Cultura de verao

20 07 2016


With the long, lazy days of Summer I’ve been catching up on my reading and viewing: it has been a Summer of culture! And given that my brief hope of playing Pokemon Go has been quashed by the delay in its Asian release, I have been reading instead. As well as some students’ novels that I had to read for school, my eclectic June/July beach-and-cafe book list has consisted of:

The Quran. I figured it was time to get myself educated! Although its not a comfortable read for a Western liberal (not to mention rambling and repetitive) I was surprised to find room for interpretation that could lead to positive change…amid plenty of ammunition for those who would oppose it. It is a book full of contradictions.

Dancing with the Devil in the City of God by Juliana Barbassa. This book, an investigation of the many problems faced by Rio de Janeiro, is a primer for the upcoming Olympics in my beloved former playground. The city is seemingly reeling from an insurmountable list of problems at the moment, just as it should be taking its bow in the world’s limelight. Will a recession, the virtual coup against Dilma, pollution, rising crime and the zika virus dampen the finest moment for the cidade maravilhosa or will Rio manage, characteristically, to rise above its demons, just as it does every Carnaval, if only for a night or two?

Ways of Going Home, by Alejandra Zambra. Haven’t started yet.

A Dean Koontz thriller the boyfriend picked up for me at the second hand store.

Plus a viewing list of:

Orange is the New Black.

Magnifico 70 – a Brazil HBO miniseries on censorship in 1970s Sao Paulo, kind of Mad Men in Sampa.

And music:

Still Roisin Murphy.

Still Leah Dou.

Plus the new album from Japanese alt-chanteuse UA, titled JaPo (short for “Japonesia”), another album of lush harmonies, lo-fi bleeps, raw jazzy vocals and tribal beats. It doesn’t all work, but when it does, UA stakes a claim as the foremost quirky Japanese nineties-generation diva (sorry, Shiina Ringo and Chara).



Light trapping

11 07 2016


Light trapping is a website devoted to the “night expeditions, escapades and chance encounters” of a Sao Paulo gay photographer, combining to spectacular effect his preoccupations with a) naked men b) architecture and c) striking lighting. Its mesmerising.

More images (some NSFW) after the jump

Read the rest of this entry »

….and Russo Passapusso

2 07 2016

Sampa retro

25 06 2016


The flamboyant midcentury modernism of architect João Artacho Jurado in the Edificio Bretagne complex and Loft Cinderela, in Sao Paulo.


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Neighbouring sounds

31 01 2016

New from Brazil, hipsterish gay hip hop from gritty São Paulo and dreamy indie bossa-rock from Rio.

Tokyo voodoo

20 11 2015


So sad I missed this: one of my favourite DJs, Thomash from Sao Paulo’s Voodoohop parties, playing in Tokyo!

Brasil – wired

13 10 2015

I have just discovered the Brasil wire website, with its repository of articles on contemporary (though very Sampa-centred) Brazilian culture. There is lots of interesting stuff here for Brazil nuts like me, from this piece on Australian singer Nick Cave and his three-year stint in Sao Paulo in the nineties to a profile on an upcoming documentary “Reclaim the Jungle” made by a New Zealander now resident in the city, a Japanese-Brazilian documentarian and a local street fashion photographer and focusing on a movement spearheaded by the Voodoohop street parties to reclaim formerly derelict parts of the city as liberated and hedonistic party spaces.

As one of the organisers of the Voodoohop parties says: “(Sao Paulo) is a melting pot where a lot of different worlds coexist, full of workers during the day, transvestites at night, streets of African & Bolivian migrants freshly arrived, Brazilian families living in squats, dusty hippies selling bracelets, tattooed teenagers hanging out in the “Galeria do Rock”. The centre of Sao Paulo is like an old bazaar, not good for fashion or refined items but where you can find all the essentials, food by the kilo, fabrics, electronics, any type of material, each block has its speciality. The area where you used to find all the cinemas in the 50s, Antiga Cinelandia, for example has hosted a lot parties in the last few years, as well as the area with all the old brothels. In general, the center of SP is a refuge for people who cannot afford or refuse to pay for the expensive part of the city. With this mix of people and interests, the centre ends up being very flexible and open for experiment, you can walk in some crazy outfit in the centre and people will hardly notice you.”