Thursday, September 15, 2016

hashtag bazodee for bazodee - for danna

When I first saw the trailer for Bazodee, I had planned to take John and Derek to see a movie set in Trinidad that included Carnival, which they ain't ever going to see, trust me. Well, maybe Derek will, but I not getting my hopes up over here!

But then Danna said she was coming to NY for one night and do me and my man want to lime with she and she man? My man had something or other so it was me and dem. It hit me during the day of the night we supposed to lime that she might like to go see the flim so I rang her hotel and we arranged to meet for dinner close to the theater in Times Square in case we felt like it.

Best decision ever. That movie needs to be seen with a Trini.

Now, here is my deal. I am not a big fan of Trini behaviors at cinemas and on airplanes. That is my cross to bear. I yell at the screen, sure. In my house! Where I annoy no one but my husband who annoys me more because he and Derek comment about everything. In the Trinidad portion of Naipaul's A Middle Passage, some cinema is showing To Have and Have Not and the star boy ask the star girl where she from and she say, "Trinidad and Tobago" and an audience member shouts out, "You lie!" And we all die dead.

Funny as that is, I have issues with people talking and yelling at the screen when I trying to watch a movie I pay too damn much money for. However. This was a mighty exception and going with Dann was inspired. She is refined and elegant and goodly, but can be dutty when the mood sets. She not easy.

When we went to buy tix, the tix person said plenty people buying, so we better hurry and go get our seats. Thankfully, we had already eaten dinner so we didn't need to join the long-ass line for popcorn. Our theater was empty when we got there and we got the best seats smack-dab in the middle. And then the place turn into the Trini posse stand from the Oval!

We had the best time. The movie was beyond adorable and much much better than I expected. The production value was incredibly high and Danna was shouting out places she recognized. Ok... maybe not shouting, but she was on like a socks. Even I, who rarely ever leaves PoS whenever I go back, was recognizing all kinda beach and ting.

Also Remy. Em... where they hiding dat all this time??? Dread! He shoulda be in every scene. 

Ok. Plot. A little bit of Much Ado About Nothing. What? I pay for that English degree, you think I ent going to use it here? Damn lie. 

Also, spoilers.

Anyhoo, there was the enemies-become-lovers trope that was silly but cute. There was the evil Prince John who got some comeuppance and got good in the end. I think I went to school with that fella, but I can't remember him too good. 

Machel and Natalie were in it to win it. Machel as a romantic hero was surprisingly believable and convincing. He even managed to contain his Machel-ness in the performance scenes, where Lee de Leon was making a tentative comeback and not really sure about his waist. Lee loves being on stage, just like Machel but he doesn't have Machel-confidence and he is afraid of failing. So when he performs "You" he is lovely and oddly restrained, which is perfect. If you looking for dutty Machel, wait till he come back to the Garden

Machel and Natalie have terrific chemistry. As a brown girl who had a ting with a rastaman in another life, it doesn't take much to convince me that inter-racial relationships can happen. I'm also in another kind of inter-racial relationship, as is Danna, so we were happy to represent! 

The star couple were too sweet together. And although the movie was a musical it wasn't a Bollywood Juhi-Chawla-runs-through-the-trees kinda movie. It is set around Carnival and shot right at the beginning of the season when the energy was fresh and high in the country. 

So the theater. Surprisingly more restrained than I expected. There was a back row click, as expected, and they jump up to everything. When the star girl get ketch out, someone bawl out, "party done" and we dead. And the flim deserve the clap it get at the end. (Why people does do that I not sure, but this time it was def about the experience of seeing it as much as for the movie itself.)

But the bes was when me and Dann were leaving the theater and were so into the talk that we couldn't find the exit! Danna call it: "We so Bazodee!!!" For reals. We had to take a minute, stop laughing, and try to make our way back to the street! It was a process. 

So I want to see it again, and see it with Danna and my own Trini posse. I downloaded the soundtrack yesterday and it's on repeat on my iPod and on Spotify in the office so I can wine like a champion in my sexy office chair. So don't hate on the movie because it from Trinidad or it have Machel in it or just because you is a ass. Go see it and enjoy being a Trini for 101 minutes in your life.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Cox in my hoo-ha

So the Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, signed into law an anti-abortion bill known as HB1337. Sigh. I've pasted the requirements of the bill below for your reading displeasure. The toughest part for me is the requirement that the mother listen to the heartbeat of the unborn: Provides that informed consent for an abortion must be obtained in a private setting. Provides that a pregnant woman considering an abortion must be given the opportunity to view the fetal ultrasound imaging and hear the auscultation of the fetal heart tone at least 18 hours before the abortion is performed and at the same time that informed consent is obtained.

