art in all its forms

art in all its forms


All Your Houses


"The man next to me on the ten-hour flight has insomnia. His white clothing is in layers, and neat. He repacks his hand luggage, which is full of gifts. He was an athlete who represented his nation. Injury and necessity sent him to the factory near Croydon to make plastic cups. He is too big to ignore, even if he had not confided to me his fear of the losses that night shifts make in his mind. The art of memory becomes a topic of discussion. Will his family remember him? His trip is a secret..."

Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidadian writer who has lived in Britain since 1991. Her poetry includes 
No Traveller Returns (2003), Person Animal Figure (2005), and Undraining Sea (2009). On Tuesday 4 January, 2011, at 7 pm, Capildeo will read from her recent work at Alice Yard. The programme will include excerpts from her prose work All Your Houses, accompanied by a series of images by Andre Bagoo, part of an “intertextual dialogue” ongoing over the past two years.

All are invited. Photo courtesy Nicholas Laughlin.


The first part of the last part of the Harry Potter films

It's good. Thank goodness. And the fact that it ends mid-way through the action is a huge plus, avoiding all that sentimental wrapping-up that often accompanies the denouements of the prior films.

If you have not read the Harry Potter books, you may at some points have NO IDEA what is going on. But this does not stop any of the fun. I sometimes found certain lapses of logic and then I snapped out of it: after all, it's a film about a bloody boy wizard flying around the place on a broomstick. HELLO!

The acting in this film is also up a notch, the characters have matured a bit, though they remain stockish. The use of landscape in this film was incredible and, for the first time in a Potter film, I found the special effects completely convincing. Not spoiling things too much I will say this: like in the last film, a major character dies. Be prepared for tears.

ALL IN ALL: **** 

That song from Almodovar's 'Broken Embraces'

Intoxicating song which comes at a crucial moment of Almodovar's last film, Broken Embraces, starring Penelope Cruz.

The film itself is standard Almodovar: dark, self-reflexive, profound and hilarious. It is, like all Almodovar films, essentially a soap opera with a plot so effortlessly convoluted and full of secrets that it cannot be summarised. This time, though, it lacks the edge and genuine complexity of some of the Spanish director's earlier work like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Bad Education and Talk to Her. But it is still unforgettable.


***TONIGHT: Les Diaboliques @ studiofilmclub


Thursday November 25th TONIGHT!
doors open at 7:30pm and films will start at 8:15pm

After last weeks film about Henri-Georges Clouzot's aborted masterpiece INFERNO we bring you his existing one... Les Diaboliques

Les Diaboliques (Henri Georges-Clouzot/France/1954/116') 

Legend has it that Henri-Georges Clouzot beat out Alfred Hitchcock to secure the rights to this novel, which proved to be a veritable blueprint for an icy masterpiece of murder, mystery and suspense. Afterwards, the story goes a fellow told Alfred Hitchcock that after his daughter saw Psycho she refused to take a shower and that after she saw Diabolique she refused to get in a bathtub. Well, Hitchcock said, send her to the dry cleaners.
Véra Clouzot plays the sickly wife of a callous headmaster of a provincial boarding school going to seed, and the commanding Simone Signoret is the headmaster's mistreated mistress. Together they plot and carry out his murder, a brutal drowning that director Clouzot documents in chilly detail, but the corpse disappears and a nosy detective starts sniffing around the grounds as threatening notes taunt the women. Clouzot's thriller is as precise and accomplished a work as anything in Hitchcock's canon, a film of gruelling suspense and startling shocks in an overcast, grey world of decay. Some have accused the film of being misanthropic, and Clouzot's attitude toward his characters is bitter at best, contemptuous at worst. The viewer is left on the outside looking in, but the razor precision and terrifying twists deliver a sleek, bleak spectacle absolutely worthy of attention.The end caption of the film pleads with the audience not to reveal the ending of the film to any of their friends,a truly influential, intelligent, and unforgettable film. 


