Rio artist Selaron found dead on his mosaic staircase masterpiece

Chilean artist Jorge Selarón on the stairs he spent 20 years decorating. Photograph: Antonio Scorza/AFP

Sad news of the passing of local artist Jorge Selarón. The news as reported by

The ceramic street artist who created one of Rio de Janeiro’s most distinctive landmarks was found dead on Thursday on the spectacular mosaic staircase in Lapa that he decorated with brightly coloured tiles and mirrors over more than two decades.

Jorge Selarón, a Chilean artist who transformed the 215 steps of the Convent of Santa Teresa as a “tribute to the Brazilian people”, had reportedly suffered depression and was being threatened by a former colleague connected to local drug gangs.

No verdict has been given on the cause of death but friends said they had feared he would kill himself because he felt betrayed.

Photographs showed that passersby have already lit candles near the body as a mark of respect for the much loved artist, who went from obscurity to fame but never left the gritty neighbourhood that is at the heart of the city’s Samba culture.

Selarón was primarily a painter in 1990 when he started a small scale renovation of the steep steps that ran outside his house up into the Santa Teresa favela. But the part-time project became a life work.

Sometimes selling his paintings to fund his obsession, he changed the tatty path, tile by tile, fragment by fragment, into a blaze of colour and a globally recognised symbol of Rio.

His steps – often referred to as the Selarón staircase – were designated as a city landmark and appeared in fashion magazines, music videos and films. The artist was declared an honorary citizen of Rio de Janeiro.

As his notoriety increased so did the value of his paintings and, more recently, the pressures on the artist in an area that is also notorious for crime and drug use. The Globo newspaper said a dispute over the proceeds from his art sales had made him suicidal.

In an interview with the daily shortly before his death, Selarón claimed he was threatened by a former employee of his studio.

Be “tranquilo”…(relaxed and safe!!) while you are traveling in Rio!!!


Considered by many specialist in travel as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is not for nothing that Rio de Janeiro is the main gateway to international tourism in Brazil. Rio de Janeiro has around 6 million people and like any big city in the world has to deal with security issues.  Since Rio was chosen to host  the World Cup 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, different security projects were implemented by the Public Safety Department  like the UPP (Police Pacification Unit), police stations installed inside some of the main favelas (slums) that had helped increase the feeling of security of locals and foreign visitors to the city. However, that is a gradual process that until we get the first big results we should still follow necessary safety tips in order to enjoy most of the beauties of the wonder city.

Safety tips:

  • Avoid carrying the original passport, copies would be enough.
  • Exchange the cash for local currency because most of the establishments accept only Reals.
  • Try to use ATMs during the day. The service only works until 10pm at the banks cash points. Alternatively there are the 24h Supermarkets that usually have an ATM inside.
  • Avoid going out with more than necessary money. Most establishments accept credit cards.
  • Try not going out at the streets wearing jewelry, expensive watches etc. Usually the burglars are young and really fast.
  • Prefer to use the beach chairs for rent offered by the food and drink tents in the sand and preferably not leave personal belongings out of your presence.
  • If you go out with your camera, specially the large ones, always keep it hanging from the neck.
  • Avoid dim streets, alleys with few people walking there.
  • Rio de Janeiro’s downtown area is the best place for the ones interested in local historiy or arquitectural things. There you can find the main musuems and cultural centers. But you should avoid it during the weekends as it will be completely empty.
  • Rio de Janeiro has the world’s biggest urban forrest, known as Tijuca Forrest, and a visit to it is mandatory. But you must have a guide to scort you in the several trials there. So don’t pretend to be Indiana Jones going there by yourself!
  • The buses work well in the city and instructions on how to get them will be given by one of the staffs at Casa Cool Beans. During the night, however, should give preference to taxis.
  • Taxis are safe but prefers the ones who works to priviate companies (knowns as “cooperativa”). To identify them simply observe if they have the name of the cooperative that they belongs stamped in blue stripe painted on the rear side of the car.
  • Most police men do not speak English so if you have something stolen and want to make a record of the incident for insurance purposes, ask at your hotel to guide you using the tourist city police (DEAT), located in Leblon. The service there is in English.

Maiko’s (the Concierge at Casa Cool Beans) choices for this week: Dec 29th to Jan 6th 2012



*O Sacrifício pela Vida na Guarita ( The sacrifice of life in the Guardhouse) at CCBB’s Sala A Contemporânea

The Sala A Contemporânea is a space exclusively dedicated to promote solo exhibitions and unpublished works of contemporary Brazilian artist.

