“Art helps us identify with one another and expands our notion of we – from the local to the global.”Olafur Eliasson
Art is always important to bring people together during a time of crisis. By mocking political leaders, laughing at our faults, recognizing health care workers and reminding us that masks are important, Street Art offers a momentary respite from the constant news and psychological toll of the virus.
“It is clear that the books owned the shop rather than the other way about. Everywhere they had run wild and taken possession of their habitat, breeding and multiplying, and clearly lacking any strong hand to keep them down.” Agatha Christie
I love traveling. Some things I don’t mind skipping out on. Base jumping is always a pass. Art and Architecture is always in. I wish I had more time for fashion. But there are few things more tragic than knowing I strolled through the streets of a far off city and walked right past a book attraction I may never get the chance to see again. This collection of bookstores includes many I have seen and some that got away. I write this blog with a hint of regret as I am moving and once again I have to narrow down my collection of books.
Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France
This independent bookstore on Paris’s left bank was originally founded in 1919 by Sylvia Beach, and became a popular gathering space for famous writers such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound and James Joyce. It might seem strange for an English-language bookstore to have such an important place in the history of literary Paris, but many notable English-speaking writers gathered in the City of Light during the 1920s to work on their craft. These writers and artists became known as the ‘Lost Generation’ and Shakespeare and Co was at the center of their world. In the 1920s, this was not only a bookstore, but also a lending library. Another reason Shakespeare and Co is so well-known in literary circles is for its famous sleeping facilities. There are over 10 beds in the bookstore that have offered a place of rest to young writers since the 1950s. The present-day bookshop isn’t the original shop which was shut down by the Nazis during the French Occupation in World War II. It was reopened at its current address in 1951. In 1981 the owners daughter, named Sylvia after Sylvia Beach, runs the bookshop and is a wealth of knowledge about the history of the building and the writers that have passed through this famous door.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The Teatro Grand Splendid was built in 1919 as a theatre for top-tier tango concerts. What a wonderful name for a theatre. Tango legends such as Carlos Gardel, Francisco Canaro, Roberto Firpo, and Ignacio Corsini performed here. In 1929, the theater underwent its first transformation to become a cinema, with the distinction of being the first in Buenos Aires to show sound film. Its latest transformation is the El Ateneo bookstore. The painted ceiling, detailed balconies, and stage are all intact. The private boxes are now small reading rooms. The stage is a café. The shelves fit perfectly around the theater’s original shape. The book collection is pretty standard and mostly in Spanish. It is an amazing place to buy a book or have a coffee on the famous stage.
Livrario Lello, Porto, Portugal
Once upon a time Livraria Lello was an old beautiful book store. The Lello book store was built in 1906 in Porto, Portugal by the Lello Brothers (Antonio and Jose). Their book store is one of the most ornate book stores in the world, mixing Neo-Gothic and Art Deco elements. Carved wood ceilings, a stain-glass roof, an undulating, opulent red staircase, and even a built-in wheel-barrow on rails for moving the store’s 120,000 books all make the Lello seem like a bookstore out of some fantasy-world. One day some lady named J.K. Rowling lived in Porto while working on her first book. You might have heard of it- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Livraria Lello is reputed to have inspired parts of Hogwarts. Since then, it has been inundated with Potter fans from around the world wanting to catch a glimpse and selfie of the bookstore’s interior.
Cook And Book, Brussels, Belgium
A unique restaurant that is also a bookstore… Or a bookstore that’s also a restaurant? The huge bookstore is located on the outskirts of the city. There are different bookstore entrances divided by themes. In the literature themed bookstore, the books are hanging from the ceiling and most of the books for purchase are in French. The cucina themed section has cooks behind the lunch bar and books filled in the salad bar. There are nine different bookstores and two restaurants. Be careful when hunger hits you while you’re caught in the middle of a good book reading. Bringing a book to the table while eating means that you’ll have to pay for the books and whatever else you consumed at the table.
Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy
This bookstore is close to St. Mark’s Square and opened in 2004. The name translates to “bookstore of high water” due to the store being plagued by Venice’s rising waters, which regularly flood the floors of the shop each winter. To combat the issue, the bookstore’s owner, Luigi Frizzo, piled all of the books into waterproof bins, bathtubs, canoes, and even gondolas in order to protect the literature. Books are everywhere possible and seem to have taken control of the space.
Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht, The Netherlands
This location of the Selexyz chain of bookshops occupies a thirteenth century Dominican church. The glorious interior is massive and includes an eating area.To maintain the integrity of the space, the architects built vertically, which means the three-story bookstore is not only impressively imposing, but also outfitted with neat walkways, staircases and elevators. A Frescoed vaulted ceilings soar over the book browsing activity.
