By Lance Belville
Guaramiranga, Cear, 109 kilometers up the mountainside from beach-hugging Fortaleza, may seem a strange place to be seeing approximately 200 actors from 43 different productions strutting their few brief moments upon the stage, but here they were.

This mountain village of little more than 5,000 souls swelled by 10,000 theatre lovers for the Thirteenth Northeastern Theatre Festival of Guraramiranga.

Nine plays from five of the nine-state Brazilian Northeast area competed for the best in the Northeast from 15 to 23 September at Festival Nordestino de Teatro de Guaramiranga. The festival also featured productions flying in from Germany, Portugal and France. The other shows, big and small, were here as invited productions.”

Actors Mingle With Crowd In Front of Municipal Theater

The festival also includes workshops and debates as well as daily early morning critiques where bleary actors, directors and technicians along with the morbidly curious meet in the chapter house of a local Franciscan monastery to hear the panel of judges criticize, analyze and sometimes eulogize what happened on stage the night before.

A unique feature at this festival are nightly performances outside the Rachel de Queiroz theatre, the festival’s principal stage, by regional “popular theatre” troupes which feature, among other themes, local variations on the Bumba Meu Boi folk dance/theatre traditions.

The festival’s two principal stages in Guaramiranga proper, a children’s theatre tent, as well as other playing spaces in the neighboring towns of Baturit and Pacoti, host a wide variety of theatre.

On one end of the artistic spectrum was the Natal, Rio Grande do Norte company, Clowns of Shakespeare Theatre with their production of Bertolt Brecht’s “THE MARRIAGE OF THE PETITE BOURGEOISIE.”

The Trupe Metamorfose clowning through a moment of The Marriage of Tabarim.

The Natal company came in with a cast of very talented actors also able to play the musical instruments on stage to accompany themselves singing the music composed for this production – “MARRIAGE” is not one of Brecht’s musical plays. And the company brought along a clever set of slowly collapsing furniture. With this range of talent on state, The Clowns of Shakespeare is the equal of any good company to be seen in any of the theatre capitals of the world.

Meanwhile, hardly 20 kilometers away, in Baturit, Trupe Metamorfose (The Metamorphosis Troupe), consisting of two brothers, a friend and a wife, play, clown, sing, contort, and mime their way through their own pocket play, “O CASAMENTO DE TABARIM,” (“The Marriage Of Tabarim”), a commedia del arte confection that could knock ’em dead in Renaissance Milan or in Renaissance Fair Minneapolis.

A moment from Natal’s Clowns Of Shakespeare Company production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Marriage Of The Petite Bourgeioisie.

On a more somber note is The Harn Pictures company’s dramatization of Plinio Marcus novel, “O ASSASSINATO DEO ANO,” (“The Murder Of The Dwarf”). Marcus has been called Brazil’s most banned and most awarded playwright. In the days of the military dictatorship most of his work could not see the light of the footlights. “ANO,” tells a darkly comic murder story in a circus clown format.

This annual theatre festival came about through the efforts of a local arts training group, the Associaão dos Amigos da Arte de Guaramiranga (Association of Friends of the Arts of Guaramiranga. or AGUA). They were 14 artists who had come to live in Guajaramiranga and had been teaching mostly music to local youth. AGUA wanted to open their students perspectives by bringing in outside theater artists to this isolated part of Cear. AGUA convinced the city fathers and local businesses to get aboard and 13 years later they have a year-long program involving approximately 400 local teenagers in the arts. AGUA and their theatre festival now enjoy have the support of some of the major players in Brazilian arts funding. And the festival has brought Guaramiranga from a dying mountain town to a new life as a refreshing, mountain tourist destination for visitors from all over Brazil.

But it’s no miracle that Guaramiranga was able to turn itself into a theatre mecca for at least one week a year. Theatre is talk and Brazil’s Northeast is a talky place. It’s sort of an Iberian Ireland. The pace of life and the point of view of the locals means everybody has time to talk to everybody. One is tempted to say, time to talk to anybody. And where there’s talk there will often be poetry. And where there is poetry, theatre is not likely to be far behind.

And so, a little like the Irish, the verbal preoccupation of the Northeast spawns a vibrant theatre culture. And from these actors strutting their moments upon the stage, Guaramiranga has found a way to develop and educate their own young people and revitalize the economy of the area. Not bad for a bunch of talk.

But there is plenty here for the visitor whose Portuguese leaves something to be desired. The popular theatre in the streets is enjoyable for its music, color and dancing. And each evening, around midnight, after the last shows come down, theatre square is taken over by music groups of every description invited in from all over the Northeast. There are probably as many music groups here as theatre companies. And a few, like Trupe Metamorfose, perform both as a theatre troupe and band.

The town has developed as a tourist mecca in tandem with Agua’s efforts with youth in the arts. It now hosts a number of festival weeks. Most notable among them is the Guaramiranga Jazz and Blues Festival held every year during carnival. With the town’s clear air and comfortable mountain temperatures, it is proving an ever-more-popular refuge for visitors fleeing the sweat and confusion of Brazil’s warmer sea level carnivals.

Guaramiranga also hosts a culinary week where the local restaurants – some of the best are German and Italian – strut their stuff with the help of visiting chefs.

The mountain area from Baturit up to Guaramiranga is an ecological preserve so there are plenty of trails to wander along and some nice waterfalls to enjoy. Pico Alto, a scant 13 kilomoters away by decent road, is Cear’s highest peak – or so they tell me – and affords a view from sertão to sea.

The trip up the mountain is easy. The road is a decent, well-maintained blacktop. The town of Redenão, about half way between Fortaleza and Guaramiranga, is worth a stop if you are driving it yourself. It has a preserved sugar plantation museum with special emphasis on the slave quarters which will give you a pretty clear picture of how things were in the bad old days of slavery. It also has a beautiful monastery atop a nearby hill featuring a hillside staircase up for the strong of leg and heart.

The hotel scene, once you get to Guaramiranga, is more complex, to put it diplomatically. The local hotels and pousadas – and there are a good number of them – are working hard to come up to Brazilian national levels. So far that has mostly meant raising their prices. My best advice is call, fax or email ahead to the local SENAC training hotel. They have wonderful rooms, a staff you will not know are actually students, probably the largest pool in town and a restaurant with good cooking at reasonable prices. They can be emailed at If they have no room for you, I would suggest waiting until they do.

