I’ve had this fascination with Montana since college. I don’t know where it came from, but I do remember the first time I voiced it.
One night in college and I bumped into a guy I knew in grade school at Bob and Barbara’s in Philadelphia. He said his parents had retired there and it was stunning.
I looked at him with wide Bambi eyes and asked.
“What’s it like when you walk off the plane? What’s the air like?”
He knew exactly what I meant.
“Amazing,” he replied.
Coming from a city-heavy northeast USA, I couldn’t even fathom how spectacularly natural Montana is and how clean and crisp air would be when I was having that chat with an old acquaintance. But I’m happy to report that five years later, I’m going to find out for myself.
This summer, I’m going to: MONTANA.
Photo provided by Lone Mountain Ranch
I can’t remember being this thrilled to visit a destination since Prague in 2007. It’s not that I’ve not loved the places I’ve visited since then. I just think that everyone has a few spots in the world they put on a pedestal, Montana has been hoisted and praised by me for years.
This trip came about in quite an exciting way too. Every Christmas Passports with Purpose offers a long list of travel-oriented prizes put fourth by different bloggers and websites. To enter for a specific prize, people make a donation to the charities the organization is supporting that year. I must be the luckiest traveler alive, because I’ve won twice now. In 2011 it was a bungy jump and swing package at Nevis Bungy in Queenstown, NZ and 2012′s prize was a week vacation at Lone Mountain Ranch via Trekaroo.
On top of accommodation, meals and what not, the trip includes horse back riding, canoeing and a visit to Yellow Stone National Park. It really just gets better and better.
Photo provided by Lone Mountain Ranch
I’m looking forward to just being in Montana and experiencing its natural beauty, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited for a bit of lush tripping. If you know me at all, you’ll know I always travel on a budget and sometimes get by on a trip by the skin of my teeth. It will be nice to have my own log cabin, restaurant food and all the good things luxury travelers take for granted.
Photo provided by Lone Mountain Ranch
Photo provided by Lone Mountain Ranch
One other difference in this trip from my usual travels, I’ll be traveling with this girl:
You may have seen this photo on hostel walls across Europe. Pretty much the greatest person in the world.
I’m going to leave that photo there as a teaser and explain how special she is to me in a later post. But I will say before Ric, she was my ultimate travel partner. We’re both at a major transition in our lives, so I can’t wait to just spend some time hitting the road with her and righting the world.
It’s a common question when visiting the USA’s spotlight cities for entertainment, New York and Los Angeles. If it’s going to happen anywhere, it’s going to happen at one of these places. NYC and LA are places A-listers in film, music and theater call home and do the bulk of their work.
While you might see someone on the streets, one way to ensure you definitely see them in person, and attend an amazing show for free, is to visit a live show taping.
Whether it’s politics, comedy, sports, food or just pure entertainment that appeals to you, there is a free live taping for everyone. Below I’ve list a few big ones, where and when they are taped, why you should visit them, how to get tickets and how likely it is that you will. Make sure to read the end of the post as well, to find out what to expect and how to prepare for a live taping.
New York City
Late Show with David Letterman Location: Ed Sullivan Theater 1697 Broadway Tapes: weekdays, unless on otherwise noted
We’ll kick off this list with one of the absolute hardest tickets in town. The Late Show has been on CBS since 1993 and David Letterman is up there with the greats in late night entertainment. This is the show where the most trending names at any moment moment, like Barack Obama during the 2008 election, want to be seen and what’s more exciting is that Letterman is known to give some of them a hard time, like Justin Bieber.
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Location: 11th Ave between 51st and 52nd St in Manhattan Tapes: Monday to Thursday, unless otherwise noted
This liberal-leaning Comedy Central show is one of the most talked about in political entertainment. Who would of thought from Big Daddy that Jon Stewart could be so witty and quick. The Daily Show can be controversial at times, but it’s always a good laugh. Come for Stewart, other rising comedians and and political debates, but don’t always expect well-known guests. While Stewart often has history-making politicians and Hollywood A-listers on, he also has people not everyone will recognize, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
Plus, Stewart takes time before the 30-minute show to answer questions from people in the audience and spends some time after thanking them for coming. What a man!
The Colbert Report Location: 54th St between 10th and 11th Ave in Manhattan Tapes: Monday to Thursday, unless otherwise noted
The Colbert Report is very similar to The Daily Show except Stephen Colbert is much more eccentric and tickets are a lot harder to find to his show. From Colbert you can expect elaborate sets, extreme interviews and hilarious interactions. Like Stewart, Colbert takes time to chat with the audience before and after the 30-minute show.
