Entertainment News

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Emotional climax to theatre festival

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:59

On Sunday, June 10, the curtain closed on the Act It Out Theatre Festival 3 hosted by Steven Edwards Productions (SEP). It was an emotional conclusion to a festival whose patrons included dignitaries, celebrities, preteens and parents.

The festival started on June 8 and was the theatrical debut for many local entertainers and celebrities. These included social media sensation Jamel “Certified” Sampson, soca artiste Rodney “Benjai” LeBlanc, and radio personalities Natalie Morales and Daya Ottley. Steven Edwards, Director, Producer and writer, worked with the assistant director, stunt and dance choreographer Akil Samuel to round out the all-star cast.

On June 8, the Government Plaza Auditorium opened its doors to several schools across the country for two SEP original plays written by Edwards. Trinbago –We are Wakanda, and Carnivale: The return of the King Sailor. These plays were headlined by Sampson and Benjai, respectively.

Later that evening, SEP featured another original play, For Better or Worse, at a gala event by invitation only. Audience members included Fitz Gerald Hinds, Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and

Legal Affairs; independent senators Melissa Ramkisoon and Taurel Shrikissoon, along with media and entertainment personalities David Muhammad, Jessie May Ventour, Esuyemi Ogunbanke and Paul Keens Douglas. All of whom admitted to having been extremely entertained and secretly confessing to shed a tear during very moving parts of the play. For Better or Worse lived up to its tagline — audiences laughed, cried, and left with their hearts ready to love again.

June 9 was all about the children. Children of the Theatre for Tots to Teens programme came and performed in their concert Reach for the Stars. They performed in dance, poetry, vocals, theatre and lip sync as they did tributes to the classic calypsos and 80’s Sesame Street skits.

Currently, the children’s programme is in Ivy League schools such as Montessori Academy of T&T, Maple Leaf International, Brynmar Private School and Arbor. The goal is to have a children’s programme available in public schools also.

At 4:30 pm on June 10, the packed auditorium hosted children of several homes, youth institutions, and vulnerable communities across the country. Members of the business community, such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Angostura, Holiday Snacks, Kiss and Solo beverages, all ensured that the children were treated to the time of their lives.

Two and a half hours later, For Better or For Worse was performed for the general public. Laughter erupted all throughout the performance with tears pouring down the cheeks of many at the end. A fitting end for what was an unforgettable weekend of theatre. 

Minister Hinds was quoted as saying, “I never knew this type of theatre existed in Trinidad. I am extremely glad that I came.”

Melissa Ramkissoon stated, “The level of professionalism was like no other and thank you for keeping such high standards. I had a wonderful time.”

The one question every patron left with was, “When is the next show?”

Categories: Entertainment News

Los Angeles de San Miguel wins over Cuba

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 23:53

Los Angeles de San Miguel Parang Band recently concluded a short but successful cultural tour to Cuba and band spokesperson Ingrid dos Santos was only too willing to share the good news with T&T Guardian.

The band’s first official activity was a courtesy call at the T&T Embassy, which was followed by a historical educational tour of Havana City, made possible and organised by the Ministerio de Cultura, Cuba
The main event was a concert on May 31, at the Centro Hispanoamericano de Cultura, under the auspices of T&T Ambassador to Cuba Dr Lancelot Cowie, supported by Jude Carasquero, representative of T&T’s Trade Mission to Cuba.

Dos Santos said that Cowie expressed his pride and satisfaction at the presentation of this band, which introduced to the diplomatic community of Cuba, its original compositions in the area of traditional parang music, as well as a sample of Parang Soca and traditional calypso music. In attendance were a number of diplomats and officials from Caricom countries accredited to Cuba, ambassadors from Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Czeck Republic, and Ecuador. Also present was Professor Dr Fidel Antonio Castro Smirnov, grandson of the late Dr. Fidel Castro, as well as the son of the current Cuban Ambassador to T&T, Guillermo Vasquez Jr.

Dos Santos added that staff from the T&T Embassy and Trade Mission were in attendance. Other significant persons in attendance were officials from the Cuban Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Higher Education and Health. The tour climaxed with the band performing on stage with Cuban band Decisión Sonora, at the Casa de Cultura, Plaza, in nearby Vedado. The occasion was a celebration organised by the Ministerio de Cultura, in which the audience was composed of primary school children.

Said dos Santos: “The enthusiastic response of this group of Cuban children to our music will remain as the high point of the tour for many of our band members.

“Unforgettable moments in Havana, will include time spent in Habana Vieja, with spontaneous participation in roadside band performances.”

Los Angeles de San Miguel left Cuba, yearning for more of the warmth and passion of the Cuban people and the excellence of their art and culture.

Said dos Santos: “We would like to thank our sponsors here in Trinidad and Tobago, without whom we would not have been able to embark on this adventure.

“Our heartfelt thanks goes to the Ministry of Community Development Culture and the Arts, Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited, National Flour Mills, Insurance Industry Credit Union Co-operative Society Limited, Export, Import Bank of T&T Ltd, and Stephen Encinas.

Categories: Entertainment News

Grande Hindu School students graduate

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:27

The 2018 graduating class of the Sangre Grande Hindu School has been advised by the principal Sharmain Maharaj to remain focused as they embark on a new chapter in their lives.

Maharaj, delivering an address at the school on June 8, told them they are going to be confronted by numerous and varied challenges, but reminded them to apply the positives that they have learnt.

She said today we live in an era of technology which is impacting significantly on their lives and which can be used to support their studies.

However, she said in today’s society especially among teenagers it is being abused.

Maharaj cautioned students to be wary about what they post on social media, it cannot be erased.

“Every word, every photo, every video can be assessed across the world.” She told them obscenities and negative postings can scar them.

Categories: Entertainment News

Arima Rotary Club marks 40

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:23

Michael Bradshaw, past president of Arima Rotary Club says people in T&T should give back to their communities according to their wishes and abilities.

“We should go back because the need in our communities is real and it is growing,” he said.

He urged citizens to give back because “this widening gap—the gap between what is needed and what can be provided—threatens the most vulnerable among us.