If there is no room at SENAC and you are set on going up the mountain for jazz or a great meal, then there are a couple of charming local hotel customs of which the traveler from other parts of Brazil should be aware. First, you get but one sheet on your bed. If are accustomed to two sheets, you must ask for the second – and expect to dress the bed with it yourself. If you want bath soap, you must ask for it. And the local custom, as explained to me one surprising afternoon, holds that rooms are cleaned and sheets changed only if the customer specifically asks for it. None of the applies to the SENAC hotel, which is why my wife and I moved there mid-way in our stay. The above probably does not apply to all the hotels in town, but who has the time to research each one?

And, be advised, while Senac accepts Visa, most of the local restaurants take only MasterCard. There is no multi-purpose ATM in Guraramiranga. So take plenty of cash and do leave home without your Visa – but with your MasterCard!

Lance Belville is a writer, teacher and translator. His most recent project is the translation of a novel from Portuguese to English for a Rio de Janeiro publishing house. Two of his plays are in pre-production in Rio, scheduled to hit the boards in early 2007. He’s in Guaramaringa covering the annual festival of theatre in the Northeast. Prior to that he was in Natal for a meeting of Northeastern playwrights.

Previous articles by Lance:

Brazil: Mossoró’s Biggest Play on Earth Heads for Guinness Book of World Records
Brazil: House of Sand Impresses at San Francisco International Film Festival
Brazil: Lower City Helps Kick Off San Francisco International Film Festival
Brazil’s Kayapó Tribe
San Francisco International Film Festival: ALMOST BROTHERS Adds More Fans To Its List of International Devotees
San Francisco International Film Festival: Nelson Friere Documentary Enchants Audiences
San Francisco International Film Festival: Three Brazilian Films

By Robert Eugene DiPaolo
In the previous articles in our series about doing business in Brazil we’ve discussed Brazil’s legal system, the various types of Brazilian business entities, some of the steps required to start a business in Brazil and some of the obstacles you may face doing business. At this point you may feel somewhat bewildered and overwhelmed with all the steps you need to take, the numerous applications you need to file and all the hoops you need to jump through to start a business in Brazil. In fact, the whole process can at times seem unnecessarily complicated and quite byzantine. Nonetheless, with proper planning, helpful guidance, a healthy dose of patience and your interpersonal skills well honed and ready for deployment, doing business in Brazil can be a rewarding experience and an exciting adventure.

While your attorney will coordinate the formation of your Limitada or Sociedade Annimas and assist you with the various steps required to set up a business, there is another person or facilitator, available to assist you with getting things done in Brazil. This person is known as a despachante. The term despachante is derived from the Portuguese adjective meaning efficient”, which I confess may seem somewhat ironic at this point in our discussion. If you look up the word despachante in a Portuguese/English dictionary, it’s generally defined as a “shipping agent”, a “document agent” or a “customs agent”; however this term is more broadly used to refer to the middleman or facilitator of business transactions of all sorts.

In his book The Testament, much of which takes place in Brazil, but which I must confess I have not read, John Grisham provides a colorful description of the term despachante. Mr. Grisham writes that a despachante is “a Portuguese term for a personal dispatcher, expediter, buyer, or runner. No official document is obtained in Brazil without waiting in long lines. A despachante knows the city clerks, the courthouse crowd, the politicians, and the customs agents. He knows the system and how to grease it to get things done. The job requires a quick tongue, patience, and a lot of brass. For a small fee, a despachante will obtain permits and passports or do your voting, banking, and mailing – the list has no end. No bureaucratic obstacle is too intimidating. A ‘despachante de aduana’ will assist you with imports, exports, and transportation involving customs houses. Some of the services of an honest despachante may seem fraudulent by U.S. standards, but acceptable by Brazilian standards. The services of an unscrupulous despachante may seem fraudulent even by Brazilian standards.”

As you might imagine, despachantes come in all shapes and sizes, and perform a variety of services, some completely legal, some perhaps not so legal, and many of which are somewhere in between, depending on your perspective and tolerance for shades of grey. But having decided to do business in Brazil, you will need to become somewhat more comfortable with shades of grey and a certain informality in terms of getting things done. Using a despachante is even recommended by various US governmental agencies. For instance, the Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, within the US Department of Treasury, suggests the following. “It might be helpful to receive assistance from a ‘despachante’ or freight forwarder. Despachantes are often large organizations providing a wide range of services to anyone wanting to expedite their dealings with the government. Despachantes often clear goods through customs faster and they eliminate the need for permanent staff in the importing firm to handle such matters.” So, there you have it, a warm recommendation for using a despachante from the US government, or perhaps merely a realistic concession to the realities of doing business in Brazil.

The irony in all of this is of course that much of what the despachante does is to grease the system in order to get things done, which can include indirect payments, which as we have discussed violate the law in Brazil as well as in the US. Even if you are not the one directly providing the payments which are necessary to grease the system, you are undoubtedly benefiting from all the payments despachantes have made on behalf of other clients over the years that enable them to effectively work the system, make the right contacts and get things done on your behalf. Nonetheless, despachantes have become an essential part of the process of getting things done and maneuvering the layers of governmental bureaucracy in Brazil, much as real estate brokers have become an essential part of finding and renting an apartment in New York City. You might not like it, but in the end, you have no choice. Okay, you do have a choice, but it’s a choice between getting things done and battling against a system which has been in place since the Portuguese landed in Brazil. In NYC, the broker has already built into their fee typically 15% of the first year’s rent, the cost of being the exclusive broker of certain properties. Call it what you want, but it’s a well hidden bribe, wrapped inside what has become a well accepted, though despised, system for securing an apartment in Gotham City. In Brazil, some despachantes have done the same, building all the necessary ancillary transaction fees into the cost of their service, while other despachantes may suggest that you provide him with a little something extra that he can slip in with the required application fee to facilitate the processing of your application. With this in mind, you will want to be sure to use a reputable despachante service, one with which you feel comfortable working. You can find such a reputable despachante with the assistance of your lawyer, through the US Department of Commerce, the American Chamber of Commerce in Brazil and the various Brazilian Consulates. As a foreigner in Brazil where business is all about personal relationships, it’s practically an imperative that you work with a despachante to cut through the layers of red tape necessary to do business in there. In short, your despachante will become your new friend, your new best friend with lots of old friends, both of whom can help you get things done in Brazil.

