Haitian dance troupe Ayikodans provide intense, thrilling performance

Repeating Islands

Physically ripped and emotionally expansive, the Haitian dance troupe Ayikodans returned to Miami and the Adrienne Arsht Center on Friday evening. The swell of emotion that surrounded the troupe’s performance there a year ago, as community leaders gathered to support a company on the verge of collapse after the Haitian earthquake, has leveled off somewhat. And that made it easier to look at the troupe and its work—as Jordan Levine writes in this review for The Miami Herald.

Choreographer/director Jeanguy Saintus’ nine dancers perform with a physical and emotional intensity that makes them seem always about to explode. Lean, narrow-framed and muscular to a degree exceptional even for the dance world, they’re built like greyhounds — but with the ferocity of tigers. Add powerful live drumming, and Ayikodans has a terrifically intense — and at times overwhelming — impact.

Saintus created Anmwey Ayiti Manman! (Cry Haiti Mother) right after…

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Bahamas International Film Festival poster winner unveiled

Repeating Islands

Theo McClain has been flying under the radar in the world of Bahamian art, but with his poster design for the 2012 Bahamas International Film Festival, he’s set to become a household name – locally and abroad – for artists and film buffs alike, Sonia Farmer reports in this article for Nassau’s Guardian. His design was one of many submitted to BIFF’s poster design contest announced earlier this year.

After careful consideration by judges Dionne Benjamin-Smith, Lise Anderson and Logan and Lavar Munroe, McClain’s “Junkanoo Blower” came out on top for capturing the thrilling spirit of the BIFF for visitors and locals alike. “When it was announced I screamed here at work,” says McClain. “I was very excited, I got chills. It’s the first local competition I have won.”

“I think the image I did basically set a new standard for imagery for poster design in The Bahamas alone…

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‘Baudelaire in a Box’

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Dave Buchen unfurls a roll of newsprint containing the words “Le Mort Joyeux” (“The Happy Dead”), “L’Albatross” (“the Albatross”), the names of poems by 19th century French poet Charles Baudelaire. For each poem, Buchen has drawn illustrations suggested by the images in the poem, as Cliff Bellamy reports in this article for the Herald Sun.
On a recent afternoon, Buchen also is preparing to build a stage set on which he will mount several scrolls that he will crank during a performance of the poems. Buchen will operate these “crankies” as local musiciancantastorias New Town Drunks, Curtis Eller, Jkutchma and Dexter Romweber sing original songs they have written to Baudelaire’s poetry.
This collaboration will be the fifth installment of “Baudelaire in a Box,” which Buchen will perform with the musicians today at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro and Saturday at The Pinhook in Durham. Other performances have occurred in Chicago…

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Special report Behind the label: how fair are organic and Fairtrade bananas?

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The Dominican Republic’s organic and Fairtrade boom has helped banana growers but what about the slum-dwelling Haitian migrant workers? Tom Levitt reports on the plight of the forgotten people in the banana trade in this article for The Ecologist.

Like many young Dominicans, Federico left for the US when he finished school to look for work, ending up in a Spanish store in New York. After 20 years working seven days a week he grew tired of the long hours and yearned for his homeland and the tropical climate of the Caribbean.
He had heard about the booming banana trade with the export market growing fast, a cheap and plentiful workforce, and land and water in abundance. It seemed like an ideal opportunity, with money to be made for entrepreneurs willing to set up a plantation. Today he is half way towards his dream, 35 hectares of indigenous forest…

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Puerto Rican Transgender Performer Lorena Escalera Mourned After Fatal Bushwick Fire

Repeating Islands

Lorena Escalera had danced as a stunning Beyoncé look-alike sporting golden chest armour and vibrant hair, and on Memorial Day was scheduled to perform Jennifer Lopez’s latest hit “Dance Again,” her friend and promoter Jose Herrera recalled. But as Herrera lit memorial candles with more than 60 mourners outside Escalera’s home Monday night, he shook his head in shock that the 25-year-old transgender celebrity had perished early Saturday morning in a fire in her apartment on 47 Furman Ave, as Meredith Hoffman reports in this article fro DNAinfo.com.

“We’re trying to make sense of it,” said Herrera, 42, of the incident, which is still under investigation by the FDNY. “She was like you’d see in a music video. She was beautiful outside and inside.”

Escalera, known as Lorena Xtravaganza, was considered a star of the House of Xtravaganza, a renowned performance, artistic and support community of about 130 LGBTQ…

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Art Exhibition and Lecture: “Who Sci-Fi More Than Us?” and Francio Guadeloupe’s “Close Encounters of the Caribbean Kind”

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In the framework of the exhibition Who Sci-Fi More Than Us? Kunsthal KAdE in cooperation with the organization Framer Framed organizes an “Artist Talk” on May 26, 2012, from 2:00-4:00pm. Free and open to the public, this conversation will take place at Kunsthal KAdE, located at Smallepad 3, 3811 MG in Amersfoort, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

The artists invited to participate are: Pepon Osorio (born in Puerto Rico, living and working in US), Tirzo Martha (born, living and working in Curaçao),Mario Benjamin (born, living and working in Haiti),Jean-Ulrick Désert (born in Haiti, living and working in in Germany) and Remy Jungerman (born in Suriname, living and working in The Netherlands).

Description: In conversation with the moderator Francio Guadeloupe, five participating artists will present their work in relation with the Caribbean artistic and cultural context. Migration, colonialism and diaspora are historical and political elements of the region…

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Call for Papers: Caribbean Irish Connections

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Organizers Alison Donnell (University of Reading, UK), Maria McGarrity (LIU Brooklyn, USA) and Evelyn O’Callaghan (University of the West Indies, Barbados) invite you to send proposals for inclusion in Caribbean Irish Connections. Caribbean Irish Connections is a multidisciplinary conference and workshop to be held on November 16-17, 2012, at the Beach View Hotel in Paynes Bay, St. James, Barbados.

Description: In the middle of a story about a Jamaican woman called Miss Manda, whose speech acts reveal her as both multiply situated and ‘out of place’, the prominent Jamaican novelist Erna Brodber issues a surprising provocation to scholars of Caribbean studies, “I want to know what the Irish, the Scottish, the Welsh gave to the Creole mix as much as I want to know…what particular part of Africa is my heritage…I will solve the African riddle but who will tell me about the others?” (Brodber 1998: 75)

Although there…

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