Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Where is my bamcee piece?

Lord knows I will always love playing mas, but if I see one more wire bra I am going to scream. What is irritating me more than anything is that the majority of frontlines appear to come with a wire bra. Since when did frontline=wire bra?  So everyone who wants a frontline costume supposed to want to wear a wire bra? Well designers guess what, not everybody wants their areolas playing peekaboo and to wear pasties an flasher insurance. Its not that I can't wear a wire bra, I still have the body for it (although that is not always a criteria) but I think I have my limits on exposure and level of comfort. There is probably one version of wire bra that I have seen that I would consider , which is the type used for Tribe's Amazonia/Amazon and even that I'm not sure how it will actually look on me. I don't even like wires in my regular bras so I'm not thrilled about wearing one all day on the road jumping. Well let's not even talk about the danger of them breaking or the fact that you if your decorations start to fall off you may end up wearing a towel across your chest or worse yet using a shoelace and duck tape to keep you strapped in.

It has been said that BBF mas is a degeneration of traditional mas. What is happening now, which I did not even believe was possible, is that we now seem to be going through a degeneration of bikini mas. It may surprise many to know that my first Carnival costume in Poison as a teen  back in the late 90s was also the first bikini I had ever worn in public since I was like 6. I must say I was a bit self conscious about it that first year despite I was like 100lbs wet. Back then the swimsuits  were just plain spandex with very little structure. You were lucky if it was lined  at all. The bra decoration largely consisted of regular round beads glue gunned to your top and maybe two appliques stuck for good measure. The waistband was a solid two inches wide with actual buckles and even wider towards the front. You were guaranteed to have a lot of beads hanging, a big piece of cloth or a awkwardly shaped piece of carboard hanging between your legs. And of course there was a bamcee piece. I am pretty sure there are many people who don't even know what that is. For those of you who don't, this was a small piece of square or triangle fabric with a ribbon across the top that was tied around your waist so it covered your butt. Your waistband was then placed over this. The point obviously of a bamcee piece was to offer some modesty to those who felt uncomfortable with their butt taking breeze. Oh how far we have come!

I can't say I did not contribute to the problem along with many others like myself. Even in Poison days we would modify our costumes to be 'sexier' which generally meant just trimming the fabric. I'm pretty sure I wore my bamcee piece up until I stopped playing with Poison. That was probably the last time I actually got one. Admittedly when picking costumes, I was drawn to the sexier or skimpy ones. My friends thought I was nuts the first year I had a particularly frou frou waistband and decided to come out Monday with just stockings and a bikini bottom. The very next year she was right there with me.

I will give Tribe all credit for being one of the first to outsource their bikini supplier so that women were actually able to get real bras as costume wear. Of course they appealed to the younger crowd with their sexier cut bikinis and smaller waistband. Well you know, I was in the front of the line to sign up. They were also the first to start using color variated beads and nicer gems. In many ways they raised the bar on what people expected in a costume. The all inclusive option did not hurt either. However, just looking at their costumes over time and looking at what the newer bands are producing outright, everything seems to have retrograded. The appliques are making a comeback, the bras are becoming smaller and the waistbands are non existent.  I think I was most disgusted when I saw one costume which had six strands of short beading as the rear cover for the waistband.I mean, why bother at that point? Best you just leave it completely bare.  We have actually reached the point of no waistband and a decorated panty so it won't be a stretch. Bras are coming partially undecorated or under decorated and even standard headpieces and foot pieces come as additional costed options now.There is a marked difference between sexy and skimpy and we seem to have gone beyond that and are moving into the flat out cheap zone which borders very closely to skanktopia. Even if the bands have options of monokinis or hot shorts, it does not take away from the fact that the waistband itself can be rolled up  in a ball and fit in your hand.

Maybe its cause I'm getting older and my carnival skettel style is a bit (just a tad) more reserved than in my 20s but realistically speaking I really wonder who these bands really expect to wear some of these costumes? I feel I hot and still won't wear some of that nonsense. When you have an entire band of wire bras and decorated panties is it that you are gearing your market only towards those 20 somethings? That would be all well and good if that's you're goal but then you look at a band like Bliss who generally has a more mature demographic and the costumes there also leave little to the imagination. Real, average women don't look like those models. Women over 30 who do look like those models have to work damn hard to get there and some are happy to use some plastic surgery to help it along.

