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May 25, 2011
By Departures Dispatch | Arts + Culture

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California native Tim Burton is coming home—or at least his art is. On May 29, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art will open an exhibit featuring 700 drawings, paintings, large-scale Polaroids, puppets, maquettes, costumes and early student films created by the director. Curators have made the silly-spooky environment even more Burtonesque with a soundtrack specially composed by longtime collaborator Danny Elfman. Burton produced seven original works for the show, including a deer-shaped topiary in honor of his cult movie Edward Scissorhands, a 21-foot-tall, many-eyed sculpture called Balloon Boy and a black-lit revolving carousel that dangles from the ceiling. Burton's book signing is on May 28, but there's no rush—appropriately, the exhibit will be on view through Halloween. At 5905 Wilshire Blvd.; 323-857-6000; lacma.org.

Photo © 2011 Tim Burton

May 25, 2011
By Departures Dispatch | Fashion

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For some men, skipping the suit is not an option, even in three-digit summer temperatures. Thankfully, Freemans Sporting Club, known for its handmade suits and ruggedly stylish looks, sourced an extra-lightweight Loro Piana fabric (a merino wool and silk hybrid) to craft a wrinkle-resistant, fully canvased suit designed specifically to withstand oppressive heat. The soft-shouldered, peaked-lapel jacket is half-lined with cotton muslin, has piped internal seams and patch pockets and comes in a vibrant Picasso blue. Its open-weave design allows for maximum breathability, and the best part: It weighs only 14 ounces. Suit, $2,300; available online, or guests can be fitted for a custom suit at Freemans Sporting Club's New York or San Francisco boutiques. At 8 Rivington St., New York; 212-673-3209; 696 Valencia St., San Francisco; 415-863-2155; freemanssportingclub.com.

Photo Courtesy Freemans Sporting Club

May 25, 2011
By Sarah Smith | Spirits

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Sometime in the mid-19th century, a two-masted schooner (possibly bound for the Russian tsar's court in St. Petersburg) sank in the outer archipelago of Åland, a cluster of islands in the Baltic Sea that is now an autonomous region of Finland. Almost 200 years later, in July 2010, divers from Åland and Sweden discovered the wreck 165 feet below the water's surface. The hull was mostly empty, but lying in straw were 145 Champagne bottles from the houses of Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck and the now-shuttered Juglar. Experts tasted the spirits and determined they had been bottled around 1840, making them the oldest Champagnes in the world. More surprisingly, they were still in excellent condition, having had little exposure to light and temperature change over the years and maintaining their bouquet of ripe fruit, golden raisins and an aroma of tobacco. On June 3, in the capital city of Mariehamn, the Åland government will auction off two of the bottles (a Veuve Clicquot and a Juglar), with proceeds going toward marine archaeology and environmental charities. There will be presentations by Champagne expert Richard Juhlin, Veuve Clicquot historian Fabienne Moreau and Anders Näsman, leader of the wreck-salvage operation. With such an unprecedented event, experts can only give a ballpark estimate: upwards of $15,000 each. To register for the event, e-mail info@ackerwines.com. For more information, go to visitaland.com/champagne.

Photo Courtesy Åland Government / Daniel Eriksson

May 18, 2011
By Departures Dispatch | Dining

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Two major culinary events are on our can't-miss list this week. First, the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival takes place May 19-22, celebrating a wide range of Southern fare. There will be demonstrations by New Orleans-born chef John Besh, interactive seminars on dry-rub and chicken-frying techniques, and tasting experiences showcasing bluegrass, bourbon, gumbo and barbecue. Don't miss the street-cart pavilion or the Sunday brunch at the Ritz-Carlton, at which one of the city's best gospel choirs will perform. Further north, in Manhattan, more than 40 of New York's top restaurants, including ABC Kitchen, Eleven Madison Park, A Voce and Market Table, will prepare dishes for Taste of the Nation on May 23. Cocktails by renowned local mixologists—from behind the bars of Employees Only, Little Branch and Macao Trading Company—will also be served. One hundred percent of ticket sales will benefit Share Our Strength, an initiative to end childhood hunger in New York. Atlanta Food & Wine Festival tickets, from $50; 404-474-7330; atlfoodandwinefestival.com. Taste of the Nation tickets are $225 for general admission, $425 for VIP experience; Center 548 at 548 W. 22nd St.; newyorktaste.org.

Photo by Karen Wise

May 18, 2011
By Departures Dispatch | Travel

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The W made its grand debut in Russia when the W St. Petersburg hotel opened April 20. Next to St. Isaac Cathedral and not far from the Winter Palace, the 137-room hotel was designed by the Milan-based Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel Partners, who took aesthetic cues from the city's architecture as well as the regal jewel tones of the Fabergé egg. Though Russian history plays a part in the look, the structure's limestone and marble façade and supersleek interior make it a refreshingly modern addition to the city's lineup of opulent hotels. Speaking of refreshing, there's also an on-site Bliss spa with an indoor pool, an Alain Ducasse-inspired miX restaurant, and a rooftop bar and terrace where international DJs will spin for the nightlife-inclined. And W's signature Whatever/Whenever concierge service is on hand, providing personalized tours of the State Hermitage Museum or birthday party cruises down the Neva River. Rooms from $240 at 6 Voznesensky Prospect; 7-812/ 610-6161; wstpetersburg.com.