That is shameful emotional manipulation. The government cannot and should not and must not be allowed to con a woman in accepting a pregnancy she cannot afford, having a child conceived from an act of rape or other sexual violations, or the myriad of other reasons women choose (see that word?) to terminate a pregnancy.

You have no right. You have no right to tell me what I can and cannot do in a situation where I have to make a terrible decision by making sure to up the terrible-ante through emotional means. How awful to make me, force me, to hear the unborn's heartbeat to ensure I provide "informed consent" so I know I'm killing a baby? Because I didn't already know that? Because I'm trying to distance myself from this so I don't fall apart and die from this choice I am making?

Women are outraged and decided to attack with snark. The FB page Periods for Pence was created with one of the earliest posts on March 28 providing the justification: Fertilized eggs can be expelled during a woman's period without a woman even knowing that she might have had the potential blastocyst in her. Therefore, any period could potentially be a miscarriage without knowledge. I would certainly hate for any of my fellow Hoosier women to be at risk of penalty if they do not "properly dispose" of this or report it. Just to cover our bases, perhaps we should make sure to contact Governor Pence's office to report our periods. We wouldn't want him thinking that THOUSANDS OF HOOSIER WOMEN A DAY are trying to hide anything, would we? We can ALL CALL HIM AT 317-232-4567. REPORT THOSE PERIODS! You should really let him know, since he's so concerned. It will only take a few minutes of your day, but it lets them face an undue and unjust burden, for a change!

So women from all over the United States are calling the Governor's office to inform him how this month's periods are going. It's rough going for the phone-answerers in Pence's office. The office has actually directed callers to Rep. Casey Cox's office as he authored the bill. I'd love to know how and why Cox decided he had a place in the collective uterus of Indiana. I don't know why there is this overwhelming need to legislate women's choices. It's more than telling me what to do with my body. It is telling me what choice I HAVE to make. We're no longer in a time where women have to use abortion as a form of birth control. But women make this choice for reasons that are incredibly personal and painful and sometimes hopeless. I'm sorry, but a white, wealthy male in a government office is never ever ever going to understand that.

Abortion. Requires the state department of health to develop certain information concerning perinatal hospice care. Requires physicians to provide information about perinatal hospice care to a pregnant woman who is considering an abortion because the unborn child has been diagnosed with a lethal fetal anomaly. Requires documentation as a matter of informed consent to an abortion that the pregnant woman received the required information about perinatal hospice care. Provides that the gender of the fetus and the medical indication by diagnosis code for the fetus and the mother must be reported on the pregnancy termination form for an early pre-viability termination. Prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because of: (1) the race, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex of the fetus; or (2) a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability. Provides for disciplinary sanctions and civil liability for wrongful death if a person knowingly or intentionally performs a sex selective abortion or an abortion conducted because of a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other disability. Provides that informed consent for an abortion must be obtained in a private setting. Provides that a pregnant woman considering an abortion must be given the opportunity to view the fetal ultrasound imaging and hear the auscultation of the fetal heart tone at least 18 hours before the abortion is performed and at the same time that informed consent is obtained. Provides that a written agreement between a physician performing an abortion and a physician who has written admitting privileges at a hospital in the county or contiguous county concerning the management of possible complications of the services must be renewed annually. Requires the state department of health (state department) to submit copies of admitting privileges and written agreements between physicians to other hospitals in the county and contiguous counties where abortions are performed. Requires that certain forms must include lines for the signature of the physician or other provider and the professional credentials of the physician or other provider. Provides that a person who knowingly transports an aborted fetus into, or out of, Indiana commits a Class A misdemeanor, unless the aborted fetus is transported for the sole purpose of final disposition. Provides that a miscarried or aborted fetus must be interred or cremated by a facility having possession of the remains. Requires a person or facility having possession of a miscarried or aborted fetus to ensure that the miscarried fetus or aborted fetus is preserved until final disposition occurs. Specifies that: (1) a person is not required to designated a name for the miscarried or aborted fetus; and (2) information submitted with respect to the disposition of a miscarried or aborted fetus that may be used to identify the parent or parents of a miscarried fetus or a pregnant who had an abortion is confidential and must be redacted from any public records maintained under the burial permit law. Specifies that miscarried and aborted fetuses may be cremated by simultaneous cremation. Excludes the final disposition of a miscarried or aborted fetus from the law governing the treatment of infectious or pathological waste. Makes conforming changes. Provides that the performance of an abortion solely because of the race, color, sex, disability, national origin, or ancestry of the fetus or a violation of certain statutes protecting the right of conscience regarding abortion is a discriminatory practice for purposes of the civil rights law. Defines fetal tissue. Prohibits an individual from acquiring, receiving, selling, or transferring fetal tissue. Makes it a Level 5 felony to unlawfully: (1) transfer; and (2) collect fetal tissue. Establishes an exemption for the criminal penalty of unlawful use of an embryo if the transfer or receipt of a fetus was requested in writing by a biological parent for purposes of an autopsy.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My FB posts on Ras Nijinsky in Drag as Ana Pavlova by Peter Minshall and Ja-Whan Thomas

