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6 Off-the-Beaten Path South American Festivals For Your Bucket List

September 15, 2014 by  

Of all the people, on all the continents, South Americans really know how to party.  Their indigenous roots and Christian colonization leads to an amazing assortment of fiestas.  Chose from indigenous harvest festivals to religious holidays to music performances, with celebrations that range from unbridled chaos to more serene and structured.  If you want to visit South America, these South American festivals are worth planning a trip around. Oruro Festival, Bolivia. Photo courtesy of VMT Bolivia. Oruro Festival, Bolivia. Photo courtesy of VMT Bolivia.

1) Celebrate The Virgin Of The Mineshaft At The Oruro Festival In Oruro, Bolivia

Travel back in time in one of the highest and most remote countries on earth. Bolivia is rich in both silver and local culture, with more indigenous peoples than any other country in the Americas. You can experience this diverse mix of multi-ethnic cultural experiences first-hand combined with the importance of salt mines if you visit during the Oruro Festival in one of Bolivia’s old mining towns. Legend has it that in 1756, a mural of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared in a mineshaft of the city’s richest silver mine. Ever since, the townspeople have honored the…

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Barcelona’s Fiesta de Gracia, a Colorful Tradition

September 9, 2014 by  

The Fiesta de Gracia - every August, the neighbourhood of Gracia holds its own Festival.  The residents decorate the streets and the plazas with colourful and original designs.  Every night is a party with bars and bands in the streets and it is easy to lose yourself (and your way) exploring the fun and festivaties that are on offer! It is a wonderful and colourful tradition and worth a visit.

Add Zest to Your Sound With Jet Bluetooth Speakers by Damson Audio

September 7, 2014 by  

The Jet is the first wireless real stereo set of Bluetoooth speakers and despite the fact that they are only 7.5cm tall, with a diameter of 5.8 cm, they emit 20 watts of power per speaker. In other words, a whole lotta sound comes from a small package, blasting out enough sound to fill large rooms. Designed in of all places Yorkshire England, Damson Audio has come out with a real gem here. I discovered them at CE Week in New York this past June and fell in love with their combined creative design and size, all of which delivers high quality sound. Touted as the world’s first true wireless stereo speaker system with a right and left channel, the two speakers can be placed as far as 10-metres apart and will communicate with each other to deliver in-sync stereo audio. Jet uses Damson’s Incisor Diffusion Technology which amplifies sound by using almost any surface you place it on, alongside a traditional driver to capture the mid and high range frequencies. They connect via Bluetooth so you can access all your favorite music from all of your smart devices. There is a built…

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Reflecting on This Year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival

September 5, 2014 by  

For one month over August every year Edinburgh Scotland bursts into artistic bloom with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. As part of my 25 goals this year, I wanted to head to this beautiful city and catch as much of the action as possible. Victoria Street, Edinburgh The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival. It was established in 1947 as an alternative to the more expensive and selective Edinburgh International Festival. The Fringe celebrates all types of art from dance and music to comedy, plays and poetry. Any performer or performance may participate; there is no selection committee. Because of this, practically every coffee shop, basement, front living room and other random space in the city is transformed into a venue of sorts. On offer are performances dreamed up by those hoping to make it big. As such the tickets are very affordable (anything from free to about £15).

Tip: head to the half price hut off Princes Street for great shopping.

I spent the August bank holiday weekend soaking up the atmosphere and trying out several different performances, from comedy to a one-woman monologue, story-telling and insane gymnastics. The one-woman monologue,…

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The KINOOKUS Food Film Festival in Ston Croatia

September 3, 2014 by  

  croatia_ston_kinookusHere’s a film festival with a foodie core. The 4- 8 September 2014, KINOOKUS Food Film Festival (Kinookus FFF), held in Ston, Croatia, September 3 through 7, 2014, is an international festival that aims to promote and preserve the values of the Ston region, including bio-diversity and holistic ecology. The Festival’s Velika Kamenica (large oyster) award is awarded for the best long feature film, and the Mala Kamenica (small oyster) award is presented for the best short feature film. The awards themselves are created every year by a different artist who is inspired by the materials, colors and shapes of the area. Ston is centrally located in Dubrovnik-Neretva County and has been famous for its walls, saltpans and gastronomy. The area around Ston is renowned for the growing of shellfish, wines and olive oil. Kinookus is a food film festival which, in exploring issues of industrial food production and its consequences for the planet, tells the story of ordinary men and women who engage their creativity and resourcefulness in trying to overcome the existing socio-economic model. The Festival structure (Cinexperience – competition and retrospective, Cinefocus – lectures and…

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The Phantom Of The Opera, a Granddaddy of a Musical Keeps Ticking…

July 30, 2014 by  

  I arrived full circle with “The Phantom of the Opera.”  This granddaddy of a musical is still playing some 26 years after its 1988 opening at the appropriately named “Majestic Theater” and remains the longest running show on Broadway.  I can’t envision anything topping this fantastic record, although should it ever happen, I hope “Chicago” inherits the crown simply because it seems right that an American musical hold this title. I was quite fortunate to catch this landmark show soon after it opened in early 1988 to somewhat reluctant raves from the critics, but thunderous applause from its mesmerized audience.  Yes, I was young and impressionable (that’s a good thing!) and found this show intensely romantic (if only!) yet I was old enough to appreciate the new musical theatrics, both vocally and visually, at work here. Like everyone else, I bought the album… yes, on vinyl, those were the days…. and wore it out along with my vocal chords!  Whatever made me think I was a soprano? So I jumped at this recent opportunity to see how I would perceive “Phantom” so many years later given that my world has altered in every way possible. In 1988 this show…

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New York City Events Across All 5 Boroughs!

July 25, 2014 by  

Here are some fabulous events and activities for the Big Apple over the next six months for your bucket list. They include festivities and events in all of New York City’s Boroughs!
  • The Radio City Christmas Spectacular will charm locals and visitors November 7–December 31. In addition to the show, Radio City Music Hall offers visitors a chance to make the experience more memorable by upgrading to an exclusive show package that includes dancing with the Rockettes (radiocitychristmas.com).
  • THE RIDE’s Holiday Edition offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy New York City’s holiday festivities and cheer, from the comfort of a multi-million dollar motor coach. The experience will be hosted by two on-board New York City experts, and will feature live street performers, seen through floor-to-ceiling windows. Holiday tours preview on November 10, with 70 additional tours taking place November 17, 2014–January 4, 2015 (experiencetheride.com).
  • New York City Ballet will present one of the season’s favorite annual productions, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, complete with marching toy soldiers, a one-ton Christmas tree that grows before the audience’s eyes and crystalline snowflakes. The show will run November 28–January 3 (nycballet.com).
  • This holiday season, Carnegie Hall

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Taking In The Ballet & All Things Summer in Boston

July 20, 2014 by  

  Recently I went to the Boston Ballet. A childhood ballerina myself, I had no doubt I was going to adore the dances going in, but had little hope for the hubby.  ”Please just stay awake, and I promise we’ll go to The Smith afterwards and order all your favorite things!”, I pleaded. unnamed-14 Come to find out, the Boston Ballet at Lincoln Center was a game changer.  He LOVED it*.  And honestly, I had never seen a ballet quite like it, it reminded me of the edgier troupe at the end of Center Stage that stole the audiences heart…a little less ballet that we think of in the traditional pink tutus and toe shoes, double pirouettes sense, and more theatrical performance art accompanied by techno rock music that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering, “What’s next?”  We saw the performances The Second Detail (my fave), New Work, and Cacti (the hubby was completely enchanted by this one!) As promised, we did stop by the UWS’s Smith for a dinner of all his favorite things: cheesy grits, french fries, gnocchi, and baguettes.  Carb-loading for a full night’s sleep, darlings! unnamed-15

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