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    January 30, 2007

    AWOL in São Paulo

    Posted by: Chris

    Saopaulopic_1 My apologies to regular visitors that the blog went dark over the weekend.  I've tried to post consistently ever since I launched the blog in October.  Those of you who've blogged yourselves know how difficult that can be, and it has certainly been a big change from writing every week, or every other week, for the Washington Blade, Southern Voice and their sister publications.

    Speaking of which, Window Media, the gay publishing company I co-founded in 1997 with William Waybourn, announced last week that it was closing the Houston Voice, which the company purchased in 1998.  It was a very sad development for all of us who have worked with the publication over the last eight years, but one that was understandable and certainly not unexpected.  Only those of us who have been on the inside know how much time, effort and money was spent trying to make the publication a financial success.

    The Houston metro area ranks in the Top 5 nationally in population, but the city generally eschews zoning laws and so is sprawled out over an enormous area.  The gay community is sprawled as well, though its soul has always been in the Montrose neighborhood.  Houston's gay leadership was also especially decimated by AIDS in the '80s and '90s.  In my travels, only San Francisco seemed as hard hit emotionally and psychologically.

    The Voice never really found its voice, despite all our efforts.  Houston has a solid, quality gay monthly in Outsmart magazine, but the Voice struggled to find its place amidst an ever-changing roster of competitors, including the beloved weekly bar rag TWT (which folded in the early '00s and then re-emerged last year), the weekly statewide newspaper the Texas Triangle (which also folded around the same time), several publications launched by the Dallas Voice to move into the Houston market, all of which they eventually withdrew, and a half-dozen smaller independent ventures, which also eventually failed.

    With the rise of the Internet, gay Houstonians can get their national and international news online, of course, but the Houston Chronicle does a spotty job of local gay coverage and Outsmart can only do so much on a monthly schedule.  The passing of the Voice leaves a void that hopefully will be filled soon.

    As for the void on this blog, I blame São Paulo.  My good friend Jeff DeKorte is visiting us in Brazil for a few weeks, and we took him to Sampa this weekend to see the sights and meet our many friends there.  An amazing and exhausting time was had by all.  (In the photo above, Jeff is in the orange, I'm in the blue and Ipanema Boy is in the green. In the yellow is João Neto, one of the Brazil's top DJ's.)

    I even met the man behind Made In Brazil, hands-down the best gay Brazilian blog (in English or Portuguese), though unfortunately it was only in passing.  Who knew he was as gostoso (that's "hot," as Paris Hilton would say) as the Brasileiros he so often features in his blog?

    I'm ashamed to say my friend Jeff, who started a travel blog as he left the States, managed to post over the weekend, even as I didn't. Jeff and I have been good friends ever since I moved back to Washington in 2001, and I've had a great time introducing him to Brazil.  He is no stranger to travel, having headed up AOL's travel channel until he left last month. 

    But his style of travel is distinctly different from my own.  Those who know me know that I tend to travel by the seat of my pants, not worrying especially much about planning packed agendas, preparing hours in advance for flights or pondering the wiles of traffic before deciding when to call a taxi.  I go with the flow, and probably enjoy the adrenaline of rushing last-minute more than arriving early at the airport and sitting in the gate.

    I knew, from a few short trips with Jeff in the past, that he was a different sort — the type that begins packing three days before a flight and worries at least 24 hours before about when to leave for the airport.  So it should have come as no surprise when my boyfriend and I returned from the gym about two hours before our flight from Rio to São Paulo that Jeff was already sitting on the sofa in his pressed polo and cargo pants, packed bags sitting beside him.  We were sweating from the gym, with packed bags only a twinkle in our eyes.

    "Why are you so dressed up?" I asked without thinking. 

    "I like traveling in pants," came his reply.

    "Yes you do!" I laughed. "And you ought to call your blog that — 'Traveling in Pants.'  Because I much prefer traveling by the seat of mine."  And so he did.  Check it out when you can.

    Speaking of travel blogs, I've been remiss in not pointing out the remarkable adventures of a former Washington Blade colleague of mine.  Fernando Junco, or Nando as he went by at the office, worked on the sales staff as something of a traffic cop and managed to keep his head and his sense of humor while the rest of us harumphed about on deadline.

    A few months ago, he decided to set out on a budget adventure through Mexico and Central America, and finally down through South America to Brazil.  Reading his travel blog, he's had some incredible experiences, though the loooong road has no doubt taken its toll.  Take a look for some vicarious thrills through a part of the world that gay American travelers so rarely manage to tred.



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    1. John on Jan 30, 2007 11:38:18 AM:

      Unfortunate about the Voice. I will admit I rarely picked it up (I just noticed the new format last week!) because there just never was much to read in it, nor were there useful ads (I used to keep the Blade around in DC because I'd sometimes flip through it to find specific kinds of businesses.) Which is kind of a vicious circle; if the content's not great, you can't get advertisers, and then you can't afford to beef up the content.

    1. KJ on Jan 30, 2007 2:39:59 PM:

      I always feel a little bad when regular bloggers apologize for not blogging. Do we come across as that needy?

      Please do not answer that.

    1. Cheap flights to Lusaka on Jul 14, 2011 2:07:10 AM:

      I always feel a little bad when regular bloggers apologize for not blogging. Do we come across as that needy?

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