The newest Nobel Prize in Literature, Portuguese writer José
Saramago has just released another book in the U.S. Once again the inimitable Saramago has
created a compelling tale. This time a dark one, dealing with a luminous blindness.
By Brazzil Magazine

1. Ganga Bruta (Rough Gangue) by Humberto Mauro (1933)

2. Vidas Secas (Barren Lives) by Nélson Pereira
dos Santos (1963)

3. O Pagador de Promessas (The Promise Keeper) by Anselmo
Duarte (1962)

4. Amei um Bicheiro (I Loved a Numbers Game Runner) by
Jorge Ileli (1953)

5. Assalto ao Trem Pagador (The Pay-Train Robbery)
by Roberto Farias (1962)

6. Central do Brasil (Central Station) by Walter
Salles Jr. (1998)

7. Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (God and the Devil on
the Land of the Sun) by Gláuber Rocha (1963)

8. Todas as Mulheres do Mundo (All the Women in the World)
by Domingos Oliveira (1966)

9. O Cangaceiro (The Bandit) by Lima Barreto (1953)

10. A Ostra e o Vento (The Oyster and the Wind) by Walter
Lima Júnior (1997)

11. Limite (Limit) by Mário Peixoto (1931)

12. Rio 40 Graus (Rio 104 degrees F) by Nélson Pereira
dos Santos (1955)

13. Os Cafajestes (The Scoundrels) by Ruy Guerra (1962)

14. A Hora e a Vez de Augusto Matraga (The Hour and the
Turn of Augusto Matraga) by Roberto Santos (1966)

15. O Bandido da Luz Vermelha (The Red Light Bandit) by
Rogério Sganzerla (1962)

16. Macunaíma (Macunaíma) by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

17. Pixote, a Lei do Mais Fraco (Pixote, the Law of the
Weakest) by Hector Babenco (1980)

18. Noite Vazia (Empty Night) by Walter Hugo Khouri (1964)

19. São Paulo S. A. (São Paulo Inc.) by Luiz Sérgio
Person (1966)

20. A Intrusa (The IntruderLady) by Carlos Hugo
Christensen (1980)

21. O Baile Perfumado (The Fragrant Ball) by Paulo Caldas
and L. Ferreira (1997)

22. Favela dos Meus Amores (Shantytown of My Loves) by
Humberto Mauro (1936)

23. Simão o Caolho (Simão the Cross-Eyed) by Alberto
Cavalcanti (1952)

24. Os Fuzis (The Rifles) by Ruy Guerra (1963)

25. Menino de Engenho (Sugar Mill Boy) by Walter Lima Jr.

26. Dona Flor e Seus Dois Maridos (Dona Flor and Her Two
Husbands by Bruno Barreto (1976)

27. Inocência (Innocence) by Walter Lima Júnior (1982)

28. Memórias do Cárcere (Memories of Jail) by Nélson
Pereira dos Santos (1984)

29. Moleque Tião (Street Kid Tião) by José Carlos Burle

30. O Padre e a Moça ( The Priest and the Maiden) by
Joaquim Pedro de Andrade (1965)

31. Viver de Morrer (To Live From Dying) by Jorge Ileli

32. Chuvas de Verão (Summer Rains) by Carlos Diegues

33. Lira do Delírio (Delirium Lyre) by Walter Lima
Júnior (1977)

34. Bye Bye Brasil (Bye Bye, Brazil) by Carlos Diegues

35. Gaijin (Foreigner) by Tizuka Yamasaki (1980)

36. Eles Não Usam Black Tie (They Don’t Wear Black Tie)
by Leon Hirszman (1981)

37. A Marvada Carne (Mean Flesh) by André Klotzel (1985)

38. A Hora da Estrela (The Hour of the Star) by Suzana
Amaral (1985)

39. Fragmentos da Vida (Life’s Fragments) by José Medina

40. Tesouro Perdido (Lost Treasure) by Humberto Mauro

41. Barro Humano (Human Clay) by Adhemar Gonzaga (1928)

42. Alô Alô Carnaval (Hi, Hi, Carnaval) by Adhemar
Gonzaga (1936)

43. Carnaval no Fogo (Carnaval in the Fire) by Watson
Macedo (1950)

44. Tico-Tico no Fubá (Tico-Tico Bird in the Corn Flour)
by Adolfo Celi (1951)

45. O Canto da Saudade (The Longing Corner) by Humberto
Mauro (1952)

46. Agulha no Palheiro (Needle in the Haystack) by Alex
Vianny (1953)

47. Absolutamente Certo! (Absolutely Right) by Anselmo
Duarte (1957)

48. Mulheres e Milhões (Women and Millions) by Jorge
Ileli (1961)

49. O Grande Momento (The Great Moment) by Roberto Santos

50. Carlota Joaquina, a Princesa do Brasil (Carlota
