Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Q-&-A: Hugh Douse talks about music with power, Miss Lou’s legacy and what he’s looking forward to most

HIGH NOTE: Douse and the Nexus choir putting on a show for concertgoers.

TURNING the big 5-0 in December, Hugh Douse – university lecturer and Artistic Director of the Nexus Peforming Arts Company – continues to do work that immerses him fully in our rich island culture (particularly our music), while giving him myriad opportunities to nurture and mould young talents. Recently, the fruits of his labour was on show as Nexus thrilled audiences with their 2019 concert season. Douse spoke with TALLAWAH about the moment and more. 

TALLAWAH: This year Nexus pays glowing tribute to Miss Lou. Will Jamaica ever make her a national hero? 
Hugh Douse: Even if it doesn’t happen in our generation, it will happen as long as we keep the legacy alive. We are on the right side of history and we stand to lose a lot if we don’t honour her as we should. 

TALLAWAH: How has it been building up the Nexus repertoire over the course of the past two decades? 
HD: I started off with songs that had an impact on me as a youth. Then I looked at songs that have meaning, something to say. I believe all singing should carry some meaning. Even the tones and the arrangement ought to carry meaning. And I embrace different genres. My influences [range from] the Jamaican Folk Singers to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. 

TALLAWAH: How can a talented young singer become a member of the Nexus crew? 
HD: They can call or reach out to us on Facebook, come in for an audition and we take it from there.

TALLAWAH: Who are the new-generation reggae artistes that get your stamp of approval? 
HD: Definitely Koffee. I’ll tell you a story: her mother used to be in Nexus and she used to come to rehearsals as a baby. She’s grown up nicely and she’s very talented. Her musicianship and her energy is right. Our own drummer, Hector Lewis, who works with Chronixx is starting his career as a singer, and there’s an emerging artiste named Felix, who has a wonderful reggae anthem that people can start listening out for. 

TALLAWAH: You’re turning 50 in December. Congrats. Has Hugh Douse achieved all that he set out to? 
HD: No (Laughs). I’m still working on an MPhil, and when that is finished I hope to go away to do a PhD. I still want to take Nexus to that next level, but we’re on that journey and I’m joyful about that.

>> Review: Nexus' 2019 season rocks!

Monday, 28 October 2019

PEOPLE IN THE NEWS: JMMB’s Keith Duncan elected PSOJ head … Usain Bolt helps build home for St. Catherine fire victim … Lennox Channer appointed new NHT Chairman

>> Lennox Channer is the new Chairman of the National Housing Trust (NHT). His three-year appointment runs until September 2022. Channer heads up a board that also includes Senator Kavan Gayle, Doran Dixon, Senator Kerensia Morrison, Granville Valentine, Sergeant Patrae Rowe, O’Neil Grant, Nesta Clare Smith-Hunter, Jeffrey Hall, Colin Barnett, David Wan and Ryan Parkes.

>> Teaming up with Food for the Poor, Usain Bolt gave fire victim Sean Sutherland "the best birthday gift ever" when he made a sizeable donation towards the construction of a home for the Ellerslie Pen, St. Catherine resident - and pitched in with some manual labour as well. Sutherland makes his living as a vendor. His home, which he shares with relatives, went up in flames back in July. Bolt's donation of US$3800 was matched by Food for the Poor. 

>> CEO of the JMMB Group and Co-chairman of the Economic Oversight Committee (EPOC), Keith Duncan, has been elected president of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ). He succeeds Howard Mitchell who did a two-year tenure. Duncan's vice-presidents are Jackie Sharpe, Mariame Robinson and Jeffrey Hall, with Vikram Dhiman as treasurer. Says Duncan, "The PSOJ will play a leadership, collaborative and facilitatory role in engaging stakeholders [and] being a catalyst for Jamaica achieving its social and development objectives under Vision 2030.

