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LETTERS

LETTERS

Despite the moralistic streak at Globo, the network is not abandoning its lewd
characters. Already on the air or waiting in the wings there are four roles for
prostitutes, for example. It is a hooker the woman who lends its name to Hilda Furacão
(Hurricane Hilda), a very successful miniseries that has just had its run. For novice
actress Ana Paula Arósio it was a chance of a lifetime to play Hilda, a married socialite
from Minas Gerais, who makes some pocket money in a whorehouse. As a whore, gorgeous model
Arósio has become the toast of the country and proved to have the right interpreting
stuff.
The next Globo miniseries, Labirinto (Labyrinth), to première on October 20,
will have three girls selling their bodies for a living. Once again, two beauties expect
the role to work wonders for their careers, even though they are already two
global—who work for Globo—high-magnitude stars. They are Malu Mader, who will
play Paula, and Christine Fernandes, who will be Dora. Paula will be one of the few to
defend a businessman accused of a crime he did not commit. A third lady of the night will
be interpreted by Brazilian sweetheart Cláudia Abreu on a cameo appearance.
Labirinto is inspired by the Yankee TV series The Fugitive. In the
Brazilian version, André (Fábio Assunção), a man unjustly accused of murdering a
businessman during a New Year’s Eve party decides to go on the run. He will be helped by a
prostitute (Paula) with whom he will fall in love. Hollywood is the clear inspiration for
the series, which will have plenty of car chases and car crashes.
Christine is not worried that she will be often seen in bras and panties or even less.
Curiously, however, she declined the title role on Brida, a novela
premiering August on Manchete network and that is based in the work of worldwide
bestseller Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. She refused the role, the actress said, because
she did not want to appear naked. And she explains: "It doesn’t make any sense to
take my clothes off in that plot. I have no problem with nudity, but it seemed gratuitous
in the scenes I read. Yet as Dora, everything would fit."
Used to play fairy-like characters, Luana Piovani is all fired up since she was given
the opportunity to be Patrícia in "A Professional" (The Professional), an
episode of the Mulher (Woman) series. "This role was a gift," she said
recently and explained where she was getting the inspiration to compose its character:
"Every woman has a prostitute inside herself." Patrícia, a 22-year-old
communications college student, sells her body to pay the school. She has seven fixed
johns. "It’s as if she had seven sweethearts," said Piovani.
Why are prostitutes recurring characters in Brazilian TV shows? "The idea is to
show the prejudice society holds against these girls," says author Sérgio Marques,
who is writing Labirinto together with Leonor Bassères and Gilberto Braga. In an
interview with Rio’s daily, O Globo, Marques declared: "We are not taking a
deep dive in social problems, but we want to show how people condemned by society may have
a stronger and more righteous character than others who are more respected."

Half Century
in the Tube
Brazilian TV will be celebrating its 50th birthday on September 18, 2000. Despite of
what many people think, TV in Brazil started in São Paulo and not in Rio. "The Globo
network came later," says Yara Lins, 68, the first face to air on Brazilian TV saying
Tupi’s call letters.
The first station was PRF3-TV Tupi, channel 3, belonging to the Diários and Emissoras
Associados (Associated Dailies and Broadcasters), then a powerful media conglomerate owned
by legendary and folkloric Assis Chateaubriand (1892-1968), Brazil’s own citizen Kane.
Rio’s branch of Tupi was born four months later in 1951. Only in 1953 would appear the
first competition to Tupi, TV Record, also in São Paulo.
Imagens do Dia (Images of the Day), the first news show on Brazilian TV,
premiered the day after Tupi broadcast its first images. By 1953, Repórter Esso started
a brilliant career as the main news program in Brazil, a position it would keep until the
end of the ’60s, when under pressure from the military dictatorship the program lost its
independent voice and gave place to news shows more to the taste of the generals who
governed the country. Globo’s slick and offend-no-one-in-power approach would thrive and
reign supreme during the next three decades. The powerful network has been criticized for
being a mouthpiece for the military during the most repressive times of the generals’ stay
in power. The Jornal Nacional, Globo’s prime-time news show, created in 1969, is the
station’s most enduring first-place winner on its time slot.
Chateaubriand brought the RCA TV equipment from the US that started television in
Brazil more as a curiosity. It is believed that only five people had a TV by then and
everything was improvised at the beginning. As in the U.S., television in Brazil started
by imitating radio. There was no videotape, and programs as well as ads were shown live.
Initially some of the successful live programs were famous plays and educational and
kids shows. The videotape would be introduced only in 1962 in Brazil. It took a little
more than one year after the 1950 start for a kiss to be shown on the little screen. It
was an exchange between Vida Alves and Valter Foster on the teledrama Sua Vida Me
Pertence (Your Life Belongs to Me). It was a scandal.
By 1961 Tupi was producing a series called Vigilante Rodoviário (Highway
Patrolman), which obtained better ratings than Yankee enlatado (canned stuff) like Rin-tin-tin
and I Love Lucy. It was also Tupi, which revolutionized at the end of
1968—the novela premiered on November 4—the language of the soap-opera
with Beto Rockefeller in which Beto, the main character, was a contemporary
scoundrel who drew more laughs than sighs from an audience that knew only syrupy,
melodramatic soaps up to then.
Curiously some of the people who were part of the first TV images aired in the country
are still on the top. Hebe Camargo, then a popular radio singer, was turned into a TV
hostess. She has become and still is up to this date the queen of live TV interview shows.
After being featured on different TV networks through the years she is now a fixture and
one of the leaders of audience at SBT. Lolita Rodrigues, a ballerina and soap-opera
heroine in the pioneer days, and a colleague of Hebe, still works in novelas
although in smaller parts. As for former radio presenter Lima Duarte he is still today the
star of the Globo novelas he works in.
For all its power, Rede Globo only joined the competition late on the game. The network
started small in Rio in 1965. In the ’60s it was TV Record that became the catalyst for a
revolution in the MPB (Música Popular Brasileira—Brazilian Popular Music) promoting
extremely popular song festivals that launched singer-composers like Caetano Veloso,
Geraldo Vandré, and Gilberto Gil.
It was in 1973 that playwright Dias Gomes authored for Globo O Bem Amado (The
Well-Beloved One), a classic of soap that introduced memorable characters with a
distinctive language and touches of fantastic realism. The revolutionary novela
also became a microcosm and sounding board of the world. Soon after the Watergate scandal
broke in the news, the mayor in the novela wired the local church confessional for
sound.
Dias Gomes’ Roque Santeiro (Roque the Saint Maker) was vetoed by the military in
1975 and only had a chance to be aired in 1985 with the end of the dictatorship. In 1976,
prolific Gomes, who more than anyone used the concept of novela as an open work to
introduce characters, situations and dialogues reflecting the news or the public’s
reaction, went even further with Saramandaia. He incorporated here a series of
elements from the Latin-American magic realism including a man who sneezed ants, a fat
lady who exploded, and a werewolf.
In 1992, author Gilberto Braga in recreating the past in the miniseries Anos
Rebeldes (Rebel Years) inspired a new generation of students to go to the streets and
demand the resignation of then President Fernando Collor de Mello, who had won the
election thanks to the personal commitment of Roberto Marinho to this candidacy.
During these five decades, among the most celebrated novelas there were O
Direito de Nascer (The Right to Be Born), Tupi, 1964-1965; Redenção (Redemption),
Excelsior, 1966-1968; Beto Rockefeller, Tupi, 1968-1969; Irmãos Coragem (Brothers
Courage), Globo, 1970-1971; Selva de Pedra (Stone Jungle), Globo, 1972-1973; O
Bem-Amado (The Well Beloved One), Globo, 1973, the first novela in color; Mulheres
de Areia (Sand Women), Tupi, 1973-1974; Gabriela, Globo, 1975; Escalada
(Escalating), Globo, 1975; Saramandaia, Globo, 1976; Escrava Isaura (Slave
Isaura), Globo, 1976-1977; Dancin’ Days (original title in English), Globo,
1978-1979; Roque Santeiro (Roque, the Saint Maker), Globo, 1985-1986, and Pantanal
(Swamp), Manchete, 1990.
According to the 1996 yearly book Grupo de Mídia, Brazil has 257 TV stations
that broadcast their own signal and 7,497 that only rebroadcast other stations’ material.
Rede Globo has the most extensive number of repeating stations, placing the TV network in
99.84% of the county’s municipalities. Then comes SBT covering 81.74% of the territory,
Bandeirantes (62.99%), Manchete (45.80%), Record (22.42%) and CNT (Central Nacional de
Televisão—Television National Hub) (6.61%).
The total hegemony of Globo TV during the ’70s had a few cracks—nothing too
serious—during the 80s and 90s, challenged—not to seriously—by Bandeirantes
network (created in 1969), SBT (1981), Manchete (1983), and CNT (1993). Pay TV started in
1990, but instead of making room for more participants at the media’s table it has simply
distributed the new reaches to the already powerful players. Globo became a major
stockholder on Net Multicanal, and publishing giant April has joined American ABC and
Hearst media conglomerates to launch TVA.

