Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tara or Paulo?

Paulo Jose Keffer Franco Netto

Tara Donovan

I promise you this entry was going to be much more substantial..but you be the judge. Both artists work are made with drinking straws. Which do you prefer? I hate to say it because I am a huge Tara Donovan fan but I like the Paulo's better.

The work below is by an artist named Jose Patricio. I found out about his work when I visited Sao Paulo a few months ago. The pieces below are made out of domingos!!

I am planning a second trip there this weekend to visit some additional galleries and hopefully do some networking. They have a residency program there as well I hope to look into.


Dos semanas passada eu fui Brasília com Luciana. I woke up early on Friday, caught a flight to Brasília and met her that afternoon. It has gotten to the point where I am perfectly fine traveling on my own, a nice feeling. I can communicate enough for people to understand me and I am finding myself more and more eager to learn more words, though I still need lots of practice speaking. I understand better than I speak!

I spent a long 5 days in Brasília, the capital of Brasil. Most people assume immediately Rio is the capital but in fact it is the strange city, Brasília. My first impressions of Brasília were...this is a city? ha ha. Unfortunately I came in having lots of negative impressions of the city. I attended a meeting prior to my trip and had told some friends I was going there. The comments I recieved were as followed:

"How long will you be there?"

Me: "Three days"

"Plenty of time, you can see everything in less time than that. There isn't anything to do there."

"There is nothing to do unless you have a car."

"Ï don't like Brasília. It was a planned city yah know, so it doesn't work."

"The transportation system is horrible."

So...needless to say, I was preparing myself. Overall, my trip was nice but I think for other reasons that don't involve the city. I was able to spend time with my cousin Beto and Marina and Luciana.

What I did like about Brasilia was how rich the colors were in terms of the vegetation. The dirt was this intense terra cotta red and the grass was so green. I was told there are many nice places close to Brasilia for nature walks and hiking. Luciana and I had the chance to go to one park called Parque da Cidade. It was a very large park with many trails and we spent on afternoon strolling around. Here are a couple of pics I took there, of these bird nests.

One thing I learned prior to my visit to Brasilia, was that it is the birth place of Brazilian Rock. Lu had told me there was a festival going on that weekend and it was to feature some of Brazil's most popular rock bands. We decided to check it out on Saturday night. The festival was called Porao do Rock. Here is a picture of Lu and I on our way to the main area. The festival took place in the center of the city where all the main government buildings can be found. We stayed for a few bands and I loved see all the different people. I didn't feel like I was in Brazil at all. Everyone was dressed in black. ha ha. I caught a few kids in metal jackets and attempted to search for more to possibly take some photos but didn't have much luck. Got shy with the language barrier...

Of the bands that I did see, I enjoyed the Black Drawing Hawks.
I danced around a bit. Here is a photo of them playing.

My last day spent in Brasilia, Lu and I went and visited a lot of the tourist sites, which consist mainly of the government buildings and churches in the main center of the city. Several were under construction because of renovations that were underway.
Nevertheless, we made the most of it.

This is me standing in front of the National Congress building. It was designed by the famous Oscar Niemeyer. The postcard image of Brasilia. Is said to be his favorite piece. The seat of the legislative power is an ensemble of buildings were two domes stand out, representing the two plenary halls. The convex and large one is the Chamber of Deputies and the concave and smaller one houses the Senate's. It is said that the domes representing knowledge and information being brought in and out of Brasilia as well as the creation and sharing of ideas for the country.

This building is the Ministry of Justice and was also designed by Niemeyer.

Here I am standing in front of the ever so odd and space like National Musuem. Fortunately you caught me before I ran up the ramp and discovered the building wasn't open!

The lovely Luciana in our many touristic poses with buildings in Brasilia!

Posing with some flowers..

On Sunday morning, Marina, Beto, Luciana and I went to a service at this church called Our Lady of Fatima. It was also designed by Niemeyer and was built in 1958. It was the first church in Brasilia. It was an interesting experience. I attempted to sing hymns in portuguese.

That day was also the one year aniversary of Beto and Marina's wedding day!! and to think I was there one year ago....

The night life in Brasilia was a littl lacking, in my opinion but through some research Lu and I found out about a hot spot called Calafa. We read it was the best place to go dancing and flirt in Brasilia, according to the Veja Magazine's issue of the Best of Brasilia...

It said that Segunda, Monday night, was the best to go. We we caught a cab, stopped for a quick bite on the road..cachorro quente consisting of linguesa, corn, cheese, photo straws, ketchup, and mustard..and headed to the club.

