Monthly Archives: September 2010

Like Art at Home

When creativity meets attitude the world is almost always certain to change. Three years ago, artist friends Angelina Camelo and Clara Valente were looking for a place to work in Belo Horizonte.

They were able to find a nice little shop close to the cultural center of the city in the lovely Savassi area but when they saw it they soon felt like the room was meant for a different purpose: housing an art gallery.

So Minigaleria was born. A small gallery showing one artist at a time, this wonderfully refreshing art space has been home to several international and local artist exhibitions.

Focusing on one artist at time, works by the likes of Fefe Talavera and Stephan Doitschinoff have been shown on Minigaleria’s walls.

Having just reopened, the gallery has had a major impact in the city’s cultural life. Fostering and nurturing young artists from all over, it has become a space where you can enjoy an art piece almost as if you were at home.

Friend and artist Patrícia Caetano works at Mini

Good ideas deserve to be shared.

Teen Beauty from B or Diversity and Politics

I was actually going to write about my disgust for French politicians and their racistic, demagogic and economically-driven anti-immigrant policies but it just sickens me too much. I want to remain optimistic today.

In order to brighten up the day, I then chose to post here another pretty Brazilian guy who’s got a lot to show (pardon the pun).

Jonathan Dalcin is not 18 yet but his manly teen looks have gotten him quite a lot of attention in the last São Paulo Fashion Week, which was when I first saw him.

Jonathan’s foreign last name is a reminder of how important it is to keep doors open to diversity and natural integration.

Openness towards foreigners strengthens a land and not the opposite. Xenophobic laws which seek to create a single and thus illusory notion of citizenship do not contribute to any country’s identity.

To be governed by narrow-mindedness is to deny different people the chance to help build an innovative and more beautiful future. Let us not remain static.

As for Jonathan Dalcin, thank goodness his family came.

Pictures by Vitor Shalom via MadeinBrazil.

Wandering

At this point I’m so tired mentally I can only think of travel destinations that will serve for my total and utter relaxation.

Away from city life, away from music, away from the arts – this is how I intend to get my mind off my current worries.

Beach-wise, here’s my Top dream destination: Lençóis Maranhenses in the Brazilian Northeast.

Lençóis is an area of flat, low and rarely flooded land overlaid with immense shiny white sand dunes. Located close to the Equator, it is a natural park of stunning landscapes and mind-freeing reputation.

Having been born in the mountains, I must say that I am usually a bit more drawn towards the wonders of cliffs, slopes and hills than I am to sandy beaches. If I were to choose a destination right this second, it would be Chapada Diamantina National Park.

Waterfalls, gorges, caves and crystalline lakes are an option for the more adventurous. More and more I find that intense physical exercise keeps the mind from wandering and thus focus a bit more. Very surprisingly, I’ve been quite keen on them this past year.

Ok, enough with the dreaming. Gotta get back to work.

Two weeks from now

This could be me:

Or I could be here very soon:

Which destination should I choose, sea or mountain?

Inspirational pictures by Ryan Kenny.

Beauty from B

I’ve got my concentration back, so I cannot let it escape me again.

To help us get through the day:

21-year-old Marco Bette.

Via MadeinBrazil

Remembrance

Writing daily reports in a diary-like style (notice that I don’t want to restrain the way to do it) has two major advantages:

  1. it helps clear one’s mind;
  2. it is a great material for endless laughing years later.

When I first found my teenage diaries, I was really afraid they would make me feel sad given the fact that I went through a lot at the time. Loneliness, friendlessness and lack of chances to be with a guy were some of my main concerns back then.

But then, to my surprise, I was greatly amused by my own thoughts. I was astonishingly mature for my own age. An excerpt from my 15-year-old self:

I see no fun in going to straight places anymore. There is nothing for me there and they won’t solve my biggest problem: finally kissing a guy. What I need to do is find the address of a gay club and go there. I’d be much better off there than trying to fit in where I obviously do not belong.

My decisiveness was unmistakable even back in those days.

But I am mostly glad to see that throughout the years I was able to make incredibly loyal and loving friends. I cherish my friends so much there are no words to describe my love for them.

Instead, I choose to post a song by Antony and the Johnsons from their upcoming new album, Swanlights, to be released in mid October.

What I like most about it is that it was made using images shot by Antony Hegarty himself upon his arrival in NYC in the early 90’s.

Thank you for your love, my friends.

A little on Lula

The ends justify the means.