The
Auditorium
Wars
The success of TV hosts has created a new class of nouveaux riches in Brazil. Besides
considerable paychecks these hosting stars fatten their bank accounts with merchandising
and getting a percentage from the ads sold during their programs. Maria da Graça
Meneghel, better known as Xuxa, the Queen of the Shorties, working at Globo, has become a
multimillionaire industry and the richest of them all. But other emerging names are
catching up fast.
In the same area as Xuxa, TV program for kids, there is Angélica and Eliana.
Angélica, who also is a hostess at Globo, has become the leader in products licensing in
all of Brazil. There are already more than 400 products bearing her likeness or her name.
She makes $4 million a year. Working at SBT, Eliana gets a $70,000 monthly salary. She
also has licensed more than 100 products, does other shows and has CDs with her songs.
Annual income: $4 million.
Gugu Liberato ($14 million a year) is the wealthiest of the emerging stars. He has 41
products licensed and is the owner of Gugu Produções, a company that promotes
entertainment events. Gugu, who presents Domingo Legal (Cool Sunday) on SBT, the
number one program on Sunday afternoons, would like to have his own TV station and has
been trying to buy one for some time. A big chunk of his earnings comes from the 12
minutes he gets in the show to sell as he pleases. A 30-second spot on Domingo Legal
costs $90,000, just a little less than on the Jornal Nacional, Globo’s daily
prime-time news show, where the same ad would cost $110 thousand.
Competing with Gugu at Globo on the same Sunday time slot is Fausto Silva, the host for
Domingão do Faustão (Big Fausto’s Big Sunday). Faustão also derives his money
from a salary plus merchandising added to his program. He is worth $4.5 million a year.
The competition among Gugu and Faustão last year ended up in an all-out war that only
finished when Faustão provoked a national scandal by showing in his program a sushi bar
where the food was served on the bodies of naked women. The long live scenes shot from
every angle while three actors ate and talked about the experience was shown on a Sunday
afternoon and provoked a deluge of indignant letters to the editor, comments and
editorials. The top brass at Globo—so much for the highly touted Globo standard of
quality—had to intervene and demand some cleaning up. Since then, at least at Globo,
the titillation decibels have lowered on live shows.
A lesser-known character, but who is already earning $6 million at SBT, is Celso
Portiolli. The 30-year-old show host has just signed a contract for three years
guaranteeing him a $100,000 monthly salary. If he is already earning an estimated $6
million a year is due to a clause that allows him to sell every day 1 minute and a half of
publicity in the show he presents. On Sundays he hosts Tempo de Alegria (Joy Time).
Earlier this year Portiolli’s salary was a mere $8,000. His value shot up, however, when
Globo showed interest in getting him. SBT is so fearful of losing the rising star that the
network introduced a $30 million penalty to be paid in case he wants to jump the boat.
Thriving in mondo cane, Ratinho (Little Mouse) has become a media phenomenon disputed
by different TV networks, including Globo, which reportedly wanted to tame him a little.
Now at Record but with a serious offer to jump to number-two SBT, host Carlos Massa, gets
a salary of $200,000 and earns some $6 million a year. He arrives at this amount by
getting 5% of all the 900 toll calls dialed during his programs. For the networks these
crowd-pleasing shows are a cash cow. While a novela might cost about $100,000 per
chapter, Ratinho’s program, for example doesn’t cost more than $25,000.
Colleague of Ratinho at Record, and also appealing to some lower instincts, hostess Ana
Maria Braga makes $3 million a year. Among other items bearing her name, Braga has already
released a recipe book, an engagement book, and a Christmas CD.

