Posted by: ivetteromero | May 21, 2015

Fete Isidore Began Today in Grand Bay, Dominica


Fete Isidore in the southern village of Grand Bay began this evening with an award ceremony (at the Grand Bay Community Center) recognizing over 20 “outstanding” members of the community. Fete Isidore began today, May 21, and will continue through Monday, May 24.

[. . .] The award ceremony is just the beginning of activities planned for celebrating Fete Isidore.

On Friday evening there will be the cultural night at Ma Tou Tou’s park from 7:00 pm. Several groups from the southern district-Petite Savanne, Grand Bay, Bagatelle, Tete Morne and Pichelin are expected to participate. A musical band from Bagatelle will bring the curtains down for the night.

On Saturday evening there will be a basketball knock out competition between a team from Pichelin and one from Grand Bay. It is expected to take place at the Ma Tou Tou’s Park.

On Sunday there will be a Sports Day at the Geneva Playing field from 10:00 am. A fund-raising Oldie Goldie dance, featuring a band from Martinique and local DJ’s, is also planned for the night.

Monday, the actual feast day, will begin with a Creole Mass at the Grand Bay Catholic Church which will be carried live on local radio stations. Several dignitaries are expected to be in attendance.

Following the mass, there will be another fund raiser, this time in the form of a mini gala and there will be performances by Michele Henderson-Delsol, the band from Martinique, and other cultural groups. This will take place from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

At 3:00 pm a “Village Extravaganza” will begin and six bands- Michelle Henderson and her band, Chubby and the Midnight Groovers, Extacy, Golden Squad Reggae band, the Swining Stars and the First Serenade Band, have been contracted to be on two stages. One stage will be at the entrance of the village or Tete Lalay and another stage will be lower down in the village at the Hewlet John Heritage Park.

Tripple K Global will also perform at a private establishment in the village. Registe said the idea is to have patrons move between the two stages.

“Grand Bay will be very much alive and we invite the thousands of patrons who usually come to be a part of the events that we have organized,” he said. “We look forward to a peaceful and exciting celebration this year.”

For full article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 21, 2015

Dominican Republic to deport illegal aliens

boat_CROPz0x209y400The government of the Dominican Republic is ready to deport illegal aliens which haven’t registered for the National Plan to Regularize Foreigners, starting June 15.

Interior and Police minister Jose Ramon Fadul made the warning Wednesday and reiterated it Thursday, noting that deportations won’t be “witch hunt or hooded soldiers chasing people because of their color,” and instead will be returned to their country of origin respecting people’s dignity.

“We’ve already mounted the Armed Forces and Immigration Agency’s logistics with the dignity required, we will start with people who roam the streets, who have no job and then we’ll go to the interior, farming areas, but not to chase for chasing’s sake. [. . .] He said the repatriations of Haitian nationals will be by bus while with other foreigners the government contacted the embassies of their countries to resolve the airfare.

For full article, see

St Lucian’s late dramatist Roderick Walcott’s The Legend of Tom Fool will be performed at the National Cultural Centre on May 27th. 

Roderick Walcott, a seminal figure in the development of theater in the region, was poet Derek Walcott’s twin brother. He died in 2000. The author of fifteen plays, including the musical Banjo Man, he as St Lucia’s first Director of Culture after independence.

Posted by: lisaparavisini | May 21, 2015

Art About Jamaican Dancehall On View At Lux Art Institute

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This article by Angela Carone appeared in Follow the link below for a video and audio of the report.

Dancehall has replaced reggae as the defining music of Jamaica, at least for contemporary Jamaicans. Fans say it’s the voice of the people. Critics say it glorifies sex and violence. In its most basic form, dancehall involves a deejay rapping over a beat.

Because it dates back to the 1970s, some argue it’s the source of hip hop.

No one denies that today, dancehall is the most popular art form in Jamaica.

The culture surrounding dancehall is the subject of Ebony G. Patterson’s artwork. Her large mixed-media wall tapestries and paintings are on view at the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas through the end of May.

Patterson has always been interested in more than just the music of dancehall.

