Saturday, October 21, 2017

Jazz: Pianist Monty for Jazz Forum

Jamaican jazz pianist Monty Alexander continues a two-night stop at the Jazz Forum - Tarrytown, NY, which began last night. last December, Alexander made a celebrated return home with a special benefit concert in Kingston (his first there in a decade).

Kingston-born Alexander has been thrilling audiences for five decades, including thirteen years of headline performances at the Montreux International Jazz Festival. Fifty-five years after he moved to the United States from Kingston, Jamaica, his home town, pianist Monty Alexander is an American classic, touring the world relentlessly with various projects, delighting a global audience drawn to his vibrant personality and soulful message.

 His spirited conception is one informed by the timeless verities: endless melody-making, effervescent grooves, sophisticated voicings, a romantic spirit, and a consistent predisposition, as Alexander accurately states, “to build up the heat and kick up a storm.” In the course of any given performance, 

Alexander applies those aesthetics to repertoire spanning a broad range of jazz and Jamaican musical expression—the American songbook and the blues, gospel and bebop, calypso and reggae. Like his “eternal inspiration,” Erroll Garner, Alexander—cited as the fifth greatest jazz pianist ever in The Fifty Greatest Jazz Piano Players of All Time (Hal Leonard Publishing) and mentioned in Robert Doerschuk’s 88: The Giants of Jazz Piano—gives the hardcore-jazz-obsessed much to dig into while also communicating the message to the squarest “civilian.”

Tech Biz: Seedstars Brings "Pitch Battle" to Jamaica

Seedstars World is an exclusive seed-stage startup competition focused on emerging markets & fast-growing startup scenes and we can´t be more excited to arrive to Jamaica for the first time! The Seedstars Kingston pitching competition that will take place on 26th of October at JAMPRO HQ.

Our criteria is simple. We look at startups that are:

1. Less than 3 years old
2. Have received less than US$500K funding to date
3. Tech based
4. Have an MVP and can prove scalability and
5. Are for profit

We offer the winner of the competition a free trip to Switzerland to participate in a bootcamp and investor forum, and compete in the Finals for up to $1,000,000 in equity investment and prizes. The selected startup will also participate in the Regional Summit taking place in Mexico in December of this year.

We only share our invitation code with startups/entrepreneurs we deem relevant.
You must use the invitation code: SSW_Kingston_2017
Deadline to apply is: Friday October 20th

Friday, October 20, 2017

Design: Frankfurt Ramps Up bank-centred projects

-Dezeen magazine
Frankfurt is bidding to woo banks from London by building dozens of new high-rise towers by architects including BIGUNStudio and Ole Scheeren.
With Brexit threatening London's status as Europe's leading financial centre, Germany's business capital has been promoting itself as a lifestyle destination.
Shiny new towers were being marketed heavily at the Expo Realproperty fair in Munich last month, with agents reportedly claiming that many London-based banks had discreetly snapped up space.
Proposals on show included a state-of the-art office block by BIG, a cluster of four high-rise towers by UNStudio, and a luxury apartment block that Buro Ole Scheeren is creating in a transformed 1970s tower.
With Brexit negotiations stalling, developers are understood to have rushed their projects forward to capitalise on an expected exodus from London.
According to Skyline Atlas, a website tracking Frankfurt's development, there are 19 high-rise buildings under construction in the city, and a further 26 planned.
Frankfurt is working hard to create more lifestyle-driven developments, like UNStudio's "city for all" on the former Deutsche Bank site
Frankfurt lacks the cultural and lifestyle attractions of London as well as continental rivals such as Paris and Amsterdam, but is now working hard to become more appealing to high-spending financial workers.
Markus Frank, a councillor representing Frankfurt at Expo Real, said the city was trying to shake off its dull image by encouraging more lifestyle-driven developments.
"The separation of work and life is a 

Entertainment: Rockin' the Fort, Minister Announces 1st Entertainment Zone

Kingston, October 19 - The Honourable Olivia Grange Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport today announced Fort Rocky in Port Royal as Jamaica’s first Entertainment Zone.

Entertainment zones are areas in which any legal entertainment and sports activities can be staged any time of day or night unhindered as long as the organisers are mindful of the historical values of such sites.

Minister Grange said entertainment zones represent promising economic opportunities through public/private sector partnerships and called on the private sector to take a good look at the opportunities on offer. 

While providing an avenue for more opportunities for people in the entertainment business, the Zones which are typically located far away from residential areas, also neutralise the problem of noise nuisance for citizens. 

Miss Grange said that the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the Town and Country Planning Authority had endorsed the Ministry’s declaration that Fort Rocky would be Jamaica’s first Entertainment Zone. 

She said the Ministry was working with NEPA to ensure that Jamaica’s cultural heritage sites were preserved and utilized in a manner that derives cultural and economic value to the nation. Fort Rocky is one of Jamaica’s Heritage sites.

Two other entertainment zones currently on stream will be located outside of the Corporate area.
Speaking at a press conference to launch Jamaica Carnival 2018, the Culture and Entertainment Minister said Carnival in Jamaica had been the fastest growing carnival in the Caribbean.  The partnership over the past year between the Ministry of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport and the Ministry of Tourism underscored the understanding thatcollaboration was the way to propel a growing industry which already was contributing to the creative economy.

She said Jamaica Carnival 2018 was about to be activated with the first band, Xaymaca International set to launch November 11, Exodus on November 18, Bacchanal in January 2018 and Jamaica Carnival also in 2018.  “The Carnival atmosphere will spread all over Jamaica although the main Carnival events are held in Kingston– the UNESCO designated Creative City of Music,” the Minister said.

Minister Grange said it was important to emphasize that Government is reinforcing entertainment in Jamaica as a major source of growth and development and that Reggae Month and Carnival are two of the major projects under the rubric of festival tourism that will be strengthened in the upcoming year.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ganja: Update, CLA issues its first two licences[Two Down, About 300 to Go]

Following up on an earlier release carried on this blog, the Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) has issued two of the five licenses granted for legal operation in the cannabis industry.

These licences were issued at a ceremony held on Wednesday October 18th at the
Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries.

Epican, a Tier 1 Cultivator,  and Everyting Oily a Tier 1 Processor, signed their tripartite
agreement, signifying their arrangement to conduct business together, in keeping with
the requirement to have the industry operate as a closed loop system.

“Although it has taken some time to get to this historic occasion, we have remained
committed to getting it right, to ensure that Jamaica’s stake in the global medicinal
cannabis industry is never compromised and remains sustainable. During the process,
we have endeavoured to remain in dialogue with our applicants every step of the way,
and are confident they have satisfied the rigors of the regulations; and now we are
pleased to announce that Epican and Everyting Oily will be issued licences today”
stated Hyacinth Lightbourne, Chairman of the CLA.

She further stated, “The CLA now has another three applicants who have been granted
licences and are completing their requirements to be issued, 57 at the conditional
approval stage, and another 209 applications being processed”.

Style: SAINT stars get "NY Times Halos"

Tevin Steele, 21, at his coconut stand in Port Antonio, Jamaica. CreditMarina Burnel for The New York Times
PORT ANTONIO, Jamaica — His machete blade a blur, Tevin Steele whacks the top off a fresh green coconut. Deftly knifing a window through the tender pith, he inserts a straw and hands the fruit across the counter at Dinga-Fling, his roadside stall outside this drowsy coastal town. Selling coconuts is his livelihood, and Mr. Steele, 21, says it is a good one, though neither as promising, lucrative or downright implausible as his other.
It was just over a year ago that Mr. Steele was scouted at his stall by a modeling agent, who detected in his whippet frame and chiseled cheeks the same potential that soon led him to sign an exclusive contract to walk in a fall 2017 runway show for Saint Laurent.
Roughly 5,000 miles, and a universe, lie between Port Antonio and Paris.
“I never knew about modeling, I never thought about modeling or talked about it when they brought it to me that I have a nice style to be a model,” said Mr. Steele, who on a busy day during high season here might earn 15,000 Jamaican dollars (or $115) selling coconuts. “I always wanted to go on a plane and stuff. When they called me for Saint Laurent, my life just changed.”
As it happens, “changing lives and expanding horizons” is both the mission and the vaguely homiletic slogan of Saint International, a small, independent modeling agency in Kingston founded by Deiwght Peters close to two decades ago.
Mr. Steele in the Saint Laurent Ready To Wear Collection, Fall Winter 2017, Paris.CreditGio Staiano/Nowfashion
When he started in the business, Mr. Peters told a reporter on a visit to Jamaica, even the concept of ethnic diversity in modeling was a long way off. And the beauty standards of the multibillion-dollar fashion industry clung stubbornly to a “traditional ideal of thin, white and young,” as Jennifer Davidson, the editor in chief of the website The Fashion Spot, said.
Continue reading the main story
From time to time, a Jamaican star like Grace Jones shot onto the scene, but not until Saint International was there anything one might credibly term a Jamaican modeling industry.
“Why would there be?” James Scully, a seasoned casting agent, asked. “Five years ago, the world wasn’t even open enough to racial diversity for anyone to consider the thought.”
Just how radically that has changed can be seen in the steady stream of island models Mr. Peters found at coconut stands and other unlikely places and developed into nascent superstars in a market that has suddenly taken them into its embrace.
Barbra-Lee Grant, 22, was booked for the 2017 Balenciaga campaign.CreditMarina Burnel for The New York Times
Most notable of this new crop is probably Barbra-Lee Grant, a shy and leggy 22-year-old beauty who was working as a clerk when Mr. Peters first encountered her and who languished for a time at the agency until Mr. Peters encouraged her to grow her hair out in an Afro.
“We then sent her digitals to Balenciaga,” Mr. Peters said. “And they immediately booked her for the 2017 campaign.”
There is Brad Allen, a quiet 23-year-old from Kingston, who is currently starring in a Polo Ralph Lauren advertising campaign; and Jonny Brown, a 23-year-old whose hooded almond eyes peer out from behind a pair of tinted aviators in a new series of Topman ads; and the teenage Vivienne Westwood campaign models Shaun Holder and Tiffany Johnson; and the Saint Laurent campaign star Jenese Roper, whose soft features were toughened up when her hair was styled in a geometric Grace Jones fade; and the elegant catwalk specialists Naki Depass or Tami Williams, who at 19 is already a seasoned veteran of shows for Valentino, Dior and Chanel haute couture; and Kai Newman, a 19-year-old who is one of those beings with a beauty that seems to radiate from some deep inner source.
Like Mr. Steele, Ms. Newman had no ambitions to become a model when she was spotted on the streets of Kingston on her way to the dentist.
“We saw her walking with her mother, and we slammed on the brakes,” Mr. Peters said. “I said to her mother: ‘Is that your daughter? Make sure you have her come in to see me. That’s a star.’ ”
The path to success was far from direct for Ms. Newman, who first misplaced Mr. Peters’s business card and who, eventually sent for development by an affiliated agency in New York, was judged too green and packed off home.
“I said: ‘I don’t care if they return her. I’m going to send her right back,’ ” said Mr. Peters, whose belief in the young model was rewarded when she embarked on a tour of the European circuit and immediately booked a runway exclusive for Gucci.
The hits scored by an obscure agency on an island of fewer than three million people owe much to the missionary zeal of Mr. Peters, a voluble and avuncular man (his models call him Pops) with a shaven head and a cowcatcher smile who, besides running his modeling agency, organizes Style Week Jamaica and is host of a popular talk show on cable TV. They also underscore the economic impact that lack of diversity has had on those excluded from opportunity.
Tami Williams, left, at 19 is already a seasoned veteran of shows for Valentino, Dior and Chanel haute couture. Brad Allen, 23, is currently starring in a Polo Ralph Lauren campaign. CreditMarina Burnel for The New York Times
“My thought was always to give young Jamaican kids the chance to dream and see a world they may never had known existed and a chance to be world phenoms that they may have thought impossible by their circumstances,” Mr. Peters said.
Though his rhetoric may be that of a public service announcement, the facts bear out Mr. Peters’s message. A persistently sluggish economy and the high levels of public debt that have plagued the island nation for decades have kept Jamaica among the slowest growing developing countries in the world, according to the World Bank. And in 2016, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica found that the country’s overall unemployment rate of 12.9 percent was more than twice as high among the young.
“Now the whole Caribbean is becoming a new space for people to be scouting that wouldn’t have existed without this new wave of diversity,” said Mr. Scully, the casting agent.
What that means for people like Mr. Allen, Ms. Newman or Ms. Grant is a ladder out of Kingston neighborhoods like Central Village, Waterhouse or Allman Town, where drug gangs divvy up and control the unpaved streets and gun violence is commonplace.
Ms. Williams in Chanel Ready to Wear, fall 2017.CreditValerio Mezzanotti/Nowfashion
“No, we never saw Vogue,” Ms. Newman’s mother, Kerriann Brown Walters, said one afternoon at a betting parlor in Allman Town, a scabbed wood building where she sells lottery tickets from behind a wire screen.
In an adjacent shack, a television blasted out a cricket game as gamblers cheered and some women with the chemically bleached complexions common here idled on a bench listening to Lil Uzi Vert on their smartphones.
In a nearby part of Allman Town that his mother calls “the heart of the ghetto,” Mr. Allen was raised in a modest frame structure set behind a gate of corrugated aluminum. Handsome and at ease in Ralph Lauren ads, he looks like a natural inheritor of a world of affluence and boundless opportunity, a sphere sharply unlike the reality he returns to when the fashion shows come to an end.
A thin sheet covers the cot where Mr. Allen sits to talk to a reporter in his childhood bedroom. An emaciated dog wanders through a dirt courtyard, and Tasmin Hamilton, his mother, who single-handedly raised her four children here, hangs in a doorway.
“I can’t really guess what he would have done if the modeling hadn’t come along,” she said, “because in Jamaica no matter what drive you have, the opportunities are not readily there.
“It is like a blessing that he can earn a living and go to places we never heard of,” Ms. Hamilton added. “Sometimes Brad will call home and say he’s in Milan or Paris, and we ask ourselves ‘What part of the world is that?’ ”