Mr. DiPaolo is the co-founding managing director of The Fidelis Group do Brasil Consultoria, Ltda., a legal/business consultancy specializing in assisting non-Brazilians who want to do business or invest in Brazil. He can be reached at

Previous articles by Robert:

Doing Business In Brazil: Part 3 – Starting Your Business
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 2 – The Variety of Brazilian Companies
Doing Business In Brazil: Part 1

By Ricky Skelton
One of the first things you learn about Brazil from your Brazilian friends is how much everybody loves their novelas (the soap operas). But they don’t really explain to you just what a national obsession they are, or why. In houses, kiosks, bars, hotels, and even on a boat up The Big River” (where one man was employed to move the satellite dish around for better reception), everybody stops to watch their favourite novela in silence. Never having been one to watch soaps at home, it was very difficult for me to understand the attraction, but I tried.

It might be the glamour of watching handsome people in opulent settings making a mess of their lives, with the bad people usually getting their comeuppance somewhere along the line. Fairly predictable.

It might be the quality of the storylines, although even with my limited knowledge of Portuguese, I find this a little unlikely.

One of the plot devices utilised to save time and energy writing a proper story is to have one character listening behind a door/window/screen to two others gossiping/scheming/declaring love for each other. These scenes always finish one of two ways – the good character listening to two bad ones is shown in close-up with mouth wide open in wonder and worry; or the dodgy character listening is shown with a knowing half-smile on their face, ready to use the information for nefarious means. Nothing unusual.

It might be the quality of the acting, but as the cast of characters are the same in every novella I doubt it. You have: the main character with morals, the rich bad guy and flaky wife plus mistress, the comedy family, the dull pretty couple who never argue with each other, the youngish Rogue with attendant women, youngish nice guy with attendant women (usually shared with rogue), the only slightly rebellious daughter and – best of all – the mad middle-aged woman.

The acting varies from the permanently-wide-eyed-with-amazement of the comedy figures to the worryingly convincing mad middle aged women, who are by far the best actors in any novela. This is perhaps because when playing the psychotic part it is open to question just how much acting is involved for a Brasileira. So, probably not that.

One novela had a character travelling to Africa for the UNHCR and sending postcards to his wife about working with HIV victims from Nairobi’s shanty town, the size and degradation of which makes the favelas look petite and chic. An idea that needs exporting but probably not one that attracts people to watching in the first place.

So what is it? I still have no idea but I watch just in case. I even spend my days hoping that one of them might need somebody to play the part of, say, an English teacher. And I justify watching them by saying it would help my Portuguese, or because some of the actresses make fantastic scenery, but my relationship with novelas is like my relationship with smoking, or at least how it used to be – I had no interest at first, then I started just to pass the time with other people. After that, I convinced myself that I could take it or leave it as I pleased but the taking grew and the leaving stopped. I had to quit before it took control over my life, as I will with the novelas if I’m not careful. But for now Cobras & Lagartos is starting so I’d better finish here.

Previous articles by Ricky:

Brazil: Bus fires in São Paulo – always a bad thing?

By Dr. Richard L. Benkin
If one were to ask most Americans to describe the images and ethnic qualities of Jews, almost all of them would respond with characteristics associated with Ashkenazi Jews. Ashkenazim are Jews of Eastern and Central European descent who make up four out of five Jews in the world today. Ashkenazi Jews have also dominated US and international understandings of the Jewish people – despite the tremendous history and heritage of Jews with cultural roots in the Iberian Peninsula, the Mediterranean Basin, and the Middle East. That is why many looking to tour old Jewish communities would think of places like Poland or Germany, if not some ancient Jewish communities in Israel, as well. Certainly most would think of New York City with its large and historical Jewish community. Few would think of Brazil. Fewer still know that the New York community was founded by Jews from Brazil. While most American Jews know the story of 23 Dutch” Jews settling in New Amsterdam in 1654 despite the objections of Governor Peter Stuyvesant; very few know that the intrepid group had sailed from their homes in Recife, Brazil.

Today, there are well over half a million Jews living in South America. Brazil has the world’s tenth largest Jewish population – greater in numbers than, for instance, Australia and South Africa Jewry, both of which garner far more attention than the Brazilian community. At least three quarters of Brazil’s Jews live in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro; most others live in cities, as well. But things were not always that way. Brazil’s Jews began outside of the sort of urban centers we tend to associate with Jews. The settlers were hardy and adventurous and willing to take risks and overcome dangers. And fortunately for us, we can see evidence of their communities today.

Jews first came to Brazil around 1500, but as “New Christians” (also converses): Spanish or in this case Portuguese Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism to escape the Inquisition. Though outwardly Christian, many continued various Jewish practices and their descendants maintain their connection to Judaism even today. Throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries New Christians flocked to Brazil, although they often had to dodge Brazil’s own Inquisition. They were businessmen, importers, exporters, teachers, writers, and priests. In 1624, Dutch forces took portions of northeast Brazil. Because the Dutch did not prohibit Jewish observance – and in fact, the Dutch Jewish community was both prosperous and prominent – many of the New Christians openly declared their Judaism and spurred large scale Jewish immigration to Dutch controlled Brazil. Its capital was Recife where, in 1636, Jews built the Kahal Zur synagogue, the first in the Western Hemisphere.

The community flourished, such that a premier Amsterdam rabbi, Isaac Aboab da Fonseca, and pre-eminent scholar, Moses Raphael d’Aguilar came to Brazil as spiritual leaders. By 1645, Jews represented half the population of Recife and had an active and well-organized community with various communal institutions. But in 1654, the Portuguese re-took Recife sending its Jewish population into exile, including the first Jews to settle in what would one day be New York. Not until 1773 did the Portuguese abolish anti-Jewish discrimination. Jews started trickling back, but it took Brazilian independence almost 50 years later to spark the next significant influx of Jews to Brazil.

They came from ancient communities in Morocco where the economy could no longer support all of them and where Arab hostility was growing. They settled in the Amazon region, first establishing a strong Jewish center in the port city of Belem. They built a cemetery and two synagogues, Eschel Abraham in 1624 and Shaar Hasahmaim in 1826. These young men were instrumental in developing the Amazon’s rubber trade, so that immigrants who were lured by the industry’s boom later in the nineteenth century found Jews prominent at all levels and even deep into the Amazon. When the rubber industry collapsed in 1910, however, the community dispersed elsewhere although occasionally Amazon denizens will seek to re-connect Jewish roots.

Fortunately, visitors today can see many of the historic sites built by these two Jewish communities, among the oldest in the Americas. In 1999, excavation began on the Rua de Bom Jesus on the site of a Catholic charity hospital. As the digging continued the diggers uncovered Recife’s Kahal Zur Synagogue and the original street: Rua dos Judeus. Two years later, Kahal Zur was fully restored to its seventeenth century appearance and re-opened: a yellow stone, two-story building with arched ochre doors and windows and iron railings. Besides the synagogue itself, the building also houses the Jewish Cultural Center of Pernambuco with regular cultural exhibits. Visitors walk on the original synagogue floor, which is at least a foot below today’s floor level. Boris Berenstein, president of the Pernambuco Israelite Federation, which spearheaded the recovery using old documents and maps from the period, had led the Jewish community to discover the synagogue’s remains and recover the house of worship at a cost of $500,000. In 2000, archeologists unearthed a mikve, a spiritual purification bath fed by running rain or river water, used mainly by women, which also has been restored. Today, more and more people in Recife have returned to calling the street by its original name, Rua dos Judeus. Various web sites and other Recife resources provide visitors with information about visiting the synagogue and other cites related to the Jewish community.

In contrast, it is difficult to find information about seeing the historic Shaar Hashamaim (Gate of Heaven) synagogue that Moroccan Jews established in Belem. Before heading into the more dramatic and adventurous destinations inside the Amazon jungle, visitors should take some time to see the beautiful blue and white two storey structure. Built by Judah Eliezer Levy, its monumental facade has three Stars of David in its front, and four main entrances which lead to the main prayer hall and the women’s galleries. The round bimah or stage from which services are led, is elevated and with marble carved with the Star of David. It is a commanding site and is located in the center of the synagogue. This is in the style of Sephardic Jews (those with genealogical origins in the Iberian peninsula, the Middle East, or the Mediterranean Basin). Ashkenazic Jews with origins in Eastern and Central Europe, place their bimah on the eastern wall of the synagogue so that the structure faces Jerusalem.) In the Orthodox Jewish tradition, Shaar Hashamaim has a separate section for women worshippers, which is supported by white plaster columns that frame the blue painted walls. The whole structure is surmounted by a big dome and is used by Belem Jews today.

You can contact Dr. Benkin at”

This week’s entertainment guide for São Paulo features an unusual restaurant in Vila Olimpia, a very recently reopened planetarium, this week’s recommended film release, and a roundup of some other upcoming events.

Tantra"This week’s restaurant recommendation is Tantra. Tucked away in Vila Olimpia, Tantra offers a different experience in the shape of its Mongolian barbecue. For those who’ve not tried this before, you can choose from a mixture of meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, sauces and spices (there’s recipe ideas on hand if needed) to create your own unique meal. Once you’ve selected your ingredients you take them to the central barbecue where they are cooked while-you-wait. Once you’ve eaten you can return, if you aren’t “satisfeito”. The Tantra experience doesn’t end there though, as on various nights during the week and weekend suitably themed events and shows take place within the restaurant, for example dance, aerial shows, fortune telling, and massage (check the website for the events and times). The restaurant itself is decorated in a suitable Asian theme, adding even more to the atmosphere. Expect to pay around R$25 for lunch, and around R$40 for dinner, per person excluding drinks. Open Monday – Friday: 12pm – 3pm and 6pm – midnight, Saturday: 1pm – 6pm and 8pm onwards, Sunday: 1pm – 8pm. Rua Chilon, 364. Vila Olimpia. Tel. 3846 7112.

Ibirapuera's PlanetariumOpening this week for the first time in 7 years is Ibirapuera’s Planetarium (Planetrio do Ibirapuera). The planetarium first opened in 1957, and received over 4 million visitors. Unfortunately it was closed in 1999 due to structural problems, but after 7 years of construction and remodelling work costing R$3.5 million it has returned to operation again. As with any planetarium the focus is on projecting the night sky onto the domed ceiling, and to achieve this the planetarium has updated to a Zeiss Starmaster projector (the only one in Latin America) at a cost of R$6 million. As a celebration of the reopening entry is free for the next few weeks, although sessions are very limited while staff and adjust and train on the equipment. Here are the session dates, which start at 3pm: September 30th, October 7th, 8th, 12th. There’s a limit of 280 people per session, which lasts 30 minutes. Avenida Pedro lvares Cabral, portão 10. Ibirapuera Park.

Monster HouseThis week’s film recommendation is Monster House (A Casa Monstro in Portuguese). Despite the title the film is for all the family, at least the older children, and is a computer animation similar in style to those from Pixar and Dreamworks. As for the story, rather than the house being full of monsters, the house is the monster (voiced by Kathleen Turner), and eats anyone that enters. Three children become wise to this, and try to convince their babysitter (voiced by Maggie Gyllenhal). Inevitably the children have to enter the house to try and solve the mystery to its existence. The film has generally been well received, although isn’t recommend for younger children. Rated PG in the USA/UK. IMDB’s page on Monster House. Guia da Semana’s page on Monster House, with showing cinemas and times.

