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Monday, April 28, 2014

On Wisconsin, Art and Punditry

If you are looking to become a big cheese in the art world, why not head to Wisconsin? All around the southeastern part of the Dairy State, you can find places where you can imbibe while unleashing your inner Renoir. And guess what? It doesn't cost a lot of monet. Mind you, the medium is not klee, but rather paint. 

Art studios and bars alike are trying to make painting easel by combining spirits and paintbrushes. For example, Milwaukee's Splash Studio is a painting bar catering to artists of all levels. Try a small canvas for a quick 30-minute “mini painting” session or take a full-on class. If you don't feel like picking up a paintbrush, just pick up a pint and work on your pick-up lines aimed at the aspiring artists. Just make it better than, "Hello, Dali.

Birdhouse Boogie group working on their paintings
Courtesy Arte Wine and Painting Studio
At the Arte Wine and Painting Studio in Wauwatosa and Delafield, you don't have to be stella artist to join the party.There are nightly classes, with painting by numbers instruction provided by pros.  There are also paint tables where studio servers can assist with both your artwork and the bar order. Try one of the art-inspired cocktails.

The Green Room Lounge in DePere is the site of Pass the Paint/Pass the Wine. The event takes place the second and fourth Sundays of every month. For $20, you’ll be supplied with a canvas, paint, brushes and a bottomless glass of wine (not sure what they give you to munch on).  However, this isn't your average art bar experience (if there is such a thing). Think musical chairs meets speed dating (if your date was a canvas). Participants paint for 15 minutes. Then, just when they are running out of de-gas in DePere, they switch canvases with someone else and so on and so on. 

The Paint Nite Events
 website canvases other options throughout southeastern Wisconsin. You can also make lautrec over to www.artsboard.wisconsin.gov. The moral of the story--when in the Dairy State, if you keep your ear to the ground, you might become the next Vincent Van Gouda.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tips for Packing Light

Today I appeared on NewsChannel 8's Let's Talk Live to provide the skinny of putting your suitcase on a diet. The clip will soon be posted.  

In the meantime, people often wonder how I can pack so light. True, I was unable to fit my gear into a carry-on for the 25-day trek from Beijing to Moscow. But I still had less baggage than my fellow passengers. And I  headed back to the USA lighter than I started (suitcase--3 pounds lighter; body-10 pounds lighter) largely because 1/4 of my suitcase was reserved outbound for gluten-free snacks.

Here's the pre-trip packing list:

3 pairs of pants

2 pairs of shorts

3 casual dresses
What do you wear to meet a bear?

1 pair of sandals

2 pairs of loafers

1 pair of heels

6 T-shirts

2 long-sleeve tops

2 sweaters

1 windbreaker

1 leather jacket

1 silk robe (not worn during trip--robes supplied on train and at hotels)

1 bathing suit (not worn)

Socks, underwear

2 pairs of comfy yoga pants

I also brought a shoebox full of hotel-sized amenities like shampoo, body wash and conditioner, most of which I didn't need. I also packed reading material, an umbrella, sunglasses, glasses, drugs and potions, a neck pillow, a butt supporter, mini-headphones, and a few notebooks....plus iPad,cameras, batteries, chargers, adaptors, credit cards, an ATM card, and my passport. All were packed in a 26" Biaggi foldable suitcase, a small backpack, and a purse.

Yes, I did break my three-pairs-of-shoes rule, largely due to a two-hour meeting in Moscow which required heels. That bothered me. But the fact that I wore through everything else, and arrived back home with a big sack of dirty clothing, proved another packing job well done.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

9 Things to Love About Chicago

Only 9 things? Well, of course, it is simply impossible to narrow down a list to 9 things. Thus, I will focus on places I was able to revisit during my recent stay in Chicago.  For more ideas. go to www.choosechicago.com.

First, though, some hot-off-the-presses (do they still have those?) news from the Windy City.

1. Virgin's first hotel is opening in Chicago in the fall. The 250-room property will be located at 203 N. Wabash, near the top of the Loop.

2. The Art Institute of Chicago will celebrate painter Rene Magritte starting  June 24. The retrospective will canvas the Belgian Surrealist's formative years.

3. The Museum of Contemporary Art will open David Bowie Is in September. The blockbuster show pays homage to the 40-year career of the pioneering singer/performance artist. Costumes, concert set designs and album art will be some of the memorabilia on display.

Now, on to my favorite things about Chicago:

Picasso at Daley Plaza
1. The iconic architecture

2. The public art

3. Lake Michigan

A Sunday on La Grande Jatte
by Georges Seurat @
The Art Institute

4. The Magnificent Mile

5. The Museum Campus and the Museum of
                                            Science and Industry

6. The Art Institute of Chicago

7. The El

8. Millennium Park: Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year

Cloud Gate, better known as The Bean

 9. Wrigley Field: Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Traveling To Turkey: Key Information

For those of you who heard my April 3 report on Turkey, here is
additional information. For those of you who didn't listen in, you have a second chance. Go to www.aroundtheworldradio.com/aarchives.jsp.
You'll find my segment 25 minutes into the April 3 program.
Or you can see the TV version and see pictures.

Here is the tip list.

First, you need to get there. I recommend Turkish Airlines, which
currently has five U.S. gateways. They are Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, DC, New York and Houston. The latter city was just added to the roster this month. All flights land non-stop in Istanbul. Expect more announcements of U.S. hubs to come.

In case you didn't know it, Turkish Airlines flies to more countries than any airline in the world. It's part of the Star Alliance. And, because it regularly offers special deals, the airline's prices to international destinations are often the best available. So, even if you aren't going to Turkey, but are going long-haul, check them out.

Americans need a visa to enter Turkey. Don't worry--it's hassle-free. When you get to the Istanbul airport, you will be directed to a visa payment booth. There rarely are lines, and you get through quickly, as it's a simple cash transaction. That noted, be sure to bring $20 U.S. Turkish lira and credit cards are not accepted.

If you plan to visit Istanbul, check out this official website. It's packed with sightseeing suggestions, and advice on where to stay and how to get around.

If you are interested in exploring Cappadocia and points beyond (Ephesus, Pamukkale, Izmir), visit www.goturkey.com.

 If you are interested in experiencing a hammam, or a Turkish bath, here is the skinny on that cultural experience.