What the Fire Is — music by Katharine Key.

Some readers may find this new musical artist interesting:  What the Fire Is — an album of music by Katharine Key.   You can listen to some recommended pre-release tracks here:


Softness Can Be Strength

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Artist Jorge Selaron found dead on his famous stairs.

On January 10, according to news articles, the artist Jorge Selaron was found dead on his famous staircase in Rio de Janeiro.   It is not clear whether his death was a murder or a suicide.  The staircase is depicted on the cover of Roa Lynn’s novel, Fairwell Rio, as shown below.   The same stairway, before it was decorated by the artist, is mentioned in Fairwell Rio on page 87:

“As I descended the six long flights of concrete stairs to reach the
street, I saw Maria sitting sideways on the bottom step staring straight
ahead. She didn’t adjust her gaze or move her position as I approached.
I had to step over her thighs on my way to catch the bonde.”

Farewell Rio -- front cover

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Dilma’s government cracks down on corruption.

Official corruption has long been a serious problem for Brazil’s government.  According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the national government under President Dilma Rousseff is going after corrupt politicians and putting more of them in jail.

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Brazil exports soybeans to China and corn to the U.S.

According to an article in The Washington Post, Brazil’s cultivation of the Pantanal is transforming the country into a major exporter of grains.  In a few years, Brazil is expected to surpass the United States as the world’s major grower of soy beans, for which the largest market is in China.  The 2012 corn crop in the United States was heavily damaged by bad weather.   Partly as a result, the United States is now importing corn from Brazil.  Both the United States government and major U.S. agribusinesses are funding agricultural research in Brazil which is helping to make Brazil a major competitor of the United States in agricultural exports.

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Batala Washington band brings Brazilian culture to the capital.

An article in The Washington Post describes an all-female drum band that performs Afro-Brazilian rhythms around Washington, DC.  They are scheduled to perform on October 28, 2012 during the Hispanic Day Parade in New York City.

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You can now listen to a recorded interview about The Barbosa Legacy.

Click here to listen to a recorded interview with Bernard Kripkee, the editor of The Barbosa Legacy and Farewell Rio, with WTBQ: BK interview with WTBQ  Unfortunately, a few words were dropped when the interview was recorded over the internet.

Click here to listen to a recorded interview with Bernard Kripkee by Shelley Irwin from WGVU in Grand Rapids, MI.

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Beyond the Road (Por el Camino) at the sixth annual Brazilian Film Week, Washington, D.C.

Beyond the Road (Por el Camino)

6th Brazilian Film Week 2012 sponsored by the Brazilian Embassy, Washington D.C.

Location:  E Street Cinema  555 11th Street

 I really enjoyed this film and was surprised that a Brazilian, Charly Braun, produced, wrote and directed a movie that would make me want to revisit Uruguay!  Beyond the Road, just as the title suggests, is a road trip.  But it isn’t the hackneyed working out of that one well-worn formula.  The film is imbued with charm and freshness and it is obvious that Braun has great affection for his characters.

Santiago, a young Argentine from a wealthy family, takes a boat to Montevideo to claim land willed to him by his parents who tragically died in a car crash four years earlier.  On his way out of the capital he stops his car and picks up Juliette, a young Belgian woman he eyed on the boat who is heading in the same direction on foot lugging a wheeled suitcase.

Santiago was an investment banker in New York, but now he is looking for something else in life, he doesn’t know exactly what.  Juliette is hoping to reignite a relationship with an  Uruguayan leader of a commune she met in Costa Rica.  Santiago and Juliette find comfort in each other’s company as they spend time with an assortment of wealthy cool jet-setters, some of whom are members of Santiago’s well-connected family.  Along the way Juliette learns that her hope of taking up with her former lover are in vain — he lives with a girlfriend of longstanding.  Santiago and Juliette have a playful but chaste relationship until well into the film.  We are not surprised when they become lovers.

Braun, who attended film school at Emerson College in Boston, manages to combine American and French influences into this breezy film played against dramatic Uruguayan landscapes.  Not a word of Portuguese was spoken in it.  The dialogue is mostly in English and Spanish, with a smattering of French.  The atmosphere made me think of one of those Merchant/Ivory films in which Brits fall in love with Italy, except that in this case it’s an Argentine and a Belgian falling in love with Uruguay.

Roa Lynn

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