I still like a sexy costume, I still wear sexy costumes at that. I would just like to see the bands give people a little more costume options and cater for those of all shapes, sizes and modesty. There are also skinny bitches who don't want all their ass outside! If i decide to strip down the costume then that is my choice. When you don't give people any costume to start with then you're people are going to start to either think they're not getting value for their money or that they only want a women who look a certain way in the band. How come I don't get a bamcee piece in my box anymore? It's not like the costume cost is getting any cheaper as these costumes are getting smaller! Looking at some of the prices next to some of those costumes is laughable. Is better you gave me a T-shirt and tell me cut it up how I want cause I paying to drink and wine on the road. Give us 5 years and we will all be looking like 1980s Poison again.




Saturday, August 04, 2012

YUMA 2K13:IMAGINE Review

To be honest, I did not know what I was getting into when I left home to attend Yuma's band launch. Having only been there the first year and missing last year while I was incapacitated, I was pretty much shocked when the closest parking spot I could find to QRC was almost at Wild Flower Park. The set up that greeted me inside also showed that this was a big deal. The stage was huge with the backdrop towering almost to the height of QRC itself.  Sponsored stations, raised bars and fully covered floor. Not only were they quite a number of people inside, they seemed to be having a ball long before the show even started. This certainly was not the "Chic Carnival" from the night before.  There was a whole lot more energy in the air along with some stilettoed heels. The Bloggerati were fortunate enough to get a sneak peek of the costumes backstage before the show started. We were then hustled back to stage side for the stage show. It was then we were tortured in the sweltering heat to await the arrival of the parliamentary elite. I swear I almost just left at that point since I had already seen most of the costumes. I am surprised I did not see anyone pass out just from that outdoor sweat box. The show itself was a bit drawn out and that would have been fine if I was not forced to hear most obnoxious running commentary from a very flamboyant individual who thought himself to be the new Minshall. Fortunately the heat did not seem to dissuade anyone from having a time, and the party went on pumping long after the show was over.

Now about these costumes....I am really kinda getting tired of the backlash that we all seem to get whenever one of us posts our honest opinion about costumes. Considering what has been said online about Yuma via the Trinidad Carnival Diary page and its associated Facebook fan page I also am a bit at odds about doing my usual costume by costume review. I definitely have to concur with many of the points made in Saucy's review. If is one thing I always say, at the end of the day, everybody have two eye in their head and is free to form their own opinion about the costumes, whether love it or hate it. Any opinion put forward here, is MY opinion which some people may but some weight on but everyone is free to think otherwise.

So I think maybe this rounds I will keep things a bit more general. We were told by one of the committee members that their goal was to keep things cute and simple. I can respect that ideology because unlike Saucy I get very irritated very quickly by too much costume on the road. You would really wonder why I still insist on playing in a frontline year after year. However, I would have to agree with her that Yuma has set a bar for themselves laid out by their previous designers which unfortunately they may be held to forever and ever. Anything less is certainly going to be criticised by the masses. I also understand why that may have had to happen because from a business standpoint, you really can't stay in business for very long with overblinged, over feathered costumes (*cough*) if you can't charge for it at a pricepoint that still makes it competitive with other band and/or sell the volume needed to make up the difference. I think that their previous design team has a signature style that is unmistakable and it was noticeably absent from the presentation. Although I think the new design team did a pretty good job, I think for many Yuma regulars the scaled back costumes with a different design style may have been a bit much for them to take in all at once. I don't want to harp too much on the lack of theme. I think that would be an easy fix by at least naming the costumes in a way that somehow linked them together. I am perplexed by what "Desert Storms" have to do with "Hidden Secrets".

The things I did like were the variations in body wear for both backline and front lines. A few sections have different cut bra options. Crazy Heart has a fantastic monokini as the back line. I like that the designers were inspired to try different materials like the denim, the chain mail, the mirrors and some textured fabrics. Some worked better than others. Although I liked the chain mail on the  Crazy Heart monokini and I loved the style of the optional bikini bottom, I did not like how the chain mail fell on the bikini version, it just appeared unfinished. I loved the cutout bikini bottom and neon color of Aurora. I am a  bit afraid of that cut out wire bra though, it looked fine on the model but women's boobs come in all shapes and sizes and wire bras are notoriously unforgiving. I can see boobs pushing through those spaces like toothpaste. The denim costume has a very interesting rear view which you unfortunately can't see

Some of the things I did not like were the use of  lot of plastic straps for several of the  costumes. I hate plastic straps. One, hey we can still see them, they did not disappear! Two they make you feel sweaty and cut into skin. Three, they do not hold up well under pressure i.e they buss easily on the road! In all fairness I was assured that masqueraders would be given both regular and clear straps and you would pick your poison. It would be a good idea to walk with the regular set if you choose to go clear cause I'm just having flashbacks of how much of a nightmare that was. It's an easy fix as well so I won't hang them for it.