Friday, 25 October 2019

DOUBLE ACT: Two School of Drama grads stir the pot with One Wo/Man performances

CONCRETE JUNGLE: A boy’s upbringing and socialization can greatly influence his life experiences from adolescence to adulthood. Rajeave Mattis’ gritty and multi-layered one-man offering Phobia hammers this point home. His solo production emerged as the most outstanding work by a final year student at the Edna Manley College’s School of Drama in 2017, and it’s an accolade that’s well-earned. Centred on domestic strife, teenage angst and the menace of gangs and other criminal elements in the inner-city, the show (recently remounted for the Rex Nettleford Arts Conference) is a solid showcase for Mr. Mattis’ gifts as a character actor who can move with relative ease between roles (seven in total) of both genders. At the centre of it all is schoolboy Devin, raised by a struggling single mom in a community plagued by gun violence. Sometimes displaying the kind of effeminate behaviour that draws bullies, Devin’s most frequent chore is purchasing food items (on credit) from the nearby shop, where he often hears the latest gossip. Will he make it back home in one piece? It’s not an environment for the faint of heart – thugs like Craven A are on the prowl and sending threats. Lucky for Devin, he finds a confidante and an older friend in Ras Nyah, even though his mom disapproves. As Phobia emphasizes, it’s a common dilemmas for boys coming-of-age in these rough-and-tumble places: finding hope in a hopeless place, becoming a statistic or a survivor. [B+]

MIRROR, MIRROR: In Beauty & the Plus-Size Beast, Samantha Thompson draws on domestic drama, musical theatre and ample humour to explore issues surrounding female identity, body image and human relationships. The result is a thought-provoking and very entertaining one-woman showpiece (the best final year work for 2016) that solidifies Thompson’s place among the new-generation Jamaican actresses who deserve to be more widely known. Recently seen in the gospel-based drama Behind the Pulpit, she introduces us to Pumpkin, a young girl surrounded by relatives who dote on her and abuse her in equal measure – from her strict, church-going mother to the aunt who takes up prostitution to the touchy-feely uncle to the grandmother who is oblivious to most of what is going on under her own roof. Thompson doesn’t sugarcoat anything – from the frank language to the sometimes raw depictions – and her social commentary even encompasses upper society, where pretty little princesses go to ballet and posh secretaries dish on the fiercest outfits at the office. This sets up a stunning contrast to Pumpkin’s world, where plus-sized girls and women are victims of vicious fat-shaming, struggling to find acceptance because of how they look. But, when all is said and done, as Thompson’s play argues, that elusive happiness has to start from within. [B+]

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

BOOK OF THE MOMENT: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce inspires kids with I Am a Promise

HER STORY: The sprint queen shares her journey in a delightful new children's book.

SHELLY-ANN Fraser-Pryce keeps reminding us that she is a woman of many, many talents. Fresh from her gold-medals-winning exploits at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, the sprint queen, author, businesswoman and brand ambassador has released her second book, I Am a Promise, an inspiring read for young kids.

Published by Akashic Books and dedicated to her son, Zyon, I Am a Promise, shares Fraser-Pryce’s journey from her childhood in the inner-city community of Waterhouse to her emergence as a promising young athlete to her rise to superstar status, starting with her first Olympic gold medal in the 100M in 2008.

Co-written with Ashley Rousseau and featuring illustrations by Rachel Moss, this delightful gem of a book (the author’s first for children and the follow-up to her memoir Pryce-less Journey) is currently available wherever books are sold, both online and in shops islandwide.

It’s not only ideal for bedtime reading and storybook hour but will also make a great birthday gift. 

As Fraser-Pryce and her team make clear, our future generations need more books like these. “I Am a Promise shows young readers that believing in yourself is the best way to fulfil your promise to the world,” she says. “I am a promise to my country and to all who have supported me. A promise to myself and to all those who have loved me. A promise to always be the best I can be.” 

All proceeds from the book sales will go towards the work of the Pocket Rocket Foundation.

MAN IN THE MIRROR: All Together Sing’s Michael Sean Harris loves his full-figured life despite peculiar challenges

A MAN IN FULL: Style "expresses your individual creativity," says the music educator and TV personality. 

WE live in a world where full-figured women – and men – are often made to feel insecure about their weight and overall body image, which sometimes leads to chronic depression.

For Michael Sean Harris, one of Jamaica’s most beloved plus-size men, being a brother with some meat on his bones comes with its share of challenges, but he’s learned to love himself unconditionally. Depression is not in his plans. “I’m comfortable with my size,” he tells TALLAWAH. “I wouldn’t mind losing some weight, but for the most part I’m okay with who I am. You can’t hate yourself.”

It goes without saying that one of the everyday challenges heavy-set men face has to do with wardrobe. When it comes to fashion, it can be quite a hassle to find clothes that fit. What’s been Michael’s experience? “It can be a real challenge. You have to get stuff made or you don’t shop here,” he says with a chuckle. “It’s easier to go full-black sometimes, or you find tailors and designers to collaborate with.”

Working in television (as a long-serving judge for the high-school choir competition All Together Sing) and in academia (as a lecturer in Music at the Edna Manley College), Harris has been able to team up with creatives and fellow artists like Llevac Designs, who sometimes dresses him for All Together Sing and offers suggestions for his other appearances. “It’s not always easy,” Harris readily admits.
What are his tastes in the fashion/style department? “I like suits, but I also like a semi-casual look. I’ll wear jeans with a jacket and a nice pair of sneakers,” he shares. “You can also go with a block colour with some texture so that your look stands out. Simple and classy with details. But I’m not afraid of colour or prints.”

Style is utterly individual. That’s Harris’ philosophy. “It’s important for it to be personal. It expresses your creativity,” he says. “Standard things like a tuxedo, for example, can be individualized.”

In the meantime, his advice for other plus-size men, especially the younger fellows, is clear: love yourself or make some changes. “If you’re not comfortable with your size, do what you need to do to change it. It’s who you are; you have to live with yourself,” he notes. 

At 40-plus, he’s constantly heeding his own advice – in the personal and professional sense. “There are some more things I want to do,” says the educator and acclaimed singer, who completed his Master’s in Music Technology and Innovation in Spain. “I feel like I’m always re-evaluating my goals, constantly re-evaluating my process. And that keeps me going.”

>> TUNE IN: All Together Sing airs Sundays at 8pm on TV-J.

ON THE SCENE: VCB statue unveiled; Sean Paul honoured at King’s House; Kanye rocks New Kingston, and more

THE CHAMP IS HERE: Oct. 18, Kingston. The supersized crowd that flocked to Emancipation Park to attend rap megastar Kanye West’s Sunday Service included culture and entertainment minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Carlene Davis, Tommy Cowan, Naomi Cowan, Jesse Royal and a host of fans of West’s music. (Photo: Ministry of Culture)

GETTING HIS DUE: Oct. 21, St. Andrew. Grammy winner Sean Paul has a word with PM Andrew Holness following Monday’s National Honours & Awards ceremony at King’s House. The entertainer was conferred with the Order of Distinction for his contribution to the promotion of Jamaican music internationally. (Photo: JIS)

OUR QUEEN: Oct. 20, Kingston. Students from Veronica Campbell-Brown’s alma mater Vere Technical show their support at the unveiling of a statue in her honour at Stadium Park, the National Stadium, on Sunday. (Photo: Ministry of Culture)

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Oct. 9, St. Andrew. Hitmakers and music industry pals Agent Sasco and Wayne Marshall were among the stars in attendance at the recent grand opening of Fontana Pharmacy’s new Waterloo Road-based superstore. (Photo: Skkan Media)

BIG SPENDERS: Oct. 9, St. Andrew. Power couple Marshall and Tami Chynn also greeted the cameras at the opening of the swanky new shopping hotspot, which will largely cater to Fontana’s upper St. Andrew-based customers. (Photo: Skkan Media)

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

LIFE + STYLE: Great expectations for mom-to-be Samantha J / 70+ chefs, 7 events for J’ca Food & Drink Fest / ‘Garden Expo’ returns this month

>> Samantha J’s baby joy! 
Almost six months into her pregnancy, carrying her first child, songbird Samantha J has been getting great maternal advice from the ideal source – mommy dearest. “My mom continuously reminds me to enjoy my pregnancy and to be happy. This helps me daily to keep my spirit going,” the 23-year-old recently dished to The Star. “She says that each emotion I feel the baby will also feel. So I do my best to stay happy and try to stay away from any negative emotions.” The Los Angeles-based artiste is still experiencing back pains because of the injuries she suffered when she fell doing a trip to Belize about a year ago. But she is soldiering on, excited about her special delivery. “Despite the pain I am experiencing, I am still hoping to go all-natural with the delivery,” she says. “No epidural, and I am also considering a water birth.” 