Joaquina, the Princess of Brazil) by Carla Camurati (1996)


Brazilians deal everyday with hundreds of words in newspapers,
billboards, books and TV, that don’t exist officially. Most of them are technical terms
with or without a correspondent in Portuguese that are borrowed from the English. In an
extremely modest accommodating gesture, the ABL (Academia Brasileira de
Letras—Brazilian Academy of Letters) has included 37 computer related terms to its
updated Vocabulário Ortográfico da Língua Portuguesa (Portuguese Language Orthographic
Vocabulary) also known by its acronym VOLP. The VOLP hasn’t been updated since 1981.
Distinct from a dictionary, the VOLP only lists the word and it grammatical function
without giving its meanings.

Proof of the narrow scope of the additions are all the currently
used words that were left out. Among them xerocar (pronounced sherocar),
which for decades has been used as synonym for fotocopiar (to photocopy). Other
frequently used terms that were ignored: backup, browser, butar (to boot a
computer) megabytes, RAM, setup, site, and upgrade.

While off line, for example, was adopted, on line did not make
into the new vocabulary. Celso Niskier, a computer professor and director of Rio’s college
Faculdade Carioca talked about the need for these changes: "The vocabulary is a live
organism and it is natural the ABL concern to implement changes." It was Faculdade
Carioca that presented the Academy with the new technological terms. Even though 101 words
were presented, the Academy only adopted 37 of them.

While some criticize the changes as being too timid, others as
literary critic Wilson Martins complain that the new terms are contributing to what he
calls a "linguistic denationalization." For Niskier the changes only show that
the Portuguese language is dynamic and attuned with the global evolutions." Martins
reasons: "Why should we use deletar when we have anular (to void) or apagar
(to erase)? The verb escanear (to scan) however might be nationalized. Now, to use
the word sítio (little ranch) for site this is even worse than using the English

These were the computer-related terms included in the VOLP, most
of them maintaining the English format: assíncrono (asynchronous), bit, broadcast,
buffer, byte, cartucho (cartridge), chip, coaxial, conectar (to connect), deletar
(to delete), drive, e-mail, faxear (to fax), formatar (to format), hardware,
imputar (to imput), interface, internet, intranet, job, joystick, laser, layout,
menu, network, off line, overflow, overlay, pointer, reformatar (to reformat), ROM,
scanner, síncrono (syncronous), software, spool, web, and winchester.

There were 6242 new words introduced to a vocabulary that now has
349.817 terms. Some of them are used only in small regions of the country, like arabaca,
which means old car in the state of Bahia. The VOLP was organized by a group from the
Academy, which has 40 members, and outside experts. The academicians were renowned
philologist Antônio Houaiss, Evaristo de Morais Filho, Eduardo Portella. Lexicographers
Antônio José Chediak (he was the book’s coordinator), Sílvio Elia, Evanildo Bechara and
paleontologist Diógenes de Almeida Campos also contributed.

To those who fear the discharacterization of the language by the
adoption of too many Anglicisms and other isms, Duarte noted that there was a rigorous
selection process and that most of the additions were names and adjectives and not verbs,
which he calls the "tongue’s backbone".

Among the slang words incorporated into the vocabulary there are biritar
(to have hard liquor), agito (party), auê (confusion), amasso (petting),
chacrete (TV cheerleader) and caipirosca (vodka-based margarita).

