With Harborne Carnival returning to the city after it was cancelled in 2013, David Bentley of The Birmingham Mail looks back at the city’s many processions and festivals of yesteryear. Follow the link below for a photo gallery.

Britain’s second biggest annual street party is coming to Brum again this weekend (June 22, 2014).

Harborne Carnival is second only to Notting Hill – the largest carnival in the UK – in terms of sheer size and attracts crowds of 70,000 people.

The Harborne event was scrapped in 2013 after organiser Paul Burgess fell ill but is making a triumphant return for 2014.

To get you in the mood, we took a look back at the city’s many processions and parties of the past

Parades and similar celebrations have long been part of life in Birmingham, with memorable occasions including the floats in New Street, Birmingham, marking Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on June 20, 1897.

As well as traditional community carnivals, there are also processions accompanying events such as Birmingham Pride as well as the street entertainment for the Birmingham Caribbean Festival.

The first ever Birmingham Carnival was held in 1969 and was organised by Iola Merchant.


Later, Caribbean-style carnivals were held in Handsworth Park from 1984 to 1994. In 1995, the event added a street procession and became the relaunched Birmingham Carnival.

In 1999, the carnival moved to Perry Park in the Perry Barr area of the city, with a procession to the park from Handsworth’s Soho Road. It moved back to Handsworth Park in 2011.

Held every two years, Birmingham Carnival attracts 30,000 people and in 2014 will be held on August 3.

Carnivals date back to ancient times and had their heyday in the years after the end of the Second World War.

A survey in 2002 identified 220 traditional carnivals taking place in Britain that year, almost all of them organised by volunteers and raising money for charity.

The number has dwindled over the years and less than 50 carnivals are listed for 2014 on one online listing, though it doesn’t feature all those that are known to be taking place in the region.

But there has been something of a revival for carnivals in recent years, partly due to the growing influences of Caribbean culture and also as a means of bringing people together to boost community spirit and morale during the economic crisis.

For the original report go to


Posted by: ivetteromero | June 20, 2014

Miami Performance International Festival ’14

shapeimage_2Curated by Charo Oquet, this is the second week of the 2014 Miami Performance International Festival, which takes place at two sites: at Edge Zones Project (located at 3850 N.E. Miami Court, Miami, Florida) from June 14 to 29, 2014; and June 21 and 22, 28 and 29, at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden (located at 2000 Convention Center Drive, Miami Beach, Florida).

This week, the festivalfeaturesGo! Push Pops; Marilyn Loddi; Iris Perez; Seiko Kitayama; Jasmine Kastel; Bratram O’Neill; Nash Glynn; Sole Fermín; Sausan Saula; Charo Oquet; Yong Sun Gullach; David Perez Karmadavis; Valentín Torrens; and Elena Tejada Herrera.

Inspiration: To create a festival that brings works that  provide an opportunity for the public to engage with the various forms of performance art and to offer visceral and challenging performance works by renowned, mid-career and emerging artists from around the world. To provide a look at the creative process across a range of media, and presents cross-disciplinary, collaborative work that speaks to the high level of innovation, critical thinking, and social engagement in Miami.

For more information, you may contact Charo Oquet at (305) 303 8852 or by email at edgezones@me.com. You may also visit the website www.miamiperformancefestival.org

Posted by: lisaparavisini | June 20, 2014

Cristina-Georgiana Voicu’s Literary portrait of Jean Rhys


The concept of cultural identity makes for a central theme in postcolonial literatures around the world. For the Caribbean, postcolonial cultural identity can be seen to be of especial importance due to the region’s unique history as a habitat for all kinds of immigrants and their varying cultures from different parts of the world. New book Exploring Cultural Identities in Jean Rhys’s Fiction by Cristina-Georgiana Voicu published today fully open access by De Gruyter Open contemplates the fiction of the woman, who excelled as a great literary portraitist of female soul and character. The just released volume explores Rhys’s writing in relation to cultural identity so specific to postcolonial literature.

As the foremost West Indian writer and arguably one of the most distinctive authors of the past century, Jean Rhys (1890-1979) has attracted much critical attention, most often from the perspective of gender, class and ethnicity. Scholars from around the world have been fascinated by Rhys’s often controversial writing. Indeed, the lively interest in her writings coupled with a complex nature of her work have resulted in prolific assessments of Rhys literature and somewhat ambivalent nature of its criticism.  It appears, that this body of analysis tended to see Rhys either as a modernist or a postcolonial writer. Now, Voicu explores Rhys’s fiction by analyzing the intricate relationship between Rhys’s identity and her work, and she reveals the ways in which this relationship is connected to the history of British colonization of the West Indies.

