On September 7th – Independence Day – there’s no political divide in Brazil. After all, pro-government Brazilians and those who fiercely oppose it are happily sipping on caipirinhas (Brazil’s national cocktail) on sunny beaches along the country’s outsize coast. Yes, military parades will be held all over South America’s powerhouse to celebrate its independence, but apart from attention-seeking politicians, their very patriotic aides and the press – no one else will be attending them, and for good reason: people here love to spend a long holiday weekend on the shore. And words like impeachment, inflation and recession will very likely be replaced by lazy yawns of satisfaction. Tomorrow, alas, this short-lived nirvana will be gone, and once again, opposing views will be angrily hurled around until, of course, the next holiday comes along. Happy Independence Day!!
It is 1:30 p.m. The plane is about to land, and suddenly the crew is taken aback by a stern order straight from the cockpit: Please – make sure that Ms. Kéfera Buchmann is the very last passenger to get off the plane. Stunned flight attendants and passengers alike, then, start looking around trying to identify to whom the captain is referring. A few seconds later, a rather shaken 22-year-old raises her arm in the back of the plane, “I’m Kéfera.”
In a scene reminiscent of the Beatlemania era, hundreds of adoring, electrified teenagers holding signs and screaming her name had taken over the airport, leaving authorities wondering why they had not been notified in advance that a pop star would be on that flight – or at least that was what all the mayhem on the ground led them to surmise.
Despite boasting almost 6 million followers on YouTube, Ms. Buchmann – oblivious of how much her frenzied fans worshiped her, the direct result of her impromptu short videos on the internet, in which she speaks her mind on issues ranging from the mundane (makeup tips) to the controversial (When is the right time to lose your virginity?) to the downright personal (“I haven’t talked to my dad in a long time.”) – was about to fathom the scope of her natural magnetism, along with airport officials, who, up to that point, had no idea who she was.
At 17, Ms. Buchmann – then an aspiring actress – took to the internet in the hopes of drawing the attention of TV stations so that she could launch her career. Instead, she ended up bypassing them and becoming an internet phenomenon in her own right, whose YouTube videos are now seen by millions.
Taking full advantage of her outsize visibility, she is currently touring the country performing her play to packed audiences, made up mostly of teenagers who look up to her in ways rarely seen in Brazil.
Born and raised in the southern part of the country – Curitiba – she now lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s powerhouse and one of the most populated cities on the planet, where she concedes “all the best opportunities are.”
When asked how long her YouTube success would last, the ever-optimistic Brazilian answers with a smile, “I hope it goes on for a long time, but if it ends tomorrow, I’ll be forever thankful for the opportunities life’s given me.”
When referring to the iconic store on 5th Avenue, chances are Brazilian tourists will say its acronym as a word, not as separate letters, and of course, when these eager South American visitors to the Big Apple ask helpful New Yorkers for directions, some confusion may arise. But — make no mistake — they’ll always find their way to the celebrated toy store, arguably the most successful ever. Alas, soon dialogues between splurge-prone shoppers from Brazil and welcoming New York dwellers will very likely end like this: “Oh, you mean: ‘F.A.O. Schwarz!!’ I’m so sorry, but it’s not around anymore.”
Long gone are the days when pooches were relegated to backyards, far away from their owners, who over time became their friends and eventually best friends. As their bond grew stronger, these adorable creatures and their human companions got closer and closer — to the point that now they not only live under the very same roof but also socialize together. But it’s not all welcome mats and open doors: lots of people don’t have, don’t want to have and can’t stand dogs. So, what to do? Well, legislate on the issue, of course. New York City is about to pass a law that would allow Fido to dine at restaurants. As expected, New Yorkers are already taking sides: while many rush to make reservations, others fiercely oppose the idea. When in the Big Apple, however, don’t be surprised if you overhear something like, “Excuse me, sir? How would you like your biscuit?”
After decades of perfect sunny weather – FIFA is in the crosshairs of U.S. authorities. Several top soccer officials have been arrested in Zurich, and among them is José Maria Marin, former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation, known as CBF. They will now be extradited to the United States on federal corruption charges, and according to law enforcement officials, the worst of the storm is yet to come. So FIFA’s president – though not charged – may want to keep an eye on the horizon, just in case it gets dark again.