Monthly Archives: September 2018

NEW MODEL ARMY

NEW MODEL ARMY

The Journey so far.

New Model Army played their first gig in Bradford on October 23rd 1980. Its founding members were Justin Sullivan, Stuart Morrow and Phil Tompkins. The threesome had already been together for a couple of years in a number of Bradford bands with other musicians and singers but in the Autumn of 1980, they decided to form a stripped-down three-piece, their music drawing on a wide collection of influences and fuelled by their passions for Punk Rock and Northern Soul. Within a few months drummer Phil Tomkins had left to be replaced by Rob Waddington. The band slowly built up a local following and created a unique style based on Justin’s song-writing and Stuart’s virtuosity on lead-bass.

In Summer 1982, whispers about this band reached London and they were invited to perform at a couple of showcases. But in a scene hungry for "the next big thing" (the coming "New Romantics"), NMA’s fearsome music and northern style did not win over the Major Record Companies and they returned to Bradford empty-handed. Rob Waddington left to be replaced by Robert Heaton, who had been working as a drum tech and occasional drummer for the band ‘Hawkwind‘. Undeterred by the indifference of the Music Business, NMA began to perform more and more around the country and frequently featured as opening act on a series of all-day concerts at the London Lyceum which heralded many of the "Post-Punk" bands. Although this meant traveling for several hours to play a twenty-five minute set for no money, the band embraced the opportunity and their reputation as a live act grew. A first small-label independent single "Bittersweet" was released in the summer of 1983, followed by "Great Expectations" on Abstract Records that autumn, both played frequently on late night radio by John Peel. Suddenly the band had a "Following", people who would travel to every concert around the country to see them.

Early in 1984, the producer of "The Tube", the most important live music show on TV, had seen NMA in concert and invited them to fill the ‘unknown’ slot on the programme. Having originally asked the band to perform their provocative anti-anthem, "Vengeance", the TV Company suddenly got cold feet about the song’s lyrics minutes before broadcast and asked the band to change songs. It made no difference. Somehow twenty to thirty followers had managed to get into the TV studio and when NMA began with "Christian Militia" the crowd went wild and an electric atmosphere was transmitted around the country. Suddenly NMA were underground news. Their first mini-album, "Vengeance" knocked "The Smiths" from the top of the Independent Charts and the major record companies, who had rejected them less than two years earlier, were now begging to sign the band.

The autumn of 1984 was a time of political turmoil in Britain. After five years of Mrs Thatcher’s right-wing government, which had already fuelled so much of NMA’s early fury, a final showdown with the National Union of Mineworkers (the strike that had begun in March and had split the country), entered a critical phase and much of Northern England began to resemble a Police State. NMA’s last Independent EP "The Price" also featured "1984" a song written directly about the strike and, with their declared left-wing views, NMA’s concerts became increasingly intense.

At the end of the year, NMA signed a contract of "complete artist control" with EMI (which included EMI giving a donation to a miners fund). The move surprised many people but the band were already looking beyond the confines of Britain and considered the deal to be the right one. In the Spring of 1985 the album "No Rest For The Wicked" and the single "No Rest" both reached the national top 40, but this success and now relative financial security had done little to soften NMA’s confrontational attitude. They appeared on Top Of The Pops wearing T-shirts with a motif reading "Only Stupid Bastards Use Heroin" (a reaction against the fashionable drug of the time).

Then, halfway through the "No Rest" tour, the day after their hometown gig, Stuart Morrow decided to leave the band for personal reasons. Frantic negotiations were made (by a strange unhappy co-incidence, on the very same day as the Bradford City fire disaster killed 56 people at a football match), but to no avail. As a result, Justin and Robert decided to follow up the success of "No Rest" with an acoustic song from the album "Better Than Them" which had not involved Stuart and accompanied it with three specially recorded acoustic tracks, a move of principle which dumbfounded EMI. By the summer, Stuart had been replaced by 17 year-old Jason ‘Moose’ Harris, whose first gig was at a benefit for the families of the fire tragedy, and the "No Rest" tour continued.

Thatcher’s victory over the miners, and by extension over all organised opposition, marked a new political reality. This, coupled with the shock of Stuarts’s departure and increasing media hostility, resulted in the band taking an ever more defiant posture, exemplified by a typically fiery performance at the Glastonbury Festival. Then, despite being signed to Capitol Records in North America, all attempts to tour there were prevented when the band were refused visas. Many people, on both sides of the Atlantic, believed that this was for political reasons although this was never possible to prove. Instead, that autumn NMA set out on their first long tour of the European mainland, which unlike many UK acts, they found much to their liking, and later a trip to Japan. The year ended with yet another UK tour in support of a newly recorded EP: "Brave New World", a savage portrait of the Thatcher’s Britain and "RIP", an equally furious study of the band’s history thus far.

