Dreaming out loud in the over-cast cloud between New York City and Rio de Janeiro, The Cariorker brings podcast subscribers all the classic culture of "The Marvelous City," Rio de Janeiro. And yet, what you find here is in English, translated and performed by New York actor/writer Todd Conner. With some help from a few of Rio's best musicians, your New Yorker host takes you on a deep-dive every other week into the rich literary past of "the Carioca" -- the native-born denizen of Rio -- bringing to light the hidden Lit, packing it up for export, and posting it for special delivery to the modern New Yorker, or anyone else stateside who has a heart for old Rio and an ear for storytelling. If you listen long enough, you might find that you're a Cariorker, too.
...boasts a career that spans over 100 professional projects in theatre and film as an actor, director, playwright, screenwriter, translator and musician. Along the way he garnered an LA Weekly Award, along with a few other distinctions including the Hendrix-Murphy playwriting award. He has worked with historic practitioners of theatre, including Maria Ley-Piscator, Charles Marowitz, and Mike Nichols. He made his film acting debut in the Italian feature Streghe (Witch Story), directed by Alessandro Capone (of L’amour Caché). He trained as a stage director at The Directors Company in New York just before he wrote and produced his first play, The Grendelmas, presented in a concert reading in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. His vision for The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe set box office records at the Dallas Theater Center’s Teen/Children’s Theater. Also in Texas, he shared a scene with Renée Zellweger in Love and a .45. Later, in L.A., he wrote and starred in his first short film, One, Two, Three..., an official selection of the Hollywood Film Festival, later on Showtime. Returning full force to the stage, he conceived, translated and produced his own solo storytelling performance in Beverly Hills, based on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, and this remains his signature work. His personal interest in Brazilian culture and the study of Portuguese dates back to 2009 after a 6-day trip to Rio de Janeiro. He continues to return to the state of Rio de Janeiro, and he began translating Machado as part of a daily writing discipline while living in Angra dos Reis. He holds a Bachelors degree from Hendrix College, and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Wilkes University.
This first season of The Cariorker is dedicated to the contos (short stories) of "the Bruxo of Cosme Velho," Machado de Assis. This prologue is a discussion of the discovery you're about to make...of the greatest writer you (probably) never knew.
A young Rio man in love consults a card reader against his better judgement. What is finally revealed to him comes as a shock not only to his own notions of belief, but, perhaps, yours as well.
Beneath a full moon over the hills of Santa Teresa in Rio de Janeiro, a gentleman fascinates his erudite friends by recounting a terrifying event in his life, leading him to the belief that every person alive has not one, but two souls.
The storyteller recounts a Christmas Eve he spent alone with a Rio housewife when he was seventeen. With the distance of time and maturity, he still struggles to come to terms with a conversation he had with her as his younger self, when he found her perplexing, enigmatic, yet unexpectedly beautiful.
The young wife of a legal solicitor in Lapa realizes that her husband's 15 year-old live-in page has fallen in love with her, because she always leaves her bare arms exposed at home in front of the inexperienced youngster against social customs. Often considered an erotic modulation to the scenario of "Midnight Mass," (S1,Ep3).
When a young wife demands that her husband stop wearing a hat beneath his station, his humiliating refusal causes her to rebel on the town with a more promiscuous married girlfriend. Chiquinha Gonzaga's "Saudade" in a new interpretation for this episode is played by classical pianist Louis Page.
A young seminarian escapes a monastery, seeking protection from his father’s retribution while at the home of his godfather’s sweetheart. Over the course of a harrowing afternoon, it becomes clear through Machado's extraordinary storytelling who the soul of the young man really belongs to.
When the young lawyer, Honório, finds a wallet full of money on Assembly Street in Rio, we accompany him through the interior of Rio during his own interior struggle of conscience.
In observance of the Lenten season, this is the first of three stories on Biblical and ecclesiastic themes, all of an unmistakably "Machadian" bent.
On this rare excursion to Bahia, far from the city limits of his own beloved Rio, Machado beams us all down to a dinner table conversation in the verdant 18th century northeast when Cana (sugar) was the "fruit" of note in the Brazilian paradise.
