Friday, December 09, 2005

Dirt Star

Yesterday we visited Portobello, a fully automated tile factory in Tijucas, Santa Catarina State, 400 miles south of Sao Paulo, where stunning art is made from plain old dirt. Almost fully automated - there are 20 workers on the factory floor, and 40 engineers upstairs trying to invent fabulous new tile styles, imitating everything from Carrara marble to wood finishing so realistic you'd swear it gave you a splinter. We flew down to beautiful Florianopolis, a beach resort town on an island right off the coast, which was adorable, with dozens of coves, inlets, and a huge salt-water lake in the island's center. My colleague Steve couldn't resist a detour to show off his beach house - he fell in love with the place a few years back during an intensive Portuguese language seminar.

Portabello's website is 'macromedia' - too high tech to download images, but well worth visiting. But if you want to see a great page on tile manufacturing, with a flow chart and more pictures like the ones above, Takasago is good to go.

Sadly, I got back too late for another dinner party at Emerson's - I would have loved to meet more of his very cool friends and taste more of his boyfriend Milton's fabulous cooking.

Tonight I leave Sao Paulo and Brazil and head down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to visit with Andres for two days. I'm flying home to NY Sunday night, hope it isn't snowed in....

Today is 'Brokeback Mountain' day - I just can't wait - Reviewers are nearly unanimous that it's unforgetable, hauntingly beautiful, devastating, and should make clear to anyone who sees it that gay love is just as real and powerful as any other human love. It got a perfect 100 score from the New York Times, LA Times, Rolling Stone, EW, San Francisco Chronicle, and Premiere, as well as less-liberal publications such as Wall Street Journal, USA Today, TV Guide. Tomorrow award season begins with the LA Critics Association - I am very hopeful..

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