When we met Giuseppe Pellegrini, his reputation preceded him as mountain climber and emeritus engineer of the Bondinho (Sugar Loaf mountain cable car) who had years ago imagined the adoption of the Claudio Coutinho trail by the Companhia Aérea do Pão de Açúcar. He’s an elegant man, vigorous in his jeans shirt, a cowboy of … Continue reading Pellé

João Tubarão

João Pedro Portinari Leão tells a story of a very special encounter he had in the ocean in 1977. Preparations for his book João Tubarão. Storytelling at Urca Institute on Vimeo. Interviewed at ICRJ in Urca 11 May 2017.


Iracema is the beautiful gatekeeper at the Sugar Loaf Natural Monument in Rio de Janeiro, greeting visitors on-foot. She’s a striking 73-year-old woman with long white hair. She volunteers three days a week at the foot of the Claudio Coutinho Trail that wraps around the base of the mountain over Praia Vermelha. She is also … Continue reading Iracema

Carlos Henrique Siqueira

Carlos Henrique Siqueira, 69, has an eternal girlfriend: the Rio-Niteroi bridge, where he has worked since 1972. His great passion is tending to the queen of Brazilian bridges and making her a standout dame in a world of 3 million bridges. You can’t imagine the stories he has to tell. In Urca, which really is … Continue reading Carlos Henrique Siqueira

Ana Deveare Smith

After I asked the questions, I would listen like I had never listened before for people to begin to sing to me. That singing was the moment when they were really talking. ― Ana Deveare Smith, Talk to Me: Listening Between the Lines

Baia Urbana – the film

Carolina had told me you need to see this film, after she’d seen it at UNDP in NY, and when Carolina suggests something, it always pans out. She’s that attuned. She sent me a note to remind me, copying a note she’d sent to him. “I just loved your film,” she said. I saw the … Continue reading Baia Urbana – the film

Ilha das Flores

Ilha das Flores, 3/24/2017 The first immigration hostel in the Americas was built in the Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro in 1883. Before Ellis Island or the Immigrants’ Hotel in Buenos Aires. Today it is part of a network of immigration museums which include those in São Paulo and Halifax. Between 1820 and 1914, … Continue reading Ilha das Flores

Radio Church

November 18, 2016 Cape Cod It was dark when we arrived in Woods Hole at 6pm. The last ferry to Martha’s Vineyard had just left. It was the beginning of winter light, on a weekday, easy to park. Across the main street, the community hall was still closed. A sign by the entrance read: “Tonight … Continue reading Radio Church