I also did not like the use of hardware as waistbands. I believe this was a bit of a trademark if one of the designers. Don't get me wrong, I like how it looks but for the same reason I don't like clear straps, it just does not seem very practical or comfortable. I just hope it has enough flexibility to not scratch/stab the wearer throughout the day when they're actually bending over and wining and not just standing looking pretty. Some other practicality issues include how they plan to cater for adjustments in the several monokini styles in the band. As much as I like how monokinis look, I have very rarely found one off the rack that actually fits me. This is especially true for Hidden Secrets which is racking a trifecta of clear straps, wire bra and a connected body wear. Too many variables if you ask me.

These very 'cute' costumes also translated to designs that I think would appeal to a younger audience. As much as I love the colors of Nyx, I really am not feeling the frills. I am sure it will have its appeal , just not quite my style. What really ruined this costume for me is the backpack which I think is awful. It looks like it got wet down before it got to the stage. It looks dead, it definitely needs some volume and some height. In the same line  I also highly dislike the tutu in Magic Waters back line. This section is actually one of my favorites but the tutu and crinoline and nothing else on the bottom? Ugh! Again, if you're a smallie you might love it.

Ok so in terms of my favs. I would go with Magic Waters. I love the cut of the bra and I think it definitely was going in the right direction from what I expected to see from Yuma. I love the collar. I would however like to see a proper waistband for both frontline and backline even if its an option. I do like the use of fabric on the frontline as it has a nice flow but it seems a bit under decorated. Maybe a jewelled chain belt or something that I could use with or without the fabric. (In the event that the fabric soaks up some canal water on the road).

I would also give a vote to Iris. I like the yellow with just a touch of Purple. Although the gem design is standard fare I really like the fabric pieces which you can tie in several creative ways. This costume is pretty well accessorised as well and has one of the bigger head pieces.

My next pick would be Eden as it is a very pretty costume despite my issues with the waistband design and the fact that the backpack has been replicated once more. I'm gonna let those things slide as the end result is overall attractive.

Honorable mention for Aurora and Galaxy because I also think they were on the right path and stopped a bit short. I think both frontlines need a bit more to it. Either bigger arm pieces or a collar/backpack. Same can be said for Mirror Mirror.

Overall I think they are all wearable although they may not all be wow. At the very least , all costumes should have a necklace, armbands and foot pieces. Now if the pricepoint is proportionately less than previous years there may be some appeasement of the masses who may feel they are being shortchanged by scaled back costumes. If wearing a nice costume is good enough (assuming they are priced reasonably) and you are out to have a good time then Yuma is still a good alternative to other bands. If nothing else, a good time was had by all!

Check the galleries online for pics cause we have yet to see the professional pics posted by Yuma. Props to them for showing different views of frontline and backline in their brochure!


Thursday, August 02, 2012

Bliss Savage Beauty Review

I was very surprised when I heard Bliss' launch was to be held at Hilton, I was even more confused when I saw it was Hilton's ballroom and not poolside as most fetes are typically held. It was actually quite underwhelming as I approached the entrance because they were not able to decorate to make an entrance with impact as they typically try to do. Some blue lighting give it a bit of ambiance but for the most part it could have been any generic cocktail party. I immediately felt claustrophobic walking into the room because of that low ceiling. Fortunately I had some Punchy Punch shots upon entry to take the edge off. You could see the stage set up had to be scaled back as well and I was a bit worried about how they were going to manage with some of those bigger backpacks. Loved the use of the shadow boxes to display the costumes. I was not really surprised when we did not get to see any of the individual costumes as with the TRIBE launch.
The crowd itself was an interesting mix with both a younger crowd and a more mature crowd with some sprinkles of the inbetweens. Early on you would have really thought it was just a cocktail party and I guess the environment kinda forced that upon us. It did not help when the Dj announced the start of the show way too early and people started gathering around the stage basically just standing around waiting for the action to start. As much as we tried to break the monotony by visiting the bar, I was most horrified to see the cost of the drinks. Word on the street, Bliss being treated like the outside child again, had not organised a bar license in time and was therefore forced to go to a venue with an established bar license. Therefore we were being presented with Hilton bar prices which ran $55 for a Johnny Walker, $25 for a red bull and $5 for a doubles. (yes $5). For those who might have been in shock, there was a resuscitation device on hand in the form of blasts of air straight into your face while standing at the bar. Well they got one big steups from me and I realised I would be the night's designated driver. For those who were I imagine that is why the vibe remained as social as it did for most of the night. To be honest, I'm going to give all props to Punchy Punch for saving that party because the people who seemed to be having a really good time were those who had a bottle of Punchy punch on hand for sharing. So after almost falling asleep on myself, we finally got to see the costumes:

BENGAL TIGER

 I am a big fan of prints in costumes especially animal prints. So i was very interested in seeing what this costume would actually look like. I must say I love how it came out. Love the style of the monokini. I really like how the pattern on the bra ties into the collar. At the show, I heard a few ppl gasp at the thought that the collar was made of fur. I think its absolutely fantastic that the illusion of fur was created with feathers. The beauty of this costume is all in the collar.  Also its a very road friendly costume and you should be comfortable enough to wear this costume all day. One of my favs.