Carturesti Carusel, Bucharest, Romania
Literally translated as the “Carousel of Light” in English, Cărturești Carusel is situated in a restored 19th-century building in the very heart of Bucharest’s Old Town. It has six floors, over ten thousand books and a bistro on the top floor. Built in the 19th Century by the Chrissoveloni family, the impressive columns and spiral staircases were once the headquarters for their banking dynasty. A few decades later, it was transformed into a general store. In the 1990s the structure had become unstable and the building was abandoned. It was later restored and opened as a bookstore.
Barter Books, Ainwick, UK
Barter Books in Alnwick is the most magical place for book lovers. It was opened by Mary Manley in 1991 and is now one of the largest second-hand bookshops in Europe. The store is situated inside a Victorian railway station which is a beautiful building with so much character. Those with a particular interest in the station’s history and architecture can take a walking tour. There are books everywhere and comfortable chairs, sofas, fires and even a train running on tracks above your head. Amazing quotes join bookcase to bookcase and there are beautiful murals to enjoy.
Livraria Da Vila, Sao Paulo, Brazil
The front door of Livraria de Vila is made of revolving bookcases. Once you get inside, you’ll notice books on every surface – on shelves from floor to ceiling, on nooks and crannies, and even on shelves carved into holes between each floor. In fact, this bookstore seems to be made of books.
City Lights,San Francisco, USA
As a reader, City Lights is one of my favorite bookstores. It is heavily associated with the Beat movement and its writers – Neal Cassady, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and store co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The big story behind the store is the obscenity trial surrounding Ginsberg’s Howl And Other Poems, which City Lights published and sold in 1956. I wasn’t a huge fan of the poem but it was deemed obscene and the poem went on trial. Lawyers were interrogating academics over the literary merit of a graphic work. City Lights grew to occupy all three floors of the building with an outstanding selection of world literature, poetry, and progressive nonfiction that is as significant today as it was in the ‘50s. City Lights gives us a physical reminder that ideas and words will always be challenged because they are powerful. Of course I bought a copy of Howl.
“I laugh at the way some people think graffiti is all selfish tagging and vandalism. Thoughtful street art is like good fiction – it speaks out on behalf of everyone, for us all to see.” Carla Krueger
Since cave painting, human beings cannot resist the urge to draw and write on walls. It is my favorite art. I am drawn to the bright colors, the fact that it is available to everyone and especially, the mystery. Who did this? Why? What does it mean? Sometimes I see the same artist in different countries. Here are some favorites from around the world.
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”Marcus Tullius Cicero
Roberto Burle Marx is considered to be the father of modern landscape architecture. He grew up in Rio at the end of Copacabana Beach near the Pau De Acucar – Sugarloaf. He started arranging flowers at events and eventually began getting asked to design gardens.(self-portrait)
He bought a property two hours outside of Rio near the small town of Guaratiba, it is called Sitio de Roberto Burle Marx and tours are available in Portuguese.
Even if you are not a plant person, you know that you have entered a privileged space.
He restored the old house and chapel and began propagating plants collected on numerous expeditions in to the wilds of Brazil.
There are large areas of a single type of ground cover surrounding clumps of sculptural agaves, bromeliads, plumerias, dracaenas, clusias, palms and a myriad of other plants.
The 100 acres have 3500 plant species. Plants are always used to emulate the way they would grow in their natural environment.
Over the years he developed an extraordinary landscape climbing the hill and introduced hundreds of previously unused plants to the gardening world.
His interest in painting had a great influence on his designs.
His drawings for gardens look like abstract works on paper.
The gardens themselves usually contain large masses of vividly colored plants in a variety of textures, relying more on foliage than flower.
They are laid out in bold sweeping forms. Garden structure tends toward the architectural, often with rectangles that reflect the forms of surrounding buildings.
As his fame grew, he was commissioned to design parks and gardens throughout Brazil, South America and abroad. Burle Marx collaborated with architect Oscar Niemeyer on Iberapuera Park in São Paulo. They worked on several projects together throughout the world and were good friends.
The Copacabana waterfront with its long wave patterned mosaic sidewalk is perhaps the most renowned work by Burle Marx.
The beach once fronted the buildings along the shore, but was actually moved to make room for the new Avenida Atlantica and large underground parking lots. The wide sidewalk next to the Avenida is paved with the classic wave pattern that was originally used in Lisbon, Portugal for pavements when rebuilding parts of the city destroyed by a massive tsunami in 1755. The sidewalk is 2.5 kilometers long and is one of the largest mosaics in the World. The design perfectly frames the famed arc of sand backed by the Pau d’ Acucar. You will see a lot of Olympic Coverage here this summer.
