Most wilderness adventures follow a leave-nothing-behind philosophy. But in the case of WorldServe, a mountain-bike trip down Mount Kilimanjaro led by Trek Travel, making a mark is the ultimate goal. Led by Doug Pitt, goodwill ambassador to Tanzania (and, yes, Brad Pitt’s brother), the venture will donate 90 percent of trip fees to water projects.
“[You will] have your own sponsored water well that will provide a lifetime of water to thousands, saving lives, reducing suffering and giving people a future,” says Pitt, who aims to provide clean water to 150,000 Tanzanians.
Twenty participants will climb the mountain before embarking on a two-day ride down; the trip marks the first time that bikes have been allowed on the loftiest peak in Africa. Along the way an initiative called Clean Up of Kilimanjaro will enlist the help of 100 porters to pick up trash. The fundraising donation levels vary: a hike-only option, including a gear package and one bore-hole well ($25,000); a package encompassing one solar-powered pump project, a Trek bike and gear ($55,000); and the sponsorship of two solar-powered pumps, plus bike and gear ($85,000). (One bore-hole well, for instance, will give 1,200 Maasai a generation of drinkable water.)
Needless to say, going in unprepared is not an option. “Kili is not a technical climb but arduous at 19,340 feet,” says Pitt. “Fitness is important and training is essential. The biking is rated intermediate to professional, flowy in parts and extremely tough is spots, but it should be—it’s Mount Kilimanjaro.”
Other highlights include a visit to a Maasai village and a hot-air balloon ride over Serengeti National Park, and the lasting memories are sure to endure for as long as the fresh water flows. February 22 through March 5; from $25,000; 1-866-464-8735; trektravel.com.
Courtesy of Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Beginning January 24, Southern California will welcome cinema aficionados from around the globe for the 28th installment of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The city prides itself on being a multifaceted surfing community with an environmentalist bent, but it is also a town of sophisticated filmgoers with a penchant for foreign flicks. “All of those traits make us who we are in Santa Barbara,” says executive director Roger Durling.
The festival—which will screen more than 200 films during its 11-day run, including a spate of independent titles from Colombia, Russia and everywhere in between—reflects these qualities. In addition to screenings, the event plans to honor filmmakers and actors like Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio and host panel presentations on writing, directing and editing. (Christopher Plummer, pictured above, attended last year.)
Celebrities may play a major role, but staying true to the surrounding community is an equally important piece, with several outreach programs rounding out the festivities. AppleBox offers free movie screenings to low-income families, and Field Trip to the Movies busses in nearly 5,000 third- and sixth-graders for educational classes with filmmaking greats like James Cameron and Lee Unkrich. “It’s definitively our pride and joy,” says Durling. Through February 3; festival passes, from $325; 805-963-0023; sbiff.org.
By Saturday the Sundance Film Festival was in full swing, with the good and the bad emerging from party gossip and idle chatter as the movie faithful sniffed out which films were worth begging, borrowing or stealing for to see.
The first spike of celebrity fervor erupted over Dave Grohl’s documentary Sound City,about a legendary recording studio in the Van Nuys district of Los Angeles. The premiere drew the likes of Stevie Nicks, John Fogerty, Taylor Hawkins (Grohl’s bandmate from the Foo Fighters), and many others, who later performed with Grohl during an impromptu concert. Grohl and friends, including Rami Jaffee (pictured above), also popped up at Eco Hideawayat the Chateaux for more concerts on Saturday and Sunday.
Word spread that U.S. dramatic competition entryToy’s House enchanted viewers with a hint of Wes Anderson, while Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan highlighted Circles, an intriguing revenge tragedy birthed from the Bosnian-Serbian conflict. Chilean director Alicia Scherson’s Il Futuro succeeded in capturing the spirit of the Roberto Bolaño novel from which it was adapted, thanks in large part to Rutger Hauer’s Herculean presence. Rumor had it that Soldate Jeannettewas not worth waiting in the cold, but those who endured the late-night deep freeze for a midnight showing of S-VHSwere rewarded with heart-pounding horror. And buzz started building around little-knownFruitvale…more on that later.
Josh Radnor and Michael Cera fired up the late-night party scene when they descended on the Touchy Feely premiere party, hosted by Chase Sapphire Preferred. Will Smith was spotted with his son Jaden at the Toy’s House party. Those who didn’t want to endure Saturday’s rigid waitlist at Hyde attended a poker tournament hosted by Ali Nejad before moving on to James Franco’s late-night after-party and catching an early-morning cab home.
The glitz, glamour and indie madness of the Sundance Film Festival descended on Park City, Utah, on Thursday with a quadripartite set of premieres: documentaries Who Is Dayani Cristal? and Twenty Feet from Stardom and narrative features Crystal Fairy, by Chilean filmmaker Sebastián Silva, and May in the Summer from Palestinian-American director Cherien Dabis. Of the openers, Crystal Fairy seems like a particularly intriguing prospect since Silva’s previous films, The Maid and Old Cats, demonstrate a gritty, ironic flair tempered with engaging humanism. Sundance’s official day-one party followed at the Legacy Lodge.