Rachael Location: 221 West 26th Street between 7th and 8th Ave Tapes: Two per day usually on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
The bubbly and beautiful Rachael Ray is a welcoming vision for a show that requires people to arrive in the morning. Come to this CBS show for free food and goodies. She often has competitions that members of the audience can take part in on the one-hour show. Plus, Ray books some incredible guests and makes them feel comfortable, so you see an interesting side of people. Don’t expect dramatic or ground-breaking interviews, but the show is a lot of fun. You only have to be 16 years old to be in the Rachael audience, but those under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Location: NBC Burbank Lot Studio 11 3000 W. Alameda Ave Tapes: weekdays, unless otherwise noted
Host of The Tonight Show is the most-respected position in late night. The one-hour show has been on air since 1957. Once held by Jack Paar and Johnny Carson, Jay Leno took over the position in 1992 and has been a household name since then. They tried to switch Conan O’Brien into the position in 2009 and send Leno to his own later show, but the move was controversial to say the least and Leno was given his spot back not long after.
Though Conan was sort of screwed over in the whole Tonight Show transition. He has an extremely loyal fan base, known as Team Coco and is still one of the biggest names in late night entertainment. Conan is on TBS and features the biggest names in Hollywood and music at the moment as well as up and coming comedians. Don’t be surprised if popular comedians like Will Farrell just pop on the show from time to time, not just for interviews either. It’s definitely one of the funniest late night shows on TV.
Plus, you get to walk through Warner Bros. Studios, where the show is filmed. Along the way to the studio you might see Chuck Lorre’s parking spot, the studio where Ocean’s Eleven was filmed and more.
The Ellen Degeneres Show Location: Warner Bros. Studios 6564 Forest Lawn Drive Tapes: weekdays, unless otherwise noted
Out of all the show mentioned on this list, Ellen is probably the hardest to attend. Not only is she a well-known name in entertainment, but she always has the best guests and giveaways. Expect to see her Hollywood friends, like Jennifer Aniston. If they’re going to show their face anywhere amidst controversy, it’s Ellen. But the show is usually pretty upbeat and hilarious. She dances in the audience and people are often asked to volunteer. Further, you’ll have to go through Warner Bros. Studios to get to her show, which, as I mention above, is cool no matter what.
You must be 14 years old to attend this show and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. Just keep checking online to find tickets for Ellen. They go fast and aren’t available very far in advance. This is one of those shows it might be worth trying for stand-by on the day, because it’s pretty unpredictable otherwise. If you want to do that call (818) 954-5929 before 12 p.m. on the same day of the show you wish to attend. Tickets: www.ellentv.com/tickets
The Soup Location: E! Network Studios 5750 Wilshire Blvd Tapes: Usually Wednesday mornings
This taping is somewhat of a secret, so thank me later if you end up going. The Soup is not nearly as large as the rest of the shows mentioned on this list and that’s a good thing for audience members. During the 30-minute E! Entertainment show, host Joel McHale who is also known for his role in NBC’s Community, makes fun of everything that’s happened on TV In the past week, especially Tyra Banks.
On E!’s website, they say that the taping is not public and those laughing in the background are only staff, but Joel McHale has tweeted to email SAudience@comcastnets.com for people who want to see the show in person. I’ve talked to people who have been and they say it’s a lot more personal than other live shows, because the crowd is small and McHale will even take photos with people at the end.
What to expect and how to prepare
Tickets to shows like Ellen and The Tonight Show tend to go quick, so if you’re planning a trip to one of these spots request tickets ahead. This can almost always be done online.
Tickets are always free to the shows mentioned in this post and most live tapings for that matter, so if you’re asked to pay, it’s probably the wrong website.
These shows usually just run straight through without re-takes but not always, so expect them to run longer than the their usual duration.
Shows are taped usually hours before the they air on TV.
You must be 18 years old to attend all these shows unless noted otherwise.
Make sure to bring identification, dress business casual and don’t chew gum.
You are not allowed to use cameras or phones once you enter a studio. In fact, you’ll be asked to leave professional cameras with security in most places, so it’s really not worth bringing them. Do not bring any bulky bags or luggage either.
Visiting a live taping is often a full-day event, so be prepared to wait in line for hours, even if you do have tickets.
Presenters hate hecklers or people trying to get attention in the audience. If you’re that person they’ll either poke fun at you or they’ll have to re-tape a segment and you could be asked to leave. Be prepared to clap and laugh though.
Some of the shows have time before or after each taping during which you get to chat with the presenter, but it’s not always guaranteed.
You’re going to watch a show, so don’t expect to end up on TV.