25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?
Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver. ~Author Unknown
1. Do something big that I am afraid of. Yes
2. Drink less coffee. No
3. Go to Rio. Yes
4. Go To Another Grouplove concert. Yes
5. Finish my hamburger blog. Yes
6. Get more people to read my blog. Trying
7. Try eleven more new restaurants in LA. Pistola, New Port, Stir Market, Gracias Madre, Ledlow, Pot, Zinc, The Larder, Burger Lounge, Terrine, MessHall, Fred, Odys and Penelope, Tacoteca, Bel Campo Meat Co, Jon and Vinny, SMYC, Ingo Diner, Aestus, Kiriko, Superba Food and Bread, Scopa Italian Roots, Ox and Son, Sushi Park, Cassia, Trois Mec, Leona
8. Try eleven restaurants in other places. Yes
9. Go to another place on my bucket list. Amazon
10. Read more books – the kind you hold in your hand that smell like books. Yes
11. Go to São Paulo.Yes
12. Meditate every day. Nope.
13. Look up less random questions on the internet.Yes
14. Go To Brazil. Yes
15. Have more real friends. Not sure but definitely less fake ones.
16. Go to The Stanley Film Festival. Not yet.
17. Get more involved at 826 LA. No
18. See ten documentary films. Finding Vivian Maier, Muse – Kobe Bryant, Deli Man, Going Clear, Sinatra – All Or Nothing At All, Monk With A Camera, Bolshoi Babylon
19. See ten foreign films Force Majeure, Leviathan, Timbuktu, The Gett, Wild Tales, A Borrowed Identity, Second Mother, Embrace of the Serpent, Sweet Bean, Son of Saul, Mountains May Depart, Lady In A Van
20. Eat less gluten. Think so
21. Read more of other people’s blogs. Yes
22. Do more beach walks.Yes
23. Be more grateful every day. Trying
24. Finally do that urban art tour in LA. No
25. Be a tourist in LA. No
“The world lies in the hands of those who have the courage to dream and who take the risk of living out their dreams – each according to his or her own talent.” Paul Coelho
The name Brazil comes from the brazilwood tree (which I’m sure I took pictures of but have so many tree photos in the Amazon). In Portuguese it is called pau brazil. The tree produces a deep red dye, highly valued in the European clothing industry and was the first commercially exploited product in Brazil.
The Brazil nut tree is a different tree only found in the Amazon. (Belem)
Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese and the largest Portuguese speaking country. It is very hard to understand Portuguese but easy to read if you speak Spanish. The pronunciation is very different from the spelling that we are used to. Very few people speak Spanish which is interesting considering all their neighboring countries do. They teach English in the schools instead. (Paraty, pronounced para-chee. We have cold beer and cake?)
Brazil does not like conflict or war. They don’t even like to say the word war. When a civil war breaks out they call it a revolution.
Brazil sent three thousand soldiers to World War II reluctantly on the side of Italy and Germany but quickly changed sides when the opportunity presented itself to do so.
There are more species of monkeys in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. This is a very hungry marmoset. I was being nice and offered to share my banana because I was hungry also. He came very close to me and started screaming and showing his teeth for the rest of it. They may look cute but they are predators. Everyone else got the good pictures. I was dealing with the banana. Guess who won? (Rio pronounced Rio)
Brazilian food is super good. (Belem street food -Tacaca with shrimp and jambu)
Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. it is made with cachaca. (pronounced ca-chasa) (Paraty)
Brazil’s homicide rate is 25 per 100,000 people. This is the closest photo I had. I was getting a tour of the opera house in Belem when I turned my head and saw a cop with a gun in someone’s back. If it was the US, they probably would have shot him.
The longest traffic jam in the world took place in Brazil.
There are at least 15 girls in every favela more beautiful than Beyoncé.
Street art is all over Brazil ,from professional or crude to tagging. (São Paulo – Cobra)
54% of the population has European ancestry.
The Acai berry is grown in Brazil, which is believed to prevent cancer, help with weight loss, detoxification and general health issues. There is a lot of acai in the Amazon. It is not a superfood – it is just food usually eaten with dried cassava balls on top or as a juice served in a plastic bag. (Marajo)
Almost everything from the Amazon can be like Viagra. ( Marajo, turu – grey tree worms -there are many in that tree. usually eaten raw – luckily they ran out of clean water and wanted to wash mine in the river, I declined)
The highest point in Brazil is Pico da Neblina, which is 2,994 m high.
Brazil is presently one of the fastest growing economies, with an annual GDP growth rate of 5%.
The Brazilian bikini wax was invented in New York in 1987 by 7 Brazilian born sisters .