It ended up being a lot of fun. The dj just happened to be from Rio and plays at one of my favorite clubs in Rio called Casa de Matriz, right down the street from my place! Here is a photo of the girls!

we arrived home shortly after 3:30. Tired and sweatly from a full night of dancing. I headed back to Rio the next afternoon. Nothing has yet compared to Rio..but still more to see!!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fernando Casás

This past week, when I was working in Katie's studio she showed me a book with pieces made by an artist by the named of Fernando Casás. He is an artist native of Rio and his work focuses on the theme of things in nature. Since I traveled this past weekend for some bit of time on a plane, I had the chance to read the book and look more into his work. I thought the book had a good quote I wanted to share.

"Perhaps the most supreme, most radical exercise of art is an exercise of withdrawl. Creation is not an act of power; it is an act of acceptance of aknowledgement. Creation carries within it the sign of femininity. It is not an act of penatration into matter, but rather a passionate desire to be penetrated by matter. To create is to generate a state of availability, in which the first thing created is an empty space. And the only thing that the artist perchance creates is the space for creation."

Fernando Casás

Here are somewhat more professional images of my pieces I have made. Two more are on the way..but it is taking me awhile. I want to take new photos because I spoke with a few shops in Leblon and am hoping to maybe sell some pieces. We shall see.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Parati, Brasil

Parati, Brasil

This past week I had the pleasure of journeying to a small town about four hours south of Rio called Paraty. I traveled with a friend that I met in Rio by the name of Catherine. She and I met through the couch surfing group that I am apart of in Rio. Before I go any further…here is a little background info on the couch surfing group. Once a week I go to a meeting that they host in this area called Largo do Marchado. We meet at a bar there and just hang out, drink, and meet new and interesting people each week from all over Brasil…and the world. It has been a lot of fun and nice also to see familiar faces. They have forums online for the city and people post about different trips they plan on taking whether it is around Rio or to other cities or towns. My friend Catherine had posted she was going to Paraty so I decided to join her since we had attended some other gatherings together in the past month.

Our trip started out with a two and a half hour bus ride to a town called Angre. We missed the bus that went directly to Paraty….but ended up having a more local view and experience. When we arrived in Angre we found out that the bus that takes us to Paraty from there was a local bus that stops about every five minutes letting people off and on. For me it was not a problem because I had just a small bag for the three-day trip we had planned. For Catherine, on the other hand, it was a little difficult because she had been living in Rio for the last three months and was planning on continuing her travels to other parts of Brazil as well as Argentina so she had a huge suitcase. But despite our disappointment in the transportation that was presented we loaded on the bus. We were determined to get to Paraty no matter what!! After riding on the bus for about 20 minutes (a packed bus..very packed) I decided to ask the man sitting next to be just how long it took to get to Paraty. He told me it would take duas horas!!! 2 hours!!! Not what I had wanted to hear but once again, we remained positive. Luckily our stop was the last so the bus cleared out along the way. I spoke with the man next to me for a bit. From what I could make out...ha ha..rs..He lived in a town not far from Paraty. I told him I was from Rio and we conversed a little bit. I am sure he asked me other things in which I wrongly answered, but I never really told him I was American and spoke English. I figured he probably could tell..ha ha

Once arriving in Paraty we were greeted by loads of travelers waiting at the small Rodaviara. (Lots of stray dogs roaming around the station as well as the streets of Paraty.) We jumped in a cab and made it to our Misit Chill Hostel. It was a very small place, right along the praia. There were many hostels there as well as several Pousadas in the town. The town is pretty much a tourist destination. Because our trip had been delayed we arrived around four and decided for the evening to take a walk into Centro, which was the historical area of town. Here are some photos of the area. The buildings were full of brightly colored janelas e portas.

In this area no cars are allowed to travel down the streets. There were people riding on horses and in carriages. The streets are covered with large cobblestones that were really irritating to walk on. I was constantly looking at my feet to see where I was stepping. It was easy to trip because it was so uneven and impossible to wear anything other than a good pair of tennis shoes or haviannas. (Brazilian flip-flops)

We had a look at a lot of the shops and took some pictures as well as visited the local teatro that was located on the street Rua dos Bonecos. The theatre has performances Saturday and Wednesday nights each week and luckily they had seats available for the show that evening. I had read a little bit about the theatre online and saw that it was a traditional puppet presentation but after further research I learned that the company has shown their performances internationally. Here are a few pictures of me standing in front of the teatro as well as by one of the puppets. The name of the company is Grupo Contadores de Estórias.

