- Soca 2019! -

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Socialize, Energize, Exercise!

I attended my first Socialize, Energize, Exercise ladies night, presented by Simply Shakera and hosted by the Malton Moms.  

 After getting to know the fun group of ladies, we were given some basic Latin dance instructions by Shakera.  Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious, you can't help but smile the entire time.

No kidding Dress to Sweat! We got our heart rates up sweating to the Latin vibes and trying to do Shakera proud with our newly learned dance moves. Everyone enjoyed this not too big, not too small, but just right class size, and it was fun to see that even a few wee tots took part.

The next Socialize, Energize, Exercise is Friday, June 26. The theme will be Too Young to Soca, so expect some old school Soca tunes, just in time to get you ready for Toronto Carnival. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Durham Mas band launch

 Winterlude and Northern Lights

The new band for Toronto Carnival 2015, Durham Mas, launched Seasons of Change at the Junction. 

Spring Bling
Designers produced some very pretty, well made costumes, including this frontline for Spring Bling, my favourite.
Summer Blooms
I really like that they added this fantastic rhinestone necklace, and the monokini below is one of the best I've seen.

Autumn Dance

Sunday, May 17, 2015

DeRegulars band launch

DeRegulars launched their Caribbean Spectacle at D'Pavilion at 12:30.

Designer Ross Alleyne brought his talents to the band and designed several sections.
 I like the furry look of this bra and the horned headpiece. Nice chained waistband as well.

 Very revealing zippered monokini, I like the jewels.
 This monokini is very well made and flattering. Both ladies here showed their costumes well to the audience and photographers so they get the Models with the Most nod.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

What are the fences for?

 Photo credit blogTO.com

There is no band launch this weekend, so I’m going to take this respite to talk about the biggest threat to our festival… crowd control.

Why are scarce funds being spent on fencing off the Lakeshore?

Is it time to try something different?

The managers of the parade have been fencing it since we were exiled out of the city core. The main purpose of the fences is to separate spectators from parade participants (masqueraders). 
How’s that working out for you?

I don’t think anyone but the fence company is happy with this arrangement. Spectators, who want to come and watch the parade from the sidelines, hate to be stuck behind a tall fence. They can’t see the parade. All of their photos have ugly fences in them and they can’t interact with people they know in the parade.
Stormers don’t like the fences either. It doesn’t keep them out, but it slows them down when they have to leave the band to get a beer or take a leak. Let me define who I refer to as a stormer.  A stormer is a person who enters a paid or invitation only event without paying or being invited. You can storm a party, a wedding, a sports event or in this case, a parade.
I’m not referring  to spectators who breach the ugly fences and remain on the sidelines to watch the parade and take pictures. That’s what parade spectators should do. And if they see a friend in the parade and go and hug them and take a little wine, maybe snap a selfie and then return to the sidelines, I don’t call you a stormer. I have no issue with you.
Where you cross the line is when you enter the parade in the middle of the peoples band and want to jump up the whole day. That is what the masqueraders paid for. And if you want to jump up the whole day, you need to play mas, or wine to the side.

Who are the fences keeping out?

The fences are keeping out the true spectators who would gladly obey the rules. They see a fence, so they stay behind it. They see some hooligan cut a hole in the fence, and they don’t walk through it. They stay behind it with their family members and complain that there is a fence obstructing their view and that all these people in street clothes have overrun the parade, so there is nothing to see anyway.

If there are no fences doesn’t that mean that the parade will be completely overrun?

That sparse section on the right is the fenced off area for spectators.. not too many people
I hate to break it to you, but, anyone who wants to go and jump up in the band does so with minimal obstruction. All they do is walk along the fence until they see a spot that someone has opened it. The fence isn’t keeping ANYONE out. What the fence is doing is obstructing the view of the people who don’t care to storm the band.
You can see from the above picture that there are more spectators inside the band than there are behind the fence. The FENCE IS NOT WORKING….. Hellooooo? Can anybody hear me? Why are you throwing away money on the fence year after year after year?

What portion of the annual budget goes towards all this fencing? Let me tell you, it’s a pretty closely guarded secret. Somebody doesn’t want you to know what that number is.

How do we keep stormers out of the band?
Most stormers see an opportunity to go and jump up for free and take advantage. Once they breach the fence they don’t see anyone stopping them.

