Commissioned to do this recap video of the party put on by the “Dj Flip” team.
Smile 4: Smile on the Lakeshore
The party itself was hype, so It was a pleasure to do it. Would love to do more.
Commissioned to do this recap video of the party put on by the “Dj Flip” team.
The party itself was hype, so It was a pleasure to do it. Would love to do more.
Well the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival (SCC) has now come and gone and with it many complaints and praises. but surprisingly from the wrong side of field for each.
This, for all intents and purposes, is a rant folks.
Since the fall of what was known as “Caribana”, SCC has taken it over and has, more or less, improved what was really a shy mirror to what you’d expect to see when it’s carnival time in a respectable Caribbean atmosphere. Since I haven’t been to one I have nothing to accurately compare it to, but there’s both an up side and down side to that; which I will get to later.
Let’s start with Thursday.
Dr. Jay, who is essentially the foremost known DJ in Canada when it comes to Soca music, (Just ask Iwer George) threw his annual “Re-Jouvert-nate”. It was as good as it’s always been. With performances from Problem child and Skinny Fab, you can’t go wrong. The atmosphere and vibes were just nice… as were the women.
Friday was prep day for many. Which is where my issues really come from. News came to me that some of the bigger bands were only handing out costumes on the Friday for either a section or in general which, in personal opinion, is ludicrous. Bands should have had all costumes finished by the Tuesday latest and sent out by Thursday leaving Fri to be the day to make any necessary adjustments. Especially considering that most registration took place way back in April/May and many sections were sold out before the end of that said month. I think, given their instagram feed, Toronto Revellers were the only ones who were saying come and play with us ’till the very end before SCC. One band apparently had soon to be masqueraders waiting 5 plus hours (No names though) for their costumes. That is utterly ridiculous. Sadly I wasn’t able to attend “Pan Alive” as I had planned.
Saturday. This serves as your disclaimer. Due to two prior altercations before I even got to the CNE, and the belief I had lost my wallet, I didn’t take many pics this year.
So I got there, finally, safe and sound after deciding to walk there since I was #6 on the road, entered and was shocked that it was so easy to get in without any formal search. Not that I wanted a pat down, but as a safety measure, it would have been nice to have just that small bit of reassurance that some level of checking was done giving the more tragic side of Caribana’s/SCC’s past. I was even more bewildered that not many knew where to go. I had a general idea of where to go since I had seen that the parade route before hand and the mas set up was pushed back towards the “Medieval Times” building. But, as I said, there wasn’t many who knew where exactly to go or how best to get there or if that was even the confirmed spot to go to (I’m looking at you, you scarce parade marshals and organizing officials). I asked one person he looked me dead ass serious saying:
Luckily, I had recognized some mas costumes from both Revellers and Saldenah so I followed them and I got to where I needed. maybe 45 mins after getting to the mas set up area, we were on road. Which was fairly simple. We passed one judging point, and were well on our way to this apparent second judging point. Which, for the sake of reasoning, can ANYONE explain to me why there were two judging points? it was at this point that everything kinda went down hill in terms of wallet going missing and the parade becoming a problem for many others who paid to play mas. I will say this first; for quite some time I was a “non payer” to the event formally known as Caribana, so in many ways, I side with them, “the stormers“. From since I was small I have witnessed people hopping the fences to join the masqueraders down the Lakeshore. I never had an issue aside from the hip-hop/rap truck and the reggae truck in my frequent attendance at this event in past. Both of which I didn’t see this year (but for the life of me, I can’t fathom why any sensible person would want the hip-hop truck there considering most of the negativity and ignorance that, that genre of music promotes on the regular at the parade. And PLEASE don’t try to use conscious rap as a valid argument. You know damn well they won’t play that at on the road.). The hip-hop/rap genre of music really doesn’t fit the vibe of the carnival in honest opinion. But, as usual, money still has to be made. Any who, on the flip side, my mother has been participating with creating and making mas just as long as I’ve been half an egg and a sperm cell. She instilled in me an appreciation for the hard work that goes into making these costumes for so many. Furthermore, she always took me to see the “King and Queen” show where the bigger costumes would be judged and showcased. Since this year I was playing mas, I was hoping to catch a different vibe. I can certainly say, paying big dollars is almost a waste in Toronto as there was no difference to getting on the road. The “Stormers” (is it wrong that I think of storm troopers every time I say that word?) caused such an issue at this apparent second stage of judging (and most of the road I’m hearing), that no one could get back (as I was trying to find my wallet), some bands and some band sections apparently couldn’t cross said stage, and that “judging” couldn’t even take place as a whole since there were so many just “interrupting” the progress. Dr Jay had a series of tweets venting about how the organizers and parade marshals didn’t do enough to clear the stormers off the parade route much less give a clearing so each band could be judged. Also mentioned that there wasn’t in terms of notifying where the judging point was so that mas players could get organized to display their costume properly. For a minute, I