Brazil produces the most oranges in the world.
The world’s widest road is the Monumental Axis in Brazil. Here, 160 cars can drive side by side!
Brazil has won the World Cup 5 times (more than any other country!) They feel shame from the last World Cup and don’t really want to talk about it.
Every city in Brazil has at least one soccer stadium. In 1967, a 48-hour ceasefire was declared in Nigeria so that Federal and Rebel troops could watch the Brazilian soccer legend Pele play on a visit to the war-torn nation. (Soare, indoor soccer)
Coca-Cola in Brazil sponsors a Pele museum on wheels that travels across the country.
Brazil has never lost a game when Pele and Garrincha played together. Kaka paid for his brother’s education at the best college in São Paulo before Rodrigo himself became a football player.
Kaka was twice voted as Brazil’s sexiest footballer. In 2005, a Nike ad starring Ronaldinho was the first video on YouTube to break 1 million views.
Brazil has the largest stadium in the continent – the Maracana Stadium.
It is another one of those countries that knows how to blow dry curly hair straight very well. (Sao Paulo)
It has the second highest number of airports in the world.
Brazil has a drink named after Jesus.
In Brazil there is a new futbol beach volleyball where they don’t use their hands. (players in Rio at Copacabana Beach posing)
It is one of the world’s leading producers of hydroelectric power.
Brazil has the fifth highest number of visits from the pope in the world.
Brazilian women attained the right to vote in 1931.
Brazil is the 5th country to make seat belts compulsory.
Brazil literacy rate is 86.4%- the lowest in the continent.
Brazil shares a border with every country in the continent except Chile and Ecuador.
The motto of Brazil is “Order and Progress”.
Brazil has the longest beach at 7500km.( Marajo – not the longest but long and beautiful)
Brazil has the most number of species on the continent. (Marajo – vulture flying over not the longest beach)
Brazil has the highest number of AIDS victims in the world.
Brazil has the ninth highest number of billionaires in the world.
A Brazilian model is considered one of the most gorgeous women in the world.
There is no official religion any more in Brazil. There are a lot of these statues around Rio.
The Portuguese were very different colonizers than the Spanish. They immediately intermarried with the Indians and the first Brazilians are born. Brazil really is a melting pot of races, foods, religions and cultures.
The currency of Brazil has both horizontal and vertical pictures.
Brazil is the longest country in the world, spanning about 2,800 miles from north to south via land.
I loved Brazil and I’m already planning to go back next year. I can say good morning, good evening, thank you, you’re welcome, goodbye and soy milk in Portuguese so I think I’m good. (Paraty)
“I can choose either to be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It’s all a question of how I view my life.” Paulo Coelho (yes he is Brazilian)
1. The beach – there are over 1500 beaches and five hundred islands.
2. Amazon Rainforest and Eco Tourism – It is important to support and help preserve our environment in a responsible way.
3. Sao Paulo Street Art – It’s my thing.
4. It is the home of the acai berry. If you live anywhere that is health trendy like LA, acai is the food of the moment. It comes in a bowl or in a drink as far as I can tell. No one really knows why it is healthy – kind of like the chia seed. You order it at a trendy expensive juice bar in a voice that sounds like you just know. I’m shallow like that. I’m going to learn the Brazilian way to pronounce it as well so I can correct all the wannabe healthy people.
5. Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio De Janeiro. It’s one of those iconic Brazilian symbols that I always see in photos and movies and wonder if I will ever be there.
6. It’s another one of the best coffee in the world countries. Those are my favorite.
7. I can practice my Spanish. I mean because I will have the time. They speak Portuguese in Brazil. The languages sound similar to us because they are romance languages and not English. I am hopeful that as in any country but America people speak more than one language and Spanish will be one of them. Otherwise I will rely on my third language of hand motions and charades.
8. I’m not a big drinker but I do love Caipirinhas which happens to be the national beverage of Brazil. It is made with cachaca a sweet Brazilian rum made from sugar cane, lime juice and more sugar. I feel as with all cheap liquor now, the market is changing and when I get to Brazil there will be many premium cachacas to try.
9. Capoira combines dance, martial arts, music and acrobatics. It is known for quick and complex moves, using mainly power, speed, and leverage for a variety of kicks, spins, and highly mobile techniques. It was started as a fighting technique between African slaves who were forced to fight each other. They found a way to make dance like fighting.
10. The yellow soccer jersey. My first live professional soccer game was in Buenos Aires and I have been hooked ever since. Though they lost the World Cup on their home turf and were humiliated by Germany, they have still won more World Cups then any other country. It is the “o pais do futebol.” – the country of futbol.
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