Thursday, September 08, 2011

Labor Day Tomfoolery: Friday & Saturday

Since January, I've been obsessed with soca music and Trinidadian culture. In the past I've always appreciated the food and music, but never with the intensity with which it now dominates my soul. What changed? I went to a soca jam with some Trini friends and realized: these people KNOW how to party and this music is the HAPPIEST music on earth. Hands down. Like seriously you cannot stay in a bad mood while these calypso-heavy riddims play. You just can't!

Because of my new found love of soca, I decided that I would end my boycott of parades and street parties (I'm a bit claustrophobic. Add to that the fact that as a kid I watched many news stories of people getting trampled in a crowd at outdoor events. I wanted NOTHING to do with any of it) and participate in as many of the Labor Day West Indian - American Parade/Carnival activities as I could.

I started on Friday with Brassfest at the Brooklyn Museum, where I FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY got to see Kes the Band and Machel Montano live on stage. Machel also brought Patrice Roberts out during his set and "woi woi woi" I was in heaven... "oh gosh!" At first I was reluctant to get on up into the crowd- memories of crushed soccer fans still danced in my head- so I hung back and sat on the bleachers during the opening act. When Kes came on stage I ventured into the mix a little and ran into my Socacize instructor, Simone, and stayed there for the duration of Kes' set. But I knew that I would need to get closer to the stage when Machel came out because, dammit, he was the reason I'd come out in the first place! I love me some Kes because he is sexy beyond belief, but Machel just gets you pumped and ready to fete, you know? Just full of energy.

So I did it. During the set change I walked further and further into my biggest fear- CROWDS- and situated myself as close to the stage as the fans would let me. So OF COURSE I was in the middle of a mosh pit that went wild as soon as they heard Machel's voice, and OF COURSE I hyperventilated for a few seconds, but I realized: if you flow with the crowd instead of fighting against it, you'll have more fun and avoid death. And in the end I was jumpin', wavin', winin' and "taking advantage of the stage" with everyone else, especially the crazy St. Lucians standing near me. "I see you, St. Lucia!!"

I think maybe I got home at 4:30am or so, like a bad ass, which is why I decided to sleep in my makeup for the photo shoot I had the next morning at 10:00am!

Saturday was so beautiful and sunny! I promptly dressed in my new BRKLYN tee from Brooklyn Industries and met my homie and talented photog, Marcin, near my house so that we could travel to the location together. Where were we going? To Kiddie Carnival, of course! We went all the way to Crown Heights, found a nice spot along the parade route and took in the festivities.

These costumes were beautiful and the kids looked AMAZING! Needless to say, after I showed N the pics from my phone, she was asking to be in it next year. Oh. Hell. Yes. So if you have the hook up with a mas band for my baby, let me know.

In the meantime, enjoy these amazing photos courtesy of the uber-talented Marcin Kaliski:

That night, after maybe a 40-minute nap, I met up with Stephanie Tiffany for a night of no behaviour. The first place we went to was LAME and chock-full of her uncles and cousins dancing in the corner and selling jewelry to patrons. Now, I love me some rock steady reggae but I was in the mood to JUMP UP so the music was truly dampening our spirits. After a delicious serving of jerk chicken and a free rum-and-ginger concoction, AND after some voodoo man shook a menacing-looking rattle at me, we left for what we hoped was a better party. (Please note that the voodoo man followed us outside to ask us to stay. SHUDDER!!!)

At the next venue we fared better: even though the DJ insisted on playing mostly hip hop, Stephanie Tiffany's friends unleashed the Trini flags from their pockets and persuaded him to give us a soca set. Ahhh the joy I felt at that much joy that I encouraged the Blancs in my midst to palance with us. I was so high off the fun that I *actually* said to one of the bouncers, "My, aren't you a tall drink of water?" Go ahead and side eye me now. I deserve it.

I got home at around 4:30am again, but it was so damn worth it. And the best part? My weekend was only half over...

*smooches...excited for next year's parade*
N will look SOOOO CUTE in a carnival costume!