The Right to Bare Arms
and All the Rest
After six years of fighting in the Justice system, Rio's naturists are
ecstatic since winning in March the right to call Abricó, in the Recreio dos Bandeirantes
area (south zone), their own place for baring it all on the sand. Even though the fight
went on for so long, the naturists were caught with their pants down having to improvise
cardboard handwritten signs placed on sticks buried in the sand, so people inclined to
sunbathe on the nude would find their new sanctuary in Rio and those wanting to keep their
clothes on wouldn't be shocked.
"Our intention now is to create an infrastructure in the area," announced
Pedro Ribeiro, 42, president of the Associação Naturista de Abricó. "The first
thing we will do is place an official city sign, indicating that this is a naturist
Defending his naturism views, Ribeiro wrote in Rio's daily O Dia: "If we
really followed the Brazilian tradition, we'd all be naked, because the real Brazilian,
the Indian, already practiced naturalism long before Brazil was discovered, as reported by
Caminha. Today he is dressed, languishing in a culture that is not his own. Clothes are
only for shelter and protection against bad weather. Why wear clothes on a clean beach
with a hot sun? There is nothing in the Brazilian law saying it is a crime to be naked.
The Penal Code talks about "public indecent assault", but doesn't define it. The
legislature understood 60 years ago that customs change with the times and cannot be tied
by permanent laws. And costumes only change when taboos are broken."
In 1994, Rio's Diário Oficial (Official Daily), the paper in which the city's
new laws are published, announced that Abricó had become officially free territory for
nudists. But lawyer and ex-seminarian Jorge Béja took it upon himself to fight against
the naturist space. He went to court and won an injunction against the nude beach. Alfredo
Sirkis, who as Environmental Secretary had encouraged the creation of Rio's nudist area,
commented about the court injunction, "these people are exposing Rio de Janeiro to
ridicule, they want to transform the city into an Islamic province.
Béja says that he is ready to wage more battles against the naturists and the
Municipal Secretary of Environment. He has already appealed to Rio's 7th Court,
which authorized the nude bathing. "Let them enjoy themselves for now because this
immoral bash is coming to an end very soon," Béja says. "My new appeal will be
heard in September and my chances of success are almost 100 percent."
To celebrate the victory, on the first weekend after the good news was announced, there
were around 50 nudists, in appropriate attire, occupying the sand space among rocks and
vegetation in a little corner bordering the clean, isolated Grumari beach, for some the
best beach Rio has to offer. The first test to see how the new law was holding worked
fine. A sunbather who felt offended and called the police to remove the naked bathers was
told by the officer that there was nothing he could do since the place was to be shared
with the nudist crowd now. At Abricó most visitors are couples and approximately 90
percent of the men and women are more than 40 years old.
Despite the Carnaval image of everything goes in Rio reflected in news, Cariocas (Rio's
residents), and Brazilians in general, have had and are having a hard time establishing
nudist beaches and a nudist perspective in the country. Europeans are much more open to
the concept and even the repressed and Victorian Yankee society offers more opportunities
for naturists than does Brazil. The pioneer work of AAPP (Associação Amigos da Praia do
PinhoAssociation Friends of the Pinho Beach), a group of naturists from Santa
Catarina state, started in 1986. FBN (Federação Brasileira de NaturismoBrazilian
Federation of Naturism), the organization that coordinates the development of Brazil's
nudism movement, was only created on January 15, 1988. All of this stresses even more the
importance of Rio's nudists' victory in the courts.
According to the FBN there are 350,000 Brazilians who practice nudism among the 70
million who have adopted it around the world. The pioneer of nudism in Brazil was actress
Dora Vivacqua, better known by the nickname of Luz del Fuego. In 1949, del Fuego, who used
to walk naked in Rio, created the Partido Naturista Brasileiro (Brazilian Naturist Party).
In 1954 she founded the Clube Naturista Brasileiro, in Ilha do Sol in Baía da Guanabara.
She was killed by her home's caretaker.
Nudist Beaches, Places, Clubs, Associations
Here's a list of all the few places in Brazil where people are encouraged, welcomed or
just merely allowed to take off their clothes in public.
Santa Catarina, in the south, which received a strong influence of European immigrants,
offers the most options for nudists. It has Praia do Pinho, the first official naturist
beach in Brazil as well as the beaches of Galheta and Pedras Altas. Despite the tropical
temperatures of the northeastern beaches, the options in the area are few and with
Tambaba, in the state of Paraíba and Massarandupió, in Bahia state.
Official nudist beaches:
Praia do Pinho, http://www.praiadopinho.com.br,
Santa Catarina state: Brazil's first official nude beach.
in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina.
