Monthly Archives: September 2020
Antonio Fletcher’s tuba provides the signature sound for Blacktip Island’s newest band, formed by members of other popular island musical groups. (photo courtesy of Michael Coghlan)
Members of three popular Blacktip Island musical bands this week left their respective groups to form a new supergroup in an effort to grow artistically and create a unique island musical sound.
“We’d been playing the same beach music schtick for years,” The Social Morays’ lead guitarist Gage Hoase said. “We needed to stretch ourselves musically. Tourists loved the stuff, sure, but there’s no tourists now. No one on the island wants to hear faux-Buffett, and me and Marina got tired of playing it.
“We were hanging out offstage at last month’s Battle of the Bands at the Heritage House, shooting the breeze with other bands, and realized Payne and Jessie felt the same way,” Hoase said. “We all wanted to do something totally new and different. We settled on a mix of oompah and ska. We call it ‘oomp-ska.’”
Joining Hoase in the new band are fellow Social Morays drummer Marina DeLow, TURTLE!!! bassist Jessie Catahoula and Young Jacques and the Double Hose spoons-and-beer-bottle virtuoso Payne Hanover.
“We’d all gotten stagnant,” DeLow said. “We gelled pretty fast, though, and played our first gig at last week’s book-launch party. Oomp-ska’s an odd mix, but it works. You just have to give it a few minutes. It grows on you.
“The toughest part was agreeing on a name for the band,” DeLow said. “Then Payne and me realized we’d garbled out the same Frenglish phrase in our respective high school French classes, and both got sent to the principal’s office for it. Gage and Jessie laughed, and now we’re Qu’Est-Ce Que F*ck Que C’est?”
The group also tapped into undeveloped talent on the island.
“We really needed a tuba to get the right amount of ‘oomp’ in our sound,” Hanover said. “That’s where Antonio Fletcher came in. We knew he liked to play his tuba by himself at night, and we knew we had to have him. He gives us that rock-solid foundation to jam from.”
Audience reaction was positive after the band’s debut last Friday.
“I laughed at first, Hugh Calloway said. “But then the rhythm hit and people were dancing like crazy. The sound grabs you. It’s irresistible, really. One minute I was rolling my eyes, the next my feet were moving to the beat, something between a polka and a rumba.”
Music critic Rusty Goby praised the band’s output.
“The individual elements may be derivative, but the final product isn’t,” he said. “This is something totally new and unexpected. It’s Blacktip’s unique musical sound.”
In related news, The Social Morays, TURTLE!!! and Young Jacques and the Double Hose will be auditioning new members this weekend.
Blacktip Island Weather
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Precipitation – – –
Air Quality Excellent
Tim W. Jackson’s latest humor novel, The Secret of Rosalita Flats, was released this morning. (cover art courtesy of Ebook Launch)
Local award-winning author Tim W. Jackson today released his second Blacktip Island novel, The Secret of Rosalita Flats, via all major book distributors, his personal website and Cracked Spines, the small Caribbean island’s independent bookstore.
According to the publisher, ‘The Secret of Roslita Flats follows a man trying to sell a football-shaped house he inherited, while dodging Blacktip Island’s quirky collection of con artists, smugglers and ne’er-do-wells. There’s also the matter of sharks showing up every time he gets in the water. If he can’t figure out what his dad was mixed up in, he may be stuck on the little rock forever.’
“It’s a comic mystery for anyone who’s ever dreamed of chucking it all and running off to the Caribbean,” Jackson said. “If Northern Exposure knocked up Margaritaville, their kid would be The Secret of Roslita Flats.”
Early reviewers praised the novel.
The Manhattan Book Review said, “The Secret of Rosalita Flats is a humorous, slow-burn mystery that will consume the reader. The dialogue is sharp and clever, the action timely.” Reader Views said, “From the first few sentences, Jackson’s sense of humor hooks you, and you know it’s going to be a fun ride.”
Local reaction was less glowing.
“He’s got some nerve, calling us ne’er-do-wells,” divemaster Alison Diesel said. “He’s the quirky one. Because of him, the whole world thinks we’re a bunch bat-shit yahoos. It’s totally bogus, him keeping on writing smack about us.”
Others were more pointed.
“I’m gonna release that book. Right upside his head,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Warned him about writing another one, making me look bad, but he didn’t listen. This time, he’s gonna look bad after I’m finished with him.”
The novel’s first chapter is available as a free download via The Blacktip Times and on Jackson’s website.
The Secret of Rosalita Flats is available for purchase at:
Jackson will host a launch party tonight at Eagle Ray Cove, with free drinks and music by island supergroup Qu’Est-Ce Que F*ck Que C’est, formed this week by former members of Blacktip Island bands The Social Morays, TURTLE!!! And Young Jacques and the Double Hose.
A portion of the proceeds from all Blacktip Island novel and short story sales goes to the Coral Reef Alliance.
And some days the dolphins are a-holes. Happy Wednesday from Blacktip Island!
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Precipitation – – –
Air Quality Excellent
Greetings from Blacktip Island!
Blacktip Island’s Heritage House has been transformed into a traditional Noh stage for the Blacktip Island Community Players’ weekend performances of classical Japanese dance-drama. (photo courtesy of Doris Blenny)
The Blacktip Island Community Players this weekend will stage the Caribbean island’s first Noh performances, with all actors wearing modified public-health-mandated facemasks, organizers said.
“The island needs a pick-me-up, and we thought, since no one here can travel, something from the other side of the world would be perfect,” BICP director Doris Blenny said. “I’ve always been a bit of a Japanophile, and everyone having to wear masks put me in mind of classical Japanese dance-drama.
“My brain said ‘Kabuki,’ but my heart said ‘Noh,’” Blenny said. “Noh plays tend to be about ordinary, everyday people, like Blacktippers. We’re staging a mix of traditional stories and some we tweaked a bit to be island-specific.”
BICP volunteers say the COVID-mask requirement caused some acting hiccups.
“Traditional wooden facemasks play a huge role in Noh theater,” Helen Maples said. “We’ve gussying up our sanitary face masks so the actors can portray a suitable emotional range. We did our best to decorate the masks in a classic, 17th-Century style to make them integral parts of the costume, not just modern add-ons.
“We’re keeping the final versions under wraps until our first show, but I can say the sanitary masks were imported directly from Japanese suppliers, so it’ll have that added level of authenticity. And the actors have been working on conveying emotions with extra-stylized body language and gestures.”
Actors say the use of COVID masks isn’t a burden.
“You don’t see the actors’ faces in Noh anyway, so it’s not that much of a jump,” Jerrod Ephesians said. “That pushes us, as actors, to stretch our abilities. And the staging is minimalistic, so the focus is really on the performers.”
Organizers say the performance will a shortened version of classical Noh structure.
“Traditionally, you’d have five Noh pieces, with shorter, comic kyōgen pieces in between, but we weren’t sure Blacktippers’d have the patience for that,” Blenny said. “Instead, we’re doing an abbreviated program of two Noh plays separated by one kyōgen piece.
“We’re starting with a traditional genzai Noh with human characters and events and a linear timeline,” Blenny said. “Then the kyōgen will be the crowd favorite “Persimmon Mountain Hermit,” with a Blacktip flair, followed by a mugen Noh with supernatural creatures and spirits, and time spooling around in a quite non-liner fashion.”
Many in the cast are looking forward to how the performances will be received.
“I can’t wait to see the audience’s reaction to our masks,” Marina DeLow said. “Doing this in COVID masks really makes a statement. Of what, we’re not sure. But it’s definitely a statement.”
Performances will be Friday and Saturday nights for the rest of September in the island’s Heritage House.