I think the fence money needs to go to the bandleaders who can use it to rope off the bands using volunteers in t-shirts. Only bandleaders are responsible to masqueraders (their customers). The leader of the FMC has publicly stated a couple of times that the interests of masqueraders as a group just hasn’t been on their radar in the past.
All the friends and family who wear marshal shirts, let them hold a rope. Just hold it, don’t fight anybody, don’t argue with anyone, don’t even give them cut eye. This will separate the sheep from the goats and deter maybe two thirds of the people who are currently entering the bands.
For the other third of hardcore stormers who are bold enough to jump the rope, that is where you have paid security and marshals who will ask them to leave the band please.  Some will leave voluntarily.
You can’t physically throw them out. This isn't Trinidad. If the remaining stubborn folks stay in the band and don’t bother anyone, that’s OK. If they start to harass masqueraders, then paid security can bring the behavior to the attention of police. 
Deploy four or five uniformed officers for every thousand masqueraders in a band (we are paying for paid duty officers anyway). The job of the Toronto Police is not to keep stormers out. They are there to protect the peace. By just being on a public street, stormers aren’t breaking any law.

Also, ladies, if you don’t like having your band overrun to the point that you can’t even be judged, don’t wine on a man without a costume. 

And fellas, if you see a guy behaving inappropriately and disrespecting our culture by pointing a video camera between some woman's legs or forcefully wining on or grabbing a woman who doesn’t welcome the attention: please get a marshal and round up some strong-men or security and let these guys know that this is unacceptable. It is our responsibility to protect our women. The parade needs to be a safe place for them. Fences don’t stop bad behavior, people do.

We can’t just do the same thing over and over and wonder why our crowd control issues get worse every year. Last year, only four out of eight bands were able to be judged because spectators overran the stage.
A backline costume now costs about $250. Each band is only on the route maybe 4 or 5 hours. For that kind of money, masqueraders expect to be able to play their mas unencumbered.
These fences are not doing the job and it is getting worse every year.
Proper truck skirting in Trinidad Carnival    Photo credit writeronthemove.com
Another issue that needs to be addressed is, why are we letting trucks onto the parade route that aren’t skirted? How many more people need to be killed by parade vehicles? I can’t believe this still needs to be debated. Do we have so little regard for our patrons? No skirts… no entrance.
This is not an unpredictable outcome. People are going to be drunk. They will be dancing inches away from 18 wheelers, people will climb on and off moving trucks, and YOU have fenced us into a narrow 3 lane stretch of pavement with thousands of sweaty revellers. People are going to die … people have died. We need to cover the side of the trucks so you cannot easily be crushed under the wheels. Take some fence money and attach some plywood … it’s not that complicated. To not do it, is grossly negligent. I can’t believe their insurance company doesn’t insist on this.
Don't make me start posting photos of un-skirted trucks with your sponsor's banner in the background. Do the right thing. 
I am no logistics expert, so call me out if I am talking nonsense.  Let me know what you think should be done.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Toronto Revellers Torch band launch

Toronto Revellers held their Torch band launch at The Armenian Community Centre. The presentation began at 11:45 and finished at almost 1:00.  Jamaal Magloire explained that as he's the ambassador for the Pan Am Games coming this summer,  the bands' theme is for the Pan Am Games. 

These fantastic dancers opened the evening, including this guy who broke free from being shrouded on the stage. 

 Carrying the torch, lighting the flame, and opening the games.


This section really stood out to me, with the very first model who presented it. 
We've not seen a body suit exactly like this for Toronto before, and that fringe is ideal for mas movement. I referred to it as the yellow costume, based on the material, but really yellow isn't the dominant colour in the costume, it's teal. That one feathered shoulder is a terrific fun design.  The tri-coloured fringe and feathers in the massive headpiece are a sensational mixture. I like the fringed monokini costume & headpiece the most.  
Excitement was easily my favourite.  



Ms Pachi here put on another great performance, particularly when she gave her encore to Party Done, so she gets my Model with the Most nod.
Speaking of the frontline encore, great idea Revellers, it was much appreciated I'm sure by all to get a second look. Also many models went through the audience afterwards, danced with guests and posed for pictures, which the crowd can appreciate. At most launches, models quickly go back stage and remove the costume, which I always think is a shame, because after all that time having their makeup done, why not show it off a bit longer?

Some other notable costumes for me were Wing of Victory frontline bodysuit, Passion frontline headpiece and Harmony frontline bodysuit.

Toronto Revellers designers went bare, they went bold, they got creative, had fun, and even kept some costumes conservative (well, as conservative as bikini mas can be.)

What do you think of Torch?

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