Voicu focuses on Rhys as a writer- a Creole woman analyzing the question of identity through literary investigations of race, gender, and colonialism. The author carries out an examination of the relationship between identity, self and otherness and of several situations of existential ambivalence that work on the border between sign (colonial difference) and symbol (imperial authority). On this theoretical basis, the analytical part of the book identifies, on the one hand, the hybrid identities – Creole and racial – existing in the postcolonial society and, on the other hand, it examines them from an integrated perspective – textual and cultural – to bend the identitarian fabric of Jean Rhys’s text. The illustrations are taken from Agostino Brunias and are focused on several painting representations of the West Indies. Links from the Caribbean literary tradition can thus be drawn to many different literary traditions around the world.

Putting post-colonial theory and literary criticism into conversation with Rhys’ work, this book is a great contribution to scholarly explorations of the Caribbean” says in praise of the book. Dr. Ulla Kriebernegg from the Center for Inter-American Studies at the University of Graz in Austria. “With her lively and engaging book Cristina-Georgiana Voicu makes an indispensable contribution to the study of the Caribbean and Caribbean literature”

The author was the winner of the 2013 Versita Emerging Scholarly MonographCompetition. The book is available to read, download and share fully open access on: http://www.degruyter.com/view/product/246960


This article by Robert Herriman appeared in Examiner.com.

Despite the fact that the Dominican Republic didn’t experience its first autochthonous, or locally acquired chikungunya cases until early April 2014, four months after the initial cases were reported in the Western Hemisphere on the island of St. Martin in December, the number of cases on the eastern side of Hispaniola has exploded with cases accounting for nearly half of all cases reported in the Caribbean.

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) weekly chikungunya report for the Caribbean issued June 20, the Dominican Republic is now at 89,738 cases, up from 77,000 one week ago.

The PAHO reports that the total number of autochthonous chikungunya cases in the Caribbean now stands at 189,055 cases making the Dominican Republic a 47 percent contributor to the total in the region.

The fact that the spread of chikungunya is so rapid and widespread in the area comes as no surprise according to experts who have been watching the virus for years.

The authors of “Preparedness and Response for Chikungunya Virus Introduction in the Americas” published by the PAHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2011 said, “The broad distribution of mosquitoes capable of spreading chikungunya virus, coupled with the fact that people in the Americas have not been exposed to chikungunya virus, places this region at risk for the introduction and spread of the virus.”

The Dominican Republic’s neighbor to the west, Haiti, is also struggling with an epidemic of the mosquito borne virus. Although the PAHO is only reporting a little over 12,000 cases, the Haiti Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP) reported today 39,343 cases as of epidemiological week 23.

In the United States to date, no locally acquired chikungunya cases have been reported; however, in Puerto Rico, the CDC reports 23 indigenous cases.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes the symptoms of chikungunya as follows:

Chikungunya is characterized by an abrupt onset of fever frequently accompanied by joint pain. Other common signs and symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The joint pain is often very debilitating, but usually lasts for a few days or may be prolonged to weeks.

Although the disease is rarely fatal, the pain is very real. Minnesota pediatric emergency medicine doctor, Dr. Jen Halverson describes the disease from first hand experience after contracting it while on a volunteer trip to Haiti last month:

It was really difficult to move without severe pain. I’ve had a broken bone before; this was more severe than a broken bone. The Haitians are calling this the fever that breaks your bones, and for good reason.

For the original report go to http://www.examiner.com/article/dominican-republic-accounts-for-47-percent-of-chikungunya-cases-the-caribbean

Posted by: ivetteromero | June 20, 2014

Jamaica Opens One of the Caribbean’s Largest Water Parks


Jamaica’s Jewel Runaway Bay Beach and Golf Resort will open soon in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. It is known to have one of the Caribbean’s most diverse oceanfront water parks in the Caribbean. The Jewel Resorts in Jamaica are managed by Aimbridge Hospitality.

Senior vice president Caribbean operations and development for Aimbridge Hospitality Rich Cortese said, “True to our mission of delivering on the guest experience, we are very excited to soon be offering a very unique waterpark experience. There are very few places in the Caribbean where a waterpark of this stature is situated overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The new waterpark will be just steps to the beach,” explained Cortese.

