By Brazzil Magazine
Peeled to the Soul
She’s been called Leoa do Norte (North Lioness). The epithet given singer Elba Ramalho,
48, is an acknowledgment of her persistence and ferocity when necessary. Ramalho is
celebrating 20 years of a very successful musical career and to mark the occasion she
decided to go on tour with a new show; release Solar, her latest album, and take
off her clothes, showing her intimacy to her fans in the book Elba 20 Anos (Elba 20
Solar was recorded live at Salvador’s (capital of Bahia state) Teatro Castro Alves.
Some friends gave their contribution in a studio. Lenine in "Nó Cego", Zé
Ramalho in "Ave de Prata", Chico Buarque in "Não Sonho Mais"), and
Nana Caymmi in "Imaculada". In a recent interview with Rio’s daily O Dia,
Elba talked about how she feels about life and her work: "I am solar. I am an
actress. My dimension of art is big. I am not even disturbed by the interpretation people
give to whatever I do. I escaped intact from my 20-year-old dive. I matured in public.
I’ve built a castle with all the stones thrown at me. I am a messenger of joy"
Elba 20 Anos contains texts by recently deceased Joao Cabral de Melo Neto, one
of the three best Brazilian modern poets. In the picture book with photos by Luiz Garrido,
Ramalho_according to herself_wanted to show more than her naked body. She wanted to share
her intimate life with her husband, the model Gaetano. And no Playboy model, as she
already was, had ever reasons so convincing to bare it all: "This essay exalts the
body, not the sex. Most of all I have posed with Gaetano because he is a gorgeous model. I
didn’t make any violence to myself. I used my body to promote a productive cause, a
commemorative book. The pictures are sensual, but artistic."
For another popular singer, Marina Lima, 44, who has been fighting
depression, taking off her clothes for Playboy was therapy. She is the latest
celebrity to appear on the pages of the magazine. Marina is on the cover of the November
issue, while the October edition displayed actress Ângela Vieira, who plays Janete in Terra
Nostra, the prime-time TV Globo novela (soap opera). Ângela made history
becoming the oldest cover girl ever to appear in the Brazilian version of Playboy.
She is 47, with an 18-year-old body and a 15-year-old daughter. The pictures were taken on
the set of Stealing Beauty, the movie by Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci.
Marina had resisted invitations to undress for the cameras for several years, but the
barriers have fallen and she seems happy with her decision. After saying no to many
proposals in the past, this time she took the initiative to look for Playboy and
offer her nakedness. For the pictures (there were a total of 1600 in four sessions) she
did without special make-up or jewels, but kept a skimpy white panty.
The singer, who lost her voice due to depression, had stopped singing and appearing in
shows for three years. She explained to O Dia her decision to uncover it all:
"It was a movement to leave the cave where I stayed for too long due to depression. I
think Playboy will help me recuperate my self-esteem."
Marina is planning a comeback to showbiz, starting next year. As for her depression,
she revealed that it was caused by a personal problem and not by any disenchantment with
her career. "I’m getting better, starting to believe in life and in people and to
love again. When you believe in life you feel like singing."
Art’s Master Imp
Latin America’s most important art museum, the MASP (Museu de Arte de São Paulo) was
closed to the public on October 2 although the institution was showing one of its most
popular exhibits ever: Picasso: War Years 1937-1945. The reason for the closed
doors: MASP’s founder, Brazilian-naturalized Italian Pietro Maria Bardi, at 99, had died
the previous day in his sleep, after a seven-year fight against several diseases. He was
cremated according to his wishes.
The wake was in the museum’s auditorium and a Spanish Christ from the 15th century
looked over while Bardi’s body stood between Rafael’s The Resurrection of Christ and
Maestro del Bigallo’s Virgin in Majesty, both of them acquired by Bardi.
The Italian art dealer moved to Brazil with wife Lina Bo Bardi in 1946. It was during
an exhibit in Rio of Italian art that Bardi met media mogul Francisco de Assis
Chateaubriand and received the invitation to create a museum. The timing was perfect. With
the end of the World War II there were many works of art for sale but few people willing
to buy them. Chateaubriand seized the moment, assured a $4 million loan from Chase
Manhattan Bank and sent Bardi to Europe to haggle. He returned to Brazil with Rafael’s Resurrection,
Diego Velásquez’s Count-Duke of Olivares, and 73 bronze sculptures by Degas.