If 1985 had been a traumatic year, then 1986 saw one of the band’s many resurrections, with the legendary Glyn Johns agreeing to produce their third album. Though relations between band and producer were often difficult, Justin recalls the sessions as "the biggest musical learning curve of my life". "The Ghost Of Cain" was well received by the critics and audience and many people began to see a band that were capable of developing and changing and adjusting to new realities while still staying true to their own principles; this was a band that were now pursuing their own musical agenda, completely unmoved by the whims of the music industry or the expectations of fans. Outside Britain, their name was slowly becoming known and in December of 1986, they finally made a first short tour of America.

1987 was a year of full bloom. In January, Justin and Robert recorded an album with the poet Joolz Denby. Joolz had been the band’s first manager and has remained as a driving force and responsible for all of the band’s artwork from the beginning to the present day. She had previously made spoken word albums and a series of EPs with Jah Wobble but it was inevitable that she would collaborate with NMA. The album "Hex" was recorded at the very special Sawmills Studio, a unique place in Cornwall, only reachable at high tide by boat. Although the studio is now well known, at that time it was infrequently used and accommodation was in primitive cabins deep in the woods. From this new setting, and freed from the pressures of "being New Model Army", Justin and Robert were able to explore all kinds of ideas and musical avenues that their experience with Glyn Johns had opened up. Later, they both considered "Hex" to have been one of the creative highlights of their musical partnership, with its strong, romantic soundscapes acting as the perfect accompaniment to Joolz’ poetry.

Much of the writing of "Hex" had been done using samplers and the use of this new tool continued to take the band in unexpected directions. That summer they recorded the "Whitecoats" EP with its ecological lyric and mystical atmosphere. An interest in mysticism and spirituality had been becoming more and more apparent in Justin’s lyrics (though this was no surprise to those who knew of his family’s Quaker roots). The same summer, Red Sky Coven was born out of a group of friends who shared these interests and ideas. It included Justin, Joolz, singer-songwriter and storyteller Rev Hammer and musician Brett Selby. Together, the foursome decided to create a performance based on this friendship, a unique show which continues to tour on an occasional basis.

1987 also saw plenty more NMA concerts, including Reading Festival, a gig with David Bowie in front of the Reichstag in Berlin and a show-stopping performance at the Bizarre Festival at Lorelei in Germany. From time to time, the band added their friend Ricky Warwick as a second guitarist and also enlisted Mark Feltham, the legendary harmonica player who had graced "The Ghost Of Cain" and "Hex" to join them. At the very end of the year and the beginning of 1988, they returned to the Sawmills for two more inspired writing sessions, which laid the foundations for "Thunder and Consolation".

The following months, though, were far more difficult, while NMA chose a producer, another music legend – Tom Dowd – and set about recording the album. It was a long drawn-out process and relationships between band members became increasingly strained, only really maintained by the knowledge that they were making something truly special. "Thunder and Consolation" was finally released early in 1989, striking a perfect balance between the band’s fascinations with rock, folk and soul music and Justin’s lyrical interest in spirituality, politics and family relationships. The album brought critical praise and new levels of commercial success and the band toured Europe and North America, joined by Ed Alleyne Johnson playing electric violin and keyboards and Chris Mclaughlin on guitar. However, despite the success, relationships at the heart of the band had not really mended and even after Jason Harris left that summer, stresses remained.

By autumn Justin and Robert were back in the Sawmills working towards another album and, in the new year, they were joined by a new (and still current) bass player, Nelson, previously of a number of East Anglian cult bands, and a new second guitarist, Adrian Portas from Sheffield. The new musicians brought a stronger atmosphere to the touring band while, in the studio, Justin and Robert continued to explore different musical ideas. Partly self-produced, "Impurity" was finally finished and mixed by Pat Collier in the summer of 1990. Still featuring Ed Alleyne Johnson’ violin, the album was more eclectic than "Thunder" but continued to win new fans and the world-wide tour that followed its release lasted the best part of a year, culminating in a rolling Festival in Germany involving David Bowie, Midnight Oil, The Pixies and NMA.

In mid-1991, "Raw Melody Men", a live album from the tour, was put together and released. It was to be NMA’s last album for EMI. Unusually, given the history of the music business, the relationship between band and record company had always remained cordial but had now simply grown stale. There were minor dissatisfactions on both sides and, after lengthy negotiations, it was agreed to simply terminate the contract. NMA’s own Management Company also imploded at this time and new management was drawn up. The band was not short of new record company offers and eventually chose Epic, for reasons to do with support in the US.

Although Mrs Thatcher had been ousted by her own Party in 1990 (a memorable night coinciding with NMA’s first visit to Rome), the Conservative monolith that had ruled the country for so long remained in power and, against all expectations, won a further election in 1992. Outside Britain though, much was changed: there was recession and instability and a so-called "New World Order" in the wake of the collapse of Soviet Communism and the 1st Gulf War. Already the band was embarked upon a very dark album, driven equally by personal traumas, including Justin’s near-death electrocution on stage in Switzerland and the changes in the world around them. Produced by Niko Bolas and mixed by Bob Clearmountain, "The Love Of Hopeless Causes" was not what anyone was expecting. Just as folk-rock, pioneered and inspired in part by NMA, became a fashionable and commercial sound, the band made a deliberate move away from it and straight and into guitar-driven rock music.