Akuzuru's Una at COCO dance fest


This new Performance work by the artist A k u z u r u will be presented on two separate days at the COCO Dance Festival 2010: Moving Movement Museum. Performance art, though not traditionally a dance medium, is very much an interactive genre characterized by unrehearsed situations, which establishes uncontrived results. Because of its spontaneous, experimental and extended spatial process as a given, movement and stasis become the engine of its connective projections.

Act 1 RED: the prelude to the main performance on Sunday, will be in motion on Friday 26 November at 8.30pm from the Alice Yard Art Space on the street.

Act 2 WHITE: continuing as a much more extended presentation, will be in motion on Sunday 28 November. Starting at 5.45pm with a walking action from the General Hospital in Port of Spain, around the Queens Park Savannah route to Alice Yard, this performance will continue from Alice Yard at 7.30 pm on the street. The public is invited to ‘walk with me’ before viewing the main performance later on.


A k u z u r u is an Experiential Artist who is known for her  performance art  and large sculptural-installation works. Born in Trinidad, her works have been shown internationally in the Caribbean, Europe, Africa and Asia. Interdisciplinary in approach, the artist creates intense experiences, working primarily in the natural environment in site specific situations. Just a few examples of where she has participated in and presented her works include the Nottinghill Carnival in London; LIFT:_London International Festival of Theatre; The London Samba Festival; the 2nd. Biennale de Martinique; Rockstone & Bootheel Exhibition in USA; Solo exhibition at the National Museum of Trinidad & Tobago; Solo exhibition at the Caribbean Contemporary Arts (CCA) and her epic journey Earthology India in India.

COCO Dance Festival ’10 presents the Moving Movement Museum at Alice Yard and Bohemia

The Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective - nicknamed COCO - is a group of independent choreographers - Dave Williams, Nicole Wesley, Nancy Herrera and Sonja Dumas – which offers performance support for choreographers working in unconventional ways in Trinidad and Tobago.   COCO will host its second annual dance festival from Friday, November 26th to Sunday, November 28th  – this time in a series of unusual spaces.

Showtimes are as follows: Friday, November 26th and Saturday, November 27th – 8:00pm; Sunday, November 28th – 7:00pm.  Tickets are available from the choreographers and from the organizers.   Kindly call 622-4426 to make reservations.  Security will be provided.


New 'Green Lantern' trailer...yippie!

It's looking like a cross between Iron Man and... Iron Man. With Chris Evans (the flame from Fantastic Five...or Four?) There are concerns over the tired tones:

"There is a distinct whiff of Iron Man to the debut trailer for Green Lantern, which hit the web earlier this week. Cocky hero plunged unexpectedly into superherodom and required to shape up to new responsibilities? Check. Rousing hard rock soundtrack? Check. Attractive female discarded with wisecracking insouciance? Yes, Green Lantern even borrows an early scene from Jon Favreau's 2008 film---Guardian, UK.
We await with trepidation!


'Disappointment' by Tanya

FROM Tanya Marie's smoking hot blog.


Expressive, eclectic, electric

Simply put a_phake rocks! This INTERVIEW at Outlish online magazine (a favorite) also features some of his EDM tracks. You can also CHECK him out on MySpace here. PHOTO by Arnaldo JJ.

Bocas Lit Festival

It's brand new. Find out What? When? Why? and Who? at the Bocas Lit Fest blog.


Tropical Night / Made in China

Do I want to make these items relate? Do I want to stamp one as a product, re-appropriated like the emotions of the individual? Do I want to draw lines between the hangman's hidden noose and the nails on the wall from which the clips hang? Little hangings, all. Little lives, bare. Paper and paint and boxes? Re-interpreted in a different manner every time. And thereby re-appropriated by the mind. Several minds.

"Why are they being labeled here in Trinidad? What would the value of labeling my work this way in narratives of development and progress?" 

FROM Christopher Cozier's blog. READ an interview with Cozier, on the eve on the opening of a show at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, here.

ALL photos copyright Christopher Cozier.


My favorite films of the far!

The year is almost over, and there is still plenty of time to see lots of films but I thought I'd mention which were among my favorites for 2010 thus far:

1) I must start with I Am Love, which I love. It's a deeply melodramatic, but stunning, stylish and bravura film with Tilda Swinton playing a Russian-Italian woman. Nuf said? It's all very glossy and beautiful, but with a deeper purpose and intention in mind. The closing scenes are unforgettable, and so is Tilda Swinton who suggests oceans of emotion without batting an eyelash. Amazing. The soundtrack features music by the great American composer John Adams. 

2) Reading a summary of this film, you'd be forgiven for thinking this the Brokeback Mountain for orthodox jews. Eyes Wide Open is so much more than that. This is one of the most fascinating, beautiful and compelling  films I have ever seen. The attention to craft is subtle and non-ostentatious. Discover it yourself. It's probably the best film of the year, and one of the best films of the decade.

3) What more do I have to say about Inception? It is clear that the film has now transcended its commercial success and entered the public imagination in a way that only landmark films or cultural phenomena do. What I notice now about the movie, looking back, is that part of its allure is how it tries relentlessly to engage the audience's grey matter. It was almost as though Christopher Nolan, in a stroke of marketing counter-programming genius, said: I know, people are so starved for intelligent film that if I make an over-the-top film that requires some degree of complex mind-processing, then this will be a huge hit. So said, so done. In a sense, we have people like Tyler Perry to thank for this.

4) Simply put The Ghost Writer--starring Ewan McGregor--is Roman Polanski's best film in decades. Smooth, suave, assured, beautifully edited and with a political sub-text that is rare, this is the work of a director at the peak of his abilities. It also has a self-reflective context, given Polanski's arrest this year. You cannot miss this. Intriguing. 

5) Edward Norton. Robert DeNiro. Frances Conroy. Compelling in an unnerving way. A blazing, messy, complex and rewarding film. The film has some dark humour. And it's worth it just seeing Norton's hair.


'The American' is another dreary George Clooney movie


I disagree with Roger Ebert who claims this is one of the best films of the year.

My favorite films this year, thus far, are: Eyes Wide Open, Inception, The Social Network, The Ghost Writer and Stone. The American simply does not make the cut.

It is not suspenseful and is rather slow-burning in a bad, predictable way. George Clooney is dreary in a dreary film with no life. I guess this mirrors the central character's dilemna, but alas, the film replicates this far too effectively.

We sit and watch for minutes and minutes as nothing really happens, and then he dies at the end (or kinda) as he drives towards a woman he likes. People in the cinema walked out constantly. Sheesh. It's like the James Bond film when he gets married and then the wife dies. Cept this time its the man, not the woman, that goes down in the name of love.

Rating: **

From the best film of the year, Eyes Wide Open. WATCH trailer here.


Tropical Night in Martinique

I like this. Just saw it on Christopher Cozier's blog. CLICK for more here.


Peera is a reinterpretation of a traditional bench


You sit on it. You carry it. You connect it. You leave it. You leave half. You leave all. You leave none. You hear it scrape the floor. You knock it. It knocks you. You hide it. You reveal it. You disguise it. You get to know it. It holds on. It holds you.

THIS IS NEW WORK by Marlon Darbeau. SEE MORE HERE. Photos by Damian Libert.


For People of Every Race Willing to Fork Out Money For This Offensive Crap from Tyler Perry

 An artificial face, for an offensively artificial character, in an offensively artificial movie.

How dare the makers of For Coloured Girls bring Nina Simone into their stinkie kankatang? Tyler Perry has hit rock bottom here with this offensive crap. Here are the reasons why:

1. I know it's based on the 1975 "choreopoem" For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange, but since when have we reverted to the practice of calling black people "coloured"?

2. Nothing in this film is inherently unique to black people. Perry's adaptation has turned something that might work on stage into something quite offensive. In fact, on screen, it all comes across as a re-reinforcement of black stereotypes: black preacher woman, black slutty woman, black bitter woman, black indie woman, black abusive husband, black virile rapist man, black criminals...and on and on, with dialogue that--when it veers from the original poetry of the play--is itself a stereotype. The irony is that Perry's target audience is mainly black people everywhere. The movie should have been called: For People of Every Race Willing to Fork Out Money For This Offensive Crap.

