Brazil has three major annual carnivals. In Rio de Janeiro, in Salvador de Bahia and in Recife. Not Rio, but Salvador de Bahia is the biggest in the world. The Rio carnival is for tourists, the Salvador one for the Brazilians, who flock to the city in droves of some three millions.
It has the best music and is a kind of circuit carnival, meandering over the big squares and avenues to three places in the city. Rio has the costumes, Recife has the enormously high puppets and the carnival here happens only in one spot.
Under the threat of war, the stock market rocking on its foundation, rising mistrust of the economy. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...”. And the fashion industry feels the hot breath of “the epoch of incredulity” in its neck. For many consumers the purchase of luxuries is one of their last priorities. The fashion industry saw its sales figures plummet with some 25% and the juwelry business with some 30%. Gucci saw its profits go down with 55%. Only Versace sold 6% more, though Donatella Versace is the first to admit that these are tough times indeed.
For his first movie Madame Sata the Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz took a streetfighter and criminal who turned into a cult figure as the protagonist. Sometime in the thirties Joâo Francisco dos Santos (played by actor/dancer Lázaro Ramos) is living in the bohemian quarter Lapa in Rio de Janeiro, where life is ruled by pimps, whores, queens, artists, fighters and brothels. By day Joâo’s a cook, at night he hops the bars. A complicated bisexual ménage-à-trois with Laurita (plus child) and the ultra-feminine Tabou may demand all his attention, he still finds the time for his criminal and violent activities, which eventually will land him for a third of his life in jail.
Stonewall is generally considered to be the starting point for the gay and lesbian movement in the United States. On the evening of June 27, 1969, the New York police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street, as they regularly did. But this time something had changed. The drag queens, male hustlers and working-class dykes resisted the police and a major fight ensued. Clashes and demonstrations continued the next days. The gay boys who had always accepted police violence against their kind, stopped being obedient and came out of their closets into the streets. Martin Duberman has given a very readable account of these events in his Stonewall (1993).
Henderson took a leather cock and ball harness out of his pocket. He closed the straps tightly around Martin's genitals. Martin grunted and looked down. He was surprised by the erotic sight of the black leather around his genitals. His swollen cock and balls stood out prominently from his groin. The commander nodded approvingly. “Disconnect the wires”, he said to Lowe. The cop unplugged the wires from the box and left them dangling from G's heaving body.
To prevent German ‘Idols’ fans falling into a black hole, now that ‘Deutschland sucht den Superstar’ (Germany in search of the super star) is over, the German media are going out of their way to keep the news about the new German heroes alive. Till the autumn, when a second series begins and the whole circus will start all over again. Only then will a period of relative rest settle in for the ex- candidates wherein they can take a fresh look at their lives - with ot without a showbiz career. As I said before, the Dutch ‘Idols’ craze pales in comparison to the German hysteria. First there are the RTL news bulletins, in which the candidates from the early morning till late at night figure prominently. Then you’ve got the competing channels which, envious of the enormous success of the format and its ratings, bring fresh ‘scandals’ every day.
March 1st saw a rejuvenated Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras celebrate its 25th anniversary, with its world famous night Parade drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators.
After a turbulent year that saw the bankruptcy of the former Mardi Gras organization, a new and reinvigorated group took over the reins and, much to the relief of the Sydney gay community, managed to pull off a highly successful festival and parade.
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