Photo Courtesy of W St. Petersburg

May 18, 2011
By Departures Dispatch | Shopping

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Burberry's two-year old Brit line has a chic new London home—and its first European location—at Burberry Brit in Covent Garden, which opened May 12 with a Champagne party and concert to kick off its collection of casual weekend wear for men and women (think quilted safari jackets and jersey tees sporting the signature Burberry check print). The label has a young, hip and tech-savvy following, and in addition to showcasing the fashion looks on shiny-black lacquer and polished chrome hardware, the space also embraces synergies with other mediums. For example, it has been outfitted with an enhanced audio system for stage performances, touch-screen video walls that play show footage and live-stream content, and iPod docking stations in every dressing room so that guests can enjoy their own playlists. At 41-41 King St.; 44-203/425-7020; burberry.com.

Photo courtesy of Burberry

May 18, 2011
By Sarah Smith | Arts + Culture

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On May 11, there was a big opening at the Grand Palais—literally, huge. This year marks the fourth installment of Monumenta, a free program organized by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication in which an internationally renowned artist (Richard Serra is a former participant) is invited to build a piece that utilizes the 44,300-square footage and 150-foot height of the Grand Palais's nave. The 2011 contributor, Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor, whose past work includes the Sky Mirror at Rockefeller Center in New York and Cloud Gate in Chicago, created a giant red globular structure called Leviathan that dwarfs the people gaping at it. Visitors can walk inside its central space and be swathed in vibrant red light. As they say, go big or go home. Through June 23 at 1 Ave. du Général Eisenhower; 33-1/44-13-17-30; monumenta.com.

Photo by Didier Plowy – All rights reserved Monumenta 2011, French Ministry for Culture and Communication

May 11, 2011
By Departures Dispatch | Dining

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Smitten Ice Cream, now open in the artsy Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, is a far cry from the ice cream parlors of yore. Housed in a modern, minimalist structure made from two recycled shipping containers, the operation is helmed by Robyn Sue Goldman, who spent two years developing an ice cream machine that runs on liquid nitrogen (its negative-322-degree temperature allows for the formation of exceptionally small ice crystals, giving the dessert a smoother texture). She named it Kelvin, and for two years the business lived in a souped-up Radio Flyer wagon that traveled the city, turning out artisanal ice cream—with absolutely no additives—made to order in 60 seconds. Now in a fixed location, Smitten has a rotating menu with traditional flavors like vanilla and strawberry alongside innovative combinations like poached pear crème fraîche, brown sugar butternut squash and dark chocolate with hot peppers. True to California's locavore ethos, the dairy is sourced from nearly Beretta Organic Farm, while the chocolate comes from TCHO on San Francisco's Pier 17. At 432 Octavia St.; 415-863-1518; smittenicecream.com.

Photo Courtesy of Joseph Perez-Green

May 11, 2011
By Departures Dispatch | Travel

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Summer is nearly upon us, and so is the opening of the new Capri in Southampton. From the partners behind W South Beach and The Surf Lodge in Montauk, the hotel is sure to be this year's It spot in the Hamptons, offering 31 beach-chic guest rooms (starting at $400), a Nobu restaurant and a shop curated by fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, where guests will be able to pick up newspapers, sunglasses, swimwear and even contemporary art from Rowley's Exhibition A. All the fun, however, will be at The Bathing Club, the hotel's pool, which will feature daybeds, lounge chairs and fire pits. The open-air area will host live music, outdoor screenings and private dining and cocktail affairs. At 281 County Road 39A; 631-204-9037; caprisouthampton.com.

Photo Courtesy CAPRI

May 11, 2011
By Sarah Smith | Fashion

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Given the brand's exotic locations and unparalleled luxury and uniqueness, a stay at a One&Only resort is no cookie-cutter experience. So it isn't surprising that its boutiques are home to two pieces of fashion found nowhere else in the world. Now exclusively at One&Only shops in the Maldives, Los Cabos and Mauritius is a dusty-pink silk-chiffon dress from Halston. It's the kind of frock that can be worn day or night, on the beach or in the ballroom, and it marks the fashion house's first resort collaboration by creative director Marios Schwab, who took the reins in 2009 and says the dress's blush tone was inspired by the sandy beaches in each locale. To complement the dress, the hotels have partnered with French designer Maloles Antignac (renowned for her ballet flats) to create a limited-edition line of her Isabella sandals. The One&Only incarnation comes in vibrant pink and gold-braided leather. Halston dress, $2,230; Isabella sandals by Maloles Antignac, $330; oneandonlyresorts.com.

Photo Courtesy One&Only Resorts

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