Carnaval, 1980's: with Christopher Prevett, Mercie Trejo, Barton J Rice, Lisa Marie Forman and Nando Trejo
Omgggeeeeee....real blast of the past. Loving the carnival faces, and loving Crispy!!!!
2nd photo, Barton J Rice with Lisa Marie Forman.
Photographs by Barton Rice
Drawing by Jayson Forman
San Juan Carnaval, mid 1980’s
by Jayson Forman
I woke up with baby powder on my face and my cousin laughing maniacally at me. That was my welcome to the San Juan Carnaval tradition.
My mom was not crazy about the idea of food waste so I was only allowed to use baby powder instead of flour to “paint” people’s faces with.
I learned that it lasted 3 days. Day 1 was for kids only and was confined to “First street” only (now known as Barrier Reef Drive). We were only allowed to use flour, baby powder, lipstick and water colors. Day 2 was for adults and that’s when the heavy artillery would come out. You’d hear participants complaining about some rule breakers using oil paint and rotten eggs.
Our uniforms in high school were full white. We’d get the afternoon off to go participate. Problem is; I lived clear across town from the high school and many of my schoolmates lived closer to school so when we were dismissed, I would encounter many students who were already home and out in the streets waiting for us to walk by and ambush us.
The following day I prepared by having a dozen eggs specially packed in my backpack. When the students tried approaching me, I’d threaten to throw my eggs and warned them that they were rotten. I struggled to keep a straight face as they retreated. Everyone knew that I was terrible at lying, because it’s not something I would engage in, so they didn’t want to take the chance that I wasn’t.
Festivities would formally close when an effigy of San Juan Carnaval was presented at Central Park and then quickly taken to the soccer field to be burnt. I observed that once when I was a kid and it was too traumatic for me to want to see it again.
I always assumed that the entire country played carnaval the way we did but turns out that was a tradition unique to the island....
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