Porto Alegre

26 05 2015

Lagos: Inside the Monster

12 05 2015

The Guardian has a fun new series of “insiders’ cultural guides” to an offbeat selection of world cities.  Ramallah on the West Bank is covered, as are Quito, Budapest and Lagos. The Lagos guide in particular intrigued me as a glimpse into life in one of the world’s most maligned metropolises, yet one which has the potential to power much of the African economy.

The piece introduced me to Temi Dollface, a “Nigerian Janelle Monae,” and reminded me of perhaps the city’s most glorious epoch, the hosting of Festac 77. Flush with oil money, and looking forward to a bright future (which cruelly never materialised) the government decided to host a spectacular festival of world black culture. Designed as a sweeping gesture of celebration and solidarity, the festival drew dancers, artists and musicians from more than 50 countries. Its symbol was the ivory mask of the Queenmother of Oba Esigie, looted from the city of Benin by British forces and currently residing in New York’s Met Museum,which provided a powerful subtext – that Africa was back, baby, and ready to reclaim its rightful place in the world. Interestingly, among the participants, who stayed in a purpose-built Olympic-style village, was an Australian Aboriginal delegation which included painters, dancers and the poet Oodgeroo Noonucul.

Brazil was represented by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil who wrote the song “Two Naira, Fifty Kobo“, named after the then-Nigerian currency, about their visit. They were there to explore the links between Brazil and Nigeria, homeland to many of the slaves who were taken to work in the plantations of Bahia or mines of Minas Gerais, but also to a wealthy community of Brazilian returnees who once made up some ten percent of Lagos’ population.

A(nother) surprising element in the story of one of the world’s most misunderstood (or is it?) cities.

Down and out in Hong Kong and Rio

7 04 2015

Two interesting recent movies:

“Insanity” is a new Hong Kong film featuring one of China’s hottest current stars, Huang Xiaoming, as a psychiatrist determined to help a patient who is struggling to turn his life around after committing a violent crime. Its a bit implausible in places, but generally entertaining with its stylishly filmed HK locations and appearances by indie it-girl Fiona Sit and Singapore actress, Alien Sun.

“A Wolf at the Door” is  Brazilian, and in its breezy camerawork and look at the lives of Brazil’s new middle class, it reminded me of last year’s great “Neighbouring Sounds”. This is a much more straightforward genre flick though – a dark war-of-the-sexes thriller about an abducted child in the aftermath of an affair. The hunky Juliano Caazrre appears as a gruff local cop.



28 03 2015

Brazilian DJ due Selvagem. You can listen below to their mixtape, Beats+Space. The pair are playing in Sao Paulo this weekend at one of their monthly Selvagem parties.


9 03 2015

The Amazonian pop starlet’s latest, “Insight”.

Dônica – Casa 180

10 02 2015

Caetano’s son looks so much like him is scary. This is his band, Dônica.

Sao Paulo, mon amour…

21 12 2014

Bearded North American hipster takes a fun video tour of Sao Paulo. One of the youtube comments, in reference to the city’s current drought, said “typical hipster blah blah, don’t come here there is no water.”

For MY hipster guide to South America’s craziest city ;) – see here.

Or you can read my short essay on the city here.


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