Our Berlin bike tour guide, George Wanjala (above), a Kenyan with a degree from Cornell, did not mince any words when he showed me and a pal around remaining sections of the Berlin Wall, on a 10-mile tour of a city once divided.
“We’d be dead if we were caught here before 1989,” said Wanjala, as we stood in Mauer Park (Wall Park), where today graffiti artists are free to paint a remaining strip of wall and karaoke contests are held nearby in what was once a “death strip.”
Last night at the Paris Theater in New York City, Travel + Leisure’s editor-in-chief, Nancy Novogrod, introduced director Jason Reitman and his new movie, Up in the Air, starring George Clooney. The creator of some of the smartest films in recent years—Juno (2007) and Thank You for Smoking (2005)—gave special thanks to his father seated in the audience, Hollywood film producer-director Ivan Reitman, before the lights went down.
Based on the 2001 novel by Walter Kirn, one of the T+L’s contributing editors, Up in the Air is a film for travelers—and for the times. George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, an Omaha-based axe-man for hire who spends 322+ days a year on the road doing the bidding of distressed companies, racking up frequent flier miles, and relishing his untethered life. “Make no mistake, moving is living,” he atones.
If you happen to be in Aspen, Whistler, or Mammoth Lakes this winter, you may notice some well-dressed skiers around. For a week during the season in each of these ski towns, thousands of gay (and gay-friendly) skiers will converge for camaraderie, fabulous après-ski, and even the occasional drag show on the slopes (you know who you are, Aspen). It’s a little early to be thinking about skiing, but interested parties should book now—space goes faster than front-row Cher tickets.
Aspen Gay Ski Week For 33 years, gays and lesbians have been heading to Aspen for this event. Highlights: an opening party, complete with a fashion show, a film series, comedy night, drag show on the slopes. Oh, and world-class skiing and snowboarding. January 17-24, 2010
Winter Pride in Whistler, British Columbia Come here for the Winter Olympics, stay for the gays. The 18-year-old event immediately follows the Olympics and attracts almost 3,000 visitors every year. Guests have access to free ski and snowboarding guides, cooking and yoga classes, as well as martini mixers, and—of course—huge dance parties. March 1-8, 2010
Elevation Mammoth in Mammoth, California A large L.A. contingent has headed here since 2003 for a low-key week at a very high elevation (over 11,000 feet). The event’s mission statement sums it up: “2,000 riders. 7 major parties. 0 attitude.” March 17-21, 2010
Clark Mitchell is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure.
This is the final week of Berlin's Festival of Lights. As the city hunkers down for the dark winter months ahead, some of the city’s major monuments, including the Brandenburg Gate, the TV Tower and the Berlin Cathedral are illuminated in a rainbow of colors by a frenzy of glowing projections and fireworks. The festival, now in its fifth year, began on October 14 and culminates this Sunday.
Click here for an colorful slideshow of the recent festivities.
Next week, from October 15-18, London will be flooded with art lovers coming to town for the 7th annual Frieze Art Fair. A staggering 1,000+ contemporary artists from all over the world—from Berlin to São Paulo to Tokyo—will be represented.
During these tough economic times, countless savvy fashion designers are reconciling the trickle-down-to-the-masses effect—and showing affordable offshoot lines. Joining the ranks of Anna Sui, Thakoon, and several other well-known designers, Laura and Kate Mulleavy, the sister act behind Rodarte, are designing a "GO International" collection for Target (hitting stores December 22).
While this sartorial collaboration is hotly anticipated by fashionistas and recessionistas alike, it's another store to which the Mulleavy sisters are lending their style that has me excited. While team Rodarte is loyal to their California roots and conduct their operation out of L.A., they are additionally broadening their fashion horizons in Paris.
The first documentary from King of New York director Abel Ferrara takes the Chelsea Hotel, that Manhattan landmark (and not in a T+L 500 way), as a subject. Since 1905, the place has been a haven for artists (Andy Warhol, R. Crumb), writers (Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams), and musicians (Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan), not to mention a fair share of drug addicts and prostitutes.
But as Bob would say, the times, they are a-changin’—two years ago, new management ousted owner Stanley Bard and several long-term residents in effort to clean up and bring in a different type of clientele, or, as Ferrara puts it in the movie, to turn the hotel “into a more expensive version of itself.”
I received an email invitation to this event a few days ago, got exceedingly excited, and will literally remain excited until the big day: the Chocolate Show, a worldwide celebration of All Things Cacao, is starting its world tour.
Over 65 exhibits include chefs using the miracle ingredient in unusual culinary creations, a Chocolate Beauty Pavilion (with mini-massages!), and—obviously—copious opportunities to taste. $28 to feel like a kid in a candy store again? Count me in.
A Moulin Rouge dancer starts to see the city around him in a new light while awaiting a heart transplant that might take his life. It’s a rather glum premise, but hey, it’s Paris—that is, the hit French film from L’Auberge Espagnoldirector Cédric Klapisch, now playing in New York and L.A. with a national rollout starting this Friday—and those sweeping streetscape shots are as melancholy as they are alluring. I asked Klapisch, a born-and-raised Parisian, for his tips on experiencing the City of Lights.
Tomorrow, September 22—besides being the first day of fall—also marks the 10th annual World Carfree Day! It’s not that we’re anti-driving (far from it), but it’s a great moment to consider using public transportation when you’re on a trip. The bonuses: you travel like a local, save money, and usually get there faster. Here are some tips to get you started: