Flamepoeira. There is a special fondness on my lips when I utter that name.
A mixture of “Flamenco” and “Capoeira”, the former cafe/art gallery was a home to those who don’t fit into society’s pigeonholes…those who aren’t content to roost. Indeed, on any given day you might run into the widow that is actively dating, the medical student who finds solace in poetry, or the lawyer who volunteers her time.
Regardless, you will always find Langelo. He is part mechanical engineer part painter. He is part dancer part fighter. He is part Chinese and part Vietnamese. On the walls hang his artwork, which rotates every couple of months. The vibrant figures of buddha, flowers, ladies in the nude shall forever be stored in my temporal lobe. Together with the sights come the Proustian aromatic memories of the Van Gogh, The Matisse, the Frida Khalo, original dishes that are always prepared with the care that comes from a true perfectionist.
Although he will deny it up-and-down, he is a Giver. Like the Giving Tree, he forever gives of himself. I spent many long study-days at Flamepoeira and throughout, Langelo would bring teas, cut up fruits, and whip cream-covered cookies topped with chocolate powder. I felt comfortable enough to fall deep into slumber on the couch. When I needed a study break, his guitar was always waiting to be played with “Gotan Project” or Edith Piaf looping in the background. And when I needed a venue for a fundraiser, he offered his space with open arms. It was an era of caring, sharing, and much love. Thank you Langelo. Thank you Flamepoeira.