Posts Tagged ‘Art’

Crème de la Crème – Paris’ Most Fashionable Hotels

When it comes to traveling, I want to be just as impressed with my hotel as I am with every other part of my trip. While hostels will always have a place in my heart, I have embraced the fact that I have grown up and with that change, I have realized just how important comfort is. Finding the right place to lay your head is just as important as packing the right pair of shoes. While, I am personally inclined to use up my travel budget on those special wardrobe pieces and exquisite meals, I am willing to forgo a new pair of shoes for the right hotel.

Paris has a way of enveloping you in its classy, timeless, luxurious air. Is it too much to ask the same from my hotel? I think not. But, Paris is Paris. It is not a city lacking in incredible pastries or beautiful hotels. That said there is nothing worse than booking your hotel months in advance and arriving to find that the photos were deceiving. At the end of the day, finding the right hotel can be tiring. So to help you with your decision by compiling a list of hotels for those that want to know “where to stay in Paris” when wanting a fabulous room that caters to the fashion minded.

So who made our list?

  • The Ritz – This is your quintessential Paris hotel c’est magnifique. Coco Chanel once called this hotel home for many years. That statement alone should be reason enough to stay here, if it’s not, allow the posh interior take you back to an era when tea had a time. If you want to really kick up a notch why not splurge on the Coco Chanel Suite?  This suite is the definition of elegance. Allow the gold chandeliers, large mirrors and rock crystals enchant you – after a few nights – you may find yourself wanting to make this permanent residence as well.
  • If you are looking for a mix of the modern and antique, then look no further than Hotel Belle Juliette. Inspired by the famously mysterious Juliette Recamier and masterminded by designer Anne Gelbard. Every room is a representation of different parts of the life of the French icon. The goal behind this hotel is a refined comfort. You can expect soft feminine touches amidst restored antiques and modern comforts. 
  • If Paris is bringing out the bolder side of you why not give into it and book a room at the Hotel Du Petit Moulin. Swedish designer Christian Lacriox designed the interior of the hotel in 2005. Staying in this hotel makes as much of a statement as the bag you carry. This boutique hotel is a work of art and promises you surfaces that you won’t want to leave unexplored.
  • Hotel Plaza Athenee has perfected the blending of Parisian style and Art Deco. This hotel has a bright interior with a perfect blend of bright and subtle tones. This is the hotel to stay at to fulfill all your shopping needs. Plaza Athenee is located within walking distance from all the high end shops and has private access to the Dior Institute. This is place to stay when you are feeling inclined to indulge. 
  • Looking for something a little nicer on the wallet but still a win when it comes to style? Look no further than Hotel Palm Opera. This hotel offers stunning views, won’t break the bank and embodies modern and minimalist design.  This centrally located hotel is sure please and keep you sitting pretty. 
  • The last hotel on this list is another Christian Lacroix masterpiece, Le Bellechasse Saint Germain.  This hotel is an attraction all its own.  Centrally located this hotel is sure to make your time in Paris memorable. There is nothing shy about this hotel and while it may seem quite busy in regards to décor it manages to not be distracting.  This hotel will feed your artistic soul and leave you feeling inspired. 

Now that you have figured out where to stay, you need to find some things to do in Paris. One of the best ways to get your bearings in a new city is to take a Hop on Hop off tour. They are a great way to get a feel for your surrounds – see the highlights – and decide where you want to actually spend your time. Not interested in taking a bus tour? You can look into a walking tour. If it’s the large group that turns you off there are several small group alternatives, this one even includes lunch at the Eiffel Tower. Now that you have a few activities, and know where you are staying, all that’s left to do is work on your French and pack!


09 2013

Taos Pueblo Powwow

Summertime always makes me nostalgic for my hometown of Taos, NM.  Taos is one of those places that lingers, sticks to you, gets under your skin. They don’t call New Mexico “The Land of Enchantment” for nothing. There’s something about the never ending blue skies, the smell of chamisos (sagebrush) and the protective gaze of Taos Mountain that seduces the senses. There really isn’t a bad time to visit Taos, but if you’re looking for a cultural experience like none other, time your visit during the Taos Pueblo Powwow.

Taos Pueblo is the oldest still inhabited Native American community and is both a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a National Historic Landmark. The Red Willow people of Taos Pueblo have been living there for over 1,000 years. To say this site is historically rich is an understatement.

This weekend from July 13th – 15th you can experience the culture of Taos Pueblo while being introduced to the music and dance of different Native people from all over the nation.  There will also be booths from which you can purchase jewelry, pottery and many other mediums of arts and crafts. While there, be sure to eat some fry bread and red chile for me – seriously, you will never find red chile like this anywhere else. It is the best! Yes I said it, the best!