Encompassing towering water slides and family raft rides, the new water park also offers secluded, chic private cabanas and waterfall coves with a raindrop umbrella feature, known to reduce stress with soothing and therapeutic water streams. Located directly on the beach, The Jewel Runaway Bay Water Park is replete with a beach entrance featuring in-floor jetting geysers.

Jewel Resorts partnered with SplashTacular Waterslides, Waterpark Attractions firm and H2O Design to conceptualize the park’s kid-friendly features along with touches that appeal to parents and individual travelers including natural design elements and a diverse selection of water features using the latest technology.

Designed for guests of all ages, the 9,000 sq. ft water park will bring more than 232,334 gallons of aquatic fun, excitement and relaxation to this all-ages Jewel resort in Jamaica. General managerScott Robbins stated, “This one-of-a-kind water park is not just for kids or the young at heart, there are features for everyone. Families, young children, teen, tweens and multi-generations, everyone loves a water park!”

For full article and additional information, see http://www.wfla.com/story/25808743/jewel-runaway-bay-beach-golf-resort-announces-late-2014-opening-of-one-of-the-caribbeans-largest-water-parks

Posted by: ivetteromero | June 19, 2014

The search for unique: Caribbean’s unrivaled beaches


Steve Blount (USA TODAY) gives an alternative list of “best beaches” with white sand and turquoise waters. He says, that “Sometimes it’s just one thing that seals the memory, a personality trait that transforms a strand from a nice place to put a blanket to unforgettable. He offers “some beaches you probably won’t see on those other lists.”

Woodlands Beach, Montserrat (shown above): Not all beautiful beaches are white. Some of the most stunning strands in the world are black; they confound expectations and offer a lesson in natural history. Beach color is chemistry: Snowy white beaches are calcium carbonate (usually from coral skeletons) while black beaches are forged in the bowels of volcanoes. The volcanoes belch up basalt rich in iron, aluminum and silicon. Look closely and you may see crystals of green and red mixed in with the black. Tiny Montserrat was rocked by eruptions from the Soufrière Hills Volcano in 1995 and 1997 that eventually caused much of the southern half of the island to be permanently abandoned. However, it does have some of the region’s prettiest black-sand beaches, including Woodlands Beach. A line of cliffs rim the sweeping arc of black sand and there are picnic tables on the heights above. visitmontserrat.com/Beaches

Big Sand Cay, Turks & Caicos: Remote, uninhabited and remarkable, Big Sand Cay is visited only by the occasional passing yacht and a day boat from nearby Salt Cay, which is only slightly less uninhabited. The islet is scruffy and dry, but in the spring its small bay is carpeted with mating nurse sharks parked pectorals to pelvic fins in a kind of thrashing drive-in for love-addled elasmobranchs. In addition to this display of primal procreation, 50-foot humpback whales cruise past on the way to their mating grounds — their odd, plaintive songs echoing through the water. Just offshore is Endymion Rock, final resting place of an unlucky British Navy frigate of the same name that hit the coral pinnacle and sank in 1790. saltcay.org

Bloody Bay, Little Cayman: Though much of the island’s coast is studded with eroded limestone — “ironshore” — the smallest member of the Cayman trio does have beaches. Sandy Point on the east end and Pirate’s Point on the west are popular for walking and sunbathing, but it’s the small, yellowish beach on the northside that stands out among the Caribbean’s coastal cornucopia. Within swimming distance of shore is one of the most prolific vertical coral walls in the region. From a depth of less than 20 feet, the wall drops nearly straight down, reaching more than 6,000 feet. [. . .] caymanislands.ky/aboutcayman/littlecayman.aspx

Playa Larga, Cuba: If you’re of a certain age, you know Playa Larga by it’s other name, Bahía de Cochinos — the Bay of Pigs. This wide, sandy beach about two hours southeast of Havana is where American efforts to overthrow Fidel Castro ran aground and foundered. [. . .] The little town of Girón hosts a museum dedicated to the invasion, complete with photographs, tanks and aircraft. The historic events that unfolded here make Playa Larga unique among Caribbean beaches as the site of the only failed U.S. invasion in the region. audleytravel.com/destinations/central-america/cuba/things-to-do/a-tour-of-the-bay-of-pigs-lunch-included.aspx [. . .]

Playa Navio, Vieques, Puerto Rico: Playa Navio is a small, flat sand beach, unremarkable save that, just around the small spit of land that defines its eastern edge lies the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Launching a transparent plastic canoe from the beach at night, you quickly move into water that literally glows as plankton stirred by the wind, current and your paddle lights up the water.  www.seepuertorico.com/en/destinations/culebra-and-vieques

The other beaches he mentions are: Cupecoy Beach, St. Martin; Palm Beach, Aruba; Blow Holes, Grand Cayman; Cat Island, Bahamas; and Maho Beach, St. Maarten.