Roasted duck sandwiches, wild boar and black truffle ravioli and freshly made chai, there is no better place in London to tour the tastes and smells of the city than Borough Market.
Somehow I always end up here on my days off. Maybe it’s old world look of the market, which is located under London Bridge. Maybe it’s the cultures that come together and share food here. Maybe it’s the different foods and free samples. Yea…it definitely has to do with the last possibility mentioned.
Even though I’ve visited here at least a hundred times, I always do a quick tour of the market before deciding what I want. Usually full off samples after my overview, I’ll make the effort to squeeze a cheese sandwich or lamb sandwich in my stomach. The food is that good and vendors that friendly.
Enter from London Bridge and you will be bombarded with vendors selling an array of meals for lunch. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Like posh grilled cheese. The line for this cheese sandwich stand with specialty cheeses stretches around the market entrance. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Watch as your fresh oysters are prepared in front of you. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Plus, there’s something for everyone, even vegetarians. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Head deeper into the market and you’ll find mushrooms in every way imaginable, from wild to liquidated into white truffle oil. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
And olives… Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
And cheese…Free samples, anyone? Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Not just fresh food, but beautifully decorated, like this elephant cookie. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
I especially love the classic chalk board signage. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
And again… Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Though signage isn’t really necessary. Most can just let their noses lead the way. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Of course, there are pies! Maybe just one for later. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Have you ever been to Borough Market? What did you think? What’s your favorite market in the world?
I had this vision of myself before visiting Southeast Asia, wearing a green dress, riding an elephant through the jungles of Thailand.
It started with my love of animals, turned into a must-do for the region because of all the photos I’d seen of others doing the same and inevitably led to something purely selfish, self-absorbed and ignorant.
Visit Thailand.Ride an elephant.
Looking back now, this sounds like the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of and I’m ashamed to say that I was so lost in the campaigns for travel in Asia, that I neglected to think about something that really matters to me, animal welfare.
I don’t know how I could have been so stupid?
These are wild animals. They stampede. They live in locations where people do not. What sounds right about a mere human, with no experience with them, hopping on top and telling them what to do. What seems okay with them doing tricks in a crowded street.
They’re not scary. They’re not mean. They’re just not meant to be for your amusement.
I looked for elephant riding opportunities in Thailand that advertised themselves as ‘kinder to the animal’ than other companies. But they weren’t. Towering creatures chained up by the foot, caged in bamboo huts. How could I have thought that this elephant activity was any better than the rest?
And it only got worse once jumped on…
It just didn’t feel right. I cringed every time I watched the mahout (person in charge of the elephant) hit her on the head with this sharp sort of hammer, which was often, to get her going in the right direction.
My next trip to Thailand, I decided to see the country’s indigenous creature in a different way, saved.
One of the rescues at ENP as a bath in the river that runs through the park. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
I could go on and on about my one-day visit to Save Elephant Foundation’s Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai and everything that’s right about the organization, but I know that’s been done a million times over by people much better at it than me, so I’ll just talk about what was the most important interaction at the park for me.
I think everyone who visits ENP has one elephant that affects them most. The one they share a moment with or just relate to their stories. Mine was Jokia.
Jokia is Save Elephant Foundations many rescues. She’s completely blind, so it’s unclear where she’d be now if it wasn’t ENP. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Elephants were used in Thailand’s lucrative timber industry up until 1989 when heavy flooding, due to deforestation, led the country to ban logging in 1989. That said, illegal logging continued after the ban.
This has been one of many reasons or problems with elephant welfare in Thailand. Not only were the elephants often treated horribly when working in the timber industry, but afterwards there was sort of an unknown of what to do with the animals and mahouts didn’t have the money or space to take care of them. They couldn’t go back to the wild. They were practically domesticated. So a lot were used in tourism. Forced to walk the streets in Bangkok for money (Yes, that happened), sleep under highway bridges and take peanuts from drunken tourists holidaying on the island.
Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
A lucky few were rescued by people like Lek Chailert and either transitioned into the wild at Elephant Nature Park or are still living there now with plenty of space to breathe.
Jokia is a saved elephant with one of the saddest and cruelest stories I’ve ever heard.
Jokia, born in 1960, was pregnant while working in the illegal years of the logging industry. An elephant’s pregnancy can last for about two years. But her mahout didn’t know or didn’t care and pushed Jokia harder and harder to get more work done. She had her calf while logging timber uphill. It fell out and she was not allowed to stop to check if her new-born calf was dead or alive.
As any mother would, Jokia became extremely depressed after this happened. She wouldn’t work let alone move, so her mahout would stab her in the eyes regularly to get her up and moving. It left her completely blind.
