By Stephen Weir
More than 80 reptilian mas’ models slithered, slinked and strutted onto a huge V-shaped stage in Toronto early Sunday morning.
Despite a very late start, the models put on a fashion show that wowed the more than 1,000 people who crammed into the Grand Cinnamon Banquet & Convention Centre on McNicoll Avenue in Scarborough for the Venom Mas’ costume launch.
Dubbed the “venomous show,” it was a non-stop parade of models wearing the briefest of costumes.
Two human lizards stood on stage throughout show, wagging long red tongues at the crowd. There was even a section that outfitted their male and female models with “snake eye” contact lenses. And was the show sexy? It was bare as you dare time from 1.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (The show was due to start before midnight).
“Extremely happy with the show. A true testament of the hard work of our band managers, section leaders, committee members and everyone else who came out to make sure Venomous 2019 was a success,” band leader Aneil Persad told the Caribbean Camera.
“Everyone wants to know about the shape of the stage,” he continued. “The V shaped stage (for Venom of course) was completely intentional. It allowed us to have models come from both wings at the same time (while a couple male models climbed onto stage from under the tip of the V). We worked closely with our stage and lighting company Epic Events, to try to create something different, something impactful, while retaining a more intimate feel.”
Two years ago, Venom was a medium sized band – their launch was small enough to be held in a North Toronto Bar. Since moving to Cinnamon Convention Centre in 2018 there has been a steady growth among their followers. With more than 1,000 paying customers this weekend, Venom is hoping that it will have a ” large presence” for the annual Carnival Parade on August 3rd on Toronto’s Lakeshore Boulevard.
“We don’t really like putting a figure as to how many masqueraders we want to have in costume. All we want, is for those who do play with Venom Carnival to have the best time possible,” said Persad. “
“With us, it’s not a costume you spend your hard earned money on. It’s an experience. So, naturally we would love for the band to sell out completely. Our main focus is making sure our masqueraders leave with a lasting impression.”
Venom has “secured ” a mas’ camp but is waiting for the paperwork to be signed before announcing its location. It expects to have it open somewhere in Scarborough this weekend.