For full article, see http://www.usatoday.com/experience/caribbean/best-of-caribbean/the-search-for-unique-caribbeans-unrivaled-beaches/10729803/

Posted by: lisaparavisini | June 19, 2014

Sun screenings: Famous film locations in the Caribbean


This article by Steve Bliunt appeared inUSA Today. Follow the link below for a photo gallery.

A decade before filmmakers migrated to Hollywood, they’d already figured out that the Caribbean was a nice place to get away from the dreary winter and gray skies that afflicted their studios in New York and New Jersey.

Thomas Edison patented and popularized the motion picture camera in 1891, though, as with the light bulb, he didn’t actually invent it. His company did produce what may be the first motion picture set in the Caribbean, “West Indian Girls in Native Dance,” filmed on St. Thomas in the winter of 1903. It features a bevy of West Indian beauties doing the shay-shay in a garden in Charlotte Amalie. That same year the company issued another epic filmed in the Bahamas titled “Native Woman Washing a Negro Baby in Nassau, B.I.”. The Caribbean had been “discovered” all over again, and they’ve been making movies here ever since.

The following highlights are far from inclusive and ignore the many direct-to-video and television productions shot in the region, which range from the influential “Sea Hunt” series to “Survival of the Nude Reality Girls.”


1962 | Sean Connery, Ursula Andress

The first James Bond film finds Ian Fleming’s hero on a mission to Jamaica to investigate the mysterious death of a British intelligence agent. Along the way he meets CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) and the glamorous Honey Rider (Andress). It was the Swedish bombshell’s entrance — she appears from the ocean at Laughing Waters Beach in front of Dunns River Falls wearing a white bikini — that set the standard for all of the “Bond Girls” who followed. Andress reportedly auction off the bikini for more than $60,000.


1965 | John, Paul, George and Ringo

The beach scenes for the follow-up to the Beatles’ first film, “A Hard Day’s Night,” were filmed on Paradise Island off of Nassau. The movie was under-appreciated for years, even by the Beatles themselves, who attributed their manic performances to “smoking a lot of marijuana” during the production. Nonetheless, “Help!” did feature some of their best early tracks including “Ticket To Ride,” “Another Girl” and, of course, “Help!”


1994 | Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman

The grim prison movie adapted from horrormeister Stephen King’s novel ends on an up note, when ex-cons Andy (Robbins) and Red (Freeman) are reunited on a paradise-worthy beach in Zihuatanejo, Mexico — or not. The scene was actually shot at Sandy Point on the southwest end of St. Croix, USVI.


1967 | Rex Harrison, Samantha Eggar, Richard Attenborough

If your familiarity with the Dr. Doolittle story is confined to the 1998 Eddie Murphy remake, pull up your Netflix account and take a look at the original. Predictably, it’s more naive but also much more charming. The scene where the good doctor (Rex Harrison) talks to the giant pink snail was filmed in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia.


1983 | Eddie Murphy, Dan Aykroyd, Don Ameche, Ralph Bellamy

In Murphy’s Doolittle remake, he never made it any farther from Hollywood than San Bernardino and San Francisco. However, he definitely made up for it he and Dan Aykroyd filmed “Trading Places.” The final scenes that show the two enjoying their new-found wealth — fleeced from “brothers” Don Ameche and Ralph Bellamy — were filmed in St. Croix.


1988 | Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Shue, Gina Gershon

Cruise spread his pre-Scientology charm all over Jamaica’s North Shore while filming Cocktail, featuring locations such as Dunn’s River Falls, the Jamaica Inn and Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios. Despite its gorgeous scenery, critics ranging from Roger Ebert to Vincent Canby of the New York Times hated the movie, bestowing adjectives such as “vapid,””utterly brainless” and “empty and fabricated.” The scenery and a young Tom Cruise must have worth something, though, since the film reportedly grossed more than $170 million.


2008 | Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett

As much as the critics hated “Cocktail,” they loved “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, it follows the life of the odd Mr. Button (Pitt) who ages backwards — being born an old man and dying an infant. While much of the movie was filmed in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the scenes about the hurricane itself were filmed at Honeymoon Beach on Water Island in Charlotte Amalie Harbor, St. Thomas, USVI.


