O BloCão

In Brazil, there’s the big parades during carnival with all the pageantry and choreography that have made the lenten rite a global phenomenon. But across the nation, it’s the smaller street parades or “blocos” that everybody loves. They don’t have the same pedigree. Sometimes their origins are unkown. They’re cute, they’re adorable, and occasionally they’re so low budget and ugly that you have to hug them. They are the mutts of carnival. And now one of these mutts of carnival will be exclusively dedicated to….mutts.

Behold the BloCão

The word street parade = Bloco.

The word dog = Cão


(In portugueses via O Globo / Watercolor by Irina March).

Barra terá bloco exclusivo para cachorros durante o carnaval – Jornal O Globo.


Brazilian Eye for the Rad Side, Vol. 1

Revista Trip – Skate clássico.

The editors and contributors at Revista Trip have an uncanny knack for pinpointing the what is most awesome about… us. In this blog piece, Luiz Filipe Tavares compiles some epic YouTube footage from the golden days of skateboarding’s late 80’s renaissance – a time when Orange County and the South Bay still had some legitimate punk rock street cred. Middle class, no doubt. But with just enough edge to keep outsiders humble and just enough grit to keep living at the beach an affordable reality. Vision Skateboards and Epitaph records were the outlets for the last authentic screams of post-Reagan Era angst. When junkies and biker gangs were a far greater threat to suburban bliss than today’s steady stream of sloppy drunk frat dicks in Pier Plaza. Classic footage of Hosoi, Gonzo, and a ton of others. And big ups to Luiz for garnishing this collection with an older gem like 1978’s Skateboard Kings – a foundational film that includes absolutely brilliant faux-anthropological voice over work by Peter Malinker who manages to inject a little James Fennimore Cooper into the post pubescent porn-stache antics of a young Tony Alva and Co.

“You’re young male and live in the city. How do you prove yourself in the most materially comfortable country on earth? How do you show courage, daring, skill, strength? How do you prove you’re a man? If you’re a Massai tribesman in Africa you kill a lion. If you’re an aborigine boy you go on walkabout. If you live in Dogtown Los Angeles …you ride a skateboard!”




Foto del Dia: NYC, 1986 – Shots of Lady Liberty from the WTC

The World Trade Center was so simple in its design. An incredible feat of structural engineering but ultimately just two parallel sets of crisp clean lines stretching skyward. LA Times’ Bob Griever took this stunning shot of the WTC sprouting above its much older neighbors in July 1986. Bob used the WTC as his perch to photograph the Statue of Liberty during her rededication after renovations. See below for a link to the full photo essay on Liberty Weekend and Operation Sail.

Link: Statue of Liberty from World Trade Center – Framework – Photos and Video – Visual Storytelling from the Los Angeles Times.

Revista Trip – Surfland

Brazilian coverage of the NY surf scene. Montauk to Rockaway through the lens of Brooklynite Joni Sternbach. Interpretado por  From not so deep in the baú da Revista Trip. See below for a link to Revista Trip’s article on Sternbach’s photography.

From Joni Sternbach's Surfland

Link: Revista Trip – Surfland.

Pussy Riot –

Philosophy student, Political activist, Punk rocker. This is Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot. The arrest and subsequent conviction of three members of Pussy Riot for hooliganism has made international headlines and  launched the girls to global fame as celebrities and NGOs around the world critique the conviction as emblematic of a retrograde state of human rights and freedom of expression under the Putin regime. The T-shirt that Tolokonnikova has been photographed in while in custody has also highlighted the syncretic blend of influences that feed into Pussy Riot’s music and political message. ¡No Pasaran! became a battle cry during the Spanish Civil War that was given new life in the 1980s by Carlos Mejia Godoy, a Nicaraguan musician who used “No Pasaran” to anchor his eponymous folk ballad that served as a de facto anthem for the Sandinistas. Just part of an interesting genealogy for the ladies of Pussy Riot.

Of course, as a punk rockers, the lion’s share of Pussy Riot’s lineage traces back to the American and British punk scene from the 80s and early 90s. According to John Harris, Pussy Riot takes many of its cues from bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile, two scions of the “riot grrrrrl” movement out of Olympia, Washington. The Guardian published an interesting article by Harris where he explores these connections and dissects how modes of cultural protest that have grown tired, cliché, or otherwise drained of their original urgency in the west are finding a new voice and new audience in the higher-stakes political arenas of the east:

“What does all this tell us? That the Anglo-American world still sleeps, having sent forth cultural archetypes that have exploded all over the world. That in some places, culture actually still matters. And that in the macho dystopia of Putin’s Russia, where everything cultural is political and vice versa, three remarkable women have gone to prison to prove it.”


Watermelon Woman

By highlighting and exaggerating the stereotypical preference among Brazilians for. …ahem… “aBUNDÂncia”, Andressa Soares aka Mulher Melancia (Watermelon Woman) has done more than merely extend her 15 minutes of fame. She has added fuel to the flames of a pop culture challenge to mainstream formulations of “beautiful”. Giselle and the other long lanky cover girls that are genetically engineered from a petri dish in some secret Porto Alegre laboratory don’t really whet the palate of the popular Brazilian imagination. Apparently real Brazilian men gravitate toward real Brazilian butts. Real big Brazilian butts. Always tuned-in to the POVO, the PUEBLO, the PEOPLE, Vice Magazine goes to get the inside story, the story behind the bunda, in a video segment on the most celebrated buttocks in Brazil. It’s a full 15 minutes but well worth the watch because there are some super-tasty nuggets in this piece. My personal favorite is Andressa’s esthetician waxing philosophic on the correlation between ass size and socio-economic status. Link:  See the video @ VICE: Mulher Melancia

Demographic Pendulum



Revista Trip – Banksy versão 2012


As we noted this morning, Banksy is on the move.  Which means every geek from Cal Arts to Art Center is gonna be walking with a semi-chubber for the next couple weeks. So be conservative with your personal space-cushion whilst riding public transit or waiting in line at a Pasadena coffee house. It could get awkward.

Our brothas from Brazilian mothas at Revista Trip posted some good Banksy grabs including #2 which demonstrates the tasteful grooming of a good humored pubic servant. Although call me old fashioned but I’m kinda digging the wildstyle bush in #1.

Link: Revista Trip – Banksy versão 2012.

LA TACO » Snyder ~ Los Angeles

With Banksy on the move and certain to once again use la ciudad as his canvas, LA Taco takes a look at Snyder, another Los Angeles street artist punctuating the urban landscape with his creations. LA TACO » Snyder ~ Los Angeles.

Didiu Rio Branco – Political Cartoons & Hip-ee Hop-ee

Researching the The Spirit of Apollo, I came across this video with opening animation by Paulista cartoonist Didiu Rio Branco. It’s pretty funny – Lino Krizz‘s brasileño homage to blowout combs and lowriders.

And from the NASA project, screening tonight at the Los Feliz 3:

More of Didiu’s political and cultural critique can be found at Mundo Mocoh:

Even has his own Havaiianas!

Yo Soy Fiesta! – Rob Gronkowski habla football

On point with recent academic and intellectual developments like Why Spanish Matters, this clip of a bilingual interview with Gronk was submitted by HELA contributor Tommy Tsunga:

The response to the polyglot skills of El Gronk has been phenomenal and dovetailed nicely with the solid relationship that the Patriots have with Spanish Language media:

And it’s done wonders for the Sigue leyendo

Una charla con Rose Mary Salum

An author, an academic, an editor, the founder and director of Literal: Latin American Voices – Rose Mary Salum es una figura muy importante in the publication of content across cultures in the Américas. Put in slightly more accessible terms, she’s kind of a big a deal. El lunes tenemos not one but TWO oportunidades de hablar con ella sobre sus diferentes proyectos. In the morning, the UCLA Department of Spanish & Portuguese is hosting a roundtable brunch where she will discuss two of her publications: “Una de ellas” (published in Literal) and “Editing Journals across Languages and Cultures” (in the 2009 edition of Profession– online access limited to universities and subscribers). That evening at 5:30, UCLA will also be hosting a reception where Salum will get deeper into some of the linguistic and cultural issues that need to be negotiated in a publication like Literal. For those who are concerned, we have it on the authority of the organizers that in the spirit of Teo Ruiz, wine will be served antes de la charla… y quizas después también – if there’s any left – because lit scholars can be a thirsty bunch. Another in a long line of strong speakers that the Department of Spanish & Portuguese has hosted this year, Salum is highly recommended for anyone interested in project HELA.

