# Arts & Culture

[...]

12.13.2017

Yet another Modigliani exhibition? That’s right, and once again, it is worth visiting, even if you have already seen most of his work in other world class museums and exhibitions. Currently open at the Tate Modern Gallery in London (until April 2, 2018), this retrospective offers a unique opportunity: that of entering a virtually reconstructed version of Modigliani’s last Paris atelier – provided that you get there early enough and are willing to wait in line. In May 1919, Modigliani moved to a small apartment on rue de la Grande Chaumière in Paris with his partner, the painter Jeanne Hébuterne, and their daughter. Here, both artists painted portraits of each other and of themselves together, and they both would meet their tragic end shortly thereafter. The atelier on rue de la Grande Chaumière is actually still in existence, but it has radically changed over the course of the last century, and since it has never been photographed, its virtual reconstruction has demanded ­. Everything, from the color on the palettes to the easels that hold the paintings, from the cigarettes on the table to the boxes of sardines, and the light shining through the windows, has been recreated with painstaking precision and faithfulness to reality. Wearing your VR headset, you will embark on a sort of magnificent and surreal space-time journey and find yourself totally immersed in Modigliani’s Parisian studio. Made by Preloaded as part of a tecnical research project run by Tate in collaboration with the Museu de Arte Contemporanea de São Paulo in Brazil and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, The Ocher Atelier is not the only interesting part of the exhibition: the surprising collection of works on display includes some truly amazing portraits, lesser-known sculptures and 12 beautiful nudes originally exhibited in 1917, leading police to censor his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. 

[...]

12.06.2017

Rather than speculate about his childhood based on modern adaptations, we are focusing only on the original 1966 TV special. We all know that this particular Dr. Seuss character had a heart two sizes too small, but why? Well for starters, he was a social outcast. This was of his own doing, however, as he kept to himself in a cave lair inside of a mountain at the edge of Whoville. It’s fairly obvious that his antisocial behavior has resulted in a deep sense of loneliness, and that these two qualities just reinforce themselves in a vicious cycle. It’s safe to say that The Grinch was suffering from depression. As his negative outlook makes him very irritable, hearing the Whos making lots of noise in preparation for Christmas maddened him- it made him feel even more isolated. The Grinch makes use of a number of different defense mechanisms to protect himself emotionally. For example, he projects his negative feelings onto the Whos by assuming that they will be miserable (just like he is) when Christmas doesn’t come. So he decides to ruin their Christmas by dressing up as Santa Claus and breaking into their houses to steal their presents, decorations, and food. It’s human nature to want to belong to a group, and since The Grinch knows he doesn’t have a sense of belonging he doesn’t know how to empathize with the Whos. He feels disconnected from his neighbors and lashing out is the only way he knows how to empathize. This is a classic case of “if I can’t have it, neither can you”; The Grinch is miserable and disaffected and resents the Whos for this, so he feels that lashing out is justifiable because he wants to make the Whos feel his pain. In Freudian terminology, we can say that initially he was only driven by his (unconscious) id by using the defense mechanisms to ideally make him less anxious about dealing with his feelings. That is, until he meets Cindy Lou Who, who symbolizes innocence, thus invoking a conscious) superego. His defense mechanisms such as denial (claiming his heart was two sizes too small so that he wouldn’t have to deal with his feelings), rationalization (that the Whos were making too much noise is a good reason to take away their Christmas) and displacement (he’s taking out his frustrations on The Whos even though they aren’t the cause), to name a few, were reactions to things external to him. But now that he sees a beacon of innocence (Cindy Lou Who), he becomes more (consciously) proactive. For example, he returns all of the Christmas presents that he had stolen. When he sees that the Whos still have their Christmas spirit, he is surprised- he finds out that Christmas isn’t just about material things. The Whos are happy because they have each other, a sense of belongingness that The Grinch didn’t have. In that moment, the Whos chose to be happy and be glad they had each other rather than only placing festive value on material goods. This was the big awakening for him because he realized that he had been choosing a life of misery and loneliness all along. As the Whos came together, he realized that he too could choose, which is why he returned everything, and in return the Whos let him carve the meat, something that is traditionally reserved for the head of the household or a guest of honor. That day his heart grew three sizes, which is one size bigger than normal because he gained a sense of self-understanding in addition to a sense of belonging.  

[...]

12.04.2017

For everyone who’s tired of hearing Michael Buble every holiday season: we’ve put together an eclectic upbeat playlist with a mix of old classics and new songs. Don’t worry- there’s no Jingle Bell Rock or All I Want For Christmas Is You here, just an unexpected and fun mix that will keep you on your toes. Trans-Siberian Orchestra - Christmas Eve / SarajevoStart your party off strong. There’s no reason why Christmas music shouldn’t be badass. She & Him - Rockin’ Around The Christmas TreeThis playlist has something for everyone and will keep you on your toes for sure. She & Him’s Christmas Party album is the only full Christmas themed album you need. Seriously, this and their other Christmas album A Very She & Him Christmas deserves to be listened to all year round. Zooey Deschanel is the only Christmas angel we need. Thurl Ravenscroft - You’re A Mean One Mr. GrinchA tried and true classic. This will take everyone back to their childhood. Never underestimate the power of Dr. Seuss. Sia - Candy Cane LaneWho knew Sia had a Christmas album?! This song begs the question: why are there so many holiday ballads when we could be listening to fun songs about candy? Isn’t Christmas supposed to be fun? Also, watch the official video for Sia’s Santa’s Coming For Us, you can thank us later. Lemmy Kilmeister - Run Run RudolphWe’re not really sure why this exists, but more people should be aware of it. Frank Sinatra - Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!No holiday playlist is complete without the bare minimum of Frank Sinatra. Enough said. Burl Ives - Holly Jolly ChristmasIf somebody doesn’t like Holly Jolly Christmas they are either a grinch or a south pole elf. The Kinks - Father ChristmasThis song is just undeniably silly and fun. What’s better to get you in the holiday spirit than some British Invasion? Run DMC - Christmas In HollisWhile we’re shaking things up, this is probably the purest hip-hop song in existence. Kelly Clarkson - Underneath The TreeYou can never go wrong with Kelly Clarkson. She took this song up a notch- this is undoubtedly the perfect power pop Christmas song. Wham! - Last ChristmasBecause, obviously.  

[...]

12.01.2017

The world changed with the presence of Ziggy Stardust, as if an extraterrestrial power gave David Bowie permission to do so, which is fitting since his first of several alter egos was from Mars. Currently people have been relentlessly defining or disavowing or championing for the acceptance of gender fluidity, different sexual orientations, and the all-encompassing social constructs of their implications. David Bowie was proof that changes in society could be made through fashion. He (and a few others such as Marc Bolan) played a large role in bringing androgyny, and to a degree gender fluidity, into the mainstream. He may have emerged 45 years ago wearing over the knee boots and a kimono so short that there was no questioning his manhood even though he was dressed as a girl, but only a gentleman such as himself could be so tasteful about it. Gentleman have confidence. Jean Paul Gaultier said of David Bowie frequenting London gay bars, that it gave him (and others) “courage not to hide, to have confidence”. And this was only the beginning. There were many one legged and one armed spandex bodysuits as well as silk dresses, eyeliner, sequins, and high heels to come. It takes a real open minded and respectful (gentle)man to make femininity so powerful. David Bowie was pop culture’s greatest enigma - he was consistently celebrated for his ubiquitous individual style but has been considered pop music’s best chameleon (which he always found puzzling because after all, it’s the main objective of a chameleon to blend in with their surroundings). He pulled inspiration from everywhere which always resulted in something new original. Bowie was honest and payed homage to those who inspired him. He once quoted Picasso saying “as Picasso said, it’s not what you steal, it’s how you use it”, and in short this is exactly how he operated, “I’m a tasteful thief. The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” In an era before the internet, a new Bowie album was like a portal into a new world: he was so eclectic that with new material he was likely introducing people to new cultural references, philosophies, realities, images, sounds, and more. He was cultured and knowledgeable but didn’t come off as pretentious - a gentleman would never be condescending. Through his music and fashion, the conversations that Bowie inspired that continue to this day are often about identity. At the beginning of his career he looked and acted like he had just gotten back from casually vacationing in other solar systems and we earthlings were absolutely wide eyed and hungry to hear more of his otherworldly wisdom. He gave people permission to be weird, as Tilda Swinton (the current coolest living person and David Bowie’s not-so-long-lost twin) expressed at the V&A launch party for a David Bowie archive exhibit, “the freak becomes the great unifier”. That to experiment and standout and be yourself and reinvent yourself whenever you like wasn’t just acceptable, but that it was cool. To say that he was a trendsetter is an understatement; he led by example with his style as a metaphor.  He was radical, new, energetic, and never judged. He inspired people to take risks, express themselves and become themselves - whoever that was; he said himself that he “seemed to draw a lot of fantasies out of people.” Bringing the best out of others was inherent in his character - a quality that all gentlemen should aspire to have. Perhaps the most “conventional” thing about him was his standard 20th century interpretation of marriage to supermodel Iman. They adored each other like mad, he considered marrying her to be his biggest success in life, that his attraction to her was “all encompassing”. With her he displayed the classical qualities we think of when we think of a “gentleman” in relation to women. Even though he was always passionate about exploring all things alien, the deep love he had for Iman is one of the things about him that made him feel like a fellow human.  

[...]

11.15.2017

Hunter S. Thompson is most famously known for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of him in the 1998 film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas which was based on Thompson’s novel, originally published in Rolling Stone as a two-part article in 1971. Fear and Loathing is a semi-autobiographical account of an outrageous weekend in Las Vegas propelled by drugs and alcohol. A new TV series will now finally show a broader picture of his life, not just the parts where his narrative doesn’t distinguish between what’s real and what’s fantasy. Don’t get the wrong idea: he loved drugs, but there are many other valuable things that he contributed to society. Not only was his writing fantastic and unparalleled, but he was wise beyond his years and vocal about it. One statement that can briefly give you a picture of his outlook is as follows: “Weird heroes and mold-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of 'the rat race' is not yet final.” (1979). During his lifetime, he was critically acclaimed way before the Fear and Loathing fame. Posthumously he is always referred to as the “creator of Gonzo journalism”, using the term “gonzo” to describe his personal style which was including himself in as a character in a first-person narrative. Since he believed it was impossible for anyone to be completely objective in journalism, he embraced the opposite, turning himself into the protagonist of his pieces and injecting his own comments on society. Aside from journalism, he had a continued interest in politics, and during the height of his status as a countercultural cult icon, he even ran to be sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado. He lost, but the race was close. Attending the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968 had a major effect on him. Afterwards, he stated that he “returned a raving beast” as it “was far worse than the worst bad acid trip [he’d] ever heard rumors about”. In 2004 he revealed that when he had tried to describe it to people he would start crying as he felt that his experience at the DNC signaled the death of the 60’s for him. As someone who is primarily remembered for his erratic, subversive, and hallucinogen influenced writing, he was an incredibly multifaceted person and deserves to have a show with a well rounded depiction of his life. While many people choose to dress up with a Hawaiian shirt and bucket hat (à la Fear and Loathing), it seems that most people only know the superficial Hunter S. Thompson, but we have much more to learn from his irreverent contributions to society.  

[...]

11.13.2017

Oslo’s art scene is primarily known for famed painter and printmaker Edvard Munch and for architecture exemplifying the esteemed style of Scandinavian design. However, Oslo should be better known for being a hub for modern and contemporary art with excellent private museums and a high concentration of galleries and artist-run collectives. There are so many opportunities to see great art in Oslo, here are a few ideas to get you started- The Astrup Fearnley MuseumIn a convenient and beautiful location on the Oslo fjord, this is the obvious first place to start. Here you can see incredible work from Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Matthew Barney and so much more. This museum should be the top priority in Oslo for anyone who enjoys modern art (especially pop art and appropriation art from the 1980s) as it houses work from many recognizable artists. Kunstnernes Hus (The Artists’ House)This exhibition hall is a must see if you’re in Oslo during the autumn exhibition (Høstutstillingen). It has been run by artists since 1930 and is one of Oslo’s most important galleries for contemporary art by local and international artists.There are a number of different tours that they offer depending on the day. Pro tip: the restaurant inside, Lofthus Samvirkelag, has some of the best pizza in the city. Grünerløkka NeighborhoodThis is Oslo’s hipster area, it is home to many small art galleries hosting different events and temporary exhibitions. You can wander around between Uelands Gate and Sofienbergparken and stumble upon photography galleries, performance art, sculpture, mixed media and more. Whether you’re a connoisseur of the provocative or are looking for something relatively light, you’ll be able to find it in this neighborhood. Here are two of our favorite:ROMNot only focused on art, but also architecture, ROM encourages experimentation and innovation in these two fields. The gallery hosts a variety of events aside from exhibitions, such as lectures and workshops, with the goal of engaging people from different disciplines. If you’re interested in the design of space, ROM will definitely appeal to you.TM51With three locations around Oslo, you can always find a reason to stop into one of them. TM51 features Norwegian and international artists and part of their selection process is to promote young artists who have a sustainable career ahead of them. TM51 wants the viewer to be challenged, ask questions, and reflect. Also check out:Galleri RIIS - focused on contemporary and modern Scandinavian art.Brandstrup - one of the best in the gallery district of Tjuvholmen, offering monthly exhibitions of very carefully curated artists.STANDARD (OSLO) - this contemporary art gallery has participated in numerous fairs such as the Venice Biennial and Art Basel and it hosts incredibly interesting exhibitions from both Norwegian and international artists.  

[...]

11.10.2017

He can dance, he can sing, he can do magic… he’s a gentleman; what can’t he do? Well, we’re not really sure. Neil Patrick Harris has shown success in all of his endeavors; his ascent to child stardom took off when he was 16 and starred in the hit show Doogie Howser, M.D.. He never experienced the plight of many other famous child actors who fell victim to melting down in the public eye. While not necessarily everything he’s acted in has been a huge success (such as a few post- Doogie shows), he never stopped honing his craft. He always remained humble and led by example, saying that “sometimes you can have the smallest role in the smallest production and still have a big impact”. This is a statement that everyone can learn from, and it’s a testament to always finding the positive in any situation. A gentleman doesn’t act as if “lesser” tasks are “underneath” him.  NPH comes off as a mild-mannered guy, but being easy going doesn’t mean that he’s not assertive. Anyone can speak their mind, but NPH maintains the composure of a gentleman when doing so - he manages to sound polite even if he’s correcting someone. For instance, regarding his sexuality, he said, “Rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions…”. This is a skill that few possess, and NPH sets a great example of how to finesse a situation when you disagree with something. Another unique NPH quality is the way that he uses self-deprecating humor. Of course, a lot of people say self-deprecating things, this isn’t out of the ordinary. The gentlemanly feature he demonstrates is that he seems to be strategic about it, rather than using this style of humor as a defense mechanism or a way of coping in an awkward situation. He can even turn something where he is making fun of himself, into an opportunity to compliment someone else. When asked about his Doogie Howser co-star, Christine Taylor, he said “She's an absolute catch, and I thought if I'm not going to feel the super sparks with her, then it probably means that I'm gay.”. Neil Patrick Harris’ gentlemanly qualities transcend the fragile masculinity of the stereotypical “alpha” or “macho” behavior that is commonly expected from a “gentleman” in a patriarchal society. Both men and women can learn something from the standards that he sets, thus making him a role model not only for aspiring gentlemen but for anyone, which just goes to prove how much of a gem he really is.  

[...]

11.03.2017

Mount Fuji is registered as a World Heritage Site and that comes as little surprise. Famed painter Hokusai Katsushika, who was a great influence and inspiration for Impressionist artists, was smitten with Mount Fuji and is in fact known for his depiction of the mountain glaring red in the soft light of a summer morning. Because of the weather condition and – alas – global warming, Mount Fuji can be admired in its redness also at this time of the year. You may be lucky enough to catch “Diamond Fuji”, a phenomenon that occurs when sunset and sunrise align perfectly with the peak of Mount Fuji. You may also see “Red Fuji”, when the snow-capped summit becomes pink in the light of the sun rising or setting. People have been fascinated with the ever-changing beauty of Mount Fuji since time immemorial. In Japan, hatsuyume, the first dream of the year, is thought to foretell the fortune of the dreamer in the ensuing year. Fuji is considered to be the most auspicious dream, followed, for some reason, by the dream of a hawk and the dream of an aubergine. Of course Mount Fuji is a wonderful leaf-viewing destination, but there is always a reason to see Mount Fuji, new aspects to discover and fall in love with. Oshino (Yamanashi Prefecture): Nijū-Magari TōgeLocated at a 1,150m height in Oshino, Yamanashi Prefecture, this pass offers the an absolutely mesmerising scenery with the view of the snow-crowned summit appearing in the midst of the autumnal foliage. Another must-see is Oshino Hakkai, a set of eight ponds fed by snow melted from the slopes of nearby Mount Fuji that filters down the mountain through porous layers of lava for over 20 years, resulting in very clear spring water. The site has been designated as a National Treasure and as one of the Hundred Famous WatersFujinomiya (Shizuoka Prefecture): Lake TanukiThey say Mount Fuji is a whimsical kid, oftentimes not revealing itself because of the adverse weather conditions. However, in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, the reflection of floating Fuji can be seen on the lake surface, even when it is clouded. Lake Tanuki is a small lake with a 3.3 km circumference and an 8m depth. Mount Fuji is located exactly in the east. In the winter, when the air is clear, the water mirror offers a perfect reflection of Mount Fuji. Additionally, between 20th April and 20th August, excursionist can enjoy the phenomenon of “Diamond Fuji”Fujinomiya (Shizuoka Prefecture): Asagiri PlateauAsagiri Plateau is a high plain located west of Mount Fuji, whose elevation ranges from 700 to 1,000 metres. The name Asagiri (lit. “morning haze”) is due to the fact the plateau is foggy in the mornings and evenings from May to August. From the plateau you can admire Mount Fuji in its grandeur, with nothing blocking the view, in a pastoral setting which cannot be found anywhere else. Yamanakako (Yamanashi Prefecture): Lake Yamanaka PanoramaLake Yamanaka and Mount Fuji are an extremely photogenic combo. In autumn in particular, the foliage around the lake and at the foot of the mountain becomes wine red, which is emphasised by the light of the sunset. From Lake Yamanaka, excursionists can see as far as the Southern Alps. Furthermore, in winter Diamond Fuji is visible for a considerably long period of timeMount TsukubaSurprisingly, very few people know that Mount Tsukuba offers a full view of Mount Fuji. The mountain is located north of Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, in the eastern part of Kantō. It is 877m high and is composed of two peaks, called male and female. From the female peak, you can appreciate the whole view of Mount Fuji in the middle of the Kanto Plain, backed by Tokyo's residential area.  

[...]

10.31.2017

The museums on this list relate to specific topics, but can be of interest to anybody. We love Tate Modern just as much as the next person (if not more), but here are some niche museums to shake things up a bit. Fashion & Textile MuseumThis museum was founded by the quintessential fashion visionary, Zandra Rhodes. Since it is too small to have a permanent collection, it has temporary exhibits, often from specific designers or time periods. Despite its size, this is a must for anyone who studies fashion or wants to work in the industry. Plus, it’s location on Bermondsey Street is fabulous: we recommend exploring it, it’s a favorite area among foodies, and craft beer and cocktail enthusiasts. Freud MuseumSigmund Freud is an icon of the 20th century and his work lives on through various psychological techniques used today that were influenced by his work. Being able to walk around in his home and step into his world for a moment gives visitors a unique insight into what the last year of his life would have been like. Oddly enough, many visitors have surprisingly emotional reactions to visiting his home; the study in particular, as that’s where he saw patients on THE couch. Whether or not you agree or disagree with Freud’s methods, his profound importance to the field of psychology is undeniable and his couch is synonymous with this. Freud is one of the most fascinating men of the last century, immersing yourself in the place where he spent the last year of his life is an interesting way to spend an hour in London. Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology Part of University College London’s Museums and Collections, this small museum holds over 80,000 items. Upon first glance this snug museum doesn’t look particularly thrilling, but it actually contains indispensable Egyptian and Sudanese artifacts. Highlights include what might be the oldest dress in the world (a linen slip like garment from 5000 BC), the earliest piece of metal found in Egypt and other significant pieces of clothing from 2400 BC. There are drawers and drawers of fragments of pottery and other miscellaneous pieces and beads and decorations. But those aren’t just any beads, they’re the world’s first beads made out of iron. If you don’t have a particular interest in Egyptology, this will be a very quick visit for you as the museums strength doesn’t lie in its ability to engage visitors who are archaeology novices. However, it’s worth a trip in order to see some of the oldest Egyptian and Sudanese artifacts in the world with your own eyes. Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative AnatomyAnother UCL museum, this one isn’t for squeamish people. It’s an incredibly unique museum packed full of animal specimens. In just one dimly lit room with beautiful old fashioned wood paneling, there are thousands of specimens, from the skeleton of the rare and extinct quagga, to a kangaroo stomach, and a whale’s penis bone, and jars filled to the brim with small animals (such as moles, crocodiles and terrapins). It might be a little creepy for some, but it is definitely fascinating. Pro tip: you haven’t spent enough time inside unless you’ve found the preserved guitarfish. The Library and Museum of FreemasonryThe Freemasons are popularly known for being linked to the Illuminati by conspiracy theorists and also for having notable members such as numerous US presidents (and Founding Fathers), Mozart, and Winston Churchill. Because they are a private society, they are shrouded in mystery, so if you want to find out for yourself if the freemasons really are trying to bring a New World Order, you should take a peek at this museum and see for yourself what’s really going on. And even if contemplating the not-so-secret organizations that may or may not be pulling the puppet strings of society isn’t particularly intriguing to you, it’s a really beautiful Art Deco building that anyone attracted to architecture and design will enjoy. Churchill War RoomsWhile this might not be considered a lesser known museum, it definitely deserves more recognition by those who aren’t typically interested in war relics. The Churchill War Rooms are one component of the collection of Imperial War Museums, and as bland as the name sounds to some, this museum is quite engaging. There are two main sections of the museum: the first is a timeline of his life with lots of information about him, his beliefs, important accomplishments, etc.  However, it’s not like reading a boring old history book: the language is easy to read and there are lots of his personal effects scattered throughout, including some of his paintings and other objects. The more exciting part is the war rooms- as you can imagine since this is an underground bunker, the halls and passageways are quite narrow, but it’s worth the claustrophobia. The rooms have mannequins and other replicas staged to show exactly what an average day would have been like. The map room on the other hand, has been untouched since 1945. The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural HistoryThis collection of oddities is curated by Viktor Wynd, an eccentric collector, artist, author, and lecturer. It’s more of a cabinet of curiosities than a museum. There are as many shrunken heads as your heart can desire, plenty of taxidermy (unsurprising), and even a jar with Amy Winehouse’s poo (somewhat surprising). If you like random and occasionally grotesque collections of bizarre objects, you won’t be disappointed at the Viktor Wynd Museum. There’s even a bar and a private room that you can book amongst the chaotic smattering of items for continued enjoyment.   

[...]

10.24.2017

Stranger Things is like a fusion between E.T., Stand By Me, anything and everything Stephen King, directed by Steven Spielberg, but without feeling like a rip off. How is this possible? Even though it’s been done over and over, the nostalgia of 1980s small town USA never seems to get old… when it’s done correctly. The show is easily accessible, meaning that, we’ve seen The X-Files, we’ve seen The Goonies, these themes don’t need to be explained. We know and love the characters from the very beginning: a group of relatable kids who are trying to do the right thing (even if it means sneaking behind their parents’ backs), the classic teenagers trying find themselves while navigating the awkwardness of the classic American high school setting, the grieving mother, and the disconnected cop who has a personal connection to all of the above. The show can remain relatively fast paced because these are concepts that we’re already familiar with, we don’t need a backstory to understand. But How Can It Still Feel Original?The show owns the fact that it’s majorly borrowing from its inspirations. Look at the typeface: it undeniably had Stephen King written all over it (no pun indented). The ingenuity of the kids that the plot is centered around is timeless. The casting and character development is outstanding. A clever group of social outcasts going on an adventure and dealing with adult themes (like government conspiracies), will never get old. And their acting is brilliant - it’s so authentic, how can you not get sucked into their world? Plus, the show has the right balance of sci-fi without being too nerdy, a retro vibe without feeling old, monsters without it turning into a horror. While it’s not as innocent as E.T., it’s also not the depressing sci-fi about a dystopian future where society collapses and the world is run by artificially intelligent robots. It’s more of an X-Files vibe: government cover-ups, government testing on humans, one girl with telekinetic powers, and an alternate reality. It has just the right mix of themes to be engaging to so many people - but was striking this balance an art or a science? Is It Really So Simple?It’s not a surprise that Netflix uses big data to their advantage, and not just through their algorithms to suggest more shows. Netflix keeps track of all of their users’ viewing data. Like what kinds of shows, on which device, on which day, at which time. They know that viewing trends are different on different days of the week and across different devices. For example, say they knew that one group of users likes content that is from the 80s, and likes content with Winona Ryder, and that there is a big overlap between these two groups (I mean, obviously). And that this group shares a lot of similarities with groups who rate content with supernatural themes highly. Therefore, something involving the 80s, Winona Ryder, and sci-fi would appeal to a large subsection of viewers. This kind of extrapolation could go on forever, but you get the point. Stranger Things was guaranteed to be a hit because it has been carefully calculated by Netflix’s algorithms made possible by Netflix’s 1000+ developers. Even if the concept for Stranger Things was just the product of complex analyses of our metadata, there is surely something to be said for the actors’ incredible execution that has captured all of our hearts. And can we talk about Winona? She’s finally back! The quintessential late 80s/early 90s actress has been cast perfectly - her character is a little crazy but relatably so. It’s as if one of the Winona characters we know and love from 25 years ago has simply aged. Because she was out of the spotlight for so long, it’s as if she only exists in the 80s, making you feel truly transported back in time. 

[...]

10.23.2017

Unlike the James Bond character, Daniel Craig is a gentleman both on screen and off. While the Bond reputation can be a double edged sword, Craig hasn’t linked his own identity to the narrative of the Bond franchise. Off screen, this means that he’s not just known as “the guy who played James Bond”. Daniel Craig learned early what it means to earn something - as a teenager he worked part time to finance going to theater school in London. He failed multiple auditions at Guildhall School of Music and Drama at the Barbican but his persistence paid off. Craig is an incredibly accomplished actor who studied alongside Ewan McGregor and Damian Lewis. A gentleman knows the value of hard work. One of his most admirable qualities is that he doesn’t hide his true feelings and effortlessly stays calm and collected, even when a tactless interviewer referred to his co-star Monica Bellucci as an “older woman”. Craig aptly corrected them saying, “I think you mean the charms of a woman her age”. A gentleman isn’t afraid to speak up (in a respectful way). He is confident in himself and stands up for his beliefs without coming off as arrogant. A gentleman should never be seen as arrogant.  In public appearances he is well reserved, no scandals to speak of, and keeps his private life private: he married Rachel Weisz in 2011 and their ceremony only had four guests. A gentleman  isn't ostentatious. He’s not a gentleman because he’s “chivalrous”, but because in real life Daniel Craig rejects the traditional misogynistic ways of James Bond. While the character is praised for his “tact” with women, the truth is that the character James Bond is lonely. He is emotionally unavailable and women are disposable to him. In fact, after Spectre in 2015, Craig said he never wanted to play James Bond again, although it appears that he’s changed his mind. Still, it is safe to say that if James Bond was real, he and Craig wouldn’t exactly be pals. The fact that Daniel Craig rejects the outdated trope of the character that he is most known for is why he is a true gentleman.  

[...]

10.16.2017

Tom Petty has become a household name thanks to his vast catalog of hits, and as the unfortunate trend goes, artists always seem to garner more popularity after death. Yet not many are aware of the fact that the way in which he navigated the cesspool known as the music business is crucial to the evolution of the industry, and how we understand it in 2017. So, before the next person tells you how Tom Petty changed their life (even though they haven’t bought a Tom Petty album since the ’80s), here are some things over which his influence still remains. The Rift Between The Record Companies And ArtistsIt seems like we’re constantly hearing about legal processes over artists’ rights; remember Taylor Swift and Spotify? The beginning of the schism on sharing music over the internet with Metallica and Napster? Well, first came Tom Petty and the war on $1, back in 1981. That’s right, Tom Petty was so against a $1 price hike that was going to be imposed on one of his albums by his record company (from $8.98 to $9.98) that he debated not even releasing said album (Hard Promises). The record label eventually backed down and didn’t increase the price. Even more extreme was prior to the $1 controversy, Tom Petty declared bankruptcy so his record label could drop him, so that he could subsequently sign with them again but under better terms. There has always been a perpetual battle with record companies and artists (Spinal Tap, anyone?) about artistic control. Very few people have it these days, and Tom Petty had always been an advocate for it. For him, having full artistic control wasn’t just about having the last word over the final cut, it was about the way artists are treated by management. Artists are treated all too often as commodities than creators. Think about Prince’s legal battles to own his own music (you’d think this would be common sense, but not in the music licensing world), and more recently Kesha who cannot release work under any other label than the one whose founder sexually and psychologically abused her. Looking back on it, Tom Petty’s dispute with his label for wanting to charge his fans one more dollar was considerably iconic. Artists Against Artists: Copyright Infringement And The LawAnother unfortunate trend (depending on what side you’re on) for decades has been artists suing each other (John Lennon, Coldplay, Radiohead, Beyonce, and Jay-Z have all been sued) over the copyright infringement of music and/or lyrics. This is a tricky subject as it’s realistically possible for one artist to “rip off” another artist without even knowing it. It’s easy to hear a song somewhere, and months later when you go to write a song, write something uncannily similar and think it was your own creation. Since Tom Petty was the unassuming type, when people were a little too “inspired” by his music he didn’t ignite spiteful legal battles. Instead, in reference to the striking similarities between 1989’s I Won’t Back Down and Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, Petty basically said quite casually that these things happen. He has been credited as a writer on Smith’s hit song, but didn’t hold a grudge. As many ’70’s rockers can attest to ( *cough*, Led Zeppelin, *cough*), “borrowing” riffs and taking “inspiration” here and there was actually pretty typical in the blues- the genre which these musicians grew up with (ask Chuck Berry’s people - everyone from The Beatles to Bob Dylan admit to stealing from him). Perhaps it’s a generational perspective, as Tom Petty grew up with the blues and cited blues rooted bands like The Rolling Stones as inspirational, but he didn’t treat the lifting of his work by others as blatant and calculated theft (even if it was). When The Strokes had no qualms about admitting the fact that they took the beginning of American Girl for their song Last Nite, Tom Petty laughed. They were honest about it, after all. Rather than list all of the songs that could arguably have been ripped off of Tom Petty’s  songs, may we suggest that you go explore his catalogue yourself. There will be many “hey, I know this song!” moments, and some occasional “this reminds me of….”, but most of all the ties between his style and the style of today’s music will be self evident.  

[...]

10.10.2017

There is a beautiful place in Milan devoted to art and design, but it is neither a museum nor a gallery. We are talking about the Taschen Store in central via Meravigli, covering an area of 120 square meters over two floors just a short walk from the Duomo, which opened a couple of years ago as the very first Taschen store in Italy. The special thing about it is that it does not just showcase Taschen’s world famous illustrated books, but also the talent of the artists and designers that contributed to enriching the space, whose atmosphere is perfectly and harmoniously consistent with the publisher’s style. The large glass-top cabinets that house Taschen’s Collector’s Editions and Art Editions and custom bookshelves on the ground floor, have all been designed by Marc Newson, a long-time collaborator whose work spans a broad range of disciplines, from airplanes and cars to furniture, clothes and, in 2014, the creative team at Apple. Artist Jonas Wood has designed a terrazzo flooring delineating shimmering Californian flora and fauna in blues, greens, and yellows. A spiraling staircase by Salvatore Licitra connects the ground and first floor in a gradation of colors, with an alcove intended for quiet reading, and wall art from Graphic Thought Facility which gives the vibrant bookworms of the pop-up store a new, golden incarnation. The store also celebrates Italian design from the 1950s with pieces from the personal collection of Benedikt Taschen. An imposing chandelier on the ground floor is a Gio Ponti design commissioned by the Hotel Parco dei Principe. On the first floor, a 1954 lamp by Flavio Poli for Archimede Seguso illuminates the exhibition space, which houses temporary design and art exhibitions. 

[...]

10.03.2017

Mid-Autumn Kangen Matsuri (October 4)Hie Shrine in Akasaka is the venue of a number of traditional performance, including gagaku, ceremonial music, bugaku, dance music, and Sannō-taiko (drums), underneath the moonlight, in a magical journey through space and time to the world described in the Man’yōshū poetry collection. Japan Umeshu Matsuri in Tokyo (October 6-9)At Yushima Tenman-gū Shrine you can savour umeshu from all over Japan in the charming ambience of downtown Tokyo. You will find all sorts of plum wine from Hokkaidō to Okinawa, with a brandy finishing or even matcha-flavoured. When you purchase the ticket, either in advance or the same day, you will receive a token for umeshu tasting. 18th Tokyo Yosakoi within Fukuro Matsuri (October 7-8)The festival is expected to bring together some 250,000 people, with more than 100 dancing teams competing for the Tokyo City Governor’s Prize. Each team will perform in different venues, such as Ikebukuro Nishiguchi Park, Otsuka Kitaguchi Station square, Sugamo Station square and Mejiro Station square, each with an original dance. After the award ceremony, all the participants will dance to “Hifumi”, Tokyo Yosakoi’s original song as part as the special programme for Fukuro Festiva’s 50th Anniversary. All the vibrant colours of the costumes will be a feast for the eyes. And if you get hungry, you can stop at one of the thirty stands. Kawagoe Matsuri (October 14-15)The history of Kawagoe Festival begins when the customs and refinement of Edo reached the land across the Shingashi River, north west of the capital. Kawagoe Festival consists of the Reitaisai festival held at Hikawa Shrine, immediately followed by Jinkōsai festival and Float Event. Jinkōsai festival started in 1648 by demand of the reigning Kawagoe clan lord Nobutsuna Matsudaira Izunokami, who offered religious artifacts, such as a portable shrine, a lion mask and taiko drums to Hikawa Shrine. The festival has been designated as an Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property, and the Float Event is also registered in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. 

[...]

09.29.2017

If you haven’t yet ventured to the cinema to see Darren Aronofsky’s latest mind bending and controversial film Mother!, and especially if you are not familiar with the director’s work, here is what you should know before going in to the theater (no worries: this article contains no spoilers). 1. If you don’t know Aronofsky by name, the film he is probably most known for is the passionate, disturbing and beautiful Black Swan. Centered on a ballerina, this film garnered some critique for its most graphic scenes. Black Swan has been described partially as a horror, but it’s not the kind of horror with axe murderers; the scenes noted as disturbing have the effect on a viewer like nails on a chalkboard - but even more amplified. The film most known for having this effect on the audience is Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky’s second film that portrays the lives of heroin addicts, devoid of any sense of humanity. More mainstream, however, is The Wrestler- also well received by critics and also intensely showing the characters’ psychological agony, but less unsettling visually. 2. Going in to an Aronofsky film, you should be ready to completely submerge yourself into the world on screen and commit to the journey of emotional explorations that comes with it. As unsettling as some may find his films, the beauty is in the way Aronofsky destroys a character’s psyche, while giving the viewer a calculated image of the raw, inner workings of a damaged mind of his own creation. 3. Aronofsky’s films can be difficult to watch at times- and not only due to the graphic nature of certain scenes. The deep character development and intensity with which each actor takes on their role locks the viewer into the world that is being presented to them. Critics of Aronofsky say that he is trying too hard to create something profound, and only coming off as over the top. That may be true, but his ability to evoke profound emotions within the viewer is impressive. He is completely uncompromising in his vision and that is something to respect whether or not you actually like his vision. 4. The common theme of his films is that of a person pushing themselves to extremes to become the best that they can. Aronofsky agonizingly portrays the passion and insanity of the characters’ mind. The cinematography is of course stunning, but even for people that don’t study a film in that way, and as unsettled as a one might feel, the beauty is in the profound way in which someone has just been transported into the warped psyche of someone else. 5. Do not let the reviews spoil Mother! for you and enjoy the film! 

[...]

09.20.2017

Among the many archaeological treasures of Greece, the remains of the Macedonian kingdom are certainly not the best known, perhaps because they are not on the classic tourist routes, yet they are gifted with a truly extraordinary charm that definitely deserves the trip to Thessaloniki and its surroundings. When in 1977 Greek archaeologist Manolis Andronikos found the tomb of Philip II of Macedonia and its perfectly preserved treasures, it was immediately clear to everyone that this was a discovery of priceless value. The excavations around the village of Vergina, 75 kilometers away from Thessaloniki and in the ancient city of Aigai, capital of the Kingdom of Macedonia, had begun already at the end of the 19th century, but so far nothing so surprising had emerged. The tomb of Philip II, along with other hypogeum-like tombs with vaulted ceilings and a monumental façade, were found beneath an artificial hill, protected by a clump of earth and tombstone fragments. But what struck the archaeologists at that time and still leaves visitors speechless is their miraculously intact nature, in addition to the beauty of the grave goods found inside them and currently on display in the adjoined museum. In particular, the tomb identified as that of Philip II, a key figure in the history of ancient Greece and the father of Alexander the Great, assassinated in 336 BC, contained several objects made of gold, silver and bronze, including magnificent crowns and precious diadems, a shimmer and a shield, in addition to the remains of a coat-of-arms and five tiny ivory sculpted faces presumably depicting members of the royal family. Even more surprisingly, there were also two perfectly preserved gold-plated urns containing the cremated remains of a man and a woman, supposedly Philip II and his second wife Cleopatra - or, according to an alternative theory, Philip III Arrhidaeus, brother-in-law of Alexander the Great, and his wife Eurydice. The royal tombs, together with the monumental palace - one of the most striking buildings of classical Greece - the theater, the shrines of Eukleia and the Mother of Gods, the walls and the necropolis make the remains of Aigai one of the most important archaeological sites European, unsurprisingly designated UNESCO World Heritage List.  

[...]

09.15.2017

After a long research and authentication work among private collectors, studios and production houses, Prop Store, one of the world’s leading vendors of film props, costumes and memorabilia based in London and Los Angeles announced a major auction scheduled for September 26. The 600 objects under the limelight all belong to crucial moments in the history of film and TV of the last 60 years, a veritable treasure trove for every collector and film enthusiast – provided that they have deep enough pockets to afford the insane prices of these covetable memorabilia.   Among the most famous pieces are, Marty McFly’s legendary self-lacing Nike snealkers from Back to the Future – Part II, Indiana Jones’ bullwhip from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Data’s trench coat with patches from The Goonies, a tunic from the 1960s Star Trek tv series, the Joker's costume from Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and the jumpsuit worn by Bill Murray’s character Venkman in Ghostbusters. The auction is scheduled for 12 o’ clock on September 26 in London, but bids can be placed over the phone or online as well.   

[...]

09.05.2017

Tokyo is commonly associated with contemporary art, whereas Kyoto is considered as the cradle of traditional arts and crafts. The on-going “Contemporary Art Special Zone – Ultra Kyoto” project is aimed at transforming vacant public housing facilities in sparsely populated areas, former factories and other unused spaces into contemporary art exhibition halls and galleries, in collaboration with historical temples. Here are a few tips for a contemporary art tour in Kyoto. Kō-an Glass Tea HouseBuilt by Tokujin Yoshioka to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sister city partnership between Kyoto and Firenze, the Kō-an Glass Tea House is currently displayed on the Shogunzuka Seiryuden observation deck in the sacred grounds of Shōren-in, a Tendai temple which has been designated an Important Cultural Property. Shogunzuka Seiryuden is dedicated to the Blue Fudō Myō-ō, one of Japan’s three great Fudō Myō-ō, the protective deities of Esoteric Buddhism. Tokujin Yoshioka’s work is designed to integrate the space of a transparent tearoom with the surrounding nature. The Kō-an Glass Tea House will be on display until 10th September 2017; afterwards, the glass structure will embark on a travelling exhibition all around Japan and abroad. Shōju-inShōju-in is a temple belonging to the Mount Kōya Shingon Buddhism, built before the year 800. The principal deity is the eleven-headed Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, and the seated statue of Fudō Myō-ō sculpted by Kaikei in the Kamakura Period (1185–1333) has been designated an Important Cultural Property. Until 18th September, Shōju-in is the venue of a large-scale festival featuring wind chimes from the 47 Japanese prefectures. Wind chimes are thought to be amulets against misfortune and it is common belief that nothing bad can happen to those who stand on the sacred grounds in the range of their sound. Its guest hall is noted for its heart-shaped window and its colourful 160 decorative ceiling paintings, depicting flowers and landscapes of Japan, as well as the seasonal representation of maiko dancers and the traditional allegories of the four cardinal directions: the Azure Dragon of the East, the White Tiger of the West, the Vermillion Bird of the South and the Black Turtle of the North. You may reach the Shōju-in grounds by bus from Uji Station in about an hour.  Forever Museum of Contemporary ArtThe Museum opened last June at Gion Kobu Kaburenjō theater, a well-known hub of traditional culture, with the “Yayoi Kusama: My Soul Forever” pre-opening exhibition, featuring Kusama’s works which make up the bulk of the permanent collection (until October 29).Built in 1913 and designated tangible cultural asset as representative of Japanese architecture, the Yasaka Club – the part of the theater which houses the museum - was turned into a contemporary art museum with a new art space displaying about 700 artworks collected over the last 30 years. The spaces are partitioned in an exquisitely traditional Japanese fashion, with sliding doors covered in thick decorated paper. The works of art are installed at a lower position than normally seen in contemporary art museums. This allows the viewer to enjoy the exhibition while seated on the tatami flooring. Finally, the ever-changing colours of the Japanese garden contribute to the fascination of the Museum. 

[...]

09.04.2017

Water and land, narrow alleys and magnificent palaces, ancient and avant-garde architecture, wild islands and overcrowded corners: Venice's most authentic beauty arises from an incomparable set of subtle and precarious balances. Yet to discover it you need to get off the beaten path, away from the packed bridges and the crowded squares, hand in hand with someone who knows the city inside and out. We asked Daniela Cominotto, Venetian-born and a licensed tourist guide of the city of Venice, to take us on a virtual journey through some of the floating city’s hidden gems. 1. San Giorgio Maggiore BasilicaSan Giorgio Maggiore IslandSitting on the islet in front of the basin of San Marco, this great masterpiece by Andrea Palladio is also worth visiting to enjoy a unique and spectacular view over the city from the top of the tower, accessible by elevator. 2. Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari BasilicaCampo dei Frari, San PoloWith its Gothic bulk, the largest church in Venice holds priceless masterpieces, including the famous triptych of the Madonna and the Saints by Giovanni Bellini, the only statue by Raphael in Venice and Titian’s Assunta altarpiece. 3. Scuola Grande di San Rocco Campo San Rocco, San PoloBorn in the Fifteenth century as a brotherhood of wealthy citizens devoted to charitable works, the last Scuola Grande which managed to survive the fall of the Venetian Republic is home to the famous and beautiful cycle of paintings by Tintoretto with episodes from the Old and New Testaments. 4. The Contarini dal Bovolo StaircaseSan MarcoThis little hidden gem in the heart of Venice, housed inside the late gothic building of the same name, is the most famous spiral staircase in the city, 26 meters high. From its vaults you can admire some of the most beautiful domes of Venice. 5. Squero Tramontin DorsoduroAt this historic yard where gondolas have been born ever since 1884 you will have the opportunity to discover the secrets (although maybe not all of them) behind the construction of these typical Venetian boats, exported all over the world and still made using traditional techniques and materials. 

[...]

08.31.2017

To Todd Selby, change is vital in order to grow as an artist. His 2008 project The Selby, offering an insider’s view of creative individuals in their personal spaces with an artist’s eye for detail, was just the starting point of a career marked by uninterrupted creative evolution. Theselby.com is a point of reference in the world of photography and art direction. Please tell us in a few words about your first steps into this world.TS: The Selby.com started out as my personal art project. It was a way for me to communicate directly to people through my photography. Before I started the website I was relying on magazines so this totally changed the game for me creatively speakingThe balance between people and places is one of the signatures of your work. Did you ever consider them separately and find discrepancies?TS: My work is very much about people and the spaces they inhabit so it’s really rare that I would photograph them outside of their homes or that I shoot homes without people in them.  We loved the part of your bio about your diverse previous work experiences, including ‘Japanese clothing designer'. Is this all true? TS: Yes, I’ve done a lot of different jobs. I’ve dabbled in designing clothing. I sold quite a few different clothing lines in Japan, most often at United Arrows. These included a line of designer bandanas, and a project called American Royalty that was huge, a series of one of a kind T-shirts that you could never wash. Do you consider yourself a ‘MultiPotential’ individual, i.e. a person with a lot of (and sometimes too many) interests both in private and work life? TS: I never heard of MultiPotential but most of all I consider myself a really lucky person that I get to pursue my creative interests. I think as a creative person in order to keep growing you have to change, so it’s only natural to leverage my work in photography and extend it to filmmaking, books, drawing etc. Whatever you create has a very intense and sensitive use of color. Do you think this is an important aspect of your visual messages? TS: I think color is critical to my work. I’ve always been attracted to bright pastels and watercolors. I’m definitely not a minimalist! How do you manage the balance between your creative approach - your signature - and the needs and requests of the companies you work for?TS: I developed a work flow that has been really great for me. Often times I’m busy with commissioned work, but as soon as I’m done with those jobs I move on as quickly as possible to my personal work. I always have a huge list of things that I want to do in my own time so it’s always pretty busy.  What is the most inspiring city in the world for your profession and for you as a man?TS: The most inspiring city in the world for me right now is Tokyo. When I go there it never ceases to amaze me, I love the level at which people operate and the awesome things that are going on. We know that you have a big passion for Mexican food, can you recommend a few Mexican restaurants in NYC or LA?TS: I’m obsessed with a Mexican restaurant called Casablanca in Venice Beach. It’s a Casablanca (the movie) themed Mexican restaurant, it’s filled with movie collectibles and has a one of a kind atmosphere. The margaritas from the “Tequila Express” cart and the homemade tortillas are amazing. To be honest I don’t eat Mexican food in New York City I never really had any that compares to what you get in California. Do you have any upcoming new book project planned? Can you give us a little preview?TS: Right now my focus is on my first museum solo show, it’s up until the end of October 2017 at the Daelim Museum in SeoulWhat is going to happen in the next future? TS: My plan is to keep progressing and changing what I do constantly, so there’s no telling what I’ll get up to! 

[...]

08.24.2017

In your radio program The Urbanist you deal with everything that concerns what makes cities work. Can you give us a few examples of virtuous cities in the world?AT: Because cities are competing for talent and global status, most are making attempts at improving quality of life for their citizens. What city doesn’t have a cycling plan or aims to devise a greener city? But some cities are moving faster than others and providing benchmarks for the rest to beat. Copenhagen and the Nordic capitals are the best at getting people out of their cars but are also engineering their cities for green space and a sense of shared responsibility. Tokyo is aided by a society in which people just take care of the urban environment and where social trust is high – put nice flowers outside your office and nobody will steal them. And Vienna has worked hard to protect its independent retailers and city living for all. SJ: The impression we get from the media, politics and the public discourse, is that immigration is the main issue in the big cities across Europe. Is it truly so?AT: Monocle has its HQ in London, a truly global city that wants – and needs – to stay that way; it voted resolutely to stay in Europe during the Brexit referendum. It’s one of those strange things that cities, where most migration happens, tend to be relaxed about the issue while smaller towns with almost no migration are more concerned with the debate. Of course we need to make sure that migrants become part of the city’s life – and that’s a two-way responsibility. But in London, for example, it’s not where you came from but what you do that marks you out. And Londoners seem to like this richness – it makes my day coming to work and being surrounded by people whose life stories are different to mine. What’s great is when you see how all these disparate people can unite, whether to fight back against terror or just hang out together in the park on a summer’s day. SJ: What is your first memory of London and does it clash with your current idea of the city?AT: I grew up in a town about 50km from London and remember coming to the city as a child with my parents to go to the museums or see the lights at Christmas. London seemed exciting and glamorous. By the time I was a teenager I was heading into the city to buy magazines and clothes. It was a place of dreams. Now it’s my home but it’s a city that can still amaze me and make me feel thrilled to be living here. SJ: The map of London’s hottest neighborhoods has changed a lot over the last 20 years. The process is always the same: low-rent areas attract a young and bohemian crowd, they become trendy, rents and house prices rise, and gentrification changes the face of the place. How can we break this cycle or change it for the best?AT: It’s a problem that worries lots of people. How do you ensure that local people don’t get edged out of newly cool neighborhoods? How can you make sure that the hardware store is not priced out by rent increases? Well, you can introduce price controls and ensure that any housing project retains an element for affordable rent but you cannot just stop gentrification. It’s too powerful a tide and your best hope is to direct it; to control its wilder ambitions. In London over the past 20 years there has been a flip that has seen the east become the home of every cool new bar, club and restaurant. The price of property has soared too – but you could not have stopped this. Cities have to change and I think many of these changes have made the area better for the majority. SJ: Which are the happening neighborhoods in London now? AT: It’s still a boom time for London and that means that young people looking for a new home are changing every quarter of affordable London as they arrive and open shops and places to eat. Peckham and Brixton in south London are on the rise. In the east of the city Dalston and Hackney are still thriving. Pockets of central London are changing too – Bloomsbury’s Lamb’s Conduit Street has transformed in recent years. SJ: The Monocle Guide to Better Living is a treasure trove of great things and places that can make life better on all levels. Which are Andrew Tuck’s everyday strategies and secrets to better living?AT: Go out, meet people, make the most of where you live. I am lucky that I have ended up living in the centre of London and can get to most places on foot or by bicycle and that means that the city never seems a difficult place to navigate. SJ: Can you please name 3 of your favorite cities in the world, apart from London? AT: Beirut, for the people and a way of living that, at its best, is nicely care free. Rio de Janeiro for the modernist architecture, that rich greenery and life lived outdoors. And Sydney, a city where the way of life on a sunny day cannot be beaten.  

[...]

08.17.2017

It takes two to tango. This is probably the very first thing that comes to your mind when you think of Buenos Aires, the city of the vibrant and sensual dance form beloved and admired all over the world. However, contrary to common belief, the tango is just one of the popular art forms that this vibrant diverse city has to offer, the second being Filete Art. Filete is a popular art form that was born in the early 20th century among Italian immigrants working in the wagon factories in Buenos Aires.Initially it was disregarded as an art form but gained tremendous traction as it was showcased on almost all the busses and wagons of the city, creating an iconic stance as a popular democratic and cultural practice. This stylized art form is highly recognizable due to its defining characteristics and elements such as the preponderance of vibrant primary colors, the use gothic and highly detailed lettering, the enclosure of each composition in a painted frame inspired by architectural elements at the time such as ribbon like spirals, and the use of symbolic imagery in the picture (for example, the horse shoes for good luck).   Today, Filete is an iconic symbol of the Buenos Aires identity, and it is seen everywhere form shop windows, buildings and even on vehicles. One artist that is bringing this art form alive is Alfredo Genovese, a renowned Argentine fileteador and author who puts a contemporary spin on this classic art form and has had a profound influence on its popularity in recent times. Spotting this distinct art isn’t hard in the city: it can be easily found on the streets of San Telmo and on Jean Juarès. If you want to cop some of these artistic pieces for your return, be sure to visit the San Telmo Market.  

[...]

07.26.2017

Long before it became a great city, London was a major port on the River Thames. The river, which appears almost unnoticed from its source in the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire, reaches widths of up to 240 metres in the capital, and then continues its journey to its estuary and the North Sea. Since the year 50, when the Romans founded Londinium, all the country's most crucial historic events have taken place along the banks of the river; the Thames however is more than just a silent witness to the history of the city: it is itself the protagonist, it is "liquid history", as the British politician John Burns once said. A journey along its banks therefore brings to mind all the periods of history that the city has been through. Beginning at the eastern outskirts of the city, the first thing you meet are the huge barriers, built between 1974 and 1984 to protect London from high tidal waves that still occasionally threaten the city. Continuing west through an industrial landscape, you reach the meander that encloses the Millennium Dome and The O2 arena's large entertainment complex, on its southern bank. Here, we are right in the middle of new millennium London, something that is also reflected on the other side of the river by the ExCeL (opened in 2000) and Canary Wharf, which is dominated by its famous pencil shaped skyscraper, One Canada Square. The large London Docklands area also starts here: these are the former port areas where warehouses for goods transported by ship once stood. They were subject to a major restoration project in the 80s and 90s, turning them into sought after commercial and residential areas. In Greenwich, where the prime meridian passes through London and where the famous Observatory has stood since 1675, there are many traces of history linked to the life of the river, such as the Old Royal Naval College and the Cutty Sark, the last of the tall ships that sailed to and from the East Indies, transporting tea and wool. The nineteenth-century Tower Bridge acts as an ideal portal to the long stretch of the Thames that flows through the centre of the city, where you can journey through the most important periods and events of London's history. Today, this great drawbridge acts as a crossing between monarchical power, whose ancient emblem is the Tower of London, originally built as a royal residence, and the city's present day power, which sits in the futuristic, glass City Hall designed by architect Norman Foster. On the north bank you will then find The Monument, the column erected to commemorate 1666's Great Fire of London, and the majestic symbol of Anglicanism, St Paul's Cathedral, with the City behind it. On the southern bank, however, is the Shakespearean London of Southwark, one of the city's oldest settlements, with its magnificent cathedral and the reproduction of the legendary Globe Theatre - and there is also Renzo Piano's The Shard (2012), the city's tallest skyscraper. In the midst of this is London Bridge, the oldest bridge in London. Although the current structure dates back to 1973, London's first bridge was built right here in wood, by the Romans in the year 50. Until 1831, just a little way to the east, stood the historic London Bridge built in 1209. After the shallow profile of the Millennium Bridge, the river leads you to massive former power station that houses the Tate Modern art gallery on one side and the benches overlooking the river's romantic Victoria Embankment on the other. Here we're in the centre of tourist London, unfolding over the curve of the river with the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey, where English monarchs have been crowned for a thousand years. Leaving these postcard views behind, we slip into the next curve, over the imposing building that houses the headquarters of the British secret service, and where the eye will lock on to a familiar sight: Battersea Power Station, the famous thermal power station that is immortalised on Pink Floyd's renowned Animals album cover. On the opposite bank, the affluent residential area of Chelsea makes way for Fulham where the ancient Fulham Palace (704), with its magnificent landscaped garden, still stands on the banks of the river. Then there is Hammersmith, a former industrial neighbourhood that once housed the famous Osram lamp factory. Just west, in Chiswick, former home of the famous Chiswick Records label (1975-1981), is British Grove Studios, the recording studio belonging to former Dire Straits' frontman, Marc Knopfler. We have now reached the western edge of London. While the affluent, green Richmond, which has always been the retreat of the royals and England's rich and famous lies to the south, our walk continues and comes to a end on the north bank, at Twickenham. Here, in addition to the English National Rugby Stadium, is a small island in the river known as Eel Pie Island, which, curiously, has a prominent role in the history of English music. Until 1967, the island was home to a famous hotel, the Eel Pie Island Hotel, known since the 20s for hosting great jazz musicians and, later, concerts by stars such as David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Pink Floyd. Even as I write the Eel Pie Island Museum, a museum dedicated to that golden age of music, is being opened in Twickenham.  