And we should give back, because this gap threatens one of the most cherished values as Trinbagonians, the equality of opportunity.”

Bradshaw was speaking at Arima Rotary Club 40th Anniversary held at Tennis Court, Arima, last weekend.

He said apart from the Rotary Club of Arima’s dedication to service, Rotary has also been an important venue for sharing new ideas and initiatives, and a forum for building the necessary momentum for social and economic change.

Past presidents of the Arima Rotary Club were honoured for their service at the event, while members of Arima business community received certificate for their support over the years.

Categories: Entertainment News

Coping with fear in cars

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:21

In our last article we started to discuss travel phobia in dogs and looked at the reasons why dogs may develop this fear.

Today we will talk abouthumanely introducing your  pet to the car to prevent and overcome this problem behaviour.

Dogs who are not accustomed to car travel will understandably be nervous the first time they are popped into a car in adulthood.

It is important that puppies are introduced to car travel from the time they are acquired by new owners.

The first trip is usually additionally traumatic because they may have just been taken from their mum and siblings and find themselves alone for the first time in something that moves and tosses them around.

Once your new puppy has settled into your home and started to bond with you, show your dog that being in the car is a good thing. Start with the car off and the doors closed and walk him around it. Open the doors and feed him treats in the car, play games in and around the car, leave his toys lying around inside of the car but never force him into the car. Sit in the car and allow him the freedom to make the choice of being in the car with you.

After a few days of doing this, once the dog is able to relax in the car, switch on the car but do not drive anywhere. This stage is to allow him to get comfortable with the running engine, the air condition and the radio.

Repeat the playing of games, feeding of treats and sitting with him—all inside of the turned-on, stationary car.

Once your dog is comfortable, start taking short drives, gradually increasing the distance you go.

Make sure that the drives all end in positive experiences such as to the park for a walk, to a friend’s house for a play session with another puppy, or back home for some treats.

Many dogs dislike the car because they are only taken to the veterinarian for a painful or unpleasant procedure, so they form a negative association with the car.

Arrange sessions with your veterinarian where you take the dog in for the staff to play with him and feed him tasty titbits but for nothing negative to be done to the dog.

Not only will this make car travel easier for you and your dog, it will help your dog to bond with his vet and make any handling more comfortable.

This can save you thousands on your vet bill because if your dog is accustomed to being touched and held by his vet then he will be more compliant during a physical examination and will not need to be anaesthetised for every vet visit because you cannot control your dog.

If your dog suffers from motion sickness, talk to your veterinarian about prescription or overthe- counter medication.

Remember, never give your dog any drugs without first consulting your veterinarian.

As always, safety comes first. Never leave your dog alone in the car, and you should invest in a safety harness and seatbelt for your dog.

Copyright © Kristel-Marie Ramnath 2018

Categories: Entertainment News

Feel the love, taste the ‘Swagg’

Lifestyle - Sun, 06/17/2018 - 00:18

The “Redd Swagg” brand is something you might want to get familiar with. Not only does it carry an assortment of condiments and dried foods, but it’s all 100 per cent locally made by the hands of Candace Boissiere.

The 39-year-old estate constable was first introduced to the home-made craft by her grandmother who would turn her kitchen upside down each Christmas, making condiments for friends, neighbours, and family.

Boissiere’s first try at it came when she was 13 years old, but she only became inclined to continue the tradition after her grandmother passed in 2013.

“I started making sauces on my own in 2014 for family and friends until I sold them for Christmas in 2015. I have been selling ever since,” she says.

The Redd Swagg line includes pepper sauces, green seasonings, pureed garlic, ginger, pimiento, and chandon beni. If you’re a fan of some good “Trini” ‘mudd n law,” Redd Swagg makes that too, along with pepper nuts, fruit and nut, and minced saffron. All products come in litre and gallon-size, the latter specifically made for restaurants.

But we had to ask, “What’s up with the name “Redd Swagg?” Sort of odd for a food product line, don’t you think?

The story behind it is quite simple actually, as Boissiere says, “The name Redd Swagg is a combination of my favourite colour and the extra love and spices I add to create that special flavour you will experience in every product.”

Speaking of red, this “red-skinned” woman, originally from Maraval, now residing in Chaguanas, obtains all produce to make her products from her uncles who are farmers in her native residence.

In her very own kitchen it takes Boissiere, her eldest son, and fiance, a full 24 hours to prepare a batch of anyone of the products.

The work includes washing, peeling, prepping, mincing, heating, bottling, and labelling.

“Many times we are up all night peeling garlic,” she says through a chuckle.

The condiment business is no “side hustle” for Boissiere as she takes it very seriously and plans to expand the brand in the future.

But she explained to the Sunday Guardian that there are some challenges as a “newcomer” on the market that can make someone who does not have a strong sense of self and the courage of conviction, to give up.

After throwing sou-sous and subsequently receiving $6,000 in financial assistance from Nedco, Boissiere said there was little or next to no support from supermarkets when she took her products to their establishments.

“Most supermarkets told us they are not accepting new items because they’re overstocked.

“Some took the samples and the price list and never called,” she recalls.

With a vision on the horizon and the will to keep going, amidst the disappointment, for many days Boissiere would pound the pavements, walking all over Port-of-Spain and Ariapita Avenue, going from food place to food place giving out samples and contact information in the hope someone would call with an order.

One day she walked into Scotiabank in San Juan and asked the manager if she could be permitted to sell her products in front the car park area of the bank on Saturdays.

The manager gave her blessing and Boissiere began to operate her business each Saturday for five months and could have gone longer if she was not stopped by the bank security one Saturday morning as she was about to routinely set up.

“The security guard came out and told me I could not sell there. I told him I got permission from the manager but he said that manager resigned last week and the new manager said I could not sell there.”

With goods on her hand and not knowing where to turn, Boissiere had to think fast. She took out her phone and posted to her Facebook page, “free delivery today for all the customers who have pick-up orders,” and immediately customers kept messaging her.

As fate would have had it, she sold out all her products that day.

Needless to say, delivery is now a part of her service and she delivers to her customers anywhere in Trinidad.

