Bootie in Brazil: Tour report!
For the full photo gallery of our Brazil trip, click here!
This is what São Paulo looks like from the top floor of our hotel. It's the largest city in Brazil (11 million people!) and it truly is a megalopolis. Shockingly though, there's a surprising dearth of distinctive architecture. What it lacks in cool buildings however, it more than makes for in sheer electric urban energy, which we soon discovered ... by hitting the clubs!
We were really fortunate in São Paulo to have a little posse of "instant friends," whom we met through Fernanda, a super-awesome girl (that's her above, with Iwi peeking in on the left, Richard on the right) who had contacted us a couple years ago to try to bring Bootie to Brazil. We met her in New York last year, and she made us feel right at home in São Paulo, introducing us to her friends Iwi, Goos and Richard, and taking us to three different clubs our first night there!
Our new Brazilian friends kept telling us, "We're going to a house party," so of course, we thought that meant a party at someone's house. As it turned out, we went to a place called Funhouse, which is literally a house that's been converted into a club! (Adrian intends to totally steal this idea someday -- after all, everyone loves house parties!)
We were there for a weekly called FunHell, one of the hippest parties in São Paulo, and the DJs were spinning a fantastic mix of electro, indie, rock, and pop, with lots of sampling, hands in the air, and crowd singing (more on THAT later...)
The next night, after visiting MASP, the modern art museum, and doing some fancy dining at Spot, we met up with Fernanda and her girl Iwi. We went to A Loca, the infamous 13-year-running gay club (with a mixed crowd), where we would be playing a few days later. Here's a poster from inside the club.
There was a drag show at 1 AM, and Adrian got dragged up on stage by the hostess to plug the Bootie set, and then was forced to say something obnoxious and embarrassing in Portuguese! Good times!
The next day, we flew to Brasília to meet up with DJ Faroff, who gave us a whirlwind mini-tour of Brazil's capital by night. This is the new Juscelino Kubitschek Bridge, built just seven years ago, and very cool-looking.
Here's Leo, aka DJ Faroff, the one responsible for bringing us to Brazil. He took us to a late lunch buffet at Oca Da Tribo, a restaurant housed in an immense oca (a traditional native Brazilian dwelling).
Outside the oca with DJ Daniel Black.
Brasília did not exist 50 years ago. Before Brasília, there was nothing. Not even a village or a crossroads. It was, quite simply, willed into existence by the campaign promises of Brazil's president Juscelino Kubitschek, who upon winning the election in 1956, hired urban planner Lúcio Costa and modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer to design the space-age capital from scratch – in THREE YEARS (he wanted it completed before his term was up). The architectural crown jewel is definitely the Catedral Metropolitana (above).
One of the statues outside the Catedral Metropolitana.
Brasília is literally in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the beaches and ocean which so typify Brazilian culture. Lúcio Costa once said, "The sky is the sea of Brasília," and this photo proves it. This is the Congresso Nacional, where Brazil's government meets. Mmmm... modernism!
Brasília is definitely the "capital of the future" -- or at least, the future as envisioned in 1960.
And in Brasília, the future does not change! It remains forever space-age retro, as demonstrated by the Museu Nacional. Built in 2006, it's one of the city's newest buildings, but stays true to the modernist aesthetic established by Oscar Niemeyer, who at 102 years old, is not only still alive, but still designing buildings!
As an aficianado of modern architecture, I wish we had been able to spend more time checking out the buildings in Brasília, if for no other reason than they make awesome backdrops for photo shoots! It was a fascinating city, spread out like a giant space-age office park, with hardly any sidewalks or traffic lights. It was a city designed for cars, not pedestrians, at a time when gas was cheap and plentiful. (And today, an average of 6 pedestrians are killed each week trying to cross roads in Brasília.)
For modernist architecture, Brasília is a win, but for civic planning, it's kind of a fail. Everything in the city is divided into sectors -- sectors for hotels, banks, malls, embassies, sport clubs, and residential apartments. On paper, it sounds great, but in practice, everything is separated by wide boulevards and giant superquadras (apartment blocks), with a confusing, byzantine address system to go with it, as demonstrated by the above photo. It took 10 minutes for me to decode this address, which is the fourth giant apartment building in the giant apartment block that is one block east of the center axis and 4 blocks south of the main street. Don't try to come home drunk!