Replacing Adrian with Dave Blomberg on guitar, they embarked on the album tour and the European section featured their most successful concerts yet. However NMA’s relationship with their new record company quickly deteriorated. Worse still, they found themselves caught in corporate dispute between London and New York, which was in no way related to them. By June, the band found themselves on an exhaustive US tour, in which they had invested much of their own money, with no support of any kind from Epic or any other source. The tour featured many outstanding concerts but it was a bittersweet experience. By the end of the summer, it had been agreed that there should be a year off for everyone to rest and consider the future, while the contract with Epic was quickly terminated.

Justin used 1993-4 to produce other artists (a second collaboration with Joolz entitled "Weird Sister", Rev Hammer’s "Bishop Of Buffalo" album and also the unusual Berlin combo, The Inchtabokatables), tour with Red Sky Coven and create another way of performing NMA songs – in a duo with new guitarist Dave Blomberg. Together they went back to Justin’s first love – small club touring – and eventually released an album of the live show entitled "Big Guitars in Little Europe", an album, which has proved enduringly popular. Robert’s main wish was to spend more time at home with his family, which he was now able to do and Nelson formed a new band "Nelson’s Column" which toured England. Ed Alleyne Johnson followed up his first solo album "The Purple Electric Violin Concerto" which had been so successful with a second entitled "Ultraviolet".

After the year was up, Justin and Robert tentatively began work on a new project and in December 1994, the band (with Dean White on keyboards replacing Ed Alleyne Johnson) reassembled to play a short series of concerts. However, the next two years were lost while Justin and Robert, plagued by ill health and personal-life distractions tried unsuccessfully to pin down hundreds of new musical ideas into an album. It became increasingly obvious to both of them (and everyone else in and around the band) that they were now on very different musical paths. In 1997, Tommy Tee who had been the band’s Tour Manager in the 1980s returned to take control of the band’s drifting affairs. He enlisted producer Simon Dawson to help finish the project and by the autumn "Strange Brotherhood" was completed. Unsurprisingly, it’s an album full to the brim with different and contrasting musical ideas while the lyrics range from the politics of the British Road Protest movement (in which Sullivan had been actively involved during 1996) to the deeply personal and sometimes unusually obscure. During the mixing, it was agreed that Justin and Robert would go their separate ways after the tour.

Then, suddenly Robert was diagnosed as having a brain tumour, and though the operation to remove it was successful, any prospect of touring was impossible. So he suggested that his place be taken by Michael Dean, a young drummer who had been working as his technician since 1993. Having watched Robert for some years, Michael was immediately comfortable with the role of drummer and with all other aspects of the band. The "Strange Brotherhood" tour began in the spring of 1998 and, happy to be back on the road at last, for the first couple of months, the band embarked on an ambitious programme of doing two sets each night, a 50 minute acoustic set followed by a full 90 minute rock. The tour continued on and off through to the end of the year.

By now Justin and Tommy Tee had restructured New Model Army’s set-up to take account of the changes that the Internet was bringing to the whole music industry. This included making sure that the band owned every aspect of their work, and included their own record label (Attack Attack) to be distributed by different companies in different territories. 1999 began with a review of live shows recorded the previous year and their amalgamation into a live double album entitled "New Model Army and Nobody Else". After this Justin (assisted by Michael) began to write new songs for the next album. This was done quickly and easily for the first time since "Thunder", with Justin claiming to be "reborn as a song-writer." To keep up the momentum, it was decided to self-produce and to record the album in the band’s own studio. Again this was done quickly with mostly Justin, Michael and Dean at the controls. (Living 250 and 300 miles from Bradford meant that Nelson and Dave were more occasional contributors for purely geographical reasons). The whole process was very much a reaction to the slow progress of "Strange Brotherhood", with the album given the simple name "Eight" to go with its whole stripped-down approach. It was released in the Spring of 2000 and was followed by more touring.

On October 23rd 2000, the band celebrated their 20th anniversary by playing another two set marathon at Rock City in Nottingham and then three months later, further special concerts in London and Koln which featured four completely different sets spread over two nights – a 57 song marathon in each city attended by over 7000 people.

One of the legacies of the lost years of the mid 1990s was a lot of unfinished material and next, Justin, Michael and Dean worked to finish and assemble this into accessible form, a double album "Lost Songs" released in 2002. Another ‘unfinished’ project was Justin’s long promised solo album and it was at this moment that he decided to pursue it. Meant to take just a few weeks to record and tour, "Navigating By The Stars" became another marathon. Hooking up with film and TV music producer, Ty Unwin, the first week of working coincided with ‘9/11′. Rather than making a political or angry response to unfolding events, the album’s purpose was to ‘make something beautiful in an increasingly ugly World’. The album came out in 2003 to surprised and favourable reaction. At first touring alone with Dean (including a long awaited return to America), Justin was then joined by Michael playing percussion and the threesome bought a large mobile home and set off across Europe. The live album "Tales of the Road", released in 2004 captures their unique sound and stripped-down rearrangements of some of NMA’s lesser known songs.