“It’s language, it’s dress, it’s music, it’s movement and it’s bravado,” said Patterson.

Patterson was born in Kingston and splits her time between there and Lexington, Ky., where she is an assistant professor in painting at the University of Kentucky. She grew up listening to dancehall music. Her favorite artist was Bounty Killer, known as the “poor people’s governor.” Patterson would later go to Passa Passa, the weekly street dance party in Kingston where various dance and fashion trends were born.

Those experiences still inspire her work.

Like hip hop in the United States, the engine of dancehall is the streets.

“It’s always within these inner city communities, these rough experiences, where people use song and dance as a form of expression and as a way of complaining about things that they’re not so happy about,” said Patterson.

Kingston’s inner city neighborhoods are bleak. There’s poverty and violence. Dancehall is an escape.

“I like to think of dancehall as this very vibrant, very rhythmic, very colorful and also very camp culture,” said Patterson.

That’s what you see in Patterson’s huge, ostentatious wall tapestries. There’s a lot of pink and florals – imagine inner city Kingston meets Palace of Versailles.

She starts with a staged photograph of stock characters from the dancehall scene. The photo is then woven into the fabric. Using sturdy tapestries allows her to add layers of colorful paint, garish jewelry and glitter to the surface. In fact, Patterson spends days gluing glitter.

“I glitter bomb,” said Patterson. “I’m the glitterati.”

The images are mostly of men. They have hard expressions, typical of the gangster personas glorified in dancehall. Their clothes and jewelry are flamboyant.

“It’s all about how the clothes allow this kind of extended performance,” said Patterson. “The clothing becomes a prop to extend this bravado.”

Dancehall lyrics are macho and at times homophobic, yet dancehall fashion has become decidedly feminine.

In one of Patterson’s pieces, the tough men all wear tight floral pants. She noticed a shift in dancehall: baggy pants went out and tight ones came in.

“I remember growing up, they always said if your pants were too tight you were suspect. Your sexuality was in question,” said Patterson. “And here I was looking at the total opposite of that.”

The faces in Patterson’s tapestries draw you in – the characters are black, yet the ovals of their faces are white. Skin bleaching is a trend in dancehall.

“When I think about skin bleaching, I think about skin blinging,” said Patterson. “It’s a kind of skin blinging.”

Dancehall megastar Vybz Kartel, who was recently convicted of murder, bleaches his skin. He sings its praises in a song called “Cake Soap” and has defended it in the media by saying if white people can tan, why can’t he bleach?

Patterson says some in the dancehall scene talk about lightening their skin in the same way they talk about clothes.

“So I’m going out and shop to get this outfit for this party that’s happening in two weeks but I also have to buy my case of bleaching cream so that I can make sure that my tone is right with that outfit,” said Patterson, imitating the phenomenon. “So that when the camera picks me up I glow well.”

Patterson says in Jamaica, colorism is a constant problem. Lighter skin is considered better and more attractive.

She says the bling, the hyper-feminine outfits, the skin bleaching, it’s all a performance. An effort to be seen, because in Jamaica’s poor working class communities, people don’t feel seen or valued.

“So I could totally understand then within that landscape of understanding and that landscape of devaluization, why someone would make so much effort in this brief life to perform a sense of importance,” said Patterson.

It’s that performance Patterson captures and celebrates so well in her extravagant tapestries.

Ebony G. Patterson’s work will be on view through May 30 at the Lux Art Institute in Encinitas.

For the original report go to

Posted by: lisaparavisini | May 21, 2015

5 Questions With Cuban Documentary Director Javier Labrador


This interview appeared in, a site focusing on Latin American culture, music, film, sports, etc. It’s a great site worth exploring. Take a look.

Javier Labrador Delofeu is Cuban Cinematographer and Director whose recent documentary Hotel Nueva Isla, co-directed with Spanish filmmaker Irene Gutiérrez, premiered in the Bright Future section of the Rotterdam film festival back in 2014. The film has since traveled the world and recently played in New York as part of MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight back in February.

