LET'S PRETEND WE'RE POOR!

If I told you that a bar in Milwaukee has constructed a fake Brazilian "favela" (slum) in its rear alley to attract viewers of the World Cup you'd probably think I was kidding. Which is too bad, because a bar in Milwaukee has constructed a fake "favela" in its rear alley. It's really "authentic", with fake laundry strung across the fake windows. It will be just like being poor but with flat screens everywhere and $9 microbrews on tap.

The Nomad event includes the temporary construction of a courtyard viewing area inspired by the colors and spirit of the mountainside "favelas" of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The "Nomad Favela" takes over an adjacent parking lot and consists of a surfboard bar, a Belair Cantina taco shack, and large outdoor space to view all of the tournament's soccer matches on six large televisions. The unique space is the collaborative effort of a small group of volunteering artists and craftspeople and includes several from Makerspace.

The Nomad's own website, which I refuse to dignify with a link, refers to it as their "shanty town":

copa

No word yet on whether makeup for donning blackface will be provided or if any of the 99.99% of Brazil that is Not Favela will be represented in some way. This is one of those instances, not unlike when frat kids decide to have a "Pimps and Hoes Party" or something equally racist, in which I can't believe that a large number of people were involved in the planning and execution of this idea and not one of them said, "Hey maybe this is in poor taste." Then again, this is the city that birthed that stillborn homunculus Scott Walker into the political world. Maybe we shouldn't be shocked.

What should the Nomad do next? Fake ghetto for the NBA Finals? Faux trailer park for the Daytona 500? Replica igloos for the Stanley Cup? The possibilities for creativity in staggeringly poor taste are limitless!

67 thoughts on “LET'S PRETEND WE'RE POOR!”

  • Nomad can fall into the hellmouth but it hurts when you say Walker was created in MKE. He was built from old parts and wet cardboard in the suburbs and took over county government during a scandal.

    Yeah. I'm touchy about it.

  • I must echo what ttam, said, Walker is not from MKE, he is from Waukesha. I know that is splitting hairs to anyone not from here, but it really is a huge difference in mentality. Mke proper, is very liberal/sewer socialist, the burbs, right as hell.

  • acousticsouthpaw says:

    12 year resident of MKE here, first time commenter. The thing about The Nomad is, like all businesses, location, location, location. The Brady Street area is choke full of college students, young professionals, tech geeks, and liberal activists. This is not meant disparagingly per se, but simply a statement of fact. If nothing else, we can look at this instance as yet another example of white privilege, compounded by the class privilege most Americans take for granted. Interestingly, The Highbury in Bayview(where I live) will not be creating its own flavela. The demographs of Bayview are not dissimilar from Brady Street though, so I would think that the owners/management of The Nomad are just insensitive twats.

  • Gordon Guano says:

    Well the other thing Brazil is known for is women shaking their thick, muscular posteriors, so, glass half full, maybe we should give them credit for not exploiting women?

  • Typical poseurs. Without shit running in the gutters, dead animals in the streets and some sweeps by police assassination squads it will nothing like Rio.

  • A friend visited America with her kids and went to Disneyworld, part of which was an exhibit representing each and every country in the world.

    The photograph she took of the exhibit purporting to represent Australia just defied belief: tacky, incorrect, tawdry, uninformative and shallow. It looked like it had been thrown together in five minutes by a retarded Martian who had led a particularly sheltered life, never left Mars and didn't, deep down, believe that anything outside of Mars really existed.

    I am sorry to have to inform you that children on Mars think that Australia is littered with Easter Island statues.

    They probably think Brazil is too.

  • It's merely the Walmart version of one of the cultural legacies of our British forbears:

    Foreign poverty is charming.

    Which makes sense. We allow ourselves defined by those we are superior to. The lower the point of comparison, the higher we feel. So why not build a favela as an incentive to come and drink? It sure makes your one bedroom with the futon couch/bed seem luxurious (and you a better person)!

  • Perhaps the next spree shooter will pay them a visit and then they can get a more authentic favela experience.

  • When did Brazilians start eating tacos? They're a Mexican dish.

