Monday, January 31, 2011

A Brazilian Lullaby

All things converged after seeing Waste Land over the concept of American exceptionalism.

I lay in bed awash with the random blast of thoughts related, I suppose, to some sort of AADD -- the adult version of attention deficit. I thought of Pele and Rush Limbaugh, of Tim Maia and Wolf Blitzer, of Brazil and the United States.  I even thought of old musical friend Allyson Royster, Lucas Pagano, and Papichi, a South Miami restaurant recommended to me by the then 13 year-old Brazilian. It made perfect sense and none at all at the same time. It got better, or crazier.

The Sunday New York Times included an article about 24 hours in Lisbon while I listened to a mix called Alma Doce: Brasilian Sweet Soul followed by a hip-hop DJ Nuts/Arthur Verocai set.

Needing closure, this is where it lands: Vik Muniz who lives in Brooklyn and was born in Sao Paolo, is the subject of Waste Land; he showered massive love toward those working in the world’s largest landfill near Rio. City of God’s Fernando Meirelles is the Executive Producer of the documentary (whatever that entails). Somebody decided to use music by Moby. (good move) Lucy Walker directed one of the most uplifting experiences I have witnesed, the screening I saw ending with an audience ovation. (heartfelt) It’s about art, materialism, and dignity.

This is 21st century exceptionalism -- something borderless yet rooted within borders, proud of its ethnicity yet blurry because it has long since crossed boundaries.

Political discussions, political blogs, political TV, and political desperation will have one believe that there is something called American exceptionalism. They are speaking code about Ronald Reagan, trapped in something which knows little about anything but clever ploys to gain control. I am not mad at them; they are angry at something.

There is exceptionalism, and sometimes it is American. Vik Muniz is a Brazilian born, Brooklyn residing example, and the forerunner of what is to come if we are lucky. You could say that those who are exceptional represent a change, but you would be far too late or poorly traveled.

Here is a soundtrack before screening, during research, or while preparing Bobó de Camarão:

Brooklyn: Youngblood Brass Band
City Dump: Dyke and the Blazers
Junkyard Jewel: Maya Azucena
Let Love Rule: Lenny Kravitz
Harvest for the World: Isley Brothers
Everybody Loves the Sunshine: Seu Jorge and Almaz
A Better World (For Everyone): Ernie Hines
Song of the Wind: Gil Scott-Heron
Crying Every Night: Stranger Cole
Farewell to the Welfare: Wendell Harrison
Love in a Trashcan: The Raveonettes
Gostava Tanto de Voce: Tim Maia

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