August Spotlight: Caribana 2008

20 August 2008 at 10:14 pm (Entertainment, Interviews, Local Events, Monthly Spotlight) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The number of visitors to Toronto were in the thousands. The numbers of people playing “mas” this year totalled just over 11,000. Toronto was alive and well during Caribana 2008. Lakeshore was alive with spectators, masquaraders, the tantalizing aroma of west indian food, colourful costumes, feathers, flesh (lol) and the beautiful sounds of steel pan. You had to be there to feel the energy. It started out with a bit of rain but ended up a sunny and warm day. Families and friends, young and old, people of every race, culture and ethnicity participated in this year’s parade. And most importantly, there was no violence. A great success, Caribana was definitely the highlight of my summer.
-Corprah Lanfrey

The parade route

The parade route

OK! So Caribana happened earlier this month and now that the hoopla, and the “pawty pawty” atmosphere has died down somewhat (but never for the soca freaks – lol), let’s ask some Caribana participants how it was at Caribana 2008:

Jenell Hylton:
Which band were you performing with this year?
This year I played with Louis Saldenah and our theme was The Deep. The section I participated in was called the Fighting Fish.

Have you always played mas or was this your first time? How was it?!
Growing up I have always gone to Caribana but never participated until two years ago. I also plan on playing again next year. After experiencing Caribana by being in the parade I don’t see it any other way. It’s just a different experience being in the parade with all my friends and having a great time. Its also exciting for my family to come and wait to see me. Being in the parade you are able to meet new people and possibly make new friends like I did this year.

Describe your costume.
My section represented the Fighting Fish. The costume consisted of a bra and shorts (I opted for the shorts and not the panty) with a belt and a head piece. (Not much to it) The colors were purple and blue. We had very big head pieces (which made the costume) that had a lot of feathers (purple and blue). The bra which was blue had purple beads and the beading went on the belt also.

Being that it is Caribana, we know there is dancing so… how scandalous was the dancing? Lol
Very scandalous. A lot of people have no shame. Nothing was left to the imagination but all in good humor.

Why not just attend the parade? Why did you want to participate in mas?
Two years ago it started as something to do and say “hey I did it once”. Now I could never see myself just going to Caribana and watching from the side. I know a lot of families who play mas together, and I can see why they do, because it is that much fun. The competition part is fun. Sizing up other costumes wondering how they are going to place.

Let’s be real: we know that a lot of people attend Caribana from far and wide. If you had to guess, how many accents did you hear in that one day? Including fake American accents 😉
Just at the parade alone I heard about 3 fake accents. The worse was when we went to a party a guy was pretending to be American but had identification that said Nova Scotia. I don’t see the point in pretending.



Amanda Gravesande:
What is your favorite soca song to “get on bad” to?
Truth be told, I am not a ‘soca’ head but when it comes to Caribana you can’t help but to get into the vibe. Its hard to choose just one good ‘wuk up’ song, because they all get your waist moving, but one of my personal favourites are “Party Animal” By Problem Child.

Amanda Gravesande

Amanda Gravesande

Were you nervous about any potential violence at Caribana this year?
Worrying about violence at Caribana is never an issue to me, everyone is there to enjoy the day. Despite past events, you cant let things like that stop you from having fun you have to keep the vibes positive.

Do you think you’ll go next year?
-Most definitely, I try to play mas every year It’s the highlight of my summer.

Do you know that Caribana was started as a celebration of the the abolishment of slavery? How do you feel about that?
-I think it was a great idea, I endorse anything that gets the community together to celebrate. The abolishment of slavery was a big thing for the black community so what better way to celebrate than through dance, food, people.

How was the food?
Since I played in mas, I didn’t really get a chance to eat that much aside from the food off of the mas truck. But the food is delightful and there is a variation to choose from the different carribean countries.

What are the essentials to bring to Caribana?
-Your Flag/Whistle
-Positive Attitude
-Money..Of course
-And some comfy shoes

Let’s be real: we know that a lot of people attend Caribana from far and wide. If you had to guess, how many accents did you hear in that one day? Including fake American accents 😉
LOL too many to count, everyone and their damn grandfather is american caribana weekend, I guess it’s the ‘cool’ thing. It being a predominatly carribean event, you hear many accents, I love it…so ethnic.

Bana 08 Revellers Representing Guyana

Bana '08 Revellers Representing Guyana

 To me, major events are like movies. You cannot fully comment on how you felt until way after the fact, after the hype and after the build up. This year’s Caribana sounded really, really good so if you weren’t there this year, I better see you jumpin’ up in 2009.

