Munch and Warhol

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by Bumble Ward

edvardmunchstrand.jpgMunch's summer house was not far from my family's summer home, in Åsgårdstrand. He spent every summer there between 1889 and 1905, fell in love with the pretty town and with a married woman, Milly Thaulow (Mrs Heiberg).

The Shore of Love (Kjaerlighhetens Strand) is the 2010 summer exhibition at Haugar museum in Tonsberg. It's a rare treat and one of the biggest Munch exhibits ever held outside of Oslo or Bergen.  The images are familiar to Munch fans – the lovers, the girls on the beach, the big Norwegian moon spreading light across the water.

Andy Warhol was a great fan of Munch.  He first saw the work at a gallery in New York in 1982.  Both men lost a parent at a very young age, and both, it seems were obsessed with death.  His paintings and silkscreens are inspired by Munch's The Scream, Madonna and Self-portrait with Skeleton Arm.

Travel Abroad(s)

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by Fredrica Duke

spanish-steps-rome.jpgThe commercial kept calling out to us. A catchy tune and the promise of a round trip ticket to anywhere in Europe for under $500. None of us could resist and the plan was in motion. Andrea and I would fly from L.A. and land in New York for a layover where we’d meet Stacey at JFK. Actually, it might be tricky since my two friends hadn’t even met yet.

It was the dead of winter. Stacey called to let me know about this great coat she bought. She couldn’t wait for me to see it because she just knew I was gonna love it. Andrea did some research and picked out a boutique hotel, within walking distance of the Spanish steps.

Speaking of walking, those two girls were planning on walking the whole city every day. They are both hardcore exercisers and felt that would be the best way to really see Rome. I tire easily, so that was so not going to be me. But, I would happily arrange to find some great restaurants. We all know what we’re good at. That’s my specialty.

Tea in Seoul

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by Matt Armendariz

miss-lee.jpgWe couldn’t have picked a better day to immerse ourselves in Korean tea shops than a day filled with brisk temperatures and a slight chilly rain. It made our check ins of tea houses much more cozy even though we were on a seriously ambitious mission to sip and sit in a combination of traditional and modern establishments.

We started at Miss Lee, a colorful and playful tea house washed in bright colors and natural woods. If I was looking for a quiet austere place for tea this sure wasn’t it! We arrived for an early lunch of bento boxes with a variety of teas. There’s something to know about the world of Korean tea:  it’s not necessarily always based on traditional tea plants and their leaves. It’s a world that encompasses fruits, seeds, twigs, roots and leaves, not to mention some grains and barley and rice.

The flavors of a rainbow are all here, from sour and astringent to candy-like and sweet. One of my favorites was Omijacha, made from the dried berries of the Schisandra chinensis and called the Five Flavors tea because it has sweet, salty, bitter, sour and pungent notes. Served either hot or cold, Korean teas are consumed for health and vitality but to me some are just plain fun: give me a cup of Yujacha (citron) any day for dessert and I’d be a happy man.


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by Michael Tucker

bohemians_1917.jpgMy roots are in Prague. Not my real hereditary-type roots — they lie somewhere in Lithuania, in some long-forgotten shtetl in the Pale of Settlement.

I’m talking about my cultural roots, my identity as a bohemian, or in the current vernacular, a boho. The bohemian movement started in Prague, or at least was perfected there. Also, Prague is the capital of Bohemia, which is an historical region that takes up about two-thirds of the current Czech Republic. So, Prague is Bohemian and bohemian. Around 1912, Franz Kafka met a Yiddish-Theater actor named Isaac Löwy, who introduced him into a world of writers, artists, thinkers, physicists and anarchists.

They hung out in bars or in Berta Fanta’s salon – upstairs from her husband’s pharmacy; they drank absinthe, they had sex with actresses (I’m sure they did; I don’t have historical data at my fingertips, but believe me, they did); they stayed up all night and talked about Expressionism and Modern Music; they discussed the ideas of Einstein and Freud, who were both kicking up their heels around this time.

Old World Chocolatiers in Brugge

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by Susan Fogwell

ImageThe temptation of chocolate draws Chocoholics and chocolate connoisseurs to Brugge, Belgium in droves. Decadent, rich chocolate shops are beyond prevalent in this well-preserved Gothic city (there are over 40). A turn at every cobblestone corner will be yet another chocolate shop discovery. Belgium is second to none in the chocolate department. If you think Swiss chocolate is supreme, then try Belgian, and your mind will be forever changed. Here are just a few suggestions to indulge your chocolate cravings.

Dumon is a well-known family owned shop. Stefaan Dumon creates exquisite chocolates daily using fresh ingredients sans additives and preservatives. (The shelf life is six weeks.) The staff will go into great detail describing their award winning, decadent, exploding-with-flavor, creamy chocolates. It's customary to find a small crowd gathered around the chocolate display case.

To indulge in one-of-a-kind concoctions, head over to The Chocolate Line near Market Square. Eighty unique varieties, such as a Buddha-shaped ginger chocolate and a white elephant saffron curry will tempt your taste buds.

Vineyard Days, Vineyard Nights

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by Nancy Ellison

marthasvineyardship.jpgAbove the title of our local paper, the VINEYARD GAZETTE, is the pithy quote (they always have a pithy quote), “With rod and tackle box, I’m slogging through soft sand, A red sun going down in the surf, Swag-belly clouds drifting in,” authored by Peter Makuck. Just below the Gazette title is its mission statement: “Devoted to the interest of the six towns on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard.”

The world simply does not intrude on the Vineyard!

This week the above the crease headline reads, “Patricia Neal – Sparkling Stories And Sunflowers To Say Goodbye.” (We will all miss that dame!) Near it is the ‘shocking’ story of a Trustee who nearly – nearly! – Ran over a nest of LEAST TERN CHICKS on the barrier beach, forcing his resignation. (If only our federal government could function with this kind of immediate civic responsibility!)

The Vineyard Gazette is as good an introduction to Martha’s Vineyard as anything I know. Even its dimensions – larger than most newspapers – forces one to sit back (preferably in a rocking chair), open the paper and read... not scan, but read! We people on this Island actually still read, support bookstores, treat authors most gently, and buy local painters. In other words, we love this Island and the eccentric characters that reside here. And, eccentric we all are!

Doing Rio

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by Carolan Nathan

rio_de_janeiro.jpgRio is a city of many contrasts, light and dark, mountains and sea, poverty and wealth. They mingle together as does the light at dawn or dusk, then separate, giving glimpses of glorious beauty and extreme ugliness. One might say, 'like life' and just so, pulsing through this cosmopolitan city, with its sprawling environs, dazzling beaches and majestic mountains you can sense the exciting rhythm of its spirited people. A conglomerate of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural beings who truly believe in their way of life and give thanks daily to the Cidade Maravilhosa – the Marvellous City.

Founded by the Portuguese in the early 16th century, this guttural language is still spoken by its inhabitants, Of course, for visitors, translations into English are everywhere and most people have a basic understanding and are able to communicate, on one level or another.

There is a multitude of interesting sites for those with intellectual leanings. The Cultural Corridor in the heart of downtown Rio includes a number of historical buildings such as the National Library built in neoclassic style where the smallest book in the world is on view. The gorgeous Municipal Theatre is modeled on the Opera Charles Garnier in Paris. It was known as Rio’s most luxurious and extravagant building and, lit up at night, 'tis a glorious sight to see, being the center of Rio's cultural activities.

English: Mind the Gap

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by Ilene Amy Berg

cullen_sink_sm.jpgMost everyone knows that in the UK an elevator is called a lift and an apartment is a flat, but beyond a few dozen words, we like to think that we speak the same language as our friends across the pond. Ha! 

I’ve been visiting for decades now, and the more I go, the more I know that sometimes, as I shake my head in assent, I’m not fully understanding what is being said.  There are completely different meanings for the same word, unknown expressions, syntactical differences and cultural nuances to be decoded in any conversation.  Reading the front page of The Guardian can be frustrating, and a quick trip to the supermarket can feel like a visit to a parallel universe.

An Italian Love Story

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by Carolan Nathan

hotelaprile.jpgRecently I was fortunate to journey to Florence, a Renaissance jewel. I caught an Alitalia flight from Birmingham airport that is most convenient for short journeys between the UK and European continent. Flying via Milan, I found the seating aboard this Italian airline very comfortable and enjoyed being bussed to and from the plane. The seats are of grey leather and, although an airbus, quite roomy and spotless unlike so many other airlines I have flown on.

The Hotel Aprile was my place of abode for four deliciously comfy nights. This ancient Palazzo dal Borgo, formerly a 15th century Medici Palace, has been lovingly converted into a charming hotel with every comfort and excellent service. Their delightful courtyard garden where breakfast and afternoon drinks are served in the spring and summer is a green and verdant spot situated within sight of the Church of Santa Maria Novella and the bustling streets of this Renaissance city. The bedrooms are furnished differently and all with private bathrooms which have been beautifully fitted. For families, there is a full size suite with two bedrooms. You will find many surprises as you wander through the hallways and passages, 16th century paintings, alcoves with Florentine Renaissance antiques, original frescoes on walls and faded oriental carpets.

The St. Croix Food and Wine Experience

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by Linda Eckhardt

stcroixfestival.jpgOf course you surely know the only reason to travel is to eat, so when I got an invitation to attend the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience, I jumped at the chance. I admit to a bit of hidden skepticism. I mean how could an island sitting in the middle of the Caribbean Sea possibly have any interesting food?

I’ve been to several different spots in the Caribbean and have been universally underwhelmed, with one exception on St. Lucia where I met a stupendous Swedish chef running a five star restaurant in a waterfront hotel. That was Bobo Bergstrom’s “The Edge”, and he, who started his career as a mere boy cooking for the Swedish court, turns out astonishing Eurobbean Haute Cuisine, but I digress.

St. Croix is a different sort of place from the frenchified St. Lucia. It is the very soul of the American Virgin Islands and the choice for those who want to understand the culture and heart of the Virgin Islands. It’s exotic and foreign but you don’t need a passport and you will understand the money. It’s good old Dollar Bills.


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butcher 3The Butcher Shop is a South End mecca for meat. It's part of Barbara Lynch's restaurant group that takes in B&G Oysters which is right across the street. This is a wine bar and a full-service...

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Hel's Kitchen: I Itz at Mugaritz
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mugaritz.jpgThe 3-star Michelin restaurant Mugaritz (rated 3rd in the Top Fifty Restaurants of the World) is high up in hills of Errenteria, Spain twenty minutes outside of San Sebastian. It is...