Tue to Sun – 9am – 9pm until Jan 6th 2013.

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB), Rua Primeiro de Março 66 – Centro


*The Impressionist

Some of the most important impressionist works of art from the Museu d’Orsay like Van Gogh, Cezanne, Renoir and Monet are displayed at the CCBB.

Tue to Sun 9am – 9pm – until Jan 13th 2013

Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (CCBB), Rua Primeiro de Março 66 – Centro



New Year Eve’s Firework Displays at Copacabana Beach

Celebrate the arrival of the year 2013 with a lot of music, in a colorful and environment-friendly way at a sandy beach in Copacabana.

Tuesday, midnight

Copacabana Beach




*Dhi Ribeiro at Rio Scenarium

Dhi Ribeiro signs samba in its various aspects such as romantic samba, samba rock and gafieira (a partner samba dance).

Wednesday, 7:30pm

Rio Scenarium – Rua Lavradio 20, Lapa – Centro

Entrance fee: R$35,00


Sururu na Roda

The group makes a great mix of various genres of Brazilian music, a true musical miscegenation. One of the most popular samba singer of Lapa, Rogê will sign as a special guest.

Thursday, 9pm

Studio RJ – Rua Vieira Souto 110 – Ipanema.

Entrance fee: R$40,00


*The Maze

All night jazz in a mix of bar and guesthouse with one of the greatest night views in Rio

Friday, 8pm

Tavares Bastos 414, Catete

Entrance: R$ 30,00; from 10pm, R$40,00am


*This area might be unsafe; please discuss with us before going!

Heading to Copacabana New Year Eve’s Big Party Next Week? Some tips and information…

Rio NYE party

Rio de Janeiro is less than one week from the New Year’s Eve big firework display at Copacabana Beach. The city has just hosted the Stevie Wonder and Gilberto Gil Christmas Concert and now the stages for the dozens of shows to be performed at the famous beach are being readied for the Reveillon Festivities.

There will be two main stages, The Palco Principal (Main Stage) will be in front of Copacabana Palace and Palco Claro will be further down the beach opposite Rua Santa Clara. There will be more other two small stages, one located at Leme and the other one in front of Rua Xavier da Silveira. The show at the two main stages will run uninterruptedly until the fireworks starts at midnight, with a break of 16 minutes. The shows will be back right after the fireworks display finishes and then run until around 3 am. Below are the line ups :


Main stage (Copacabana Palace)

*8PM – DJs MAM e Marcelinho da Lua

*9PM – Diogo Nogueira
10:30 PM – Sorriso Maroto

12AM – Fireworks

12:20 AM – Claudia Leite

1AM – Ellen Oléria – vencedora do programa The Voice

3AM – G.R.E.S Unidos da Tijuca


Claro Stage (Rua Santa Clara)

8PM – Mariene de Castro

9PM – Olodance

*10PM – Baby do Brasil

12AM – Fireworks

12:20 AM – Grupo Revelação

*1:40 AM – G.R.E.S Acadêmicos do Salgueiro

*2:20 AM – G.R.E.S. Unidos de Vila Isabel


Rua Xavier da Silveira stage

6PM – Dj

7PM – Grupo vou pro Sereno

*8:30 PM – Dj Brinquinho

9:30PM – Stylo X

12AM – Fireworks

2:16 AM – Stylo X

1AM – Dj Lesco

2AM – Dj Presuntinho


Leme Stage

6PM – Start of program – Band

7PM – Band

12AM – Fireworks

*12:20AM – Samba School

2AM – DJ

* Performance Highlights


Two million people are expected at Copacabana beach on December 31st so Copacabana will be packed and for that reason there are some tips that should be followed:

  • Go by metro – it is important to arrive early. The Atlantic Avenue will be blocked at 3pm and the whole neighborhood will have its streets blocked for private cars running at 6pm. Buy the metro (subway) tickets in advance. They are going to be selling special tickets for the day. On the 31st, from 7pm, those are going to be the only ones accepted. Casa Cool Beans has already arranged that for its guests coming for the New Year!
  • Taxis and Buses – They are running all night but the traffic is going to be very slow so it is still recommended to get the metro even knowing that it is going to be busy. So if you are going to use buses or taxis just be patient!
  • No Cell Phones – It usually stop working well close to the fireworks displays and especially during the show. Imagine 2 millino people trying to whish Happy New Year to their families and friends at the same time!!!
  • Good meeting point – Better use places like the big hotels (Copacabana Palace, Marriot or Othon Palace) as predetermined meeting points if anyone gets separated from the group.
  • Safety – Walking among a big crowd like this requires some precaution. The basic recommendation is to keep your wallet in the front pocket and never in the rear one.  Also, leave the Havaianas at the hotel and prefer use shoes avoiding get your feet cut at any of the broken glass left on the ground.
  • After the Fireworks – Stay at the beach and enjoy the music program. It will be for sure the smartest idea if you don’t want to be among the many people that will leave at the same time just after the fireworks display finishes.


We hope you all enjoy the New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro, comfortably, safe and very, very happy!!!

Maiko’s (the Concierge at Casa Cool Beans) choices for this week: Dec 24th to Dec 30th 2012

luz da pedra




*Maria Carmen Perlingeiro – “Luz da Pedra” (Lights of the stones)

She creates sculptures using alabaster and gold leaf. “Luz da Pedra” is one of the carioca artist’s most recent works.

Tue to Fri – 12am – 6pm, Sat and Sun – 12am to 7pm, until Jan 13rd 2013.

Museu de Arte Moderna – MAM – Av. Infante Don Henrique 85 – Centro


William Kentridge

A well established south african artist in the international scene which has some of his works at Louvre, Paris or MoMa, New York. Videos, pictures and sculptures are presented. Also an opportunity to visit the Instituto Moreira Salles, built in one of the beautiful mansions in the pleasant Gávea neighborhood.

Tue to Sun 11am – 8pm – until Fev 17th 2013

Instituto Moreira Salles, Rua Marquês de São Vicente 476 – Gávea



Christmas Show at Copacabana Beach

*Stevie Wonder and Gilberto Gil

The city of Rio will bring Stevie Wonder to town for a free Christmas night concert on the famed Copacabana Beach. The beach concert is set to take place in front of the hotel Copacabana Palace starting at 10PM, with a legendary Brazilian singer Gilberto Gil opening at 8PM and later joining Wonder on stage.

Tuesday, 8pm

Copacabana Beach – In front of Copacabana Palace Hotel




Samba and Choro at Rio Scenarium

Two bands playing Samba and Choro (instrumental samba rhythm). The Samba group will start at 7:30pm and the Choro band at 10:30pm. Both play the hits and classic of brazilian samba and choro music.

Wednesday, 7:30pm

Rio Scenarium – Rua Lavradio 20, Lapa – Centro

Entrance fee: R$20,00


Raiz do Sana – Brazilian Northeastern Music

Inspired by Northeastern rhythms, the band plays xotes, xaxados, maracatu and other typical Brazilian northeastern rhythms. It also mixes elements such as rock, salsa, samba and soul. It is one of the most popular bands for such type of music in Rio.

Thursday, 20:30pm

Studio RJ – Rua Vieira Souto 110 – Ipanema.

Entrance fee: R$40,00


Classic Ballet


*O Quebra Nozes (The Nutcracker)

In the great surrounds of the city Municipal Theatre overlooking Cinelândia, the 120 year-old score by Tchaikovsky accompanying the resident ballet company becomes a veritable must for fans of a little seasonal cheer.

Date: Dec 28th, Jan 03-06 2013

Friday, 8pm

Teatro Municipal – Praça Marechal Floriano – Cinelândia

Entrance fee: R$ 25 to R$ 84


*This area might be unsafe; please discuss with us before going!

Chorinho, Pastél and lots of fun at one of Rio de Janeiro’s local food markets; General Glicério Fair!

chorinho general

The street markets at Rio de Janeiro are certainly the place where you can easily find the sweetest mangos, freshest papayas and tastiest passion fruits or any of the delicious fruits of season! However it is also one of the best places for foreigners to feel the mood of the city and a chance to see the way cariocas take their day by day life. These markets can be found in any neighborhood, one for each day of the week. They are diverse in numbers but also in types as some markets can offer more than just fruits. That is the case of General Glicério Fair in Laranjeiras’ neighborhood.

At General Glicério Fair besides fruits you have the opportunity to hear some great local music right outside in the middle of the market and free! Different and small bands go there around noon every Saturday gathering to play samba, chorinho (ancient samba rhythm) and all kinds of other different Brazilian popular music the band decide to play at the time.

Usually on such markets there are stalls selling some local and typical snacks that for sure worth a trying a bite! Try the Pastéis (a kind of a local fast food, consisting of thin pastry envelopes wrapped around assorted fillings like ground meat, mozzarella, hart of palm, cream cheese and chicken) or the Brazilian northeastern’s Biju de Tapioca (type of a crêpe made with tapioca or manioc flour filled with local vegetables, cheese, ham or sweet condensed milk with coconut). There can be also find some stalls selling art and crafts what could be an idea for a local souvenir.

General Glicério is also the name of the street where the market takes place. It is actually one of the nicest area of Laranjeiras neighborhood with its big mansions (dated from the 40s and 50s) and large gardens. The street’s central garden was actually one of the last works of the famous Brazilian landscape designer called Burle Marx, same who design the city’s main park Aterro do Flamengo, known as Rio’s Central Park.

And if you feel that you could stay longer and have lunch around the area, there are two good options: the little coffe shop called Maya or the small wine shop L’Orangerie. At Maya Café, you should try the sandwiches made with the house home-made breads. Getting one of their sandwiches and a salad takes care of lunch! Other options are the soups, icecreams and cakes. They serve one of the city’s representative cakes flavor, chocolate-covered carrot cake, considered one of the bests! The second option would be L’Orangerie for a bit more sophisticated option. They are actually a wine shop so anything you order there can be combined with one of the house’s wine suggestions. This month they are giving 20% of discount in the wines on Tuesday’s afternoons. So if you want a place to chill out after a visti to Corcovado that might be the place as they are just 2 minutes ride from Corcovado train station!


General Glicério Fair at Laranjeiras Neighborhood.

Every Saturday from 9am to 5pm.

Music starts around noon.

Maiko’s (the Concierge at Casa Cool Beans) choices for this week: Dec 18th to Dec 24th 2012


*Henrique Oliveira

Oliveira uses “tapumes”, which in portugese can mean fencing, boarding, or enclosure, as a title for many of his large-scale installations.

Tue to Fri – 11am – 6pm, Sat and Sun – 11am to 5pm, Fev 3rd 2013.

Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rua Luis de Camōes, 68 – Centro



Augusto Malta

Different photographers interpret images taken by the famous brazilian photographer Augusto Malta on ancient Copacabana.

Tue to Sun 14pm – 6pm

Espaço Sesc – Galeria, Rua Domingos Ferreira, 160, Copacabana – until Fev 03rd 2013




Enquanto estamos aqui (While we are here)

On stage, the action takes place on and around a big table, around which the audience settles. Solo presentation of the ballet dancer Marcia Rubin.

Thursday, 9:30pm

Espaço Sesc – Mezanino, Rua Domingos Ferreira 160, Copacabana.




Sarau Déjavú

New composers and interpreters of Brazilian music gather to present their work to an audience hungry for new trends in contemporary Brazilian music scene.

Wednesday, 9:30pm

Studio RJ, Av. Vieira Souto, 110 – Ipanema

Entrance fee: R$40,00


*Hermeto Pascoal

Known as “Bruxo” (the Sorcerer), Pascoal often makes music with unconventional objects such as teapots, children’s toys, and animals, as well as people’s voice. He plays his new songs and also some old hits.

Friday, 10:00pm

Circo Voador, Rua dos Arcos 1, Lapa

Entrance fee: R$80,00



Monoblock is back on stage this weekend with its varied repertoire of percussion performance, playing the best of samba.

Saturday, 11pm

Circo Voador, Rua dos Arcos 1, Lapa

Entrance fee: R$60,00


Classic Ballet


*O Quebra Nozes (The Nutcracker)

In the great surrounds of the city Municipal Theatre overlooking Cinelândia, the 120 year-old score by Tchaikovsky accompanying the resident ballet company becomes a veritable must for fans of a little seasonal cheer.

Date: Dec 19-23

Alternative dates Dec 27-30, Jan 03-06 2013

Open 8pm (except Sun 5pm)

Teatro Municipal – Praça Marechal Floriano – Cinelândia

Entrance fee: R$ 25 to R$ 84


*This area might be unsafe; please discuss with us before going!