Babel
Synopsis
Set in São Paulo, the story of Torre de Babel revolves around a tower and a
former inmate who plots to explode it. The ex-jailbird is José Clementino da Silva (Tony
Ramos), a fireworks expert who goes to work as a bricklayer at Torre de Babel when his
business goes belly-up. A good man until then, da Silva becomes a murderer when he finds
his wife in bed with two men. He kills the three of them with an ax. The killing occurs in
1978.
The real action starts 20 years later, after the murderer has ended his prison term and
gets out of jail with all sorts of revenge plans against those who testified against him
during the trial, in special César Toledo (Tarcísio Meira), the owner of the Tropical
Towers shopping mall. All of this happens in the first chapter.
The murderer gets a job as a watchman at the tower and plans to explode it during the
night when nobody is there. The plans go awry, however, and the explosion ends up killing
many people.
The Names
By Brazzil Magazine

After reading an article about my favorite singer in your
magazine I automatically placed it in my favorite places, expecting to later read articles
as interesting as the one I just read. I was disgusted when I recently saw an article on
Carla Perez. The pictures you used were on a pornographic level and very offensive. I had
my 10 year-old sister watching while I had to quickly close the page.

Then I read about your magazine and how 70% of your readers are
Americans. How degrading to Brazilian women, like myself, to have to see that. What I
would like to know is if there’s an age limit in purchasing your magazine, and if not do
you plan to issue one after this horrid article. One thing I can assure you is that on
this level of writing you’ll never have my subscription or my respect.

Via Internet
GMT74@aol.com 

In Praise
of Real
Feijoada

Just read "Brazil’s national Entrée" by Eng Tie Ang.
The article was a selection of feijoada recipes. I know that feijoada
recipes are as different as the regions they come from, however, Eng persists in all of
these recipes to make corned beef and ham hocks part of the ingredients. I am not
Brazilian, but lived there for two years from São Paulo to Maceió, Campina Grande and
Recife. Never have I eaten or seen a recipe using corned beef or ham hocks. This is an
Americanized version! No feijoada purist in Brazil would use these meats in a feijoada
completa. Please correct me if I am wrong. Now for the pièce de résistance,
no recipe that I have seen on the Internet as yet has the one important ingredient for
flavor listed. The ingredient is at least one cup of fresh orange juice added to the mix.

Darrell Rogers
Via Internet — EDRjr@aol.com 

Proud and
Grateful

I am very happy to know that there are outside of Brazil people
as dedicated as you are to our country. Congratulations. I enjoyed to see the poll on your
WEB site showing Fernando Henrique Cardoso as the favorite to be our next president.
Cardoso who is also our current president was the only chief executive who was able to end
inflation so much so that the Real was worth more than the American dollar. The Brazilian
people are very happy with their president and they are going to reelect him. Thanks again
for what you are doing for my country.

Dr. Roberto von Haydin
São Paulo, Brazil

Reference
Site

I’ve just discovered Brazzil through a message at the Pat
Metheny Group’s site. I adored reading the article on Paulo Bellinati and knowing that
your magazine exists. People from other countries are always asking me about subjects like
Milton Nascimento, fire in the Amazon forest, Brazilian instrumental music, Carnaval,
Djavan, etc. I think Brazzil would be perfect for all of these people interested in
Brazil. Congratulations. May you have a long life. I’ve already placed you on my
favorite-sites file and I am going to spread the news.

Carmita Lion
Brazil, Via Internet

Just For
a Change

I have a suggestion about the letter column of your newspaper. I
think instead of most of the letters describing how bad or how good of a job your magazine
is doing I would find it more interesting if people would comment about their experiences,
etc. about Brazil. Me being a beach lover I believe that Canoa Quebrada and Porto Seguro
are the nicest beaches in Brazil. It anybody out there knows of any nicer beach, please
respond to Robert at jits@earthlink.net 

Robert Hardebeck
Via Internet

Atrocious
Doubt

I just received my first issue of Brazzil. I have been
reading it slowly and carefully and enjoying every word in it. For a Brazilian magazine
you sure have a lot of articles in English. It is supposed to be the opposite. Let us have
more articles in Portuguese.

I avidly read Artificial Fruit supposedly unpublished
article. Thank God it was in Portuguese. I am beginning to think that Brazzil was
the brainchild of some gringos who were never able to master the Portuguese Language.
Could that be true? Sure hope not. Just to show you that my heart is in the right place,
please send a subscription of Brazzil to my sister. Incidentally I hate to see the
name Brasil spelled with a `z’. Couldn’t we start a movement to change it?