Aerial view of the parade

Aerial view of the parade

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July Spotlight: Gay Pride 2008

18 July 2008 at 11:26 pm (Interviews, Local Events, Monthly Spotlight) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Toronto’s 28th Annual Pride Parade was held on Sunday, June 29th 2008 @ 2pm.  More than 4,000 people participated in the parade, while roughly one million others took in the colourful action. The weather was sketchy as it rained, albeit lightly, and then the sun came out in full force along with energtic people and music. If you haven’t been, you must come and see for yourself.
-Corprah Lanfrey

The Officaial Gay Pride Flag

The Official Gay Pride Flag

OK, so, we all know that parades are fun. They’re usually REALLY fun. You’ve got loud music, lots of energy, good good, and often interesting costumes. So it’s no wonder that a group of single, straight females decided to go the Gay Pride Parade, held in Toronto this year to see what all the hoopla was about. We went without the fear of being hit on left, right and center and having our wallets stolen, or being whispered or talked about “just because”.  And lo and behold, needless to say, it ended up being ……………… (wait for it) ………… a gay ol’ time.

Whether you believe in gay rights or not, this interview is not about that. Really, it’s not. We interviewed a fellow participant of the parade and here’s what he had to say regarding the parade, gay people and … other shenanigans.

What does gay pride mean to you?
I appreciate it for it being a day that people can show that they are bound together and not going to be discriminated, at least for the day, for who they are and anything goes.  It is also the one day I can walk around naked in the streets and not get arrested. 

Gay Pride 2008

Gay Pride 2008

How many parades have you been to?
Three in toronto and none anywhere else yet. 

Are you a nudist? We couldn’t help but notice your, er, lack of attire, lol. =). 
Wait…I wasn’t wearing clothes?  Shit what happened to them, i’m still looking.  I love being naked and love the freedom.  I don’t partake in it all the time but when I can I do.

Gay Pride 2008

Gay Pride 2008

Why do you think there is so much nudity at Gay Pride?
I didn’t think there was that much this year.  Sure, the “TNT” (Editors Note: see men every year but the amount of women was lacking compared to the past.  But people will do what they feel is best.  I wish more people were comfortable being naked, believing that if there was everyone naked, there would be less rape in the world as it would then be less taboo. 

Gay Pride 2008

Gay Pride 2008

Have you noticed any changes towards gays, lesbians and transgenered people in recent years? If no, how can we get better as a society? If yes, what has changed?
This will go in don’t know if yes or no.  I personally don’t agree with the term gay pride because it isn’t something to be proud of but just confident in being themselves and being simply happy that they can be themselves without worrying what someone else may think.  I don’t know if things have changed much in recent years but this is because I simply am just a person that can appreciate everyone for what they have to offer, no matter what sex, race and personality. 

What did you think of this past year’s parade? Compared to others? It was our first time. What did you think of it? 
I just love being in the atmosphere.  This year surprised me as I had a couple people try to threaten me which I was confused to see just because if they aren’t comfortable then they shouldn’t be there to try and start things.  So each year has been great for me. 

Can you suggest what we, straight females, should do for next year’s Pride parade? 
Walk around naked with me, haha.  I am straight as well but just being there shows my support for people being who they are along with you and everyone else.  So just simply being there is a great thing for the community.  Bring more friends that are open minded and loving. 

Gay Pride 2008

Gay Pride 2008

Are straights really welcomes in the gay community? ie. clubs, parades, functions, etc. 
I have always been accepted so I see no reason why not.
If you could shout something, anything, to the world regarding sexuality, what would it be?
Don’t worry about those you don’t agree with, you are just wasting your time and breath because it will get nowhere so just try to enjoy your own life on your own terms.  I absolutely love that naked people walk in that parade equally to the churches that are in the parade that support gay marriages. 

What would you say is the most misunderstood/misconstrued thing about homosexuals? 
I have met guys that automatically think if they are around other gay males that they will get hit on and then should get offended.  For one, who really should worry about that? A lot of girls feel that about a lot of men and get upset about it sometimes.  So guys being straight or gay are just bad. haha.  So some of these guys think they would have to fight a gay male and I just tell them they should look at it as a compliment and just politely turn the person down. 

And there you have it folks! I know I’ll be back for SURE next year.  There were too many good vibes to stay away and too much fun to miss out on.

Hope to see everyone next year at the Gay Pride Parade 2009!!!!XOOX
-D Inspectah

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