Rapidinhas – Beach Beauty

Beach beauty

Michelle Patrícia Martins, the 1996 Rio’s Summer Muse, had a previous brush with fame. The gorgeous
mulata was one of the 20 finalists last year among 2750 candidates looking for a job as
paquita,” the TV cheerleader helpers of
super-presenter Xuxa. She was refused a place allegedly due to her age (“over the ideal limit”) which by then was 16.
“Racism,” some denounced. Michelle didn’t care. She even became Xuxa’s friend. She has studied theater, modeling and jazz
since and is seriously considering a career modeling. If muses of past summers are any indication Michelle will be a
very successful model indeed. The Summer Muse is traditionally from the more affluent south zone of Rio. Michelle,
however, lives in the blue-collar neighborhood of Bonsucesso, with her strict parents and an older sister. Samba School
Imperatriz Leopoldinense invited her to be in their latest Carnaval parade. “Yes,” she said, “but with a condition. You have to
change this costume. I am not showing my breasts.”


Rio’s Summer Muse

 

Michelle in skimpy bikini


Woman

Beach beauty

Michelle Patrícia Martins, the 1996 Rio’s Summer Muse, had a previous brush with fame. The gorgeous
mulata was one of the 20 finalists last year among 2750 candidates looking for a job as
paquita,” the TV cheerleader helpers of
super-presenter Xuxa. She was refused a place allegedly due to her age (“over the ideal limit”) which by then was 16.
“Racism,” some denounced. Michelle didn’t care. She even became Xuxa’s friend. She has studied theater, modeling and jazz
since and is seriously considering a career modeling. If muses of past summers are any indication Michelle will be a
very successful model indeed. The Summer Muse is traditionally from the more affluent south zone of Rio. Michelle,
however, lives in the blue-collar neighborhood of Bonsucesso, with her strict parents and an older sister. Samba School
Imperatriz Leopoldinense invited her to be in their latest Carnaval parade. “Yes,” she said, “but with a condition. You have to
change this costume. I am not showing my breasts.”


Show biz

Anybody cares?

No one would imagine a few seconds on Michael
Jackson
‘s video clip “They Don’t Care About Us” would provoke
such domestic and international commotion. The entertainer went to Salvador, Bahia and Rio. The ruckus started even
before the singer set foot in Brazil, right after Rio’s mayor was able to get an injunction preventing Jackson from filming in
the Dona Marta favela (shanty town). Another judge dropped the case, but the damage had already been done and the
PR nightmare had started. Rio’s Police Chief Hélio
Luz
called the video’s director, Spike
Lee
,
a sucker for paying drug traffickers for protection during the filming.
“He’s probably used to do this in the US,” said Luz. “I was very
smart,” shot back Lee. “The police have no authority in Dona Marta. If
I want a Coke I will not ask another customer for it but the waiter.”
Spike, who drank a lot of guaraná, a popular Brazilian soft drink, was also exasperated with the journalists,
calling their questions “very stupid.” Seemingly unaware of the imbroglio Jackson even made some last minute changes on
the script taking the cameras to well inside the
favela and mingling with Dona Marta’s residents. They placed a big sign
on the top of the hill saying, “Michael Jackson, they don’t care about us.”


Behavior

Whistle blowers

The campaign for the legalization of marijuana in Brazil has gained an unlikely ally. First lady anthropologist
Ruth Cardoso defended the idea of pot smoking during an interview to Programa Livre, a SBT TV show. The declaration
made Cardoso the darling of Posto 9, a spot on Ipanema beach (south zone of Rio) where the product has been making
headlines the past few weeks. Nilton
Cerqueira
, Rio’s secretary of Public Security commented, “This is the opinion of a citizen
and should be respected. But we have a law and that also has to be respected.” It was in the same area that musicians
Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, and
Gal Costa used to get high around 1980 at the so-called Dunas do Barato (Pot’s Dunes)
while the police looked the other way. That little piece of beach hasn’t gotten so much attention since 1987 when a Panama
ship, afraid of being caught, unloaded its cargo of marijuana-filled cans which ended up at Posto 9’s sands. To avoid the
police, who have stepped up efforts to prevent the use of marijuana in the beach, Posto 9’s habitués started to wear a whistle
which is used every time a uniformed officer approaches. The

apitaço (whistling festival) has irritated the police and
repression has increased with dozens of pot smokers been detained.


