# Arts & Culture

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10.12.2018

The Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris devotes a major retrospective to Gio Ponti, featuring over 400 pieces some of which are on display for the very first time. From October 19 to February 10, this exhibition will honor one of the most visionary and active designers of the 20th century, who saw industrialization as an opportunity for spreading beauty on a large scale rather than the opposite. Take for instance Richard-Ginori, the legendary Tuscan ceramic ware and porcelain brand where Ponti (1891-1979) worked as an artistic director at the beginning of his career, in 1923. His ability to create objects with perfect proportions and a great taste for neoclassical style led him to the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris, where his work is celebrated today. Gio Ponti loved crossing boundaries wherever they may be: between industrial production and craftsmanship, architecture and art, writing and design. The Parisian exhibition chooses to describe this path in chronological order, with the six final theme rooms devoted to the six decades of Ponti’s career and focusing on iconic architectural projects: Bouilhet Villa in Garches, near Paris, a.k.a. L'Ange Volant; the Montecatini headquarters between in Milan; the ‘ladder of knowledge’ inside Palazzo del Bo in Padua; Ponti's own home in Milan; Hotel Parco dei Principi in Sorrento and Villa Planchart in Caracas. The exhibition is a journey through time and space that underlines the generosity and passion of Ponti and brings out the signature features of his style, like the rhythm of the architectural elements that generates symmetries and harmonies. Each Ponti project drew inspirations from his partnerships; designing building, designing and objects, making art (Ponti also loved oil painting) or launching newspapers (such as Domusand Stile) were all different ways of expressing the same idea: architecture, art and design surround and inspire our behaviors, and thus they must be handled with care. Whether it is an object of daily use or a church, everything that becomes part of our experience must enrich it with beauty: an idea that managed to survive throughout the 20th century to reach us and be celebrated in Paris, today. 

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10.05.2018

To tell about a new time, new spaces are needed. Milan has recently earned three of them: three museums whose architecture and concept are shaped to suit the fluidity of contemporary arts and culture. Experience is the key: contemporary museums are places where things happen, where people are involved in experiences revolving around art, fashion, cinema and everyday life within spaces that are inherently iconic. Here's where to find them. Fondazione PradaIn a former south Milan distilleryoriginally built in 1910, Prada established its permanent Foundation. The renovation of the building, signed by Rem Koolhaas, Chris Van Duijn and Federico Pompignoli (Studio OMA), mixes pre-existing elements and futuristic inspirations, honoring the memory of Milan while enriching it with contemporary additions such as the Tower, the Podium and the film theater. The space houses the permanent collection including works from 20th and 21st century artists, temporary exhibitions, events and meetings. Bar Luceis an immersive aesthetic experience designed by Wes Anderson, a time machine that takes patrons to old time Milan in a slightly surreal and Andersonian version.   MUDECThe indoor central square of the Museum of Cultures in Milan is over 17,000 square meters, a gem of repurposed industrial archaeology that brings the former Ansaldo industrial plants back to life. It has been designed to host permanent and temporary exhibitions conveying the complexity of the world’s ancient and contemporary cultures. Alongside the extraordinary ethno-anthropological heritage of the City of Milan (over 7,000 items including everyday objects, textiles and musical instruments from around the world), MUDEC hosts temporary international exhibitions focusing on artists and social phenomena that changed the collective imagination. This fall, two exhibitions rrespectively dedicated to Paul Klee and Bansky will present two different ways of conceving art and museums. Armani SilosAccording to Giorgio Armani, creativity and art are essential for nourishing the soul and the mind as much as food is essential for life. This fancy building in Via Bergognone, next to the Navigli district, epitomizes the vision of Armani: essentiality, purity, clear geometries. Founded in 2015 to host the celebrations for the 40-year career of the designer, Armani Silos hosts a permanent exhibition of the clothes that have made the history of the brandand temporary performances such as From one season to another by Sarah Moon, scheduled until January 6, 2019. 

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09.27.2018

History shows us that status symbols have taken unpredictable forms thorough time. For instance, back when the Medici family thrived in Florence (between the 15th and the 18th century), large gardens and exotic plants were an undisputed sign of the vastness and wealth of a kingdom. Garden design was serious matter back then, and there was always room to accommodate exotic and rare specimens brought from research and exploration around the known world.  Villa Castellowas the favorite residence of Cosimo I de Medici. In the year 1538, as soon as he came to power, he set out to turn the garden of this large villa in the countryside north of Florence into the emblem of his kingdom. Thus was born the Italian garden, with hedges and trees arranged in perfect geometries, fountains, sculptures and artificial caves evoking a fantastic and dreamlike world. Yet beyond the obvious beauty of nature, there was something that could only be grasped by a careful observer: the incredible variety of plants, especially lemons, which can still be fount today at Villa Castello thanks to the work of Paolo Galeotti, Director of Tuscany’s museum parks and gardens, who has been reviving the botanical wealth of the garden with its over 600 plant species ever since 1978. The first stage of the enhancement and conservation work carried out by Galeotti was to recognize and catalog the plants: Villa Castello has the largest existing collection of potted lemon trees, many of which are very rare and hybrid. To raise awareness on the value of this botanical heritage, Paolo Galeotti dived into the ancient illustrated tables from the National Library and the National Archive in Florence identifying the shapes of the leaves and of the fruits one by one, the habits of lemon trees that are literally unique in the worldlike the Citrus Bizzarria, a type of citrus that was widespread at the time of the Medici and was believed to be extinct until Galeotti found it and brought it back to life. Walking in the garden of Villa Castello is like entering a time machine for plants, flowers and fruits. Its value is priceless as much as the pleasure of recognizing the diversity and creativity of nature, the intelligence of these plants that, stuck in their vases, have brought us fruits and seeds from the past and will hopefully continue to do so, provided that there will be someone as passionate and meticulous as Paolo Galeotti, someone who will tend to this garden celebrated by Botticelli’s popular painting Primaverawith the same dedication of the Medici family.   

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09.21.2018

Who would have thought that Miami would become one of the most remarkable and avant-gardist artistic and cultural destinations in the world? When you have the Florida sky, the dazzling light of the Ocean and the lush green of the palm trees, what else can you ask for? Yet the third millennium has seen a new Miami being (re)born beyond Biscayne Bay, where the city already stretched for miles in every direction with houses, factories, and warehouses, and where the cosmopolitan, multicultural and creative soul of the city already existed, only under the radar. The turning point was the year 2005, when Craig Robins, an estate developer and a philanthropist, turned a huge area of ​​eighteen blocks on the edge of the historic Buena Vista neighborhood and just south of Little Haiti into an open space for galleries, artists and designer. His project definitely worked, and that area eventually became the Miami Design Districtone of the most glamorous neighborhoods in the world, attracting major names of the contemporary art market and design world. Yet it was when Art Basel, one of the major art fairs worldwide, landed in South Beach that Miami became a proper art capital: today, Art Basel Miamiis the fulcrum of theMiami Art Week which takes place every year in December and boasts an average of over 200 galleries and 4,000 artists. Behind this phenomenon is the innate explosive creative charge that Miami has in its DNA,  a result of the great diversity of cultural and aesthetic influences that have left their mark on the city ever since the beginning of the 20th century.  South Beach, a.k.a. SoBe, is a succession of Art Deco buildings rising towards the sky with their unmistakable features: pastel colors, rounded shapes, and huge windows chasing the light. Ocean Driveis home to the beautiful architecture of historic buildings such as the Essex House, a 70-room hotel which originally opened its doors in the 1930, or The Carlyle, that can definitely give you an idea of how Miami has a long history of being a worldly retreat whose aesthetics has its roots well back in time. In the neighborhood of Buena Vista, on the continental side of Biscayne Bay, you can definitely breathe the Caribbean spirit of the city: the area between 38th and 54th Streets is an uninterrupted succession of one-story houses surrounded by greenery and small restaurants and shops camouflaged among palm trees, flowers and hedges. South of Buena Vista and the Miami Design District is Winwood, a former huge industrial neighborhood that has become one of the largest open-air street art museums thanks to a local NGO, Primary Flight, and yet another philanthropist businessman, Tony Goldman.Starting off from different stories and goals, both contributed to turning the walls of the old warehouses into canvases where artists had the chance to give free rein to their creativity. Today, there are guided stret art walks every second Saturday of the month around the entire area between 36th and 20th Streets.  