Sports Biz: GK Renews Contract With Shelly

GraceKennedy Limited has renewed its contract with Olympian sprint champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (shown right). The signing of the new contract was carried out at GraceKennedy’s corporate office in downtown Kingston on October 18, 2017.

This represents the tenth year that the Olympian will be serving as Ambassador. 

In commenting on the renewal, GraceKennedy’s Group CEO Don Wehby said, “We are extremely happy for the fifth renewal of our contract with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, which will become effective January 1, 2018, continuing through to 2021. Shelly-Ann has been an outstanding Brand Ambassador since 2008.  She has been a very dedicated, loyal and hard-working ambassador who represents the GraceKennedy values of Honesty, Integrity and Trust.” 

The Group CEO added, “We are looking forward to Shelly’s performance on the track. I believe that the best is yet to come.”

Noting that the two-time 100m Olympic gold medallist and triple-time world champion had taken on a new role, that of motherhood, Mr Wehby congratulated her on the birth of her son, Zyon.

In response, Shelly-Ann said, “I am so excited to be extending my endorsement agreement with GraceKennedy.”  She went on to say, “Grace has confidence in me as an athlete and love for me as a new mother. This is a beautiful way for me to mark my tenth anniversary as Ambassador.” 

She shared with GraceKennedy that she had resumed training earlier this month.

Shelly-Ann first signed as Brand Ambassador with Grace Foods in 2008, for a two-year period. This was subsequently renewed for another two years. In 2013, the agreement took on new dimensions as her contract was extended to cover a four-year period, instead of the usual two, and she became a GraceKennedy Ambassador. She also specially represented Grace Coconut Water in 2013 and 2014.

Her senior career in athletics began in 2007 when she earned her first global medal by running in the qualifying round of the 4X100m at the IAAF World Championships held in Osaka, Japan, where Jamaica earned the silver medal in the final.  In 2008, she took the world by storm, running 10.78 seconds in the Beijing Olympic 100m final, thereby winning the Gold Medal and running the fastest time in the world. In 2013, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was awarded the highest award in track and field athletics by being named the IAAF Athlete of the Year. She earned this after becoming the first woman in history to be the Triple World Sprint Champion.  She achieved this by winning the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the World Championships in Athletics. 

In addition to her impressive accomplishments on the tracks, Shelly-Ann has demonstrated an equally commendable performance in giving back to the society.  As the founder of the Pocket Rocket Foundation, Shelly-Ann provides scholarships to high school students who participate in sports and are in need of financial assistance. Through its annual Six-A-Side Football Competition, the Foundation promotes peace and camaraderie through sports among at-risk youth in Waterhouse and surrounding communities. In 2013, Grace Foods partnered with Shelly-Ann for the Buy Grace Vienna Sausages and Support the Pocket Rocket Foundation Drive, targeting one million dollars.

In 2009, she served as the Grace Goodwill Ambassador for Peace when GraceKennedy sponsored that year’s Peace and Love in Schools (PALS) Programme. In January 2010, she was appointed UNICEF Jamaica’s first Goodwill Ambassador.