Though Jokia didn’t have a happy life. The story does have a happy ending. Jokia is one of Save Elephant Foundation’s many rescues.
My first introduction to Jokia was by Mae Perm while visiting the park in October 2012. You’ll see elephants pair off and sort of stick with their friend or companion at the park. Mae Perm and Jokia are one of the most well-known pairs there.
Jokia and Mae Perm arrive, side by side. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
I felt a little bit scared as I heard that loud elephant yell while we were all standing on the ground waiting to get up close with the animals.
A mahout told us to not be worried. He explained the Mae Perm will do that for Jokia if she’s going the wrong way or if somethings in the way, because she’s blind and wouldn’t know if her friend didn’t say something.
That was it.I was in love.
The beauty, sensitivity and gentleness from these animals I didn’t really expect visiting the park.
I just thought I would see them all doing their own thing, running free, but really the visit was all about getting to know their individual personalities and struggles.
I spent most of my time with Jokia, feeding her. Unlike the younger elephants that you just handed fruit to, Jokia would lay her trunk on the concrete stage that people stand on during the feeding section of the visit. You have to place bananas or pieces of pumpkins in the middle of the rolled trunk and touch it gently to let her know something is there.
That’s me feeding Jokia.
As I said, I think everyone has their own moments and experiences at the park and that was mine.
So here’s my message to you, from someone who has fallen for the tourism campaigns and regrets elephant riding. Don’t bother with it. Not only is it wrong, but it’s also not nearly as special as as the experience you’ll have at a place that actually cares for and looks after their elephants.
I know we all want to escape the world while we’re on holiday, but it’s not possible and it’s not fair. You have to be responsible for your actions and how you treat all species and the environment.
Not only a place that rescues elephants, but also stray dogs. The two species roam the park in harmony. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Some people just don’t know that the animals are treated poorly or just don’t really give the simple activity the thought they should. If you’re one of those people and have made it this far through my blog post, now you do know, from someone whose been both sort of tourists and seen both sides. I hope you won’t ignore it any longer.
It hit me as I was being chased by a man in a “Bane” mask at the London Tombs, a haunted activity part of The London Bridge Experience.
I’m scared.I don’t like this.Get me out of here as soon as possible.
And I love Tom Hardy…
I don’t know what happened to me. Halloween used to be my favorite holiday. In fact, I treated the 31 days leading up to the big day in October with more respect and interest than the 25 leading up to Christmas as a child. I’d pack my weekends with hay rides and haunted houses, scary movies and readings. I was still scared going to these things back then, but I buzzed off it.
Then it hit me. I’m not 12 anymore. Even at the tender age of 26 the seriousness of life and consequences have gotten to me without me even knowing it.
I started to feel this at the Nevis Bungy Jump in New Zealand when Ric and I visited in January 2012. I had bungy jumped the year prior in Cairns, Australia voluntarily. In fact, I’d say bungy jumping was number one on my to-do list in Australia. Yet, as I stood on the tiny pod, suited up to take one of the biggest plunges available in the world, for free I must add (I won a Nevis Bungy and Swing from Passports with Purpose that year), I couldn’t even bring myself to think of doing it.
One of the attendants came over to me after Ric’s jump and asked, “So are you going to do it?”
“No,” I said with the most serious face imaginable.
“Why not? It’s great once you do it,” he responded with a care free tone that all the nutters in this line of work seem to have.
“I just don’t want to,” I said.
The smile went away from his face and he walked away.
That was it. I just didn’t want to do it. Was I scared?Absolutely. But I’ve always been scared at these sort of things, that was what attracted me. Unfortunately, somewhere between 23 and 26, I lost my edge.
I think this is natural for most people as they age. Even with subtle differences, like not wanting to push yourself as hard at the gym, because you’re worried about the next day or not wanting to buy that flash car you dreamed of, because it might be unsafe, it starts to hit you. We’re not immortal. I never thought I was, but I just never thought about it at all until recently.
Looking back, I am so happy I took the risks I did in travel, in my career choices, at 23, because I’m not sure now, even though I’m only three years older, I would have had the balls to leave home and travel to a country with no one and nothing, jump out of a plane, dive with sharks and quit a safe job to make it at something I’ve always dreamed of doing.
I still think I have a whole lot of chance and risk-taking left in me. I’m still in my 20s and have a few years filled with endless stupid mistakes and bad decisions left in me. (I’m hoping the next decade will come with less.) In fact, I think I’ll probably be somewhat of a risk-taker my whole life, but I do notice myself slowing down. It’s shocking, but it just makes me that much more happy that I tried all those things people told me I was crazy or stupid for doing when I had no hesitations to try them.
