a blog with cultural bulimia.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Moon over Arpoador.

The Beard, part deux.

The other kind of beard.

Fashion Bears.

Bears here and there are getting upset about the beard article from the NYTimes.

Hello!!!! It is the fucking "Fashion & Style" section of the Times. Why are you even reading it, if it bothers you so much?
But some New York 'bears' are not happy with the article (...). Of course it doesn't help when the article is written by a bitchy ex-housemate from Fire Island. Meow! towleroad

You read it here first.

Mr. DF forwarded me this from yesterday's New York Post Page Six:
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has his priorities straight. Lula was set to meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice earlier this week, but managed to squeeze in a meeting with Naomi Campbell first. Coincidentally, Campbell later ran into Rice at a churrascaria restaurant where, 'Naomi was sitting one table away wearing an 'I heart Brazil' T-shirt,' a spy reports. 'The president must be a very interesting man. First Naomi, then Condi.
But if you are one of my 3 daily readers (you know who you are...) you already knew it.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Ipanema, overcast.

The Interpreter.

I saw The Interpreter last night. One of those movies that makes you wonder how can so much money and talent not add to something better. I think Sean Penn is the greatest living actor - he's dull in this movie. I love Catherine Keener: totally wasted. Nicole Kidman? Well... Miscast:
Making the United Nations look good is easy compared to the movie's main imaginative ambition, which is to turn Nicole Kidman, apotheosis of all that is blond in Hollywood today, into the embodiment of African suffering. The New York Times Movie Review
But the movie is beautiful to watch. It's worth paying the admission just to see the United Nations building as shot by Sidney Polack.

The UN is one of my favorite buildings in the world. It is the representation of everything I like in architecture, the epitome of modern. The complex was designed by an international team of 11 architects, including Le Corbusier and the greatest brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and this is the first time it was allowed to be shot for a movie.

Maybe it's time I shave off my beard...

"It's very, very current," said Jimmy Paul, a New York hairstylist who works exclusively on fashion shoots and who until recently did not take a beard trimmer to work. "It's a very subversive and strong look. It's like a new punk. I don't think you can really have a job with one."
The New York Times Fashion & Style: Shaggy Chic: The Call of the Semi-Wild
But maybe not yet:
There is even a reference to the gay subculture of "bears": men who are unapologetically hirsute. Largely a fringe element only a few years ago, bear culture is winning converts among gay men turned off by the plucked and waxed world of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."
I never had grown facial hair until a few years back. It was a revelation, the way it changed my outlook in life. I especially liked the reaction I got, the people from whom I received an approval. It does make an statement.
The beard is also a blatant and almost primal expression of masculinity. For a study published in the journal Psychology in 1973, eight young men were photographed in four progressive states of beardedness. The photographs were shown to a panel, who were asked to rate the men on a variety of attributes. The responses linked longer beards with masculinity, dominance, self-confidence, nonconformity and liberalism. (...)

Most beard wearers agree that one of the remarkable things about having a beard is how people react to it.
Thought Not hates the article. It is fluff. It's hype. But it is always better to be ahead of the curve.

Miss Saigon.

 "Thus one of the best-known images of the Vietnam War shows something other than what almost everyone thinks it does."

The High Line problem.

"The really unfortunate thing about it is that the High Line is really cool and I would love to see it developed into something great. Walking along it, you get a unique view of Manhattan, both literally and figuratively. And from below, it just looks cool, especially when you catch people up there looking down on you. I think of the High Line as a bit like TiVo was a few years ago...difficult to explain to people who had never seen it, hard to understand why you'd ever need such a thing if you'd never used it, but once you'd used it for more than 10 minutes, it's hard to imagine how you ever did without it. And so it is with the High Line; it's hard to understand the appeal unless you've been up there. But as David notes, the linearity and elevation may make it difficult for many to find their way up there and discover that for themselves."

I heart the Highline!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Color me happy.


 The Heliópolis community is one of São Paulo's crowded shantytowns, with around 100,000 inhabitants and 2,000 small businesses such as bakers and groceries. Life was gloom. And not pretty. The architet Ruy Ohtake said in an interview that it was the ugliest place in São Paulo.

Some of the people that live there went after the architect and chalenged him to help them change that perception and together they came up with the project "A Cor em Heliópolis" and by simply using color they have changed the slum externally AND internally. People are now proud of their homes and there is a renewed sense of community.

My home is where the heart is.

Have you ever thought of the song you want played on your funeral? I want 'Blue Savannah' by Erasure played on mine.
Somewhere 'cross the desert
Sometime in the early hour
To the orange side
Through the clouds and thunder
My home is where the heart is
Sweet to surrender to you only
I send my love to you
Joe. My. God. has a soulful write up on Erasure as the soundtrack of our (gay) lives.
Gothamist: "There was an almost naked guy crucifying himself on an Astor Place traffic light pole" yesterday.