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09.19.2018

Tsukimi is the name of the celebration of the full moon, also known aschūshū no meigetsu, literally meaning “magnificent mid-autumn moon”, traditionally taking place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the traditional lunar calendar, which this year will be Monday, September 24.  In addition to tsukimi, the month of September is packed with events that will allow you to experience the rich traditions of the old Edo period in modern Tokyo. Tokyo Tower Otsukimi Diamond VeilThe ever-glistening Tokyo Tower will switch off its lights in the upper and lower part, providing no obstacles to the spectacle of meigetsu. The 600 steps to the main deck, which are usually accessible from 11 am to 4 pm, will stay open until 10 pm only on 24th September. A special gift of a dango rice dumpling and a Japanese susuki grass decoration will be offered to build up the festive mood.September 24 Sankei’en Moon-Viewing GatheringDesignated a Place of Scenic Beauty by Japan in 2007, Sankei’en is a Japanese-style garden with a retro flavour of the Edo and Shōwa Eras to it. It was inaugurated in 1906 by Hara Sankei, a successful Yokohama businessman who built a fortune through the trading of silk and raw silk. From September 21st to 25th, the grounds of Sankei’en will be hosting music and dance performances against the breathtaking backdrop of the illuminated three-storey pagoda and the Rinshunkaku villa (formerly property of the Kii House of Tokugawa).September 21-25 Ikebukuro’s Fukuro Matsuri and Tokyo YosakoiCelebrating its 50th anniversary, Fukuro Matsuri started out as a promotional event for four local shopping districts on the west side of Ikebukuro Station, during the Japanese economic miracle in the post-war years. The festival will be held on September 22 and 23, with dances and mikoshi(portable shrine) processions. On October 7, more than 100 dancing teams from all over the country will gather in the Tokyo Yosakoi dance festival. September 22-23 (Fukuro Matsuri and mikoshi procession)October 6-7:Tokyo Yosakoi Chūshū Kangen-sai at Hie ShrineAt Hie Shrine in Chiyoda-ku, the mid-autumn full moon is celebrated with gagaku, the traditional Japanese court music,bugaku(ancient court dance) and kagura dancesperformed by miko, the shrine maidens.October 4  Shinagawa Shukuba MatsuriThe Shinagawa Shukuba Matsuri is a festival celebrating Shinagawa’s history as the first post townin the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō road, Japan’s main east-west route linking Edo (present-day Tokyo) with Kyoto during the Edo period. The two-day event sees about 100,000 people gathering and parading down the route in the costumes of Edo, between two lines of over 150 food carts and stands.September 29-30  

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09.17.2018

There is a reason if Milan is the world’s undisputed capital of design, celebrated every year by the unmissable Design Week. The 20thcentury has left plenty of marks that reveal the city’s unique taste for architecture, a mixture of courage, aesthetic research and experimentation triggered by cultured and farsighted clients, often belonging to the high industrial bourgeoisie. In the year 1924, architect Cleopatro Cobianchi designed the first "day hotel" in Milan, which was accessed through an elegant wrought iron staircase leading to the underground space under Via Silvio Pellico, next to Piazza Duomo, housing briarwood counters and decorations, a reading room, a safe to store valuables, meeting rooms and the first travel agency in the city. Two years later, architect Piero Portaluppi designed another underground ‘day hotel’ in the Porta Venezia district with majestic colonnades and Art Deco decorations, a sort of day spa offering businessmen personal care facilities including showers and a barber shop. Giò Ponti, one of Milan’s most beloved architects, took care of the restoration of the beautiful Art Nouveau building currently housing the Columbus private clinicdesigned by Giuseppe Sommaruga at the beginning of the 20th century, which was the home of Nicola Romeo, owner of the Alfa Romeo car company. The villa had more than 30 rooms on two floors, a garden and some truly beautiful sculptures of female nudes by Ernesto Bazzaro, brought here from their original location on the façade of Palazzo Castiglioni where they had raised eyebrows to the point that the building was dubbed Cà di Ciap("buttock house").  Ponti restored the villa in the 1940s while Milan was being transfigured by the Second World War, which obviously left its marks all over the city, some of which have recently been rediscovered after decades of oblivion. Platform 21at the Central Railway Station, where the trains to concentration camps left between 1943 and 1945 carrying hundreds of Jews and political refugees, has been transformed into the Holocaust Memorial. Four freight train wagons sit under the infamous track and a timeline describes the period between 1922 and 1945, when politics gradually degenerated into a death machine. A tall concrete structure, called Matitone(“big pencil”) due to its shape, is reminder of the bombings that the city underwent during the war and that destroyed one third of its buildings. It is in fact a former anti-aircraft shelter which was later enclosed within a huge factory and only became visible again in the 1990s.  Under the current Giacomo Leopardi primary school in Viale Bodio, in the historic industrial district of Bovisa now home to the Politecnico di Milano and numerous start-ups, is yet another shelter called Rifugio 87where locals rushed to in case of bombings. Despite wounded by the war, Milan soon regained its role as an open and vibrant city. House 770in via Poerio, 35 is an example of this rebirth: a building in Gothic Dutch style of which there are identical replicas in 16 cities of the world, each housing the activities of the Jewish group Chabad-Lubavitch. The original House 770, which belonged to the group’s founder, is located at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn. Milan’s House 770 was born from the transformation of a traditional Milanese villa curated by architect Stefano Valabrega. 

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09.10.2018

Milan knows well how to play hide and seek only to occasionally unveil its hidden beauty. The Italian capital of fashion, communication and design has learnt the art of telling a story long before branding and storytelling were even a thing. Well-educated and bourgeois, Milan opens up in its own way: if you wish to get to know the city, you need to take a look behind the scenes. So, let us start off from a very remote time and from the heart of the city, close to the fancy and central Corso Magenta. Here sits the Ansperto Tower, an imposing building dating back to the 3rd century AD when Milan became the capital of the Western Roman Empireand its urban structure was strengthened with new city walls. The name comes from Ansperto da Biassono, the archbishop of Milan who had it restored. An imaginary bridge between Roman and medieval Milan, the so-called "Devil’s Pillar" sits next to the beautiful Sant'Ambrogio cathedral. The pillar has two holes and legend has it that they are the marks of the Devil’s horns, which got stuck in the marble during the devil’s fight with St. Ambrosius. Some even go as far as to say that you can still smell sulfur around the pillar. Dating back to the 13th century, the ancient ossuary, which is currently housed inside the Baroque church of San Bernardino, in Via Verziere, makes for quite a gruesome view. It collects the remains of leprosy patients from nearby Ospedale del Brolo, which got destroyed. In the 15thcentury, Milan was ruled by the Sforza family and it was one of the most glorious times for the city. The huge Sforzesco Castle and Leonardo da Vinci’s works collected in the city’s are part of the heritage of that era (Da Vinci was the same age as Ludovico il Moro, as well as his protegé). Lesser known but absolutely unique, Leonardo’s vineyard, donated to him by Lodovico il Moro himself, has been recently restored and relaunched thanks to a philological rediscovery of these ancient vines in collaboration with the University of Milan. In Lodovico’s mind, the surrounding area was supposed to become a new district where the duke’s most faithful men would live. The French invasion in 1500 stopped the project but the garden of Casa degli Atellani, the only dwelling left and carefully restored in the 20th century by architect Pietro Portaluppi, brings back the atmosphere of that time. In the same years, one of Italy’s most celebrated architects off all time, Bramante, came to town. The Church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro houses one of his masterpieces: a painted perspective which is one of the first trompe l’oeil in art history.  The church of San Cristoforo al Naviglio, which can be reached by crossing the Naviglio Grande on an ancient footbridge, is yet another of Milan’s hidden gems. Inside this small Gothic and late Romanesque church overlooking one of the most important waterways of the city, history often left its marks: on this premises, the defeat of Federico Barbarossa was announced in 1176, Ludovico il Moro first met his future bride Beatrice d'Este three centuries later and the acts of the Cisalpine Republic were burned 1813, causing the revolt that would cause its collapse. the plague of the '600 described by Alessandro Manzoni in I Promessi Sposi: Behind the church’s sacristy is the so-called "Chapel of the Dead", which used to be connected to the leper hospital in the time of the great 17thcentury plague, famously described by Milanese writer Alessandro Manzoni in The Betrothed. 

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09.07.2018

According to Elliott Erwitt himself, almost all the choices that turned him into one of the most celebrated photographers of the 20th century were completely random. Shooting (almost) exclusively in black and white throughout his career, the stolen portraits of Andy Warhol, Nixon, Che Guevara or Marilyn Monroe, the images putting objects in relation to animals (who could imagine that a heron and a fountain would pose to show they had the same silhouette?) and other strokes of genius. Even the choice to photograph dogs of all breeds was, according to Erwitt, very casual. Well aware that the success of a photo project largely lies in the image selection, one day Erwitt realized he had a large amount of dog photos and decided to make a book out of them. Today, those images are the core of an exhibition held at the beautiful Casa dei Carraresi in Treviso, Italy: Elliott Erwitt. Dogs are like humans with hair. The title fairly suggests that any quote and photograph from Eliott Erwitt should be filtered through the lens of irony, the muse of this unique photographer who was born in France in 1928 in a family of Russian emigrants, spent his childhood in Italy (his real name was Elio Romano Erwitz) and escaped to New York City because of the Racial Laws in 1938, later working with legendary photographers like Robert Capa and Edward Steichen and becoming part of the prestigious Magnum agency in the 1950s. The exhibition, organized by Suazes in collaboration with Fondazione Cassamarca and Magnum Photos, is curated by Marco Minuz and presents over 80 photographs, videos and documents through which visitors will plunge into Erwitt's work, always unexpected, often seen from a dog’s point of view. When asked what he found so special about dogs, Erwitt once famously answered that “they don’t ask for prints”, and his irony is certainly revealing: by choosing dogs as his subjects, he reveals the flaws and virtues of humans. As much as humans are composed and concentrated, dogs are dynamic and unpredictable: Erwitt worked precisely on this difference, often blowing on a trumpet upon shooting to capture the natural, instinctive reaction of the dogs. Those are the perfect and unrepeatable moments captured in some of Erwitt’s most famous photographs – although the artist himself often reminds his fans that it took thousands of shoots to seize them. From September 22 to February 3, Erwitt's beautiful dog photos will be on display to remind about the revolutionary potential of irony and the powerful empathy expressed by “humans with hair”. 

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09.05.2018

The legendary Reinassance Casino & Ballroom, a.k.a. "The Aristocrat of Harlem", a jazz mecca where Duke Ellington performed, no longer exists. It was demolished in 2015. The Childs Memorial Temple, Church of God in Christ, which hosted the funeral of Malcolm X in 1965, soon encountered the same fate. Whatever happened to the Harlem that the world used to know?Something has certainly changed. The New York neighborhood which has long been the symbol of Afro-American culture has been undergoing a slow but implacable metamorphosis ever since the 1990s, whose most evident sign is the rise of luxury condos with glass facades among the beautiful Victorian terraced houses dating back to the late nineteenth century, the new resident families of white Americans and hordes tourists from all over the world.Some call it gentrification, and it is undoubtedly a controversial phenomenon: on the one hand, it causes rents to rise and threatens the authenticity and cultural identity of the neighborhood; on the other hand, it brings along new services and makes the neighborhood more livable for those who keep living there – provided that they can afford it.  So, if upon setting foot in this large area in the north of Manhattan just above Central Park you expect to find music in every corner or to experience the Eighties Harlem maybe, chances are you'll be a little disappointed. On the bright side, the neighborhood has become safer and has seen a proliferation of cafes, shops and restaurants, and some of them are contributing to the preservation of Harlem’s identity and heritage through art, music, craftsmanship and food along with local cultural institutions.The best thing you can do to truly grasp the spirit of today’s Harlem, suspended between a sometimes overwhelmingly advancing future and the desire to preserve its own memory, is venturing among these places and along these streets in search of tastes and experiences. ExperienceAmateur Night at the Apollo TheaterOn the legendary stage the hosted James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald, Wednesdays are devoted to the stars of tomorrow, who perform in front of a  “tough” audience, gleefully deciding who will “be good or be gone”. African American art at the Studio MuseumFounded in 1968, the Studio Museum in Harlem is the nexus for artists of African descent locally, nationally and internationally and for work that has been inspired and influenced by black culture. It hosts exhibitions, lectures, seminars and conferences and supports emerging artists. Twice a year, visitors get the chance to preview the works created by "resident" artists temporarily hosted in the museum’s ateliers. A walk in Marcus Garvey ParkDedicated to one of the founders of the early twentieth century black nationalist movement, this park has been at the center of the public and social life of the neighborhood for 150 years, albeit under a different name, and is the ideal place to immerse yourself in the authentic feel of Harlem, among nature, playgrounds, swimming pools and baseball fields. The Gospel MassAlthough they are often crowded with tourists, gospel masses (usually on Sunday mornings around 11.00 am) in the Baptist churches of Harlem are proper functions, with long and often remarkable sermons. For this reason, it is advisable to stay for the whole service, restraining from sneaking away as soon as the music’s over. Among the most popular churches for gospel choirs is the Abyssinian Baptist Church(132 W 138th St), so overcrowded that it has an area reserved for tourists. If you are looking for something less touristy, try the Salem United Methodist Church (2190 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd). Eat & DrinkRed RoosterThis restaurant in the heart of the neighborhood, although comparatively recent (it opened in the year 2010), this place is a genuine declaration of love towards Harlem, its history and its culture. Beginning with the name, inspired by a famous twentieth-century Harlem speakeasy. Marcus Samuelsson's comfort food, music and warm atmosphere will inevitably win you over.Sylvia’sHere is yet another Harlem icon: the legendary restaurant opened in 1962 by Sylvia Woods, the "queen of soul food". Still owned by the Woods family, it still serves traditional African-American dishes, including its glorious fried chicken and buttered corn. Levain BakeryIn 2011, two girls from Manhattan who, despite coming from the world of fashion and investment banks, according to many cook the best biscuits in the city, opened a branch of their legendary Upper West Side bakery in Harlem. It was an instant success, which continues thanks to their huge and delicious chocolate cookiesHarlem TavernOn the same street as Levain Bakery, Frederick Douglass Boulevard, which is gradually filling up with new cafes, bars and restaurants, the Harlem Tavern has a large beer garden housed in a former auto parts store. Big parties come here to sit outdoors and drink craft beer

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08.31.2018

Chianti is a landscape of graceful villages and rolling hills sloping from Florence to Siena, as well as the homeland of the notorious red wine of the same name, a place cherished by artists and intellectuals all over the worldfor its peace and its beauty. These seventy thousand hectares of land were given their name by Cosimo III de' Medici in the year 1716 and have recently celebrated their 300thanniversary; it was on that occasion, in 2016, that The Art of the Treasure Huntwas first held in the form of a very special treasure hunt showcasing contemporary works of art on the backdrop of Chiantishire’s beautiful villages and wineries.Curated by Kasia Redzisz, senior curator at Tate Liverpool, the hunt returns for the third time this summer making room for 14 artists from 11 countriesin six prestigious wineries located in Castello di Brolio, Colle Bereto, Felsina, Borgo San Felice, Castello di Volpaia and Villa di Geggiano. The theme of the 2018 edition is Time is the Game of Man. The invited artists have been entrusted with the task of depicting their own idea of ​​time, bringing their personal experience into it regardless of their age, from Magdalena Abakanowicz, born in 1930, to Angélique Stehli, born in 1993.  The contrast between the absolute modernity of the works and the ancient beauty of the villages and hillsis truly amazing. Sylvie Fleurycreated three large iridescent mushrooms inspired by Alice in Wonderland against the backdrop of the Castle of Brolio. In the lemon grove of the same castle, Poupées Pascales by Pascale Marthine Tayouis an installation with ten crystal dolls decorated with ribbons, feathers, plastic flowers and wooden beams inspired by African female statues. Kevin Francis Grayused Carrara marble for his Soho Girlsculpture in Colle Bereto, sitting next to the neon installation Eden is a Lieby Ciryl de Commarqueand the Flower Fountainby Kiki Smith. The colorful plexiglass spheres by Alfredo Pitti, coming straight from his retrospective at MACRO in Rome, are hosted in Borgo San Felice along with works by Raul de Nieves, Alin Bozbiciu, Henrik Hakansson, and Stefan Bruggemann.  

