Of Human Folly: Carnaval (Un)coverage

The image “https://i1.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/Stuff/carnaval.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
“Vila Maria and Rosas de Ouro stand out on first day of Carnaval competition: The public goes wild over themes like Japanese immigration and the use of rose attar at the Anhembi Sambadrome. Ellen Roche, queen of the Rosas de Ouro drum corps. In Pernambuco, Nana Vasconcelos rules the maracatus, while in Bahia, Jorge Benjor and Lulu rock [the Culture Minister’s] Expresso 2222 carnival bloc.”

A Mangueira não morreu nem morrerá
Isso não acontecerá
Tem seu nome na história
Mangueira tu és um cenário coberto de glória
–Chico Buarque

Sabe aquele sonho que você deseja ?
Ou seja, cerveja.
–Ivete Sangalo

I find the Estado‘s way of covering Carnaval agreeable.

The paper treats the subject as an exercise in civic and national boosterism, tries to say something a little bit nice about every G.R.E.S., maracatú, trio elétrico, afoxé society or roistering cordão that goes to the trouble of putting a boogying mob out on the avenue, and minimizes the soap-operatic aspects of the whole affair.

You also appreciate its coverage of major Carnaval forms in other major metro areas: frevo and maracatu in Recife, the trio elétrico and afoxé in Salvador.

The Agência Estado is, after all, a national news agency that also runs a major metro daily in Brazil’s biggest city. Its coverage creates a nice balance between Sampacentricity and the acknowledgement that there is intelligent life elsewhere in the Lusophone New World.

Globo, on the other hand — its inane Globeleza coverage, the fruit of a contract between the city government of Rio and what looks suspiciously like a racketeering-influence corrupt organization, has a monopoly on national and international broadcast rights — leads, predictably, with a Janet Jackson-style nipple mishap, and generally treats the whole affair in the spirit of crass, crass commercial self- and cross-promotion.

Unforgettable image from last year’s Globeleza coverage: A hot, hot, hot, statuesque and seminude mulata wearing nothing but a tiny television in her, ahem, bikini zone. Tuned, of course, to Globo.

“Watch TV Globo. It’s better than pussy.”

Which is patently false. I know.

I have, in my life and times, experienced both.

The image “https://i0.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/Stuff/carnaval2.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
SABRINA SATO’S BIKINI BUSTS OPEN: The muse nearly exposes her [tits] during parade. Nenê ignores the rising sun and presents a moving spectacle during the last parade of the first night of São Paulo’s carnival parades. Escola de samba brings Brazilian folklore and an homage to the Brazilian folklorist Câmara Cascudo to the samba stadium at Anhembi. “Love motel” float: Float breaks down and Águia rushes through its presentation. Rosas de Ouro releases perfume during its parade. Tom Maior “nails” its time allotment [?]. Vila Maria honors Japanese community. Tucuruvi hands out ice cream at the Sambadrome. Parade of the Gaviões da Fiel ends in confusion.

Globo and its beer-company sponsors gets very excited when girls gone wild start flashing their tits. See

The image “https://i1.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/Stuff/costumemalfunction.png” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The Estado later posts a photo of the same incident, describing it as what you could pretty much translate as “a wardrobe malfunction.”

Making Carnaval less of a RICO case is something of a subliminal secondary theme of coverage this year — and probably deserves more destaque.

See also

For example, there was this last week on the Gaviões da Fiel (The falcons of the faithful), the carnival society of those who root fiercely for the Corinthians football club (Source: G1):

A assessoria de imprensa da Gaviões da Fiel informou no começo da tarde desta terça-feira (27) que o suspeito de armazenar duas armas e 21 papelotes cocaína em um forro de um banheiro masculino da quadra foi expulso da agremiação. Segundo os representantes da escola, a diretoria atual está disposta a colaborar com a investigação sobre a droga encontrada.

The Gaviões press office informed early this afternoon (Jan. 27) that a man suspected of stashing two firearms and 21 bindles of cocaine in the men’s room of the carnival society had been expelled. According to Gaviões spokespersons, the current leadership is inclined to cooperate with the investigation into the drugs discovered.

Eles negam que as armas e os papelotes sejam da escola de samba e prometem tomar providências contra o suposto envolvido. Segundo a Divisão de Inteligência e Apoio Policial (Diap) do Departamento de Investigações sobre Narcotráfico (Denarc), a apreensão de drogas foi resultado de uma investigação de quatro meses que incluiu escutas telefônicas com autorização judicial do suspeito de tráfico.

They deny the guns and drugs belong to the school and promise to take measures against the suspect. According to the intelligence unit (Diap) of São Paulo’s narcotics division (Denarc), the seizure of the drug was the result of four months’ investigation that included court-ordered wiretaps of the suspect.

Twenty-one papelotes at, what, R$10 a pop?