[...]

07.13.2017

[...]

06.28.2017

Radiohead, July 5, Manchester Arena, Manchester (UK)A rare opportunity for experiencing the live performance of the acclaimed A moon shaped pool album outside the summer festival circuit. And hopefully, the twentieth anniversary of Ok Computer will be the excuse for a complete performance of the band’s masterpiece album Primal Scream, July 14, Convento dell'Annunziata, Sestri Levante (Italy)From the psychedelic years of Sonic Flower Groove and the lysergic electro sound of the 1991 masterpiece Screamadelica, Primal Scream have never ceased to astonish and change. And if you wish to be surprised again, just head to the beautiful Convento dell’Annunziata in Sestri Levante, Italy. Coldplay, July 15-16-18, Stade de France, Paris (France)It is no coincidence for a band to reserve three dates of their tour to perform to one of the largest stadiums in the world. And since their hit single Yellow, Chris Martin & friends have scored hundreds of concerts and millions (over 80) of copies sold.Bjork, July 30, Naeba (Japan)The former Icelandic enfant prodige returns with a mini-tour whose most striking date is - no doubt - that of the Fuji Rock Festival, the major Japanese festival taking place in the green mountain resort of Naeba. Erykah Badu + Mary J. Blige, July 12, Piazza Napoleone, Lucca (Italy)In the beautiful setting of Lucca Summer Festival’s Piazza Grande, controversial soul singer and songwriter Erykah Badu meets  the ‘Queen of Hip Hop-Soul’ Mary J. Blige. U2, July 22, Croke Park, Dublin (Ireland)U2 come back home for the tour that commemorates the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, the LP that turned them into rock legends. To fans’ delight, the 1987 album will obviously be performed in its entirety. Muse, July 22, Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh (USA)Enjoy one of the most spectacular and theatrical rock bands ever performing at one of the greatest and most extravagant US concert venues, the Jones Beach Theater, whose peculiarity lies in its unique location, with the stalls’ staircases of the clinging to the shores of Zachs Bay and the stage suspended above the waterThe Who, from July 29 to August 11, Colosseum at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas (USA)For die-hard mods and for those who have never seen Pete Townshend live as he spins his right arm before hitting his Fender during Baba O'Riley's intro, this dates held at the legendary Colosseum in Las Vegas may be just the right opportunity. Feist, August 2, Circus Krone, Munich (Germany)Canadian singer-songwriter Leslie Feist, who rose to fame 10 years ago with her hit single 1234, takes her Pleasure to the unusual setting of the bizarre and colorful Circus Krone in Munich, one of the few permanent circuses still active in EuropeInterpol, August 13, Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade (Serbia)This summer, the standard-bearers of the early 2000s post-punk revival will celebrate their 2002 debut album Turn on the bright lights. Among the most fascinating tour dates is the one in Belgrade's Kalemegdan, a medieval fortress at the confluence of the Sava and Danube rivers. Van Morrison, August 13, Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle (Northern Ireland)If you are near Newcastle in mid-August, take the opportunity to see the man who wrote some of the most beautiful songs of the last 50 years - Glory, Brown-Eyed Girl, Domino, Wild Night - sing in the intimate atmosphere of the Slieve Donard HotelBelle and Sebastian, August 16, Chicago Theatre, Chicago (USA)Stuart Murdoch takes his Belle and Sebastian's bedroom pop from Scotland to the architectural splendor of the early 20th century Chicago Theatre. Patti Smith, August 16, Stadtpark, Hamburg (Germany)For 40 years, the huge and green Stadtpark in Hamburg has been hosting some of the best open air concerts in Germany. This summer, among others, the park will play host to American art rock veteran Patti Smith. Depeche Mode, September 9, Madison Square Garden, New York (USA)They managed to survive a career in synth-pop and never ceased to look for new sounds and ideas: over 35 years after their first LP, Depeche Mode return with a concert at Madison Square Garden that promises to be a true celebration. Gorillaz, September 18, Fox Theatre, Detroit (USA)The emblem-band of 21st-century cultural and musical crossover takes its live act to an icon of the twentieth century: the impressive Detroit Fox TheatreJesus and Mary Chain, September 21, Liverpool Olympia, Liverpool (UK)For many, the release of Damage and Joy was a real surprise: nearly 20 years have passed since the previous Jesus and Mary Chain album. And knowing the band’s low prolificity, fans would better not to miss this Liverpool Olympia Theater date. Beach House, September 23, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles (USA)Baltimore-based dream pop band performs in one of the world's most famous amphitheatres, the historic Hollywood Bowl, where artists of the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Kanye West, the Beatles and Nine Inch Nails have played from the late 1920s. Fleet Foxes, September 27, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Red Rocks, Morrison (USA)The flagship band of American indie-folk music is finally back after over five years. There will be plenty of tour dates and occasions to see them lives, but few locations can rival with the beauty of the Red Rocks natural amphitheater, immortalized in the famous U2 concert film Under a Blood Red Sky. Mogwai, October 22, Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht (The Netherlands)To promote their ninth album expected in Autumn, the Scottish post-rock band will tour Europe and North America. The date at TivoliVredenburg, whose halls have been designed to host the best contemporary European music ensembles, promises to be an acoustically perfect experienceFather John Misty + Weyes Blood, November 18, Sala Razzmatazz, Barcelona (Spain)He’s one of the funniest and most unlikely American songwriters of the next generation (and the former drummer of the Fleet Foxes), and she’s a rising star of the new psychedelic folk wave scene. This concert at the iconic Sala Razzmatazz in Barcelona is the perfect opportunity to see them both live.  

[...]

06.12.2017

Have you ever heard of ley lines? According to some, these alleged "alignments" between geographic points corresponding to places or monuments would be characterized by special energies, either magical or spiritual. Among them is the so-called St. Michael Alignment which, esotericisms apart, is a perfect excuse to visit some truly magnificent places, following this ideal line across Europe from Ireland to Israel whose path touches seven splendid shrines, some of them very well known and accessible, and others so secluded and impervious that they offer an authentic chance for adventure. What they all share is the strong spiritual vibe, and of course the cult of St. Michael, the Archangel believed by Jewish to be the defender of the people of Israel and by Christians to be the opponent of the devil, the one whose mighty sword blow - symbolized precisely by the ley line – killed Satan. Here are the seven steps of what might prove to be an exciting tour and, for the most part, one far from the great tourist flows. Skellig Michael, Ireland17 kilometers from the coast of Kerry, in south-western Ireland, is a pyramid-shaped rocky islet on top of which sits the most impervious place in Ireland: a monastery dating back to 588 (and designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996) founded by a group of monks devoted to Saint Michael. In addition to being definitely inaccessible, this fascinating sacred place is duly protected by the Irish government: only 10 boats have permission to sail to the tiny island from the Kerry coast, with a maximum of 12 people aboard and only once a day. Yet this did not prevent it from becoming the set for a bunch of scenes from the movie The Force Awakens, a.k.a. the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga. St. Michael’s Mount, CornwallAlso on an island, this time in front of Marazion, Cornwall, in the south west of England, the local version of the well-known French monastery of Mont Saint-Michel was built on the site where the Archangel supposedly appeared in 495 by a group of Benedictine monks coming from Mont Saint-Michel. Since the abbey was later replaced by a fortress, the church and the refectory are all that remain of it. Just like Mont Saint-Michel, the tidal island can be reached by ferry or by walking along the causeway that appears at low tideMont Saint-Michel, NormandyThe most celebrated and visited among the sanctuaries of the Line is undoubtedly the Benedictine abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, on the coast of Normandy, perched on a tiny tidal island. The Mont was connected to the mainland thanks to the construction of a roadway back in 1879, but lately the build-up of silt around the old dam was slowly destroying its insular nature, so the roadway was recently replaced by a new bridge. A Unesco World Heritage site since 1979, Mont Saint-Michel owes its name to the legendary apparition of the Archangel who, in the year 709, asked Saint Hubert to build a church carved in the rock in his name. Completed by Benedictines monks around 900, the church features a unique and fascinating stratification of different styles. The natural landscape and the Medieval village that surround the Abbey are also quite graceful, albeit very touristy. Sacra di San Michele, PiemonteThe spectacular view of this great religious complex dating back to the year 1000 on Mount Pirchiriano is without a doubt one of the most impressive postcards from the beautiful Val di Susa. Dominated by the ancient Abbey, the sanctuary, which has always been a popular destination among pilgrims and worshippers, can be reached by foot from the village of Chiusa di San Michele or from Sant'Ambrogio, yet the best way to enjoy its mysterious beauty is from one of the surrounding peaks, where you’ll be able to admire it from a distance, wrapped in the clouds like a timeless vision – and such a unique one that it inspired Umberto Eco’s his most famous novel, The Name of the Rose. Sanctuary of Saint Michael the Archangel, ApuliaA thousand kilometers further south along the Italian peninsula, in Monte Sant'Angelo, is yet another very important stop along the Saint Michael Alignment, a sanctuary whose construction, dating back to around the year 490, is due to the first appearance of the Archangel to the eyes of Saint Laurence Maiorano. Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 2011), the sanctuary consists of two levels: the upper one with the beautiful Romanesque basilica and the bell tower erected by Carlo D'Angiò as a thanksgiving to the Saint for the successful conquest of southern Italy, and the lower (and oldest) one, with the cave and the crypts. Saint Michael’s Monastery, Symi, GreeceOn the small island of Symi, north of Rhodes in the Greek Dodecanese, is the next sanctuary dedicated to St. Michael on the Line. It is a Venetian style Orthodox monastery erected around the 12th century and rebuilt in the 18th century, whose greatest pride is a huge icon of the Saint, highly revered by the Greeks, about three meters high. Needless to say, the opportunity is also perfect for enjoying the many beautiful beaches of the island, all within easy reach since Symi has an area of merely 58 square kilometers. Stella Maris Monastery, IsraelThe last stop of this tour suspended between faith, culture and natural beauty is located on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Upper Galilee. Despite not being technically a sanctuary dedicated to St. Michael, this is a highly significant spiritual place, deemed sacred ever since the time of ancient Egypt, dear to the Jews, quoted in the Bible and a popular hermitage destination. The birthplace of the Carmelite Order in the XII century, the original monastery was destroyed by the Turks in the 18th century and later rebuilt. The actual building dates back to 1828 and the interiors are decorated with modern paintings dedicated to the Order's history. 

[...]

06.05.2017

Museums without painting, canvases or sculptures, but filled instead with sounds, memorabilia and musical instruments: among musicians and music lovers, music museums are as popular and as loved as concert halls. And that is probably why these cultural institutions devoted to the history of music and instruments or to the life and the work of a specific composer or artist are almost inevitably pervaded by emotion and nostalgia. From the traditional ones, which offer a classic museum experience, to the most interactive and experimental ones, where all the senses are involved, they can truly be a blast to those who consider music a relevant part of their existence. Follow us on this virtual journey through five unique music museums, regardless of genres and ages. MIM, BruxellesListen to the sound of the most diverse musical instruments – from the classic Western ones to mechanical, electric, African and Tibetan instruments - as you stroll around the halls of a beautiful Art Nouveau building wearing infrared headphones. An authentic journey through time and space conceived for music enthusiasts. Beethoven-Haus, BonnVisiting Ludwig van Beethoven’s birthplace and childhood home is not something you experience every day - the simple thought of walking on the same floor where one of the greatest musical geniuses of all times moved his first steps can be frankly overwhelming. The core of the Beethoven-Haus collection is represented by pictures, musical instruments, mementos and original manuscript scores, including the one of the Moonlight Sonata. Musée Edith Piaf, ParigiInside the tiny Menilmontant apartment where Edith Piaf used to live at the beginning of her singing career is now a small museum housing a small treasure of personal belongings, billboards, portraits and memorabilia - including her legendary black dress. Every piece contributes to epitomizing the unique spirit of France’s most beloved singer-songwriter ever, sublime and tragic, criystal-clear and flamboyant just like Paris itself. Motown Museum, DetroitMarvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five... these are just a few of the artists whose career started at Motown, the legendary rhythm & blues and soul music label based founded in Detroit by Berry Gordy back in 1959. This museum celebrates the Motown years and preserves its cult through a huge collection of artifacts, photographs memorabilia and original instruments and equipment, including the famous Studio A, where The Supremes recorded Stop in the Name of Love in 1965. Icelandic Punk MuseumIf you don’t know a thing about Icelandic punk or had no idea it even existed until this very moment, then this exciting and unusual museum built inside a former public toilet building in Reykjavik is the right place to learn about it. Inaugurated last year by John Lydon - a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols - in person, it focuses on the punk and new wave scene of the 1970s and 1980s, which somehow contributed to the birth of the musical universe of The Sugarcubes, Bjork, Sigur Ros and other famous Icelandic artists. 

[...]

06.05.2017

In the north-western part of the Nagano prefecture sit the Hida Mountains, with summits exceeding 3,000 meters, like Mounts Kashimayari, Jii and Renge. In 2001, Ōmachi was designated “Mountain Culture City”. Known as the gateway to the Nagano prefecture from the side of Kurobe Dam and the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Ōmachi is a hiking and mountaineering destination where you can enjoy outdoor activities that go well beyond skiing in winter. In the northern part of Ōmachi, the three lakes of Nishina – Kizaki, Nakatsuna and Aoki – are a popular destination for cruises and wondrous firefly-watching in summer. Furthermore, Ōmachi is famous for the tunnel under Mount Tate leading to Kurobe Dam. Its arduous construction in the Fifties and Sixties inspired the 1964 novel The Sands of Kurobe by Shoji Kimoto, adapted into a 1968 feature film by Kei Kumai as well as into a couple of TV movies in 1969 and 2009 respectively. The breathtaking landscape of the Hida Mountains (aka the Northern Alps) is just about to host a magnificent art festival directed by Fram Kitagawa and centred on the themes of water, wood, earth and sky, with numerous artists from Japan and elsewhere exhibiting, as well as performing arts, music and food events. Local women will entertain visitors with folk tales and okohiru, snacks customarily eaten by farmers in their breaks from the work in the rice fields. Last but not least, Yōsuke Yamashita’s Special Quartet will delight the audience with the finest jazz performances that will echo through the valleys and soar over the peaks and into the hearts of the listeners. For a summer to remember and cherish. 

[...]

05.22.2017

Martin Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire and Vinyl, David Fincher’s House of Cards, the Wachowski sisters’ Sense8. Everyone seems to be migrating from movies to the small screen: producing and directing TV series for major networks and streaming services is now considered a reason for pride and prestige, just as it is for movie stars to be part of the cast of these productions, whose level is often comparable to or superior to that of film productions. However, this also happened in the past, albeit with a different spirit: for a film director, directing for television could be a way of working between movies, for experimenting or for training before entering the film industry. Here is a tentative list of some of the greatest directors of the twentieth century who have lent themselves to television series. Alfred HitchcockHow could we forget the unmistakable silhouette of the thriller master that accompanied the opening credits of the CBS show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which aired from 1955 to 1962? At the time, Hitchcock was already a legend and had directed many of his most famous films. Among the most memorable episodes is Lamb to the Slaughter, taken from a short story by Roald Dahl, the author best known for his children’s books. Richard DonnerPrior to directing cult films such as The Goonies and Lethal Weapon and its many sequels, Richard Donner, has been working for television for quite a long time starting from the 1950s. Among the series he directed episodes from are Gillighan Island, The Six Million Dollar Man, and above all a famous 1963Twilight Zone episode called Nightmare at 20,000 feetRainer Werner FassbinderIt was 1980 when the film director who represented New German Cinema (JDF) with Herzog, Wenders and others decided to adapt Alfred Döblin’s novel Berlin Alexanderplatz for TV. The result was a monumental miniseries of 14 episodes starring by Fassbinder’s muse Anna Shygulla. Steven SpielbergPerhaps not everyone knows that the first proper episode of one of the world’s most loved TV crime series ever was directed by a 25-year-old Steven Spielberg. The series was Columbo, which was launched in 1971 after two pilot episodes with the episode Murder by the Book directed by Spielberg. Robert AltmanIn the late 1980s, when blockbuster movies were thriving in Hollywood, Altman was struggling a bit and so he turned to television, where he had long worked in the past by directing famous shows (including the Bonanza). In 1988 he directed the brilliant Tanner '88, a mockumentary in which a fake presidential candidate, played by Michael Murphy, competed in the 1988 Democratic Primaries (later won by Michael Dukakis, eventually defeated by Republican George Bush senior). David LynchThat of David Lynch is perhaps the most emblematic case of a film director who devoted himself to a new-generation TV show. With its two seasons (and 30 episodes), Twin Peaks (1990) was in fact the forerunner of today's thriller and mystery series, albeit with all the peculiarities that have always distinguished Lynch’s unique style. 26 years after the broadcasting of the last episode of the second season, the third season is debuting this month on Showtime.  

[...]

05.10.2017

Walking along the banks of the River Thames in Twickenham, West London, you will spot a graceful pedestrian bridge that leads up to an islet in the middle of the river. Legend has it that Henry VIII used to come here to meet his lovers, but the name of the island, Eel Pie Island, is simply derived from the delicious eel-stuffed pies sold by locals to passing traders sailing along the river. Curiously, though, Eel Pie Island also has had a prominent role in the history of British music. Until 1967, on the island there was a famous nineteenth-century hotel, the Eel Pie Island Hotel, known since the 1920s for hosting great jazz musicians. In 1956, junk-shop owner Arthur Chisnall brought the Eel Pie Island Jazz Club back to life and turned it into the Eelpiland Club, and the venture had such a huge success that starting from 1963 the venue hosted The Rolling Stones and subsequently artists of the likes of David Bowie, Black Sabbath, The Who and Pink Floyd. In other words, this islet took a leading role on the map of British jazz, blues and rock music. However, that golden age was destined to end shortly: in 1967, not having enough money to take care of the necessary repair works, Chisnall closed down the club, which was later occupied first by a group of anarchists, and then by the largest hippie common in Britain. In 1970, a mysterious fire put an end to the glorious history of the Eel Pie Island Hotel, completely devastating the building. Yet the people of the island - a small and eclectic community of fewer than 150 people among which are many artists and craftsmen - and the Twickenham residents have not forgotten about this memorable past. One of them, Michele Whitby, launched the idea of ​​opening a proper museum dedicated to the island and to the events that made it famous, to be housed along the main street of the neighborhood. After collecting public funds and private contributions and gathering images, objects and memorabilia related to the Eelpiland Club music adventure and setting up a pop-up museum at the Twickenham Library in 2015, Whitby finally seems to have succeeded and in the coming summer the Eel Pie Island Museum will finally open its doors in its permanent location. The address is 1-3 Richmond Road, in the very heart of Twickenham. 

[...]

05.02.2017

There is something really distinctive in SA13's creations: it is a delicate balance of lightness, irony and sophistication that makes their ceramics, objects and posters familiar and, at the same time, gifted with a unique touch of creativity. There are a magazine/toilet paper holder, a Last Tango in Paris butter tray, a poster whose bold characters read Fuck Minimalism making fun of the "less is more" dogma, a series of plate couples that tell a story, and they all manage to combine artistic extravagance with very obvious and concrete functional characters. Behind them are Silvia Montemitro, architect, and Antonio Guion, visual artist, both based in Padua, Italy. SA13 is their brainchild, a project halfway between art and design born in 2014 from the emotional need to create something that, in addition to having a practical function, would be the result of artistic creation, and thus able to trigger thoughts and evoke ideas and inspirationsSJ: What was your initial inspiration?S & A: We are influenced by anything, not just from the art and design world, but by everything amazing, exciting and passionate that comes our way. The project was born almost by chance, out of the simple idea of drawing a set of designs for posters and ceramic dishes. SJ: Speaking of ceramics, your plates are produced in Nove (Vicenza) by skilled craftsmen...S & A: Yes, we manufacture everything in Italy, according to a zero-mile design concept: we involve local suppliers and craftsmen of our area. While it is often used as a blank label, the so-called “made in Italy” quality will have no future if we do not contribute to making it real. SJ: What is your formula for balancing functionality and art when it comes to creating an object?S & A: We are not interested in creating eccentric, strange or original things at all costs. We just want to make you smile and think, to tell stories, to make things that you can both use and admire as art pieces. It's not a better approach than others, it is simply our own approach. SJ: What is your relationship with the design world?S & A: Although we are obviously curious to know what is happening on the scene and around us, we do not care to compete or to follow market trends. Our time is spent in researching, developing and experimenting new paths, which honestly is not easy at all, because it demands commitment, consistency and even a little bit of madness. Yet we are sure that all of this will in some way be conveyed to anyone owning one of our pieces. SJ: How would you define your company?S & A: Although we conceive, design and make most of our products here in the studio, we tend consider our business more of a contemporary "workshop". In this first phase, we deal with everything: we create, design, produce, manage relations with customers, stores and suppliers, and even take care of shipments and promotion. SJ: Can you give us a preview of your project for the next future?S & A: We would like SA13 to someday become a creative workshop where enthusiasts can come and learn about manufacturing and processing techniques such as welding, wood carving, prototyping, 3D printing, experience, discuss and put into practice what they have learnt. Speaking of which, we would like to invite everyone interested in our work to come and see us, exchange ideas or propose collaborations; our door is always open, there are freshly brewed coffee and a welcoming sign reading YOU ARE NOT HERE. 

[...]

03.27.2017

The route known as Milano-Laghi is supposedly the oldest highway in the world, but what makes it truly unique is mainly the landscape it crosses: right past the Milan Malpensa airport, the urban fabric finally gives way to a warm and slightly surreal scenery - we are right in the heart of one of the most industrialized areas in Europe, and yet surrounded by woods. This is the Po valley gradually becomes hilly, and the lakes of Lombardy, born from the erosion of the glaciers occurred millions of years ago, seem to slip from the Alps onto the morainal hills. Among these, the best known is perhaps the Lario or Lake Como, with its two distinctive branches whose ends are, in fact, Como and Lecco. Como is a beautiful town with many different souls which welcomes the visitor to its streets and architecture with a certain of shyness, as if not to challenge the unsurpassed beauty of the lake and its surrounding mountains, including the Sacro Monte (Holy Mountain), a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2003. At the heart of the city is the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, deemed as the last Gothic cathedral in Italy, next to which sit Palazzo Broletto and the Civic Tower, belonging to the same era. Porta Torre is the symbol of Medieval Como, as well as the last standing ancient gate from a time when huge walls which surrounded the entire city, whereas the neoclassical Volta Temple from 1928 and the Gattoni Tower, turned into a physics lab back in 1783, are linked to the memory of Alessandro Volta, the great scientist who invented batteries as well as the first electric generator, who was born in Como in 1745. Finally, there is the Futurist and Rationalist face of the city, represented by the work of architect Giuseppe Terragni, who designed several buildings in the first half of the 20th century. It seems in fact that every century has left a mark on this city, which ideally extends to the natural landscapes on the shores of the lake dotted with the beauty of some truly majestic villas surrounded by huge Italian and botanical gardens, most of them open to visitors: Villa D'Este in Cernobbio - a luxury hotel since 1873 - Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi in Bellagio, Villa Lucini Passalacqua in Moltrasio and Villa Carlotta in Varenna, just to name a few. Located at the junction of the two branches of the lake, these villas tell the story of the ancient splendor of the Lombard nobility from the 17th to the 20th century, offering a relaxing atmosphere aristocratic in nature that has seduced celebrities from around the world. Not to be missedA boat trip to CernobbioExploring the Lario by boat is the best way to become familiar with these wonderful places. Thanks to the efficient navigation service that connects all locations on Lake Como, you can travel comfortably on boats and ferries. For a short but intense journey, we recommend a trip from the port of Como to pictoresque Cernobbio, where you can spend the whole day surrounded by pure beautyComacina IslandThe only island of Lake Como, Comacina used to be an important diocesan center in Roman and medieval times, before being razed to the ground in 1169, when it rapidly declined ending up in a state of disrepair. Only since 1900, thanks to the construction of a small ‘artists’ village’, did the island finally get back to life; today, thanks to the beauty of these buildings and to the breathtaking views it offers, it is definitely worth visiting, Also, Comacina is one of the most prominent archaeological areas in northern Italy with regard to the Middle Ages. BellagioRight on the tip of the promontory that separates the two branches of Lake Como lies the small town of Bellagio, known as the "Pearl of Lake Como" or the "City of Gardens", due to the presence of numerous oak, fir, beech and chestnut tree woods. The town center is a small and charming succession of narrow streets that climb the promontory among colorful homes, long stairways and old churches, up to the tip of the Spartivento Cape. Between the 18th and 19th centuries, sumptuous villas were built here by aristocratic and wealthy bourgeois families with the aim of hosting illustrious personalities including Napoleon Bonaparte, Franz Liszt and Alessandro Manzoni, who wrote several chapters of The Betrothed during his stay at Villa Serbelloni. Domaso and Gera LarioDomaso is an old fishing village located in an extraordinary location in the western Lario, at the mouth of river Livo, and characterized by important historic buildings such as St. Bartholomew's Church, housing a famous painting by Giulio Cesare Procaccini. Heading north east along the banks of the lake, you will get to Gera Lario, a favorite destination for water sport and trekking lovers, which counts among its attractions the Romanesque church of St Vincent, famous for its Roman and early Christian ruins. The Como – Brunate funicularBuilt in 1894 to connect the two towns quickly, this funicular railway departs from the lakefront in central Como and rides all the way up to the mountain resort of Brunate, sitting at 720 meters above sea level. Over the years, the funicular has been restored several times, but its current look dates back to 1951 and so it feels pretty vintage. The journey only takes seven minutes, but the view from up there, stretching from the lake to the plains and on to the western Alps, is really breathtaking. Photo credits:Villa Bernasconi a Cernobbio: photo by Dario Crespi under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licenseFunicolare Como-Brunate: photo by Nicolago under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license  

[...]

03.23.2017

Around the 1920s, the New York Public Library began documenting the changing face of New York City by collecting old historic photographs and taking new pictures with a particular emphasis on new building construction. The collection continued to grow systematically through commissioned photographs, purchases, and gifts into the early 1970s, turning into an outstanding resource of over 80,000 original photographs of New York City from around the 1870s to 1970. Today, thanks so the digitization of those images, the Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s collection is available for everyone to see on the NYPL website, but since the number of pictures is truly overwhelming, browsing through the archive to find a specific location can be  pretty hard. And this is where Old NYC comes into the picture: in order to provide an alternative way of browsing the collection, software developer Dan Vanderkam, who formerly worked at Google, associated latitudes and longitudes to the images in the collection. Known as geocoding, this process, carried out in collaboration with the Library, allowed the images to be placed at points on a map, so that if you wish to discover the history behind the places you see every day you just need to click on the location to get an idea of what it looked like in the past. We just love this! 

[...]

03.16.2017

The succession of repetitive gestures performed by the main character from Alike, a bank employee named Copi, is a bit of a cinematic cliché, evoking the famous assembly line scene from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. In a way, it seems to suggest that, in spite of the epoch-making change from industrial to knowledge economy, alienation as an aspect of the working life seems is far from extinct - and indeed in the digital world the isolation and loneliness of the employee appears even more obvious, along with the increasing amount of time that we devote to working and thus subtract from our personal and emotional lives in a world where we are constantly connected. The eight-minute Alike short film draws inspiration from this simple observation, so naive an yet so illuminating, depicting the latent absurdity of our way of life through the eyes of a child, Paste, on which father Copi - as the name itself suggests - is gradually and inexorably "pasting" his own resignation to the rules of a literally gray existence, deprived of alla curiosity and distractions. But there is hope, of course - and it appears in the form of a musical epiphany that results in an embrace restoring color to the existence.Alike has been directed by Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Méndez and produced by Daniel Martínez Lara and La Fiesta P.C. with the support of Pepe-School-Land.  

[...]

03.13.2017

Relations between Italy and China are increasingly close and strong, both for commercial reasons and because of the presence of a huge Chinese community counting over 330,000 residents. Still, the coexistence of these two worlds is not necessarily synonymous with a cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the two cultures. That's why initiatives like this one that is about to open in Vicenza in the splendid Palladian Basilica are not only welcome, but also necessary. An event conceived by Yvonne Maria Pugliese and Peng Feng and organized by the Municipality of Vicenza in collaboration with YARC, Flow is a work-in-progress exhibition now in its second edition depicting an imaginary dialogue between Chinese and Italian contemporary art thanks to the work of 24 artists who, besides speaking two different languages, express themselves through the most diverse material and immaterial media and artistic languages, from live performances to ceramics, from Plexiglas to neon lights, from wool to paper, from canvas to digital technologies. The result is an inevitably rich and unusual experience where the points of view on the two cultures and their encounter will multiply without limits or restrictions, leaving the observers free to build their own personal interpretation of the individual works and of the juxtapositions, thus becoming familiar with a different culture as well as getting in touch with themselves and their inner worlds. The only “guide” will be the videos self-produced by the artists themselves telling the story of how their works came to life, and the words of two philosophers, Marcello Ghilardi and Riccardo Caldura, revolving  around the deepest meaning of the "dialogue" that the exhibition intends establish between Italy and China. 

[...]

03.07.2017

Romantic, chaotic, crazy, violent, picturesque or surreal. Whatever idea of Paris you have in your head, it is most probably not just the result of experience, but also of all the films set in Paris you have seen over the years, which resulted in layers of images, stories and visions whose unique combination shaped your concept of ​​the city, of its essence, and of Parisian style. Hard to say if Paris is the most cinematic place in the world or just the city that the film industry has helped more than any other city in the world become immortal – but the fact remains is that in our own idea of ​​Paris these stories and these images play a leading role. Under the Roofs of Paris (René Clair, 1930)The very first French sound film, which was actually shot on a huge great in Epinay, at the gates of the city, depicts a working-class Paris inhabited by thieves, street performers and people of modest conditions. The roofs from the film’s title are seen from above in the opening sequence, topped with smoke from the chimneys, as the gentle sound of an accordion raises from a small square. The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)To twelve-year-old Antoine Doinel, estranged from school and from his own family, Paris in the late 1950s is the background for his own coming of age, and a place of freedom and adventure, charming and hostile at the same time. The sequences that see him wandering through the city streets are simply unforgettable. Bande à Part (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)The first thing that comes to our mind as we think of this film is the Louvre. The image of two boys and a girl holding hands as they run through the halls of the Musée du Louvre to beat some crazy speed record is perhaps one of the most quoted and familiar scenes of French cinema, almost a cliché. Yet it still feels like the perfect Nouvelle Vague moment – one of those cinematic moments that have contributed most in shaping our idea of Paris. Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)Despite the title, the world of Last Tango in Paris is all wrapped up inside an apartment in the Passy district, where two strangers meet and try to live a different life through anonymity, sex and passion. Out in the streets of the city and at the tango bar is reality, and with it comes everything that the two wish to escape - failures, shortcomings, misery and conventions. Three Colors - Blue (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993)A big city where to find solitude and anonymity to cope with grief: this is what Paris is to Julie, a widow who abandons her country house to rent an anonymous apartment after surviving the car accident that killed her husband and young daughter. Blurred in the background are the markets, the streets, the cafes, the sex clubs, the Piscine Pontoise, slightly cyanotic under the bluish lights. La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1994)With La Haine, the banlieues of Paris made their first appearance on the big screen, enveloped in a stark black and white evoking the reality of the news story on which the film is based. The background for the movie’s turbulent events is the banlieue of Chanteloup-les-Vignes, a suburb of brutalist 1960s tower blocks in the outskirts of Paris. Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)Jeunet’s adorable and wacky Amélie lives in a sly, romantic and somewhat surreal Paris, a city with pastel, desaturated colors inhabited by weird characters. A quirky fairy tale world that is mostly set in the pictoresque area around the Butte, the hill of Montmartre, which also houses the Café des Deux Moulins, where Amélie works, and the Au marché of the Butte store, where she does her grocery shopping. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)The second episode of Linklater’s romantic trilogy brings Jessie and Celine together again nine years after the critically acclaimed Before Sunrise, this time in a postcard-perfect Paris whose locations include the Shakespeare & Co. bookstores, the banks of the Seine and a cozy Parisian bistro. The city suddenly becomes a little authentic when the two protagonists leave the main road to enter the beautiful courtyard that leads to Celine’s home in Court de lEtoile dOr, a few steps from Place de la Bastille. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)"That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me". These words from the diary of Adriana, the protagonist’s love interest, perfectly sum up the love letter to Paris, and particularly to 1920s Paris, that this Woody Allen film is. Picasso, Buñuel, Dalí, Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Francis Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are all part of the director’s idea of Paris’ golden era, appearing like caricatures of themselves on the background of the same mythicized city that already appeared in Everyone Says I love you, only in a retro version. Mood Indigo (Michel Gondry, 2013)Among the many cinematic faces of Paris, it would be impossible not to mention Michel Gondry’s depictions of the city, and particularly the one from this film based on one of the strangest novels in the history of contemporary French literature, Boris Vian’s Foam of the Days. In transposing the unusual style of the novel into a movie, the director creates equally surreal visions, where Paris bends to the moods of the protagonists in terms of form and colors as Gondry’s signature strange mechanical creatures take to the streets. 

[...]

03.06.2017

It was the year 1917 in Leiden, in the southern Netherlands, when painter Theo van Doesburg established a journal called De Stijl to showcase the artistic philosophy of the Dutch avant-garde art movement De Stijl (Dutch for ‘The Style’), of which world-famous artists like Piet Mondriaan, Gerrit Rietveld and Bart van der Leck were members. The movement’s most iconic artist was Piet Mondriaan, with his unique use of primary colors and horizontal and vertical lines which would inspire the work of plenty of other artists, architects, fashion, furniture and fashion designers sharing the idea of a “new art” capable of modernizing the whole society. The belief that architecture and design can improve the world is still deeply rooted in Dutch Design, and the basic principles of the De Stijl movement continue to inspire countless Dutch designers to this very day. That is why, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of De Stijl, throughout this year there will numerous large and small exhibitions in various cities in the Netherlands, all centered around the theme From Mondriaan to Dutch Design. Following are a few highlights from the official event calendar. Exploring Mondriaan’s Work in The Hague The beautiful Art Deco building of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in The Hague, which boasts several works by Monet, Picasso, Schiele, Kandinsky, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon and many others, will host an exhibition featuring 300 works by Piet Mondriaan and the world’s largest collection of works from the De Stijl movement (from June 30 to September 24). Until May 21, the exhibition Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck - The invention of a New Art works explores the relationship between the two Dutch artists through 80 works, and from June 20 to September 17, visitors will be able to learn how De Stijl laid the foundations for contemporary Dutch design and proved to be a glimpse into the future through the exhibition De Stijl Architecture and Interiors. In Leiden, Hometown of De StijlA half hour from The Hague, this delightful university town not far from the sea and surrounded by flowers fields is ideal for a spring short break. It also happens to be the city where Theo van Doesburg and Modriaan founded De Stijl a century ago, so this year it will host several events, beginning with the open-air exhibition Openlucht Museum De Lakenhal (from June 2 to September 27), which will see the beautiful Pieterskerkplein (the square opposite St. Peter’s Church) host an exclusive prototype of the Maison d'Artiste, an elaborate cubist artist’s house designed by Van Doesburg and architect Cor van Eesteren in 1923. From May 11 to September 2, the LUMC Gallery will present the works of 10 contemporary artists inspired by the geometric abstraction of De Stijl, while from May 18 to August 6 several contemporary sculptures inspired by De Stijl will be showcased in front of the imposing Gothic church of St. Pancreas, in the old town. In the Dutch Design DistrictThe region of North Brabant, the birthplace of Vincent van Gogh and Hieronymus Bosch, includes the cities of Eindhoven, Den Bosch, Breda, Tilburg and Helmond, and it is considered the district of Dutch design. From the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven to the many remarkable museums and buildings, this area is the ideal destination for those who want to focus on the theme of design as well as get to know the work of design pioneers such as Gerrit Rietveld, author of the famous red and blue chair, contemporary and emerging designers.Among the 2017 special events is the opportunity to visit the building of the De Ploeg former textile factory in Bergeijk, designed by Rietveld according to the principles of the De Stijl movement and surrounded by a beautiful park designed by acclaimed landscape architect Mien Ruys. 

[...]

03.01.2017

In 1944 the charming Humphrey Bogart, then forty-five, met a breathtaking nineteen-year-old Lauren Bacall on the set of the movie To Have and Have Not. It was love at first sight, followed by the wedding the following year and the birth of two children. In this footage from La Settimana Incom dated May, 10, 1951 and taken from the amazing Istituto Luce archive, the legendary Hollywood couple is on vacation in Venice, enjoying a classic gondola ride with the iconic Rialto Bridge in the background. A delightful vintage postcard accompanied by the unmistakable narrative style inherited from the classic 1940s newsreels, of which La Settimana Incom was an evolution. After hitting the covers of magazines and newspapers worldwide, the love story between the two Hollywood stars would eventually end due to an unfortunate event, the untimely death of Bogart six years later, at the age of 57. 

[...]

02.14.2017

A "palace for culture." That’s how the Italian President Sergio Mattarella defined the new Fondazione Feltrinelli in Milan, a huge glass and concrete building that has been towering over the old Porta Volta tollhouses, in an area destroyed by WW2 bombings and basically abandoned for seventy years, since last December. Designed by the famous Swiss architecture studio Herzog & De Meuron, this iconic palace is not just another insanely expensive ‘archistar’ building, but the core of an all-round cultural project; and although it was entirely funded by private capital, it intends to serve as a public cultural hub and entertainment space for the neighborhood and the city. The cultural value is given primarily by the legacy of the Foundation that bears the name of Giangiacomo Feltrinelli - founder of the Institute and of the publishing house of the same name - and promotes literature and culture since 1974. A legacy including 270,000 books and 16,000 periodicals, which makes the Foundation one of the main European documentation and research centers in the fields of history, politics, economy and sociology. This heritage is available for scholars and private citizens through the Library, and it also serves as the basis for plenty of cultural events and conferences organized by the Foundation in its own spaces, and particularly in the Multipurpose Room.The beautiful Reading Room on the top floor, under the sloping roof of the building and flooded with light from the large windows overlooking the city, is perhaps the most amazing space in the new headquarters - and the most loved too, to the point that it is really hard to find a free spot. It can be accessed free of charge subject to availability, and it is truly great to sit here and enjoy the quiet and the view. On the ground floor is the Bookstore - not your usual Feltrinelli bookshop, but a smaller store concept whose departments are modeled on the disciplinary areas of research of the Foundation, ranging from humanities and social sciences to literature and visual arts. And within the library is yet another delightful social space, the Babitonga cafe, an island surrounded by books and open until late evening, where you can grab a bite any time of the day, from breakfast to the after-dinner cocktail, or sit and work on your laptop advantage of the free wi-fi spot. The building also houses the new Italian Microsoft headquarters, which includes a consumer area showcasing the latest technologies of the company and an educational workshop for developers, startups and IT professionals. 

[...]

02.06.2017

The National Museum of Western Art is Japan’s most relevant institution for Western art, developing around the Matsukata Collection, with pieces returned to Japan by the French government which include impressionist paintings and sculptures by Rodin. Regardless of the splendour of its exhibits and collections on display inside the Museum, the premises themselves are internationally acclaimed for being an architectural masterpiece. Completed in 1959, the National Museum of Western Art was designed by Le Corbusier, possibly the most influential architect of the 20th century. In 1998, the Ministry of Infrastructures listed the Museum among the 100 Greatest Public Buildings. It was designated as a Nationally Important Cultural Property in 2007. In July 2016, the Museum was added to the World Heritage List along with other works by Le Corbusier, “for his outstanding contribution to the modern architecture movement”. The premises bear all the characteristics of Le Corbusier’s architectural style, such as the use of pilotis, free elevation and roof gardens. But the real peculiarity of this museum is the spiral slope at the center of the exhibition room. The Matsukata Collection is composed of pieces of art that Kōjirō Matsukata started collecting while staying in London during the First World War. He was the third son of Masayoshi Matsukata, a statesman who also served as Prime Minister of Japan and is considered one of the founding fathers of modern Japan. Aiming to cater authentic Western art to the young Japanese artists, Kōjirō relentlessly collected up to 10,000 pieces of art, which include Western paintings, sculptures, furniture and tapestries, as well as 8,000 ukiyo-e. Unfortunately, the works stored in the London warehouse were destroyed by a major fire, whereas the French government initially withheld the pieces which Kōjirō had brought to Paris. In the name of the amity with Japan, France later returned all the items belonging to what is now known as the Matsukata Collection, which include Rodin’s sculptures and French art spanning from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century. The Matsukata Collection is displayed in a permanent exhibition in the main building, the new building and the front yard.  

[...]

01.17.2017

It is no secret that Munich owns an artistic and cultural heritage of great value, yet for some reason its museums are not as known and celebrated as the Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London. Yet they are definitely worth a thorough visit - particularly the three Pinakotheken which, literally a stone's throw from each other in the central museum district, offer visitors the chance to immerse themselves in over 7centuries of great art. Inaugurated in 1836, the Alte Pinakothek collects 700 masterpieces created between 1300 and 1700, commissioned and collected over the centuries by the Bavarian royal family. The collection includes major artists of the likes of Rubens, Dürer, Bruegel, Rembrandt, Leonardo, Titian, Raphael, Tiepolo, Giotto, Van Dyck and Velásquez. Partially damaged during the Second World War (the paintings had been previously moved to a safer location at the outbreak of the war, in 1939), the building was renovated and reopened to the public in 1957. Our journey continues with the nineteenth century masterpiece collection of the Neue Pinakothek, whose present building, just opposite the Alte Pinakothek, was designed in contemporary style by Alexander von Branca and opened in 1981. The original museum, built by Ludwig I of Bavaria, had in fact been badly damaged by the WW2 bombings. The collection includes paintings and sculptures from the end of the 18th century until the early 20th century, comprising works by Symbolist and Art Nouveau artists. From Delacroix and Courbet to the masters od Impressionism, from Van Gogh to Gauguin, from Klimt to Munch, the list of exhibits is truly impressive - and further enriched by magnificent works by Rodin, Canova and other major sculptors. Finally, modern and contemporary art, along with photography, sculpture design, graphics and architecture from the 20th century to present day are exhibited in the beautiful Pinakothek der Moderne, the most remarkable contemporary art museum in Germany. This huge museum complex, designed by Stephan Braunfels and opened in 2002, includes four independent but related museums: the Modern Art Gallery, the Neue Sammlung, focusing on design, the Architecture Museum of the Technical University of Munich and the State Graphic Collection. Kandinsky, Klee, Magritte, Dali, Picasso, Bacon, Baselitz, Warhol, Boccioni, Giorgio de Chirico and Fontana are just a few of the artists whose works you can admire in this futuristic space literally bathed in light - especially in the famous glass Rotunda at the center of building. Photo creditsFacade of the Alte Pinakothek: photo by Gras-Ober under the CC-BY-SA-3.0 licenseNeue Pinakothek: photo by Nicholas Even under the CC-BY-SA-2.5 licensePinakothek der Moderne: photo by Rufus46 under the CC-BY-SA-3.0 license 

[...]

01.17.2017

A town situated northeast of Paris, on the outskirts of the city, beyond the physical and symbolic boundary of the Péripherique. Pantin, where Paris meets the countryside, has been crossed by Canal de l'Ourcq ever since the 19th century, and characterized by large green areas and several examples of industrial archeology. In recent years, this area that used to be considered suburban, despite being well connected with Paris, is undergoing a gradual transformation which in some way "threatens" to suck it inside the city's urban fabric because of gentrification, which might lead to the usual increase in rents and house-purchase prices. Of course, this happens in Paris just like in London or New York City, yet in the case of Pantin this phenomenon appears to be bringing plenty of positive effects, at least so far. Gallery owners, fashion firms, design companies, advertising agencies and even banks – the renovated industrial building of the Grands Moulins de Pantin is now the new BNP-Paribas headquarters - have landed in this long forgotten area promoting its renewal and helping to attract more Parisians, who already loved to walk along the canal and admire the graffiti-daubed grain and flour warehouse overlooking the waterway known as magasins généraux. Only a few months ago, the magasins généraux have been given a new life by the French advertising giant BETC, which moved here part of its activities and started engaging actively in the cultural life of Pantin, in collaboration with the Major. Of the 22,000 square meters of this huge building, 1,800 are now reserved for an area called The Garage dedicated to musicians, artists, directors and producers. The entire ground floor of the magasins has been open to the public; it offers a creative space (La Grande Salle), organic food halls and a concert hall/restaurant called Les Docks de la Bellevilloise, whose opening is scheduled for next spring. At the same time, BETC is committed to preserving the heritage of graffiti which have been adorning the building for years through the Graffiti Général project, which involves the construction of a website and a book, as well as a large exhibition including thirty selected pieces. Finally, the agency constantly promotes the activities of the other Pantin cultural institutions, which include the renowned Ropac art gallery, the Centre National de la Danse, the Banlieues Blues Jazz Festival, the Gallia brewery, the production and development centers of Hermès and Chanel, and of course the Théâtre du Fil de L’Eau, housed inside a converted factory overlooking the channel. So chances are that in the coming months and years will hear a lot about Pantin. Meanwhile, to stay up to date on what is happening along the Canal de l'Ourcq, take a look at the BETC webpage devoted to the area’s cultural events.Photo creditsLes Grands Moulins de Pantin: photo by Benh LIEU SONG under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license 

[...]

01.09.2017

Where do the clothes that we wear come from? Who has sewn, dyed, cut them? Who cultivated the raw materials? What are the faces, the conditions and the stories of the people who have contributed to their creation? Perhaps, if we all asked ourselves this question before choosing a garment, our consumer behavior would change dramatically. In the words of Irish activist (and wife of U2’s Bono Vox) Ali Hewson, "you carry the stories of the people that make your clothes”. This is the message coming from this beautiful short film that was shot a few years ago, and it is loud and clear. In the film we see the ever beautiful Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann in the act of wearing an elegant dress along with accessories and jewelry, when suddendly the hands of the people who made them materialize like living handprints. Then come the voices, the faces and the names. A really interesting concept carried out with great skill and effectiveness by talented director Mary Nighy and co-writer Zoe Franklin. The film was commissioned by the British idea consultancy Eco-Age, specializing in ethical and sustainable values, and produced by White Lodge, the fashion division of Blink. 

[...]

01.04.2017

The flowing river never stops and yet the water never stays the same. With these words from Hojoki (a 1212 classic written by Japanese poet, musician and hermit Kamo no Chomei), Kouhei Nakama summarizes the meaning of the wonderful images from this little masterpiece of video art. Visual art director at WOW, Kouhei translates into visions the changes the body goes through in every moment of our lives, invisible from the outside and yet traceable on our cells and organs, where life and death happen continuously. Life, therefore, exists thanks to this cycle of life and death inside our bodies, and in the imagination of Nakama it takes the form of a smooth spiral operating small successive changes until it finally emerges to the surface. Beautiful and moving. 

[...]

12.28.2016

With hundreds of museums and galleries, London has always been a destination of primary importance for art lovers, a city that brings together, scattered among its many cultural institutions, masterpieces of all time, allowing visitors to embark on a wonderful journey through the history of art and sculpture. We chose 10 of our favorite paintings from some of the major city museums, dating back from the fifteenth to the twentieth century. Enjoy! 1) The Arnolfini PortraitJan Van Eyck, 1434, The National GalleryThat of the Italian merchant Giovanni Arnolfini and his wife Giovanna is undoubtedly one of the most famous portraits in art history. Part of this undisputed eminence is due to the small convex mirror at the center of the image, which reflects the scene offering a different perspective and also including the painter himself in the image. There are also plenty od mysterious symbols scattered around the painting, not to mention the incredible light treatment skills of Van Eyck. 2) The Baptism of ChristPiero della Francesca, 1450, The National GalleryConsidered one of the finest representations of Christ’s Baptism, this painting commissioned by the Camaldolese Abbey of Piero’s hometown, Sansepolcro, is also deemed as one of the best works by Della Francesca. Its most prominent feature is the perfect image construction, following very precise mathematical rules. But in the eyes of the observer, the first impression is above all a sense of harmony and peace3) The Raphael CartoonsRaffaello Sanzio, 1516, The Victoria and Albert MuseumCrefted for the Sistine Chapel and designed by Raphael, these precious tapestries dedicated to the lives of Saints Peter and Paul were commissioned by Pope Leo X and manufactured in Brussels. Today, they are constantly exhibited at the Vatican, yet the seven surviving original cartoons belong to the V & A Museum’s collection in London, having being owned by the British Royal Family since 1623. For Raphael, this work of art represented a twofold challenge: not only did he have to draw having in mind that the tapestries would be mirror images of his drawings, but he also knew that his work would be compared to that of Michelangelo, author of the famous frescoes of the Sistine Chapel’s vaulted ceiling. 4) Boy Bitten by a LizardMichelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1594, The National GalleryAn alternative version of the same painting preserved at Longhi Foundation in Florence, this famous masterpiece by Caravaggio is characterized by the skillful use of light, which enters the picture as a sort of lightning in the darkness. What strikes most about it, though, is the realism of the subject’s expression, horrified at the bite of a green lizard. Caravaggio was probably inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s studies in terms of facial expressions and human feelings. 5) Rain, Steam and SpeedJ. W. Turner, 1844, The National GalleryIt is not hard to imagine the disruptive effect of this masterpiece on the imagination of Turner’s contemporaries. This is in fact one of the first "portraits" of a steam train, which had been invented only a few years previous, painted with a technique that was literally revolutionary for the era. With his patches of light and color, few prospective lines and barely recognizable objects, Turner definitely anticipated and opened the way for Impressionism. Unmissable. 6) OpheliaJohn Everett Millais, 1852, Tate BritainA masterpiece of mid-nineteenth century Pre-Raphaelite painting, this famous work portrays the character of Ophelia singing before she drowns in a river, as narrated in the Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet. The woman's face is that of model Lizzie Siddal, muse of the Pre-Raphaelites and wife of the painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who was also among the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The vegetation is inspired by that of the banks of Hogswell River in Surrey, long-studied and portrayed by the artist. 7) A Bar at the Folies-BergèreEdouard Manet, 1881 The Courtauld GalleryIn his remarkable pre-Impressionist style, with this famous painting Manet takes us straight to the Belle Epoque Paris, and particularly to the most famous music-hall of the city, which is reflected in the mirror behind the bartender, presumably a woman who really existed and whose name was Suzon. Among the most debated aspects about this work is the unusual perspective: in order to see the scene from the point of view proposed by Manet, the observer should not stand in front of the painting, but rather to the right, approximately where the reflection of the mustached man is. 8) Bathers at AsnieresGeorges Seurat, 1884, The National GalleryA scene that seems suspended in time, almost surreal in its immobility: this is the first impact of this post-impressionist masterpiece on the observer. Painted by Seurat for the Salon des Artistes in Paris (and rejected by the jury), it features two different and opposed techniques: the bathers have been painted with an ‘architectural’ attitude, looking like sculptures devoid of expressiveness, whereas the natural elements, and particularly tge light, the water and the vegetation, have been depicted with an Impressionistic style. 9) Weeping WomanPablo Picasso, 1937, Tate Modern GalleryThis Cubist representation of Picasso’s lover Dora Maar, who was in her turn a very talented photographer, reveals the tragic and destructive nature of the relationship between the two artists. The woman, known to be one of the many "victims" of Picasso's passion, is portrayed with her hands on her tear-stained face, and she seems to represent an idea of ​​universal female suffering - yet it is also a strong stimulus to learn more about the life of Dora Maar. 10) A Bigger SplashDavid Hockney, 1967 Tate BritainThis instantly recognizable large square canvas is the work of British painter David Hockney, who pained it in 1967 as a homage to his ideal image of California, where he had moved a few years before. At the center of the picture is a swimming pool, the symbol of 1960s California and of its relaxed and recreational lifestyle along with palm trees, turquoise blue skies and blue water. This perfect stillness is only broken by a splash of water, raised by someone raised who just dove into the pool. 

[...]

12.27.2016

It's been less than two months since the death of the great Leonard Cohen, but we already start to miss him. Today, we want to share the memory of this unique artist through the cartoon version of an old interview from 1974, turned into a most unusual animated film for a recent episode of the PBS web series Blank On Blank. The interview begins with Cohen, then in his forties, reading one of his poems, Two Went To Sleep, which comes to life through the animation by Patrick Smith. Then, with his unforgettable smoky voice, soft and deep at same time, Cohen unveils the genesis of his famous song Sisters of Mercy, recalling a very special night spent in Edmonton, Canada, a few years earlier. A real treat. 

