Entertainment

Excellence recognized

June 16, 2017

Greatness never happens by accident or coincidence -- but with conscious effort to work harder, be stronger, smarter, and more dedicated in an effort to manifest the highest and truest expression of oneself.
"It is a chosen life trajectory that is only undertaken when coupled with immense courage and a resolute ambition to succeed," says Addis Huyler, founder of the Bahamian Icon Awards.
And on Saturday, the icons, the award that recognizes Bahamians who have exemplified the best intentions of the Bahamian spirit -- that of excellence and achievement -- will be meted out to the newest batch of icons in 15 categories: commerce, education, entertainment, entertainment ensemble, entrepreneurship, finance, fine art, healthcare, humanitarianism, health, journalism, music, sports, rising star and tourism.
Nominees include Tracy Ann Perpall (TAP Vlogs), 3rilogy (Allan Wallace, Jamaal Rolle, and Stehan Legend), 10th Year Seniors (Andrew Bain), Terrance Gilbert (King Khloud) and Timico Sawyer (SawyerBoy) in the People's Choice category.
Luval Culmer (More 94 FM), Beverly Curry (Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas), Dwight Strachan (Morning Blend), and Juan McCartney (The Nassau Guardian) in Media.
In the Recorded Entertainment Ensemble are four producers. The nominees include Karissma Robinson (Underneath), Kareem Mortimer (Cargo), Henrietta Cartwright (The Stew), and Lavado Stubbs (The Conch Gone).
Nominated in the Live Entertainment Ensemble are four more producers -- Philip Burrows, Gea Pierre (Crazy Love 2), Kerel Pinder (The New Rules of Sex and Dating), and Nikolette Elden (It Takes Two).
The Health nominees include Dr. Yasmin Williams Robinson (The Walk-In Clinic), Dr. Adrian Sawyer (Oxford Medical Center), Dr. Beverton Moxey (Bahamas Health and Healing Medical Center), Dr. Cyprian Strachan (Javon Medical Centre), and Dr. Dane Bowe (Bahamas Bone & Joint Centre).
Entertainment nominees include Remardo Russell (Barber, Crazy Love 2), Nina Laing (Tasha, The New Rules of Sex and Dating), Jonico Pratt (Son, You Can Lead a Horse to Water), David Burrows (MacBeth), and Chrystal Bethel (Bahamas Ministry of Tourism).
Myrton King (Sunland Baptist Academy, Grand Bahama), Dr. Coralee Kelly (University of The Bahamas, Northern campus, Grand Bahama), Jason Edwards (St. Augustine's College), Brenda Bain/Patrice Johnson (Agape Christian School, Abaco) and Ramona Wells, (C.H. Reeves Junior School) are the nominees in the Education category.
Judah The Lion (The Outlaw, Ride On), Wendy Lewis (Ain't Missin' It), Bodine (Good Feelings), Dyson Knight and Rik Carey (I Come To Party) and Erica Symonette (My Islands In The Sun) are nominated in the Music category.
The Fine Art nominees include John Cox (Popop Studios International Center For the Visual Arts), Ryan Turnquest (A Whole New World; A Journey to Neverland), James Pinder (Louise McDonald High School, Bimini), Allan Pachino Wallace (Salt Bae), and Rocelle Wilson Knowles (Shell Tunez).
Edison Sumner (Bahamas Chamber of Commerce), Keith Glinton (Sol Petroleum Bahamas), Keshelle Davis (The Training Authority), Lauren Holowesko (The Island House), and Sonia Hamilton (Bahamas Cooperative League) are nominated in the Commerce category.
Youth Development category nominees include William Simmons (Space 2 Create, Eleuthera), Robert Bain (National Dance Academy of The Bahamas), Phyllis Garaway (Yodephy Dance and Modeling Academy), Lamon Stubbs (The Gentlemen's Club), and Charlie Brown (Exile Media Group).
The Rising Star nominees include Jasper Thomas (DJ Ovadose), Bahamian Trae (Exile Media Group), Supercute (Music), Sabria Thompson (St. Leo University/IRS Program), and Izaak Bastian (Swimming).
Tourism nominees include Marva Munroe (Pelican Bay Resort, Grand Bahama), Stuart Bowe (Atlantis Paradise Island Resort and Casino), Marv Cunningham (Mr. Mix), Lydia Hill (Abaco Vacation Planner, Abaco), and Kerry Fountain (Bahamas Out Island Promotion Board).
Cleophas Adderley will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the fifth Aliv Bahamian Icon Awards that will be held at the Melia Nassau Beach resort, and broadcasted live on Our TV.
Through the awards, Huyler's goal is to provide an achievable goal that inspires and encourages consistent efforts to achieve excellence and the fostering of goodwill.

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Fifth Aliv Bahamian Icon Awards Lifetime Achievement awardee is the man behind the Bahamas National Youth Choir

June 16, 2017

Mention the name Cleophas Adderley Jr. and most people think Bahamas National Youth Choir (BNYC) -- and while Adderley himself says it's difficult to separate one from the other -- he's so much more. He's a person who loves life, loves God, and loves people. And he lets you know that he loves academic and intellectual challenges as well as music.
And this is the man who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 5th Aliv Bahamian Icon Awards that will be held at the Melia Nassau Beach resort, and broadcasted live on Our TV on Saturday.
For Adderley, early 60s, music is the blossoming of a person's soul. He says it is life ... joy ... and development.
"Music means a tremendous amount to me, and is also a way of reaching out to other people and creating harmony," said Adderley, who studied orchestration and tutored as a private student of Nancy Patterson-Strelau at the University of Miami in Florida, and studied orchestral conducting as a private student of Harold Glickman of New York.
An accomplished composer, Adderley is the composer of "Our Boys", the first Bahamian grand opera, which was also the first opera to have been written and performed in the English-speaking Caribbean; and the composer of the first Bahamian Concert Mass, "Missa Caribe".
To his credit, he composed the music and rhythms for the play "You Can Lead a Horse to Water" by Winston Saunders; and has written and arranged music for piano, pipe organ, choir and solo voice.
Adderley is the last son and eighth of nine children born to the late Cleophas E. Adderley, former member of Parliament; and Helen Bailey Adderley, a seamstress, pianist and organist, and daughter of the late R.M. Bailey for whom a government high school is named. He is also a husband to Francoise Brooks Adderley, a father, an uncle, granduncle and a friend to many. He wears many more hats than that of BNYC general manager/director.
No matter how hard you try to separate Cleophas Adderley from the BNYC, it's nearly impossible.
He started the choir in 1983 as a part of the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of Bahamian independence. That first choir was 77 members strong, which he recalled being "quite a challenge from the numbers point of view".
That first BNYC choir, which included people like Melanie Roach, who went on to become the country's first female director of public works, and Philip Gray, who went on to become chairman of the Bahamas Pharmacy Council, gave their only performance at the old Poinciana Arena on Bernard Road. Their folk accompanist was E. Clement Bethel, who Adderley described as a "distinguished musicologist" and who was also the country's first director of culture.
After that performance the choir disbanded. Adderley, a barrister who had studied at the University of the West Indies and the Norman Manley Law School in Jamaica, focused on practicing law. He has practiced law for 14 years, and has been a member of The Bahamas Bar for more than 30 years.
In 1990, seven years after the initial choir, Adderley restarted the BNYC to prepare for the country's quincentennial year celebration in 1992. The choir he put together was a "much more manageable group of about 40 people".
As Adderley puts it, "the rest is history" when it comes to the national choir for youth between the ages of 15 and 25.
Since 1990, people that have taken a turn on stage under Adderley's directorship have included Charles Sealy, Doctors Hospital CEO; and former senators Cheryl Bazard and Heather Hunt.
Former choir members who stayed with the music include the likes of recording artist Sonovia "Novie" Pierre, a former Miss Talented Teen; and Ericka "Lady E" Symonette, another recording artist and lead vocalist of Ira Storr and the Spank Band.
"A lot of them [former BNYC members] are now choir directors in their own right of church choirs, school choirs, and community choirs, such as Eldrigde McPhee, who is director of Bel Canto Singers."
From his management and direction it is Adderley's hope that choir members take away the importance of national service, sacrifice and discipline; the importance of love for the Divine and the importance of learning to work together with other people; and to always try to be the best people they can be in life, no matter what field or where in life they find themselves.
To that end, Adderley's BNYC is a choir with strict rules. If a member misses a specified number of rehearsals, he or she is tossed. If a member has to be late for any reason, they have to telephone in advance or face being fined -- a $5 fine that has not changed since 1990, but which Adderley said was a lot of money 25 years ago. He jokingly (or maybe seriously) said the fine might need to be upgraded. (He found the suggestion of VAT being tacked on hilarious).
"Discipline is very important, because we're training these people to be ambassadors," said Adderley. "When they go away, people don't just see them -- they see a whole country. And if we don't give of our best, and show our country in the best light possible, they judge every Bahamian by their experience with us."
And Adderley and members of the BNYC have traveled the world. While choir members can only be members for 10 years before they have to move on, Adderley himself has traveled with the choir to 25 different countries and given performances in as many different languages. He can also boast of having performed in some of the world's most distinguished venues -- The Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.; at the Weill at Carnegie Hall in New York City; the Grand Hall at the Moscow Conservatory in Russia; the Poly Theater at Beijing Symphony in China; and sung mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. And he can go on and on.
To become a member of this elite and distinguished group is not easy. People who think they can carry a tune have to audition -- and auditions are held once annually in September.
And Adderley's ears are fine-tuned to determine who will be given the nod each year for a choir that today is between 28 and 30 strong annually, and is even more manageable financially considering the travel that they do and the expense involved.
"It's a God-given gift," he said of being able to determine who has a voice and who doesn't. Added to that is the fact that he comes from a family of musicians, and he and his siblings were all trained to play musical instruments. Adderley plays piano and organ; and he studied voice. He is a tenor.
Under Adderley's directorship, the BNYC has won a number of awards -- two gold medals at the 7th World Choir Games in 2012 (Champion Category -- Scenic Folklore and Champion Category -- Show Choir); they were silver medalists in the Classical Category. They took two silver medals at the 5th World Choir Gems in 2008 in the Open Category -- Mixed Chamber Choir and the Open Category -- Folklore. In 2008 they were the first place winners at the 37th International Youth and Music Festival.

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'The Mummy' reboot leaves a lot to be desired

June 16, 2017

The Mummy (Rated C)
Cast: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe
Genre: Action/Fantasy
Dwight's Rating: Pretty Awful

Some of the latest research suggests napping has numerous beneficial properties.
A siesta can rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit, with some studies saying they can even boost productivity, help to reduce stress and improve mood.
So, for many people, taking naps would be a great way to spend a couple of hours.
And, if by chance you had even a brief inkling of traveling down to a movie cinema to watch the latest film to be entitled "The Mummy", you might SERIOUSLY want to instead consider taking a nap (or doing almost anything else).
Speaking of napping, "The Mummy" is very much like a dream -- a very, very, VERY bad one. Not because it's scary, but because it's the stuff of nightmares. As nightmares are often incoherent, with odd appearances by people who shouldn't be there, behaving exceptionally bizarrely and making strange utterances, so too does this film make not one bit of sense.
Tom Cruise stars as Nick Morton, a soldier of fortune who plunders ancient sites for timeless artifacts and sells them to the highest bidder. When Nick and his partner come under attack in the Middle East, the ensuing battle accidentally unearths Ahmanet, a betrayed Egyptian princess who was entombed under the desert for thousands of years. With her powers constantly evolving, Morton must now stop the resurrected monster as she embarks on a furious rampage through the streets of London.
Just when you thought Cruise's comeback was secure, and you're ready to declare that he had been freed of his box office "poison" status, this dud threatens to wipe out all the goodwill he earned from "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation" (2015) and especially "Edge of Tomorrow" (2014).
Cruise appears to be trying here, displaying a pronounced enthusiasm and liveliness. But the film is total rubbish and gets worse every few minutes.
A big part of the problem is that Cruise is not aware whether he's in a comedy, a horror flick, or a dark, mystery adventure. And he's not aware because the writers and directors don't seem to have a clue themselves. It's either that, or worse, they think it's all of the above.
As a result, seemingly every five minutes someone pulls a film genre out of a hat, and the production takes on that persona. So from slapstick comedy worthy of a routine from "The Three Stooges", as Cruise's character tries to fend off some zombie-like creatures, suddenly everybody gets serious, as if they're trying to crack archeological mysteries a la "The Da Vinci code".
Then uh-oh, a character dies, yet for some reason, it's played for laughs. But wait! Here come more of those ghoulish, ghastly-looking undead beings. Somebody went through a lot of expensive effects for what's meant to be a joke.
Well, that's IF this was the intention at all. Clearly, half the cast was not informed. Annabelle Wallis, as a fearless archeologist, and Sofia Boutella, who plays the mummy, are all business, and seem at odds with the overall tone.
"The Mummy" also continues this weird trend of evil female characters previously dead or locked away, being released into the world to wreak havoc, as in "The Huntsman: Winter's War" and "Suicide Squad". There's an "X-men: Apocalypse" feel, even though the entombed being there was male.
Russell Crowe is in this movie as well! Clearly he lost a bet with someone, or just really wanted an opportunity to beat Tom Cruise up on screen. He plays Dr. Jekyll. Yes, that one! And thus, the violent Mr. Hyde makes an appearance too.
Crowe is also the narrator, and performs the task in an excruciatingly painful manner. Never has this Oscar winner seemed so sad.
We're told this is to be the beginning of a new "Dark Universe" franchise, featuring monsters from the library of Universal Studios. These are the folks who brought you "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "The Phantom of the Opera", "Dracula", and "Frankenstein", many movies entitled "The Mummy" (or some variation thereof), and countless other monster flicks, from as far back as the 1920s.
As you can tell, this reboot of "The Mummy" leaves a lot to be desired, and is far inferior to the surprisingly entertaining hit of the same name starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz from 1999. Next up, it seems, will be a reboot of "Bride of Frankenstein", with plans for many other reboots, including "Invisible Man" and "Dracula".
But after this new "The Mummy", this massive misstep cannot be condoned, and should be avoided at all costs. If this franchise is to proceed along the lines of this production, this film must be allowed to flop, so nobody at Universal Pictures would be confused and foolish enough to think the audience wants more.
So rest up, moviegoers! Use your hours this summer productively!

o Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of " Morning Blend" on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email dwight@nasguard.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.

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BTC Sponsors All Andros Crab Fest Committe $20K

June 13, 2017

Every year ‘Crab Fest’ is held in Andros It is a cultural event that Bahamians and tourists alike have come to love. BTC has been a proud partner of the event for several years. The company has stepped up to the plate again, investing $20,000.00 in the event...

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Ocean safety: what is a rip current?

June 12, 2017

As we approach this year's summer solstice the increase in temperature and humidity cannot be missed. Each day gets not only longer but hotter and Bahamians are heading to the beach in droves.

Young, old, big and small, going to the beach is a great way to cool off but it's not always as safe as we think. Just this month a little girl's body was found in the waters off of Arawak Cay after having gone missing the afternoon before. It's suspected she may have been caught in a rip current or rip tide, a dangerous ocean current that can quickly whisk swimmers out to sea.

Would you know what to do if you got caught in a rip current? Watch the video below to learn more and keep you and your loved ones safe this summer.

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The curated lifestyle experience known as 'The White Party'

June 09, 2017

Real estate agents Ryan Knowles and Shamon Campbell are gearing up to host one of the year's most touted events in an ever-growing trend to market high-end homes, the curated luxury, lifestyle experience known as "The White Party" which combines art, culture and glamor while showcasing high-end real estate.
Knowles and Campbell, luxury realtors at H.G. Christie, desired to reinvent the open house experience while marrying their love for real estate luxury brands and entertaining, and "The White Party" was the result.
The invitation-only soiree draws the elite and affluent from the Bahamian community but will also see individuals from the United States this year.
"In past years we've hosted one party, but this year we decided to expand the offerings to expose our international guests to more of the best of The Bahamas," said Knowles.
The three-day event takes place June 23-25.
The weekend will launch with The Art Party on Friday, June 23 at One Ocean, Paradise Island, where guests will be transfixed by live installations and a contemporary dance performance. On Saturday, June 24 the private beach house, Villa Beata, will be the backdrop to The Beach Party where revelers will rock to the beats of local and international deejays and entertainers. The weekend will culminate on Sunday, June 25 with La Grand Finale: The White Party at a waterfront estate where partygoers will rub shoulders with the elite and indulge in delectable delights and cocktails.
Artists for the events will include members of Trilogy -- Allan Wallace, Stefan Legend and Jamaal Rolle -- with local entertainers Tebby, Willis & The Illest and Fanshawn.
International talent will feature DJ Frank Delour from New York, models Bryana Holly and Kristina Rose, and Miami fitness guru Ramses Principe.
"Creating an extravagant atmosphere has been our standard from the onset -- a standard our guests have grown to expect," said Campbell. "We've aligned with brands whose names are synonymous with affluence, lifestyle, wealth and success. Over the years, purveyors have displayed fine timepieces, jewelry collections, cars, yachts, premium cigars, among other items."
Knowles said in the current market, the best agents seek creative solutions for attracting potential buyers to a property.
"What this event does is create an experiential lifestyle opportunity to bring our clients, key influencers and partners together and allow them to see the space come alive, see how they may entertain friends and actually live in the space.
"What we've found is that with the cadre of guests The White Party attracts -- attorneys, financial analysts, physicians -- some of whom are directly in the market for a home, and if they're not, they tend to also know a client who is."
Event partners include Aliv, Artscape, Bahamian Escapes Magazine, Bahari, Bristol Wines & Spirits, Diane Phillips & Associates, JetLink Adventures, Mercedes Benz (Tyreflex), NUA Insurance, RBC and Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas; the international media partner is Haute Living.
"This is our third year and we're encouraged by the results the events have had," said Knowles. "We've had sellers contact us to determine how their property could be a featured venue. The White Party creates extensive exposure and interest, not only for the featured property, but also for other signature properties in our inventory."
Part proceeds from the weekend's events will benefit Hands for Hunger. For more information, visit www.thewhitepartybahamas.com.

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The good, not so good 'Wonder Woman' news -- and what piqued my interest

June 09, 2017

Wonder Woman (Rated T)Cast: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, David Thewlis
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Dwight's Rating: Not bad

Okay, so there's some good news and some not so good news!
The new film "Wonder Woman", currently whipping up a frenzy both emotionally and financially in movie theaters all over the world, is better than its predecessor: last year's silly "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" -- which in turn was slightly less ridiculous than its outrageously violent predecessor, "Man of Steel" (2013).
That's good news. And as such, a case can be made that DC Films is on an upward trajectory with its recent releases -- something that definitely can't always be said about archrival Marvel Studios' multiple releases (from various film distributors) within its so-called Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Not so good: While its better than its predecessors, it would certainly be a stretch to say that it's even among the best ever in the genre. And any claims that this new release represents a rebirth for comic-book movies are as exaggerated as some of Wonder Woman's superpowers and the film's special effects.
But we can give it credit for trying.
Set in 1918 during the "Great War", which would eventually become known as World War I, we meet Diana, princess of the Amazons, training to be an unconquerable warrior. She is raised on a sheltered island paradise, and rescues an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that's raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a "war to end all wars" she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny as Wonder Woman.
Gal Gadot as the title character represents more of the good news. The Israeli actress' appearance as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in "Batman v Superman" became one of the only reasons to watch that challenged flick. And as the anchor of this film, she is a joy to watch.
Also good, co-star Pine as that pilot Chris Trevor. Gadot and Pine are a great combination, with fantastic chemistry. From the moment Diana rescues Chris, you can feel the sparks between them. And the film milks this romantic connection for all it's worth. At times, there's a strong sense of "Casablanca" -- another famous "love story" set during war times (WWII in that case).
However, "Wonder Woman", especially whenever Pines is on screen, has a better sense of humor than that decidedly unfunny classic. And in this regard, it's probably much more like "Roman Holiday", with Pine's character traipsing about the city with a clueless and awkward "princess", much like Gregory Peck did with Audrey Hepburn back in 1953.
But that's bizarre, isn't it? Mentioning "Casablanca" and "Roman Holiday" while discussing a comic-book superhero movie? Is this part of a plan to blatantly appeal to wider (i.e. female) audiences? Is this what it takes? Is this good or not so good?
Let's call this one a draw!
What's definitely not so good is that these cute little romantic moments take place in long scenes nestled in deep valleys between the sporadic spurts of action. Also, the lengthy set up between Diana as a young warrior and the point at which she realizes she's a "god" is far too drawn out. While this long journey is reminiscent of the path of the original "Iron Man", the story in "Wonder Woman" isn't nearly as compelling. The end result is a movie that is way too long, with at least a whole half-hour that could have been cut.
When we finally do get to the action, it is the typical stuff -- nothing special, nothing mind-blowing. It suffers from the same issues afflicting anything with Superman; when non-humans battle each other, all we get are long scenes of non-humans battling each other.
How many times can a god or alien super-being be thrown across a field, smashed into a tank, shot, or blasted by a cannon, before it becomes a monotonous bore? Say what you will about Marvel movies, but whether they're born mutants or genetically enhanced or clinically altered, their characters are generally "human beings" deep down, and it's not impossible to hurt them.
Also potentially not so good would be for "Wonder Woman" to follow the aforementioned "Iron Man" down a treacherous path with its inevitable sequel(s). With so much time dedicated to establishing the characters and setting up Wonder Woman's backstory, at the expense of action, the risk is a sequel being overly heavy on action, as it's hard to imagine any subsequent films being as verbose as this. But will those who liked what they saw here be onboard with such a dramatic shift?
In a year that's already seen comic-book movie blockbusters "Logan" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Part 2", "Wonder Woman" certainly had some tough acts to follow. But it has, without a doubt, piqued my interest and I'm curious to see where things go from here.
So at least that's good!

o Dwight Strachan is the host/producer of " Morning Blend" on Guardian Radio. He is a television producer and writer, and an avid TV history and film buff. Email dwight@nasguard.com and follow him on twitter @morningblend969.

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Final day to register for Courtney Celeste Spears' ArtSea dance convention

June 09, 2017

Through ArtSea, professional dancer Courtney Celeste Spears (granddaughter of Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group President Andrea Sweeting) is looking to continue to bring a high level of the art to the country of her mother's birth, through the weekend-long convention dedicated to helping aspiring young dancers cultivate their talent and recognize the potential in pursuing a professional dance career.
Spears' initiative strives to be the bridge that will connect artists of The Bahamas and the Caribbean to the vast dance world -- whether it's dancing in college to obtain a degree or dancing professionally. She says ArtSea is an outlet for young, talented artists to learn and grow within their craft.
"ArtSea is something that I've always wanted to do. It's always been a passion of mine, and now it's coming to fruition," said Spears, ArtSea's founder.
For young dancers wishing to avail themselves of the knowledge and talent that Spears will bring to the country, the late registration deadline of $150 per person cuts off today. The price includes all the activities for the weekend. To register online visit www.artseadance.org; email artseadance@gmail.com.
Spears will bring incredible talent to town for the convention, including Renee Robinson, a former principle dancer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, who just happens to be an idol of Courtney Celeste Spears. Robinson will lend her incredible talent to helping Spears stage her first ArtSea convention, which will be dedicated to helping aspiring young dancers cultivate their talent and recognize the potential in pursuing a professional dance career.
Joining Robinson will be fellow dancers Gabriel Hyman (modern), who, with Spears, is in his second season with Ailey II; Larissa Gerszke (ballet), who is with Complexions Contemporary Ballet; Courtney Ross, who is with Ron K. Brown's EVIDENCE: A Dance Company; and Shannen O'Neill (jazz), who is currently on her first voyage as a dancer on the Regent Seven Seas Explorer where she performs Broadway shows.
ArtSea will be held June 24-25 at the British Colonial Hilton for dancers aged eight to 23.
The program's objective is to provide students with the tools to build their self-confidence and give them applicable knowledge in pursuing a professional dance career.
Four genres of dance will be addressed at ArtSea -- ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip hop.
Spears said young dancers should come ready to dance for the duration of the ArtSea convention and to be inspired.
"I'm getting so excited as ArtSea nears," said Spears. "ArtSea is something that I've always wanted to do. It's always been a passion of mine, and now it's coming to fruition. It's an honor for me to share my passion with The Bahamas and continue in bringing the dance community together. I want the youth of The Bahamas to have a weekend they will never forget, and learn how far dance can take them. The exposure they will get from this workshop is unlike anything they can imagine. Dancing has taken me all over the world, and I believe that ArtSea can truly change lives."
Spears' ability to bring the legendary Robinson to Bahamian shores means that local dancers will get the opportunity to work with a former principle dancer who has a stellar resume and has worked with many renowned choreographers -- Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Donald McKayle, Judith Jamison, Ulysses Dove, Jerome Robbins, Bill T. Jones, Garth Fagan, Katherine Dunham, Hans Van Manen and Carmen de Lavallade.
"We are pleased to welcome the legendary Ms. Renee Robinson, former company member with The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, to The Bahamas. She is a global icon in the dance industry, and we are ecstatic to have her share her knowledge with us."
Robinson's resume also includes dance training in classical ballet at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet, the School of American Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and The Ailey School.
Her televised performances include the Kenney Center Awards; United States President Bill Clinton's first inauguration; the Bill Cosby Special on Alvin Ailey, and on the PBS special "A Hymn for Alvin Ailey".
In 2003 Robinson also performed at the White House State Dinner in honor of the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki.
During their 2006 season, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater celebrated Robinson's 25th year with the company; her tenure was the longest of any female dancer in the company's history.
Bahamian dancers will get to work with Robinson, who upon her retirement was the last company member to have worked with The Ailey Company's founder, Alvin Ailey. She was also the only dancer to have performed with all three of the company's artistic directors (inclusive of Artistic Director Emeritus Judith Jamison and Jamison's successor, Robert Battle).
Robinson is currently on faculty at Yale University.
Participants in the ArtSea workshop will learn dance classroom etiquette, technical dance skills, teamwork, communication skills, body awareness, injury-prevention and how to process dance college applications.
College consultant Tracy Miller as well as physical therapist Sheyi Ojofeitime will also conduct ArtSea workshops.
Miller, who is the operations and marketing manager at Parsons Dance Foundation and responsible for all daily and project management, digital and print marketing, donor relations, and event planning, will host a dancing in college seminar.
"I got a full scholarship for college through dance," said Spears. "And a lot of them and their parents didn't even know that is an option."
Ojofeitime, the senior physical therapist at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, who is responsible for providing onsite and tour physical therapy services to dancers and staff, will conduct a body and wellness workshop. Dancers are asked to bring their yoga mats with them.
During the workshop, Spears said young dancers will learn how to maintain the health of their body to prevent injuries and encourage longevity in their careers.
"As dancers, we use our bodies so strenuously, and a lot of the dancing industry is knowing how to take care of your body and being able to take care of your body on your own," she said.
Spears said the quality faculty that she has been able to put together to come to New Providence for ArtSea is an honor.
"We are excited to be welcoming Gabriel Hyman, Larissa Gerszke, Courtney Ross and Shannen O'Neill, all young professionals currently succeeding in the dance industry," she said.
A final performance showcase will allow the artists to display what they learned during the ArtSea convention.
Spears said ArtSea is her way of reaching young people. She describes dance as the "beautiful vessel" she has been provided to be able to give back.
"I feel that this is what God has called me to do. We have to always remember that the young generation is the future of The Bahamas and the world, and I feel that my vessel through which to give back and share is through dance. And Nassau is home for me. I feel so alive when I'm there. My family is there. My culture ... my roots are there, so I've always felt extra passionate about trying to bring back all that I've learned and all that I know from being in the States to the place that I call home."
Spears, a Baltimore, Maryland native, is the daughter of the former D'Andrea Sweeting-Cary.
When ArtSea takes place, Spears's two-year run with Ailey II, one of the most popular modern dance companies, will have come to an end and she will commence the next chapter in her dance career -- auditioning for other companies.

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HBO Renews Original Comedies Silicon Valley and Veep
HBO Renews Original Comedies Silicon Valley and Veep

May 26, 2017

HBO has renewed its original comedy series Silicon Valley and Veep for a fifth and seventh season, respectively. The new seasons for both programs will premiere in 2018...

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Durelle Art History

May 26, 2017

The Bahamas: Forgotten History" an art exhibition, takes viewers on a journey through history, with periodic stops allowing the viewer to pay attention to aspects that have contributed to the country's cultural and social development. Artist Durelle Williams touches on quiet island moments, the vibrancy of Junkanoo, and the iconic historical moment when the Opposition Leader Lynden Pindling tossed the mace -- the symbol of the speaker's authority -- through a window of the House of Assembly, on April 27, 1965, which became known as Black Tuesday.
With this solo exhibition that runs through Friday, June 9 at The Ladder Gallery, at the New Providence Community Center on Blake Road, Williams launches himself onto the art scene with hopes of finding a firm footing. In the meantime, he manages Uprising Studios, which houses his tattoo parlor and creative space.
Williams, 30, in his formative years indulged in his passion for art, having participated in art camps at the then College of The Bahamas. That passion led him to pursue studies at the Academy of Art, San Francisco, where he completed a Bachelor of Fine Art.
His goal is to be able to do what he loves while being able to support himself financially. In his 10-year vision, he envisions staging an annual art exhibition. He can also see himself painting and working on animation. Ultimately, in the next decade he says he will still be sending messages with his art.
This first exhibition he said is just the beginning.
Williams is doing what he loves.
"Being talented is a gift and it absolutely gives me an obligation to create. It's all love though. I do what I do because I love it. It feels like art is one thing that cannot be controlled and I don't like the control that some people have over others. I control my art. I make it up. It is a freedom from within," he said.
And it isn't the money that drives him to create and keeps him going.
"Right now it's the chase of success, and the desire to leave a legacy. It's doing my part as an artist, as a contribution to society. It's inspiring other artists and potential artists."
His dream project has him creating an animated film.
"A picture is worth 1,000 words and an animation is worth so much more. I've worked on a few, and I have some ideas for what I want."
As an artist he says he's "a voice and an up-and-coming artist who is versatile, persistent and wants to leave his footprint".
As a man Williams says he is straight forward, easygoing, accepting, and a loving person who likes to have fun, loves work and, of course, the conversation always returns back to the fact that he loves art.
His favorite medium to work with is digital, because he says it allows him to do everything -- paint, sketch, ink and create graphics.
"Digital offers freedom that facilitates my versatility. Digital is closely followed by actual pen ink and paper. I find that this brings a drawing to life."
As for his process, he said it varies depending on what he's creating. He said he doesn't have a routine.
As for what he enjoys doing most, he said all of it, but that it depends on what he's inspired by at that time.
"It's equal. I can't say that I like one more than the other," said Williams.
Art enthusiasts may even be surprised to find out that he's moved and inspired by Japanese animation, and comic book artist Joe Madureira, who he says is a big inspiration for him, along with a number of his lecturers at the Academy of Art.
"You might have expected the Renaissance or one of those, but no. I do like [Michelangelo Merisi da] Caravaggio [Italian painter] and [Gian Lorenzo] Bernini [Italian sculptor] among others, but it was Japanese animation that really got me, to be honest."
With 15 days left in his first solo showing "The Bahamas: Forgotten History", his hope is that people will take away what he wants to impart and leave remembering the things they grew up thinking of and of the things that are Bahamian now -- new things that he says they don't think about because they are new.
"Things that we may not recognize until 10 years from now when they have been solidified, so to speak, when they become part of history, because we are evolving as a culture and have a new Bahamas."
It's an exhibition that's created from his perspective, but one that he says young and older Bahamians can relate to.
"These are my views that others may share but not know how to express. So this is a way to voice how some people feel without them having to put themselves out there. Younger and older Bahamians can relate to our history, and a lot of young Bahamians need to know certain things about our history, things that may sometimes be glossed over."
During his creation process, Williams said his emotions were all over the place, because some pieces were happy and others dark. He's interested in seeing how patrons react to his work.
As for his favorite piece, it changes depending on how he's feeling or what he's working on. He has a favorite in terms of the theme, and it's his Columbus piece.
He also did not form an emotional attachment to any of the pieces.
"I leave the emotion right there with the art. After it's done, that's it. It's a piece for the world. It's not for me anymore."
Williams, who says he wants to be an active part of the art movement in The Bahamas, says having his own show is his way of being involved. The content of his show are pieces he has created over the years and some newer ones as well. Some, he said, are themed and others not so much. He says this show is his art history.
In the meantime he paints while listening to music and creating his art at Uprising Studio, which he describes as his creative den, and at which he can put his all in.
And while he works to solidify himself in the art world, his advice to aspiring Bahamian artists is to not be afraid.
"Fear is one thing that holds us back, so go for it. Don't be afraid to get shot down -- you're gonna get shot down. Trust me, the doors close a lot. But you stay consistent and persistent and a door will open up," said Williams.

DURELLE WILLIAMS' ART EXHIBITION
The Bahamas: Forgotten History
When: Through Friday, June 9
Where: The Ladder Gallery, Blake Road

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Avvy takes carnival to Inagua

May 26, 2017

If you're still suffering with tabanca weeks after Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival wrapped up, then here's a way for you to get some semblance of that feeling back -- hop on a plane today and head down to Inagua, where Avvy is hosting ABCI (Avvy Brings Carnival to Inagua) 2017.
With performances by Avvy himself, Benji, Jack Nasty and Blaudy -- the Bahamian singing sensation kicks off the third edition of his Inagua carnival with sponsorship from BTC.
ABCI 2017 takes place May 26-29, with Ricardo Drue hosting the Beach Bliss party on Sunday, May 28 at the Out Town Beach with music by DJ Rev.
The Inagua native, who never forgot where he grew up and does whatever he can to promote his hometown, designed the parade to start at the Inagua airport and traverse the streets into town.
"We're trying to make things happen in Inagua. It's a town that's sometimes forgotten, so it's great to be able to mark the island as a fun place to be," said Avvy. "We promote our culture. We have plait poles, we have live Rake 'n' Scrape bands. We're probably the only island in The Bahamas where we can serenade you from the airport straight into town."
He said it is expected to be an explosion of culture, coupled with the country's best kept secret, which will create a unique experience with sponsorship from BTC. Avvy credits BTC with helping him broadcast the event.
"This gives us the opportunity to reach more people from and outside the island to come and be a part of this experience," said the Bahamian singer.
"This is the third year Avvy is hosting his carnival and we are again sponsoring this event," said BTC CEO Leon Williams. "We are committed to ensuring that our young Bahamians have the tools they need to unleash their limitless potential."

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Strachan's 'Honourable Member' takes on politics

May 26, 2017

Writer and director Ian Strachan is bringing a new play, "Honourable Member", to the stage from June 8-11 at the Dundas Centre's Winston V. Saunders Theatre.
Strachan's Ceiba Arts Theatre company made waves last year with "Gun Boys Rhapsody," a moving drama about crime and violence. This time he sets his sights on Caribbean politics. It's his fourth play set in the fictional nation of "I-Land".
The play is a portrait of a Caribbean prime minister, Winston "Fergie" Ferguson, played by Dion Johnson. Fergie is a master communicator and a wily veteran when it comes to outmaneuvering his rivals.
"I was blown away by Dion Johnson's performance in Sizwe Bansi is Dead," says Strachan. "The role of Winston Ferguson is extremely demanding. He's on stage for all but one scene. Dion has been up to the task. I think people will be truly floored by his performance."
"Honourable Member" also boasts a cast of acting talents -- Chigozie Ijeoma, Leslie Ellis-Tynes, Matthew Wildgoose and Greg Deane are some of the veterans bringing this comedy/drama to life.
"I know we just had a big election and people are eager to see the stories that have made big news in the country over the last few years raised on the stage," says Strachan. "They won't be disappointed. The play does touch on quite a few of the big headlines over the last five years. But people will also get a lot that they don't expect. I'm trying to tell a story that can stand on its own two feet long after this particular moment in our history. So it's a real story, with a beginning, middle and end. With a real, complicated hero, who's trying to achieve something hard. And if we do our jobs right, you will love him and hate him all at once."
Strachan says audiences will find lots to laugh at in this show, but that at the same time it deals with some very serious issues nonetheless. The play asks whether someone can really have power without being corrupt in one way or another, and whether the people really want a leader who tells the truth all the time.
"I think one of the main things I wanted to do with this piece is just address what I believe are some of the misconceptions people have about the way power really works in these third world micro-states. I have a history of being very critical of politicians. I tried very hard not to be as judgmental and to show the very human side of these individuals because they are human. They are flawed. And so are we the people."
The Ceiba Arts production of "Honourable Member" runs June 8-10 at 8 p.m. and June 11 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the Dundas Box Office. Telephone 393-3718 or 470-1963 or email ceibalearning@gmail.com.

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BTC Sponsors Avvy's Carnival
"BTC Sponsors Avvy's Carnival"

May 26, 2017

Bahamian singing sensation “Avvy” plans to launch his third Carnival in Inagua with the help of The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC)...

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The crazy returns

May 19, 2017

I've been to a number of plays in my lifetime and have been bored stupid -- sometimes to the point where I literally needed toothpicks to prop my eyelids open to make it through the night. Then last year came Gea Pierre's "Crazy Love". I went in skeptical and left having experienced almost every emotion imaginable.
I laughed.
I cried.
I celebrated.
I actually developed hate for some characters, as did many other patrons who couldn't help but shout their opinions to the characters onstage. Yup, you kind of forgot that they were just playing a part.
"Crazy Love" took you through all the intricacies that come with falling in love and the kind of things that develop or transpire. It was a little eccentric, a little off-balance, and for all generations. You got to see the beginning stages of love from the early 20s on up. It dealt with love, divorce, infidelity, miscommunication -- everything that could go wrong in love.
Did I say I laughed my head off?
And now one-year later, Pierre returns with "Crazy Love 2" -- and no ifs, ands or buts about it -- I'm there.
After nine sold-out shows in Grand Bahama, Pierre's "Crazy Love 2" is coming to New Providence next weekend, and from the feedback of the Grand Bahamians, they say that it's just as good -- if not better than part one.
"We definitely did not disappoint. The audience loved it as much as part one," said Pierre.
According to the playwright, even persons who didn't see part one are able to pick up on the storyline because it's written so that it's a separate play, but a continuation of the stories of the characters, and also opens new stories, which means that Pierre will be bringing part three to the stage.
"People who did not see part one that saw part two were able to pick up on the storyline."
The "Crazy Love 2" story picks up eight months after "Crazy Love" ended and reveals characters that have grown in interesting ways.
"We had the breakup of two main characters -- Barber and Keisha, so their relationship takes an interesting turn, and you see what happens there -- whether they end up together or not. We have Diva, who broke up with the guy who was treating her very poorly, and we may see her go back to him. We have other characters who had a wife last time, who still had a wife, who may not be with his wife this time. And we have three new character additions -- two females and a male -- who came to spice up these characters' lives in an unexpected way."
The cast is comprised of Donovan Munroe (Stephan), Remardo Russell (Barber), Evan Williams (Dboy), Matthew Wildgoose (Keith), Mark Gardiner (Craig), Andre Cartwright (Lil Reg), Kyla Andrews (Keisha), Alexis Pelecanos (Diva), Philcher Grant (Cassandra), Shorrell Dames (Vanessa), Ontario Richardson (Shawn), Antonique Rolle (Bri) and Mark Gardiner (Craig).
While part one tugged on every emotion and audience members could see pieces of themselves in almost every character, Pierre said to expect to run the gamut of emotions once again in "Crazy Love 2".
During the play's Grand Bahama run, Pierre said they had a lady in the audience who cried because she was so angry at what was going on onstage; because things had happened in her life. That lady, she said, took in the play three times.
"So I think this one is more gripping because it has more depth to it, so I'm extremely proud of the work I did, not only as a writer, but what these guys did as characters to get you involved in the emotion. We still bring a whole lot of laughter and that sort of thing, but there are still relevant, trendy, fun situations that happen. It's going to be interesting for the audience to see how the characters have grown up some."
Pierre believes "Crazy Love 2" is as good as part one.
She didn't write "Crazy Love" with the thought that there would be a part two and three, but wrote "Crazy Love 2" with the mindset that there would be a part three. She said people will see part three coming in the end of part two.
"It was just so many persons asked us about a part two, and when I thought about it, it was actually the only play that I've ever done that the characters could go on and I felt that I could continue to tell their story, so we got back into it."
Pierre wrote "Crazy Love 2" during Hurricane Matthew, and the resulting drama that she said is reflected in the show's plot that picks up right after the storm, is also a subliminal message about rebuilding and moving on, which Bahamians are very much known for.
It took Pierre approximately two weeks in the writing process, but a few weeks of going through the characters, punch lines and roles in her head.
"When I'm writing I always look for if it can make me feel something as a writer, then I know that I can somehow convey that same emotion to the audience."
As she prepares for a successful staging of "Crazy Love 2" in New Providence at the University of The Bahamas Performing Arts Centre, Friday, May 26 and Saturday, May 27 at 8 p.m. nightly, and Sunday, May 28 at 5 p.m., she said she is excited.
Pierre wrote her first production at age 15, and has 22 years of writing experience.
"I've written many plays over the years. I've been blessed in that they've all been very successful and very well-received. This one is a very different production for me in that it's more geared towards young people and relevant issues, and the success of it has been extremely overwhelming," she said.
"Crazy Love 3" is already in the can and will be brought to the stage in February, according to Pierre.
Pierre's "Crazy Love" won an Icon Award last year; "Crazy Love 2" has been nominated for an award.
Tickets for "Crazy Love 2" can be purchased at Airbrush Junkies, Mall at Marathon; and can be purchased for $35 VIP (wine included) and $25 general, $30 at the door. Free delivery on 10 or more tickets ordered via Whatsapp 5591542.

GEA PIERRE'S STAGE PLAY 'CRAZY LOVE 2'
When: Friday, May 26 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 27 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 28 at 5 p.m.
Where: University of The Bahamas Performing Arts Centre
Tickets: $35 VIP (wine included), $25 general admission, $30 at the door
Box office: Airbrush Junkies, Mall at Marathon

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Give a man a brush and watch him paint

May 19, 2017

A palette of acrylic, an airbrush, and his brushes are all Wedlear Eugene needs to make him happy. And he's turned what for him was once just a passion into a business, as owner of Eugene's Portrait Gallery.
Eugene, 19, couldn't be happier that his passion is now his job, and that he's now a sought-after artist with people clamoring to commission him for a portrait painting.
With the demand for his impressive portraits growing daily, he couldn't be happier that his passion is now his job. With the support of his family thrown behind him, Eugene turned his passion into his job and is happily producing his in-demand special commissioned pieces. And when he isn't working on a commissioned piece, you will find him in his workshop relaxing and painting whoever and whatever he feels like painting on any given day.
"Painting makes me feel calm," said the shy artist. "And when I do something it makes me feel happy that I can do a painting for someone in a different format."
The wowed reaction and satisfaction he gets from customers when he presents a finished piece makes him proud.
"The first thing they look at is the background -- then the painting of the face. When they look at it together, it wows them."
He has quite a number of commissioned works under his belt, but has also painted people he wants to paint for his own pleasure. The most famous person, in his estimation, that he has painted and presented with a portrait has been Tom Izzo, who coached Bahamian Lourawls "Tum Tum" Nairn Jr. at Michigan State University.
The teenager has also painted and presented fellow artists Jamaal Rolle and Stefan Davis with portraits he's painted of their likeness.
In his stable he has portraits of people such as former Bahamian NBA players Mychal Thompson and Rick Fox; football player Tom Brady; and baseball player Kris Bryant.
Rihanna, Beyonce, Wiz Khalifa, DC Young Fly, and on the local front, Sebas Sebastian are on his painting bucket list.
With Eugene in demand for his portraits, he's happy to have his family support him in his endeavor.
"One time ago, to be honest, when I wanted to pursue it, they [family] used to tell me to go look for a job, and I used to do that, but I wouldn't get any calls back, so I just planned on doing something for myself and this makes me happy. It's a job and I'm happy doing what I love."
Eugene's passion for art goes back to his childhood. As a six-year-old, he remembers drawing houses but developing other styles as he matriculated through junior school and high school, when he decided to take the craft more seriously as his talent became more evident with the encouragement and tutelage from a number of teachers.
Eugene works mainly with acrylics and sometimes oil paint in the production of his portraits.
The self-taught artist also makes use of technology in the process. He says he can work from a photo, but uses an app to get the drawing the way he wants it, before he adds the background and allows it to dry. He then draws the image on it and begins to paint.
Today it's hard to believe that a few years ago he said he couldn't even draw hands. "Hands are hard to draw," he said in a humble tone.
Eugene said a 24-inch by 36-inch portrait takes him approximately three days to finish, and he's chomping at the bit to work on a 40-inch by 60-inch portrait.
His twin brother is also artistically inclined, but unlike Eugene, he gave up on art and currently works two jobs; however, he lends his encouragement to Eugene.
Eugene says he doesn't understand why his twin gave up, because he can do multiple styles, including realism, colored pencils and shading.
The abstract artist says he believes God gave him his talent, because he doesn't know which family member he could have gotten it from.
To commission Eugene to produce a portrait, contact him at 809-0214 or Wedlear Eugene on Facebook, or on Instagram at art.unity_.
People wanting to commission a piece should give him notice, because due to his work schedule Eugene is very much in demand.

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Miss Haiti and former Miss World Bahamas make appearances at BTC sponsored Haitian Flag Day

May 19, 2017

Miss Haiti and Miss Universe first runner up Raquel Pelissier and former Miss World Bahamas Chantal O'Brien were among the members of the Haitian community in New Providence at the recent BTC sponsored Haitian Flag Day festivities.
It was a celebration Pelissier said was important, as many Haitians live outside their home country and they should be proud to know where they are from.
"I feel it's great that BTC gives Haitian Flag Day so much support," said Pelissier.
"It shows that there is a lot of support, especially for the Haitian community," said O'Brien. "We know that Haitians contribute a lot to the economy here in The Bahamas, so I feel like BTC's decision to take this up was a really good idea, and I think that the Haitian community can appreciate being able to call home and keep in touch."
Haitian Ambassador Jean Victor Geneus said BTC sponsorship was an important gesture as it showed how close BTC is to the Haitian community.
BTC CEO Leon Williams told patrons that they support the Haitian community in all their endeavors, not just on Flag Day, and that they would be their partner for life.
BTC will also sponsor the Haitian Flag Day celebration in Abaco this weekend.

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