>> Island spice, island flavour 
Over 70 celebrated chefs and culinary personalities will be serving up a mouth-watering feast at the 2019 Jamaica Food & Drink Festival, now in its fifth year. The ever-welcome food lovers’ extravaganza is back with seven world-class events happening from October 26 to November 3. Fan favourites like Pork Palooza (Oct. 26), Picante (Nov. 1) and Meet Street & The Market (Nov. 2) are expected to draw super-sized crowds. The festival is being presented by Visa and hosts CB Foods, in partnership with a raft of sponsors, including Sagicor, Rainforest Seafoods, Red Stripe, National, Grace, the Jamaica Tourist Board and more. Visit for more information, including selected venues and ticket outlets. 

>> Jamaica Living 
The Health, Home and Garden Expo is returning to the National Arena from Oct. 25-27. A biennial event since 2004, the HHGE is put on “to encourage the development of beautiful environments and healthy lifestyles in Jamaica.”

Saturday, 19 October 2019

IT WAS THE SINGING: Nexus’ 2019 concert season serves up a rich musical bellyful

LIFT EVERY VOICE: The choir treats concertgoers to selections from a diverse repertoire.

THE 100th anniversary of the birth of Louise Bennett-Coverley is a big deal that ought to be celebrated. Just ask the Nexus Performing Arts Company, whose ongoing 2019 season at the Phoenix Theatre in New Kingston includes a rousing tribute in song to the late great cultural icon.

Under the direction of Artistic Director and chief arranger Hugh Douse, the segment, which brought the show to a triumphant close, include sprightly renditions of folk gems and such tunes from the Jamaican songbook as “Evening Time,” “Dis Long Time Gal,” “Dog War,” “Rocky Road,” “Moonshine Tonight” and “Wheel-O Matilda,” eliciting vociferous applause from a small but very appreciative and well-entertained audience.

Next to Ashé and the Mona-based University Singers, Nexus has secured its place in the musical theatre/performing arts realm as that troupe melding classical and contemporary, reggae and blues, sacred and spiritual, gospel and secular tunes to treat their loyal audiences to a rich musical bellyful.

The 13-voice choir stayed true to form throughout the show we saw last Sunday evening, with numerous costume changes and the kind of choreography that elevates performance.

Moving interpretations of “Precious Lord,” “Bright Soul,” “The Lord’s My Shepherd,” a pleading “Lamb of God” and the multi-octave “Senzenina (A Weh Wi Do?)” made way for the ovation-worthy “Break Every Chain” (featuring two splendid female soloists) and a funky/jazzy take on “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” 

Ahead of an African segment, a reggae medley featuring cleverly arranged songs by Chronixx (“I Can,” “Likes”) and Bob Marley (“Who the Cap Fit,” “No Woman No Cry,” “One Love”) took the spotlight. Further kicking things up a notch, a spirit-filled Revival segment (“Journeyman Jesus,” “Daniel Saw the Stone,” “Keyman” and more), before the curtains came down with the selection of songs dedicated to the one and only Miss Lou.

FEATURE PRESENTATION: Why Father HoLung & Friends’ Isaiah is one of the year’s best shows

PASSION PLAY: Rousing music and high drama are at the centre of the Old Testament-based story.

