July arrives in Rio and there is something in the air. The smoke of bonfires, the smell of hot cachaça quentão and the sound of organs and dancing. Seemingly a month late, the Festa Juninas, or Arraiás, hit full swing in July, but there is plenty more than apple-bobbing and coconut shies to the month's goings on in Rio. Here is our selection of the very best.
The Cohen Brothers Retrospective
CAIXA Cultural's Irmãos Cohen – Duas Mentes Brilhantes spans the career of the greatest siblings ever to get into director's chairs, from 1984 debut Blood Simple to 2010's True Grit. Each film gets a matinee and evening showing across the two weeks, but with the likes of The Big Lebowski and Fargo on show and only 70 spaces inside, fans are well advised to arrive early. 10-22 July.
Franklin Cassaro - Espacial
For anybody yet to visit the wonderful Casa de Cultura Laura Alvim on Ipanema's seafront, their newest exhibition provides the perfect excuse. Carioca artist Franklin Cassaro creates huge half beast, half robot aluminium sculptures, set to take up the full exhibition space of the beautifully maintained house. Until 5 August.
The Week 5th Birthday
The shirts will be off and the hands in the air as The Week turns five in style. A rare Friday night opening extends the party too, with the back room hosted by famous soap actor José Loreto and international scene favourites DJ Abel and Aron taking control over the main dancefloor. 14-15 July.
It may well be July, but the annual Festa Junina tradition rolls right the way through until August. The São João celebrations bring gap-toothed hillbillies out in droves, the check shirts and straw hat-wearers taking eachother on in tug o' war competitions, line dancing and a lot of drinking. The best are set to take place at Circo Voador, UFRJ and Feira São Cristóvão. Throughout July.
Babilônia Feira Hype
Expanding almost beyond recognition, the fair returned to Rio's fashionable front line after an extended hiatus at the end of 2011 with added live music, art and skating and even more rails of cutting-edge clothing to peruse. The full details have yet to be announced for July, but Babilônia is always a dependable barometer for the city's oscillating trends. 21-22 July.
What may look like a gorgeous piece of coastline for 364 days of the year becomes a hellish and gruelling 42-kilometre slog for several thousand runners every June courtesy of the Rio Marathon. The coastal route, From Recreio to Flamengo Park, means it is one of the flatter courses going, but if the sun comes out to greet the competitors, the occasional palm won't offer much in the way of shade. 8 July.
Go Italian at CT Trattorie
Claude Troisgros' latest venture may have only been in situ a month, but once inside it already feels like an old friend. Choose well from a straightforward menu and be rewarded by hearty Mediterranean flavours with a South American twist, like the Talharim a Carbonara where chunks of pancetta are replaced by crispy threads of carne seca (dried beef).
Hit the Lagoon
Rio's latest headquarters of all things gastronomic comes with a truly blessed, elevated view across the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas and for good reason: it is built into the old viewing stand of the Lagoa's Rowing Club. Partly converted into a state-of-the-art cinema back in 2010, the upper echelons now house five restaurants, a bar, and a veranda shared between all of them that warrants lengthy lunches and early-evening drinks without end.