I wasn’t a complete baby in Queenstown. I did do the Nevis Swing. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
I hope I snap out of my new fears, but I don’t think it’s a phase. I think it’s just a part of life. We grow older, grow wiser and grow out of taking certain crazy risks. But not all of them. I encourage you take as many risks as you can at any age and I don’t think this applies to everyone. My dad skydived for the first time at 59. I just think it’s natural to fall out of that fearless attitude you had as a child, which is yet another reason you should travel while your young, rather than leaving it for ‘one day’.
What do you think?Have you slowed down with age or are you still the same wild person you were at 21?
I’m the biggest dork when it comes to travel. Ever since I was little I’ve been an aspiring Danny Tanner, itinerary printed out for everyone traveling and heavy knowledge of every stop on the tour, even at Disney World.
Sometimes I think I like planning trips even more than actually taking them and recently I’ve come to the conclusion that the very best possible job for me in travel would be to design tours and itineraries.
So you can imagine my excitement when I learned about Unanchor from Clare Auchterlonie, known as @pollypissypants on Twitter. She was a huge help when it came to planning my road trip around western USA and in the process she passed along some of her own Unanchor travel guides.
Basically, the company allows people to create tour guides and self publish. But they’re very hands on with what gets published on their website. Cat Crews, a member of the Unanchor team, was with me every step of the way to offer tips and advice to making my itinerary the best it could be.
Walking to Big Ben from St. James’s Park. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
As you might all know by now, I adore London. I’ve lived here twice and both times have spent ridiculous amounts of time just walking the city. I don’t know what it is about walking here, but I could do five miles without even realizing it, because there are so many random things along the way to keep me distracted.
I love touring the city with no destination in mind and discovering alleyways or sections I never knew about. Loads of miles later and several tours for work and pleasure and I know I have a pretty good grasp on the city’s layout, history and best attractions, most of which are free.
The guide includes detailed maps to help you on your walking tours. Map created by Bobbi Lee Hitchon using Google Maps
I’m always amazed at how many free museums, events and activities there are in this city. I think it’s something people don’t realize when planning a trip here, because all you hear about London is how expensive it is.
Well, it doesn’t have to be.
My three-day tour is designed so that you don’t have to pay a dime while touring. I point out museums and activities that are free and take you on walks pointing out sights that you’d have to hire a guide to know about. I even show you where to find free comedy, theater performances and food, as well as how to get into places that normally charge admission, like St. Paul’s Cathedral, for absolutely nothing.
The V&A is one of many free museums mentioned in my tour. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
I also include affordable food and drink options for lunch and dinner and an index with everything you need to know about visiting London.
Dim sum in Chinatown anyone? Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
London, for me, is the best city in the world, so I would love for people, on any budget, to find out why. This guide is especially good for summer, so I hope people get to enjoy it in summer 2013. Click the link in the widget below to have a look.
Ric and I don’t see eye to eye when it comes to modern and contemporary art. I am fascinated by it and even if I don’t like some pieces, I always do like to learn about the concept behind it.
Ric gets frustrated and says, “Why is this art?”, which I’m sure is a lot of people’s reactions to some of the things that go on display and sell for millions on auction. So as you would imagine, Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain is mentioned often in conversations we have when I drag him to galleries.
Visitor looks at the work Fountain (1950 replica of 1917 original) by Marcel Duchamp. Photo Felix Clay 2013
The Dada icon questioned the same thing in 1917 when he turned a porcelain urinal upside down, signed it R. Mutt and submitted it to be displayed for the Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists. They rejected it, but Duchamp’s ‘readymade’ would make history anyway and influence plenty of artists to come, which is the basis of The Bride and the Bachelors, an exhibition available until June 9 at the Barbican.
The exhibition is the first to explore Duchamp’s legacy by tracing his interactions and exchanges with composer John Cage, choreographer Merce Cunningham and visual artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.
To me, it sounded like the perfect exhibition and one I’ve actually thought about with other artists in the past. See for me, it’s the history of art and minds involved that’s usually more interesting than the work at hand. Unfortunately, this exhibition was a bit too much to take in and while at times I was intrigued, I also spent a lot of my visit flustered and confused.
The exhibition is organized to start with a room dedicated solely to Duchamp’s most influential work. On display in the first room is Fountain (1950 replica), Nude Descending Staircase and The Bride Stripped Bare of by Her Bachelors, for which the exhibition is named.
I was giddy when I walked into this room, because works I had read so much about were right in front of me. However, where I went wrong with this exhibition was trying to see it all during Dancing around Duchamp.
As I mentioned at the start, this exhibition traces Duchamp’s legacy not only to visual artists but also those in music and dance. So the Barbican dims down the lights on the exhibition for Dancing around Duchamp every Thursday from 6:30-8:30 pm and over the weekend from noon-5pm. During this time dancers from London Contemporary Dance School and Richard Alston Dance Company take to a white stage centered in the exhibition to perform Merce Cunningham’s Events, which is a dance version of Duchamp’s ‘readymades’, while John Cage’s experimental music plays in the background.
Dancers perform Merce Cunningham choreography in the exhibition. Photo Felix Clay 2013
Imagine that going on while trying to look at art and read about what can be a very intricate exhibition at times.
It was too much.
From the start I was doomed. While trying to read the introduction, I heard three voices in the background of the music and feet hitting the floor in the room next door.
If I could do it again, I would have visited the exhibition before Dancing around Duchamp to see all the visual art and read the associations between all the artists on display. Then after a short break, come back to see the dance and music performance, because it was beautiful. The dancers were amazing and it’s a very original concept to see a performance like it in an art gallery, but I just felt to overwhelmed to take it all in properly.
I wanted to carry on seeing the exhibition, which is spread out over two floors, but I also wanted to see the dance and felt really torn. I started to wonder if this is the sort of affect Duchamp would have wanted from a viewer.
Rooms in the upstairs area of the exhibition focused on tracing Duchamp’s influence and interactions with the four other artists included in this exhibition. By seeing how many works paralleled to works by Duchamp all at once, I felt a full grasp of his contribution to the art world and how different his thought process was compared to everything that was going on at the time.
How Duchamp used chance to create works like 3 Standard Stoppages and musical scores like Erratum Musical and how this idea was incorporated into dance routines by Merce Cunningham. How they used chess, a game Duchamp played often and incorporated into his work, to explain the interactions and exchanges between the four artists and Duchamp. John Cage even composed a musical notation called Chess Pieces after meeting Duchamp for the first time.
Visitor looks at the work Door 11, rue Larrey (replica) (1964) by Marcel Duchamp. Photo Felix Clay 2013
The relationship between all these men is more than influence, they met, they worked together and probably bounced ideas off each other. Jasper Johns and Merce Cunningham actually collaborated on a theatrical performance called Walkaround Time, which was inspired by Duchamp’s The Large Glass. You’ll see Walkaround Time orbiting the dance floor on the first floor.
And all these artists continue to inspire. French contemporary artist Philippe Parreno designed the exhibition and layout of all the pieces it includes.
I always wondered what it would be like to be in a room with artists from the Dada and Surrealist movements, just to hear what they said and what kind of conversations they had. They’re minds must have been so out there to create things before anyone in the world could have even imagined anything close. I would think the talks would be enlightening, profound and quite chaotic, which this exhibition definitely demonstrates.
The Bride and the Bachelors is on display at the Barbican until June 9. Purchase standard tickets online for £10 and at the door for £12.
The Barbican granted me press admission to see this exhibition. All opinions are my own.
Escaping London’s financial district to the dark, smokey basement cabaret called Proud, my friend Bobbi and I were greeted by the cutest host. A big smile and kind words at the door, he led us to our table right next to the stage and threw in a few naughty jokes along the way. In case we were wondering, he warned us before leaving the table.
“I’m going to get a lot worse than this ladies,” he said.
A couple sits together in the smokey Proud Cabaret lounge. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
The he, is Joe Morose. Once a manager at Proud, this natural performer now plays cabaret compere at the venue. The current manager said Morose hopped up on stage one night and has held the position since then.
Joe Morose opens the show with The Beatles ‘Come Together’. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Morose wasn’t joking either. He kicked off the show with his own rendition of The Beatles ‘Come Together’ highlighting the phrase, “Come together, all over me”. Dressed in a plaid ensemble and fascinator at the start of the night and baring down to a black corset with a full goblet of white wine in his hand by the end of the night, Morose sang his own version of Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ and Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ on stage while mingling and joking with members of the audience.
Morose gets cozy with members of the Proud Cabaret audience. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
“Oh I see you got a pair of pearl knickers,” he said to a man in the crowd who was thrown some lingerie during Missy Fatale’s burlesque performance. “You might get a pearl necklace later.”
This incredible stage presence brought together a unique, new show at the famed cabaret house, Twisted Voo Doo. The show mixes traditionally cabaret strip and dance routines from the likes of Jolie Papilon with shocking and sometimes grotesque acts by Preacher Muad’dib. The multiple Guinness World record holder drills a screw into his face, blows up a condemn from his nose (that’s inserted from his mouth) and does things with fire you shouldn’t try at home, during his two performances in the show.
Jolie Papilon at spins in a pearl flapper dress. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Preacher Maud’dib isn’t afraid to use power tools on stage. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Maud’dib blowing up a condemn lodges in his throat. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Most of Maud’dib’s Guinness World Records have to do with pyro acts, he showed off a few of his heated talents at Twisted Voo Doo. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
You’ll find a nice middle ground between pure sex appeal and circus-like talents with a fire act by the classic Missy Fatale as well as a burlesque feather performance, two hula hoop routines by the absolutely adorable Lisa Lottie and two acrobatic performances on an aerial hoop by Ben Brown, during which I’m pretty sure he completely twisted his torso.
Missy Fatale is exactly what you want from a burlesque cabaret dancer, classic, flawless and gorgeous. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Fatale shakes her feathers on the Proud Cabaret stage. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Fatale shows off a hidden fire talent. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Lisa Lottie’s body transitions during her hula hoop acts make it almost look easy. Almost… Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Lottie can hula hoop with more than just her waist. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Lottie adds to her act with cute face gestures and smiles. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Ben Brown’s flexibility and strength is shocking. I had to look away a few times. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
As you might have noticed, I’ve been going to a lot of cabarets in London lately and I was not going to bother with this one, because of that.
I’m really glad I did.
I found the usual burlesque cabaret routines at Proud to be some of the most elegant and sexy I’ve seen in the world and the performers gorgeous and charming. Plus, the cabaret house likes to be innovative with their shows, opting for something more than just the usual cabaret by adding a touch of voo doo.
Lisa Lottie walks on Preacher Maud’dib as he lies face down on broken glass. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
And Joe Morose…
My friend and I came to the conclusion that we loved him just two minutes into his first routine. He’s the kind of host that could you’ll remember long after a random night out or a special occasion celebrated at Proud.
Talking to him after, he told me how he wants to create for his audience a complete escape from the finances and skyscrapers that rule the world above Proud. Walking into the smokey, dimly lit cabaret house, walls decorated with scrunched red stage curtains and feathers, then completely being entertained by a lovable little troublemaker, beautiful women with booby tassels and acts so unusual that you either have to look away or stare at without blinking, I think the cabaret and its performers have completely achieved Morose’s ambition.
The crowd at Proud Cabaret for Twisted Voo Doo on Thursday. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
General admission for the show only is ￡11.20 online or ￡10 at the door, but they sell out quite fast usually, so you’re better off booking ahead. To book at table for dinner and a show, call +44 20 7283 1940 or email email@example.com. Prices for a three-course meal and a show are £35 on Thursdays, £40 on Fridays and £69 on Saturdays. A few of the reviews I read about Proud complained about a 12.5% service charge. This is optional for parties under six or eight people. We noticed it too and they removed it for us.
Proud granted me press admission to cover this show. All opinions are my own.
Traveling the world this summer, old sport? Why not stop by a few bars and locations having to do with the first big blockbuster of the summer of 2013, The Great Gatsby.
Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic American novel has taken over the world. Suddenly the jazz age, flappers and speakeasies are all popular again. Are we all just in the mood for a throw back? Is everyone simply enamored by anticipation of another Luhrmann spectacle? Or can this generation relate so much with the main message and times of the novel, they’re slipping back into the era?
Regardless, the recent 1920s throwback trend in entertainment and fashion can just as easily be added to your summer travel itinerary. See Fitzgerald’s Paris, visit places that inspired the author in New York, spot film locations for the recent film adaptation in Sydney and more with this ‘Great Gatsby’ world tour.
Tour Gatsby’s New York
Any good Gatsby world tour must start in the story’s location, New York. The book was set mainly in Long Island, which Fitzgerald fictitiously split into East and West Egg. While visiting the Empire State, people can tour Oheka Castle, a house that inspired Gatsby’s mansion, stop by the Plaza Hotel for a round of whiskey, visit Bobby’s NYC for a Gatsby-style party and much more.
London saw a rise in speakeasy openings and 1920s-themed parties long before the premier of The Great Gatsby in New York City last week. Sure, the parties written about in the novel and shown on screen are intended for the Big Apple, but in truth, no one quite throws a party like the Brits. Plus, they have something extra to celebrate about with Londoner Carey Mulligan playing Daisy, the film’s golden girl. Some Great Gatsby party ideas in London Town include Prohibition 1920s; which is a monthly era-themed party held at a secret location, S.S. Atlantica; a monthly 1930s-themed party held on a boat on the River Thames and countless speakeasies located around the city. Dress in time-attire.
An evening in a 1920s California mansion
One last Gatsby style attraction is Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. Built for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1919, this lavish Pacific Coast mansion still looks just as it did when Hollywood stars and icons came to visit during its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. They offer an evening tour in the spring and fall that allows visitors to see what it would have been like to visit the castle during those times with actors and guides roaming the area dressed in time attire.
There’s a culture behind absolutely everything in life.
It serves the people who are involved in the industry or those who just like a particular hobby or subject. Though some things in life have a much bigger culture than others, like coffee.
These days, coffee is way more than just a perk-up drink. Some may say it always was, but it’s definitely become more popular and attracted more followers worldwide in the last 15 years than ever. In fact, I’d dare to say that the coffee and cafe culture that exists today might be even bigger than that off wine.
I love that everything has a culture and a following. One of my favorite activities is seeing where events lead me and ending up at some random place with people who are completely dedicated to something.
Following the trails of events dedicated to a particular subject has allowed me to be taught by one of the world’s most popular belly dancers, it’s led me to abandoned warehouses in North Philadelphia with epic parties and this weekend it brought me to The London Coffee Festival.
Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Because of my love for getting involved in different cultures and the fact that my dad is a metal salesman and almost every industry needs that, I’ve been to a lot of trade shows, which is basically what London Coffee Festival is, but better because it involves food, drink and is set in a very trendy Shoreditch warehouse.
Basically, it was my Woodstock.
I think I drank a total of six cups of coffee during my six-hour visit. I swear they were only little. I was so wired by the time I reached the last barista, I’m surprised he didn’t turn me away.
Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
I learned a million new ways to make a cuppa and saw just as many devices used to do so. Am I the only person who didn’t know what an Aeropress was? I saw beans being roasted, pouring techniques, coffee art and learned about coffee harvesting around the world. Plus, like any trade show, visitors received loads of free samples and tastings.
Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
It started as soon as I entered Old Truman Brewery and was handed a bag filled with the 2012 edition of The London Coffee Guide, mints, chips and more. During the event I got to try ice cream, cheeses, chai and chocolate. Google Local London gave me a free bag Union hand-roasted coffee beans for filling out reviews of London cafes on Google+.
Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
It’s the first time I’ve ever been to a barista competition, which are quite intense. It’s kind of funny to watch people make coffee in front of an audience and judges while dance music plays in the background for people, like me, who have never seen it before.
It is an art though and great to see the best in action.
The UK Aeropress Championship took place at the London Coffee Festival. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
Further, there were some very innovative ideas and products on display that visitors of the event are often the first to see and can purchase usually at a discount. A few things amazed me.
The first was the Grower’s Cup Coffeebrewer, which is basically a French press in a bag. This appealed to me especially as a traveler, because your guaranteed to have good coffee on you and the tools to make it, no matter where you go. I had visions of road trips when I saw it.
I sampled coffee from the Grower’s Cup Coffeebrewer upon arrival. Photo by Bobbi Lee Hitchon
I also liked BlankBox’s coffee subscription program. Basically, people subscribe to BlankBox as they would a magazine and for ￡10 a month receive a box with two bags of coffee beans from a variety of roasters to try. What’s interesting is that the bags are unmarked and only have a small red or blue colored box on each. You try the blend first and can check online to see where it was roasted and learn more about the blend.
The last thing I liked was Rok Kitchen Tools’ Espresso Maker. If you haven’t noticed, there has been an increase in at-home coffee machines lately that claim to make artisan coffees from little pods and tastes ‘just like the cafe’. It’s a cool idea, but I’ve yet to find one that actually accomplishes that. I thought Rok’s tool was really fun, because you get to play barista and be hands on, but it’s really straight forward and produces a great shot of espresso. Plus, you can use coffee beans from wherever you like. It requires no electricity other than to boil your water or heat your milk and even comes with a milk frother. Look at the video below to see how it works.
There were also endless educational talks and demonstrations offered throughout the festival, including a Lindt chocolate and coffee pairing. I’m sure everyone wanted to volunteer for that one. They even had parties, coffee-inspired cocktails and live music performances throughout the festival. Coffee martini anyone?
The only problem with going to any festival of experts in a certain area, especially one as hip as coffee, is that some of the people can be quite pretentious. It was rare, but it was definitely there.
Overall I had such a good time and the value of samples, advice and coffee was worth much more than the prices of admission. I can’t encourage travelers enough to visit one of these shows no matter what the focus. They’re so much fun, a great learning experience and include some really interesting products. The Coffee Festival was especially good, but you can’t really go wrong with good coffee though can you?
The London Coffee Festival granted me press admission to cover this event.