The festival kicks into high gear today as the last bulk of journalists, cineastes and fashionistas hop off early morning flights into the deep mountain freeze. The most pressing question (second only to “Where did I put my jacket?”) is what to line up for first? The advance word and star wattage of Don Jon’s Addiction and Kill Your Darlings secure them as Friday’s main events. The former, directed by indie prince Joseph Gordon-Levitt (and starring himself and Scarlett Johansson), apparently lives up to its celebrity quotient. As for the latter, if industry insiders are to be believed, Daniel Radcliffe pulls it off as Allen Ginsberg ensnared in a murder during his formative years at Columbia. (Also intriguing, based on their synopses on the Sundance app, are Circles and Sightseers, though one hears mixed opinions about Austenland.)
For a guaranteed dose of gripping, thoughtful filmmaking, check out No and The Gatekeepers—both nominated for Oscars this year in the Best Foreign Film and Best Documentary categories, respectively. No stars Gael García Bernal as an advertising wunderkind who helped topple Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet with a peppy TV campaign after the international community pressured Pinochet to put his rule before a plebiscite. In The Gatekeepers, director Dror Moreh interviews the six heads of Shin Bet, Israel’s secret service, offering a compelling and necessary examination into the failure of the Middle East peace process. Both films offer political junkies eye-opening food for thought and grist for many a late-night conversation.
Sundance is far from just sobering cinema; there are plenty of parties on Park City’s Main Street. Chase Sapphire sponsors afternoon cocktails with indie godfather/actor/director/writer Ed Burns, and Sony Classics has evening drinks planned in honor of No and The Gatekeepers with García Bernal and Moreh.
Stella Artois, one of the festival’s sponsors and by far the most ubiquitous beer at Sundance, is throwing a party hosted by Noah Huntley to celebrate the launch of its new campaign (a sneak peek is pictured above), which Annie Leibovitz photographed.
Later, club bunnies can warm up from the cold at Hyde Lounge, the venerable L.A. club Hyde’s Park City outpost for the weekend, and the nonprofit Minga will throw a private bash with an appearance by Adrian Grenier + the Skins. As always, too much to do.
Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo may be the definition of a renaissance man. Raised in a prominent Spanish family of artists, curators and collectors, his career spanned textile and clothing design, photography and the visual arts.
“Fortuny y Madrazo: An Artistic Legacy,” a new exhibit at New York’s Queen Sofía Spanish Institute, celebrates this creative lineage. Conceived and curated by Oscar de la Renta, the exhibit showcases Fortuny’s impressive body of work, including unprecedented loans from prominent Spanish and Italian museums and leading private collectors.
His fashion designs—the iconic, uncorseted dresses in rich colors and textures he is perhaps best known for—combine old-world fabrics with a sensibility that still feels modern. Lit dramatically and displayed against walls lined with antique textiles, the dresses reside alongside the paintings, photographs and designs that inspired Fortuny throughout his life, giving context to his process from beginning to end. Through March 30; 684 Park Ave.; 212-628-0420; spanishinstitute.org.
Few know how to pack a suitcase better than a fashion designer. Anna Sui, the indomitable fashion force known for her flirty-with-an-edge designs, is one of the best. And she shows off her skills in a short film for Tumi’s Case Studies video series, shot in honor of her new luggage collection for the brand.
The film, which debuted this week (other installments in the series have featured industrial designer Dror Benshetrit and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan), shows how she tackles the job of filling her bags. Those bags, which launched January 1, are festooned with a Sui floral print that first appeared on the spring 2009 runway. Striped inner linings and mini flower-appliqué details dress things up further.
The new offerings represent an expansion of a smaller collection done with Anna Sui Japan for the department store Isetan last spring. Items range from the International carry-on ($495) to the Geneva carry-all (pictured above, $345) to an iPhone cover ($65), and all make a statement—no matter how one chooses to pack it all in. tumi.com.
Bardessono, an eco-friendly, 62-room boutique hotel in the Napa Valley, raises the bar with its Elevated package, a four-day artisanal wine-and-food tour of some of the most elite mountain wineries around. Limited to just 12 couples, the intimate tour leads guests through a series of private tastings at wineries not normally open to the public, like Tusk Estates, Lokoya, Constant and Ovid Vineyards.
To become a member at Tusk, for example, one must be invited by a current member. (After that, expect a wait-list.) But Tusk opens its doors for Bardessono, featuring an evening reception and accompanying dinner starring the vineyard’s limited-production—and extremely rare—wines. Equally uncommon is the opportunity to hobnob with owners Michael Uytengsu and Tim Martin. “Normally when you go to a tasting room, you never get to meet these people,” says Kini Parente, director of sales and marketing.