A patient, observational portrait of a sickly man living in a squatter’s community in a rundown Havana hotel, Hotel Nueva Isla has garnered nearly universal praise from critics the world over. Here, Labrador Delofeu takes some time to talk to Remezcla about a life-changing gift from his father, the glory days of Cuban film and blurring cinematic boundaries.

When did you decide to pursue filmmaking?
When I graduated high school I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to study. Nothing motivated me and I figured I’d spent too much time sitting in a classroom listening to teachers. I needed something else. To motivate me to keep studying, my father gave me a videocamera. He doesn’t know it, but that changed my life forever.

I learned of the existence of the state Film Institute here in Cuba (ICAIC), which at the time was looking to train youths in the art of making films. And since I had already started filming little projects they included me in their productions as an apprentice. It was a beautiful time in my life when I still wasn’t clear about which role I wanted to take on, so I did a little bit of everything: assistant director, boom, prop man, extra, assistant camera and lighting. That was the best school.

Why have you tended toward documentary rather than fiction?
Little by little I passed through all the possible roles in the industry until settling on cinematography. That is my true passion and it’s what I eventually studied at the International Film and Television School (EICTV).

I don’t prefer one language to another (Doc vs. Fiction), but the freedom inherent within documentary and the possibilities it gives for experimentation make it much more free and innovative. Although, I have shot some very interesting narrative pieces and some terribly boring documentaries, full of clichés. In my school there is a phrase written on one of the walls: There are no documentaries or fictions, just movies. I think what’s most important is who you work with and the people you film, that’s what makes the difference.

What is the situation like for filmmakers in your country?
Compared to other countries in Latin America, Cuba was very privileged to have an industry and a film institute of considerable global importance, created in the 1960s. They were years of innovation where they made films of the stature of Memories of Underdevelopment, La Primera Carga al Machete or I am Cuba. But economic crises and political confinement brought that moment to a stylistic, economic and ideological halt.

Today the struggle for control [of the industry] no longer makes sense. New technologies opened up access to information and our films – produced on the margins of the film institute – make their way into the best distribution circuits in the world. It’s complex because this country can’t be compared to any other place in the world, and it’s precisely because of that isolation that the real work has yet to be done. Right now they are reviewing the laws and institutional policies in hopes of creating a Film Statute that would protect independent producers outside of the ICAIC. I assume there will be many years of trial and error, but at least things are starting to happen.

Which film has most inspired you and why?
One of the films that has most affected my way of both seeing and making cinema is In Vanda’s Room, an incredibly beautiful film by Portuguese director Pedro Costa. It was a film that without a doubt impacted my whole graduating class from the EICTV, precisely for its combination of the documentary gaze with a fictionalized treatment. It’s a film that blurred the boundaries between cinematic languages and created an extremely human document of a neighborhood and its inhabitants on the verge of disappearing.

What’s one film you’ve always wanted to make but haven’t been able to?
All of the films that I have dreamed of are still possible. But I have one in particular that is very dear to me that I pick back up every once in a while. The title is Estática Milagrosa and I’ve spent at least 10 years accumulating archival material.

A friend of mine once gave me a wise piece of advice that I hope to comply with soon: films are finished, not abandoned. That phantom-fantasy has haunted me every since.

For the original report go to


The European Union has allocated 10 million dollars (9.33 million euros ) for risk reduction activities in the Caribbean. Communities highly exposed to floods, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes will benefit from disaster preparedness projects funded by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO), through its DIPECHO Programme (Disaster Preparedness ECHO). A total of 14 projects will be implemented in the region between 2015 and 2016 in order to reduce the vulnerability to natural hazards and to better prepare communities and authorities to respond to emergencies.

“We have been working on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Caribbean for more than a decade. We recognize this topic has become more relevant, but there are still significant needs in terms of resources and capacities,” said Virginie André, ECHO responsible for the Caribbean. “Through the DIPECHO programme, we support local and national efforts in order for institutions and communities to better anticipate the potential impact of any natural adverse event, and to limit their consequences. The focus is on strengthening capacities and changing attitudes to save lives,” commented André.