3. Homophobia. This one needs some explaining.

Once upon a time, when Tyler Perry first broke out, he was seen as an aberration. Here was a black man who appeared in his own movies in drag. Remember Medea anyone? Black man playing a grandma. Ha. Ha. How wonderfully liberal! some thought.

Then the films happened to us.  One by one they horrified us after his first big smash Diary of a Mad Black Woman--which incidentally had nothing to do with blackness or insanity.

For instance he cast Janet Jackson repeatedly in a series of forgettable movies that gave us a glimpse of his homophobic streak. Film after film, he presented black married male characters living straight lives who were actually gay. These characters were all treated as freaks: aberrations. For two movies in a row (Why Did I Get Married and Why Did I Get Married 2) Jackson played a woman in a relationship with a closeted gay man. Now, for yet a third time, Perry casts Jackson to do the same thing this time with characters not in the original play who are now specifically inserted by Perry to give Jackson yet another bite at the cherry (pun intended).

As you might expect, once more the black closeted man who is unable to come to terms with his sexuality is demonised: he did it all to hurt the woman and not because he was unable to come to terms with his identity. This time around, though, Perry turns up the offensiveness by adding another offensive stereotype involving HIV and gay people.

Janet Jackson's character coughs in scene after scene during the movie, then finds out that she is HIV positive. Suddenly, after years of being in a relationship and seeing her husband lust after other men, she realises her husband is sleeping with men. How so, you wonder? Why naturally because she has HIV and got it from him and he could have only gotten it from another gay man as we all know HIV is a gay disease.

The only disease here is Tyler Perry.

4. What is with the plastic surgery Janet? This is what she used to look like when the surgery was only mild:

Apparently not pleased with her black features, she now finds herself in a black movie in which her character bashes her husband for being true to himself by admitting his sexuality. The offensiveness is mind-boggling. People should boycott Jackson just because of the alarming message her face (see poster at top of post) now sends. I mean Michael overdid it too, but at least his music was good.

5. The disgraceful treatment of Nina Simone's 'Four Women'.

The trailer for the film has the song performed as a cover and takes the raw (supposedly 'un-commercial') elements of the original out. By the time the movie ends and the credits begin to role, Nina's version is played. For a moment you just want to forget the crap you just watched and listen to Nina. Then, the inferior cover version comes on! Bye bye Nina. The disgrace. It's a shame so many good actors are in this twaddle.

Nina Simone's 'Four Women':

The trailer for For Colored Girls:


Sundiata revisted

Image copyright 101 Art Gallery/the artist

"As an artist who has been working steadily for more than 30 years, I decided to revisit my techniques and products with strong resolve to retain what has been successful and discard what has stalled and become redundant. Above all, I have summoned the creativity to produce some very large pieces from water-colour and mixed media...My intention is to maintain a high level of energy and consistency"--Sudiata on his upcoming exhibition, 'Sundiata Revisited'.

The exhibition, put on by 101 Art Gallery, runs November 9 - 18 at the Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago, Cnr St Vincent Avenue and Jamaica Blvd, Federation Park, Port-of-Spain.

The Lydians and...Castro?

Fidel Castro greets the Lydians on his visit to Trinidad

The Lydians are so popular that even dictator Fidel Castro has greeted them.


The Lydians present 
the Southern Caribbean Premiere of the Misa Cubana

This year the Lydians Christmas music, the Misa Cubana, comes from our own place in the world, the northern Caribbean. While the Misa Cubana (Cuban Mass) has been performed in Europe, the US, Mexico and Cuba, December will mark its southern Caribbean premiere. It is also the first time that the work of the living-legend, contemporary Cuban pianist and composer, Jose Maria Vitier, will be performed in Trinidad, as far as the Lydians have been able to ascertain. 

The Lydians have been in active communication with both Maestro Vitier and the local Cuban community who are taking an active and participatory interest in this production. Vitier dedicated this mass to La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre (The Virgin of Charity of Cobre), the patron saint of Cuba. 