Olho de Boi, in Búzios, Rio de Janeiro.
in Recreio dos Bandeirantes, Rio de Janeiro.
Barra Seca, http://www.barraseca.com.br, in
Linhares, Espírito Santo.
Pedras Altas, http://www.quicknet.com.br/qn0690/,
Tambaba, http://www.tambaba.com.br, in João
Pessoa, Paraíba state.
Non-official nudist beaches:
Most of the non-official nudist beaches are in the Northeast, mainly in the states of
Bahia and Pernambuco. In the Southeast, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have the most to
Arraial d'Ajuda, close to Porto Seguro in Bahia. Two options: Taípe and Pitinga.
Berreiros, Pernambuco. Three beaches available: Gravatá, Várzea do Uma, and Praia do
Ilha Cocaia, in Cabo de Santo, Pernambuco
Ilha da Coroa Vermelha, in Nova Viçosa, Bahia state.
Ilha da Croa, in Barra de Santo Antônio, Alagoas state.
Praia do Alto, in Ubatuba, São Paulo.
Praia da Figueira, in Trindade, close to Parati, Rio de Janeiro.
Praia Princesa or Faroll, at Maiandeua, Pará state.
Praia Brava, in Cabo Frio, Rio de Janeiro.
Praia Seca, Araruama, Rio de Janeiro
Praia das Fontes, in Beberibe, state of Ceará
Praia Muro Alto, in Ipojuca, Pernambuco.
Praia de Americano, in Fernando de Noronha, state of Pernambuco
Praia Madeiro, in Tibaú do Sul, Rio Grande do Norte.
Praia Abais, in Estância, state of Sergipe.
Quinta Praia, in Morro de São Paulo, Bahia.
Trancoso, also close to Porto Seguro. Nudism is practiced at Praia da Pedra Grande.
The Clubs: Where you Pay to Get Naked
Most naturist clubs will only accept couples or families as members.
Colina do Sol, in Taquara, Rio Grande do Sul, 40 miles from Porto Alegre -
Paraíso da Tartaruga, close to Praia do Pinho, in Santa Catarina.
Recanto Paraíso, in Piraí, 40 miles from Rio.
Rincão Clube Naturista, in Guaratinguetá, 100 miles from São Paulo.
Amazonat Resort, jungle area, 100 miles from Manaus, Amazonas state.
Rama Nat, in Extrema, Minas Gerais state.
Solar de Guaratiba, www.solarguaratiba.com.br,
in Pedra de Guaratiba, in Rio.
FBN (Federação Brasileira de NaturismoBrazilian Naturism Federation),
created January 15, 1988 to coordinate the naturism movement in Brazil.
AAPP(Associação Amigos da Praia do PinhoAssociation Friends of Pinho
Beach), created in 1986. They meet at Praia do Pinho in the Camboriú resort, state of
Santa Catarina. More than 200 members. Address: AAPP, Caixa Postal 272, Balneário
Camboriú/SC - CEP 88.330-000.
APENAAssociação Pernambucana de Naturismo. Address: APENA, Caixa Postal 7485,
Recife/PE - CEP 50.722-970.
CANAssociação Carioca de Naturismo. With more than 100 members,
they meet in a ranch in Rio de Janeiro. Address: ACN, Caixa Postal 4055, Rio de Janeiro/RJ
- CEP 20.001-970.
The Stage is Widower
She is the most important author of children's plays Brazil has ever produced. But she
is more than that to the Brazilian theater, being responsible for the nurturing and
formation of several generations of actors at Tablado, a theatrical group and school
created by her. That's why there were so many celebrities and anonymous people, young and
old, in the cemetery São Francisco Xavier, to say their last goodbyes to Maria Clara
Machado, who died on April 30, in Rio, from lymphatic cancer. She would have been 80 on
The playwright learned of her cancer 18 months ago, and only stopped working two weeks
before her death. The last show she directed, Jonas e a Baleia (Jonas and the
Whale), written by Machado and her niece Maria Clara Mourthé, is still being shown at
Rio's Teatro Tablado.
Actress, director, playwright, teacher, Machado was born in Belo Horizonte, capital of
Minas Gerais, in 1921. She was 4 years old when her parents moved to Rio. Her mother died
from complications of giving birth when Machado was nine. Neither she or her five sisters
were told about the death. Their mother simply never came back from the hospital and her
pictures and clothes suddenly disappeared.