    I know, all them peoples look alike…

  • Walker was born in Colorado Springs (famous for it's ultra-righty evangelical culture ala Focus on the Family and James Dobson) then moved to Elkhorn, WI, south and west of Waukesha. He attended Marquette but didn't graduate because he was asked to leave after trying to steal an election for student body president. He never finished his degree. He then was married and living in Wauwatosa (which is in Milwaukee county) and elected to the state assembly from there. He then jumped to the County Exec spot for Milwaukee County and then leapfrogged to the governor's mansion. He sure seems like a Waukesha County guy but he's not.

    Republican politics in WI is marked by the usual dog-whistle racism from around the country. Walker perfected and capitalized on this. We aren't considered the worst place to be black in the country for no reason. You're better off growing up and living black in Miss. than in WI. Which also helps explain the outright racism of the favala mock world cup bar. What, are they going to have dollar child prostitutes on sale around the corner?

  • c u n d gulag says:

    Too bad it's after Cinco de Mayo, or they could have installed a Bodega in the back, with fake bags of pot, bongs, and rolling papers!

  • You should visit that bar and regale the crowd with first hand stories of Brasil -preferably ones that speak to your street cred with sweeping generalizations about how "Brasil isn't really like this – here's what it's really like" and "In Brasil they…", "Did you know that Brazilians…" etc.

  • The Nomad is for douchey shitbirds. Out-of-towners, bridge-n-tunnelers. I lived on the east side of Milwacky for 7 years and never heard anyone say "let's go to the Nomad!"

  • I used to watch soccer at the Nomad but it's a fucking bro-tard douche factory full of people who don't know shit about soccer other than it's an excuse to get drunk at 6 in the morning on a Saturday. That being said, the average pint price at the Nomad is $5, not $9.

    I saw in the paper yesterday the Brazil slum construction and I just shook my head. It's exactly what you would expect from bro-tard douche bags who don't know shit about soccer except it's an excuse to get drunk for three weeks solid and yell carefully crafted ethnic slurs in the name of sport.

  • The owner of the Nomad originally wanted to build a soccer complex in an empty lot. It was going to have outside bars, televisions, and fields for league soccer play. He was shocked to learn he'd actually have to get permits for all of those things, plus have a plan for security since you can't just wander around Brady Street with open containers (contrary to popular belief). I wonder if he'd seen his dream to fruition if he would have gone with the slum/ghetto theme?

  • The favela-chic thing is also really popular amongst the social entrepreneur crowd. Drives me crazy. I swear, in five years people will be advocating for public housing in the US to be built with shared toilet blocks so that residents have the warm and fuzzy experience of coming together to shovel each other's shit once a week, because, you know, community.

    In terms of the level of offensiveness, I think that South Africa (naturally?) has Milwaukee beat. Here is a shanty-town themed luxury resort: http://www.emoya.co.za/p23/accommodation/shanty-town-for-a-unique-accommodation-experience-in-bloemfontein.html

  • Off topic. Ed, with Cantor's loss, surely you are finding politics a bit more interesting today!
    and thanks to everyone for their on topic remarks. truly enjoyed

  • I think you guys are knit picking here and making this a bigger deal than it really is.

    Does Nomad painting their alley have any affect on Brazil? No. Are any of these commentors actually Brazilian and offended? You guys tell me, but my guess is also "No." I'm pretty sure they're not advertising an authentic "slum" experience. I'm also pretty sure that there are ads on TV showing people in favelas watching the games or playing soccer, can someone send me a link of an article on this site criticizing that too?

    My guess is that if the Nomad would've painted it like the Amazon Rain Forest, then all you guys would be complaining that they're being insensitive to all of the animals who are dying due to deforestation and such.

    There are real problems facing Brazil, especially since Brazil is sinking billions of dollars into the World Cup (and the Summer Olympics to come!) with no actual benefit since FIFA takes all of the cash from ticket sales, sponsorships and TV deals. So maybe since Nomad is actually advertising for the World Cup they're being insensitive to Brazil as a whole.

    And they're probably having Bel Air Cantina tacos (a fantastic place for tacos) since they've been doing business with them in the past or affiliated with them. Also other than the Rodizio (sp?) Grill, there really aren't many places in Milwaukee for Brazilian food. Not everything has to be Brazilian! :)

  • They should totally do a fake coffin ship theme for next year's Saint Patrick's Day. If that doesn't get the Irish laughing, I don't know what will.