HOODED PITOHUI

 Prior to the show , I heard rumors that this designer had an ugly costume. And to be honest, i have never been a fan of most of her work in the past. however I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw. I really liked the colors, the halter bra is well decorated and the waistband, although its pretty standard, its attractive. The accessories really take this costume up another level. Definitely a safe choice.

AGAMA LIZARD 

 We have been seeing this color combo quite a bit in recent times but I really like it nonetheless.  I think this costume is also a nice compact frontline that is very easy for on the road. I really like the style of the wire bra. The tassels on the sides of the waistband are really cute.
QUEEN COBRA


Love!Love! Love! The body wear on this frontline is amazing. A very interesting choice of colours for the animal in question and I think it works well. Love the headpiece design and its very much on point with the theme.I had mixed feelings about the cape because I generally don't like that accordion fabric but in this case I would totally rock it. I think the color and the iridescent finish make it work and it ties in well with the Cobra image the costume is trying to portray. I  must also make mention of this backline version cause its just as awesome. Love the tassels and the neckpiece. This is hands down my favorite in the band. And Punchy Punch involved here as well? You can't lose here. This section may have he most vibes in the whole band.





LIONFISH 


Still one of my favourite in the band. I like how even though its an aquatic creature you get a tribal look. Love the variation on the halter bra on the back line.


SCORPION FISH 


This costume is all headpiece. It's ginormous. It looks gorgeous but I hope who ever signs up is prepared to commit to it on the road. I have noticed ruffles are quite popular  this year and I'm a bit on the fence about them. I think I like this costume better without the ruffle in the middle but I like the ones on the sides. Its an easy fixed. Really like the decoration on the bra. The backline costume is really cute.









LUNA MOTH 


I'm really liking the yellows this year for some reason. I was a bit confused when I saw the wings cause clearly it looks like it should be in Tribe. I understand it may be a marketing thing but it really just made me feel that they compromised on the theme. The body wear is pretty but very skimpy. Another situation where you need to look like the model to pull this off. She really worked those wings as well. WTF is up with those long pieces hanging from the end of the wings??? No only is it a trip hazard but can you imagine that dragging along the streets of Port of Spain all day? Gross!







 NUDIBRANCH


 I think this may be my least favorite costume of the lot. I  like the design of it but I am not feeling the primary colors. There is a splash of orange in their as well and I like the striped feathers. Interesting use of the cords. The color ruins it for me.













JEWELLED ANENOME


I really like this one as well. It has a bit of an Amazon/Amazonia feel to it but that was a great costume as well. Good mix of colors. Love the frontline bra.















I am really glad that Tribe made the effort to give Bliss masqueraders some really competitive options when it comes to costumes. That way people can focus on their preferences in terms of the road experience they are looking for as opposed to where has the better costumes. I am a big fan of the Bliss idea and I think we are seeing a big improvement on how Tribe is managing it. They seem to have finally gotten some respect but in some instances I still feel like they get the short end of the stick. Perfect example being the launch which seems very thrown together last minute. I know one of the other biggest complaints is the vibe is lacking and the age group is generally older so it probably was a good move to pull the Punchy Punch section from Tribe and put it in Bliss. That should help fix both of those issues. Adding Private Ryan to the line up will also go a long way. I can't speak for what their ultimate goals are but I was always confused why they basically phased out the older members of the committee and placed them with Bliss and left a younger committee with Tribe. It should have been no surprise that older people who end up signed up in Bliss and younger in Tribe because that's who they are friends with. If you want it to be more mixed then the committees need to be mixed as well. If that was the intention to separate older from younger well they did a good job with that. I might be a bit concerned now, cause with the older crowd locked, I wonder how many of them will feel comfortable in some of those costumes.They are all attractive but not very modest.

My Favs : Queen Cobra, Luna Moth , Lionfish, Jewelled Anenome

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Of Beasts,Butterflies and the Bacchanal of online shopping

I guess if you have any interest in Carnival (and its associated Bacchanal), you would have had to be living under a rock if buy now you have not heard the drama surrounding the design methodology of Tribe's artwork for their bands this year. Long story short, some shrewd detective (presumably a graphic artist) discovered that Tribe had bought and used artwork from a stock photo site online to use as the logos for the band as well as other artwork; including the print on one of the backpacks of a section.  (James Hackett I take a borrows eh).

I have seen the ongoing drama on Facebook in regard to the morality behind Tribe's actions and have also noted an abundance of asinine remarks. I was not going and say anything eh but is long time I eh rant and I figured this was as good a time as any to start. And before allyuh jump on my case, just remember this is my personal blog and I works for no one in any of these industries.  PERSONALLY, when I saw they get make out I had a good laugh about this.  I lie, I had about 10 'cause all those memes that were created by sticking those wings onto all kind of characters was effin' hilarious. Darth Vader being my personal fave. But you know what? Then I moved on. I was extremely surprised when I saw the level of outrage, horror and disgust vented at Tribe by doing what really and truly many ad agencies do on a daily basis for their clients.  Captain Obvious could tell you, that's why these sites exist, to download a picture or graphic that you don't have to shoot  or design yourself, you pay a small fee ( cause any number of  people could be using the same exact image for other purposes) and you slap on you own text and off you go. My response was, ok its lazy on their part and what?

Yeah,yeah I've heard all the arguments about Tribe profiting and its a disgrace to our culture blah blah blah. I've even heard those who criticize the practice  then come to the defense of Peter Minshall doing something quite similar in his "Papillion" Queen saying its "symbolically" different. Meh. To all that I say, who allyuh really thought you were dealing with and why allyuh fooling yourselves to believing otherwise? Tribe not here to make money? I am pretty sure when Tribe started their section and ultimately their own band they did not say to themselves "We need to be true representatives of Trinidad culture." Tribe was started as, and still is, a bikini,beads and feathers band who produces one of the biggest moving fetes on the road. They compete in no road competitions, they do not even require you to stay in your section. A significant number of their masqueraders never leave home with the full costume that they paid for because all they concerned about is the id band on their hand that allows them to drink freely. Why is everyone so shocked that they could possibly do something like this especially when they have been criticized year after year by so many calling them "unoriginal" and typical "bikini mas". Their market is commercial and hence their production is commercial.

From a strictly business standpoint, if I hire an ad agency or maybe use and in-house graphic artist and I am given the option to either use a stock image that I can buy for $50 usd now or have my people labour over creating original art which may take weeks and cost 10 times more; What am I going to pick? Not the cheaper more efficient way? That's assuming that option was even presented.  I would love to know if when Dean was presented with the drafts of these things he specifically said "Aye, did you download those images from a stock site on the internet? ". I wonder how many graphic artists would have even volunteered such info and that was how they came up with the designs. I certainly don't want to hear about artistic integrities because just this week I went to two major printeries to enquire about reproducing a similar themed image based on a hardcopy sample I had in my possession and neither of the companies seemed hesitant about digitizing the sample and duplicating the image outright. As a matter of fact they volunteered to do so. As Saucy rightly said, I wonder who gets the credit for the more literal images like the Monarch costume? God? I may have to take a cut cause one of them costumes looks mighty similar to my tattoo.

 I am certainly not bashing the talent in this country or the quality of our graphic artists. I am just pointing out the commercial aspect of the industries we are speaking about. They are in it to make money at the end of the day. As much as all the  Tribe shareholders may love their mas, if Tribe was not a profit they would not still be producing a band. And when you in business you cut expenses, this is why their costumes are produced in China. Did we all not know this? Why would you think that a band who makes bikini costumes in China would decide to bear the full responsibility of enriching the creativity of traditional carnival? I dunno bout you but I never believed that to be Tribe's bag. And I certainly don't fault them for making their business as profitable as it is. 'Cause no matter how much ppl criticise their costumes, their originality or their service they still sell off. I wish I had a business model so!

It should be well known by now that although I usually play in Tribe myself, I have never been one to let them slide when they do shit. More often than not,I'm calling them out on it. In this case , it was more amusing to me than anything else. And the whole argument is really just based on one section. Not really a stretch when you take a butterfly logo and place it on a butterfly costume. Seems like good branding to me. They now have a walking logo of their band. I wonder if the images were just used for artwork and not replicated on the costume wings if it would be such a heated topic. All I really care about is that the product they advertise is what I receive. Maybe I am just a bit more realistic about what I am buying into with Tribe. I don't expect them to be the saviour of Carnival.