Here’s a roundup of some other events happening around São Paulo over the coming weeks: The famous musical Sweet Charity is at Citibank Hall until December 17th (tickets R$60 – 120, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, The group G3, bringing together the famous guitarists Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, and Eric Johnson, come to Credicard Hall on September 27th and 28th (tickets R$90 – 240, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, US band NOFX bring their new album Wolves in Wolves’ Clothing to Credicard Hall on October 1st (tickets R$90 – 240, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, British singer and instrumentalist Greg Lake, from the famous Emerson, Lake and Palmer, plays some of his latest songs at Tom Brasil on October 2nd (tickets R$70 – 300, Ingresso Rpido tel. 2163 2000). Singer Ziggy Marley brings reggae and his latest album to Credicard Hall on October 5th (tickets R$90 – 250, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, The rock festival Live ‘n’ Louder is coming to Anhembi on October 14th, and famous Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura will be playing along with the Finnish group Stratovarius and German group Primal Fear (tickets R$120 – 250, available from Ingresso Rpido, Tel. 2163 2000). Famous British band New Order are coming to the Via Funchal on November 13th and 14th (tickets R$160, tel. 3089 6999). British punk band Toy Dolls will be playing at the Blen Blen Club on October 25th, and Hangar 110 on October 28th (tickets R$50 – 70, tel. 3229 7442). The TIM Festival comes to São Paulo on October 27th – 29th, with groups such as Mombojó (Brazil), TV on the Radio (USA), Thievery Corporation (USA), Yeah Yeah Yeahs (USA), Daft Punk (France), and the pianist Herbie Hancock. The festival will take place at Anhembi in the Auditório Ibirapuera (tickets R$80 – 180, available from Ticketmaster, Tel. 6846 6000, British rock veterans Deep Purple play some of their greatest hits, such as “Smoke on the Water”, at Tom Brasil on November 28th and 29th (tickets R$100 – 200, Ingresso Rpido tel. 2163 2000). Blues guitarist BB King comes to the Bourbon Street Jazz club and the Via Funchal on November 30th and December 2nd (tickets on sale for Bourbon Street in October tel. 3897 4456, for Via Funchal tickets are R$95 – 480, tel. 5095 6100).

If you have been to a restaurant, club, park, museum, or anywhere else in São Paulo that you would like to recommend to other readers in future Entertainment Guides then don’t hesitate to contact us!

Also if you are a bar, restaurant , or night club owner (or hosting any other form of event that might be of interest to foreigners) that would like to be reviewed by, as well as appearing in our entertainment guide, please contact us to arrange a visit. If you would like to submit a weekly entertainment guide for your city we’d be interested to hear from you also.

What’s On Guide, September 18 – September 24 2006
What’s On Guide, September 11 – September 17 2006
What’s On Guide, September 4 – September 10 2006
What’s On Guide, September 4 – September 10 2006
What’s On Guide, August 28 – September 3 2006
What’s On Guide, August 21 – August 27 2006
What’s On Guide, August 14 – August 20 2006
What’s On Guide, August 8 – August 13 2006
What’s On Guide, August 1 – August 7 2006
What’s On Guide, July 24 – July 31 2006
What’s On Guide, July 17 – July 23 2006
What’s On Guide, July 10 – July 16 2006
What’s On Guide, July 3 – July 9 2006
What’s On Guide, June 26 – July 2 2006
What’s On Guide, June 19 – June 25 2006
What’s On Guide, June 12 – June 18 2006
What’s On Guide, June 5 – June 11 2006
What’s On Guide, May 29 – June 4 2006
What’s On Guide, May 22 – May 28 2006
What’s On Guide, May 15 – May 21 2006
What’s On Guide, May 8 – May 14 2006
What’s On Guide, May 1 – May 7 2006
What’s On Guide, April 24 – April 30 2006
What’s On Guide, March 27 – April 2 2006
What’s On Guide, March 20 – March 26 2006
What’s On Guide, March 13 – March 19 2006
What’s On Guide, March 6 – March 12 2006
What’s On Guide, February 20 – March 5 2006
What’s On Guide, February 13 – February 19 2006
What’s On Guide, February 13 – February 19 2006
What’s On Guide, February 06 – February 12 2006
What’s On Guide, January 30 – February 05 2006
What’s On Guide, January 23 – January 29 2006
What’s On Guide, January 16 – January 22 2006

By Ana Luiza Bergamini
Hello again – this time we’ll take a quick look at the context in which the Present Subjunctive is used. The Subjunctive Mood includes Present, Imperfect and Future and is, generally speaking, used when the situation concerned is just a possibility at the moment it is being communicated.

The Indicative Mood, on the other hand, expresses real or sure facts, decisions and opinions: Eu fui ao dentista [I went to the dentist – Past Simple]; Ela não gosta de tomate [She doesn’t like tomatoes – Present Simple]; Quando eu era criana eu jogava tnis [When I was a child I used to play tennis – Imperfect].

To see how the Subjunctive would work, take Present Subjunctive: as the name indicates, it is used when there is present expression of hope, uncertainty, desire, emotion, wish or a demand. Right now, a person hopes for something to happen, doubts someone will do something, enjoys someone’s actions and so on.

So the part where you say I hope…” (Eu espero que…) is in the Present Simple (Indicative). Present Subjunctive comes in when you describe what it is you hope for: “…she’ll arrive on time” (…ela chegue a tempo).

…ela chegue a tempo” is called a subordinate clause. Think of a subordinate clause as a sentence that contains both subject (ela) and verb (chegue), and yet can’t stand alone as a sentence because it doesn’t provide a complete thought. Present Subjunctive will almost always appear in a subordinate clause, like in the examples below:

Tip: notice that you’ll always use que to connect the two clauses, except when you start your sentence with ‘talvez‘ (perhaps): Talvez a festa seja ótima. Talvez ela chegue na hora. Talvez a gente faa a tarefa.

Rita Koeser, from New Jersey, kindly allowed me to share her great question on using Present Subjunctive for emotion:
The other day I wanted to say this to a friend who was helping me with something… “Fico feliz que voce (quer) me ajudar” (I am happy that you want to help me.)

I thought I should use “queira“, the subjunctive, instead of “quer“, Present Simple, because of the emotion but my Portuguese teacher said to use the regular present “quer” like I did […] I’m confused about when to use it and when not.

Answer: Strictly speaking, you’d have to use the subjunctive as the books say, since you’re expressing a present emotion about someone’s actions.

In informal spoken language, however, the subjunctive is not always used when we start the sentence with “ficar feliz/triste que“, “estar feliz/triste que“, “achar legal que“…… Brazilians sometimes ‘get around’ the subjunctive by using indicative tenses like the Simple Present.

You might hear this in a conversation: Ele est triste que os primos dele não vm [He’s sad that his cousins aren’t coming ]–> vm = Simple Present. This is the correct way to say it: Ele est triste que os primos dele não venham –> venham = Present Subjunctive.

