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Rio de Janeiro has a flair for the spectacular, and Christmas is no exception: Rio has been home to the world’s largest floating Christmas tree for the last eighteen consecutive years. It may not have millions of LED lights, but this nativity scene in front of the Gloria metro stop is no less magnificent. These […]

World Cup Protest


Brazil has spent billions of dollars in taxpayer money on the World Cup and illegally evicted up to 200,000 families across the country to make way for World Cup infrastructure projects. Including residents of Favela do Metro, who were evicted at gunpoint to make way for a parking lot for Maracana stadium in Rio that […]



  Another Carnaval comes and goes. This is the Carmelitas bloco in Santa Teresa. Carmelitas has been paying homage to a nun’s convent in the Santa Teresa neighborhood since 1991. Legend has it, one of the nuns jumped over the convent wall during Carnaval and mixed with the revelers. Maybe even with these dudes! Or […]

Seriously, Brazil

jruv_IMG_9896_Sunday in Ipanema

“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 this […]

Orquestra Voadora


Flamengo Beach is about to get crazy. It’s time for the Flying Orchestra! The Orquestra Voadora (“Flying Orchestra”) is a band of musicians that met in 2008 playing in different Carnaval street parades and decided they wanted to bring the funk year round. Their Carnaval party kicks off at 3pm on Carnaval Tuesday. The crowd gathers. The band rolls […]

Another Copa Bloco


It’s pre-Carnaval in Rio, and Rio is already a hundred-something deep into a superpartyschedule of over 500 street parties. Most of them are nothing like the mega-spectacle you’re imagining. They’re chill out, neighborhood affairs, like this bloco in Copacabana. Above: The Skate Gang holds court to Ja Rule in a Petrobras parking lot in Copacabana […]

Chasing Green


Construction delays and corruption charges be damned – if Ian McKee and Vicente Mello have their way, World Cup 2014 will go down as the first Green Cup in history. McKee and Mello are on a mission to build the world’s first LEED Platinum soccer stadium – the highest standard of sustainable building on the […]

Operation Carnaval


Rio just finished throwing the biggest street party on the planet. But will there be enough port-a-potties for World Cup?   After Carnaval in Rio went off with a record 5 million partiers – and without major incident – the international press had to find some more creative angles. Reuters notes that despite an aggressive campaign against peeing in […]

New Years After Party


The last of the 3,800 orange-clad street sweepers in charge of cleaning up after the biggest New Year’s party on the planet put the finishing touches on Copacabana Beach, New Year’s Day 2012.   The biggest New Year’s party on the planet went down last night in Copacabana Beach, where over 2 million people dressed […]

Floating Christmas


Rio de Janeiro inaugurated the world’s largest floating Christmas tree this week with a crowd of 10,000 spectators and a fireworks show that would have put Disneyland to shame.   That’s right, floating Christmas tree. It floats in Lagoa, a lagoon bordered by some of Rio’s most famous neighborhoods, including Copacabana and Ipanema. And it doesn’t just […]