THE musical productions put on by Father HoLung & Friends are always great to look at – full of lush, dazzling colour, vibrant energy and musical splendour – while teaching folks powerful lessons inspired by Biblical narratives. This season’s remount of Isaiah, directed by Greg Thames, is no exception. Here’s what made the show such a triumph:

THE SCORE: Musical director Wynton Williams truly outdid himself, crafting some memorable numbers that frequently showcased a rich harmonious blend of voices. Among the highlights: the robust show-opener “Shut the Doors” and the enchanting duet “You Are My Destiny.”

STEPHEN-RHAE JOHNSON: Cast in the title role, the increasingly impressive leading man turned in powerful work as the doomed prophet, family man and peacemaker whose message of love-over-conflict won him loyal supporters but also deadly enemies.

THE OVERALL PACKAGE: To create a night-at-the-opera feel, the production team always aims for grandeur with a minimalist streak, yielding beautiful results that arrest the viewer. From the lighting and special effects (handled superbly by Robin Baston to the stylish, period-appropriate costumes to the large and committed ensemble cast, Isaiah consistently offered a visual and musical feast.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

NEWS FEED: Ruel Reid’s fate and the court of public opinion / RJR-Gleaner’s Chris Barnes is new IAPA president / Sagicor Group adds Advantage General to the family

>> HOT TOPIC: Deciding Ruel Reid’s fate
If embattled former Education minister Ruel Reid and his co-accused are to serve jail time for the charges against them – that’s for the courts and the courts only to decide. So says renowned attorney Patrick Atkinson. “We have to allow the matter to go to court, allow the evidence to unfold. Just to assume that they are guilty because politicians say they’re guilty or persons on Facebook say they’re guilty is not how it works,” the veteran lawyer said in a recent interview. “In all the years that I have practised, whenever there is evidence, a person is usually found guilty. If there is no evidence, they’re usually found not guilty. What we need is proper investigation and evidence presented before the court.” The high-profile case (centred on shady dealings at the East Kingston-based Caribbean Maritime University) is due for mention in court again in January.

>> IAPA: Christopher Barnes appointed president
The Inter-American Press Association has a new head. Jamaica’s Christopher Barnes, Chief Operating Officer of the RJR/Gleaner Group, was named the body’s new president following their recent AGM (the 75th staging) at the Biltmore Hotel in Miami, Florida. Barnes, who succeeds Maria Elvira Dominquez, also serves as Managing Director of the Gleaner Company and Chairman of the Media Association of Jamaica.

>> Deal Complete: Sagicor acquires Advantage General following sale
“The acquisition of AGIC brings a welcome addition to the suite of products and services offered by the Sagicor Group and provides Sagicor with a solid foothold into Jamaica’s general insurance market,” President and CEO, Chris Zacca, said in a release, announcing that Advantage General is now a member of the Sagicor family following the close of sale of shares. “The consortium will now work to implement a strategy for the growth of AGIC’s business and its full integration into the Sagicor Group.”

Q-&-A: Actress Trishana Wright dishes on her new show, her tough childhood and the joy of service

LIFE LESSON: "You can overcome the negativity of your past," says the award-winning actress.

PLAYING the good daughter in the hit play Pit to Pulpit brings a refreshing change of pace for Trishana Wright, who made her debut last year to much acclaim in the erotic dramedy Sugar Daddy. As she looks forward to more exciting and challenging work – and the growth it will surely bring – the 25-year-old rising star chats with TALLAWAH about her life then and now. 

TALLAWAH: Didn’t you find the name of your Pit to Pulpit character, Heaven, a bit amusing at first? 
Trishana Wright: It did catch me off guard because a name like that is very close to God and what God represents. But I’ve gotten used to it by now. 

TALLAWAH: There is no shortage of family drama in the production, especially the paternal kind. How did your father raise you? 
TW: I was raised by my mom actually; my dad wasn’t around that much, and it did affect me. So it’s an issue that’s very close to my heart. I felt like by doing the play I was being placed in a position to say to the audience that you can overcome those kinds of challenges. You can overcome the negativity of your past. 

TALLAWAH: Your portrayal of Heaven yields such a stunning contrast to your breakout turn last year in Sugar Daddy. What kind of role would you love to tackle next? 
TW: Probably playing a child, a 15 or 16-year-old. That would be a fun challenge; playing someone much, much younger than me. 

