by World Hum | 04.02.09 | 9:25 AM ET
What kind of art do you feel like today? Hayden Foreman-Smith knows where to go to match any mood.
by Jenna Schnuer | 03.27.09 | 11:31 AM ET
Since I (semi-permanently) dismissed the idea of getting a tattooed map of the U.S. on my person in order to mark off, one tattoo pin at a time, where I’ve traveled, I’ve been on the hunt for a new way to detail where I’ve been. (Please don’t recommend a scrapbook. I’m not that girl.) I think Facebook “where I’ve been” maps are annoying and show-offy. And a traditional pinned map still appeals but ... I just haven’t found a U.S. map I want to stare down at all the time. But, today, I found my new I’ve-been-there collection idea: prints of artist Amy Ruppel’s state birds pieces. As my bank account allows it, I’m going to build the collection, bird by bird. I guess I’d better clear some wall space.
How do you mark your territory?
by World Hum | 03.26.09 | 9:28 AM ET
A man walks through a group of works by Chinese artist Yue Minjun, one of which is carrying women's handbags, on display outside the Today Art Museum in central Beijing.
by World Hum | 03.25.09 | 10:40 AM ET
Sculptors work as they stand on scaffolding surrounding a statue of the late Chinese chairman Mao Zedong in the town of Quyang.
by Rob Verger | 03.19.09 | 9:05 AM ET
Brazil's biggest city is famous for its graffiti. Rob Verger reveals 10 powerful images.
by Joanna Kakissis | 03.18.09 | 12:13 PM ET
The climate-change watchdog group Eco Everest hauled off 2,100 pounds of trash and human waste from Mount Everest last year and is now paying visitors $1.00 per pound for waste removed from the mountain, according to Outside and Rock and Ice magazine.
The Nepalese have recently tried to prevent dumping by withholding a $4,000 trash deposit from climbers who leave rubbish on the 29,028-foot peak. But there still a lot of waste up there from previous expeditions—enough to inspire a documentary and an artist who recycles discarded oxygen bottles into eco-provocative bowls, bells and ornaments.
by Jenna Schnuer | 03.10.09 | 4:33 PM ET
The Works Progress Administration did it. Musician Sufjan Stevens has done a bit of it. Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey got a whole bunch of people to do it. And, um, Sophia and I are deep into our own version of it.
The it in question? Exploring, one by one, what makes each of the 50 states unique—and looking for the threads that tie them together. Now it’s time to add another to the list: The 50 States Project. Every other month, 50 photos—one from each state—will be posted on the site. Flyover America checked in with Stuart Pilkington, the U.K.-based (we’ll get to that) creator and curator of the project to find out what it’s all about.
by Jim Benning | 03.06.09 | 11:03 AM ET
- Gotta love diplomatic pressure: Iranian officials say they’re going to free American freelance journalist and NPR contributor Roxana Saberi.
- Slate’s Jack Shaffer visits Africa a few times a week—thanks to the New York Times’ man in East Africa.
- Paris celebrates the art of the void at the Pompidou Centre.
- The Telegraph has put together a fine list of the 20 best travel books, including some fiction. Your assignment: Compare and contrast with our list of the best 30.
- Busted: Catalonia’s tourism officials, who used a photo of an Australian beach to represent Spain’s Costa Brava.
- Rio’s favelas + Hollywood film crews = Favellywood? One neighborhood where crews can “shoot without getting shot.” Ugh.
- Is San Diego the new super-yacht capital? I’m hanging with the wrong crowd.
- And finally, from the Travel Channel home offices in Chevy Chase, Maryland: Do you have the travel bug? Pay a visit to the Travel Bug Treatment Center. I was diagnosed a “Trailblazer.” What form does your bug take?
by Eva Holland | 03.02.09 | 5:23 PM ET
I’ve confessed to my abiding love of postcards before, and now I have another confession: I am a total sucker for the vintage travel poster and all its varied (fridge magnet, notebook, calendar, tote bag) incarnations. There’s something so refreshing about those old Cunard posters, or the early advertisements for transcontinental passenger rail. They have a guileless wonder to them, and a total lack of cynicism or irony—because they come from an era when nobody thought they had already seen it all. So I was thrilled to read on the Shoretrips blog about a major vintage poster auction being held in New York.
The auction’s already come and gone, but the entire collection is still viewable online. There are more than 400 posters in the sale, though, and only some of them are travel-related—so for all my fellow vintage-travel-poster-lovers (and I know you’re out there) I’ve put together a list of my favorites, and a cheat sheet for the rest.
by Eva Holland | 02.26.09 | 2:36 PM ET
For all the high culture addicts out there, good news from Arthur Frommer: British tour operator Martin Randall Travel has been spotted advertising in Harper’s, which means, as Frommer writes, “that tours with profound intellectual content will henceforth be marketed to the American public; the ‘dumbing down’ of travel may be significantly slowed through this effort.” The guidebook mogul figures the shifting exchange rate, which has made Britain much more affordable for Americans in recent months, is behind the unprecedented stateside marketing effort. The tours still aren’t for shoestringers—the all-inclusive packages hover around 300 pounds per person per day—but, as Frommer notes, they’re cheaper than comparable college alumni tours, and thanks to the sliding pound they’re within easier reach than ever.
by Michael Yessis | 02.16.09 | 8:46 AM ET
- The investigation of the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407 reveals sudden erratic movements 26 seconds before impact.