In 2004, an exhibition of all Joolz’ artwork for the band plus collected memorabilia was assembled for a touring exhibition. Entitled ‘One Family, One Tribe’ it has been on display in art galleries in Otley, York, Bradford and Hamm in Germany and there are plans for more future showings. Meanwhile, the band work began work on a new NMA album, at first focused around Michael’s increasing creativity as a drummer. "Carnival" was recorded with producer Chris Tsangerides and mixed by Nat Chan. It’s lyrical subjects and musical roots were as usual very eclectic but included many people’s favourite NMA track, "Fireworks Night", Justin’s emotional response to the sudden and unexpected death of Robert that Autumn. "Carnival" was released in September 2005, but when it came to the tour, Dave Blomberg was unable to participate for family reasons and his place was taken by Marshall Gill, a blues guitarist from Ashton Under Lyne, completing the band’s current line-up in what Sullivan calls “the best version of NMA since 1985”.

The Carnival Tour marked another dynamic new beginning for the band, with Nelson sometimes playing as a second drummer, Dean sometimes as third guitarist and Michael and Marshall’s energy much in evidence. Such was the sense of momentum and togetherness that for the first time in years, NMA moved quickly on to making another album with major contributions from all members. "High" was written and recorded in five months at the beginning of 2007, produced by old friend (and another production star, Chris Kimsey) and was ‘angrier’ than any releases for a while and lyrically very much in tune with current realities.

The "High" tour rolled through 4 continents with the new line up now firmly in tune with itself and Marshall bringing a tougher edge to the band’s sound – even managing to re-arrange the classic violin led anthem "Vagabonds" into a guitar led version. This and 16 other songs were released on a new live album, "Fuck Texas, Sing For Us", in November 2008 (the title taken from a chant at the band’s New Orleans show that serves as the intro to the album).

The year ended with tours in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and the customary December run of London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Koln with the band playing a fiery set of recent material. Remarkably, the band’s main 17 song set featured only two pre-2000 songs, as well as brand new material, a sure sign of the band’s forward momentum – and with their ticket sales up everywhere. Then, at Christmas, manager Tommy Tee died suddenly and unexpectedly. This was a major shock to everyone in and around the band, not only because as he ran all aspects of the band’s affairs but also as a major part of the NMA family and history since 1982.

It took a while before the band could refocus but by Spring 2009, they were back in the studio working on their eleventh studio album, “Today Is A Good Day”. Mostly written in the wake of the 2008 Wall Street Collapse (an event celebrated in the white-hot opening title track), it was recorded in the band’s own studio in Bradford with Chris Kimsey once more at the controls. Chris wrote “the NMA ‘family business’ is back in full swing. The boys sound brave & united.” The album was hailed as one of their very best and the album tour began with a month in North America and went on for a further six months ending with a triumphant return to Glastonbury and other Festivals in the summer.

In the Autumn of 2010, the band celebrated their 30th Anniversary with the release of boxsets, books, DVDs and a full set of retrospective material and set out on the curious and challenging schedule. Promising to play a minimum of four songs from each of their 13 albums (including the two B-sides compilations) over two nights, they performed this marathon in different cities on four continents every weekend from September until Christmas. The final weekend in London was recorded and released in full as a five hour DVD.

After such a hectic year, 2011 was always going to be relatively quiet with the band concentrating on writing material for their next project. Consciously looking for something new after two convincing great rock band recorded live in a studio albums. this is a work in progress interrupted only by a handful of full band shows and rather more of the semi-acoustic Justin and Dean duo concerts. But then, as the year ended, disaster once again struck with a fire, started in the next door furniture outlet, raging through the band’s Bradford base destroying pretty their whole studio set-up. No one was injured and the band have remarkably been able to salvage some of their touring gear from inside flight-cases. However, while remaining characteristically upbeat about the future, the band acknowledge that the loss of so much gear and a place to work will delay their plans for 2012. Meanwhile, in the background, BBC/Channel Four diector, Matt Reid, has been putting together a documentary film about the group for release sometime this year.

This is a remarkable band – as hungry and focused as ever, with a continually regenerating audience and insatiable creative ambition.

Rio – Niteroi Sunset 7187115

Rio - Niteroi Sunset 7187115

NITEROI – RIO DE JANEIRO

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photo by: Roman Kajzer @FotoManiacNYC

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Niteroi in Rio de Janeiro

Niteroi is a city and municipality in the state of Rio de Janeiro, in southeast region of Brazil. It has an estimated population of 487,327 inhabitants (2010) and an area of 129.375 km (80.39 mi)², being the sixth most populous city in the state and the highest Human Development Index Rio de Janeiro’s city, and one of largest in Brazil. Integrates the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Area. The city has the nicknames of Niquiti, Nicki City and the Smile City (Cidade Sorriso).

Studies by the Getulio Vargas Foundation in June 2011 classified Niterói as the richest city of Brazil, with 55.7% of the population included in class A. Considering the classes A and B, Niterói also appears in the first place, with 85.9% of the population entered in these classes. The word "Niterói" comes from the Tupi language and means "water that hides".
This city was founded on November 22, 1573 by the Tupi Amerindian chief Araribóia (who later was converted to Roman Catholicism and given the Christian name of Martim Afonso, after the Portuguese explorer Martim Afonso de Sousa). It makes Niteroi the only Brazilian city to have been founded by a non-Christian, non-assimilated Brazilian Amerindian.

