Smile 4: Smile On The Lakeshore

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.

Carib… I Mean, Scotiabank (Toronto) Caribbean Carnival

 

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.

cred: Teeography (Tee Teeography Murphy)
cred: Teeography (Tee Teeography Murphy)

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.

Caribana routeSo 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:

ELEW:(my question) Where do the mas players go?
SCC MEMBER (SCC.M)”Well, horse I ain’t know where that is nuh… that.. that ain’t my department.”
ELEW: but…. Ok. No thanks for you
SCC.M: no problem.

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.

“Look around you what do you see. Scotiabank. This isn’t a cultural event anymore, this isn’t a community event, it’s a corporate ad.”
-Knia Singh

 

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.

UPDATE:

PHOTO’S ARE UP

 

https://www.facebook.com/eLEWsiveThoughts – FOR MORE! (LIKE THE PAGE!!! TAG YOUR FRIENDS)

Contemplation Music Video – An Essenex/ Juggernaut Production

Contemplation.

The hit song from his debut album “The Grand Movement”. Papa Grand A.K.A. the Gemini award winning actor, Garry James.

eLEWsive Thohoughts – Scotiabank Toronto Caribbean Carnival – Caribana 2013

If you like any of the pics you or your friends are in you can now purchase that photo (original, no watermark) for $1 or have it edited your in a fashion you’d like with the original for $5 (no watermark) (NOTE: THIS GOES FOR ANY OTHER PICTURE THAT I’VE TAKEN AND OR POSTED)

Theme this year was “Rookie\Tourist”. Be sure to see the Facebook gallery.

DONT FORGET TO TAG/SHOW YOUR FRIENDS.

2013 Scotiabank Caribana™ Band of the Year (Category A)
RANK – THEME – MAS BAND (BANDLEADER) – SCORE

1st HEAVEN AND EARTH – The Hyper Physical Being – Louis Saldenah Mas-K Club (Louis Saldenah) – 452
2nd THE REEF – King Crab – Carnival Nationz – (Marcus Eustace) – 447
3rd 007, MAS NEVER DIES – Moonraker – Toronto Revellers (Jamaal Magloire) – 429

2013 Scotiabank Caribana™ Band of the Year (Category B&C)
RANK – THEME – MAS BAND (BANDLEADER) – SCORE

1st THE SPIRIT OF CARNIVAL – Home for Carnival – Carnival Revolution (Osei Brand) – 378
2nd CHIEF MALABOCH’S LAST STAND– Celebrating our Heritage – Concept Costume Creators (Whitfield Belasco) – 353
3rd MAMA THIS IS MAS – D’Regulars (Michael Williams) – 351

Judging Criteria:

Each band must portray a theme suitable of the Carnival masquerade tradition, and a panel of volunteer judges will adjudicate each band based on the following criteria: Visual Impact (max. 20 marks); Authenticity (10); Creativity (20); Mas on the Move (10); Clarity of Theme (10); Presentation (20); and Craftsmanship (10) for a total of 100 marks. The order of merit is determined by discarding the highest and lowest score per participant. The judges’ decision is final, and is announced at the end of the parade.

Life Ah Di Party Recap Video.

Life-Problem Child, live in Toronto at SVG Lounge, Life Ah Di Party. Performing songs like Riot, Wine Up Stink and more. See all that went down on June 22nd, this is a #Lewsysem ExcLEWsive.

There’s Also a video interview coming very soon, so keep on the look out for that.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace”. Your eLEWsive Thought Provided by: “LEW System”

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

Video Of The Day: The Daily Show Weighs In on Rob Ford

Haha, get it weighs in. Anyway, this was funny to me right up to the point where they made it seem like a nation wide thing in the second half. I didn’t even know some of these events happen from our dear mayor. Hate him or love him, he does give us something to laugh at either way. I won’t get into politics on here (now) so just enjoy the humour this brings.