Denarc — some of whose senior investigators are being investigating for extorting Colombian drug lord El Chupeta last year rather than arresting him — triumphantly takes $90 worth of Bolivian marching powder (also known as “a Britney Spears champagne brunch for one”) off the street after investigating diligently for four months.

Vix. File under “demonstrations of efficiency, underwhelming.”

Last year, the local press and police were shocked! shocked! to find members of the PCC criminal syndicate bankrolling I forget which escola de samba it was.

This year, the president of the hypertraditional (and, as I always hasten to add, proud and mighty and worthy of all honor and glory, saravá) Mangueira (Estação Primeira) in Rio had to resign after being filmed toasting the bride and groom at the jailhouse wedding of Public Enemy No. 1 Fernandinho Beira-Mar and his (foxy) lawyer.

Até o começo da tarde desta terça-feira (27) o suspeito não havia sido preso. Carlos Batista, o delegado responsável pelo caso, não quis dar entrevistas. A cocaína apreendida foi levada para perícia. Os diretores da Gaviões prestaram esclarecimentos ao Departamento de Investigações sobre Narcotráfico (Denarc) na segunda-feira (26).

[tktktktktktktktk]


Lord Flesh-Season battles Lady Lent in the medieval satire to end all medieval satires

We plan to celebrate Carnaval fairly quietly.

We are taking our nephew to a Carnaval de salão for kids today at SESC Pompéia, and we also plan to attend an evening of marchinas at a dive bar near the cemetery known as Ô do Borogodô — very roughly translated, “the asshole of the Universe” — this weekend.

The local TV news programs seem to be promoting the Carnaval traditions of small cities in the interior fairly heavily, apparently in keeping with some sort of state-federal cultural and tourism promotion — which we are happy to see.

TV Gazeta last evening, for example, featured a bloco de bichos in a small town — one of those little towns with a bandstand in the central square, of the kind commemorated by Chico Buarque’s “A Banda,” whose culture explains why Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a Brazilian classic to rival Os Sertões — which parades to brass-band marchinas and sambas wearing big papier-machê carnival heads.

The start-up public TV network, TV Brasil, is running a lot of good documentaries on various groovy folkloric ways to bid farewell to flesh. Saw one the other day on the venerable Cordão da Bola Preta of Rio de Janeiro.

This visible effort to revive the participatory Carnaval de rua we are glad to see.

The city government of João Pessoa, for example, apparently sponsors a Web site on Carnaval de rua that documents such expressions. An example is the Bloco dos 25 Bichos (as in the jogo de bicho):

Em dias do mês de janeiro do ano de 1946, nesta Capital, o Sargento do Exército APRÍGIO DE ALMEIDA, juntamente com os amigos ANTONIO ÂNGELO, ANTÔNIO DO ESPÍRITO SANTO, JOSUÉ DE ALMEIDA, ANTONIO ROCHA, HERÁCLITO DE ALMEIDA, FAUSTO, EFIGÊNIO PEREIRA, ADALBERTO DE CASTRO, JOSÉ CUPERTINO, CAPITÃO, LEONARDO ALMEIDA, ISRAEL QUIRINO e LUIZ MENEZES, então abnegados foliões da época , e sob a presidência do Sargento, fundaram o BLOCO DE MÁSCARAS, A BICHARADA, que ficou populosamente conhecido como ÖS 25 BICHOS”, o qual teve vida efêmera, saiu apenas no carnaval daquele ano cuja sede social era denominada de Ä SELVA”. E já surgiu com marcha-oficial de autoria do poeta paraibano MANOEL DOS ANJOS. O artesão que confeccionou as primeiras máscaras do BICHOS foi Efigênio Pereira.

In January of 1946, in this city, army sergeant APRÍGIO DE ALMEIDA, along with his friends ANTONIO ÂNGELO, ANTÔNIO DO ESPÍRITO SANTO, JOSUÉ DE ALMEIDA, ANTONIO ROCHA, HERÁCLITO DE ALMEIDA, FAUSTO, EFIGÊNIO PEREIRA, ADALBERTO DE CASTRO, JOSÉ CUPERTINO, CAPITÃO [“The Captain”], LEONARDO ALMEIDA, ISRAEL QUIRINO and LUIZ MENEZES — among the most abandoned revellers of their time, and under the leadership of the Sergeant, founded the Masquerade Bloc “The Bicho Set,” popularly known as “The 25 Bichos.” The headquarters of the short-lived bloc, which made its only appearance that year, was known as THE JUNGLE, and featured an official theme march written by Paraiban poet MANOEL DOS ANJOS. Efigênio Pereira was the craftsman who created the bloc’s first animal masks.

On Manoel dos Anjos:

Linotipista de A União, Manoel dos Anjos era excelente poeta, amante da boa literatura e comunista por convicção. Filiado ao Sindicato dos Gráficos, tornou-se ativista comunista e desenvolveu atividades políticas e literárias na Paraíba.