On the spot

Brazil has only three months to answer to an OAS (Organization of American States) formal accusation of
having massacred 13 peoples who lived at Rio’s Nova Brasília
favela (shanty town), last May. That’s the third time in less
than two months that the OAS’s Interamerican Commission on Human Rights calls the country to task. The charge was
brought by the group Human Rights Watch/Americas which in December had presented two other complaints: the first dealing
with the death of Goiás’s state Araguaia guerrillas between 72 and 74 and the second concerning 11 farm workers killed
in Corumbiara, Rondônia, last August. Rio’s governor
Marcello Alencar protested the indictment: “How can the
OAS condemn Brazil in a world in which there’s rampant violence?”


Romancing the Oscar

O Quatrilho‘s Oscar nomination for best foreign movie was noisily celebrated by its director
Fábio Barreto as if he had already won the Oscar. Barreto was also confident that the Academy’s nod would improve the movie’s lot at the
domestic box office and give it a shot at the foreign market. It was only the second time a Brazilian movie was so recognized
by Hollywood. The last time it happened the film was the Golden Palm Cannes winner
O Pagador de Promessas and the year was 1962.

 


Monkeys don’t

Despite all its success and to a certain point due to it, the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable
Natural
Resources (Ibama) has gone to court to stop the airing of a TV commercial in which monkeys do such human things
like drive cars, talk on the cellular phone and take soft drink. Ibama asserts that forcing the animal to do such acts is a
violation against their species. To avoid problems the Pepsi and
guaraná Antarctic ad producer imported the monkeys. Now
they could also be prosecuted for “trying to circumvent the law”, according to Ibama’s President
Raul Jungmann. A couple of years ago the federal agency was successful in stopping an ad for an ant insecticide in which starred an
anteater tamandua.


Gimme that zapper

Most Brazilians seem to hate Voz do Brazil (Brazil’s Voice), a radio program which is broadcast every weekday from
7 PM to 8 PM by every radio station in the country, and are quick to turn off the radio as soon as they hear the
program’s musical theme the first chords from Carlos
Gomes
O Guarani. Comes
July 1 the Voz will also be on TV and will stay in the air 24 hours.
The federal channel will bring news from the Executive, the congress
and various federal departments. The redeeming feature is that the
non-stop official Brazilian show will be on cable, a privilege still
only accessible to a handful of Brazilians.


Budget leeway

Money can be tight in Brasília, but not for parties, medals or
cachaça (sugar cane liquor). In 1995, the federal
government spent more than $5 million just to promote parties. Almost $800,000 of this money were used by the always stern
Army Ministry. The same ministry used the money earmarked for “maintenance of the troops” to buy 2,700 tinamou bird
eggs a product believed to be an aphrodisiac and 24
cachaça bottles. The Department of Strategic Affairs, certainly
intent on preserving the moral of their snoopers, made some interesting purchases, among others: 20

petecas (feather shuttlecocks) and 40 gallons of eucalyptus essence to be used in saunas.


Roll of shame

Brazil or Haiti? Where social instability is more likely to happen? Brazil, says CIA’s State Failure Task Force, which
listed 16 nations with a “high risk of social instability.” According the Central Intelligence Agency’s study Brazil is number
five among the most unstable countries in the planet losing only to Armenia, Bangladesh, Benin and Bolivia. Haiti comes
in 7th place. High index of unemployment and the existence of death squads are some of the factors that gave Brazil
the prominent place in this infamous list. Is Brazil that shaky or is this just another proof that the CIA went off its rocker?


Positive, Charles

Not only surfers, criminals and rappers have their
exclusive lingo. In Rio, you would also need a dictionary to understand
police officers talking to each other. This kind of talk is highly
contagious and some journalists on police beat end up using the same
vocabulary in their stories. Here’s a little help:

Charles Bravo – Military Police corporal

Correto – (correct) yes

Diligência – investigation

Doutor Delpol – Police commissioner

Elemento – person

Genitora – mother

Incursão – police crackdown

Lavrar a ocorrência – to report the case

Negativo – no

Operação pneumático – the change of a tire

Papa Índio – (Indian eater) poor devil

Papa Maique (Foxtrote) – (Woman) Military Police

Positivo – yes

Trinca – three

Viatura – police car

Zulu – the letter Z

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