HISTORY

Following the expulsion of French settlers from Rio de Janeiro in 1567 by Estácio de Sá (the so-called France Antarctique episode), the Portuguese crown began noticing that the bay of Rio de Janeiro would make a strategic scale for the Atlantic route of ships from Portugal to its colonies in Africa and Asia, as well an important advanced bridgehead for the defense of South Brazil. Fortresses were built and an alliance was formed with nearby native Tupi-Guaraní tribes to defend the settlement against other European invaders.

Araribóia, the chief of one of these allied tribes – the Temininós – requested from the Portuguese General-Governor of Brazil, Mem de Sá, a tract of land; his request was granted, and he was rewarded with the region called "Banda D’Além" (the land beyond), in the eastern side of the bay, from River Marui to the Red Barriers between Gragoata and Boa Viagem beaches. This area corresponded to what is nowadays the northwestern part of the county of Niterói, which includes the central and northern zones of its urban area. There, in the "Land Beyond", Araribóia founded the Village of Saint Lawrence of the Indians (in Portuguese, Vila de São Lourenço dos Índios), the embryo for the future city of Niterói, a Tupi name that means "Hidden Waters". The village was visited by the king of Portugal, John VI, in 1816, who also decreed its emancipation from Rio de Janeiro on May 10, 1819 and gave the new-created county a new name, Vila Real da Praia Grande (Royal Village of Long Beach).

In 1834, the city of Rio de Janeiro, capital of the newly established Empire of Brazil, was detached from the rest of the province of Rio de Janeiro; Vila Real da Praia Grande was then chosen as the new capital of that province, while the city of Rio de Janeiro itself was converted into a neutral county, following the Ato Adicional. Niteroi served the function of capital till the year of 1975 – except for the period between 1894 and 1903 when it was temporarily transferred to the city of Petrópolis.

Vila Real da Praia Grande was officially renamed to Niterói on March 6, 1835 after the Tupi Nictheroy (hidden waters). This old spelling persisted until the mid-20th century, when the current spelling – Niterói – was adopted.

In 1890, the Brazilian provinces began being called states and the neutral county (Rio de Janeiro city) had its status changed to Federal District (or simply DF, the Brazilian acronym for Distrito Federal). Following the transference of Brazil’s capital to Brasilia DF in 1960, the city of Rio de Janeiro was made into a small, one-county state, named state of Guanabara. This state was finally absorbed by the state of Rio de Janeiro in 1975; since then, Niteroi lost its condition of the state’s capital in favor of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

On April 8, 2010; the mudslide triggered due to heavy rainfall cost at least 200 lives. At least 11,000 people were forced to flee homes due to further mudslides.

ECONOMY

Niteroi is one most important financial and commercial centers in Rio de Janeiro State, like a modern city, with modern buildings and several shopping malls. Its economy is centered on its trading and commerce services, like imobiliary corporations, graphic design, web design and publicity. It also hosts industries of food (especially seafood), clothes, caldle, marine objects;

The city is located 25 minutes away from Rio de Janeiro’s downtown region. Niterói boasts the title of fourth richest city in the state, and the third in Rio de Janeiro City Metropolitan Area. The Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, the city’s main landmark, was designed by the famous Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer. The landscape of the central urban area of the city is dominated by a high cylindric building though, the Niterói Tower, that hosts different professional offices and belongs to the Niterói Shopping Mall.

Niterói Contemporary Art Museum (Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói — MAC) is situated in the city of Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is one of the city’s main landmarks. It was completed in 1996.
Designed by Oscar Niemeyer with the assistance of structural engineer Bruno Contarini, who had worked with Niemeyer on earlier projects, the MAC-Niterói is 16 meters high; its cupola has a diameter of 50 metres with three floors. The museum projects itself over Boa Viagem (“Bon Voyage,” “Good Journey”), the 817 square metres (8,790 sq ft) reflecting pool that surrounds the cylindrical base “like a flower,” in the words of Niemeyer.
A wide access slope leads to a Hall of Expositions, which has a capacity for sixty people. Two doors lead to the viewing gallery, through which can be seen the Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro, and Sugarloaf Mountain. The saucer-shaped modernist structure, which has been likened to a UFO, is set on a cliffside, at the bottom of which is a beach. In the film Oscar Niemeyer, an architect committed to his century, Niemeyer is seen flying over Rio de Janeiro in a UFO which then lands on the site, suggesting this to be the origin of the museum.

This place serves as the 11th pit-stop of the American’s award winning hit series : The Amazing Race 18, and the 8th pit stop of the The Amazing Race en Discovery Channel 2

ABOVE INFO WAS COPIED FROM WIKIPEDIA

RIO DE JANEIRO

The Cariocas (Rio locals) have a saying: God made the world in seven days, and the eighth he devoted to Rio de Janeiro. Given its oceanfront setting, protected by Guanabara Bay and lounging between sandy shores and forested granite peaks, you might forgive the hyperbole.