Her father was Anibal Machado (1894-1964), author of A Morte da Porta-Estandarte (The
Death of the Standard-Bearer) and João Ternura (Tenderness John), a great writer
that Brazil has forgotten. She grew up in constant contact with her father's friends:
artists, writers, painters, and all kinds of intellectuals (including poets Pablo Neruda,
Manoel Bandeira, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, and Vinicius de Morais; writers Rubem Braga,
Clarice Lispector; painter Di Cavalcanti and French actor-director Jean-Louis Barrault)
who used to frequent her parents' home at Avenida Vieira Souto, in Ipanema.
Maria Clara's work will not end with her passing. Maria Clara Mourthé, 42, her niece
who adopted the Cacá Mourthé sobriquet, seems interested in continuing the work of her
aunt at the school-theater Tablado, which has taught acting to more than 5000 students.
Among those who practiced their craft on that stage are the likes of Fernanda Torres,
Leonardo Brício, Marcelo Serrado, Cláudia Abreu, Guilherme Fontes, Malu Mader, and
playwright and actor Miguel Falabella. From previous generations there are Maria Padilha,
Louise Cardoso, and Marieta Severo.
Maria Clara was still a little girl when she started playing and experimenting with
marionettes. One constant presence among the puppeteers was a friend named Maria Antonieta
Portocarrero, who would become one of the finest Brazilian actresses under the name of
Tônia Carrero. In the '40s she directed marionette plays and wrote her first book: Como
Fazer Teatrinho de Bonecos (How to Make Marionette Theater)."
Commenting on the death of her old friend, Carrero said: "She is more immortal
than anyone of us. Maria Clara will stay."
Having won a scholarship from the French government, she went to Paris in 1950 to study
theater. From there she traveled to London with another scholarship given by Unesco. In
France she studied with mime Decroux and director Jean-Louis Barrault. She returned to
Brazil in 1952. Initially she worked as a nurse and realized she felt great among kids.
From this came the idea to create a theater group to perform children's plays.
She started an amateur theater group for workers, but he project didn't succeed since
the workmen had no time for rehearsal. The failure, however, taught her things for what
would become her enduring legacy to the Brazilian theater and culture: the school-theater
Tablado (Stage). Fifty years later the experience is still alive where it began, at
Patronato Operário da Gávea, on the south side of Rio. The Tablado has also become a
school and passport to the novelas (soap operas) of Globo network, a most desirable
acting career in a country where stage actors make so little and movie making has become
Machado's first play, O Boi e o Burro no Caminho de Belém (The Ox and the
Donkey on Their Way to Belém), was written and staged in 1953. The following year saw her
O Rapto das Cebolinhas (The Green Onions Kidnapping) performed. Maria Clara's most
famous text, Pluft, o Fantasminha (Pluft, the Little Ghost), was written in 1955.
Pluft has other unforgettable characters besides the hero who names the play. There are
uncle Gerúndio, who lives in a trunk; the talkative mother ghost always chatting with
cousin Bolha (Bubble); the little girl Maribel and the son of the Opera's ghost, who has
become cellophane paper.
Pluft has become a child classic being staged all over the world. Among the 29
famous plays written and directed by Machado there are A Bruxinha que Era Boa (The
Little Witch Who Was Good), A Menina e o Vento (The Girl and the Wind), O
Cavalinho Azul (The Blue Little Horse), and Caça às Bruxas (Witches Chase).
Although Pluft was her most famous work, Machado preferred O Cavalinho
As an actress, Machado appeared in plays by Garcia Lorca, Tchecov, and Thornton Wilder
in the first ten years of Tablado, but she eventually dedicated herself to playwriting and
directing. In the '80s she returned briefly back to the stage playing in the comedies Arsênico
e Alfazema (Arsenic and Lavender) and Ensina-me a Viver (Teach me how to Live).
Besides her children's plays, Maria Clara, who was never a mother but wrote inspired by
childhood memories, also created five plays for adults and wrote 30 books. The playwright
was called bossy and authoritarian by some who worked with her, but it seems now that her
character and determination was decisive in preserving the Tablado experience for many
decades. She had to approve everything and all changes, be it in the stage, in the
building, in the way classes were ministered or in the bylaws that govern the Tablado
"I am not an authoritarian kind of person, or a big mother," she told once a
reporter, "but there is that time when you need to give a good scolding. Once, during
the '70s, I went into the dressing room and the actors were smoking pot. Of course I
prohibited them from doing this. Not for me, but for the institution."
Maria Clara used to wake up at 7 a.m. to walk on Ipanema beach, close to her residence.
She walked alone, because it was "the time to think, to watch the sea."
"Every morning I go out and observe the sea," she said. "The sea is there,
and it will continue there. I am the one who is going away. I would love to be well
prepared for death, but is anyone able to do this? Young people learn how to grow, but
nobody teaches us how to be old."