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Monday, August 01, 2016


In 2010 ADDICTED exploded on to the streets of Notting Hill carnival with our presentation Chaos
Seven years later Addicted invites you to explore our theme for 2016 Seventh Heaven.

SEVEN is one of the most mystical and magical numbers in human history, from the seven deadly sins to the Seven Wonders of the World, the number seven is clearly recognised as one of the most significant numbers/symbols.
In almost every religious text, there is also mention and recognition of the number, in the bible seven is mentioned over 700 times, and we all know that according to the bible the world was created in seven days and we live in the 7 day week even today. In Numerology, seven is seen as the number of sacred spirituality, mystic energy, completion and both spiritual and physical perfection.

Heaven the religious concept:
Regarded as the home of God or the gods that exists in the sky depending on the belief system, heaven is that Utopia that those whom do good in this life, or lives by the universal law of love are sent to as a reward when life ends. Also known as Zion, paradise or nirvana, there is the myth within some systems that heaven is divided into seven divisions.

The notion of 7 heavens, goes back to ancient Mesopotamian religions,  they believed  that the  heavens were divided into  seven parts, this concept is repeated in  Judaism, it is believed that the universe is made of seven heavens, the seventh heaven being the home of god and his most exaltedangles. Islam also speaks of seven heavens and Muslims on pilgrimage make  the kaaba seven times.

 In Hinduism, the belief is there are seven upper worlds and seven lower worlds, and the human body is said to have seven chakras or wheels of energy. The Buddhism belief says that when the new born buhadda was born he rose to his feet and took 7 steps.

Of the seven heavens the seventh is said to be the highest and final level, not only is it where God and the angles exist but it is also the a place of supreme happiness and ecstasy. 

Our colour scheme Pink and blue.

The colour combination of pink and blue are our main colours of choice this year, while most will associate heaven with the traditional angelic white, we at addicted  never comply with such norms, in the creative imaginative spirit of carnival we expand the boundries...

Pink has been long understood to be the universal colour of love, blue the colour of trust loyalty and wisdom
According to the belies and traditions  of sanitaria the Oresha that governs the colours pink and blue as well as the number seven is the Orisha Oko, Oko  is the oreisha  of harvest, fertility and abundance. 

i.e. Nirvana, Zion, Heaven.

Religious connotations aside Addicteds Seventh heaven is an analogy for our lives and the release and bliss we experience on the days of carnival, the creative energy that can only be described as mystical,  the ecstasy we experience on the road on carnival day,  the mental and spiritual harvest that we reap after a year of hard work and sacrifice, the exaltation we feel when we raise our hands to the sweet vibrations of soca music.

Completion: Perfection:Reward;
7th Heaven

 7th Heaven.

For Teresa Shirley Armstrong
3/10/37 -31/12/15
My Mother, My Compass, My Friend.

I know exactly where you are.

S.A. Armstrong

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Broadway to Biennial: A Carnival Timeline 1930-2015 By Claire Tancons

 "With Caribbean migration to and from European colonial capitals and North American urban centres, Carnival, and other festivals such as Junkanoo, have influenced and in turn been influenced by artistic developments and social events around a reconfigured, postcolonial, circum-Atlantic circuit.
This timeline chronicles the creation of diasporic pan-Caribbean carnivals from Harlem to Notting Hill in the pre-and immediate post-Independence era, as well as in Brooklyn and Toronto in the mid- to late 1960s.

It traces the emergence of Caribbean carnivals and festivals on theatre, dance, and Broadway stages in New York and London, in metropolitan contemporary art galleries and biennials from São Paulo to Havana to Gwangju, at the Olympics and other games since the 1980s as well as in protest and other movements, all the way to Occupy Wall Street.

 Cursory yet never compiled before, this account seeks to record the impact Carnival has had on contemporary artistic and curatorial practices as well as critical discourses on art and performance, participation and the public sphere among an increasingly global ever growing number of creative domains. It highlights the contributions of artists, critics and curators, many of whom are collaborators of En Mas’, while pointing to the way in which these events have provided benchmarks for their practice–from Lorraine O’Grady’s attendance of the Caribbean Carnival musical in Boston in the 1940s to Marlon Griffith’s experience of Peter Minshall’s Rat Race in Port-of-Spain in the 1980s.

Like most exhibitions about the Caribbean produced in the English speaking world, this timeline is predominantly about the English speaking Caribbean even as it strives to account for accomplishments in the Spanish and French speaking Caribbean as well—even as it also shows how Carnival continues to dismantle such boundaries in a post-colonial, multi-focal, global arena.
 Like En Mas’ , this time-line places a great emphasis on the Trinidad Carnival and its diasporic exports, due, in part, to the unprecedented reach of the Trinidad Carnival model—akin to, say, the recognition of Jamaican music globally.
 And like En Mas’ as a whole, it is only but a bench-mark towards further studies and future creative endeavours." (source;Claire Tancons)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Carnival Made In China: Trinidad's Annual Festival Faces A Generational Divide By KENYA DOWNS

Y.U.M.A. Mas Band unveils their elaborate costumes for Trinidad’s carnival in 2016
 to a sold-out crowd outside of the national stadium. Large, contemporary 
bands like Y.U.M.A.’s typically sell out months before carnival day.
The island nation of Trinidad and Tobago boasts one of the world's largest carnivals. Dating back to 1783, the pre-Lenten celebration blends French, African and Indian cultures, all leading up to two days of masquerading, also called “playing mas.”
And unlike its South American counterpart in Brazil, anyone can take to the streets in a glitzy, colorful costume, dancing through Port of Spain to the sounds of sweet soca music.
Carnival is big business in Trinidad. Hopeful masqueraders rush to shell out thousands of dollars for a spot in some of the country's most sought-after bands. That doesn't even include other accommodations like tickets to parties and musical competitions leading up to the great parade.

Acacia de Verteuil is coordinator for Y.U.M.A, one of Trinidad's most popular bands. Y.U.M.A's launch for 2016 carnival is a fashion show-like spectacle that culminates the end of band launch season.
“We have always strived to mix our mas in the sense of maintaining some form of tradition in terms of being a storyteller,” she says. “Carnival has always been about telling a story, about portraying something different.”
As popular as Trinidad's carnival has become, it’s that sense of tradition that many say is lost as a consequence.
Y.U.M.A. Mas Band unveils their elaborate costumes for Trinidad’s carnival in 2016
 to a sold-out crowd outside of the national stadium. Large, 
contemporary bands like Y.U.M.A.’s typically sell out months before carnival day.

For some, what was once a community-oriented celebration is now mostly mass produced. Steel drums are often manufactured in Japan. Top musical artists produce the season’s hottest tunes in New York and London. Even costumes are mostly supplied and pre-assembled in China.
Roland St. George, leader of the award-winning band D’Krewe, says now much of what makes carnival distinctly Trinidadian is actually outsourced to other countries.

“The profit margin is better for them to have it done [in China], mass-produced there and bring it across here without giving us the money,” he says.
D’Krewe is a year-round operation, supplying costume prototypes for carnivals around the world. Inside the headquarters, called a mas camp, workers are assembling by hand some of the most detailed costumes for not only Trinidad’s carnival, but Miami, New York and Toronto as well.
St. George has played the king of his band for decades and sticks to what’s referred to as "old mas" -- the traditional form of masquerade.
Carnival’s growing popularity worldwide is something St. George says makes Trinidad’s “new mas," -- or modern carnival -- a watered-down, commercial product.
The showroom of D’Krewe mas band.
 Workers assemble mannequins and costumes for the 2016 carnival season.

“There’s no creativity in it. They put together from a copy of what we have done before," he says. "How much skill can you put into a panty and a wire bra?"

"Carnival didn’t come from skimpiness, or nice female decorative bodies," he adds. "It came from decorative costumes, the street parade, the glamor and glory of saying ‘look me, look what I’ve created.' It takes away from that glamor of excitement of costuming.”
Tribe, Trinidad's largest band, has pioneered the transition into “new mas,” garnering just as much criticism as it does praise. But inside a showroom in Woodbrook, they're premiering a new, smaller band called The Lost Tribe. It pays homage to old mas while still keeping up with modern trends.

The Lost Tribe is attempting to reach a balance between masqueraders who miss the traditional storytelling of “old mas” but enjoy the glamour of “new mas.” Inside their small, private showroom, designers unveil their presentation for this new band as attendees choose their favorites.

“It’s taking that frame that we know and something that is nostalgic, and transferring it into a shape and form to something that is applicable to our contemporary generation,” says lead designer Val Maharaj.
Maharaj says it’s unfair to pinpoint carnival’s commercialization solely on costume design. He points out that as technology made the world more connected, all aspects of Trinidad’s carnival culture evolved.

Mostly importantly, the music became faster. Once primarily calypso, carnival became more soca based and incorporated more pop and techno influences. The experience of carnival became just as much about being free to party as it was the famous costume competition.

Fashion designer Anya Ayoung-Chee poses with Ava, her presentation for The Lost Tribe.
 The band aims to incorporate elements of old mas into contemporary costumes.
“So it would be naïve to think then that the costumes would have remained the same because the costumes then started to be designed for a specific niche market and a specific generation in the first place,” Maharaj says.
But older generations say this new mas is too much like Brazil’s carnival, made up of mostly jeweled bikinis and feathered headpieces – no longer an artistic expression that tells the story of Trinidad’s rich and unique history.
Not true, says Trinidadian designer Anya Ayoung-Chee, best known globally as the season-nine winner of Project Runway. She says old mas is still there, it’s just that new mas is more popular now.

Some of Trinidad’s most celebrated designers are Ayoung-Chee’s mentors. And she’s used that influence as the co-creative director of The Lost Tribe.
“I feel very privileged to have one foot in the camp of the contemporary mas and what it’s becoming, and having one foot in the genius of what mas once was," she says.
Ayoung-Chee designed costumes for both the contemporary masquerade of Tribe and the traditional mas of The Lost Tribe. And that’s the point she says: there’s room in the carnival business to satisfy everyone.
“I do think it’s possible to maintain the essence of carnival, not lose what it was entirely intended for, but letting it become something else. I really do think it takes, like everything else, living in the moment and going with the flow,” she says.
By now, most of the country’s biggest bands are completely sold out, but smaller ones where costumes are often more traditional and locally produced give last-minute revellers an opportunity to take part in the bacchanal.

“At the end of the day, we are selling Trinidad and Tobago and we need to make our products something that is sellable,” says Maharaj.
Despite longing for the days of old mas, Roland St. George agrees.
"Essentially, you cannot tell another man how to make his money," he says.
Come February, the streets of Port of Spain will be filled with thousands of locals, foreign-nationals, and tourists taking part in Trinidad’s biggest pastime, both new and old. Ayoung-Chee says it all serves the purpose of propelling Trinidad's culture to the world.

“I believe in the vehicle of carnival as the most effective way to tell the story of what Trinidad is about to the rest of the world,” says Ayoung-Chee.

And whether that costume is a reflection of the current era of beads, bikinis and feathers or traditional characters like sailors, dragons and kings, it’s an experience often called the “greatest show on earth,” one that has masqueraders saving up for next year long before they’ve even put on this year’s costume.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mas Man’ Film on Peter Minshall Continues Awards Streak

Mas Man, a film about artist-designer Peter Minshall, produced and directed by Dalton Narine, won the Long Beach International Film Festival prize ( for Best Feature Documentary on Oct. 11, in Long Beach, a city in Los Angeles County.

Dr. Daniel Walker, scholar, filmmaker and founding director of the illustrious festival, spoke about the film’s appeal and the jury’s decision.

“As a person who wrote a book about the political dimensions of festivals in Cuba and New Orleans, I know I had a high bar to impress, and the film did all that and more.”

A few weeks earlier, Narine had hoped Mas Man would fare well at the Fine Arts Film Festival in Venice, Los Angeles. “The film drew enthusiastic appraisal from the audience,” Festival director Juri Koll said.
Dalton Narine, producer/director, Mas Man, wins
Long Beach International Film Festival
 Best Documentary prize, the film’s 15th award
“Mas Man is, above all, a fine arts film,” Narine says, “though juries at fifty or so festivals around the world, had promoted it in every category imaginable.”

Still, with the film’s latest success, coupled with the tourism prize it received at Document Arts Fest in Bucharest, Romania (as well as its screening in Cannes) both in the past year, Mas Man has amassed 15 prizes across the board. They include Best Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography and special awards.

Narine says he pushed the film in the Los Angeles area because Don Mischer, a Hollywood producer featured in the film, was a key figure in tapping Minshall, the masman himself, for the Barcelona Olympic Games’ opening ceremonies in 1992.
Minshall reprised his role as an artistic director of the Emmy award-winning opening ceremonies at the1996 Atlanta Games, and Salt Lake City Winter Games in 2002, for which he received an Emmy.

That Mas Man made an auspicious debut is testament to its staying power.

Peter Minshall, remembered as Best artist/designer in
Trinidad's Carnival for three decades (Photo: Courtesy Dalton Narine)
A full-house screening in New York City’s Greenwich Village, proved that Narine and his crew could transform a pastiche of scenes that won the People’s Choice Award for Best Feature Documentary at the 2009 Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival to the top tier of the New York Film Festival in 2010.
 “In Trinidad, we had a week to put it together,” Narine recalls, “just so the public would get an inkling regarding what the noise was about. It was a ways from being a film. Not even a work in progress. Call it ideas.”

Narine credits not only Callaloo Company’s Peter Minshall and Todd Gulich, but also filmmakers Benedict Joseph and Danielle Dieffenthaller, editor Eduardo Siu, Pennelope Beckles,Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival founder/director Dr. Bruce Paddington, as well as Trinidad & Tobago Film Company and GISL for their contribution, particularly as the film underwent a period of gestation.
From left,Todd Gulich, managing director, Callaloo Co.,
Peter Minshall, an artistic director of the 1996 opening ceremonies for the
 Atlanta Olympic Games and Hollywood producer Don Mischer,
 on eve of the Emmy Award-winning extravaganza. (Photo: Callaloo Co.)

Back then, to accommodate festivals, it required Narine to transfer Mas Man to HD hard drive and Blu-ray.

“Today, the medium is Digital Cinema Package (DCP), and we had it mounted, at huge cost,  in Hollywood, where the film had a screening at the legendary Ricardo Montalban Theater at Hollywood and Vine.”

“Now, it is screenable at any movie house anywhere in the world,” Narine says. “I would love to have the 89-minute version shown at MovieTowne in this format. Of course, at the behest of Minshallites everywhere, we’ve been pushing a longer cut at 145 minutes on DVD.

Peter Minshall’s Papillon,
about the ephemeral nature of life,
a 2.000-strong portrayal in 1992 Trinidad’s Carnival
(Photo: Courtesy Callaloo Co.)
Mas Man has been screened in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean. The film received Best Caribbean Film award in 2012 at a red carpet festival in Antigua that included a couple of American actors, a filmmaker from India, and the chair of Columbia Universitys School of the Arts film division. It also prompted a stir of excitement in Jamaica media a few months ago.

But to Narine’s delight, a few Trinidadian students at US universities have studied the film as their thesis toward a master’s degree. And a group of UWI students chose the work for a class project a couple of years ago.

Mas Man, along with eight earlier Narine documentaries about T&T’s mas/pan culture, are available at, Crosby’s, Cleve’s, Paper Based Bookshop (located at the Normandie Hotel), The M Store (Piarco Airport) and Sanch Electronix, Curepe.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

1976 King of Carnival “The Serpent” portrayed by Peter Samuel. Paradise Lost will be shown at MovieTowne in Port of Spain on September 18 at 4 p.m. and again on Republic Day, September 24 at 11 a.m.

A new documentary on the 1976 revolutionary Carnival mas band Paradise Lost, the first local band designed by Peter Minshall, is premiering this month at the trinidad + tobago film festival! It will be shown at MovieTowne in Port of Spain on September 18 at 4 p.m. and again on Republic Day, September 24 at 11 a.m. It will also be shown as part of the CaribbeanTales festival in Toronto on September 14 at the Royal Theatre, 608 College St at 6.30 p.m. 
This film details the creation of the band that stunned Trinidad and Tobago and forever changed mas making in the country. Paradise Lost won 1976 Band of the Year for Stephen Lee Heung and King of Carnival “The Serpent” portrayed by Peter Samuel. The late Roy Boyke, photographer and editor of the annual Trinidad Carnival magazine had noted, “It is doubtful that the work of any single individual has had so searing an impact on the consciousness of an entire country.” 
Paradise Lost: The documentary traces this famous band from concept to creation, from designs to living embodiment in the masqueraders. It tells the evolution of Minshall’s art at this pivotal point in his career, how veteran bandleader Stephen Lee Heung sought out Minshall after a long relationship with artist and designer Carlyle Chang to take his band in a new direction.


Sunday, August 16, 2015


The universe radiates with energy
We are made of the universe
We work hard
We play hard
Our lives a constant flow of energy
And energy never dies
We are strong when we unite
In fusion we are Powerful
In fusion we are

 Every second of every day of our lives we release energy, like stones thrown in a pond, every one of our actions sends ripples of energy through time and space, constructing futures that affect us directly and those around us indirectly.
With only a thought and an action any one of us can change the course of our lives or history.

What kind of existence could we construct for ourselves if we combined our energies for a single cause?

What walls could we breakdown, what empires could we construct?

Combining our energies we could be the most powerful force on the planet, like an atomic bomb obliterating barriers and reshaping the environment in our favour. If we were to fuse like atoms the energies we release could be unstoppable.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe,
 think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” 
Nikola Tesla

  Less than seventy years later the Japanese economy is one of the strongest in the world the culture of the people and their abilities to harness their energy mean that not even an A-bomb could stop their progress.

It is from that snipet of history that atomic theme was born. The energy we poses and release in our lifetimes never die,  even long after we die our actions go on affecting and consturucting the world around us. Sometimes unknown to us our energies can clear a path or form obstacles creating a an environment in which we exist.

Ripples &waves:

What does expelled energy look like? Often it is depicted in ripples or waves expanding into a limitless space of light or darkness, it is this ripple / wave motif that the designer used throughout the costumes.

On the female costume the motif curves   like the curves of a woman her energy is soft but strong, constant, and rhythmic.

On the males the motif is bold and sharp, masculine in nature. Strong like that of the shock wave of an earthquake or an explosion

The headpiece is based on that of the helmet of the samurai, the front of these helmits often symbolically depicted an aspect of the animal or force of nature that the samurai wished to attack his opponent with.

So to does our headpiece symbolise the unleashed energies of an atomic explosion with its energies reaching out beyond its physical manifestation.

The costumes main colors are the high energy colors red, yellow and gold.

Red is associated with passions sexuality, courage, and willpower and stamina
Yellow is associated with joy intellectual and physical energy, creativity, humor and personal power.

Atomic is you: An energized individual in a larger environment of energy.

Atomic is your energy: that energy that enables action, that creates, that affects change, but never dies..

Atomic is Fusion. Ideas shared, goals collected, talents amalgamated, 
 Energies combined, and goals achieved.

We are Atomic
Our energies have combined
And we're about to explode.

For Jesell Spencer Knight.1981 - 2014
 whose energy lives on...

S.A. Armstrong
Addicted  Designer

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