TALLAWAH: What’s the most fun aspect of your day job in the corporate world? 
TW: I’m big on customer service, so I really enjoy serving customers, listening to their queries, making sure that they are answered effectively and just helping them resolve whatever issues they are having. As a quality assurance analyst, the work involves a lot of listening and being helpful. 

TALLAWAH: The IAAF World Championships culminated in Doha last weekend. Were you athletic growing up? 
TW: In school I used to do sports; a little track-and-field. And I’m still a big, big fan of Bolt and Shelly-Ann (Laughs).

>> Review: Pit to Pulpit provokes and entertains

Saturday, 12 October 2019

TURNING TABLES: Happiness and forgiveness create a potent mix in Feminine Justice

SHE & HIM: Lowe and Campbell play a couple trapped in a rocky marriage.

Feminine Justice (Basil Dawkins Productions)
Director: Peter Abrikian
Cast: Rodney Campbell, Maylynne Lowe, Sheryl Hylton-Parker and Philip Clarke
Venue: Little Theatre, Kingston

“YOU’RE not even a man!” Wilton Chambers (Rodney Campbell) exclaims, getting riled up now. He’s speaking to God (Sheryl Hylton-Parker), who has appeared to him in a dream-like sequence as he battles for life in a hospital room following a vehicular accident.

An abusive and unfaithful husband who believes a woman must know her place, Wilton has to lot to answer for, and God (looking fabulous in her blush-pink dress and Nubian headpiece) doesn’t make fun with him.

Their profound and revelatory verbal sparring is one of the highlights in Feminine Justice, an engrossing, strongly acted and well-staged remount of the Basil Dawkins hit play, directed by Peter Abrikian.

Abrikian is more known for his work behind the scenes (stage management, in particular), but for a relative newcomer to the director’s chair, he makes some effective choices that lend the production a tight flow, while coaxing spot-on performances from the cast, particularly Campbell, who is dynamite, giving a richly layered turn as the arrogant psychiatrist and woman-beater who gets a dose of his own medicine.

Maylynne Lowe plays Wilton’s long-suffering wife Vilma (also in the medical field), who gets a taste of freedom and can breathe for the first time in years when Wilton is hospitalized. But should a wife be feeling joyous relief when her husband, though cruel, is at death’s door? 

Dawkins’ play is riddled with these and other serious questions, while exploring the frightening idea of God’s judgement, alongside such themes as marital woes, social status, control, pride and forgiveness. 

The talented Philip Clarke (a Thespy and Actor Boy winner for 2010’s White Witch) rounds out the cast as Ted, the couple’s gardener/yard boy who is upgraded to husband – and Wilton to house-maid – in a priceless, funny dream sequence. Who says God doesn’t have a sly sense of humour? Tyrone’s Verdict: B+

SHOP TALK: Kingston shoppers enjoy deals, steals and big price cuts at Take Style Out

FASHION FORWARD: At boutiques like Enigma, customers happily joined in the sale-abration.

IF there’s one thing shoppers everywhere love it’s a great deal, acquiring something special on sale. The ‘extra’ number of customers inside X’tras on Thursday night were ready to shop, shop, shop. With an appealing 30 percent discount on most of the store’s items, ranging from stylish dresses and tops to chic designer sunglasses, handbags and other accessories, the cash register was kept busy. Hardly surprising.

The 2019 renewal of Take Style Out (TSO) reignited the usual shopping extravaganza across the Corporate Area (and the rest of the island, for that matter), transforming boutiques, stores, shopping malls, street-side kiosks and regular haunts like The Mall Plaza (X’tras’ home for the past several years) into hubs of feverish excitement – on this night when doors are open well past regular business hours.

Menswear retailers Enigma was abuzz, attracting the gents, who took advantage of the 20 percent of on shorts and 30 percent off on pants, suits and blazers. At Kokobella next door, shelves teeming with fashionable womenswear, shoppers got 50 percent off on most items – a bounty including chic dresses, handbags and totes. Even fanny packs!

