Rio’s First Favela

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Providência is the oldest favela in Rio, part of the port area known as “Little Africa” where over a million slaves were sold in the 1800s. Originally settled by returning soldiers in 1897, Providência’s population grew with the intake of freed slaves over the next few decades – slavery was officially abolished in 1888. This […]

Unhappy Prostitutes

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POLITICAL PROSTITUTES AND SHAMEFUL POLITICIANS Laura Murray is a filmmaker, activist and PhD student studying sex worker activism and politics in Brazil. In an expansion on her blog post published at akissforgabriela.com, Laura explains how the Brazilian Minister of Health celebrated International Prostitute’s Day in June – by censoring an HIV prevention campaign: June has been a month of […]

Seriously, Brazil

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“Brazil knows how to party, but are they serious enough?”   In my second photo-essay for The Atlantic‘s city-specific edition, Scenes From Carnaval, the ‘Largest Street Fair on the Planet’, I go inside the colonial view that Carnaval is evidence Brazil is not serious enough: Six million people have taken to the streets of Rio de Janeiro […]

Sayonara Centauros

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  Luxury brothel smackdown in Rio de Janeiro. The Olympic City takes aim at a pricey brothel popular with tourists in its latest effort to clean up Rio’s image abroad. In my first story for The Atlantic’s new city-specific edition, AtlanticCities, I report on the Rio+20 raids, where an ultra-expensive sauna brothel called Centaurus, along […]

Major Lazer

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Summer time and the living’s easy in Rio, where the principle of lazer (“leisure”) dominates workout culture. In other words, “I am working out and I am enjoying it. At the same time.” The scenery doesn’t hurt. Six scenes of lazer (pronounced “lahz-AIR”)  in Rio’s South Zone. Would you lazer at the beach? Woman in bikini gives the slackline […]

This is a Favela

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  Favela does not mean “slum,” and contrary to what you might read in ESPN, the entire city of Rio is not big blazing war zone. Favela has no direct translation, but the proper word these days is “community,” and a full third of Rio’s 6 million citizens live in “communities,” probably more if there […]

Country of the Future

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According to this New York Times profile on Viennese writer Stefan Zweig, who moved to Rio shortly before poisoning himself in a suicide pact with his wife, we can thank Zweig for “creating one of most hackneyed phrases ever associated with Brazil: Country of the Future:” Derived from the title of his 1941 book praising […]

on Gringos

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Thaddeus Blanchette is a professor of anthropology at the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). He wrote about gringos for his masters dissertation and in Nossa Senhora da Help, a 2005 paper on Copacabana sex tourism. Blanchette talks about what it means to be called a gringo in  the April 2002 issue of BadSubjects, a […]