While you may not want to leave the Pueblo grounds, take some time to walk around Taos. You may just happen across the many murals that were done by the father of yours truly . . . here is a hint.

Have you seen this mural? Where is it located?

For more details on the Taos Pueblo Powwow, click here.

I Prefer My Summer on the Rocks

What do you think of when you hear the words Rocky Mountains? Jagged mountain ranges? Big open skies? Breathtaking views?

What if I told you that not only could you get all of the above, but you could also throw world-class entertainment into the mix? Pack your bags, you now have another reason to visit Colorado, aka the Rocky Mountain State. What is it? Well, Red Rocks Amphitheater of course!

What is Red Rocks Amphitheater? It is a geologically formed amphitheater that provides acoustic perfection! It is the only one of its kind in the world! Based on that alone, it’s not hard to understand why we Coloradans are obsessed with Red Rocks. You can literally fulfill all of your summer needs here.

  • Exercise: This is one of the best places to get your fitness on. Once the weather starts to warm up there are so many Boot Camps that you can partake in. Join a group or go alone–running the stairs at Red Rocks is no joke. Best part is as long as there isn’t a show or festival going on the park is free!
  • Hike: Walking around the Amphitheater can be a trek in itself, but the area surrounding contains some great hiking trails.
  • Film on the Rocks: Wait, what?! Yes, during the summer Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Denver Film Society, and the Arts & Venues Denver collaborate to bring iconic movies to the masses at an affordable rate.  You can find me this year at the showings for Spirited Away and (ahem) the Notebook – Ryan Gosling – I’m just sayin’.
  • Concerts: I mean hello! Red Rocks is a favorite place to play for so many artists. And I am going to say it; there is no such thing as a bad show at Red Rocks. Seriously, Yanni, would be amazing here – no offense to the Yanni fans out there. You have: your favorite bands, the massive, awe-inspiring sandstones that give the venue its name, panoramic views of Denver and guaranteed amazing sunsets!

I can go on and on but it won’t do you any good. This is something you need to experience for yourself.  Trust me, one show here and I am certain you too will prefer to spend your summers on the rocks.

Check out their website for more information about the history, geology, and events at Red Rocks Amphitheater.

Who would you love to see at Red Rocks? Better yet, what was your favorite show at Red Rocks?

Beached Out in Bali? Get Artsy!

Two Dancers Perform the Kecak Dance in Ubud, Indonesia. Photo by Author.

I’ve never been much of a beach lover. While others seem to enjoy hours upon days of sun and waves, I have about 2 hours of stamina before I’m burned out on my salty-sandy state. I really just go for the company… and maybe a piña colada or two…

I know it sounds blasphemous to say, but after a day at Uluwatu– the Balinese surfer’s paradise– I was a little beached out. Luckily for people like me (I know you’re out there!) there are so many more things to do in Bali than simply beach bum.

Hundreds of years of water-locked culture have evolved into a fascinating art and music scene that make this Southeast Asian destination stand apart from the rest.

  • Balinese Dance: A choir of voices clicking rhythmically creates an unmistakably musical soundtrack for the Kecak Dance. Amongst fire torches, lavishly costumed dancers recreate the story of the Hindu god Rama through emotional gestures and deliberate steps. The Kecak, amongst other Balinese dance performances, makes your annual trip to see the Nutcracker seem like yesterday’s stale bread, so if you have any interest in the tradition of Bali, a glimpse at Balinese dance is essential.
  • Traditional Art: Whether you have a trained eye or are simply intrigued by the stunning sarongs and elaborate wooden statues around town, you have to make a trip to an art workshop during your trip to Bali. Batik, woodcarving, and silver craft are among the many traditional art forms that are thriving on the island. You can watch artists work for free at one of the many factories as long as you’re willing to at least browse the gallery when you’re finished.

    Making Beads at a Bali Silver Shop

    Making Beads at the Silver Shop. Photo by Author.

  • Local Music: The islandy influence has made modern Balinese music a combination of reggae and mellow rock. Look for restaurants featuring live musicians for a casual sampling of local rhythms or spend an evening at a concert for a bit of Balinese culture. If you’re feeling especially inspired by the island breeze, join in on a beach jam session or sing along with the band after the bar closes to covers of Sublime and the Red Hot Chili Peppers–songs that feel so much more inspiring by the sea.
  • Contemporary Art: Indonesia has a surprising presence of modern art forms created by young people straying from the traditional variety. Often, art schools will hold exhibitions where you can check out the artistic perspective of Southeast Asian youths through funky batiks or abstract sculptures. Also, keep an eye out for cafes and restaurants that feature the work of local artists for a bit of culture while taking your morning coffee.

