The King of Carnaval San Francisco 2000 for this new millennium year is Jim "SpinCycle" Sowers one of Carnaval best known evangelists. 
The Queen of Carnaval 2000 is Elisa Levy Wilson who, via
East Palo Alto, proudly hails from Bluefields the capital of Nicaragua Carnaval  . 

What's New with King Jim & Queen Elisa  

The Queen of Carnaval 2000, Elisa Levy Wilson is a quick determined administrator who has been impressing others since she arrived in the Bay Area in 1982. When not managing her public interest law office or taking care of her family Elisa also enjoys dancing with Garifuna Boys, a musical group based here in the SF Bay Area which spreads the unique culture of the east coast of Central America. 

Her hometown and perhaps even the country of 2.5 million is ablaze with excitement following extensive front page and TV coverage of the coronation of Elisa as Queen of the greatest multicultural Carnaval on the planet. As fate would have it, both Bluefields the metro center for the Atlantic ""mosquito" coast of Nicaragua and the SF Bay Area Carnaval celebrate the merry month of May. 
" We raise a Maypole for the entire month of May with the special day being mother's day." said the Queen

Elisa's family is well know in Bluefields a peaceful city of 36,000 residents. Her brother, Lawrence Omier Wilson, is not only the Mayor but also the owner of the local baseball team. Her election as Queen of the West Coast's largest Carnaval has been headline news since April 9, when she emerged from a formidable lineup of competitors at Rockapulco's to be crowned the Queen of millennium Carnaval.

Elisa is elated to be the first Carnaval San Francisco Queen from Nicaragua and fittingly she dedicates her crown to  her mom, Jane Wilson. Mother's day is the biggest day of the Bluefields Carnaval season.  Elisa began her campaign for Queen early soliciting advice from long time contributors like Denise Joseph (C'SF Queen '94), getting a big turnout of supporters and launching, what else, a web site. 

Dancing punta  with a partner in a small, tight one piece outfit she showed she showed off a wide array of crowd pleasing moves working the large crowd and particularly the Nicaraguan section into a frenzy. Punta is a style of music played by the Garifuna people living in Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belize. 

Marcus Gordon, Carnaval SF founder/artistic director, who has run the contest since its beginning in 1990, began the proceedings by pointing out that the contest is neither a beauty or dance contest but rather about who best seizes and enlarges the Carnaval Spirit. Of course beauty, music and motion are the contestants most important tools and Elisa covers all these bases well as well.

An ambitious achiever who manages the East Palo Alto Community Law Center known as EPA La Project Elisa hopes to be able to raise enough community support to bring the famous Bluefields band Grupo Gama here for Carnaval San Francisco weekend on the 3-day Memorial Day weekend. She has enjoyed participating in Viva Panama's Carnaval SF efforts which often feature a musical group who come just for the Carnaval weekend parties on Memorial Weekend. 

Queen Elisa would also like to thank all her supporters and family particularly the Mission's Las Tingas Restaurant (Mission between 19th & 20th) for all their support. She cites the smile of the late Debra "Dimples" Gaines as being particularly inspirational. 

Her biggest Carnaval influence is the legendary Lizzy Nelson director of Ballet Costena in her hometown who not only brings out the standout performance group but also instills the importance of tradition and community arts in so many. "We still respect our elders until their asleep then we tear up the town." says the Queen with the infectious smile. 

Queen Elisa's Project Update: San Francisco Giant Marvin Bernard, was also born in Bluefields Nicaragua is helping Elisa raise money for her May Carnaval diplomacy initiative. He has obtained some very valuable Hall of Fame baseball memorabilia which Elisa invites you to bid on at Ebay.  

Aquarela again competed  another standout dancer MAISA who later joined fellow troupe member Carlos Silva, King of Carnaval, 1999. MAISA is now with Samba do Coracao

Watch The Queen Dance In Real Audio!

Click The Pic To Witness 10 seconds from the winning Queen Performance in RealMedia from the SF Mission's Rockapunta. Requires RealPlayer.


The Carnaval San Francisco King of the new millennium is the 11th chosen King and 3rd American SF Carnaval King, Jim Sowers 

"Every year I play mas with my Trinidad group Love Vibes" said Jim Trinidad and Tobago is the southernmost Caribbean Republic 7 miles off the coast of Venezuela. One of the great wonders of the world is how a nation of just 1.5 million can produce such a quantity and quality of great artistry as part of their annual pre-Lenten Carnival tradition. It was 1994,  that Trinidadian performance artist Wilfred Marks first baptized Jim with the inspiration of Trinidad Carnival. 

It is said that in a Carnaval culture, there are only two seasons; before Carnival and after culture. This is because of evangelists like Jim Sowers who believe it their mission to spread the Carnaval spirit which has such a universal power to unite.

"I'm an average samba dancer but I love it." Jim says recalling his 1999 performance in the King competition where he'd pulled out all the stops doing split second costume changes between a triple "s" dance routine of salsa--soca--samba.  However, there was now denying the brilliant moves of Brazilian Carlos Enrique Silva, another talented find of Maria Souza the director of Aquarela  and Queen of Carnaval '94. This year's King admits the loss was a major disappointment but he hopes the chance to be King of the millennium Carnaval will present an opportunities to help grow the Bay Area Carnaval season to new heights.

"I can't imagine life without Carnaval."  remarked the King. This year King Jim did a lower key performance. In fact his baggy full body all black costume with white spots had MC Marcus Gordon referring to him as the "the homeless dude." Beginning his performance waking from the depths of a deep sleep to discover its Carnaval morn Jim's routine displayed some amazing moves including his famous handstand dance. 

"Carnaval is a whole season of celebration" Jim explains. For the May San Francisco Carnaval Season there is the ritual of "our little coterie," usually just 5 to 10, gathering together each weekend to work on our costumes. This group has been the largest unofficial entry in the parade, unconventionally  parading backwards and attempting to dance with as many partners as possible. Making Carnaval San Francisco more participatory is a goal for King James. 

The King may be best know for his DJ moniker SpinCycle and his lively mix he describes as "the African Diaspora" A fixture at the Afribbean festival as well as one time board member Jim is not able to DJ as often as he'd like since he now works long hours as an attorney for the fast growing dot com company and has been enjoying  performing salsa 

Flying Flag of USA  King Jim is dedicating his crown to Shimon Craig van Collie, the 1998 Carnaval King who danced with the Brazilian group Aquarela. The well respected journalist and father, Shimon passed away earlier this year following a the sudden onset of cancer.  Both King's shared the belief in the power and glory of Carnaval to unite and heal their community as well as the untrained white genes that have forgotten how difficult it is to connect to soul without rhythm and motion.  King Jim puts it another way:

Remember African proverb:
If you can talk you can sing
If you can walk you can dance

King James paid respects to the past at 1999's 10th anniversary of Carnaval royalty. From left to right  Mario ('94), Michael Jenkins ('90), Sweetwyne ('90) Silvana Sousa ('96), Maria Sousa ('95), Jean Luc Stora ('95) and the late Shimon Van Collie ('98) whose memory Sowers dedicates his 2000 crown too.

Luna Salaver loves Carnaval as much as me.

Yolanda Calderon, my Salsa Partner.

Bobby Wallace. Roomie, Hastings Law School. Only guy more wacky then me!

part of our Carnaval Coterie SF'99

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