The Aurélio, the most used Portuguese dictionary in
Brazil, lists around 140,000 words and contains many words that only now are being adopted
by the vocabulary. Hebrew words adopted: Chanuká, bris (circumcision), chalá (type of
bread), tsedaká (a good deed), gefiltefish (fish cake), and shofar (religious music

Some words like printar (from to print) were not accepted
since the Portuguese already has the verb imprimir. Trying to catch up, the Academy
is already working on the next edition of the VOLP, which might come out in the next few
months. The public is being encouraged to send suggestions of terms to be included. The
address: Academia Brasileira de Letras – Comissão de Lexicografia – Avenida Presidente
Wilson 203 – 4º andar – Centro – Rio de Janeiro – 20030-02. The 795-page VOLP is on sale
at the ABL bookstore for $25.

No, Thanks!

In what amounts to a courageous manifesto against a slipshod
press, renowned author João Ubaldo Ribeiro, a member of the Academia Brasileira de Letras
(Brazilian Academy of Letters) announced his decision to limit drastically the number of
interviews he gives the media. August 30 he wrote in his Sunday column at dailies O
Globo from Rio and O Estado de S. Paulo:

"Hardly anyone does his homework before starting the
interview. They ask me where I was born, what books have I written and when, where do I
live (and this inside my house), how many children I have and other things of great public
interest, which those who are interested are tired of knowing and those not interested
don’t want to know.

Or they come with the conviction that, for being a person of
modest notoriety, I’m able to give my opinion on every kind of subject like the quality of
Cuban cigars, Russia’s economic policy, or the performance of the Milan Opera tenors. I
don’t know, I don’t fake that I know, but the interviewer becomes angry when I reveal my
ignorance about these and other vast amount of subjects."

Ribeiro recalled the episode with a lady reporter whose first
question was: "You are a writer, aren’t you?" Writes he: "`No,’ I wanted to
answer but I didn’t. `I’m your mother’s gigolo.’ What the hell! Hasn’t she read even her
assignment that stated on the top: `interview writer João Ubaldo Ribeiro about such and
such subjects.’"

After speaking of several cases, in which what he said was
entirely misunderstood, and an occasion on which he had to change his schedule to
accommodate an interviewer who still came much later, the writer concludes that
"interview is work that should be paid."

Ribeiro agrees with those who say that the interviews often
promote his books and image and admits that in this case this is payment enough.

The author goes on: "You go to a TV studio, you have to
leave your ID card at the reception desk, strap a badge to your shirt and to be subjected
to a series of indignities. Everybody is making money, from the prompter to the host. The
only ones who don’t earn a thing are the program’s core, that is, the interviewee. I
thought again and again and I know that with this I might be ending my TV career, but I
have decided: from now on I will only go if they pay for it at least the way Jô pays me.
(Jô Soares has a very popular late night interview show in which he promotes the work of
his guests.) Farewell, TV spectators."

With Brushes

Bishop Sardinha, a character from the early Brazilian
history, whose main claim to fame derives from the fact that he was eaten by Brazilian
cannibals is the great inspiration for the just-opened 24th Biennial in São Paulo, the
world’s third most important art exhibit, just behind the Venice Biennial from Italy and
the Documenta exposition from Kassel, Germany. The bishop’s deglutition had already
inspired in the early ’20s the so-called anthropophagic movement, which proposed the
cannibalizing of the European culture. The same idea was again adopted by the tropicalista
music movement from the late ’60s.

In 1928, writer Oswald de Andrade, one of the leaders of the
Movimento Modernista, wrote the celebrated Manifesto Antropófago after looking at Tarsila
do Amaral’s painting Abaporu, one of the stars of the exhibit. United by the
anthropophagic theme there are foreign geniuses like Belgian René Magritte, British
Francis Bacon, and Dutch Vincent van Gogh as well as William Blake, Auguste Rodin, and
Salvador Dalí. From the Brazilian side besides Tarsila do Amaral, there are other
heavyweights like Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark. These works were insured for half a
billion dollars, $100 million of which to cover 15 paintings and 13 drawings and prints by
Van Gogh. The Bienal itself consumed $15 million to be organized.