“Rose Mary Salum is founder and director of the bilingual magazine Literal: Latin American Voices and author of short story collections Spaces In Between (2006), Entre los espacios (2002), and Vitrales (1994). In 2009, she collected works for Amalafa y Caligrafía: Literatura de origen árabe en América Latina for the journal Hostos Review. She recently completed Cuentos semitas, an anthology of short fiction by Latin American authors from Arabic and Jewish backgrounds, and a collection of micro-fiction titled El insomnio del arte. She has earned a wide range of awards and nominations for her literary and editorial efforts including “Author of the Year 2008” from the Hispanic Book Festival, the Ana María Matute Prize from Torremozas, the leading Spanish publisher of literature by women, the Hispanic Excellence Award, two Lone Star Awards (2005, 2006), recognitions from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals, the Western Publishing Association’s Maggie Awards, and the Classical Award from the University of St. Thomas, where she completed her masters degree. Born in Mexico and of Lebanese descent, in 2003 US Congress honored Rose Mary for her many contributions to the Hispanic community, and currently she teaches creative writing at Rice University.

Los Pinguos CD Release Party @ The Mint

I can’t count the number of nights I’ve spent drinking malbec and dancing madly to Los Pinguos. Give these guys an hour and your teeth will be purple and you’ll be drenched in sweat from doing whatever it is you decide to do when you decide to cut a rug: salsa, cumbia, white man’s overbite, free for all hincha de Boca style jumping up and down… it’s all good, it’s all pinguinesca. In the Temple Bar days, there was no better show on the lado oeste than this group of Argentines who channel an unparalleled blend of flamenco, rock, tango, cumbia, salsa… and … who cares… IT’S LOS PINGUOS!

Temple Bar is gone but Los Pinguos carry on and tomorrow night at The Mint they’re celebrating the release of their new album “11-11” with a South American / P. Diddy style “white party” where everyone dressed in white gets a FREE copy of the CD.

But OJO! Bassist and notorious hincha de C.A. Independiente, Santiago “Fefe” Lee made it very clear that you gotta be dressed in ALL white from head to toe. Go white or go home. A philosophy that Fefe assures me is not in any way racist.

More than anything: JUST ENJOY THE AWESOME THAT THEY PUT IN YOUR EAR. My only words of caution? Be careful if you Californicanos wear chancletas. Erin is notorious for dancing all over your feet.

Paz. Amor. Besos. Abrazos. – EPR

Brasilian Astronauts: as colaborações transnacionais da NASA

This movie looks amazing. With their debut album “The Spirit of Apollo”, the two gringo and brasileiro DJs that make up NASA took a musical sharpie and drew a big fat line between los EEUU and Brasil . In this celebration of norte-sur mashups, brasilian funk is the churrascaria and once it’s lit, los deeyays NASA throw every flavor and cut of meat from around the world onto the flame:

David Byrne, Chali 2na, Gift Of Gab, Z-Trip, Chuck D, Ras Congo, Seu Jorge, Method Man…. shall I continue?

Aiaight: E-40, DJ Swamp, RZA, Barbie Hatch, John Frusciante, KRS-One, Fatlip, Slim Kid Tre, Karen O, Ol’ Dirty Bastard… dare I go on?

Okay, let’s do it: Tom Waits, Kool Keith, Kanye West, Santogold, Lykke Li, Sizzla, Amanda Blank, Lovefoxxx, George Clinton, Spank Rock, M.I.A., Nick Zinner

…você quer mais?

Tudo bem, então: Kool Kojak, DJ Babão, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, DJ Qbert, The Cool Kids, Ghostface Killah, Scarface, DJ AM.

It’s wild. It’s awesome. And now Sam Spiegel and DJ Zegon are pulling back the curtain on project Apollo with a cinematic documentary of their transcontinental collaborations. I guess it’s not all that shocking then that the visual component doesn’t just mean some dork with an iPhone turned on the video. NASA stayed on theme and brought in a mix of global artists and animators to add sight to the sound. You know, just a couple schmoes like …Syd Garon, Shepard Fairey, Splunny, Sage Vaughn, Marcel Dzama, The Date Farmers, Logan, Didiu Rio Branco, Three Legged Legs and Lorenzo Fonda. Get yer tix and GO!

N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo – Trailer from Connell Creations on Vimeo.