[...]

12.22.2016

If a tourist visiting London in the 1990s could have had the chance to travel forward in time to see the city as it looks today, it would have probably been quite hard to recognize it. Over the last 20 years, the skyline of the British capital has radically changed; while in 1990s the only high-rise buildings worthy of the name were the NatWest Tower (1981) and One Canada Square in Canary Wharf (1990), plenty of new skyscrapers have sprung since then, including the Gherkin by Norman Foster (2003), Heron Tower (2008), The Shard by Renzo Piano (2012), the Leadenhall Building a.k.a. “Cheese Grater” (2014), and of course the controversial "Walkie Talkie" (2014). From the top of some of these impressively high-rise buildings - as well as from the London Eye, another comparatively new London icon – the scenic view of the city is undoubtedly amazing. Yet to say the truth Londoners have always loved observing the city from above, even back when the Houses of Parliament and the Big Ben were basically the tallest buildings in town. To do this, they headed to the many hills (none of them taller than 100 meters) that surrounded the city, most of which are now part of Greater London’s urban fabric.Following are some of our favorite natural scenic viewpoints around the city. Greenwich ObservatoryWhile in Greenwich to experience the thrill of walking on the Prime Meridian or to explore the beautiful National Maritime Museum, take the opportunity to climb to the top of the hill in Greenwich Park, right in front of the Royal Observatory; weather permitting, you will be able to enjoy a view once painted by William Turner, with the addition of the new high-rises towering along the huge curve of river Thames. Parliament HillSix miles away from London City, on clear days from the summit of this green hill in Hampstead Heath you’ll be able to let your gaze reach to as far as the Thames estuary, beyond the Gherkin, St Paul's Cathedral and the other iconic buildings of London. Primrose HillThis 78 meter high hill in the north of Regent's Park is a luxury residential area and home to plenty of celebrities, yet it also offers one of the most beautiful views of the city. To enjoy it properly, we suggest having a picnic in the open green areas or a nightly climb to contemplate the bright lights of London. Muswell HillThis lovely suburb in the north of the city is a great destination to get away from the madness and experience some authentic village feel, a corner of the old London that happily survived the city’s metamorphosis into a global metropolis. In addition, the place offers a stunning view of the city, laying at your feet beyond the picturesque Edwardian roofs of the neighborhood’s houses. Horniman GardensIn Forest Hill, a suburb in south-eastern London, is one of the lesser known gems of London, the Horniman Museum and Gardens, a free-entry museum specializing in anthropology, natural history and musical instruments dating back to the Victorian era, when Frederick John Horniman first opened the doors of his house to the public. From the huge garden, the view of the city is simply beautiful - and you can also admire a 19th century greenhouse and a 1912 original  bandstand. Photo creditsCover photo: the view from Hampstead Heath by Michael Clarke under the CC BY 2.0 licenseParliament Hill: photo by Chesdovi under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licensePrimrose Hill: photo by Duncan under the CC BY 2.0 licenseMuswell Hill: photo by Chris Whippet under the CC BY 2.0 licenseHorniman Gardens: photo by Cmglee under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license 

[...]

12.19.2016

Spave Oddity by Brand New NoiseIn his Brooklyn workshop, bearded maker Richard Upchurch creates handmade voice recorders and other irresistible sound gadgets. To honor David Bowie in the year of his death, Richard designed a small and adorable handheld recording device with loop switch, pitch control knob and 1/8" output, decorated with Ziggy Stardust’s famous thunder bolt. Dan Kruger’s Loring Place Apron by Todd SnyderIf you're planing to get someone to spend some more time in the kitchen, try with this with gorgeous Chambray cotton apron created to celebrate the opening of New York City’s most anticipated restaurant - Loring Place by beloved chef Dan Kluger, which just opened in the Village. Practical, durable and stylish, it is inspired by classic workwear. Save the Arctic by GreenpeaceSanta is in trouble: because of global warming, the North Pole continues to melt and Santa’s toy factory might soon sink in the Arctic. To make matters worse, oil drilling in the sea menaces to expand, that’s why Greenpeace decided to take action in court. To contribute, you just need to add your signature as evidence of a growing global movement against Arctic oil. Plant a tree with TreedomAvocado, mango, guava or makhamia: these are the four types of trees that you can buy with a click and have planted in Kenya in the name of whoever you want as a Christmas gift (a greeting card is included). Treedom is a Benefit Corporation from Florence, Italy, which planted over 280,000 trees in Africa since 2010. Tattly’s temporary seasonal tattoesDeer horns, snowflake or butcher’s broom? Tattly’s designy temporary tattoes could be a nice gift for inviting your friends to wear the Christmas spirit on their own skin. The catalogue includes plenty of discreet and sophisticated designs, as well as colorful ideas for your little ones. Imperia, the Queen of PastaMaking fresh egg pasta is not that hard, provided that you own the right tool. And if you’re planning to spend your holidays in the kitchen, put yourself and your friends and family to the test with this classic and sturdy gem of a manual pasta machine. Get ready for a shower of homemade tagliatelle, ravioli and tortellini. New York City by Lego ArchitectureDedicated to aspiring and would-be architects, Lego’s Architecture series allows you to build miniature versions of some of the world’s most iconic buildings. The New York City set includes the Flatiron Building, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty. Master & Dynamic, the perfect soundGorgeous and made to last, these headphones designed and developed in New York City are made with heavy-duty materials such as premium leathers and stainless steel, and designed to perform with precision for decades thanks to easily replaceable parts. But above all they are tuned for a warm, rich sound that promises to complement a diversity of tastes and musical genres by offering an expansive soundscape capturing the detail of well recorded music. Bora by Carlo MorettiFrom Carlo Moretti’s ‘artisan factory’ in Murano, Venice, a collection of 54 unique mouth blown Murano crystal glasses whose design is inspired by the north-eastern wind of the same name. Asymmetrical and almost ‘bent’ by a strong blast, these pieces look as if they had been struck by a sudden gust when still incandescent and in the process of being made by glass artisans. Each glass is individually signed and dated. Nebra Magnum  by 32 via dei BirraiLooking for an original idea for your Christmas toast? This artisan micro-brewery from Pederobba, Treviso, has launched the first beer ever created in collaboration with a perfumer – namely Angelo Orazio Pregoni. Nebra is an amber double malt beer available in magnum format on the occasion of the brewery’s tenth anniversary. The special anniversary box includes custom batteries and gears and it can be turned into a wall clock

[...]

12.19.2016

Take a great director like Francis Ford Coppola and an over-the-top author like William S. Burroughs, deemed one of the most important artists of last century, and have them deal with the Christmas spirit. The result of this unusual cocktail will presumably be The Junky’s Christmas, definitely not your average Christmas flick. Produced by Coppola in 1993, this amazing as much as surreal animated short film directed by Nick Donkin and Melodie McDaniel is based on a Burroughs story which first appeared in 1989, and narrated by the voice of the author himself. The protagonist is an old drug addict in desperate search for a fix, who will end up finding the Christmas spirit instead – through the unexpected encounter with a guy experiencing severe pain from kidney stones. Enjoy! 

[...]

12.15.2016

If you thought waking up the whole family to the sound of an air horn at dawn on Christmas Day and forcing everyone to unwrap the presents in their pajamas before 7 a.m. was a weird enough holiday tradition, think again. On planet Earth, there are people ready to go long distances to win the prize for the craziest, freakiest and most absurd Christmas ritual. Santa’s Bad HelperA frightening goat man that takes to the streets chasing naughty children, spreading panic at the sound of a cowbell. To escape the scary Krampus, traditionally a servant of St. Nicholas, avoid the Italian regions of Trentino Alto Adige and Friuli Venenzia Giulia, Austria and Southern Germany at Christmas time. Just joking. Not from there, please!As the name itself suggests, that of the Catalan Caga Tió is a rather odd tradition: a tree trunk filled with candy starting from December 8 is eventually beaten with sticks by kids until it "evacuates" the yummy little treasure. Skating to the MassIt would appear that in Venezuela, on Christmas morning, people go to the Mass on skates, the streets having been previously closed to allow the faithful to go safely. The tradition began in the Fifties as a festive street party, and apparently even today you are bound to bump into one of these traditional patinatas somewhere around the country (be careful, though, because Caracas has recently topped the list of the most dangerous cities in the world). Stand Back, You BroomAccording to the Norwegians, Christmas Eve is the night of evil spirits and witches, hunting homes and terrorizing their residents. Therefore, it is considered advisable to hide all the brooms to prevent the spirits from riding them around the house - the great excuse ever to skip housework at Christmas. Ornaments Don’t Go Where Cobwebs GrowWhy fill the tree with expensive ornaments when you can entrust the decoration to an industrious spider and rely on the natural beauty of a spiderweb? In Ukraine, the legend of the poor woman who, too broke to buy garlands, had her tree decorated overnight by a gigantic cobweb, is so popular that people still buy fake cobwebs and plastic spiders as well-wishing Christmas decorations. The Mysterious Christmas PickleIn the United States, the Christmas tree hides a tiny decoration in the form of a gherkin among its branches. Who manages to find it on Christmas morning receives a promise of good fortune for the following year - although children usually prefer an additional present gift. Hungry for the CaterpillarThe nutritional properties of insects and their designation as "food of the future" for us humans have been widely confirmed, and so maybe it’s about time our little friends began to tremble. Meanwhile, South Africans will continue to celebrate Christmas munching on handfuls of delicious fried caterpillarsA Refreshing BathThe English are crazy, especially in north-eastern England, where it has become a tradition to plunge into the North Sea in fancy dresses on Boxing Day. In their defense, this is all for charity: the associations that organize these icy swims do it in order to raise funds for noble causes. The Invisible GuestIf you should ever find yourself sitting at a Christmas table in Portugal, be advised that there will probably be some extra places reserved for guests that will hopefully be no-shows. As it happens, the souls of the deceased are usually invited for lunch on Christmas day – and once that brief moment of horror is over, you’ll realize it’s actually quite a nice and thoughtful tradition. Any Excuse Will DoIn Philadelphia and New Orleans, Christmas has apparently become a great opportunity to honor the fine British tradition known as ‘pub crawl’. The annual ‘Running of the Santas’ is the perfect occasion for joining a crowd of party animals running from bar to bar disguised as Santas, elves, reindeers or any other Christmas cliché. Hangover guaranteed. 

[...]

12.13.2016

Last November, Netflix released what had ben announced as the series that would soon take the place of Downton Abbey in the hearts of the British and international public – The Crown, focusing on the early reign of Elizabeth II. Soon after the launch, the facts and the anecdotes connected to the ninety-year-old Queen’s journey to the throne were the object of an unexpected revival, triggering an endless series of articles comparing the official truth with its fictional depiction, ad filtered by the enthralling writing and stunning photography of the most lavish and expensive TV series ever made. If you loved The Crown and would like to compare Claire Foy’s interpretation with the actual ‘Lillibeth’, take a look at this section of BBC’s historical archive entirely devoted to the Queen’s early reign. Original footage includes the Royal Wedding and the Royal Tour of South Africa first broadcasted in 1947.

[...]

11.29.2016

1,200 square kilometers of urbanized area, over 8 million souls of all nationalities, almost 11,000 people per square meter, and 800 ​​spoken languages. Sometimes numbers, far from being sterile, can truly prove revealing; and given these figures, it is not difficult to understand why all that matters most in the world seems to happen in New York City, at least since the beginning of modern history, in the second half of the nineteenth century - the era of the first skyscrapers and of the Industrial Revolution.Yet sometimes, lost between the city lights and its ever-changing skyline, we tend to forget the bigger picture, failing to find a historical perspective, let alone recover the roots of the contemporary metropolis.A comparatively simple and interesting way to do this is turning to the novels that, in every age, have managed to depict its many different incarnations, often even better than films and history books.Of course, the bibliography on New York City is virtually endless, and the choice will always be partial and personal. We simply chose to follow our heart and our memories, focusing on the city-related stories that we loved most. 1. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, 1920The backdrop to this engaging story of an impossible and thwarted love is New York in the Gilded Age, around the 1870s, a period characterized by fast economic growth as well as by the fall of a supposed ‘innocence’ made of hypocrisy and social conventions gilding increasing social conflicts. 2 The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald, 1925Set between the Big Apple and Long Island, home to the narrator Nick Carraway and to the main character, Jay Gatsby, an amazing romantic hero doomed to defeat, this great classic depicts the jazz era and the Roaring Twenties in New York City. But it is also a bitter tale on the fall of the American dream, focusing on the drama of loneliness and human frailty behind the glitter of lights, parties and sports cars. 3 Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon, 1946A dark love affair in a dark New York City as seen by a European in the Forties. This semi-autobiographical novel by Simenon tells the story of an amour fou set on a backdrop of smoky bars, seedy hotels and gloomy streets populated by tormented characters. A melancholy atmosphere that is somewhat reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s works. 4 The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, 1951This modern Bildungsroman, a real cult for generations, tells a series of events that take place over the course of a weekend in the late Forties in the life of protagonist Holden Caulfield. The novel, narrated with humor and delicacy from the point of view of a 16-year-old boy, is mainly set between Central Park and the Greenwich Village, and the city is seen as this cahotic, bizarre and gigantic monster, overwhelming as much as fascinating5 Just Kids by Patti Smith, 2010It was the late 1960s when a very young Patti Smith, not yet the high priestess of punk rock, left home and came to New York after an unwanted pregnancy. Here she met Robert Mapplethorpe, the soon-to-be master of photography, and the rest is history: the New York underground scene of the 70s, the Chelsea Hotel and its community of artists and lost souls, but above all a story of love, friendship and talent told with rare mastery. 6 The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, 2003From one of the most critically acclaimed literary voices of the city, a portrait of Brooklyn between the 1970s and the 1990s including racial tension, graffiti, music subcultures and gentrification, which serves as a backdrop to the semi-autobiographical tale of a friendship. A real contemporary classic, this amazing novel is crucial to understanding the path that led Brooklyn to become what it is today - that is the most unaffordable housing market in the US. 8 American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, 1991A true milestone, a hallucinogenic journey with a Dostoevskian finale suspended between genius and madness, dotted with endless lists of luxury designer clothes and accessories, creatively heinous crimes, music album reviews and digressions on the weight and texture of business cards. In the background is 1980s Manhattan, as grotesquely and clear-mindedly described as never before, complete with Wall Street brokers, cocaine and yuppies9 Underworld by Don De Lillo, 1997A masterpiece of American postmodern literature, this work by De Lillo paints a portrait of the US in the second half of the twentieth century through individual stories against the backdrop of the world’s great events, linked by the narrative thread of a baseball that passes from hand to hand. Lots of truly enjoyable pages are focused on an episode set in the Bronx at the beginning of the 1950s, where the author spent his childhood. 10 Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, 2005Among the many excellent novels that appeared in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, this is perhaps the most moving one, despite the complex and experimental nature of its narrative structure. Venturing alone through the city streets in search of clues connected with his dad who died in the Twin Towers, nine-year-old Oskar Schell embarks on an epic journey borough by borough, constantly on the verge of emotional collapse. Photo credits: Chelsea Hotel. Photo by Velvet under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license 

[...]

11.24.2016

Perfect geometries resulting from rigorous mathematical calculations and looking like circuits or wiring diagrams illuminated by sharp and violent colors. This is the first impression you get as you look at the works of Italian artist Iler Melioli (born 1949) that have been selected for the upcoming Res Extensa exhibition at Yvonneartecontemporanea gallery in Vicenza. The concept explores the idea of ​network by establishing links among the works and between the works and the exhibition space, and allowing the paintings and sculptures to go beyond their own boundaries and "invade" the walls, thus evoking what is the predominant mode of our existence: interconnection. In a world where we are constantly connected and wired, in which asking search engines for answers and accessing to an infinite network of information is a daily and constant activity, even works of art must give up their formal isolation, being defined by their extensions rather than by their borders. And so they pervade everything that’s around them, turning the space that houses them and even the observer into hubs of their own network: a gesture whose symbolic value is so powerful that the affinity with the contemporary world appears crystal-clear. To the point that those apparently abstract images and sculptures end up acquiring a certain philosophical realism, triggering endless reflections on life in the time of the internet. A very involving concept for an art event that feels "immersive" in the noblest sense of the term. Galleria Yvonneartecontemporanea21, Contrà Porti, VicenzaFrom December 2, 2016 to January 22, 2017 

[...]

11.22.2016

To embrace the history of Milan in a single glance, it would suffice to take a look at its cathedral, a majestic and magnificent work of which the famous American novelist Mark Twain wrote, "I cannot understand how it can be second to anything made by human hands”. Yet the Duomo is also a building that has been under construction for over six centuries, and that in a sense will never completed, because it will always require constant intervention from the Veneranda Fabbrica, at work ever since the year 1386. And quite the same goes for the city, which has been and still is in perpetual evolution. In this short journey through the architectural history of Milan, we tried to include some of the most interesting chapters of that evolution, represented by the city’s more or less known architectural gems from the Middle Ages to present times. Basilica di Sant’AmbrogioYear: 1129 in its present appearanceSimply put, one of the crucial places in the history of the city, whose origins go back to 386 when Ambrose, bishop of Milan, had it built on the site where Christians martyred by the Romans had been buried. A symbol of the Ambrosian Church and second in importance only to the Duomo, it is also a rare example of intact Lombard Romanesque-style building, dating back to the year 1099 when it was thoroughly rebuilt at the behest of Bishop Anselm. Ca’ GrandaYear: 1456This exquisite building designed by Florentine architect Filarete and commissioned by Francesco Sforza is one of the first Renaissance buildings in Milan, as well as a fine example of public architecture in the time of the Sforzas. Over time, it literally saw history pass through its rooms, halls and courtyards, becaming a hospital, getting badly damaged by the WW2 bombs and being finally restored to become the site of Milan’s State UniversityPalazzo RealeYear: 1773 in its present appearanceIn the shade of the Duomo, Milan’s Royal Palace, which currently houses a major museum, was first built in the time of Medieval Communes, when it was the seat of city government. Home to the Gonzagas, the Habsburgs, Napoleon, D'Azeglio and the Savoys, destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries (its present facade, designed by architect Piermarini, dates back to the mid-eighteenth century), and often devastated by questionable restoration works - including the dramatic changes demanded by Mussolini - it finally got to be significantly restructured only around the year 2000. Grand Hotel et De MilanYear: 1860With its neo-Gothic facade, this beautiful building sitting on the central Via Manzoni since 1860 has always been a luxury hotel, frequented by diplomats, businessmen (as it was among the first to offer a telegraph and postal service) and celebrities such as composer Giuseppe Verdi. Today, although mostly renovated, it still retains the sumptuous atmosphere of old-time MilanPalazzo CastiglioniYear: 1904Milan’s most famous Art Nouveau building, designed by Giuseppe Sommaruga, is located at 47, Corso Venezia and it was commissioned by a wealthy businessman, Ermenegildo Castiglioni. Embellished by a base of rough rock and decorations inspired by eighteenth-century stucco work, in its original version the building also had two great female statues representing Peace and Industry, later removed due to the scandal provoked at the time by their nakedness. Nevertheless, the latter earned the building the nickname of Ca 'di ciapp ("house of the buttocks"), which is still in use among the Milanese. Piazza Piemonte’s ‘skyscrapers’Year: 1923At a time when it was forbidden to build higher than 28 meters, architect Mario Borgato obtained permission to raise two 38-meter tall (almost) twin buildings – that back then were actually considered Milan’s first ‘skyscrapers’ - by virtue of the great extension of the Piazza on which they sat. Ever since, these unmistakable towers with their slightly different domes have been towering over the Piazza, guarding the entrance to one of the city’s upper-class districts and being gradually overshadowed by much taller buildingsStazione CentraleYear: 1931A true masterpiece for some, an incongrous, eye-catching ‘panettone’ for others, Milan’s main railway station - the second in Italy for passenger flow - never fails to impress. Inaugurated in 1931, during the Fascist Regime, it was designed by Roman architect Ulisse Stacchini, who magniloquently called it ‘the Cathedral of Movement’. Monumental, built entirely of Karst marble and stone, and scattered with celebratory symbols of the Regime, it is suspended between Art Nouveau and RationalismTorre VelascaYear: 1958A Brutalist icon, this unique100-meter high, mushroomy building at a stone’s throw from from Piazza Duomo designed by the firm BBPR (an acronym from the names of architects Barbian Belgiojoso, Peressutti and Rogers) has always been a subject of debate for its daring and disruptive design. Called alternately horrible and absolutely stunning, it remains an undoubtedly remarkable symbol of the optimistic and innovative spirit of Milan in the time of the Economic Miracle. Chiesa di San Francesco D’Assisi al Fopponino di Giò PontiYear: 1964Designed by Giò Ponti, the famous architect of the Pirelli Tower, this modern-day church near Piazzale Aquileia which stands on the site of an ancient cemetery is deemed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture. Among its most significant features are the suspended windows on the central facade, which allow the sky to fill their space with its ever-changing colors, thus becoming an actual architectural element. Bosco Verticale Year: 2014Our journey ends with the building that has rapidly become a symbol for the new, after-Expo Milan, a city that rises up to the sky like all major international capitals. Defined “the most beautiful and innovative highrise in the world" in 2015 by the American Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, Stefano Boeri’s innovative Bosco Verticale brings a piece of the earth to the sky in the form of trees and over 90 species of plants. Photo creditsBasilica di Sant’Ambrogio: photo by Randi Hausken under the CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseCa’ Granda: photo by Giovanni Dall’OrtoPalazzo Reale and Palazzo Castiglioni: photo by Geobia under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licenseStazione Centrale: photo by Thomas Ledl under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licenseTorre Velasca: photo by CEphoto, Uwe Aranas under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licenseSan Francesco d’Assisi al Fopponino: © 2011 Parrocchia S.Francesco d'Assisi al FopponinoBosco verticale: photo by Christos Barbalis 

[...]

11.16.2016

My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Ponyo. These are just a few of of the titles that brought worldwide fame to Japanese director, screenwriter, animator, manga artist and film producer Hayao Miyazaki, even leading him to be nominated for an Oscar. The fascinating world of Miyazaki and his animated filmd produced by Studio Ghibli, inhabited by spirits, ghosts and otherworldly creatures, generated a truly remarkable number of fans, and it was celebrated by a themed museum which opened in Japan back in 2001 and by a huge retrospective in Tokyo last summer. These days, however, even European fans can enjoy a tiny slice of Miyazaki's world thanks to the Paris Studio Ghibli pop-up store located at 26 rue Charles Baudelaire, in the 12th arrondissement, which will remain open until December 3. The store, which is called Le Château éphémère as a homage to the film Howl’s Moving Castle, is a true treasure trove for fans, selling gadgets, stationery, DVDs, dolls, bento boxes, music boxes, ornaments and various objects, all inspired by Miyazaki's masterpieces and characters. Of course, most of these things are probably also available online, yet the opportunity to plunge into the imagination of the Japanese master in the heart of Paris is simply priceless. Le Château éphémère12, rue Charles Baudeleaire, ParisUntil December 3  

[...]

11.14.2016

Skiing and music. Snowboarding and music. Like all individual disciplines, even winter sports are practiced more willingly with music in your ears, choosing the right rhythm and the perfect atmosphere for your descents. Yet on the slopes music is not necessarily restricted to your headphones: every year, throughout Europe, plenty of winter music festivals celebrating the marriage between snow and sounds bring bands and DJs on the snowy peaks, right in the heart of the continent’s most renowned ski resorts. Here are the ones you shoud not miss. BergfestivalThe season begins against the magnificent backdrop of the Austrian ski slopes with a rock music festival including plenty of gigs and acts to be enjoyed when the night falls after a beautiful ski or snowboard descent on fresh snow.Saalbach Hinterglemm, AustriaDec. 2-4, 2016 SnowboxxOn we go in March, in the beautiful French alpine ski resort of Avoriaz (1,800 meters above sea level) for this legendary event dedicated to music (dance, hip-hop, rap, drum & bass and other genres) to dance to on the snow and under the stars. The "Festival Village" also incudes street food stalls, cocktails bars and igloos housing after-concert parties.Avoriaz, FranceMarch 18-23, 2017 Rock the PistesOn the same days of Snowboxx, the French slopes of the Porte du Soleil area (which also includes Avoriaz) will be hosting a series of free concerts and DJ sets to which access is granted simply by buying a ski pass. The gigs begins at 12.45 pm with DJ sets and continue at 1.30 with the main concerts.Portes du Soleil, FranceMarch 19-25, 2017 Horizon FestivalThe Pyrenees are the setting for this one-week festival dedicated to music and entertainment, with two stages at high altitude where artists take turns starting from 1 p.m. until well into the night, clubs, cocktail bars and even a secret elctro-music event in the forest.Arinsal, AndorraMarch 26 - April 2, 2017 SnowbombingBack to Austria for the last (but definitely not least) event of the season - perhaps the best known of all snow music festivals, a Glastonbury for snowboarders set at over 2,500 meters of altitude. Although it used to be entirely devoted to dance and electro music, in recent years Snowbombibg has successfully incorporated the indie wave. It also includes theme parties, an igloo village, saunas and whirlpools.Mayrhofen, AustriaApril 3-8, 2017 

[...]

11.09.2016

800 works coming to life in 3,000 images projected onto the walls of a museum, becoming animated and involving the visitor in a literally "immersive" experience. These are the main reasons for visiting Van Gogh Alive, certainly not the first Van Gogh exibition and yet a pretty unique one, a huge traveling event that has just come to Rome, the second and final stage of the Italian tour, before moving to Poland and later to Colombia. The Roman location for this global blockbuster is the twentieth century Palazzo degli Esami in the historic and pictoresque Trastevere district, reopened after decades for the occasion. In its huge open spaces, which once housed state exam sessions, the world of the great Dutch painter comes to life through a 40-minute multisensory experience developed by Grande Exhibitions, a company specializing in the creation of major traveling art events, combining multichannel motion graphics, cinema quality surround sound and up to forty high-definition projectors to provide an exciting multiscreen environment. Synchronized to a powerful classical score, Van Gogh’s painting at enormous scale create a thrilling display that fills giant screens, walls, columns, ceilings and even the floor, immersing the visitor in the vibrant colours and vivid details that constitute his unique style.An invitation to explore the work and life experiences of this prolific artist during the period 1880 to 1890, and to travel through his thoughts, feelings and state of mind during his time in Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise, the locations where he created many of his timeless masterpieces. Last but not least, Van Gogh Alive is also a charming journey into the creative mind of the painter, punctuated by colors, brush strokes, design and plenty of references to the artist's biography. Definitely not your average Van Gogh exhibition. Until March 26, 2017 

[...]

10.31.2016

Fast and bright as a comet, Jeff Buckley crossed the sky of rock music leaving behind a trail of fans stunned by the purity of his musical genius, who died prematurely at the age of 31. A few weeks ago, the whole record collection that has built the musical taste of Buckley has been unveiled in the form of a dedicated website. It all started when Tom Mullen, Digital Marketing Director at Legacy Recordings / Sony, decided to go to the source of the cover songs featured in Buckley’s posthumous album You and I. While searching for clues, Mullen came across some photos of Jeff’s vinyl collection taken by his mother. This ‘Record Collection’ is now visible and accessible on the www.jeffbuckleycollection.com site, where you can scroll alphabetically through the catalog, select selct one record and listen to a 30-second snippet of each song. Alternatively, to access the entire album, you can click the Spotify link. Fans will surely be amazed and impressed by the vastness and diverseness of Buckley’s musical universe: only within the letter M, improbable ‘neighbors’ such as the king of reggae Bob Marley, politicized rock band MC5, Metallica heavy metal music, the restless jazz of Charles Mingus, stylish singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and pop miserabilist Morrissey sit side by side. And this is no exception: you could spend days trying to find the links between the Clash and Miles Davis, David Bowie and Fishbone, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jesus Lizard, Nick Cave and Jaco Pastorius or Rush and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The collection is inevitably comes to an end in the year 1996, with a handful of vinyls. Within a few months, Jeff Buckley would find his early death in the clutches of the Wolf River while humming one of the songs from his vinyl collection - Whole lotta love by Led Zeppelin. 

[...]

10.20.2016

Justin Vernon has gone from underground sensation to Grammy Award winner in just a few years and now, after a 5-year break, he has finally released his third record under the moniker Bon Iver, 22, A Million: a dense, sometimes fractured, multi-layered and introverted 34-minute long album that sounds like Vernon's own Kid A. This album is as far from the 2007 Bon Iver debut For Emma, Forever Ago as possible: Vernon clearly does not feel comfortable in the folkster/hipster's shoes anymore and rather looks up to such musical peers (and occasional collaborators) as James Blake and Kanye West. In fact, Vernon has worked on the oddly-named songs of 22, A Million more as a hip-hop or an electronic producer than as a songwriter: just listen to him sing with his usual falsetto on a layer of electric guitars, electronic glitches, sped-up and auto-tuned voices - in 22 (over soon) - mix together banjo's arpeggios, vocoders and some bombastic drumming reminiscent of Phil Collins -in 10 d E A T h b R E a s T - and pen a post-modern gospel mainly for filtered voice and saxophone (in  ____45_____). Yet in this album there is still some room for the tender and woeful songs that made Vernon popular: in the Jackson Browne-meets-Elliot Smith song 29 #Strafford APTS, in 8 (circle)'s peaceful downbeat pulse (which will have someone remember the late Warren Zevon's quiet 1995 ballad Mutineer).22, A Million is available for streming via Sportify and Apple Music. 

[...]

10.13.2016

In 1938, Sigmund Freud left Austria with his family following the Nazi Anschluss, taking refuge in London. In the British capital, the father of psychoanalysis took home in Hampstead, a green suburb north of the city center, and it is in that villa - where Freud’s youngest daughter Anna lived until her death in 1982 - that the Freud Museum was born. For all psychoanalysis enthusiasts, the opportunity to enter Freud’s study, preserved just as it was during his lifetime, and to see the psychoanalytic couch on which all of his patients reclined, covered with a richly coloured Iranian rug with chenille cushions piled on top, is unique. Yet the museum also offers a private and intimate glimpse at the everyday life of the great scholar; the Freuds managed to bring all their furniture and household effects to London, including splendid Biedermeier chests, tables and cupboards, and a fine collection of 18th and 19th century Austrian painted country furniture. Sigmund’s study contains his personal library and a rich collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Oriental antiquities: nearly 2,000 pieces arranged in the cabinets scattered everywhere, even on the desk. Open to everyone, visitors and students, the museum also offers some remarkable bibliographic and icongraphic resources for researchears interested in the life and work of Sigmund Freud and his daughter Anna (who was herself a psychoanalyst specializing in psychoanalytic child psychology), besides hosting art exhibitions, conferences and an annual workshop on Anna Freud. 

[...]

10.06.2016

Elegant, conservative, festive. That is how Monaco of Bavaria generally appears at a first glance. Yet the German city has another much more unusual and often unexplored face, concealed - or rather revealed - by the beauty of its museums. One of the most striking museums in Munich is undoubtedly the Deutsches Museum: visiting its 50 thousand square meters is like embarking on a fascinating journey through the history of science and technology from its origins to modern times. Founded in 1903 by the engineer Oskar von Miller on an island along the Isar River, it collects original items such as the first electrical transmission telephone, the Magdeburg hemispheres and the first Diesel engine, as well as hundreds of models  some of which can be operated by visitors. Opened in the Seventies within the BMW headquarters and renovated in 2008, BMW Welt is one of the oldest automobile museums in Germany. At its core is the history of the famous Bavarian brand, told through seven thematic areas and 120 vehicles, from sports cars to historical prototypes. The futuristic  architecture of the building reminds of a silver salad bowl – a resemblance that earned it the nickname of ‘The Bowl’. Along the spiral path, visitors will come across icons of the motorsport world such as the BMW R 32, the BMW 507 and the legendary BMW 2002. A nice colorful building - around 36,000 ceramic tiles have been used for its  facade  - designed by architects Sauerbruch and Hutton is home to the Brandhorst museum, which houses one of the largest and most prestigious contemporary art collections of the world, including more than 700 works dating from the second half of the twentieth century to the twenty-first century. Among them are masterpieces by Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Mario Merz, Jannis Kounellis, Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter, Bruce Nauman, Damien Hirst and others. Furthermore the collection includes 112 books in illustrated by Picasso and several works on paper by artists such as Malevich and Schwitters. A completely different atmosphere can be experienced at the Glyptothek overlooking Königsplatz, an elegant square that was built by King Ludwig I (the grandfather of "fairytale king" Ludwig II) in the first half of the Nineteenth century. An unmissable destination for classical art lovers, the Glyptothek is the result of an ambitious 19th century project aimed at offering the general public the opportunity to discover the Wittelsbach treasures, until then kept in the court residences. The prestigious collection includes hundreds of works divided into four sections, including the Apollo of Tenea (mid-sixth century BC) and a number of sculptures from the Aphaia temple (late sixth - early fifth century BC) located on the Greek island of Aegina. Designed and inhabited by one of the fathers of the Secessionist movement, Franz Von Stuck, Villa Stuck is a destination for art lovers as well as a rare Art Nouveau gem. Designed in the nineteenth century by the Bavarian master and teacher of Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, Villa Stuck should be visited with respect, as if you were entering a private retreat. Today the museum houses several exhibitions, but the most interesting part is that relating to the works by the artist who designed and fully furnished the interiors of the villa. Although only a few rooms are open to the public, they are all absolutely stunning. Photo creditsCover: Glyptotek, photo © Simone LippolisVilla Stuck: photo by Wikiolo under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licenseBrandhorst Museum: photo by Andreas Lechtape © Museum Brandhorst ​ 

[...]

09.08.2016

Along with renowned Maximilian-, Ludwig and Prinzregentenstraße, Brienner Straße is part of the network of luxury shopping streets in the city of Munich, as remarkable as its more dazzling ‘sisters’ despite its shy and unassuming nature. And perhaps it is precisely its understated beauty that makes this street so unique - the perfect destination for those who love to go shopping without neglecting the history of the city. Since the eighteenth century, the Wittelsbachs, who led the Kingdom of Bavaria for more than 700 years, could count on a wide main road about 5 km long and bordered by a graceful row of linden trees that led from the heart of Munich’s current “old town” to their beautiful summer residence, the Nymphenburg Palace. So in a sense the designation of Brienner Straße as Fürstenweg, i.e. "street of the princes” or "main street", was written in the stars, as was its elevation to the rank of Prachtstraße, a fashionable street where real life happened between strolling ladies and merchants, a place still that has stories to tell. For anybody visiting Munich, it is definitely worth taking some time to follow in the footsteps of the royals, retracing the main stops along the route once travelled by their beautiful horse-drawn carriages. Königsplatz - The King’s Square Iconic, austere and unique: in heart of Maxvorstadt, the extraordinary Königsplatz went through plenty of changes before gaining its reputation as one of the world’s most impressive squares. Originally designed by famous architect Leo von Klenze in 1814, it is framed on three sides by Neoclassical-style buildings: the Propylaea (the west city gate of the "Athens on the Isar river", as King Ludwig I renamed the capital of Bavaria), the Glyptotek (a collection of Greek and Roman sculpture masterpieces) and the Staatliche Antikensammlungen (National Collections of Antiquities). In summer, the huge square struggles out of its austere clothes and turns into an open-air stage for outdoor concerts. Karolinenplatz - A Book Lover’s DestinationNamed after Friederike Wilhelmine Karoline von Baden, the first queen of Bavaria (1806), this nice square can be reached by leaving Königsplatz behind and crossing Arcisstraße. Dominated by a 29-meter high memorial stone built out of molten guns from the Napoleonic Wars, Karolinenplatz is at the intersection of radial roads and surrounded by several historic buildings. Among them is the renovated Baroque Freyberg-Palais (5, Briennerstrasse), owned in the late nineteenth century by German publisher Hugo Bruckmann and his wife Else, who used to host major personalities of the literary scene such as Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Rainer Maria Rilke. Wittelsbacherplatz - Where Art FlourishesBacked by a good dose of tenacity and curiosity, you will certainly not be disappointed by the look of Wittelsbacherplatz; before treading its cobblestones, though, cross the Square for the Victims of National Socialism, recognizable by Andreas Sobeck’s memorial to the victims of Nazi violence, featuring an eternal flame in a cage, and stop at Cafe Luitpold. The latter, ranked among the three most important literary gatherings in Europe between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is still the main point of interest of Luitpoldblock, the first commercial building outside the city walls. A little further on you will eventually find Wittelsbacherplatz, which prides itself on being one of the most remarkable squares of the “luminous” Munich, as Thomas Mann described the city. Once there, slowly wander through the craft shops, the art galleries, the famous porcelain workshops and boutiques under the gaze of the equestrian statue depicting Maximilian I. Right here, in an area that is devoted entirely to art according to the motto “Mode raus, rein Kunst” ("fashion out, art in") and that over time has become one of the most exclusive shopping districts in the Bavarian capital, the brand new Slowear store has opened its doors combining fashion and art in a genuine embrace of beauty. Photo creditsGlyptotek in Königsplatz – photo by High Contrast under the CC BY 3.0 DE licenseKarolineplatz – photo by Benson.by under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licenseWittelsbacherplatz – photo by Florian Adler under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licenseLuitpoldblock – photo by Luitpoldblock under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license  

[...]

09.06.2016

Among the eight and a half million New Yorkers are some who decided to elevate their passions and hobbies to the status of art, no matter how bizarre. The result is a bunch of truly unique tiny museums devoted to small portions of contemporary culture, some of which are more remarkable than you would expect. MmuseummA former freight elevator and a storefront window are the chosen locations for the two tiny Mmuseumms (1 & 2) in TriBeCa, founded by Alex Kalman and his mother, artist Maira Kalman, and housing annually changing arrays of objects that seem to draw a natural history of post-modernity. Here, objects that are apparently insignificant become momentous because they ‘belong’ to crucial episodes or prominent situations. From the shoe that someone threw at George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad in 2008 to a set of fake IDs or a collection of watches once owned by Saddam Hussein, these museums invites all visitors to join in a surprisingly consistent journey through our time – regardless of the authenticity of the exhibits. Torah Animal WorldIn Williamsburg, hipsters live side by side with a huge Jewish which offers quite a few pleasant surprises, including this somewhat creepy museum (now split into two branches) collecting stuffed animals from the Torah, the Bible and the Talmud. This antique taxidermy collection has been put together in order to help children understand better the metaphors and analogies from the sacred texts, yet it has become very popular amond adults as well. American Gangster MuseumOn St.Mark's Place, in the East Village, is a door leading straight into the roaring Twenties, among a Prohibition-era speakeasy, old photographs and paraphernalia from the history of organized crime in the USA. A veritable time travel teaching visitors everthing about Prohibition, Women and Temperance, and the early roots of the criminal underworld. Troll MuseumOn the 6th floor of a Lower East Side building, in the apartment of self-proclaimed trollogist and elf Reverend Jen is the most psychedelic museum ever, an exhibition of vintage troll dolls on a backdrop of colorful walls that seem to come from a Timothy Leary experiment. With the help of her chihuahua dog assistant, Jen will illustrate her weird collection and invite you into her surreal world. Treasures in the Trash MuseumOur trash bins can tell a lot about the way we live and eat. Over 30 years ago, a now-retired DSNY (City of New York Department of Sanitation) employee started collecting, cataloguing and rearranging the most remarkable items thrown away by New Yorkers, giving birth to a unique exhibition housed in a warehouse floor in East Harlem known as The Treasures in the Trash Museum. To access, schedule a visit by emailing the NYC Department of Sanitation

[...]

08.08.2016

Intellectuals, children, families and teachers: the Grimmwelt Museum in Kassel appeals to everyone while reaffirming the crucial role of this city, already home to the Documenta modern and contemporary art exhibition, in defining the core values of German culture. Grimmwelt (literally “Grimm world”) is a celebration of the work and the ideas of the Grimm brothers well beyond their world-famous fairy tales – from Cinderella to Little Red Riding Hood, from Rapunzel to Hänsel and Gretel, to mention a few – which unveils comparatively unknown details about these figures. The Grimm brothers were in fact also successful philologists and linguists, as well as the authors of the 33-volume first German Dictionary, one of the pillars of modern German language along with Martin Luther’s translation of the Holy Bible. The museum has been conceived as an experience that plunges visitors into German culture offering different levels of understanding from linguistics to history and tales, in a lively and uninterrupted exchange between high and popular culture, enriched by interactive games and playing spaces that manage to involve even the youngest visitors. After all, it was by drawing inspiration from different branches of knowledge and by mixing popular culture and sophisticated notions that the Grimm brothers managed to create their legendary tales, collecting traditional stories in their oral form among common people and tuning them into written works. The wide range of topics, arranged as a sequence of words simulating a dictionary, highlights the non-conventional conception of this unique exhibiting space that invites everyone to build their own links among the many ideas presented in the museum, read between the lines and discover the history and the values of a nation betwen an adventure and an happy ending. 

[...]

07.29.2016

 Vienna’s Museum Quartier is one of the largest and most vibrant museum districts in the world, boasting over 90,000 square meters of exhibiting spaces spread across 60 cultural institutions, including a bunch of major museums devoted to modern and contemporay art. To enjoy it fullly, keep in mind that it is organized like a veritable workshop where exhibitions, seminars and events alternate, involving art lovres, children and designers. The offer is so rich and varied that it suits everyone’s interests, and even just walking among the diverse and contrasting architectures of the museums’ buildings or resting on the colorful ‘benches’ looking life pop sculptures can be an extremely pleasant experience. That being said, there are plenty of works by major artists that you definitely should not miss when visiting the Quartier. Here are some of them. Gustav KlimtVienna’s most beloved artist lived in the city during his all life. He witnessed the fall of its Empire between the 19th and the 20th century, he absorbed its decadent nobility and turned it into a fluid and mortal vision of beauty, hiding a hint of melancholia even in the blaze of gold.The Leopold Museum is home to a collection of some of his most remarkable works, including the late painting Life and Death (1910-1915). Egon SchieleKlimt’s young pupil absorbed the European art of the beginning of the 20th century and developed his own unmistakable style, soon turning into one of the earliest exponents of European expressionism. With his drawings and paintings, through his short lifetime Schiele developed an impressive collection of landscapes and human characters that always look on the verge of going somewhere else, hinting at a sense of finitude that was a widespread sentiment in Europe during that time. To get to know his work, a visit to Leopold Museum is a must. Paul KleeSolitary self-taught Swiss-born painter Paul Klee was fascinated by the artists belonging to the Blaue Reiter (‘Blue Rider’) movement, which included Wassily Kandinskij. Today, Klee is deemed one of the major European abstract painters, yet he stands out for his use of colors and a touch of exuberance that was always considered somewhat unusual by his fellow artists. Head to Mumok to see, among others, his beautiful masterpiece called Boat and Cliffs. Andy WarholLet's do Pop Art. Contemporary European art is inextricably linked with its American counterpart. Consumption, seriality and economic welfare go hand in hand and Andy Warhol was the first artist to understand that being able to tell something - maybe through images - is sometimes more important than being able to do something. Housed at Mumok, Orange Crash 1963 is a cool example of seriality, because of what it represents and because it is actually part of a series. Roy LichtensteinAnd speaking of American pop art, Roy Lichtenstein’s works take us on a journey to an imaginary world of comics with a hint of realism, arousing the suspicion that they might be truer than reality. Klee’s Blue Rider becomes red (The Red Horseman, at Mumok as well) replacing romanticism with the competitive spirit of the 1970s. Cover photo by Gryffindor under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

[...]

07.26.2016

Known as the ‘museum without walls’, for 1,000 years Gyeongju, a city on the southeast coast of South Korea, served as the capital of the Silla dynasty, which is famous for its extensive historical remains. Today, Gyeongju is dotted with innumerable temples, pagodas, tombs, rock carvings, Buddhist statuary and even some palace ruins spread over an area of 1323 sq km - we suggest planning in advance if you want to visit the less prominent places of interest as it involves a substantial amount of travel to reach each site.     First-time visitors can expect a breathtaking view of this distinctive urban landscape comprised of vast greenery mingled with memorial tombs known as tumuli. You can also expect to see colourful rooftops with intricate traditional architecture set against a mystical backdrop of lush green mountains. Strong restoration and conservation efforts are being made in present day Gyeongju to revive it to its past glory.   Whatever itinerary you choose, do not miss these sights:Bulguksa TempleThe head temple for the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, Bulguksa dates back to the 8th century. Catch a glimpse of the twin stone pagodas, the wooden staircases and the large bronze Buddha. Seokguram GrottoSet 750 meters above sea level, the grotto houses a towering statue of the seated Buddha. This is the best spot to catch a breathtakingly beautiful view of the sun rising over the Sea of Japan. Golgulsa TempleA temple carved by Saint Gwang Yoo out of solid rock. We suggest staying at the temple for a truly rejuvenating experience base on meditative martial arts.   Photo credits:Bulguksa Temple, photo by Junho Jung via flickr under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseSeokugram Grotto, photo by Junho Jung via flickr under the  the CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseSunmudo (Zen martial art) at Golgulsa Temple, photo by Myllissa via flickr under the CC Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

[...]

06.07.2016

Founder and head of the London photography agency We Folk and of See W, a publishing company supporting artists by publishing previously unseen work or through commissioning new projects, Olivia Gideon Thomson is a successful creative professional and a mother, juggling her career with motherhood in the British capital. Olivia has been a Londoner for a quite a long time, and she truly loves the city. We asked her a few questions about her life in London and her favourite things in townSJ: Hi Olivia, can you tell us something about yourself in a few words?OGD: I’ve been living in London for over 20 years now and have been a student here, bought my first flat, got married, had a baby, started a business, swapped my flat for a house all in London. I feel like this city is in my blood. SJ: How crucial is it to live in a city like London for a creative professional?OGD: I think now that with people wanting more flexibility in their working lives, living outside of a city is a luxury that some people can afford. I think it must be hard to build a career and not be in a city but if you have a reached a point of fulfillment then I guess you can choose where to live as the work should at that point follow you, if you’re lucky.  SJ: What's your favourite part of town and why?OGD: I love the local areas at night when the streets are quiet, after all the noise has gone and very early in the morning when people are just waking up. I love the holidays as everyone leaves and you can get somewhere on time. I have lots of favorites but probably the river gives me the most sense of place. When you fly in over the city and see how deep and wide it gets and snakes all the way through, I feel like I’m home.   SJ: Please describe your ideal weekend in London.OGD: I have quite a routine at the weekend and am usually busy doing something for my son. I have a friend who I see every Saturday morning when we can to catch up, process the week and just keep each other sane. She’s a director and a mother, juggling creative careers with kids is a space we have to navigate for ourselves so we talk a lot about stuff like that. I’m super sociable and friends are really important to me but am also really happy on my own. If I want to be quiet I just head out for a long walk, or curl up and read, nap and generally unravel a bit. I live in an area where I know a lot of people through my son’s friends and so bumping into someone for a quick glass of wine on a Saturday is somehow like finding a jewel.   SJ: Can you recommend a few places in the city that are in tune with the Slowear style?OGD: For me it’s more about the mental space you have to create for yourself in a city as busy as London. I’ve always found myself able to have moments of real depth at the cities galleries. I saw the Yayoi Kusama show at the Serpentine, Mark Wallinger at Whitechapel, The Light show at the Hayward. I remember these moments in detail but they were moments of discovery – I didn’t know what I was going to see really. I’ve always just encountered rather than planned. My dad made me go and learn to type after I graduated. Every lunchtime I went to look at the Persian carpets at the V&A in South Kensington and I felt that sense of my brain slowing down and through that, finding another dimension. Anywhere where your eyes can just rest and take things in without your head getting involved is good!  Go into the churches, sit in quiet parks, walk the city at the weekend when it’s quieter.  SJ: Do you ever manage to live the slow way, taking your time to enjoy beauty and everything that's good in life?OGD: Yes – I notice everything around me and what I fill my life with, makes me peaceful. I avoid things that I don’t feel like doing and spend a lot of time with my friends and family. I read a lot, think a lot and I have a crazy dog who needs a lot of exercise. All my best ideas and solutions to things come when I walk. I grew up in the country but feel like I bring the atmosphere and space into my world in London. If I can stay off the phone and not lose myself in social media then life is pretty good.   Photo by Jenny Hands (@wefolk) 

[...]

06.03.2016

Sweem is a French artist who recently shot to fame thanks to a popular TV show The Voice. He is also a big Slowear fan. We spoke to him about Slow lifestyle & life in Paris SJ: Which 3 words do you feel best describe yourself?S: Travelling, meeting people & sharing. SJ: What will you never leave home without?S: I will never leave home without my hat on (my hat is a part of my head) as well as something to write on such as my phone, which is my best companion! I spend a lot of time on my phone! SJ: Tell us something about Paris which is a big inspiration for you.  S: Paris is all about inspiration! The nightlife inspires me a lot. I feel like there’s something different in the air… a bit of a “bohème”, something that makes you feel free. I love to look out of my window and see Paris by night while thinking about everything that’s going on, whether it’s crazy or romantic. SJ: Can you list a few suggestions on spending 24 hours in the city for a person’s first visit to Paris?S: Let me start by telling you about the best venues next to my place, in the 1st arrondissement (district): Killiwatch is an awesome store located in the 2nd district, and the thrift section in the back of the store is to die for. It’s huge and there’s a lot to choose from. You can’t be disappointed; the clothes in the window match the vintage decor. The thrift store is a must-see as well as the store in general.  I would also suggest going to rue des Abesses in the 18th district where you can experience the old Parisian cobblestone streets.  Then, head to the funicular in Montmartre. From there, you’ll get a stunning view of Paris and you’ll be able to sit there, relax and just think. Meanwhile, (if booked in advance) I would get inked at Bleu Noir Tattoo where you’ll find the best tattoo artists. They all have their own way of tattooing; the tattoos reveal a very graphic finish which I like a lot. .  Afterwards, I’d go window shopping for music at 37, Rue Victor Masse, which is home to the best store for guitar pedals and a lot of other musical instruments stores where you can find everything you are looking for.  Another great place to hit is the “quai” in the 13th district, and particularly  Petit Bain, a small concert hall for alternative music showcasing numerous and various concerts and Dj’s (you will always find something interesting). In the summer, its terrace gives you the opportunity to refresh yourself with a mojito while relaxing and chatting with friends.  Time to eat something…but it’s probably late so your best option is Au Pied de Cochon. At this very welcoming and cozy restaurant you’ll be able to taste the famous pied de cochon (pig's trotter) and treat yourself to a seafood platter (as far as I am concerned I always go for seafood and white wine). For those who like to party: before the Pied de cochon, head towards Pigalle and go to the Bus Paladium in the 18thdistrict. It is a great restaurant and concert hall with a killing décor and an awesome atmosphere. If you prefer proper clubs, go to Carmen. Back in the days, Carmen used to be a Parisian brothel. It is now a club where the baroque moldings and the cocktail bar are to die for! For party animals, I’d suggest the Orphee, one street further. The atmosphere is cozy and the cocktails are great. SJ: We know that you are launching your new music project. Would you like to unveil some details about it?S: I have been working on my EP which will be released very soon.  I came back from Berlin a few weeks ago to film music videos for my new songs. While in Berlin, I wanted to find a powerful vibe I couldn’t find in France. I feel in love with this city.  SJ: You chanced upon a Slowear store and are said to have instantly connected with the brand, can you please elaborate this moment as well as this connection you feel with the brand?S: I prepared my shopping for the next day with my stylist and we thought we had finished shopping and cobranding. Then I came across this store in the Marais. The clothes in the window caught my eye. I wanted to find a burgundy jacket and the sales assistants were so welcoming it felt like a home away from home. We then started to discuss my project, and the result is that my single cover picture is now branded Slowear. I believe that everything happens for a reason. You can connect with Sweem at www.facebook.com/sweemoff/

[...]

05.20.2016

Cafés where you can have tea or a light meal while reading a book are on the rise in Tokyo. Here is a list of places which will make you feel as comfortable as in your own living room, sipping tea and reading a book in a pleasantly slow-paced atmosphere. Mori no ToshoshitsuMori no Toshoshitsu (lit. Mori’s Library) is café located in Shibuya, open until late at night to all members. The café grants access to books, Wi-Fi and electric outlets. Inside the books you will find a food and drink menu. Alcoholic beverages are also availableBooks BunnyBooks Bunny is an exclusive bookshop, café and bar. The bookshop showcases any genre of printed Western publication, from art and news to fashion. The café features a nice assortment of coffee blends, lunch specials of the day and snacks. BundanBundan is the name of a literary café opened by Tokyo Pistol, a company dealing with creative work. The reading selection is huge. You can choose among about 20,000 titles, spanning from rarities to masterpieces of Japanese literature and even subcultures. The café offers coffee and beverages associated with authors like Mori Ōgai, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa and Atsushi Nakajima, Haruki Murakami’s personal favourite dishes and as well as food and drinks featured in his and other authors’ novels. Book & Café PhosphorescenceIts red bricks make it a landmark on Mitaka-dōri. The shop was named after a short story by Osamu Dazai. It is located on a street corner and its interiors are quite narrow, which is typical of second-hand bookshops. Along with a huge collection of pure literature and other genres, there are cuttings taken from Osamu Dazai’s works. The author is often featured in exhibitions and events taking place in the inner space of the shop. Yoru no HiruneYoru no Hirune is a café located near Asagaya Staton, with interiors exquisitely decorated in Shōwa style, and music and videos streaming all day long. The catalogue spans a variety of printed publications, including manga, natural science picture books, Edo arts, old magazines and art-books. The menu includes alcohol and food. A number of events is held on a regular basis, including talk shows, live performances and fortune-telling.

[...]

05.18.2016

Bosnia and Herzegovina's capital city is not like any other place in Europe - the hand of time has marked it forever: it has survived the Ottoman and the Austrian Empires, lived through Tito's communism and the longest siege in modern history. But Sarajevo's beauties are still there and very much alive as the National Geographic and the Guardian have recently highlighted.Sarajevo is indeed one of Europe's best-kept secret. And one to fall in love with. A cup of Bosnian coffeThe first thing to do when you arrive in Sarajevo is to sip some bosanska kafa: the Bosnian coffee is very strong (and similar to turkish coffee) and best served in one of the many typical kafane in the Baščaršija (the old town). It usually comes with some brightly coloured lokums (little sweets made of starch and sugar).Just sit on a short stool or on a cushion and enjoy it. VijećnicaYou can't miss seeing Vijećnica. It was built when Bosnia was a province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and since then it was used as City Hall and National and University Library. Then came the war of the Nineties: on the 25th August 1992, during the siege, the Bosnian Serb forces bombed it. The whole building and more than 2 million books burnt down. It took more than twenty years to rebuild it as it once was - in all its extravagant pseudo-moorish beauty. Promenade along the MijackaYou only need to step outside the Vijećnica and start from here your promenade along the Miljacka river to see Sarajevo's most beautiful bridges. The first is the Ottoman Šeher-Ćehaja Bridge, just across the National Library, and the second is the famous Latin Bridge, where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated (the casus belli of WWI). If you keep going westward, only two bridges down, you will get to the the 2012 Festina Lente Bridge with its characteristic knot-like shape. Sarajevo Film FestivalBorn under extremely hard conditions – at tail end of the Siege in 1995 when most films could get to the city only in VHS format – the SFF is the most important film festival of the Balkans and the biggest cultural event of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In its twenty years history the “Heart of Sarajevo” award has gone to some of the best emerging talents of modern cinema as Danis Tanović (for No Man's Land) and Deniz Gamze Ergüven (for last year's Mustang).The next edition will be held between the 12th and 20th of August 2016. Yellow FortressSarajevo is also the city of stunning panoramas, thanks to the mountains and hills surrounding it.The easiest to reach is the one from the Žuta Tabija. The Yellow Fortress it is part of the 18th century city walls, and from its top you can shoot some of the best pictures of your life while enjoying a drink at the new cafe.

[...]

05.15.2016

1. It is not on Spotify.So, if you want to listen to it without logging in to Apple Music or Tidal, at this moment your only choice is by going to the BBC website and checking the Radiohead listening party. 2. It is full of old songs. As usual.Reviews tend to underline as a shocker the fact that A Moon Shaped Pool includes songs that Thom Yorke or the band have played live on a number of occasions (with Diffuser.fm calling this album a “bizarro greatest hits package”). But Radiohead have made a habit of rehearsing songs both in concert and in studio for many years before releasing them on record. Just to name a few: Nude from 2007 album In Rainbows dated back to 1997, and The national anthem laid around for at least six years before making the cut for the 2000 album Kid A. 3. Even eight-year-olds get to review it.A Twitter user named Beth Gordon has posted her son's own track-by-track review. Verdict? Track 1 is “festival like”, track 8 “reminds me of Kung Fu Panda” (?!?!), and track 11 “could make people cry”. 4. Nobody gets it right with Radiohead at the first listen.Many music journalists have posted their review of A Moon Shaped Pool only hours after its release. But, as any diehard fan would tell you (check all-things-Radiohead site At Ease for proof), you need to give each one of their albums more than a whirl before it sinks in with you. More so with such a multifaceted record. 5. The orchestra is the extra member.The strings are everywhere in A Moon Shaped Pool: in the “col legno” parts during the opener Burn the Witch, in the occasional atonal bursts throughout the entire LP, and in the beautiful swooping cello figuration at the end of the tearjerker Glass Eyes. No wonder classical music buffs appreciate it too.

[...]

05.03.2016

Milan as been the subject of countless works by famous writers, poets and artists - and of course of numberless guides - so finding a fresh point of view on the city is pretty hard. Yet apparently Moleskine managed to strike the right key with I am Milan, the first item of a new city guide collection called I am the city that will feature a series of unique illustrated portraits of the world’s major cities. The Milan guide has been written and illustrated by awarded Italian illustrator, architect and author Carlo Stanga, who takes the reader on a pleasant city tour unveiling unique details and perspectives through his unmistakably beautiful drawings. I am Milan is a work that truly speaks to the heart of those who love the city. We asked Carlo, who lives and works between Berlin and Milan, to tell us more about the inspirations behind the guide and his relationship with both Milan and Berlin. SJ: This book is a love letter to Milan from a distance. What do you love most about the city, what do you miss and what do you not miss at all? CS: It definitely is an affectionate letter to the city where I studied and grew professionally. What I love most about Milan is the ubiquitous elegance of the city, which is probably its most unique feature. On the other hand, I do not miss the chaos, the pollution and the bureaucracySJ: Can you name some of your favourite places in town?CS: The Navigli district, where I have always lived. The Triennale, beautifully designed by Giovanni Muzio and home to many remarkable exhibitions. And Corso Garibaldi, where the of the scars of the WW2 bombings are still visible, the architectures are extremely diverse and the atmosphere is quiet and relaxed despite its super-central location. I have been working in the neighborhood for quite a few years. SJ: Why did you leave Italy? How come you moved to Berlin and how is your relationship with the German capital?CS: Creativity needs a change of scenery, from time to time, so I left Milan and Italy with their classic beauty and opted for a completely different and ‘alternative’ metropolis. Berlin has many advantages: it is bursting with creativity, it has the greatest number of art galleries in the world, almost 200 world-class museums and a vibrant cultural scene. Besides visual arts, music is thriving: Berlin is the only city in the world with 3 opera theaters, and an extraordinary philarmonic orchestra. It is a city with no sharp and hierarchial contrast between the center and the suburbs, a city that constantly grows and attracts new people, offering a lifestyle of surprisingly high-quality - over here we call it Deutsche Vita, with a reference to ‘la dolce vita’. Berlin is also a green city, with plenty of parks, rivers and lakes where you can swim, and almos 100 basins. Pollution is low, the trasportation system is hyper-efficient and we often use bicycles. This is a city in the forefront, where things happen first (self-driving cars are currently being developed here), with over 100 scientific research centers and constantly looking to the future.Of course, I still love to come to Milan where I have my family and friends, and work as well. SJ: You bio says you worked with Bruno Munari: how did he influence your work and which other masters did you draw inspiration from? CS: Bruno Munari taught me to see the world with a free attitude, catching apparently unimportant details triggering new meanings and ideas. Working with him was like being a child again, yet with an adult awareness and a critical mind. He was a veritable revolutionary, whereas nowadays everything tends to adhere to the ‘archistar’ standard, with bizarre and yet unpractical shapes, and renderings that are ‘hyper’ and ‘cool’ as much as untrue.Among my favourite artists are David Hockney, Francis Bacon, and obviously Picasso. I truly appreciate the work of Italian illustrator Guido Scarabottolo and the poetic images of photographer Gabriele Basilico, who truly managed to capture the deepest soul of Milan.  SJ: Are cities less or more suitable for illustrations as they are less or more photogenic?CS: All cities can be photogenic, it all depends on who looks at them and with what kind of feelings and involvement, no matter if it’s a painter, a photographer, or an illustrator. Personally, I love complex cities with deep contrasts and endless new facets, like Tokyo, Mexico City, Berlin, and of course Milan, which despite being small and monocentric has gained quite a few remarkable additions over the last few years.  SJ: Are you going to work on more guides from the I am city series?CS: Sure, I am currently working on London, which is being truly involving, and then I’ll move on to Paris, New York, and hopefully more cities. The world always yields surprises!

[...]

04.26.2016

The main theme songs and characters from the televised animated series have become a symbol and a cherished memory for generations of fans. Manga are now worldwide considered an expression of Japanese pop culture, but in the beginning they were regarded as casual sketches, as the name suggests. The origin of manga remains unknown, although the word came into modern usage with the publication of the Hokusai Manga in 1814. There was a huge increase in manga sales over the last financial year, with 500m copies sold – digital and printed – and over 356.9 billion yen in revenue, making the industry ever so flourishing. A number of museums have been established throughout the country to honour the greatness of Japanese manga artistsOsamu Tezuka Manga MuseumOsamu Tezuka was a Japanese cartoonist, manga artist, animator and film director. He is best known as the number one storyteller of post-war Japan and an inspiration for some of the most famous mangaka. His works include Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, Black Jack, and Phoenix.The Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum is located in the city of Takarazuka, where Osamu lived from the age of 5 to 24. The museum showcases Osamu Tezuka’s life and work, with over 170 pieces of material, including manga and anime, and the experience of anime creation. Fujiko F Fujio MuseumThis museum is dedicated to the creative duo Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko, the authors of the smashing hit Doraemon, a Sci-Fi series featuring the ordinary life of ordinary kids, with a touch of mystery and lots of humorous situations. In the museum, located in Kawasaki, you will find a mini-theatre and a café, with gadgets from the new series. Highly recommended for both adults and children. Shotarō Ishinomori Memorial MuseumShotarō Ishinomori is the author of a number of manga and tokusatsu superhero films filled with special effects, namely Cyborg 009, Kamen Rider, Android Kikaider and Himitsu Sentai Gorenger. The museum is located in Tōme, Miyagi, in the house where Shōtaro was born and raised. With an exhibition and videos of the main characters, the Shotarō Ishinomori Memorial Museum is the place to be for any adult manga fan. Go Nagai Wonderland MuseumBorn and raised in Wajima, Ishikawa, Go Nagai started his career as Shotarō Ishinomori’s assistant and went on to create international hits such Devil Man, Cutie Honey and Mazinger Z. Outside the museum, located in Wajima, there are a 2m-high replica of Mazinger Z and a life-size statue of Devil Man. The inside houses a collection of original drawings. Shigeru Mizuki MuseumShigeru Mizuki, whose fame and reputation are equalled only by Osamu Tezuka’s, passed away last year. To celebrate his world of ghosts and monsters revolving around the character of GeGeGe no Kitarō, a memorial hall was built in Mizuki’s native Sakaiminato, prefecture of Shimane. A monster exhibition is presented in the guise of a haunted house. Visitors can also learn facts about the author’s life and access a reproduction of his study. Hasegawa Machiko Art MuseumMachiko Hasegawa was the first professional woman mangaka in Japan. She moved from Fukuoka to Tokyo, where she enrolled as a student to Suihō Tagawa, aiming to become a comic artist. Her signature comic strip Sazae-san made its first appearance on the pages of the evening paper Fukunichi and went on to be published by Asahi Shimbun, one of the leading newspapers in Japan. It was not long before the animated series became a must to watch while having the Sunday dinner. The story revolves around the protagonist, Sazae Fuguta, and her family, the Isono Clan. The Hasegawa Machiko Art Museum is located in Setagaya, Tokyo, where Hasegawa lived until her final years. The museum houses Hasegawa’s original sketches and manga, on display in the Machiko Corner, as well as pieces of art, collected by the author and her elder sister.  Ghibli MuseumAlthough it is not dedicated to any mangaka, you must visit the Ghibli Museum, in the midst of Mitaka Forest. This museum celebrates the award-winning glories of Japanese animation, released by Studio Ghibli to worldwide fame. Taking its name after the Libyan-Arabic for “desert wind”, Studio Ghibli was founded as a subsidiary of Tokuma Shoten Publishing in 1985, in the wake of the success of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The first film officially produced by Ghibli was Laputa: Castle in the Sky, released upon the foundation of the studio. Over the years, the studio has produced and released about twenty animated feature films by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. The Ghibli Museum, designed by Miyazaki himself, features a giant Totoro, welcoming visitors at the entrance, and is decorated with all sorts of machinery, bridges, balconies and staircases, stretching throughout the premises.

[...]

04.21.2016

Contrary to popular belief, fashion trends have always been informed by what men were wearing, as much as they were by women’s dress. In the 18th century, the male aristocrat wore a three-piece suit conspicuous in make and style and equally as lavish as the opulent dress of his female counterpart; the 19th-century dandy made famous a more refined brand of expensive elegance; the 20th-century mod relished in colorful and modern styles; and the 21st century man—in an ultra-chic suit by day and a flowered tuxedo by night—redefines today’s concept of masculinity. Re-examining the frequent association of “fashion” with “femininity,” LACMA’s Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715–2015 exhibition makes illuminating connections between history and high fashion, tracing cultural influences over the centuries, examining how elements of the uniform have profoundly shaped fashionable dress, and revealing how cinching and padding the body was, and is, not exclusive to women. The exhibition, featuring 200 looks drawn mostly from LACMA’s renowned permanent collection of costume and textiles, debuts several rare surviving ensembles, including fashions worn by men from different levels of society during the French Revolutionary period, such as a revolutionary’s sans-culottes pants and carmagnole jacket. Additionally, LACMA curators have secured important ensembles representing other key moments in the history of menswear, such as an authentic 1940s zoot suit that took more than a decade to locate. Reigning Men also includes a selection of shoes, accessories, and textiles that complement the featured ensembles. Over 50 contemporary designers and fashion houses are represented in the exhibition. Until August 21 

[...]

04.19.2016

The times when our parents and grandparents used to dust old family photo albums off the drawers and proudly show us the images of a lifetime with a little hint of nostalgia are long gone. Those moments have all been lost since we started scattering our photographs among external hard drives, SD cards, USB flash drives and clouds whose access passwords we probably forgot. Our photographs, that once used to be a simulacrum of the portrayed person, a way to evoke presence in the absence of someone, a treasure to guard with care and carry around, are now trapped inside heaps of digital files, and most of them will never get to be printed. Which is utterly absurd in a time of uncontrolled image proliferation: we take snapshots of everything  and everyone in fear that they might fall into oblivion, and yet this exorbitant production of images ends up having the opposite effect, generating a shapeless mass of memories soon destined to lose their value and significance only to be eventuallly forgotten. This generalized tendency to obsessively and impulsively shoot photographs only manages to create multiple copies of out-of-focus, and honestly ugly images that will inevitably be left to rot in forgotten corners of our HDs and memories waiting to maybe be opened again someday. As if this were not enough, our virtual caskets are neither safe nor eternal: these supposedly infallible digital systems are not as safe as we often believe. As Vint Cerf , a ‘father of the Internet’ and Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist said, 'we are nonchalantly throwing all of our data into what could become an information black hole without realising it’. Cerf even described such a loss of important information as a possible ‘digital Dark Ages’. Because of the uninterrupted rise of new technologies and updates of our softwares and OS systems, our current file storage systems will soon be obsolete and we might lose the possibility to open and even access to our files. Faced with this self-destructive trend, Cerf himself suggests that we print out the photos we really care about. So why not start saving our favorite memories? We need to rediscover the pleasure of printing our photographs, collecting them in albums, and even hanging them on the walls like we used to to when back we were kids. We need to free our photographs from their futile digital status.

[...]

04.14.2016

Theo Jansen is a real-life Tim Burton character - he has long, wavy, perfectly white hair, deep blue eyes, a handsome, expressive face, and a stylish taylor-made corduroy jacket in which he often appears in photos and videos. Theo is a 68-year-old Dutch artist living in Delft, on the Northern Sea, and for over 20 years he has been spending his days building and improving tons of strange creatures made out of stiff plastic tubes that are commonly used in the Netherlands for electrical wiring in buildings. He named his huge wind-powered self-propelled sculptures Strandbeests (‘beach animals’) and the people in Delft are quite used to see them ‘walk’ on the beach close to a restaurant and club called De Fuut where Theo spends most of his days when he’s not working on some new beest in his workshop. He even divided them in different generations belonging to specific ‘geologic eras’ - i.e. the materials and technologies he used and their moving abilities. The most evolved ones have sails, a shovel arm for tossing up sand, ‘nerve cells’ which can detect when the animal is in shallow water, and other advanced features. The whole idea of the Strandbeests originated from an article he wrote in 1990 for a Dutch newspaper about the rising sea levels and the threat of floods that might submerge huge parts of the Netherlands and reduce the country to its medieval size. As a solution, Theo offered to build animals that would restore the balance between water and land by tossing sand in the air so that it would land on and augment the seaside dunes. Countless experiments and Strandbeest generations later, these creatures have become an authentic obsession, to the point that their inventor feels compelled to create them. They have travelled all over the world to be exhibited in museums and art institutions - from Tokyo to Chicago, from Paris to Amsterdam, from Salem MA to Madrid - and yet the best place to watch them is still the beach, where Theo hopes to set them free one day so that they can live their own life. In the meantime, every summer between July and September, he organizes the ever-crowded Beach Sessions along the Dutch coast, unleashing his newest ‘dream machines’ on the shore. Reservation is strongly recommended.  via The New Yorker

[...]

04.12.2016

Good business etiquette is an essential tool of communication. Like a lubricant, it helps people connect to one another smoothly. The ground principle of social interactions is never to make the other person feel uncomfortable. They say first impression is the best impression. According to surveys carried out by companies expanding on a global scale, Japan is the country with the strictest business etiquette. Before they can start working in a company, the Japanese must take a course on business etiquette and manners. If you’re going on a business trip to Japan or you’re doing business with a Japanese company, you will find the following tips useful to unravel some of the basic manners. Greeting and bowingFirst, exchange a few greeting lines with the other party and take a bow, with the eyes down. When you bow for the second time, you can make eye contact with other person. There are three types of bow: informal, formal and extremely formal.Informal bows are made by inclining the body at a fifteen-degree angle or with a slight nod of the head. This is the type of bow you may want to use when you pass colleagues or superiors in the corridor.Formal bows are made by tilting the upper body at about thirty degrees. You need to bow formally every time you meet with business partners or customers or you need a favour from someone.Extremely formal bows are performed by inclining the upper body deeper than a thirty-degree angle. Overusing it may result somehow artificial in appearance, but this is the type of bow which best conveys apology or gratitude. Exchanging cardsBusiness card exchange is also part of the greeting. You should proceed with a brief self-introduction, stating your name and handing out your card. It is fundamental that the highest-ranking people present their cards first, or that the clients receive your card first. If you’re the first one receiving the card from the other party, you won’t be able to use both hands, since one hand will still be holding out your own card. Conversely, if you have handed out your card already, it is kindly recommended that you receive the other party’s card using both hands. You should also use both hands when you’re holding out your card face up, towards the receiver, not higher than your chest level. When receiving the other person’s card, it is a common practice to confirm their name by reading it out loud. Please, make sure your fingers are not covering the other party’s name and company details on the card. If you’ve inadvertently handed out your card simultaneously, make sure you’re not the first one to put away the card you’ve received. Refrain from taking your card out of your pocket or wallet directly, and please do not write memos on the other person’s card in front of them. Do not exchange cards over the table. There is no need to say that your cards must be immaculate, with no dog-ears or dirtSeating orderThe best place in a reception room is called kamiza. It is reserved to the highest-ranking person, at the head of the table, farthest from the entrance. The lower-ranking people should be seated far removed from their superior, next to the entrance, and this seat will be referred to as shimoza. In the case of divans and armchairs, the former will be reserved to the highest-ranking person. A further criterion is the appearance of the seat: if there are statues, pictures, hanging scrolls or windows beside it, the most important individual should take that seat.Again, first impression is the best impression. Just show that you know these few basic rules and you will certainly make a smashing impression.

[...]

04.04.2016

A fascinating, malleable material, which comes alive with the heat and the human breath, and which preserves its beautiful colors unaltered after cooling down. Ever since the Middle Ages, Venetians managed to perceive and enhance the qualities of glass inspired by Oriental artisans and by the many fruitful commercial and cultural exchanges between Venice and the far Eastern world. The origins of the glass blowing industry date back to the year 1291, when the Republic of Venice banned all furnaces from the city to prevent fires (the buildings were then mainly made of wood)  thus forcing glassmakers to move to Murano. And that's how Murano became the island of glass - the same island where glassmaking businesses are still thriving (some of them sice those ancent times) and the Glass Museum pays homage to the art of making glass. Founded in 1861 by Antonio Colleoni, then the major of Venice, and abbot Vincenzo Zanetti, a connoisseur of glass, this historic institution started out as an archive on the history and the life of the island, but it soon turned into a museum thanks to plenty of donations from Murano's glass factories. In 1923, the museums became part of Venice's cutural heritage and the collections got rearranged and enriched with valuable ancient and Renaissance pieces.  Today, the museum houses collections covering 700 years in the history of Venetian glass starting from Ancient Roman times, including remarkable information on artisan techniques. A whole room is devoted to contemporary glass art and craft. In 2014, a new museum dedicated to the art of glassmaking was born in the heart of Venice, housed inside beautiful Palazzo Nani Mocenigo, the former home of Ca' Foscari university. The Vitraria Glass+A Museum has quite a unique, 'universal' approach to the history of glass. For instance, its collection are not strictly limited to glass objects: by includig other materials and art forms such as iron, resin, videos and photography, the exhibits aim at suggesting ideas and inspirations concerning the various qualities of glass - fragility, transparency, liquidness and transformability.  The museum tells visitors an 'open' story that they can experience individually, finding their very own paths and interpretations without being guided by captions and labels. Besides big names of contemporary art such as Bill Viola, Frank Stella and AES + F, Vitraria Glass +A Museum houses the works of emerging local artists such as Sofia Olmeda, who creates her pieces with the help of an old image scanner. 

[...]

03.24.2016

We don't want to know what triggered the concept - it could be a long reflection on the relationship between films and music or a hangover - but the fact remains that American comedy writer and video editor Peter Salomone was flashed by the most  absurd, bizarre, and apparently foolish idea ever. And as it sometimes happens with such ideas due to probability or statistics, for some uncomprehensible reason it proved somewhat ingenious. Now, before you stop reading out of impatience, here's the mystery unveiled: the hypothesis behind The Walk of Life Project is pretty simple: the catchy Dire Straits song of the same name, released in  1985, is 'the perfect song to end any movie'. Which sounds almost plausible when you think of a contemporary  blockbuster or a romantic comedy - and definitely insane in the case of  a silent movie or an auteur film.  Can you imagine the carefree synth melody  and the easy guitar riff of the intro as the soundtrack of the ending scene fromTruffaut's The 400 Blows, of Norman Bates' final disturbing look into the camera from Psycho, or of the famous conclusive scene from Dziga Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera? Well, there is no need to imagine that, since Mr.Salomone - either as an elaborate kind of wisecrack or in the attempt to prove his hypothesis - did it himself by superimposing the Dire Straits song on the closing scenes of these and other iconic film. And the result is sometimes astonishingly perfect, sometimes funny or grotesque - and invariably enlightening. Definitely the most hilarious film-themed excercise in style since the 'sweded' films from Michel Gondry's  Be Kind Rewind.  The 'wolked' version of 2001 A Space Odissey's finale is a gem!

[...]

03.22.2016

Seoul is an exciting city. With so many things to do and see - especially when it comes to shopping and dining - we hardly ever manage to enjoy the spirit of the city itself whenever we visit, so we asked our friend Jung Hee Park, fashion editor at Luel Magazine and a prominent influencer in the Korean fashion industry, to tell us about life and work in the city – and of course to recommend a few places in town that are in tune with the slow lifestyle SJ: What is it like living and working in Seoul?JHP: It is actually quite convenient. Unless you are financially troubled, you can do anything you want and get whatever you need easily and quickly. I think there is no place like Seoul. And it has great IT facilities and services too - which makes it a perfect place for working. On the other hand, this also means that things change very fast so choosing a slower pace of life can be hard. SJ: Can you describe your ideal day in the city from breakfast until after dark?JHP: Thinking of a peaceful, relaxing day in the weekend, I would kick off the morning by running along the Han River - it feels amazing. Then I would spread a blanket on the grass and have my lunch delivered for a picnic; it might be quite surprising to those who are from other countries, but in Seoul we can order food to be delivered outside! At night, I’d go to my favorite whisky bar, Vault+82, a speakeasy-style place where you can get a shoeshine while drinking. Simplicity with a little touch of luxury: these are the key elements of my ideal day. SJ: Which places would you suggest that we visit to experience the most authentic spirit of the city?JHP: Seoul is completely surrounded by mountains - which is quite unique for such a huge capital - so after all getting in touch with nature and finding some peace and harmony is pretty easy from the city. I suggest reaching up to the top of Nam or Pugak mountain and looking down from above: what you’ll see is not just the lights and the skyscrapers, but also the old palaces. Lookink at the city from the mountains, not from a tall building, could be a very nice experience. SJ: Could you recommend a few addresses in town that you believe are in tune with the Slowear style and concept?JHP: I recommend Seochon, one of the oldest districts in northern Seoul, an area full of traditional houses (hanok), ancient palaces, and art galleries. I can't say that it represents the whole city, but of course it allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city and quietly stroll along its nice streets.  SJ: What's your idea of a slow lifestyle?JHP: Knowing what you really want to do and what you like and behaving accordingly. I believe that having a clear sense of taste and purpose can definitely help you lead the life you have planned for yourself. Life is long - reaching your own goals one by one would be a great and meaningful way to live it the slow way.

[...]

03.18.2016

Nara used to be the capital of Japan, under the name of Yamato, and it is full of attractions. A World Heritage Site and a National Treasure, Nara is a cultural trove. If you leave the main tourist spots, you will find cherry trees and beautiful Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. Shin’yakushi-jiShin’yakushi-ji was built in 747, well into the Nara period, and it served as the temple of the Kegon sect. It is located within walking distance from Tōdai-ji. The statues of the Twelve Heavenly Generals surrounding and guarding the Yakushi-nyorai, the Healing Buddha, in the main hall, are an astonishing sight. The body of the Healing Buddha contains eight scrolls of the Lotus Sutra. The Twelve Heavenly Generals - the oldest extant in Japan – follow the twelve cosmic directions and are regarded as the tutelary deities of the twelve-year Chinese zodiac. Every year, on April 8, the priests gather on the occasion of Ōtaimatsu for processions around and services inside the main hall.
Ōmiwa ShrineŌmiwa Shrine is the oldest Shinto shrine in Japan. Built in 91 BC, it is located on Mount Miwa (alt. 467,1m), which has served for worship of nature and of the deities residing on its slopes since as early as the Jōmon (14,000-300 BC) and Yayoi Eras (300 BC-250 AD). The divine founders of the country are worshipped here, along with the patrons of agriculture, industry, commerce, divination, health, travellers, sailors and human life. But Ōmiwa Shrine is first and foremost a tutelary shrine for physicians and sake brewers. People from all over the country enjoy treading the paths leading to the shrine, which are thriving with pines, Japanese cedars and Hinoki cypresses - lumbering has always being forbidden within the sacred sites. Once they arrive at Sai Shrine, pilgrims can quench their thirst at the Kusuri Ido, or ‘medicine well’, from which they can drink the sacred spring water from Mount Miwa. Hase-dera TempleHase-dera is the head temple of the Buzan sect of Shingon-shu Buddhism. Established in 686, it was expanded in 727 with the creation of the main hall, which still stands to this day. It has been famous since time immemorial as the ‘Flower Temple’, and its beautiful peonies can be admired throughout the year. Hase-dera also appears in the Tale of Genji and the Pillow Book. It is the eighth temple in the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, where people solicit Buddha’s mercy and compassion. A roofed stairway leads from the Niōmon Gate up 399 steps to the Main Hall. In addition to the perennial peonies, in April, the temple offers the breath-taking spectacle of the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Taima-dera TempleTaima-dera was built under Empress Suiko in 612 and is famous for the veneration of the Taima Mandala, a depiction of the Pure Land, and for the legend of Princess Chūjō, also known as the Japanese Cinderella. Along with the Tanzan Shrine, Taime-dera is part of the circle of the Seven fortunes and Eight treasures of Yamato, as well as the eleventh temple in the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage. Here you can try shabutsu, the art of drawing Buddhas, engage in meditation or prepare matcha green tea. Furthermore, if you book in advance, you can also savour vegetarian delicaciesTanzan ShrineBuilt in 680 in the city of Sakurai, the Tanzan Shrine is dedicated to Fujiwara no Kamatari and belongs in the circle of the Seven fortunes and Eight treasures of Yamato. In addition to the three-storeyed pagoda, originally built for the Ōbara-dera temple and listed among the national treasures, there is another thirteen-storeyed pagoda, which has been designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan. Because of its location at a fairly high altitude (619m), cherry blossoms bloom rather late in spring, whereas it is a hot spot for momijigari (leaf peeping), with crowds coming from all over the country for the purpose od observing the ravishing colours of autumn foliage, as well as the beautiful night illuminations. A Kemari Matsuri - kickball festival - is held on April 29 and on the second Sunday in November every year. Niukawakami ShrineLocated by the river Niu, the Niukawakami Shrine is made up of three premises, upper, middle and lower – the latter dedicated to the God of Water, the tutelary deity of water supplies and rain. Covered in a lush forest of millenary cedar trees, in spring the whole of Mount Yoshino changes to the colour of blooming sakura cherry trees. Since horses were considered the sacred vehicles of deities, a black horse was offered to pray for the appropriate amount rain, whereas a white horse was used to solicit sunny weather. Over time, this custom morphed into the use of ema, wooden plaques with a horse painted on the front and one’s wish written on the back, a custom which is still in practice. The Slowear Store Tokyo Midtown is currently celebrating Sakura 2016 with FossMarai Kir Royale, one of the best Italian Proseccos enriched by a touch of cherry liqueur. You are welcome to come and have a glass at our boutique!

[...]

03.14.2016

Whenever we think of Florence, we often do not seem to realize that in this undisputed art capital - which houses around half of Italy's all time major art masterpieces  - art does not merely belong to the past. The relationship between Florence and the art world is alive, it is a thread that runs from Botticelli, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi to the present, and that can still be experienced today in the contemporary art galleries that promote renowned and emerging Italian and international artists. Here is a small beginner's list for those who would like to explore the contemporary art scene in Florence. Aria Art GalleryThis gorgeous gallery in the Borgo Santi Apostoli district is enriched by a beautiful ancient garden created in the 16th century by the wife of a famous patron of the arts. Among its artists are world-famous names as well as emerging young talents, with a focus on photographyBiagiotti Progetto ArteCarole Biagiotti's gallery and private non-profit foundation is mainly devoted to promoting young Italian and foreign artists, so if you are willing to know what's new on the art scene this is the right address. The gallery is housed inside a 17th century building in the heart of the city's historic district and it exhibits different kinds of works ranging from paintings to photographs, from videos to installations, from street art to performancesFrittelli ArteThe new location of 'historic' Galleria Frittelli in the north-western part of the city is a huge 2,000 sq. meter space dedicated to contemporary art. Besides the rooms where temporary exhibitions on the work of artists that the gallery has been collaborating with over the years are held, it houses an auditorium for screenings, conferences and workshops on contemporary art. Galleria Poggiali e ForconiThis small gallery close to Giardino di Boboli has very minimalist spaces with a pleasant post-industrial charm where exhibitions devoted to internationally acclaimed names alternate with the work of emerging artists. They recently held a David Lachapelle exhibition and specialize in photography.

[...]

03.01.2016

The huge repertoire of everyday gestures that accompany our talking have been a source of inspiration for artists long before the advent of the film industry. Back in the days of the commedia dell’arte, a form of poor improv theatre that was hugely popular in Italy between the 16th and the 18th century, actors used to draw fully from the Italian gestural ‘vocabulary’ and exaggerate the gestures to characterize their often grotescque impersonations. With a bold 200-year time jump to the 20th century, the same tendency to overdo hand gestures can be found in the commedia all’italiana (italian-style comedy), a film genre which depicted the vices and virtues of the Italian character from the Fifties to the early Seventies through satire and humor, often giving birth to some of the most iconic moments in the history of our national film industry. And the scene from Fellini’s early movie I Vitelloni with Alberto Sordi giving the ‘Italian salute’ (or the ‘umbrella gesture’, as we call it over here) certainly is one of such moments. Apparently, the origin of this rather international gesture is to be found in what the Ancient Romas used to call the digitus impudicus - literally ‘the indecent finger’, as mentioned in an epigram by Martial dating back to the 1st century AD. That’s right, even Ancient Romans knew how to flip the bird - and to make a long story short, scholars suggest that the act of slapping one’s biceps is an evolution of giving the finger which stemmed from a gestual misunderstanding between French and English soldiers during the Hundred Year’s War. As for the meaning, well, it seems pretty clear. But please note that in Italy this gesture is often not considered as vulgar as giving the middle finger. The Italian salute is basically just a goliardic way to affirm your being shrewder than the person you are talking to (who might even be trying to trick you somehow). In this specific case, Alberto Sordi, who would go on to become the most popular actor of the commedia all’italiana, plays the part of a small-town loafer (vitellone) who gives the Italian salute (and blows a ringing raspberry) to a bunch of railway workers simply to mock them for working. Only to soon realize that it was probably not a good idea, but that’s another story.   

[...]

02.29.2016

Messiaen's Turangalîla-symphony will be played by New York Philharmonic during Messiaen's week (March 7 – 13) at Lincoln Center. A masterpiece of modern music that has had a huge influence on two very famous yet different musicians too:  NY Phil conductor and Composer-in-Residence Esa-Pekka Salonen and radiohead guitar player Jonny Greenwood. Salonen remembers listening to Turangalîla for the first time as “one of those moments when a completely new landscape opens up in front of you. The sound is so different from any other kinds of music and there's a character always present in Messiaen, the zen-like existence: time stops and on top of some kind of a cloud or cushion of harmony little stylized birds move around. This is completely unique in Western classical music”. And Turangalîla got Mr. Greenwood at quite an early age: “I first heard Messiaen when I was 15 or 16—the Turangalîla-Symphony—and just found it magical, especially with the ondes martenot swooping around with the strings. I didn't know it was allowed to write music like that”. Salonen and Greenwood have been two of Meassien's biggest supporters throughout their careers: the first one has often conducted the French composer's major oeuvres with some of the world's best orchestras, and the latter has payed homage to Messiaen's genius through Radiohead's works a number of times - the most overt of these homages being the use of the Ondes Martenot (one of the very fist electronic instrument, also played in  Turangalîla) in the Radiohead song “How to disappear completely”. Tickets for Turangalîla are still available at the New York Philharmonic website.

[...]

02.24.2016

For centuries, Vienna's skyline remained the same, dominated by the monumental beauty of gothic/romanic St. Stepen's cathedral. Towards the end of the 19th century, though, modernity obstinately stormed in with Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos and Joseph Maria Olbrich, who conceived unique projects such as the Secession, one of the best known Art Nouveau buildings in Europe, Postsparkasse and Looshaus. Ever since then, the evolution has been ceaseless and exciting. Just think of the many experiments in the field of social housing: from Karl-Marx Hof (1926), a huge residential building in the Heiligenstadt neighborhood conceived to include many amenities, including laundromats, kindergartens, and doctor offices, to the gorgeous Hundertwasserhaus (1983) a very innovative housing project built after the idea and concept of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser with 50 apartments featuring bright colors, soft lines, and terraced gardens. Over the last years, the city's landscape has rapidly risen toward the sky with huge skyscrapers springing everywhere, and yet this hyper-modern development has gone hand in hand with some pretty remarkable repurposing projects that show how much Vienna cares for its own architectura heritage. Among them is Gasometer City in Simmering, a gigantic project that brought to the convertion of four 19th century gas tanks into commercial and residential buildings designed by a bunch of  world renowned architects including French archistar Jean Nouvel. The new minimalist Sofitel Stephansdom hotel featuring luminous interior ceiling artworks by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist visible from the river banks is yet another Jean Nouvel masterpiece, whereas  DC Towers #1 in Donaucity, one of the latest additions to the city's skyline and currently Austria's tallest building at 250 meters (including the antenna spire), has been designed by Dominique Perrault. Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid is behind the impressive library at the new WU campus (Vienna University of Economics and Business), and major works for the construction of the city's brand new central railway station have just been completed. So what about the near future? The next plan is to reconvert the huge area that used to house the old Südbahnhof  and Ostbanhof, where the hyper-modern Quartier Belvedere will soon be born along with a residential project and a hotel by Renzo PianoCover photo: wien.info

[...]

02.23.2016

Every big city has its own collection of hidden places, often unknown and unexpected - places we walk beside, or above, or under, mostly unaware of their existence. In New York City, the collection is virtually boundless, with so much space for secret places and a urban fabric spreading vertically as much as horizontally. So chances are whoever claims to know the city 'like the back of his/her hand' still has a lot to discover. And here's what we discovered lately. The bomb shelter inside Brooklyn BridgeInside the 'belly' of New York's most beloved bridge is a bomb shelter dating back to the times of Cold War. City workers accidentally stumbled upon it during a routine structural inspection in 2006 and found it perfectly intact and filled with survival supplies including medicine, water drums, paper blankets and high-calorie crackers dating back to 1957 and 1962. For security reasons, the bunker is not accessible - but you can peep inside through a hole in the door. Marble CemeteryBehind the Bowery Hotel hides a 19th century cemetery where the deceased are interred in underground marble vaults marked by plaques. Seen from above (from the hotel lobby's back windows) it looks like a nice garden, and yet it's a very old example of public burial ground. The gate is located at the end of an alley right off Second Avenue.  Staten Island Boat GraveyardOld, rotting, ghostlike boats floating on a swampy canal in Staten Island, approximately 13 miles away from the ferry terminal. Although hardly accessible, this is truly one of the most unknown and fascinating places in the city. Pomander WalkA cute London street in Manhattan's Upper West Side? It only happens in New York. The colorful Tudor-style buildings lining Pomander Walk in the shade of the skyscrapers are the heritage of a night club impresario who had them built in 1921 with the plan of constructing a hotel (for which he eventually failed to find the money) on site. The street owes its name to a romantic comedy which opened in New York in 1910 and was set on a fictional London crescent of the same name. Photo: Sonja Stark via Flickr

[...]

02.22.2016

While making fun of Italians by wildly gesticulating may not be appropriate, it is actually quite accurate: we do love to gesticulate, and although in real life we probably don’t do it that often, this habit is deeply rooted in our culture. After all, we have been practicing the art of taking with gestures ever since the times of Ancient Rome, and through the centuries we developed such a rich ‘vocabulary’ that it could actually compete with that of the official Italian Sign Language (LIS). Seriously, someone took the trouble of counting our most common gestures and identified scores of them, each one with its own variations based on hand shapes, positions, movements and respective facial expressions. Among the most typical Italian gestures is that of the ‘bag’, also known as ‘the artichoke’, beautifully described by writer Carlo Emilio Gadda who renamed it ‘the tulip’: the hand moves up and down with the palm up and the fingertips brought together like the petals of a tulip. The meaning depends on the context; coupled with a puzzled look it could simply be a way to express that you’re not quite grasping the situation – like in “what the hell are you saying?” or “what’s going on?”. Unlike other peoples who are too proud to give away that they do not understand or do ot know the answer to a given question, we Italians usually do not have a problem with Socratically admitting that we don’t have a clue. If “the tulip” comes with a frown, though, the meaning is probably more toward the “what do you want from me?” side; in that case, be warned: the situation might literally get out of hand.

[...]

02.15.2016

Howling with tears streaming through their faces, beating their chests or raising hands towards the sky to invoke God or some Saint - and invariably dressed in black. That is basically how foreign films have been depicting Italians since forever, sometimes trying to represent authentically tragic characters, and sometimes only to outline ironic impersonations.And maybe we should partly blame this on ourselves: after all, we exported extraordinary dramatic actors such as Anna Magnani, who certainly knew how to play plausibly tragic characters and was in a way a tragic figure herself in real life, racked by passion and love. Yet are we Italians actually so prone to despair? Legend has it that people over here tend to emphasize emotions ‘just a tad’, but what most foreigners ignore is that the intensity of our despair is directly proportional to the heat of the sun and of our passions: in other words, it grows as you make your way south through the country, and the gestures expressing our misery do change as well. So the same moderately adverse happening that pushes a guy in Milan to raise an eybrow while muttering something under his breath might induce a guy in Rome to bite his hand and scream te possino (literally ‘may someone kill you’) and another one in Naples to lift his hands towards the sky and invoke St. Gennaro, the city’s undisputed spiritual authority. Don’t be fooled, though: the correlation is not always that easy to establish, because when we move from one city to another we rapidly pick up local habits and so you could always bump into a Neapolitan raising one eyebrow in Milan while invoking St. Gennaro under his breath, or into a Roman biting his hand in Naples while swearing in the Milanese dialect. As a general rule, never take our despair too seriously: sometimes we can get really upset and yet something must be wrong with our short-term memory, because we usuaslly forget all the drama just as quickly. And of course, we often end up joking about it.   Photo: Anna Magnani, Made in Italy (1965), directed by Nanni Loy

[...]

02.15.2016

With some 100 museums scattered across its five boroughs, New York City certainly has a lot to offer, and yet most of these remarkable cultural institutions are often  left off the radar in spite of their actual conspicuousness, overshadowed by major museums such as the Met, the MoMa, the Guggenheim or the Whitney Museum.  Here's a small selection of small and surprisingly cool museums. National Museum of the American Indian, New York City BranchIt was 1524 when Italian explorer Giovanni Da Verrazzano landed at Mannahatta island, then inhabited by Algonquin Indians. And the complex history of Native American cultures, to which this collection of artifatcts, objects and photographs is devoted, is where the roots of the city can be found. El Museo del BarrioPuerto Rico, the Carribeans, and Latin America: these cultural components are crucial to the character of the city. The mission of this Upper East Side museum is to present and preserve the art and culture of Puerto Ricans and all Latin Americans in the United States through extensive collections, varied exhibitions and publications, bilingual public programs, educational activities, festivals, and special events. Museum at Eldridge StreetThe Lower East Side has long been a working-class, immigrant neighborhood, as well as home to a flourishing Jewish community. This museum dedicated to the Jewish roots of the neighborhood is housed inside a 19th century synagogue. The Skyscraper MuseumThe Skyscraper Museum celebrates the world's first and foremost vertical metropolis by examining the historical forces and individuals that have shaped its successive skylines and exploring tall buildings as objects of design, products of technology, sites of construction, investments in real estate, and places of work and residence. Photo: El Museo del Barrio

[...]

02.05.2016

If you are a foreigner visiting Japan for the first time, you should be aware of a few things about Japanese etiquette, especially when you are having a meal. For example, you can slurp your soba noodles as noisily as you please, but please, never ever let people catch a glimpse of you blowing your nose.Has it ever happened to you to jump upon hearing someone slurping their noodles at a restaurant? Perhaps that is the same feeling the Japanese get when they hear us blowing our nose noisily at the next table. Every country has its own customs and habits. To paraphrase a very popular saying, “when in Tokyo, do as the Tokyoites do”. Seating Arrangements: Rank or Age FirstWhen it comes to seating arrangements, it is ladies first in Europe and the Americas. In Japan, by contrast, it makes no difference whether you are a man or a woman. Guests should first occupy the seats located farthest from the entrance or the aisle, in descending order from the person in the highest rank, or the eldest, to the person in the lowest rank, or the youngest. Do Not Play With Your ChopsticksEven if you are at a loose end, please do not play with your chopsticks. Your dish is not a drum and it is not appropriate to wave your chopsticks while having a conversation. Do Not Blow Your Nose at a Dinner Table (You Cannot Blow It at a Breakfast or Lunch Table Either)If you need to blow your nose, excuse yourself and go to the restroom. Alternatively, just blow your nose, but please do it gently without making a racket. Be Careful How You Pour BeerIn most cases, before a meal, a toast will be proposed, starting with beer. Do not pour beer in the other guests’ glasses from a nearly empty bottle. You can pour it if the quantity of beer in the bottle is enough to fill a glass to the brim. Soba Must Be Enjoyed NoisilyPlease make noise when eating soba noodle. Thanks to the air inhaled while slurping soba, the delicious aroma of buckwheat will linger in your nostrils in the afterglow. Soba is not something you taste in the mouth, but in the throat. In other words, nodogoshi, the taste in the throat, is paramount. That is why you should not chew soba noodles too long. And who knows? In Italy too, they may pick up this habit when eating spaghetti.

[...]

02.01.2016

Art is everywhere in Mexico City. The first image that comes to our minds as we think of the Mexican capital is that of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, the legendary couple of artists and lovers whose faces appear on every Mexican gadget and souvenir and even on 500 pesos notes. Their works are just as ubiquitous - in the museums collecting their paintings and in the public buildings housing their huge murales. Yet even the contemporary art scene is vibrant and thriving with emerging artists and futuristic museums such as the new Museo Jumex designed by David Chipperfield and housing the massive contemporary art collection owned by the Lopez family, also owner of the Jumex fruit juice empire. And then of course there is an impressive amount of contemporary art galleries that have been proudly struggling and working to promote local and international emerging artists for over 30 years, although oddly enough the world only seems to have noticed this over the last few years. So if you are interested in discovering the authentic spirit of contemporary Mexico and of a city that's full of contradictions and yet rich in opportunities, look no further than these diverse and amazing spaces devoted to today's artistic expressions. We selected some of the most remarkable ones.  Galeria OMRA veritable institution, this beloved gallery devoted to avant-garde contemporary Mexican and foreign artists first opened its doors in 1983, and it is currently about to start the second chapter of its history by opening a brand new location. KurimanzuttoHere's another place you should not miss: besides representing the world's most famous contemporary Mexican artist, Gabriel Orozco, this gallery founded back in 1999 offers a unique window on the contemporary Mexican art scene. YautepecThe brainchild of Chicago-born Brett Schultz and his mexican partner Daniela Elbahara, Yautepec is a comparatively new gallery and yet it has already created a 'network' which also includes  Material Art Fair, a young and alternative art event devoted to international emerging art. LuluThis small and charming gallery founded by artist Martin Soto Climent and curator Chris Sharp is one of the latest additions to the city's contemporary art scene. Its one and only immaculate room houses the works of Mexican and foreign internationally renowned artists. Picture: Gabriel Orozco, Kurimanzutto, 2013

[...]

01.21.2016

The idea each one of us has of Paris is a complex mix of features, personalities, and impressions that contribute to defining the way we see it and what it means to us, yet plenty of those items can be found in the many museums collecting the art, the culture, and the history of the city. Of course, there are the must-see museums that we've all been to one time or another, although we probably did not manage to vist them extensively -  the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, the Grand Palais, the Petit Palais and Musèe Rodin. And then there's a multitude of minor museums which somehow represent smaller pieces of the patchwork and take part in enriching the portrait of the city; some of them are as remarlable as the major ones, although travellers rarely get to find the time to visit them. Here's a small selection of our favourite ones.  Musée de la Vie Romantique Romantic icon and novelist George Sand's Paris is revived in the rooms of painter Ary Scheffer's home, which was built back in 1830 in the section known as Nouvelle Athènes of Pigalle. The first floor is entirely dedicated to Sand with portraits, jewels, and period furniture, whereas the second floor houses Scheffer's paintings along with those of some of his contemporaries. On sunnny days you can stop for tea in the museum's lovely courtyard. Musée de MontmartreHere's a great excuse for visitig the oldest building of the Butte, a.k.a. the hill of Montmartre. Enriched by a beautiful garden overlooking the vineyards, this delightful museum devoted to the neighborhood and its history is  is housed inside the former Maison du Bel Air, a 17th century dwelling which used to be a  meeting place for plenty of famous artists, many of whom - including Auguste Renoir, Suzanne Valadon, Émile Bernard and fauvists Émile-Othon Friesz and Raoul Dufy  - even had their studio in here. Musée Zakdine This house museum dedicated to the memory and the work of Russian artist Ossip Zadkine, who lived and worked in Paris from 1928 to 1967, is one of the few sculptor's ateliers in Pais which managed to preserve its original look. Zadkine was part of yet another golden era of Parisian art, that of the so-called "School of Paris", a group of foreign artists who moved to the French capital soon after WW1 and would eventually give birth to avant-garde movements such as cubism, fauvism, and post-impressionism. Palais Galliera (Musée de la Mode) Needless to say, couture is one of the main assets of this beautiful city. The Musée de la Mode, housed inside a magnificent palace close to the Trocadero, is the perfect opportunity for learning more about the history of French fashion. The permanent collections go back to the 18th century, whereas temporary exhibitions explore more specific themes. Musée Edith Piaf Who could epitomize the spirit of Paris more than Edith Piaf? Sublime and tragic, criystal-clear ed flamboyant, but most of all unique. This small museum inside a tiny Menilmontant apartment where Piaf used to live at the beginning of her singing career houses a small treasure of personal belongings, billboards, portraits and memorabilia - including her legendary black dress.

[...]

01.19.2016

What does an old gramophone have to do with bluetooth technology, Italian design and Venetian craftsmanship? Probably not much, except for the fact that a twist of fate - or rather the creativity of Italian designer Paolo Cappello managed to put all these ingredients together and gave birth to a pretty unique object halfway between a piece of furniture and a hi-fi system. The object is called Caruso and it's a cabinet with a speaker that works with any device equipped with bluetooth technology, while adding a touch of character to your home thanks to its unique and iconic design, which matches contemporary essentiality and a slight nostalgia for old-time music. The name, Caruso, is an obvious reference to the famous Neapolitan operatic tenor, whereas the trumpet-shaped ceramic speaker is clearly reminiscent of a gramophone's horn, revisited with a touch of irony through proportions and colors - pink, red, yellow, green - contrasting with the delicate shades of the cabinet, which comes in laquer or natural wood.Available from Miniforms, Caruso is entirely handmade by artisans in Meolo (Venice), and thus exclusively made to order.

[...]

01.14.2016

Archive digitization has been one of the crucial issues in the cultural world over the last years: the need to preserve huge quantities of data, images, sounds, books and documents urged museums and libraries to 'transpose' them into more durable and reliable supports. At the same time, those same institutions started thinking of ways to encourage people to use those materials by making them available to everyone; Amsterdam's Rijkmuseum made its amazing art archive available in high-quality scans, the University of California digitized an archive of voices and sounds recorded on Edison cylinders between the 19th and the 20th century,  The Lomax Foundation turned the whole sound archive of the American ethnomusicologist into digital files, and more recently the New York Public Library made more than 180,000 of the items in their Digital Collections including photographs, postcards, maps and more available without permission or restrictions. The aim is to encourage everyone to plunge into this ocean of data, images and information and reuse them to create something new and exciting, possibly with the help of the latest technologies. And while someone already did this greatly, the NYPL created a few far from obvious examples of how to use their archives. Mansion Maniac is a maze-building game that lets you explore mansion floor plans from early 20th century New York City,  Fifth Avenue, Then and Now takes you a tour of past and present Fifth Avenue by comparing contemporary views with photos from 1911, and Navigating the Green Books allows you to map out your trips with the help of the Green Books, which listed hotels, restaurants, bars, and gas stations where black travelers were welcomed back in the age of segregation. A truly well-developed and inspiring project.

[...]

01.11.2016

 Gorgeous, made to last, and tuned for a warm, rich sound. How could we not love Master & Dynamic’s headphones? Designed and developed in New York City, these beauties truly are the ideal companion for exploring the city with good music in your ears. Made with heavy-duty materials such as premium leathers and stainless steel, they are designed to perform with precision for decades thanks to easily replaceable parts, and they promise to complement a diversity of tastes and musical genres by offering an expansive soundscape capturing the detail of well recorded music. We spoke to the company’s founder and CEO Jonathan Levine to learn more about the concept behind the brand. SJ: Can you briefly give us an idea of the concept behind Master & Dynamic and what is special about them in terms of sound and design?JL: My oldest son has been deejaying and producing music since he was 13, and I always had a music studio in my office that he used. A few years ago, the two of us were at a museum when I stumbled upon a pair of 1940s headphones that had withstood the test of time. These headphones served as part of the inspiration for Master & Dynamic. We use high quality materials like premium grain leathers, forged aluminum, stainless steel and high end neodymium drivers to ensure that our headphones look as good as they sound. We carefully chose a warm, rich sound profile, and we’ve gotten great reviews for our design, comfort and of course, sound. SJ: What’s in a name: why Master & Dynamic?JL: We believe mastery is a never-ending exploration requiring a dynamic approach. Our blog, The 10,000 pays homage to lengths one has to take in order to be a master, whether it is 10,000 brushstrokes, piano scales or lines of code. Here at Master & Dynamic, we’re always learning and pushing ourselves to achieve even greater success. SJ: New York City seems to be a crucial part of the M&D's world: what is it about the city that inspired the brand?JL: At Master & Dynamic, we’re obsessed with sound and creativity, and have a deep passion for building beautifully crafted, richly appointed, technically sophisticated sound tools for creative minds.  Few cities have more creatives than New York, where it takes a great deal of hard work to set yourself apart. The energy of the city inspires us to continue to work towards mastery, which our team strives for each and every day. We see our headphones as modern thinking caps: tools to help focus, inspire and transport your mind. Over time, we’ve found that our rapidly growing legion of fans agree with us. SJ: If your headphones could literally capture the current soundscape of New York, what would we be listening to? Can you take us on a short journey through the places and music venues that we should not miss in the city?JL: We’re inspired by many songs from numerous genres. Our in-office recording studio has allowed us to be a part of the city’s soundscape, as has our presence at places like the Billboard Lounge at the Barclays Center and SiriusXM. With so many historic venues located across New York City, it’s hard to pick just a few.For a big live-music venue, arenas like the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden can’t be beat. Classic New York City venues like Radio City Music Hall and the Apollo Theatre each have their own character, much like trendier venues Webster Hall, Irving Plaza and The Beacon Theatre, all of which align well with our brand. And with all of the great theater that takes place in New York City, it’s important not to forget to see a Broadway show, too.

[...]

01.05.2016

Take a talented artist, a 100-year-old church, and a group of skateboard enthusiasts. Mix well and you’ll get one of the greatest examples of repurposing that we have seen over the last few years. Everything started in the Spanish city of Llanera, in the Asturias, where three years ago a deconsecrated church was converted into a unique skate park by the Church Brigade collective. Upon visiting this impressive project, Spanish artist Okuda decided to add his own signature touch to the Iglesia Skate (‘skate church’), and after a successful crowdfunding campaign and a collaboration with Red Bull he finally turned it into Kaos Temple,  his greatest project to date. For those who are not familiar with the work of Okuda, his very recognizable colorful murals with geometric patterns and symbols are inspired by surrealism art, pop art, and different cultures, and they can be found all around the world from India to South Africa and the Swiss Alps. In this case, his style mixes perfectly with the arches and stained glasses, and his patterns, characters and symbols - such as the Kaos Star, an isometric rose of the winds  fro which the temple owes its name - bring his art to a brand new level, besides adding a unique and somewhat mystic dimension to the skate park itself. Truly beautiful and inspiring in its very own way.