All these names may give the impression that after
decades—the event started in 1951 by the hands of São Paulo Maecenas Ciccillo
Matarazzo — promoting avant-garde and cutting edge art, the Bienal has become a
museum. Not quite. These are just the decoys for close to 1000 works by 270 artists from
55 countries. And for the first time there is a section entirely dedicated to the
Brazilian contemporary art. Among the close to 60 Brazilians artists there are Lygia
Clark, Hélio Oiticica, Alfredo Volpi, Leonilson, and Tunga.

Among the innovations introduced in the latest version of the
Bienal it is the so-called contamination. According to the organizers, every work was
chosen as an illustration for the anthropophagic theme, the global inter-borrowing of
ideas. The idea of artistic contagion continues inside the expo, which abolishes the
geography and time to purposefully juxtapose the old and the new, the classic and the
experimental, the national and the foreign. In a way that you can admire in the same room
the distraught faces of Francis Bacon (1909-1992) and the Trouxa (Bundle of
Clothes) of Brazilian sculptor Arthur Barrio. Barrio created his trouxas at the end
of the ’60s during the most repressive phase of the military dictatorship that ruled
Brazil from 1964 to 1985. They reminded people of the "presuntos" (literally,
hams), cadavers who were found on the streets and covered by a sheet or newspaper waiting
to be picked up by the police or the coroner.

Organizers are expecting that 450,000 will be lured by the
international mixing and will come to the show that will remain open until December 13. A
hailstorm with gusty winds on the opening day (October 3) provoked panic and the building
on the exhibit in the Ibirapuera Park had to be closed for four days while the place was
cleaned up and repaired. According to the organizers there was no irreparable damage to
the paintings and other works of art.

During the press conference held the day after the accident,
Belgian curators of the Magritte room, Paolo Vedovi e Gisèli Olligns, commented that such
"whims of nature" could happen anywhere in the world. Touched by the show of
solidarity, curator Paulo Herkenhoff cried copiously.

According to a report by weekly Isto É the episode and
its consequences were much worse than admitted by the Bienal’s organizers. "What we
saw on the modernity temple projected by Oscar Niemeyer was one of the saddest
demonstrations of carelessness with an inestimable national and foreign artistic
patrimony." The magazine described in vivid tones rain and sleet coming from the roof
and hitting the works of art while José Carlos Libânio, a UN representative, commented:
"That’s the ultimate act of anthropophagi. Brazilian nature took care of devouring
the world’s works of art."

In the third floor, the hardest hit, Swiss sculptor Alberto
Giacometti’s bronze pieces felt the rain’s full brunt. In the panicky reaction by the
Bienal’s workers that followed, sculptures were hurriedly taken out of the way and almost
were broken. It took more than half an hour after the storm started before the workers
started evacuating the building.

For more than ten minutes a painting by Argentinian Guillermo
Kuitca was left under a jet of water while many people cried looking at the disaster.
Comment from Swedish cameraman Pontus Kianderafter after having filmed the situation:
"Which artist will wish to expose here again after this tragedy?"

Several exhibits that used electricity were short-circuited and
for a few seconds the whole building went dark leading people to start screaming. The
climatized room with the Francis Bacons and Van Goghs weren’t affected, though.


It is easy to understand why emotions are running high and
Herkenhoff has been crying more than expected. He had cried already during the opening
ceremonies when a crowd of 12,000 broke the record of public for the event. He said at the
time: "Everything is working out." But just barely. Many works only arrived at
the last second. People were already walking the corridors when Van Gogh’s Le Moulin de
la Gallet was whisked to its place on the third floor.

Only recently the Bienal started to recoup some international
respect. Proof of its increasing reputation—at least before the rain incident—is
the fact that the organizers were able to borrow pieces from the Louvre, a first time.
MoMA, the New York Museum of Modern Art, broke also a 10-year policy of not lending any
work to Brazil. All the charm of curator Paulo Herkenhoff was not enough though to get a
single piece by Van Gogh from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. The Bienal had to appeal
to smaller museums and private collectors being unable to show a single self-portrait of
the artist.

