Planned cities are not a new idea (Palmanova, Italy, 1593). From Washington, D.C. (1791), to Canberra, Australia (1911), to Brasilia, Brazil (1957), planned cities have long been an urban dream (from space), perhaps most frequently applied to national capitals. But they don't always work out as planned. [more inside]
Word from Rio de Janeiro is that Oscar Niemeyer, celebrated Brazilian Modernist architect, co-architect of the UN headquarters in New York, and designer of its capital city, Brasília, has passed on at the age of 104. The NYTimes obituary has links to his famous buildings in Brazil, but a more comprehensive link of Brasília can be seen at a 50th anniversary retrospective at Wallpaper.
Reading the January edition of Harper's, about Brasilia, I was struck by a bit about what is apparently one of many cults in around the capital city: the Valley of the Dawn. A Jewish UFO cult? The ultimate in syncretic religions? Book your flight now.They're a lot more open to foreigners than Macumba
Brazilian striker Ronaldo is now "the most prolific scorer in World Cup history." Controversy surrounded him, literally, regarding his weight in the run-up to 2006 (not to mention a bit of competition from an heir apparent named Ronaldinho). But today is Ronaldo's day, and Brasilia's as well as they try to repeat 2002 and add a sixth star to their jerseys. (The list, updated to include Muller in 2nd, Juste Fontaine in 3rd, and fellow countryman Pele in 4th.)
There Is Only One Carnival... but a lot of sambas to go with it. Get Rio de Janeiro's 2003 songs here and, at least spiritually, join the escola (school) of your choice. It's the real stuff, guaranteed to put a spring in your step. If you get the French Fashion TV channel, you can watch the desfiles (parades) live! Oba! Oba![Some Real, WM or something required - forgive the indefinition, I'm just back from the first Carnival party and a bit drubk. Last year's songs were featured in this post.]