[...]

12.17.2015

How does Italy appear in the images shot by some of the world’s greatest photographers? The answer comes from a truly remarkable exhibition currently held at Milan’s Palazzo della Ragione - Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Others – Italy and the Great Photographers.   French master Henri Cartier-Bresson, who travelled extensively through Italy for over 30 years, is the main voice in this fascinating display of beautiful images; his own vision speaks of a dream-like, cruel, vane and often graceful country. Following are over 200 images by 35 photographers - from List to Salgado, from Helmut Newton to Steve McCurry – gradually building a portrait of Italy that seems to be crucial to their own photography. “Charmed by the landscape, the people, and the history”, said Milan’s Councilor for Culture Filippo Del Corno, “these artists allow us locals to acknowledge the wonder that our country often arises in foreign cultures, forcing us to reflect upon the worth of our natural, artistic, historic, and social heritage”. Highlights include an amazing 1943 war report by Robert Capa, a project on faith and religion by David Seymour, some early photographs by Cuchi White, and the tale of the last tuna fisher of Sicily told by Sebastião Salgado’s magnificent pictures. Yet this virtual journey through the Italian peninsula would not be exhaustive without Helmut Newton’s monumental Rome, Gregory Crewdson’s dream-like Cinecittà, Milan’s aristocratic beauty as portrayed by Irene Kung, and Martin Parr’s uniquely irreverent pictures of the Amalfi Coast. Until February 7, 2016Photo: Sebastião Salgado, Tuna Fishing, Trapani, Sicily, Italy, 1991 © Sebastião Salgado / Amazonas Images

[...]

12.09.2015

Listening to a 1919 Theodore Roosevelt speach from his own live voice or discovering vaudeville by listening to an original recording: these are just a couple of things we’ll be able to do thanks to a project recently launched by the University of California. Everything revolves around thousands of sound recording cylinders dating back to the late 19th century and to the early 20th century whose source of recorded sound was Thomas Alva Edison's crowning achievement, the phonograph (1877). Grammophones were not there before 1892, yet before their absolute supremacy and the eventual extinction of the phonograph, a whole heritage of sounds got to be recorded on cylinders and it is definitely worth preserving them so that we’ll still be able lo listen to them. This huge digitization project has already salvaged the content of over 10,000 cylinders, samples of which can be listened to and ‘adopted’ by donatig $60 for digitization and rehousing on the UCSB’s website. Cylinders that the library doesn't already own (provided that they are in good, playable condition) may also be donated and will be digitized and added to the collection for others to enjoy and study. With its diverse collection of historic American recordings ranging from presidential speeches to popular culture, the UCSB Cylinder Audio Archive is a great example of preservation, and a stimulus to create a global audio history of human culture by saving sounds that have been recorded with obsolete audio technologies and safeguarding them for the future.

[...]

12.07.2015

New York City’s Fifth Avenue, a.k.a the Museum Mile, is home to plenty of veritable arts institutions such as the Guggenheim and the MET – yet there is also a bunch of minor museums that are definitely worth visiting, including the Jewish Museum with its collections of design objects, art and historic exhibits. Housed inside a beautiful Gothic revival style building from the beginning of last century, the museum boasts over 30,000 pieces ranging from archaelogy to contemporary art, outlining the history and the evolution of Jewish culture and standing as a point of reference for anyone willing to learn about its diversity through a unique approach which follows a series of thematic threads across different times and places. Founded in 1904 thanks to a first bequest from the Jewish Theological Seminary Library, the museum gradually enlarged its collection with works of sacred and lay art and precious everyday life objects. In 1947 it moved to the current location, a stone’s throw from Central Park, and started housing a series of temporary exhibitions focusing on photograhy and contemporary art from all over the world.Here's a list of some of the exhibitions currently held at the Jewish Museum: The Power of Pictures (see picture)Avant-garde Russia, photography and cinema from 1917 to the 1930s, from Alexander Rodchenko to Max Penson.Until February 7, 2016 Unorthodox Over 200 works to highlight the importance of iconoclasm and art’s key role in breaking rules and traditions.Until March 27, 2016 Becoming Jewish: Warhol's Liz and MarylinThe exhibition draws raws parallels between the actresses’ identities as Jewish women and Warhol’s exploration of their celebrity through his image-making.Until February7, 2015 

[...]

11.24.2015

Back in 1926 an imposing neoclassical edifice was built in Chicago’s South Side to house a bank. Because of its location and architectural quality, the building soon became a landmark in the neighborhood and a meeting place. In the 1980s, though, the bank shut down and the building was abandoned and destined for demolition; that’s when a local artist bought it for $1 and decided to give it back to the neighborhood. Of course, it took as much as 3 million dollars to restore it, and yet that was not the first enterprise of this kind Theaster Gates Jr, the guy behind Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2010 with the aim of fostering culture and development in underinvested neighborhoods. Theaster believes that every building that has been part of the history of the city and of the identity of a neighborhood will work as a great backround for art events and installations, giving them a very special and local touch. The Stony Island Arts Bank currently houses a large library where free exhibitions and cultural events mostly devoted to local talents take place on a regular basis.  Rebuild Foundation has already salvaged three more buildings in the same area, the Greater Grand Crossing district, turning them into cultural venues: Dorchester Projects (home to archives and classrooms in collaboration with the University of Chicago) Black Cinema House (hosting screenings and discussions of films by and about people of the African diaspora) and Dorchester Art + Housing (a rehabilitated block of townhomes that serves as mixed income residences for artists and community members). 

[...]

11.18.2015

Ancient images of contemporary bodies, garments and faces. By recovering the collodion process, Carlo Furgeri Gilbert has managed to create a series of pictures that are a true invitation to time travel. Through this somewhat archaeological project, the Anglo-Italian photographer based in Milan aims at redescovering two crucial values that seem to have disappeared in digital photography: time and imperfection. The time for chemical processes to take effect and for finalizing the operation, and the imperfection that comes from the impossibility of performing any kind of post production, which makes these images authentically unique. Created in 1851, this technique consists in making a tintype, i.e. a one-off photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal. The process requires a very accurate ritual, and the image gradually emerges as the partially unforseeable result of chemical reactions. Which is why, according to Carlo Furgeri Gilbert, a collodion photograph preserves the traces of true experience and effectively conveys them, managing to arouse authentic emotions.  From November 20 to December 31, these fascinating images will be included in an exhibition called Alchemical Beauty housed by Altrove in the heart of Venice, inviting everyone to rediscover the charm of the past in Carlo’s extraordinarily modern interpretation. Photos: © Carlo Furgeri Gilbert

[...]

11.10.2015

A huge house of culture spread across over 30,000 square meters: Dokk1 is a new library in Aarhus, in Denmark, and the largest public library in Scandinavia. Yet it is not the size that makes it so unique, but its deeply green soul.As a matter of act, the architectural project behind it created by Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects fully reflects the northern spirit with its modern, hybrid, and sustainable features. As far as energy efficiency is concerned, the library fully complies with the 2015 Danish energy classification standards thanks to 3,000 square meters of solar panels installed on its roof. Not only is the whole building is energy self-sufficient, but the interiors are brightened up by natural light from the glass walls. Dokk1 is part of the Urban Mediaspace project which is gradually turning the waterfront of the industrial harbour in Aarhus into a urban space with lots of services such as public spaces and a parking lot. The polygonal glass building housing the library establishes a visual link between the interiors and the surrounding landscape, symbolically hinting at the exchange of knowledge and opportunities for which this new cultural center should serve as a background. The structure consists of thre levels: a huge podium with staircasesand a two-storey glass structure. The top floor, which houses the municipal administration offices, features a strip of glazing set within sheets of perforated and expanded metal whose surfaces are folded, warped and twisted to create a sense of rotation and movement. Inside, the open layout creates visual connections between various functions onviting the visitor to be inspired by the vast amount of information.

[...]

11.09.2015

To all you vintage furniture enthusiasts out there: there is a new address for you to explore in Milan. The place is called 100FA and it is prettty tucked away in one of the beautiful hidden courtyards of Viale Col di Lana, close to the recently revived Darsena district in the heart of the city. As soon as you cross the gate, the feeling is that of plunging into a nondefinite past  distinguished by a pleasantly creative chaos, among piled up chairs, old chests of drawers, retro lamps, worn suitcases and wardrobe trunks, ancient red scales and 19th century dentist’s stools. The objects on sale are mostly from France and the UK, and they range from home furniture to workshop and industrial pieces and sophisticated country fittings from abandoned Provençal mansions. And everything is strictly authentic, except for the apparet disarray, which is actually the result of a very definite trait d’union: accurate research and unusual matchings. The store also houses a small restoring workshop where you can have your special pieces made to request with original vintage materials.

[...]

11.06.2015

October 31, 1975: Queen finally released Bohemian Rhapsody, a song whose production took plenty of time and money to be completed. The British band, and particularly frontman Freddie Mercury, had decided to truly dare and run the risk of spoiling their rising career by staking everything on a totally unconventional song written with no regard at all for pop rock metrics, and with an apparently uncontrolled mix of genres: a melodic intro, a ballad verse, a foray into operatic phrasing, and a hard rock turnabout that eventually rejoins the opening melody. The title itself stands as a declaration of intent: the word ‘rhapsody’ refers to a music composition irregular in form and suggestive of improvisation, or to an epic poem accompanied by music in the ancient Greek tradition. In spite of its unique and bizarre conception, and although at first radio stations were quite reluctant to play a 6-minute single, Bohemian Rhapsody was an instant hit, both when it was first released and when the it was re-edited in 1991, becoming the UK's third best-selling single of all time. 40 years later, Bohemian Rhapsody still remains a milestone for whole generations who listened to it or heard it in film soundtracks and jingles; constantly quoted and referred to, this song is destined to become an unshakable part of last century’s pop culture. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the Queen Official YouTube channel uploaded a 2002 documentary on the song’s genesis featuring interviews with Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitar player Brian May.

[...]

11.05.2015

Slowly walking past the shelves, letting a title or a cover attract your eye, reading a few lines and then finally chosing a book and reading it while sipping on a mug of hot coffee at a cozy Parisian bookshop café. If this idyllic scenario sounds intriguing to your ears, then maybe you could use this little  list. Shakespeare & Co CaféAlong the Seine, in front of the island of Notre-Dame, legendary Shakespeare & Co Anglo bookstore, where Ernest Hemingway used to stop for reading and writing,  just opened its very own nextdoor café where you can try fresh organic juices, American baked goods, and of course locally roasted coffee. La Fourmi AilléeA three-minute walk away from St.Michel along Rue de La Fouarre (or “forage street”, because centuries ago students used to study sitting on hayballs around here) this historic bookstore and bistro housed inside an ancient building will welcome you with tall bookshelves and tiny tables that look just perfect for a romantic dinner. Used BookWith over 10.000 old books and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, this amazing bookstore and café offers Parisian bisrto specialities and a few English options such as scrambled eggs and scones. Manga CaféThis is definitely something different from the usual café litteraire, and yet amazing in its very own genre, because it boast a truly impressive collection of comics ians a menu that will most certainly support its enthusiast customers in their search for limited editions and everything that’s new in the manga world. Close to the Sornbonne. Librairie des OrguesThis bookstore and café in La Villette has quite a lot to offer: besides selling books, coffee and food, it also houses concerts and conferences on various genres and subjects. Check out their event calendar and take the opportunity to visit this nice area in northeastern Paris.

[...]

11.04.2015

The name is Yeldeğirmeni, meaning ‘windmills’, because windmills used to dominate the landscape here until the end of last century. Then Istanbul began its European transformation and huge, western-style buildings such as the Haydarpasa railway station started to spring in this Asian side district, along with the first brick houses inthis par of the city, which gradually replaced the traditional wooden dwellings. Today, Yeldeğirmeni is an emerging neighborhood which continues to be on the avant-garde by letting time and contemporaneity mould its ever-changing profile. Since 2012, its streets are the background for a major street art festival called Mural Istanbul (see picture), which has turned the whole neighborhood into an open-air art gallery. Yet the architectural modernity also goes hand in hand with a certain cultural avant-gardism, which has found room in lots of places devoted to sharing knowledge and experiences such as the Yeldeğirmeni Sanat cultural center in the former 19th century Notre Dame du Rosaire church. Do not be surprised if walking around the neighborhood you’ll see plenty of signs with references to Don Quixote and Sancho Panza: choosing to live and work in Yeldeğirmeni is indeed like taking a stand against the figurative windmills of globalization to preserve its simple, authentic, everyday multicutural character. A character which is also reflected in the local restaurant scene mixing ethnic flavors with niche dietary options – as is the case of vegan restaurant Mahatma, a real rarity in Istanbul and an example of how this city can concentrate and master very diverse stimuli. Photo: Mural Istanbul

[...]

11.03.2015

The pilot project was launched at the beginning of this year among the students of several schools in New York City, Boston, and Dallas. The idea was to find something that would involve the kids, allow them to have fun and, at the same time, benefit their health and that of severely malnourished children around the world. Mission impossible? Well, not if you consider the fact that there’s a superhero hidden inside every kid, just wating to be summoned to action. That is the genesis of Kid Power Band, a band featuring an App that gives kids the power to save lives and stay healthy at the same time. By getting active, kids go on missions to learn about new cultures and earn points. Points unlock funding from partners, parents and fans, and funds are used by UNICEF to deliver lifesaving packets of therapeutic food to severely malnourished children around the world. In March 2015, the 12,000 kids from the three US cities which took part to the project managed to earn lifesaving packets for 1,259 children. Starting November 29, Kid Power Bands will be on sale at all Target department stores in the US, where families will be able to join the team by purchasing a band and downloading the free companion UNICEF Kid Power App. Schools can also join by applying online to participate in the UNICEF Kid Power School Program, consisting of a teacher-led classroom experience that promotes solidarity and a healthy lifestyle.

[...]

10.29.2015

In the collcetive imagination, California after WW2 was a place where everything was possible and any utopia could come true – and in a sense it was actually so. There was lots of room for experimentation in every field, including architecture, and the skylines of the big cities were literally blooming, especially on the East Coast. Born in 1929, Frank Gehry, came to Los Angeles from Canada in 1947, graduated in architecture and started to train in some of the major studios in Europe and the US. He opened his own studio in 1962 in Santa Monica, and from there he created the sketches and the drawings that would eventually turn him into an icon of decostructivism and become not only amazing buildings, but authentic landmarks in the cities that would house them. From the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (1989) to the recently completed Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, Gehry chose to push statics to the limits, disassembling buildings to challenge traditional simmetry and turning them into a sum of geometric shapes with unexpected outllines. Curved lines became the hypnotic core of his sinuous buildings evoking an unimaginable lightness and often hinting at the surrounding landscape. A great number of drawings and models from his body of work are currently on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (until March 2016). The exhibition focuses on two main themes: urbanism and the development of new systems of digital design and fabrication, including his use of CATIA, a software tool used in the aeronautics and automobile industries, which allows the digital manipulation of 3-D representations. This retrospective offers an opportunity to reflect on the development of Gehry’s work and to understand the processes of one of the great architectural minds.   Photo: Fredrik Nilsen

[...]

10.26.2015

The Territories is a sophisticatedly designed website with an unusual aim: describing Australia, the vastness of its territories, and the deepness of its history through a deliberately varied mix of stimuli and points of view.  If we make art to express what we see and how we feel about a place, then these historical and artistic takes of reality certainly contribute to defining the identity of a place as much as its morphology and geography. After all, those natural landscapes are often the subject of paintings, photographs, and music. And the Web certainly is the right frame for such a concept, because of its being multimedia, visible and open to contribution. So if you’re willing to get to know Australia better, The Territories is a great way to see it through the eyes of who was born there and selected its most extraordinary aspects. It is an example of how to explain the nature of a country, a unique blend of data and abstractions, poetry and facts, a time machine riding through space and time to bring us a series of snapshots from a continent. The Project is the result of a joint effort between Australian Geographic and the Museum of Old and New ArtPhoto: Micca Delaney

[...]

10.21.2015

Here’s the challenge: let the designer inside you take control, creating your apartment’s furniture from scratch, bulding walls, or changing the way everything looks.  Everblock is an unusual project born in New York City and dedicated to everyone who misses those long afternoons playing with Lego bricks. Their modular building system of oversized plastic blocks (which totally look like Lego bricks, by the way) facilitates the construction of all types of objects – from a wall to a desk top - allowing you to build nearly anything by stacking and organizing the universal blocks in nearly any shape, pattern, or size.    Besides, anything you've constructed can be taken apart and re-assembled again, and the pieces can be re-used to build other objects. The idea behind Everblock is basically that of satisfying our playfulness and desire for experimentation by giving us the chance to change our minds, try and fail until we are completely happy with the result.

[...]

10.20.2015

What is essential is invisible to the eye, someone said. Well, even the influence of human actions on the environment can be invisible, especially when these actions involve chemicals released by factories or used in our everyday lives, that can slowly and yet irreversibly change the nature that surrounds us. Yet since sight is the most powerful human sense, the simple fact of not being able to see those changes sort of makes them less tangible. That is probably the reflection behind Impure Photography, an amazing crowd-funded project by 24-year-old New Jersey photographer Brandon Seidler which perfectly synthetizes the insidious threat of chemicals on nature by capturing places polluted by invisible chemicals and using those same chemicals when developing the film. The distorsions caused by the agents thus stand as a remarkable metaphore for the damages suffered by the ecosystems captured in the photographs. On the one hand, the beauty of the colors and of the distorsions are intriguingly charming. On the other hand, they tend to confuse and bewilder viewer, and this contrast between fascination and disconcertment once again evokes the struggle between the beauty of progress and transformation and the risks that come with them, including the pontential chain effects of all these changes But what strikes us most is the non-judgemental nature of Seidler’s work: the vertigo is all in the issues these images raise by making them visible - yet no answer, no opinion, no solution are given, and interpretation stays open. All the images from the Impure Photography Project have been shot on a Nikon F100 with Fujifilm Superia X-tra film. 

[...]

10.19.2015

From October 22 to October 25 ottobre, Paris will be the background for two major contemporary art events - Art Elysées along the Avenue des Champs Elysées, and FIAC, the International Contemporary Art Fair at the Grand Palais.  Over 250 galleries from all over the world with their collections and curators will be in town, a unique occasion for insiders and enthusiasts to learn what’s new on the international art scene – and for everybody else to enjoy the temporary transformation of the city, which will be literally taken by Hors le Murs (‘outside the walls’), a series of exhibitions, performances, and events spreading from the Grand Palais to the galleries of Place Vendôme and to the Tuileries gardens, with works both by prominent names such as Marina Abramovic and Olafur Eliasson and by up-ad-coming experimental artists. A great excuse to visit the Ville Lumière under the beautiful Autumn light.Photo: Marc Domage

[...]

10.12.2015

The name is Cirkelbroen (literally ‘circle bridge’) and it’s a pretty unique creation by artist Olafur Eliasson, who seems to have brought to Copenhagen a new concept of urban architecture with his bridge for pedestrians and cyclists. The circular shape – definitely quite an anusual one for a bridge - is a reference to pure beauty, a counterpart to bare and linear  functionality. “‘The Cirkelbroen bridge creates new spaces along the waterfront”, said Eliasson. “It provides proximity to the water and encourages users to slow down a little and take a break. I hope it will become a meeting place. In my art, I work with transient materials – such as wind, fog or flowing water.  It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to make a structure such as the Cirkelbroen bridge, which embodies this transience – the changing of the weather and how this helps to create the waterfront atmosphere – but a bridge which has a long, stable life ahead of it at the same time. I am filled with immense pride to know that the Cirkelbroen bridge will now be part of Copenhagen”. The bridge consists of five staggered circular platforms of various sizes, each with their own ‘mast,’ rising up to between 17.5 and 25 metres above the platforms. The project is a reflection on the interspaces between city spaces, and on the friction that water constitutes. Rather than offering the fastest possible passage across the canal, the Cirkelbroen encourages pedstrian and cyclists to slow down, look around and enjoy the waterfront landscape, thus creating small variations in the way of seeing the city and open up a renegotiation of public space.

[...]

10.01.2015

If you are a TV aficionado, the end of the summer only means one thing: new TV series. Come autumn, the american networks, the cable channel, and the new streaming media providers launch their most important shows. This year is no different and so here are our picks from the forthcoming season’s finest. Marvel's Jessica Jones (Netflix)After the succes of Daredevil Netfix is at it again with a new series from Marvel: Jessica Jones is about an ex-super-heroin now working as P.I. in New York City. The show is supposed to be almost as gritty as Daredevil, and much like the series showcasing the blind hero, it also has a big television star as the bad guy – former Doctor Who Neil Tennant. Ash vs. Evil Dead (Starz)Only two years went by after the Evil Dead reboot film. Now the original gang (Sam Raimi too) is back for a TV series starring the always-despicable (and original) Bruce Cambell as Ash. Thirty years have passed since his last adventure – but he still is an egomaniacal outsider with nothing to lose... and once again he has to save the world from the Evil Dead. The Man in the High Castle (Amazon)Amazon launched The Man in the High Castle on January during the last pilot season – and the show after Philip Dick's famous novel turned out to be Amazon's most watched pilot ever. So now a whole series is about to debut: written by Frank Spotnitz (an X-Files alumni), the story is about a parallel universe where the Axis won WWII and the USA have been taken over by Japanese and Germans. The Expanse (Syfy)The Expanse promises to be the biggest tv-show Syfi has ever had since Battlestar Galactica. Based on the novel series by James S. A. Corey bearing the same name, it is set two hundred years in the future when mankind has colonized the Solar System. The plot revolves around a murder detection, a conspiracy, and an interplanetary cold war. The Grinder (Fox)Starring former “brat pack” Rob Lowe (West Wing, Parks and Recreation), The Grinder revolves around  Dean Sanderson, a famous tv lawyer who decides to come back to his hometown after his popular show is canceled. Much to his brother's dismay (who is an actual lawyer), Dean decides to join the family law firm. 

[...]

09.29.2015

Opening a museum in the year 2015 requires defining what a museum is in 2015, and what will allow it to evolve and survive. In the year of Milan’s World Fair, the city has seen the birth of Mudec, a museum dedicated to cultures – the result of a project that started back in the 1990s with the aim of turning the former industrial area known as ‘Ex Ansaldo’ into a cultural district. Today, that dream has finally come true, and the concept behind it is far from obvious: finding a home for a heritage of over 7,000 etnographic finds on peoples and cultures and turning them into a history of contemporary culture as a tangle of different cultures that interpenetrate and influence each other at a growingly fast pace. Housed inside a huge industrial building which also represets a great example of urban achaeology, the Museum of Cultures is the place where cultures meet both ideally and on an everyday basis, through a mix of arts and popular culture. Mudec is a place for cultural exchange, promoted through its library and conference halls open to private and public institutions. The result is a unque mix of stimuli that prompts us to reflect on the complexity of contemporary culture and the impossibility of finding something that is not culture, or that does not contribute to defining who we are - either by difference or by similarity. As a proof of this hybrid concept, the next season at Mudec will open with two very different exhibitions: Tales from Paradise, dedicated to the work of Paul Gauguin, and Barbie-The Icon, celebrating one of the most commercial icons of pop culture.

[...]

09.24.2015

Will we ever be able to discover everything about Rome? In spite of its controversial recent history, of the corruption and the scandals, there is no other city in the world as rich in history and wonder as the ‘Eternal City’. So if you’ve already enjoyed the beauty of Imperial Rome and the sumptuousness of Baroque Rome, here’s another, more unusual and intimate itinerary through the homes of some of the great artists and writers who lived here for a while. Casa Museo Luigi PirandelloThe latest Roman home of Sicilian writer Luigi Pirandello has been housing a cultural institution devoted to his work ever since 1962. The apartment comprises a large study/living room, a bedroom, and a terrace. The furniture dates back to 1933, the year when Pirandello moved here after having spent some years in Berlin and Paris. The library includes around 2,000 books that belonged to the writer, along with his small portable typewriter and several manuscripts. Casa Museo Alberto MoraviaLocated in the Della Vittoria district on the top floor of a 1930s building overlooking the Tiber, Alberto Moravia’s apartment is scattered with paintings, drawings and artworks that the writer’s artist friends gave him through the years. Ever since the 1930s, Moravia had a close relationship with the Italian art scene, associating with major artists, writers, and intellectuals such as Mario Schifano, Dacia Maraini, Renato Guttuso, Toti Scialoja, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Bernardo Bertolucci. Casa Museo di Giorgio de ChiricoGiorgio de Chirico spent the last 30 years of his life in a huge apartment spread across three floors in a 17th century palazzo at 31, Piazza di Spagna. The artist moved to Rome in 1948 – he was 60 years old - after wandering around Europe and the US for a long time. Today, his home is open to visitors and it’s a great chance to discover the private everyday world of a truly unique artist. Keats-Shelley HouseNot far from De Chirico’s home, close to the famous Spanish Steps, is the very last home of poet John Keats, where he prematurely died of tuberculosis in 1821, at the age of 25. Open to the public back in 1909, this house museum boasts a huge collection of paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, objects, and first editions of several works by Keats, Shelley and Lord Byron, i.e. the major exponents of the Second British Romantic Generation. The museum also houses a rich library specializing in romantic literature, including over 8,000 books. Casa di GoetheThe rooms where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stayed with other German artists during his Grand Tour (1786-1788) have become the one and only German museum outside of Germany, known as Goethe’s Home. The museum houses a permanent exhibition featuring German, Italian, and English books about Goethe’s journey through Italy, as well as several temporary exhibitions devoted to Italian/German themes and to the tradition of the Grand Tour. The huge library includes plenty of first editions of Goethe’s works.

[...]

09.17.2015

In 1996 David Foster Wallace was at the peak of his career as a writer: he had just published Infinite Jest, his 1000-and-change pages-long second novel, and had been pinpointed by many critics as the voice of his generation. When younger colleague David Lipsky spent five days with him throughout the last branch of his book tour a strange relationship clicked: the two writers started discussing day and night about books, the (almost) newborn Internet, Alanis Morisette, and the perils of entertainment in corporate America. In 2010 those five days were made into a book, and now into a film – The End of the Tour. A lot of hype grew around the get-go of the film, mostly when news came out that the Wallace character would be played by Jason Segel – the comedian (and writer) mostly known for his role as Marshall in the sit-com How I met your mother. And the reactions from the internet  varied from shock to stupor to straight-out negative. But after the first screening of the film at the Sundance Festival something shifted: Segel's potrayal has been almost unanimously been praised and The End of the Tour is becoming something of an indie-sensation thanks to many critical reviews  - so much so that the all-things-DFW Howling Fantods site is having difficulties keeping up with the pace of news updates. Of course, it would be of no use denying that many people are going to watch this movie because of Wallace's posthumous fame, because of his sad demise. Lipsky himself asserted that “Suicide is a powerful end […]. It has an event gravity: Eventually, every memory and impression gets tugged in its direction”. And besides, one movie can hardly grasp the intensity and the power of Wallace's prose (the sheer beauty of the famous first paragraph of the unfinished novel The Pale King speaks for itself). But The End of the Tour is quite good at doing its job, that is: telling this weird tale of two young writers trying to outsmart one another during a brief road trip. And in doing so it's both intelligent and entertaining.

[...]

09.15.2015

In 1987, American writer Frank White defined 'the overview effect' as the radical change of perspective experienced by astronauts who have been given the opportunity to look down and view the Earth as a whole. According to White, the wonder comes from understanding the interdependence among all the elements that are part of life on Earth. Yet you do not need to be an astronaut to experience this aesthetic vertigo: our suggestion is to visit the dailyoverview.com website and let yourself be absorbed by the magnificent images of the Earth as captured from as high as possible through photography. Daily Overview is a project inspired by Frank White’s theory as brought into everyday life through photography; looking at the gallery, your first impression might be that of observing a flat surface covered in lines and colors just like a canvas.Yet you’ll soon realize the meaning behind those lines and shapes, the purposes thay have been drawn for (an airport, a field, a city) and the human work behind them. All images are supplied by professional and amateur photographers who are interested in keeping the overview effect alive, constantly challenging each other to see something familiar and decipherable in those mazes of lines and colors transfigured by the distance. From the Arizona desert to the Golden Gate, from the tangled streets of Guadalajara – Mexico’s most densely populated city – to the lines drawn by trucks waiting in line in Calais, on the English Channel, every single image celebrates the beauty of the Earth - and occasionally of human action. All pictures: Daily Overview | Satellite images (c) 2015, Digital Globe, Inc

[...]

09.09.2015

The word ‘perfume’ derives from the Latin expression pro fumo, “through smoke”, referring to the ancient rituals accompanied by burnt incense and wood evoking the Gods. Through the centuries, the use of perfume went through several changes, establishing connections with alchemy in the Middle Ages and becoming a status symbol of aristocracy starting from the Reinassance. The third Milennium is leading perfume to a more visionary and artistic dimension, turning it into a way of approaching and altering reality. Laboratorio Olfattivo is an artisan and artistic perfumery workshop which aims at telling stories and painting landscapes through a grammar of fragrances that mix in different ways to build fragments of discourses filled with memories and evocative power. The sea, the Spring, home, the skin: the expertise of Laboratorio’s creative talents truly manages to translate experience into fragrance, experimenting with a new language of the senses. Classic Eau del parfum is the perfect formula for these perfumes and home fragrances that are now exported to 30 countries in the world, with their minimalist and essential packaging. Every single product is individually packaged with the same meticulousness that distinguishes the creation of the fragrances, to turn the personality of each perfume into a perfectly matching image.

[...]

09.07.2015

Ghibli is the name Italian soldiers gave to the warm north African wind - and to one of their reconneissance aircrafts as well. Yet in 1985 it also became the name of a studio that would change the history of animated movies for good, as well as the collective imagination of a whole generation. On its thirtieth anniversary, studio Ghibli is still active and even houses a museum dedicated to its own creations, a major pilgrimage destination for fans, tourists and enthusiasts from all over the world. Founder Hayao Miyazaki (born 1941), director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, and manga artist, chose that name to honour two of his own passions: wind and aeroplanes, two elements which often appear in his imaginary worlds as symbols of a different point of view on reality. Co-founder Isao Takahata, director, producer and mentor to Miyazaki himself, added his perfectly complementary personality, rhythm and approach to complete the artistic attitude of the studio. With a successful background including animated TV series and movies like Heidi, Girl of the Alps, The Caste of Cagliostro and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki and Takahata debuted as Studio Ghibli with Castle in the Sky (1986); just like all the Studio Ghibli movies, Castle in the Sky springs from hand-drawn illustrations created with painstaking care for movement, proportions and the characters’ uniqueness. In the storyline, everyday circumstances mix uninterruptedly with spirits and supernatural characters who often become crucial to the plot.  My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Princess Mononoke marked the most succesful era of the Studio, smoothing the way for the global succes of Spirited Away, winner of the Golden Bear at Berlin International Film Festival in 2001.  Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and The Wind Rises (2013) confirmed the Studio’s reputation, and subsequently became the subject of documentary The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, discreetly unveiling the thoughts and the life of Hayao Miyazaki and particularly the disruptive power of his own perspective, celebrating the diversity of life and turning time and emotions into characters, and creating a world of dreams that do not need to come true to feel real.

[...]

09.03.2015

A huge metal structure from Hong Kong called Bullet from a shooting star will soon spring on the top of Greenwich hill in London: that’s just one of the landmarks that will announce the beginning of the 2015 edition of London Design Festival, a celebration of British design and creativity and a reference point for design professional in the most multicultural city of the world. The Festival aims at offering unique research spaces on the premises of Olimpya Exhibition Centre’s sophisticated building dating back to 1886, in Syon Park with Decorex International, an event dedicated to luxury design, or at Chelsea Harbour, with the conference programme called 'Conversation in Design' and devoted to the new design avant-garde. This year, the Festival will be spread across the whole capital with 7 Design Districts, each of them organised locally and independently under the umbrella of the London Design Festival and each hosting its own dedicated evening for the public offering special events, late night openings and hospitality.  Bankside (Southwark, Waterloo, Borough) is launching 'Colourful Crossings', a series of light and digital photography installations that will enlighten street crossings involving pedestrians. Borough Market – England’s oldest food market – will be housing lettering and calligraphy workshops, and the Bankside Ghostsign Walking Tour will explore the whole neighborhood hunting for the fading remains of hand-painted advertising on walls. The avant-garde districts of Islington, Shoreditch and Queens Park, where new professions mix with the time and spaces of everyday life, will be housing conferences and installations on pottery, furnishing fabrics, tables, bicycles and more in the neighborhhod shops, cafés, showrooms and design studios.  Chelsea lives up to its reputation with a conference, workshop and exhibition programme entirely devoted to interior design, while Clerkenwell, a neighborhood historically connected with the crafts, is launching two exhibitions on the subject: 'Material Consequences', focusing on the processing of raw materials (Craft Central), and 'A sense of Jewellery', devoted to the British goldsmith’s art (Goldsmith's Centre). In Brompton, the most international district in town, the influence of Italian, Swedish, Norwegian and Mongolian design on the works of up-and-coming designers will mix with huge names in a play of contrasts and stimuli that is gradually redefining the London design scene. Photo by Ruth Wards

[...]

09.02.2015

The Castles of Strassoldo, in the province of Udine, are a magnificent example of a Medieval village that has been perfectly preserved through 1,000 years of history – an authentic self-sufficient small town that was meant to safeguard the connection route with Carinthia, which was crucial for the local Patriarchate of Aquileia. Thanks to the engagement of the family of the counts of Strassoldo, to which the castles have always belonged – they actually still live there – the external walls as well as the access bridges, the central donjon, the old servants’ quarters and the fortified tower are perfectly intact. Just like all ancient settlements, the Castles of Strassoldo ‘di sopra and ‘di sotto’ sit at the confluence of rivers and streams, so that the pictoresque view is enriched by falls, water mills and wooden bridges. Of course, the castles’ structures unveil the many changes that these places went though since thier foundation: in the 18th century, most of the small village inside the walls was rebuilt to fix the damages of time and military attacks; as a consequence, the style of the central donjon went from austere to sophsticated, in the style of Venetian villas. Even the interiors have been superbly preserved, including the furniture and the frescoes dating back to several periods in history. Twice a year, in springtime and in the fall, the Castles of Strassoldo open their doors to visitors: two weekends to discover the ancient buildings and their luxuriant gardens suspended between beauty and history. On the occasion, the Castles house an artisan fair dedicated to Venetian excellence; the product range includes fabrics, wooden objects and sculptures, flowers and plants, and local delicacies. The next edition of the fair, known as Fruits, Waters and Castles, is planned for October 24 and 25, 2015.

[...]

08.31.2015

Dirty Harry (1971) If you wish to tread in the steps of serial killer Scorpio, then be warned: the Holiday Inn hotel that was used for shooting the swimming pool homicide (750, Kearny Street) is now a 28-storey Hilton hotel. Do not try to climb to the roof, though: you can only reach as far as the 27th floor. Your next destination could be the beautiful Saints Peter and Paul Church, opposite Washington Square Park (where Scorpio tries to shoot a man quietly sitting on a bench in front of the church). Blue Jasmine (2013)This recent Woody Allen’s movie is the perfect excuse to discover a bunch of San Francisco restaurants. Scenes have been filmd at Ramp, on Terry A Francois Boulevard – where oysters are said to be excellent, and at Gaspare’s Pizza House & Italian Restaurant. Although to be honest Jasmine seems to drink vodka at both restaurants rather that try their food… The Game (1997)If you’re new in town and you have no idea of where to sleep, try to follow the movie’s main character Nicholas Van Orton recommendations, provided that you can afford it - the hotels he stays at in the movie are among the most luxurious in the world: the Ritz-Carlton in Stockton Street and the historic Palace Hotel in New Montgomery Street, in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district. The Lady from Shanghai (1948)Feeling like an authentic cinephile? Then get inspired by Orson Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai and see how the city has changed since the 1940s. Starting from Steinhart Aquarium, where Welles and Rita Hayworth stroll at the beginning of the movie: although obviously renovated, this beautiful Californian aquarium is still there and open.The same goes for Portsmouth Square in Chinatown: only the center of the square seems to have changed (it now houses a huge garage and several monuments). Whitney's Playland at the Beach, where one of the last scenes of the movie was filmed, was demolished back in 1972, yet the old carousel was saved and moved to Yerba Buena GardensVertigo (1958)Here’s another timeless classic that can help you discover San Francisco’s beauties, and particularly Mission Dolores Church and Cemetery – used as the location of Carlotta Valdes's grave -  and the Palace of Fine Arts – whose lagoon is one of the most amazing views in the city.

[...]

08.27.2015

In Japan’s Niigata prefecture is a very unique house designed to be a meditation place, where a complex light play filters through traditional Japanese rice paper walls in the night, and the light of the sun leaks in during the day.It is the House of Light, one of over 160 artworks created on the occasion of the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field Triennale (until September 13), an event spread across a 760 square kilometers area and conceived to revitalize a growingly depopulated rural region. Created by American artist James Turrell (born 143), who has been studying light and its perception for a long time, The House of Light is an artwork devoted to light as well as a place to experience, just like a regular guesthouse. Visitors can spend the whole day inside it and even sleep on one of the available futons, to observe changes in light inside and outside the house: the blue of sky through the sliding ceiling, the gold of the walls, the red of an alcove, the green of the bath and the black tone over the entire space. Mixing his own techniques with traditional Japanese architecture, Turrell created a unique relationship between his peculiar use of the light and the transition from night to day, from light to shadow, in traditional Japanese houses.His light installations change with every hour of the day, interacting with natural light and inviting visitors to perceive the passing of time and seasons.

[...]

08.26.2015

London, the year 2010: two managers and an architect, all of them 30-something, are developing a very innovative project. The e-commerce craze is in full progress and the latest trend in design is a new kind of functionalism – designing for everyday life, finding beauty in the function. This unique mix of atmospheres and personalities eventually gives birth to made.com, an online platform that brings together designers and design enthusiasts with the aim of  offering top-quality design objects and furniture at affordable prices, with sustainability as an additional value. At the heart of the idea is a super-short supply chain: selected among the best European emerging talents, the designers at Made.com present their own projects, which are exclusively produced upon customer demand. Of course, the estimated delivery times are strictly connected with production times, yet although this might discourage the most impatient customers it will also ensure that they enjoy the pleasure of surrounding themselves with exclusive design pieces. A further quality guarantee comes from the Unboxed service, Made.com’s very own social network, where customers can post pictures of the products they ordered and tell other customers how they actually used them. Unboxed is a sort of community for design lovers, where people can tell how they experience the world of design through their own pictures – a simple and yet brilliant approach that allowed the four founders of Made.com to extend their business from the London headquarters in Soho to six whole countries (UK, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany), spreading the idea that design is a simple thing, a thing within the reach of anyone with a fondness for beauty and creativity.

[...]

08.25.2015

They influenced our teen years, made us dream of attending West Beverly High School, shiver from the fear of a mysterious Man, fall in love with New York City and Los Angeles and desire to share our flat with friends like Monica, Rachel, Chandler and Joey. The cult TV series from the 1990s and 2000s - from Beverly Hills 90210 to Twin Peaks, from Friends a Sex and The City - became such a huge part of our imagination that they had us want to live in the houses where those stories were set: having lunch in Monica’s super-equipped kitchen from Friends, or nosing around Carrie’s amazing walk-in closet from Sex and the City. Although thousands of miles away from our own homes, those fictional apartments became part of our everyday lives and stole our hearts, to the point that whenever we visit one of the cities where our favourite series were set we can’t help looking for them. Yet is that actually an option? And do those houses, buildings, and apartments even exist? In most cases, they unfortunately don’t. Take the colorful ‘twin’ apartments from Friends in the heart of Manhattan: the boys’ living room with reclining armchairs and the girls’  huge sofa never truly existed outside Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. The same goes for the Central Perk coffee house (although a real-life pop-up version of the café opened last year to celebrate 20 years since the series premiered). Yet the actual building used for the exterior shots does exist and it is located in the Greenwich Village. There is another building in the Village, at 66, Perry Street, that you might find pretty familiar: it is Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment, or rather the facade that was used for the exterior shots – although her fictional address is 245 E. 73rd Street, in the Upper East Side. So what about the walk-in closed crammed with shoes from Manolo Blahnik and fancy designer clothes? Another a set, just like the pleasantly messy bedroom with the scattered magazines and the desk from which Carrie wrote her columns on a Macbook staring out of the window. With a quick change of scene, let’s fly to Pasadena, California, where the beautiful Walsh residence from Beverly Hills 90210 is actually located – lots of miles away from the fictional location of the series. Back in the 1990s, Brenda’s parents would have spent around 1.5 million dollars on that huge villa; today, the same house costs around 5.5 million dollars. Definitely not within everyone’s reach. Finally, at  708, 33rd Street in Everett, State of Washington, Laura Palmer’s house from Twin Peaks is on sale for 549,950 dollars; yet the sale is proving harder than expected – blame it on Mr. David Lynch, who terrorized us with the mysteries and the supernatural clues of the most intriguing homicide in the history of TV series.

[...]

08.06.2015

You can carry it in a large trunk or ship it, but once you open it unveils a small world, a miniature home that you can unpack while travelling on the road, moving temporarily for work reasons, or staying at a friend’s. Created by Austrian designer Stefan Juust and sold for 132 pounds (or 185 euros), Travelbox includes everything you need to recreate your home away from home: a comfortable bed with mattress and pillows, a table with chairs, plenty of room for your clothes, books, food and other personal belongings and even a bicycle. In its closed position, Travelbox is rigid, efficient, and ready to endure the inevitable bumps of international travel. It weighs 132 pounds and once closed it’s about 7 feet long, 4 feet tall, and 1.5 feet wide. Last but not least, all the pieces of furniture included inside the Austrian Travelbox have been very carefully designed with a pleasantly essential and contemporary style that will easily suit every kind of home or apartment.

[...]

08.05.2015

What’s a nuraghe? What about the Giants’ Tombs? These mysterious and fascinating names are a crucial part of the 570-million-year-long history of Sardinia, and discovering some of them only takes one day off your holiday schedule, so be sure not to miss them. Four of the most interesting archaeological sites of the island can be found between Macomer (NU) and Cabras (OR), a 30 mile ride that will allow you to learn a lot about the  Nuragic civilization, which lasted from 730 BC. before crushing against the Punic and Phoenician cultures. The journey starts from the hills of Macomer, home to the Tamuli site (1700 BC) and to the Giants’ Tombs, a set of megalithic gallery graves that were used as public tombs during the Bronze Age, surrounded by  the outline of a former settlement. Heading south along highway 131, you’ll enter the province of Oristano and meet your second stop, nuraghe Losa, in the town of Abbasanta, a classic Sardinian fortress made of stone layers and topped by a cone-shaped dome. In Paulilatino is yet another amazing find, the Pozzo Sacro di Santa Cristina, a well-shaped basalt temple that dives into the ground forming an ogival subterranean cell that can be reached through a steep stairway. Built during the Iron Age (1000 BC), this impressive sanctuary is surrounded by the remains of a village devoted to the same cult. South of Paulilatino is the ancient fishing village of Cabras, whose Museums is home to the beautiful Giants of Mont'e Prama, huge statues of warrriors dating back to the 8th century BC. Finally, our journey reaches the coast in the ancient city of Tharros, in the Sinis penninsula, on the thin promontory overlooking the Gulf of Oristano. The bright colors of this amazing sea landscape make a charming background for the majestic beauty of this archaeological site that lasted from the Nuragic Age to the Phoenician Age, when it eventually gave shelter to the Oriental merchants that would turn it into one of the main Carthaginian cities in the Mediterranean Sea.

[...]

07.30.2015

What would the Red Planet look like if we could take pictures of its landascapes just like ordinary tourists? Paris-based photographer Julien Mauve tried to picture this scenario in his unique Greetings from Mars photo project, expressing his love for travel and discovery through art. ‘I have always wondered what it would be like to discover a totally different world, lifeless, full of wild landscapes and to photograph it for the first time as if I was Ansel Adams. So I came up with this project, which is about space exploration and discovery. But it's also about our behavior in front of landscapes and how we create pictures that will share our personal story with the world’.  These fictional and utramundane images are a possible preview of our future as ‘space colonizers’ – a future which doesn’t seem so far anymore since NASA and SpaceX are already working on it. To create them, Mauve looked for places that would actually look like landscapes from Mars and added the human presence mimicking stereotypical tourist poses, including selfies. The project also explores the way we interact with places and include ourselves into landscapes to define ourselves and prove that we do exist.

[...]

07.16.2015

Some objects are part of our everyday life since forever – familiar packs, tubes and tools that have become icons of our culture without us even realizing it. In Italy we’ve got plenty of them – Coccoina, an almond-flavored paper glue that instantly brings us back to our childhood, or Linetti hair pomade, that we all saw in our grandad’s bathroom closet, and Roberts rose water, whose unmistakable scent reminds us of our mums and grannies. Well, someone recently had the amazing idea of collecting these small madeleines in an online catalogue: Anna Lagorio, journalist, and Alex Carnevali, photographer, are the minds behind Fattobene (literally “well-made”), an inventory of Italian everyday items that have been manufactured the same way for generations, aiming to help people coming to Italy for EXPO to find “ungoogleable” items and discover their exceptional stories. “We started collecting everyday items during a holiday in Basilicata and Calabria. There are wonderful things that are very popular in some regions, but are completely unknown outside. We are lucky, because in Italy we are surrounded by objects with a long history: here, even if you buy a soap, you have the possibility to choose between something ordinary and something special, like an original art deco one”. Anna and Alex decided to let everyone know about these items through their stories, so behind each one of them is an account, an anecdote, an ingenious idea to tell. And since many manufactures are going through a tough time due to the economic crisis, Fattobene also aims at saving these objects from extinction and oblivion.“We want to create a new awareness of our material culture: these items owe their longevity to their quality, which is outstanding. They were strong enough to survive two world wars, but now they are disappearing”. Every object is accompanied by its own history and a little bibliography. “Let this be a warning to those coming to Italy: even a trip to the supermarket can become a museum experience over here! As long as you know where to look, of course.” The next step will be opening an international online boutique to give everyone the opportunity to try these products.

[...]

07.15.2015

Looking for a contemporary alternative to a gothic cathedral or a small country chapel where to exchange wedding vows? Well, then maybe Shanghai could be the right destination for you, because the Rainbow Chapel is just as fascinating as a majestic old church, and at the same time it’s a hyper-contemporary round space surrounded by translucent glass panels of 65 different colours and bathed in a surreal light that perfectly suits this type of celebrations. The Rainbow Chapel is housed inside G+ Theme Park, home to the Shanghai Glass Museum which shows, explains, updates and enriches the material and spiritual language of glass in a multi-level and multi-angle way, exploring its future uses. Surrounded by a small channel and the park itself, the Rainbow Chapel impressively explores and showcases the endless possibilities of glass. Behind its project is design studio Coordination Asia, prompted by the credo that developing an art space should nourish a city and its communities. And that’s precisely what’s happening with the chapel, which is promoting the entire park's popularity by attracting young, creative couples looking for an unusual and design-oriented wedding venue.

[...]

07.14.2015

Have you ever caught yourself thinking something like ‘wow, I can’t believe it’s already Sunday’. Well who hasn’t. The weeks, the months, and the seasons go by so fast that we feel like time is literally slipping through our fingers and we can’t enjoy the moment, as if we just couldn’t accept how extraordinary life. It is a familiar, universal feeling – like realizing that we can only enjoy our lives months or years after something has happened, thinking back on how great or crucial that moment was. And a feeling shared by Scott Thrift, a young American artist who decided to use technology to slow down time, to establish a different scale of time, a new perspective. The result is an annual clock eloquently called The Present, whose hands take a whole year to complete a single cycle. The clock face has been designed to represent the changes in seasons using subtle shifts in color, from the pure white of the winter solstice to the bright green od spring, from the lively yellow of the summer to the deep red of the autumn equinox. The purely meditative simplicity of this system could have a powerful effect on the way you understand the present. “You can’t look at the clock and see it change, just like you can’t look at summer and see it change, but you know it will” says Thrift. By simply stimulating conversation on time, or helping us readjust proportions and realizing that life’s rhythm is slower more fluid than the one of our engagements and appointments scheduled within the boxes of a calendar or a planner, The Present can truly change our notion of time. The Present has been independently made in the USA in limited batches. This year a new batch of 1,000 has been produced in New York State and is on sale exclusively through the Moma Design Store.

[...]

06.22.2015

What’s the recipe for a healthier and more sustainable future? Going back to tradition, with its heritage of good sense, and projecting it into the future – at least according to the Republic of Korea, whose pavilion at Expo 2015 is focused on the roots of a very ancient and fascinating culture, and particularly on its crafts and cuisine.Starting from its own architectural structure, inspired by the ‘moon jar’, a traditional pottery vessel whose shape resembles that of a full moon. The art of pottery is a crucial tradition in Korea, which gave birth to simple bowls for everyday use as well as to some very sophisticated pieces of celadons and porcelain.Yet since the moon jar is widely used for preserving fermented foods, it also recalls one of the basic themes of the Korean pavilion: fermentation, a very ancient technique allowing foods to stay edible longer and breaking down the original organic matter in a process that creates new tastes and nutritional properties.The first part of the exhibition focuses on the serious consequences of contemporary eating habits and food culture, leading to obesity, over-production of processed foods and the depletion of food resources, through effective artworks and images.The answer is given in the next hall, entirely devoted to Hansik, i.e. traditional cuisine, based on a healthy and harmonious balance of elements, including the seasons, the colors, and the ingredients.A table laid for a traditional hansik meal (hansangcharim) includes bap (cooked rice), banchan (side dishes), and a huge variety of combination conceived for offering great flavors and balanced nutrition.Fermentation, or the “Science of Time”- since it requires at least one month or more – is represented by a nice installation which projects images on a huge jar, whereas the very last part of the exhibition focuses on food preservation, illustrated by a fascinating sea of onggi (traditional pottery), on which images of traditional Hansik recipes are projected.The best way to end you visit is eating at the pavilion’s Hansik restaurant, where you’ll be able to try a menu of delicious traditional Korean recipes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients and inspired by the concepts of health, harmony, and healing

[...]

06.15.2015

Experiencing the city with a sustainable lifestyle, at walking speed, creatively regaining possession of its spaces: that’s the idea behind Slow Town Milano, a website collecting slow-style ideas and experiences to fully savour Milan through unusual perspectives and routes that are off the beaten path.Slow Town Milano is the brainchild of Sonia Guidazzi, author and multimedia content specialist. We spoke to her to learn more about this amazing project.SJ: How did you come up with the concept of "Slow Town"? What’s a Slow Town?SG: I created Slow Town to promote a low-impact lifestyle and to show that, beyond all clichés, opting for a sustainable development without giving up life’s pleasures is actually possible. Over the last decades we struggled to chase wealth and success without getting the happiness that we had been promised, and we ended up damaging the planet; it is time to try new paths. And this is much easier that it might sound: even visiting an exhibition, shopping at the farmer’s market or reading a book are low-waste and yet perfectly rewarding activities. A Slow Town is simply a of cluster of people avoiding waste, pondering over their actions and choosing quality over quantity.SJ: How is it possible to turn Milan, a polluted and hectic city, into a Slow Town? SG: Milan actually is a Slow Town. There is a widespread desire for a better life quality, for practical and easily enjoyable sustainable experiences, and that is why virtuous new offers and enterprises like zero-mile restaurants, urban gardens and free cloister concerts are literally proliferating. Our museums have never been so crowded, and peole in Milan rediscovered some of the city’s historic areas such as the Navigli district and the recently restored Porte Vinciane, the ancient river lock gates designed by Leonardo, exploring the city by bicycle and finally enjoying being outdoors.SJ: Can you mention a few examples of not-to-be-missed slow experiences in Milan?SG: My suggestion is to go back to the city’s roots and history: enjoying the sunset from the spires of the Duomo, walking along the brand new Highline Galleria  above the  roofs of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, going for a jog to Parco Sempione, strolling along the new Darsena, which has finally been brought back to life after years of abandonment, and enjoying a concert at Santa Maria delle Grazie. Then maybe a movie in the garden of Palazzo Reale, a visit to the new location of Michelangelo’s world-famous sculpture Pietà Rondanini, an exhibition at GAM (Milan’s Modern Art Gallery) or a bicycle ride along the narrow streets of the fomer ancient Roman Mediolanum. These are all sustainable and free or low-cost experiences.SJ: The idea behind Slow Town is pretty much on the same wavelegth as as the theme of EXPO 2015; has the city already changed since May 1st? What will it inherit from this huge event?SG: The Slow Town project precedes, coexhists with and will survive the World Exhibition, treasuring the event’s huge heritage of knowledge and ideas to face the future. The city has certainly changed over the last few months: it does not only look its best, it even rediscovered some of its most beloved places and a lot is happening; it looks like Milan has finally recovered its most authentic soul and its proactive spirit, an inborn virtue that has been sort of sleeping for a while.The Financial Times referred to this new season as to a ‘new Reinassance’ and I couldn’t agree more; hopefully we will manage to make the best of this amazing moment and change things for good, for the sake of everyone. Italy has never been short of wits and practical skills, maybe it’s time to show the world that we are a creative country, especially in a time of emergency.Photos by Sonia Guidazzi 

[...]