"A bar owner in the predominantly gay Castro neighborhood violated numerous city civil rights codes by discriminating against black patrons."

And why am I not there?

Bears venture out of their caves: "The tulips are in full bloom and the days are getting longer and longer. Old Man Winter has been banished (why is he always the last one to leave?), which means all you city bears, otters, cubs, wolverines need to wake up and venture from your caves because hibernation is over."

Rio is the new Miami?

 Calvin Klein no paraíso. (password: oiapoque) Mr. CK retires, at age 62, in Ipanema. He says that nowhere in the world was he able to wander around and date whoever he wanted so freely. Hummm... Ross Bleckner is also retiring to Rio. Decadance avec elegance? Not really, more like a sleazy ball.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The new Pope in Copacabana.

The Invention of Patient Zero: "How crystal-meth-fueled promiscuity, AIDS medical politics, and one very sick man combined to create a phantom superbug."

 President Lula met yesterday with Condoleezza Rice. Fine. Puzzling is the appointment he had just before Rice's: Naomi Campbell.

Modern Love: "My ex-husband is gay, and I knew it when I married him".

"But Wal-Mart is a different matter. It is the antithesis of everything for which New York has stood and for which it should stand."

Happy blogiversary Joe. My. God.

PostSecret: a site full of beautiful secrets. Via towleroad.

"Pentagon Considers Changing the Legal Definition of Sodomy". "Recruitment will surely go up—or, at least, recruits will go down—now." Via low culture.

Tom Waits while Jeremy Irons: "There’s a game I like where you have to think of people whose name makes a complete sentence" via kottke.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Rio de Janeiro.

"Foi um rio que passou em
Minha vida
E meu coração se deixou levar."

Paulinho da Viola

"A river passed
Through my life
And my heart let itself go."

I heart Rio.

Rio is the most geographically beautiful city I have ever seen. Squeezed between the ocean and the rock mountains it has new, breathtaking vistas at every turn. I just realized this weekend that the way I feel when in Rio is the same way I feel in New York: I feel alive. In constant wonderment.

Few cities in the world become the symbol of a country and its people - they are defined as città-capitale or city-capital by Carlo Giulio Argan, an Italian Historian. They are the ones that, independently of being the enonomic or politic center of a country, are vital to the formation and preservation of a national identity. And that is Rio, in spite of its many painful problems.



 Mr. LV and I have been friends since High School. He lives in Rio now and I stayed with him, in Santa Teresa, a charming neighborhood that is not usually part of touristic tours. Maybe because it's so hard do get to. And through it. It grew spontaneously during the monarchy as a summer retreat: up a very steep hill and in total harmony with nature it has become home to Rio's artistic community - and to artistic types, whether art per se is their final byproduct.

Leo and I are in total sync and I can see how annoying we can be to people around us, so many are the inside jokes. We've shared a lot.

He was the first person I told I was gay, right off High School. I was the excuse he used to tell his parents about his confused sexuality (and I think they still blame me for it).

We both lived in Europe at the same time. England and Germany. Together and separately.

Together and separately, on and off, for the last 27 years. I think the secret of our friendship is that we do not criticize - and we are not afraid of - each other. We get really silly and very serious. We go for months without talking to each other. And we barely have to say hi to get the conversation going.

My friend Leo.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Farm II.

Tiradentes II.

Today is the equivalent of the Boston Tea Party in Brazil. Except without the tea. And England becomes Portugal. And with some people literally loosing their heads, an image that has taunted me since childhood.

And we celebrate it with a national holiday.

Like a good brazilian, I'm not going to waste any time meditating about the meaning of this holiday: I'm on my way to Rio de Janeiro to visit a couple of high school friends.
Bears of the Week at Thought Not: my good friends Paul and Saul... I miss you guys.

How loopy is it to lose one's senses in the quest for a neatly packaged posterior? The $625 pair of jeans.

What to do??? "Maybe it's time for all reasonable, thoughtful people to leave the church universal to the bigoted and the ignorant. Maybe we are complicit in perpetuating the idiocy and superstition that do so much harm in the world." We, Like Sheep.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


 "This is how New Yorkers spend their days."

"The white smoke yesterday signaled that the Vatican thinks what it needs to bring it into modernity is the oldest pope since the 18th century: Joseph Ratzinger, a 78-year-old hidebound archconservative who ran the office that used to be called the Inquisition and who once belonged to Hitler Youth."

"'We all mourned John Paul II's death,' said Verrazetti, who was at St. Peter's Square for the former pope's funeral. 'But when Vatican officials said that final 'Amen,' you could feel something change in the air. Someone screamed 'festa!' and pretty soon Catholic women were going wild, running topless in the streets."

