The São Paulo Symphony Orchestra played a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, including selections from Candide, West Side Story, Slava & On the Town. Good to see American culture showcased in Brazil. The concert was at the beautiful São Paulo Municipal Theater.
I went with the new Consul General in São Paulo, Adam Shub – seems a good guy, very interested in cultural events. We went to a Peruvian restaurant before the show. My choice. The food was good, but the immediate neighborhood was not good. I walked to the restaurant, got there a bit early and reconnoitered. There were lots of odd people hanging or as often laying around even during the day, graffiti and boarded up building. I did not feel comfortable even in broad daylight. After dark, I thought it best to take a taxi rather than walk the five-seven minutes to the theater. Those who know my predilections about walking will appreciate that this is not usual for me. Not good.
There were signs of improvement, I suppose what we would call gentrification, and there was a clear dividing line. Actually, it was more like a couple of blocks of bad surrounded by good or okay. Unfortunately, it got a little too grungy between where we were and where we wanted to be. When we picked up the taxi, I apologized for the short trip, but the driver said that we made a good choice not venturing through that gauntlet and said that a lot of his business is just driving customers around that couple of blocks. We gave him a good tip.
The area around the theater was nice. It is an attractive 19th Century building, beautiful inside and out, as you can see in the pictures. They are very enthusiastic that you not check your phone. There are guys deployed in the top balcony that shine laser pointers on anybody who takes out a phone. They to this to the end, when everybody takes out the phone to get pictures of the players and selfies, I suppose. They parked a classic Ford Fairlane outside, I guess because or West Side Story. Lots of people were taking pictures with it, so we did too.