Monday, 1 September 2014

CULTURE VULTURE: What's new, what's next, what's trending in Jamaican pop culture

BOOKS: HarperSport very recently unveiled the paperback version of Faster than Lightning, bearing a striking cover image of athlete-author Usain Bolt in a powerful blaze of a pose. Lightning marks Bolt's second autobiographical publication following 2010's well-received 9.58: My Story, which properly introduced readers to the man behind the two most coveted world records in sports. Also available at Hope Road's Bookophilia, where I happened to come across Bolt's book the weekend are copies of Pepperpot: The Best New Short Stories from the Caribbean (Peekash Press), which showcases some fine prose by 13 of the region's best contemporary scribes, including the Jamaicans Sharon Leach and Garfield Allen. Yet another great back-to-school gift is Drifting (Akashic Books), Katia D. Ulysse's widely acclaimed novelized account of the Haitian-American experience.

THEATRE: For the man who gave the world so much powerful reggae music, what better way to mark the 70th anniversary of his birth than with a grand stage musical charting his journey from humble beginnings to global phenom. That's basically what the creative team at the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company (JMTC) had in mind when they sat down to plan their 2015 junior production, Nesta's Rock. And the JMTC couldn't want for better collaborators than Tuff Gong International to bring the show to Philip Sherlock Centre audiences from January 9 to February 22. Bob deserves the best, so talented youngsters are being invited to audition for roles, in the month of September. Visit the JMTC's Facbook page for details.

FESTIVAL: When it comes to showcasing the utter diversity of Jamaican music, the Gungo Walk Festival has been doing a fantastic job, while offering a much-needed platform to many relatively unknown bands and emerging singer-songwriters. At this year's staging (Sep. 6 at the Edna Manley College) over 35 performers (a mix of bands, solo artists, poets and theatre ensembles) will bring their wonderful talents to the different stages around the campus, which is also hosting a Healing Village and the return of Armchair Rebelution to close off the day-long series of activities. See Gungo Walk's Facebook page for daily updates.

YOUTH: Some 28 students make up the 2014 cohort of recipients of the Carlton Alexander Memorial Bursaries administered by the GraceKennedy Foundation and is made available annually to assist company staff members based in Jamaica in meeting educational expenses for their children enrolled in secondary and tertiary institutions. Of the 28 awardees, seven are first-time recipients..... And from the classroom to the field of play, 113 schools (38 contesting the urban-area Manning Cup; 75 vying for rural daCosta Cup title) are set to do battle in the new season of schoolboy football, which kicks off this Saturday, September 6.

MEDIA: Jamaican journalists deserve proper recognition for their outstanding work, and this is a fact at least one responsible corporate citizen continues to believe in. "The Jamaica Broilers Group is pleased to be able to increase the cash prizes to journalists who continue to support this programme," confirms group President and CEO, Christopher Levy, announcing the changes to the Fair Play Awards, a calendar staple now in its 14th year. "We applaud members of the profession who continue to work hard to keep our nation informed and to present stories that are thorough, balanced, accurate and have resulted in positive national impact." To that end, this year's winner and runners-up will share a total of $1 million in cash, in addition to awards of excellence trophies at a ceremony set for Sep. 16 at the Terra Nova in St. Andrew.

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