Whether or not you’re tired of the beach, the unique cultural offerings of Bali are wonders no traveler should miss! The enriching artistic side of Bali spills out as far as the sand and you’ve gotta see it to believe it, whether formally or more casually.

So wipe off that sand, put that sundress back on and dig into Balinese culture! If you’re feeling inspired, check out some of these great tours of Bali with Gray Line.

Whats your favorite way to escape the beach? (If you can’t see Facebook comments, click here: Beached Out in Bali? Get Artsy)

Denver Bucket List

When many people think of my hometown of Denver, they think of a cowboy boot wearin’, steak and potatoes eatin’, gone skiin’ or gone fishin’ kind of city. If you’re one of those people, you’re in for a surprise because Denver has a lot to offer culturally. We have an ever evolving, diverse and exciting downtown area. We also have a great art scene with several art districts and the impressive Denver Art Museum, or “DAM”. Architecturally inspiring, DAM also houses a wide variety of unique exhibits. We also have some pretty great things do in the great outdoors (gasp!). With places like Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Boulder Flat Irons and Hanging Lake to name a few, it’s not hard to understand why Denver is consistently rated one of the happiest and healthiest cities in America. Even if you’re less outdoors inclined, there’s a great Denver gaming scene. The options are endless!

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The Man Who Lived On His Bike – Epic Time Lapse Video

THE MAN WHO LIVED ON HIS BIKE from Guillaume Blanchet on Vimeo.

Inspired by his father the biker, Filmmaker Guillaume Blanchet spent 382 days exploring life on two wheels. All aspects of life take on a new appeal when experienced by bike, like… shaving, cooking eggs and winning a tennis match… Check it out! Then tell us your favorite biking story in the Facebook comments below.

(if you’re having trouble seeing Facebook comments below, click here)

Best Bookstores on the West Coast

Without starting a coastal civil war, the West Coast is by far the best coast for bookstores. Laid back and socially conscious, these temples of knowledge are the perfect places to browse for reading material during your next vacation. So take a stroll through these bookstore aisles and stop to smell the sweet literature.

The Elliot Bay Book Company – Seattle, Washington

Seattle has some of the best coffee in the country as well as some of the worst rain. Put these two things together and you have the ideal situation for ducking into a cozy bookstore and browsing for a book for your West Coast trip. The commander-in-chief of the Seattle scene is the Elliot Bay Book Company. This book selling pioneer recently moved to the hipster neighborhood of Capital Hill and occupies an incredible new space with artistically arranged books. With weekly readings and cedar wood shelves, this is the perfect place to hang out in your best Gortex rain jacket, soy milk latte in hand.

Powell’s Books – Portland, Oregon

Books, books and more books! Known for it’s giant selection of gently used (and therefore more affordable) books, the odds are that you will likely leave Powell’s Books with an armful of books about Rick Steve’s European adventures or the complete Lonely Planet series. The flagship store carries over one million titles and is a bargain hunter’s dream. While the interior of the building is not exactly inspiring, the literary selection is worth the visit. This will be the best place to snag your copy of the new Portlandia guidebook when it comes out in November 2012. Cannot wait.

City Lights – San Francisco, California

Located in the Italian neighborhood of North Beach in San Francisco, City Lights is a small, unassuming storefront where the cream of the Beatnik crop used to gather and be cool. And when I say cool, I mean write amazingly creative works that shattered the dominant assumptions of their generation. Today this San Francisco bookstore deserves a special kudos for keeping the anti-establishment vibe alive. An independent publisher with an impressive stock of politically progressive and worldly literature, this is a damn good bookstore. The cherry on top? Upstairs there is a complete collection of works by all of the Beatnik generation poets. Cool man, cool.


02 2012

Van Gogh Meets iPad

The enigmatic genius Vincent Van Gogh, shortly before his untimely death, famously said, “One day, I believe I will have an exhibition of my own in a café.”

Now, iPad app designers have created an incredibly rich exhibition experience of the master Dutch painter’s life work that will fit in your book bag.

Whether you take it to a café or not is up to you …

The app “Van Gogh’s Dream,” created in concert with the renowned Institut Van Gogh, is a beautiful

and thought-provoking window into the turbulent life and genius career of one of the world’s most renowned artists.

The app is like flipping through an immense multimedia “book” – with striking reproductions of many of Van Gogh’s paintings on one page, to personal letters (images of the original hand-written notes, of course) on another, and expert analysis and art history on the next.

The iPad proves – again – to be the ultimate publishing platform for subjects that lend themselves to visual as well as audio, video and plain-text information. Art history of all kinds fits particularly well.

No doubt someone will open “Van Gogh’s Dream” up in a café somewhere, some time, further cementing Van Gogh’s now absurd, understated prophecy.