  • "My guess is that if the Nomad would've painted it like the Amazon Rain Forest, then all you guys would be complaining that they're being insensitive to all of the animals who are dying due to deforestation and such."

    Your guess is wrong.

  • EK Eastside says:

    I take exception to the notion that anything sold at the Nomad is priced at $9. This is NOT a $9 beer bar. Half the kids in this place may find a Rio slum to be an upgrade to their UWM off campus apartments

  • I've somewhat known the owners of the Nomad for quite a few years, and am a bit surprised at this. However, when seeing it from across the street yesterday, it just looked a bit like a decorated backyard/alley, like many bars have done. As said upstairs, more Disney than anything. I don't think the owners are being ass-bros about this, but maybe no one told them that it is maybe not the greatest idea.

    Echoing what was said above though; the Nomad is not a tourist bar by any means, definitely more of a neighborhood bar and we have stopped there many times.

    I do agree with the commenter about the owner's tendency to be surprised at the typical permitting and approval process though.

  • And if I told you the owner's Brazilian and grew up in a favela you'd all cave. Show up during a Brazil match and ask all the Brazilians how offended they are. Nomad is for the people not the bloggers! Laundry lines do look kinda dumb tho.

  • I completely understand the outrage directed at Nomad for what they have done. There is a great message to be taken away from this, don't judge an entire area/group of people based on one aspect.

    So when you say, "Then again, this is the city that birthed that stillborn homunculus Scott Walker into the political world. Maybe we shouldn't be shocked." How is that any different than Nomad representing one area of Brazil?

    I don't agree with what Nomad has done, or with Scott Walker in any way. My point is that your argument becomes extremely hypocritical when you make a similar sweeping judgement.

    So the message I end up taking away is, don't judge a city based on one aspect and fuck you Milwaukee because Scott Walker is from nearby.

  • @Zombie rotten McDonald:

    My binary logic needs to be expanded a bit?

    So, it would be okay if they had a make-believe ghetto or a make believe crackhouse? Or, hey, I got it; howzabout a "Dahmer's Diner"? He's a Milwaukee feller.

    They either have no fucking idea what it's actually like in a Rio slum or they think it's somehow entertaining to have a make believe one in the backyard.

  • I've paid $9 for a martini but never $9 for a pint. Even on Brady St. Hell, even 24oz. are $8 at Miller Park. But that is Miller Piss/Lite.

  • Suggestion for maximizing authenticity: the morning after the final match, a lucky raffle winner wakes up in a bathtub with a splitting headache and minus a kidney.

    Bons tempos!

  • My binary logic needs to be expanded a bit?

    yeah, where you said the owner was either one thing or another. There isn't room between those two in your worldview? No shades of grey?

    So, it would be okay if they had a make-believe ghetto or a make believe crackhouse?

    You mean like on Sesame Street?

  • They either have no fucking idea what it's actually like in a Rio slum or they think it's somehow entertaining to have a make believe one in the backyard.

    Why dont you read the article that jeneria inked to where Mike Eitel talks about the whole thing. He doesn't come across as clueless or ignorant, and points out that the guy who flogged the whole controversy is -whowouldathunkit- flogging a book. About the Rio slums. While being a white guy.

  • Dave Schlabowske says:

    I think anyone who knows the owner of the Nomad or any of the staff at the Nomad can vouch for the good intentions behind this installation. The point is certainly to celebrate Brazilian culture and the World Cup. Likewise it is not unreasonable for others to disagree and call this cultural appropriation. There are Brazilians who advocate we boycott the world cup, there are Brazilians who rejoice that the world cup is in Rio.

    Anyone who has tried to work with other cultures has run across criticism for that work. NGOs with the best intentions are criticized for what they do. Documentary photographers are criticized for profiting from the cultures they document. The author of the book about the world cup and social inequities in Brazil has been criticized for profiting from his book about the very problem he is trying to expose. Different people will always have different opinions on where to draw the line between cultural celebration, cultural exchange and cultural appropriation.

    I think the most important thing is to first put race on the table, right out in the open and say what we believe. Then we must always listen to others so we can learn, be open to differing opinions and accept that sometimes after a thoughtful discussion on race and poverty, we might have to agree to disagree.

    There may be times when even the best intentions to celebrate other people's cultures are judged to be misguided or offensive. When that happens, we need to back off. Again, the keys are intelligent dialogue and listening to each other. In the end, we all have to stand by what we believe in but live with each other and ourselves.

