Weekly Headlines

February 20, 2010

Minister Dilma Rousseff, Lula’s chosen candidate for the next presidential elections, speaks to both Época and Veja magazines this week. It is her first series of interviews since she was officially declared candidate by Lula’s party, Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT). She talks about her cancer and recent plastic surgeries, proposes an even bigger presence of the state in the economy and challenges those who accuse her of being Lula’s puppet  (namely her many opponent in the dispute, São Paulo governor José Serra) to proof they have more experience in governing than herself.

Isto É talks about the healing powers of meditation.


How to find a husband – the Brazilian way

February 18, 2010

Saint Anthony, the patron of single girls

The biological clock is ticking and Prince Charming is a no-show? You spent Valentine’s day with your Mom? No problem! Try one of these classic Brazilian spells (we call them simpatias) and then go shop for your wedding gown.

  • Buy a small statue of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of single women. Remove Baby Jesus from his arms and tell the saint you won’t return the baby unless you get a boyfriend. You can reinforce your position, keeping Anthony upside down, so he will understand you are not kidding.
  • If you consider yourself very ugly, choose a leaf of espada de São Jorge (a sword-like plant commonly used in Afro-Brazilian cults). Cut it into three pieces and throw them in boiling water for three hours. After the water cools down, wash your face with it, praying to Saint George and asking him to convert the “dragon” into a beauty.
  • Buy a new sharp knife and stick it into a banana tree on June 12th at midnight  (Saint Anthony’s day is on the 13th). The liquid that will drip from the plant’s wound will form the first letter of the name of your future husband. The mother of a friend did this. She was very upset that K appeared – it is rarely used in Brazilian names. Years later she married a visiting German, Kurt.

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Brazilian Baroque

February 17, 2010

Igreja de São Francisco, Mariana, in Minas Gerais state

When you think of Baroque, you probably remember the curvy, exaggerated, passionate form of art that  blossomed in Europe since the 17th century.  You may think of Caravaggio and Bernini in Italy, or the rococo in France, or Bach and Handel in Germany. Less known but equally important was the Brazilian Baroque, that dominated the art scene in the country between the end of the 17th and the 19th centuries.

Although both literature and music incorporated baroque elements, it is in architecture that Baroque really excelled.

Most baroque churches have sober exteriors that contrast with very ornate interior decoration, including chubby angels, birds, vines and a profusion of color.  Cities that were rich at the time, thanks to diamonds, gold or sugar trade, such as Salvador, in Bahia, or Ouro Preto, in Minas Gerais, could afford to use gold leaves and noble materials and to hire the best artists of the time. Among them, Antônio Francisco Lisboa, known as Aleijadinho (The Crippled, a nickname given in less politically correct times), and Manoel da Costa Athaide (or Mestre Athaide). Read the rest of this entry »


Orson Welles in Rio’s Carnival

February 16, 2010

This series of images of film director Orson Welles partying (and working) in Rio, in 1942, were published by Life magazine and brought back to life by Portal Luis Nassif.


Gorgeous Rio Carnival

February 16, 2010

Acadêmicos da Rocinha

A little aftertaste of Carnival: the Havaiana flipflops add currently on TV shows a lady criticizing a bunch of guys (including actor Marcos Palmeira) who are celebrating while the world is in crisis. Palmeira sighs and says tristeza (sadness), which reminds the group of a classical samba, by Haroldo Lobo and Nilton de Souza.

Don Quixote, the theme of União da Ilha

Don Quixote, the theme of União da Ilha do Governador

Porta-bandeira of São Clemente

The photos I chose were produced by Riotur, the tourism agency of the city of Rio.


Thanks, Puerto Rico!

February 14, 2010

Today, a little over three months after launching Deep Brazil, I had a visitor from Puerto Rico – the hundredth country to pay a visit. Thanks, whoever you are! And thanks to all of you, silent or noisy guests. I hope to keep helping and entertaining all of you in the future.


Brazilian ballet – but you can call it capoeira

February 14, 2010

Few export products are as successful as capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art that mixes dance and music in exquisite way. You can certainly find a good capoeira school near you, no matter if you are in Lithuania or China.

If you still didn’t fall for it, you will, after watching this beautiful video, made by D’un Autre Monde, a French group that produces coreographies inspired by capoeira.

Check also this post, about “Besouro”, a film about a famous capoeirista who defied gravity and the Devil. Choreographed by Huen Chiu Ku, that worked in “The Matrix” and “The Tiger and the Dragon”, it has been recently released in Brazil and is beginning its international career.