Assembling a wildly diverse bunch of top Jamaican contemporary artists and artisans of all ages and disciplines (last year the likes of Laura Facey and Gene Pearson took part), this annual must-do offers patrons the compelling reminder that the evolution of Jamaican art continues. And while we can’t thank these committed creative souls enough, the festival’s organizers must be heartily commended for their initiative and consistency. This year’s staging, set for June 1, is being hosted for the first time by the Chinese Benevolent Association.
READ IT: Tropic Tendencies: Rhetoric, Popular Culture and the Anglophone Caribbean (University of Pittsburgh Press) Author: Kevin Adonis Browne
If the ethereal cover design doesn’t pull you in, then Browne’s evocative writing will certainly do the trick, as he engrossingly explores the development of an Anglophone Caribbean rhetorical tradition in response to the struggle to make meaning and the need to participate in contemporary global culture. It’s a subject the Trini-American author tackles with no shortage of gusto, resulting in a book (212 pages strong) of profound research that’s compulsively readable (Available now). Also make room for: Go De R***s to Sleep (Akashic Books), a Jamaican patois translation (co-authored by Kwame Dawes and Kellie Magnus) of the New York Times and Amazon bestseller and worldwide phenom. And don’t miss: Hard Choices (Simon & Schuster), Hilary Clinton’s inside account of her years and experiences as US Secretary of State.
WATCH IT: Jersey Boys (Universal Pictures) Director: Clint Eastwood
Eastwood remains one of the film world’s most enigmatic figures, and the announcement of a new picture from the mercurial auteur demands a double take. Sure enough, his upcoming big-screen adaptation (in cinemas June 20) of the smash hit Broadway musical is already garnering major industry buzz, and not just on account of its accomplished cast that includes the legendary Christopher Walken and relative newcomers like John Lloyd Young; Eastwood’s vision of the peerless source material is something you don’t want to miss. Also due in cinemas the same day: Roman Polanski’s latest, the debut screen incarnation of the provocative stage drama Venus in Fur.
SUPPORT IT: The University Singers 2014 Concert Season
As of the month’s opening weekend, Mona’s Philip Sherlock Centre, the choir’s home base, will play host yet again to a thriller of a concert season: an encore-worthy blend of striking harmonies, sprightly choreography and rhythmic instrumentation – not to mention an assortment of eye-popping costumes and a comprehensive repertoire. In short, a complete package that’s bound to entertain your socks off.
HEAR IT: Easy to Love (VP Records) Artist: Maxi Priest
Don’t call it a comeback, but that’s exactly what the iconic reggae-soul crooner’s much-anticipated new disc represents. Fans who’ve long grown accustomed to his unmistakable alt-tenor belting out tunes full of passion and seductive power won’t be let down as the album’s 11 tracks come laden with lyrics and melodies that soothingly speak to matters of the heart while reaffirming the artist’s place among the international all-stars of Jamaican music who know how to stay relevant and appealingly in-tune. On sale June 10.