The São Paulo art show used to be a very popular event during
the ’60s and the ’70s. Júlio Landmann, president of Fundação Bienal, who as a child
used to visit the exhibit with his father, talked about these times: "It was the era
of pop-art, op-art and kinetic art, which drew all kinds of visitor." By 1979
however, attendance to the 15th Bienal had fallen to 70,000 visitors. With the creation of
the museum space in 1994, the crowds came back and Bienal version 22 saw a record 500,000

The 24th Bienal can be virtually visited at
http:///www.uol.com.br/bienal/24bienal. On the site hosted by UOL (Universe Online), the
largest Internet provider in Brazil, visitors will be able to see among other offerings
the 55 artists from different countries reunited under the National Representations
umbrella. The pages have blown up images of the works presented and people have also the
option of sending their favorite works as electronic card. For the fist time the Bienal
includes virtual exhibits with addresses of sites that are doing art on line.

These are some of the selected sites: "Vulnerables" by
Fabiana de Barros (http://www.vulnerables.ch); "Valetesjacks in Slow Motion" by
Kiko Goifman; "HoME" by Lawrence Chua
(http://red.ntticc.or.jp/HoME/javahome.html); "Memento

Mori, an Interface for Death" by Ken Goldberg and Wojciech
(http://www.memento.ieor.berkeley.edu/); and "No name DC", Sabine Bitter and
Helmut Weber (http://www.plexus.org/omnizone/works/bitter-weber/index.htm).

It was the Venice Biennial that inspired Paulista (from
São Paulo) industrialist Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho, better known as Ciccillo
Matarazzo, to start in 1951 the Bienal Internacional de São Paulo. Matarazzo was the
president of MAM (Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo—São Paulo Modern Art Museum)
and made the new event part of the museum. The Bienal Foundation would only start in 1962.

In 1953, for its second edition, the exhibit had Picasso’s Guernica
and works by the likes of Brancusi, Calder, Ensor, Klee, Laurens, Mondrian, and Munch,
and drew a public of 100,000. Four years later the Bienal got its own space, the Pavilhão
Ciccillo Matarazzo in the Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo, a 30,000 sq. meter (323,000 sq.
feet) structure designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the architect who dreamed Brazil’s modern
capital city, Brasília.

The ’60s and ’70s were the best of times for the Bienal. All the
big names of pop art were represented at the 10th Bienal in 1967: Lichtenstein, Oldeburg,
Rauschenberg, Rosenquist, Ruscha, Segall, Andy Warhol, and Wesselman. Starting in the late
’70s, however, the massive presence of concept art works made the public shun the event. A
mere 70,000 people went to see the 1979 Bienal.

I Did It

It’s been an open secret to those interested in Brazilian history
that dictator and President Getúlio Dornelles Vargas—he governed Brazil from 1930 to
1945 as a dictator and then again as elected President from 1951 until his suicide on
August 24, 1954—had a torrid romance with burlesque actress Virgínia Lane during the
’40s. Confirmation of the rumors comes now straight from the lover’s mouth. During a
recent party to celebrate renowned Rio’s Confeitaria Colombo 104th anniversary, Lane
confessed to her 15-year-long inappropriate relationship, adding: "In those times
sweethearts of presidents didn’t make scandals."


No foreign visitor spends more in New York than Brazilians.
Just-released data from the New York Convention & Visitors Bureau for the year of 1997
show that a Brazilian stays in average six days in the Big Apple and spends $71 a day when
in town. With a total of 333,000 visitors from the country (31% more than in 1996) it
translates into $141 million. Compare this to the 419,000 Japanese visitors who disbursed
$100 million, or $48 a day per capita. Brazilians constitute the fifth largest group of
visitors behind the Canadian, the British, the German, and the Japanese. While 97% of
Brazilians go shopping when tasting the Big Apple they also engage in other activities:
they go to historical places (70%), visit museums and art galleries (65%) and enjoy a
night on Broadway or off-Broadway (63%).


Preliminary data from the INS (Immigration and Nationalization
Service) obtained by Brazilian daily O Estado de S. Paulo show that a record 6,800
Brazilians decided to become American citizens from January 1995 to October 1997. In
comparison, between 1989 and 1996, a twice-as-long period, 4,864 Brazilians opted for the
new nationality. When all the information is computed the number of new Brazilians for the
’95-’97 period should jump to more than 7000.