To those who cry about the death of an art form. I would agree, to an extent, that the commercial nature of carnival is overshadowing the creative aspect of the culture. Don't blame Tribe though. Before Tribe it had Poison yuh know. Blame governments present and past who have not invested in our culture and in making factories and downstream industries where they can have the facilities to produce the costumes locally. Blame those who don't pass on their creative knowledge to others and blame YOURSELVES as the ones who don't care to learn about the traditions and techniques that go into mas. The same people who complaining going and jump up in any number of choice BBF bands. And I not just talking about costumes because I am always hard pressed to find a Midnight Robber on the streets Monday and Tuesday. It have some mad people in government talking about privatizing carnival to entities that are based in the U.S. If our own government don't care about keeping our culture Trini why you expect Tribe to shoulder that burden?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bliss 2K13: Savage Beauty sneak peak


Well I am sure we were all delighted to get a sneak peak from Bliss for their presentation Savage Beauty. I must say they are off to a great start. This costume, Lionfish is awesome. The color combo is one we very rarely see but it seems very well put together. The effect that those beads are giving on the bra (that we have arguably seen on some other bands' costumes) is fierce. I'm loving how the wings are cut, I think i prefer this styling to the butterfly wings in Tribe. Maybe its just cause I'm a water sign I like the more nautical spin on things.  I am hearing that there is even more to look forward to in Bliss this year. Kudos to Bliss for hearing their masqueraders demands for fabulous costumes as is  customary in Tribe. They seem to also be really making the effort to market Bliss as more than just the 'old people Tribe' or the 'wannabe Tribe' as there is going to be an influx of new groups like the Punchy Punch section which is sure to breathe new life into the band. Can't wait for the rest of these costumes to buss.





Monday, July 23, 2012

Tribe 2k13:Butterflies,Beasts and Bacchanal Review

Please forgive my absence. My time is not my own! But you know it would take a big launch like Tribe to bring me out of my hole and I definitely use their launch as a marker for the start of the band launch season (despite all those who tried to get the jump on them).

Ok, so in terms of the party, I can't recall when I last really enjoyed myself at a Tribe launch. This year's event was on the right track but of  course the vibe was completely shot when that genius decided to fall off the stage. The stage show itself was difficult to see if you were to the side of the stage because the giant doors blocked the screen which flashed the names of the sections. The screens provided to view the show from the sides showed the costumes but we could not read the names. It still irritates me greatly that Tribe still continues to do the show to a backing of techno pop music instead of soca music. It clearly looks odd when the girls try to wine to techno. There has also been a recent trend of the male models taking center stage and trying to outdo the previous male model by displaying their wining skills. Ok, seriously, I don't want to see you jook in your spandex pants. It disgusts me that they have such gorgeous individual costumes and instead of 'playing a has' and portraying the costume for what it is, they want to gyrate. Boo!

Right-O costume time!Overall Tribe came out for maximum impact (dun out) with an impressive display with both male and females sporting wings. All back line versions also have wing options which is impressive.

ADMIRAL


Admiral definitely started the show with a bang and gave the aprons a good idea of what to expect from  Tribe. The  monokini is heavily worked with diamante gems and i imagine it has a bit of weight to it.   I love the color combo on the wings and the fact that the body wear is all white and the color is brought in by the wings and head piece. I did notice that the FL monokini bra did not fit the model very well and on closer inspection we can see its a wire bra combined with a triangle top.A good idea in general but the triangle part may be too narrow to cover the areolas of some more bountiful breasted ladies. The male costume is one of my favorite as well. The textured scales on the body armor is very manly and balances the more feminine back pack.


AZURE


The varying shades of greens and teals are well put together in this costume. I like the fabric details seen on the bra, waistband and foot pieces. The waist band itself is barely there. I did not like the wire bra on the individual. I would be very interested to see what he back line version of this costume looks like.

COPPER PEACOCK


My first impression of this costume was "wow" because I honed in on the body wear. I absolutely love the body wear for the FL. The body wear is in the only style that I think makes sense for a wire bra, still sexy but providing adequate nipple coverage. Love the bejeweled collar connecting to the bottom piece. The eye pattern on the wings are a true representation of the butterfly that this was styled after. Shortly thereafter I became rather confused by the mod podge of different colored feathers in the backpack. None more so that the white feathers with blue or yellow dipped edges. I really don't understand where that blue come out from and I think it throws off this other wise beautiful costume . I would try it with a deep purple if they were looking for some contrast. The back line by comparison looks more put together without the blue feathers albeit it has a standard back line design. 

CRIMSON SPHINX



First impression was that this backpack is fantastic.Love the tribal looking print on the wings and the richness of the red feathers with the black highlights. The costume itself does very little for me. It appears there is some pattern on the bikini material but at the end of the day it is essentially a gold lame bikini with no decoration. I think with the combination of the chains (which notoriously don't take weather well) it cheapens the whole costume. I actually like the neckpiece and I think the chains (if you insist) could do with some bigger gems. I have a feeling the chains may look better in person as you can barely see the smaller gems in pics . I don't know what to say about that waistband, I reserve comment for after viewing but I do think it disappears completely in that odd boy short. This costume looks very easy to bootleg.

