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Red Light Rio

RED LIGHT RIO is a threaded conversation with fifty women who support themselves and their families through the sex industry in Rio’s red light district. Over the course of a year, me and my friend Aline, a prostitute in Rio’s red light district, filmed conversations with prostitutes, brothel management, bartenders, cleaning ladies, manicurists and food vendors who support … Continue reading

CityScapes Summer13

Bridging the Divided City

Very grateful for my first collaboration with CityScapes, a brilliant magazine “re-thinking urban things” from the African Centre of Cities,  edited by Tau Tavengwa, Sean O’Toole and Edgar Pieterse. On the cover: “Technocity: The Hardwiring of Rio,” my feature photo-essay on Rio’s ten biggest infrastructure projects purported to connect the divided city, including the controversial … Continue reading

jruv_IMG_9896_Sunday in Ipanema

Operation Carnaval

In my second post for The Atlantic‘s city-specific edition, TheAtlanticCities.com, I look at Rio’s Carnaval festivities in the wake of the Santa Maria nightclub fire tragedy through the popular but problematic lens, “Brazil is not a serious country”: As all eyes turn to Rio for World Cup next year and the 2016 Olympics, the tragedy in Santa … Continue reading

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Rio’s Biggest Prostitution Crackdown in a Generation

In my first post for The Atlantic‘s city-specific edition, TheAtlanticCities.com, I go inside Rio de Janeiro’s recent luxury brothel smackdown: Prostitution is not actually a crime in Brazil. The Ministry of Labor has recognized prostitution as an official occupation since 2002. But as Rio de Janeiro prepares for its turn on the global stage – … Continue reading


Sex trafficking on Backpage.com: Much ado about (statistically) nothing

In my first post for TechCrunch.com, I go inside Backpage.com’s fight against sex trafficking. It’s bananas. Read Sex Trafficking on Backpage.com: Much Ado About (Statistically) Nothing in TechCrunch.com.


Did I just get plagiarized by the UK’s leading magazine for construction professionals?

In March I wrote a story about the race to build the greenest soccer stadium on the planet in Brazil’s federal capital, Brasilia. I published it in Forbes.com (Greed, Greenwashing and Brazil’s Hail Mary for a Green World Cup) and posted photos of the stadium in progress, courtesy of the architects, on RioChromatic.com (Chasing Green). … Continue reading


The Other Problem with Sex Trafficking

This is a talk I gave at the Personal Democracy Forum  called The Other Problem with Sex Trafficking on 6/12/12 at NYU Skirball Center. I argue that the anti-sex trafficking movement’s war on classified website Backpage.com shows an alarming lack of understanding of how the internet works. The movement is divided between those who fear the internet, like … Continue reading

imagery courtesy of Castro Mello Arquitetos

The Greenest Soccer Stadium on the Planet

In Brazil, where futebol fanaticism is only matched by the extraordinary lengths the game’s leaders will go to steal money, two young Brazilians are chasing down a different kind of green. Construction delays and corruption charges be damned – if Ian McKee and Vicente Mello have their way, World Cup 2014 will go down as … Continue reading


Rio’s Big Brother

The biggest surveillance screen in Latin America spans 860 square feet in a new building called the Ops Center that most residents of Rio de Janeiro don’t even know exists. 80 interchangeable digital panels project live video feeds from 450 cameras and three helicopters, plus a dizzying array of tricked-out Google Maps of schools and … Continue reading

photo credit: Philip Toledano for NYMag

How much of the internet is for porn

  In May, I wrote about new book called A Billion Wicked Thoughts, the exhaustive offspring of two neuroscientists and the largest pile of sex-related data on the planet, my Forbes.com column in a piece called The Internet is for Porn (so let’s talk about it). Then I had the fortune of meeting Ogi Ogas, one … Continue reading


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