So… I guess it’s up to you!

Practice the Present Subjunctive by yourself:

Think of something and express how believable you think it is.

Com 30 reais, voc pode fazer uma boa refeião em São Paulo.
[With 30 reais, you can have a good meal in São Paulo]

With the subjunctive:

Não acredito que, com 30 reais, eu possa fazer uma boa refeião em São Paulo. (I can’t believe that…)
possvel que com 30 reais eu possa fazer uma boa refeião em São Paulo. (It’s possible that…)

Express your feelings about something:

O estdio do Pacaemb fica lotado quando tem jogo.
(The Pacaembu stadium gets packed when there’s a game)

With the subjunctive:

Eu acho ótimo que o estdio fique lotado quando tem jogo. (I think it’s great that…)
uma droga que o estdio fique lotado quando tem jogo. (It sucks that…)

Think of a situation where you get to determine what happens:

Eu quero que a minha mesa seja preta. (I want my desk to be black)
Eu exijo que tenha janela na minha sala. (I demand that there’s a window in my office)
Eu prefiro que vocs faam a reunião amanh. (I’d rather for you to do the meeting tomorrow)

Tip: ‘querer’, ‘duvidar’, ‘ possvel’, ‘ improvvel’, etc, are only a few of the verbs and expressions used in conjunction with verbs in the Present Subjuntive. Take a look at your Portuguese books for more.

Ana Luiza Bergamini is a private Portuguese teacher in São Paulo. She can be contacted at

Previous articles by Ana Luiza:

Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Esse vs. Isso
Brazil: Portuguese Tips – The Letter “R”
Brazil: Portuguese Tips – 3 tips for beginners
Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Using Deixar in Your Conversation
Brazil: Portuguese Tips – Expressions with ‘Dar’

Margarida Films, a TV Commercial Production Company, is looking for foreign men and women in São Paulo between the ages of 25 and 40, to take part in a TV commercial.
The following nationalities are required: German, British, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Greek and French.
You don’t have to be a model or an actor. Leading roles (seven in all) will earn R$5,000 each, while supporting roles will receive R$100 to R$200. We hope to see you at the audition. It will be a lot of fun for sure!

TIME: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
ADDRESS: Av. Rouxinol, 1017 – Moema
Any doubts please contact us: Andra Musatti: 7726-3144
Tatiana: 8138-8896 Rafael: 7726-5123 Mei: 8418-6007

By John Fitzpatrick
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has managed to keep his distance from the scandals which have marked his administration and is heading for victory in the first round of the presidential election. Whether he deserves this victory is another matter. Even if he does win, the history books will record that his first mandate was marked by constant scandals and corruption and not by any great social or economic breakthrough.

I must have written the words the latest political scandal” dozens of times since Lula became President in January 2003. There have been so many scandals involving Lula’s Workers Party (PT) that it is difficult to keep count. The main ones involve murder (the unsolved killing of PT mayor Celso Daniel), links to criminal gangs (the “Waldogate” affair involving one of the former PT boss Jose Dirceu’s aides), lying and intimidation (the fall of finance minister, Antonio Palocci), and, of course, the “bribes for vote” affair known as the “mensalão”. In the latest scandal (“bloodsuckers”) in which local governments were overcharged for ambulances and the difference shared among politicians and businessmen, the PT is alleged to have offered a bribe of R$1.75 million to crooked businessmen for information involving the PSDB.

PT – Power Corrupts
It is quite incomprehensible that, after almost four years of non-stop scandal, the PT could even consider anything so stupid and pointless. What was the PT hoping to gain? Since Lula has never been seriously challenged by the PSDB presidential candidate, Geraldo Alckmin, the PT has nothing to gain. Perhaps the target was Lula’s old rival Jose Serra, the PSDB candidate who is the favorite to win the São Paulo state governorship race in the first round. Maybe the PT zealots were hoping that some incriminating evidence would give their candidate, Aloiso Mercadante, a boost or perhaps they were trying to stop Serra getting ready for a launch at the presidency in 2010. If so, these are pretty pathetic reasons for triggering another scandal which is bound to become a big issue in Lula’s expected second mandate when he will already have enough tough issues to tackle, such as the growing deficit in the public accounts.

It is difficult to know whether the PT is just incompetent or so desperate to retain and win power that it will do so at any price. The answer is probably a mixture of both. Whatever the reason, Lula is ultimately responsible for this state of affairs. He has turned his back on the party he founded and washed his hands of any responsibility. He has survived while practically all his main advisers and ministers have been ousted. He has given no convincing explanation except to say that he has been “betrayed”. He has shown no real concern that his party and government have indulged in all kinds of unethical behavior. Instead, he has claimed that certain sections of society – the elite – have been out to get him and has claimed that other parties have misbehaved in similar fashion. Much of this is true and many of the people who have criticized Lula are hypocrites and liars. However, the PT has always claimed to be a more ethical party than the others and should expect to be judged by different standards.

Lula himself is probably honest (as are Alckmin and Serra) but he has tolerated corruption. He has been too slow to react and too quick to forgive and forget. In the latest case, he has responded quickly and fired his campaign boss, Ricardo Berzoini. However, this is not much to cheer about since Berzoini is still the national chairman of the PT. In some recent campaign speeches, Lula has openly stood on the platform with politicians accused of being involved in the “bloodsuckers” scandal. He has created a governing alliance which is so wide that it has no credibility and Congress has been so wrapped up in self analysis that the legislation process has virtually come to a halt. Lula’s allies are PMDB leaders with shady pasts, his running mate, Jose Alencar, is a millionaire businessman with links to the evangelical movement, while one of his closest advisers, Aldo Rebelo, is a member of the Communist Party.