"The new pope can chose any name he likes except for 'Graham', 'Hitler' and 'Vivisection'. There was a Pope Vivisection XI in the tenth century, but he didn't own a horse, so he doesn't count."

"Free samples! Can there be two sweeter words in the English language?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The new Pope II.

 I have just watched Luther with Joseph Fiennes, which I really recomend if nothing for its historical perspective. I don't remember having heard about it when it was released in New York, in September 2003, according to the NYTimes review:
Although ''Luther,'' Eric Till's teeming screen biography of Martin Luther doesn't strain to make parallels between the 16th century and the present, the comparisons between then and now are obvious. The handsome, fact-filled historical epic, in which a fiery-eyed Joseph Fiennes portrays the father of the Reformation, depicts the events that gave birth to Protestantism as a life-and-death political struggle between a corrupt, repressive, intransigently conservative establishment (the Roman Catholic Church) and a liberal populist movement that spins out of control and wreaks havoc.

With religious fundamentalists of every stripe ferociously resisting globalization and modernity, variations of the same primal struggle are still being acted out all over the world. And you are likely to come away from ''Luther'' with the useful but gloomy realization that the movie's essential conflict is a never-ending ideological rift programmed into the species.
The election of Ratzinger today makes me feel like the catholic church today is moving closer to become once again the church it was before the Reformation. How can someone like me, gay, culturally liberal, raised catholic reconciliate its faith with its church? For me this is a moment of loss.

Related: "Extreme Homophobe Ratzinger Elected New Pope".

The new Pope.

"And so the Catholic church accelerates its turn toward authoritarianism, hostility to modernity, assertion of papal supremacy and quashing of internal debate and dissent. We are back to the nineteenth century. Maybe this is a necessary moment. Maybe pressing this movement to its logical conclusion will clarify things. But those of us who are struggling against what our Church is becoming, and the repressive priorities it is embracing, can only contemplate a form of despair. The Grand Inquisitor, who has essentially run the Church for the last few years, is now the public face. John Paul II will soon be seen as a liberal. The hard right has now cemented its complete control of the Catholic church. And so ... to prayer. What else do we now have?" Andrew Sullivan.


Einstein explaining Relativity:
When you have a pretty girl sitting on your lap, an hour seems like a second; when you're sitting on a hot stove, a second seems like an hour.
In my version, the pretty girl is New York.


Itamogi is where my father was born, where all that side of my family lives, where he has a coffee farm and where I use to spend all my school vacations through college. It is 400 kms (about 6 hours driving) from Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais, where I was born. It is also light years away from it - the distance necessary, I just confirmed, for my relationship with my father to work.

Itamogi is very small, 11,000 people total, half of it living outside the city. It is far - in every way- from all the three major cities in the region: Rio, São Paulo and B.H. Everybody, one way or another, lives from farming.

I love it, in homeopathic doses. I feel loved when I am there. I also eat a lot: most of my friends there are from Lebanese descendency and, like Brazilians, they place an absurd importance on feeding rites. And since Lebanese food is on the top of my preferences, everyday is a gorge fest.

I admire the fact these people live and love to live there but I am too cosmopolitan. I need options. I need to meet people. I need noise.

I miss New York.

And, Off-Broadway: Phantom of the Opera opens in São Paulo. Cultural update...

American dream.

"It's hard to find an American who doesn't believe that, with enough will, he or she can achieve anything - we've been brought up to believe that."

"After all, if America as an idea has meant anything, it has meant just that - the possibility of continual transformation - becoming wealthier, more spiritual, more beautiful, happier and feeling younger."

But "There are real limits to what can be done to reverse the damage caused by a lifetime of unhealthy living."

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sunday in the farm with Gustavo.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Old butcher, Itamogi.

Itamogi, population 5,000, is where I am spending some time in my father's farm. More on that next week.

Reality and reality check.

Two news split the front pages of brazilian newspapers yesterday.
First, our president, Lula, during a trip in Africa, apologized for Brazil's role during slavery. Second, an Argentinean soccer player was arrested - really arrested by the police - after making racial comments towards a brazilian player during a soccer match in São Paulo.

When I lived in New York I was often asked if there was racism in Brazil. My answer was always that it is the same as in the U.S. except that in the U.S. there are laws and special programs that are enforced. In Brazil I had never seen a wealthy black person that was not a soccer player or a musician.

Things have improved - slightly - because of our leftist government. There are many more black public figures. The Minister of Culture is black: Gilberto Gil (although he is also one of our most famous artists). Also, because of a very strong miscegenation, there are many shades of color skin darker than pure white that are considered white and that are sometimes more prejudiced. I always considered myself white - that's what I answer the census here - until I moved to the U.S.

So we should be glad with the police swift action in São Paulo? Well, things are not so black and white.