The 2015-2016 DIPECHO Action Plan aims at reducing the impact of future disasters in the Caribbean by preparing vulnerable populations affected by frequent disasters, strengthening their resilience. Activities funded include simple and inexpensive preparatory measures carried out by the communities themselves, such as risk mapping, emergency plans, early warning systems, education campaigns and small infrastructure projects; all activities are aimed at avoiding the loss of lives, property and livelihood. Actions also focus on urban risks and are aimed at reducing cities’ vulnerability. More than 400 000 people will benefit from this assistance throughout the region.

ECHO’s strategy in the Caribbean in the framework of the DIPECHO programme includes the consolidation of successful experiences developed in the region during the past years, support to national programs for Safe Schools and Hospitals, strengthening of early warning systems, and optimization of information management and communication about Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the region.

ECHO advocates for the integration of DRR efforts into the Caribbean development policy, that is why it facilitates meetings and dialogue between the actors involved in risk management and promotes the adoption of policies and strategies related to DRR. In that way, all DIPECHO projects will be implemented in close coordination with the national risk management systems of each country and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).

The Caribbean, one of the most disaster-prone areas in the world, is the scenario in which disaster preparedness projects funded by ECHO have been constantly and successfully tested, as it has been shown in recent emergency responses.

Since 1994, ECHO has allocated over 488 million Euros in humanitarian assistance to the Caribbean. Of these, 70 million euros were allocated to disaster risk reduction and preparedness in the region contributing to strengthen resilience of the most vulnerable people in the region.

For the original report go to


Tania Bruguera, who has had her passport confiscated after planning a free-speech performance in Revolution Square, is due to host a 100-hour reading of the book The Origins of Totalitarianism ahead of the city’s biennial, Laurie Rojas reports in this article for The Art Newspaper. Here are some excerpts from the interview, with a link to the full report below.

Tania Bruguera is due to launch a new project in Cuba tomorrow, based on the writing of the German political theorist Hannah Arendt, two days before the 12th Havana Biennial opens to the public (22 May-22 June). This is the first performance to be staged by the Cuban artist since she was arrested five months ago for trying to organise a performance in which the public was invited to speak freely for one minute in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución.

Starting with an open session at her home on Wednesday, 20 May at 10am, and continuing for 100 consecutive hours, Bruguera will read from Arendt’s book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951. She has invited the public to join in the marathon reading, and plans to hold group discussions.

The Hannah Arendt International Institute of Artivism, as Bruguera has named the project, aims to be a platform for research and teaching “the practical application” of socially engaged art. Bruguera says she wants the event to be “entirely independent” from the biennial and completely non-commercial.
. . .
The Art Newspaper: What is the nature of the campaign against you in Cuba?

Tania Bruguera: People here have been making up stories about me. They started by saying that I was a drug dealer, because of a piece I did in Colombia were women walked around with cocaine trays.

If only they understood that I am doing what any artist does, which is revealing the internal dynamics, revealing something that is there but is hidden. With [#YoTambienExijo] I have removed the armour, and everything that the government does is visible, is exposed.

And people are in shock, they can’t believe that this is happening. But this always happens. This is the system that has been established, and it just touched me now because I chose to confront it. But other people don’t choose it, and the system crushes them.

The new theory is that I am doing this because of ego.

. . .

Why did you come back?

Personally, ethically, I could not go on doing things outside my country—critiquing Israel, how immigrants are treated, capitalism—when [within Cuba] an atrocious form of capitalism is starting [to grow] and wh ere social injustice follows that incipient capitalism. What kind of artist-activist am I if those things are happening and I do nothing? And when I know it is a key moment to intervene since things are not yet firmly settled? If I do something, I do it because of a conviction.

You can say I am doing something risky, but don’t tell me that it is because of ego that I submit myself to all the interrogations.

There are people in Cuba who say you must have known that they weren’t going to let you do that in Revolution Square.

First of all, when they announced the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US on 17 December, the impossible was made possible. In that moment, everybody thought: ‘If this happens, anything can happen.’ It was a very special political and historical moment. I thought the chance [of successfully performing the piece] was maybe 20 to 80 [percent against it], but why not try?