Sugar Loaf Mountain rises vertically out of the azure Atlantic, while Christ the Redeemer, arms wide open, watches over the city from atop Corcovado Mountain. You’ll find beaches for strolling or watching the locals play volleyball, and the galleries and museums of the arty, bohemian Santa Teresa district. Visiting the vibrant favelas (shanty towns) gains you an utterly different perspective (not to mention great views) of one of South America’s most intoxicating metropolises.

Known around the world as the Wonderful City, Rio de Janeiro is the perfect combination of sea, mountain and forest.

Stunning natural sceneries, a free-spirited and welcoming people that transform anything into a party, and world-famous iconic monuments. These are the elements that make Rio de Janeiro a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable destination.

The enviable collections in Rio’s museums hold fascinating treasures telling the tale of its 450 years of history. Land of the Carnaval and Samba, the city also offers countless theaters, concert venues, business centers and restaurants open year-round.

But it is the combination between geographical traits – the sea, mountains and forests – and human culture that makes Rio de Janeiro such a unique city. Almost the entire city is surrounded by dazzling landscapes. Rio was the world’s first city to be listed as Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

In addition to its most famous attractions, such as Christ the Redeemer – an art deco statue of Jesus Christ – and Pão de Açúcar – a mountain range –, the city also offers endless programs involving nature, adventure, religion, history and culture, such as walks through the Botanical Garden and the Santa Teresa tram, visits to the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Museum of Modern Art, and the possibility of jumping over the Pedra Bonita ramp and flying across the city.

Sports are also very important among cariocas (as those born in Rio are nicknamed). It is really no surprise that the Wonderful City was chosen to host the Rio 2016™ Olympic Games. There are always volleyball, soccer and footvolley matches being played anywhere across the city’s 90 km of beaches. The city is the largest urban climbing center in the world, providing options that accommodate all levels of difficulty, such as Pedra da Gávea and Bico do Papagaio.

The Tijuca National Park – the world’s largest urban forest – is also a great place for walks and other sports, such as rock climbing and free flight. In addition to preserving the Atlantic Forest, the Park protects springs and basins, such as those of the Carioca and Maracanã rivers, which supply water to part of the city.

Things to see and do in Rio de Janeiro

Christ the Redeemer and Corcovado Mountain
The statue’s iconic stance was not, in fact, the original design: earlier blueprints showed Christ carrying a cross. In the finished result, Christ himself makes the shape of the cross, his outstretched arms signifying a gesture of peace, as if he’s embracing the whole city beneath his feet. Peering up at the 30 m (98 ft) statue from its base, you begin to see the patchwork of weathered greenish-grey tiles covering its surface, and the lightning rods crowning the head like thorns.

Created by French and Romanian sculptors and Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, the statue was commissioned by the Catholic Circle of Rio as a response to the ‘godlessness’ of society post World War I. Although Cristo Redentor (as it’s called in Portuguese) can be seen from virtually anywhere in the city, getting up close to the statue reveals otherwise invisible details, such as the outline of a heart bulging from the chest. Just inside the base is a minuscule chapel where multilingual masses are held.

The best way of getting to the viewing platforms below the statue’s pedestal is to take the cog wheel train up through Tijuca, the world’s largest urban forest, on Corcovado. On a clear day, you can look out over downtown Rio and the bay. Yet visiting the statue on a rainy day can be equally rewarding, as the crowds mostly scatter and you have the views to yourself.

Sugar Loaf Mountain
In a city that’s not short of panoramic viewpoints, the summit of this smooth granite monolith at the mouth of Guanabara Bay offers one of the finest. A three minute cable car journey takes you to the top, from where you can look back at Rio. In the foreground, tropical forest (where several rare orchid species grow) covers the lower part of the mountain, while Christ the Redeemer appears like a tiny stick man saluting you from a distant pinnacle.

From this vantage point, you can see just how much Rio is sliced up by hills and peaks, such as the ridge separating Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. In the day, look out for rock climbers scaling Sugar Loaf’s four faces, but the ideal time to visit is sunset when the city becomes bathed in soft amber light.

The Avenida Atlântica promenade
One of the simplest but most effective ways of getting a feel for Rio is by strolling the promenade of the Avenida Atlântica. This 4 km (2.5 miles) oceanside avenue stretches from the area of Leme, near Sugar Loaf Mountain, to the end of Copacabana Beach.

The promenade’s striking Portuguese-style paving runs in geometric waves alongside Leme and Copacabana beaches. The beaches are Rio’s great social melting pot and locals from all walks of life, from the wealthy quarters and the favelas alike, come here to relax. On Sundays, the sand becomes near-invisible under a sea of parasols.

Looking out to the beaches, you’ll see games of volleyball (and soccer-volleyball, a home-grown variant), exercise classes, paddle boarders, sunbathers, surfers and gaggles of children. Groups gather around slacklines hitched up between palm trees. Workout stations are posted at intervals along the beaches. Shacks rent out parasols and kiosks sell coconuts, acai and other fresh juices, as well as the ubiquitous caipirinhas (the national cocktail, made with sugarcane liquor and lime), while roving vendors ply the sands touting ice-cold drinks. In the evening, saxophonists and other street musicians set up shop on the promenade.