Other highlights of the weekend include an off-road tour of the vineyards at Constant in a Pinzgauer Swiss Army transport vehicle and a private lunch prepared by chef-owner Mary Constant, with views of Mount St. Helena framing the winery’s infinity pool in the background. “The theme of the event is wines produced at high elevations,” Parente explains. “Each place has something unique to offer.” January 24–27; $8,500 a couple; 6526 Yount St.; 707-204-6000; bardessono.com.
When it comes to members-only clubs, the benefits normally behoove the member alone. But in the case of the Getaway 2 Give (G2G) Collection—an exclusive vacation club that channels donations to charities of participants’ choosing—the wealth is effectively spread.
“People are attracted because they can ‘give’ and at the same time ‘get,’” says Adam Capes, president of G2G’s parent company, the Giving Plan, which aims to raise $1 billion for charity every 10 years. “We all have a need for significance and impact, and this satisfies those needs.”
Members pay $15,000 for access to an array of destinations and travel opportunities. Half of the initial fee goes straight to a charity the participant wants to support, as well as a share of each nightly rate from there on out. (Travelers can also choose one of the club’s partners, including Faith’s Lodge and the Starkey Hearing Foundation.)
Villas and homes are available in places like Anguilla; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Deer Valley, Utah; Palm Springs, Chicago and New York. Castiglion del Bosco in Tuscany, the Pierre in New York and Thanda Private Game Reserve in South Africa are all on board, and yachts are also an option. And the giving portion isn’t the only customizable piece—member-experience and destination managers can help plan trips down to the last detail.
“Members know they’ll be staying in a spectacular residence or hotel or yacht, the fridge will be pre-stocked with their groceries, dinner reservations will be made at the best restaurants…and they’ll have access to all the best activities and amenities in the area,” says Capes. Seems like a win-win to us. g2gcollection.com.
In Baja California, just 45 miles north of Cabo San Lucas’s raucous glitz, sits Todos Santos, a sleepy surfing and art haven slowly gaining the attention of boldface names seeking authentic Mexican culture. Among those who have fallen in love with the town is R.E.M guitarist Peter Buck, who liked the old colonial hamlet so much, he bought a house there and founded the Todos Santos Music Festival in 2012 with his fiancée, Chloe Johnson.
The festival, which draws both locals and expats alike and takes place at the historic Hotel California, will be held during three weekends in January and features artists like the Posies, Alejandro Escovedo, Chuck Prophet and Robyn Hitchcock & the Venus 3, as well as two bands from Mexico City, Twin Tones and Torreblanca. “It is an amazing opportunity to introduce tourists to some very cool Mexican music, but also a great opportunity for people from Baja to see indie music from the mainland of Mexico,” Johnson says. “It is fairly rare for those kinds of bands to tour in Baja.”
Best of all, a trip to this musical paradise is for a good cause. All proceeds are donated to the Palapa Society, a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programs and scholarships to local children. Last year the festival raised $50,000—enough money for the program to double its enrollment. January 10–12, 17–20 and 24–26; todossantosmusicfestival.com.
Where to stay: Rancho Pescadero, a nearby boutique hotel and festival sponsor, is hosting a private acoustic show and dinner with Ken Stringfellow of the Posies on January 16, as well as offering hotel guests VIP access to the festival at large. Rooms start at $185; Camino a la Playa, Pescadero; 910-300-8891; ranchopescadero.com.
Nearly 80 years ago a young patient at a mental institution in Nevada, Missouri, put pencil and crayon to the hospital’s ledger paper. The drawings that sprung forth from James Edward Deeds Jr. were fanciful and slightly eerie reproductions of daily life—portraits of his family, animals, vehicles—that were essentially lost until 2006, when they fell into the hands of a bookseller who put them on eBay. It took another five years, forensic research and a series of articles in a Missouri newspaper for the artist’s identity to come to light.
This January 30 of Deeds’s 140 double-sided drawings will be on display at Hirschl & Adler Modern Gallery during a monthlong exhibition called "Talisman of the Ward: The Album of Drawings by Edward Deeds." This isn’t Hirschl & Adler’s first foray into “outsider art,” a term rooted in French artist Jean Dubuffet’s notion of art brut, or work created by individuals who are outside the boundaries of established culture. The gallery is also credited with promoting pieces by marginalized artists like Bill Traylor, a former slave in Alabama whose works now sell for upwards of $100,000.
“Many artists conform to the mainstream,” says exhibit curator Tom Parker. “They are always trying to be something that the mainstream wants.” But the art market doesn’t influence outsider artists, and so their work often conveys an intimate feel that resonates with viewers. “Dubuffet loved this notion that art was purely done from the heart,” Parker says. “There’s the sense that it is revealing something in human nature.” Drawings start at $16,000; January 10 through February 9; 730 Fifth Ave.; 212-535-8810; hirschlandadler.com.
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