Secondly, between the time I announced the performance on 18 December and when I came to Cuba on 26 December, we had more than 12,000 Cubans on Facebook following the hashtag #YoTambienExijo. Now, we have 17,000 or more. At that point, they were all Cubans and everything was in Spanish, so it was an internal conversation. Around 70% to 80% were people who never talk about politics. Why? Because none of the changes in Cuba had affected them, or had put them in suspense, as much as this announcement had. I don’t think all of these people were wrong to think, ‘maybe this is possible’.

So what happened?

Like with any performance, there was a chance it would happen the way you wanted or a chance it would happen the way other people wanted.

I do ‘arte de conducta’. Which is behavioral art, or the art of conduct. As part of that practice, I create the stage or the conditions for something to happen, and then the people involved decide what happens with the work. The problem is that the government feels they are the only ones that can intervene in this piece.

There is an interesting semantic tension: I proposed doing a performance, or a happening, but the government wanted a very traditional theatrical event. I also tried to let the audience decide what the work is about and what happens with the work, but the government, specifically all the repressive agents and organisations in it, took over: they did not let the audience perform. The state literally imprisoned the audience. I think this is completely Antonin Artaud-esque [the French playwright and director who believed in a ‘theatre of cruelty’ in which the audience would suffer as part of the performance]. I don’t know if even Dadaists imprisoned their audience. It’s beyond Dada.

What role has the Havana Biennial played in all of this?

I haven’t been invited to the biennial since 2009. But the way the organisers describe this biennial is exactly like the work I have been doing for the past five years: it is in the street, with the people, in the communities, within the institutions, outside the institutions, mixing with reality.

This was another reason I thought #YoTambienExijo might be possible, because the biennial organisers are promoting work that takes place outside the institutions. [But] when we discussed doing the performance in the Plaza de la Revolución, or my second proposal to do it in front of the Museo de Bellas Artes, they said no, that they wanted it inside the institution. It makes no sense that the biennial calls for actions in the streets, with a non-art audience, and when I offer to do that, they say that it must be done inside the institution.

What do you think about calls for a boycott of the Havana biennial?

Everybody should do what his or her consciousness dictates. When I heard about the boycott, I went to see the director and said: I have come to tell you I had nothing to do with it. But, ethically, I have to tell you I am very happy that people are acting in solidarity with me. I’m not going to encourage the boycott, but I am going to welcome—very happily—anyone who acts in solidarity with me, because right now that is very hard.

Why is it hard?

[The Cuban government] is a master of creating fear. My friends who are artists and curators have been taken to government offices and spoken to for hours about my case. The censorship has been very smart. First they say: we won’t let you exhibit your work, we’ll crush you or make you disappear as an artist. This is what they want to do with me but they have not been able to. But give them more time and they will achieve it. They marginalise you as an artist; turn you into a leper so that nobody wants to talk to you. After that, they open you up to economic censorship [limiting your ability to sell]. They look for what hurts you the most.

The idea of blurring art and life has been present in your work for a long time…

Here it is about blurring art and political life. It’s more specific.

#YoTambienExijo is a version of what I did in Venice [in 2009, when she played Russian Roulette with a loaded gun on a stage]. Instead of holding a gun to my head, I am throwing myself [into the system] and I risk losing everything—my life, my career, my friends, everything.

Why is it worth it?

Because I believe in what I am doing. My work is about making art an active agent of social change.

For the original report go to


“Growth,” a group exhibition featuring works selected from the international public art collection of Thru Contemporary Arts. The exhibition will be on view from May 29 through June 27, 2015, at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts (CMCArts) in Frederiksted, St. Croix (U.S. Virgin Islands). An opening reception will be held from 5:00-8:00pm on Friday, May 29, at the Museum Center.


“Growth” is intended to expand conversation about the nature and boundaries of art in the Caribbean by exposing the public to a variety of approaches to creating contemporary art. It features a specially selected collection of contemporary art by artists from countries around the world. From mixed media art to photography, embroidery and digital works of art — all are represented in the exhibition.

