Cesio Lima

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Our third meeting was with Cesio Lima, a renown lighting designer. He invited us to meet backstage while he finished setting up for a Preta Gil concert (daughter of Gilberto Gil). Cesio has spend over twenty years doing lighting designs for individual samba schools as well as the Sambadrome itself. He shared with us his collection […]

Portela Costumes

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The Sea of the Sea of the Saint Sebastian is Portela’s theme this year. The Sea of the Sea…so beautiful. While the theme is the over arching idea, it is the story that unfolds and reveals itself through the details of the different components within the school. The costumes were on the fourth or fifth floor […]

Portela Floats

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This is where the magic happens. In each hangar within Samba City, the construction of the floats go through a similar process which begins with a steel framed structure that is welded to a chassis, then clad with wood and then foam before the final colorful detailing. It was exciting to learn that each float […]

Marco Falconi

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Our second meeting was with Marco Falconi, the son of the vice president of one of the top samba schools, Portela. The great Falconi, showed us their entire facility in Cidade do Samba, which absolutely surpassed our expectations. We are so grateful for his time and generosity. photo by Aron Nussbaum

Cidade do Samba

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First stop: Samba City. This is where the top Samba Schools make their floats. In Portuguese, floats are called Carro Alegórico, I love that. Samba City is a huge facility that has hangars for each school arranged in a C-shape around a central open area which is often used for various rehearsals. Although blurry, I […]

Helena Cassily

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Helena Cassily was our first meeting. Helena is a screenwriter and photographer who recently moved from Los Angeles to Rio, so I learned. At the time of our meeting, I wasn’t exactly sure who she was or how she could help. I had been connected to so many different people through so many different chains […]


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It was the smell of the ocean as we walked along the wavy Burle Marx stone patterned boardwalk that brought about the realization that we were finally in Rio. We spent our first day just getting our bearings and exploring Ipanema. A friend of Aron’s mother, Vera Vauramo, an immigrant from Finland, helped connect us […]

Ipanema Market

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The local outdoor markets are always so telling about a city. Luckily, we arrived the day of the food market so we were able to stock up on some staples. There were several kinds of bananas at the market. After a few taste tests, I was convinced that bananas in the southern hemisphere were slightly […]

First Meal

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Flights from NY to RIO arrive in the morning. Once we dropped off our bags, we didn’t have to go more than a half block from our Ipanema apartment to get the most delicious coffee pastelles.