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News Article

October 22, 2011
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival goes on location to Grand Bahama Island

Though The Bahamas International Film Festival is far off, film buffs can look forward to a second film festival also taking place in The Bahamas.

The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (FLIFF), south Florida's festival to support and promote independent filmmakers through sharing their compelling films, will be going on location in it's 26th year for a three-day festival in Grand-Bahama.

FLIFF On-Location takes place October 27-30 at Canal House, Pelican Bay Hotel, and is an exciting opportunity for a creative cultural exchange between The Bahamas and the USA, says President and CEO of the 26th annual FLIFF, Gregory Van Hausch.

"I'm looking forward to watching our filmmakers get the opportunity to have an international audience," he says. "It will be neat to see the reaction of a different audience. That will be fun."

"On the Bahamian side, I'm hoping that it will spawn new films that we can show not only on Grand Bahama next year but stateside as well," he continues. "We're working with film offices in Broward County and on Grand Bahama Island and to have them participate and exchange, so we're hoping we can illustrate to the filmmakers that there are options for shooting films on the island."

The relationship between FLIFF and Grand Bahama began when FLIFF screened the movie filmed on the island, "Beneath the Blue." It occurred to them to screen the film on location, which they did last October. It was so successful that they began talks with the Ministry of Tourism and coordination began with the Bahamas Film and Television Commission to make it into an event with several movie screenings, workshops, and an educational component.

FLIFF On-Location often goes to other areas in Florida and even in other states, but this is the first time FLIFF On-Location has been outside of the United States.

"We have no illusions this first year that we're going to displace Cannes," Von Hausch says. "It's our first year and we've kept it small with about 20 films over the few days. But what we want to do is give a sense of what it can be--a unique space for filmmakers to have discussion and talks."

Indeed, Director of Business Development/Communications of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism on Grand Bahama Terrance Roberts points out, the festival will be a laid-back but quality experience for festival-goers--which will also include Grand Bahama residents.

"The interest is now beginning to build," he says. "We spent a lot of time organizing and so now we're about to pull the veil off what we've organized. We're getting calls for tickets so the interest is very good, and the arts community is fascinated by the project and will support it."

Besides the approximately 20 films being screened during the three-day festival, there is a filmmaking workshop being offered by internationally acclaimed filmmaker and director, Kareem Mortimer ("Children of God", "I Am Not a Dummy", "Wind Jammers"), as well as an unusual but fascinating workshop offered by Paul Mockler for underwater cinematography.

"Paul Mockler is a resident of Grand Bahama," points out Roberts. "He's been living here for many years but people don't know how acclaimed he is internationally and that he's a leader in his field. So to have that workshop is really fantastic."

Indeed, the point, he says, is to have FLIFF On-Location involve the community in Grand Bahama which is already entrenched in the film industry, having been the host for

international film crews of various commercials and feature movies, including the "Pirates of the Caribbean". That way, Grand Bahama can benefit both creatively and economically.

"We wanted to partner with someone who knew our needs as well and to create arrival opportunities to the destination and fill hotel rooms," says Roberts.

"There are people in Grand Bahama who are interested in film development, and what we want to is complement the overall film developments in the country, so FLIFF certainly brings more attention to the islands of The Bahamas as a film location and you have great business opportunities."

In fact, both he and Von Hausch hope that the three-year agreement to host FLIFF On-Location in Grand Bahama will lead to Grand Bahamian residents making their own film festival that will complement the Bahamas International Film Festival that takes place in Nassau every December.

"We thought if we worked with FLIFF for two or three years to get a sense of how it works, if we had an appetite for it then we could certainly open it up to something we could do on a regular basis," says Roberts.

Having a film festival on Grand Bahama can indeed inspire a generation of young Bahamians to begin exploring the craft as they gain more exposure to it through the festival's screenings and events, creating a pool of compelling films and a thriving film industry on that island in particular.

