‘Tiss the Season

Punch a Panda
and Feel Better

Just in time for Christmas. Or Chanukah. Are you disappointed with the way that job interview went? No problem. Mad you won’t be able to get a single gift of your holiday shopping list? It happens. Sad people walked away from you in the subway as soon as you began your series of very witty and straight to the point out-loud comments about the news you’ve just read? Never mind. For instead of start cursing, kicking and acting all crazy, you can now just punch a panda.
That’s right. Performance artist Nate Hill came up with a very selfless way to offer solace to his fellow New Yorkers: he dons a Continue reading

People of Freedom

Italian Town
Bans Miniskirts

The Mayor of Castellammare di Stabia, Luigi Bobbio, ordered police to fine women who wear their skirts “too short.” People familiar with the matter, who asked to remain anonymous because, after all, they’re not that familiar with the ruling, said the mayor himself, a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party, may be making sure violators shall be persecuted to the fully extent of the law.
Just like it happened 100 years ago this year.

Change the World

TED Award for J R,
Street Provocateur

If you’re not well acquainted with the agitprop world of graffiti expression or street art, or don’t live in one of the slums of South America, Asia and Africa, you may never have heard of J R, the secretive Parisian artist who just won the TED’s 2011 “Wishes Big Enough to Change the World” award.
But to scores of impoverished communities around the world, it’s Continue reading

Where Are They Now?

When Miniskirts Could
Land Young Girls in Jail

In the summer of 1967, these two young women decided to take a stroll in Porto Alegre, south Brazil, sporting the latest fashion apparel of the time, the miniskirt. Mary Quant‘s greatest contribution to the world, hardly a year old by then, was all the rage in the Swinging London of the 1960s as it was in New York, Paris, even Rio de Janeiro.
But not in Porto Alegre, apparently. Their pioneering spirit and sense of style got all but lost to the small crowd that Continue reading

Grandma Grass

Nanny Got a Brand New Bag

No wonder.
She can’t
remember
what she did
with her pot.

Rainbow Hill

Brush of Fresh Colors
Changes Favela in Rio

Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn, two Dutch artists, had a very good idea. They asked residents to paint the facades of 34 houses of Rio de Janeiro’s Santa Marta favela. The result is visually arresting and socially relevant. The painters were paid for the facelift of their own community. “O Morro” (which means both the hill and the slum), as the two-year ongoing project is called, didn’t solve ingrained social woes afflicting one of the world’s most beautiful cities nor it intended to. But it does make a difference for the better.

Cleaning Guerrilla

Midnight Crew Caught
Doing the Right Thing

The other night, a police cruiser caught up with a group of people gathered inside a tunnel in downtown Porto Alegre, Brazil. As they approached the group, fearing it may be vandalizing the place, they came across a rare act of positive urban guerrilla. For instead of paint and brushes, the group was using brooms and soap to clean up the thick layer of soot that accumulated on the walls of the tunnel over the years.
To underscore their effort, they also “carved” on the dirt a sentence in their native Portuguese that reads: “For a clean Porto Alegre.”
The act is a friendly reminder for the hundreds of thousands of drivers who zip through the tunnel every day that the pollution their vehicles produce in a regular basis is left behind, imprinted forever on its walls.
That is, if no one else joins in the effort to help find ways to keep their city clean.