DAGGERTAIL

I really like the color combo although its hard to ignore the similarity to IROQUOIS. Lets call it Butterfly Iroquois. Still a beautiful costume . I dunno if it is the Fl top was too big for the model properly or if  the style makes it fit that way but it is definitely not for everybody, especially those with bigger boobs.It just does not seem to have much support and there may be some peekaboo action in the middle. I do not like that the bras for both FL and back line are not decorated. I think the collar needs and extra string or two of beads to fill it out a bit. The red gems hanging from the middle of the collar and the waistband seem a bit random. This still made it into my upper rankings as it is still striking. 

ISSORA


This costume generated a collective gasp when I first saw it. Absolutely gorgeous.Very,very,very well designed. Love the color combo, love the wings, love the tassels,love the decorated bra. Ten out of ten.

JEZEBEL


First off, pics of this costume do not do it justice. I think the impact of the colors is much more striking when viewed in real and its very hard to see the detail in the working of the bra which is a trademark of this designer. It is also difficult to see that a patterned fabric is used as the base. When I saw this on stage I was excited by the way the light reflected off of it. Well don't even get me started on how ultra sexy this FL body wear is.  Mampees need not apply so I guess I have real work to do. You have to be on point to pull this off with any dignity! Definitely another winner and I can't wait to see it up close.

KALLIMINI


Another well designed costume .Great color combo and well detailed body wear. Given that we have not seen all the back lines, I think this one still needs mention for a design that is just as well details and complements the frontline nicely. Its a bit reminiscent of a Pleasures costume from way back when but  its definitely bang for your buck.

MADAGASCAN SUNSET


I really like the backpack and all the accessories on this costume. I am not too thrilled about the body wear. Its nice that the bra is fully sequined but I don't think that's an excuse to use less gems on the bra. The two tone bikini is different and its growing on me but the waistband is so scanty that it just looks bare. The neck piece seems nice but I am a bit concerned about the metal heating up in the sun and becoming hot to the touch. I'm going to reserve comment for when I see this up close as well. Overall still a nice costume.

MONARCH



This is one of the more literal butterfly interpretations with an exact replica of the monarch butterfly wings. It makes quite a dramatic statement although it looks a bit more commercial.  I would have liked to see a bit more orange and black i the headpiece but it still works well. I  really like the body wear of the Fl and would really like to see what the back line version looks like. It is very similar to the Mulberry costume of Tribe past but that was a winner too so I'll let that slide. I must say, I did not like the male version of this costume as I thought it looked very crafty. Compared to the others it looks very unfinished.

PAPILIO


I was so excited when I heard this designer had more than one design in the band and she definitely did not disappoint. I love the contrast of the yellow and teal. Love the gradiated beads. I hated the ruffle in Bliss' Capri as I thought it looked too much like a regular bikini, but this version is executed much better. It should be noted that unlike her personal section, this costume has very little difference between the Fl and back line body wear. Another one of my faves.

RAY OF LIGHT


Steups. I really cannot understand how after the stellar costumes we have seen from this designer the past few years how we end up with this. I am so disappointed.  I have no issue with the use of one color, after all Minshall's Hallelujah was all white fabric until the final where it was potrayed with a  burst of color. I really am not a fan of that accordion material. What distresses me the most  is the body wear which just seems cheap and completely generic. Oh look more chains, a bit again and it could be a silver (cheaper) version of Crimson Sphinx. It looks almost like a belly dancer costume with coins.It did not escape me that the waistband looks very much like Desert Rose left overs. Not feeling it at all!

REGAL EMPEROR


This costume ais another that generated a gasp when I first saw it. I absolutely love how the plunge bra is decorated in the FL. The colors just flow so well together and that little touch of green makes it all the more interesting. The back line is a bit more standard Tribe fare but well worked up.

ACARA ACAREA

So I have been told that the black monokini version and the dress version on either side of the above pic are taken from the designer's fashion line. For this reason I will leave it alone and say they are lovely because they would not pass as a carnival costume but would work at a carnival beach party or daytime all inclusive. I really like the pattern on the wings and the print on the bikini bottom of the more standard costume design. I am really not understanding what is up with the wire bra for this FL. I really don't want to feel that those are them brazilian string earrings that are turned upside down and used as nipple covers. However thats what it looks like.  I think it would be a good idea to tweak that a bit and then i can say I really like it.