2013 Black Sage Band Launch: Spice Of Life

2013 Black Sage Band Launch: “Spice Of Life

Photos taken by: Xavier Lewis.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW

Tiff

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

Kiddies Carnival 2K12 Toronto

Well, Toronto’s “Kiddies Carnival” has passed and TSM was on hand to DJ, MC and take photo’s of the event. You can see them here and even more on our Facebook fan page. Be sure to tell your friends and like the fan page while you’re there.

Hometown Spotlight

Hey, hello, hi! My name is Chi and welcome to my dojo. I am the newest member in TSM, and I am beyond excited.

Now, onto my little project entitled ‘Hometown Spotlight’. I have always tried to support local artists who are serious about their career in the city, especially since it’s hard to generate a buzz around these parts. So, basically every week or so I will try to shed some light onto some up & coming artists from Toronto, who are serious about their craft. A lot of these artists are young, extremely talented, and have captured my interest in one or several ways.

But, for today I will just leave you all with a short preview of some of the artists that I will be featuring later on.

Here are the Cypher videos from some up and coming artists, which were shown at the Stylus DJ Awards last Sunday in Toronto, entitled ‘CityOnMyBack – Cypher’

Twitter: @SeseSeason | @JellyTooFly | @Raheem | RazFresco | @DJLaw3000 | @CityOnMyBack | @StylusSpinFest

Twitter: @ShiWisdom | @CarringtonWorld | @DevonTracy | @The6thLetter | @DJLaw3000 | @CityOnMyBack | @StylusSpinFest

Clash Of The Titans Throwback Review

Well all the movie hype this weekend is all going to be about Wrath of the Titans. But first, you let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start with the original Clash of the Titans. (On Dvd)

The original plot summary from 1981: “Perseus is the favored son of the god Zeus, but he has unwittingly ticked off the sea goddess Thetis. Just to make things worse, Perseus falls in love with the lovely Princess Andromeda, who used to be engaged to Thetis’s son. Soon Perseus is off on one quest after another, with Zeus helping, Thetis hindering, and lots of innocent bystanders getting stabbed, drowned, and squished.” 

The plot in my opinion had given the viewers a chance to actually care for the characters on screen. Its a more expansive and explained more thoroughly. Yes, it does cause it to drag on in some parts, but it just makes for a more understood story. The acting is Horrid, in terms of expression. The director is to blame for this, he didn’t convey his imagination. If he did, then well, I stand corrected and the actors were to blame. The only Note worthy actor was Maggie Smith, which my none muggle readers will know her as Professor Minerva McGonagall. She didn’t have many scenes, but when she was, she had the best expressions. It could be argued that cause she is a house hold name, it could be a bias to say that.

The cinematography was really well done in the start of the film. Then it just disappeared in quality like a Toronto Raptors Defence. The best editing is the intro credits to the movie. We follow a seagull making its way back to mount Olympus and as it flies it covers different terrain which ultimately brings you to normal mountains, then snow top mountains, then finally Mount Olympus. It has this feeling of leaving our boring lives and getting set up for a epic adventure filled of Greek gods.

The cool thing bout this 118 minute Fantasy, has to be the “Stop Motion“. The technique is still used today most commonly in “Robot Chicken”. It gives the film this classic, epic, and mystical feeling. At times it works, and many others it doesn’t. The audio wasn’t anything to rave about. Audio meaning music and sound effects. The composing was weak, and so was some of the choices for the sound effects. When the “Medusa” shows her rattle snake tail, I thought she was going to become a transformer. The Make up did an amazing job as well.

I don’t see many people owning this movie, Unless its your childhood movie or you’re a movie buff, student, etc. Its a rental at best. The behind the scene extra’s are a worth a quick look if you ever rented it.

Overall rating of the movie: 3 out of 5, cinematography: 2.5 out of 5, editing: 3.3 out of 5, Audio: 3 out of 5,: Acting 2 out of 5 Rent-Own? RENT

Look out for the remake review COMING SOON.

THAT’S IT! Cheers: “To Peace” and May the Force be with you!

– Xavier – @CoolyoNgeLEW