Boissiere said being an entrepreneur was most times a labour of love as there is more input than output and it really takes drive and confidence in your product or business, whatever it is, to keep trying until a breakthrough occurs.

She called on those who have the power to help entrepreneurs to be a bit more encouraging and helpful so that a constructive society can be rebuilt in T&T.

She leaves a few words of advice for young entrepreneurs who might be feeling the pinch of “sweet humility” before their success.

“Follow your dreams, advertise and market your product wisely, promote great customer service, and be ready to take good advice.

“Keep in mind customers are who make you and your business becomes, so regardless of what they spend, show them appreciation and love.

“Be very proud of your product and remember to add some love and ‘swagg’ in everything.”

More info

For more information on the Redd Swagg brand visit Facebook @ Boissiere redd swagg pepper sauce and seasonings. You can also email: [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Sango Festival celebrates an important Iyalorisha

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 23:03

Egbe Onisin Eledumare held its annual Sango Festival at Salybia the end of last month featuring a celebration of the late Iyalorisha Dr Geraldine Molly Ayhe.

Egbe Onisin Eledumare is a traditional African spiritual organisation functional in T&T (Ile-Iere) since 1971. The organisation has consistently been one of the most progressive voices for Orisha and African traditions in T&T facilitating the adherence of major rituals and traditions that are relevant to the peoples of the local African diaspora.

The organisation has campaigned for the passage of the Orisha Marriage Act; held two major Orisha and African Traditions Conferences in T&T; staged the first Orisha carnival band and Queen of Carnival contestant. Its credentials also include many other events and interventions that have helped mainstream the information about and the practice of Orisha and traditional African ancestral sacred science in T&T.

Sango is regarded to be the deity in custodianship of lightning and storms but actually is the very deity of ‘Life Force’ itself and the Sango Festival is one of the major festivals on the Egbe’s annual Festival calendar.

Sango is the lord of the dance with Oranfe being a primordial deity related to volcanic properties as well as storm and elemental forces.

Each year the Festival celebrates life, environmental balance, social and spiritual equality and justice via the ethos of the Festival.

Categories: Entertainment News

Challenging local cocoa market

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 23:01

After 26 years in the cocoa business, Harryman “Clutch” Chattergoon has put his best foot forward and decided to tackle the local market with four products that add value to the locally grown beans.

Chattergoon made the bold move in late 2017 to offer to consumers two cocoa-based beverage mixtures, a ground and roasted organic coffee, and a 70 per cent dark chocolate bar.

He said these products are doing well at supermarkets in south and central Trinidad and he is hoping to enter into arrangements with supermarkets in the north and east of T&T.

His products are being sold under the Tabaquite Cocoa Fermentary label, a brand that he started building over two decades ago when he entered the industry. Chattergoon said the facility was opened 26 years ago to provide a service as a cocoa and coffee agent under the then Cocoa and Coffee Industry Board of T&T.

Beans for the fermentary are collected from catchment areas encompassing Tabaquite, Flanagin Town, Mamoral, Gran Couva, Brasso, Rio Claro in Central and from the southern peninsula at a cocoa depot in Cedros.

In 2002, Chattergoon was one of five individuals who was granted a fermentary license to purchase and process wet cocoa.

Chattergoon showed Guardian Media his fermenting operation where wet beans are fermented in cedar boxes that are covered with banana leaves and jute bags to develop the flavour.

The fermentary is also equipped with artificial dryers that can run all day to ensure that the beans are dried evenly and properly.

In doing so Chattergoon does not have to worry about having the proverbial cocoa in the sun since all drying takes place indoors. The beans for export are packed in jute bags and filled into shipping containers.

In 2015, Chattergoon started to export fine flavour cocoa to Germany, Switzerland and Holland. In that year his operations brought home two international cocoa awards for beans from the Tabaquite and Cedros areas.

Chattergoon has started to export beans to China and the United States. His total exports have crossed an annual figure of 120 tonnes.

Chattergoon said the chocolate bar is named after his son, 15-yearold son Jeevan, who did a chocolate making course eight months ago. Chatergoon said the family has since invested in new equipment to keep up with the demands of the market.

This includes a machine to produce 300 chocolate bars a day.

Chattergoon said Jeevan is very much involved in the business. He said: “Jeevan may be the youngest chocolatier in T&T. He has an interest, having grown up in the industry. We decided to invest in equipment to produce high quality 70 per cent dark chocolate bars.

These bars retail for around $20 which is quite affordable when compared to other similar brands. We want to give people value for their money and an excellent product.”

Chattergoon said the industry has a lot of scope for young people. He said “young people should seriously consider agriculture as a career choice and look at it from a wider economic perspective.”

Chattergoon said his next product would be cocoa nibs for use in cake making.

Categories: Entertainment News

Take dad down the islands on Labour Day

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 22:57

Chacachacare Island will be the Labour Day destination of a family hike organised by Island Hikers on the Tuesday holiday. Rated an easy two in terms of difficulty, hikers are requested to assemble at 7 am at KFC Carpark, Westmall for the boarding of the vessel at La Soufriere (next to Heliport), on Western Main Road, Chaguaramas.

Chacachacare Island, located eight miles east from the Venezuelan mainland, is a place of historical significance.

The Island first discovered by Christopher Columbus on August 12, 1498 and called El Caracol (the Snail) because of its angular shape, is the largest and most westerly of the five Boca Islands. The five are Centipede, Gaspar Grande, Monos, Huevos, and Chacachacare.

In earlier times, cotton cultivated on the island and today the road to the Lighthouse there is some surviving plants which still blossom. It is an island to escape to from the hustle and bustle of city life and enjoy a peaceful day at the beach.

In 1813, Simon Bolivar and Santiago Marino used the island as a battle station in the liberation of Venezuela from Spanish Rule. In earlier times whales populated the Gulf of Paria and the Caribbean Sea. In 1820, there was a Whaling Station at Chacachacare. The Boca Light House built in 1870 on the highest part on the island at Morne Cabresse (825feet), remains in operation today.

