This was exactly the kind of weekend I wanted and totally made up for how much the end of last weekend sucked. It began with a nap and ended with writing…with lots of art, film, food, laughter, and sunshine in between. I don’t know where to start my telling of the weekend, so I will give some highlights.
Friday Night: Lesbian film fest at the Centro de Convencia here in Campinas. Mandy and I walked down the few blocks to the auditorium where they showed the film, “Better than Chocolate.” I would like to disagree, it was SO not better than chocolate and in fact it was one of the more ridiculous and unbelievable lesbian films I have ever seen. SO fake. But what was interesting about actually going to the film was how few people were there with us. Maybe thirty people showed up, which, for a free film on a Friday night is not a lot. I mentioned this to Mandy and she said that Campinas, and maybe all of Brazil, is not a friendly or really accepting place for homosexuals, or for homosexual discussion. It was kind of creepy, because all i could think about was the huge lesbian film fest that was at Yale last year and there were signs in chalk all over the place advertising–and reveling, actually–in its existence. Here, it was LITERALLY underground–not only a hush-hush kind of thing but the film was beneath the street level. I appreciated, then, the fact that while I may have a lot of grumpiness when it comes to my own country, as a citizen I have the relative ability to support who I want to support and to be who I want to be. Mandy also said that probably more people would have wanted to go to the film, but they wouldn’t want to be associated with it.
More Friday Night: Pizza at Piola, two caipirinhas, lots of laughter. Missing Dennis.
Saturday: Hippie Fair. Found amazing batiks for friends and family. Spoke Portuguese, ate a pastel, drank some suco de laranja, went to Kendra’s, took a nap.
Saturday night: Dinner at a hookah restuarant with Josh, Mandy, and Marcelo. Ate hummus, drank sangria, smoked the hookah, laughed and laughed and laughed. And made fun of Josh, poor guy.
Later Saturday night: This was probably the highlight of my weekend. Mandy, Marcelo, and I went to UNICAMP (the University of Campinas) to see a performance (for R$6!!!!). We went here:
It was a one-woman show and it was entirely in Portuguese. But here’s the deal with good acting: it doesn’t matter what language you’re speaking. If you are a good actor–no, if you are a GREAT actor–you can bring anyone to tears. And this actress did.
The actress played the part of a man who spent his life in the world of the female. Without getting into the whole story, the character revealed that she was a prostitute as well. With only herself on stage, she allowed us into her world (in Portuguese, mind you,) cracking jokes about herself, making us laugh, talking directly with the audience. The whole time, her dress kept falling down and her nipples were showing. I was really embarassed for her because, I mean, couldn’t she feel that? She would pull her dress back up and make fun of the fact that people were looking at her–and the audience would laugh and laugh. But it kept happening.
And then she started getting prepared to go out for her night on the street. And she rolled down her dress all the way, pulled up her g-strings, tied a red shirt up around her breasts. The lighting changed so that it looked like she was up against a cement wall on a street or in an alley. She posed for cars, she posed for passersby. And then it appeared she was being harrassed by some men. (Men who weren’t physically there, so she had to act as if they were.) And then she showed herself being raped by one of those men.
The character had a belly ring and at the beginning of the play, she wore her skirt low enough so that we could all see it. During the rape scene, the entire room was silent. All we could hear was her belly ring repeatedly pushed against the wall and her occasional whimpering.
It was during this scene that tears welled up in my eyes. I cried because she was such a good actor and I cried because she was portraying such a real thing, such a real world. It was such a huge difference from the Friday night movie.
I don’t have the words to describe how the performance affected me. I wish I could have it on tape so I could show others. The power she had over her audience, the power she had over me, who spoke no Portuguese. But I didn’t care because with that kind of thing, no words suffice.
I wanted to tell her, the actress, that I didn’t understand a single word she said in her performance. I wanted to approach her and babble with tears in my eyes so she could understand that even though I don’t speak Portuguese her performance still got to me. But I didn’t, and now I kind of regret that.
I went to bed early on Saturday, after the performance and after a couple of beers.
Sunday Morning: Dennis woke me up, I went to Kendra’s, the Hippie Fair, bought a dress I will NEVER wear around other people (and I will return it next weekend) and then sat in the sun for two hours. It felt like vacation. I went to Kendra’s pool to relax before settling in to do work–and I swear they have an air conditioner in the pool. I have never felt a pool that cold before in my life.
Now: At the dining room table, studying about Armenia, the fall of the Roman Empire, and worrying about how I will teach these kids anything because they already know more than I do.
I go back to the US on the 25th! I told myself I wouldn’t do a count-down, but I can’t help it. I want to squeeze so many people when I get home.