Feria Nordestino….Forro for Lovers

18 Jun

A couple of nights ago I was listening to samba and met some Amazonians who invited me to go to São Cristóvão. Not knowing where it was or where they wanted to take me, I quickly accepted my offer. The next thing I know I am on a bus headed towards Centro to a dark place with nothing around me.  The bus stops and everyone gets off, and I am greeted by bright lights and people in cowboy hats. Yes. I had arrived to the Feria de San Cristobal (Feira de São Cristóvão), also known as the Feira Nordestino. It is located in the neighborhood of de São Cristóvão. Apparently, this fair began in 1945 as part of local traditions in Rio de Janeiro. The Feira de São Cristóvão takes place in an outdoor enclosure, where many market stalls, typical restaurants, and small business offer their services. The huge complex is also a meeting point for friends and relatives who arrive from all over Brazil. And by the looks of it, it seemed like most of the people there were not Carioca  (people from Rio).
Inside the fair, there is literally a small town laid out with streets named after Brazilian northeastern states.  One can find meats on various sticks and typical food along with lots folk music, called forró. There are two large stages in the Feira de São Cristóvão, where start-up artists and local bands play folk music and other genres. The night I went there on one of the main stages was a Disney-channel-like Forró band playing pop music. It was really weird so I wandered further into the backstreets of fake Northeastern Brazil. I was greeted by all types of age groups and races. The place really reminded me of fairs in Honduras, where all the vendors literally I think sell the same things all over the world, aka key chains, friendship bracelets and weird uncomfortable leather shoes/sandals.

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The best time to visit the Feira de São Cristóvão is on Friday or Saturday evening when the market is open round the clock and the stages at either side of Avenida do Nordeste are crowded with people listening to the live music and dancing forró. The Feira de São Cristóvão is open every day from Tuesday to Sunday (Tues-Thurs 10am-6pm; continuously 10 am Fri till 8pm Sun.). The fair is also open for lunch every day.

Anyways the place was really interesting and HUGE so I suggest if anyone goes to Rio they check it out. You can take a bus from Copacabana for around R$ 3 or a mini van for the same price. It costs R$ 3 to get in to the fair.


I’ll upload a video soon of it all, otherwise I just have a couple pictures.


Pipoca Poetica

18 Jun

The popcorn stands in Rio de Janeiro personally are so beautiful at night. So I thought I’d start filming them as an ode to Pipoca.

Slacklining Revolution

15 Jun

What is slacklining?

Slacklining: is a practice in balance that typically uses nylon webbing tensioned between two anchor points. Slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut (although it is still under some tension); it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line’s tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats. The line itself is flat, due to the nature of webbing, thus keeping the slacker’s footing from rolling as would be the case with an ordinary rope. The dynamic nature of the line allows for impressive tricks and stunts.

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In the 2012 Madonna Superbowl halftime show you might have caught a glimpse of a man center stage jumping up and down on a rope. Well, he was slacklining. The sport has exploded onto the zona sul beach scene in Rio, and in South Korea it’s a culturally protected practice. If you wander down to Copacabana or Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, most likely you will encounter someone slacklining in between palm trees. My friends and I decided we wanted to make a short doc about the sport, since we are focusing on the right to play as a human right in our youth media classes. Brazilians have various slacklining teams and competitions. There are two levels, a low tied rope, which is used more for tricks and a high tied rope which is more for isotonic movements like “the budda” or lying down on the rope to show control. In competitions, normally the contestant has a certain amount of time, say 5 minutes, do as many tricks as possible and not fall off. If they fall off the line, they are out of the competition.

A rope is usually around R$700 ($350 dollars) which is really expensive for the average Brazilian. However it has not stopped all types of social classes from getting hooked on the sport. Working as a group, the team ties the cord using a crank to palm trees, a practice that seriously damages the trees. The local government has been asked by the slackliners and other community members to start providing concret posts to protect the trees from an early death.

Anyways…On a side note, apparently you can lose up to 5 lbs a session, so maybe it will become a new LA workout fad in a couple of years. More to come later…

What is restricted?

7 Jun

Due to the ongoing drug war, it has been noted that taking photographs of the community Nova Holanda, Mare is highly prohibited. Even as I attempted to film a little from a van, whose windows were completely tinted, the driver suggested it would be best to maybe just film the drug addicts on the side of the highway and not into the community. The community is so vibrant and so diverse and for many of my collegues, who are photographers, the itch to document the positive side of Nova Holanda is haunting us.

After doing some research I did find 2 photographers who have shot some beautiful stuff and here are their stories…

The photographer Tadeu Vialni photographed the slum Nova Holanda in 2007 sharing this  experience:

“In 2007, I met the photographer John Roberto Ripper, during the festival of photography in Porto Alegre, who showed us a project from Escola de Fotógrafos Populares or the School of Popular Photographers. Its headquarters are located in the slum Nova Holanda, in Complex of Mare, Rio de Janeiro. After meeting him, I had desire to know more about the project. In the last week of November, accompanied by the photographers Chico, Mouse Diniz and Fabio Caffe,  some of the professors from the school, I got to know the slums; Nova Holanda, Morro do Timbau and  Baixa do Sapateiro, in Complexo da Maré. I have since followed the work that everyone has been doing in favela Complexo Alemão, which documents the works of CAP, a project that will connect some slums by trolley cars, with steel cables. Overall, the experience was very enriching,  I learned about daily life in a favela and was able to experience a pulse of life in all its diversity.”

For the site in Portuguese please follow this link: http://wp.clicrbs.com.br/focoblog/2009/12/04/favela-nova-holanda-por-tadeu-vilan

These pictures were taken in Favela Nova Holanda by  Tadeu Vilani

Arpoador, Ipanema

6 Jun

Sundays in Brazil happen to be the biggest beach day of the week. Everyone and their mother goes down to the shore to get in some sun, drink agua de coco, and play in the waves. Between Copacabana and Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro lies a rock called Arpoador. It is famous for its sunsets because you can see coastline, favelas and the Cristo statue high above the clouds. My professor Peter Lucas has been going to the rock for around 8 years, taking snap shots of all the chaos. Take a look: http://www.agenciaolhares.com/en/01_brazilamericas/arpoador-sunday-evenings-in-rio-de-janeiro/. Below you can find some of my photos from this beautiful rock.

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Jovens da Nova Holanda, Maré

1 Jun

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Hello world!

1 Jun
Vista from Luta Pela Paz of Complexo da Maré

I am New School graduate student studying international affairs and media working on a youth media project in Complexo da Maré, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In collaboration with the NGO Luta Pela Paz, I, along with 4 other graduate students will be working in Nova Holanda, Maré, with 10 young adults ages 12-17 making personal film-based narratives centered around the theme of human rights and the right to play. Currently, the favela Complexo da Maré, is one of the most dangerous communities in Rio. Violence and ongoing battles between Maré’s drug traffickers and the police have paralyzed and split the favela into 16 factions, prohibiting members to move freely. After receiving notice that Rio will host both the Olympics and the World Cup, the city’s municipality has implemented new policies of “pacification.” These policies have given the local police power to enter favelas and take control of the existing criminal governments by any means necessary. In Maré, over the last decade the community has lost over 3,000 kids to stray bullets and more to the drug trade. The Brazilian media, obsessed with violence, has stigmatized Maré as a drug and bullet ridden favela. This negative portrayal has indirectly affected the identities of those who live within the favela’s borders.  Moreover, young voices in the favela are often silenced and marginalized by violence. By empowering young adults to think critically about social problems through the lens of a camera, we hope that the process will inspire youth to become active civic participants in their community. Due to the drug trade, filming must be confined to only safe spaces, like houses or the NGO we work at. The restriction we hope will urge our students to critically analyze social issues and explore existing power structures that have made filming so prohibited in Maré.