November 20, 2012
Photo by Mike Rosenthal
Modern Family’s Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his fiancé, Justin Mikita, are taking a stylish stand for marriage equality this holiday season with a new collection of limited-edition bow ties ($25 each). Inspired by Ferguson’s penchant for red-carpet pizazz, the couple started Tie the Knot, a foundation to help fund states that are fighting for same-sex marriage. For the recently engaged couple, the endeavor is personal in more ways than one, with many of the bow-tie designs slyly referencing their home. “That one is inspired by the afghan on our couch!” says Ferguson of one model. “No one is going to know that except for me—and, well, anyone who comes to our house and happens to be wearing that tie.”
Another piece in the collection resembles an upholstered chair in the couple’s living room, while others riff on a book of Scottish tartans Ferguson found in his late grandmother’s house. Although the actor laments that Modern Family creators shy away from casual bow ties on the show, which seems to be the only reason his character, Mitchell, doesn't wear them, he hopes Tie the Knot ties will be worn on the Emmy-award winning sitcom soon—complete with their signature, and significant, owl motif, which appears on several of the designs.
“We think owls are incredibly cute,” says Ferguson. “Owls represent wisdom, but they also represent patience and longevity. People who are in the fight for marriage equality have to take on those attributes.” thetiebar.com; tietheknot.org.
November 15, 2012
Image by Sheila Elias
After years of using a paintbrush, Miami-based artist Sheila Elias is exploring a new medium—digital painting on Apple’s iPad. Vividly colorful and full of movement, the large-scale works, printed on canvas and then touched up with paint, appear to be portraits from another world.
In October, Elias demonstrated her craft during a live event at the Apple Store on the Upper West Side of New York. After showing at Manhattan’s Mayson Gallery, she is taking her series, “iPaint on My iPad,” to Florida for a pre–Art Basel Miami Beach kick-off exhibit starting December 4. (She will also be showing her more traditional works within Red Dot Art Fair, which is part of Art Basel.) We caught up with the artist for insight into her innovative technique.
Q: How is using an iPad to create art different than painting with a brush?
A: I painted these without tools and enlarged abstract shapes that took on mysterious, unnatural forms. The iPad differs [from painting with a brush] because it has impact in the degree of immediate responsiveness. And the final composition is translated to a larger format.
Q: Has it been a difficult transition?
A: I have been painting on my iPad since 2011. Creating on the iPad is different than traditional painting and drawing in that you are confined to the limitations of the app and must expand your abilities to take into account those boundaries.
Q: I noticed that many of your works have mythical or celestial titles—Sphinx and Griffin, Strange Deities, Winged Goddess. How does using technology to create art connect with these otherworldly themes?
A: I love the juxtaposition of antiquities with the modern universe. Painting with your finger is what the cavemen did, and I find it so amazing that today’s technology could relate the past to the present. On view by appointment from December 4 to 9; 1510 NE 130th St., North Miami; 305-892-9198 sheilaelias.com.
November 15, 2012
Courtesy of The Outlook Lodge
Nothing says “hideaway” like a stay at The Outlook Lodge, set in the tiny mountain town of Green Mountain Falls, located northwest of Colorado Springs. The six-room escape, which celebrated its grand opening on November 1, was designed to be completely hands-off. Guests make reservations online, and a key awaits them upon arrival in the mailbox. “You don’t have to see or deal with anybody,” says owner Christian Keesee (who jokes that it is the perfect place to have an affair).
Originally a parish house, the Victorian-style structure dates back to 1889 and sits just above the village church. When designing its rebirth as a luxury retreat, Keesee drew inspiration from the comfortable luxury of New York’s Bowery Hotel and the sleek minimalism of the Thunderbird Hotel in Marfa, Texas. His careful planning paid off. The lodge’s true charm is in the details, from the rustic wraparound porch with views of the mountains to a library of specially curated books about the region.
Keesee’s enthusiasm doesn’t stop at the lodge. He is passionate about art (the guest rooms feature pieces from his personal collection) and was integral in helping start the town’s Green Box Arts Festival, which is held every summer. He has since transformed many of Green Mountain Falls’ rundown buildings into artist-in-residence studios, and hopes to have a “green house” accommodation for artists open in time for next year’s event. “It’s about helping to restore interest in a charming town that time seemed to have forgotten,” he says. Rooms, from $90; 6975 Howard St.; outlookgmf.com.
November 15, 2012
If ushering in this New Year calls for something memorable, Twist restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas is the place to be. The five-star eatery will host renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire, who will create a special New Year’s Eve offering for December 31. With a stable of successful restaurants around the world, like Reflets in Dubai, Gaya in Paris and Sketch in London, Gagnaire knows his way around delicious food—and there is no more perfect time to experience his handiwork.
The New Year’s Eve celebration features two seatings of a four-course ($395) or six-course ($595) menu highlighting items like poached fillet of Dover sole with Fanny Bay oysters; spiny lobster fricassee with lemongrass, rhubarb and mango étouffe; grilled Tajima beef tenderloin; chocolate parfait and clementine granité. Additional wine pairings run $175 (for four-course) and $225 (for six-courses).
If New Year’s Eve is already planned, try the three-course ($110) or six-course ($195) preview menus December 28 to 30 and January 1 to 3. And those who really want to live it up have the Ultimate Presidential New Year’s Eve package ($60,000), including a three-night stay at the hotel, the gala New Year’s Eve dinner with wine pairings, a meet and greet with chef Gagnaire and a brunch on New Year’s Day at fusion restaurant Mozen. New Year’s Eve dinner, first seating, 5:30 P.M., 6 P.M. or 6:30 P.M.; second seating, 9 P.M., 9:30 P.M. or 10 P.M.; 3752 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; 702-590-8882; mandarinoriental.com/lasvegas.
November 15, 2012
Courtesy of Assouline Publishing
To say that Debra Shriver is in love with New Orleans is an understatement as big as her city’s personality. A 12th-generation Southerner, Shriver, along with her husband, bought and restored a home there after Hurricane Katrina, a project documented in her first book, Stealing Magnolias: Tales From a New Orleans Courtyard. Her newest effort, In the Spirit of New Orleans (Assouline)—part historical narrative, part travel guide—walks readers through her town and all its richly fascinating culinary, musical and cultural hallmarks. Shriver, who splits her time between The Big Easy and New York, chatted with us about the sensorial allure that keeps people coming back for more.
Q: Wynton Marsalis wrote the book’s evocative forward and clearly gets New Orleans. What does it take to really understand this town?
A: It’s all about the five senses. There’s so much to see—architecture, the French Quarter and the Garden District, the levees along the revered Mississippi. But scent and sound are the real seducers. It’s the invisible that will hex you—the smell of jasmine or beignets and the music wafting from the corner bar. I always say, three visits and you'll need a realtor.
Q: Music and food are enormously important. How best to tackle both?
A: When you're sampling the culture, be sure to mix old and new. Book tickets for classic jazz haunts like Snug Harbor and Tipitina’s, but also drop by Irvin Mayfield’s new I Club for the latest mix of locals and visiting legends. Take the same approach with culinary choices. Go to Commander’s [Palace], August and Emeril’s, but also try Cochon Butcher. And don't forget about the cocktails. Start with the Old Absinthe House and French 75, and move on to SoBou, Bar Tonique and Cure. Your motto should be: I saw, I sipped, I supped and I slept ... on the way home.
Q: It is really like its own little country. How has it managed to hold onto its personality?
A: New Orleans was founded by Latins, not Anglo-Saxons, unlike Charleston [South Carolina] and Savannah [Georgia]. New Orleans was also geographically separated by the river, so it didn't associate itself with the Americas. French fathers, Spanish ancestors and a steady influx of Africans and Haitians have blended and whipped up the most diverse culture in the U.S. today. It’s the proverbial melting pot, serving up the headiest bowl of gumbo ever.
Q: What keeps you there?
A: New Orleans is one big seduction. I’ve written two books on the city hoping to single out what is so magical about it. I can think of a million reasons to love it, but it’s impossible to just name one. It really was, in my case, what the French call a coup de foudre—love at first sight. The moment I arrive, I do a slow, long exhale. My breathing changes, the pace slows, the air is warm and embracing, every meal is a sensation and the sound of jazz is always playing somewhere. What else is there?
November 08, 2012
Conrad Marca-Relli, Untitled, 1960, collage and mixed media on canvas, 91 x 102 cm, Courtesy Archivio Marca-Relli, Parma
The 60-year career of American artist Conrad Marca-Relli plays out in London as the Ronchini Gallery heads into the final weeks of its exhibit “Conrad Marca-Relli: The Architecture of Action” (through November 24). The first solo show of his work in the UK, it is something special.
“Time has already dimmed the glow of much late-20th century art,” says curator Kenneth Baker. “Marca-Relli’s best efforts still look solid.”
Born in Boston, the artist was an essential figure in the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, along with contemporaries like Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Jackson Pollock. Specializing in collage, he used oil paint and other materials (plastic, aluminum, newsprint, fabric) to create periodically colorful, often sizable works that toggled between structural and abstract. The exhibition includes Death of Jackson Pollock, which memorialized the evening Marca-Relli identified Pollack’s body at the scene of the car crash that killed him. Macabre? Perhaps. But also exemplary of how personal Marca-Relli’s art tends to be.
“Collectors who own examples of [his] work—especially from the ’50s and early ’60s —tend to be passionately attached to it,” says Baker. “People who remember it mainly from seeing it in reproduction are often struck, as am I, by the assertiveness of the work’s physical presence and texture.” Through November 24; 22 Dering St.; 44-20/7629-9188; ronchinigallery.com.