But perhaps the best way to take advantage of the amazing app is to tote it along with you on a tour of the Van Gogh Museum, as part of an Amsterdam tour. It’s a digital companion that perfectly complements any tour of the great painter’s work.


01 2012

Aeromsith in Buenos Aires

Several months back, I was roped into purchasing tickets to the impending Aerosmith concert. I was hesitant to finalize the booking, because Steven Tyler struck me as little more than an aged rockstar, who had reinvigorated his career by making creepy comments on American Idol. Nonetheless, my better half dissuaded me from making preemptive judgments and we bought two tickets to a concert that I would’ve overlooked on most days.

Bus Scramble

The concert venue was La Plata Stadium – almost a two hour journey from where I reside. Since public transport is notorious for taking longer than expected in Capital Federal, I left work at approximately 2pm to arrive at the bus station by 3:25pm.

Once we disembarked from the subte, we quietly hustled through the hawkers and shoppers of Retiero – an area characterized by a multitude of smells ranging from empanadas to sun-baked urine. It’s one of those places where English speakers (or accented Spanish-speakers) should keep quiet to avoid being noticed.

In Argentina, a visit to the bus station normally coincides with frantic running as you try to find out which platform your bus will be departing from. Your ticket gives you a vague window of ten possibilities and you are left stranded in uncertainty, waiting on a suspended TV screen to indicate the correct platform. Our number appeared on the screen and we shot away to platform 64, where we joined the queue behind about ten other people.

Time Traveling to La Plata         

After becoming an expert at Blackberry’s answer to Arkanoid, we arrived in La Plata to a community trapped in a giant time capsule. The absence of ATMs put us in the precarious position of only having 40 Pesos (about $10) for lunch. Fortunately, almost all La Plata homeowners had converted their stoops into Chori Pan (Argentine hotdog) stands. We were forced to wash down our the crusty chori pans with warm Pepsi, because no one seemed to have any beer – a notable anomaly given that a major rock band was only a few hours from performing.

Entering the Stadium          

La Plata Stadium serves as testament to the architectural heritage of Buenos Aires. Walking through the entrance, I was immediately taken by its magnitude and the intricate design of the roof. While admiring the stadium, I noticed that the stage had been invaded by a largely forgettable band attempting to imitate Steven Tyler. The departure of this ensemble of unoriginality was met by a uniform sigh of relief from the steadily growing crowd.


Aerosmith was scheduled to play at 10pm and they milked every minute to soak the crowd in anxiety. They covered the stage with a giant black sheet and performed their first song from behind this screen – leaving the entire audience in goose-necked desperation to sneak a peak at the infamous lead singer. After the first song, the giant sheet dropped and Tyler stormed straight into the next track with the intensity of a man half his age. Charisma is a rare gift and Tyler has it in such abundance that the band members of Cold Play must be questioning the fairness of the universe.

It was easy to see why the band has enjoyed such longevity. As the fulcrum of the show, Tyler shared the limelight by affording each musician a long solo. The show, which flashed by in seconds, served as a reminder that time is a relative concept.

Rushing Back         

Aerosmith played the traditional encore and the end of the show marked the commencement of a mad rush to exits. While crushed between a wall and the departing gut of an aging metal head, I had flashbacks to the German stadium stampede and this renewed my drive to get the hell out of there. We were eventually spat out of the exit tunnel with a relieved groan and we made our way to the bus stop. After a short fight about jumping the queue, we hopped onto the bus and returned to the city with a heightened appreciation for geriatric rock stars.


11 2011

Art Basel takes over Miami for 10th anniversary festival

Even if you’re not the type to paint, sculpt, mold, design or collect the world’s great modern art, you can be part of the planet’s most stylish art crowd by visiting Miami Beach in December, for the return of the Art Basel festival.

This year Miami marks 10 years of the major art confab, quickly rising in prominence in the art world as the leading showcase for artists in the Americas. The show is the sister of Art Basel in Switzerland (thus the name), the granddaddy of art festivals held every June since 1970.

This year, Miami Beach will be swarmed with thousands of creators, collectors and aficionados alike from Dec. 1-4, and more than 260 galleries and 2,000-plus artists will be decking out the Miami Beach Convention Center. You can visit the festival’s website HERE.

If you’ve ever had the chance to walk the halls of a great art festival, like the Art Basel shows, you know how entertaining they can be – even if art’s not your bag, necessarily. It’s fun to cruise booth to booth and seek what suits your specific eye. There is no right or wrong, just preference, and it’s terrifically entertaining to play critic for a day.

Even if you can’t make it to the convention floor itself, this year there is a cool public art component as well. The festival is pairing with a local museum to transform popular Collins Park into a huge public art space, and a massive outdoor display at the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center will be showing modern video art productions sure to dazzle.


10 2011