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Q+A: Billy Budd star Nathan Gunn talks travel and music

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The dashing American baritone Nathan Gunn is currently starring in Billy Budd in the landmark production by John Dexter at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Benjamin Britten’s opera, based on the novella by Herman Melville, revolves around the clash of good and evil embodied in the young, charismatic sailor Billy Budd and the malevolent master-of-arms John Claggart.  The Met’s staging of this gripping work of 20th-century music theater, with Britten’s evocative music, was last revived 15 years ago. Gunn talks to T+L about the role, his life as a singer, and the essential part travel plays in it.

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Chef Cat Cora Co-Hosts New BRAVO Show

Cat Cora

In Bravo’s latest culinary competition show, Around the World in 80 Plates, 12 up-and-coming chefs crisscross the world, battling each other in challenges of both skill and strength. (Yes, it takes a certain type of strength to scarf down excessive amounts of kidney pie.) Here, co-host Cat Cora (the Iron Chef America star-cookbook author-restaurateur-philanthropist shares duties with Australian celeb chef Curtis Stone) dishes on the action-packed show, reveals her ideal family meal, and more.  

Q: How would you define Around the World in 80 Plates?

A: The competition is very much like Top Chef, but in a fresher sense. The challenge is in the style of Amazing Race, and the elimination part is Survivor. I think someone even threw in American Idol. It’s such a new take on a competition show that also there’s nothing like it out there.

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan Heads to "Magic City"

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

The tall, dark, and handsome actor—who will always be Denny Duquette from Grey’s Anatomy to me—returns to the small screen in Starz’s latest original drama Magic City. Call it the Mad Men of Miami Beach. Set in 1958, the show (which has already been picked up for a second season) recreates a turbulent time, complete with mafia, CIA agents, and a flashy and ambitious hotelier named Ike Evans (played by Morgan). Here, the actor gives us a little history lesson, reveals why he thinks the show will be a success, and more.

Q: What made you want to get involved with the show?

A: First and foremost, as an actor, you want to go where the writing is. I read three or four episodes going into having lunch with Mitch Glazer, the writer and executive producer. Within 10 minutes of sitting down, I agreed to do it, and the rest, I hope, will be history.

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Q&A with Amsterdam's Hester van Eeghen

Amsterdam's Hester Van Eeghen bag

This Dutch designer has become a cult favorite thanks to her brightly colored leather bags, wallets, and shoes. Here, the plugged-in local shares her top hometown picks.

Q: Favorite restaurant?
A:
Proef (12 Gosschalklaan; 31-20/682-2656; dinner for two $120), a small, no-nonsense restaurant that’s organic and fresh, both in its menu and its urban-farmhouse-style décor. Try the beet ravioli. Book ahead.

Q: Must-visit jewelry store?
A: BLGK Goldsmiths
(28 Hartenstraat; 31-20/624-8154) carries metal jewelry that honors the natural shape of gemstones; I’m inspired by the window display alone.

Q: Top cultural spot?
A:
The Museum of Bags & Purses (573 Herengracht; 31-20/524-6452) has a collection of 4,000-plus pieces that offers a fascinating historical overview of my favorite accessory.

Q: Best mode of transportation?
A:
My husband and I bike everywhere. I love the bicycles from Vanmoof; they’re lightweight and rust-resistant, and have a built-in lock. You can rent them at Cyclelution (258 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal; 31-65/363-1973; $10 for two hours).

Photo courtesy of hveus.com

Q+A: "GCB" Star Miriam Shor Talks Travel and Her New ABC Show

The city of Dallas has been a prime time fixture—from the notorious 1980s soap of the same name to the recent Bravo reality series Most Eligible Dallas. This Sunday, ABC adds another to the list with the premiere of GCB from writer Robert Harling (Steel Magnolias) and producer Darren Star (Sex and the City). The show follows bible-toting Southern belles behaving badly and with a cast led by Kristen Chenoweth, Leslie Bibb, and Miriam Shor, GCB holds promise. T+L catches up with Shor, a bona fide globetrotter.

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Q&A: VJ Pogo Helps You Hear the World

Nick Bertke is commonly known as Pogo, the Internet sensation whose music videos have garnered a cult following worldwide.  He was born in South Africa, raised in New Zealand, and now lives in Australia.  As a teenager, he began taking film clips from Disney movies, spliced their sound bites into distinct melodies, and then posted the remixed product onto YouTube. At first they were taken down from the website, presumably for copyright infringement, but with their viral popularity, he was soon commissioned by Disney to make them for the company.  

Now, at age 23, and after a few international tours, he is traversing the globe to work on a more personal project, called World Remix. Using film shot by his own team, he is showing us his travels with an ear for its sounds and an eye for its sights.  I had the opportunity to talk with Nick about this unique career.

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Love Letter: "My City, My New York"

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The chances of running into the likes of New York City resident Hugh Jackman or Sarah Jessica Parker in one’s lifetime are—let’s face it—slim to Fat Chance. Getting to strike up an illuminating conversation with them about Gotham's charms over a cappuccino? Fuggeddaboutit.

Oh, the dreams of knowing our stars’ favorite city haunts. If not just to up the odds on a little celeb sighting, at least so we, the humble many, can discover the side of New York loved by the famous few.

Luckily, Jeryl Brunner has done the work for us. The author had the pleasure of discussing with some of New York's most beloved residents exactly what it is they adore about their home city—all their wonderful secrets are amassed in the recently launched book My City, My New York.

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Q&A: Patricia Schulz, Author of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die"

Patricia Schultz

Hot off the release of the second edition of best-seller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die (Workman; $19.95)—featuring 28 new countries, including Ghana, Nicaragua, and South Korea—the globe-trotting author sat down with T+L.

Q: What can readers expect this time around?
A:
No sooner was the ink dry on the 2003 edition than I saw destinations that were on their way to being better equipped for visitors: former Soviet-bloc countries and war zones, places like the Balkans and Colombia. Now is their moment.

Q: Is there someplace you wish you could have included?
A:
Libya would have been great for armchair travel. Its future looks just too unstable right now.

Q: What were some of your best discoveries?
A:
Ireland’s Aran Islands are remote and otherworldly. And it’s hard to believe you are still in Europe in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains and the pristine swath of Transylvania—one of the most untouched corners left on the continent.

Q: Where are you going next?
A:
Turks and Caicos, for my annual luxury-on-the-beach reprieve. Grace Bay Club and Parrot Cay, here I come!

Photo by Diana Allford

Q&A: J.W. "Bill" Marriott, Jr.

J.W. Bill Marriott, Jr. and family

As chairman and CEO of a global hotel empire, J. W. “Bill” Marriott, Jr. knows hospitality. He tells T+L what it’s like to be the ultimate repeat guest, his favorite room-service snack, and more.

Q: What was your first job?
A:
I used to make hot-fudge ice cream cakes at my parents’ Hot Shoppes restaurant in Salt Lake City. The trick was to leave a little indent for the whipped cream and cherry on top.

Q: How can we welcome more foreign travelers to the United States?
A:
Regulations regarding visas need to be fixed. Travel is an important economic engine, and a stay at a hotel is an export.

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Q+A: Crime Novelist Marcus Sakey on His New Travel Channel Show

When researching his thrilling crime novels, acclaimed author Marcus Sakey stops at nothing to get the real story—he’s learned to make nerve gas, gone shooting with Special Forces soldiers, and shadowed homicide detectives. And as the host of the Travel Channel’s new show Hidden City, the former ad man visits 12 cities, digging up the dirt on some of the most notorious events in their histories. Here, Sakey reveals his most surprising discovery, his favorite crime story, and more.

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