November 08, 2012
Courtesy of Simone Handbag Museum
Occupying a prime position in Gangnam, one of the most fashion-forward neighborhoods in Seoul, South Korea, the Simone Handbag Museum is a shrine to the everyday (and often coveted) accessory. The collection, devised by fashion curator Judith Clark, is comprised of more than 300 items dating from the 15th century to today’s trendiest It bags. Most of these are European, including exquisitely crafted reticules and “sweetmeat” bags, gunmetal mesh purses from the late 19th century and recent creations like an Alexander McQueen clutch printed with the Union Jack.
“Handbags are a very interesting subject in both a fashion and women’s sociology context,” says Dawn Jung, senior curator at the museum. “The path of design as it changed through history tells many stories in terms of material, shape and size.”
The museum, which opened its doors in July to great fanfare, is the pet project of Kenny Park, CEO of Simone Acc. Collection Ltd., a producer of handbags for some of the world’s largest fashion houses. The eye-catching building, shaped like a handbag complete with a handle, houses temporary exhibitions and international loans that will rotate through the museum’s top-floor space. “Carosello Italiano,” the current exhibit (through November 18), displays Italian handbags and landmark pieces from the likes of Fendi, Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana.
A DIY workshop occupies the museum’s basement, allowing visitors to indulge their dreams of becoming the next Kate Spade. For a fee, a master craftsman assists guests in designing and constructing a handbag, from cutting the leather to sewing the creation into its final shape. 17 Dosan-daero 13gil (Sinsa-dong), Gangnam-gu; 82-2/3444-0912; simonehandbagmuseum.co.kr.
November 08, 2012
Courtesy of Kenya Tourism Board
Lamu, an island located within the Lamu Archipelago near the northern coast of Kenya, is one of those tranquil spots that many travelers may not know. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001, its old city is considered the eldest and best-preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa—and its Lamu Cultural Festival, held November 15 to 18, showcases its heritage.
Marked by idyllic charm and a rich commitment to Swahili architecture and history, Lamu has brought a slice of island life to festival-goers since 2000. Expect traditional dances, local crafts, dhow boat races, a Swahili bridal ceremony, poetry, music and a food bazaar of traditional Swahili cuisine—all held throughout the town at landmarks like Lamu Fort, Mkunguni Square, Zahidi Ngumi Hall and the seafront. “Lamu: 30 Years Ago,” an exhibit by Okoko Ashikoye, a photographer with the National Museums of Kenya, helps orient guests even further, bringing a fascinating African destination into even clearer focus. Magicalkenya.com.
November 07, 2012
Photo courtesy of the Napa Valley Film Festival
Move over, Sundance: A little film festival in California wine country is poised to make big waves. In its second year, the five-day Napa Valley Film Festival (November 7 to 11) will show more than 100 independent films and expects to attract nearly 50,000 attendees.
Founder Marc Lhormer and his wife, Brenda, have high hopes for the festival’s success as an end-of-year bookend to Sundance, which kicks off the movie-going season each January in Utah. In addition to paying homage to independent film, the festival also showcases Napa Valley wine culture. Set up like four festivals in one, it features approximately 150 wineries across Napa, Yountville, St. Helena and Calistoga—towns that directly participate in the event. Best of all, each city has its own wine pavilions, meaning attendees don’t need to drive and are free to slow down and enjoy each other’s company. The festival has an old-fashioned European vibe, according to Lhormer. “You never actually have to leave your town,” he says.
This year’s highlights include the festival gala, with a gourmet meal cooked by 22 top Napa Valley chefs, and, of course, California wine tastings (November 8). As for film, sommeliers and foodies from all over the world are flying in for the world premiere of Somm, a documentary about four sommeliers preparing for the notoriously difficult Master Sommelier exam (fewer than 200 people have passed the test since 1969). “We look for positive stories about people trying to do great things, or working through challenges and finding hope and inspiration,” says Lhormer of his selection process. “Those are the movies we like and they tend to go better with the wine.” November 7 to 11; day passes, from $50; patron passes, from $2,500; 707-226-7500; napavalleyfilmfest.org.
October 31, 2012
Photo courtesy of Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Two masseuses, half the time. That’s the benefit of the Two on One service from the custom men’s menu of Lapis Spa at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. With no compromises made to the zen-like stone interiors and glowing waterfalls, the men’s treatments are quick and efficient, yet still relaxing. The 50-minute Refuel facial ($135), for example, includes a blue algae mask, which nourishes and regenerates the skin, while an aesthetician massages the scalp and feet. We received a seaweed and salt scrub ($70) to detoxify and remineralize the skin, had a Vichy multi-jet shower and underwent a Two on One back, leg and foot massage ($160) in less than an hour. 4441 Collins Ave.; 305-674-4772; fontainebleau.com.