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Baltimore Remembers the War of 1812 + 5 Worst Renditions Ever of 'The Star-Spangled Banner'

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After the Battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key was so moved by the American victory over the British that he rewrote the words to a hearty English drinking song and came up with "The Star-Spangled Banner" to honor the fact that Americans thenceforth would have the guaranteed right to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" as if they had been drinking heartily (see videos, below).

Baltimore itself is commemorating the War of 1812 bicentennial in a big way, well beyond a mere salute to the National Anthem, with the Star-Spangled Sailabration, a week's worth of free patriotic events, June 13-19. Among the activities: An international flotilla of more than two dozen warships and tall ships; a Blue Angels air show; fireworks recalling the Fort McHenry battle; an aircraft display (and a chance to get the autographs of the Blue Angels pilots); and a newly written patriotic symphony at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall.

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The 78 Project: Time Travel at 78 RPM

If the Alan Lomax collection had a time travel section, that’s where you’d find the 78 Project. Rather than just observing and preserving present-day culture, the project combines technology and traditions from the past with modern musicians—an active exploration of antiquity that’s more mad scientist than history professor.

Filmmaker Alex Steyermark and Lavinia Jones Wright (with the support of executive producer Erik Nelson) created the project, and serve as its field recording team, but the PRESTO recorder—a later model of the device that Lomax used for his Library of Congress recordings in the ‘30s—is the one who’s really in charge.

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Q+A: Spring for Music with Conductor Jacques Lacombe

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This week and through May 12, six North American orchestras arrive in New York to participate in Spring for Music at Carnegie Hall, a festival that celebrates the individuality of musical enterprise, from Alabama to Edmonton, Houston to Milwaukee, and inventiveness and adventurousness in programming.  Audiences get the chance to hear these orchestras, some in Carnegie debuts, at which new music or music, familiar or rare, in new contexts is key.  And the price of these musical adventures: $25 for all seats, regardless of the location in the hall—front row to top balcony. Carnegie’s celebrated acoustics ensure every ensemble will be heard at its best.

I spoke with Jacques Lacombe, music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra(NJSO),  one of the participants who is traveling the least but which brings one of the widest-ranging programs.

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World's Top Restaurant Noma to Launch Summer London Pop-Up

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Can't get a reservation at Noma until 2020? This summer, you have two other ways to work up an appetite for chef Rene Redzepi's wildly inventive New Nordic cooking, which just topped the Restaurant magazine's World's 50 Best Restaurants list for a third consecutive year. On July 1-2, the second annual MAD Symposium (Copenhagen, $350) addresses "Appetite" as its theme; along with Redzepi, expect tasteful thinking from other culinary wild men like Wylie Dufresne, Fergus Henderson and Ferran Adria. Then Redzepi moves his team to London for "A Taste of Noma" pop-up at Claridge's Hotel in Mayfair. (Five courses, $320, July 28-Aug. 6). To pre-register for reservations, click here now. First come, first serve!

Shane MitchellShane Mitchell is Travel + Leisure's special correspondent.


Photo (top) by Ditte Isager

Randall's Island Hosts NYC's First Frieze Art Fair

The British are Coming…and the Chinese, the French, the Russians, and the Brazilians…
 
The most important contemporary art fair in London is coming to New York this weekend, May 4-7.  Frieze New York will be like no other.  It takes place on Randall’s Island in the East River, housed in a specially commissioned tent designed by SO – Il, a Brooklyn-based architecture and design firm, on a site with spectacular postcard views of the Manhattan skyline.

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LUCKYRICE Festival Kicks Off in NYC—and Ups the Ante

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If you are trying to decide between a trip to New York City or a trip to Beijing—or Chiang Mai, or even Oahu for that matter—you may not have to choose. Next week in NYC marks the third annual LUCKYRICE Festival (May 1-5), a delirious celebration of Asian food and culture featuring top chefs, mixologists, and influencers. The list of names is a who’s who of Asian cuisine: Top Chef master Susur Lee, Michelin-starred curry guru David Thompson, Hawaiian regional cuisine pioneer Alan Wong, and more.

(For a backgrounder on the festival, see our video interview with founder, Danielle Chang.)

Not surprisingly events are quickly selling out as fast you can say kung pao. The super-popular Night Market street food extravaganza and Grand Feast are happening again this year, but there are some new events, like the Hawaiian sunset luau and Chinese wedding banquet-cum-cabaret, that take the fest’s experience to fun new cultural heights.

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Free Admission to all National Parks Starting Tomorrow

Attention nature lovers, the outdoor-obsessed, and fresh air freaks: This weekend marks the kick-off of National Park Week (Apr. 21-29), the one week a year (actually, it's nine days) when all of our nation's 397 parks open their gates to the public and admission is free. Yes, free! How will you explore 84 million pristine acres?

Gustav Klimt Turns 150, Vienna Celebrates

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“Forest Demon” (“Waldschrat”) was the nickname given to Gustav Klimt by the locals around the Attensee, the lakeside retreat near Vienna where the artist spent summer holidays, tramping through the woods loaded down with painting supplies, when he wasn’t relaxing with his companion Emilie Floge and her family. In glorious landscapes, such as "Farm Garden with Sunflowers" (pictured below), in the collection of Vienna’s Belvedere Museum, he transforms the hot-house sensuality of his better-known portraits and allegorical paintings into a vision of Nature’s mystery, cloaked in a brilliant dream of color and pattern.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Atlanta for the Food & Wine Festival

You won't want to miss this exclusive deal for members! Book a stay at the W Atlanta Downtown from May 10–13th on Vacationist, and you’ll get a three-day pass to the 2012 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. Chat, eat, and drink with some of the country’s best chefs and food experts, including T+L contributing editors Matt Lee and Ted Lee. New this year: A focus on mixed drinks, which includes a special cocktail hour on Saturday evening.

Sale ends in 5 days!

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W Atlanta Downtown - up to 41% off - Atlanta, Georgia
The newest W Hotel in Atlanta is set in Allen Plaza, for easy access to the city's downtown sites. Book May 10–13th and get a three-day pass to the annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival in Midtown!

For more deals, including Florida, Mexico, and Antigua, click here.

Vacationist.com is brought to you by Travel + Leisure and LuxuryLink.com.

Photo courtesy of W Atlanta Downtown.

Travel Tweet-Up: Europe Travel Tips

Booking a trip to Europe? Have a ton questions that need answering? Then join us tomorrow (April 11), from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. ET, for a live “tweet-up” chat. Hosting the chat will be Travel + Leisure Senior Editor Clara Sedlak. Also joining in the conversation is a panel of travel experts, all eager to answer your burning travel questions. Our expert panelists include:

- Alexia Gobit-Abril, Manadarin Oriental, Paris: @MO_Paris
- Dan Askin + John Deiner, Cruise Critic: @CruiseCritic
- Ellen Lecompte, T+L A-List Travel Agent, with Brownell Travel: @BrownellTravel
- Geri Jacobs, Vice Chairman for the European Travel Commission: @VisitEurope

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter any time from 3-4 p.m. ET and be sure to follow the chat hosts: @TravlandLeisure and @csedlak1
2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow and participate in the Getting Great Service Tweet-Up.
3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to http://tweetchat.com/room/tl_chat
4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own answers to our questions! Or ask your own questions! Take advantage of this special access to this fab panel and get some expert travel advice.

We hope to "see" you there!

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Joshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis

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