In 1924, a Leprosarium was constructed to house 500 patients with its hospital wards placed at Cocos and Saunders Bay. The Dominican Nuns, who took care of the patients, built a convent and church at La Chappelle’s Bay. Many of the nuns, while taking care of the patients, contracted the disease and died. In the cemetery grounds of the Nunnery, their tombstones still exist. It is a reminder of their dedication to serving others.

It was like a death sentence, for a patient to be sent to the island. They were taken away from their families some never to return to the outside world. At Rust Bay, there was the Doctor’s House and at Blummer’s Bay the Nurse’s Quarters. During this period, the island was busy with activity and there was electricity. The patients had a cinema for recreation, and each religion had a house to worship. In 1984, with a cure for Hansen disease, the place became abandoned, and all left today are the ruins.

The boat ride to the Island will take 40 minutes, and the walk from the jetty to the Light House is approximately 35 minutes. Visible at the summit there are panoramic views of the Venezuelan mainland. On the return from the lighthouse, there is the option to visit the Nunnery and located on the eastern end of the Island there is a Salt Pond at Bandu Su Bay. For those wishing to relax there is the option to spend the time at La Tinta and Perruquier Bay.

For more details contact Marcia (490 2421); Mario (749 2956); or, Jamal (761 1889), or visit www.islandhikers.com

Categories: Entertainment News

Juncture ends with talk shop

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:55

Artists Donna Tull and Tremayne Frauenfelder hosted the opening of their exhibition, Juncture, on May 11 at the Art Society of T&T, located at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and St Vincent Boulevard, Federation Park.

Tull’s work consisted of surface designs using paint on pottery, acrylics on canvas and stippling with pen which is the technique of using dots to create images.

She also used elements of typography, patterns and indigenous writing scripts in her work.

Frauenfelder displayed a variety of miniatures and dioramas on the evening. He used clay, cardboard, joint compound and gypsum mud to create the colonial style houses. Attending the exhibition were Community Development, Culture and the Arts Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, German ambassador Michael Holger and his wife Hilary, Lonsdale Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Ken Attale, Tull’s mother Leonora Tull and relatives of Freuenfelder.

The exhibition ended yesterday with an artist talk shop and reception at the Art Society of T&T.

Categories: Entertainment News

T&T dancers stun Martinique

Lifestyle - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:50

Founded by the late Beryl Mc Burnie in 1947, the Board and management of The Little Carib Theatre is ensuring that its 70th anniversary is a bumper one. A fortnight ago, the iconic performing space showcased its Carib Dance (CD) company in a spectacular performance, choreographed by Andre Largen.

Last weekend, CD performed at Bele Djouba in Martinique, an event which happens every two years. T&T and St Lucia were guest performers.

The nucleus of CD that travelled to Martinique was supplemented by performers from Tobago to enable T&T to be fully represented as a joint representation. As this was a joint venture, there were three female dancers from Tobago as well as the three drummers joining the five dancers from CD.

Guest performers each gave 25-minute performances on two nights, Friday and Sunday. During our contingent’s performance they did what is called ‘the Trinidad and Tobago Bele, done by our eight dance ambassadors. Its choreography included the Bele reel, jig and Congo Bele by the Tobago dancers; Bele by CD’s male dancers; and, the grand Bele danced by all. On Sunday, the combined troupe did the Bele yard honouring the ancestors.

Last Friday, the contingent did a workshop for school children where over 100 children attended.

On Saturday, the T&T gave a workshop for adults which was packed to capacity and attended one on Sunday given by Martiniquan dancers. Demonstrating our unique dance were choreographers Deon Baptiste and Karen Berkeley-Charles.

A CD spokesperson told T&T Guardian on the contingent’s tour: “All in all it was a resounding success and left attendees wanting more. We have been invited back again so we might return in two years. The Martiniquans also extended an invitation for us to return sooner, on holiday.”

CD’s next big outing is the 51st World Congress on dance research, to be held in Greece on July 4– 9. There they will perform Sancoche (the steelband piece, to the music of Pamberi Steel Orchestra) and Hosanna, both of which performed to raves at the recent Carib Dance: Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of The Little Carib Theatre fund-raising production.

In Greece, the Company will also be presenting a paper at the World Congress of Dance Research, as well as teaching a series of workshops on folk dancing.

CD choreographer Andre Largen, who is ably assisted by rehearsal director Hazel Franco, said in a recent interview about the performances in Grece: “We are showing two different styles because we are using the music of Andre Tanker and Pamberi Steel Orchestra, so we’ll be using their music.”

As The Little Carib Theatre continued its milestone anniversary and, in commemoration of Indian Heritage Month, the Theatre staged its Arrival Day Concert last Monday.

That evening of Classical Indian Culture featured Nrityanjali Dance Theatre dame Mondira Balkaransingh and dancers, Susan Mohip and her dancers and sitarist Sharda Patasar

More info

The Little Carib Theatre was formally opened in November 1948. The foundation stone was laid by Paul Robeson, who at the time was visiting Trinidad, and whom the founder Beryl McBurnie had met in New York.

By the 1960s, the work of the Little Carib Dance Company had been recognised and celebrated overseas, having performed at such events as the Caribbean Festival of Arts in Puerto Rico in 1952, the Jamaica Tercentenary Celebrations in 1955 and the opening of the Federal Parliament of Toronto in April 1958. In the 1960s the Little Carib building had to be closed down and was re-built in three years.

Many of the plays of Nobel Prize-winner Derek Walcott were first staged at the Little Carib Theatre, where he held weekly theatre workshops as founding director, from 1959 to 1971, of what became the Trinidad Theatre Workshop.

Categories: Entertainment News

Technology at its best

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 01:21

After partnering with the non-governmental organisation Restore a Sense of I Can (RSC), to implement a Digital Citizenship Programme for four secondary schools in February this year, the Digicel Foundation collaborated with the RSC to host the first National Tech Expo at the Chaguanas South Secondary School, on Friday, June 1.

The National Tech Expo exposed over 100 students and teachers from Chaguanas North, Chaguanas South and Palo Seco Secondary to alternative careers in the field of PC repairs, Digital Media, Robotics, GIS Mapping and Gaming.

The excited students were keen to visit the various booths being exhibited at the Tech Expo where they gained hands-on experience as they tried out many of the technology items on display. With internet safety being a paramount global concern, the students displayed a positive outlook on the use of technology and how it can have a great impact on their lives as well as others.

The Expo is just one of the components of the Digital Citizenship Programme which also includes development of tech clubs that allow students to get involved in all things IT. The programme also encourages philanthropy among the students, where refurbished personal computers are gifted to organisations in need.

Digicel Foundation has invested $110,000 to implement the Digital Citizenship Programme at Chaguanas South, Coryal Secondary in Trinidad and Roxborough Secondary and Mason Hall Secondary in Tobago.

Categories: Entertainment News

Couple teaches locals the art of jewelry

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 01:19

Nestled comfortably at the Buccoo Integrated Complex, Tobago Dorothee Hatzky-Wuenstel and her husband Frank Wuenstel are teaching nationals the fine art of jewelry making. The couple moved from their native Germany over a decade ago and have made Tobago their home.

They offer classes in Art Clay jewelry-making, with certification; as well as services in 3D Printing and 3D printed, and castable wax-model from personalised CAD design.

Frank, a trained goldsmith, expanded his vision to create the Academy of Jewelry and Art in 2011 with the objective of combining traditional processes with modern technology. The duo has conducted training with YTEPP in the trade of precious metal design. They also lend support to the National Training Agency as a lead body member for developing curriculum in the jewelry industry and assists the UWI with their jewelry workshops.

Guardian Media recently visited one of the workshops held in the rural community of Tabaquite where participants were using a product called Art Clay to create silver jewelry. Dorothee, who is a certified Art Clay teacher and artist at Tobago Gold Creation Limited, explained that Art Clay technology allows for unique designs since Art Clay is molded and shaped into patterns and ornaments.

She explained: “Art-Clay Silver is a fine silver powder mixed with cellulose based binders and water, originally produced from recycled pure silver. When fired, the binders burn away, leaving a fine silver piece.

There are no allergies attached as the end-product jewellery is pure silver and contains no base metals like nickel which causes the allergy in jewellery.

“It is easy to step into jewellery making with a precious metal for beginners with Metal Clay. Metal Clay is available in silver, gold, copper and bronze. It is ideal for hobbyist but also the professional goldsmith can challenge himself for new design possibilities with this innovative material. Once you dip a toe into Metal Clay, and you get addicted, there is a possibility for further education in a Level Certification.

The Level Certification is a seven-week class where several techniques and projects need to be accomplished, with classic goldsmith knowledge and Metal Clay knowledge combined ”

Dorothee added that the artist can also use various moulds with pre-determined designs. The creation is then fired in a kiln where the binder melts and the silver remains fused to form an item of jewelry.

Frank, who is CAD/CAM designer, noted that the academy is providing vocational education focusing on the latest prototyping technology and digital fabrication. He added: “We also offer a unique services for jewelers to ease up their manufacturing process to make a 3D print in high resolution wax.

“The Digital Manufacturing process is more cost effective and time-saving, still unique in its design possibilities. By sending us the design idea in picture or drawn, we use the latest digital manufacturing technology to design for the clients a ready to cast wax-design.”

Sri Lata Nankissoon, 27, of Princess Town who attended the class in Tabaquite, said she started classes with the duo in Tacarigua. Nankissoon said: “I have been a student with Dorotheè and Frank since 2016.

They are amazing teachers who are extremely generous with their knowledge of this fine skill.”

Nankisson continued: “Art Clay is, in essence, self expression molded into timeless silver. I learn something new every day because they constantly challenge and guide me to achieve greater projects.”

The Wuenstels can be contacted via email [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Alta Student Stories

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 01:16

In celebration of Alta’s 25th anniversary, Alta students around the country were asked to write about the impact the organisation has had on their lives. Since 1992, Alta has provided classes around the country for thousands of Trinidadians who struggle with reading and writing. Alta students enroll in the programme at many different levels of literacy and leave when they have accomplished their literacy goals. While it is difficult to manage work and family life alongside Alta classes, students continue to persevere and in all cases see changes in their lives after attending Alta classes.

In the coming weeks, Alta will share their pieces through this column. This week, two students from the Tranquility Government Secondary School venue share how Alta has impacted their lives.

Student Name: Dean

“I came to Alta Spelling Programme to improve my reading and spelling skills because I thought my academic skills were not good enough to suit my new job and life style. My expectation is to learn and improve and to build on my reading and spelling vocabulary. Since I came to Alta things are turning out exactly the way I wanted, I can see a lot of improvement in myself. I’m spelling words with a lot more confidence and reading more now. The experience is great, the teachers are warm, welcoming, patient, always willing to assist us with any difficulty.

The change in my life and my family life is tremendous; I can help my eight-year-old daughter with school work. I am feeling much better now. My plans for the future are much brighter.

Alta is doing a very good job. I appreciate it so much, good job to all the teachers and I want to say thanks to you all. My future plan is to take CXC Exam, learn two languages Spanish and French, Computer graphics, or even be an Alta teacher.”

Student Name: Tennille Millington

I am Tennille Millington. I am 37 years old and I came across Alta on the radio. I always wanted to better myself and this was the opportunity to do so. Going to Alta taught me to overcome my fears and also made me more confident in myself. That is what I expected.

My Alta class has turned out the way I wanted because I learned a lot from my teachers and the class is a good place to help you achieve much more. I am spelling better than before. I would like to tell anyone who is having problems to read to go to Alta. They will help you but you also have to help yourself. Alta has allowed me to relate to my friends and family in terms of speaking to them and writing business letters.

I feel a little better about myself because some things are better to do on my own. I can read some books better than before.

My plans have not changed because I still need to do more as an Alta student so I said to myself more practice is needed.

Volunteer, Donate or Sponsor-a-student. Call 621-5708 or email [email protected] for more info. Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA

Categories: Entertainment News

Where Old Stones Are Set

Lifestyle - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 01:14

Artist Tamara Tam-Cruikshank’s debut exhibition — Where Old Stones Are Set: The Poetics and Politics of Cultural Memory in the Built Heritage of Port of Spain, Trinidad — examines the relationships between the layers of the built environment as well as the natural and built environments. The exhibition continues until June 29 at Soft Box Gallery, 9 Alcazar Street, Port-of-Spain.