Popular Support
Despite all this Lula is on course for victory. I believe there are two main reasons for this. First of all, the PSDB has failed to exploit the PT’s weaknesses. The PSDB was wrapped up in an internal squabble about its candidate and ending up choosing the wrong one. The PSDB speaks a lot about honesty and competence but its message would sound more convincing if it was not allied to the PFL, a party which has been exploiting Brazil for its own ends for 20 years, both inside and outside government. The second reason is Lula’s personal stature which has won over the vast majority of the poorer section of society. Lula has given priority to the lower-paid by increasing the minimum wage well above inflation, granting pay rises to public service workers, creating new jobs in the public sector and expanding the social program which pays families a monthly sum providing they ensure that their children attend school. Around 11 million families stand to benefit from this program alone. Lula has traveled around every part of the country and made personal appearances in front of millions of people who see him as their savior. Lula knows this and in his speeches tries to raise the self-esteem of these people by criticizing the elite which he claims cannot stomach the idea that a former metal worker, like him, is the President. He recently said that domestic maids no longer voted the way their employers told them.

I know one of these maids and she is a typical Lula supporter. She comes originally from Bahia and has more than 20 brothers and sisters and countless in-laws, nephews and nieces, practically all of whom live in São Paulo. Her extended family has around 80 to 100 people of voting age, every one of whom will vote for Lula. She said none of them were interested in the scandals. This attitude is reflected in millions of households across the country and highlights Lula’s popularity. Whether he deserves the support of honest people like this is another matter.

John Fitzpatrick is a Scottish writer and consultant with long experience of Brazil. He is based in São Paulo and runs his own company Celtic Comunicaes. This article originally appeared on his site He can be contacted at

Previous articles by John Fitzpatrick on

Brazil: Cardoso Writes a Poison Pen Letter
Monte Verde – Brazil’s Green Mountain
Brazil’s Gross Disappointing Product
Brazil’s Election – Alckmin Hands Lula Victory on a Plate
Lula Hits Back at Congress
Brazil’s Presidential Election May Not be a Walkover for Lula
Pity the Brazilian Voter
Brazil’s Fainthearts Let the Nation Down
Now is the Winter of Brazil’s Discontent
World Cup brings Out the Best and Worst in Brazil
Brazil’s Big Spender
Brazil: The Dogs of War are Unleashed in São Paulo
Brazil: Self-Righteous Indignation Marks Bolivian Nationalization
Brazil: Lula Still Vulnerable
Brazil: The PSDB Takes the Hard Road
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 3
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 2
Fooling Around with Brazilian Politics and History Part 1
Brazil: Alckmin the Hare Takes on Serra the Tortoise
Patronizing Brazilians the Politically Correct Way
Brazil: Election Gives Voters Chance to Clean Up Congress
Brazil: João Pessoa – a Victim of its Own Success
No Consistency in Brazil’s Foreign Policy
Brazil: Sitting in the Shadow of Sarney and Magalhes
Brazil: Gentrification Creeps Up On São Paulo
Dirt Flies as Brazilian Parties Aim for Presidency
Brazilians Vote for Guns and Death Not Peace and Love
Brazil’s Gun Lobby Launches Hysterical Campaign Against Arms Ban
Jews and Arabs Find Success in Brazil
Brazil’s Politicians Start Looking Ahead to Next Year
Brazil: Lula Down but Certainly Not Out
Brazil’s Congress Struggles to Cope with Ongoing Crisis
Brazil: Scandal Threatens Presidential Mandate System
Brazil: If Lula is to Survive He Needs to Change His Tactics
Brazil: Many Parties – Few Ideas
Brazil Through Foreign Eyes
Helping the Helpless in Brazil
Pinheiros – São Paulo’s Best District
Growing Old (Dis)gracefully in Brazil
Canudos, Still With Us 100 Years Later
The Rise of the Brazilian Empire
Brazil and Portugal – The Samba and the Fado
Brazil – Just A State Of Mind
Brazil: For Lula, is Ignorance Bliss?
Brazil: Pay Day – or Pay Dirt?

Meet Lee Safian, from the USA, who has a Brazilian wife and is living in São Paulo. Read the following interview where he tells us about his most memorable experiences from Brazil and gives some useful advice to newcomers.

1. Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, what do you do etc.?

My name is Lee Safian, I was born and raised in New York City. I am married to a beautiful Brazilian woman, Mariuza. I am a retired teacher who taught elementary school children for 32 years.

2. When did you arrive in Brazil and what brought you here?

I first visited Brazil in 1992 when my fiance invited me to meet her family and spend Christmas with all of them. When I returned to the USA, I couldn’t stay away from her and all the people I became friends with, so I asked her to marry me as soon as possible.

3. What were you first impressions of Brazil?

My first impression of Brazil was that everything moved at a very slow pace and the people in general were very friendly. I also felt that the roads were, and still are, in severe need of repair.

4. What do you miss most about home?

I missed the daily news reports from the United States and all of my television shows. In addition, I badly missed the air conditioning during the hot weather, and the heating during the cold weather.

5. What has been your most frustrating experience in Brazil?

The most frustrating thing for me was not being able to communicate with more people due to the fact that I only know a few words of Portuguese. On one occasion I saw a woman leave her purse inside a drug store and depart. I ran up to her car to tell her, but she didn’t understand me. I ran back and fetched it for her.

6. What has been your most memorable experience in Brazil (specific incident)?

My most memorable bad experience in Brazil was when on one occasion, driving on Marginal Pinheiros around Morumbi, after having dinner in a restaurant with my sisters-in-law and my wife, we hit a pothole. It was so large that two tires were damaged. After we pulled over to the shoulder, we noticed many other cars waiting for help with the same problem. We waited outside of the car for hours, afraid of being assaulted. My sister-in-law, with the help of a taxi driver, brought the two tires to be fixed at a gas station’s borracharia”, three miles away from the accident.

However, Christmas Eve has been my happiest most memorable time. Our whole family gets together, consumes various delicious foods, desserts and drinks and, I enjoy seeing their happy faces playing instruments, singing and dancing. Also the “Secret Friend” game is very funny when people open their presents.

7. What do you most like about Brazil (in general)?

What I like most about Brazil is the summer time, the churrascarias, the beaches, and the frequent parties.

8. What is your favorite restaurant/place to hang out here?

The meat and the salad bars at the “churrascarias” are the best.

9. Do you have any funny stories/incidents to tell about your time in Brazil?

On one occasion I was alone with my sister and my mother-in-law, who knows little English. My sister-in-law wanted to ask me if I was thirsty. She got out her English dictionary. She wanted to say “sede” and instead she asked me if I was, “desert”, “drought”, “dry”.