That is the idea behind an important aspect of the festival that brings in developmental programming-- The Grand Bahama Youth Film Competition. This competition invites students to make and submit a short film to give one lucky winner the opportunity to screen their film both at FLIFF On-Location and at FLIFF in Florida as well.

Out of 18 submissions, the winner, Katrina Dorsett, was picked from five finalists. Yet all the submissions were fantastic and are reflective of a generation excited about filmmaking, says Co-chairman of the Grand Bahama Youth Film Competition Committee, Laurie Tuchel.

"It blew us away because really, Grand Bahama doesn't have anything to offer kids by the way of film education, so we really didn't know what we would get--but wait until you see the winning film; this girl is so talented. It's really good and of course the topic is so relevant," she says.

Katrina Dorsett's film, "Cyberbullying", stood out because of its message to take a stand against bullying. It may be used as a tool in her school to begin discussion on the topic.

Besides the screening of her film in Grand Bahama and a trip for her and her mother to see the film in Florida, the prizes--funded by Grand Bahama Heritage Foundation, Coldwell Banker James Sarles Realty, and a generous anonymous doner--include $500 and a GoPro Hero camera to Katrina, as well as Kodak VI8 flip cameras to the four runner-ups.

Tuchel hopes that after this first successful year, they can generate excitement for the second and open it up to the other islands for the third and beyond--as well as offer technical workshops to students to sharpen their submissions. Eventually, perhaps this annual film festival on Grand Bahama will in fact become a student film festival, she hopes--if not, then to have a large student-run component.

"If we can get them excited about the prospect of filmmaking and what that could do for them and the kind of people they would meet through that and the kind of voice it would give them, then I'd like to start a committee that's run by the kids as well so they can come up with ideas as well and lead us with our support," she says.

Indeed, including an emphasis on film education and development will ensure that what is beginning this year as FLIFF On-Location can become another exciting film festival for The Bahamas that will develop the potential for Grand Bahama to be a filmmaking hub for the world.

For more information about FLIFF On-Location, visit the Facebook groups for FLIFF On-Location: Grand Bahama Island and the Bahamas Film Commission: Grand Bahama.

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News Article

January 24, 2013
A reflection on Robert Kennedy's Presentation and its Bearing on the Country

Dear Editor,
The room was packed at The College of The Bahamas on Monday, January 21 at 11 a.m. when Robert Kennedy Jr. addressed students, staff and faculty of the college as well as interested persons from the wider community.

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News Article

January 26, 2013
20 QUESTIONS

Bahamian artist Michael Edwards answers this week's 20 Questions from The Nassau Guardian's Arts&Culture.

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
Difficult to say. Most recently sharing the road with a 91-year-old who ran 26.2 miles - I didn't make it quite that far.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
Can't think of any.

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
Mid 20th century - Abstract Expressionism.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
o Schindler's List
o The Usual Suspects
o The Shawshank Redemption
o Being John Malkovich
o The last name escapes me right now but it was by Ingmar Bergman

5. Coffee or tea?
I try to limit my caffeine intake as much as possible.

6. What book are you reading now?
"Wilderness and The American Mind" - great read.

7. What project are you working on now?
An environmental public art initiative to commemorate the country's 40th year of independence. It will be inter-disciplinary in nature for a systems thinking approach in order to regenerate and draw people to the proposed site.

8. What's the last show that surprised you?
Don't recall - sorry.

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
None - they are distracted by the parade competition.

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
Lutra.

11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
That's a tough one. Perhaps Cloaca - Art(ificial) Shit Machine.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
None.

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
Hedley Edwards - such creative vision and hustle.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
In terms of the modern economic model - perhaps give the nod to Sir Stafford Sands. It has not been challenged up to this point but I suspect it will be soon.

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
Don't have one as yet.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?
The former.

17. What role does the artist have in society?
To challenge the status quo;
To reimage and represent narratives;
To hold up a different lens through which to experience things;
To broaden the concept of creativity.

18. What's your most embarrassing moment?
The first day of repeating the eighth grade.

19. What wouldn't you do without?
Peanut Butter.

20. What's your definition of beauty?
Number 16 - early morning run watching the sun break the horizon.

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News Article

October 27, 2011
The price of tolerance

Dear Editor,
The Bahamas recorded its 109th homicide on Sunday, October 23.  If you consider an average family size of 20 members, that's over 2,000 Bahamians whose lives are directly affected.  The further spinoff effect on the existing population in my view is astronomical.
Jean Toomer said that, "Acceptance of prevailing standards often means we have no standards of our own."
We have become a society that now accepts the status quo.  We are fashionable and no longer have any collective desire to practice good old fashioned morals.  If we hold a free community event calling for peace and love as opposed to a reggae concert on the same night that costs $50, which event do you think will be the best attended?
We have become a society that gives more credence to citizens who engage in criminal behavior than to citizens who just want an honest day's work for an honest day's pay.  Parents lust for that nice truck the neighbor is driving.  They don't mind that their neighbor does not work and doesn't have a trust fund, but yet they want a vehicle of the same make and model.  And they sometimes will do all sorts of things to achieve a particular end.
Parents look down at their other neighbor who drives a battered car or who may be catching the bus.  This neighbor, though, goes to work every day and by all accounts is law abiding.  They don't teach their children the values associated with working for what you want and that when you don't have something, you do without it.
We have become a society that allows our children to watch all types of movies, sleep out at nights and hang out with friends who have questionable motives.  We allow our children's homework to go unchecked, we don't attend PTA meetings and when our children get in trouble, we utter the words, "Not my good child".
We have become a society that allows pastors to molest our children, have inappropriate sexual relationships with their members and remain in the pulpit.  We have allowed all sorts of immoral and decaying behavior at the foot of our churches, but yet we sing "Praise the Lord" on Sundays.
We have become a society that shields suspected murderers from police.  We don't believe in the old adage that if you commit the crime, you should serve the time.  We don't encourage criminals to turn themselves in to police anymore.  Rather, we ask them if they are all right and we tell them to be strong.  We tell the criminals to be careful.
Are we going to continue to accept new standards and keep shifting our moral compass?  Are we going to keep compromising our standards until there are no more standards left?  Or are we going to say right is right and wrong is wrong and defend this principle no matter who may be offended?
We tolerated the illegal drug trade, illegal immigration, armed robberies and rape and now we are tolerating murder.  We have become a complicit and tolerant society and now we are paying the price.
 
Yours, etc.,
DEHAVILLAND MOSS

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News Article

February 16, 2013
20 QUESTIONS

Artist Jessica Colebrook answers this week's 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
Besides watching the emerging personalities of both of my daughters, I would say the most inspirational moment I had in the past five years was watching God truly move in my life and answer prayers of about 10 years ago.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
My least favorite piece of artwork would be the two tile murals that were in the departure area of the old airport. Gosh, I really hated those!

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
The Renaissance Period.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
Coming to America, Clash Of the Titans (1981 version), Ghost, What's Love Got to Do With It, Scream and The Lion King (that's six).

5. Coffee or tea?
Coffee.

6. What book are you reading now?
"Mother, Stranger" by Cris Beam.

7. What project are you working on now?
I am working on my upcoming "Mother and Daughter 3" exhibit scheduled for May at Hillside House as well as ACE 3 "My Flamboyant Bowls and Cups" scheduled to open in October at Doongalik Studios.

8. What's the last show that surprised you?
Can't say at the moment.

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
Valley Boys for sure. My husband (Carlos) is a Valley and I have grown to respect his position and love for the Valley Boys over the many years we have been together, and so I pledge allegiance to that group (for the time being).

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
Abaco for sure.

11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
Adrian Arleo's "Turtle/Transitions", 2009.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
None really.

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
Adrian Arleo and Oprah.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
Sir Lynden O. Pindling.

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
Adrian Arleo.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunrise.

17. What role does the artist have in society?
Artists bring life to just about everything. They preserve history and at the same time create history.

18. What's your most embarrassing moment?
Can't recall.

19. What wouldn't you do without?
Spending time with God first thing in the morning.

20. What's your definition of beauty?
If God made it, it's beautiful. There so much beauty in everything, even the bad!

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News Article

May 11, 2013
20 QUESTIONS

Bahamian artist and educator Heino Schmid answers Arts & Culture's 20 Questions this week.

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
This is ongoing; I don't think the general public understands how easy it sometimes is to abandon an artwork, not abandon art, that's something else entirely, but to scrap a work that's not going well. My favorite thing teaching at The College of The Bahamas is when students invest themselves in their work and follow through to the end with a project. There has been a lot of that in the past two years and I find that really motivational. These guys don't realize it but the best of them really keep me honest.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
It's always the last thing I finished the day after I've finished it.

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
I have two answers here. One, is the cave paintings of the Paleolithic. I just think they are the best examples of man's innate urge for visual expression. It is easy to get distracted by the business of contemporary art but the wall paintings from Lascaux, Altimira and others which date back 20,000 years and more come from a very human urge for expression. That need kids have to put pigment on their hands then to put it on a surface ties right back to early man and I think that is wonderful.
Two, is the art being produced now. There is a lot of foolishness in contemporary art but there has never been a point in art history with so much opportunity for interdisciplinary practice and such cross-pollination of ideas and aesthetics. I think that too is wonderful.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
In no order,
1. The first 21 minutes of "Inglourious Basterds", the whole movie's great, but the first chapter is amazing.
2. "Let The Right One In", the original Swedish version, it's such an odd love story.
3. "Stranger Than Fiction", the protagonist is a watch, amazing!
4. "Barton Fink" I'm still trying to decipher the symbolism behind the slowly
peeling wallpaper.
5. "Rebecca". This is Hitchcock's best, I've seen it 20 times.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning, tea in the evening... I'm very colonial that way.

What book are you reading now?
"The Master of Petersburg" by J. M. Coetzee. This is the third time for me, that book is a masterpiece, Coetzee distills all these epic human experiences into simple human interactions. Also, I just finished Haruki Murakami's "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle", it's very surreal but really good. It's like someone telling you about a really long dream they had and it actually being interesting.

What project are you working on now?
I'm putting the finishing touches on my entry for the NE6 at the National Art Gallery; that entire show I think is going to be very exciting. I'm watching other people install their work as well and most artists are really pushing themselves and their work in interesting ways.

What's the last show that surprised you?
This is a tie. I taught an Intermediate Drawing class at The College of The Bahamas for the first time at the beginning of the year and asked them to put together an exhibition as their final critique, and the show, which was called 360, really blew my mind. This ties in directly with question 1.

Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
I like the scrap groups.

If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
Crooked Island. Mosquitos as big as your head but that is some of the bluest water I've ever seen... sorry Exuma.

What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
About 10 years ago I saw this work, which was simply a world map crumpled into a ball sitting on a black wooden table. I don't remember the artist or the title and it's not even my favorite artwork but it really left an impression on me. It's hard to describe but by simply crushing the world map, it realigned geographical boundaries and created a new planet of sorts and the black wooden table became a new universe. The gesture was as simple as you can imagine and easily dismissed at first glance but when you got it, the work was oddly affecting.

Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
Kiki Smith. Witches are hot!

If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
Tom Waits. I listen a lot to him in the studio. His music is so polar, I would just be interested to see if he'd eat meat straight from a bone with his hands or order a spinach salad instead.

Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
A really tough question and I don't have an answer, I think the people who do all the heavy lifting in this country are the ones we'll never hear about.

Who is your favorite living artist?
Kendall Hanna, he's in his mid-seventies, he's wrestled with his share of demons but his work has never suffered as far as I can tell. That's incredible to me. A few weeks ago he was reading an art magazine and I jokingly asked him if he was doing research and he looks down at me and with a straight face says, "It's like Napoleon said 'you can't win a war on a empty stomach'," and goes back to his reading. Who quotes Napoleon first thing in the morning?

Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunrises. I'm not an early bird so I see less of these.

What role does the artist have in society?
To be honest.

What's your most embarrassing moment?
I'm super awkward so I block these out, otherwise I'd get nothing done.

What wouldn't you do without?
I'm really lucky to have three or four really good friends who have become my family. Having people you count on, really count on, is a gift.

What's your definition of beauty?
My wife getting dressed in the morning.

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News Article

May 30, 2014
'X-Men: Days of Future Past' is well-executed and enjoyable, but bound to tick a lot of people off

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Rated B)
Cast: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence
Genre: Action Adventure Fantasy
Dwight's Rating: 3 out of 4

Be thankful you're not part of the production team of "X-Men: Days of Future Past".
Yes, they just made a boat-load of money (more than $90 million in the United States alone in just the opening weekend, and over $340 million worldwide, on a movie with a $200 million budget.)
But being in their shoes must still be stress-inducing -- that's because a movie like this, no matter how well-executed and enjoyable -- and this film is immensely well-executed and enjoyable - is bound to tick a lot of people off.
This latest installment finds X-Men friends and foes united to fight a war for the survival of the mutant species across two time periods. Ultimate X-men badass Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back in time to 1973 (It's complicated!) to change history and prevent an event that could result in doom for both mutants and humans. So, with the goal of changing the past to save the future, the characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves, as seen in "X-Men: First Class".
That may or may not sound interesting to you, but if you're one of the rabid fans of the enormously popular "X-Men" comic book series on which this movie is based, you will definitely have strong opinions on that plot. Additionally, as this is now the seventh installment in this movie franchise, and even though these flicks vary widely in quality, there are the movie fanatics that have their strong views as well. And trust me, those two groups don't always see eye-to-eye.
You can probably imagine that what comic book fans love and expect to see in a movie isn't necessarily going to be what everyone else wants to see ("300", for example), and vice versa. But when the comic book fans don't like you, this very vocal group will let the world know, loudly and often.
Despite that, it appears that since it began in 2000, the "X-Men" movie series has focused a bit more on making the comic series as appealing and palpable as possible for the mass audience, and not necessarily the fan boys. As such, it's the casual observers who will probably enjoy "X-Men: Days of Future Past" the most.
It's a mature piece, with none of the goofy criminal-psychopath-plots-to-take-over-the-world nonsense, that's typical of the genre. It sticks largely with the franchise's trend of being among the noblest of comic book action movies, serving as an analogy for the discrimination and closed-minded intolerance facing minority groups. The message is even more timely and relatable today, as there are still so many examples in today's world of people being oppressed, enslaved and killed for their beliefs, or for just being different.
The cast is overflowing with talent. It's an embarrassment of riches, with a dizzying number of Oscar winners and nominees, and award-winning television stars. Originals Jackman, Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier, and Ian McKellen as Magneto, are joined by "First Class" stars James McAvoy (young Professor), Michael Fassbender (young Magneto), and Jennifer Lawrence (young Mystique), and so many others, including almost everybody's favorite's "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage, as villain, Bolivar Trask.
While the time travel is fun, and the action is measured and purposeful, there's more emphasis on character exploration and development. With this long-running series, we've had countless opportunities to get to know these characters, and there are emotional investments -- between the characters themselves, and between them and us. A good of time is spent revealing their motivations. And unlike in so many action movies, there's purpose behind almost every character's decisions -- with the possible exception of Trask, although assumptions can be made. Almost everyone thinks they're doing the right thing, and almost everyone has a point.
It's not necessary to have watched all or any of the previous "X-Men" movies. There are plenty of reminders or flashback or dialogue to get you caught up. But there are treats for those who've stuck with the series over all these years.
While I won't be so bold as to proclaim this the best in the long-running series, it certainly ranks up there, blending some of the best elements of the best of the films.
No surprise, we'll be back here again, as sequels (yes, plural) are in the works. In 2016, there's "X-Men: Apocalypse" (interesting!), and possibly yet another Wolverine movie (yikes!) a year or two after that. And so for the producers of this series, the pressure is on!

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News Article

February 06, 2013
The media and our society

Dear Editor,
First, let me state that in writing this letter I wish to make a few suggestions that I believe would help stem the tide of the social and moral decadence that has become so pervasive in our country and has reached every level of civil society regardless of age, gender, social status.
There is an old Japanese proverb, which translates to the English as "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil". It has been my observation that the culture of gangsterism, oversexualization of our young people, and the rampant materialism in the modern Bahamas has manifested itself within this proverb. I believe that there is a direct link between mass media and its influence on the general public. One would just have to turn on the radio to one of the popular stations and listen, not to the music, but the ideas systematically repeated within the music, 24 hours a day, six days in the week. The ideas constantly repeated include: casual sex without any social or long-term responsibility; the glorifying of a criminal lifestyle; thoughtless consumerism; rapacious capitalism; poor dietary spending.
The cinemas are just as culpable in this effort; where one mass media outlet affects the general public on what it hears this media outlet affects it by what it sees. In fact, there is an adage that says "a picture says one thousand words". These moving pictures or images visually demonstrate ideas which may not be beneficial to a society which teaches social responsibility and moral restraint. Any perceptive watcher or listener has to wonder the long-term effects of these messages on a community.
If I am not mistaken, there are agencies that regulate mass media in this country - i.e, URCA and the Bahamas Christian Council. However, I truthfully do not think that their efforts have been impactful; considering the movies still being screened in our theaters and allowable music played over the airwaves.
On the other hand, there are people who would defend mass media abuse with claims of freedom of expression. However, this freedom should be reasonable and considering the outcome of its effect we have gone far beyond the scope of reasonableness.
I would like to make clear that I am not the "thought police" but I do know that some ideas resonate in the minds of the young and the uniformed. It is within the public interest of any country to fetter some of the expressions propagated through our mass media which negatively impact the collective consciousness of our society. I would humbly suggest that an independent investigation be done on the effects of commercial mass media on the psyche of Bahamian consumers.
Next, one should look at possible ways in using mass media to propagate positive messages. There is an immediate tendency to slip into an argument of mind control or brainwashing. However, we should resist this temptation. All mass media propagates a message, whether it's in buying a particular product or accepting a particular political agenda. In America, mass media has been used to create a specific culture for its own people to follow. Unfortunately, this culture has been globalized and imposed on people it may have been never intended for.
Thirdly, I would urge our government to institute legislation that would seek to prevent the proliferation of questionable media content (including cable, satellite, and the internet). I believe that through the law one can condition behavior.
Lastly, we should investigate other governments' mass media usage, outside of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. The country of Nigeria uses the film industry known as Nollywood to promote family values laden with cultural themes. This is unlike the wanton violence, promiscuity, and drug abuse common in Western media programming. I understand that people have the right to make up their own minds; however, there are many persons within our society who find it difficult in differentiating entertainment from reality. They live out the pathologies of what they see and hear in media.
In conclusion, I would urge you who may have the power to help usher along the wheels of change to seriously consider these suggestions. We would render ourselves negligent if we idly stand by, receiving all the privileges of this country and ignoring all the obligations to which, as proud citizens, we are all responsible. God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
- Cohen P. Davis

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News Article

November 09, 2013
I've joined the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store nation

I made an announcement in the office the other day that left many people stunned -- I had just recently visited the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for the first time ever over the weekend. They simply could not believe it.
Yes, for years I've seen and passed Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores (which opened its first store in 1969 in Lebanon, Tennessee) when visiting the United States, but never stopped. To be honest, there are so many restaurants, and good ones at that to chose from, so I had never darkened their doorstep.
It just so happens that I was on a mission with Bahamasair's manager for international sales, Woodrow 'Woody' Wilson and Star 106.5 FM and Hot 91.7 Programming Manager Tony Williams on a jaunt to West Palm Beach, Florida, and we took a drive down to Miami, and I was hungry. We were talking about where to eat and of course Woody spoke about how Cracker Barrel is a Sunday tradition for his family after church. I told him I'd never been there. The rubber on the tires burned as he pulled into the parking lot.
After the experience I had, I returned home and told my husband that on our next trip, we had to visit Cracker Barrel as they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Woody, Tony and I all opted for breakfast even though we could have gotten away with ordering lunch, considering it was the brunching hour. And being the nut lover that I am, the pecan pancakes called out to me - three buttermilk pancakes loaded with pecans and served with butter and a warm bottle of 100 percent pure natural vsyrup, with a side of turkey sausage.
Woody and Tony went with Momma's Pancake Breakfast - three buttermilk pancakes and two eggs with sausage patties.
When the plate was placed before me I was salivating - the pancakes just looked delicious, and they were chockfull of chunky pecans. I did not have to go searching for morsels. I had been considering ordering extra nuts when I ordered seeing as I love pecans that much, but I didn't have to. I dug in, and I was in heaven. The three pancakes were fluffy, light and delicious, topped with a drizzle of their warmed syrup poured out of individual bottles. They were also too big for me to finish, but goodness knows I extracted as many nuts as I could eat before I had to put down the fork.
In case you were like me and hadn't been to Cracker Barrel before, it's a restaurant you must seek out on your next visit to the United States. They also offer a Wild Maine Blueberry Pancake and French toast.
And if you're a fan of country cooking, you can get it all at Cracker Barrel - meatloaf with mashed potatoes and gravy, chicken fried steak, catfish platter, chicken n' dumplins, fried okra, pinto beans cooked with country ham and served with corn muffins, turnip greens cooked with country ham... and the list just goes on and on. If you're watching your calorie intake, they do offer salads... just sayin'.
While I've only had the pecan pancakes, and haven't tried anything from the lunch and dinner menu, I'm already looking forward to my next visit to the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for another stab at those pecan pancakes. Maybe I'll even try something from the lunch and dinner menu once I've gotten over my pecan pancake obsession.
Might I add that upon entering the establishment, which means that as you exit, you have to pass through the Old Country Store, which sells everything from apparel and accessories to food and candy, furniture and home items, gifts and gift cards, music, movies and books, toys and games and personal care items. Of course, my eyes were looking left and right, but leave it up to Woody to keep me on track -- we had to get to Miami for an interview.
I've finally joined the Cracker Barrel nation and don't think I'll be leaving any time soon. I can't wait to introduce my husband to their pancakes. He's a buttermilk kind of guy so I know he will enjoy them.
Just for your information, Cracker Barrel is open Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and there is a location in at least 43 continental U.S. states, so you're bound to find one wherever you go.

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News Article

October 19, 2013
20 QUESTIONS

Nassau-based artist Arjuna Watson, a.k.a. Decypul, answers this week's 20 Questions from Guardian Arts&Culture.

1. What's been your most inspirational moment in the last five years?
The "She Loves Me" series.

2. What's your least favorite piece of artwork?
Damian Hirst's "Dots". When I was in NYC for a show, I was going for a wander around the SoHo area and came across the "Dots." Honestly, it annoyed me to look at them and see the ridiculous prices on them; it annoyed me so much that I actually thought about using the dots to make me famous by urinating on them in the gallery. But then I thought about not being allowed back in the U.S. So, I walked away frustrated and not famous.

3. What's your favorite period of art history?
Social realism of the 1900s.

4. What are your top 5 movies of all time?
Ciao Manhattan, Factory Girl, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds.

5. Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning. Green tea all day.

6. What book are you reading now?
I'm not reading anything at the moment. I'm just flicking through art books looking at paintings and technique. The last book I read was to my kids, The Lorax by Dr Seuss.

7. What project are you working on now?
I'm painting for a show at the moment that is called "Catalyst". It was going to be at the Central Bank next year but I've decided to move it to another location.
I've decided that nothing is insignificant and there is a purpose for everything at any given moment in time and one leads to the next, and so on. So I'm looking back at things that I might have missed that would have lead me in another direction in art.
For instance, I save my off cuts of canvas and I use them to clean my brushes and pallet knives on. I didn't really think much of the off cuts. I was painting and cleaning my brushes and I looked down and noticed how beautiful the chaos was of my work from cleaning my brushes and pallet knives, and then it started to form something.

Now, that was one aspect of what I'm working on, and there are many aspects going on at the one time. I'm sorry to be cryptic but I don't like giving away what I'm working on until it's finished and hanging on a wall for a show.

8. What's the last show that surprised you?
I really liked "Tickle me Pink". Dylan and Dede's show at the Central Bank last year. I think that Dylan surprised me a lot with that (in a good way).

9. Saxons, One Family, Valley Boys or Roots?
Valley beys...

10. If you had to be stranded on one Family Island which one would it be?
That's a tough one. I've been all over The Bahamas exploring but the first place that comes to my mind is 'Briland (Harbour Island). I like the people and the vibe there. My favorite place to hang out there is The Landing because they have really good coffee, the food is awesome and the service is impeccable, and the wifi is as fast as the service. It feels like home when I go there.

11. What's the most memorable artwork you've ever seen?
I saw a few Cezannes at the Guggenheim in July this year. I'm sorry I don't know what the names of the paintings were. I was looking at the brush strokes and technique, use of color and how he saw light. I was in awe.
Also, I saw a Keith Haring doodle in the Empire State Building that most people would have just glanced and never looked at.
I guess that I look at many things and I'm inspired by everything I see around me. Names are not important to me; being able to absorb what I see is the most important to me.

12. Which artist do you have a secret crush on?
Antonius Roberts (but he's such a player).

13. If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be?
My kitten.

14. Who do you think is the most important Bahamian in the country's history?
(Sir Lynden) Pindling.

15. Who is your favorite living artist?
Guy Denning.

16. Sunrise or Sunset?
Both. I wake up to watch the sunrise and I watch for the green flash just about every night (side note: the green flash is not a myth. I have seen it over 30 times in the last few years).

17. What role does the artist have in society?
I don't really feel like I'm in society enough to play a role but for me it's about being on the outside looking in. So, I guess the main role is to provide a sort of social commentary.

18. What's your most embarrassing moment?
Well when I was a kid, my bother and I loved to swim and my mum signed us up to the local life saving club. Except she refused to buy my brother and I the orange Speedos (I do not know why). That's the color Speedos we had to have for life saving competitions. I was probably 8 years old, so when the competition time came around we would have to wear girls bathers rolled up to look like boys Speedos (supplied by the life saving club) and have to rock it. I can't believe she wouldn't buy me Speedos.

19. What wouldn't you do without?
My kids, my kitten, my eyesight, my freedom. Not having hands would suck too, and the list goes on. There are too many things I wouldn't do without, but really my needs are simple. I don't want for much and I live within my means.

20. What's your definition of beauty?
I don't really have a definition to be honest. When I look at an image I want to paint or that I am commissioned to paint, I'm really just looking at the light and the shadow that is cast from the light. A story to take apart and put back together. Beauty is a concept and it can be all smoke and mirrors. I sense for feeling and depth.

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