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08.27.2018

L’Altro Spazio (“The Other Space”) is the title of a documentary film by Marcello Pastonesi and Carlo Furgeri Gilbert in collaboration with Mario Cucinella, architect and curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2018 Architecture Biennale in Venice. This year’s edition of the Biennale, "Freespace", focuses on the public dimension of architecture as an element of the landscape delving into the relationship between architecture and territory, a theme which is particularly relevant in Italy, with such a variety of different landscapes where spaces and human stories have been interwining for centuries. Cucinella chose to get off the beaten path which connects Italy’s major cities and explore the country’s most remote places high above the mountains or on the islands. The architect’s point of view is expressed through the moving images of the documentary shot by Pastonesi and Furgeri Gilbert, produced by Someone in collaboration with Rai Cinema and screened daily at the Biennale. We met them to learn more about the project. L’Altro Spazio is a journey through Italy far from the spotlight. It is in some way also a journey through time?MP: In part yes, because it is a journey in search of traditions, customs and different ways of doing things and managing the relationship with land and nature.CFG: It is indeed a journey through time but not one indulging in memories. It is a journey which raises questions, as any journey should do. We have crossed territories and met people who only apparently live in another time. They are very connected to the world, they know what happens outside. These territories have an enormous potential. They are in fact the cradle of the DNA of Italian culture. It is a matter of understanding how to create the conditions for developing and re-launching them, avoiding depopulation and degradation. How do people connect with the places where they live? Through nature, architecture, smells, colours?MP: The people we met in these remote inland areas have a very clear idea of ​​what a big city or a suburb looks like, many of them have actually lived and worked there. Their attachment to the place where they live is not triggered by fear of what’s outside, but rather by the idea of a ​​community, which acts as a social safety net, as a source of education, care, memory, knowledge and contacts. And they wish to preserve all of this. In Orgosolo, Sardinia, people told us with pride how they managed to oppose the construction of an American military base. People's mistrust also arises from having seen their land suffer damage from industrialization, with broken promises of economic recovery and jobsbeing replaced by abandonment, environmental damage and sometimes even damage to people's health.CFG: I would say mainly human relationships. Through this journey we discovered that the relationships weaved by the community are the true lifeblood of these places. Not all these places are "beautiful"; some face very difficult situations, they are badly damaged but still have great human potential. And in spite of everything, many people want to stay, because this is their home. As Marcello says, the community works as a social safety net. Which role does architecture play in designing the way places are experienced?CFG: The role of architecture is essential. Unfortunately, today the word ‘architect’ is associated with a sometimes negative meaning – as in speculation and uncontrolled overbuilding - but architecture actually played a fundamental role in the construction of this country. Without the architects, we would not have the beautiful cities that the whole world envies us. We need to start restoring the positive value of architecture, to recover what over a thousand years of history have taught us, to promote projects that spring from the real needs of people and places. There is actually a lot of talking about participated architecture: designing means first of all understanding and listening, which is why local communities often take part in developing projects, defining a ‘mission’ for their own territory. Music is an element of your story: is there a link do you see between music and architecture?MP: We tried to choose music that was in harmony with the places and their architecture. As we traveled, I often searched for local radio stations to hear voices, accents, current topics, and even music. Some ideas came from there, some from street artists, some from the people we interviewed. In the editing process, we chose music based on the feel of the footage and the topic. So yes, there is certainly a link between music and landscapes. For me, it works by mental association.  What would you like the inhabitants of the "other spaces" to discover though your documentary?MP: I'd like them to find it useful. The film could be an opportunity to trigger a public debate or something practical and useful for their local communty. Also, it would be great to have a few screenings and let them watch themselves. CFG: I totally agree with Marcello, I would like the film to be useful, a reason for them to raise questions about themselves and their role as citizens. It would be great to have public screenings in the towns’ squares, those free spaces that used to be the major gathering space for democracy.   

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08.20.2018

The Lafayette Anticipationsfoundation already declares its pioneering and avant-garde vocationthrough its own name. In this historic Marais building, art is not just  exhibited, selected and collected, but also created, by rediscovering the crucial role of art patrons and granting artists the freedom to imagine, giving them space and time exactly for this purpose. “This is a place born to constantly support artists and their own projects”, says President Guillaume Hauzé, “with the idea that only creation can grasp the sense of an era and its uniqueness, and therefore bring us daily towards new horizona”. Lafayette Anticipations opened on March 10, 2018 and is set to be the new Parisian landmark for lovers of contemporary art, design and fashion. The collective character of the project involves artists, patrons, curators and the public in a constant exchange where ideas meet to understand and drive the evolution of art. The space is crucial because this 1891 building in 9, Rue du Plâtre, formerly a warehouse and a school, is also meant to become the place where most of the exhibited works of art are created:  the renovation and regeneration project has been entrusted to Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and OMA design studio. The Foundation is house inside the U-shaped structure of the ancient building, renovated strictly respecting volumes and aesthetics, with the addition of an exhibition tower. The result is an exhibition space of 875 square meters out of a total of 2,200, including workshops, cafés and shops. Until September 9th, Lafayette Anticipations will host the collective exhibition The centre cannot hold, featuring previously unseen works by a selected group of artists mostly created inside the Foundation's headquarters. Curated by François Quintin, the exhibition owes its name to English poet W.B. Yeats and it tackles the current reinforcement of cultural, social, and political categorizations, hinting at the necessity of producing more subtle and less dichotomous methods to address them.  

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08.09.2018

David Robert Jones was only one year old when 492 immigrants called by the British government landed on the British coast. They would soon be his new neighbors. It was 1948, and the ship that carried them from the Caribbean archipelagos to the London fog was a former German cruise ship recovered as war booty, the Empire Windrush. These new Londoners settled in the south of the city, first in Clapham and then in Brixton. David grew up surrounded by their music, and those sounds and culture helped him create David Bowie, one of Brixton's most beloved sons, depicted on a famous mural in Turnstall Roadunder which fresh flowers are brought every day. A multi-ethnic neighborhood by definition, the cradle of Caribbean culture in Europe has also been the scene of riots between locals and the police back in the 1980s and 1990s, yet today Brixton is one of the places to keep an eye on to get an idea of the contemporary British cultural avant-garde. Music, art and food are the focus and the driving forces behind the vibrancy you breathe as soon as you get out of the tube at the Brixton station. The heart of the neighborhood isWindrush Place, named after the ship that changed the destiny of this district. Here are two veritable institutions: Ritzy cinema, founded in 1911 and still proudly independent today, and the Black Cultural Archives, the first and only British center dedicated to the conservation and spreading of African and Caribbean culture in the UK. A venue for meetings, exhibitions, studies and comparisons, the Black Cultural Archives also won the New London Architect Award in 2015.  On Brixton Road sits Brixton Market, open seven days a week, selling exotic and bizarre goods and food from all over the world. Featuring both outdoors and indoors areas, it is the kingdom of ethnic street food. This maze of stalls, kiosks and restaurants has long been a place of nostalgia, yet today it is not only a destination for fans and enthusiasts but also for the locals, especially since the 2000s, thanks to a new injection of of artists, musicians and designers from Asia, continental Europe or simply from other areas of London, attracted by the liveliness of the area and by the unique character of Brixton. Some call it gentrification, for others it may be just the natural evolution of an ever-changing place, as shown by Pop Brixton, an installation of containers at 53 Brixton Station Road that host start-ups, small shops, kiosks, restaurants, and spaces dedicated to design, innovation and social initiatives. Pop Brixton should stay until fall, but given its success it might stay longer: it is an example of how an abandoned area can be quickly revived and become an authentic cultural hub. Art and creativity have always been everywhere in the streets of Brixton and today this been somewhat institutionalized: Electric Avenueis dotted with small contemporary/experimental art galleries, and the clubs offer all music genres from hip hop to electro, reggae and rock starting from 11 pm try Electricand 02 Academy