In this second of a triptych of stories on Biblical and ecclesiastic themes for the Lenten season, we join the Devil on his mission to start his own Church on earth. Based on an old Benedictine manuscript Machado's story takes us from Hell to Heaven, to Earth, around the globe, and back again on a pendulum ride between Good and Evil.
The perfect conclusion to The Cariorker's 2020 Lenten triptych of stories leading up to Easter. Machado has set this tale of redemption and resurrection in one of Rio de Janeiro's most historic churches. Love transforms, but sometimes in the strangest of ways.
Macedo is an ornithologist (a scientist in the study of birds) who stumbles, literally, one day into a gloomy junk shop to discover a canary in a dilapidated cage. Amid the flotsam and jetsum on a sea of junk, he sees the canary as a ray of sunlight playing in the darkness. When he discovers other extraordinary avian properties, he immediately purchases the bird and is stricken with Canary on the Brain. "Tico-Tico no Fubá" for this episode is played by jazz pianist Carlo Penza.
Aging musical conductor Master Roman Pires is loved and respected by all -- a local celebrity, in fact. And yet, his dream has always been to compose. Confined at home during a sudden illness, he finds a burst of energy to compose the one simple melody that will be the fulfillment of his life. A kind of "Eleanor Rigby" in prose, this story is a invocation to the compassion so important in times like these -- indeed, in any time. Every life is a complex story never quite heard, not a number. Singer-songwriter Janeen Rae Heller was commissioned to provide the musical arrangement for this episode and brings us a startling performance of another musical composition by the incomparable Chiquinha Gonzaga.
A man remembers a conversation he had many years ago on the terrace of the Theatre of São Pedro de Alcântara between acts of a play, which he doesn't remember nearly so well as the incident of his friend's story about guilt, justice, conscience, and getting filthy rich
What's in a name? In Rio de Janeiro you might be surprised. Cecília Afonsopena was born in Rio de Janeiro, but her family roots extend well into the country's interior and to the early days of the First Republic. A great grand-daughter of the Brazilian President Alfonso Pena, Cecília is a true "carioca da gema" who cut a swath in New York City in the 1970s.
CHIQUINHA GONZAGA is the composer of The Cariorker podcast theme music, "Gaúcha," or "Corta-Jaca," composed in 1895. Gonzaga was the first popular Brazilian woman composer and a Carioca. She was also a single mother in Rio, and raised her son from playing music. Many of the stories in The Cariorker feature short musical epilogues from her repertoire played on violão by Todd Conner. Read more about
LOUIS PAGE plays on Episode 5, "Chapter of the Hats," an exquisite variation of Chiquinha Gonzaga's Saudade, owing to influences from Mr. Page's expertise with the repertoire of Chopin. Mr. Page is a Sri Lankan-American pianist based in New York City. He has lived in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the USA. In Sri Lanka, he has performed with the nation’s Chamber Music Society and the Sri Lank
CARLO PENZA plays on Episode 11, "Canary on the Brain," one of the most beloved Brazilian songs ever, Tico-Tico no Fubá composed in 1917 by Zequinha de Abreu. Tico-Tico was once the most famous Brazilian tune in the United States well before there was Bossa Nova. Mr. Penza is an accomplished jazz pianist, composer and arranger, and has played with some of Brazil's biggest musical stars, including
JANEEN RAE HELLER plays on Episode 12, "Nuptial Song," yet another beautiful Chiquinha Gonzaga composition, Santa, in a brand new arrangement commissioned to her for The Cariorker. Ms. Heller is a Los Angeles-based guitarist, singer-songwriter and one the elite few virtuosos of the musical saw. Her playing can be heard on the recordings of Joan Baez, Ricky Lee Jones, Michael Hedges, Elvis Perkins
CECÍLIA AFONSOPENA (S2Ep1) is a native of Rio de Janeiro, a resident of Copacabana, and a "carioca da gema." She lived in New York City in the 70s, after coming to the US to pursue a modeling career. As a singer she performed in New York and extensively around the state. She performed with a wide array of highly active New York Latin and jazz musicians of the era such as Antonio Zepeda, Dan and Da
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