Seu Jorge

I went to the Hollywood Bowl last night to see Seu Jorge and Bebel Gilberto perform with the LA Philharmonic. Seu Jorge was impressive, Bebel, was well - Bebel. She sounded like a Bossa Nova singer - pretty much could've just streamed her on my computer and gotten the same feeling. In terms of Brazilian female singers - Maria Rita still takes it, for the performance she gave at the bowl last year. Anyway, back to Seu Jorge - not only did he sing his ass off, he came correct with a fresh looking suit. I noticed that it was super fitted - maybe even a tad undersized, perhaps a nod to Wes Anderson's Marc Jacobs suits that he was rockin for a bit. Pinstripe shirt, bowtie, and his vibe, led to the conductor calling him Nat King Cole. Baller. He nailed "Carolina," and destroyed "Life on Mars," the David Bowie cover translated into portuguese that he did for the Life Aquatic Soundtrack. On top of that, and perhaps what made him really stand out, was his willingness to engage the crowd in portuguese, unlike Bebel. He laid it out saying he had to give props to brazilians, which totally was appreciated by the brazilian community, which roared back at him. For me, part of the joy of going to see brazilian performers, or going to a brazilian restaurant, or a capoeira roda is getting that piece of culture/brazilian vibe which is so important. I thought Bebel dropped the ball by just speaking in english the whole time. Oh well.

So, after I got home I was feeling Seu Jorge, and did a little youtubing, which resulted in finding a couple of gems that I'll link here. I hope you enjoy.

The first one is a cover of that song done for that movie CLOSER that he did with Ana Carolina.

Next is the LIFE ON MARS cut:

Finally, CAROLINA, go figure:



I wish this was me right now. I took this picture in Playa del Carmen in July 2007.



I want to positively impact communities by helping to make them more livable, equitable, and sustainable. To realize this goal I must first further my knowledge of Urban Planning, so that I can influence change in favor of underrepresented communities and eventually help empower others to become agents of change within their own communities. Pursuing a Masters Degree in Urban Planning at UCLA will help me to attain my professional goals by providing me with a strong theoretical framework coupled with the necessary technical skills to make me an effective planner. In addition, UCLA’s commitment to social justice makes it the ideal program in which to study.

I first became aware of the Urban Planning field as an undergraduate student at UCLA while I minored in Policy Studies with an emphasis in Urban Planning. While surveying Professor Leo Estrada’s “Planning for Minority Communities” class and later through independent research with Professor Donald Shoup, I developed an understanding of the important role that planning played in shaping both the physical and social aspects of cities and communities around the world. Professor Estrada’s class was particularly interesting, because it looked at planning for multiple publics. As a Latino and as a non-native English speaker, who grew up in an Anglo dominated city in Orange County, I reflected on my family’s own difficulties with language and culture and consequently realized how planning decisions could have helped to alleviate problems associated with such differences.

Following my initial introduction to Urban Planning, I moved to Brazil to participate in the Education Abroad Program and complete courses for my Latin American Studies major. Having been recently exposed to the politics of planning, I approached Brazil with a zealous attitude towards planning; questioning and analyzing issues such as housing, transportation systems, and community development. Through a community development course at the host university in Rio de Janeiro I was able to gain valuable experience working in favelas, with low-income communities by volunteering with a health awareness project. This experience taught me the importance of fieldwork, because I was able to apply newly learned techniques to increase community dialogue, which strengthened the effectiveness of the program’s purpose.

As a result of my continued interest in Urban Planning I have consistently and actively sought out experiences that could help me to better understand the field. Upon returning from Brazil I worked with Professor Leo Estrada, conducting research with the Latino Community in Los Angeles. It was through my discussions with Professor Estrada that I was able to verbalize and better analyze some of the planning issues I encountered in Brazil associated with the urban poor living in Rio de Janeiro. As a result I was able to affirm my interest in the international aspects of regional planning, with particular interest on marginalized communities.

Under the supervision of Professor Donald Shoup and through an internship with the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., I was able to conduct independent research pertaining to the use of Empowerment Zones (EZ) and Renewal Communities (RC) as a solution to economically depressed areas. It was through my fieldwork with the Baltimore EZ that I was able to compare a successful model of an EZ at work against other models that had failed to take advantage of the program and come to an analysis of what attributed to program success. In addition to my own research, I also gained invaluable work experience working on the Empowerment Zone and Renewal Communities Program Competition. The combined experience demonstrated that I was able to conduct independent original research that addressed questions related to the field of urban planning.

Upon graduating from UCLA I began working for an urban planning consultant in Orange County that serviced cities in Central and Southern California. As a program manager for mobile home rehabilitation and replacement programs, I worked to improve the quality of life of low-income households by aiding them in receiving federal and state financial assistance. In addition to managing the rehab and replacement program, I was also involved with interviewing laborers to ensure that they were being paid in accordance with the Davis Bacon Law.

Through my experiences working with and doing research associated with marginalized populations, it has become clear that I want to work to create planning solutions that help to reduce the disparities between the different classes in society. By understanding the different relationships within planning, I hope to achieve my goals of providing equitable housing and the development of communities that foster interaction and dialogue between all its members. My research interests will mainly focus on looking at how these goals can be achieved within the urban landscapes of Los Angeles and Northeastern Brazil respectively and then comparatively.

My decision to specifically pursue a Masters Degree at UCLA comes from my positive experience in working with faculty members Leo Estrada and Donald Shoup. Furthermore, I look forward to working with Professors Michael Storper and Abel Valenzuela, Jr., because of their involvement with planning issues in Brazil; specifically Professor Storper’s interests in regional development in the Northeast of Brazil and Abel Valenzuela, Jr.’s familiarity with built environment issues in Brazil through projects such as the “Community Development in Brazil” Seminar that he taught in the Spring of 2002. I also hope to work with Professor Vinit Mukhija’s, because of his expertise in housing policies in the developing world. In addition to the relationships I intend to seek out with the Urban Planning Department’s distinguished faculty, I also look to contribute to the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty and the Center for Globalization and Policy Research.

As a student in UCLA’s Urban Planning Program, I will bring conviction and enthusiasm to my studies in community development. My experience working with the public and private sectors of urban planning, as well as my regional and international experience has provided me with a unique perspective in planning. With my diverse background in planning, I look to contribute to UCLA’s continued focus on social justice, while gaining the necessary tools I need to become an agent of change for underrepresented communities.

december 2004