The exhibition, which is submitted in partial fulfillment of a Master of Philosophy degree in Cultural Studies at the UWI, uses the layering of images to make the viewer consider how the national environment influenced the colonial and post-colonial architects and architecture.

Tam-Cruikshank said her work looks at how the architecture we see everyday determines our sense of place and how we think about our heritage. “It’s really about place and meaning and the layers of meaning.

We venerate built heritage, but what does it really mean to us?

“I think we should question and think and attach our own meanings, because we’re told we need to love this heritage, treasure it and protect it but where did it really come from?

And how did it influence the whole place?

“I think that we can look at the place, the natural landscape, the natural setting and climate and all of that and we could see patterns developing in the architecture.

So it’s like an exchange, so when the colonists came, they may not necessarily have wanted to be influenced by the environment that they were in, but they had to be in some way, like using fretwork because they needed the air to flow through the house, etc.”

The artist said some of her work looks at the materials used to construct the architecture, such as yellow bricks, blue limestone and the concrete pavers in Independence Square, and she attempts to peel back the layers of meaning within them. “What does it mean to have this kind of architecture in our landscape? The yellow brick came as ballast, which I associate with slavery and colonisation and colonialism, so that’s the historical connection.

“Then there’s like blue limestone which came from the hills of Laventille which is often mixed with the yellow brick to reinforce it and that to me symbolises this kind of material marriage which is unique to Trinidad. I’m just saying colonisation was this meeting point of cultures and places and a whole new place had to be created.

“Then there’s concrete, as in the concrete pavers and the pillars of the Treasury, which represents this modernisation and this sense of Trinidadian independence, the pavers for instance on the Promenade are in this red, white and black colour and then they’re also in this wavy pattern and that area was the seashore at one time, so it’s peeling back at all those layers.

It’s really about deconstructing the history and past and looking at the connections between material and architecture and the past and memory, how we remember the past.”

Tam-Cruikshank said she thinks the approach is to save whatever old architecture is present, without knowing how it fits into the culture. that Trinidad doesn’t know its history well enough to teach it properly, so instead. “I don’t think we know our history well enough to teach it, so we speculate as to what things mean and where they come from. In my view, we have this nonchalance and this kind of laid back attitude towards built heritage on a whole and probably a love-hate relationship with it.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Akuzuru presents her new art performance Opus

Lifestyle - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 02:04

A kuzuru is “a performance trans-disciplinary artist from T&T,” whose practice has spanned more than 25 years, establishing her as a visionary whose provocative oeuvres have brought prestigious invitations from famous institutions such as the Perez Art Museum Miami, US and the Buchheim Museum in Munich, Germany. Her work will be exhibited on Father’s Day, Sunday, at 3 pm, at the Green Market, Santa Cruz.

Akuzuru’s Scrolls Between Spaces is described as “an immersive, expansive environmental experience in the valleys of Santa Cruz at the Green Market, a site of significant symbolic reference.”

Its bio continues, “Re-connecting the body-mind-scape to the ecosystem of marvellous meta-morphoses of invisible spaces, this performative experience will include installation components integral to its live rendering.

“The Scrolls, a continuum of the artist’s iconic ‘healing chambers’, aim to activate the inner self through an engagement of cosmic sound vibrations, ak-Tions and gestures within the monumental magnificence of nature’s bosom. The intent is to re-establish a deeper meaning of existence, thereby taking this discourse to a higher level of overstanding, with a renewed understanding of what it means to be human.

Thus, a truly transformative experience reconnecting with nature through art intervention.”

Akuzuru has produced, presented and become known for her experiential multi-genre works, including her many performances and large sculptural-installation Spatial Works which have been exhibited worldwide including the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States.

Her evolution as an artist has seen a steady embrace of performance art and interdisciplinary practice, having engaged a very dynamic intersection in both the human and natural world, which catalysed her study of the science of movement and gesture, nuances of which are deeply felt in her works. Entry to the exhibition is scheduled for 3 pm, admission is $100, and the performance will commence promptly at 4 pm.

For more information and reservations, call 221-9116.

Categories: Entertainment News

Harvard Club cooks up art entertainment and culture

Lifestyle - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 02:02

T&T, currently on a stringent pathway of widening its sporting disciplines and shining its brand of athleticism excellence for impressive national and international competitiveness – is noted for its sweet-hand, bubbling-a-pot, love-to-eat culture.

And so, on June 10, an initiative to help engender camaraderie, boost morale, grow membership and sharpen sporting skills in the rugby discipline, saw the Harvard Club’s rugby family out in full force with bats and balls turned-down, and serving spoons, eye patches, sails, bandanas, skulls and lanterns turned-up.

Ahoy, ahoy!!! Pirates invaded the Harvard Rugby Family Kitchen.

Holding fast to their conviction that rugby players can cook too, players and members netted big, serving-up menus that included succulent arts of meat this, a fund-raiser carded as one of their celebratory events commemorating the club’s 75th anniversary this year.

For the sake of sport, this $150 culinary art, entertainment and culture one-pot revealed families, friends, supporters, children, the wider membership; music; bouncy castles; the Pirate’s Wish, competitions; recognition of wedding anniversaries and birthdays; and a well-stocked bar.

With a no-piracy policy aboard this vessel on Serpentine Road, St James, from 11:30 am to late afternoon, those with insatiable appetites ate to capacity staring food to spare in their plate, while contemplating the dessert still on the horizon to partake of.

No pint o’ rum in the pot

Apart from the traditional side-dishes of vegetable rice, creamed potatoes, lentil peas, callaloo, and salad, the meat dishes were a culinary culture to behold – visually appealing, palatably satisfying and descriptively intriguing.

Standing-out among some of the salivating arts of meat were: Treasure Cove Lamb, Scallywags Delight, Father and Son Fish, Ahoy There Pork, Mermaids Delight, Shipwrecked Goat, Pirates Code Chicken, Jack Sparrow Secret Pork, Pickaroons Lamb, and Galleons Chicken.

