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Xinpu Hakka Festival, a Lantern Festival That Celebrates the Hakka People

April 17, 2015 by  

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Xinpu Hakka Festival Recently, Hui-chen went looking on the internet for something to do, and she found this local festival in Xinpu, a township close to where we live in Taipei Taiwan.  It coincided with the Lantern Festival, and at first I thought it was just a local Lantern Festival, but as I looked around, it seemed a little different.  This festival apparently is a Lantern Festival that celebrates the Hakka People, and this area has many Hakka Taiwanese.  Hakka people came from China to Taiwan a very long time ago.  We have a friend who is a 9th generation Taiwanese Hakka.  There was absolutely no information about the festival anywhere, so we walked around and enjoyed the carnival atmosphere. Xinpu Hakka Festival There were lots of floats on display. Xinpu Hakka Festival Xinpu Hakka Festival As you can see, some of them were quite elaborate. Xinpu Hakka Festival Xinpu Hakka Festival

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Food + Farm Film Festival Hits San Francisco April 17-19th

April 14, 2015 by  

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The third annual Food & Farm Film Fest is taking over the Roxie Theater in the Mission in San Francisco from Friday April 17th through Sunday April 19th, where you catch films about food, farms, and the unique people in both worlds. The festival opens on Friday with a selection of short films, followed by an opening party at Four Barrel on Valencia. The full schedule can be found here, with highlights like East Side Sushi, about a Latina sushi chef, and The Search for General Tso. Each of the films is paired with food from a local chef, which is included in the ticket price. Most tickets are $15; the opening night program is $30. 3117 16th St. at Valencia.


Graceland In Depth & The All Things Elvis Photo Gallery

April 13, 2015 by  

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I typically don’t gravitate to the top tourist attractions when I land at a destination – largely, it’s not the tourist attraction per se that attracts me to the place, but there may be something about it or the people from a place I’m interested in finding out more about. You can’t go to Memphis Tennessee and not take in at least something connecting to Elvis Presley, especially if you love Rock-and-Roll and the blues. I of course, am a fan of both and have always loved Elvis songs. That said, I heard mixed things about Graceland so was somewhat hesitant about visiting, however I had to see it – after all, how did Priscilla decorate the house after all? I had to know and had to see, kitch 1960′s, 1970′s and all. Truth be told, it was a bit like people described – the size of the place is daunting since Graceland has become much much more than the home Elvis once lived in. After parking in a large lot, you then have to hop a shuttle bus to the beginning of the guided tour, which walks you through the main house itself. Luckily it was off-season so while…

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Celebrating 100 Years of Music Legend Frank Sinatra

April 11, 2015 by  

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Frank Sinatra called New York “our town.” Combine that pure city love, soulful voice, and the bluest of blue eyes, and you have yourself THE American icon, who can be celebrated in New York City.  The NYPL for the Performing Arts is commemorating the Frank Sinatra Centennial with a beautifully curated free exhibit through September 4th, showcasing 100 years of Frankie’s legacy. unnamed-20 The exhibit has never-before-seen photos, family mementos, artwork, outfits, video interviews, and of course, music galore.  You’ll learn a host of new things (Frankie was a painter! Frankie was a film star! Frankie was the original “The Voice”!) I particularly liked the interactive nature of the exhibit–there was one station where you could actually mix Frankie’s music yourself, a large jukebox where you could choose any and every Sinatra song ever made to play throughout the room, a huge wall filled with TV’s showing Sinatra in concert, and my personal favorite–a karaoke-like booth where you can record your voice singing New York, New York along with Sinatra’s.  Swoon! In addition to the exhibit, you can also stroll the streets of NYC and Hoboken, NJ, (Frankie’s birth place), checking out all his favorite haunts with this free walking tour.  I, for one, can’t wait…

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Azores Travel and Culture on São Jorge Island

April 10, 2015 by  

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sao jorge São Jorge’s curvy, mountain landscape It takes me a bit to get used to the hairpin turns, the almost Mario Kart-like feeling of zooming right into basalt rock walls or toppling down cliffside. Luckily, the idyllic scenery of São Jorge, a mix of water, mountains and country, helps relax me; and once I do, I really enjoy my foreign surroundings. It’s not just the driving that’s different from my home of NYC — where you’re actually much more likely to crash, trust me, I’ve done it — but the entire personality of the destination. São Jorge is a quiet island, formed into a long and narrow shape from past volcanic eruptions. A dinosaur-like mountain range back-bone features numerous worthwhile viewpoints, while the more than 70 fajãs — flattened areas near the sea created by lava flows and detached land and rocks from earthquakes that are hugged by cliffs — offer a look into a more traditional and isolated way of life. sao jorge Bright green as far as the eye can see… No matter where you are, you’ll have the Atlantic Ocean on one side and fields…

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Your Guide To The Honky Tonk Music Scene in Nashville

April 8, 2015 by  

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Along Nashville’s Division Street, we had our first experience with the type of music bar Nashville refers to as “Honky Tonks.” Historically, honky tonks were rough establishments with music that served alcohol to “working class cliente.” Honky tonks were also known for their piano players, dancers and singers and often small bands played at them throughout the United States. In the early days, they also housed prostitution from time-to-time. Today, they’re mostly casual joints that play live music and serve drinks. Within the history and quirkiness of honky tonks scattered throughout Nashville lies everything from country music greats who had embarrassing moments on stage at the beginning of their careers to skeletons in the closet, literally. The Red Door Saloon apparently has a skeleton in the basement although we didn’t verify this with our own eyes when we passed through its doors. We went to the one on Division Street although they have locations in both East and West Nashville where basements in both have remnants of a life or two gone…

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Nashville’s SO Worth The Time Johnny Cash Museum

April 7, 2015 by  

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I’m old enough to know about Johnny Cash, but not old enough to have listened to his music every day growing up. That said, my relatives had many of his records, so they played on our old fashioned turntable that was filled to the brim with old 45′s and 33′s of classics from the 1920′s to the 1970′s. Johnny Cash was among them and while I was too young to understand just how raw of a talent and singer he was, there was something about his voice that was mesmerizing. I learned from fans and music lovers during a recent trip to Nashville that it wasn’t just his music that drew people to him, but his powerful presence and strong personality. I was fortunate enough to get to spend a few hours with Bill Miller, an old friend of Johnny Cash while in Nashville, who donated his collection of Cash-related rarities that he had been collecting for forty years. It was Bill and his wife Shannon, who opened the museum in May 2013. No typo there – the museum is actually that new, which is one of the things that makes it so special. Below, Bill stands below the warm…

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Bridging Virginia & Tennessee Lies Bristol’s Birthplace of Country Music

April 6, 2015 by  

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In a place you’d least expect it if you don’t have an intimate knowledge of all things “country,” there’s a new museum which only opened last August to celebrate the birthplace of country music. Bristol Virginia, which lies at the edge of the western part of Virginia and Tennessee, boasts a remarkable new non-profit, The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, which is designed to actively document and promote the history of country music. The museum itself offers a variety of interactive ways you can not only learn about country music history and the original Bristol recordings which made country music take off, but experience it, making it a must stop with children. For example, you can sing along to some of the original recordings from the time and hear yourself in a track after the fact. You can navigate through their Wayback Machine to hear some of the most historical music known in the world of country, most of which you may not have heard of if you’re under 40. On the second floor of the museum, you can take a look at the quilt created for the…

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