In the age of #selfies, Tinder swipes, Instagram, and Facebook, it can be challenging for faces to stand out from the plethora of media muck hailing down on us 24/7. But, every once in a while, someone gets a lucky break. Such is the case with bored-night-shift-hotel-barista turned international-latte-portrait-artist, Michael Breach.
Edgy studios and industrial-chic restaurants outnumber palm trees in L.A.’s Arts District, on the southeastern corner of downtown. Here’s how to tap into the new energy.
Follow the Shepard Fairey and Kim West street murals to find the Box, mixed-media star Paul McCarthy’s contemporary exhibition space. Look for an international roster of experimental filmmakers and performance artists. 805 Traction Ave.
Less familiar and less crowded than Versailles—but designed by the same architects—Vaux le Vicomte can now be seen as never before.
Alexandre de Vogüé and his brothers didn’t think much about growing up at Vaux le Vicomte, the 17th-century estate about an hour southeast of Paris. “All our friends had small gardens, and we had a bigger garden,” he says of the magnificent grounds, designed by landscape architect André Le Nôtre. At night, the siblings would play cat-and-mouse in the château and listen to ghost stories about its first owner, Nicolas Fouquet. That visionary patron united the talents of Le Nôtre, painter Charles Le Brun, and architect Louis Le Vau, to create one of the glories of the Grand Siècle.
Two years ago, Alexandre and his twin brother, Jean-Charles, took stewardship of the estate. This spring, visitors can enjoy their first major renovation: the installation of six giant, arched glass doors that restore the château’s transparency and vistas. Vogüé says, “Today, when you are in the grand salon, looking out, you almost dive into the garden.”
A new set of murals are making a colorfusl splash along a stretch of Amtrak lines in Philadelphia.
As part of the city's Mural Arts Program, German artist Katharina Grosse painted warehouses and abandoned lots visible from the tracks. Around 34,000 rail passengers will see the project every day from their seats on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor route between Philadelphia and New York, as well as from several local commuter lines.
Last week, a group of Chilean school kids on a field trip uncovered a Chinchorro mummy that may predate Egyptian mummies by 4,000 years. The students were digging near the border with Peru, in an area that had experienced a landslide in April.
This area is growing by the minute, while still preserving its cultural authenticity. Chef Jonathan Lestingi’s New American gastropub, Oxalis(3162 Dauphine St.), serves up terrific whiskey cocktails and shareable plates. Order the Cajun-spiced hot buttered rum popcorn. Baskerville(3000 Royal St.; by appointment), a nonprofit center, offers letterpress printing workshops; the presses themselves are works of art. Tigermen Den(3113 Royal St.) is an ever-evolving event space that hosts everything from art exhibits to weekly Sunday brunches with a ragtime band. Try the Peruvian-style ceviche or Puerto Rican yuca mofongo at Booty’s(pictured; 800 Louisa St.), which serves a global street food menu.
Video: New Orleans Travel
Appeared as “The United States of Awesome: The Bywater, New Orleans” in T+L Magazine
Every year, Laurent Halasz—founder and owner of theFig & Olive restaurants in New York and California—returns to his childhood home of Mougins, on France’s Côte d’Azur, for scenic hikes and inspiration from his mother’s kitchen. Here, he takes us on a tour of the medieval hilltop village.
Eat: “La Place de Mougins($$$$), in a Provençal house, is such a pleasure. Last time I had beef consommé with foie gras and chocolate. For cocktails, don’t miss the classic Piscine, champagne on ice with strawberries, at L’Amandier($$$). And I grew up on olive oil pressed locally at Moulin Baussy, in nearby Spéracèdes.”
In the fall, Benjamin Millepied, known to many as the choreographer of Black Swan (and husband of Natalie Portman), will take up his new post: director of the Paris Opera Ballet. As a preview, on May 10 the company gave the world premiere of Millepied’s latest work, Daphnis et Chloé, on a double bill with Le Palais de Cristal, the masterpiece by George Balanchine (elsewhere called Symphony in C). The French-born Millepied, a former principal dancer at the New York City Ballet, comes to Paris via California—where he leads the L.A. Dance Project—and is sure to bring a jolt of energy to an institution that traces its beginnings to the court of Louis XIV.
Prague is beloved for its Gothic spires, but just two hours away, in the Czech Republic’s second city of Brno, an architectural landmark of no less significance awaits. Villa Tugendhat—a private residence designed in 1928 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—is considered one of the first Modernist houses in Europe and a precursor to the architect’s later projects, such as the Farnsworth House in Illinois and New York City’s Seagram Building. A major reconstruction was unveiled in 2012, the better to showcase the original features that turned the Tugendhat family home into an international shrine for Mies cultists. Mies’s open plan eliminated most interior load-bearing walls, resulting in a sense of free-flowing space. He added little in the way of traditional decoration; instead, the building materials (walls of onyx and macassar ebony; a grid of stainless-steel-clad columns) act as ornaments. Retractable glass windows allow for panoramic views, and the furniture—including the cantilevered Brno and Tugendhat chairs still in production today—was all custom-designed. If you can, time your visit for sundown, when the fading light sets the entire space aglow, and the villa itself illuminates the era when less became more.
The New York City–based scholar, whose new book, The Parthenon Enigma (Knopf), is rewriting ancient history, spills the dirt on a few of her favorite spots.
Q: Are there any great sites in Europe that are lesser-known? A: At his villa in Sperlonga(39-0771/548-028),75 miles south of Rome, Emperor Tiberius created a fantasy world based on Homer’s Odyssey, filling a seaside cave with marble sculptures depicting the exploits of the Greek hero. The Neolithic outer ring of stones at Avebury, in Wiltshire, England, is the largest megalithic circle in the world—bigger than Stonehenge.
Q: Tell us about your dig on Yeronisos Island, off the coast of Cyprus. A: Our excavations have shed light on the period of Cleopatra’s Cyprus rule (47–30 B.C.). We’ve found amulets, potsherds inscribed with Ptolemaic Egyptian script, a stone lion’s head, and more.
Q: Can anyone dig with you? A: I’m proud of our Exec-U-Dig program, which allows one or two donors to come out for a week of exploration each season. Bill Murray joined us in 2006.
Q: Where does a lover of ancient history go on vacation? A: I rarely go anywhere that is largely contemporary. I always travel with a pair of vintage Newmarket riding boots—I’ve galloped on an Arabian horse past the Pyramids in Egypt; fox-hunted in Northumberland, England; and cantered across the French countryside. There’s no better way to travel.