This aphorism, shrewdly turned into political treatise in Machiavelli’s famous book The Prince, is the line that perhaps most accurately describes the Brazilian president’s take on power.

Yes, his personal history is inspirational as it is surprising, given the fact that Brazil has always been ruled by people issued from the much self-centered and selfish economic elite. And the foreign press loves him for it.

What a disappointment did we, critical and observing people, have when his government and an alarming number of people in power were repeatedly connected to countless and outrageous corruption scandals.

Mr Lula was at first able to convince the population (rather successfully) that he was not personally connected to those criminals. But as the scandals became to emerge, one after the other, the circle began to close down on him and it soon seemed odd that he was the only person still morally innocent.

By that time, most of the smart voters and democratically friendly press started doing the math: many of the corrupt individuals in high government posts had been selected by the president himself. How naïve can one actually be?

But the economy is doing well; the world crisis hardly hit Brazil and poor and uneducated people finally have some hope for a better life and living. Things, in general, are improving. Wouldn’t it be best to put that all aside?

No, never. Besides the fact that this is not how a democracy should work, rotten by filthy schemes which some might choose to ignore as long as things are going well, corruption is very likely the most important problem Brazil as a country has to face.

Let us consider some key aspects. Brazil is one of the richest countries in the world, both in production standards and in natural resources. Basically everything the country needs is produced here (including self-sufficiency in oil supply) and there is an increasing trend for technology to be local as well. Why is there still so much poverty and low living standards in so many areas around the country?

The solution, my friends, is plain and simple corruption. Tax-payer money never reaches the areas it is mostly needed.

Mr Lula is leaving power soon and although it doesn’t seem that his overall intentions are bad, he keeps on taking the morally reproachable path.

His political party’s candidate, aka his successor, was literally manufactured by him. A former sullen minister turned into smiling candidate who is suddenly personally responsible for all the government successes – including those fostered by the previous oppositional administration. Moreover, public money is spent on her campaign regardless of the fines she is forced to pay.

Lula and his protegée, Dilma Rousseff

And what does the outspoken and brilliant rhetorician President Lula say about this? Please hold your laughter when you read this, but his answer frequently goes:

“the press only focuses on the negative”.

As long as the power is in his or his friends hands, everything is justifiable.

Well, not really.

How to divert attention

The French Government is carrying out an expulsion of Roma (Gypsy) of its territory. Legally, these people are European citizens, which makes the manoeuver illegal according to EU law.

Earlier this week, the EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, allegedly compared the actions fiercely defended by Nicolas Sarkozy to Germany’s policies of expulsion during World War II.

Right served him.

Not so many people are aware of the fact that other ethnic, religious and political minorities were also persecuted during the third Reich: gypsies, Africans, homosexuals, Jehovah Witnesses, communists and even people with mental illnesses suffered during the regime.

The French government is going through a major political crisis linking the president with illegal moves involving obscure campaign money donations and power influence. Not to mention the economic crisis, also rather clumsily handled.

Creating an outrageous scandal based on right-wing populist measures with racistic ideals is quite an effective way of distracting the people’s attention, is it not?

No matter how big our prejudices might be, we must not repeat the errors of the past, even if they seem like the easiest way out of a crisis.

We must be smarter than that.

Der Eintänzer (2009), by Rebecca Horn

Isolation has never solved anything.

Normality

I’m quite tired to post anything that is slightly relevant at this point. Inspiration has left me for the day, so here are the things that I’ve done today:

  1. woke up late;
  2. went all the way to the university campus to get something I should have gotten before;
  3. met a friend for lunch at one of my favorite places on Earth (a Taiwanese vegetarian place);
  4. had coffee in an incredibly cozy new café close to my home;
  5. tried to solve my cell phone problem;
  6. went to the gym;
  7. grabbed a bite;
  8. taught another class;
  9. talked to another dear friend about Yom Kippur plans;
  10. searched for easy but smart laughter online.

A productive day? I’m not so sure.

Musically, today was devoted to The Knife:

and The Gossip:

I love it when I go back to an album I’ve listened to a lot in the past and still find new aspects to like.

Novelty doesn’t always lie in the new.

Signs, silence, Zola

(I bit my lip thrice. A heavenly sign to remain silent?)

Being slightly inattentive has almost always been an endearing trait of my personality. Many people think it’s cute (not most of my roommates, though).

