines? Are you buying that the cost of materials has risen (like the last 2 years when the poor economy and then recession was to blame)? Do you even mind, and figure it's the price of playing mas now?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CAG decides not to try to file and an injunction to stop the festival

I pulled this from here The Toronto star

The Caribana Arts Group says it’s putting the community first and won’t be going to court in an attempt to block this summer’s street festival.
However, the embattled Caribana group filed papers in court on Tuesday in an attempt to reach a licensing deal over the wildly popular celebration, which attracts more than a million people each summer.
The Caribana group had the power to file for an injunction to block the festival, but decided otherwise, Caribana Arts Group secretary/assistant treasurer Knia George Singh said Tuesday.
“An injunction would also leave the community with a sense of something missing, a sense of a great atrocity that has taken place,” Singh said. “It would leave the airlines, hotels, restaurants and retail outlets missing on that great weekend where downtown Toronto is a buzz with economic excitement, flavour and festivities.”
Amid allegations of financial mismanagement, the city appointed the Festival Management Committee to manage to festival in 2006.
Singh said the Caribana group retained intellectual property rights as the owners and creator of the festival.
A court ruled last month that the new directors of the summer party can’t use the Caribana name. It’s now known as the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto.
Singh said his group has met with three city councillors between January and March of this year in an attempt to end the dispute.
Celebrations began back in 1967 as part of Canada's centennial celebrations.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just who does Caribana belong to?

You might notice I have been a little quiet since the last band launch. I’m finding it hard to sit down and write something. There is lots going on, but I’ve been in a kinda sour mood and I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I think I figured it out. I’m kinda upset that the TMBA, CAG, OCAP and OSA (mostly the first two) can’t come together and work this mess out without involving the courts.... no wonder the city had to mandate a management committee.
The thing that’s really bugging me is that if you google “Caribana news” all you are seeing on the first page is negative press about how the stakeholders in our community can’t work stuff out among themselves and need to get external arbitration to get anything done.
You know, this is back to the early 2000’s again, before the advent of social media and the only news you saw in mainstream media was about violence or some financial scandal. This is embarrassing. The only thing that the majority of Torontonians know about Caribana is what they read in the papers. We have to do better than this.
I think the former CCC has to be given the credit they deserve for administering the festival for almost 40 years. I used the word administer as opposed to build, because I don’t believe the CCC is the only group than needs to be credited with building the festival. The CCC, bandleaders, calypsonians, steel band members, countless volunteers (in mas camps, in administration, in panyards and everywhere else), the food vendors, party promoters, masqueraders, who are often ignored as stakeholders (if you ever wondered which single group kicks in the most money towards the parade, it’s the masqueraders.) Plus anyone who has attended and supported any Caribana event over the years.  These are all the people who built the festival. It is not the sole property of any of these groups. No one group owns this thing, it is owned by all of us.
Although it belongs to us all, we can’t all steer the ship. And the CCC shouldered the responsibility to steer the ship for 38 years and they must be respected for that.
The new CAG has to continue to embrace change and realize that other groups who built the festival now have a seat at the management table, and they must all pull in one direction to help the festival grow.  It’s time to build bridges, not burn them. 
Men throwing out rhetoric like the city has taken over the festival, but,  It’s the same foot soldiers who do the heavy lifting who are actually running the show and they have been around often for 20 or 30 years. These people have been working hard all these years and are still there working hard, so what’s the problem?  It’s not like the FMC is some foreign group that has swept in and taken over, its the same faces who been here from ever since. Who is it that you don’t recognize?
Another set of you all complain about Scotiabank’s relationship with the festival. They think that we have sold Caribana to them. They are the title sponsor... they put up more money than any other private company, so they get the rights to splash their name all over everything.  Sure, they get lots of publicity and goodwill from the deal, but I would say that the festival has gotten a great deal more out of the arrangement.
Scotiabank came forward as a sponsor at a time when companies weren’t exactly beating a path to Caribana’s door.  They came in at a time when the only press we were getting was negative, usually focusing on funding, lack of accountability and violence. Did Scotia get a bargain on their first contract? ...probably so. But, what did they bring to the table?
They brought credibility. Other companies realize that if Scotia is willing to associate their name with the festival, then they can’t be that bad. Has anyone noticed the new list of corporate sponsors on the festival website now?  It wasn’t always like that.
They also brought in accountability. There is a big difference between applying for yearly government funding and making a call with a corporate sponsor to discuss next year’s advertising budget.
 And the TMBA can’t get off so easy from my rant. The next thing that is bugging me is that
they won’t announce the order of the bands. I know why they are doing this and I bitch about the crowd control issues in every other post, but I don’t care.  I know that if the city would give us more police, that it would be a lot better, or if the city would let us spread the parade out in the downtown core so the crowd would be more dispersed, it would be a lot better, and none of these things are within the control of the TMBA. But I am a masquerader and there are somewhere around 8 or 9 thousand of us and we kick in about $200 each, so being really conservative, we bring at least $2 million to the table for the privilege of being the showcase of the festival. I don’t think that this decision makes me feel respected as a contributor.
Who exactly benefits from delaying this announcement for another month? The two biggest bands have their core supporters and will hit their 2,000 members regardless where they are in the order of bands. They approached these numbers within 2 weeks of their launches. Our third biggest band will easily surpass 1,000. And the medium sized bands also have their loyal supporters that they count on every year. I think there is a pretty small group of undecided masqueraders who base their decision on band position... it’s not a very popular viewpoint.
 Whoever was pushing for this new policy, are you seeing the ranks of your band swell past previous years? Is the distribution now spread evenly among all bands?  I might be in the minority, but why are you pissing me off? Picture this, if I am a masquerader who wants to go down the road in one of the top 3 positions, and I feel strong enough that I’m willing to wait until mid July to hear the announcement, then they aren't a mas fanatic. If you make them wait until mid July to try and find a costume, there is a strong chance that they won’t find something they really like and they will just skip playing altogether.
I don’t fall into that category, we already picked a band to play with, but I know people who usually play and who haven’t registered yet and believe me, they are on the fence about playing, and once you lose them, they might be gone for good.
I have no fear everything is going to work out, and we planning to make the trek down to DC for their carnival so I'll be in a better mood soon.