1991 | Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins

The Caribbean makes a brief cameo in this horror/detective classic. The scene showing Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins) in his tropical “retirement”were filmed on South Bimini, Bahamas. The Hitchcock-esque film made “Hannibal the Cannibal” a household name and featured appearances by cult film legends George “Night of the Living Dead” Romero and Roger “King of the Bs” Corman.


2011 | Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson

Given the prevalence of sunshine, the Caribbean seems an unlikely place for a vampire honeymoon, but in “Breaking Dawn Part 1″ we find Edward (Pattinson) and Bella (Stewart) on Magen’s Bay Beach, St. Thomas celebrating their recent nuptials. It’s beautiful by moonlight, you know.


1990 | Robert Redford, Lena Olin, Raúl Juliá

Set against the backdrop of the Cuban revolution, this was an attempt by mega-director Sydney Pollack (“Out of Africa,” “Tootsie”) to combine a vehicle for the aging Redford with political history. Despite being loaded with Oscar-winning talent, it bombed. Pollack had wanted to make the film in Cuba, but the chill of Ronald Reagan’s escalation of the Cold War had relations with the socialist island in the deep freeze when production began in 1988. Pollack decided to make the movie at an abandoned air force base in the Dominican Republic, where a quarter-mile strip of facades was built to simulate Havana’s Prado district along Paseo de Marti. The city scenes were filmed in the historic center of Santo Domingo.


1973 | Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman

One of screen legend Steve McQueen’s last great roles and one that cemented the growing reputation of future legend Dustin Hoffman, the two find themselves confined to the infamous French penal colony Devil’s Island off the coast of French Guiana. The younger Dega (Hoffman) hires tough-guy Papillion (McQueen) to protect him, but the two become fast friends, eventually plotting a failed escape from the island. Returned to the prison, McQueen fashions water wings and jumps from a cliff into the ocean to reach freedom. A few scenes for the movie were filmed in Falmouth, Jamaica while many others were shot at the caves below the Xtabi Hotel along the cliffs in Negril.


1973 | Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah

“Andy Griffith Show” and “Happy Days” alum Ron Howard has made two movies in the Bahamas; the first was the very popular (and profitable)”Splash” starring Tom Hanks as a lovestruck nerd from New York and the fetching Daryl Hannah as a mermaid who eventually entices him to join her in a life underwater. The beach where the two first encounter each other is on Gorda Cay, near Great Abaco. Gorda is better know as Castaway Cay, the private island used by Disney Cruise Line as a tropical pit stop for its guests. Fittingly, two “submarines” from the long-closed 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride from Disney World in Orlando are now resting in the snorkel area just off the beach.


1985 | Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley, Tahnee Welch, Steve Guttenberg

Ron Howard returned to the Bahamas to film underwater scenes for “Cocoon,” another underwater fantasy film. In this one, a team of aliens come to earth to retrieve some of their comrades left behind when they evacuated the doomed city of Atlantis. The comrades are in suspended animation inside cocoons that have to be retrieved from the ocean. They’re put in a swimming pool charged with life force energy that’s then discovered by the elderly residents of a nursing home, who begin swimming in the pool to reverse the effects of aging. Boat captain Steve Guttenberg falls in love with alien Kitty (played by Raquel Welch’s daughter, Tahnee), and the whole ensemble eventually boards a spaceship to leave the planet. While the pool and exteriors were filmed in St. Petersburg, FL, the underwater scenes were filmed at South Ocean just east of Nassau.


1997 | Sandra Bullock, Willem Dafoe

This was the dog of a sequel to “Speed,” which launched the careers of Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Reeves wisely bowed out of chapter two, but Bullock signed on in exchange for financing for a film project of her own (well, that and a reported $11 million payday). The plot features a villain (Dafoe) whose evil plan is to crash a cruise ship into an oil tanker. The plan goes awry (of course) and the ship crashes into a town instead. Director Jan de Bont picked St. Martin for the land shots because it rarely gets hurricanes. For the crash scene, the crew extended the town of Marigot into the harbor, creating a whole new waterfront. Ironically, during construction, Marigot was hit by a hurricane that destroyed much of the set. Underwater shots were filmed in the Tongue of the Ocean south of Nassau, Bahamas, but the water was too clear for the director’s liking, so he had divers sprinkling sediment in front of the camera lens to make it grittier.