Today I was careless enough to leave my cell phone on a wet sink for a couple of hours and then, when I needed to use it, I realized it was no longer working. Now I’m not only unable to make or receive calls but I’m also deprived of all its wonderfully addictive features.

To be honest, I’m perfectly well without constant communication – I love it, actually. Whenever I travel I make a big deal out of not taking any phone with me – there is so much liberty in not being reachable at all times.

Anyway, this completely changed my mood because I hate having to deal with this sort of errand – I guess I pretty much dislike all errands for that matter, so I won’t be writing about anything else.

Then rather than speaking, I’m reading and listening.

So here’s a video by Zola Jesus (don’t you just love that name?):

Although I’m not very fond of the Goth label, I truly appreciate her dark tone. A more recent one:

I need to calm down.

NY S2011: Looks I Love

Very self-centeredly, I only like fashion either that I can wear or that I would wear, were I a bit bolder (and richer).

Having said that, I must say that I found a new love in the fashion industry after the last New York Spring 2011 shows: Band of Outsiders.

I loved the colors, the lengths, the weirdness and the accessories.

My favorite looks:

the Shorts, the Shirt, the Shoes

the Shorts, the Boots, the Shirt

the Boots, the Top, the Combination

the Shirt, the Shorts, the Shoes, the Cap, the Look

Is it too much to desire an entire collection?

The American brand  and its California meets the Riviera flavor are perfect for both Brazil and my wardrobe.

Twice as nice

Don’t you just love electronic duos?

Air, Daft Punk (pioneers) The Knife, Röyksopp, Cosmetics, Air France are a few of my older and more recent favorites. And now there’s Phantogram:

Ok, the visuals aren’t that great for this particular video but the music is fantastic. Mouthful of Diamonds is the first single from their first record, so they definitely deserve a lot of credit.

Apparently, two heads think, produce, create and execute electronic music better than one.

Delightful.

PS: Happy birthday to my great friend Adriano, my divine inspiration.

Typical Beauty from B

Brazilians are known for being a very racially mixed crowd. According to the 2006 Census, 33% of the population consider themselves to be of mixed race. This is quite easy to see just by walking down any street of a major city here.

Rael Costa is a fine example of this:

It is really refreshing to see this kind of looks represented.

With so many types of beauty in the world, it is about time we started appreciating different kinds of prettiness.

(Via TheFashionisto)

And before I forget:

!שנה טובה ומתוקה לכולנו

!ושבת שלום

Psychotherapy is the new pilates

Many are those who experience the power of producing art in improving one’s sentimental and mental conditions.

Lygia Clark (1920-1988), one of Brazil’s most reputed artists, was one of those. A key player in the creation of the Neo-Concrete art movement back in the mid 20th century, Clark turned to art therapy as a means of helping others towards the end of her life.

The Neo-concretists believed that the art is subjective as it is organic, meaning that the spectators (or participants) should be able to explore it and eventually merge with the artist himself through the manipulation of the art object.

An interesting point in her work is that she took elements of both Constructivism and Performance art and combined them in a unique way that encourages interaction with very abstract works.

Her choice of materials  is quite extraordinary (especially metal) with regards to audience participation. One would think that hard objects in geometrical shapes would hardly be inviting but yet she managed to make her art work quite approachable.

It is truly wonderful when you can really experience the work of an artist. It is not only life-changing but also quite healing.

Like therapy, like sports, like art.

Disclosure

One can never deny one’s past. No matter how we feel about our personal histories, they are an unforgiving and constant presence in one’s present life.

Even when we feel the need to break with events, memories, feelings and embarrassments from the past, they are nonetheless a part of who we are. In order to reject something, one has to know it first.

Acknowledging something is a very healthy attitude towards accepting oneself.

So why am I talking about this?

After yesterday’s post, I got to thinking about all the things that have influenced my tastes and perceptions of the world. Of course, I think too much and I never know how to stop my brain from making considerations about everything but I’m very inclined to believe that my past experiences shaped my tastes and who I am today.

Thus my admiration for the Nordic countries may come from another source rather than pure appreciation of the undeniable talent fostered in that area. It may come from my heart.

My first encounter with the true pleasures of the flesh (euphemisms are in again) took place in Iceland, with an Icelandic boy. He was my first boyfriend and it was also the first time I could truly feel what love was.

Then, not surprisingly, Icelandic music was there from the beginning (although I already loved Björk when I first went to Iceland). For sentimental reasons, here’s the latest video by Jónsi:

So now you know.