Welcoming female players to the Harvard rugby machinery for the first time, this year, and in-keeping with the sporting thrust of increasing, respecting and protecting Women in Sport as vehemently championing by Brian Lewis, Board member of Havard Club and SIGA, and president of the TTOC and CANOC, and others of open mind, globally, guests were served in part, by female rugby pirates chefs who educated on their respective dishes.

While the two DJs kept guests in high interactive spirit, veteran calypsonian Carlos “Skatie” James added to the hype with many infectious, nostalgic renditions.

With lots of fun aboard, the Beard Competition bubbled-up from a call by Master of Ceremony Thabiti Benjamin for guests with the best (natural) beard.

Stirring-up competitors, the competition was won by pirate chef Asa Lewis, but in a category of his own, pirate chef Kenny Arneaud, displayed an outstanding fake pirate’s beard non-surpass.

Of course, integral to ensuring sport, art, culture and entertainment stay alive, grow, and succeed to fulfilment, keen and ongoing attention must be paid to children. Handsomely catered to, the one-pot saw children exhibiting their jumping and flipping skills in the bouncy castles. They too, partook of the culinary masterpieces and scrumptious desserts.

So, pirates are people too!!

As the vessel’s sails were being lowered, serving receptacles and tables cleaned-up, in simmering mode, pirates and guests broke loose in true trini style to Skatie’s version of seven-time soca monarch, Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons’ Soca Baptist.

Celebrating the success of the event; showing appreciation for the unstinting support, corporate partnerships, commitment of members; and exhilarated by the positive telescopic view of the Harvard Rugby Family – all who contributed are thanked.

As Lewis stated in his Trinidad Guardian’s May 15, 2017 column, “I will continue to lobby and advocate hard and relentlessly for respect and recognition for a sport industry in T&T.”

Perhaps, this vision will be soon realised by way of the Harvard Club Funds from the event go towards the continued improvement of the rugby team.

• For information to join the club or rugby family: 684.8421

Categories: Entertainment News

Starbucks T&T Barista heads to Costa Rica

Lifestyle - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 01:55

Starbucks MovieTowne held the Barista Championships on Friday to select the best barista to represent T&T at regional competition in Costa Rica. Bradley Gras, from Starbucks Endeavour, Chaguanas branch, won the championship and will be representing our country in the Latin American Regional Barista Championship competition in Costa Rica on August 6–10. Starbucks T&T will participate for the first time in the Barista Championship within the Latin American region connecting over 2,000 partners.

“Honestly, I cannot believe it. I don’t know how to feel. I need time to process it. I want to perfect my craft,” said Bradley. Seven store level competitions were held last month to submit the best barista from each branch.

The final barista championship was held at the MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain branch for the opportunity to represent the country at regionals. Baristas were judged on their presentation, technical beverage routines and overall customer connections.

“The Starbucks Barista Championships brings out the best in baristas and they have worked incredibly hard to perfect their technical skill and customer connections,” said Human Resource, Learning & Development Partner, Nesha Malchan. “It is amazing to see baristas compete at store level and then refocus to support and develop their branch winner. Now we will see all baristas encouraging the country winner to represent T&T well in Costa Rica. This is team spirit.”

Bradley will now focus on winning in Costa Rica at the Starbucks Latin America Regional Barista Championships on August 6.

Categories: Entertainment News

Suicide discourse plagued by myths, judgment

Lifestyle - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 01:53

TRIGGER WARNING: This feature contains sensitive information on suicide, suiciding and death by suicide

Before I saw the Facebook tag from author Joanne Haynes, I had already jumped on the ideas in her post as I was occupied with responding to the issue of death by suicide and looking at every fresh and refreshing comment from deliberate thinking.

Haynes asked, “What if persons who commit (sic) suicide see suicide as self preservation? We label everything we don’t understand and think because we label it we understand it. So many great mystics cut themselves off from the world, yet the person who chooses to (do) it by taking their own life is labelled depressed simply because we refuse to acknowledge that every person is an individual and does not March to the beat of societal norms and values?”

It remains one of the most thought-provoking comments. More so, it echoes some of the other ideas I have been entertaining especially since suicide remains largely an issue of more questions than answers.

Amidst the cacophony of opinions, expertise — real and imaginary, expressions, condemnation and judgment, there was one common thread that, to my mind was the loudest take-away message. That had to do with the fact that we, none of us really do know the answer to the “why” of suicide.

The other disturbing idea was the one which condemned people as selfish, as not considering the pain of others they left behind. And to that I say that stigma and miseducation have enveloped our thoughts to a point of numbness to the emptiness of such a suggestion. We have accepted that reasoning of “selfishness” over time to become people who sound devoid of good sense.

I ask, when else are people bashed for dying? Is death from a chronic ailment or by accident any less painful for “those left behind?” Please do not rush to answer. Think. Then think some more.

At St Joseph’s Convent last May, during the question and answer period after a mental wellbeing talk to Form Four students focused on stress, a parent asked me to share with the students whether I had ever contemplated suicide.

The simple truth was that I had.

It was also the first time I had been asked this and the first time I shared in public. As a matter of fact, beyond my two friends who did everything to protect me and keep the matter quiet that day, I’m uncertain whether anyone else knew. I was a teacher at a Tech-Voc school. This happened during a free period.

I recounted that just past my 18th birthday, having already had two major nervous breakdowns, one day I decided to swallow all my Valium. It was a handful of 10 milligrammes. I usually would take them at night with all other manner of drugs and would awake with that lost, subdued feeling that made me hate moving around. Everything moved slower and that haziness was compounding the depressed state in which I had been living since 15.

I clearly remember when the deep effects of the ingested drug began to take a hold of me, I knew then that I did not want to die. That was my afterthought.

But in the moment of opening my mouth and raising my hand full of pills, all I knew was the pain I had been experiencing. I was reeling from the stigma of being a teen in secondary school who “ went mad.” I lived in Moruga. You cannot imagine the stories of “people doing me bad,” the bush baths, spiritualist and cocoyea broom therapy I had already received.

And the disappointment of feeling my life was railroaded and could amount to nothing.