1965 & 1983 | Sean Connery

Two of the best Bond films, both starring the original Bond, are separated by almost two decades but both play out in Nassau, Bahamas. Thunderball is famous for its underwater fight scenes and for a nuclear-armed Vulcan bomber hidden on the floor of the ocean. The “bomber” was made of PVC pipe and canvas, so much of it has disintegrated over the years, but local operators still dive the site regularly. The cave used for the underwater fight scene is on Staniel Cay, in the Exuma chain just south of Nassau. Other scenes were filmed on Love Beach and at the Clifton Pier near Lyford Cay. Much of the rest of the film is set in Nassau itself. Connery’s last Bond film,”Never Say Never Again” revisits many of the same locations used for “Thunderball” and adds a few more. These include the Tears of Allah wreck and Villa 1085 at the One and Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, which you can book if you’re in the mood for a Bond-themed holiday.


1958 | Spencer Tracy

This is the screen version of Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella about an elderly fisherman’s fight to catch a huge marlin. Although critics panned the movie — it was the first to use blue screen (now called green screen) technology — Hemingway loved it and it’s gotten better reviews as the years go by. This is one of the last American movies to be filmed in Cuba. A year after it’s release Castro had taken power, and just three years later the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs invasion happened. It’s worth seeing, if only for its views of pre-Revolution Cuban fishing villages.


1974 | Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro

Part of the fascination of the Godfather series is its blending of real events into the fictional lives of the Corleones. In Part II of the series, Michael (Pacino) visits Cuba to see an old family associate Hyman Roth, played by Lee Strasberg and loosely based on mobster Meyer Lansky. The movie scene occurs as the Batista regime is crumbling and Castro about to take power. In real life, Lansky left Cuba before Castro arrived in Havana because, having been born in Russia he said “I know a communist revolution when I see one.” The movie couldn’t be made in Havana because of the American embargo against Cuba, so the island scenes were filmed in the Dominican Republic. Some were set at Caso de Campo, the resort owned by Paramount Pictures parent company Gulf & Western near La Romana. The New Year’s Eve party thrown by Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista was staged in the Palacio Nacional in Santo Domingo.


1985 | Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger

Although ultimately forgettable, “Species” and “Species II” were very successful at the box office. The plot involves extraterrestrials who beam instructions about their DNA to earth, where it’s received and decoded by a team at the giant radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. The DNA is then spliced into human DNA and a hybrid alien/human woman develops. When she turns out to be a homicidal biological weapon designed by the aliens, the team has to track and kill her. The radio telescope at Arecibo also appeared in the Jodie Foster film “Contact,” written by astronomer Carl Sagan and in the Pierce Brosnan-era Bond film “Goldeneye.”


2003 – 2011 | Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley, Penelope Cruz

The phenomenally successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise has used locations throughout the region for its backdrops. Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent is the film’s setting for Port Royal, which was actually located near Kingston, Jamaica. Petit Tabac in the Grenadines is the deserted island where Depp and Knightley are marooned in the first movie. Much of film two (“Dead Man’s Chest”) was filmed in Dominica: the cannibal village is High Meadow, the beach featured in Depp’s chase scene is Hampstead and the location of the voodoo lady is along the Indian River. Palominito Island near the El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico is where Depp maroons Penelope Cruz in film four (“On Stranger Tides”). The Cadiz fort in film four is Castillo San Cristóbal in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.


1993 | Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Richard Attenborough, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum

Although writer Michael Crichton set his novel on a small island off Costa Rica, director Steven Spielberg decided to do the principal photography on the island of Kauai in Hawaii because he’d filmed there before. During production, the island was hit by Hurricane Iniki and some additional scenes were then filmed in Costa Rica and along the Chavon River near La Romana in the eastern Dominican Republic. Chavon was also the setting for some scenes from “Apocalypse Now,” the 1979 epic by Francis Ford Coppola that blended Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” with the Vietnam War.

For the original report go to http://www.usatoday.com/story/experience/caribbean/best-of-caribbean/2014/06/19/famous-film-locations-in-the-caribbean/10983179/