The Rio Scenarium Club in Lapa
By day, Rio’s Lapa district is a compact, quiet area of restored 19th-century pastel mansions that speak of old Lisbon. By night, it roars into life. These faded colonial façades house bars, traditional barbecue restaurants and clubs that pound with the sounds of samba (and all its variations), bossa nova, Brazilian jazz, reggae from Bahia, and even Brazil’s own takes on rock and pop. The rhythms spill over into the streets, as do the clientele. On a weekend, the area around the Arcos da Lapa, a bright white aqueduct, is closed off to traffic and given over to the party goers and samba bands.

One of the best clubs is Rio Scenarium, a three-decker nightspot-come-antique-store idiosyncratically decorated with clocks, chandeliers, gilt mirrors, bright upholstery and other eccentric touches. It has a mezzanine overlooking the stage area, where musicians play everything from samba to forró. The latter is a fast-paced music style from northeastern Brazil and a striking partner dance involving much skipping and spinning.

Tour the favelas
Shanty towns are a disquieting but undeniable part of Rio. Endless-seeming jumbles of ramshackle shacks with corrugated iron roofs cling to the hills and mountainsides around Rio, intersected with narrow alleys, steep staircases and sluggish funiculars. They’re informal settlements originally built without planning permission as Rio expanded and workers flocked to the city but couldn’t afford the rents nor the commute from the cheaper suburbs. Today they’re undergoing a pacification process. The best way to visit them is via a favela tour with a guide who is able to help you explore these resourceful communities in a sensitive and respectful way.

Santa Marta is a particularly eye-catching favela, with houses that have been painted in vivid rainbow hues. Shops display bright hand-painted illustrations and murals showcasing their wares and services. Walls are emblazoned with graffiti and political messages. Lines of laundry and many a Brazilian flag are strung up between dwellings. Look out too for the mosaic mural and statue of Michael Jackson, who filmed his music video for They Don’t Care About Us here.

The Santa Teresa district
A rickety tram ride takes you to the top of the hill where this area of colonial old Rio begins. Its cobbled streets and belle époque mansions evoke its fin-de-siècle heyday, when industrialists, rich from Brazil’s coffee industry, moved there in droves. Then, in the 60s and 70s, the area was rediscovered by artists and creatives. Their traces live on in the district’s galleries, studios, handicraft shops and little backstreet bistros.

A number of historic buildings are found here, from an 18th-century convent to a 19th-century castle. The Parque das Ruinas, the shell of a mansion destroyed in a fire, is now a public park that offers some sweeping views over the downtown and bay area.

Climb the steps of the Escadaria Selarón
Covered in a mosaic of deftly painted tiles in the three shades of the Brazilian flag, this celebrated flight of steps is found in Lapa. Its creator, the Chilean painter Jorge Selarón, intended the steps as a tribute to his adopted country and spent years hunting down the scraps of tiles used in their design. Later, he added red tiles to surround the steps, admiring the ‘vivacity’ of this shade. On his death, local people carpeted the escadaria in candles.

The staircase has since been widely embraced by both the local community and the international media, providing the backdrop to many commercials and music videos.

Tijuca Atlantic Forest
A designated national park, this tropical rainforest is a contender for the title of the world’s largest urban forest. It’s a dense meandering mass of vegetation, home to wildlife including coatimundis and sloths, and exotic flora such a lobster-claw plants and birds of paradise. Shafts of sunlight pierce the tall canopy, lighting up the many hiking trails and walkways that crisscross the forest. Waterfalls cascade down rock faces and occasionally the greenery gives way to man-made viewpoints where you can look down over the rest of the forest, the beaches, the district of Lagoa, Guanabara Bay and Sugarloaf.

You can explore the forest through guided walks and 4×4 tours which take you to the best viewpoints.

Best time to visit Rio de Janeiro
December to February is high season, and although there’s a lot going on (including Carnival) the city can get extremely busy. July and August sees the coolest temperatures. The months of March and April, and September and October, offer clement, sunny weather and fewer crowds, but it’s safe to say that the city can be a year-round destination.

Festivals, events and seasonal reasons to visit
Rio de Janeiro is at its most lively and exuberant during Carnival, when the samba schools dance and parade through the streets in kaleidoscopic, highly imaginative costumes or ride flamboyantly themed giant floats, and the air is full of cheers, whistles and drumming. Carnival takes place annually in February and ends on Ash Wednesday. It’s followed by the Winners’ Parade the week after, which is a little more accessible to visitors and still offers the same exultant, high-quality performances.