06.08.2015

Those who come to Italy for the very first time expect a country where everything revolves around art, craftmanship and gastronomy – in other words, the world-famous ‘made in Italy’, that subtle and sophisticated ability in making things that is worth the journey itself.And yet getting in touch with this admirable national virtue is not always easy – the risk of bumping into inauthentic experiences crafted for tourists is always high.Now what if instead you could discover Italy through its genuine artisan workshops, and through the eyes and the work of the artisans that actually live and make their creations in a specific area?That is precisely the idea behind Italian Stories, a web platform that provides unique experiences with Italian craftsmen, visits and live hands-on workshops to help travellers discover the secrets behind the real made in Italy.Italian Stories is the brainchild of a group of designers with a passion for Italy, its crafts and the boundless possibilities that the web can offer to those who wish to discover new places.We spoke to Eleonora Odorizzi, founder and CEO of this amazing project.SJ: Italian Stories is a new and innovative way to promote authentc made in Italy and stimulate a new form of cultural tourism. How did you come up with the whole idea and who is this service for? EO: Italian Stories was born out of our genuine curiosity and eagerness to find out things about our country that even locals often ignore. We asked ourselves how to help travellers looking for customized and authentic experiences get in touch with Italian artisans, and that’s how we came up with the idea of a web platform.We are getting great feedback from Itaian as well as from foreign travellers – the quality of Italian manufacturing is highly regarded abroad, and people are startng to develop an interest even in the places where things are made.Italian Stories is for anybody that is looking for a sustainable and unique experience in the name of slow travel.It is for those who want to discover the secrets behind Italian craftsmanship through emotional, relational and formative activities, for the artisans who want to tell about their identity, and for the institutions that really care about the promotion and development of the local productive system.SJ: How do you select your artisans?EO: Our artisans and their products, as well as the creative processes, are selected according to a set of specific principles including uniqueness, quality, beauty, the story behind the artisan and his/her connection with the region, and the ability to revisit tradition through contemporary design.While a single artisan does not necessarily have to own all of these qualities, every Italian Story is gifted with at least some of them. Of course, another crucial quality for our artisans is their ability to connect with people.SJ: Browsing the artisan list you get a much more optimistic image of Italy than the one conveyed by italian media. Looks like this country has a lot to offer in terms of talents and spirit of enterprise…EO: Today, in the era of experience, lots of artisans still fail to realize that sometimes learning about how they make things, about the process of creation, is much more fascinating than buying those things.They are so focused on the final result that, possibly out of modesty, they tend to forget their actual greatness: the ability of making.Luckily, the younger generations seem to be much more aware of the value of these professions, of the richness that artisans can bring to our country in terms of contacts traditions, relationships, and the desire to grow and innovate themselves thanks to the networking opportunities offered by digital technologies.

[...]

06.04.2015

When someone like movie director Wes Anderson, the inventive creator of some truly amazing imaginary and yet plausible worlds, decides to design the interiors of a café, his inspiration must somehow be cinematic.As a matter of fact, the brand new and unique Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada in Milan draws inspiration from two classic Italian neorealist films - Miracle in Milan and Rocco and his Brothers – ad aims at recreating the atmosphere of a typical Milanese café.Upon crossing the threshold, for a moment  you’ll feel as if you were surrounded by one of Anderson’s famous cardboard props (see Grand Budapest Hotel), but then you’ll realize this is actually three-dimensional and real.Some architectural and decorative details from the original structure, a former distillery that houses the whole Fondazione Prada campus, have been preserved, such as the arched ceiling, which recreates a ‘miniature’ version of the vaulted glass roof of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of Milan’s symbolic buildings.References to the aesthetics of the Fifties and the Sixties include pinball machines, formica furniture, granholitic floors, veneered wood panels, and the classic green-to-brown range of colors.Wes Anderson’s collaboration with Prada is no news: he previously worked for the brand on commercials and the short film Castello Cavalcanti, which features the same Fifrties setting.“While I do think it would make a pretty good movie set”, said Anderson about Bar Luce, “I think it would be an even better place to write a movie. I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in”.Apparently, he’s not the only one to think so: ever since ts opening, the café has been regularly packed. Bar Luce is open every day from 9 am to 10 pm. It can be accesssed from the Fondazione or directly from Via Orobia.Photo credits: Attilio Maranzano/ Courtesy Fondazione Prada 

[...]

05.11.2015

Located in the heart of New Yorks fashionable SoHo district, the Morrison Hotel Gallery is a unique place devoted to photography and music. Founded in 2001 by former record company executive and producer Peter Blachley, former independent record store owner Rich Horowitz and music photographer Henry Diltz, through time it has grown to become a major brand in fine art music photography, and today it has a branch in West Hollywood as well. Aaron Zych has been the gallery and sales director at the Soho flagship location for 10 years; we asked him a few questions about the gallery, its history, and its future projects. SJ: What was the original idea behind the Morrison Hotel Gallery and why did its founders name it after a Doors album?AZ: The Gallery is mostly about people. As you view some of the most inspiring and iconic images of music and musicians photographed over the last fifty-plus years, you should think about the people who existed on both sides of the lens.They most likely had no idea what they were creating or how timeless the image would become. Music photography elicits an emotional reaction that is unique to all of us, it is no more than one-second of life at the time it takes to click the shutter. But what is forever frozen is timeless, and thats what draws us to the photographs. We as people cant live forever, but it seems as though the images do.The name of the Gallery came from the famous Doors album that co-owner Henry Diltz took back in 1969 on Hope Street in Downtown LA. Since that time it has become one of the most popular album covers of all time. SJ: Can you tell us briefly about a couple of your favourite musician portraits and the story behind them?AZ: Here is a link to some of my favorite photographs. Recently I chose these images since they are iconic, and also very rare photographs for purchase. Among them are a gorgeous Michael Joseph photograph for the Rolling Stones’ Beggar’s Banquet album cover, feeling feels like a 17th century painting with all the fine details and beautiful light, and one of the the most popular and perfect rock photographs ever: Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium by Neal Preston. SJ: Are musicians among your regular visitors and customers?AZ: There is no typical customer coming into the Morrison Hotel Gallery. We have everyone from actors /actresses to the musicians that are hanging on the walls. On most days we have a wide variety of music fans and photography collectors stopping in to view the work. Yet it is always a treat to have one of the musicians come in. SJ: You have been with the gallery for 10 years. Whats your favourite exhibition in the gallerys history?AZ: I dont think I have one favorite exhibition. But among my favorites are In the Best Possible Light: Herman Leonards Jazz (2008), Rolling Stones, 50 Years in Photography(2012), and Kurt Cobain by Jesse Frohman (2012). SJ: Whats in store for the next future? Can you give us a preview of your major upcoming events and projects?AZ: We have numerous exhibitions on the table for later this spring and in the fall. In June we are having an exhibition on the work of the late Ken Regan featuring plenty of previously unseen photographs of musicians, politicians and actors/actresses. November will se the opening of an exhibition on David Bowie featuring many of his fashion photographs taken by Japanese photographer Masayoshi Sukita. Edited by F.S.Photo courtesy of The Morrison Hotel Gallery

[...]

05.10.2015

The cultural heritage of a city does not merely include its streets, buildings and monuments - it also comprises the people who live within its borders, who grew up there and carry along a patrimony of experiences, habits, and points of view. That is why it is common knowledge that the best way to discover a city is to do it under the guidance of a local. The Rio Vivido Project was conceived starting from this pretty obvious remark, with the aim of helping tourists meet locals in Rio de Janeiro, only with a very specific formula: the hosts are elderly people with interesting life experiences linked to the city, exciting stories to tell, and of course rooms available at home Discovering Rio through their eyes is a totally unusual experience - basically its just like discovering a brand new city, a city that is not just made of physical spaces, but even of memories, episodes and thoughts which might otherwise risk being lost. The project has a double goal: on the one hand, the idea is to focus on the unexplored potential of the hosts, aknowledging the value of their experience in defining the image and the soul of the city and thus the contribution they could offer to local tourism. On the other hand, it is a veritable social experiment to which both hosts and guests take part simply by sharing an experience, talking and spending some time together. Rio Vivido has been launched by COPPE, the Institute of Post-Graduation and Research in Engineering of Rio de Janeiros Federal University, and it is supported by Faperj (Research Support Foundation of the State of Rio de Janeiro ) and CEPE (Center for Studies and Research on Aging). If you are interested in being a guest, just check the host list on their website, choose a host and get in touch with him/her to settle your booking via Air B’n’BWords: F.S.

[...]

04.28.2015

With 177 contestants from 171 countries, the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards established itself once again as the world’s biggest photography competition. Open to professional as well as to amateur photographers, the awards aim at recognising and rewarding the best contemporary photography in the world, resultig from a mix of creativity, emotion, technical skills and the ability to chase the moment. Industrial Geometries is the title of the photograph submitted by Andrea Rossato, winner of this years Italy National Award, an image based on pure geometry and the power of light. Taken in Martignacco (near Udine), the photo was  awarded during the official London ceremony and it will be on display at Somerset House until May 10. Pham Van Ty, winner of the Vietnam National Award, shoot a beautiful picture of two women sewing a fishing net, looking like a Renaissance picture thanks to a perfect use of light and framing, while José Luis Vilar Jordans image of a bicycle darting past the amazing building of the City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia won the Spanish National AwardGerman winner Uwe Hennig managed to turn a mosquito into something truly poetic, and Courtney Colantonio Ray, winner of the US National Award, captured the grace and the beauty of  ballerina. British Byron Dilkes included the underwater and the above water worlds in one evocative frame, and Australian Karl Grenet gained a special mention with his unique image depicting Mumbai Mirza Ghalib Municipal Market shopkeepers resting and reading papers in absurd positions. Words: C.L.G.Picture: Pham Van Tys fish net sewers

[...]

04.27.2015

It has been the talk of the town and the object of public debate (and controversy) for years, and now it is finally time to see what its all about: EXPO Milano 2015 will be starting in a few days, and we will be able to see for ourselves if this huge event has kept its promises. Rumors still have it  the Italian Pavilion wont be ready for the inauguration (the Belvedere in Città project has been periodically posting videos of the ongoing works shot on the construction site), and yet on May 1st the gates will open and then we will definitely know. In the meantime, we tried to figure out how the whole thing works in order to make the most out of our firt visit. The ThemeWe all know the next EXPO will be entirely devoted to food, and yet the Feeding the Planet- Energy for Life theme represents a very specific point of view on the subject, raising awareness on the urge of being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the Planet. This is undoubtedly a crucial issue of our time, and it will demand great consistency on the part of EXPO for the sustainable management of the whole event, as well as on the part of the companies that will partner with EXPO to literally feed the visitors. As a matter of fact, besides discovering different food cultures we will also have the chance to taste them, and this is going to be a big part of the events charm. The clustersThese collective pavilions will bring together different communities in the name of a common food group - coffee, cocoa and chocolate, fruits and legumes, spices, cereals and tubers - or theme - Bio-Mediterraneum, Islands and Sea, Aride Zones - with a focus on local products and cuisines. Thematic AreasLocated close to the main entrances and other key points around the Exposition site, these areas have been conceived to provide tangible insights into the Exhibitions theme trough multi-sensorial and educational experiences. Some of them, such as the Childrens Park, are specifically dedicated to children and families, and they include games and relaxing areasThe Biodiversity Park is a 8,500 square meter area including a huge park, a theatre and two pavilions respectively housing organic and natural products and the Biodiversity exhibition.Pavilion Zero is a veritable introduction to the EXPO theme, telling the story of humankind as related to food consumption and the transformation of natural landscapes.  The Future Food District presents possible scenarios for the application of new technologies to the food chain. Pavilions & CoDesigned by the participating countries, the national Pavilions sit along the Decumano, one of the two major roads of the EXPO site, as huge display windows for each countrys food culture and excellence (of course, they will also host a restaurant where visitors can taste local cuisines). The Pavilions have all been built according to sustainable principles including the use of sustainable and recyclable materials and low-impact energy use; besides, they are temporary and easy to take down at the end of the event, and include significant green and outdoor areas.As for the Italian Pavilion, it is a huge complex including Palazzo Italia - which will turn into a permanent center for technological innovation once the event is over - four additional buildings along the Cardo, the other main road of the EXPO site, the Lake Arena.We are particularly eager to visit the Civil Society Pavilion, housed inside a beautifully restored ancient farmhouse (another piece of the EXPO heritage that the city will later enjoy), which will be devoted to showing the crucial contribution of selected national and international organizations from civil society to some of the major problems of humankind, and specifically to the ones related to the exhibitions theme.

[...]

04.26.2015

It was May the 3rd, 1995, and the characters of sci-fi TV series Sliders (broadcast by FOX) were traveling - as they did every week - to an alternate Earth. As soon as they reached their destination, similarities to their world first led them to believe they had made it back home, but when they got to the nearest hot dog stand one thing left them flabbbergasted: on TV, President Clinton was addressing the nation. President Hillary Clinton. Then they were positive that this was not their Earth. It was 1995 and the reaction of the characters from Sliders (you can almost see their jaws drop at the sight of the blonde female President) clearly shows how the world – as well as American politics - has changed since then. Today, the prospect of Hillary Clinton being the next President seems more than probable, and you just have to turn on the TV to bump into one of her fictional doppelgängers. Political TV shows featuring strong and audacious female characters who bare some resemblance to the former First Lady literally abound: of course, there is Tea Leoni’s Madam Secretary (whose title is an obvious giveaway of the series’ inspiration. First Lady and President wannabe Bellamy Young from Scandals is yet another example of Hillary-inspired character, and before them there was the US President played by Cherry Jones in 24. A Washington Post blogger recently went as far as to say that “every TV show is about — and has always been about — Hillary Clinton”, listing more examples including series Commander in Chief, Parks and Recreation, Borgen (which is, well, Danish), and even Top Chef and The Sopranos. Of course, with the presidential campaign kicking off, chances are that you will be seeing even more of Mrs. Clinton and her impersonatorsWords: M.S.Photo: SNLs Clinton impersonator Kate McKinnon

[...]

04.19.2015

Montage of Heck is the latest documentary on Kurt Cobain, the late lead singer of Nirvana, directed by Brett Morgen and produced with the support of the artists family, including widow Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean.  Morgens movie follows a series of works which tried to shed some light on Cobains tragic death - two of the most popular being Kurt & Courtney, which suggested some kind of a conspiracy theory concerning his relationship with wife Courtney Love, and the more unpretentious About a son by A. J. Schnack. Yet thanks to the support of Cobains friends and family, and above all to the great amount of audiovisual materials, Montage of Heck promises to be the definitive Cobain documentary.  The film tells his whole story, from his birth up until his death, particularly focusing on his formative years with home movies from his childhood and family interviews. Morgens theory seems to revolve around the idea that something in Cobains childhood and in his unhappy relationship with his parents might explain the derangement that eventually brought him to shoot himself to death on April 5, 1994.  Fans and enthusiasts will certainly appreciate all the previously unseen and unheard materials, including a bunch of unpublished songs and footage from Nirvana concerts. Of course, even Morgens work has its own gaps and flaws, and particularly the absence of Nirvanas drum player and Foo Fighters leader Dave Grohl, which might have helped him untangle quite a few misteries concerning Cobains life. As Variety noted, one factor that might have been dwelt on a bit more is Cobain’s chronic stomach pain, "surely a major cause of his substance abuse and depression". Recommended reads:Charles H. Cross, Heavier than HeavenKurt Cobain, Journals Words: M.S.

[...]

04.14.2015

Here we go again: the most beloved and dreaded time of the year - the Design Week - has just started in Milan, and as the citys population almost doubles, as hoardes of hipsters and Swedish architects take to the streets and suddendly everybody seems to know the difference between good and bad design, we always get a little melancholy. Because even though the city truly comes alive and offers some great opportunities to go out, meet people and enjoy the warm weather, at some point we start to miss our everyday grumpy and somewhat shy Milan, whose authentic face most design tourists do not manage to experience. And so to soothe nostalgia we take refuge where the noise ceases and the free cocktails are nowhere to be seen, and we find some consolation in art, history, nature, and food. 1. The Original DesignersTiepolo, Canaletto, Caravaggio, Modigliani, Braque. If you feel like youve seen too many design chairs in the Brera District, stroll along the corridors of the Pinacoteca di Brera and contemplate the timeless beauty of Mantegnas Dead Christ. Do not spread the word, though, or this might become the most popular free event of the Fuorisalone. 2. Trompe l’oeilHidden in a corner of cahotic via Torino, the tiny church of  San Satiro truly is what you would call a gem of design - the designer being no less than Donato Bramante. Despite being very small, it looks incredibly airy and its most unique feature is  the choir, which had to be cut to a depth of only 3 feet due to the presence of a main road, and was replaced by Bramante with a painted perspective, one of the first examples of trompe loeil ever. 3. Solemnly PeacefulAlthough it sounds incredible, seen from above Milan is a very green city. If you never realized it from the down on ground it is probably because its most beautiful gardens are hidden behind the gates of the churches and the palazzi. The Basilica di San Simpliciano, close to central Corso Garibaldi, hides a magnificent cloister full of roses - visits are by appointment with the Theology Faculty only, but it is definitely worth it. 4. Urban CountrysideIf you need some oxygen and Parco Sempione is too packed, venture beyond the center and you will find some truly luxuriant green areas within the city. Go west for the lakes of  Parco delle Cave and the meadows of Bosco in Città, or head east for the shaded hills of Parco Lambro5. Out of TownWhy going out of town when everything is happening in the city? Because the restaurants will probably be fully booked. Could there be a better occasion to sample a bold and classic cotoletta alla milanese somewhere in the countryside along the Naviglio Grande? Try Antica Trattoria del Gallo, just outside the colorful river village of Gaggiano, offering great local food since 1870.

[...]

04.08.2015

Great news for all fans of The X-Files: over ten years after the last seasons finale, Chris Carter, the series creator, and leading actors David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson recently announced the return ot the franchise for a six-episode run to shoot in the summer of 2015. Chris Carter confirmed that agents Doggett and Reyes will be back besides Mulder and Scully. The six new episodes – also announced the series creator and producer – will feature contemporary stories about contemporary situations and also deal with the X-Files mythology, and particularly with William, the son of Mulder and Scully. While we wait, heres a small selection of episodes whose plots revolve around the series characters. X-Files 1x04: ConduitSpecial agent Fox Mulder (nicknamed "Spooky") is obsessed with paranormal activity. In the fourth episode of the first season, we get to know why he chose to be the black sheep of the FBI, concerned with particularly mysterious or unsolved cases. X-Files 1x13: Beyond The SeaMulder and Scully talk to Arthur Boggs, a psychic sentenced to death who claims he has some information concerning a serial killer. Scully, who is still upset about her fathers recent death, seems ready to believe him in spite of Mulders initial skepticism. X-Files 2x13: IrresistibleA perfect episode for understanding the Mulder/Scully partnership. Towards the end of a hard search for a fetishistic corpre-violating killer, the first tangible sign of affection between the two agents appears. X-Files 3x21: AvatarThe plot revolves around assistant director Skinner, Mulder and Scullys boss, who is involved in a murder. In spite of that, Mulder and Scully do their best to help him being cleared of the charge, although Skinner appears pretty resigned to conviction. X-Files 8x17: EmpedoclesYears have gone by, Mulder has left the X-Files and Scully is pregnant with their son William. Agents Doggett and Reyes (not very popular among the series fans) are the ones in charge of the cases. This episode sort of introduces them. X-Files 9x16: WilliamMulder is on the run and he doesnt want anyone, not even Scully, to find him, although he is the biological father of little William. When a horribly scarred man tries to steal some of the x-files, agent Doggett suspects he might be Mulder. This persuades Scully to believe that her son is in danger. Words: M.S.

[...]

04.06.2015

There is a place in Las Vegas where the old signs that used to enlighten the night of the desert city rest quietly. It is a charming place, a postmodern cemetery exhuming decadence and celebrating a myth at the same time, by summing up its history in the form of neon lights. The Neon Museum first opened its doors in 2012 at 770, Las Vegas Boulevard North, at the intersection with Freemont Street, to save and restore the disused Las Vegas signs donated or loaned by individuals, businesses or sign companies, some of which have been re-installed along Las Vegas Boulevard, illuminating downtown Las Vegas. The museum includes an outdoor exhibition space, known as the Boneyard, which features more than 150 signs, each  of them having a unique story about who created it, what inspired it, where and when it was made, and how it fits into the development of Las Vegas and the citys rich history.  Changes and trends in design and technology are also illustrated in the pieces that range from the 1930s to the present day. The visitor center is located inside the former lobby of the historic La Concha Motel lobby, a distinctive shell-shaped building designed in 1961 by acclaimed architect Paul Revere Williams and characterized by Atomic- and Space Age shapes and motifs. Originally constructed on Las Vegas Boulevard South, the La Concha lobby was saved from demolition in 2005 and moved in 2006 to its current location to serve as the museum’s Visitors’ Center, which houses additional rescued signs and is used for weddings, special events, photo shoots and educational programs.  Photo: The Neon Museum Las Vegas

[...]

04.01.2015

Some fabrics allow you to read their stories through the folds and the creases. And these stories revolve around cotton fields, handwork, mendings and patches.  It is a charming world, rich in history and beauty, and oddly enough you can plunge into it by entering a Greenpoint loft in Brooklyn, where Mr. Stephen Szczepanek, a former art curator and presently a fabric collector, will initiate all collectors and enthusiasts looking for inspiration to the culture of antique Japanese fabrics. As a curator for a private art collection, Stephen travelled extensively throughout China, India and Japan where he was given access to these countries most important museum collections and their storerooms, developing a personal interest in the language and meaning of Japanese and Indian cloth. In 2001, he founded Sri Textiles, textile gallery specializing in antique Japanese folk textiles named after the Hindu word Sri, associated with  prosperity, well-being, and illustriousness. Ant it houses an illustrious colection indeed, focusing on boro, Japans classic patched and mended  blue-and-white cotton textiles. Often associated with traditional Japanese rural culture, boro fabrics were originaly used by Japanese city dwellers beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, mostly because they were very made with very precious and costly fibers, hand-loomed, hand-dyed.The collections antique textiles have been selected by Stephen for their rarity and beauty, as well as for the techniques and style of indigo-dyed cotton they represent, which go under exotic names such as kasuri, katazome, tsutsugaki, sashiko, sakiori, shibori, and asa. The gallery also hosts a collection of antique and contemporary Indian textiles reflecting an equally venerable tradition, which gave birth to  one of the worlds most richly varied textile cultures. Sri is open weekdays, weekends and evenings by appointment only. Visit their website to browse through a portion of their in inventory and make online orders.Photo: Sri Textiles

[...]

03.23.2015

Over ten years after the release of their last album, Blur are about to make their comeback in April with The Magic Whip. We selected a bunch of not-to-be-missed rock watercolors to tell their story from the very beginning, from their first record in 1991 until today. Du bist sehr schon but we havent been introducedBefore Britpop there was baggy, a mix of rock and dance music: Girls & Boys, with its synth-pop intro and its obsessive, almost addictive refrain, is a great example of baggy style. Even the semigods of British pop, the Pet Shop Boys, took the trouble to make a remix. Hes reading Balzac, knocking back prozacCountry house is the anthem of the Battle of Britpop: on the very same day (August 14, 1995) the Blurs rival band, Oasis, released Roll with it. Country House also marks an extraordinary moment for Blur, with their popularity matching the bands musical inspiration and the creativity of Albarns irreverent lyrics. When I feel heavy metalAlbarn, Coxon, James, and Rowntree give up on their past musical certainties and previous references to the Sixties. With its grunge-pop rush, Song 2 sums up this release, soon becoming the definitive pogo song in 1997. Tender is the touch of someone that you love too much13 is the weirdest and most difficult album by Blur, mixing diverse influences ranging from pop to electro, from indie to hip-hop, and almost failing to find a guiding principle (possibly even because of the end of Albarns relationship with Elasticas Justine Frischmann). Tender , the opening song, is an improbable and yet nice mix of gospel and pop music. Wheres the love song? To set us freeOn the eve of their break-up, Blur manage to leave their fans with an album steeped in beauty and grace, a miracle that had rarely happened ever since Strangeways, Here We Come by the Smiths. And Out of Time is still there to show it. Im getting sad alone, dancing with myselfGo Out is the single announcing the release of Blurs comeback album. Crooked and baffling, it definitely sparks off some great expectations. Words: M.S.Photo Credits: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

[...]

03.18.2015

The famous picture portraying John Lennon and Yoko Ono on their in-bed protest against the Vietnam war is probably among the most iconic images from the Sixties. That photograph was taken in 1969 at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam by Cor Jaring, a Dutch photographer who had recently gained a reputation through his photographs of the Dutch ‘non-violent anarchist’ Provo movement. Yet Jaring had not always been a famous photographer. He came from humble origins and had started out as a dockworker at Amsterdam harbor, where he had begun to photograph the marginal areas in which he moved, with friends, fellow dockers, gaugers and ironworkers as his subjects. But Jaring’s beloved Amsterdam was not his sole work domain: he also reported  on the hard-working poor, transsexuals, and nude models on the other side of the world, an unexpected discovery made by the documentary photographer Sander Troelstra after he started working with Jaring to look into his archive in 2011. And thats how Cor Was Here, the exhibition currently held at Huis Marseille Photography Museum in Amsterdam, was born. It opens with a strong selection from the classic oeuvre of his work – a quick look at the turbulent ’60s with the rise of the Provo movement, demonstrations in Amsterdam, and cafe life. The viewer is then gradually drawn in to Jaring’s personal life, with Cor’s own letters as well as material provided by family and friends reflecting on his personality. The whole is supplemented with previously undiscovered work from Japan and nude studies from Jaring’s personal archive. A number of the touching photographs that Sander Troelstra made of Cor Jaring in the last years of his life are also included in the exhibition. Until June 28

[...]

03.15.2015

Two hearts, two pairs of feet ready to walk a long distance, and two backpacks full of enthusiasm and the desire to discover. Stefano Battain, 33, and Daniela Biocca, 30, definitely are an uncommon couple. After working for years with NGOs in Africa, where they met, they came back to Italy to get married and decided to embark on an even more ambitious enterprise: Alterrative, a 266-day-long journey around the world that will take them through 22 countries and 5 continents with the aim of exploring local farmers organizations and social movements for womens rights. SJ: Why would a young couple give up the dream of a house and a regular honeymoon to undertake such a complex journey?SB: In our case, the project is the result of our professional and personal experiences, of the books that we read, of the things we are inquisitive about. After five years in Africa, we felt the need to ask ourselves why we had chosen to leave in the first place. Last year, we realized that we needed some time to process all that we had been experiencing, a little break to leave some room for the huge change that Africa had brought into our lives. Which is why we thought of putting the thing that mattered the most to us on our wedding list: a journey around the world allowing us to discover and understand what is going on in other countries besides Africa. SJ: Can you quantify the percentage of recklessness, academic interest, sense of adventure, and nomadic vocation behind your decision?SB: Recklessness would certainly represent the lowest percentage: we are used to travelling and we are planning everything very carefully. All the other elements are there in different percentages depending on the specific destination: some countries attract us because of our academic interest, some others beacuse of our love for adventure. I would say the academic interest and the nomadic vocation are the most relevant components - although we are neither academics nor nomads, and we prefer to start this journey without labels.  SJ: How long did it take you to organize everything?SB: We first came up with the idea in August. In September, right after the wedding, we started planning our journey but could only take care of it in our little spare time since we were still working in South Sudan.The first thing we did was defining a concept, then we asked for some third-party feedback to improve it and contacted the NGOs of the countries we are going to visit so that they would help us get in touch with the organizations and movemente we are interested in.As for the itinerary, we outlined a general plan and focused on the first five or six months. SJ: Is your research supported by some academic institution? What are you planning to do with it once its completed?SB: Our research is independent and thus not funded by any particular institution; nevertheless, there are professors among our advisors. Once the research is completed, we would like to publish and share our results with the involved organizations and everyone whos interested in knowing more  about farmers and womens rights movements. We are even thinking of a short documentary and a photo exhibition. SJ: Do you rely strictly on your own resources or did you try some crowdfunding/ sponsoring campaign?SB: Up to now, we relied exclusively on our own money and on our wedding presents. For anyone wishing to contribute, though, there actually is an Alterrative campaign on Indiegogo - and we also have our first sponsor, an Italian brand called  EastcoastSJ: How do you pack a bag for a 266-day-long journey?SB: Our backpacks contain a huge desire to deconstruct ourselves, to unlearn and to learn again with our minds open to new ideas and lifestyles - and of course a couple of toothbrushes and some underwear. SJ: Are you planning a social media presence?SB: Yes of course - we created Alterrative profiles on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram, so everyone can follow our adventure. SJ: What about the sustainability of your journey?SB: In order to reduce our carbon footprint and to spare as much money as possible, we decided to rely almost completely on low-impact means of trasportation: trains, buses, car sharing - and of course our own feet.To compensate for our flights, we will contribute to a Co2 reduction program through the  Carbonfootprint website. Edited and translated by F.S.Photo: Mirko Mezzacasa

[...]

03.02.2015

There is a new cultural institution in Barcelona, the Museu del Disseny, which opened its doors a few months ago with the aim of including four different museums in the same building - the Museum of Figurative Art, the Museum of Ceramics, The Museum of Graphic Art and the Museum of Textiles and Fashion. Over 70.000 artifacts celebrating the object and all that it signifies or has signified in our everyday lives: from its conception, creation and production to its use through different ages and societies, from the artisanal and preindustrial periods to the industrial and digital eras. The museum houses four permanent collections and a temporary one, along with a busy agenda of events, conferences, workshops, educational services, and classes. The Disseny Hub building is located in Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes, very close to famous Agbar tower, and it has been designed by Spanish MBM Arquitectes studio. Its compact shape reminds that of a parallelepiped cut in sections surrounded by a new public area composed of connected structures and routes developed on multiple levels, including green spaces, paved areas, and large-stepped floors leading to a lake. The building itself consists of two parts: one underground and another that emerges above the level +14.50m, with two opposite entrances at different levels and a system of stairs, mechanical stairs and elevators connecting all the upper floors, accommodating a spacious vestibule, four temporary exhibitions and an auditorium inside the cantilevered area over the street. The museums core is spread across two floors and a mezzanine, including the main exhibition hall, library, research and teaching, the museum shop, and the cafeteria. The whole building has been designed according to green principles such as environmental quality, sustainability and energy efficiency.

[...]

02.24.2015

A few days ago we published an interview with Alessandro Dalai concerning the role of a publisher in the time of e-books. On that occasion we even managed to ask him a few questions about his own city, Milan, and the way it is changing on the eve of EXPO 2015. Heres what he told us. SJ: Milan is your city, a city you claimed to love. How would you describe Milan to someone whos never been there - and is there a sentimental map of the city that you would like to share with us?AD: Milan is a city I love and hate profoundly, because it has somewhat lost its original character. Once it used to be a creative coterie where akin people would meet and share the same passions - take the glorious 1960s in the artistic district of Brera, when you could live side by side an mix with great artists, writers, and actors, or even the students "revolution" of the 1970s,  which gave birth to a brand new generation of people, relationships and media.The city has dramatically changed since then, and sometimes for the best. Brera has basically disappeared, taken over by the fashion industry which occupies its spaces to make room for shops that only live by day.The skyline is different, as are some of the neighborhoods such as the Isola, Porta Garibaldi and Ortica disctricts, where youll occasionally still notice how deep-rooted customs and habits manage to get away from all the changes that are rapidly involving Milan.I really love my area: I live and work within the triangle marked by Carrobbio, Corso Genova and Sant’Ambrogio, where everything is still on a human scale and the melting pot phenomenon, while less intense than in most European cities, is rapidly growing.The southern part of the city, from the Darsena to the Navigli district, is possibly the most charming part of the city, whereas the center sadly desertifies after the office and shop hours, when everything gets impressively rarefied, even the few people youll meet on the streets.And thats probably one of Milans greatest flaws: the lack of a second life for its center as compared to most Italian cities which manage to enliven their core after dark as well. It is just as if the city closed after a day of work - probably because for most people the hours spent at the office and those spent commuting leave little room for going out, while the happy few take refuge in the citys bourgeois living rooms.On a few occasions, such as summer nights or the Design week, people will flock to the streets and finally mix. SJ: You recently launched a project concerning Milan and its culture and fashion scenes. Can you tell us about it? AD: Milano Arte Moda is an online  magazine whose aim is to tell the world about the most international face of Milan, featuring plenty of news about the art, culture and fashion events that the city is hosting, and interacting with EXPO to cover everthing thats happening in town in 6 languages.Our goal is to involve the millions of people that will drop by Milan during the Expo months, and to keep up with our multilingual portrait of the city even when EXPO is over. This is probably one of our last chances to make Milan a younger, more creative and cosmopolitan city, and we shall not miss it. Edited and translated by F.S.Photo: Yorick39

[...]

02.18.2015

Behind every book that we loved theres a whole team: an author, an editor, maybe a translator, and of course a publisher - the man of letters, the one who scouts for talents. In the time of e-books and vanity press allowing virtualy anyone to publish their own novel at very affordable prices and with no need for intermediation, the publisher still appears as some sort of a legendary figure, shrouded in a romantic halo. Yet where does the truth lie? Is the publisher still so crucial, and how is this role changing? To answer this question, and even to peep into the everyday  life of a publisher, we spoke to Mr. Alessandro Dalai, an Italian publisher with a pretty traditional training and an unusual far-sightedness, who worked at two of the major Italian publishing houses and later founded his own publishing company, discovering and promoting some hugely successful authors. SJ: Mr. Dalai, whats the task of a publisher today? Are you a talent scout or a marketing strategist?AD: Publishers still scout for talents, thats for sure, yet while this part of our job is unchanged marketing definitely has gained a crucial role. In a smaller market, with highly selective bookstores and new self-publishing tools and devices that make our cultural intermediation easily surmountable, understanding the situation and choosing the right book has become more difficult and absolutely essential.As for the need to cope with a complex and ever-evolving market, I believe that operating on an international scale is the best opportunity to extend our business both to foreign readers and to the e-book scene, which allows us to launch and promote our books. SJ: Hows the life of a publisher? Do you have time for creative idleness and meditation? AD: The life of a publisher is 100% meditative - with constantly evolving creative operativity and an obvious inclination for the trial-and-error process. Every once in a while, in order to slow things down, you need a change of scenery, of landscape, of vision - otherwise youll keep meditating on the same old concepts. And reading is what gives you a different horizon, a space and a time that are thankfully changing. SJ: The aim of this magazine is promoting the slow lifestyle, which basically consists in considering ethics, sustainability, respect for peoples work, for the environment and for human dignity with everything that we do, including our buying patterns. Do you think this applies to your job as well? AD: The life of a publisher is inevitably slow, although constantly marked by fast decision making. Its a one man job: you need to make the final decision concerning everything that revolves around publishing a book - and while a book belongs to the ideal universe of slow things, it is the fruit of very fast decisions. This may not sound attracting, but it certainly generates some sort of a funny schizofrenia.As for the buying patterns part, I dont think this applies to a publishers job; our life is a mission that we carry out mostly by weaving some fruitful relationships. The need to show off what we own is practically inexistent. Edited by F.S.

[...]

02.16.2015

Two rivers meeting, the Rhône and Saône. A city, Lyone. And a building that seems to have landed from a galaxy somewhere in the future. After 10 years of paperwork, projects and works, the brand new Musée des Confluences has finally opened its doors. Its peculiarity lies in the fact of being an interdisciplinary museum merging ethnology, anthropology, the natural sciences, geography, and technology to tell the great story of the human adventure from our origins to the present day. The name is deeply symbolic: not only does the museum sit on the tip of the penninsula where the Rhône flows into the Saône, but it is based on the concept of different branches of knowledge converging to build a permanent exhitbition of over 2 million ibjects, including meteorites, female Homo sapiens, Siberians tiger, Samurai armours and even the skeleton of a 155-million-year-old Camarasaurus. As for the monumental metal and glass structure which houses the museum, it is the result of a project by Vienna-based studio Coophimmelblau inspired by the abstract idea of confluence. More specifically, the design focuses on the superposition of two architectural units, crystal and cloud; the cloud structure, floating on pillars, contains a spatial sequence of black boxes  admitting no daylight, so as to achieve maximum flexibility for exhibition design. By contrast, the crystal, filled with sunlight and rising towards the city side, welcomes visitors to this public gateway to the knowledge of our time.

[...]

02.08.2015

The inquisitive eyes and the open mind of a child are probably the best virtues for understanding art, and yet you need to find the right way to tell your kids about art, the right language - something thats clear, familiar and straightforward. Of all the attempts at explaining art to kids that we recently came across, Art Stories is probably the most convincing one because it mixes a great ability to tell stories and a language that digital natives are very fond of: the app. Art Stories is start-up based in Milan. Their first app for smarphones and tablets, focusing on the Castello Sforzesco and telling its story through animation, games, and original illustrations, was released last year and it became pretty popular among 5-10 year old kids, working both as a game and as a unique educational tool. Their latest release is dedicated to the amazing Duomo di Milano, one of the worlds most imposing churches, whose story is told by the cathedrals gargoyles through facts, figures and episodes concerning this incredible sacred building: the statues, the spires, the 600-year long construction works and the words pronounced by Napoleon in front of the Duomo just before his coronation. Art Stories Duomo is available on the Apple Store at a a special launch price of 0,99€ (and subsequently at 2,99€).

[...]

02.04.2015

Everybody loves Rome - especially its 'postcard' version, with the Coliseum, The Sistine Chapel, Piazza di Spagna and the Trevi Fountain.Yet there are so many amazing places in town whose existence most people - even locals - barely ignore: yes, the ancient Caput Mundi ('world capital') can still be unusual, even unkown. And it's by discovering its hidden treasures that you will grow even fonder of it. Necropolis of Portus, FiumicinoWhen beauty abunds, chances are small, precious parts of it will be forgotten. Which is what happened with this perfectly preserved funerary settlement, including over 200 burial homes built between the 1st and the 4th century. Most tombs were built by the middle class bourgeoisie of the area - merchants, small enterpreneurs and freedman who lived by the ancient sea harbour - and they represent an extraordinary portait of  everyday life in Imperial Rome. MUCRIRome's criminology museum, a.k.a. MUCRI, unexpectedly hides in a romatic street called via del Gonfalone. Founded back in 1930 as a memento of the ancient and much dreaded jail built on this site by the Pontifex, it is an informative account of ancient justice and of its most violent sides. Prepare to learn about instruments of torture and death. Coppedè DistrictIn the heart of Rome, between Salaria and Nomentana, is a pretty unique complex of 26 small buildings and 17 villas in Liberty and Art Déco style, with references to ancient Greek art, Gothic and Baroque architecture. Coppedé is the name of the eclectic architect who designed the whole complex between 1913 and 1926. The district has also been a popular film set. Priscilla's CatacombLocated at 430, via Salaria, this Catacomb is one of Rome's most ancient burial grounds, with 13 kilometers of underground galleries preserving tombs of Christian martyrs from the 2nd century. By reading the many inscriptions, archaeologists were able to trace the identity of the catacomb's founder, Priscilla, an aristocratic Roman matron. VigamusAn avant-garde museum entirley dedicated to the history and the evolution of videogames, with a focus on its most relevant stories and figures. The museum aims at spreading the videogame culture while offering all newbies an extensive introduction to the videogame world. Your inner geek will be pleased. Words: C.L.G.Photo: Repubblica.it

[...]

02.03.2015

Washington, Capitol Hill, and the White House have lately become a popular set for some of the most successful Amercan TV shows. Yet who influences who? Everything began in 1999 with the long “walk and talk” sessions along the White House corridors featured in West Wing: back then, Martin Sheen was the fictional President of the United States surrounded by a team of young and talkative idealists. The perspective soon changed with new shows that focused on the most cyinical sides of power: House of Cards Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey (photo), is a ruthless and immoral politician, whereas the group of detectives and spin doctors from Scandal often find themselves involved with double-dealers playing petty power games. Tea Leonis Madam Secretary is possibly the first agreeable character in a while. And yet while most of these series definitely paint a black picture of American politics, American politicians do not seem to be secretive about loving them - even when they make sheer fun of the political class, which is the case of comedies and satyrical shows like Alpha House, Veep, and Parks and Recreation. And thats where reality and fiction start to interwine. Apparently, the American Administration drew inspiration from West Wing to launch the “Big Block of Cheese Day”, an event which virtually opened the White House offices to the public, allowing everyone to ask questions through the social media. In yet another overlapping of true and fictional politics, Vice President Biden and senator McCain recently appeared as guest stars on Parks and Recreation, looking even more plausible than actress Amy Poehler in the part of  Leslie Knope. Words: M.S.

[...]

01.27.2015

When a place lives up to its promises, it doesnt take much to realize it. And that is certainly the case of  aA Design Museum, a new hybrid space in Seoul entirely devoted to design - part museum, part design furniture showroom, and part café. Spread across many floors with different styles and functions, its a place where everyone can get familiar with the history of design between past and present times, before relaxing in the café among more beautiful pieces. aADesign Museum is a sort of contemporary deconstructed museum, hosting a very diverse collection: level 2 in the basement  has an industrial flair, just like the pieces it houses; basement level 1 (aA Life) is a showroom where you can buy architecture books and design pieces. On the 1st floor is the café, where every chair you sit on and every table you lay your cup on is a one-off piece or the creation of some major international designer, with a story to tell. The second floor is devoted to Scandinavian design, while the third floor focuses on Bauhaus, modern and vintage design products. Behind the amazing project of aA Design museum is the idea of offering vistors and customers the chance to find design furniture they will hardly be able to see anywhere else in South Korea. The collections are constantly updated with new pieces from some of the most outstanding names of the international design scene Words: C.L.GPhoto: aA Design Museum

[...]

01.25.2015

Have you ever wished you could begin again, change your life completely and make a fresh start? We all do, from time to time - but while that may be just a passing thought for us, some people actually do change their lives. In spite of the obstacles, in the face of the crisis, and with just the right mix of optimism, confidence and irresponsibility. Roberto d’Incau did not simply change his own life at 40 to follow his passion - he turned positive, regenerative change into the focus of his existence, writing a couple of books on this subject and becoming a veritable change guru who advises people willing to leave their comfort zone and improve their personal and professional life. SJ: Your optimism truly is a rare gem here in Italy, especially these days. Where does it come from? Can you tell us how you managed to reinvent yourself?RD: Optmimism is an inborn gift, but of course everyone can make it grow. While working as a coach and a headhunter I realized that there is a great lack of enthusiasm on every level, and thats why I decided to write a book about the child inside us (Il lato bimbo).The global crisis has struck everyone, not a single European country has been spared - and yet, according to a recent survey, Italians are way more pessimistic than anyone else. This pessimism is paralyzing, it kills proactivity.Personally, I was lucky enough to work my way up pretty early - by age 34 I was already a General Manager; at 40, though, I met someone who soon became my inspiration, one of the very first Italian headhunters, and realized that consulting was my future. I followed this new path with ethusiasm and a bit of recklessness.I wrote Quasi quasi mi licenzio ("What if I quit my job?") because thats exactly what I did: I reinvented my personal and professional life without fear, and I am truly glad I did.The company I founded, Lang&Partners, was born six years ago, right in the middle of the financial crisis - once again, a bit of  carelessness helped me accept the challenge. SJ: Hows the life of an internationally renowned coach and headhunter? Do you ever manage to spare some time for leisure, meditation, and for being with your friends?RD: I have to admit I work a lot, and yet I found my secret formula: surrounding myself with a team of people I trust - people who, while being obviously different from me, share the same attitude and the same vision.I like to work in a laid-back environment, and trusting the people I work with completely. Lately, a new collaborator told me that working with us is a peaceful experience - which is flattering and true.I am a simple guy - I would never give up on the time I spend with my friends, on a nice swim, or on a weekend trip to some place that intrigues me.Work and private life must go hand in hand - I believe things can only work when theres a perfect balance. SJ: Your career choices have been driven by passion, and thats pretty rare. Is there anyting else that arouses your enthusiasm?RD: “Following ones passion” sounds like a cliché, and yet it is not. Luckily, there is more to life than extrinsic goals like power, money and recognition; I tend to follow my intrinsic motivation - taking care of my clients, the pleasure of doing a great job, sharing a successful project.I love doing the things I like, being curious about the world, looking to the future: although I am fifty, I rarely look to the past; I am constantly planning new and better things.And I am truly enthusiastic about the new generations - I love to watch what they are doing SJ: A recent New York Times article recommended Milan as one of the essential 52 world destinations for 2015, partly because of the upcoming Expo. Do you agree? Whats so special about Milan?RD: Let me tell you a story: a few months ago a friend of mine came to see me; she lives in Rome, and she said she was only coming to see me because she honestly despises Milan.She arrived on a Friday night, and by Sunday evening she was literally in love with the city - the energy, the streets, the shops, the clubs.The best way to appreciate a city is approaching it without biases. I personally owe a lot to Milan, and although I travel a lot I am always happy to come back home.Among my favourite places are via del Carmine, in the Brera district, a gorgeous street where time seems to have stood still, and piazza Mirabello, a small Parisian corner in Milan. Edited and translated by F.S.

[...]

01.14.2015

In the current cold and wet weather it is nice to go to a museum in Paris and many tourists line up outside the world-famous Louvre or the Gare dOrsay building at the opposite side of the Seine river. Yet there are more Paris museums than the Louvre and the Gare dOrsay - some are large and state-run, while there are 14 museums run by the city for which one can buy a year pass for 40 euro. From ethnic art to the history of the city, there are exhibitions to suit all tastes. Here are some of our favourites. Musée du quai BranlyOpened as recently as 2006, this museum has exhibits about indigenous art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas.37, Quai Branly Musée Jacquemart AndréThe sumptuous villa of wealthy Edouard André and his artist wife Nélie Jacquemart, completed in 1875 and hosting their private collection. Visitors can walk though the living spaces on the ground floor before viewing the collections on the first floor. There is a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions, currently about Le Pérugin.158, Boulevard Haussmann  Musée Marmottan MonetHoused in yet another former villa in the posh 16th arrondissement, close to the Bois de Boulogne, this museum has a large exhibition of paintings by impressionist painter Claude Monet.2, Rue Louis Boilly Muséé de la Vie RomantiqueLocated in a quarter that was known as the ‘New Athens’ because of the thinkers and artists that lived there, this museum is housed in a villa where artist Ary Scheffer received visits of friends like Delacroix, Rossini, Sand, Chopin, Gounod, Turguenev, and Dickens.There are several objects that belonged to writer George Sand.6, Rue Chaptal  Muséé CarnavaletAre you interested in knowing more about the city? This former private hotel in the Marais Area hosts a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions about the history of Paris.16, rue des Francs-Bourgeois  Palais GallieraCurrently closed for renovation works, this amazing museum devoted to the history of fashion will re-open in March with an exhibition on Jeanne Lanvin, the oldest French fashion house still in operation.10, Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie Words: M.M.Photo: Musée Carnavalet

[...]

12.23.2014

Everything can contribute to the creation of art, even a badly cracked egg. At least according to Zeren Badar, an artist of Turkish origin based in New York City, with a job in the fashion industry and a huge, rebel passion for art and photography which takes him all around the Big Apple hunting for unconventional and many-sided beauty. And it was actually an apparently insignificant domestic accident that triggered his creativity for the Accident Series, a photographic work that led him to international success. The first thing Badar did was buying a bunch of affordable art prints with famous works by Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, Tiziano, and other major artists of all time. Then, following into the steps of Jasper Johns, one of the leading figures of the New Dada movement, he juxtaposed them with something totally unrelated: Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it. So how did he manage to create something new and unusual from a world-famous work of art? By making a mess in his own kitchen, for instance - so a simple accident like unintentionally breaking an egg on an art print gave birth to a brand new work of art. Placing a famous painting into an unusual and slightly irreverent context like a kitchen can actually turn it into something unexpectedly modern and unconventional. In Badars own deeply ironic interpretation, Leonardos Mona Lisa sees double and the empty vodka bottle right beside her gives us a hint on why she does, Van Goghs self-portrait looks strangely disorientated in a citrus frame, and a gentleman in a collar proudly flaunts an eggg yolk on his right eye. By matching iconic paintings with the most diverse and unexpected elements - sardines, tomatoes, cupcakes - he always manages to raise a smile, a sudden desire to go and visit a museum, and a weird longing for a snack. Words: C.L.G.Photo: © Zeren Basar 

[...]

12.21.2014

Waisting time watching old movies and silly music videos is a Christmas classic. And Youtube's archives actually are a source of unlimited fun, hiding some of the most absurd Christmas videos of all time. Here are some of our favourites. Christmas 2.0Let's begin with a bit of history: what is Christmas? A Portuguese web agency created a digital story of the Nativity, as told by the new media giants - Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, GMail, Foursquare, and Amazon. Scary AdWhat if John Carpenter, the great horror movie director, shot a Christmas ad? That's what the guys at The Poke must have thought when they decided to re-edit a famous John Lewis ad in scary style. Christmas on the EnterpriseFor all the Star Trek - The Next Generation fans who ever wished there would be more Christmas episodes, here's video editor James Covenant's Christmas gift: Captain Picard and the rest of the crew unconsciously singing Let is snowChristmas NonsenseHave you ever wondered what Christmas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mike Tyson have to do with one another? Probably not, and yet back in 1989 some guys at ABC felt the urge to answer this question. The result is a slightly surreal TV special called A Very Special Christmas Party. Christmas WarsFor some reason, Christmas always carries along some pretty embarassing TV moments. Even Star Wars, the world's most succesful film franchise ever, fell into an 'epic fail' -  the Star Wars Holiday Special, now a YouTube trash cult, which only aired once in 1979 and never made it to home video. Words: M.S.Photo: Wookieepedia

[...]

12.10.2014

Here we go again: youve got a thousand deadlines at work - as if the world were to end right after the holiday season - and a thousand friends to great before Christmas, as if they were all moving to the other end of the world by December 25.  To top it all off, you even need to think about the presents. Of course, this year you would have loved to give homemade, unique, artisan gifts customized to the taste and preferences of your friends and relatives. But lets face it: its already December 11 and unless youve already set everything ready for your DIY presents (have you? then we are super proud!) youre bound to end up buying random gifts on Christmas Eve - and you dont want that. So here are a few genuinely slow-style ideas to fuel your inspiration. And of course, good luck with your Christmas shopping! FoodZafferanamiThe most unmissable ingredient of Milanese cuisine, king saffron, grown at a stones throw from the city by an artisan farmer who cares very much for organic quality and production. A small jar will be enough to make your foodie friends contented as they add these precious pistils to their Christmas risotto.Edible flowers growing kitA small kit allowing food lovers and novice gardeners to easily grow edible flowers indoors - and use them for a very special recipe. Urban cyclingCycle Puncture Repair KitYou really wish you had one of these when you get a flat tire while cycling to work, right? This compact, quality puncture repair kit comes complete in a retro style metal tin and contains everything you might need when out cycling in town or the countryside.Node by TernTern is a compact foldable city bicycle specifically conceived for urban cyclists. The Node family bikes ride and handle like a “regular bike” but fold compactly to stash in your car, on the subway, in a living room corner or under an office desk. DesignLego Architecture StudioOver 1,200 LEGO bricks to foster the creativity of the archistar within you. They come with an inspirational guidebook filled with tips, techniques, features, and intuitive hands-on exercises endorsed by leading design houses.Good Thing NY Good Thing is a Brooklyn-based manufacturer of small and adorable products and accessories. Their objects, conceived by a group of designers, are minimal, considerate and expressive. You can buy them at selected retailers and from their website - with a special holiday discount. BeautyAftershave by FloïdThis legendary Spanish aftershave is a mens grooming classic. Its unique artisan formula has remained unchanged since 1932, as has its beautiful retro packaging.Soin Complet Hydratant  by Le Couvent Des MinimesNow who wouldnt be charmed by a wild rose scented French face cream made according to an ancient monks recipe? GreenAlice UpcycledHeres a pretty unique upcycling example: tearing off the pages of an antique dictionary book, printing original illustrations from Alice in Wonderland on them and  framing the result. Gorgeous.Greenpeace Giving If you want to make your environmentalist friends violently happy, do somerthing for Greenpeace on their behalf: you can "protect an ugy fish" (we don’t just love the pretty ones, right?), pay for an activists lunch or release a turtle from e net. KidsHopLow&Family by QUarch AtelierCan beauty help children overcome their fear of the dark? Lets give it a try with this super cute tiny bedside lamp inspired by Disneys Hop Low mushroom from Fantasia (remember the small one dancing to Tschaikovskys Nutcracker?).Sara Carrs unique woolly animalsThese soft, funny and slightly crooked creatures seem to have popped out of a fairy tale book. All items are designed, handmade and knitted to order so do allow extra time for your order to be made and despatched - they are worth the wait.

[...]

12.08.2014

Things are getting pretty exciting for TV series and music enthusiasts lately: while hit teen show Glee is about to close in June, a couple of top-notch music-based TV series will be filling the gap soon: Empire (FOX), a hip-hop family drama, and the still untitled rock n roll drama produced by Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger picked up by HBO and focusing on the American rock scene of the 1970s. Scorsese and Jagger definitely are the most suited duo for the production of a music drama: on the one hand, Martin has always been a great fan of the Stones, and he even managed to create some of the best musical moments in the history of cinema - often by using music by The Rolling Stones. On the other hand, Mick is a great rock n roll survivor, one of the major direct witnesses of rock history. Not to mention the fact that they already worked together at the Stones 2008 Shine a light concert documentary directed by Scorsese. Written by showrunner Terence Winter (from Boardwalk Empire), the new HBO show tells the story of record executive and talent scout Richie Finestra (played by Boardwalk Empire star Bobby Cannavale) on the background of the American music business of the Seventies, when punk and disco were breaking out. The cast also includes Mick Jaggers son James, comedy actor Andy “Dice” Clay (who recentlu starred in Woody Allens Blue Jasmin), and Ray Romano (Parenthood). Scorsese did not only executive produce the show, he even directed the pilot just like he did with Boardwalk Empire. Words: M.S.

[...]

11.19.2014

There is something heroic in flying first class accross whole continents to reach a desert island in the middle of the Ocean to live like a castaway for almost a month, sleeping on the ground and surviving on what nature has to offer - including bread and vegetable leftovers floating in the sea and brought ashore by the tides. And yet probably what looks heroic to someone who at least figuratively needs to earn ones living in everyday life might turn out to be salvific for a 64-year-old British millionaire who owns famous properties as well as some of the most luxurious boats in the world, and can afford to sleep at sumptuous five star hotels. But this is not the story of a rich man who gets bored of his life and gives up all his fabulous riches to find the meaning of life - this is just the story of a man, Ian Argus Stuart, who loves adventure in its most authentic form: the fight for survival in extreme conditions. As Ian himself puts it, this has nothing to do with being rich or poor: "you dont have to be rich to stay here, and you dont have to be poor. You just have to be willing to accept what it is". And what it is is a desert volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean where hes currently staying on his own equiped only with a satellite Wi-Fi hotspot, a machete, fishing lines and hooks, six bottles of water, and little more - with the aggravating circumstance that he doesnt know how to swim. As if that were not enough, Ian even decided to climb to the top of the crater to see what its like - and maybe, who knows, to catch a better signal so that he may use his smartphone to connect with the London Stock Exchange and buy and sell his shares. Ian got the chance to live this unique experience by becoming a client of Docastaway, a Spanish travel company specializing in holidays and experiences in meticulously selected remote desert Islands in Indonesia, the Philippines and Central America. The least that we can do is wish him good luck!

[...]

11.11.2014

Pioneering artist Joan Jonas is presenting the first retrospective exhibition of her work in Italy—a collection of films, videos and installations that have influenced the development of performance art for decades. Entitled Light Time Tales and housed in a converted hangar run by Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan, the exhibition reveals her use of various media to explore themes such as space, identity and the body. It comprises three central works: Waltz, which questions the role of the artist and her body; Mirage, a recombination of some of her earlier studies; and Reanimation, which was inspired by Icelandic literature. Another multimedia installation,Volcano Saga, features actress Tilda Swinton. It is based on the Icelandic legend Laxdaela Saga in which a woman has her dreams interpreted by a soothsayer. Although it was done in 1985, it was later revised by Jonas, who sees her art as an evolving body of work. Jonas, who prepared the exhibition herself, said it was the first time that her installations were together in the same space because they had previously been shown in separate rooms or locations. “As one walks around, one see the works in a three-dimensional situation—really much more like a sculpture”, she said in a video about the exhibition. Light Time Tales precedes a new work by Jonas that will be on display at next year’s La Biennale di Venezia, the international art exhibition where she will be representing the United States. A New York native, Jonas began working as a performance artist in the 1960s when she was a member of the city’s avant-garde scene.After four decades, she remains a major figure in the fields of performance and video art. Light Time Tales runs until Feb. 1, 2015. Words. G.C.Photo: Hangar Bicocca

[...]

11.09.2014

Frank Gehry is undoubtedly one of the undisputed masters of contemporary architecture. Best known for his monumental deconstructuvist buildings - and above all for the unmistakable Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao - he managed to a establish a fresh and innovative perspective on the relationship between architecture and urban spaces. So it was about time Europe devoted  a retrospective to this great Canadian architect, and Paris stepped forward by hosting an amazing, visionary exhibition at the Centre Pompidou which covers his whole career, from 1960 until today. The exhibition explores two main themes - city planning and the development of new digital design and building techniques - through more than 60 models and nearly 220 original drawings, including Vitra Design Museum in Germany (1989), Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (2003), Beekman Tower in New York City (2011), and the Louis Vuitton Foundation for contemporary art, recently opened in Paris. In the Sixties, Gehry mixed with the Californian art scene and became close to several artists, including Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Claes Oldenburg, Larry Bell and Ron Davis. His encounter with the works of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns opened the way to a reconfiguration of his architectural style, of which the extension of his own house in Santa Monica was a real manifesto. His whole, extraordinay career was accompanied by an uninterrupted reflection on the expressive power of architecture, which prompted him to break the barriers of tradition to explore new shapes and materials. In the 1990s, the revolutionary Guggenheim Museum Bilbao project gave him huge popularity and, at the same time, rmanaged to reenergise the economic fabric of the territory. Words: C.L.G.Picture: Centre Pompidou

[...]

11.03.2014

A 44,132-square-foot building designed by Frank Gehry sitting on the Amador Causeway at the Pacific mouth of the Panama Canal, with multicolored metal canopies shining against a backdrop of skyscrapers. Panama’s brand new Biomuseo certainly is a unique museum – a place devoted to telling the story of how the Panamanian isthmus rose from the sea uniting two continents, separating a vast ocean in two, and changing the planet’s biodiversity forever. Destined to become a major tourist destination as well as an educational resource for the residents, the Biomuseo includes a public atrium, a space for temporary exhibitions, a shop, a cafe, and multiple outdoor exhibits displayed in the botanical park. The permanent exhibition titled Panama: Bridge of Life is a combination of art and science that leads the visitor to experience a marvelous phenomenon and it features eight galleries conceived by Canadian designer Bruce Mau and eight "devices of wonder" telling us about the origin of the isthmus. Surrouding the building is the Biodiversity Park, a living extension of the museum’s architecture, exhibits, and programs where a selection of endemic and native plants will continue to tell the stories that began on the central exhibition’s route, ofefring visitors  shade and refuge as well. The park is still in progress, but according to the project each plant will be chosen for its natural beauty, its adaptability to the site and the story it tells, whether its about Panamas biodiversity, its food, housing, symbiotic relations, fruits or flowers.

[...]

10.28.2014

They are sometimes referred to as noses because of their very special sense of smell, allowing them to compose perfumed symphonies mastering the language of odors and even the language of the heart - because, like Süskind wtote, he who rules scent rules the hearts of men. We have always been intrigued by perfumers and their unique talent, the alchemistic ability to create scents. To learn more about this fascinating profession, we spoke to Paola Bottai, a young Italian perfumer specializing in mens fragrancesSJ: Where does you passion for scents come from?PB: I believe it was born with me. I cant remember my very first inspiration, but I think my passion/obsession for scents truly grew up with me. Whenever I smelled something that struck me, I began to feel good or bad. And I soon realized that scents deeply influenced my moods. SJ: How do you become a nose? Is talent enough or do you need to pursue a specific professional path? PB: The term nose is now widely used to define our profession, but I think that parfumeur would be a better word choice. Just think of the difference between a cook and a chef: you start out as a cook and then your experience and the long hours spent in the kitchen will turn you into a chef. For the moment, Id rather call myself a good parfumeur!Of couse it takes talent and passion, but I guess this is true for every profession. And a serious professional path is essential; I attended the Grasse Institute of Perfumery, a school that requires committment and dedication, especially of you come from a totally different field of education - in my case it was marketing and communication.Grasse is the worlds capital of perfume and it offers the opportunity to find all the main ingredients of perfumery; in Grasse I learnt to know my raw materials and began to study each of them both from a scientific pont of view and through memory, words and ideas. Thats a good way of keeping in mind the basic scent palette.Another very important thing is studying on a daily basis, smelling raw materials or composite perfumes and trying to describe them. SJ: You recently worked with Bullfrog barber shop in Milan to create Agnostico, a multi-purpose, natural based beard conditioner. Why did you choose to create mens fragrances?PB: After coming back from France I worked with Mens Heritage, a company specializing in mens grooming products. I had the chance to learn a lot about mens products and barbershops, and eventually grew fond of this world. So I decided to use my specific knowledge and experience to developed my own product.The world of mens fragrances and grooming products is very challenging at the moment: men are very faithful to their perfumes and there is still a lot we need to do to convince them to replace them - sometimes changing the way they have been smelling for years. SJ: What was your inspiration for Agnostico?PB: I started off with two ideas: the first was finding a new scent with a vintage flair. It had to be reminiscent of the good old barbershops, and yet totally different from commercial aftershaves. The second one was thinking of how I would like my man to smell, maybe as we ride a motorbike or while we sit on the couch watching a movie.Finally, I decided to make creative use of some classic mens perfume ingredients - tobacco, bay rum, vetiver and patchouli.  So while Agnostico is a grooming product with a strong personality, It does not interfere excessively with your usual perfume.  SJ: Whats the mental process that leads to creating a fragrance? Does it have something to do with memories?PB: Most times it all begins with a marketing plan, not exactly the most creative of inspirations! My choice to work in a niche actually allows me to get involved in projects mostly driven by creativity, even as far as the marketing part is concerned. Of course, studying your target is essential. Thats why I always get in touch with the people and the smells of the places where my fragrances will be sold before starting to create them.Scents are indeed connected to memories, but you should never rely too much on this connection: the same odor might recall different memories in each of us, according to our very own life experiences. So yes, memories are somewhat there in the creative phase, and yet they should not be your main inspiration. SJ: The world must be a truly odorous place to a nose. How does this superpower influence your life?PB: Well, it does influence my life a lot! Over the years I managed to cope with olfactory hypersensitivity, but it was hard in the beginning; odors used to change my mood and I sometimes fainted when confronted with a smell I did not like, so I had learn how to control my own reactions and emotions. Sometimes as I am walking down the road I get struck by a smell and lose myself in memories or new creative ideas. I always carry a notebook along to note down those sudden inspirations. SJ: Are there any scents that you are particularly fond of, and why? PB: Of course. More than anything else, I am fond of two fragrances -  Arpège by Lanvin and Eau Sauvage by Christian Dior - respectively my moms and my dads.There are a lot of other scents I love - like those nice colognes that help you start your day feeling perfectly fresh. Seriously, I could talk about this stuff for hours... As for olfactory notes, I like vetiver, sandalwood, osmanthus, citrus and a bunch of modern synthetic scents.

[...]

10.15.2014

Ever heard of cliffhanger endings? Basically they're the reason why every year in September you can't wait to see the season première of your favourite show - having left the main character in a dilemma or confronted with a shocking revelation at the end of last season. Yet there's something more that keeps us 'series enthusiasts' pretty busy as Fall draws near: the impressive number of brand new shows that we totally need to check out. And yes, we've already picked a bunch of them. A to Z (NBC)Plot: Andrew is an employee at an internet dating site and Zelda is a lawyer. The series chronicles their romantic relationship timeline "from A to Z", covering a period of eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour.Why you should give it a try: because Ben Feldman was Mad Men's Michael Ginsberg and God, don't we miss that guy?Strong points: this show has so many things in common with How I Met Your Mother that it might help you recover from the disappointment of the latter's final episode. .  The Affair (Showtime)Plot: Noah and Helen are a happily married couple with four children - at least until they go on holiday and Noah meets Alison, who works as a waitress at a local diner (and is married as well). The series tells the story of their extramarital relationship and of its tragic consequences.Why you should give it a try: because Dominic West was great in The Wire and you might want to watch anything he stars in.Strong points: the Rashomon - style narrative approach telling the story from different points of view.  Forever (ABC)Plot: doctor Henry Morgan is not your average New York City medical examiner. As it turns out, he is immortal - or rahter every time he dies he returns to life. Only his friend Abe knows he is immortal, but things get complicated when Henry meets young female detective Jo Martinez and a 'stalker' who seems to have learnt his secret.Why you should give it a try: why, don't you love witty detectives with a British accent?Strong points:  the charm of Ioan Gruffudd (The Fantastic Four's Mr. Fantastic) and of his faithful friend Judd Hirsch makes up for the pretty absurd plot (an immortal man who works as a part-time detective in New York City? Come on). A nice alternative to the countless CSI clones.  Selfie (ABC)Plot: Eliza considers herself “instafamous”, only to discover the hard way that her social media obsession has left her with no real friends. She thus seeks help from her colleague Henry Higgs, a marketing image guru who will 'rebrand' her personality by teaching her the basic relational skills that she didn't develop due to spending her whole life "friending" people online.Why you should give it a try: because you hate it when your friends can't take their eyes off their smartphones, don't you?Strong points: weird as it sounds, the idea of a modern My Fair Lady trying to improve herself as a human being is not bad at all.  Gracepoint (Fox)Plot: a 12-year-old boy is found dead in a small coastal town. Local detective Ellie Miller and her boss Emmett Carver investigate the murder and begin to suspect the family's friends, acquaintances, and even the boy's parents.Why you should give it a try: because David Tennant was the best Doctor Who ever.Strong points: a carefully planned storyline - with a cliffhanger at the end of every episode. Words: M.S.Photo: The Affair 

[...]

10.06.2014

Confused looks, eyes filled with hope, young faces looking ancient in a perfect old-picture black & white. They belong to the immigrants who have just landed on Ellis Island, New York; some of them are sick, exhausted from the long journey or underweight. Some were born right here, on the Islands hospital, some others will die here and the lucky ones will get better and go on to start their new lives in the United States of America. These looks, eyes and faces are over one century old. They have been blown up to life size, printed and stuck to the walls of the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, abandoned since 1954 and recently reopened to house an amazing and touching installation. Behind the project is French artist JR, owner of  “the biggest art gallery in the world”, because he exhibits freely in the streets of the world, on the buildings of the slums around Paris, on the walls in the Middle-East, on the broken bridges in Africa or in the favelas in Brazil. JR creates "Pervasive Art", catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors, posting huge portaits of suburban "thugs", in the bourgeois districts of Paris, speaking the truth with his art. In this case, JR took some of the old B&W photographs of the hospital’s archive, depicting patients, doctors and nurses, blew them up to life-size and pasted them to the walls and across the broken windows of the old hospital, bringing them into these rooms - some of them still intact, some of them looking like amazing industrial ruins. The feeling you get is that of being face to face with the past, plunged into a ghastly time travel. And as it always happens with JR’s installations, empathy springs instinctively: the emotions of those faces, beautifully contextualized, suddendly haunt the rooms. Is there a better way to help us understand history? After two years of work, the installation is now finally open to the public. Save Ellis Island, the nonprofit organization that helped sponsor the exhibition, is allowing small groups limited to 10 people to tour the hospital as part of a pilot program, with plans to expand next year. But the work will remain up “until it decides to disappear” – rust, mold and dampness permitting.

[...]

09.29.2014

Some musicians outlive their own music, growing older one album after the other and yet struggling to be innovative or prominent. Leonard Cohen is not one of them, probably because hes a poet who lent himself to music. Or perhaps because, as he wrote in his song Going Home, hes  “lazy bastard living in a suit”. Cohens career went through at least three phases, the first being the one of his huge hits of the Sixties and Seventies, which were basically his poems turned songs with the help of little more than an acoustic guitar. Through the second phase, between the Eightes and the Nineties, his tones and atmospheres grew more and more gloomy (in spite of the 1980s-style arrangements). Finally, the third phase began in the year 2001 with Cohens unexpected comeback, and it continues today with its signature old fashioned acoustic and syntetic sounds melting with a voice that seems to come from very deep depths, just like the voice of God (o of the Devil)Popular Problems, Leonard Cohens 13th album and the fourth of his comeback, starts out with a magnificent triptych: the urging rhythm of Slow, the threatening Almost like blues, and a ballad called Samson in New Orleans which could as well have been written by Tom Waits. The central group of songs - A street, Did I ever love you, and Nevermind - sounds slightly less focused, while the sweet proceeding of My oh my and the lay gospel of Born in chains set everything straight right befor the ending. And come does the ending with You got me singing, beginning with an acoustic guitar and a violin which pave the way for a pure and classic, a gentle farewell that makes you want to start listening to the album all over again.

[...]

09.22.2014

We rarely cover major exhibitions, but this time its different, this time its about Marc Chagall, the painter who managed to create delicate images pervaded with a sense of wonder and amazement in spite of the tragic events of his time and of his own life. At Palazzo Reale, in Milan,  the greatest Chagall retrospective ofthe last 50 years just opened with over 220 works from the some of the most prominent museums worldwide - the MoMa and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the National Gallery in Washington, the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg and the Centre Pompidou in Paris - besides 50 private and public collections which contributed to the event. The exhibiton covers the artists whole career, from his very first Russian painting in 1908,  right up to his final, monumental works of the 1980s. A journey through one century of history, accross the continents of Chagalls permanent exile - Russia, Europe and the United States - and among the cultures that influenced his fantasy and his art - the jewish roots, the western culture and the Russian traditions. The aim is to try and unveil two mysteries that surround the work of this unique artist and make them so fascinating: how did he manage to retain such stylistic coherence while crossing the whole avant-garde painting scene of the 20th century? And what is the source of the poetic vein and of the deep humanity that emerge from his works? Will this amazing investigation into the art of an unforgettable artist be able to solve the enigma? Thats for you to find out! Until February 1, 2015. Image: Over the Town, 1914-1918 

[...]

09.10.2014

Over 250 photographs, lots of original vintage prints, haute couture items, magazines, videos and other objects: the amazing retrospective on Horst P. Horst at Victoria and Albert Museum in London (until January 4, 2015) is an homage to the great photographer who portrayed Marlene Dietrich and Coco Chanel, Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dalí. Born in Germany in the year 1906 (he would become an American citizen in 1943), the father of fashion photography joined Vogue in 1931, when Paris was still the world’s undisputed centre of high fashion. His first photograph was published on the november issue and it was the first of many to come: throughout his 60-year-long career he created more than 90 Vogue covers, experimenting with color photography, mastering the art of lighting and giving birth to complex coreographies - the creation of a Horst photograph was a collaborative process, involving the talents of the photographer and model, the art director, fashion editor, studio assistants and set technicians. His images, looking perfect and almost surreal, convey an idea of timeless beauty - a classical veneration of the body that reminds of Phidias sculptures. His subjects are often like statues: detached, aloof, not interacting with the photographer, as if he were secretly portraying them. His extraordinary range of work outside the photographic studio - landscapes, nudes, nature patterns and intimate potraits - conveys a relentless visual curiosity and life-long desire for new challenges, as well as a mostly unrivalled visual and technical talent. Not to be missed. Picture: Horst directing fashion shoot with Lisa Fonssagrives, 1949. Photo by Roy Stevens/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

[...]

09.02.2014

Once upon a time there were those convenient pocket-size phrasebooks teaching you how to say the basic stuff - from wheres the nearest train station? to I love you - when travelling to a foreign country. Today all you need to learn is a tiny bit of Global English and almost everyone in the world (at least in the most popular tourist destinations) will be able to understand, and so those good old phrasebooks look inevitably retro. Yet glorious British publishing house Penguin has just updated its phrasebooks and now they look more gorgeous than ever with their English-style vintage covers flaunting a pattern of iconic monuments from the country whose language is featured in the book. So expect miniature Eiffel towers, bicycles, croissants and champagne bottles on the French phrasebook, tiny Brandeburg gates and Volkswagen beetles on the German phrasebook, micro leaning towers of Pisa, tomatoes and gondolas on the Italian phrasebook, baby guitars,  fans and flamenco dancers on the Spanish phrasebook, and so on. As for the content, it has been thoroughly revised; each book contains a wealth of useful words and phrases for travellers, basic grammar, a pronunciation guide and additional vocabulary.

[...]

08.19.2014

Italians and the game of soccer - this is definitely a longtime love affair, deep-rooted in the history of the country. And like all longtime love affairs it is intensely nostalgic and constantly looking to the pastCalcio Retrò in Milan is a clear sign of such yearning nostalgia - a place permeated by sentimentality where soccer enthusiasts can forget about the controversial issues of contemporary soccer business for a while and sift through some pretty accurate reproductions of the old and glorious soccer shirts, the ones that made the history of this beloved sport. A brainchild of former amateur player Paolo Grechi, a great soccer fan turned sport tailor, this unique store and workshop truly seems to be suspended in time just like its surrondings - a neighborhood of old, dismantled factories from the Sixties where time has apparently stood still. Memories emerge abundantly before a replica of the shirt of captain Mazzolas celebrated Grande Torino from the 40s, or a copy of the shirt worn by A.C. Milans players at the 1963 European Cup. Every piece has a story to tell, and it can be customized with the name and number of your favourite player, cut and sewed by hand. Each shirt has been studied and copied with great care for the minutest detail, with the aim of reproducing the touch and feel of the original colors and fabrics. Paolo even started copying the jackets once worn by the players before the match, and has developed a whole collection of amazing items. And if you wish to kick a vintage leather soccer ball, at Calcio Retrò you will find plenty of them - strictly handmade and ready to make you feel like Pelé in the 1981 Victory movie.

[...]

08.18.2014

When you think of the iconic Mont Saint-Michel in France the first thing that comes to your mind is the postcard-like image of an island topped by an abbey and a monastery rising out of the water. As it turns out, the Medieval town of Mont-Saint-Michel, part of the Unesco list of World Heritage Sites since 1979,  is only an occasional island: although there are two tides a day, it is only twice a year that the annual flood peak transforms the Mont-Saint-Michel into an island. The Mont was connected to the mainland thanks to the construction of a roadway back in 1879, but lately the build-up of silt around the old dam was slowly destroying its insular nature, obstructing the free course of the sea disconnecting the waters of the river Couesnoon from the bay. And thats the main reason behind the construction of a brand new bridge that replaces the old roadway and restores the insularity of the Mont-Saint-Michel, preventing visitors from driving across the waters and parking up on the strand. Designed by Austrian architect Dietmar Feichtinger, the 760 metre long bridge is supported by 134 pillars and fades into the marine background, its thin, curvy deck like a knife blade on the water, suggesting multiple views around the Mount. Once completed the bridge will feature a central roadway for shuttle service and a safe walkway, and anyone wishing to visit the Mount will have to approach it actively and slowly, either by walking or by taking a shuttle bus. Needeless to say, we agree on the fact that it takes some slowness to truly  enjoy the magic of this unique landmark.

[...]

08.03.2014

Binge-watching is certainly something you have found yourself doing at some point, maybe when you were off sick from work or on vacation. Basically, it is the practice of watching many episodes of the same TV show in one sitting, sometimes even a whole series, from the first to the very last episode, out of boredom, nostalgia or simply to catch up in time for the next season. So how should a series be in order to stand such a long watching session without having you yawning after a couple of episodes? First of all, it should definitely be one of your favourite ones - no matter if its old or new, just make sure that getting all the seasons is easy and quick. Several short episodes - like the ones of a classic sit-com - are ideal if your watching session is bound to be often interrupted, whereas if you can allow yourself to be home alone for some time with the AC turned on and a virtually inexhaustible supply of drinks and snacks, then this is the right time to catch up with the longest shows, featuring complex plots and movie-like episodes. Still wondering where to start from? Here are a few ideas that might come in handy. House of Cards(running time: 55 minutes; episodes: 26; seasons: 2)A hard and ruthless lesson on the machinery of American politics starring a brilliant Kevin Spacey as Machiavellian and evil politician Frank Underwood - a supreme antihero you wont help falling in love with - and a chilly Robin Wright as his worthy spouse. Orange is the New Black(running time: 51 minutes; episodes: 26; seasons: 2)Scenes from a womens federal prison. Piper Chapman is a woman living a quiet, law-abiding life among New Yorks upper middle class when she is sentenced to 15 months for an offense that occurred ten years before, named in trial by her drug smuggler ex-girlfriend. Inspired by a true story.   Sherlock(running time: 90 minutes; episodes: 9: seasons: 3)If you think Victorian literature and CSI are two worlds apart, think twice. This amazingly shot contemporary adaptation of Sir Conan Doyles much loved novels manages to mix technology, mystery and gothic atmospheres against the backdrop of todays London. A pleasure to the eyes and to the mind. Bates Motel (running time: 47 minutes; episodes: 20: seasons: 2)There is a truly ingenious idea behind this show: building a serial prequel to Psycho, focusing on Norman Bates teenage years, on his relationship with his mother and on the vicissitudes that brought him to become a merciless murderer. The setting is contemporary and yet scattered with visual references to the Fifties, and although this might sometimes feel weird, the series sure does not lack a good dose of Hitchcockian suspense. Wilfred(running time: 22 minutes; episodes: 49; seasons: 4)Probably the less politically correct series ever, Wilfred revolves around the hallucinatory friendship between Ryan Newman, an introvert and troubled young and man, and his neighbors dog - whom Ryan sees and hears as a man in a dog costume. The absurd implications abound. Raising Hope(running time: 22 minutes; episodes: 88: seasons: 4)A clueless 24-year-old impregnates a serial killer during a one-night-stand. Earning custody of his daughter after the mother is sentenced to death and electrocuted, Jimmy relies on his eccentric family - Burt and Virginia, his young parents who had him when they were still teenagers, and his dementia afflicted great-grandmother - for support in raising little Hope. Yet another masterpiece of white trash surrealism by My name is Earls creator Greg Garcia. Picture: Bates Motel

[...]

07.30.2014

Once upon a time in Hékura, an island off the Western coast of Japan, there was a whole army of beautiful  women shellfish divers hunting for awabi, a shellfish much used as food and which was basically the main source of income for their community. Scantily dressed in their traditional costume, the kuroneko, and armed with a curved blade, these young and strong women used to freedive in the Ocean, going down to about 20 metres to cut off the shellfish and carry them to the surface to put them in their floating baskets. These legendary Japanese mermaids are the subject of an amazing collection of images taken by Italian ethnologist, documentary director and orientalist Fosco Maraini, currently exhibited at the Museum of Oriental Art in Turin to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his death. L’incanto delle Donne del Mare is a reportage dating back to 1954 when Maraini spent a couple of months on the islands of  Hèkura and Mikurìa to study the life of the Ama ethnic group of shellfish divers, documenting their typical activities and daily habits. Maraini was paticularly charmed by the unaware voluptuousness of these fisherwomen, whose enchanting world transpires from the orientalists inspired images like something suspended in time and apparently very distant - although the photographs were actually taken less than seventy years ago. The Ama shellfish divers are pretty rare today; most of them have grown old and can rely on much more comfortable and modern tools and techniques.  Until September 21

[...]

07.29.2014

Do you remember the last scene from the film 8 ½ by Federico Fellini, the one with all the characters of the movie (and of the protagonists life) dancing around a circus ring? Well, the latest work by young LA art photographer and director Alex Prager certainly drew some inspiration from this legendary cinematic moment. Prager has gained popularity thanks to her staged, hyper-real images often echoing classic cinema and literally scattered with diverse cultural references. Belonging to this unique genre, Face in the Crowd is a collection of huge portraits of large crowds at airport terminals, lobbies, beaches, movie theaters and other public spaces recently exhibited in New York City. The characters, clothing, hairstyles and poses are all carefully chosen by the artist to convey a range of time periods from mid-century to present and references drawn from street photography and classic Hollywood cinema, to create images that are familiar yet strange due to the ambiguity of the eras and locations.  The seemingly impossible vantage points allow us to peer over the crowd, focusing on particular faces to catch unshared thoughts and solitary emotions through facial expressions directed toward no person in particular. In an age of increased communication through technology, where in some ways we are more connected than ever, Prager’s scenes of disconnected characters within the crowd remind us of the resulting decline of interpersonal contact in our media saturated society. A truly uncommon way of dealing with a very common experience - confronting the crowd: by connecting with a face and a world of emotions, the impersonal moltitude gradually becomes less scary tryng and more human. Prager further explores the complicated and at times contradictory emotions associated with crowds through an amazing movie starring 30 Rock actress Elizabeth Banks observing and later mixing with a crowd wordlessly expressing a range of emotions. The juxtaposition of character monologues and the frenetic crowd scene poignantly illustrates that within a swirling sea of strangers, there are countless individual stories and unique experiences unfolding. Ingenious and touching.

[...]

07.15.2014

They say that you will be moved to tears as soon as you see your newborn. They say that you will think your baby is the most beautiful creature on earth, and that you will instantaneously fall in love. Thats what they say. But what is it really like to become a father? The Reluctant Father is the perfect title of an amazing book by British photographer Philip Toledano, telling with wit, irony and candour the real story of a fatherhood (he became a father for the first time a few years ago, at forty) with beautiful images and words. Everything starts with a baby girl named Loulou, who looks "enormous" to his not-quite-ready dad. Then comes a strange feling, a weird lack of emotional connection. People inevitably ask: "So, how do you like being a father? Do you love it?". And when they hear "not very much", their faces wrinkle like a walnut . Sleepless nights, diaper changes, lack of communication, your wife replacing you with "the alien". And a deep sense of helplessness and frustration, because the baby only wants to be with mummy. Baby rage, mysterious crying, the crazy thought of throwing her out of the window, the fear of being too old when shes twenty, of seeing her become a goth, an emo or whatever silly young subculture theres going to be when shes twenty. But then something changes, because Loulou deliberately smiles and she starts talking, so finally father and daughter understand each other and he goes from detached observer to eager participant, from photographer to father. He even happily becomes that "sad statistic, the proud father", showing everyone baby pictures on his phone. A book that will make you laugh out loud, nod in assent and even shed a few tears, whether you have kids or not. You will love it.

[...]

06.30.2014

Chilean architect Smiljan Radic is the author of the new temporary Serpentine Gallery Pavilion  that was unveiled a few days ago in central Londons Kensington Gardens on the occasion of the London Festival of Architecture, and will be open to visitors until October 19. Radić is the fourteenth architect to accept the invitation to design a temporary Pavilion outside the entrance to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. His design follows Sou Fujimoto’s cloud-like structure which was visited by almost 200,000 people in 2013 and was one of the most visited Pavilions to-date. Occupying a footprint of some 350 square metres on the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery, the project consists of a semi-translucent, cylindrical structure, designed to resemble a shell, which rests on large quarry stones. Heres what Smiljan Radic himself said: "Externally, the visitor will see a fragile shell suspended on large quarry stones. This shell, white, translucent and made of fibreglass, will house an interior organised around an empty patio, from where the natural setting will appear lower, giving the sensation that the entire volume is floating. At night, thanks to the semi-transparency of the shell, the amber tinted light will attract the attention of passers-by like lamps attracting moths". Between June and October 2014, the Serpentine Pavilion will host Park Nights, an annual series of live art, poetry, music, film, literature, performance and theory.

[...]

06.22.2014

What makes a table truly sophisticated and unique? Some nicely presented food, a simple and freshly ironed linen tablecloth, maybe a creatively designed centerpiece. In the end, though, tableware is what takes the lions share Some people simply choose to use the same old set all the time for the sake of practicality. Some people are literally obsessed with the idea of collecting the most unusual plates and cutlery, of searching for creative tableware made with uncommon materials and designed with inventiveness and creativity - geometrical, iconic, ecofriendly, strong or fragile plates in one or several colors, according to the occasion. Needless to say, we definitely fall into the second category, so here are a few ideas and inspirations for your perfect slow table. Fiskamin (Olof Bäckström for Fiskar, 1961)130 melamine pieces of tableware in 10 bright colors, conceived and designed back when the TV still broadcasted in black and white and plastic was a new and innovative material. As Finnish firm Fiskar turns 365, we realize how beautiful these objects still look with their minimalist, functionalist design. We really wish they would reissue the whole set. Tac – Big Cities (Kilo + Big forRosenthal, 2014)An astonishing revisitation of the Bauhaus-influenced TAC plate design by Walter Gropius (1960), marrying this classic style with the blue silhouette of various world cities including Copenhagen, London, Berlin, Paris and New York on a surface of white porcelain. Are you too already thinking of what to serve on these beauties? Seams (Benjamin Hubert for Bitossi Ceramiche, 2014)Heres what we call a proper centerpiece: exuding an industrial flair, these classically shaped jars and bottles surprisingly reveal some of the details of their own production  - more specifically the slip casting seams - showcasing the process of making. Beautifully matched primary colors and an opaque finishing make them even more attractive to a contemporary eye. Graft (Qiyun Deng, 2013)If youre wondering why we fell in love with the diploma project of a young Chinese product designer, well, thats because it combines technology, sustainability, creativity and a good dose of irony. This 3D printed set of biodegradable tableware references to the textured skins of fruits and vegetables, thus revealing its source materials - the plants - in a virtuous upcycling process. A celery stem becomes a fork handle, an artichoke petal turns into the bowl of a spoon... Foodscapes (Michela Milani, 2013)Disposable tableware? No thanks, unless its as cool as this project by WhoMade studio. Foodscapes is a prototype collection of shell-shaped compostable plates made from edible leftovers like peanut husk or carrot peels, mixed with potato starch and free from additives, colorants, thickeners and any other artificial agent. They can even be composted after use. Photo: TAC Big Cities

[...]

06.17.2014

Can a book save our life? Probably not, but this box set of everyday survival guides can certainly add a dash of hope, beauty and colour to it. If you share our skepticism towards self help books, the maybe you might change your mind  by leafing through these small and colorful books published by The School of Life, an international London-based social enterprise devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of philosophy, literature, psychology, and the visual arts - in a word, through the help of culture - whose chaiman is no less than writer Alain de Botton. All right, we must admit we were charmed by the amazing cover graphics, and yet sometmes judging a book by its cover pays off, because these guides actually deal with everyday issues such as aging, nature, loneliness, adversities, excercising and emotional health, and they do it in a genuinely informative, helpful and consoling way, through the ideas of philosophers, artists and scientists. Among the authors are some of the leading minds in the field, including jouralists, professors, sociologists and writers.

[...]

06.01.2014

We really love the free events at the Museum of London, especially when they have to do with beautiful and nostalgic black and white photographs of the citys past, as is the case of this amazing exhibition of Bob Collins work. A freelance photographer for half a century, initially as an amateur, then turning professional, Collins (1924-2002) meandered repeatedly through London’s crowded streets, events, market places and stations. Of the 265 photographs taken in the late 1940s through into the 1960s donated to the Museum by his cousin, curator Anna Sparhamall chose 50 images with a common thread - the crowd, portrayed with the ability to seek out individuals amongst the crowd, looking out for spontaneous expression and human interest moments of  interest. The photographs explore many varied London subjects, iconic places and historic events, ranging from characters at Speakers’ Corner, protesters at anti-Vietnam war marches, spectators at Wimbledon Championships through to onlookers at Charles and Diana’s wedding. And  if you cant make it to London or wish to buy some prints, take a look at the selection of prints from the Museums online print shop.  Picture: young boy waiting to travel, possibly Waterloo Station, c.1960

[...]

05.18.2014

The Teatro dellOpera di Roma, soon on tour in Japan, is one of Italys best and most respected opera houses. Its orchestra has - throughout the years - hosted world-renowned musicians, singers, and conductors such as Mstislav Rostropovich, Maria Callas, Herbert von Karajan, and Thomas Schippers, and it is going to tour in Japan. The orchestra of the Teatro dellOpera di Roma will be performing two of Verdis most important musical dramas - Nabucco and Simon Boccanegra - under the baton of Riccardo Muti (who has been music director of La Scala in Milan for nearly two decades) and with a cast of prestigious singers. Among them are Francesco Meli and Luca Salsi, two of Italys most promising rising talents. Francesco Meli is a young belcanto tenor, who has sung – among the others - the roles of the Duke in Rigoletto, the Count of Almaviva in the Barbiere di Siviglia and Afredo in La Traviata in venues as the Metropolitan, the Royal Opera House and the Verona Arena. At the Tokyo Bunka Kaikan hell be singing as the young lover Gabriele Adorno in Simon Boccanegra. Here he is singing one of Boccanegras most beautiful arias, “Cielo di stelle orbato”. Luca Salsi, a baritone, has been of Mutis favourite singers over the last years: not only has he sung under the direction of the great italian Maestro in I Due Foscari and Ernani in Rome, but Muti also had him sing for the first time in the title-role of Verdis Macbeth last year with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In Tokyo, he will be singing Nabuccoin Verdis opera of the same title. Here is a sample of Salsi in Nabucco. Furthermore, the Japanese audience will have the chance of listening to one of Italys most famous sopranos, Barbara Frittoli: Ms. Frittoli has shared the stage with the likes of Placido Domingo, Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko, along with many more, and is going to be giving a recital featuring pieces both from the Italian and the French repertoire at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall.

[...]

05.13.2014

David Cronenbergs latest work, Maps to the Stars - the story of a disfuntional Hollywood family - was selected In Competition at the Cannes Film Festival this May. Almost 20 years after The Fly, Cronenbergs biggest box-office success to date, things seem to have changed a lot. The Canadian director has long given up on splatter scenes and horrible monsters (remember Rabid or Scanners?); over the years, his characters gradually stepped into the limelight, and his monsters either became more and more human (like the criminals from A History of Violence and Eastern Promises) or hid inside the protagonists minds (as in Spider). Nevertheless, with Maps to the Stars Cronenberg pursues his signature investigation of human monstruosness, focusing on the American upper class, just like he did with Cosmopolis. Yet, while Cosmopolis is a gloomy, surreal film, Maps to the Stars outlines an unusual portrait of the Hollywood star system with cruelty and sarcasm, telling the story of a family consisting of a psychotherapist who made a fortune with his self-help manuals, a child star with drug issues whose career is managed by his mother, and a daughter diagnosed with criminal pyromania. Apparently, the movie will feature explicit scenes (like the limo sex scene with Robert Pattison and Julianne Moore), incestuous relationships and the ghosts of dead actresses... Premiering in Cannes on May 19.

[...]

05.06.2014

They call it the Arts District, but it might as well be called the Street Art District, since finding a patch of free wall is almost impossible in this open air street art museum featuring huge pieces by famous artists such as Shepard Fairey (remember Obey The Giant? ) and JR. Located a few blocks east of the citys financial center, this area bordered by the Los Angeles River, Alameda Street, the 101 Freeway and 7th Street offers a landscape of old industrial buildings, abandoned manufacturing plants and warehouses that were discovered by urban artists sometime around the Sixties and have ever since been home to a bohemian and artistic community. Lately, after the severe decline of the 1990s, the district is experiencing a new Reinassance, albeit a slightly trendy one - you will easily spot plenty of  thick-rimmed glasses, skateboards and single speed bicycles, the unequivocal signs of the fact that the AD has become one of Americas “hip neighborhoods”. Theres a particular spot at the corner of  Mateo and Willow Street where you can watch the neighborhood life unfold at its best: this is where we suggest that you start your discovery of the Arts District, maybe sitting at one of the tables of Handsome Coffee Roasters, part coffee bar, part roasting plant. Founders Tyler Wells, Michael Philips and Chris Owens played a very active role in the districts regeneration, helping bring to the neighborhood new companies such as The Produce Project , which sets up a pop-up Farmers Market in front of their premises every Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m.. Eggslut is another familiar sight in the neighborhood - chef Alvin Cailans much loved food truck stops here every weekend to sell its egg-based specialities - the celebrated “coddled egg” along with a bunch of gourmet street food items, including sandwiches and meat/fish dishes. At Bestia (meaning "beast" in Italian), as the name itself suggests, you will not find plenty of vegetarian options. This husband-and-wife Italian eatery specializing in meats, homemade fresh pasta and charcuterie is hosted inside a former warehouse, beautifully restored and refurbished by Studio Unlimited. By the way, the hunt for vegetarian and vegan food might prove hard in this carnivores enclave, so youll probably have to venture as far as 426, South Main Street, where youll find one of Downtowns best vegetarian-friendly restaurants, a Vietnamese eatery called Blossom. If youre willing to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no further than The Pie Hole, where youll find the most sumptuous homemade cakes; their signature cake is a maple custard pie thats apparently to die for. Finally, allow yourself a design oriented shopping session and give in to the enticements of one (or all) of these amazing places: Poketo (East 3rd Street) for home and stationery products, accessories and designer toys; Hammer and Spear (Santa Fe Avenue) for furniture, apothecary, accessories and fancy articles; District Millworks (East 3rd Street), for handmade custom furniture made from reclaimed wood and salvaged materials. Enjoy! Photo: Bestia, E 7th Pl.

[...]

04.23.2014

Thats what Akash Goel said to explain the meaning of the 90 by 60 feet poster of a 9-year-old girl installed in a field in northern Pakistan. That girl was orphaned in 2009 because of a drone attack. “Not a Bug Splat” is an art installation by a group of  American and Pakistani artists including Goel himself and even the French street artist JR, whose project Inside Out was awarded the Ted Prize in 2010. The reason for the project lies in its own name - Bugsplat is the name of U.S. Defence Department software for calculating and reducing collateral damage (dead civilians) resulting from airstrikes; according to Goel,  predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats. Hence the double goal of the project: on a symbolic level, it has been conceived to draw attention on the fact that that behind civilian death casualties data there are real people; on a pragmatic level, the picture is meant to stare up at the pilots who operate the unmanned aerial vehicles by remote control to remind them that by pushing the botton they are destroying an innocent human life. According to Amnesty International, the hi-tech war against Al-Quaeda thats been fought by the US in Pakistan since 20004 has killed some 330 kids, and the dehumanizing effect of the war by remote control does not  make the pilots immune against mental health problems: a US Department of Defence study found that the pilots of drones developed stress disorders like post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety as much as those who fought on  manned aircrafts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

[...]

04.21.2014

Everyday Robots, Damon Albarns first solo album, is going to be released on April 28, three years after the last Gorillaz album and over ten years after Blurs momentous farewell album, Think Tank. As it always happens before the release of a major album, websites, social media and news magazines are messing around with alleged scoops and gossips - from James Blunt accusing Albarn of disguising his upper class roots to the former Blur frontman revealing how eroin was "incredibly creative" and helped to change him as a musician or teasing Blur dates, a new Gorillaz album, and a collaboration with historic rival Noel Gallagher. Yet in spite of all the Webs babble and chattering the good news is that the videos for four of the new albums songs are already on the Tube - and particularly the one called Heavy Seas Of Love, the first pop song featuring Brian Enos vocal contribution in a long, long time and probably the catchiest piece the British musician/producer recorded since By this river. The other three videos outline a very clear  map of Albarns musical background: Mr. Tembo shows traces of the world music influence from the albums he made with African artists (Mali Music and Kinshasa One Two); the title-track reflects his love for catchy melodies and sampling, evoking the Gorillaz experience; Lonely Press Play is a cooler and more contemporary version of Blurs latest and most melancholy works. Apparently, the iPad still is Damons faithful companion - although just for a cameo in the Lonely Press Play video and not to record the entire album as in The Fall by Gorillaz.

[...]

04.15.2014

After 6 amazing seasons, one of the most innovative TV series is about to end. Mad Mens seventh season, which debuted last Sunday on AMC, will probably unveil the fate of Don Draper; in the meantime, we seized the chance to do a nice little recap of the former seasons so that well all be able to catch up with the final one. The first season introduces us to Don Draper, a young, ambitious Sixties adman with a mysterious past. Don is a human mix of strength and frailty, constantly torn between exuberance and nihilism. In this memorable scene, he states his very own vision of life: “The universe is indifferent”. Through the second season, while some of the characters gradually step to the fore, we learn more about the turbulent business of Sterling & Cooper, the ad agency Don works for, and about the (few) ups and (many) downs of Dons and Bettys marriage. In the third season, the story starts getting somewhat psychadelic - just like the era it is set in, the mid Sixties. Theres a famous scene involving a lawnmower and  a secretary literally mowing a newly introduced character. The fourth season sees Don Draper finding himself more and more adrift. After divorcing Betty, he seems ready to get finally lost in alcohol and casual sex, but he decides to give himself a chance and marries a girl he only just met, Megan. Yet this is the season where Don has one of his lowest moments ever, giving a pitch presentation for a new campaign while totally drunk. Dons growing alienation from his job gets more obvious through seasons five and six: what once used to make him so unique and special - his great ability to lie and to adapt - has now become a burden. With Megan, he tries not to fall into the same mistakes he did with his first wife, but his old habits (being unfaithful and hitting the bottle) eventually re-emerge. In the last episode, for the very first time he allows himself a moment of truth and frailty in front of his children, taking them to see the old, battered, dingy house where he grew up, thus unveiling a secret he had kept even from his dearest ones. The seventh season, which will be split into two 7-episode airings, debuted with brakes on, so to speak. No major twist, no unexpected time jump. Yet we are pretty sure that Matthew Weiner gave this much loved series the great finale it deserves.

[...]

04.13.2014

Take a historic building in New York City and shoot a model dressed in a period costume beloging to the time of its construction right in front of it and the result will be a unique and enticing photo essay on the history of fashion and architecture in the Big Apple. Well, honestly this works only if you’re a talented street style photographer like Bill Cunningham, a guy whos been walking the streets of Manhattan for 50 years - since long before The Sartorialist and his emulators were a thought in their parents mind - to capture the genuine and personal styles of New Yorkers. It was the year 1968 when Bill Cunningham, now one of Manhattan’s most beloved characters, embarked on an eight-year project to document the architectural riches and fashion history of New York City. Scouring the city’s thrift stores, auction houses, and street fairs for vintage clothing, and scouting sites on his bicycle, he generated Facades, pairing models—in particular his muse, fellow photographer Editta Sherman—in period costumes with historic settings. Some years later, the photographer donated 88 silver gelatin prints from the series to the New-York Historical Society, which is currently displaying them now, on the year of Cunningham’s 85th birthday. The show highlights the double historical perspective suggested by the photographs—not just of the distant past, but of the particular time in which they were created, four decades ago. Yet what strikes most of these amazing images is the fun and the love for fashion and architecture that seems to transpire from them, as if the two photographers had carried out this project out of pure passion and enjoyment. Through June 15, The New-York Historical Society

[...]

04.10.2014

South Africa is a country where the haves and the have nots live side by side but seldom connect. People want to help, but they are nor sure how, and for the homeless begging is degradig. These are the reasons why Max Pazak and Kayli Vee Levitan from M&C Saatchi Abel ad agency, in collaboration with a Cape Town homeless shelter, founded The Street Store, the world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free pop-up clothing store for the poor. The Street Store is somewhere safe to give and easy to collect; it is made only of posters and  everything relies on charity and voluntary work: people give clothes and shoes and offer them to the homeless, who will thus be able to pick something they actually need and like live a dignified shopping experience, after having had to rummage in bins for years and years. Now isn’t this a simple and powerful idea for bringing people together? Word spread quickly via the social media, radio, and TV; this generated millions in free PR, and as a result over 3,500 homeless people were clothed. But homelessness is international, and so The Street Store went open source. Anyone can download the poster artworks and host their own Street Store; to date, 121 people have signed up. The steps include collaborating  with an organization for the homeless to find a suitable place for the shop, securing the necessary permissions to use public space, and taking photos of the experience. We truly hope there will be more and more Street Stores worldwide.

[...]

04.09.2014

Life has a very broad spectrum of speeds. Kilometers underground, under the ocean, a simple event such as a cell division can happen over several millennia. To our perception such life is basically indistinguishable from rock; on the other hand, in the universe where these creatures live our existence is less than a fraction of a moment. Perception plays a huge role in this: we associate plants and corals with something still and immobile because their speeds are not comparable to ours; yet if we only could perceive their lives in sync with our narrow perception, we would discover that plants, fungi, sponges, corals, plankton, and microorganisms are absolutely dynamic - they grow, reproduce, spread, move towards source of energy, and away from unfavorable conditions. This is what drove Daniel Stoupin, a PhD marine biology student from the University of Queensland and a nature photographer and videographer, to search for an effective way of showing the world the slow life of these important and yet unnoticed living organisms that play the key functions in the biosphere, making life on Earth possible. And he found it in time lapse cinematography, a technique by which a naturally slow process can be seen at a greatly accelerated rate. The result is an amazing clip revealing a whole new world full of hypnotic motion and making coral reef life more spectacular and thus closer to our awareness. Daniel’s final aim was raising awareness on the decline of marine life caused by human impact; just like we fail to understand the slowess of this underwater world, we can hardly realize how these apparently small alterations in the environmental parameters can be catastrophic to corals and sponges. Yet, the truth is that through long chains of connections coral reef deterioration is catastrophic to us as well, for we are ultimately as sensitive to our habitat as the colorful creatures appearing in Daniel’s video.

[...]

04.08.2014

This week, design is the most pronounced word in Milan. As usual, the citys population has exponentially increased on the occasion of  Salone del Mobile and of the as much known and beloved Fuorisalone. Yet design does not necessarily refer to objects, furniture, and abstract projects; what about fashion design, style, and costume history? It was quite time somebody took advantage of the Design Week to celebrate this aspect of the design world, and so finally this year the brand new Milano Vintage Week will be a nice opportunity for all vintage lovers and collectors to visit an alternative and complementary event to the Salone, shop for vintage apparel and accessories, and take a plunge into some of the most important periods in the history of costume and furnishing of the past sixty years. The programme also includes a series of encounters with the vintage world - style, make-up, cooking and bon-ton - with the aim of rediscovering a timeless system of values, those unique styles and original designs that managed to survive the years and the fleeting trends. Like a garment whose quality and beauty are evergreen. Like the deep-rooted Italian culture of hospitality. Like the homely and sublime tradition of Sunday lunch. April 9-18 - 4, via Piranesi - 11 am to 9 pm 

[...]

04.01.2014

A hundred portraits of 19th century Americans from a time when taking a picture was a long, slow, meticulous process – the time of the daguerreotype boom of the 1840s and 50s. It was the year 1839 when the French painter and experimenter Louis J. M. Daguerre revealed the secret of the first, revolutionary practical method of photography, capable of of capturing a person’s “perfect image and identity”. And the process was quickly improved upon by American experimenters, to the point that  making photographic portraits soon became an industry. This is part of the story told by Daguerres American Legacy:  Photographic Portraits (1840 -1900), the exhibition that will open on April 18 at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The images belong to early photography collector William B. Becker, director of the online American Museum of Photography, and display the inventiveness and creativity of the American daguerreotype artists who helped build an entirely new medium based on Daguerres invention. The exhibition includes the only documented portrait from the worlds first photography studio, as well as a selection of rare images portraying Americans at work in occupations ranging from newsboy to cabinetmaker to telegraph operator. In the time of Instagram and digital smartphone photography, looking at these vividly intense ancient images cast upon a silver surface makes you wonder if advanced technology, in the case of photography, really is an evolution or rather just a vane attempt at recreating with different, easier and quicker techniques what was already perfect back in the days of its origin.

[...]

03.26.2014

Have you ever seen those huge, colorful faces painted on a section of what remains of the Berlin Wall along the East Side Gallery? Well, behind their sligtlly melanchonic profiles is an artist called Thierry Noir, who moved to Berlin from Lyon back in 1982 - just like many other and more famous artist like David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Nick Cave, just to name a few - attracted by the obscure and yet creative charm of the divided city. By chance he settled in a squat overlooking the Wall at the border of East and West Berlin. One day in 1984 Noir spontaneously started to paint the Wall and continued to do so each day for five years with whatever paint he could scavenge from nearby construction sites. His works were colorful and vivid, to the point that he was accused of being paid to make the wall beautiful, some sort of government propaganda action, and even of being a spy. Yet all he was trying to do was react to the sadness and the squalor of the wall, which was to his eyes a symbol of oppression. In the meantime, Noir would sell small paintings on cardboard at local restaurants to survive. So why are we telling you this story? Because at the Howard Griffin Gallery in Shoreditch, London, the first retrospective on Thierry Noir is openong on April 3, and it will symbolically bring the Berlin wall to the British capital. Noirs new original works will be exhibited on the replica wall alongside rarely seen photographs, interviews and films. Over the years, his works have become world famous and immortalised in popular culture such as Wim Wenders 1987 film Wings of Desire and the cover of U2s album Acthung Baby. Segments of the wall he once painted are now part of public and private collections around the world. The exhibitions timing is also pretty significant: this year, Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of the walls fall. Until May 5.

[...]

03.23.2014

An idler, an explorer, a saunterer, an observer and a fine connoisseur of the street. What exactly is a  flâneur? This charming literary and somewhat mythological figure can be found in Charles Baudelaires poetry and in Walter Benjiamins pages - and it is precisely from the latter that Ellen Keith, a talented Californian visual and interaction designer , drew inspiration to create The Guidebook to Getting Lost, a small pocket sized book which teaches us how to get lost in our own city. In his autobiographical book Berlin Childhood Around 1900, Benjamin explores the concept of the flâneur, one who wanders without destination. Intrigued by this idea, Ellen decided to try and spread the concept beyond academic studies and into the general consciousness of how we think of urban spaces. The guide aims to introduce the reader to a city - any city - without the concern of street names and directions. And Ellen went as far as founding the Flaneur Society, seeking out people who naturally like to explore the hidden crevices of a city, those unusual places that are often right under your feet, in front of you, above you and around you. By intentionally creating a space for idle wandering without destination, the chance of discovery is heightened. A sweet invitation to live the city with a slow and thoughtful attitude, to get lost and embrace the unexpected.

[...]

03.18.2014

It may not be the tiniest house in the world, but it certainly is impressively small. The Window House is a micro seaside home in Japan designed by Yasutaka Yoshimura studio which seems to belong to the recent "tiny house wave" - a trend involving small and compact architectural solutions to face increasing rents, mainteinance costs, unsustainable energy consumption and overpopulated urban areas.Cozy and full of light - after all it is contained within a pair of oversized windows - the Window House is located along the Japanese coast, in Kanagawa. Raised up on stilts that protect it from high tides, it measures just three by eight metres and its living spaces have been included in the narrow gap between two windows offering views west towards the distant Mount Fuji. The house is accessible via an outside staircase and it has everything you need for a comfortable and convenient weekend escape. The first floor houses the dining room and kitchen, the living room is on the second floor and a tiny bedroom rests on the third floor. The three levels are connected by staircases.Yoshimura designed the small building so that when the owner is not there the view across the sea will not be obstructed. “It seemed too difficult to avoid blocking the view of the neighbourhood behind. So I designed a large opening of the same size as the sea side on the road side in order to keep the view passing through the building in the absence of the owner," he said. The two huge windows on either side basically turn the entire home into a window, offering a clear view through the home to the sea.

[...]

03.11.2014

A seaside town in South Africa, a bunch of 19th century Hattersley looms, an artisan who collects antique weaving books, and an old clay bricks building. Theres everything you need to be charmed in the world of  Mungo, a unique textile company with the rare ability to create fabrics from the inception of design to the final product. Founded in 1998 by Master Weaver Stuart Holding, Mungo is based in Plettenberg Bay, where Stuart dreams up his products, sources top quality and ethical yarns, weaves the sample on 100 year old power looms and finally starts production on modern looms in his boutique mill. The result is pure beauty, combined with durability and a great tactile quality - the three main requirements that drive the production. And everything - from aprons to kitchen and bed linen, from apparel to throws and blankets - miracolously stands out from ordinary mass-produced textiles. Mungos amazing creations can be purchased either at their Mungo Retail store  at the historic Old Nick Village or online.