I loved my mother. She was the undying support. She is my forever love. In the moment of feeling like my pain was too much it did not matter to me that she may be hurt beyond repair. All I knew was my pain, my sadness, my depression, my disappointment.

I’m guessing that is one of the reason people think suicide is selfish. But for me, in the moment, I just felt it was the best way to preserve myself. I could not consider the feeling of others in an impaired state of mind —that did not make me selfish, it confirmed I was troubled beyond a reasonable thought.

It says to me that my pain was a blinding heat that I wanted to escape. And while I cannot speak for anyone else who has suicided or has attempted suicide as an escape from pain, and frankly neither can you, I offer you today my emotions at the time of drinking the water to wash down my medication that was meant to bring me relief, which I was then using as a permanent solution to my pain.

When people attempt to die by suiciding and they actually die not even a suicide note could really explain all that that person experienced between the decision to suicide and death.

But nothing I say here would ever stop the guessing, condemning, prejudice and bigotry because we are a society that does not understand the virtue of suspending judgment on others. We have mostly lost our way in the area of compassion and tolerance in a dog-eat-dog kind of behaviour in all we do.

In T&T, everyone is an expert on everything even if they have not taken ten minutes out of their life to give consideration to critical thinking or even reading an Internet article on the subject matter. Free data and wide Internet access compounds the miseducated campaigns to a startling limit. Take a breath people.

Cheers to life!

Caroline C Ravello is a strategic communications and media professional and a public health practitioner. She holds an MA with Merit in Mass Communications (University of Leicester) and is a Master of Public Health With Distinction (UWI). Write to:

[email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Rapso artiste Sista Ava to receive award at the 2018 Yoruba Village Drum Festival

Lifestyle - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 01:51

Dancer, poet, chanter, story teller, community and cultural activist, Sista Ava (Ruth Ava Sam Shallow), will become the first woman to receive the Keeper of the Tradition Award from the Emancipation Support Committee of T&T (ESCTT). The presentation of the award is one highlight of the tenth anniversary of Yoruba Village Drum Festival, scheduled to take place on Saturday, June 16 at the Yoruba Village Square, located at Piccadilly Street, opposite the new Besson Street Police Station and the Deliverance Temple. The Festival is scheduled to begin at 2 pm.

The Yoruba Village Drum Festival is held annually on the day before Father’s Day, in tribute to the fathers of the community. It is also in recognition of ancestors of the community, the Yoruba-speaking population, who resided there from the 19th century, at which time the community was known as Yoruba Village and Yoruba Town.

The Yoruba people, who were rescued from the ships of British, France and Spanish plunderers, following the abolition of the Slave Trade, were brought to that part of the city of Port- of-Spain, where they resided as free men and women. They came originally, mainly from Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Togo. Today the only semblance of the town’s history and existence is the Yoruba Village Square.

However, despite the persistent, calculated and prolonged efforts to deculturalise the community, many of the rich customs and tradition of the Yoruba, remain in the Yoruba Village, which is synonymous with East Port-of-Spain and include, Belmont, Gonzales, Morvant and Laventille. Indeed, it is from within the bowels of this community of highly spiritual and inventive Yoruba people that the steelband, calypso and many aspects of our Carnival traditions originated.

The Keeper of the Tradition Award is presented annually to someone who has worked diligently to preserve and develop African art forms and traditions in the community. This year’s first female awardee, Sista Ava, grew up in an environment with strong African spiritual influences. Her mother was the founder and matriarch of a Spiritual Baptist Healing School and Ava lived next door to the Ile of Egbe Onisin Eledumare where she was initiated into the African spiritual tradition of the Orisha and now holds the position of Youth Arm Officer.

Sista Ava’s cultural journey began as a pannist with Merrytones Steel Orchestra of Diego Martin. While residing in the Laventille community her father facilitated her involvement in the Best Village competitions as a dancer and dramatist - first with the Lower Laventille Folk Performers and then the Reflex Dance Company, where she became the lead dancer. She went on to work with the Pamberi Steel Orchestra as a rapso artiste and in 1995, she was initiated into the Rapso movement as a solo performer and as a member of the Network Rapso Riddim Band, with Brother Resistance at the helm. She has also taken her rapso performances to the calypso tents, including Kaiso House, Klassic Ruso and the Divas Calypso Cabaret.

Sista Ava, who is also a qualified nurse, has also been working within communities, from Port-of-Spain to Petit Valley to Point Fortin to Valencia with women and children. In the Yoruba Village she has worked at the Credo Centre for Boys, the St Dominic’s Children’s Home and in the communities of Belmont, Beetham, and Charford Court ensuring the retention of our African tradition. In these communities she assisted young people in the development of skills in construction and playing of drums, in the oral tradition including rapso and storytelling. Her outreach has included the prisons where she worked with inmates to also develop skills in the oral tradition as part of the Prison Rehabilitation Programme.

Sista Ava’s work as a performer and in the communities and institutions of T&T has defined her as a cultural activist, a Rapso Queen, who delivers her messages both on stage and among the people to ensure that her listeners are enlightened and empowered by her words and action. She is the recipient of awards from the Diego Martin Regional Corporation as well as from Servol in recognition of the work she has already done and continues to do.

Along with Sista Ava, a male and female young person of the Yoruba Village, will also be awarded for his / her achievement, in recognition of the United Nations International Day of the African Child and all performing fathers will receive a gift from the ESCTT.

At the Drum Festival, drumming groups and dancers include Wasafoli, St James Police Youth Club, 2nd Freeport Sea Scouts, St James Cultural Artisans, Belan Drummers, Sogren Trace Laventille Enhancement Organisation, Frontline Drummers, Egbe Omo Oni Isese, Daffodils and Persistent Drummers, Drum Line, San Juan South Cultural Organisation, Ghanaian Association of T&T, Yoruba Village Heritage College.

Performing will also be rapso and reggae artistes including Oba Dread, Curious Ringo, Mc Meo, Gillian Gould, Lion Ro Lion, Soul Fyah, Wise One, Knocker, Brother Book and Butcha, backed by the Black Beat International Band.

Categories: Entertainment News

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