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April 30, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Events

A Grand Toast: The Nantucket Wine Festival
Courtesy of Nantucket Wine Festival

If there were ever a good excuse to eat and drink your way through the entirety of five days, the Nantucket Wine Festival (May 14–18) is it. Celebrating its 18th edition this year, the gathering will attract leading chefs, winemakers, industry experts and connoisseurs to the small New England island to experience more than 50 prestigious, palate-pleasing events.

“We wanted to show the world the density, quality and diversity of Nantucket’s restaurant scene,” explains festival founder Denis Toner. “Historically, Nantucket has always had the wherewithal to have fine restaurants, which in turn bring in great wine.”

Opportunities to indulge include the signature Harbor Gala and Grand Tastings, both hosted at the White Elephant hotel (50 Easton St.; 508-228-2500; whiteelephanthotel.com); a variety of food-and-wine seminars on subjects like oysters, cheese, rosé and charcuterie; and a day of cooking demonstrations by top chefs, including Gabe Thompson, of L’Artusi in New York; Michelle Bernstein, of Michy’s in Miami; and Kevin Williamson, of Ranch 616 in Austin. And with nearly 25 of the East Coast’s best sommeliers on hand, consider the festival as much an education as it is a treat. May 14–18; 617-527-9473; nantucketwinefestival.com.

April 30, 2014
By Susan Michals | Art

Mark Ryden's Queen Bee
© Mark Ryden, Queen Bee, 2013, oil on panel with hand carved frame, 45 x 28 inches

Interview magazine once called him “the godfather of pop surrealism” and many have heralded him as the king of lowbrow. While those monikers may have turned artist Mark Ryden into an art-world sensation—his work is at once mesmerizing and disquieting; pieces of meat factor often into the vignettes—he remains a humble man, immersed in a magical swirl of odd characters and witty subtext.

On May 3, the new Kohn Gallery space in Los Angeles will debut “Mark Ryden, The Gay 90s: West”—a selection of artworks depicting his singular take on Victorian scenes from the 1890s. “I started working with this theme of the Gay Nineties with the desire to delve head on into the realm of nostalgia and kitsch, which are taboo subjects in the art world,” says Ryden.

Pieces on display are part of a continuation of his first “Gay 90s” show in 2010 at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York. “This second installment began with the same initial motivation as the first… but then the work evolved,” he explains. “I started by playing around with my threshold of nostalgic kitsch, but eventually became fixated on how nostalgia and sentimentality relate to memory and how our consciousness flows through a transitory ‘present moment’ between past and future.”

For Ryden, this was no small undertaking. And, fortunately for the artist, Kohn’s new location is more than double the size of its last—perfect for displaying his most sizable work yet: “The Parlor (Allegory of Magic, Quintessence and Divine Mystery),” a 96-by-120-inch painting captured in a wooden frame hand-carved in bas-relief. Through June 28; 1227 N. Highland Ave.; kohngallery.com.

April 25, 2014
By Melissa Biggs Bradley | Travel

David Tang's Hong Kong
© TangTangTangTang

Shanghai Tang fashion founder Sir David Tang recently opened the restaurant China Tang (1 Exchange Sq., 4th fl.; 85-2/2522-2148; landmark.hk) in the Landmark mall in Hong Kong’s Central district. Inspired by Tang’s eatery of the same name in London’s Dorchester hotel, it serves classic Cantonese and Sichuan dishes like golden prawns with salted egg yolk and traditional roasted duck. The sumptuous East-meets-West decor features a Deco mirrored entry, hand-embroidered wallpaper and eclectic books.

Nearby in Wan Chai, Tang just debuted Tang Tang Tang Tang (66 Johnston Rd.; tangtangtangtang.com), a shop whose name references Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Quirky color choices like taxi yellow add whimsy to the sophisticated spaces designed like an HK apartment—living room, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, dressing room—with everything for sale, including TTTT-labeled clothing along with antiques from Tang’s own collection. Irresistible souvenir: a set of Chinese calendar pajamas ($3,200).

April 25, 2014
By Richard David Story | Books

Wendell Black, M.D. by Dr. Gerald Imber
© Bourbon Street Books - Harper Collins Publisher

“After showering, I dressed in gray pants, blue shirt, dark blue tie, and the soft tweed sport coat that had become part of my uniform. It was…casual and understated, which helped deny its custom-tailored cashmere heritage.” —from Wendell Black, M.D.

Nice detail, no?

Dr. Gerald Imber is one of the “big deal” plastic surgeons, the man behind some of the best “faces” in town, always at the top of those Best Doctors lists. He lives in Manhattan with his chic and talented wife, departures contributor Cathryn Collins; spends weekends in Millbrook, New York; loves Mozart and Puccini opera (the Pearl Fishers duet from Les Pêcheurs de Perles with Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill is a favorite), St. Barths in spring, Capri in summer…and has his suits custom-made by Anderson & Sheppard on Savile Row—that is, the guy’s a worldly, sophisticated sort.