“Growth” includes works by Judith Ganz, GA Gardner, Beata Obst, Adele Todd, Clary Estes, Georg Gatz, Ute Bartel, Lap Yip, Christop Bartolosch, Almuth Baumfalk, Julia Neuenhausen and Sarah Knight.

Thru Contemporary Arts is a project of GETTHRU, a non-profit arts organization based in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago: The project is dedicated to showcasing contemporary artists and their work in countries that lack access to nontraditional art forms and techniques. Thru Contemporary Arts focuses on exhibition, education and the preservation of contemporary arts, and it houses and maintains a juried collection. The project acquires and promotes the artworks of prominent contemporary artists at various stages in their careers. This public collection is exhibited at museums, galleries and other spaces with the goal of educating and introducing underserved communities to various forms of contemporary art. As part of this project the organization publishes and prints arts catalogs and books on various contemporary arts subjects. Thru Contemporary Arts is a collaboration of artists, writers and curators.

To learn more, visit or contact:
Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts
10 Strand Street and 62 King Street
Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI 00840
Phone: 772-2622/ Fax: 772-2612 (

[Images: First, “Untitled” by Judith Ganz; second, “Passive Aggressive” by GA Gardner.]

For original article, see

Posted by: ivetteromero | May 21, 2015

Rihanna in battle with DC Comics over Robyn trademark


According to Caribbean 360, DC Comics is trying to block Barbadian superstar Rihanna from trademarking her real name, arguing that it is too similar to the name of Batman’s sidekick Robin.

Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty, filed an application last year through Roraj Trade – a company which holds trademarks for her brands – to trademark ‘Robyn’ with intent to “providing online non-downloadable general feature magazines”. In essence, Rihanna wants to start an online magazine, among other things, in her own name.

But in a filing at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), DC Comics argued that the move could cause some confusion.

It said the proposed Robyn online magazine is “identical and/or highly related” to DC’s existing product and “is likely to cause confusion, cause mistake, or to deceive the public” into thinking the two are connected.

For original article, see

ENDI Cartas

I am very excited to have on my nightstand a book I had been eagerly awaiting—Cartas a Consuelo: Julia de Burgos, a substantial exchange of letters between the iconic Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos and her sister Consuelo. [See previous post Presentation of Julia de Burgos’ CARTAS A CONSUELO.]

This collection of letters was edited by Eugenio Ballou (Folium) with a critical prologue by Lena Burgos-Lafuente, “Yo, múltiple: las cartas de Julia de Burgos.” As Ballou points out in his notes about editing the collection, through extensive research, Burgos-Lafuente contributed greatly to the editing process. The poet’s niece, María Consuelo Sáez Burgos, also contributed to the edition process and Sofía Sáez Matos was responsible for the book design.

In an article in El Nuevo Día, Sáez Burgos, president of the Commission for the Julia de Burgos Centennial, said: “There are about 300 letters” preserved for decades by Consuelo since she was 16 years old and including private communications from 1939 until some days before Julia’s death in1953. The publication also includes a few letters that the poet received from one of her great loves, Dominican intellectual Juan Isidro Jimenez Grullón. “The letters reveal the real Julia, in her own voice,” she added.

“Son como 300 cartas” conservadas por décadas por Consuelo desde que tenía 16 años y aluden a comunicaciones privadas de1939 hasta días antes de la muerte de Julia, en 1953, explicó Sáez Burgos. La publicación incluye también algunas cartas que la poeta cursó a uno de sus grandes amores, el intelectual dominicano Juan Isidro Jiménez Grullón, destacó. “Las cartas significan la verdadera Julia, desde su propia voz”, puntualizó.

As Eugenio García Cuevas says in Hoy Digital, these letters help us map the trajectory of a life marked by the continuous pulsion of distance. He writes, “They help us gaze into an existence where multiple intellectual, existential, familial, historical, political, romantic and poetic concerns, among other impulses, vibrate, are told and contradicted.”

Personally, I can’t wait to embark on this trip into Julia de Burgos’s private world.

For more information on the book (in Spanish), see, and

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