Posted by: lisaparavisini | June 19, 2014

T&T’s first street arts festival this weekend


Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) is hosting the first street arts festival in Trinidad and Tobago this weeke­nd, Trinidad’s Express reports.
It takes place from today to Sunday, from Fitt Street to Carlos Street along Ariapita Avenue and into Adam Smith Square. More than 100 local artists and artisans representing various genres would be demonstrating and performing during the three-day festivities. Some pieces will also be on sale during the event.
Patrons can experience dance, drama and film presented by the T&T Film Festival, T&T Film Company and Animae Caribe, fashion, a wide range of visual art, music, entertainment, stick-fighting, traditional mas, story-telling, open microphone, yoga courtesy Akasha Studios, chalk art competition by High Design, and Fruta Kool Kidz Zone courtesy SM Jaleel and Kids Corner with face-painting and Aeri­al Sky Kids and much more.
The festival kicks off today from 6 p.m., with a feature film of Calypso Rose—Lioness of the Jungle—sponsored by the T&T Film Festival.
The main events tomorrow and Sunday run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
With the theme “A Celebration of Arts”, the focus of the festivities will be to allow the seven sectors of the creative industry—visual and performing arts, festivals, music, heritage, fashion and film—to highlight and showcase their creativity.
The festival is meant to target family and friends coming together and to educate, inspire and reshape the way artists in the creative industry think, market and promotes their services.
“It is intended that [the] street arts festival will become an annual event constantly engaging and sharing our cultural heritage, bringing community awareness, appreciation and inspiration for the arts and culture and creating the largest street arts festival in the Caribbean,” said the organisation’s CEO, Nirad Tewarie.
“One of the highlights of the festival will be the on-site painting of a bus courtesy the Ministry of Transport and Public Transport Services Corporation,” Tewarie explained.
“Multi-talented local artist Darren Chee-Wah will paint the refurbished bus on site, transforming it into a wonderful piece of local, public art. The MOT and PTSC will then use it at various locations through Republic Day 2014 to promote local and public art.”

For the original report go to http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/TTs-first-street-arts-festival-this-weekend-263909871.html

Posted by: lisaparavisini | June 19, 2014

First Caribbean Restaurant Week in New York, June 22-28


A post by Peter Jordens.

The West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), producers of the New York Caribbean Carnival on Labor Day and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce (BCC) have partnered to produce the first Caribbean Restaurant Week in New York from June 22 – 28, 2014.

Participating restaurants will showcase the many cultures and cuisines that originate in the Caribbean. Foodies can discover a multitude of bold and bright flavors including delicious callaloo, griot, roti, stewed or jerk meats, and ice-cold beverages featuring Caribbean fruit and rums. Over 29 restaurants across New York City are expected to participate and they are listed below.

“New York City is rich in Caribbean history and culture, and we look forward to supporting and promoting Caribbean restaurants in our area,” said William Howard, WIADCA’s President.

“Caribbean restaurant week is the perfect opportunity to experience that flavor and excitement that this community bring to all of our neighborhoods,” said BCC President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “After the launch of our Italian and Kosher Restaurant weeks, Caribbean Heritage Month was a perfect opportunity to work with WIADCA to celebrate contributions the Caribbean community has made to our city’s culture. We are excited to try all of the phenomenal foods and drinks that will be available.”

Caribbean Restaurant Week is one of the many activities marking Caribbean History month, which is celebrated annually in June in New York. Other 2014 Caribbean Month events include a Mas workshop (teaching Carnival costume design), a Caribbean Heritage Month Presentation for high school students, and the “Make Music New York Concert” at Ronald McNair Park.

“D’Savannah Bar and Lounge is honored to be a part of the very first Caribbean Restaurant Week in New York,” said D’Savannah owner Natalie Lamming. “We applaud West Indian American Day Carnival Association and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce on their efforts to showcase/promote not just Caribbean businesses but Caribbean culture. Caribbean cuisine is a very big part of our culture, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month than by participating in this history-making event.”


The Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (CACCI) has signed on as a community partner for Caribbean Restaurant Week. “As we continue our collaboration with BCC and with WIADCA, we are pleased to support the partnering between BCC and WIADCA as it bridges the celebration of Caribbean culture with a much needed promotional platform for our business establishments. CACCI is proud to continue to serve as a community partner for this event and others in the future.” said Dr. Roy A Hastick, Sr. President / CEO / Founder of CACCI.

Participating Restaurants:

BROOKLYN – Eat-in restaurants

Footprints Café, 5814 Clarendon Rd., NY zip code 11203, telephone (718) 451-3181

Samuel’s Top Ranking Fish Shop, 33-15 Church Ave., 11203, (917) 573-6850

Super Wings NY, 888 Utica Ave., 11203, (347) 915-0773

Vivid Café, 4617 Ave. D, 11203, (718) 451-0735

D’Savannah Bar and Lounge, 1460 Flatbush Ave., 11210, (646) 401-5250

Footprints Express, 1377 Flatbush Ave., 11210, (718) 462-0120

Jamaica Grill, 321 Nostrand Ave., 11216, (718) 398-3375

Kombit Bar & Restaurant, 279 Flatbush Ave., 11217, (718) 399-2000

Sugar Cane Restaurant, 238 Flatbush Ave., 11217, (718) 230-3954

Footprints Café, 1521 Surf Ave, 11224, (718) 265-2530

Culpeppers, 1082 Nostrand Ave, 11225, (718) 940-4122

Trini Breakfast Shed, 32-09 Church Ave., 11226, (718) 282-2646

Glady’s, 788 Franklin Ave., 11238, (718) 622-0249

Ideya Brooklyn, 636 Carlton Ave., 11238, (718) 636-6770

Janelle’s Restaurant, 671 Washington Ave., 11238, (718) 495-2474

Milk River, 960 Atlantic Ave., 11238, (718) 636-8600

BROOKLYN – Take-out restaurants

A & P Roti & Pastry Shop, 4902 Church Ave., 11203, (718) 287-3289

D&P Restaurant, 34-05 Church Ave., 11203, (718) 462-3078

Fishnet Inc., 3814 Church Ave., 11203, (347) 442-0400

Island Burger, 915 Utica Ave., 11203, (718) 495-2474

Punch Line Smoothies & Juice Bar, 701 Nostrand Ave., 11216, (718) 856-7500

Secrets NYC, 724 Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216, (917) 771-3906

Allan’s Bakery, 1109 Nostrand Ave., 11225, (718) 774-7892

Picky Eaters, 1166 Nostrand Ave., 11225, (347) 715-6432

Super Wings NY, 1218 Union St., 11225, (718) 467-8737

Tastee Pattee Ltd., 31-22 Church Ave., 11226, (718) 342-7670

MANHATTAN – Eat-in restaurants

Negril Village NYC, 70 W 3rd St., 10012, (212) 477-2804

SOB’S, 204 Varrick St., 10014, (212) 243-4940

QUEENS – Take-out restaurants

Creole Buffet, 216-19 Linden Blvd., 11411, (718) 977-0100

Sybil’s Bakery & Restaurant, 159-24 Hillside Ave., 11432, (718) 297-2359

For more information on Caribbean Restaurant Week New York, visit:



The original articles are at http://spiceislander.com/?p=11954 and http://www.ibrooklyn.com/news_events/crw.aspx.


A post by Peter Jordens.

Arnold Burlage of Luchtvaartnieuws.nl reports on a curious road sign that will soon be placed near Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

To underline that [since 2010 the Caribbean islands of] Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are special [overseas] municipalities of the Netherlands, Rijkswaterstaat will place a road sign along the A4 Highway, near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, that shows the distance to these three islands. [Rijkswaterstaat is an executive agency of the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment which is responsible for the design, construction, management and maintenance of the main infrastructure facilities in the Netherlands.] With this remarkable sign, Rijkswaterstaat wants to raise awareness in the Netherlands that Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are truly part of the Netherlands.

The Netherlands Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Ronald Plasterk, unveiled the design of the road sign to the government delegations of the three islands that were in The Hague recently for the so-called ‘Caribbean Netherlands Week.’

The road sign was an initiative of Bonaire Commissioner James Kroon. He is happy that Rijkswaterstaat have honored his request. “When I suggested the idea a few months ago, I knew that there would be technical objections because of regulatory requirements. One cannot randomly place road signs along busy highways that divert attention from traffic.”

According to Kroon, “This is an eye-catching way to express the fact that since October 10, 2010, the [European] Netherlands and the [three] Caribbean Netherlands [islands] together constitute a single state. Not everyone [in the Netherlands] is aware of this, but that will change quickly now because every day tens of thousands of vehicles drive past the location where the sign will be placed.”

Bonaire’s Commissioner of Economic Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Edsel Winklaar, said that he hoped that the sign “will stimulate more people, both tourists and investors, to pay a visit to our beautiful islands.” Island Governor, Mr. Edison Rijna, said that it is a wonderful gesture. “It confirms that we are fully part of the Netherlands. The sign functions like a bridge that invites passers-by to, as it were, ‘turn here and follow the signs to Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba’.”

In his vote of thanks, Kroon announced that upon his return in Bonaire he would see to it that a road sign be placed along the road to Bonaire’s Flamingo Airport that shows the way to Amsterdam.

For the original article (in Dutch), go to http://www.luchtvaartnieuws.nl/nieuws/categorie/3/airports/verkeersbord-bonaire-sint-eustatius-en-saba-op-schiphol.

Photo by Nico van der Ven via http://www.boneiruawe.com

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