LINKS:

www.rio.com
www.VisitBrasil.com
www.RioDeJaneiro.com
www.Brazil.org – Rio de Janeiro

Conde Nast Traveler – Rio de Janeiro
Travel Channel – Rio de Janeiro
Lonely Planet – Rio de Janeiro
Trip Advisor – Rio de Janeiro

Audley Travel – Tours in Rio and rest of Brazil
VIATOR – Tours & Activities in Rio de Janeiro

US News – Best Things To Do in Rio de Janeiro
NY Times – 36 hours in Rio de Janeiro
WIKIPEDIA – Rio de Janeiro

JW MARRIOTT in Copacabana Rio de Janeiro
casamarquesrio.com

Elon Musk reaches deal over tweets about taking Tesla private

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Media captionWho is Elon Musk?

Elon Musk must step down as Tesla chair and pay a fine after reaching a deal with US regulators over tweets he posted about taking the firm private.

It follows Thursday’s decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to sue Mr Musk for alleged securities fraud.

Under the deal, Mr Musk will remain as Tesla CEO but has to step down as chairman for three years.

Both he and Tesla will also have to pay a $20m (£15m) fine.

The SEC’s chairman Jay Clayton said that he supported the deal, and felt that it was in the best interests of US markets and investors, including the shareholders of Tesla.

“This matter reaffirms an important principle embodied in our disclosure-based federal securities laws,” he said.

“Specifically, when companies and corporate insiders make statements, they must act responsibly, including endeavouring to ensure the statements are not false or misleading and do not omit information a reasonable investor would consider important in making an investment decision.”

What did he say in the tweets?

The fraud allegation relates to his August tweet in which Mr Musk said he was considering taking electronic car maker Tesla off the stock market and into private ownership.

He wrote he had “funding secured” for the proposal, which would value Tesla at $420 per share. Shares in the company briefly rose after his announcement, but later fell again.

The SEC said those claims were “false and misleading”.

“In truth and in fact, Musk had not even discussed, much less confirmed, key deal terms, including price, with any potential funding source,” the regulator said.

Mr Musk initially responded to the charges by saying the action was “unjustified” and he acted in the “best interests of truth, transparency and investors”.

What is in the deal?

In addition to the fines, Mr Musk will also have to comply with company communications procedures when tweeting about the firm.

He now has 45 days to leave his role as chairman of Tesla.

The SEC had initially sought to ban Mr Musk from working on the board of any publicly traded company, but under the deal he will now be able to stay on as Tesla’s chief executive officer.

A new “independent chairman” for the company will be appointed, who will preside over the company’s board.

Forcing Tesla to separate the roles of CEO and chairman should limit Mr Musk’s power within the company.

Despite this, many analysts say the outcome is a good one for Mr Musk, given he remains in charge of day-to-day operations as CEO.

Who is Elon Musk?

Born in South Africa, Mr Musk made millions from online payments firm PayPal before moving on to Tesla and rocket company SpaceX.

He is the 25th richest person in the world, according to Forbes, which estimates his net worth to be $19.7bn (£15.1bn).

But it has been a volatile summer for the entrepreneur.

Mr Musk is being sued for defamation after making allegations against a British diver involved in the Thai cave rescue.

Earlier this month, he found himself in another controversy after appearing on a podcast while smoking marijuana. Although the drug is legal in California, where the podcast was recorded, shares in Tesla fell more than nine per cent after his appearance.

Wellington County – You dropped your ball

Wellington County – You dropped your ball

Took this one while wandering along the side of highway 7 after a trip to Rockwood. While this was taken in rural Ontario, for some reason it makes me think of this iconic Disney scene. Of course around here most of the lions hang out near highway 6 (warning – rage-inducing music on linked page).

Related to Rockwood and photography, the mill ruins restoration is complete. So anyone looking for a cheap portrait setting won’t have to spend hours photoshopping out scaffolding and construction equipment.

U.S. Army Installation Management Command Organizational Day Festivities

U.S. Army Installation Management Command Organizational Day Festivities

U.S. Army Installation Management Command Organizational Day Festivities

Soldiers, Civilian employees and their Families took a break from their normal, busy work schedules to participate in team building activities and celebrate the recent transition of the IMCOM headquarters to San Antonio, Texas.

To learn more about the move to San Antonio, visit here:
www.army.mil/-news/2010/10/06/46153-headquarters-imcom-mo…

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About IMCOM – The U.S. Army Installation Management Community:

We are the Army’s Home.

Our mission is to provide standardized, effective and efficient services, facilities and infrastructure to Soldiers, Families and Civilians for an Army and Nation engaged in persistent conflict.

Our vision:

Army installations are the Department of Defense standard for infrastructure quality and are the provider of consistent, quality services that are a force multiplier in supported organizations’ mission accomplishment, and materially enhance Soldier and Family well-being and readiness.

To find out more about IMCOM, visit us online:

IMCOM Official Web Site – www.imcom.army.mil/hq/

Flickr Photostream – www.flickr.com/photos/imcom

YouTube – www.youtube.com/installationmgt

Twitter – www.twitter.com/armyimcom

Facebook – www.facebook.com/InstallationManagementCommunity

Scribd – www.scribd.com/IMCOMPubs

CNN iReport – www.ireport.com/people/HQIMCOMPA/

DoD Live Blog – usarmyimcom.armylive.dodlive.mil/