  • Yeah, I wasn't trashing the owner exactly. He seems like a nice enough guy. But like many places in Milwaukee, the clientele sucks. I thought Eitel made good points even if I don't necessarily buy them.

    And no one in the Nomad is pay $9 for a beer. Trust me.

  • Ya wanna celebrate Rio, there's a whole fuckton of other shit besides favelas that one might think about–Carnival, Impanema, beautiful women, etc.

    But, why not just answer my question about where we draw the line with what's okay?

    I get that you think the guy who owns the pub is a good person. Maybe he is, maybe he's not–on this issue, he's being an idiot.

  • I get that you think the guy who owns the pub is a good person. Maybe he is, maybe he's not–on this issue, he's being an idiot.

    As are we all from time to time and you are perfectly within your right to be kneejerk and judgemental as you'd like about it.

    But I know him, I know the bar and the clientele and I've seen the installation they've done.

    And as Dave Schlabowske said above, maybe a bit more give and take and less long distance harshness can be more productive than immediately assuming the worst will get us further along.

  • buckyblue, as much as I loathe the man, there's no evidence that Walker was "asked to leave" Marquette after trying to steak an election—in fact, the school has explicitly denied that this is the case, as have others who were at school with him, including his liberal opponent in that race. This is pretty clearly the case, since Walker didn't leave college until almost two years later. Why he left is a bit of a mystery (it seems, despite Walker's claims to the contrary, that he really, really, really wanted to be in politics), but he wasn't kicked out.

    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/article/2013/dec/18/scott-walker-early-years/

  • Dave Schlabowske says:

    Zombie, Dean is my younger brother, thanks for the small props to Milwaukee ;)

    In the end, I agree this may will be judged by the majority to be a mistake, much as Rio hosting the World Cup may be. But I do know the owner and he may have spent more time in third world countries than I have, and I worked in the garbage dump in Guatemala City, in Cité Soleil in Haiti, for a Sandinista newspaper, and even for needle exchange programs in my home town and on reservations in my home state. The owner speaks nine languages, married a woman from India and has raised countless thousands of dollars for tons of "liberal" causes.

    This favela installation has the support of his fairly significant (by Milwaukee standards) Brazilian clientele.

    My point is that as someone who has personally tried to work closely to document inequities of other low income cultures, some of my efforts have been judged by some as an outsider profiting from the misery of others. Now I recognize that the bar owner is making money of a world cup sporting event, but how is that any different from a NFL game or party when New Orleans is playing and there are so many Katrina refugees still homeless?

    Like I said in my initial comment, in the end, this might be too hot an issue to celebrate, but so is the World Cup in Rio. The majority of people commenting here may still think this was an insensitive appropriation of Brazilian culture just as they may boycott the games. That is OK, personally I lean toward the side that thinks Brazil should not have spent all the money to host the games given the massive social inequities there. But I might say the same about Chicago's desire to host the Olympics or New York to host the World Series.

    If anything, the World Cup in Brazil has certainly drawn greater attention to the economic disparities in Brazil and any discussions about those things is a good thing, even if it is from behind the keyboards in our first world homes.

  • "As are we all from time to time and you are perfectly within your right to be kneejerk and judgemental as you'd like about it.

    But I know him, I know the bar and the clientele and I've seen the installation they've done."

    Well, I'm not dissing the whole town, just the one bar owner and it prolly won't affect his business or social standing in any discernible way.

    As for my being knee-jerk & judgmental; you're absolutely correct and I would do exactly the same thing (and have, many, many times) when I see something that is that egregiously stupid.

  • BTW, if he wanted to offer a real taste of Brazil he should think of doing feijoada* with some vatapá and a Brigadeiro for after. All yummy, not too difficult to make (although mastery is an elusive goal) and nobody don't like good food. Tacos are great, they're not 'zackly what the average Brazilian eats every day. Just sayin'.

    To wash that yumminess down, a few caipirinha cocktails (sort of the Brazilian take on a mojito) or some DaDo or Skol lager.

    It took me a few minutes of googling to come up with everything but the feijoada (I've had that)–much less time than it takes to gin up an excuse.

