Red Carpet

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Rio Film Festival is on for the next fifteen days in my favorite city on the planet. 350 films from 60 countries in 18 theaters across the city. This was opening night. Black and white and iPhones all over. Floor-length royal blue lace and a matching mic. Capes and sparkles! These guys are from the […]

Quiosque Culture

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Rio’s South Zone beaches, Copacabana, Ipanema and Leblon, have been suffering years of gradual upgrades that painting over Rio’s vibrant beach culture with retro-futuristic tackiness. There are new police units, the Tourist Police, in attractive cut uniforms, protecting tourists from petty assaults, harassing barefoot young black children with numbing frequency, occasionally raiding the pot smoker’s […]

Coffee Wars

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Every once in a while you find a place that tourists and gringos who do not identify as tourists both love. That place is the beloved Confeitaria Colombo, a stained glass rainbow of historic awesomeness, coffee and homemade pastries on a little alley in the heart of downtown Rio. So awesome that Starbucks decided to […]

GONDOLA MANIA

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“Pacified, the German Complex Will Now Have Sightseeing Tours.” Named in reference to a Polish immigrant who settled in the area almost a hundred years ago and was nicknamed “the German” by locals, Rio’s Complexo de Alemão – or German Complex  – made local and international headlines in 2012 for two seemingly unrelated reasons: a […]

Hotel Paris

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PARIS IN LIMBO: French hotelier François-Xavier Dussol invites me to capture the final days of abandon at the Hotel Paris before it breathes new life as downtown Rio’s first 5-star hotel. The wreckage is beautiful. We enter an unmarked door next to a mattress store bathed in limelight. A sign behind the reception reads, “It is prohibited to walk the […]

Barra Surf

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I stay up late, wake up at eight. Time for some coffee and it’s time to go to last day of the Billabong Rio Pro. Head to Ipanema Beach and head south. Past the cones Past the cars Past the path to the Sheraton Past the bike rack at Vidigal. Take your friends Take your […]

Piscinão de Ramos

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It rained all night but I woke up bright. Let’s go to Piscinão. Take Avenida Brasil to Pasarela #13. Welcome to the Piscinão. 2 acres of artificial beach on the edge of Guanabara Bay. If the South Zone is far away. It’s Saturday, and nobody’s here. Take a dip. Take a dive. Get some fried corvina […]

Vidigal

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Pacified, gentrified, superbly located Vidigal. The “UPP” pacification branding in Vidigal plaza means it’s safe for tourists. Drive a mile down the coast from swanky Leblon Beach, just past a strip of sex motels and the Sheraton Hotel, and you’re standing at the entrance to Vidigal. Locals line up to catch a ride up the […]

Prazeres

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“It’s a pleasure to be in Prazeres” – damn straight. Head up the mountain towards Christ the Redeemer, past Santa Teresa, take a right when you see this guy and you are in a place called Prazeres. Prazeres means “pleasures” in Portuguese. Street art everywhere. This smurf fresco represents Rio’s soccer rivalry in four parts. Fluminense […]

SundayBoardwalkChill

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 Sundays in Ipanema, the city turns the southbound lanes into a pedestrian playground. More RioChromatic: The super-chill neighborhood at the north end of Copacabana is Leme. Click to get into it.