August 16, 2012
Courtesy Nomadic Expeditions
It isn’t often that one gets the chance to travel with a roster of experts who not only know the chosen destination inside and out but also have years of experience navigating uncharted territory. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Nomadic Expeditions is making that happen, assembling an accomplished, innovative team for an 11-day trip (October 3–14) to Mongolia—considered one of the last untouched wilderness areas of Asia.
Jalsa Urubshurow, Nomadic Expeditions CEO and founder, will lead 15 guests along with Peter Matthiessen, author of the National Book Award–winning The Snow Leopard; naturalist and birder Victor Emanuel; and Costas Christ, an editor and columnist for National Geographic Traveler and an expert on ecotourism. “I really wanted to create a once-in-a-lifetime trip that showcased Mongolia’s best-kept secrets in a genuine and distinctive way, while sharing my perspective along with those of my peers, who are some of the sharpest minds in sustainable travel and conservation,” says Urubshurow.
Guests will see the famed Gandan Monastery and meet Hamba Lama, the highest Buddhist lama. Accommodations include traditional gers at the Three Camel Lodge, a top-rated ecolodge in the Gobi Desert. Chances to see animals like the Przewalski’s horse, the world’s last wild equine species, which resides in Hustain Nuruu National Park, and lammergeiers (bearded vultures), which call the foothills of the Altai Mountains home, abound. Visits to places like Bayan-Ulgii, Mongolia’s westernmost province, to see Kazak golden eagles hunt at the Golden Eagle Festival, provide an authentic perspective. And a gala reception and dinner at the Fine Arts Museum in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, celebrates the journey.
The rare glimpse into the country’s beauty, culture and history is matched only by the opportunity to travel side-by-side with such an esteemed assemblage. It may very well be a trip of a lifetime, and the impression left on its guests may just last that long. October 3–14; $13,800 a person (double occupancy); 800-998-6634; nomadicexpeditions.com.
August 16, 2012
Textile and carpet designer Madeline Weinrib, known for her way with color and pattern, is no stranger to the world of interiors. In a new exhibit at the Southampton location of Sebastian + Barquet gallery, she contributes her visually provocative fabrics to a lineup of iconic furnishings, upholstering the pieces of furniture in characteristically inventive ways. “I like to challenge myself during the creative process and explore new, unexpected pairings,” says Weinrib. “In revisiting these classic furnishings and using them as a canvas for my own work, I wanted to showcase the original designs, while simultaneously re-introducing them to viewers from a fresh, contemporary perspective.”
Pieces by noted designers like Vladimir Kagan (known for the Erica chaise lounge), Gio Ponti (father of the Leggera side chair) and Osvaldo Borsani (the man behind the P32 lounge chair) are reimagined in Weinrib’s modern coverings. A three-seat sofa by Ico and Luisa Parisi is swathed in brown-stripe ikat; the Erica chaise, inspired by Kagan’s late wife, gets a cloak of lavender Egerton jacquard. (Prone to falling for particular colors, Weinrib is currently in a love affair with purple.) The approach is intriguing, stirring up a new appreciation for those famous lines. Through September; 67 Jobs Ln.; 631-238-0456; sebastianbarquet.com; madelineweinrib.com.
August 14, 2012
© Martin Katz
Writer Aimee Lee Ball described Martin Katz, the iconic jewelry designer for the rich and famous, as “Hollywood’s Best Supporting Jeweler” in the pages of Departures magazine in 1999. Now Katz—who draws inspiration from vintage pieces, modern trends and art (everything from Belle Epoque to Art Nouveau)—has turned his sights to the natural world, culminating in his latest offering, the Nature Collection.
“Nature inspires all artists,” Katz says. “To recreate it through one’s own eyes is the ultimate challenge, as it is already artistically perfect. As I attempt to make my own interpretations of nature’s beauty, I try to add whimsy and three-dimensional depth to bring out the jewelry aspect as well as wearability and interest.”
The collection features both new and vault pieces, all one of a kind, including earrings, necklaces and brooches. One of Katz’s favorites is a tulip-shaped brooch. “The colors are so vibrant and changeable,” he explains. “Tulip bulbs make the pin very playful and versatile.” Prices available upon request; 9540 Brighton Way, Beverly Hills; 310-276-7200; martinkatz.com.
August 09, 2012
Photo courtesy of SLT
Just when it seems as though another new workout couldn’t possibly wedge itself into the fitness universe, the next big thing comes along. This time it is SLT Yoga (the “SLT” stands for Strengthen Lengthen Tunes), which debuted this spring. An offshoot of the original SLT (Strengthen Lengthen Tone)—a Pilates-based group workout done on a Megaformer, a souped-up version of a traditional Pilates Reformer—the yoga classes set to music were borne of the nearly inescapable popularity of downward dogs and sun salutations. But make no mistake: SLT Yoga is more about muscle overload than oms.