A typesetter at the daily União, he was an excellent poet, a lover of good literature, and a Communist by conviction. A member of the Print Shop Union, he became a Communist activist and was active in Paraiban political and literary circles.

O tempo passou e, 29 anos depois, isto é, em dias do mês de janeiro de 1975, um novo grupo de foliões do bairro de Jaguaribe, dentre eles JOÃO BATISTA DE SOUZA, HUMBERTO COUTINHO, DJALMA ANTONIO DOS SANTOS, FRANCISCO TRINDADE, LEONARDO JORGE, FERNANDO PIRES e JURACY MESQUISTA, sob a presidência do primeiro, mais conhecido por JOÃO GRANDE, reorganizaram o BLOCO DOS 25 BICHOS, porém com características de Clube, ao invés de bloco, haja vista Ter sido esquematizado para desfilar com orquestra de frevo, à tarde dos 1º e 3º dias de carnaval, pelas ruas da cidade, sob a orientação da Federação Carnavalesca de João Pessoa, que recebe subvenções do Governo do Estado e da Prefeitura, a fim de realizar o então famoso Carnaval de Rua, hoje denominado Carnaval Tradição, onde uma parte dessa verba é repassada para as agremiações carnavalesca filiadas à supra citada Federação, a título de ajuda. Sobre a diferença que nos referimos entre bloco e clubes, entendemos que bloco é geralmente na base do Páu e Corda, com os seus componentes cantando, cujo desfile acontece mais pela parte da manhã, durante os três dias de momo. Quem confeccionou as máscaras para a reorganização dos 25bichos e deu assistência às máscaras durante uns 14 anos, foi o artesão Wilson Machado, que também residia em Jaguaribe.

Time passed, and 29 years later, that is, in January 1975, a new group of revellers from Jaguaribe, among them JOÃO BATISTA DE SOUZA, HUMBERTO COUTINHO, DJALMA ANTONIO DOS SANTOS, FRANCISCO TRINDADE, LEONARDO JORGE, FERNANDO PIRES and JURACY MESQUISTA, under the leadership of DE SOUZA, who was better known as Jõao the Great, reorganized the 25 BICHOS bloc, although this time as a club rather than a bloc, with plans to parade through the streets on the first and third days of Carnaval with a frevo orchestra, under the auspices of the João Pessoa Carnival Federation, which received subsidies from the state and city government to present the famous Street Carnival, todays know as Carnaval Tradição. Part of these subsidies were passed to carnival societies belonging to the aforesaid Federation in the form of a grant in aid. Regarding the difference we mentioned between “blocs” and “clubs,” we understand that a “bloc” is generally organized around [a string band with percussion], accompanying the singing of its members, who tend to parade in the morning hours during the three days of King Momo’s reign. Artist Wilson Machado, a Jaguaribe resident, crafted the masks for the rebirth of the 25 BICHOS and remained involved in the mask-making process for 14 years.

Quando da reorganização do já denominada Clube Carnavalesco “OS 25 BICHOS”, os carnavalesco se preocuparam em dar nova roupagem aos bichos, que desfilou com os tradicionais cações [sicw] representando cada animal correspondente ao jogo do bicho, além de uma enorme roleta bem ornamentada com os desenhos dos animais, girando em cima de um carro alegórico que conduzia a agremiação.

<p When it came time to revive what is now known as the 25 BICHOS Carnival Club, its [artistic directors] worked to provide new costuomes for the animals, who paraded with the emblems traditionally associated with the jogo do bicho, as well as a giant [lottery wheel] bearing the emblems of the animal, revolving atop an allegorical float on which the club would ride.

The image “https://i2.wp.com/i113.photobucket.com/albums/n216/cbrayton/fotos2FRoletaBicho.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Vintage roleta with bichos. Source: Musem of the Policia Civil, Rio de Janeiro

Por fim, considerando que todo clube que se preza tem a sua marcha-oficial e, uma vez que não foi encontrada a marcha verdadeira e nem se sabia nada sobre a música, urgia que se fizesse uma nova marcha-oficial, onde, com a letra na mão, todos os participantes pudessem cantar em frente ao Palanque Oficial.

Finally, considering that every self-respecting carnival club has its own official theme song, and seeing that the true, original march [of the 25 BICHOS] could not be found, or even the sheet music to it, a new official march was to be adopted, so that, which a lyric sheet in hand, the members of the BICHOS could sing it in front of the official reviewing stand.


FX overkill at Anhembi: Globo tends to swamp its excellent Carnaval camera work with cheesy post-production effects that recall the cheap psychedelia of the Haight-Ashbury heyday. Source: The NMM personal Gradiente-brand boob tube, São Paulo, Brazil.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s