Now when I say puppets, I don’t mean marionettes, which was what I was expecting. The puppets are moved simply but their hands but are disguised in black. There were a total of 5 different acts that were performed by two people. They both wore all black and one would come out towards the audience each time and hold up a title of the act. Then they would remain on the stage where they prepared the puppets for that act and placed the props for the audience to see. Then the lights would dim and each person would take on a role for the different movements of the puppets. It was really amazing because they were able to make the puppets move in a believable way. Really seamless. My favorite act was between a little old women and man. It was just very endearing, sweet, and innocent. I was trying to find a video of one of the acts online but was having trouble finding a decent one. Here are a few clips I found and additional photos.


After the play Catherine and I decided since it was a Saturday night, why not have some drinks and find somewhere to dance for the evening. We headed to a few bars to find the best price for caiparinhas. We settle on a place that was charging R$ 5 Not bad and about half of what you pay at most places in Rio. We hung out there for a bit and then took a walk around centro to see where we might find somewhere to dance. Now since we both have been living in Rio for the last several months we were expecting to find some clube to go to but unfortunately it was hard to find anything like this there. It was too small. We did find on place with live music and a dj but the prices were ridiculously over priced so we decided to talk to some locals and found out there was a local club not too far from town.

We walked and found the place pounding with Brazilian music. Unfortunately I don’t have much experience dancing to this kind of music but Catherine insisted we go in so I did. It was Baile Funk night, which is a mix of Brazilian rap and is derived by Miami bass that requires lots of booty dancing. Ha ha. We sat for a bit and just had some drinks and chatted. After awhile decided to try to dance. Now, I am not much of a dancer when it comes to Brazilian music, I have become use to being identified as a gringo ( common reasons: not moving my hips enough and not enough butt action) but combined with my friend Catherine, we stuck out like a sore thumb. I spoke to a few girls and asked them to teach me but didn’t have much luck getting the moves down. It was a real local hangout, there weren’t other tourists in this place, which was nice.

After sticking it out for a while we decided to head back into town towards the bar that had a live band and dj just for an hour or two. The music consisted of mostly electronic, r&b, hip hop, and rock n roll!! Yeah!! They really like that song Halo by Beyonce here. I hear it multiple times a day. Probably one of the songs I will associate with this trip as well as all the tributes to Michael Jackson. I’ve had a hand full of people ask me about Michael Jackson, since I live in the states. Wanted to know my opinion on whether or not he actually died. Another thing I have failed to mention but has happened at least 15 times or more since I have been here. People tell me I look like Mary Jane from Spiderman aka Kirsten Dunst. I’ve never been told this in the states. I found it kind of humorous at first but after the 5th time it got kind of old...

BACK TO PARATI! I apologize for the tangent. We finished our Saturday rather late and woke up late Sunday to find the weather was gorgeous. We headed to a near by beach that was in walking distance and laid in the sun all afternoon into early evening. While at the beach I made some friends. I decided to take a dip in the water and three little girls about 6 years old came up to me and started talking. We hung out for a bit and I tried to answer their questions. I ended up telling them I spoke English so they helped me understand what they were asking. Very cute. Since the sun was rather strong, and I am I still pretty white, decided to take a walk back to the hostel early and visited a Fortress that over looks the town. It was a nice few of the small little town and a nice walk through the woods.

The rest of the evening we mainly hung out around the hostel meeting other travelers. Parati is a big destination for back packers that are traveling through the south of Brasil. I met people from Germany, New Zealand, England, India, Italy, and the US. Each night our hostel hosted a dinner for R$12 and the portions are huge. For two nights we ate there and has lasagna and stramboli. Both were delicious! And to compliment the food were nice dinner conversation with other travelers.

The next two days consisted of a lot of bad weather and down time. Parati is a great place when the weather is nice there is so much to do like: horse back riding, sailing, snorkeling, kayaking, jeep tours to see waterfalls and cachaca distilleries BUT when the weather is crappy there is not much to do expect read, hang out, draw in your sketchbook and sleep? We had planned on visiting some other nearby beaches which looked phenomenal in the photos BUT the weather wasn’t allowing us to go. Instead we walked around the little shops in town and visited a few museums. Even though it rained off and on it cleared for the evening and I was able to take some more pictures of the buildings. Here are a few of my favorites. I am planning on making my next piece based off of these photos. One thing I found particularly interested were how a number of the buildings had plants growing out of the roofs. It was very whimsical.

This coming weekend I am going to Brasilia to visit my cousins Sergio and Beto. I am looking forward to the visit because the city will be a whole different experience. It is the capital of Brasil and was a planned city. It is famous for its architecture from the famous Oscar Niemeyer. I will be sure to post once I return!!