By Kátia Moraes
I stood in front of the World Trade Center site and there was silence in my heart. Almost everyone there was silent. The only noise you heard was the traffic on Church St. The sky was cloudy and a fine rain was coming down on tourists who were reading the signs posted on the iron fences around where the two towers had been. The signs tell the history of the buildings and list the names of the deceased. On Fulton St. there were vendors who whispered the price of the T-shirts they are selling.
I felt that everything was wrong. Like nobody was supposed to be there with their cameras and their curiosity. And that we were all being very disrespectful. I called my husband on my cellular and shared my impressions with him. It was essential to me to be there to be reminded of what radical acts do to human kind.
It was a trip to see the exhibition “The Cremaster Cycle” by Matthew Barney at the Guggenheim Museum. The exhibition includes sculptures, paintings, drawing, photographs and five feature-length films that explore the processes of creation. What an abstract experience! Going to St. Patrick’s Church was a present to my mother who lives in my heart. It’s just an incredible place. I had seen it once from the street, but its interior was so unique to me. My visit to the Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera House was also wonderful. I was happy to see that Carlinhos Brown and other not so well known artists from Brasil (Selma do Coco, Lactomia, Mundo Livre S/A, Vanildo de Pombos, Mestre Ambrosio, DJ Dolores and Orchestra Santa Massa, Mestre Salustiano and Timbalada) are scheduled to play in July under the title “Brazil: Beyond Bossa”.
I had a great meal at Elaine’s, a traditional Italian restaurant in Uptown Manhattan, where Robert Altman and his film editor, Lou Lombardo, used to hang. The place is full of great vibes and history, and probably would be full of men smoking their cigars if it hadn’t been made it illegal. I don’t think people are having much fun with this new rule in NY. Balthazar, a French Restaurant in Soho, also made my stomach very happy. The place reminded me of Colombo, a very traditional restaurant in downtown Rio where great artists used to go in the beginning of the 20th Century. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to eat at Sushi Samba! I wonder if they have naked tuna doing a samba show later in the evening.
After my performance at the Sounds of Brazil with the Latin Project, I watched a little bit of a ten piece Brazilian band playing at Café Wha. The guitar player opened the set playing Brasileirinho and Noites Cariocas on a guitarra baiana (a little electric guitar usually used to play frevo). I also had the pleasure to hear Barbara Mendes’s voice. I got to see great people including DJ True who I met at the Dance Conference in Miami. The only down part of the night was missing a trip to “Cielo”, a new electronic music club that has a wonderful sound system.
The concrete jungle is very attractive, but I feel much more peaceful in California. I would be depressed living in such a fast pace and being surrounded by so many buildings. The variety and quality of entertainment offered in NY is way beyond what Los Angeles has to offer. While I was walking I thought about how I love to be around nature. The mountains, the ocean and the space in LA bring me comfort and calm my anxiety. On the other hand, people in NYC seem to have much more of a sense of humor. They don’t take themselves so serious. I have the feeling that they understand the human condition better because they are always interacting with a lot of people. Caetano Veloso wrote a song about São Paulo that says: “Narcissus thinks everything is ugly, but the mirror.” Maybe I’m having a Narcissus attack.
* Kátia Moraes is a talented carioca artist who lives in Los Angeles since 1990. The singer, songwriter and artist was an important collaborator in the early years of Soul Brasil magazine. www.katiamoraes.com