  • The Nomad is a breeding ground for d-bags. Always has been, always will be. What did you expect? A well-thought out, creative plan to recreate a rich cultural nation? Bahahaha yeah right. They lived up to their name once again. A simple "Brazil on Brady" would have done the trick. Short, catchy, and people would associate Brazil with the world cup. Was it THAT hard to think of something besides Brazil's ghetto? You could have dumped bags of sand all over the patio and put up some fake palm trees and it would have made more sense.

  • I find it interesting that many of the comments here are indignant that Ed should suggest that a beer would cost $9 at this particular bar. Now that's a priority!

    But, having read the story linked by jeneria, I see that the bar owner isn't really trying to recreate poverty, but what he views as part of Brazilian cityscape and which fit in his area. And let's face it, favelas ARE a prominent part of any Brazilian city. But they aren't fun happy places (although people can have fun and be happy-ish there), so his idea was ill-conceived, that much is certain.

  • I'm just putting this in because some people were talking about Milwaukee, Waukesha and Walker:

    from a jsonline piece about a-double-standard-in-waukesha-stabbing-case-

    As for the folks who run the Nomad:

    ""We weren't expecting the criticism," said Keanen Kopplin, the Nomad's general manager. "(The favela) was supposed to be a celebration and complement to the spirit of Brazil."

    Kopplin noted that decorating the bar in the theme of another country is something of a tradition for the Nomad.

    "We want to represent everyone," Kopplin said. "We want everyone to be comfortable."

    Despite the uproar, Kopplin said the pub has no plans to take the favela down.

    The 20th World Cup opens Thursday in Rio de Janeiro."

    from another article at jsonline

    I'll stick with my previous assessment of their behavior. Assholes.

  • Judging by your snotty Walker remark, I'm guessing you have no idea that the Nomad is on the snobby East side where all the liberals hangout. I doubt a Scott Walker supporter has stepped in the place for years, so leave us out it ok?

    Of course what -ism is it to assume every racism incident involves Republicans? Pot meet kettle, bigot.

  • skwerlhugger says:

    I went to a county fair-type event outside Boston once (Topsfield Fair, for you keeping track). It still hung on to the old-style concept; 4H exhibits with shriveled beans and rotting tomatoes, whack-a-mole on the midway, flea-bitten petting zoo, donkey rides with one having a remarkable organ almost dragging on the ground, music acts you thought were dead. Good stuff. Prominent in one of the kiddie sections was a giant inflatable slide in the shape of a tilting, sinking ship's deck, and on the stern– HMS Titanic. Think about it. This was in about 2003, by the way. 50 years from now–the WTC bungee jump. Bad taste is eternal and universal.

  • This is like getting pissed at Mozart for his failure to properly depict life in a royal Ottoman harem. People often romanticize things that really shouldn't be romanticized, but why get upset at a Haitian restaurant because it doesn't accurately reflect the poverty of Port au Prince and its plumbing meets western code? I remember my parents getting misty eyed about Fiddler on the Roof during its original Broadway run which is kind of sick when you think about it. It was romanticizing an apartheid ghetto, an impoverished farming life and a cultural community whose members would soon all be tortured and murdered, except for the lucky ones who would be forced into exile.

    Surely, there are some people who have managed to have fun in a favela. It isn't hell 24/7. Given how many Brazilians, even relatively poor ones, are soccer fans and like to drink alcohol and fruit drinks, odds are some of them are going to be watching a game or two at their local tavern. Why ruin a luau because the Hawaiian aristocrats treated commoners like animals?

    If this were a museum exhibit, I'd argue differently. It's a goddamned bar. Why not fantasize a bit? I appreciate a bit of irony. Hell, I was hoping the new World Trade Center would have a bar, The Flight 175 Lounge, built into an aircraft fuselage sticking out at of the 95th floor where I could order an Osama bin Laden.

  • "Hell, I was hoping the new World Trade Center would have a bar, The Flight 175 Lounge, built into an aircraft fuselage sticking out at of the 95th floor where I could order an Osama bin Laden."

    Right. The difference between that and the favela "tableaux" is that it's highly unlikely anyone will threaten the lives of the people associated with the Nomad because they are insufficiently PatriotiKKK.

    I asked upthread if a depiction of a ghetto or some other "neighborhood" would be okay and got no answer. So, what do you think? Is a fake, "death camp" or a fake "Gitmo" OK? If not, why is the favela OK?

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