We also stopped by Closet Case to see what fashionable fids were flying off the racks. To our great delight, they were having the biggest sale-athon of all, with discounts (20-50 percent off) on items for both men and women. “We only carry women’s and men’s fashion at the moment. We don’t do kids’ stuff,” store manager Sunil explained, responding to our queries while tending to a handful of customers, a few of whom brought their children along.

There was something for everyone over at Lee’s Fifth Avenue, which sweetened their night of deals and steals with a ‘sip and shop’ special. A few blocks away, we saw people making a beeline for Sammy’s Shoe Store, which was offering 50 percent off on all footwear.

Friday, 11 October 2019

TALLAWAH BOOK CLUB: Olive Senior and Orlando Patterson return with captivating new works – plus, Lady Rheima Hall recaps her artistic journey

TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Since Independence, Jamaica has been hailed as the greatest little country in the world, boasting international achievements (from sports to music to academia) to rival the great superpowers. Yet in spite of these laudable accomplishments we continue to struggle with everything from crime to poverty to economic woes. In his latest offering, The Confounding Island: Jamaica and the Postcolonial Predicament, Orlando Patterson (The Children of Sisyphus) explores factors ranging from postcolonial politics to globalization to offer some answers and solutions. In the end, the critics agree, Patterson (the John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University whose honours include the Musgrave Gold Medal from the Institute of Jamaica and a National Book Award) not only addresses the Jamaica question, he exposes something fundamental about the modern world.

MANE ATTRACTION: Versatile and prolific doesn’t even begin to describe Olive Senior, whose expansive oeuvre includes acclaimed anthologies, short-story collections, non-fiction efforts and books for children. Your tiny tots will be delighted to get their hands on a copy of her latest release, Boonoonoonoos Hair, published by Blue Banyan Books. At the heart of the book, Senior notes, is a message rooted in self-care and self-acceptance and our unique Jamaicanness. “Since the book is about telling kids to love their hair, I wanted a word that signified admiration and had an old-time feel,” says the celebrated scribe, whose many accolades include the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Lit. “Boonoonoonoos conveys both [a] lovely sound and the wavy movement of curly hair. I wanted to bring the word back into our vocabulary but also to salute Miss Lou who often heaped boonoonoonoos praise on children.” Birthday Suit and Anna Carries Water are her other children’s books.

>> Collector’s item! How many of us know that in addition to being an educator, wife of former Governor General Sir Kenneth Hall, and the first principal of the Edna Manley College, Lady Rheima Hall is a visual artist of much repute? Add to your coffee-table Rheima – A Selection of Her Works, which brings together close to 100 reproductions of her doodles, ceramics, paintings and photographs, depicting everything from Jamaican landscapes to flora and fauna and still lifes. “God’s work inspires me,” Lady Hall says. “What he has produced I am trying to reproduce… Every piece is really a work of love.”

Thursday, 10 October 2019

SOCIETY, SOCIETY: Thalia Lyn’s amazing year / The ‘evolution’ of Danielle Terrelonge / Philip Paulwell’s new role…

>> Thalia Lyn has been having one of her best years ever, and to cap it off, the hardworking and forward-thinking Island Grill Founder and CEO will be taking home a handful of honours later this year. In addition to being the Friends of the Mustard Seed Communities 2019 honoree, she will be presented with an honorary doctorate of laws (LLD) for entrepreneurship, and will be inducted into the PSOJ Hall of Fame as this year’s special honoree. 

>> Certain journalists are breathing a sigh of relief (and quietly rejoicing). Their arch-nemesis Everald Warmington has announced that he will soon be retiring from active politics. “I won’t be around much longer. After 50 years and serving for 20 years as Member of Parliament, it’s now time for me to say farewell,” the South West St. Catherine MP told his constituents last week. “I don’t want nobody to take me out of Parliament in a wheelchair. I don’t want to reach the stage where they put pampers on me inside of Parliament.” Such vivid imagery! 

>> Have we seen the last of Ruel Reid? According to reports, in an email sent to party officials in mid-September, the embattled former education minister tendered his resignation as caretaker for North-West St. Ann. A written letter was later submitted. 