He also does not suffer fools gladly, a quality shared with his fictional detective. The first in a brand-new series, Wendell Black, M.D. (Harper’s Bourbon Street Books) starts with a bang—a cardiac arrest during a flight from London­—and doesn’t stop. Manhattan is the backdrop, and there’s a swell, elegant, knowing sort of way about Imber’s writing that’s as up-to-the-minute as London-Tehran drug cartels and counterterrorism. Black reminds me of my favorite detective of all, that armchair gumshoe Nero Wolfe, whom Rex Stout created so many years ago. amazon.com

April 23, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Technology

Self Help: A New Personal Coaching App
Courtesy of My Personal Coach

Best-selling author and former professor of psychology Angella Nazarian has spent years writing about the path toward successful leadership and a more meaningful life. Her latest venture—the My Personal Coach app (itunes.com; angellanazarian.com)—puts her research at your fingertips, offering access to a completely customized personal-growth plan. We chatted with her about the new digital approach.

Q: Tell us about the inspiration behind the app.
A:
As a psychologist who has led so many personal-growth seminars and groups, I wanted to create a personal workbook for my clients for their daily inspiration and insight. Since we spend so much time on our phones, I thought the best way of integrating goals, exercises and reminders was through a coaching app. In essence, My Personal Coach works as a partner in motivating you on a daily basis by focusing on your priorities, relationships, environment and strengths.

Q: What went into its design?
A:
A great program for change needs to be multidimensional. Living a life around our key talents and strengths is crucial, so I wanted to make sure that there is a test for clients to home in on theirs. Relationships, thought patterns, environments and the way we prioritize our life are also key factors in empowered living, so I integrated goals and challenges for these coaching zones as well.

Q: Who is the app for?
A:
It is helpful for anyone who wants a daily dose of inspiration along with some useful hints in approaching their life mindfully and with more vigor. I always tell my clients that you cannot change your life until you change something you do every day. My Personal Coach app is set up to be your partner and cheerleader—to help you focus on leveraging your strength to be more effective on a daily basis.

Q: Have you learned anything new?
A:
It’s like any project I take on—you start with a vision and you continue to improve upon it until it’s ready to be released into the world. I feel that this app is an extension of me in that it brings to life the ideas and positivity that promote growth, which I feel so passionate about.

April 23, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Travel

A New Resort in the Bahamas Focuses on Art
Courtesy of Baha Mar Resort

This December a $3.5 billion development called Baha Mar will open on 3,000 square feet of uninterrupted beachfront in Nassau, Bahamas. Situated on the Bahamian Riviera, it will be the largest single-phase resort project in the history of the Caribbean, featuring properties from Rosewood, Mondrian and Hyatt, as well as the Baha Mar Hotel & Casino, golf and tennis facilities and an ESPA spa.

The scope is impressive, but at the heart of the project is a decidedly local touch: Bahamian art is infused throughout the 1,000-acre resort—including guest rooms, meeting and leisure spaces, shops, galleries and the 40 dining options—giving guests a way to engage with and learn about their surrounds.

“I think, in a way, the art becomes cultural wayfinding,” says John Cox, Baha Mar’s new creative artistic director. “I think it’s important that the beacons you put out there have a cultural compass, that they direct you to more and encourage exploration instead of forgetfulness.”

The forthcoming Art Gallery at Baha Mar, which will be located in the Hyatt Convention Center, will showcase the largest collection of local art in the Bahamas, featuring new works by Bahamian artists and exhibits that will occasionally draw from the Dawn Davies Collection and the D’Aguilar Art Foundation (two Bahamas-based art institutions). To further expand the experience and foster the creative community, an artist-in-residence program will provide local and overseas artists the opportunity to create more focused and provocative works in branded studio spaces.

“The best way to describe Bahamian art is by describing what it isn’t,” says Cox. “It isn’t static, predictable or singular. Real Bahamian art is reflective, immediate and diverse and taps into the very essence of the complexity of our collective culture.” Opening December 2014; 242-677-9000; bahamar.com.

April 22, 2014
By Emily Arden Wells | Spirits

Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco
© Tequila Casa Dragones Blanco

Following the success of its exquisite $275 joven sipping tequila (released in 2009), small-batch tequila producer Casa Dragones has created a second premium spirit—this time, designed specifically for mixing.

“We are not doing tequila from a style point of view—blanco, reposado, añejo,” explains Bertha González Nieves, Casa Dragones co-founder and CEO. “We’re bringing tequilas for occasions, and that is quite different.”

Made of 100-percent pure blue-agave silver tequila, and made in small batches of no more than 400 cases at a time, Casa Dragones Blanco ($75) is handcrafted using ingredients including agave plants grown in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt and fresh spring water gathered the day of distillation from the aquifers of the Tequila Volcano.

The result is nothing less than transcendent—a luminescent, crystal-clear tequila with an aroma of green apple, grapefruit, honeydew and fresh herbs. It is creamy on the palate, with pronounced flavors of citrus, melon, pepper and salt and a clean finish of mint and cucumber.