First post: Saturday, February 6, 2016 

The Dying Swan - Ras Nijinsky in drag as Pavlova. A Mas by Peter Minshall and Jha-Whan Thomas.

So I finally take a little sit-down to watch this video because I can't see the mas any other way. I am a Trinidadian who is an American who loves the ballet. I love the husband and children and whatnot, but the best part about moving to NYC has been being able to go to the ballet. And the rueben, but that's another post.

I've also seen Pavlova's Dying Swan on YouTube, as well as a video performance by my favorite ballerina, Uliana Lopatkina of the Mariinski Theater. I will see her perform it live for the first time later this month at Bam Theater when the Ballet Mariinski pays tribute to Maya Plisetskaya, Pavlova, and others. Lopatkina has 2 nights all to herself and I am attending both. I became a member of Bam when I realized that Ballet Mariinski takes up its winter residence there. I almost froze my ass off 2 years ago to go see Swan Lake with Lopatkina. I was tired and sleepy and frozen, but I made it and she was glorious. I cannot imagine the emotions this time around.

But that was a fairly long digression (and it's my wall, so I can digress) away from this mas. So back to Bom.

I read that Thomas took 3rd place in the King of Carnival and some other fellas get real vex because that is not what a Carnival King is and how he is just a fancy-up moko jumbie and the other fellas who place after third place had real costumes and so on. I didn't know if to twist up meh face at the sour grapes or find more head to roll meh eye in.

Even the designer of the winning costume had shite to talk. According to a Guardian story, "Marcus Eustace, the designer of the competition’s eventual winner Psychedelic Nightmares, worn by his brother Ted, described Minshall’s high placing as “ridiculous.”

“Put it this way, if you call that mas, how would it look if next year everybody play moko jumbie. That is not a mas. That is why the stands are empty.

“You have people building all kinds of expensive costumes and they coming tenth and 11th, and a moko jumbie come third,” Eustace said after the results were announced early Wednesday morning.

This is the fella who win the thing.

The actual costume-carrier was a little more sportsmanlike: Ted admitted that diversity was welcomed in the competition. “It takes all kinds to make up the pot,” Ted said after being crowned Carnival King for the second time since he began participating.

Remember Tan-Tan and Saga Boy in 1990? Sixteen-to-20-foot tall puppets wining on stage and Tan-Tan run away with the Carnival Queen crown. People did vex then that the Carnival King and Queen people (who does produce this show?) let Saga Boy come on stage as part of Tan-Tan's walk (and wine) after he break up in the semis and was out the running for King.

Two things happen following that win. I decided that if I ever play mas, it would be in a Minshall band so I could experience some real mas. The next thing was Mr. Man get a work with the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Oh. One more: Janet Jackson totally tief him in her Escapade video. Google it. About a minute, 37 seconds in.

But, world acclaim aside, for me, Minshall's creation was a small slice of heaven. And there was actually something behind it. Sometimes you listen to the commentators tells the designer's "story" and you wonder what the fucking fuck? That float is supposed to represent what? Em... I not so sure that all that ribbon really mean what he thinks it mean. Worse for that actual band. I not so sure you should tout your bikini costume with beads and a feather headdress as having some kind of deeper meaning. It is what it is. A bikini costume with beads and a feather headdress. With maybe a staff in case you can't find somebody to wine on for a hot second. And, face it. You paying all that money not for the bikini costume with beads and a feather headdress, but the accompanying rum, pelau, and a place to pee.