It was in 1994 that for the first time the number of Brazilians
seeking naturalization surpassed the 1,000 mark for the year: there were then 1,342 cases.
There was little reduction in 1995 (1,278) and then a big jump in 1996 when 2.680
Brazilians got their new citizenship. By October 1997, there were already 2.840 new
Brazilian-Americans for that year. On the other side, 458 Brazilians were deported between
October 1996 and March 31, 1998 for staying illegally or committing a crime in the US.

For Chris’

What Blue Man’s owner Daniel Azulay wanted, he said, was to pay
homage to Catholicism and eliminate the stereotype that surfers are naughty boys. What he
got instead was a lawsuit from Rio’s archdioceses, which was decided against him and
forced the entrepreneur to cease and desist.

Carioca (from Rio) Azulay designed a minuscule swimsuit
bottom known as sunga with the face of Christ wearing a thorn crown printed on the

In its decision, judge Antônio Carlos Amado, from the 2nd
Special Criminal Court, ordered Azulay to stop manufacturing the product, to destroy or at
least take out the image of the pieces already made, and to make an effort to recall the sungas
already sold or given away.

"There was no disrespect," argues Azulay, a 45-year-old
Jew, who for 25 years has worked in fashion. "If I were a jeweler no one would
criticize me for making a necklace with Christ’s image. Why can’t a surfer get in the sea
protected by Christ, wearing a sunga? A crucifix between the generous breasts of a
woman is something more disrespectful."

Two years ago the Catholic Church also protested, but didn’t take
any legal action after gay magazine Suigeneris published a full-page color picture
of another sunga sporting the image of the Virgin Mary. The Church called the
picture a challenge to the citizens’ faith.


A woman’s place is in the kitchen and doubly so in Brazil. The
old male-chauvinist saying wasn’t ever truer than in Brazilian homes these days. Not only
because Brazilian women as all over the world are doing double shift—at work and at
home—but also due to the fact that 19% of the Brazilian female workforce is employed
as a maid, even though the term employed is very loosely used in this case.

While in the United States domestic help is hard to get and
live-in employees are a luxury for the wealthy, in Brazil there is roughly one maid for
every 32 Brazilians. It is not rare for a middle-class family to employ two or more
live-in servants.

A new study by IPEA (Instituto de Pesquisa Econômica
Aplicada—Institute of Applied Economic Research) shows that there are five million
Brazilians working as maids and at least 800,000 of them (16% of the total) are girls
between the age of 10 and 17.

Even though the release of the study has drawn the attention of
UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and some NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) the
new number represents an improvement compared to 1985 when girls younger than 18
constituted 26.7% of the 3.5 million maids at the time. There was an increase in wives who
have to work outside the home. Not being at home any more, these women were forced to hire
older and more experienced help to take care of the house

Since then the country enacted the 1988 constitution, which gives
these employees some rights they didn’t have before. The constitution guaranteed paid
vacations and maternity leave, but maids still don’t have health insurance or unemployment
benefits. Also there is no limit for the time they have to work and there is no pay for

Domestic work continues to be one of the worst-paid jobs in the
country even when you consider that the employee gets food and a bed to sleep in. It is
estimated that 65% of maids receive no more than $100 a month. In the Northeast the number
of those receiving $100 or less raises to 89% of the domestic helpers. The average pay of
hour worked is 50 cents. These are people without any job qualifications. According to the
IPEA, 72% of them never finished first grade.

Dial M
for Music

There is nothing Rio’s police chief, Renê Barreto, can do to
solve some of the worst problems in Brazilian jails, like chronic overcrowding and the
inability to re-educate the inmates. But inspired by a trip to Belgium where Barreto saw
how vegetables grew much better when given classical music along with fertilizers—he
is an avid lettuce grower himself—the chief decided to introduce his protegees at the
81st Delegacia Policial (police station) to Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Mozart among
others. That’s what the jailbirds listen to now, everyday, from 8 in the morning to 10 PM.
The repertoire, which includes operas, was chosen with the help of music conductor,
Aloísio Lages. "I have 16 people in a cell here," explains Barreto, who spent
close to $200 of his own money to install the acoustic boxes. "They come full of rage
and you need to humanize them." As part of the effort, the inmates will also learn
about the composers themselves. The chief promises a "culture bath" in his jail
inhabited mostly by drug traffickers and murderers. The inmates were never consulted if
they wanted the music or would prefer another genre.

Rebel Yell

As in the US, MTV is most memorable in Brazil for its cute-crazy
little ads that appear in between the video-clips that fill up its schedule. Its latest
Video Music Award on August 98 was panned by the Brazilian press as just one more boring
program as in years past. Not that MTV didn’t try to change the image of its annual

It started with an ad spread in Veja, Brazil’s leading
weekly magazine, using a well-known national preference: female buttocks. The publicity
piece showed a prominent woman derriere barely covered by a skimpy bikini bottom being
touched by a man’s hand. Over the tight piece of cloth the copy: "More exciting than
that, only the MTV Video-Music Brasil 98.

During the two-hour-long award show, however, there was very
little excitement, unless you consider exciting seeing your MC (Timbalada’s King Carlinhos
Brown) changing a colorful outfit for an even more colorful outfit during intermission.
The old guard was represented by always-irreverent fiftyish Caetano Veloso, who seems to
have adopted the tie as his uniform now. He won best MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) video
with "Não Enche" (Stop Nagging Me).

The biggest winner of the night, Os Paralamas, also has several
years on the road. They got five awards for "Ela Disse Adeus" (She Said
Goodbye), including the best video of the year. As a replay of last year, the company
Conspiração Filmes was behind the majority of the winning videos. Most of the winners
had only one word to say: "Valeu" (it was worth it, cool). Some more
inspired were twice as long with: "Valeu, galera" (cool, folks)

The little excitement there was came with the announcement that Paulista
(from São Paulo) rap group Racionais MC’s won in the audience choice category with an
eight-minute-long "Diário de um Detento" (Diary of an Inmate), entirely filmed
at the São Paulo penitentiary. The prize was their passport to the American MTV Awards
held in Los Angeles on September 10.

The Racionais latest CD, Sobrevivendo no Inferno
(Surviving in Hell) sold half a million copies. The Racionais are normally hostile to
shows like that and often scorn the media. They seemed to enjoy this one though and were
ecstatic when received with a chorus of "filho da puta! filho da puta! filho da
puta!" Even in Brazil calling someone a son of a whore is very offensive or it
used to be anyway before the MTV show.

The rappers—Mano Brown, Edy Rock, KL Jay, and Ice
Blue—really made a speech and attacked the Brazilian society for condemning blacks to
prisons, reformatories, slums and drug trafficking. They also reminded the audience that
blacks were the majority in Brazil and that they deserved the power. "We thank God,
the greatest, for our music. But we were inspired by vice, by drugs, by misery. We want
that our people wake up and don’t see the sun behind bars," said KL Jay.

comments to

You May Also Like

A Prize for Brazil, for Red Tape

A World Bank report suggests that firms in Brazil and similar poorer countries around the ...

Josí© Serra Odds-on Favorite as Next Brazil President, After Lula’s Setback

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his party, the PT (Workers Party) ...

Ali Baba and His Forty Thieves Are Alive and Well in Brazil These Days

Though officially Brazil abides by the Gregorian calendar, New Year kicks in for most ...

Brazil Loses US$ 4.29 Billion From Crops Ruined by Drought

Brazilian farmers are expected to suffer losses amounting to US$ 4.29 billion (10 billion ...

To Avoid Oil Curse Brazil Needs to Use It to Promote Kids and Human Intelligence

In the last fifty years, Brazil has invested in the city of São José ...

Brazil Praised by UN for Its Water Management

The Brazilian water management model is considered an example by the United Nations Organization. ...


Behavior All Naked   Candidate Fagotti went naked on TV Getting naked in Brazil ...

Brazil’s Petrobras Invests US$ 16 Bi Seeking Self-Sufficiency in Gas

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras intends to invest US$ 16 billion in the gas sector ...

Sí£o Paulo, Brazil, Agricultural Exports Fall Close to 10%

Agribusiness products exports from the state of São Paulo, in Brazil's Southeast, totaled US$ ...

The List of the Undone in Lula’s Brazil

As a reader of O Estado de S. Paulo pointed out, during the thirteen ...