To showcase Blanco’s subtlety and complexity, Casa Dragones has teamed up with James Beard award–winning mixologist Jim Meehan, of the New York bar PDT (113 St. Marks Pl.; 212-614-0386; pdtnyc.com), to create signature cocktails. “The character of the tequila is what I use to extrapolate and create cocktails with,” he says of incorporating delicate grapefruit, lime and celery flavors into his clean, simple Pink Panther. “It’s a great tequila, and my philosophy when mixing with great tequila is to try to not get in the way.” Casa Dragones Blanco will be available in the U.S. in May; pre-order at preorder@casadragones.com; casadragones.com.

April 17, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Jewelry

John Hardy’s Bamboo Collection
Courtesy of John Hardy

The word “sustainable” is batted about frequently these days, but jewelry brand John Hardy has made it a mantra. In 2007, it debuted the Wear Bamboo, Plant Bamboo initiative, through which the company began planting bamboo seedlings in Bali, where its jewelry is handmade, to help counteract its carbon emissions. (The plant is known for its intricate root system, which helps hold soil erosion at bay and preserve the natural water cycle.) Since, 900,000 bamboos have gone into the ground—covering an area greater than six times the size of New York’s Central Park—and the conscious approach continues.

Throughout April, in a nod to Earth Month, John Hardy will donate 20 percent of sales from its trademark Bamboo collection to Trees New York (treesny.org), which aims to plant a hundred evergreen trees throughout the city by 2015. Walking the walk, John Hardy executives and New York–based employees will lend a hand at the Pleasant Village Community Garden in East Harlem on April 22—Earth Day.

“Forty years ago, being environmentally conscious was an integral part of our founder’s ethos, who was a radical environmentalist,” says CEO Damien Dernoncourt. “Today, the environment is still a key part of our brand foundation, providing endless inspirations for our designers in Bali.” johnhardy.com.

Pictured here (from left): Wide Flex cuff ($1,600); narrow Flex cuff with black sapphires ($1,200); and wide ring with black sapphires ($595). All made from 100 percent reclaimed silver.

April 16, 2014
By Sasha Levine | Events

Design Finds a Future in Detroit
David Stark

“The car industry aside, Detroit is one of the historic hotbeds of design in America,” says New York–based event producer and installation artist David Stark, in anticipation of Culture Lab Detroit (April 24–26), a program designed to inspire collaboration between leading international talent and their local counterparts. “We often don’t remember that Detroit was once one of the most affluent cities in America, but go there now—you feel how much important design history abounds.”

In honor of that past, the second annual intellectual gathering—founded by Jane Schulak, in collaboration with the Detroit Creative Corridor Center and the College for Creative Studies—welcomes presenters Stark, international architect David Adjaye (London), artist and innovator Theaster Gates (Chicago) and interior and furniture designers Humberto and Fernando Campana (Brazil) and the curious alike for a series of classes, talks, programming and events focused on urban regenerative design.

“Culture Lab Detroit is designed to showcase, connect and inspire problem solvers who find ways to respond to extreme conditions,” Schulak says. “It is hoped that these shared experiences and collaborations with national and international artists, designers and architects will increase awareness and the imprint of Detroit’s creative community around the globe.”

Based on this year’s group of return and first-time presenters, it would seem the Lab is already making waves. “Innovation and art-making are born out of necessity and sheer desire in the Detroit community,” Stark adds. “Installation art is being made in the streets out of detritus despite all kinds of odds, and being around that kind of passion reminds me why I make art in the first place.” culturelabdetroit.org.

April 16, 2014
By Ingrid Skjong | Fitness

Fitness Find: Studio K in L.A.
Courtesy of Studio K

Movement is the basis of any workout worth mobilizing for. But the type of movement—and what it can deliver—is what makes the difference. Studio K, a fitness center in L.A.’s Pacific Palisades neighborhood, is focused on helping you move better, anchoring its philosophy to so-called K Stations—cable-based Technogym Kinesis systems built into the walls (pictured above). The apparatuses facilitate natural, full-body movements; an extensive range of motion; and numerous exercises that combine into one fluid cardio and strength workout.

“It has a mystery at first,” says Susan Howard, general manager and master K Trainer, of the burgeoning but still novel method. “[But] as you learn its efficiencies and functionalities in movements through the resistance training, you see its endless options and adaptations to help build core stability, strength, power, speed, balance and flexibility all in one cardiovascular workout.”

Zeroing in on three key components—functional movement, efficiency and transformative results—Studio K offers personal- and group-training options. And while the sleek space plays up the facility’s proximity to the ocean (a tranquil photo of the beach covers one wall, the overall color palette calls to mind sand), the challenging workouts require focus and the desire to make a real connection with your body every day.

“Our physical movement patterns effect how we feel, work, play and enjoy our lives,” says Howard. “K Training is designed to be functionally intuitive and strengthen one’s ability to perform better in the daily activities of life.” 17351 W. Sunset Blvd.; 310-454-1048; studioktraining.com.

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