The creation of Erin Jacques, formerly the director of yoga at Exhale, is designed to get results. We tried Hardcore, a challenging combination of Vinyasa flow and a particularly pointed—or, depending on your outlook, particularly cruel—focus on the core. Planks of all kinds (on forearms, bending alternating knees; on hands, bringing knee to elbow) interplay with traditional poses and sequences. Breaking a sweat is a guarantee, and since coasting through a class simply isn’t an option, your body is constantly engaged. Two additional options stoke things even more: Fast-paced Shred weaves in cardio moves and strength training with light weights; Yoga Flow takes the practice in a decidedly athletic direction. 37 W. 57th St., Suite 701; 212-355-1737; sltnyc.com.
August 09, 2012
Courtesy of Hotel Madeline Telluride
For more than 30 years, foraging fans from all over the country have pilgrimaged to Telluride, a mountain town in southwestern Colorado, to take part in a weekend-long celebration of mushrooms. This year, in keeping with the tradition, the luxury mountain resort Hotel Madeline hosts its second annual Foraging Dinner on August 18.
Twenty guests will participate in a guided foraging hike led by local expert John Sir Jesse, who has been hunting for mushrooms in Telluride for more than 34 years. After the hike comes dinner, choreographed by the Madeline’s chef de cuisine, Bud Thomas, and his cooking team. Inspired by the day’s bounty, they will whip up a multicourse meal—served in the open air—incorporating foraged ingredients like wild arugula, onion and, of course, mushrooms, including shiitake, chanterelles and morels.
Thomas prefers to keep things vague when asked where his group forages (“Somewhere near Lizard Head Pass,” is all he will give away), and for good reason. “Mushrooming is a lot like panning for gold,” he says. “If you find gold you don’t want anyone else to know where it is. Once the mushrooms are picked, they’re gone—so we cherish our spots.”
Because the dishes are based on the day’s finds, they tend to have a spontaneous, whimsical quality, including one of Thomas’s favorite fall dishes: a play on Stroganoff, cooked with wild mushrooms, garlic, shallots, onions and truffle oil and served over asparagus confit. But for Thomas, the best part of the dinner is being one with nature at 10,000 feet. “We are literally going to sit down and eat where we foraged—right in the thick of it,” he says. “It’s like setting up a stove and table in the middle of the best farmers market in the world and just eating right there. It’s genuinely spectacular.” August 18 hike and dinner, $150; rooms, from $295; 568 Mountain Village Blvd.; 970-369-0880; hotelmadelinetelluride.com.
August 09, 2012
Marilyn Monroe, America’s favorite sexpot and the thrice-divorced star of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot, passed away at the age of 36 in August 1962 from a drug overdose, alone in her bedroom with the phone in her hand. Fifty years later, the Salvatore Ferragamo–founded Lungarno Collection is honoring the actress with the black-and-white photography exhibit “On the Heels of Marilyn,” at Gallery Hotel Art in Florence (through September 15). The exhibition, organized by Galleria Brancolini Grimaldi, features intimate photographs of the iconic actress, including casual shots of her primping in front of a makeup mirror and lounging by the pool and photos taken with her third husband, Death of a Salesman playwright Arthur Miller.
“We wanted to celebrate Marilyn Monroe and her extraordinary life,” says Phillip Haller, vice president of the Lungarno Collection. “We hope to remember her talent and ultimately inspire guests with her unique career and lifetime.”
Just blocks away, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum (museoferragamo.it) hosts a second Monroe-inspired exhibit (through January 28, 2013). The provocative starlet was a loyal Ferragamo customer, and the museum has dozens of pairs of her iconic pumps on display, not to mention photographs, film clips and documents—including an order for Ferragamo shoes handwritten by Monroe herself. Two-night Florence City Break package, including entry to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, from $228 a night; Gallery Hotel Art; 5 Vicolo dell’Oro; 39-55/27263; lungarnocollection.com.
August 09, 2012
For travelers hoping to connect with a city’s rich cultural heritage, there is no more expedient (or lavish) way to do it than by staying in a hotel with some history of its own. Amsterdam’s new Conservatorium Hotel, which opened this past winter, is just that. The castle-like building was designed at the turn of the 20th century by famed Dutch architect Daniel Knuttel, and its construction in Museumplein neighborhood marked a turning point for the enclave, initiating its transformation from a seedy area into the glamorous shopping and museum district it is today. (Brunello Cucinelli and the Van Gogh Museum are more or less equidistant from the hotel’s wrought-iron gates.)
The architectural landmark has had past lives as the headquarters of the Rijkspostspaarbank and, most recently, the home of the Conservatorium of Amsterdam, the country’s largest classical music conservatory. A meticulous, three-and-a-half-year restoration, spearheaded by Milanese designer Piero Lissoni, has rendered the hotel a playful (and beautiful) mix of antique glamour and ultramodern influences. Original stained glasswork remains in the stone staircases, the brick wall in the dining room was recovered from the old bank vault and the sounds of string quartets float through the dark-paneled hallways. But the 129 guest rooms themselves are furnished with sleek Italian designs by the likes of Kartell and Cassina, and a striking glass-and-steel atrium now encloses the building’s old courtyard. The state-of-the-art Akasha Wellbeing Center, a 10,000-square-foot spa with decidedly modern amenities, features a Watsu pool, sound therapy and an exhaustive list of spa treatments.