Lydians Misa Cubana
Queen’s Hall
Thursday 09, Friday 10, Saturday 11 December 8.15pm


Note on Nikolai Noel's 'Fancy (History)'

From Nikolai Noel's blog

On seeing this, it is clear that it engages, in a somewhat wicked way, two issues touching the black experience.

1) the idea of the exoticised "other"; the highly sexual, sexualised, hung black man and 

2) the trans-Atlantic slavery trade. 

These two must be examined closer. For 2) is, of course, linked to 1), considering the practice of slave-owners paying more for studs meant to increase and multiply their property (ie human beings). 

The objectification of slaves, mirrors the objectification of the male form, the stereotyping of that form, the diminishing of the form itself by the focus on one arbitrary point and the failure to disentangle race from ideas of sex.

See MORE here.

Tanya gives us a peek at work done by Trinis for MAD

Marlon Darbeau at Tanya Doll's blog.

"My friends are part of a huge, fabulous exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design in New York in two weeks.

Last night I sat in Alice Yard in Woodbrook , Trinidad and watched as they took pictures of the products and installation art they designed for the show before they were shipped off for display until 2013..."

READ MORE from Tanya here.


Support a one of a kind, the Caribbean Review of Books

From my favorite CRB cover: Little Crippled Haiti (2006), by Édouard Duval Carrié; mixed media on aluminium, 48 x 48 inches; courtesy the artist and Bernice Steinbaum Gallery

In November and December 2010, the CRB is running a readers’ donation drive. 

It’s six months since the CRB relaunched online with a new website and a renewed sense of purpose — that purpose being the sustained and serious, insightful and intelligent, but also accessible and entertaining coverage of contemporary Caribbean books and writing alongside art, film, and music.
The CRB is the only magazine in the anglophone Caribbean devoted to this kind of broad literary and cultural criticism for a general audience. Since our relaunch, we’ve published three bimonthly issues — dated MayJuly, andSeptember 2010 — filled with dozens of book reviews, as well as profiles and essays, original poems and fiction, interviews, artists’ portfolios, and film and music reviews. The full contents of each issue are freely available — there is no subscription fee — and we’re gradually transferring our six-year archive to the new website.
And what keeps the CRB engine running? The hard work of our small staff and our contributing writers. The generosity of the Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development, who currently support the maintenance and growth of our website and archive. And you, dear readers.


Reject the inauthentic


'Brief Lives' by Olive Senior

Gardening in the Tropics, you never know
what you'll turn up. Quite often, bones.
In some places they say when volcanoes
erupt, they spew out dense and monumental
as stones the skulls of desaparecidos
-- the disappeared ones. Mine is only
a kitchen garden so I unearth just
occasional skeletons. The latest
was of a young man from the country who
lost his way and crossed the invisible
boundary into rival political territory.
I buried him again so he can carry on
growing. Our cemeteries are thriving too.
The newest addition was the drug baron
wiped out in territorial competition
who had this stunning funeral
complete with twenty-one-gun salute
and attended by everyone, especially
the young girls famed for the vivacity
of their dress, their short skirts and
even briefer lives.

--From Olive Senior's book of poems, Gardening in the Tropics (2005).


Bedside books: A look at 'Island'

Grace Jones photo by Jean-Paul Goude

Just a look at a few pages inside of Island, a history of the famed record label out of Jamaica.

Florence and the Machine by Tom Beard

From Rodell Warner's 'Closer'

SEE it all at Rodell's blog here.


Painter Joel Lijertwood's socks and vomit

Old Liar Vomit
18" x 24"
Acrylic and Oil on Hardboard

31'' x 23''



Marlon's dad makes mailboxes


"I have been working on a new project for sometime now, it's all coming along pretty fine...One great moment was while working one night at my Dad's workshop, he came outside to see how things were going. He realized I needed his help to get the angle on a component right, which was really hard for me to do alone on the metal bender... And that was the first time we, should I say... made something together, funny, I never imagined that moment."

CHECK the preview on Marlon's blog here.

We look like this now

In case you didn't notice ;)

Autumn at 'Never See Come See'

CHECK the Never See Come See blog here.


Why 'The Social Network' made me want to boycott Facebook

Jesse Eisenberg and Justin Timberlake
 in David Fincher's The Social Network

I first heard about Facebook at university, around 2004/2005. At the time, I was studying at King's College, London. Everybody at King's was on Facebook. Like for most universities, there was a special category for us on the website: our own network.  But one day in class there was a heated debate going on about this new rival to Hi5 (you remember that other social networking site that was so hot before Facebook?)

In the middle of a class on moral philosophy, fellow student Rob passionately argued that the whole idea of Facebook was premised around elitism and exclusivity. At the time, I remember thinking, "gee what's Rob going on and on about? It's just a website! Relax bro! Sheesh."  Rob then segued into further arguments about capitalistic society and Weber's iron cage.

When I then spent a year in Belgium at one of the oldest universities in Europe, Facebook became an invaluable tool to stay in touch with my friends. Once more, the website's designers had created a special network for the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (believe it or not). This was a good way for me to stay in touch with old pals in London and to form new links with people I met in Belgium and elsewhere. Surely this Facebook thing was wonderful! How democratic!

Andrew Garfield and Jesse Eisenberg in David Fincher's The Social Network

Well low and behold, the new David Fincher film about Facebook, The Social Network, kinda makes it clear that the initial strategy of Facebook was, indeed, an appeal to the elitism of prestigious universities. It is now obvious that that original stroke of marketing genius, so crucial in getting word of mouth going in Facebook's first few months, was crucial to Facebook's success and is why a site like Hi5 has not done as well.

Facebook is no longer tied to that idea of exclusivity. But the feeling is still unsavory given how this film dramatises the life of Facebook's founder Mark Whatshisname.

The Fincher film is excellent, if a bit verbose (what do you expect from something written by Aaron Sorkin, writer of the ridiculously eloquent TV show The West Wing?). At its heart is a deeply observed character study that raises universal questions about friendship and dishonesty. It will also make you reconsider your Facebook profile.Well, at least for a while.

I await the 'Twitter' movie...

Rated: ***** FIVE STARS.

Alicia Milne's 'I Am Here'

Find out more here

Notes on Dave Williams 'Roasted Swan'

Dave Williams performs 'Roasted Swan'. Photo courtesy Rodell Warner.

When Dave Williams performed 'Roasted Swan' at a retrospective of the Noble Douglas Dance Company last month, the piece was not new. Yet, something about it was timely, given the current raves surrounding the new film, Black Swan, by Darren Aronofsky.

'Roasted Swan' was danced to music from Carl Orff's kicksy (yet powerful) Carmina Buriana (Olim Lacus Colueram). LISTEN BELOW:

A crucial part of this piece for me was William's all-black costume which had a slight sheen: oil like, yet  also  ashen. I made the following notes after watching this piece:
Going in, I had no idea what the title of this piece was. At first I thought, why is the dancer so passive, so 'un-fighting'? The edginess and power of the black and the seeming passivity were two contrasting and fascinating ideas. Then I read that this was called "Roasted Swan" and I realised that the creature was NOT fighting ie doing that action of "not fighting". NOT giving up; but giving in? 
Here is the text from the music which accompanied the piece:
Once the lakes I swam upon,
once in beauty sailed along,
while I was yet a swan.
Woe’s me! Woe’s me!

Black misery,
now roasting fiercely!

Than the snow was, whiter,
than every bird was, finer;
now the crow is brighter.
Woe’s me! Woe’s me!

The fire burns me fiercely,
the cook’s boy turns and turns me,
now the steward toasts me.
Woe’s me! Woe’s me!

I’d rather sail the water,
the wide sky, forever,
than be a peppered diver.
Woe’s me! Woe’s me!

Now in the dish I lie
without the power to fly,
bared teeth before my eye –
Woe’s me! Woe’s me!

Black misery,
now roasting fiercely!