Racism is deplorable and should be condemned. But what happened during the soccer match is such an integer part of how we play soccer that things start to blur. We ahve a cultural problem here not a policial one.

These are considered the most natural things in Brazil: Players have always teased other players with slurs, trying to diminish their performance. We have NEVER respect the judge's mother - NEVER. We have nicknamed the player who suffered the insults, Grafite. We HATE the Argentineans. If someone messes up we say he made a "baianada" and call him a "paraiba" (Bahia and Paraiba are two nothern - and poor - states). And these are very natural things...

As they say it here: "the hole is a further down".

Thursday, April 14, 2005

House of representatives Square, Belo Horizonte.

Sculpture by Amilcar de Castro.

Why he doesn't blog more (often, I hope).

And the reasons why I shouldn't blog as often as I do
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT … my major impediments to blogging more deeply.  Looking back, it should be easy to see why it is so easy to blog about quantum physics, math, architecture, politics, the 'GATES', and Terri Schiavo.  Interestingly, I think this is what takes up 80% of ALL blogs (which maybe says a lot about bloggers !). 

So I’ll continue to blog-on when and how I feel.
HotMuscleGeek: an ER physician that DID NOT treat me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tree, Belo Horizonte.

"IPÊ (aka. Ironwood) is one of many commercial names used for the the imposing Lapacho group of trees from the various species of Tabebuia.The trees generally grow from 140 to 150 feet, but some can reach heights of 200 feet. Some other common names for the trees from this group include Bethbara and Lapacho, and a host of names used in the countries where the trees grow. The trees are mostly found in Brazil as well as throughout Central and South America and some of the Lesser Antilles."

Medical update.

I just had a Spirometry test, my second one. The first was when I left the hospital in February. My lungs have improved. Yeah! From severe obstruction to moderate obstruction. I do feel stronger, I can go further now.

I have also achieved the 70 kilos mark - weight not benchpress.

I am at my Father's farm for the week. Internet connection is spoty and so will be blogging. I'll try.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Beautiful Horizon.

Belo Horizonte is known as "Garden City" because of the number of trees in the streets although my favorite feature are the mountains that surround the city, built in a valley 100 years ago.

Reminder From Mr. DF.

"Nobody dreams of the things he already has. I'm not sure which is more unlikely; the chance I'll sleep with the president or the hope that I will one day learn to keep a secret."
David Sedaris

Santo subito?

Roughly translated from Italian, it means 'Sainthood Now.'
LATimes: Movement for Pope's Swift Canonization Gathers Steam.
Para mortais que prezam a vida acima de tudo, foram filas, papel e tinta demais para um papa que condenava até preservativo em tempos de Aids.
Fernando Canzian: Advogando para o diabo.
Translation: For mortals who regard life highly above all, there were too many lines, too much paper wasted, excessive use of ink, for a pope who condened even condoms in times of Aids.
I can't stand the newly almost acquired sainthood by the dead pope.
And don't get me started on Cardinal Law... It's another black mark on the church.
Cardinal Bernard Law celebrated Mass in mourning for Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Basilica on Monday, ignoring protests from victims that his handling of the sex abuse scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church should disqualify him from the honor."
The New York Times: "Disgraced Cardinal Says Memorial Mass for Pope"
And, on unrelated but meaningful news: "Clinton says he'll give $10M to AIDS fight" (

"Michael Jackson endorses Cardinal Bernard Law for new Pope."

"Embattled pop star Michael Jackson told a Los Angeles Times reporter at Johnnie Cochran’s funeral this week that he (Jackson) strongly supports the papal candidacy of Bernard Law, who was forced to resign in disgrace as archbishop of Boston two years ago because he had protected sexually abusive priests.

"Archbishop Law is a man of great sensitivity and learning,” said Jackson. “I came to know him well when he attended several sleepovers at Neverland ranch. He was kind enough to hear confessions for the catholic boys and their parents who were my guests.”

Macaulay Culkin, whom Jackson is alleged to have kissed and fondled on some of those occasions, was equally enthusiastic about Law.

“I remember sitting on his lap the year he played Santa Claus,” said Culkin. “He kept tickling my cheeks with his fake beard and whispering in my ear. I think he’d make a fun pope."

From Postcards from the Pug Bus.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Escola Estadual Pandiá Calógeras: my grade school...

"Gay rights activist Peter Tatchell makes a protest as he stands in the crowd that were spectating the royal wedding between Britain's Prince Charles and the Camilla Duchess of Cornwall in Windsor England Saturday April 9, 2005."

Gothamist on Chuck and Cammy's Wedding: "How did Joan Rivers get invited?"

Newsflash! Pope Still Dead! Details As They Emerge!

Gisele Bundchen shows she is an arsehole.

"Dry cleaning is something Morticia Addams might not have to think about, but I do."

Once you go Mac...