The American Society Rio Community Notebook / Vol. II, No. 08

The American Society Rio Community Notebook / Vol. II, No. 08

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

“It is strange that the years teach us patience; that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.” – Dame Elizabeth Taylor, DBE (1932-2011), American-British actress noted for her on-screen talent and striking good looks; her performances garnered multiple awards, including two, Best Actress Academy Award wins for Butterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), as well as being a Kennedy Center Honoree (2002); practically infamous for her eight marriages to seven men, including US Senator John Warner, theater/film producer Michael Todd, singer/entertainer Eddie Fisher, and twice to actor Richard Burton; fundraiser and activist for AIDS-related causes, including founding the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation; appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1999); jewelry designer


This Friday, March 25th, starting 6:30pm, the American Society Rio will kick off a new seasonof Happy Hours. And our first venue couldn’t be more American – it’s the Gringo Café, an American-owned diner specializing in American home cooking (how long has it been since you had a real good meatloaf or mac ’n’ cheese?). Our Happy Hour Blue Plate Special will be free samples of Sam’s Spicy Chili, inspired by a family recipe or should we say, First Family recipe (as the clan in question is that of President Barack Obama). Our Happy Hour Drinks Special – good for cocktails, beer and wine by the glass – means a second round at only half-price. The Café is located in the heart of Ipanema, Rua Barão da Torre, 240, just off Rua Vinicius de Moraes and only two blocks from the Ipanema/Gal Osório Metrô station. Another added attraction will be your opportunity to buy tickets to our upcoming Cajun Night (details below)! They’ll be going fast, so get a great start on this weekend and guarantee your following weekend’s fun, as well!


The American Society Rio Speakers Series, organized by Society Governor Inez de Mello e Souza, will begin its 2011 season next Tuesday, March 29th when Theresa Williamson, founder and executive director of Catalytic Communities (CatComm), will talk about her and her organization’s work in Rio over the past decade. The presentation will begin at 7:00pm and take place at the Paissandu Atlético ClubeAfrânio de Melo Franco, 330, Leblon. No reservations or entry fee required, but we do ask attendees to make a R$10 contribution to the American Society Rio Charitable Fund. The Paissandu Club offers food and drinks at very reasonable prices.

Theresa was born in England to a British father and Brazilian mother, both economists. Raised in Washington, DC, she describes herself as “a product of globalization.” She attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, receiving a PhD in City & Regional Planning in 2004. Theresa has been living and working in Rio de Janeiro for several years now, leading CatComm, which was founded in Rio in 2000with the simple desire to bring community leaders together and enable them to access global knowledge networks and share solutions through the Internetusing] the Web to ‘develop, inspire and empower a global network of communities generating and sharing solutions.’” CatComm has used its experience in Rio to develop a global, knowledge-database that can assist similarly impoverished communities around the world.

Theresa has a very different view of the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics from that put forth by major Brazilian media outlets and government officials. You won’t want to miss her remarks. And, another reminder, there will be Society members at this event selling tickets for our upcoming Cajun Night (as follows).


But we’ll still have our very own fais do-do, complete with zydeco soundtrack, when you join us for the return of the American Society Rio’s Cajun Night! Chief Chef Hollie Pate guarantees you’ll get more than your filé at our buffet of gumbo, jambalaya, étouffé, red beans and rice and Bananas Foster bread pudding, so this’ll be a bayou banquet not to miss.

The good times will get rolling in Barra da Tijuca at 8:30pm on Saturday, April 2nd, where there’ll be plenty of parking for those who choose to drive. For those who don’t, we’re arranging transportation from Zona Sul for a measly R$10 per round trip. For the event itself, prices are R$75 for paid up members, R$125 for other adults. Kids 6-12 are R$50 and kids under 6 enter free. Beer and soft drinks are included. Last year’s Cajun Night was a fast sell-out (and there will be NO ticket sales at the door), so get your reservations in ASAP by sending an email to (and please indicate whether you would like transportation from Zona Sul). We’ll respond with the address of and directions to the location, as well as how to make your payment. Better yet, if you stop by at this Friday’s Happy Hour (see above), you can purchase your tickets there.


Earlier this year, we were admitting American Society Rio’s 2010 paid-up members to 2011 events while still enjoying member prices, as well as continuing to send them their copies of the English-speaking community’s monthly magazine, The Umbrella. But no longer! As of last this month, our for-fee events (such as the Cajun Night above) will offer member discounts to members only whose 2011 dues have been paid in full. We know there are still a few 2010 members who haven’t paid this year, so we urge you to do it now, while you’re still thinking about it. While you’re at it, tell your friends about us, invite them to come along to an event and become a member while they’re there. Remember, the American Society Rio needs its members to pay promptly, at the start of each calendar year. This assures us the resources to support all of the various activities and services we can offer to YOU!

As a reminder, we’ve initiated discounts for several classes of members this year. Find out if you qualify at, where you can also generate your own “boleto” (payment slip) to facilitate your making payment at any bank nationwide.


This year, same as last, American Society Rio Gold Sponsor, The RioTimes, is offering all paid up Society members the opportunity to place free classified ads in its weekly, online publication. The per ad, size limit is 100 words plus 4 images (each under 500k file size). Weekly ad deadline is Tuesdays by 2:00pm for publication the next day (Wednesdays). Ads should be submitted via email to: In your email cover note, please indicate that you are an American Society Rio member.



This is another reminder that on Saturday, April 16th, the Second Benefit Concert for the Região Serrana will be held at Rua Real Grandeza, 99, in Botafogo. This great event will feature music, music, and more music, of a variety of styles sure to entertain. There will also be a slide show and talks by those assisting others in long-term, reconstruction projects. We’ll keep you posted as more details become available, but please mark your calendars for this fun and important event.


This past Sunday, March 20th, the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, spoke to over 2,000 spectators in Rio de Janeiro’s historic Theatro Municipal. Originally scheduled as an open-air event in Cinelândia, security concerns forced the venue indoors. Thanks to the good offices of the US Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, Dennis Hearne (who also serves as the American Society Rio’s Honorary President), almost 50 Society members were able to hear the president’s remarks. Several of those in attendance took photos before, during and after the event, and we’ll have them up on our website as soon as possible.

President Obama and his remarks were warmly received by the crowd, particularly when he said Brazil has long been “called a country of the future, told to wait for a better day that was always just around the corner”, adding to great applause, “[m]eus amigos, that day has finally come. And this is a country of the future no more. The people of Brazil should know that the future has arrived. It is here now. And it’s time to seize it.”

In an allusion to the situation in North Africa and the Middle East, he noted that Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has first-hand experience as an individual who, in her youth demonstrated against the military dictatorship here, having been imprisoned and tortured for her activities. He drew a parallel between those struggles in Brazil and the Civil Rights Movement when “[o]n the streets of the United States, men and women marched and bled and some died so that every citizen could enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities – no matter what you looked like, no matter where you came from.”

He praised the change in Brazil since those years and the growth of its democracy, asserting that it is now “a place where people are free to speak their mind and choose their leaders; where a poor kid from Pernambuco can rise from the floors of a copper factory to the highest office in Brazil” (an obvious reference to former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva). The biggest cheer, though, came when he graciously acknowledged how Rio had bested his hometown by joking, “Now, you may be aware that this city was not my first choice for the Summer Olympics. But if the games could not be held in Chicago, then there’s no place I’d rather see them than right here in Rio. And I intend to come back in 2016 to watch what happens.”

If you’d like to see the entire speech, it is available here on the White House website. Alternatively, you can download the video by clicking here or the audio-only here. A full transcript is available here.

President Obama was accompanied on this visit by First Lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha. The First Family saw a demonstration of capoeira and other Brazilian art forms during a visit to Cidade de Deus (City of God) in Jacarepaguá; Michelle and the girls had a tour of the Cidade do Samba complex in Centro; and on Sunday evening, the entire First Family took in a view of all of Rio from atop Corcovado.

Before leaving Brazil this past Monday morning, bound for Santiago, Chile (where the President delivered a major Latin America policy address), the entire family allowed as how they’d be back for Carnaval some day. We all hope so.



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