- The state of the Velib bike program in Paris isn’t good.
- The New Yorker’s Katherine Boo investigates a Mumbai slum located on land owned by the Airports Authority of India. (subscribers only)
- David Lyon looks at the comics-character murals of Brussels. He writes: “The Belgian flair for comics is as inescapable as Manneken Pis.”
- Nora Roberts’ Inn BoonsBoro—an inn in Boonsboro, Maryland, that features rooms named after literary couples—opens tomorrow.
- Wayne Curtis says “New Orleans knows how to do street theater like no other American city.”
- Benji Lanyado visits a pay-what-you-want bar in Berlin.
- Video: A woman goes wild after missing her plane in Hong Kong and becomes a YouTube hit.
- The Costa Brava is not the Bahamas—except in an ad for the Costa Brava. I’d say, “oops,” but it looks like the people behind the ad planned using the image of the Bahamas as a stand in for the Spanish coast. (via Shore Trips)
by Rob Verger | 02.12.09 | 1:38 PM ET
There is a 32-foot-tall sculpture of a wild mustang in front of Denver International Airport, and to put it bluntly, it’s freaking some people out, the AP reports. There is even a Facebook group devoted to putting the horse out to pasture, so to speak. The sculpted horse is blue, muscled, and rears powerfully up on two legs. Mohawk-like mane juts from its neck and head.
To get more reactions to the horse, I emailed some friends who live in Colorado. “Driving by the horse is a surreal experience,” wrote Dan Knights. “The horse is incongruous with its surroundings. All around it there’s nothing but flat dry fields and highway, and then all of a sudden there’s this giant cobalt blue horse. It’s made especially creepy by its fiery glowing eyes. I’m not sure if the eyes are actually illuminated or merely reflecting the ambient light, but they definitely give the horse a possessed demonic appearance.”
My friend Andrew Jones put things more strongly. “Frankly, the horse freaks me out,” he wrote. “In my last few trips to D.I.A., I’ve been trying to figure out why, exactly. The bright red eyes are an obvious candidate, of course, so I imagined: What would I think if it had green eyes? Or none, or black, like a normal horse? Is it the nostrils, aggressively flared, or the fact that the mane is so uproarious in its frozen flow?” Jessica Jones, his wife, wrote: “We see this horse every time we go to D.I.A. and its eyes scare the blazes out of me.”
by Julia Ross | 02.12.09 | 11:37 AM ET
My affection for Oriental rugs is as much aesthetic preference as childhood nostalgia. I grew up in a household padded with Bukharas and Isfahans, and I remember when my mom first showed me how to tell a hand-knotted rug from a machine-made doppelganger by flipping the carpet over to examine how the fringe is attached. As an adult, my taste has tended toward flat-weave rugs—Kilims and Soumaks—in dark browns, burnt oranges and blues, woven in tribal patterns that speak of dusty villages in Turkey and Iran. In fact, when I moved into a new apartment last spring, I treated myself to two Soumaks purchased from a weathered Afghan at a flea market outside Washington, D.C. I love them; they make the place home.
Rug lovers like me will find nirvana at an exhibit currently on show at Washington’s under-appreciated Textile Museum, in the city’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. Timbuktu to Tibet: Rugs and Textiles of the Hajji Babas, includes 90 rugs and other textiles—salt bags and bridal veils—collected by the 77-year-old Hajji Baba Club, a New York-based society of rug collectors. It’s a feast for the eyes and expansive in scope: deep pink diamond patterns from Uzbekistan, blazing tiger pelt motifs from Tibet, black and white checkerboard rugs from Mali. I spent a long time just letting the colors soak in, marveling at the hours spent in pursuit of beauty and wondering at the rituals—births, prayers, long journeys—that inspired such attention to detail.
by Joanna Kakissis | 02.12.09 | 10:37 AM ET
In The Unnaturalism of Human Habitat, artist Don Simon has created a disturbing and beautiful series of tryptichs showing animals interacting with the hyper-developed world of humans. The skyscraper piece is especially apocalyptic (and seemingly post-human) but many of the other works are bizarrely poignant: Bison in a traffic jam, a family of lowland gorillas perched on a steel tower, an alligator in a pool of trashed tires, a “parking lot Serengeti” with lions and giraffes. Scenes from the travel brochures of a broken future? Maybe not, but Simon’s message of respecting natural habitat ought to resonate with anyone who loves planet Earth. (Via TreeHugger.)
by Michael Yessis | 02.05.09 | 8:47 AM ET
- Tamaulipas declared itself bilingual, the first Mexican state to do so.
- Ben Groundwater lists his picks for the world’s most disappointing tourist attractions.
- Aeroflot apologizes for pilot’s “slurred preflight announcement,” but denies he was drunk.
- McSweeney’s reveals what happens when “the 4-year-old crash-lands in the Andes.”
- The sites of London can be compressed into “just four handy photographs,” writes Matthew Summers-Sparks.
- Trains, slum rooftops and Google Earth all factor into this art project in Kibera, Kenya. (Via Daily Dish)
- A man was caught at customs in Melbourne with birds beneath his trousers.
- Here’s where Americans are getting arrested abroad. Not surprised at all by the top spot: Tijuana.
by Michael Yessis | 01.30.09 | 8:06 AM ET
- Russians heart Goa.
- But how will the free-falling ruble affect Russian travelers—and travel to Russia?
- The Fortune Cookie Chronicles writer Jennifer 8. Lee collects toothpaste from her travels.
- Slideshow: Inspired by brothels in Pakistan.
- “Bread for the World ” and “The United States of Europe” highlight Rick Steves’ MVBs. I believe that means his most-valued books.
- Charles Darwin’s house: Future World Heritage site?
- In Slate’s latest Well-Traveled, June Thomas asks: “Am I too frivolous for Japan?”
- An Italian city in Tuscany says no to ethnic restaurants in its central district.
- Tikrit unveiled a shoe sculpture to honor the Iraqi journalist who threw his footwear at former U.S. President Bush.
- PEE. SUX. BOO. Just three of the funniest airport codes from around the world.
- In the U.K., the Birmingham City Council banished apostrophes from its road and street signs. The Apostrophe Protection Society says, “It seems retrograde, dumbing down really. It is setting a very bad example.” I agree, and I’m sure the typo vigilantes do, too.
by Michael Yessis | 01.23.09 | 8:18 AM ET
- Nashville votes no and nyet and nein to English-only ballot measure.
- Video: Spending Time With Poster Boy, a street artist who prowls the New York City subway system.
- Even the U.S. Marines are avoiding Tijuana these days.
- A different take on Mexico: How U.S. media perpetuates cliches about the country.
- An exhibition of Robert Frank’s The Americans recently opened at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Slate has a slideshow.
- Aboard the slow train through Senegal.
- Aboard the other bullet trains of Asia.
- Are high-end adventure outfitters rising “above the global financial crisis and recession”?
- Buffalo-wing lovers in Buffalo, New York, call for a Buffalo-wing boycott on Monday. It could get worse: Supplies are so low and prices so high for wings that there may be a shortage on Super Bowl Sunday. What will we ever do, particularly with all the accompanying blue-cheese dip?
by Jenna Schnuer | 01.22.09 | 11:56 AM ET
Yeah, there are a few things here and there from places far, far away but, looking around my apartment, I realized that most of my art/knickknacks/stuff was hauled home in my carry-on, checked baggage or the trunk of a rental car from a trip to one of the 50. OK, I shipped the bear lamp home. This is some of it ...
by Michael Yessis | 01.14.09 | 8:00 AM ET
- An American in Spain writes about studying Euskera, the “clearest sign of Basque identity.”
- Greenpeace buys land in effort to halt a third runway at Heathrow. It’s now the prime minister’s move.
- Here’s an interesting project: Masterpieces from the Prado on Google Earth.
- Jonathan Raban on the best presidential writers. He notes some of the travel bits of Barack Obama’s “Dreams From My Father.”
- Cuba reported huge tourism numbers in 2008. It could grow if Obama implements the policy outlined by Hillary Clinton.
- A steady flow of flights from Europe—and “tightened restrictions in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia”—are fueling sex tourism in Mombasa, Kenya.
- A couple of long-term travelers share ten lessons of the road. No. 2: Smile.
- The BBC offers some tips on landing that best job in the world.
- Lawlessness reigns at San Diego’s skate parks. Given the city’s financial shape, officials decided not to staff them. Skateboarders have flocked to the parks for the “[f]reedom to smoke while they skate, drink beer, bring dogs, ride minibikes amid the skateboards and scrawl graffiti.”
by Michael Yessis | 01.07.09 | 9:34 AM ET
- ReadyMade asked artists to “reimagine” Depression Era WPA posters. Open created a great one (pictured).
- McDnoald’s. Bucksstar Coffee. Pizza Huh. Is someone in China building a shopping mall filled with fake brands, or is it all just fake?
- Barack Obama: Restaurant critic. He loves his peach cobbler at Dixie Kitchen in Chicago.
- World Hum contributor David Farley talked travel with Arthur and Pauline Frommer.
- Voting begins on the New 7 Wonders of Nature. There are 261 nominees.
- An American tourist was stabbed outside a bar in Rome.
- Happy 50th birthday, Alaska.
- Farewell to the SS Catalina.
- Another farewell to the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Flinn.
- Jon Bowermaster started a two-month residency at Gadling, writing from Antarctica. He calls the continent “the beating heart of Planet Earth.”
- Why not measure the world’s countries by robot density? Here are the top 10. (Via Passport)
- This may be the least scenic hot tub in the world. I prefer this view.