David C. Pereyra
Poway, California

No Changes,
Please

I really enjoy your magazine. I was in Brazil for two months last
year, and reading your magazine always makes me want to return. You always have a great
mix of topics, which reflects Brazilian culture more accurately than anything else I have
read. Keep up the good work and please don’t change. Please renew my subscription for
another two years

Denise Ogawa
Los Angeles, California

My Brazilian
Heroes

I just read the article in Brazzil about Paulo Bellinati.
Thanks to Bruce Gilman for that informative piece of work. I am an American guitarist who
visited Brazil as a high school exchange student (AFS), and fell in love with the music. I
play bossa nova and MPB style acoustic guitar, my heroes being (predictably) João
Gilberto, Baden Powell, Paulo Bellinati, Raphael Rabello, João Bosco, Chico Buarque, Edu
Lobo, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Rosa Passos, Luiz Bonfá, Garoto, Tom Jobim,
Vinícius, and numerous others.

John (Joãozinho) Scott
Via Internet

The Answer:
Our March 96
Cover

I’m a student at La Guardia College and I’m doing research on
Brazilians in New York City generally, and in the Ironbound, Newark, specifically. I’ve
looked for information on the topic for a long time, but with no greater luck. Therefore I
was wondering if you might have any information or if you know somebody that does? The
type of information I’m interested in is history of migration, assimilation and general
information on the Brazilian community in NYC. If you know anything, I would highly
appreciate if you would let me know. I’ve already tried the consulate and the tourist
center.

Patrik Bolling
New York, New York
pbolling@hotmail.com 

Reading For
the Longing

We used to live in Brazil and go back every year. We are very
partial to the Amazonas area as we lived in Santarém do Pará. We hope your magazine will
be interesting and I don’t get too homesick when we read it.

Robert P. Leonard
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

(Web) Surf
Is Up

Your Web page (brazzil.com) is becoming more awesome than ever.
Please keep up the incredible contribution to us all. May I ask that you program that
really cool music of the Nordeste to continue to play during the entire browsing of
the page instead of just while looking at the opening page.

Barajo J. Araujo
Kauai, Hawaii

Toronto
PD Blues

It seems that the "to serve and protect" only counts in
Toronto if your community has enough representation on the Police Force. Since the World
Cup began, St. Clair Avenue, also known as Corso Italia, has been closed by the Police for
celebrations every time Italy wins (or even ties). Most Brazilians live in the area of
College and Ossington. Last

Saturday we were peacefully celebrating our team’s victory on
College Street. Police officers were there to prevent us from celebrating in the middle of
the street. Public transportation had already arranged for what they assumed was logic:
College would be closed at least until midnight.

We asked why they wouldn’t close College, if St. Clair had been
closed since morning. Some of them explained to us that it must be because there are many
Italian cops on St. Clair.

All of a sudden, a teenager was arrested. Witnesses said the only
crime he committed was celebrating in the middle of the street (wrong street, I guess!).
The fans were not aggressive, but were of course upset; the police response was to call in
the Special Unit. They were there the whole night, intimidating us. Now, I always thought
I was paying those guys to be diplomatic, well trained and smart. No, they keep using
their brains as do police officers in some other countries (sounds familiar?).

Toronto is home to about 7,000 Brazilians. A recent Toronto Star
issue counts us as 2,515, based on information from Stats Canada. That shows how many of
us can afford standing up for our rights. And the ones who can don’t have the political or
financial power necessary to have the respect Toronto Police Department owe us at least as
taxpayers.

I really enjoy seeing Italians celebrating their team’s
achievements. I believe that Brazil and Italy have strong ties. Italians make up 414,310
of the City of Toronto population. Although they have been here for at least 80 years and
have the political power we Brazilians will never get the same unless we can finally make
up our minds and decide on where we want to spend our lives! I prefer to believe that they
don’t enjoy seeing us being intimidated, arrested, shoved and beaten up by the police
during our celebrations.

Talking to other Brazilians, their general comment is that being
violent and aggressive has been a constant behavior for the Toronto 14th Division. In the
celebration that followed the Morocco and Brazil match, a female police officer simply
started beating up a Brazilian fan who was doing absolutely nothing to deserve it, until
he fell on the ground. Teenagers have been shoved around. Intimidation is the norm.

Eugênia Jardim
Toronto, Canadá

Can’t you find Brazzil
at your Brazilian consulate? Don’t ask us why, ask the consulate.

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