The start-up firm which wants to put Brazil to sleep

October 23, 2014

Luana Ferreira – BBC News, 10/22/2014

Brazilian entrepreneur Marcelo von Ancken remembers the dilemma which inspired his new business – he had nowhere to take his afternoon nap. The 51-year-old has a daily ritual at his office in downtown Sao Paulo – after eating lunch he likes to lean back and take a 30-minute siesta.

Mr von Ancken says he finds that having the little sleep gives him a renewed energy for the remainder of the day. Yet one lunchtime back in 2010 he was across town waiting for an afternoon meeting.

Unable to get back to his office, he instead tried, and failed, to take a power nap in his car. An attempt to sleep on a shopping centre bench was equally unsuccessful. The frustration was the spark of inspiration for a new company – a drop-in centre where members of the public can go for a quick sleep.

Read more… 

Homophobia, fire and terror in Brazil

October 21, 2014

Pedro Henrique Leal – open Democracy, 10/21/2014

While specific horrific cases of homophobia are condemned, the overall mentality is not. Politicians wish the issue would disappear, and there is no education in schools.

Thirteen years afterwards, September 11 still brings forth memories of terror, violence and fire; to 24 year old Solange Ramires and 26 year old Sabriny Benites, a lesbian couple from Santana do Livramento, those feelings about it are very personal. The two women were to be wed in a local Gaucho Traditions Center (CTG) on September 13, along with 27 other couples. However, at 4 a.m. two days beforehand, the so eagerly awaited marriage was threatened when the CTG was set ablaze by molotov cocktails, in what has been called ‘a terror attack’.

This attack was not random: a month earlier, when news of the wedding first came out in the small Rio Grande do Sul city bordering Uruguay, both the local judge – Carine Labres – and the head of the CTG, city representative Gilberto “Xepa” Gisler, received death threats respecting their “immorality”. Alongside these were the sadly fulfilled threats of arson. According to Gisler, an anonymous caller said, “there was no way” the wedding would be allowed to happen – even if they had to “beat the crap out of this so called ‘Xepa’, get rid of the judge and set the CTG on fire”.

Read more… 

Public Service [PORTUGUESE]

October 21, 2014

Kenneth Maxwell – Folha de São Paulo, 10/16/2014

Kenneth Maxwell recognizes and thanks Professor David Fleischer and Leona Forman for their contributions to informing those who live outside of Brazil about this disputed election season. Professor David Fleischer published the online newsletter “Brazil Focus” that focuses on the elections, public opinion research, and politics ( Leona Forman is the founder and president of the Brazil Foundation, an organization dedicated to redirecting funds of individual and corporate supporters of Brazil into directed projects for humanitarian causes in Brazil (

Read more [in Portuguese]…

Conservatives Gaining Force in Brazil Congress

October 20, 2014

AP – ABC News, 10/18/2014

With its Carnival reputation and skin-baring beach life, Brazil may look like a liberal bastion. But unease over a worsening economy and deteriorating public safety, plus a backlash against recent gay-rights gains, are propelling a conservative rise that will shape the next administration, regardless of who wins the presidency.

The general election held earlier this month saw a greater share of Brazil’s National Congress seats go to various conservative caucuses, which now control nearly 60 percent of the 513 seats in the lower house. They include evangelical lawmakers who oppose gay marriage or access to abortion; the “ruralistas” whose pro-agriculture positions counter environmentalists and indigenous groups; and a law-and-order faction that demands a crackdown on crime.

Ahead of the presidential runoff Oct. 26, there’s no doubt such conservatives are giving greater support to center-right challenger Aecio Neves over left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff. But it’s also clear that neither presidential candidate is as socially conservative as the increasingly powerful elements of Congress.

Read more…

An Uplifting Story: Brazil’s Obsession With Plastic Surgery

October 7, 2014

Lourdes Garcia-Navarro – NPR, 10/07/2014

Janet and Jaqueline Timal are 40-something-year-old sisters, and they have what they call a plastic surgery fund. “I’m always saving money. When I see I’ve gathered up enough money for another surgery I do it,” Jaqueline says.

She has had breast implants put in and also a tummy tuck. She’s visiting the plastic surgeon’s office again to do a famed Brazilian butt lift, which is the same as a breast lift, but on your backside. Janet has had a tummy tuck; she’s now doing her breasts, too. Between them, they will have had five surgeries.

Janet and Jaqueline aren’t rich — far from it. One works at a retirement home; the other owns a small shop. They both say this isn’t about bankrupting themselves for beauty but rather the opposite — Jaqueline says she sees the procedures as an investment.

Read more…

The Brazilian church that welcomes gay believers into the fold

October 1, 2014

Beth McLoughlin – The Guardian, 10/1/2014

From the outside, there is little to distinguish the Metropolitan community church from the many other evangelical houses of worship in Rio’s Zona Norte. But as Marcos Lord prepares for an evening sermon, it soon becomes clear that this church is not like the others.

It takes the pastor about an hour to prepare for the pulpit: donning false eyelashes, a wig and a pair of vertiginous heels to transform himself into the drag queen Luandha Perón. In a country where evangelical Christians have become increasingly influential – and outspoken in their homophobia – the church provides a space for gay, bisexual and transsexual believers.

This evening, Luandha is hosting a recital of lesbian poetry. “This story isn’t erotic enough for my liking,” she jokes with the congregation, before reading a touching poem that one member has written about the first time she met her partner. Watching this confident character command an audience, it is hard to imagine that Lord once believed he was possessed by demons, and felt unable to come out until he was 26.

Read more…


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,809 other followers

%d bloggers like this: