By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – A benchmark of São Paulo’s cultural landscape, the Virada Cultural 2019, happens this weekend in the capital. The 15th edition of Virada Cultural starts on Saturday, May 18th, at 5 PM, and continues uninterruptedly through Sunday night, May 19th.
A truly mega-humongous event, Virada Cultural seems to be breaking records this year, with no fewer than 1,200 attractions, taking place in 250 venues spread around the city.
Due to Virada’s very extensive program, which ranges from cinema to music events, we have selected a few attractions that are really worth checking out this weekend. Whatever your taste is, Virada certainly has got the right event for you.
Those who want to be wherever it’s hottest should head to the stage at Vale do Anhangabaú, in Centro. Anhangabaú will be hosting some of the most trendy artists of the moment, like Anitta who performs at 12 PM on Sunday. What’s more, names like Criolo, Caetano Veloso and Fela Kuti’s son, Seun Kuti, promise to keep this stage hopping the entire Virada Cultural.
The República da Diversidade stage in Centro, is likewise expected to stay busy the whole time. This is because some of the biggest artists representing Brazil’s LGBTQI scene will be starring there. Certainly, the most important attraction at this stage, Pabllo Vittar, will perform on Sunday at 4 AM. Other great attractions playing at República da Diversidade are Quebrada Queer (Sunday, 1 AM) and Preta Gil (Sunday, 4 PM).
Rap and hip-hop fans cannot miss the stages at São Bento, which, by the way, is where São Paulo’s rap music was born. At the Rap stage, the shows of Black Alien (Saturday, 10 PM), Baco Exu do Blues (Sunday, 12 AM), MC Marechal (Sunday, 2 PM) and Emicida with Mayra Andrade (Sunday, 4 PM) are the highlights. Right next to the Rap stage is the Hip-Hop one, which will host both emerging and consecrated artists from the scene.
Beyond that, Virada Cultural has plenty of room for instrumental music lovers. A top-notch line-up of concerts will be happening at Pateo do Collegio, in Centro. One that cannot be missed is Orquestra Sinfônica Municipal playing the opera “Carmina Burana”, which happens on Saturday at 6 PM. On Sunday, 3 PM, the Orquestra Jazz Sinfônica is a great option for those into the rhythm from New Orleans.
For MPB and samba music, head to the stage at São João (Centro). There, one can appreciate the voices of Teresa Cristina and Diogo Nogueira (Saturday, 6 PM and 9 PM, respectively), two renowned Carioca samba singers; the amazing Chico César (Sunday, 9:30 PM); and Bahia artists Xênia França and Luedji Luna (Sunday, 3 PM).
However, the most expected show at São João is “O Grande Encontro – 20 Anos”, with Elba Ramalho, Alceu Valença and Geraldo Azevedo, happening on Sunday at 12 PM.
For further MPB attractions, make sure to check the shows at COPAN (Centro). Hosting a more alternative MPB program, COPAN will be home to the shows of the transgender duo “As Bahias e A Cozinha Mineira” (Sunday, 5 PM), Zélia Duncan and Tetê Espíndola (Saturday, 9 PM), and André Abujamira with Kiko Dinucci and Juçara Marçal (Sunday, 2:30 PM), among other great names.
A lively rock’n’roll line-up will be bustling the stage at Edifício Sampaio Moreira (Centro). Brazilian rock bands like Bixiga 70 (Sunday, 12 AM) and their incredible brass band, Baleia (Sunday, 2 PM), and A Banda Mais Bonita da Cidade (Sunday, 5 PM) are some of the best attractions from this stage.
If brass bands are really your thing, do not miss ViraHonk! SP, a massive brass festival taking place in front of Theatro Municipal (Centro). Fun is guaranteed at ViraHonk! SP, with 14 groups playing throughout the weekend, including Fanfarra Clandestina (Saturday, 7:40 PM), Charanga do França (Sunday, 9:30 PM), and Cumbia Calavera (Sunday, 4:30 PM).
Apart from the overwhelming music program, Virada Cultural 2019 will offer a variety of dance, circus, theater, and visual arts events across the city. If you still didn’t get the chance to check out MASP’s latest exhibitions, the museum will be open on Saturday until 12 AM, with free entry all day long.
At Centro Cultural São Paulo, in Vergueiro, cinema addicts can watch free film festivals during the Virada Cultural. There will be a festival dedicated to Tarantino, and another one on Japanese cinema.
The vibrant poetry slam scene from São Paulo will also take part in Virada Cultural this year. The Biblioteca Mário de Andrade, in Centro, will be hosting slam battles and poetic performances during these two days. Sérgio Vaz, from Cooperifa, Sarau das Pretas and Slam das Minas are some of the attractions in this venue.
For enjoying the best from Virada’s dance and theater program, check the various events taking place in the Sesc 24 de Maio, Avenida Paulista, Bom Retiro, Carmo, Consolação, and also the program at Galeria Olido.
Under the coordination of Alê Youssef, Virada Cultural 2019 hopes to enter the next Guinness Book as the world’s biggest 24-hour festival. Public transportation, including all subway lines, buses, and trains, will be working full-time throughout the event.