One Love, love that price!

Section leader Trisha Strachan of One Love in Tribal Knights is currently pricing the costume on sale for $140. They are calling it their throw back price, to remember the days of when the price for a costume was $140. They are also having a draw for 1 free blackberry for one person in their section.

Costumes was displayed at Afro Chic's Cultural Arts Exhibit on June 11.
Great price, & nice to see the alternate black version, giving people a choice in colour.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Respect The Mas - Caribana 2011

This guy on facebook is trying to get a little social media action going to get the message out to keep non masqueraders out of bands during the parade. check out the site and lets help him get the message out

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Mas camp visit - Toronto Revellers

When we visited Toronto Revellers mas camp, I was pleased with how volunteers and some section leaders/designers were available to provide information and answer questions.
There are some fun, creative costume designs, with Courage and Heartless (and Tin Man male) portraying their name and the Oz theme well. Many have the monokini, tankini, or corset on display, which is helpful to get a visual of the options, not just see the standard bikini.

It's unfortunate to not be able to touch the costumes though. I'm like most people I think, in that I'm hands on when it comes to costumes, I like to feel the materials and certainly try on headpieces.

Yellow Brick Road frontline is sold out as of June 3, and Wicked and Heartless are about to be sold out.

It's wonderful to see that kids costumes are decent mini replicas of the adult costumes. Designers put the same care and detail into them, and are giving kids a costume like mom's or dad's. I think they will make quite a showing at Junior Carnival.

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!

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