will be honest. There isn’t much ONE single wo/man can do to stop hundreds of thousands of people from going wherever, but something can be done. This year I noticed most bands made no effort to lock off their band with orange fencing, rope, or the combination of the two with some skinny pieces of wood. If this be the new parade route and trend for mas bands going forward, I would suggest building some sort of actual stage (maybe closer to the assembly area) so that the rest of the road can be the party it seems to want to be each year. or if you insist on fencing, build it high enough and add barbwire or make it similar to the indy races fencing scheme. It obviously sucks that it must come to that, but in order to keep it mas friendly, how else can you prevent it? (you can sound off in the comment section below) In addition to this, its important to remember something. Not only do fences keep people out, they keep people in. So, even if you wanted to clear them off the road, you have to give them an exit point as well (typically close to the same place one can enter the parade route). Soon after accepting my loss wallet, I left to go home and slept. It was on hell of a good sleep. *UPDATE* OUT OF THE 9 BANDS (NOT ALL WERE ABLE TO COMPETE) THE WINNER FOR BAND OF THE YEAR WAS SELECTED: Toronto Carnival Band Of The Year Results: 1) Nationz 2) Saldenah 3) Revellers. I find this troubling as to what exactly did they have to choose from? However it was basically a no brainer as Nationz had won everything else mas wise prior to the parade. First time ever one band swept everything.
Sunday. I decided to try something different from the normal fete choices like Fire Fete (before someone takes that the wrong way, THIS IS NOT A DISS). I went to more of a lime than anything at the olympic island(one of the many Toronto island clusters, just to the left of centre island). It was honestly well worth it. granted there could have been more but it started from around 10 am and went to about 9:30 PM with musical acts like Blaxx, Iwer George, Pan Phantasy, Tallpree and more. I would say it was basically a Fire Fete, before Fire Fete. There was LOT of room to hold hundreds more. What I felt was wrong or off about it was the fact it ended at 9:30. Once the bigger acts came on, the crowd responded and was ready to move and party. Time really flew by once the performances started (I got pics and video coming shortly for this event). But the biggest highlight for me was talking to the CEO (Knia Singh of the brand known as Caribana. We talked about his vision for the fateful day of when he and his team can reacquire whats now known as SCC. He is very ambitious in that desire. Obviously at the moment, what he wants is a bit of a long shot, but to try to sum it up, he wants to bring back the festivities of old to the younger generation so they can one day carry it forward as well but with way more accountability. I would suggest that after this year, Mr. Singh may have a real good shot at doing so.
He was right. I don’t think Scotiabank took in how much of a community setting Caribana was (or tried to be). We discussed many things like the process of making mas and I informed him that some/certain bands (for some reason) ship parts of the mas making responsibilities to “China” and he said one of the greatest things. “Why not ship it back home to Trinidad or just anywhere in the Caribbean?” and I told him he’s right. I don’t want this to come off as a racial thing, but for a moment think of it this way. So much of what the black community is/was has been “sold out” to others where we then lose out on passing it down/forward to future generations (I don’t just mean Caribana either). Does anyone remember/know of black wall Street? I’m not saying China doesn’t need the business from this, I’m not saying that the Chinese can’t make or even participate in making/playing mas (that’s just all kinds of ignorant). I just personally feel that if we, as a whole or even an individual, are gonna let someone profit off this thing (which no matter what will be the typical elected official) why not share the wealth within the same place this all started? I obviously don’t know if, in the caribbean they do the same thing by shipping it out, but I see it like this. A few years ago some Canadian politician said that making our own Canadian flag in China was “wrong” (I want to say it was the late Jim Flaherty) so technically this is no different than our national flag.. Since this style of mas is predominately a caribbean thing, why are we letting “others” make our thing? Again, this isn’t a race thing, this is just about keeping something within our community and within our culture. Yes! I know there are all walks of life in the caribbean from Black, White, Asian, Dougla, etc. But being able to give back to them from up here, I think would serve a higher purpose then waiting for whoever is going back “home” and filling up their luggage with things to take back, or sending barrel after barrel to aid members of the family still back “home” or just its citizens in general.
As for Monday, I went to Smile 4 and took video coverage for that, so be on the look out for that.
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The wonderful Darling Nicky brings you news and updates for the 2013 Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto. With The Grand Parade taking place August 3, 2013
The 46th Annual Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival returns with improvements to the Grand Parade route and an expanded list of events
Scotiabank Extends its Title Sponsorship of Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival for three years
May 21, 2013 (Toronto) The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival kicked off today with music and dancing at the Ontario Science Centre. MPP Laura Albanese, (York South-Weston) Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport helped unveil the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival 2013 campaign this morning.
The Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival will run from July 9, 2013 toAugust 4, 2013, and once again bring the culture of the Caribbean to over a million spectators in downtown Toronto. The public launch will take place onJuly 9, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. at Toronto’s Nathan Phillip’s Square, where dancers, musicians, and calypso singers will get the city into the Carnival spirit.
“The funding from our sponsors means that the Festival can continue to deliver new…
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Now even though the title says Tiff.. Its not about the Toronto international film festival. But rather the Caribbean Tales Toronto Film Showcase, and on this night it was a Trinibago themed night, so the name only seemed fitting (however I don’t believe its affiliated with the Toronto intl film fest).
The main feature, wasn’t for any live actor, but for a black muppet.. By the name of Santana…
Yes that one. so as we go along, I shall be giving you a brief description of the event, the films. And along the way, giving you more santana shorts.. Like this one:
The night started with a CEO Frances-Anne Solomon who runs the event giving the audience a nice joke and telling us about the organization and all that we were to expect. Then it was time for the first movie…
“Reality check“: A celebrity has to get ready for some kind of show but when the time comes to bring it, we notice not everything is as it appears.
– This short film was the worst. Granted, its a film that only had 48 hrs to be made. I just felt the story wasn’t clear at all. The actors were decent for the principle of what this was to be. But over all.. It wasn’t as great as it could have been with the way it ends with telling the audience to get checked for cancer. I blame the editor.
“Pothound“: A day in the life of a vagrant dog hero.
-this may have been the most family themed movie, and easily second best on the bill. Its a little on the stereotypical side, but once you over look that. Its easy to fall in love with this movie. Can I get a sequel?
“Fish“: when two men try to better themselves off another’s work, someone will end up sleeping with the fishes.
-the is the 3rd best. If not tied for any of the other top two. The shot selection, the dialogue the editing was all above what I expected, especially with a film with that title. It has a lot in this movie. And its very clear to under stand.. Even with all the flashbacks. Great piece of work.
Now time to get to the few documentaries on the bill. The first is…”Directions” have you ever asked a Trini for directions?
-this was hilarious if you’re a born Canadian, adopted, foster child, etc with trini parents/relatives then you know already what this. Film is talking about. When you ask a trini for directions. You won’t ever get a clear answer, or the right answer. The challenge was to get to the infamous “Green Corner”… Let’s just say, we didn’t get a clear answer.
Power of the Vagina: just how and why the vagina is so powerful.
-it was a nice attempt but.. To me it failed. I still got a few kicks, and maybe learned something new, but I wasn’t all that entertained by this. Some of the people they interviewed seemed to not know a lot.
Be wise: One woman stand up in the face of adversity to help save an ecosystem, with the aid of bees.
-When this movie started I didn’t know what it was.. The end result makes you think you watched one of those “apart of our heritage” commercials that were frequent in the 90’s (a canadian thing) because you just don’t entirely know if its a true story or just.. A work of fiction either way.. This wasn’t on my list for the night.
Mr. Crab: a son recounts his fear of crabs as his father searches for him.
-as much as wanted to like this… I just couldn’t. I know of the male who played the father from a previous play of his so I had wanted to. But the premise was either missing or it went entirely over my head. But from the audience reaction.. I don’t think anyone got or understood it. Minus one random scene, it was ok.. For a one time watch.
Next was the Kes video.. The speaker said she featured it so people can see that caribbean videos aren’t always just naked women wining (whining) their waist. It was partially effect for that.. She added she likes video’s that tell a story.. I don’t watch video’s because its usually the same thing… Or some kind of rubbish. Not dissing.. I just don’t like music vids. This sadly was no different. ¬__¬
OUR FEATURE FILM… Now I was introduced to this web series thru a friend never did I think it would soon become a movie. No. But I’m glad it did and thanks to my friend “Trini” for letting me know.
This one is about a love hexagon (6 people), Janice, Sookdeo, Santana, Angelia, Pastor stewart, Kizzy. This film, to not give away any spoilers, was just simply amazing. Roger Alexis did an amazing job handling what made the web shorts so great in a 73 min run time. No character is left out, no question is left unanswered that may have been brought up in previous shorts. There may be one flaw, but it doesn’t take away from the over all enjoyment. Careful not to laugh too loud cause you might miss a joke or two. I won’t get into as much detail as my other reviews, just know if you pay to see this movie, it won’t be wasted. I’m really hoping there’s a sequel, and that it can get a lager audience so that all can enjoy it instead of just one night. The fact that it sold out shows there’s a demand.
Next time this comes around, I’ll post about it. Go out, enjoy the art of cinema.. And enjoy the last of these Santana videos, WARNING… It does contain spoilers.
THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!
– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW