I’d clambered out of the office after yet another conference call that ran late, hoping I didn’t get stuck on one of those Murphy’s Law trains. I hopped on the 1 train up to Times Square – 42nd Street and made my way up the two blocks to the Broadhurst Theatre. I tried to remember what I’d read in that tenth grade English class, but all I could muster was my version of Stanley’s voice bellowing “STELLAAAA,” then A Streetcar Named Desire began. It all came flooding back to me in bits and pieces, as I watched the brutish Stanley played by Blair Underwood, excite Blanche DuBois’ (Nicole Ari Parker) dramatic nature. Then I remembered, someone gets raped…
For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what scene this horrendous act would take place – so I found myself on the edge of my seat wondering when Stanley’s anger would catapult into full blown assault. It did a couple times as he formed his fist at Stella, but it wasn’t until that fateful moment that my heart leapt out of my chest. Moments after the scene went to blackout, I felt tears welling up in my eyes. The last scene brought me to tears. This cast had wreaked emotional havoc on me, and they deserved their standing ovation.
My heart bled for Stella and Blanche, and while a friend of mine and I had just discussed how stupid we women can be, the art of the stage imitated life. People call Tennessee William’s Streetcar a masterpiece, and I suppose I felt it was a tragedy of the human condition. We make excuses for those we love (or even like) because we’re so afraid to be alone. This isn’t just a play written in the 1940′s, it’s a story of people that accept less than what they deserve time and time again, and the people that smile as they do. I don’t think I understood that when I was all of thirteen years old in an English classroom, failing to see beyond the words on a page. Blair Underwood, Nicole Ari Parker, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Harris Wood captured a piece of Streetcar that had escaped me all those years ago.
Music has always been one of the main things that have kept Jamaica alive in my heart when I couldn’t physically reside in the land of my birth. Being as proud of a Jamaican as I am (it’s a common thing among us), I put reggae and dancehall music in high esteem. My custom ringtone on my father’s phone is a track called Reggae Ambassador by Third World – and the images it conjures up of me rocking out to that in my living room are potentially some of my best childhood memories.
When I was in highschool, I was fortunate enough to have the rest of Toronto swept up in the world of Jamaican music with me. Although my father referred to most of it as ‘buguyaga’ music – translation: uncouth. Now that I’m older, most of my close friends aren’t predominantly of Jamaican decent and my love for reggae is something you only begin to understand if you look through my Spotify or iTunes most played lists. Protoje is at the top of that list.
A little over a year ago, I went back to Jamaica for some much needed escovitch fish and festival, East Indian mangoes, and real Jamaican music. My best friend and I ended up at this spot in Kingston – Village, only to have me fall in love with reggae music all over again thanks to Protoje. When I say I rate this man as an artist, it’s no joke – Protoje and his band Indiggnation are infinitely cool. I’ve said it on more than one occasion that he is the present and future of what reggae should be. His lyrics are poignant yet relatable, and his ability to lay his verses down to tracks produced by Don Corleone makes for the kind of music that needs to be shared with the world. He may have a penchant for the herb, a philosophy of life that I do not share – but I refuse to let that stop me from letting the words of ‘No Lipstick’ echo through my own lips.
His debut album ’7 Year Itch’ is a refreshing compilation of music that not even my exceedingly critical father can resist. If you haven’t already it’s about time you download his mixtape – This is Protoje and buy the ’7 Year Itch’ on iTunes.
Take a listen to Stronger (Antique Riddim) – Protoje
I was hypnotized by a kaleidoscope a few days ago, and when I spied these earrings the enchantment was more than just a parallel. The Dori Csengeri Terra Couture Earrings are pieces to covet deeply. With all of the embroidered contours and colorful fabric, my eyes are transfixed on them moving from color to color.
Globus Ariera Pendant Necklace, by Joyce Makitalo; Vivre.com, $585.00
Something about this necklace is totally Xena Warrior Princess. It’s rough, yet beautiful, and it possesses that element of strength that will balance out even the most overtly feminine frock.
The piece is remnant of a different age, like someone took a shrink ray to a roman museum and miniaturized one of the curators favorite shields. Laced on a double strand of grey rice pearls lies a captivating pendant with a single osmena pearl for its heart, surrounded by white turquoise, agate, aquamarine, and mookite. It’s the kind of piece that carries the power to instantly elevate any ensemble, the strong silent type that’s very presence can’t help but soak up the attention. It’s as if Joyce Makitalo captured the very soul of a female warrior in it.
I’d love to have these all over my place with my favorite quotes etched into them. They’re the perfect little personalized touch for a quote junkie like me. The timeless Steuben Glass piece is utterly exquisite, the kind that come with my Hot & Sour soup has nothing on these.
Perhaps I’m a little bit of a tech nerd, but I find this ingenious use of floppy disks to be art I’d like to have in my house. Maybe I’d better save this for my computer room or office, because it’s too nerdy cool for almost anywhere else. The generation after me will never really know the ‘pleasure’ of using a floppy disk that happened to erase all of my files because I accidentally moved the sliding silver thing. I can remember playing games on my computer that required these odd square anomalies, and I never thought I’d find them the least bit attractive. This is a use for floppy disks I can get behind, and we can all thank the genius of Nick Gentry. The British artists paintings take shape on an original sort of canvas. He’s also used VHS, polaroids, and cassettes. Putting to use all of the things I’ll probably never use again, regrettably.
The Art: I’m pretty much obsessed with this Josephine Baker shot, not that I could ever pull off the banana skirt myself. Josephine’s sex appeal is exuded in everything from her dance like pose to her flapper cropped hair, not to mention her topless, banana skirt clad body. I think I’ve looked at this image a million times, but I’d like to blow it up on a canvas.
The Piece: It’s the closest I’ll ever get to wearing a banana skirt or else it’s Halloween. I can calm down a little because it’s a bracelet, so a wardrobe malfunction is totally out of the picture. It’s like a small symbolic tribute to one of the greatest style icons that’s ever bewitched me. I can thank Michelle Lowe-Holder for the beautiful but demure cop out that I’ve found in the small gold folded cuff.