10. What difference between your homeland and Brazil do you find most striking?

All private homes have walls and fences surrounding them. The buildings have gates like jails, and people are always afraid of being assaulted in their houses and in their cars.

11. How is your Portuguese coming along? What words do you find most difficult to pronounce/remember or are there any words that you regularly confuse?

My Portuguese is coming along very slowly. Actually I understand better than I speak it. The words I cant say are the nasal ones “me, manh”, etc.

12. What advice do you have for newcomers to Brazil?

My advice to people planning to go to Brazil is to learn the language, blend in like a local, be aware of your surroundings, and accept the Brazilian culture. The Brazilians love inviting you to their homes for all sorts of reasons, and they touch, hug and kiss a lot.

13. What are some things that you would recommend for a visitor to do in São Paulo (or anywhere else in Brazil)?

If you like eating, like me, you have the inexpensive and delicious churrascarias, pizzerias, as well as thousands of excellent restaurants from all over the world to go to. The night life is endless and to be explored, especially if you are young. Of course, the trips to the beautiful beaches in the state of São Paulo are not to be missed. The malls in São Paulo are even more modern and beautiful than in many places in the United States.

Are you a foreigner who has lived in, or is living or travelling in Brazil? Are you a Brazilian who has a lot of contact with foreigners and/or lived outside of Brazil? Are you interested in telling your story? If you would like to volunteer for our interview series, or if you would like to recommend someone, please send a blank email to with “Interview” in the subject. We will send you the interview questions by return email.

To read previous interviews in the Brazil Through Foreign Eyes series click below:

Laurie Carneiro – USA
Dana De Lise – USA
Richard Gant – USA
Robin Hoffman – USA
Wayne Wright – UK
Walt Kirspel – USA
Priya Guyadeen – Guyana
Caitlin McQuilling – USA
Nicole Rombach – Holland
Steven Engler – Canada
Richard Conti – USA
Zak Burkons – USA
Ann White – USA
Monde Ngqumeya – South Africa
Johnny Sweeney – USA
David Harty – Canada
Bill McCrossen – USA
Peter Berner – Switzerland/Brazil
Ethan Munson – USA
Solveig Skadhauge – Denmark
Sean McGown – USA
Condrad Downes – UK
Jennifer Silva – Australian
Justin Mounts – USA
Elliott Zussman – USA
Jonathan Abernathy – USA
Steve Koenig – USA
Kyron Gibbs – USA
Stephanie Early – USA
Martin Raw – UK
Sean Coady – UK
Hugo Delgado – Mexico
Sean Terrillon – Canada
Jessie Simon – USA
Michael Meehan – USA
Thales Panagides – Cyprus
Tammy Montagna – USA
Samantha Tennant – England
Ron Finely – United States
Bob Duprez – United States
Peter Baines – England
Youssef Bouguerra – Tunisia
Van Wallach – USA
Lesley Cushing – England
Alexander von Brincken – Germany
Hank Avellar – USA
Ed Catchpole – England
Penny Freeland – England
Yasemin de Pinto – Turkey
Amy Williams Lima – USA
John Naumann – England
Marsye Schouella – Eygpt
Rita Shannon Koeser – USA
John Fitzpatrick – Scotland
Liam Gallagher – Northern Ireland
Lorelei Jones – England
Adam Glensy – England
Tommie C.B. DeAssis – Japan
Aaron Day – Canada
Graham Debney – New Zealand
Silke Tina Tischendorf – Germany
Tanya Keshavjee Macedo – Canada
Frank de Meijer – Holland
Carl Emberson – Australia
Kim Buarque – Wales
Damiano Pak – South Korea
Jonas Helding – Denmark
Pari Seeber – Iran
John Milton – England
Ken Marshall – Australia

By Mary Anne Matos
This Sunday, September 24, in São Paulo, there will be a unique event occurring, the Corrida de Desafios”. Organized by the Associaão Desportiva para Deficientes, ADD (the Sporting Association for the Disabled,, the “Corrida de Desafios” (Challenge Race) will challenge the competitors to discover interesting places in the city. The Corrida also aims to help competitors get to know the historical sites of São Paulo, by bus, subway, train or on foot, based on clues received at checkpoints. It is open to everyone, young or old, as well as foreigner or Brazilians. There is just one barrier for non-Portuguese speakers: the clues are written in Portuguese. But find yourself a Brazilian partner, and you are good to go!

The start point for the “Corrida de Desafios” is the Citren TGV dealership, at Avenida Naes Unidas, 17400, at 8:30am. From there you receive the first clue, which once deciphered leads you onto the location, again you must use public transport to get there. There will be a checkpoint at the next location, where you will get the next clue, and so on. There are ten locations in total, and the prize for the winner is a ticket to Paris! There are some rules, of course:

1. You must compete in pairs.
2. You must use public transportation only.
3. You must wear your team number.

Just follow these simple rules and you will be in for a good time, learning more about the city and the importance of the locations at each checkpoint. What better way to get to know a city you are not from? Just find yourself a Portuguese speaking partner if you can’t understand Portuguese yourself, and be on your way. How often will you have the opportunity to explore São Paulo, increase your knowledge of the city, and compete for a ticket to Paris at the same time? It just might be one of the most fun ways to explore São Paulo; much more fun than a guided tour or a lonesome exploration could be! So hurry up and register as quickly as possible!

To sign up, just go to the website, or the website, where you can also read more about the event. The cost is 50 Reais per person, or 100 Reais per pair. This money will be used to fund the costs of transportation for the ADD athletes to compete in different sports competitions.

ADD is an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) specialized in the social inclusion of the disabled through sport, education and technical training for different jobs. They organize practices for children, teenagers and adults, in a variety of categories, such as swimming, wheelchair basketball and dance. Not only that, but many of their athletes compete in professional events, as well as the Paralympic Games. They also provide teenagers and adults with a variety of classes, such as computing, English, and crafts, to prepare them for the work environment. These activities are sponsored by companies such as Carglass and Eurofarma, as well as by individual donations, hands-on volunteer work, and events such as the Corrida de Desafios.

For more information, you can call ADD at (11) 5052-9944 , e-mail, or check the following websites: and

For information in English, contact Mary Anne Matos at the following e-mail address:”