[...]

03.04.2014

A pair of scissors that we sometimes use to cut paper, whole grain biscuits that we crunch absent-mindedly, bath towels, caps, grapes, nuts and lettuce leaves... To most of us, these are just obvious, familiar objects. But to Victor Nunes they are small, essential pieces of a bigger picture - art fragments imbued with beauty and harmony. Because it takes an artists eyes to find some magic where we usually see, well, just things. Small, ordinary things that we all have at home. Yet sometimes art hides right under our nose - thats the simple and powerful message of Victors pieces. Portuguese-born and currently living in Sao Paulo, Brasil, he turned 65 but he still manages to see the world with naive eyes. Technically, his works are the result of what you might call a pareidolia, that is to say a psychological phenomenon that induces us to see something significant in apparently random shapes - like animals or faces in clouds. In Victors unique illustrations, these random shapes give birth to bizzarre imaginary worlds and characters permeated with with subtle irony - scissors become bicycles, a lettuce leaf turns into an opulent night gown, a pop corn looks just like a baby elephant and coffee grounds are the eyes of  funny face. An amazing  art of everyday objects that invites us to look around us with the open eyes and the creative mind of a child.

[...]

03.02.2014

Over the course of its turbulent history, London has changed many times.  And if there’s a place where you can get an idea of how different it has been looking through time, that’s the Museum of London, whose new Galleries of Modern London boast an extensive collections of images documenting everyday and momentous occasions in London’s history. A few years ago, this award-winning charitable institution, funded by a variety of organisations and individuals including The City of London and GLA, launched its very own app called StreetMuseum, offering all London lovers a unique perspective of old and new London, a sort of window through time. Recently updated and upgraded, the app allows you to look through the camera on your smartphone at hundreds of sites, where an overlay showing historic photographs will appear across the present-day scene. All you need to do is select a destination from their London map or use your GPS to locate an image near you: as you hold your camera up to the present day street scene, the same London location will appear on your screen as it was many years ago. If you want to know more, you just need to tap the information button for historical facts. The update added more than 100 pictures with dates ranging from 1863 to 2003. And of course it’s free.

[...]

02.18.2014

Does working or reading at a café make you feel awkward after youve spent some hours at the same table with the same cup of coffee? Well, if only you could pay for the time youve spent there instead of the drinks youve ordered, things would probably be more comfortable and relaxed. Thats one of the possible interpretations of Ziferblats success. Ziferblat is a Russian-born chain of open spaces where everything - food, beverages, electricity and internet access - is free, because what you pay for us the time that you spend there - namely one ruble per minute (or 3p per minute at the London branch, in Shoreditch). Yet, Ziferblat, founded in Moscow by Ivan Meetin, is so much more than a pay-per-minute café; it is a social club, a cultural center, a place for entertainment and a co-working space. At Ziferblat you can do whatever you want a long as you respect the space and the other people in it - work, make art, read a book, meet people, attend events, drink and have a chat. Every guest is a micro-tenant of the space, responsible for it and able to help, support, develop and upgrade the project; in other words, the member of a community - and we all know how important this is in a world where social networking, either real or virtual, has become crucial in terms of job and acquaintance opportunities. That is probably why its founder defined Ziferblat "A social network in real life". To date, this atypical franchising has 10 branches (nine of which in Russia and 1 in London), fully independent and not altogether similar, but united by the idea of freedom of communication and creative work. And we are positive their informal and unstructured formula will soon conquer more cities worldwide.

[...]

02.17.2014

Have you ever thought of learning Chinese? The Chinese language has long been considered the most difficult major language to learn, largely on account of the vast number and complexity of its characters. Actually, though, only a few hundred are necessary to comprehend basic Chinese literature and begin to delve into Chinese culture and art. And that’s the main idea the idea behind Chineasy, an educational, social, cultural and inspirational project that was recently awarded Wallpaper Magazine’s prestigious 2014 Design Award for “Life-Enhancer of the year”. By allowing people to learn to read Chinese easily by recognising characters through simple illustrations (created by talented Israeli-born graphic designer Noma Bar), Chineasy aims at giving the West a real understand and knowledge of China so that people can understand and appreciate Chinese culture. The method is based on building blocks – by learnig a small set of them, students can build many new words, characters, and phrases. With very little effort, learners will be able to read several hundred Chinese characters and phrases, finally overcoming “the giant roadblock preventing the East and West from communicating effectively and connecting on a deep, cultural level: the Great Wall of Chinese”. That is why it has rapidly become one of the most popular methods of learning Chinese across social media. Chineasy is the brainchild of ShaoLan, a Taiwanese native now living in London with the most impressive curriculum: an entrepreneur, investor, and author, she wrote four best-selling books on software in Taiwan, co-founded one of the major players on Internet in Asia in 1990′s, was a director of five UK-based technology companies, advised young technology companies, and is currently a member of several management and advisory boards of non-profit organisations in the UK. You can try the method on the Chineasy website or through their upcoming book.

[...]

02.03.2014

Would you ever have imagined being able to buy wool that is reared and sheared right in the heart of London? Well, that is something you can actually do. It all started on the Isle of Dogs, a large meander in the river Thames whose fascinating name is of uncertain origins - but it might come from the fact that King Henry VIIIs hunting dogs were kept on the Island. Originally a drained marshland, it later became the site of the highest concentration of council housing in England, but today it is best known as the location of the prestigious Canary Wharf office complex. Yet theres another reason that makes it so dear to the Londoners - a 32 acre green area called Mudchute Park and Farm which is open to the public and has fantastic views across London. Mudchute is one of the largest urban farms in Europe, a place in the city where animals are reared and plants and wildlife preserved. And thats where the  limited-run London-made wool was born. Scoured, carded, dyed and spun in Cornwall by the The Natural Fibre Company, these rare breed fleeces come from sheeps reared on the Isle of Dogs and the can be purchased online in a variety of colours including natural, grey, navy, lavender and guava. Is there anything more unique and sophisticated than knitting an authentically metropolitan wool?

[...]

02.02.2014

If only our old teddy bears could talk... The silent witnesses and constant companions of our childhood probably know more about us than anybody else does. Their worn furs, falling eyes and battered noses could tell so many stories of dream adventures and nights haunted by monsters lurked in darkened corners, intimate stories that usually succumb to the wear and tear of passing time. Yet somebody decided to try and tell those stories through words and images; his name is Max Nixon and hes a very creative photographer who basically filed a number of teddy bears by taking some quite impressive pictures of them and adding their names, age, owners and biography. The result is a crazy and yet moving photo book called Much Loved which could melt even the coldest of hearts. From its glossy pages, these small, old, ragged stuffed animals - mostly bears - seem to come alive while they cast a part reproachful, part melancholy glance at us former children. The stories tell about teddies passed down from fathers to sons and from grandmothers to grandaughters, long nights spent with their owners and journeys around the world inside a suitcase. And theyre all pretty remarkable. We loved the one about Bobo, a white and blue bear that somebody sent to Max along with his own story after hearing about his photo project on the radio, and the one about Teddy Moore, a 43-year-old whose fur has been literally kissed off him by his owner. Cute and creepy. In the picture: Teddy, age 77, height 19, belongs to Ken Nixon and Calum Nixon

[...]

01.28.2014

The sky and the sea, the coastline slowly diving into the water, a boundless horizon fading into the starry night. The work of Alessandro Puccinelli, a photographer in love with the ocean, is deeply pictorial and pregnant with meaning and poetry. In his amazing A Van in the Sea photo series, nature surrounds a 4-wheeled subject, Alessandros motorhome, thats been taking him along the southern coast of Portugal for quite a few years. Back in 2011, Piccinelli decided to buy an old (but super well constructed) motorhome Hymer 1983, and since then hes been spending half of his time driving to some of his favourite places along the european coasts just to be able to take care of his personal photography projects. "All of my personal projects revolve around the ocean", he told us, "so I guess this is the best way to spend a great deal of time in close contact with the subject of my works. When Im away I tend to forget the past and the future and to concentrate on the present, truly living in the moment". A Van in the Sea tells the story of a partial escape from the city to pursue a more sober and authentic lifestyle, searching for a kind of solitude which is actually a closer contact with yourself and with nature. And the story is told through simple and yet powerful images which let nature be the real protagonist by framing the night, the costellations and the silvery glints of the sea. In the presence of such magnificence, as small as a man before heavens vault, stands little Hymer with his windows lighted like eyes wide open in the starry night.

[...]

01.22.2014

Made In Italy is universally recognised as a brand representing high quality of materials and manufacture. It seems natural, then, to want to recreate a brand with the same values, elsewhere. That’s exactly what a strong Made In Britain movement has been doing in recent times, with the purpose of reviving local production realities, that would otherwise risk to be swallowed whole by the fast fashion machine. Made In Britain might not immediately evoke images of the sort of effortless stile that Italian fashion naturally boasts – but when it comes to British weaving, quality is never called into question. After all, history teaches us the first industrial revolution came about in the north of England, thanks also to the mechanisation of the textile industry. British wool is of exceeding quality; and textiles, from tartan to tweed, veritable classics. Losing all this must have been unthinkable for someone like Daniel Harris, the young and visionary mind behind the London Cloth Company, London’s first, and only, micro-mill. It is obvious Daniel’s work is done out of sheer passion. It’s enough to hear the story of how he started out, to only begin to picture the obstacles he battles with on a daily basis, in order to weave a few yards’ worth of cloth per week. Firstly, those yards are all woven with vintage looms, random pieces of which Daniel salvages from old barns, scouring the length and breadth of the country. And then, because he only weaves British fleeces, of which regular quantities of appreciable quality are often hard to come by, always commanding a high price. The result of this endeavour is a catalogue of fabrics which are classic as well as timeless. Walking into the mill might feel like a step back in time (including Daniel’s dapper style), but it’s small entreprises like London Cloth that are actually building a future for Made In Britain. Made In Italy doesn’t fear this: on the contrary, we like to see a new revolution unfold, a Slow one.

[...]

01.21.2014

Promoting the benefits brought to society by science and technology and offering to the whole community the chance to actively participate in the scientific progressof its own country. Thats the main concern of the Fundación Parque Científico de Murcia, in Spain, a very ambitious goal pursued with the collaboration of companies, universities and scientists. The brand new scientific park designed by Spanish studio Retes Arquitectos will be promoted, maintained and run to meet these aims. The complex includes three blocks conceptually based on simmetry and transparency built around an open garden on a slope shaded by pines and overlooking the valley. Altogether, the structure has a very strong symbolic value. On the one hand, its geometric and repetitive lines convey a sense of rationality and scientific rigour. On the other hand, the shape of the building, which is open to the surrounding landscape and even seems to melt with it, hints at the idea of spreading and sharing knowledge. The project has also been conceived for being non-invasive and causing a very low visual impact, by preserving the surrounding vegetation and reclaiming the pre-existing abandoned buildings on the construction site. In the daytime, the Parque looks like a super-light case covered in shiny slabs. Wisteria and climbing vines are already growing in the patio and will soon turn into a luxuriant green wall. Yet, it is at night that this unexpectedly charming house of science unveils its somewhat magic, transparent soul.

[...]

12.22.2013

Christmas day is usually spent with the family, but what about the holidays? If youre planning a mini break or a short trip to some world capital, then this months art agenda is for you. If youre into contemporary art, do not miss the Paul Klee exhibition at Londons Tate Modern gallery. One of the fathers of European modernism, Klee had a huge influence on abstraction that can be seen in the works of Rothko, Miró and beyond. This exhibition will help you rediscover his extraordinary body of work and see it in a new light - paintings, drawings and watercolours from collections around the world are reunited with a focus on the decade Klee spent teaching and working at the Bauhaus, the hotbed of modernist design. The 20th century Russian Avant-garde is on display at the newly renovated Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, who is devoting its main winter exhibition to Kazimir Malevich, an artist as well as an influential teacher and a passionate advocate of the “new” art. The Frick Collection in New York city is holding an exhibitionon the golden era of Dutch painting (namely the 17th century) from Mauritshuis: Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer. Theres a whole room devoted to Girl with a Pearl Earring, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful works of all times. Finally, the exhibition currently held at Museo di San Marco in Florence (only until January 6) is a most peculiar one; marking the Hungarian culture year in Italy, it focuses on the special relationship between Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus and the Florentine artists, including the entire cultural circle of Lorenzo the Magnificent, during the 15th century. The venue was selected on the strength of the role played in the development of Humanism by the Dominican convents library, the breathtaking setting for this exhibition.

[...]

12.18.2013

Sofa, remote control, blanket, a cup of tea and some leftovers from your Christmas Eve dinner. Come on, after all that's what we all look forward to as Christmas draws near. Maybe a design sofa, a mohair wool blanket, a pure Ceylon tea and some organic homemade food can help you do it in style this year, but the Christmas movies will probably be the same old ones. 1. It's a Wonderful LifeThe Christmas movie ever since 1946, this much loved film by Frank Capra starring James Stewart tells the story of George Bailey, a honest man without ambitions who will finally discover the value of his own existence thanks to an angel without wings. You are allowed to shed a few tears. 2. Miracle on 34th StreetVaguely cutesy in its 1947 original version (directed by George Seaton) and more contemporary in the 1994 remake (by Les Mayfield), this metropolitan fairy tale is set on the backdrop of Macy's department store in New York City. In the ’94 version, the role of Kris Kringle/Santa Claus is played by Richard Attemborough, who in his turn directed famous movies such as Ghandi and A Chorus Line. 3. Trading PlacesThis is one of the few certainties of life (at least over the last 30 years): during the Christmas holidays, some TV channel will broadcast Trading Places by John Landis. Starring  Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy, respectively playing the part of a broker and a homeless street hustler in a modern take on Mark Twain's classic 19th century novel The Prince and the Pauper. We just wonder how different the movie would have been if John Belushi, who died just before the beginning of the shooting, had played Murphy's role, originally written for him. 4. The Muppet Christmas CarolOf the many film versions of Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol - the latest one being the 2009 CGI animated movie by Robert Zemeckis  – the one we feel more attached to is the one where Michael Caine plays the role of Scrooge surrounded by Kermit, Gonzo, Miss Piggy and other famous characters from The Muppet Show. Shot in the year 1992, the movie is dedicated to the memory of the Muppets creator Jim Henson, who had died only a couple of years earlier. 5. Lethal WeaponSince it opens with Jingle Bell Rock and finishes with the family around a tree on Christmas day, this is definitely a Christmas classsic. Richard Donner's 1987 action movie, the first episode of the saga, is the story of two very different policemen who will eventually learn how to live their lives in a better way - that's right, in spite of all the action there is a moral to draw... 6. Bad SantaHere's another Santa working at a department store, yet this is not a remake of Miracle on 34the Street. Terry Zwigoff's 2003 black comedy features Billy Bob Thornton as a cynical and foul-mouthed thief taking on the Santa routine at shopping malls to pull off robberies. Still, redemption will come in the  form of a naive, overweight boy who's the target of taunts from a skateboarding gang. 7. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before ChristmasThe perfect Christmas Eve movie, to be watched after midnight in complete darkness. This 1993 gothic stop motion masterpiece directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton tells the story of Jack Skeleton, the quintessential Burton character - a weirdo who will gracefully manage to bring Christmas to Halloween Town. 8. The GrinchThe green hairy anti-holiday monster created by Dr. Seuss is the unrivaled hero of all Christmas haters. In this 2000 cinematic adaptation directed by  Ron Howard, Jim Carrey plays the Grinch with a prosthetic make-up that took 3 hours to apply... 9. Christmas with the KranksThere's no way to skip Christmas, not even for the Kranks, who will eventually give up their Carribean holiday to celebrate the holidays at the last minute. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Tim Allen, this 2004 Joe Roth comedy is taken from John Grisham's 2001 novel Skipping Christmas. 10. Love ActuallyOur most recent Christmas favourite turns 10 this year, yet it still strikes a chord. Following "the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic month before Christmas in London", it is an exquisite example of British romantic comedy. A many-voiced movie featuring an all-star cast of  British actors including Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Keira Knightley, and Rowan Atkinson.

[...]

12.16.2013

A small gallery and independent bookstore, as well as an anchor for emerging artists, a home to the contemporary art community, and a source of limited edition art books from independent and micro-niche publishers.  It is so refreshing, these days, to find somebody who still believes and invests in the most authentic and independent forms of creativity without surrendering to the standardization of arts and culture. And thats what Ed. Varie (quite significantly a term used to describe limited edition original prints) does in Alphabet City, New York. This pretty unique small business was conceived and founded by Karen Schaupeter in 2010 with the aim of fostering all forms of contemporary art, and encouraging artists to explore new concepts and take uncharted risks in their practice. Besides being a meeting place for emerging artists and art enthusiasts, Ed. Varie is also an amazing destination for book lovers and for anyone wishing to know whats brewing in one of the most creative cities on earth.

[...]

12.01.2013

Collecting the atmosphere of her own land, the story of her family and the inspirations she gathered through her personal and work experiences, and putting them all into a decorative object. That is what Alia Mouzannar does with talent, dedication, and committment. Born in Lebanon and educated between Europe and the Middle East, Alia belongs to a very special family of jewellers whose high reputation has been established since the 18th century and who made significant contributions to the transformation of Beirut’s Jeweler’s Souk, positioning it as a main jewelry destination for the entire Middle East. During the Lebanese Civil War the Souk was demolished, but it did not affect the prestige of the Mouzannar family, whose name remains as an absolute reference thanks to their timeless classics. Bringing along her contemporary eye and her know-how in the field of architecture and interior design, Alia is the latest addition to the family business. Given her training and education , it is not by chance that her creations have such  harmony and sense of proportion, combined with poetry and exotic inspirations. Thanks to her very distinctive jewels, Alia Mouzannar has already won several awards. What we like most about her work is the complex world that seems to emerge from every single piece and that makes it inevitably unique. Definitely worth keeping an eye on.

[...]

11.27.2013

London has always been a city with a high creative spirit. Known for its underground movements, it actually benefits from advanced institutions with an ability to grasp its avant-garde spirit and present it to a wider public. Its many museums constantly update their event calendars with fresh exhibitions, and fashion is one of their most popular subjects: major museums such as the V&A, the Tate and the Barbican often give space to the great fashion designers. As for the current season, there are two main fashion-focused exhibitions under way: Hello My Name Is Paul Smith at the Design Museum and Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore! at Somerset House (until the beginning of March). Both events are aimed at celebrating an iconic personality of British fashion whose influence on the international style scene has been crucial - Paul Smith, who reinvented menswear, and Isabella Blow, who scouted talents such as Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy. But the point is that neither of them is what you would call a retrospective. In both cases, the main focus is on the crucial moments of the designers lives, on whatever helped mould their creativity. By recreating the environments and the habits of their everyday life through unique installations and rare archive pieces, these exhibitions show how details, experiences and circumstances contribute in shaping the character of such influential creative talents. Another major institution, the Victoria & Albert Museum, is currently hosting Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 80s (until January 19), while contemporary jewellery is the main theme of Made In London: Jewellery Now at the Museum Of London, an exhibition co-curated Agata Belcen, Fashion Editor at AnOther Magazine (until April 27, 2014). Finally, the small but charming William Morris Gallery celebrates yet another big name of British fashion, Giles Deacon (only until December 15). Image credit:  Peter Macdiarmid/Getty for Somerset House.

[...]

11.26.2013

It almost seems inconceivable, and yet there are tribesmen in the world who live their lives as if the last milleniums of the earth had never happened. Its a mind-blowing truth, almost heady, as much as the thought of the infinity of the universe. It makes you think that, for them at least, there could be a fresh start, the possbility of a different, hopefully better world. Or that they could stay like that forever, suspended in time. These 15 million people belong to 29 tribes scattered around the world, from South America to Siberia, from Africa to Nepal and Indonesia. And we do own the technology to avoid them falling into oblivion. The world must never forget the way things were. All it takes is using a camera, and thats exactly what British photographer Jimmy Nelson did for some years: using his camera - along with his talent and understanding for human relations - to portray the very last tribesmen of the world. Not before observing them, joining in their rituals, adjusting his antenna to the same frequency as theirs, and making their trust grow. Among mountains, ice fields, rivers and the jungle, Jimmy Nelson found them and managed to visually document their existence while the rest of the world was threatening to change their way of life forever. And that was the genesis of Before They Pass Away, a collection of 500 elegant and evocative portraits created with a 4x5 camera, a gallery of pure humanity which successfully survived the modern world thanks to seclusion, and most of all the unique ethnographic record of a fast disappearing world. We are pretty sure that it will stand the test of time.

[...]

11.24.2013

On July 20, 1965, Bob Dylan released his most successful single ever, Like a Rolling Stone, a long, folk-rock, provocative song which remained in the US charts for 12 weeks, where it reached number 2. Yet, no official music video was ever made to accompany the song - not until this year. On the occasion of the singles 50th anniversary, Dylan teamed up with digital media company Interlude to create an interactive video allowing viewers to play an active role in the story of the music video. By surfing 16 different fake TV channels broadcasting recognizable American TV formats in real-time - with hosts and actors lip-syncing the lyrics - users can build and experience their very own, unique video, including some weird, hilarious, or disturbing juxtapositions of words and characters/situations. Once again, at 72 and this time (quite unusually) through technology, Dylan managed to make something really new and groundbreaking. Not to be missed.

[...]

11.20.2013

Turning the small island of Inujima, an oasis of traditional Japanese life, into a natural park beautified by art and architecture by installing exhibition pavilions among the traditional houses. Thats the main goal of  the ambitious Inujima Art House Project, launched in 2010 and coordinated by Sanaa architecture studio. In just a few years, the project managed to put the island, previously unknown to most, into the spotlight The latest addition to the initiative is a-art house by architect Kazuyo Sejima, a transparent pavilion which will soon be hosting the work of many different artists. Gently decorated with floral motifs revealing the landscape of typical Japanese roofs to viewers standing inside, the acrylic ring gives life to an imaginary dialogue between the inside and the outside world, between nature - which is the real protagonist of this work - and architecture. The architectural sculture allows entry at one point, granting access to either the interior of ring or a small rest area at its core, an ethereal space fitted with two silver stools for pause and contemplation. Simply amazing.

[...]

11.18.2013

Apparently, when it comes to selling his autobiography Morrissey can do better than Keith Richards. As a matter of fact, his memoirs shot to number one in the UK book charts with almost 35,000 copies sold, overtaking the previous record holder for first-week sales of a musicians biography, the Stones guitarist, with his 2010 book Life. After all, hes the guy who wrote Theres more to life than books you know, but not much more (from Handsome Devil), so a literary hit was to be expected sooner or later. Because Steven Patrick Morrissey (or simply Morrissey - or Moz for die-hard fans) is not just a rockstar, he is one of the wittiest lyricists of all times, as well as one of the most quotable songwriters in the history of rock music. For instance, this is what he recently stated: "Unfortunately, I am not homosexual. In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But, of course ... not many". So if youre interested in knowing more about his sexual orientation (his first relationship with a man came in his 30s), what annoys him about Michael Stipe (he doesnt brush his teeth before a gig) or his relationship with the Iron Lady (he was cross-examined by the forces Special Branch after the song Margaret on the guillotine appeared on his debut solo album Viva Hate), this book will definitely be full of surprises. The first of which is the fact that it has been published by Penguin, just like the novels by Graham Greene and James Joyce. And just like the works of Morrisseys own idol, Oscar Wilde, with whom he seems to share a love for aphorisms and biting gibes. Heres a random quote from Autobiography: "The doorbell rings and there stands Vanessa Redgrave. Marcie, she begins, and then goes on about social injustice in Namibia, and how we must all build a raft by late afternoon — preferably out of coconut matting”.

[...]

11.17.2013

A long wood and iron structure with a somewhat Baroque outline jutting out into the sea. Thats a very familiar image for the British, that of a pleasure pier, an authentically Victorian invention. Back in the days of their splendour, pleasure piers were the only way for the first mass holiday makers in Britain to promenade over and alongside the sea at all times, since the large tidal ranges at many such resorts meant that for much of the day, the sea was not visible from dry land. Pleasure piers often included amusements such as souvenir shops, food stalls and even theatres - a charmingly retro image, as seen from our modern perspective. Yet, only a small part of these Victorian remains have fully survived to become cultural landmarks - 58 altogether. Many of them were dismantled during the 2nd World War to prevent German landings, others have turned into bare spectres shrouded in fog, the faded souvenir of one of Britains most fascinating eras. You may be wondering why we are telling you this story. Well, because a talented British photographer called Simon Roberts recently devoted a very nice project to pleasure piers. The name of the project is Pierdom, and its currently on display at Robert Morat Galerie in Hamburg. Since his childhood is infused with memories of trips to the seaside, Simon has often visited piers, which is probably why they inspired him such sharp and yet romantic visions. His large format pictures are taken with great technical precision, often from elevated positions incorporating peripheral details and the elements, thus enriching the viewing experience of each print. Piers also appear in a range of seasons and meteorological conditions - rain, snow, fog - which rescue them from the eternal summer of their postcard portrayals. A very painterly photography which documents, charms, and even manages to engage us with contemporary issues about our uneasy and fragile relationship to both nature, and our urban environments. If you cant make it to Hamburg, at least take a look at the Pierdom web gallery .

[...]

11.12.2013

An old private house facing the harbour in a small Japanese village inhabited by an aging population and Japans most famous artist and graphic designer, Tadanori Yokoo. What do they have to do with one another? The answer is Teshima Yokoo House, a very unique museum created to integrate the artists work within the building, rather than simply place it within its walls, and designed in collaboration with young female architect Yuko Nagayama, who even managed to involve the local population in the construction of this new and amazing cultural center. Inspired by the artists world famous collages, the buildings renovation uses light, colours, tinted glass and reflective surfaces to create a series of interconnected collages that allow the visitor to live an intense spatial experience that changes their perception of  the outside world. In a way, its like exploring Yokoos art and philosophy from within, plunging into the mind of one of Japans most loved artists and cultural personalities. If youre a fan of Yokoo Tadanori or simply into everything Japanese, do not miss the chance to visit this positively unconventional museum.

[...]

11.05.2013

The name is Omega, like the very last letter of the Greek alphabet, but this story is one about absolute excellence in terms of  innovation, culture, and technology. It all began some years ago in Ghana from an idea by Ghanian Ken and Lisa Donkoh and James Tooley, a British professor of education policy. The aim was bringing low-cost quality education to girls and boys from poor and needy families unable to provide adequate education for their children. The solution they came up with is simple and innovative: a pay as you learn approach featuring an all-inclusive daily fee based on the actual attendance including tuition, hot lunch, a set of workbooks, two sets of uniforms, mid and end of term assessment, health insurance and even a deworming program. Besides, each student is given 15 free school days per year, and there is also a scholarship program in place to help the least advantaged students pay for a portion of their fees. The results have been great both in terms of quality and enrollement, with most children coming from the poorest strata of Ghanian society. In order to guarantee low fees and top quality education, Omega employs a Ghanaian and international staff that develops daily teacher lesson plans, student work books, and assessments aligned with the national curriculum. On the other hand, classes are given by senior high school graduates whose salary is much lower than that of trained teachers. Finally, every Omega school is equipped with stationery, books, a schoolbus and a a state-of-the-art computer lab fuelled by solar panels. Needless to say, this model has attracted many investments and is in full expansion, thanks mostly to its simple and economically sustainable scheme. Recently, an independent research has shown Omega schools significantly outperformed other private and public schools - Omega students are 4 years ahead of those in nearby public schools and 2 years ahead of other low cost private schools.

[...]

11.04.2013

This month we are going to take you on a virtual tour through the most interesting international photo exhibitions of the season. Lets begin with Londons Photographers’ Gallery, which is currently holding a very unique exhibition called Home Truths exploring representations of motherhood through the works of eight contemporary artists. The exhibition aims to challenge long-held stereotypes and sentimental views of motherhood by addressing issues such as gender roles, domesticity, the body and the identity of individuals within the family unit. The famous Lithuanian photographer Izis Bidermanas is the protagonist of a retrospective at Alinari National Photography Museum in Florence. As a Jew living in Paris during the 1930s, Bidermanas lpersonally experienced persecution by the Fascist regime and portraited underground fighters with a very intimate and deep perspective. At the International Center of Photography in New York City, an exhibition provides a broad overview of Lewis Hines photographic career. Widely recognized as an American original whose work has been cited as a precursor to modernist and documentary photography, Hilne (1874–1940) documented immigration, child labor, New York City, and the building of the Empire State Building with iconic images. Another amazing photo collection is on display at Romes Palazzo delle Esposizioni, where National Geographic is holding an event called The Great Adventure, a historical as well as a photographic exhibition enabling visitors to embark on a journey which has touched all continents after it began 125 years ago in Washington. Last but not least, the Oriental Art Museum in Turin hosts a one-woman exhibition by Suzanne Held, an authentic full immersion into the Far East culture through large-format pictures focusing on the main themes of Japanese tradition.

[...]

11.03.2013

Is there anything smarter, more timeless or resilient than wood? Thats what the designers at Tel Aviv textile design and development studio Tesler + Mendelovitch studio must have thought when they created Wearable Wood, a new series of limited production "wood skin" clutch purses constructed from 100% wood + leather lining. The geometric surface design provides necessary flexibility and is soft to the touch, delicate and resilient at the same time. Charmed by the timeless elegance of wood, the designers and researchers at Tesler + Mendelovitch started by applying traditional wood craftsmanship to new technology and introducing an original "Diamond Wood" geometric wood surface for home furnishing pieces​. The next step was developing that geometric wood surface material into other products, turning it into something wearable, a new and innovative textile for these definitely "slow" accessories - all wood used in their designs is hand-selected, individually and meticulously crafted.

[...]

10.29.2013

Lou Reed’s story, the one about a little Jewish kid from Long Island turned into one of the most brilliant, well–read and wild rockers ever, is as amazing as rock’n’roll legends can get. Born of a quiet middle-class family, his parents were so shocked at young Lewis (yes, that was his real name) “acting” bisexual, that Reed was quickly hospitalized and treated with electroshock therapy. Some years later, Andy Warhol spotted him while playing with his band – the Velvet Underground. Warhol was in awe: their music was incredibly loud and seemed to have almost no commercial appeal whatsoever. Those songs could last well over 10 minutes, and not many people could bear their distorted two–chord sequences that long. Plus, there were Reed’s lyrics: he told of of drug addiction and sexual perversion plain and clear. Warhol immediately became their producer and manager. Of course, their first LP (the “banana album” from 1967) did not sell much, but as Brian Eno famously put it, “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band”. When the band split at the end of the decade, Reed’s career was more infamous than famous: everyone took him for a drug addict with a big mouth (his fights with rock journalist Lester Bangs became legendary), but he still had never had a single hit record. Yet, he had one big fan in the brand new British rock star David Bowie. Bowie’s production of  Walk on the wild side pretty much saved Lou Reed’s career. But the other problems in his life were still far from being sorted out: he went on to be perceived as a weirdo and a junkie throughout the Seventies, while turning up on several magazine covers dating a transvestite or wearing swastika stickers in his hair. Nevertheless, during the same years he continued to make great music, maybe some the best albums of his whole discography: Berlin in 1973, Coney Island Baby in 1975. It took him another 10 years to come back clean, sober and with another masterpiece: the 1989 album New York is yet another classic Lou Reed title, filled with stories of urban desolation written with a dry and sly wit. Sadly, Lou Reed’s earthbound “walk on the wild life” untimely ended on October 27 from liver transplant complications.

[...]

10.09.2013

Here comes a new season of great exhibitions and art events. Weve been hunting for something special and unique, virtually travelling from Los Angeles to Tokyo and from Rome to Paris. Lets begin with Tokyos Roppongi Crossing, a sort of Biennale collecting the works of the emerging Japanese artists, mainly focusing on the 2011 earthquake and on its tragic consequences. If youre interested in the Japanese culture, this is a great chance to see its contemporary art production at a glance (until January 13, 2014). Are you a fan of Renaissance art? A huge exhibition on culture and art in the Reinassance era just opened at the Musée du Louvre, in Paris. Le printemps de la Renaissance specifically focuses on sculpture in Florence between the 15th and the 17th, also featuring paintings, drawings and manuscripts (fino al 6 gennaio 2014). Going even further back in time, heres a very promising exhibition on Emperor Augustus at Romes Scuderie del Quirinale featuring statues, portraits, household objects in bronze, silver and glass, golden jewellery and precious stones. Marking the 2,000th anniversary of Augustuss death, the exhibition tells the parallel stories of his dazzling career and of the birth of a new era; his reign, which lasted over forty years and saw the Empire achieving its greatest expansion, was to be the longest in the citys entire history (from October 18, 2013 to February 9, 2014). Finally, a juicy event for photography enthusiasts:  the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is hosting a retrospective on the American photographer Abelardo Morell, mostly known for the uncannny, disorienting images of his Camera Obscura project. Transforming entire rooms into cameras by covering the windows and inserting a small hole, he then used a second camera to photograph the superimposition of the outside world as projected onto various interiors (until January 5, 2014). Picture: an image from Abelardo Morrels Camera Obscura project

[...]

10.01.2013

The London home of a Neo-Classical architect just as it was left at the time of his death in 1837, including his collection of antiquities, furniture, models and paintings. Just a stones throw from the historic Bloomsbury district, the  Sir John Soanes Museum was born from an idea of Sir John Soane himself: a few years before his death, the architect and son of a bricklayer established the house as a museum requiring that his romantic and poetic interiors be kept as they were at the time of his death. Walking through the hallways and the rooms of 13 Lincolns Inn Fields is quite a unique experience in London - a plunge into a suspended and charming  past. As well as the interiors, the collections are a real gem, containing many important works of art and antiquities, including Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress and An Election, Canaletto’s Riva degli Schiavoni looking West, the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I, 30,000 architectural drawings, 6,857 historical volumes, 252 historical architectural models and important examples of furniture and decorative arts. The museum also holds temporary exhibitions on art and architecture.

[...]

09.30.2013

There are different stories and diverse inspirations behind the charming objects designed and created by Karen Chekerdjian, Lebanon’s best loved designer. Entering her boutique in the up-and-coming Beirut Port neighbourhood is just like travelling through her own, complex personality and through her aesthetics. Of Armenian-Lebanese origin, Karen graduated from Domus Academy in Milan, and she lived and worked in the Italian city of fashion and design for a number of years. Upon returning to Lebanon to open her own studio, she was faced with a number of challenges, chiefly in terms of the availability of materials and manufacturing techniques. Her focus, previously more on the concept behind her objects than on the way they were made, began to shift. If advanced technical materials were not easily available, she would create with materials that were there, such as wood, ceramics, metal and glass. If the factories were not equipped with modern machinery, perhaps the solution lay exploring the possibility of getting her work made by hand by a local cadre of highly skilled traditional craftspeople. And that’s how she developed a very unique style, a sort of ‘industrial handicrafts’ unmoored from time thanks to its blend of traditional manufacturing technique and industrial aesthetic, distinctively Lebanese and yet also International. The hybrid nature of her objects is reflected by the concept behind her Beirut’s store, a sophisticatedly refurbished former metal warehouse which, in addition to Karen’s work, also stocks a thoughtful selection of items produced by other people - anything from furniture and design objects, to fabrics or books, illustrating the designer’s global and eclectic vision of beauty. The store also offers a selection of edible items, mostly organic, mostly handmade and mostly of Italian origin; these are some of the designer’s favourite foods, sourced during her years in Milan.

[...]

09.16.2013

Is there anything smarter, more classic or perfect than a well-cut bow tie? A nice papillon is a timeless staple in every mans wardrobe, just like the little black dress for the girls. In spite of its formal reputation, the bow tie does not necessarily require a dinner jacket or a black-tie wedding occasion; you can wear it anytime, you just have to be creative and learn how to revisit this amazing accessory. Which is exactly what Federico Batelli did. Federico is a 35-year-old multi-disciplinary designer who created Untitled, the first denim bow tie collection, adding a touch of roughness - i.e. bleaching, stone wash, and other details from the denim world - to a true mens classic. While drawing inspiration from a casual universe, the Untitled bow ties are strictly handcrafted in Italy, with extreme care and attention to every  detail - just like you would expect from an artisan product. Pushing his creative experimentation even further, with the technical advice of architect Kuno Mayr Federico designed a concrete bow tie as light as golf ball. Thanks to Effix Design, a high-quality cement by Italcementi specially conceived for the production of small, light and delicate objects, Federico managed to match the ephemeral elegance of the bowtie with the pure strength of concrete,  bringing fashion and architecture together in an unexpected liaison  The Untitled bow ties will be distribuited in Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands.

[...]

09.15.2013

John Hinde was a most peculiar character - a failed circus entrepreneur married to a trapeze-artist and the great-grandson of the founder of Clarks shoes, but above all a master of postcard photography. Born in 1916 in Somerset, England, he developed an interest in color photography strating from the Forties, and in 1956 he went on to found the worlds most successful postcard publishing companies, John Hinde Studio, which covered not only Britain and Ireland, but also the Canaries, Africa, Gibraltar, Malaysia... In recent years, Hindes work has  be rediscovered thanks to photographer Martin Parr, who declared himself a great fan of Hinde and of his colorful and saturated palette. Parr went so far as to define his postcards "some of the strongest images of Britain in the 1960s and 1970s". The secret behind those colors is technology - not British technology, though: Hinde used to send his transparencies to Italy, where development technology was more advanced and, even thanks to careful retouching, his images became more vibrant and interesting. This month, Londons Photographer’s Gallery is holding a nostalgic and retro  exhibition of John Hindes postcard collection. Many months of dedicated restoration work has brought these photographs capturing some of the UK’s best-loved holiday destinations back to life. His original Postcard series are presented next to their new never before available prints. Until October 6.

[...]

09.11.2013

Could one of the worlds best-loved novels possibly have a sequel? J.D. Salingers Catcher in the Rye is not just one of the most successful literary works of all times - it is the book that gave voice to the discontent of the young generations long before the social revolution of the Sixties. Yet, according to Salingers biographers David Shields and Shane Salerno, a sequel does exist and it might be published soon. Shields and Salerno have been working for years at a new biography of J.D. Salinger which has just been released in the US along with a documentary feature directed by Salerno himself. The biography, simply called Salinger, promises to unveil many of the mysteries surrounding the man who stopped publishing in 1965 just to live his later years (until his death in 2010, at age 91) like a recluse, completely withdrawing from sight. Among the revelations of Salinger that have leaked well before the books actual release, theres a great piece of news for the writers fans: five new books by Salinger are to be published in the coming years (between 2015 and 2020). The list includes: The last and best of the Peter Pans, a short story sequel to Catcher in the Rye; The Complete Chronicle of the Glass Family featuring five new short stories about his recurring character, Seymour Glass; a World War II Love Story based on his brief marriage to Sylvia, a Nazi collaborator, just after the war; A Counterintelligence Agent’s Diary about his time interrogating prisoners of war when he served working in the counter-intelligence division; and finally a religious manual on his adherence to Ramakrishna’s Advaita Vedanta Hinduism. The new book by Shields and Salerno will almost certainly raise and answer to new questions and gossips about the writers life. Yet, in spite of the biographers hypothesis, it will hardly be able to unveil to the one crucial mystery about the author of Catcher in the Rye: why did he deliberately and stubbornly choose fiction over reality?

[...]

09.10.2013

On Saturday evenings, there is often a long queue at 80, Quai de Jemmapes in Paris, right along the Seine. The reason for this is the presence of Comptoir général, one of the most beloved night spots in town, a very special place where you can have a drink, watch a movie, shop for used items and records, get a book out of the library and even visit a unique museum devoted to the ghetto culture. What’s the ghetto culture? Basically, the result of creativity that springs up in poor or marginalised places all over the world, and especially in Africa. Founded by two independent record labels, the Petit Musée de la Françafrique (the Little France-Africa museum) – along with the Comptoir - aims at protecting, producing and broadcasting the ghetto culture through movie production and screening, exhibitions, conferences, themed attractions, events, and workshops. The museum features a portrait gallery, antics, relics and memories from the history of Françafrique history, a collection of vintage african electoral campaigns t-shirts, press cuttings and various memorabilia. The space is provided by an organization called C-Développement, whose mission is to support a number of socially active and responsible groups by providing real estate that fits their needs and budget. From Monday to Thursday, it is available for rent by businesses, charities, NGOs and other organizations devoted to the environment, solidarity, social innovation and cultural diversity. All the benefits are reinvested into financing more artistic sustainable projects. From Friday to Sunday, it functions as a cultural center, complete with museum, bar, cinema, and restaurant. Every second and fourth Saturday, the Comptoir hosts a Farmers’ market (La Ruche) featuring products from the nearby Saint-Remy-Les-Chevreuses region.

[...]

09.09.2013

On the eve of a likely attack on Syria strongly supported by US President Obama and grounded on the proven, alleged or yet-to-be-proven use of chemical weapons by Assads Regime, the world rediscovers an interest in chemical warfare. Although the Geneva Protocol officially banned these weapons back in the Twenties, they were never actually put aside, even in recent times. World War I was the very first chemical warfare: its 90.000 deaths and over one million casualties raised such horror that as soon as 1925, in Geneva, the first treaty against the use of chemical and biological weapons in international armed conflicts was signed. The Geneva Protocol prohibits the use of "asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and of all analogous liquids, materials or devices" and "bacteriological methods of warfare". Although the ban seemed to be quite effective on most theaters during World War II (with the exception of Mussolinis troops in Ethiopia), from the Cold War until today several nations unfortunately mantained and used chemical weapons. Sulfur mustard was used by Egypt in the Egypt-Yemen conflict (1963–67), and the USA used Agent Orange or Herbicide Orange during the Vietnam War. Iraq used chemical weapons in Iran during the war in the 1980s, and mustard gas and nerve agents against Kurdish residents of Halabja, in Northern Iraq, in 1988. The International community never did much to enforce the Geneva Protocol: apart from sanctioning Iraq in the 90s and early 2000s - a belated remedy on an altered political scenario – the UN did not powerfully intervene in these cases of International law violation. Faced with the Syrian crisis and with uncertain evidence, once again the United Nations do not seem ready to take a stand or a clear position. In the end, only History will tell if an attack was the right answer to the Syrian crisis and how it should have been deployed. In the meantime, more than two million Syrians (one tenth of the Syrian population) are now registered as refugees, a clear sign of the International communitys inability to protect and support the vulnerable.

[...]

09.02.2013

Although this is not often in the news, Africa is a workshop of continuous innovation and experimentation. If, on the one hand, there are plenty of deep-rooted issues to confront with, on the other hand the stimulus to develop new ideas, solutions and projects is extremely strong, and often technologies that are almost unused in the developed countries seem to find fresh and winning employments here. Thats the case of mobile money transfer, a technology which is  strictly related to mobility. Africa is constantly on the move – people do move, and so does the money. Over the last years, in Tanzania, where cell phones are impressively widespread, colorful billboards advertising the opportunity to send and receive money in real time and at no additional cost have become ubiquitous. Telephone companies use different names for this kind of service, yet the gist is always the same: transferring money via cell phone and through cell phone technology. The amount may vary significantly, and the same goes for the reasons of the transfer - be it paying for a taxi or sending university money far away. The transfer is instant and can be done at any local agent -after a few seconds, the recipient will be able to access to the funds. And since Tanzanian banks are often expensive and inefficient, most of the people living in the countryside find it more convenient to rely on the hundreds of mobile money transfer agents usually located inside local shops, which are open all day, free from queues and more casual. Another reason behind the success of mobile money trasfer in Tanzania is the nature of the African family - usually an extended, moving family for work and study reasons. In a tricky and unpredictable environment such as Africa, the widespread mobility involving family ties makes it even more crucial to have constant access to money and information - and this is only made possible through cell phones and mobile money transfer.Africa is on the move - with a cell phone in hand.

[...]

08.26.2013

60 finalists from 73 different countries, selected among over 1,000 designers competing for a prize of 500,000 euros. Based in Copenhagen, Index – Design to Improve Life is the biggest design award in the world, promoting innovation delivering a high social impact and focusing on human health and sustainability. A jury of designers, academics and business people has picked this shortlist of design-based solutions to the worlds biggest problems split into five categories: Body, Home, Work, Play and Community, representing the entire human life, inside to out. To help the projects accomplishment, the jurys finalists were invited to Copenhagen to work with companies and social investors in order to develop and refine the business plan behind the design vision. The designers creativity can be expressed through simple and ingenious ideas such as Fresh Paper, a biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable sheet of paper infused with organic Indian spices that keeps fruits & veggies fresh for 2-4 times longer even without a refrigerator thanks to its antibacterial properties. Yet, there are also more complex and expensive design ideas like the neighborhood architectural projects +Pool and Rabaldeparken. +Pool aims at changing the New Yorkers relationship with the river, both developing a very efficent water filtration system river and carving out a slither of the river for leisure - a water-filtering pool floating in the East River. Rabalder Parken (picture) is the first attempt at combining a public need (a water drainage system to avoid flooding) and recreational oasis for skateboarders and other lovers of leisure. The entire complex, which includes a skatepark, parkour equipment, fitness area, hang-out spots furnished with grills, trampolines and a performance stage, is already a  reality in Copenhagen and was nominated for this years Sustainable Concrete Award. Check out all the other projects on the Index website. The Award Ceremony is scheduled for August 29, in the presence of the Royal Family... and of CNN.

[...]

08.21.2013

Fashion photographer Miles Aldridge, considered the heir to Richard Avedon, has two exhibition celebrating his art this summer (until the end of September) in London. Short Breath is the name of the major retrospective at Galleria Brancolini Grimaldi. Presented as large scale prints, the exhibition brings together a body of work which explores sensuality and malaise in modern life through a language of vivid colour and unexplained narratives. Aldridges images of beautiful women placed in a hermetically sealed parallel universe of luxury are both thrilling and unsettling. Executed with the precision of a Hollywood movie, their power derives from the tension created between exterior perfection and internal turmoil. According to Aldridge, these women are "troubled, wounded and confused, questioning who they are now that they have everything they want." I Only Want You to Love Me, at Somerset House, is the largest exhibition of Aldridges work to date and includes large-scale photographic prints from throughout his career. Obsessed by women and colour, Aldridge depicts glamorous, beautiful women with luscious colours, but the technicolour dream world of seemingly perfect women with blank expressions belies a deeper sense of disturbance and neurosis. Aldridge’s work has never been constrained by the demands of the fashion world. Working like an auteur filmmaker, his view of the world is wide and deep. His many influences include film directors such as David Lynch and Federico Fellini. The exhibition coincides with the publication (in a limited edition of 200 signed copies) of the book by the same name, published by Rizzoli and on sale at both galleries.

[...]

08.07.2013

Travelling on a budget does not necessarily mean choosing dull destinations or spending your nights at shabby hotels. The ability to find an affordable accomodation without giving up comforts and good taste is the real virtue of a seasoned globe trotter, the one gift that sets him/her apart from the casual tourist.Yet, what happens when its peak season? Well, the hunt might prove just a little bit harder, but theres still hope for a nice outcome. Here are a few ideas to begin with. A Deco HostelMiamis Freehand Hostel is the first luxury hostel in the US. primo ostello di fascia alta negli USA. A reinvention of the historic Indian Creek Hotel, one of Miami Beach’s classic 1930s Art Deco buildings, it is the right pace for meeting people and find new travel companions. The ambience is young and relaxed, with benefits such as Na vegetable garden, a swimming pool, a ping pong table, a bowling club and a bicycle rental service - not to mention the Specialty Mixology Bar and the rooftop restaurant. They offer both private and shared accomodations (for a maximum of 8 people) in maritime old style, starting at 50 dollars. The Balearic Islands at Low CostThe nice white village of Ciutadela, in Minorca, offers a very Cheap & Chic design accomodation which has nothing to do with the non-descript chain hotel rooms that seem to be so popular around here. The place is just perfect for  having a taste of the authentic island spirit, starting from a nice breakfast on the hotes terrace overlooking the roofs and the blue sea. Doing Time in StockholmA nice stay in jail will certainly help you spare some money. Yet, this is a very special jail - Stockholms nineteenth century town prison, a beautiful building recently restored to become the brand new and stylish Långholmen Hostel. Sleeping in CavesWhat strikes most about the Travellers Cave Hotel is its amazing location: sitting on the top of a hill in Göreme, Cappadocia, it has been built by digging into the side of the mountain. In other words, youll get to sleep in a cave surrounded by volcanic stone walls - yet with all the comforts of the current millennium. In the Shade of the VolcanoWhat about sleeping in an ancient palace in the heart of historic Catania, Sicily, in rooms inspired by European Capitals and by the local natural beauties - the sea, the volcano... You can do it on a budget - at a cheap & chic B&B owned by a young man who will be more than happy to help you discover the most authentic spots in town.

[...]

08.06.2013

Notte della Taranta is Italy’s biggest festival and one of Europe’s most important events dedicated to traditional culture. Based in the Apulian region of Salento, it is specifically devoted to the re-discovery and valorisation of the local folk music and its fusion with other types of music from world music to rock, from jazz to classical music Over the years, many internationally renowed musicians have contributed to its impressive growth: Daniele Sepe , Piero Milesi, Joe Zawinul,Vittorio Cosma, Stewart Copeland, Ambrogio Sparagna, Mauro Pagani, and Ludovico Einaudi. Last year, Goran Bregovic gave to the event one of its highest and most intense moments. The next edition (August 6 to 21), will culminate in the great concert of Melpignano, whose conducting Maestro will be famous cello virtuoso Giovanni Sollima, assisted by other artists who decided to measure themselves with the music tradition of Salento. The festival programme includes 15 travelling concerts by the Orchestra popolare, an eclectic folk band featuring local musicians; this year, the tour will symbolically begin in Taranto, Apulias most suffering city.

[...]

08.04.2013

Italian-born American folk artist Marino Auriti had a project: an imaginary museum that was meant to house all worldly knowledge. The 2013 edition of Venices Art Biennale is inspired by this concept, which is why curator Massimiliano Gioni decided to call it The Encyclopedic Palace. Yet, Auritis project is just a starting point; his dream of a universal, all-embracing knowledge is shared with many other artists, writers, scientists, and prophets who have tried - often in vain - to fashion an image of the world. Roger Caillois investigated nature by sectioning stones in order to discover what was inside them; Shinro Ohtake has been collecting and collaging found materials to create his amazing scrapbooks where the waste of contempoarary visual culture finds new life. The installation by Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser features a collection of model buildings the artists found in 1993 while browsing in a junk shop - 387 items made by an austrian insurance clerk composing a near-encyclopedic inventory of all manner of provincial architectural styles. Even Nikolay Bakhrevs photographs seem to focus on details, capturing the images of common people on the beach, the one and only place in the Soviet Union where it was allowed to show ones body. As usual, the area of Giardini dell’Arsenale hosts the national pavilions, a very diverse collection of works and ideas among which Canadas participation stands out for its main theme, Music for Silence, a journey into the silence and the solitude of the universe through the projection of a lonely girl or the image of a woman speaking sign language. With an exhibition called Dentro/fora (Inside/Outside), Brazil explores universal knowledge through some amazing book sculptures, and yet the most unusual pavillion seems to be Russias: staged on two levels, it features a rain of golden coins falling down from the upper floor to the lower floor - where only women are allowed to enter. The idea is to make them enjoy the goden rain - sheltered by umbrellas, of course - and feel like Danae under the golden shower of Zeus. The Italian pavilion is called vice versa and it takes visitors on an imaginary journey through contemporary Italian art and the complexity and stratification of the country’s artistic and anthropological vicissitudes. The space is divided into seven areas, each of them focusing on a couple of artists in dialogue with one another on diametrically linked concepts such as body/history, view/place comedy/tragedy... “This reflective and dialectical approach”, explains curator Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, “is one of the most profoundly characteristic aspects of Italian contemporary art (and) produces works [...] in which [...] landscape becomes stage, history becomes performance, artwork becomes theater and pop imagery becomes personal history". Arsenale and Giardini dell’Arsenale, Venice, until November 24, 2013

[...]

07.23.2013

There is a theatre in Venice which seems to have risen from the ashes - and it is not La Fenice. A small art decò theatre in the Lido, which was built at the end of the 19th century within a former hospital complex, a medical centre for rachitic studies specialising in thalassotherapy and sun bathing treatments for children afflicted with tuberculosis . We are talking about Teatro Marinoni, named after Mario Marinoni, a specialist in the field of international rights and an extraordinary polymath who contributed exceptionally to reconstructing the social fabric of Venice through applied economics in the first twenty years of the twentieth century. A small architectural gem, the theatre has preserved a beautiful mural by Giuseppe Cherubini which adorns the ceiling, showing putti surrounding Neptune. Yet, what strikes most is the history of this place, a remarkable example of art-therapy ahead of its time as it advanced a synthesis between health and the performance arts. From 1975, all activity in the theatre ceased and the building was abandoned - as was the hospital in 2006. The lack of concern shown over this last decade has left it exposed to vandalism and theft; it was only in 2011 that he re-appropriation program of Teatro Marinoni finally started, followed by the establishment of The Marinoni Committee by actvists and citizens of the local community, who revitalised the Theatre through the creation of inclusive cultural projects to restore this outstanding building and yield great potential for the town. Up until now the Committee has put on cultural events for local people, all with a scarcity of resources yet managed in a way to ensure autonomy, supported by theatre personalities. In line with Mario Marinoni’s motivations and the history of the Theatre which takes his name, the Committee’s aim is to facilitate instances of creative activity and cultural production via a shared organising structure that is duly responsible to the host space. The history of teatro Marinoni is an example of how a small group of skilled and motivated people can manage to preserve culture in a land which often neglects to value its huge artistic heritage.