News from Brazil—In English

Most major news outlets report about Brazil’s economic growth, income disparities, racial issues, beaches, soccer stars, and World Cup preparations in random, infrequent bursts. Now, two journalists with feet on the ground and caipirinhas on the brain are weighing in on the economic growth, income disparities, etc., etc., on their own blogs.

Yes, everybody and their mama who ever spent a week on the beach in Rio or ever took a guided favela tour has a blog about Brazil. But these guys are oftentimes the go-to sources for reliable facts and insight that those major news outlets rely on when reporting on the country. So, for the most part, dear reader, you can turn to this pair of muckrakers for consistent, insightful commentary—in English—on that enigmatic, entrancing South American powerhouse in the tutti-frutti hat.

Sir Andrew Downie (he’s not really a knight, but he’s got a courtly disposition and “Sir” just sounds cool in front of his name) has been writing his eponymous blog for a while now, having moved to Brazil last century, I think. Originally from Scotland, Downie has worked as foreign correspondent in Haiti, Mexico, and now Brazil for the New York Times and Time magazine, among other outlets whose names do not necessarily incorporate the word “time”. Read his blog for World Cup drama and rants about Brazilian customer service.

Sir Vincent Bevins (why not?) just recently started writing the English-language blog for Brazil’s largest daily Folha de S.Paulo: the succinctly-named From Brazil. The native of La-la Land has lived in London, Berlin, and São Paulo and writes for the Financial Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other Times. He also hangs out with models in Rio and Reykjavik. No lie. Read his blog for reports on gender equality and humorous English gaffes.

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print. Well, from Brazil—in English—anyway.

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Global Juke Joint: Dimitri from Paris

I’ve been doing a lot of traveling these last few weeks, and through incessant TSA screenings, cramped airplane seats, and nagging jet-lag, there is but one man who can instantly take me from the pain to the pleasure of travel in the course of a 3-minute ditty: Greek-Turkish-French DJ Dimitri From Paris. Combining electro, funk, disco, house, hip hop, and notably, the lush string arrangements of 1950s film scores, DFP is just plain fly (hell, the man’s 2003 album is even titled Cruising Attitude).

Here are a few must-haves for the transoceanic inflight playlist:





and the Fly Ladies’ Anthem:

If you liked that little set, be sure to check out the Fly Brother Podcast, Night Flight 695 – The Trance-Atlantic, featuring music by Dimitri From Paris.

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Party on 8th Street: Calle Ocho in Miami

Yes, it really did have this many people.

Every March, the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana throws the biggest pan-Latin/Caribbean bash in the country on Southwest 8th Street, the main street of Miami’s Cuban community, called “Calle Ocho” in Spanish because of the missing ordinal abbreviation (i.e. “th”) on the street signs. With a few million party people packing the street for almost 20 blocks, the festival features music, dancing, food, and foolishness from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Haiti, Jamaica, Brazil, and Miami itself.

This year’s event was on March 11, and if you weren’t here, you gotta wait ’til next year. Meanwhile, here’s some footage to tide you over:


Learn more about the festivities at the official Carnaval Miami website.

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Artsy Ladies: National Museum of Women in the Arts

"Africa" by Lois Mailou Jones (1936)

Of all the famous painters you can think of, how many are women? Four? Five? Well, until my recent visit to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, I could only think of two: Kahlo and O’Keeffe (which is just as well, as their paintings stand side-by-side in the museum).

Housed in an elegant, century-old former Masonic temple on New York Avenue in Downtown Washington and celebrating its 25th anniversary, the museum opened in 1987 as an outgrowth of the private art collection of Wilhelmina and Wallace Holladay, who noticed a dearth of women painters amongst the classical canon of artists revered and studied in America. Over 4,000 paintings, scuptures, and objets d’art from the 16th century to the present are on display or in the vault of the museum, the only one solely dedicated to the work of lady artisans from around the world.

"Rainy Night, Downtown" by Georgia Mills Jessup (1967)

As a man of color, I appreciated learning about how women had been kept out of the field historically, either by deliberately sexist educational policies, social convention, or financial limitations. I also appreciated the museum’s attempt at including the work of artists of color, like Harlem Renaissance painter Lois Mailou Jones, Pamunkey Indian Georgia Mills Jessup, and contemporary black artist Chakaia Booker. It’s a good start.

The museum’s temporary exhibitions are also eye-catching (when I visited, “Royalists to Romantics” honored French artists like the prolific portraitist Henriette Lorimier and impressively-named Adrienne Marie Louise Grandpierre-Deverzy), as is the unique sculpture garden running up the median of New York Avenue. What a way to infuse art into life!

"Self Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsky" by Frida Kahlo (1937)

So, on your next trip to DC, guys and gals, make sure you stop through the National Museum of Women in the Arts and brush up on your artsy ladies.

Keep up on the museum’s happenings via their blog, Broad Strokes.

NATIONAL MUSEUM OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS
1250 New York Ave NW
Washington DC 20005-3970
202-783-5000, 1-800-222-7270
www.nmwa.org

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Airline Geekery: Timetables

As a kid―and a nascent nerd―in the late-80s/early-90s, I used to collect airline timetables, that magical tome of times and places that would transport you from Caracas to New York to Frankfurt to Rangoon and back with the flip of a few pages.

My first timetables were from domestic carriers that flew to my hometown of Jacksonville: Piedmont, Delta, Eastern, USAir. I especially loved the American Airlines timetables because they were thick with flight schedules and included shaded airport maps and detailed seat diagrams of planes like the Airbus 300 and MD-11.

Soon, I hit the phone book and dialed the 800-numbers of every airline listed: British Airways, Canadian International Airlines, Air Afrique, Varig, Thai Airways International. By the time I hit age 10, I pressed my parents incessantly to take me to the airport whenever we went to Orlando so I could bum timetables from strange-sounding foreign airlines like Alitalia, LACSA, and Lufthansa. I even had timetables from tiny operations like Air Nauru, Air Malta, and Aero California.

By my teenage years, my collection of timetables (and travel guides and AAA city maps) began to overflow the raggedy file cabinet my mom had brought home from school, and their pressure for me to just throw all that crap out became more and more intense. Eventually it all went into the trash, just as the internet took off and all but a scant few airlines stopped printing their flight schedules in book format. In the end, my parents forced me to destroy a collection of items―obtained for free―that now would be worth hundreds of dollars each. I remind them of this each time I hit them up for money.

Now I’m relegated to much bulkier in-flight magazines. They just aren’t the same.

What did you geek out about as a kid?

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Fly Favorites: February 2012

  • Don + Whitney =

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