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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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Chazz Palminteri's Second Act: Restaurateur

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Resident big-screen tough guy Chazz Palminteri—of A Bronx Tale and The Usual Suspects fame—recently added restaurateur to his resume, bringing a slice of his New York neighborhood to Baltimore’s Harbor East area. Aptly named Chazz: A Bronx Original, the family-friendly Italian spot is a partnership between the Oscar-nominated actor and the local Vitale family. Palminteri paid a visit to the Travel + Leisure offices to talk about his latest venture.

Q: What inspired you to open a restaurant?

A: “I always wanted to open a restaurant. But we all know the story: Hollywood actor partners up with aspirational childhood friends, opens to media attention, and the restaurant fails because of management or food issues. I always knew I had to find the right partners—serious restaurateurs who knew how to put out great food consistently, but also manage the restaurant professionally. And I finally found that in the Vitale brothers, Sergio and Alessandro. They grew up in the restaurant business and run one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to, bar none—Aldo’s in Baltimore—and they shared my vision. Also, food has played an important role in my life since I was young and living in the Bronx. I would wake up and smell the sausage and peppers coming through the windows and wanted to share that experience with everyone else. When you walk into Chazz, you walk into a little piece of my life—the sights, the smells, the tastes—and I’m so happy to share that.

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Explorer Richard Wiese on His New Adventure Show

Richard Wiese

By the age of 11, the average kid has learned how to climb a jungle gym. But not Richard Wiese. That was the age when the former Explorers Club president climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for the first time—and he’s done it 15 more times since. The Emmy Award-winning journalist/adventurer/field scientist has also cross-country skied to the North Pole, tagged jaguars in the Yucatan jungles, and was a member of the largest medical expedition ever conducted on Mt. Everest. But his latest undertaking is as the host of the aptly named Born to Explore, a new syndicated ABC travel program that highlights cultures from around the world, including Aboriginals in the Northern Territory of Australia, Batwa pygmies in Uganda, and Mayans in Belize.

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Muriel Brandolini's Design Inspiration

Muriel Brandolini

With a new book out this month and a pop-up store at Barneys New York through November, Vietnam native Muriel Brandolini has truly landed on the style map. Here, the designer tells T+L about the country that informs her textured, vibrant interior designs.

Q: What are some memorable moments from your last trip to Vietnam?

A: I stayed at the Victoria Sapa Resort & Spa (doubles from $175) and trekked with a guide to the isolated Hoang Lien Son mountain range, near the Chinese border. Wandering through the Bac Ha Sunday Market in Sapa in search of crafts and textiles is extraordinary.

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Paso Robles Celebrates Harvest Weekend

The grapes of Napa often grab the headlines coming out of California wine country but the discerning vino cognoscenti knows that the Golden State harbors some of the best wineries in the world along its central coast. In the thick of it is Paso Robles, a vast countryside of rolling vineyards where vintners sport rustic spurs on their cowboy boots and the pace of life is calm. The annual Harvest Wine Weekend kicks off today, Friday, and promises to be the most robust yet. Over 150 wineries will host grape stomps, tours, tastings, dinners, and pairings (wine and bacon anyone?). One oenophile who will be traipsing around Harvest is Paso Wine Man (above)—the unabashed, vivacious Paso wine country cheerleader whose verve for the region’s splendors knows no bounds.

T+L caught up with the wine man before the big weekend to uncover his wines of choice; find out what makes “Tuscany with cowboys” so special; and why Paso Robles's brand of reds can’t be made anywhere else.

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Q&A: Celebrity Fitness Instructor Kristin McGee

Kristin McGee

The first time I took globetrotting fitness guru Kristin McGee’s Pilates class at the SoHo Equinox, I was instantly a fan. Then I found out she was the instructor in Bethenny Frankel’s first yoga DVD, Body by Bethenny. She is highly sought after in New York City, with clients like Steve Martin, Tina Fey, Ben Stiller, and his wife Christine Taylor. Kristin has made numerous TV and magazine appearances, blogs daily on her own site, and has led fitness retreats in Sicily, Cartagena, Marrakesh and St. Petersburg. No wonder she wakes up at 5 a.m. to fit it all in!

We met for a glass of wine, talked great hotels and healthy food choices on the road, and planned a double date with our significant others.

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