Ok so overall a good mix of new and old color combos and designs. I really like that all the costumes have an impact especially with the wings. It would be an amazing sight to see on Carnival Tuesday if most people opted for wings. I am very interested to see how pricing goes. There may be a bit of a logistical problem on the road with all those wings. To this day my parents, who played in Minshall's Papillion (the first big butterfly band) still speak of how beautiful the costumes were but how inconvenient it was when trying to interact with people throughout the day. You were always a full butterfly length away. We got a peek at the potential for disaster from the jam session on the stage at the show's finale. However I'm not sure if that was a costume issue or if everyone was just vying for front and center. I just hope that modern technology has improved on both the weight and flexibility of the wings to make it a pleasant experience for winged and winged not alike.

Oh and can I say, fail to Tribe for not giving booklets. I happen to keep every one and use them as reference when writing these reviews and also like to keep them as souvenirs of all my years of has playing. That 'desktop discussion' whatever like a big party invi does not have the names of the costumes. I hope is just cause pics of Anya's costume seem to be missing that it has not been printed yet, but after the fact I dunno if it even makes sense.

FAVORITE PICKS (no order): ISSORA, JEZEBEL,PAPILIO,KALLIMINI ,REGAL EMPEROR.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Blue Range:Blue Flame 2k12 Review

Yeah ok, I kinda fall off there again . I have good reasons but I still have been out and about. Most recently, this past Saturday at Blue Range All Inclusive. If nothing else, Blue Range is one of the BEST deals in terms of all inclusive fetes for Carnival. Premium drinks, headlining performance like Machel Montano and JW and blaze (Bunji, Iwer have all pass through in past years) and free food. And when I say premium, it really have Johnny Walker, not Dewars. Ok so you may not get Shrimp Florentine but you can eat your heart out with things like Bake and shark, Burgers, Jerk pork/chicken and it even had a Sushi bar. All for the starting price of $500. Wait, no if you knew someone on the Red Ants committee it had $350 ladies tickets and $450 tickets floating about as well. $350 for all that? Bessssss. Even if the party had no vibe you could get drunk enough to forget it.

So I arrived a bit later than usual but just in time for the performances which started about midnight. The set up was rather condensed compared to how it usually is and they were unable ego have the food set up outside the park area.Everything was squished inside. I sampled some of the cuisine which was actually pretty good. Made sure my drink was topped up, passed through the cocktail bar and passed on the tequila shots. Party was in full swing by this time and I could tell the large majority of the crowd was well liquored up. As this is a community fete, there is a very wide range of age groups but it seems the younger crowd is taking over. Long time we used to refer to the BR all inclusive as the "old people fete" and the BR cooler fete as the "Young people fete". I know for damn sure when I was younger I did not have no All inclusive fete money. With the collaboration with Red Ants, the fete has turned into more of a Tribe crowd than anything else. (take that however you want it).

First up in performances was JW and Blaze. JW was wearing a pair of pants that was closer to being a leggings than anything else. One compromise you would have to take with the performances is that there is no live band backing so sometimes the dj tracks can overwhelm the performance. Other notable acts was none other than All Rounder who had me close to tears with his foolishness. I still think his daughters are kinda creepy always wining on their father. I imagine the most anticipated for the night was Machel Montano and he did not disappoint. He pulled selections from both old and new while pushing his "Pump the flag". Ok aside, If that is the front runner for road march I feel cheated. I missed last year , best you give me back Advantage yes cause I really not felling that song yet and not sure I ever will. My absolute favorite so far is "Mr. Fete" and I think he is a very strong contender for the Groovy Soca Monarch as well. Machel's pants was also unbelievably tight and we could see all his business from 20 feet away. I was a bit sad when he left the stage in barely 30 mins but hey, what do you expect for $350?
Thankfully DJ Private Ryan was on set for the rest of the party (I think, cause its all a blur) and the vibe was up for the rest of the fete. The momentum kept going till the riddem section chimed in about 3am. Yes I say 3am, the old people have to go sleep. All in all , best bang for your buck as always and the party itself was enjoyable. Keep in mind that I don't get out often these days so I glad for anything.

What should be of concern is the drama brewing in the background between the residents, the Blue Range committee and Red Ants. For several years now a select portion of residents have been trying to shut down the fete. Which is kinda dumb considering its their communities' main source of income. You would think they could live with noise for two days out of the whole year. Blue Range fetes were managed by their board until somebody got the bright idea to farm it out to Red Ants. Although this definitely increased the quality of organization of the fete, it also cut into their proceeds. I guess it arguably Red Ants' involvement also increased patronage so their was a fair trade. What has residents seeing Red (no pun intended) is the fact that they were only offered limited $500 tickets(which went up to $600) from the BR Board based on availability whilst outsiders seemed to have free reign of $350 and $450 tickets. Yeah, I might be kinda pissed too, it is after all their community. Well we go see what happen next year cause the fete on the whole seems to have outgrown the venue and the residents close to uprising.

Onto the next one!