Posts tagged ‘Port of Spain’

March 4, 2014

Carnival Tuesday 2014


Carnival Tuesday 2014, a set on Flickr.

December 11, 2013

Angelo Bissessarsingh of the Virtual Museum of T&T Part 1

August 29, 2011

The streets of uptown Port of Spain under curfew.

I had a program that finished after curfew time  this evening. I have a curfew pass and I decided to film my epic 7 minute drive home at 9:45pm . Pretty strange not seeing any cars on the road.

Yes I am that anal I indicate even when there are no other cars on the road – blame Young Drivers of Canada defensive driving classes.

The PM announced that the State of Emergency will be extended but no time frame was given. Rumors are circulating that it might be November 7th.  There was also an indication from the PM that curfew hours might be relaxed in the locked down areas.

July 10, 2011

Galaxy Tab shots


Galaxy Tab shots, a set on Flickr.

An afternoon testing various photo apps on the Galaxy tab in Port of Spain.

April 7, 2011

Test shots from the Galaxy Tab

Photos taken this afternoon at the Queen’s Park Savannah and Botanical Gardens in Port of Spain, Trinidad. It has to be said that the huge size of the Tab and the fact you have to touch the screen to snap the pic does not make for  very steady shots. I subsequently realized that I had the Tab set to a resolution of 800 X 600 instead of 2048 X 1536. That explains the low quality.

March 30, 2011

Michelle Jodhan of T&T’s TallMan Foundation.

The TallMan Foundation helps disadvantaged youth in one of the poorer areas of Port of Spain, Trinidad. Another great group making a difference in the lives of young people.

Their mission statement is: ‘Supporting the creative potential of the youth of Trinidad & Tobago to give them opportunities to stand tall, reach further and see beyond.”

According to the group’s own site:

Beginnings: The TallMan Foundation took its earliest steps as a member of a partnership of stakeholders, community, religious and political, that came together under the program CITY – Community Intervention Transforming Youth.  (CITY has since become CIT+E, Community Intervention for Transformation and Empowerment).  CITY was responsible for the birth of the movement ‘Pride in Gonzales’, as its name suggests, a neighbourhood/community building exercise that sought to encourage the capacity of residents to manage their own social and infrastructural development.  At the start, for TallMan, beyond advisory capacity, their involvement in real terms consisted of funding and equipping a photography course for young people.

Growth: The seed was planted. The popularity of the photography course, coupled with the founding members’ own belief in the transformative powers of the Arts, led to a big jump for TallMan, from funding one course, to designing and implementing an Arts program offering workshops in different disciplines, such as videography, drama, dance, music. This marked the first steps toward the overarching dream of TallMan, to establish a performing arts company with its own performance space in the community itself.”

Michelle is also the mother of  T&T designer and former beauty queen Anya Ayoung-Chee.

March 8, 2011

Trinidad Carnival 2011


Alvie and Vedesh looking up at me on my perch on Tragarete Rd.

Trinidad Carnival 2011 ,which accounted for my virtual absence from the blogosphere, is now over. In case anyone doesn’t know T&T Carnival is billed locally as the Greatest Show on Earth – if nothing else it is one of the biggest street parties on earth. Took about 200  shots from our headquarters on Tragarete Rd, Port of Spain which was a busy Carnival thoroughfare.

Pics are available as a Flickr set here.

October 7, 2010

Life out loud…

My brother , who is a Police Officer in Toronto,  sent me a text earlier to say “There’s a march going on through my division right now in relation to suicide by gay kids.” Knowing him he would have been right there protecting them. Mind you, it isn’t usually an issue in TO but I pity any bully he happens to run across.

This evening I saw Anderson Cooper interview Chris Armstrong , the university student who is student assembly president at the University of Michigan and is being cyber-bullied by the peculiar  ( can you say issues boys and girls?) Michigan Asst. Atty General. He said he didn’t want to be speaking out about a personal matter but the spate of suicides such as Seth, Asher and Tyler made him think he should speak out. So in many ways the tragic loss of these young and potentially beautiful lives has not been in vain. It has encouraged activism and thanks to the media ( of which I am part and now happier than ever to be part of)  significant and unrelenting coverage of the long standing issue is getting attention.

Today it also came to my attention ,via Facebook and my dear friend Alvin, that some strange US based “His Way Out”  Ex-Gay group is coming here soon. They plan to run around spreading hate to the few who will listen  and even have a meeting planned with the new Port of Spain Mayor whose party isn’t exactly known for its spirited stance on diversity. Great timing fools!  If the US has a problem with suicide and they are a lot more  advanced – how do you think that will affect kids here where they feel even more isolated? Oh right – they don’t give a damn. Any young blood spilled will just be collateral damage in their quest to change human nature. I will not even dignify them by linking to their god awful site.  Apparently, though, there is a protest planned so that will be a first for T&T.  I hope they realize they are probably going to hell too for eating shrimp – it is an abomination – from the same Leviticus they love to quote.

As a result of this development my pal Alvin posted his views and people commented – resulting in this exchange:

Naturally, I responded with this:

I know I shouldn’t be so brash …oh wait…I should.

On a lighter note I missed Margaret Cho on DWTS . This is not surprising as I don’t watch the programme – but I love her humour. It seems dear Margaret decided to go all out in her last venture :

Way to live loud Margaret!

Don’t forget on October 20, 2010 – wear purple in honour ( honor for my American friends)  of those countless kids who have died as a result of bullying and to celebrate Spirit Day. I will be wearing it on camera.

November 20, 2009

Take me to your leader…

There are weeks that are dull and there are weeks that fill me with trepidation. My life is such that the two convenient slots would pretty well cover most of my life thus far. This past week fell into the latter category but, as is often the case, turned out to be interesting. I have no idea why I consider new experiences to be traumatic but I generally enjoy them once I get going and have yet to meet a challenge that I did not enjoy accomplishing or, in retrospect, consider a “learning experience.”

Our newest landmark in Port of Spain is the National Academy for the Performing Arts which has spawned not inconsiderable controversy. Had it not cost about $100 million US to the taxpayers  it might have been lauded as a noble experiment but since it did it is regarded by many as somewhere between a gross waste of resources and the greatest travesty since Celine Dion. Personally, I am an arts kind of guy, but when I know for a fact that hospitals here are awful and many people do not get a regular supply of water,  I tend to be rather circumspect about the necessity for new venues for performers. In any case, the PM needed the thing finished in time to show off to his new friends for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2009 and we got hire purchase terms from China so it is now a fact of life in Port of Spain.

There can be no doubt that it is impressive both inside and outside. There are varying opinions on its architectural merit that range from gleaming icon to hideous and inappropriate . My opinion lies somewhere in the middle. I certainly don’t think it is reflective of anything Caribbean or Trinidadian but that is what happens when you make an arrangement with the Chinese that includes them designing and building the thing. Apparently shiny  and metal is de rigueur in Shanghai these days. The Government says the design is meant to represent the national flower – sure it is and my behind represents an interesting rococo end table. When will governments learn to quit when they are ahead when it comes to testing our gullibility?

Anyhow, to cut to the chase, I got a call not too many days ago asking if I would be the announcer for a mainly classical cultural show being held at NAPA. At first I thought it was a clever plan to lure me into the building so that I could be buried under concrete. I have not been shy in stating my views on the necessity for the structure and the way this country is going that could easily mean interment. Given that the caller was Mervyn de Goeas who I met many years ago and whose work  I respect I suspended my disquieting thoughts and agreed. Actually, had it not been someone I know I would have probably said no as I truly hate speaking in public. Broadcasting is usually done in a studio and there is little chance of anyone jeering at me or pelting past-peak produce. Since I was told I would be in the wings I figured the curtains would shield me.

Now that I have done the two shows I am happy that I agreed as it gave me a chance to wander from my comfort zone and to get reacquainted with Mervyn who I had fallen out of touch with for an ungodly number of years. When I think about it – it is amazing that such a thing can happen in such a small island…but I digress. Mervyn was brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed my time backstage and the chance to share our contrasting views on the world. I am a cynical and jaded bastard and he is preternaturally happy to be alive and experiencing things. This mental state might be understandable in a young person but in someone my age it is nothing short of a miracle. Apparently life on the stage can give a different perspective. I tend to think, though, that since he deals with fantasy and mind manipulation  for a living ( 7 Cacique awards which are the local version of a Tony) the goings-on in this country would not seem unusual to him.

I was also pleased to be able to wander about a stage and mingle with the crew and performers. I have a great love for theatre and never had a chance to pursue it myself so any opportunity to mingle with show folk in their milieu is a thrill. That being said the main stage at NAPA is a thing to behold. When the government picked it they must have been given a catalogue by the Chinese and picked the model labelled “Big Mother F$%ker”. It is colossal by any standard and I am sure it would be easily able to accommodate any opera or Broadway/West End production. Heck…it could even be used to play a regulation game of football. It is also a slip stage which is unheard of in this country…at least I never heard of one. I suspect that I am correct on this one because the audiences for both performances applauded wildly when they saw the instruments on stage moving towards them when the curtain rose. This is very much a space designed for opera and classical performances which are the only ones that could attract  1,200 people able to afford the ticket prices to support the cost of paying to rent such a venue. The only problem is that we have no opera or classical music culture in this country but that is another story. Were I able to adopt the methods in A Clockwork Orange I would love to “adjust” the taste of the population but, sadly, I will never be given such leeway.

It seems I may be announcing for a repeat production in the future and I am looking forward to the chance to hang out with Mervyn again and watching his unorthodox but effective ways.

And speaking of old friends and the theatre ( and I was) I had a rather surreal experience the other night. In my usual insomniac way I was lying in bed watching CNN trying to fall asleep when the Joy Behar show came on. Nothing unusual there but then I realized one of the main guests looked very familiar. When they put his name up on the screen I knew it was someone I was very friendly with for a while in the early 80s in Toronto.  I had met Duncan when I used to hang out at the Poor Alex theatre in Toronto and he and Neil Bartlett had come over from England with in a play called PORNOGRAPHY ( all caps…I swear.) Most odd. I should mention that the topic for Behar’s show was sex addiction but that is a subject for another day.