MASP was born in 1947. In the following decades Bardi would be responsible for
selecting much of the impressive museum collection, which comprises more than 5000 works
estimated to be worth $1 billion. Bardi would fill the museum’s walls with the likes of
Cézanne, Degas, Gauguin, Goya, Lucas Cranach, Modigliani, Picasso, Rafael, Renoir,
Ticiano, and Van Gogh. Bardi was able, for example, to acquire Van Gogh’s The Scholar for
mere $35,000. The painting is worth $30 million today. For a few million dollars Bardi and
Chateaubriand bought among other treasures 1 Rafael, 13 Renoirs and 73 sculptures by
Bardi used to say that he hadn’t done anything, that the museum was the work of
Chateaubriand. One of the stratagems of Chateaubriand to raise funds for the museum was to
promote parties in which unsuspecting guests were presented to everybody as donors.
Chateaubriand and Bardi bought many items on credit, waiting for money that sometimes
never materialized. After accumulating $4 million in debts, Chateaubriand, using the
paintings as collateral, was able to secure a loan from American financier David
Rockefeller. This debt, however, was never paid. The federal government ended up taking
over the loan, transferring it to Caixa Econômica Federal, a government savings
institution. Education minister Jarbas Passarinho, during general Médici’s administration
found a way to wipe out this debt: he used money from the Federal Lottery to pay the
remaining debt. Most of it had already been eroded by inflation.
MASP started in an exiguous borrowed space at the Diários Associados building downtown
São Paulo before moving in 1968 to its exclusive address at chic Avenida Paulista and
slick space designed in 1958 by architect Lina Bo Bardi, Pietro Maria’s wife. Britain’s
Queen Elizabeth II was present at the opening.
Since the beginning of MASP, Bardi was accused of filling the museum with fake works of
art. Among the museum’s works that have been considered forgery_there was never positive
proof to back this contention, however_are Rafael’s The Resurrection of Christ ,
Rembrandt’s Self-portrait, and Ticiano’s Portrait of Cardinal Cristoforo
Madruzzo. But nobody has cast any doubt on the authenticity of Van Gogh’s The
Scholar or Velasquez’s The Portrait of the Count-Duke of Olivares or the five
Cézannes all brought by master haggler Bardi.
When the first accusation appeared in the ’50s, Bardi answered by organizing a tour of
the works starting with the Museum of the Orangerie in Paris. From there they went to
Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and finally the Metropolitan in New York. They went
back to Brazil in 1957 legitimized by this foreign exposure.
Bardi has been also criticized for conflict of interest since he continued to own an
art gallery and kept his hobby as art collector after becoming MASP’s director. His
response to the critics: "I never received a cent for being the museum’s director for
over 40 years." Quite the contrary, point his defenders. Bardi has sold pieces from
his private collection to help the museum, they say.
Bardi was born in La Spezia, on Italy’s Liguria region, on February 21,1900. According
to his own story, he had a sad childhood without friends and without fun and games. The
author of more than 30 books on art and philosophy was not particularly bright in
elementary school. In fact, he was so bad that after flunking third grade three times he
had to abandon school. Bardi stated that everything went better after he hit his head due
to a fall.
He taught himself philosophy and history, went to war at 17, wrote for newspaper Il
Giornale di Bergamo for eight years, and opened the Bardi Gallery in Milan in 1925. He
called himself a perfect example of a self-learner. He used to study by himself at the law
library of one of his father’s friends. He published his first book at 17. It was an essay
on colonialism. Bardi also used to paint, but very rarely would he show his paintings.
In 1929 he became director of Galleria di Roma, which was controlled by the fascist
government. Bardi was a close friend and admirer of Benito Mussolini but ended up being
expelled from the fascism movement after challenging the fascist aesthetics and inviting
Jews to write for the publications he edited. He considered a big mistake the fact that
Mussolini allied himself to Hitler.
All the Details
Until the end Bardi kept the title of MASP’s president of honor even though due to ill
health he had abandoned all functions in August of 1990. His last and emotional visit to
the house he founded happened on October 2, 1996. He went there to celebrate MASP’s 50th
anniversary. While Bardi’s legacy survives the building where the masters live has become
In the last three years he could hardly speak and in some days he was not able to
recognize his closest friends. His health deteriorated very rapidly after the death of his
wife, Lina Bo Bardi, in 1992. That year, while writing História do MASP, de 1946 a
1990 (MASP’s History, from 1946 to 1990), his 50th and last book, Pietro Maria Bardi
had an aorta rupture. Almost a dream come true. He had said that he dreamed to die while
Bardi was not only a connoisseur of fine art, he was also an expert provocateur. He
didn’t hide his connections with Mussolini and fascism and didn’t care about making
enemies when he attacked the internationally acclaimed Bienal de São Paulo as "a
mere copy of the old-hat Venice Biennial." And in 1982 he didn’t care about the
public reaction when he scribbled repeatedly on the museum’s walls: Merda, Merda, Merda
(Shit, Shit, Shit). As he explained, it was his way of protesting against the political
posters glued to the MASP’s façade. The theatrical gesture landed him in jail and he only
escaped serving a longer term because he was already over 70. His comment: "How nice.
I can keep on writing shit."
A stickler for details he used to visit the museum’s bathrooms to check if they had
been cleaned properly. More than once on the vernissage day he would take a broom and
sweep the exposition room. MASP’s director didn’t like parties and used to go to bed at 9
PM waking up almost invariably at 4 AM. He talked about growing old: "I’m not worried
about becoming old. I wait for death as something absolutely normal. It was fun to live, I
let things happen my way, except for natural explosions." He used to give the recipe
for his longevity: "I don’t drink, don’t smoke, and don’t know what a novela
(soap opera) is. My secret is to always work and to not pay attention to the envious, vero?"
"The Brazilian Rain Forest Original," that’s the way the world will be
introduced to a typical traditional Brazilian soft drink: Antarctica guaraná. Guaraná
is already the 15th most sold soda in the world, but AmBev with a little help
from Pepsi is sure it can improve this ranking and make guaraná famous around the
world. AmBev (American Beverages) is the Brazilian newborn multinational beer and
soft-drink manufactures resulting from the marriage between two traditional beverage
makers: Brahma and Antarctica.
The announcement of the international strategy to distribute guaraná was made
with pomp and circumstance. Victório de Marchi and Marcel Telles, AmBev’s president and
Steve Reinemund, PepsiCo’s world president were received by President Fernando Henrique
Cardoso to tell him about the agreement.
Soft drinks represent an annual market of $70 billion, 51% of which belongs to
Coca-Cola. In Brazil, guaraná represents 30% of the market. AmBev would be happy
if it could get 1% of this total in the next five years. If everything works as planned
the North (US and Europe) should be drinking much more guaraná beginning next
summer and soon after 175 countries would have access to Brazil’s tangy beverage.
While PepsiCo will be in charge of bottling and marketing the product, all the
concentrate needed will be coming from the Amazon’s natural fruits. In the US, a new
approach will be used this time to present the product, since past attempts to introduce guaraná
were a flop. Antarctica itself tried to present guaraná as an aphrodisiac and
three years ago Pepsi launched Josta, its own guaraná concoction. Both tries
failed. Antarctica, however, has a niche as a guaraná seller in Japan and
Guaraná is just for starters, as de Marchi announced: "We will start by
exporting soft drinks but intend to get into future partnerships to produce beer in other
countries. We expect our exports to reach 15% of our company’s production in the next five
According to a report published by Brasília’s daily Correio Braziliense, disregard
for the law and lack of control by the government has caused scores of cases of mental
retardation among Brazilian children. The paper denounced that between 1995 and 1998 10%
of all salt produced in the country didn’t include iodine as required by law since 1956.
Iodine is essential to children growing and its absence can stunt development and cause
goiter. Some children deprived of iodine have a hard time learning even the most
elementary concepts in school. Among other symptoms observed in Brazil are blindness and
Data collected between 1994 and 1995 by the Brazilian Health Ministry show that 59,000
among 179,000 students from 428 Brazilian municipalities had a deficiency of iodine. For
9,000 of the kids this deficiency was severe. Most hard hit are the poor kids who don’t
have a varied and rich diet and depend exclusively on salt to get their dose of iodine.
In an interview with Correio Braziliense, endocrinologist Denise Franco, who is
responsible for a program that studies the effects of the lack of iodine in the human
body, declared: "Although we are not seeing today more acute manifestations, those
that shock people, these consequences will appear in the future. It is absolutely
unacceptable that there is a lack of iodine in any civilized nation."
The government’s responsibility in the disaster is not only lack of enforcement, but
its inability to supply the nation’s 169 salt manufactures with the iodine, which
according to law No 9005 should be provided by the Health Ministry. This mishap has harmed
mainly children in the states of Acre, Amapá and Tocantins. The ministry blames an excess
of bureaucracy and the extinction of the INAN (Instituto Nacional de Alimentação e
Nutrição_National Institute for Food and Nutrition) in 1997 for what happened.
Abesal (Associação Brasileira de Extratores e Refinadores de Sal_Brazilian
Association of Salt Extractors and Refiners) says that the problem is limited almost
exclusively to small salt companies. But an analysis made in the last 12 months by IDEC
(Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor_Brazilian Institute in Defense of the
Consumer) showed that of 65 brands being sold, 34 didn’t have the required amount of
iodine, and in some cases had no iodine at all. The irregularity was also found in leading
brands as Arisco, Brilho and Cisne.
Say the Word
Favelas, those poor hillside communities encrusted in Rio, for decades have been
the birthplace of gifted sambistas (samba composers) and more recently a hideaway
for drug traffickers. But it’s also from the morro (hill) that comes much of the
always changing lively slang in Rio and all over Brazil. It’s not unusual today to hear
middle-class youngsters who never went up to the favelas talking about "armar
um barraco" (literally to set up a shack) when they say they are getting into an
argument or "botar pilha" (to place battery) when they are making someone
So you won’t feel lost on your next trip south of the equator here is a little glossary
with the latest in Brazilian slang as compiled by Rio’s daily O Dia. If you find
there is a word you’ve heard before, maybe the meaning has changed or it just regained its
prestige. This is the case, for example, with "à vera" (seriously) an
expression that after years in disuse is back in full force.
A chapa está fria (the plate is cold)everything is quiet
A chapa está quente (the plate is hot)things are hectic
Aliviar o sovaco (to relieve the armpit)to put on deodorant
Aplicar um pé de macaco (to apply a monkey foot)to con someone
Armar o barraco (to set up shack)to dispute or discuss
Barulhar/Pipocar (to make noise)to shoot
Bater um farol (to beat a light)to have lunch or dinner
Bater um sal (to beat a salt)to eat
Bebê de Rosemary está na boca da serpentina (Rosemary’s baby is on the coil’s
mouth)to be pressed to go to the bathroom
Botar pilha (to place battery)stir up, make someone mad
Caiu/dançou (if fell/it danced)it didn’t work
Chamar na bigorna (to call to the anvil)apply a stranglehold
Couro de rato (rat leather)cheap, trifling matter
Dar 157 (give 157)to carry out an armed robbery
Dar um cala-boca (to give a shut-mouth)to bribe
Dar um estio (to give a summer)to do a favor
Dar um sal (to give a salt)to spank
Dar uma carga na mina (to give a load to the gal)to have sex with a girl
Dar uma vazada (to give a leakage)to have sex
Desalmoçar (to unlunch)to go to the bathroom
É dez (it’s ten)great
Ele é fio desencapado (he is uncovered wire)he is grouchy, he is high on
Estar de mancadato hesitate
Está formadoit’s OK
Estar que nem papagaio no arame (to be as a parrot on the wire)to be drunk
Este cálcio de ostra é forte (this oyster calcium is strong)this woman
Este carro é cabrito (this car is a little buck)this car is stolen
Formarto court, to have sex
Já é (it already is)done deal
Lombrarto arrive (said of police or enemy gang)
Mandar uma letra (to send a character)to say something forcefully
Pagar um banho (to pay for a bath)to take a bath
Passa amanhã (pass tomorrow)give me a break
Picar a mula (to slice the mule)to go out running
Pula esta parte (skip this part)change the subject
Quebrar uma mina (to break a gal)to have sex
Qual foi o placar? (what was the score?)how many have you bedded?