The hotel’s clash of aesthetics might feel schizophrenic elsewhere, but the end result here feels both historic and hip—Old World happily meeting new luxury head-on. Van Baerlestraat 27; 31-20-570-0000; conservatoriumhotel.com.
August 03, 2012
Marie Godeau and Alexandra Zelman-Doring. Photo by Adolfo Doring
The Flea Theater hosts a three-week run of Act Before You Speak, a new production of Hamlet by Throes Theater company (opening August 3). The 70-minute play, written for two women (who remain silent throughout) and a violin, distills the words of the original down to their composite emotions—grief, love, revenge, madness. (Hedvig Claesson directs the production, with an original score composed by Jirí Kaderábek and Mahir Çetiz.) Each scene wraps itself around a single quotation from Shakespeare’s work, seeking to crack open and expose the organs of the text, bending physics so socks become skulls and the entire story of Hamlet occurs in six distinct encounters with six different characters. We sat down with the stars of the play, author and actress Alexandra Zelman-Doring and actress Marie Godeau.
Q: What was the inspiration for the play?
Alexandra Zelman-Doring: It developed organically from work in the theater. Actions, encounters—we’re going for more universal elements. So we have Hamlet and his best friend, Hamlet and his mother. Today you find a lot of Shakespeare that’s all about the language, and you forget what’s physical.
Q: Would you be able to do this without music?
AZD: Well, I wouldn’t want to. Put it that way.
Marie Godeau: The music is so present, and the violinist [acclaimed composer and violinist Ana Milosavljevic] is constantly on stage. There are no blackouts, no curtains. There are some moments where she doesn’t play, but even in silence she’s present. And she scares people. She is the ghost, she is the narrator—perhaps the puppeteer.
Q: Shakespeare wrote his plays almost entirely as dialogue and speeches. Was there something about Hamlet in particular that called for silence?
AZD: Silence can be a way of speaking. He performs actions that speak as clearly as words, really. Because we’re going for clarity, it’s not supposed to be some super avant-garde you-don’t-know-what-the-fuck-is-going-on performance—it’s really not that. It’s very clear. It’s actually more simple even than the words. Actions can strike at the heart of something.
Q: Like music. Is it because actions don’t play games in the way that words can, through wordplay and double entendre?
MG: Of course there is double entendre and games with words. We do it every day with the way we carry ourselves and our bodies. There’s always duality in what we show and what’s really happening in the inner, inner self. But because that’s all we have onstage, because there are no words, it’s very bare. The audience sees everything.
AZD: We’re better at performing it than we are at speaking about it.
Through August 26; tickets, $20; The Flea Theater, 41 White St.; 212-226-2407; theflea.org.
August 02, 2012
Courtesy Original Travel
There are few things more exotic (or exciting) than a journey to India. Case in point: the 12-day trip through the country offered by UK-based Original Travel, which culminates at the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (October 26–30) in Jodhpur, considered by many to be one of the top ten festivals in the world. Headquartered in the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, the massive musical gathering—held during northern India’s largest full moon of the year—is hosted by His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur and welcomes musicians from all over the world. Vibrant lineups and opportunities to get close to the performers make for an authentic, welcoming vibe that is hard to beat.
The excursion begins in New Delhi, where guests will see sites like the Friday Mosque, the Red Fort and the Old Delhi markets. From there, it’s off to Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) and Jaipur, before ending in Jodhpur for the music extravaganza. Accommodation suggestions include The Claridges in Delhi (claridges.com), Samode Haveli in Jaipur (samode.com) and Raas in Jodhpur (raasjodhpur.com). Be quick—the final day to book is August 15. October 20–31; $5,038 a person (includes accommodations, fest passes and guide; excludes flights); originaltravel.co.uk.
August 02, 2012
"Flying" by Mahtab Firouzabadi
The Parallax Art Fair makes its New York debut this weekend, bringing a uniquely democratic buying experience to the city’s formidable art world. The fair prides itself on a direct art-to-consumer approach and an open admission policy, allowing both established and emerging artists to showcase their work equally to the public. The international fair—this weekend marks Parallax’s fifth appearance worldwide—will feature more than 180 artists from 30 countries presenting more than 2,000 pieces, all equally represented without commission charges in an exhibition format. “It may be said that the world meets at Parallax Art Fair,” says show creator and curator Dr. Chris Barlow. “The diversity of artistic genre and method, as well as cultural, national and political difference, is breathtaking and simply inspiring.”
In keeping with the exhibition’s unfettered philosophy is its location at 82 Mercer, an impossibly cool 50,000-square-foot industrial space in the heart of SoHo. The show kicks off with an invitation-only VIP viewing on Friday evening and is open to the public Saturday and Sunday. While entrance to Parallax is free, all donations will benefit the P(AF) Artists Benevolent Fund, which supports the children of artists. August 3–5; 82 Mercer St.; parallaxaf.com.