>> Meanwhile, across the fence in the PNP camp, Philip Paulwell has been appointed the party’s new campaign director, as they set their sights on dominating the polls at the next General Election. The party’s executive council also elected 11 new members to serve alongside President Dr. Peter Phillips, Chairman Fitz Jackson, Deputy Chair Horace Dalley and deputy general secretaries Wensworth Skeffery, Natalie Neita-Headley and Basil Waite

>> What’s the secret behind Danielle Terrelonge’s dramatic weight loss? The PR diva looked stunning and svelte as she put in an appearance at last Thursday’s celebrations to mark Nigeria’s 59th year of Independence, hosted by High Commissioner Janet Olisa at her official St. Andrew-based residence, Nigeria House. Yes, ladies, we hear you: You’ll have what she’s having! 

>> The legacy lives on! The Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston recently played host to the launch of the Edward Seaga Scholarship Awards. Christopher Seaga, son of the late former Prime Minister, was on hand to present the awards to the deserving young recipients.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

TOP 5: David Tulloch picks Father HoLung & Friends’ 5 best productions

POWER PLAY: HoLung's annual shows are consistently compelling and crowd-pleasing, says Tulloch (inset).

AS the beloved ghetto priest and his lavishly talented creative team return to the spotlight with Isaiah (on the occasion of his 80th birthday and the 50th anniversary of Father HoLung & Friends), industry veteran and musical-theatre pro David Tulloch dips into the archives to rank the five best productions among their stellar body of work. 

JESUS 2000 
“I’d say this is his most powerful work to date. Alwyn Bully directed it. It had an all-star cast, with a 64-piece philharmonic orchestra. At one point I was supposed to be in it, but something came up, and I had to miss out.” 

“A phenomenal piece of musical theatre. It had Karl Williams in it as Ramses, and he won the Actor Boy for that role. The special effects were just amazing.” 

“Another very powerful work. I remember being a young thespian and being in the audience at the Little Theatre. I think Father should consider doing a remount. In fact, I’d love to remount it if the opportunity presented itself.” 

“The Father HoLung story. It was kind of based on his life and ministry as a ghetto priest but fictionalized to an extent. Pretty awesome stuff. The song “Ode to Grief,” performed by Wynton Williams, Michael Sean Harris and Cleveland Cathnott gave people goosebumps.” 

“It rocked. The calibre of talent that came together to put it on – composer Jon Williams, musical director Wynton Williams and Father HoLung as writer – was just fantastic. The dancing, the colours, the ensemble cast – everything came together really well.”

ON THE SCENE: Busy Signal + Shericka Jackson + Dre Island + Danniel Thomas-Dodd + Lila Iké + Usain Bolt

AMONG FRIENDS: Oct. 1, Germany. Munich’s annual Oktoberfest celebrations got a hefty dose of star power with appearances by – appropriately attired – sprint legend Usain Bolt, longtime pal John Steffensen and a couple of friends who wasted no time getting festive with the locals. (Photo: Usain Bolt/Twitter)

WORK MODE: Oct. 2, United States. Promoting his just-released new album, Parts of the Puzzle, dancehall hitmaker Busy Signal was in New York for a series of appearances organized by his label, VP Records. (Photo: Busy Signal/Facebook) 

STAGE PRESENCE: Sep. 27, Kingston. Tracks & Records’ long-awaited return to the live-music scene drew a standing-room-only crowd, which was treated to electrifying performances by fast-rising roots-reggae artistes Lila Iké and Dre Island. (Photo: Sleek)

CAREER HIGH: Oct. 3, Qatar. Shericka Jackson takes a post-race moment to savour her third-place finish following the women’s 400M final inside the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Thursday. (Photo: Getty Images)

STRENGTH OF A WOMAN: Oct. 3, Qatar. Making history by becoming the first Jamaican and Caribbean woman to cop a medal in the shot-put event at a World Championships, Danniel Thomas-Dodd was beyond pleased with her throw of 19.47 metres, which secured her the silver medal. (Photo: Getty Images)