Brazil's best hangover cure! Agua de coca, or coconut water, direct from the source! (This is what a coconut looks like before it gets brown and furry.
Bootie Brasília was held in a building in the middle of a big city park, which was a pretty cool spot to throw a party!
DJ Faroff ramped things up with an all-video mashup set, which you unfortunately can't see very well in this crappy photo.
Imagine our surprise when our friend Antonio -- who we had originally met in Hong Kong -- showed up at Bootie Brasília with his boyfriend Kevin! The two of them are traveling around the world, and they JUST HAPPENED to be in Brasília the EXACT SAME time as us! (And in fact, they were even staying at the same hotel! Seriously!!) We love meeting up with friends in random cities and countries (and that means you, Dean!) halfway around the world!
Bootie Brasília in action. Lots of hot, sweaty bodies dancin' up a storm!
I'd always heard that Iron Maiden was pretty huge in Brazil, so after seeing no less than THREE Maiden t-shirts in one day in Brasília, we decided to have some fun with our set, and take some offbeat mashup chances. So we dropped Wax Audio's "Maiden Goes To Hollywood" (mashed up with Frankie Goes To Hollywood) and we had a group of guys absolutely LOSE THEIR SHIT! I've never seen anyone dance to Iron Maiden the way these guys did!
At the end of the party, we had a group of people who just were NOT ready for the night to end. Even after we played a slow-jam last song (Divide & Kreate's still-classic "Always With You"), and they turned the lights on, they were still screaming for more, chanting, "One more song! One more song!" The girl at the front REALLY wanted Madonna's "Like A Prayer," so we played Maxentropy's "Low A Prayer," and led everyone in a good old-fashioned sing-along. Damn, those Brazilians sure love to sing!
Back to São Paulo! After waking up WAY too early for our flight back, we took a nap, and woke up just in time to meet up with Goos, one of Fernanda's friends, and a DJ and former mashup maker. We absolutely loved Goos ... and he not only helped us get the gig at A Loca, but (along with Fernanda) acted as a wonderful host to us while we were there. We also love his taste in t-shirts! This one is a visual pun taken from a Van Halen song title.
Iwi and Fernanda picked us up and we all went to A Loca, where we were doing two Bootie mashup sets at the long-running Sunday club night called Grind.
We were super-excited to play this night, which seemed tailor-made for our eclectic, mixed-up style. Here we are, posing in the front hallway of A Loca.
We started each set with a live mashup sung by Adrian (aka, Smash-Up Derby karaoke). People weren't drunk enough for the 11 PM show (early by Brazilian standards), but the 1 AM performance really killed it!
It was an up-for-it, fun crowd that LOVED singing along! We had made some Brazilian-flavored mashups with CSS and Bonde Do Role, but what they REALLY loved were the Madonna and Britney mashups!
And speaking of Britney ... we had no idea what the "W" of their hand gestures meant, and then one of the girls told us it meant "Womanizer." Who were we to say no? We gave 'em DJ Fox's mashup with The Police.
Can you tell we were having a good time DJing at A Loca? We ended up giving away a bunch of Bootie CDs.
They may not know very much English, but inexplicably, Brazilians seem to know nearly every word to "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)." Even in the gay clubs! We have The Offspring mashed up with the electro of Alter Ego, but we can barely get away with playing it in the U.S. (so not cool) but in Brazil, it brought down the house! So we put it in this month's Bootie Top 10.
Here we are with "Pomba," the DJ and producer/promoter of Grind at A Loca. Love him!
Hanging out after our set. That's Fernanda in the green shirt, and some guys who wouldn't look out of place at The Eagle in San Francisco. Did we mention that Grind at A Loca has a great mix of people? It's an excellent party, with a very fun vibe ... highly recommended!
D and her last caipirinha, the national cocktail of Brazil! With our wonky sleep schedule and nocturnal activities, we barely saw anything in São Paulo during daylight hours. In fact, come to think of it, we barely saw anything outside of the seven block radius of the Consolaçao neighborhood! Still, we can't complain. The Brazilians sure know how to party, and that's what we like to do best!
For more photos of our Brazil trip, click here!
Obrigado, Leo, Fernanda, Goos, and Iwi! And obrigada, Brasil!