Anthropologist and Senator Darcy Ribeiro died on February 17. He was
considered by most an accomplished educator, novelist, anthropologist,
and politician. President Fernando Henrique Cardoso went to his funeral
and even declared a national three-day mourning period in the days following
his death. Was he only a façade? Was Ribeiro the shrewdest cheater
Brazil has ever seen? That’s what this article wants to prove.


GSP Recordings, a label recognized for its integrity, has just released the complete
Afro-Sambas of Vinícius de Moraes and Baden Powell. Interpreted by Paulo Bellinati and
Mônica Salmaso, the recording adds a new dimension to the concept of guitar and voice
duets and was a finalist for the 1997 Prêmio Sharp award, Brazil’s equivalent of a
Grammy. Mônica Salmaso’s voice is alluring, dreamlike, and powerful. Bellinati’s guitar
counterpoint is a refreshingly different approach to the accompaniment role. Hearing is
believing. Afro-Sambas is without a doubt one of the best releases of 1997. For
more information call (800) 288-2007.

Bitter Pill

Brazilian TV host Ferreira Neto, who has a TV interview show in Florida, did not take
too seriously the warning by the customs police at the Miami International Airport when he
was caught in May bringing a box of Rohypnol into the U.S. Rohypnol is a medicine sold as
a tranquilizer in Brazil, but it is considered an illegal drug in the United States. At
the time, Ferreira Neto signed a document committing himself to not bring the confiscated
substance to this country again and was let go,

On August 17, the bearded TV presenter was once again caught red handed. This time
there was no compassion. The medicine was apprehended and Ferreira Neto was taken to jail,
being freed only after posting a $10,000 bond. Now the journalist is being prosecuted for
drug traffic. If condemned, he might get as much as three years in prison. What did
Ferreira Neto think about his ordeal? "Human rights in the United States are a big
joke," he said.


Drawn by what they consider great bargains, well-to-do Brazilians have been
taking—or better—buying New York. The trend has been noticed by weekly
newsmagazine Veja. Real estate agency Corcoran’s, for example, has sold 50
apartments in Manhattan to Brazilians in the first six months of this year.

Among the celebrities who now own a piece of the Apple we have singer Gal Costa who
paid a cool $1 million for her vacation refuge. Another Bahiano musician, Caetano
Veloso, got his place for half the price in East Village. Singer Marisa Monte and composer
João Bosco have also bought their little corner on the island of Manhattan.

On Up

Carlos Wattimo, owner of Brazil Update, a New York-based company that sells videotapes
with Brazilian TV programs, is betting that he will also be successful producing a TV
program himself. So sure is Wattimo, in fact, that he is shelling out $200,000 from his
own pocket to produce the pilot of the sitcom Astoria, USA.

The Portuguese-language situation comedy to be shown on Brazilian TV will revolve
around a Brazilian family that left Brazil after being involved in a financial scandal. In
New York, they open the Plaza boarding house that becomes a hanging out place for
Brazilian sacoleiros (people who buy goods to resell in Brazil), musicians, and
go-go girls.

Astoria, USA, is being directed by Jordele Larcher. Most of the participants in
the project are Brazilian actors and actresses who live in the United States. Co-writer
Cláudia Rapsold says that she was inspired by her compatriots who live in the same
Astoria neighborhood that she does.


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