Entertainment

The art before the storm

September 15, 2017

Visual artist Allan Wallace has been gaining renown since he began using Morton Salt to create hyper-realistic art pieces. In some cases Wallace also uses other seasonings, spices and miscellaneous items.
He recently took his company, Design Strong Studios, to Inagua to do a live salt art piece for Morton Salt and its employees. This was before Hurricane Irma caused major damage to the facility. The Morton Salt plant is the backbone of Inagua's economy and also suffered damage during the passage of Hurricane Matthew last year.
Wallace's salt art has captured he attention of the world, in particular some of his salt portraits of famous basketball players like Kobe Bryant and famous actors like Kevin Hart. Wallace has also done a salt art piece of former U.S. President Barack Obama.
Before t...

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'It' is so much more than a horror film

September 15, 2017

It (Rated C)
Cast: Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Dwight's Rating: Good

Often, real life can be scarier than your worst nightmares.
That's the message behind the new horror/thriller, "It". That's right! Message! Sure, "It" is frightening at times, with plenty of ghoulish images. But at its heart, this is a coming of age story, dealing with all the nonsense and often horrific things that children and teens have to endure as they grow up in this harsh world.
In "It", we follow seven young outcasts in the small town of Derry, Maine. They are about to face their worst nightmare - an ancient, shape-shifting evil spirit that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town's children. Banding together over the course of one hor...

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Film Premiere: So You Think You Is Woman Hey Gender Equality in The Bahamas
Film Premiere: "So You Think You Is Woman Hey? Gender Equality in The Bahamas

September 14, 2017

In a country overshadowed by tourists slogans of ‘sun, sand and sea’ proclaiming ‘It’s Better in the Bahamas,’ there exists a contrasting view of people’s daily lives and the struggles that map their existence as they grapple with complex social issues...

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Earth friendly footwear touches down in The Bahamas

September 07, 2017

Samba Sol, the eco-friendly Brazilian-based flip flops, debuted in The Bahamas stopping shoppers in their tracks at a pop-up event at Sabrina's upscale boutique nestled within the Lyford Cay Shopping Centre.
Inspired by the sun and the beach, Samba Sol flip flops are made with 100-percent recycled, biodegradable Brazilian rubber called bio rubber, which decomposes in five years, compared to the 700 years it takes synthetic rubber to give back to the earth.
"Samba-Sol is a perfect fit for The Bahamas," said company spokesperson Beau Beasley, who splits his time between New Providence and Miami.
"Biodegradable consumer products produce far less pollution. They aren't clogging up landfill sites. So it's a way for The Bahamas to do its part in the global effort to recycle and reuse material. Samba Sol is helping Mother Earth one fashionable step at a time. It's an easy, breezy lifestyle brand which ties effortlessly into that laid-back island way of life we all love."
Sabrina Lightbourn owner of the eponymous boutique expressed similar sentiments.
"These flip flops are perfect for our island lifestyle and I love when fashion, comfort and consumer responsibility combine into one."
Local resorts have stepped up eyeing Samba Sol flip flops as a natural fit for their trendy souvenir stores and hotel swag bags, that is, complimentary gifts to their elite guests.
In fact, Beasley had just filled an order for one major resort on the Cable Beach strip and was in discussions with several others.
"Hotels and our corporate clients love Samba Sol because it is customizable, we're able to place their name or logo on the product, and it's a genuinely thoughtful way to show appreciation. Our quality flip flops are so comfortable and durable they become a wardrobe staple so it's the perfect way to stay on your client's mind with every step they take."
A unique way for the brand to engage with existing clients and potential customers, Beasley expects to produce more pop-up experiences for the public to enjoy at upscale boutiques around New Providence, Abaco and Harbour Island, both for Samba Sol and for the resort wear clothing line Ramona LaRue by Arianne.
"The feedback so far has been tremendous in generating a lot of buzz," said Beasley.

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Women in Film Tribute 2017 December
Women in Film Tribute 2017 December

September 01, 2017

There is no better time to emphasis and position women in the forefront of the film industry and the Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF) is doing just that...

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Chasing the blond-haired, blue-eyed stunner

September 01, 2017

Chase Carter is a blond-haired, blue-eyed stunner, and she's a Bahamian who has been making a name for herself in the world of modeling.
Carter has been a part of Maybelline campaigns. She's worked for Victoria's Secret Pink, and has modeled for Ralph Lauren's fragrance line. She's even made it to Times Square -- three times. She also modeled for Nike for a year and a half, and was featured on the cover of their style guide.
Now her name is a household one at home, after being named the newest Sports Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit Rookie 2018 and doing her photo shoot at home.
Carter, 20, went to a casting call for SI in mid-May and didn't hear anything until August. She was told she was on hold (industry terminology meaning she wasn't guaranteed the job, but that the choice would be between her and another model) for a job in The Bahamas for SI Swimsuit.
"I was like they can't not pick the Bahamian -- that would be cruel, that would be mean. So I had my fingers crossed and didn't hear anything for three weeks. My agents knew straight away that it was confirmed, but they didn't tell me for three weeks. I came into my agency and everyone was around. They put the Sports Illustrated contract in front of me and I cried."
Carter was at home the next day shooting for SI.
The 5-foot-10 beauty described the experience as surreal.
"To be honest, I didn't really feel anything at that particular moment. I was a little numb. I didn't believe it was real."
The magnitude of what she was doing hit her during the actual shoot, as she was being photographed with a Bahamian flag. She recalled starting to tear up in that moment, when the realization of how special it was began to sink in.
"[It was] my first ever Sports Illustrated issue, in The Bahamas where I am from. So at that moment I was overwhelmed with emotion," she said.
The daughter of Mark and Denise Carter, Chase did not set out to be a model. As many stories of successful models can tell how those individuals were discovered while going about their daily lives, Carter was scouted by a random person.
She was 13 when a woman walked up to her in Sydney Airport in Australia. She told Carter she would introduce her to five agencies in New York. At that time, having just entered her teen years, Carter did not take the offer seriously, but the woman lived up to her word. Carter traveled to New York a couple of months after the encounter and met with a couple of agencies. She hit it off with IMG Models and signed a contract.
"The rest is history. I just went with it," she said.
"It kind of just happened. I didn't really pre-empt it, or nobody said, 'Oh, Chase is going to be a model'. I just started modeling just to make money, and one thing led to another, and it really took off. And I'm really blessed for how my career has gone so far."
Carter's agency, IMG, represents and manages some of the world's greatest sports figures and fashion icons. The agency manages the careers of a diverse roster of clients that include 15 of the 20 highest paid models as listed by Forbes, as well as some of the most groundbreaking influencers and advocates in the inclusive fashion space.
Carter said her career has been amazing ever since she signed.
As she looks to the future, she said she sees herself being more of a personality, than just a picture. She said she would even consider moving into non-scripted television or going into broadcasting like her grandfather, Sir Charles Carter, and continuing to do what her family does in The Bahamas, but on a different scale.
She already has her own blog, www.cheesestake.com, which she started because she enjoys writing and she loves sports.
"So why not get off my butt and actually show people I'm not just a model?" she said.
On her blog she mostly talks either football or basketball, as she's a huge NBA and NFL fan, but she's willing to tackle any issue that strikes her fancy.
Carter's favorite team is the Washington Redskins, and football is her favorite sport; her favorite player is the king himself -- LeBron James.
The self-professed sports nut played tennis, soccer, softball, and even threw the javelin in high school.
She said that if she could have a dinner with any three people in the world, they would be LeBron James, actor and comedian Kevin Hart and actor and professional wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
She said she would enjoy taking on The Rock in an arm wrestling competition for fun; she would listen to what Kevin Hart has to say about himself; and talk James' ears off about sports and how he gets picked on a lot.
Carter finished the last two years of her high school education online, and graduated from K-12 Online International Academy before moving to Australia for two months when she was 17, and then to Los Angeles for six months. She moved to New York just before her 18th birthday.
Her advice to teens looking to break into the modeling industry would be to wait until they are 16, simply because the industry has changed, and it's been a lot harder to get in when you're young.
"I started when I was 13 and went straight out into the deep end with it, but they have so many child permit laws nowadays, so just wait until you're 16. Grow up a little, get a little taller, and just get more of a mindset for it. Because it's hard. It's definitely tough. I wouldn't rush into it. You have your whole life to do it, nowadays," said Carter.

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sbe opens 10th Katsuya brand

September 01, 2017

Baha Mar debuted its newest culinary outlet, Katsuya, with a grand opening party and samurai sword ribbon cutting ceremony for family, friends and invited guests.
Close to 300 guests attended the event, including Katsuya's master sushi Chef Katsuya Uechi; Baha Mar President Graeme Davis; Minister of Tourism Dionisio D'Aguilar; and Carole Radziwill, journalist, author and television personality.
The restaurant, featuring modern Japanese cuisine, is joining the resort's diverse collection of global culinary offerings. Showcasing the dynamic pairing of Katsuya Uechi and design impresario Philippe Starck, Katsuya Baha Mar is centrally located on the casino floor and is sbe's first concept to open at the luxury resort destination.
Sam Nazarian established sbe in 2002. It is a privately held, leading lifestyle hospitality company that develops, manages and operates award-winning hotels, residences, restaurants and nightclubs.
Through exclusive partnerships with cultural visionaries, sbe is devoted to creating extraordinary experiences throughout its proprietary brands with a commitment to authenticity, sophistication, mastery and innovation. Following the acquisition of Morgans Hotel Group, the pioneer of boutique lifestyle hotels, sbe has an unparalleled global portfolio featuring over 20 world-class lifestyle hotel properties in nine gateway markets and more than 136 global world-renowned hotels, entertainment and food and beverage outlets.
The company is uniquely positioned to offer a complete lifestyle experience -- from nightlife, food and beverage and entertainment to hotels and residences, as well as through its innovative customer loyalty and rewards program.

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'Kidnap' is gimmicky, but better than expected

September 01, 2017

Kidnap (Rated C)
Cast: Halle Berry, Sage Correa, Lew Temple, Chris McGinn
Genre: Thriller
Dwight's Rating: Not bad

"Idle hands are the Devil's workshop" -- or "playthings", or "tools", or "the Devil makes work for idle hands".
You've probably heard numerous variations of that well-known saying, rooted in scripture. There are also warnings about idle minds.
But what of idle eyes at the end of a long hot summer? With few even halfway-decent options in local theaters right now, many may find themselves observing some things they had no intention of ever seeing.
We're at that horrible point that comes every year -- the end of August; the end of the summer movie period; Labour Day weekend in the US; and the final weekend before public schools reopen here in The Bahamas. The assumption is that nobody's got time for the movies!
As such, things are pretty bleak! Last week's major release is a movie I'd have to be paid to watch. So that's a "no thank you very much" to "Birth of the Dragon". (Perhaps I'll catch it on one of our local TV stations a month or so after all Internet, cable and satellite services cease operations following the apocalypse.)
This weekend ain't lookin' good right now either, as no new films are premiering in local theaters today. And with the opening of the NFL season on Thursday, next weekend is looking like a dud too.
No one would fault you for seriously considering reading the dictionary or the phone directory instead of seeing most of what's left amongst the tumbleweeds right now at the cinema. But if you need a couple hours in a cool, dark room, away from the back-to-school madness, there are shockingly many things worse than spending some time with Halle Berry in "Kidnap".
Yes, you may recall a few weeks ago when Halle Berry's latest thriller "Kidnap" failed to make it here locally on its U.S. release date. I wrote that it was probably for the best, as it seemed destined to be on heavy rotation soon on "Lifetime" (or its even crueler sister network "Lifetime Movies", the former "LMN"). Like a dominatrix, these networks seem only to derive pleasure from movies inflicting torture or mental anguish on poor, innocent women. ("Kidnap" appeared primed to become a network signature feature.)
Alas, it did make it here one week later. And here I am, two weeks after that date, now reviewing it. "Kidnap" is still largely a Lifetime-grade flick, but it is does do reasonably well as a thriller, albeit one that is filled with some very convenient obstacles in the way of our heroine.
Berry plays single mother Karla Dyson. A typical afternoon in the park turns into a nightmare when kidnappers snatch her young son Frankie. With no cellphone and no time to wait for police, Dyson jumps into her car to follow the vehicle that holds Frankie. As the pursuit turns into a frantic, high-speed chase, Karla must risk everything and push herself to the limit to save her beloved child.
Yes, you read right. No cellphone! And yes, the movie is set in modern times. The reason is not implausible, as you'll see. But again, how very convenient! Seemingly everything that could go wrong goes wrong. Thankfully, the writing gods had some mercy on poor Karla, and she was spared having to deal with a swarm of bees, or plague of locusts, an accidental release of SARS, or a dinosaur attack. But probably just barely!
Then, however, there are Karla's very own bad decisions. We can understand that the kidnapping of a child is a truly frightening and horrific circumstance, but would one entirely lose all sense of reason and good judgment so quickly?
Those types of questions, and "what in God's name is she doing?", will persist throughout the movie. But as "thrillers" go, "Kidnap" does elicit some screaming and shouting at the screen, and some jumping, dodging, ducking during some fairly decent highway chase scenes. And in what is sad indictment of the career of an Oscar-winning actress, this is one of Berry's better performances in recent years.
"Kidnap" is gimmicky, but I was expecting a whole lot worse. And if you're desperate for something to see -- and even if you are not desperate -- this certainly beats sitting in traffic or standing in a long line for back-to-school supplies.
Unfortunately, with no new films this week, no "Game of Thrones" on TV, the start of the Fall TV season still weeks away, a whole week before the start of the NFL season, and no sports other than baseball to watch, just what will these idle eyes be forced to view over the next few days?
Pray for me!

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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The show goes on

August 25, 2017

In the words of deceased Bahamas National Youth Choir (BNYC) founder and director, Cleophas Adderley, the show must go on. Knowing that he had to put a plan in place to ensure the continuance of the BNYC at the standard that had been set, Adderley began mentoring former chorister Dexter Fernander. In 2013, he named Fernander the choir's assistant director. With the passing of Adderley in July, Fernander has stepped up into the role of interim director, until such time as the new director is appointed, with the knowledge that Adderley would want the show to go on.
"He always said the performance must go on. I always go back to when his mother (Helen Bailey Adderley) passed, and we were in concert season; and it took a lot of strength for him to, every night, get up on that stage and perform. And when people called me to ask whether we were still going to Cuba [after he passed], I just kept remembering that he would always say we must perform. We must present. We must be professionals at all times. So in his honor, we did the trip to Cuba, which was tough. But we took along two of his sisters, Sue "Auntie Sue" Adderley and Carmen Bostwick, to have that support of him there, but not really being there, every time we opened our mouths."
Fernander is grateful for the four-year mentoring period he had to understudy Adderley, now that he has assumed the interim leadership role until such time as a new director is named.
Adderley was appointed BNYC director by the country's first prime minister, Sir Lynden Pindling.
"One thing I appreciated, I can say, is the support system Mr. Adderley had. Moving into being an assistant showed how much time is needed in producing the final product. A lot of people don't understand the sacrifices Mr. Adderley had to give up -- of his time, his talent, his home -- because he not only had to be a choir director, he had to be an administrator."
During the past four years, Fernander said he had to learn to be a tailor, just as Adderley had; he had to learn to figure out what would look best with certain lighting. He said Adderley also served as choir choreographer.
"He was a coordinator for events, so I had to get into that type of brain of understanding how things would look on stage, getting used to late night calls as an idea came to mind, writing music, how to secure music, even the administration of the choir and finding ways to photocopy music for 45 people. Finding out whether people ate that day... you've got to get into their social lives. And then you have to plan programs, and find mentors to speak into their lives, prepare them for the next level, and make sure they're putting steps in place to attain their goals. So it was me stepping away from being a chorister and understanding the intricacies of what made the choir happen. Mr. Adderley made the trips seem easy, but he had a way of going out there and getting people to sponsor the choir. The members only pay a deposit, which secures them on the trip, but all of the trip is funded by our sponsors and those who come out to watch our events."
Fernander, a baritone and pianist, joined the BNYC in the fall of 1994, where he sang for five years before leaving to pursue tertiary education. He studied management, economics and finance. Upon returning home in 1999 he rejoined the choir -- seeing as he was still youthful -- but soon left again to follow personal goals.

Adderley seeks him out
It was in 2013 that he received a telephone call from Adderley who told him he needed to return home. He did. Adderley began mentoring Fernander, who learned the ins and outs and the mechanics of the institution. He said he stayed to help the next generation.
"I was there to help, assist and to strengthen the sections," he said.
Whether he will be named the choir's next director, he says, is a "gray area".
"I do not want to appoint myself as the director, so we are just getting clarification on that moving forward. I am the interim director."
In moving forward he is ensuring that the choir does not fall by the wayside, and is presently shortlisting the choir's potential travel for next year.
"This time is our administrative time, so we are ordering our theory books, and preparing for our Christmas concert, which will be in [Adderley's] honor," he said.
The choir's first instance of ensuring Adderley's legacy remains intact was its trip to Cuba after his death. Fernander said it was a trip and performance that Adderley had planned, and which they had hoped he would have been able to make with them. He said the choir executed, even though Adderley had succumbed to his illness.
Fernander was also grateful to Bishop Laish Boyd and the Anglican Diocese, who reached out to give grief counseling to the choir's members after Adderley's death.
"Grief counseling was needed because we were there through the transition, so we were grateful to the rectors who came and assisted with the youth."
Approximately seven weeks after Adderley's death, Fernander said the choir is now getting back into action mode and preparing for auditions the second week in September at St. John's College auditorium. The BNYC is also preparing for its concert season, which is always the first week before Palm Sunday.
Its members are also brainstorming how best they can celebrate Adderley's life. One such way they will do so is including a song Adderley wrote called "Parting", for his graduation class of 1972 from The Government High School in their repertoire. "Parting" speaks to sweet sorrow.
"It was the last number that we did for his funeral, and we are going to make that a song for the choir. So every year, it will be our Glee Club number, so that every member would understand the institution, who was our founder, how we will preserve Bahamian folk songs; and wherever we are in the world, we will connect with this song. And so we are preparing with that, and want to do a remix of the 'Celebrate' CD and are working on that."

Moving forward
As he serves as interim director, moving forward, Fernander said he wants to be creative.
"I want to think outside of the box... how can we merge the generations? A lot of people like the folklore music, and then there are individuals who come to our show and we give them a little Beres Hammond or some new current music. They want to see that mesh of the different generations. We want to see how we can bridge the gap and keep the culture alive.
"We want an environment where people can come into a clean environment and hear Bahamian music. I always wanted to sing the song 'Profiling in the Party' -- but that's a challenge, going out and looking for clean music that's targeted for youth, but that does not have sexual connotations underneath it. 'Mr. Bus Driver I ain't getting off', 'back up generator', what are we talking about? 'I saw a roachie, centipede, she jump'... so it's looking for good songs that don't have a major sexual connotation, but stick to our roots. And also we want to introduce the Junkanoo fusion so that we also have the diaspora, moving into music from [other Caribbean countries]."
Fernander is also hoping to get Bahamian designers involved with the choir via a competition, by having them submit designs for costumes, allowing them to infuse Bahamian designers into the national choir.
He's also hoping to host workshops with Family Island choirs to ensure higher standards by choirs at the arts festival.
From chorister to assistant director and now interim director, Fernander thanked the choir's patrons for their support, and said he looks forward to more patrons assisting with the choir.
In a self-help attempt, the BNYC has established a gofundme account to raise $35,000 to assist with the choir's general overhead costs that include costumes, learning materials, performance expenses and international travel. The account was established on August 7. As of yesterday $400 had been raised.
The BNYC is described as a national cultural institution.
The BNYC has won a number of awards -- two gold medals at the seventh World Choir Games in 2012 (champion category -- scenic folklore; champion category -- show choir); they were silver medalists in the classical category. They took two silver medals at the fifth World Choir Games in 2008 in the open category -- mixed chamber choir, and the open category -- folklore. In 2008 there were first place winners at the 37th International Youth and Music Festival.

Choir's role
More important than the awards won, it was Adderley's hope that choir members would take away the importance of national service, sacrifice and discipline; the importance of love for the divine; the importance of learning to work together with other people and the importance of trying to be the best people they could be in life, no matter what field or where in life they found themselves.
To that end, the 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, he or she has to call in advance or face being fined -- a $5 fine that has not changed since 1990.
Adderley said discipline was important, because the choir members were training to be ambassadors. He said when the choir travels to foreign countries, people don't just see individuals, they see The Bahamas. He said if the members don't give their best and show the country in the best light possible, every Bahamian would be judged by the experience the public had with the choir members.
Fernander has also established an interim administrative board with an independent accountant for the 2017--2018 period to look at any contracts for their tour, and to ensure they adhere to any binding clauses.
Adderley 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 and 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. They gave their only performance at the old Poinciana Arena on Bernard Road. After that performance, the choir disbanded.
In 1990, seven years after the initial choir, Adderley restarted the BNYC to prepare for the quincentennial anniversary of Columbus' arrival, in 1992. The choir comprised of 40 people.
The rest is history when it came to the national choir for youth between the ages of 15 and 27.
Since 1990, people who 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 music include the likes of recording artist Sonovia "Novie" Pierre, a former Miss Talented Teen; and Ericka "Lady E" Symonette, another recording artist.

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It's a fantastic Friday

August 25, 2017

The wait is over! Fantastic Friday the hottest end-of-month party to be had on the island, bar none is the place to be at the end of your work day this afternoon. And organizers have definitely turned up the heat with this edition dubbed Houston Nights.
Bahamasair has teamed up with the Fantastic Friday crew -- Star 106.5 FM, the British Colonial Hilton and Visage -- to launch its newest non-stop twice-weekly flight to Houston, Texas which they will do at tonight's event. And one person will walk away from this must-attend party with a four-day, three-night hotel stay to Houston.
Outdoors the temperature is definitely hot, and Fantastic Friday is definitely the hottest party around. Tonight's edition will definitely be a scorcher. And Visage, one of the most energetic bands in the country, will continue to do what it does best -- turn the house out.
Fantastic Friday Houston Nights takes place in the Governor's Ballroom at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person and includes one drink.
With music by DJ CRX, the question is whether you will be able to handle the heat at the event.
It's at Fantastic Fridays that you can dance to your favorite old school soca tunes and some of the most popular Bahamian hits while you release work tensions from the past month.
"We would like everyone to come out, because we want to give them a taste of Texas on that night," said Woodrow "Woody" Wilson, Bahamasair's senior manager of sales and marketing.
Bahamasair will launch the Houston service at Fantastic Friday with an introductory rate for the first two months of $575, inclusive of taxes. The airline will take over Fantastic Fridays for three months -- August, September and October -- with the Houston Nights edition, in preparation for its November schedule, featuring twice weekly flights departing New Providence on Sundays and Wednesdays at 4 p.m., with return flights on Mondays and Thursdays at 8 a.m.
"We're partnering with hotels and they are excited about the prospect of Bahamians coming into the area. I sat down with them and told them of our love for shopping," said Wilson. "Houston also has some amazing hospitals, and I found out they have an excellent cancer center down there as well, so there's a lot to do going into Houston."
With the introduction of the Houston route, Wilson said Bahamasair is in the midst of launching its expansion into new markets outside of south Florida. He could find no better way to launch it than at Fantastic Friday.
"This is the beginning, but it's going to be one step at a time. We're looking to start non-stop flights to Chicago, as well, in November," said Wilson.
Partnering with Star 106.5 FM and Fantastic Friday to launch the service was akin to the perfect marriage for Bahamasair.
Everyone knows that Fantastic Friday is the monthly hot party ticket. Principals have spoken about being pleasantly surprised at the crowds at past events. They were floored as the patronage continued to increase, which forced them to throw open the doors from Bullion to the hotel's lawn, for the overflow.
"It's really become a wonderful event," said Visage leader Obi Pindling, after their first year anniversary. "I think all of us are now looking back at each other and saying, 'Why haven't we been doing this all along?' It's grown that big."
Fantastic Fridays was actually the brainchild of Pindling, who approached the hotel principals with the idea in December 2012, after they had played at the Hilton's corporate Christmas event. Pindling said they received many compliments as well as comments from the people who attended that the band should consider playing on a regular basis at the venue. He approached the Hilton with the idea of the happy hour event. It was an idea they liked, but at that time the ducks did not line up in a row. Visage played the Hilton's corporate Christmas event again at the end of 2013, and after the same response from patrons Pindling pitched his idea again. That time the stars aligned.
They discussed it throughout January 2014. Pindling contacted Star 106.5 FM programming director Tony Williams to see if the radio station would be interested in getting in on the event. He hoped it would fill that entertainment void for "grown folks" looking for a nice, cozy, comfortable, classy venue, where they could have after-work drinks on a Friday and dance to good music -- old school rake 'n' scrape and soca -- and just have a good time. Williams loved the idea, and Star 106.5 FM was on board.
Pindling has described the happy hour social event as the greatest five hours every month in local entertainment.
Fantastic Friday Houston Nights takes place August 25 in the Governor's Ballroom at the British Colonial Hilton Hotel. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 and include one drink per person.

Houston Nights -- A special edition of Fantastic Fridays
Featuring: Visage
When: Friday, August 25
Where: Governor's Ballroom, British Colonial Hilton Hotel
Time: Doors open at 6 p.m.
Admission: $20 includes one drink
Enter to win a four-day, three-night trip, inclusive of with hotel accommodation, to Houston, Texas.

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Reynolds and Jackson sparkle in the entertaining but unrealistic and violent 'The Hitman's Bodyguard'

August 25, 2017

The Hitman's Bodyguard (Rated C)
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Gary Oldman
Genre: Action Adventure Comedy
Dwight's Rating: Not bad

Unbelievably unrealistic! Unspeakably violent! And astoundingly unquotable!
All of this, yet the new action comedy "The Hitman's Bodyguard" is also awfully entertaining, mainly and especially when we're seeing Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson -- a superbly dynamic duo, who sparkle together as the ultimate bickering "frenemies".
When they are together, it's screen magic, and you'll wish to see more of them, as they make this film watchable despite some major flaws with its preposterous premise.
Reynolds plays the world's top protection agent, and he's called upon to guard the life of his mortal enemy, one of the world's most notorious hit men (Jackson). The relentless bodyguard and manipulative assassin have been on the opposite end of the bullet for years and are thrown together for a wildly outrageous 24 hours. During their journey from England to The Hague, Netherlands, they encounter high-speed car chases, outlandish boat escapades and a merciless Eastern European dictator (Gary Oldman) who is out for blood.
Reynolds cemented his reputation for snarky, sarcastic comedy last year as the star of the monster hit "Deadpool". Here, he plays a much more buttoned-down, anal-retentive version of that Wade Wilson character -- much like the smart-mouth individuals he often plays. And Samuel Jackson has made a career of sharp-tongued, caustic, big personality types. He's thrown them all into this picture.
These two were both either made for these roles or these roles were made for them! And it's an amazing combination.
At first, they are in separate settings. But the moment these archenemies see each together for the first time, the film kicks into high gear. The best part being the wacky conversations -- verbal sparring, relaying stories about their past, giving love advice (yes, that right!). It's fun times!
Also loads of fun: an extremely potty-mouthed Salma Hayek playing Jackson's very violent wife. It's disturbing, but mostly delightful, to see Hayek (who turns 51 next month!) spew out the most vile words in both English and Spanish -- that as-strong-as-ever Mexican accent adding to the uncomfortable hilarity.
That's what "The Hitman's Bodyguard" gets right -- the study of these three lead characters. There're some interesting foot and car chase scenes as well, and some beautiful images of parts of Europe.
But when Reynolds/Jackson or Hayek aren't on the screen, there are real problems. Even the usually dynamic Gary Oldman as the dictator (for some reason, poor Belarus is named as the country he's oppressing) is reduced to a cartoon villain.
The plot is simply too far-fetched. A whole lot of effort is being wasted to eliminate a star witness in an international war tribunal, yet that seems to mean very little to the international community. And in these attempts to terminate that witness, the level of destruction is ridiculous.
Yes, this is an action movie, but my goodness, beautiful, idyllic Amsterdam and The Hague are reduced to rubble, with countless explosions, mass casualties, and all out warfare in those narrow European streets! One of the bad guys even whips out a rocket-launcher! In the middle of town? Yet, this is still not enough to convince the International Court of Justice that somebody has something to hide? Huh?
But even more shocking -- throughout all of this madness, there's not one sign of law enforcement anywhere, besides a couple of Interpol agents. Nowhere along the miles and miles of destroyed city on the car chase route, and nowhere along the river during the car/boat chase! Nothing! Just innocent bystanders struggling to dodge bullets and out-of-control SUVs!
The film actually plays this for laughs during at least one point. But one wonders, what would the police officers be doing in The Netherlands that would keep them so occupied from getting to the bottom of the annihilation of two prominent cities? Perhaps partaking in some of the infamous freedoms for which the Dutch are now internationally known?
All of this may seem like nitpicking to some. But for me, it reduces a film with some very entertaining moments to simply a bizarre live-action animated flick. This, along with some fun-to-watch but highly implausible fighting scenes, asks us to suspend all sense of reality just a tad too much.
It's happening quite a lot with "action" films now. And it seems soon we will need to apply a "sci-fi" or "fantasy" moniker to movies like this, and others like "The Fast and The Furious" franchise.
Of course, there are those among us who are quick to dismiss a movie based on comic-book superheroes because they can't accept the notion of a superhuman or mutant in tights fighting evil forces. But some of those same folks will find it perfectly acceptable that two regular people will drive their individual cars off parallel bridges so they can collide in mid-air in the ultimate automotive duel. Hmmm! Which one is more out of touch with reality?
But if this is what the action film is coming to, so be it! At least with "The Hitman's Bodyguard", Reynolds' and Jackson's verbal duels are enough to cancel out all the loud, gory, violent nonsense.

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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One Blood XVI: Concepts hosts summer reggae throwback party

August 25, 2017

It will be a treat for reggae lovers old and young as Concepts hosts its annual summer edition old school reggae party, One Blood XVI, with deejays Selector Ty and Selector 3D, taking reggae lovers down memory lane, spinning old school tunes from the likes of Bob Marley, Freddie McGregor, Half Pint, Dennis Brown and Barrington Levy.
One Blood XVI: A Summer Old Skool Party will be held tonight at Smugglers, the courtyard of The Pirates Museum on George Street. In keeping with the theme, patrons are encouraged to don an "irie" casual feel in red, gold and green.
The One Blood parties are the brainchild of reggae lover Leah Davis. The initial intention was to host a party that she herself would attend. The demand grew and the events began to fill a gap in the entertainment market for the 25-plus crowd looking for a safe night out with good people and good vibes. The event fills the niche for an enjoyable night out for a mature crowd filled with good vibes and nostalgia.
"I have been hosting old school reggae parties since 2004; the first ones were called A Reggae Flashback and were hosted at Pirates of Nassau. The events have had several homes, but regardless of the venue, has consistently delivered a musical experience specifically for lovers of old school reggae and dub," she said.
Given the genre and era of the music, Davis said the event targets "a wide cross-section of reggae lovers, young and young at heart."
"This event is always a safe and 'irie' experience that my patrons have grown accustomed to and look forward to twice annually. It will be a fun musical experience where guests will hear songs they have not heard since way back when, laugh and dance the night away," she said.
Admission is $15; doors open at 9 pm.

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It's going to be a 'Guitar Fantasy' kind of weekend

August 25, 2017

Master guitarists Fred Ferguson, Pat Carey, Dave Mackey, Rocky Saunders and Dr. Harold Munnings will take to the stage for Guitar Fantasy, an evening of exceptional entertainment.
Husband and wife singing duets Paul and Tanya Hanna, and Clinton Crawford and Naomi Taylor-Crawford, as well as Nikki Carter and Ronnie Butler will join the impressive lineup of musicians for the Saturday, August 26 performance.
Bassist Doug Wimbish's set is anticipated to bring a whole different groove to the evening.
"Be warned: this will be epic. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes," said event organizer Alpheus Finlayson, who is hosting the performance in recognition of his 70th birthday. "We will play, sing, dance, sway, tap our feet, clap our hands and jam out when all the musicians hit the stage for a sensational explosion of music."
Guitar Fantasy will be held at Pirates of Nassau, King and George Streets, on Saturday, August 26 at 8 p.m.
The idea of a guitar fantasy event came to Finlayson after a visit to the famous BB King Blues Club in New York 15 years ago. He was inspired to hold the same type of event at home.
As he prepared to celebrate his promised threescore and 10, he felt the time was right to check it off his bucket list. For the past seven months he has planned and prepared for what he expects to be an evening of musical mastery and an experience he won't forget as he fulfills his fascination with the enchanting sounds of the guitar.
Guitar Fantasy will fulfill Finlayson's fascination with the sounds of the guitar. Making his dream come true will be Ferguson, leader of Tingum Dem Band and former member of Baha Men; Pat Carey and Dave Mackey, who both played with the T-Connection Band; and Wimbush, a bassist who backed the Sugar Hill Gang, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five and the black rock band, Living Colour. He is also Finlayson's nephew.
Proceeds from Guitar Fantasy will aid St. George's Anglican Church.
Tickets are $150 for VIP preferred seating with two complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres, and general seating is $100. Box offices are at The Seventeen Shop and St. George's Anglican Church.

A celebration of music: the line-up
Featured artists
Doug Wimbish, bassist;
Guitarists Fred Ferguson, Dave Mackey, Pat Carey, Rocky Saunders and Harold Munnings;
Guest vocalists
Ronnie Butler;
Paul and Tanya Hanna;
Naomi Taylor;
Nikki Carter;
Accompanied by The Vice Versa Band
Clinton Crawford, keyboard;
Adrian D'Aguilar, upright bass;
Kevin Dean, drummer;
Ralph Munnings, alto sax;
Dion Turnquest, tenor sax;

When: Saturday, August 26
Where: Pirates of Nassau, King and George Streets
Time: 8 p.m.
Tickets: Tickets are $150 VIP preferred seating with two complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres, and general seating is $100.
Box offices: The Seventeen Shop and St. George's Anglican Church.
Proceeds will aid St. George's Anglican Church.

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Morgan Freeman to be Honored with 2017 SAG Life Achievement Award
Morgan Freeman to be Honored with 2017 SAG Life Achievement Award

August 23, 2017

54th Annual Accolade to be Presented During the 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®
Simulcast Live on TNT and TBS on Sunday, January 21, 2018

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Concepts host Summer Reggae Throwback

August 23, 2017

Concepts will host its annual summer edition old school Reggae Party, One Blood XVI, at Smugglers, the courtyard of The Pirates Museum on George Street, coincidentally the site of the original event...

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'Privatised carnival' plan under study
'Privatised carnival' plan under study

August 22, 2017

THE Minnis administration is considering treating Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival “like any other event,” one where Bahamians interested in hosting it can approach the government and perhaps secure...

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BTC Brand Ambassador D-Mac thrills audiences during a Taste of Port Lucaya
BTC Brand Ambassador D-Mac thrills audiences during a Taste of Port Lucaya

August 21, 2017

BTC Brand Ambassador Dillon D-Mac Mckenzie wowed audiences at the weekly Taste of Port Lucaya event held at the Count Basie Square on Friday, August 18th...

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