I am still close enough to the generation that came before the bikini mas. Don't get me wrong. I love the bikini mas. I love watching up a hot woman wine up on a man. Or a staff. I love the collection of beads and color and jumping up on stage from the comfort of my bed. I love the next-day pix by the lech photo-take-outers who get to go up on stage and get a free wine. But Trinidad Carnival didn't always used to be like that. All the ole mas had a story and it getting hard to find. George John did a Midnight Robber for me and I died dead. Minshall did pretty mas but told a story with the design. And it was always stunning. And inventive. And unique. And real mas, by any definition that doesn't involve a bikini wax. And maybe Mr. Eustace is younger than me and just don't know that.

Maybe he also doesn't know when I Googled "Marcus Eustace Psychedelic Nightmares" I can't find a pix of his costume. What I did find was this: If veteran mas-maker Peter Minshall enters the Carnival King competition with a costume comprising only “two crocus bags”, the crowd would applaud simply because of the legacy he has built. And it is because of this nostalgia that people have they are not willing to accept the fact that Minshall’s presentation this year is not worthy of a third place finish in the King of Carnival competition. That is Eustace defending his earlier comments.

And what does Minsh have to say? Well, Judy Raymond has begun to tease her interview with Peter Minshall in tomorrow's Express. Thank goodness the paper is online, sad as the design and surf experience is. Once they don't cut off the woman's words or cock up the upload, is me, a cuppa, Judy, and Minsh tomorrow morning. I bet anything she sit back and just let the man talk, the most effective way to interview a Trinidadian in my book. I have a book because I interviewed plenty artsy people when I was at the Guardian, so I am actually not talking out my ass. And I like reading anything Judy writes, so win for me.

Second post: Saturday, February 6, 2016 

So I write all that blather [above] about The Dying Swan - Ras Nijinsky in drag as Pavlova. A Mas by Peter Minshall and Jha-Whan Thomas. And I send it to THW. If you cannot remember, THW is The Hot Woman.
I love that woman to the back of beyond. She not on FB so I email her the post and she What's Apps me to give me the down low on what SHE did with this costume. I. DIE. DEAD.

She is my ride or die. She was so intimately involved with this mas and I want to tell everybody that I am exactly once removed from it and I found out after I wrote that post which took 2 days of writing in my head before I actually began to type it. Mightn't mean much much to you but she would know.

She have a friend in the Trini sense of the word and he practically single-handedly raised the money to build the mas. That is no easy feat in a country that produces great artists but won't help produce the great art. THW tells me how she "clean that damn swan by myself on hands and knees." Nice nice.

So there you have it. My love and her friend were part of a very tiny handful of people (it had 2 other women and 2 fellas in actual production and another fella who sew all the feathers) who brought The Dying Swan - Ras Nijinsky in drag as Pavlova a Mas by Peter Minshall and Jha-Whan Thomas to life. Is like it was me!

Third post: Sunday, February 7, 2016 

A very nice lady made it possible for me to read Judy Raymond's stories in today's Express. I am so glad I wrote and posted my bit yesterday before I read Judy's because people go say how I tief she. And, let me tell you, I would take that as an effing complement.

She answered a few questions I had. I couldn't figure out if Minsh had a band this year. Turns out, no. He designed Ras Nijinsky as a king for another band, which is amazing in itself. She also told me that the stilts were carved into ballet shoes en pointe. She also elicited great detail from Minsh about the production of the costume. From that interview, Judy's own account of seeing the King come together - a delightful read by itself - and THW's inside info, it really is like I was there.

I could see why Marcus Eustace vex, though. No one wrote tenderly about the backstage experience of his king the way Judy wrote about the 3rd place contestant. No one examined the way his king got into a character the way she described how Ja-Whan Thomas did. No one put him in his place the way this lovely paragraph did: Thomas is the third king to step out under the lights, after great wheeled contraptions that the masqueraders can barely drag into laboured motion. Where they were earthbound, this is a creature whose element is air. Thomas is a man transformed. This woman really has an evocative way with the word.