Rebolar o queixo (to swing the chin)to eat
Sacolejo (shaking)police search
Tá baludohe has money
Tá no estilo (it’s in style)a good thing
Tirar um baiano/estar no baiano (take out a Baiano)to sleep
Tô no veneno (I’m in poison)I’m penniless
Urubuzar (act as a buzzard)to envy
Vazar (to leak)to leave
Vou chegar (I’ll arrive)I will leave
Zoarto get rowdy
Little Girl Blue
Her name is Michelly Fernanda Machri and she is 20 years old. But everybody in Brazil
knows her as "a garota da Sukita" (the girl from Sukita), an orange
flavored soft drink, and thinks she is not older than 15. That’s because Michelly has
become famous playing an innocent Lolita who is constantly being courted by an ill-fated
and older Don Juan she politely calls tio (uncle).
Michelly, who is from Florianópolis (capital of Santa Catarina state), has lived in
São Paulo by herself for almost three years. Thanks to several articles published in the
daily press and magazines we know that the model met her boyfriend in the elevator, the
same way as it happens in one of the scenes of the commercial in which she is approached
by the "tio."
Michelly started her modeling career when she was 14. Her participation in a
competition by São Paulo’s teen magazine Carícia when she was 16, opened the
doors to the Ford modeling agency. Only recently, though, she was able to buy herself an
inexpensive car, a Fiat Pálio. She had been using the bus.
The commercial’s tio is 49-year-old Roberto Arduim. Arduim and Machri have
already paired in three episodes, but thanks to the success of the ad campaign six new
episodes are in the works. In real life, though, Michelly has no interest in older guys.
Arduim is always the loser in the ad scenes. First on the elevator, then when he is
barred from a party at the girl’s home. In a third episode, the old wolf is in a bar by
himself when the girl arrives with some friends. She gets close and asks: "Are you by
yourself?" He nods positively. The girl touches the spare chair by his table, asking,
"Can I?" When he thinks she will sit down with him, she simply takes the chair
and goes away with a thank you.
To become the Sukita girl_a creation of the Carillo Pastori ad agency_Michelly, who was
19 at the time, had to try for the role with 90 other candidates, most of them still in
their early teens, the age of the character. She got the part because while the other
girls had heavy makeup to look older, she went with a washed face.
Cláudio Carillo, 46, creative director of the company tells why his agency ad is a
hit: "The ad deals with middle-age big boys who want to be with little girls. Every
man faces, has faced or will face the same situation experienced by the uncle. We cannot
TV, model agencies, magazines and ad agencies have been knocking at Michelly’s door. Playboy
and other men magazines were sent back with a resounding no, but she agreed to
sensuous poses_while keeping her clothes_for monthly magazine Trip. "It was
the first time that I posed for sexy pictures, but these portraits mostly explore my
little-girl side. I wouldn’t accept invitations to pose in the nude. For a model, to pose
naked is a career bust. This is something that might be cool for an actress, who can get
some promotion from that."
It’s a sure bet that she will soon be working in some prime-time TV novela.
Apparently unimpressed with the sudden fame, the model has plans to save money and retire
from modeling in three years. Her dreams? Go to a marine biology college. Travel to
Australia. Go back to her hometown, have two children and be a fulltime mother or maybe a
teacher like two of her three sisters. To move to Bahia would also be great. She wants to
live by the beach: "I want to be a marine biologist and I need to live in a place
close to the sea. In Bahia they have the Tamar (Tartaruga MarinhaSea Turtle) project
and I love sea turtles."
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