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07.20.2018

In 1967 the Beatles published the Magical Mystery Tour, and in Amsterdam the Provo movement dubbed the Dutch city "Magical Center Amsterdam". Where was the magic? Perhaps in the power of imagination, which invented new ways and spaces to say things in a different way, with the aim of changing the world. In the late 1960s, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam began to bring together what was left of the energy brought to the streets by a new category of young artists whose ‘experimental’ lifestyles were themselves veritable works of art. The Magic Center, an exhibition currently on display at the Stedelijk, summarizes the energy of the years between 1967 and 1970, when the city became one of the most fertile and vibant crossroads of that new generation of artists.  Curated by Bart Guldemold, the exhibition collects 250 works and objects and 100 reproductions collected from the museum’s permanent collection, from the Rijksmuseum and from the Institute of Social History, Sound and Vision. The common thread is irony, which brings together the contradictions of that era, expressed through the posters by Daniel Buren, which were among the first examples of street art, the performances of Wim T. Schipper, who put together an improbable Christmas tree in Leidseplain, one of the central squares of the city, in the middle of summer.  Sunny Imploo was yet another invention of that time: a luminous sphere inside which you could stick your head to enjoy a supposedly relaxing effect. According to authors Louis van Gasteren and Fred Wessels, it should have been made available for everyone at every street corner, but it never actually left the museum.  50 years later, these seemingly bizarre works still manage to bring back the emotional clock to a moment in history when cultural revolution was a daily affair and female artists began to play a decisive role. Among the hundreds of works and icons belonging to that time, including many independent magazines, the exhibition presents some original materials from the Bed-in for Peace project by John Lennon and Yoko Onothat happened at the Amsterdam Hilton in 1969. And as Amsterdam rediscovers its central role in the artistic ferment of the late 1960s, on the red brick façade of one of Stedelijk's warehouses the largest mural ever made by Keith Haring in Europe (1986, 12 by 15 meters)comes back to life thanks to the intervention of various artists and foundations. The work depicts  a man riding a sea animal with a dog's head and it can be seen from Willem De Zwijgerlaan Street. 

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07.20.2018

In 2017, for the 15th year running, the Adachi Art Museum was elected the best traditional garden in Japan by The Journal of Japanese Gardening, the American publication devoted to the special world of Japanese gardens and Japanese architecture. The Adachi Museum of Art, centred on modern Japanese paintings, was established in 1970 in the city of Yasugi, Shimane prefecture, It was completed in September and opened to the public in November of the same year. It currently houses 130 works by Yokoyama Taikanand it is also renowned for its gardens. Yasugi was the birthplace of Zenkō Adachi, the founder of the museum. Zenkō began working as a coal haulier between the countryside and Yasugi Harbour. He developed a keen interest in business and after the Second World War he took on several jobs, including textile wholesaler in Osaka and estate agent. At the same time, he began collecting works by Japanese painters, something he had loved since his youth, and eventually became known as an art collector. Throughout his life, Zenkō delighted in designing gardens. Finally, in 1970, at the age of 70, as a sign of gratitude to his hometown and aiming to enhance the cultural development of Shimane prefecture, Adachi established the Adachi Museum of Art. Adachi’s passion for collecting art was well known, but perhaps his greatest accomplishment was his 1979 acquisition of several works by Taikan Yokoyama from the Kitazawa Collection, including Autumn Leaves, Mountains After A Shower, and Summer - Four Seasons Of The Sea. Zenkō Adachi considered the garden as a picture scroll and had horizontal viewing panels installed, through which visitors can enjoy the ever-changing beauty of the garden. After his death at the age of 91 in 1990, the garden, which is divided into six sections totally about 165,000 square metres, was officially designated as one of Japan’s most representative gardens. The six gardens have a different appearance in every season, framed in the beautiful landscape of the surrounding natural mountains. Adachi’s gardens are said to be a living Japanese painting and gained three stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. 

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07.16.2018

From the 5th century AD, when the order of Saint Benedict was founded, to today, monasteries have preserved a unique feature that goes beyond every religious tradition: they are still a place where to take refuge, whether to get away from raids and poverty, as it happened in the Middle Ages, or to put a little distance between ourselves and our daily routine, as it often happens today.  Monasteries are almost inevitably secluded and out of time, and their days are punctuated by simple chores and tolling bells. Home to pilgrims, travelers and faithful for centuries, they retain a special energy magnified by the beauty of their ancient architecture and manuscripts. Europe is literally scattered with such places, and some of them can be extraordinary day-trip or holiday destinations. Here are five monasteries that you most likely do not know yet. Reichenau Island Monastery (Germany)Reichenau is an island on Lake Constance, at the foot of the Alps. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island houses a Benedictine monastery dating back to the 8thcentury with three churches mixing Carolingian, Ottoman and German architecture from the Salian dynasty, which reigned over the Holy Roman Empire between 1024 and 1125. Its peculiarity lies in the huge mural paintings, particularly those inside St. George’s church, which are very well-preserved.  Monastery of the Holy Cross, Fonte Avellana (Italy)In the 21stcanto of Dante’s Paradise from the Divine Comedy, Pier Damiani speaks of a hermitage at the foot of Monte Catria. This place was already a point of reference in the 14thcentury: the first monks had settled here, in this valley on the border between Marche and Umbria, in the 10thcentury, giving birth to what would become one of the most important Camaldolese monastic complexes in Italy. Hospitality and dialogue are the values ​​that have always been carried forward ever since then, with a calendar of events that covers the whole year and the opportunity of retiring for a few days to enjoy the silnce, nature, the woods and the sky. Ostrog Monastery (Montenegro)Set against the rocky mountains of Montenegro, in the Bjelopavlići valley and not far from Podgorica, the Ostrog Monastery is home to wild birds and strong winds. Founded in 1671, it is composed of two structures on an upper and lower level, connected by a long and winding staircase. The monks still celebrate Orthodox rites and sacraments and are happy to share the long history of this place and of the miracles that supposedly happened on its grounds with the visitors. Saint Gall Abbey (Switzerland)The first stones of this great Benedictine monastic complex date back to the 8th century, as well as some of the oldest manuscripts kept here. The library is its main asset, both for the Baroque structure and for the huge quantity of manuscripts dating back to the last twelve centuries, including the first architectural project on parchment. Architecture is the second focusbecause it features all the architectural styles from Charlemagne onwards, making this place one of the most vibrant cultural centers in Europe.Hermitage of Santa Caterina dal Sasso (Italy)Coming from the lake, the first thing you’ll see is the big bell tower, and then the beautiful arcade that runs along the lake. In Leggiuno, on Lake Maggiore, this hermitage has two convent structures, the oldest one dating back to the 13th century, and a church with an original structure, the result of the fusion of three different chapels over time. The frescoes, focusing on everyday life scenes and stories full of mysticism, have preserved their bright colors. When the winter fog rises from the lake, this place is an otherworldly vision. 

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07.13.2018

She is one of the world’s most famous and appreciated mezzo sopranos, a Baroque music enthusiast, a generous artist and a proud mother. Swedish singer Ann Hallenberg has been successfully singing opera for 25 years in the world’s most prestigious theatres. In the meantime, she has constantly enriched her repertoire with the rediscovery of amazing arias from unknown Baroque composers, supported in this passionate and incessant research by her husband, the German musicologist Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg. We discussed her career, her life and her passions over a Spritz in Venice. How did you, Ann, become Ann Hallenberg the famous mezzo soprano?AH:I am actually the proof that the media do have the power to shape a child. I grew up in a house with music. My father was a church singer, so I had music around me but it was mostly church hymns, never opera. And then when I was six I was left alone in front of the TV one day, and there was a televised production of the Bettlerstudent, an operetta by Millöcker. It just got me. I remember crying because it seemed like there would be a tragic finale, and jumping on the sofa when I found out there would actually be a happy ending. The day after, I asked my dad to buy me the record, and my mum to make me a dress just like the prima donna. There and then, I decided: this is what I want to do. I want to become an opera singer! So, basically you are living you childhood dream?AH:Yes, my whole life I have been doing what I wanted to do. I am extremely lucky, and I am aware of this luxury. Although as I was studying music, I said to myself “This is ridiculous, you can’t be an opera singer just like that”. Since I had a huge interest in history and I also wanted to be an archaeologist, I gave myself five years after attending the opera school to see if this dream would work. “If it does not”, I thought, “then I will have all my papers ready to become an archeologist”. It was my plan B. Which was the first moment in which you realized you could make it?AH:I think it was when I auditioned with very short notice in Oslo for L’Italiana in Algeri. Basically, from day 1 to day 2 they threw me in: I auditioned, said thank you, and I was on my way out of the stage door to catch my plane back to Stockholm when the opera management came running after me and told me I'd got the job! During that opera production I began to realize that it would work. I was four years out of opera school. From then on, my mantra has been “slow growth, quality music”Which specific moments in your career did you cherish the most?AH:There have been many fulfilling professional moments, of course, but personally the most remarkable one was coming home after an audition with Luca Targetti from La Scala one night and telling my parents “I am going to sing at La Scala!”. The joy of my father in his pajamas in the middle of the night is something I will always cherish. What triggered your passion for Baroque and 17thand 18thcentury composers?AH:First of all, I discovered Baroque through Swedish mezzo soprano Anne Sophie von Otter and truly liked it. Secondly, I realized that to sing Verdi, Puccini and Mozart I would have to stand one step behind the sopranoand reach for handkerchiefs, and chairs, and be supportive as they sing their arias. By singing Baroque, on the contrary, I would get to sing several arias. And then of course I also realized that it was perfect for my voiceIn your Carnevale 1729album you sang a collection of 14 unknown Baroque hits from the 1729 Venetian Carnival. How did you come up with the idea and why this specific selection? AH:The inspiration came from those cheap CDs you can buy at any gas-station: “Greatest Hits 1985”, “Summer Hits 2010” etc. I began to imagine what an album from the 18th century would have been like, what the “hits” of an exciting season in 18thcentury Venice could have been. We ended up picking the year 1729 because the Venice Carnival of that year had so many incredible arias written for the occasion that had miraculously survived. 1729 was a special year also becauseall the big stars of Italian opera had come back home after disagreements with their impresario, Händel,in England. This connection with such a well-known composer was also crucial to help us sell the record. On that note, how do you cope with the fact that these composers, such as Orlandini or Giacomelli, while being amazing are very little known? Wouldn’t it just have been easier and more profitable to record something by Händel?AH:I am absolutely aware of this. And I obviously love Händel. In the case of Carnevale 1729, I thought that “using” his name to make people discover the other composerswould be a good idea. The same thing happens when you set up the program for a recital: sometimes it can be annoying, but you always feel that you should add a Händel aria so that people are happy. But recently things are changing, and both record companies and fans are starting to appreciate unknown composersIs there a composer in particular work that you think would deserve more attention from musicians and the public? AH:Well, there are several. I would say Pietro Torri, Giovanni Porta, and of course Geminiano Giacomelli. Yet it is not easy to popularize work. They are basically unknown, and there is not a single famous piece from them that the public can connect with to get an idea of who they are. Also, you need to do a lot of research because scores and editions are scarce. Finally, there is a negative bias towards unknown composers, the idea that if they had been so good they would not have been forgotten. If it is not about quality, why is that are some composers more known than others? Why Händel and Vivaldi and not Torri and Giacomelli?AH:It is about quality, but only to a certain extent. There is no denying that Händel, for instance, was unique. He truly had a God-given gift. But there are other aspects we should take into account: some composers were only present in their time, they wrote music for a living, maybe they didn’t travel much. In other words, they did not think of music “for eternity”(this is something that only became relevant later, with the “genius” culture). They had one commission after another, and they were extremely good at their own craft. So, yes: Händel was a genius, and maybe Torri was a genius too, only he did not manage to have his work performed in theatres for as long as Händel’s Messiah, and thus to become equally popular. Sometimes it’s just that people love to listen to what they already know: and in that sense, everything that is familiar has a great advantage over the unknownWhat’s your favorite genre when it comes to performing?AH:Opera was my first loveand I have been doing it for 25 years. It is magic indeed, both onstage and behind the scenes. I love the behind-the-scene dance, with people perfectly coordinating to make everything perfect! But it also very hard work, and a lot of time away from home. Besides, singing operas can sometimes be frustrating these days, because the power of the directors has become so overwhelming that it occasionally takes over the idea of the music. So, at this point in my career it has to be something really special. Nobody can believe a singer who sings everything. In this industry you must be capable of saying no. It is brave and refreshing at the same time. How do you feel about curtain calls? What goes through an artist’s mind in that moment?AH:After so many years I am still terrified. I think the fear of not receiving an applause is every artist’s worst nightmare. It luckily never happened to me. When the applause comes, it is like the ultimate proof that you did your job well, and that the public is in a way giving back what you have tried to give them. It’s a sort of chemistry. How do you cope with being an artist as well as a wife and a mother?AH:I am travelling about 200 days every year, so the real hero is my husband. It definitely is a teamwork, because if he didn’t take care of everything at home and with our daughter I would not be able to travel. I’m the one onstage, the one who gets the applause, but behind the scenes there is someone taking care of all the rest. As for meI remain a normal persondespite my staging career. I still love going out without makeup to buy milk in my hometown. Your husband, Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg, is in the music field too. Does that help?AH:Holger is a musicologist, andmy living encyclopedia! This means that we can collaborate and that is just perfect. He has been working in theatres and he knows how my profession works. I never have to explain. But in general, I think that for instance two singers would have a hard time coping with a career and a family, because one of the two would have to step back.   What do you like to do to relax once the hard work is over?AH:Knitting! I need to work with my hands. My work is gone the moment I do it. I sing, and it’s air. I need to do something more physical. 

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07.04.2018

Founded by Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond in La Neuveville, Switzerland, in the year 1991, atelier oïalways stood out from the crowd because of the unique creative journey that gives birth to its objects and spaces. At the heart of it is a penchant for mixing different architectural genres and design disciplines, ranging from architecture to set design, interior design, and product design. 2018 is a very special year for the studio, because two different exhibitions are celebrating its work and telling its story. Oïphorieis the exhibition underway (until September 30) at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, a historic landmark for Swiss design since 1878. Oïphorie is a selection of projects accounting for 27 years of activity involving the most diverse clients, from major international design and luxury brands to prestigious cultural institutions. The aim is to show the phases of design and carrying out of each project, from the manipulation of the materials - the silver thread of the whole process - to the prototype, and on to the final result. On the other side of the world, the Museu da Casa Brasileira in São Paulo, a major destination for design and architecture in the Brazilian city, will be hosting an exhibition called Handmade Industry(August 2018) focusing on the atelier’s approach to materials and exhibiting projects and samples to show how mastering materials and treatments is crucial when embarking on independent design and cultural project. From the merging of materials and ideas comes the impalpable emotional space that surrounds the creations and installations by atelier oï, which always leaves room for reflection and interpretation. The intuition that gives life to the project is a spark that reflects on the experience of anyone interacting with it, getting in touch with its shape and surface, or using it with their eyes and their hands. 

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06.29.2018

It was the year 1999 when Massimiliano di Battista, an art enthusiast and public relations businessman, co-founded the innovative photographic agency Management + Artists + Organization in New York with his partner Marco Fincato. Specializing in fashion and born to drive and support artists in creative terms as well, today the agency is an international reality with offices in London, Paris and Milan, but Massimiliano has remained faithful to "his" adoptive New York City, where he has now been living for almost twenty years not as an "expat", but as a true New Yorker. What’s it like to live in New York for an Italian-born individual?MDB:Personally, I tried to adapt to the city ever since the very beginning, and this led to creating my own family and friend circle to make the experience fulfilling.New York is a very fascinating citybecause it can surprise you every day, it is always on the move and is the only place in the world where so many different ethnic groups coexist peacefully.But it is also a complex and hard city, where the quality of life – by which I mean the quality of human relationships - is rather poor, even when you have reached your goals professionally and financially. It is extremely difficult to have and develop human relationshipsthat are profound, honest and authentic. Have you ever wondered why?MDB:Sure. And the explanation I gave myself is this: real New Yorkers, born and raised in the city, are a minority. Most people come here with a definite project: to achieve a dream, success, financial independence, power, to gain recognition. New York is a city based much more on work and success than it is on human relationships. So, if you manage to develop authentic relationships, it is very important to invest in these people. To what extent does New York embody the whole nation, and what distinguishes it profoundly from the rest of the country?MDB:This a very complicated question, but to sum it all up I would say that New York is at the same time the mirror and the antithesis of the rest of America. The mirror, because of its huge contradictions, which are similar to those of the entire country. The antithesis, for its sense of belonging, for the lack of racial tensions, for a dynamism and a desire to create and to succeed that are absent in many other parts of the United States. What is it that you love most about New York?MDB:My ideal places in New York are those that somehow make me feel "at home" and give me some kind of emotion. Take the subway, for instance: I love traveling on the trains to observe the people, imagine their lives, their desires, their dreams. The subway is possibly the most "democratic" place in the city, the one where there is the greatest integration between different social classes. Or Broadway, and of course the off-Broadway scene: while it may in a sense be considered too touristy and corny, it also offers the unique opportunity to admire some of the greatest Hollywood stars live. Another New York classic of which I am particularly fond, is the so-called “restaurant date”: in a city where friends are hardly ever invited at home, where there are very few bars and the whole aperitivoconcept is missing, restaurants are where most people meet and socialize. My favorite restaurants are EN Brasserie and O-ya (for Japanese cuisine), The Pool Room and The Polo Bar (for an elegant and somewhat formal situation), and the "farm to table" restaurants in Brooklyn or Queens, where you can taste dishes based on local products. Finally, shopping in New Yorkis definitely an exciting experience. I like to discover small shops even in the lesser-known neighborhoods or unexpected places, where new businesses are born on a daily basis. I recommend the Lower East Side, Madison Square Park, Chinatown and Chelsea West. Do you believe that being based in NYC is still a unique opportunity for a photographer or a creative professional in the year 2018?MDB:Living in New York is not crucial for a fashion creative professional, at least not any more. Actually, it may even be a bad idea. Most of the customers are super commercial brands, and very few newspapers offer creative opportunities to photographers.The situation is more suited to the new creative digital generation– multidisciplinary and digital artist, and professionals with skills mixing technology and creativity. These days, in the US it’s all about mobile content. Printed media have become merely accessory. For a fashion photographer or a stylist, it makes probably more sense to live in London or Hong Kong. 

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06.27.2018

We definitely have a problem with plastic. Over the last 50 years, the production and the consumption of the most common manmade material have been rising constantly.  In this context, the recent discovery of a plastic-eating warm by Italian researcher Federica Bertocchiniappears absolutely relevant and it might even provide us with a new weapon in the war against a problem that was caused by our own ineptitude and shortsightedness. Previously a Research Career Development Fellow at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria (IBBTEC) in Santander, Spain, Federicagraduated in Biological Science at the University of Pisa and later earned a PhD from the DIBIT research at Milan’s Istituto San Raffaele. Working in London and New York City, she focused her studies on the development of the vertebrate embryo, but it was actually a chance discovery that led her to start a project on plastic bio-degradation. As it happens, Federica is also an amateur beekeeper, and while removing a wax warm infestation in one of her hives one day she put them in a plastic bag, only to later discover that they had eaten their wayout leaving holes all over the bag!  The research that followed, and which was also supported by scientists at Cambridge University, revealed that the wax worm, the larva of a Lepidoptera living in the honeycomb of beehives, does actually eat plastic: according to lab tests, 100 worms can eat 92 milligrams of polyethylene in 12 hours, apparently by using the same enzymes they use for eating beeswax.  Yet, in order to ascertain that polyethylene bio-degradation by wax warm is a viable option that might contribute to solving the plastic problem, more research needs to be done, and Federica is certainly up to it.  

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06.20.2018

160 fashion photographs taken by over 80 photographers and representative of a whole century of evolution of costume and society: these are the numbers of Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography 1911-2011, the exhibition that will take place at J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles from June 26thto October 21st, 2018. Fashion photography is the mirror of the company to which it is addressed precisely because it is, first of all, commercial photography and therefore necessarily effective in attracting the attention, and aligned with the curiosities of the moment. Whether it is in the form of a cover, an illustration, a video, an advertisement or a report, when fashion photography becomes one with creativity (and desire), the result is the faithful portrait of the aspirations of an era. Aspirations, not reality, but no less significant for reconstructing a period of history and deserving a retrospective of an author in a prestigious space. During the depression of the 1920s the emphasis that magazine put on glamor responded to a real need for escape, whereas in the years of the Second World War, especially in the United States, a pragmatic, confident and enthusiastic vision of life replaced the previous one. Fashion photography is always a symptom of the spirit of time: the rebirth of the 1950s is all in the lenses of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, who celebrated the magnificence that came from Paris with the creations of Cristòbal Balenciaga and Christian Dior , among others. The costume revolution in the 1960s can be found the 35mm film photos by William Klein, who got closer to the new street culture, or in the psychedelic and surreal aesthetics of Neil Barr. The 1970s introduced diversity, involving people with different backgrounds, ages and attitudes, in line with the spirit of the time, between experimentations and avant-garde. The 1980s were the years of the Italian limelight: from Versace to Giorgio Armani, Milan became the core of fashion, supermodels were born and fashion photography became an object of daily consumption, a popular heritage and a reservoir of dreams that will nurture a whole decade. The thrill ended on the threshold of the 1990s when, from a slowdown in the economy, the melancholy of grunge and minimalism arose.  By telling this whole story, the exhibition manages to bring images born for commercial purposes but filtered by the genius and talent of some of the greatest masters of photography into a major museum. The final part is devoted to the definitive shift of fashion photography from the catwalks to the street, via fashion blogs (starting from The Sartorialistby Scott Schuman) and Instagram. Is this where the great photographers we will remember in a century from now train and grow? Only time will tell. 

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06.18.2018

Gianni Canova is the Dean of the Faculty of Communication, Public Relations and Advertising at Milan’s IULM University besides being a journalist, novelist, and essayist. Additionally, he is the founder of Duel, the first Italian film magazine to broaden its focus beyond film alone, and delve into the rest of the contemporary media landscape. But above all, Canova is one of the most eminent Italian film critics – although he doesn’t like to be called that as he thinks of himself rather as someone who tries to “infect” his readers and students with the passion for cinema. We chatted with him about essential movies, Italian films, and Netflix.  Contemporary Italian cinema doesn’t seem to be nearly as highly regarded as it used to be in its golden era. Why is that? GC:We have plenty of talented professionals and skilled technicians. We have some extraordinary directors. And yet something is wrong with the industry. The festivals are too conservative and they tend to snobbishly promote films for die-hard cinephiles. The production system has been spoiled by years of excessive public funding. Personally, I wish for a braver entrepreneurial spirit and more innovative promotion and communication strategies. What we need is a cultural revolution that will bring back to our national film industry the dignity it used to have back in the 1960s and that got lost somewhere along the way. For instance,why do the French believe that it’s “cool” to go to the movies, whereas we don’t? I believe that this gives a good idea of where the problem lies. Which contemporary Italian directors would you recommend to a young, foreign film student?GC:Paolo Sorrentino is one of the greatest creators of images in the global film industry. There is not a single frame in his films that is obvious, predictable, or trite.All of his works seem to be designed to teach our eyes how to see beauty. When watching The Great Beautyor Youth, the feeling you get is like the one you might experience in front of someone you are attracted to: you do perceive their imperfections, and yet they drive you crazy. Honestly, all his movies deserve to be seen. The same goes for Matteo Garrone, a visionary talent whose imagination goes beyond reality to create worlds and unearth demons and ghosts.  Now, imagine an alien (or an inexperienced spectator) came up to you and asked what cinema is. Which three fundamental movies in the history of cinema would you show him/her and why? GC:Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock because it unveilsonce and for all the voyeurthat hides inside every spectator. 8 e 1/2by Federico Fellini because it is a dancing phantasmagoria on the foolishness of making movies. And 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick because it reminds usthat cinema is the most extraordinary mental exercise that this era has put at our disposal. What do you think of the growing popularity of film streaming services? GC:To me, they are the triumph of films and the death of cinema. People have never been watching so many films, they watch them on their tablets, smartphones, computers and TV screens. Films have become something other than cinema. As Marshall McLuhan wisely and famously stated,“the medium is the message”. TV series are just an outstanding invention designed to transfer investments, capitals and consumption from the cinematic medium to other media. That’s all they really are: a simple positioning strategy in the entertainment market, with all that this entails. Netflix is not a film producer. It is a company that produces films to nurture and self-sustain itself. It’s not like there’s anything bad about it, but how can this recreate the feeling of being by enthralled by something larger than yourselfthat you had in front of the big screen? How can a movie become a myth to us when all we are watching is digital images the size of stamps that we dominate with ease, and that will never, ever be able to give us the overwhelming emotions that real cinema aroused?  Have you ever felt the urge to direct a movie? GC:I am too passionate of a spectator to undertake the pains of directing a film. Being on a movie set is one of the most repetitive and boring experiences ever, whereas watching a movie is always exciting. In spite of all the films I have seen, every time the lights go out in the movie theater I feel the same emotion I experienced the first time I ever watched a movie. 

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06.08.2018

Gaetano Pesce has made things clear ever since the beginning of his career: while still studying architecture at the University of Venice, he wrote a manifesto called "in defense of the right to incoherence", because creatives had to be allowed and required to wander and experiment.It was the end of the 1950s and also the time of the Paduan Enne Group, a collective of students fascinated by machines and the application of technology to art, and attracted to kinetic art that was already a thing Milan. Because of the special relationship he had with the city, Padua is celebrating Gaetano Pesce with a retrospective entirely dedicated to the designer, visionary, artist and architect born in La Spezia in 1939. Il tempo multidisciplinare(“multidisciplinary time”, open until September 23) is housed inside the historic Palazzo della Ragione, which just turned 800 years old. It presents 200 works that explore all the forms of expression experienced by Pesce throughout his life, from design to urban projects, avoiding all defined routes so that visitors can be carried away by the perennial brainstorming which is at the base of Pesce’s art. Incoherence finds coherence in its own guiding thread: the curiosity that drives the artist’s search for the essence of contemporaneity. Exhibited at the MoMA in New York, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, at the Vitra Museum in Berlin and at the Pompidou Center in Paris, here in Padua Gaetano Pesce's ideas are epitomized by Un Gigante di Vestiti (“a giant made of dresses”), a four meter-high chair covered in women’s clothes from different eras and styles. In this exemplary work, the scenic power joins a civil message, as it is often the case with his works: around the chair, six columns hold six wild beast heads representing masculine aggressiveness unleashed by the fear of women. Maestà Tradita(“betrayed majesty”), a sculpture dedicated to the female martyrs, and Italia in Croce(“crucified Italy”, 1978) are both exhibited outside the Palazzo, offering free hints for reflection to the whole city. Among Pesce’s previously unseen works is finally Padova Onora Galileo(“Padua honors Galileo”, an urban project dedicated to the city of Padua and to one of its most distinguished guests, and a tribute to borderless thinkers who explore everything that inspires them, from art to physics, astronomy, and literature. 

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06.06.2018

Hirohiko Araki’s masterpiece JoJo’s Bizarre Adventurewas originally serialised in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1987 to 2004. The series, which has garnered worldwide acclaim ever since, consists of 8 unique parts, depicting the blood ties and supernatural foes of the Joestar family. Numerous fashion designers have been influenced by Araki and for the brand’s 2013 window displays, Gucci teamed with renowned Japanese Manga artist Hirohiko Araki. The exhibition will be held at the exhibition hall on the second floor of the National Art Center, in collaboration with Shueisha Publishing. It will be the final project to celebrate the 30th anniversary of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, with a great number of items on display, including original drawings and texts from the original release. In the Jojo Chroniclecorner, you can take a walk through the 30-year-old history of the series, looking back at all the characters and settings that have appeared over the years. The section Star of Destiny, Blood of Fatedisplays a collection of scenes that best convey the theme of fate weighing on the shoulders of the protagonists and their rivals. The exhibition also features works by artists active in the forefront of sculpture, fashion, and video-making, including sculptor Motohiko Odani, Anrealage fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga and the visual design studio WOW. 

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06.01.2018

Arles must have a special energy. It was in this small town in the south of France that Vincent Van Gogh moved in February 1888, giving way to the most intense and fertile period of his career: over 300 works in just over 14 months, inspired by the light of Provence. Since the 1970s, Arles has been home to Rencontres d’Arles, a major international photography festival aiming to observe through the lens of the great photography masters the disruption and the speed of social and political changes. From July 2 to September 23, the whole city will once again turn into a huge exhibition space with over 30 venues and guests and visitors from all over the world. The 2018 edition, director Sam Stourdzé explains, is a journey through time on the tracks of a selection of images that entrust the eye of the photographer with the task of bringing us back to precise moments of our era. Everyone can somehow relate to these images through their own experience and, by putting together sensations and memories, perhaps even sense some fragment of the future. Among the over 60 scheduled exhibitions, three are dedicated to investigating the timeline. Run Comrade, the old world is behind youpresents, among others, 1968! What a story, a tribute to the year that truly shaped our view of the world at the end of last century. A time of tragedies and dreams, with a thin red line pushing us towards a better future. The future of 1968 is our today, depicted by 40-year-old Norwegian photographer Jonas Bendiksen in theAugmented Humanityseries, which documents the life of 7 modern-day gurus suspended between avant-garde and archaic beliefs, between confidence in technology and a return to ancient practices, in a constantly precarious balance. America Great Againcelebrates the 50thanniversary of Les Americainsby Robert Frank, the famous on the road reportage documenting 1950s USA. 60 years later, five photographers of different ages and backgrounds depict today’s America in their own way. Workshops and performances will complete the program, which is starting with the July 2-8 inaugural week and the "Arles nights": every night, a special guest will tell a story through music, prose and storytelling in the ancient city theater. 

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05.21.2018

A few kilometers away from Rome there is a place that combines the eternal charm of history, the beauty of Renaissance architecture and the contemporary taste for hybridization between art and design. Aristocratic families, collectors and art lovers have been living in these rooms, and over time they have given shape to their unique charm. The name is La Posta Vecchia and it is located in Palo Laziale, near Ladispoli, on the beautiful stretch of Tyrrhenian coast between Rome and the Argentario. Overlooking the sea, this majestic Renaissance villa was built in 1640 by the Orsini Princes as a place for hosting friends and it has preserved the atmosphere of an exclusive yet welcoming place. From 1693 on, the villa belonged to the Odescalchi family, who abandoned it after the fire that hit it in 1918. In 1960, Jean Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil Company, a tycoon and an art enthusiast, purchased it and, with the help of critic and art historian Federico Zeri, filled the rooms with ancient tapestries, sculptures, and works of art dating back from the Renaissance to the contemporary era. In the early 1980s, the villa was bought by Roberto Sciò, who revamped its original vocation for hospitality turning into a boutique hotel with 19 rooms and suites filled with objects and works of Italian and European ancient and contemporary art. The Getty Master Suite houses a 17th-century inlaid box depicting the story of King Solomon, as well as a collection of Meissen porcelains hanging on the walls. In the Medici Master Suite, guests can enjoy a seventeenth-century map and a marble table from the same period, while two majestic marble stairs lead to the bathroom. Besides opulence and elegance, La Posta is gifted with natural beauty, offered by the energetic beauty of the sea washing this beautiful stretch of coast that has long been chosen as a place of rest and pleasure. On that note, the renovation commissioned by Jean Paul Getty has brought to light the remains of a Roman villa from the second century BC, preserved inside a small archaeological museum in the basement.To complete the experience, chef Antonio Magliulo awaits guests at the Cesar restaurant on the terrace overlooking the sea, ready to offer a sophisticated menu prepared with vegetables from the hotel's organic vegetable garden. Further amenities include tennis courts, a park, an indoor pool, and a spa.  

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05.16.2018

A historic newsstand in Ortona, Italy, a dream shared by a father and a son, and a sudden infatuation for Chile. These are the main elements of a unique story, that of a small independent publishing house named Edicola Ediciones (edicola is Italian for newsstand) established in 2013 between Italy and Chile, building a virtual bridge made of books between two not-so-distant worlds, albeit divided by two different languages, an Ocean and a continent. A story that sounds like a novel itself, and whose main characters are Paolo Primavera and Alice Rifelli, a couple of young and brave publishers, partners in work and in life. Paolo and Alice currently live and work between Ortona, the publishing house’s Italian headquarters, Ferrara, Alice’s hometown, and Santiago de Chile.We spoke to them to learn more about this extraordinary enterprise. Why Chile?Paolo: Back when I was working as a photographer, I traveled all across Chile. That experience soon became a book and filled me with the desire to return - which I did by starting a couple of collaborations with local newspapers and teaching at a university for four years. Meanwhile, I also enrolled in a Master’s degree in Publishing. Then one day I got a call: my father was dying. I left everything and went back home.My father had been running a newsstand that has belonged to my family for over a century. One day, when we were sitting in the kiosk, we had spoken of how there was a lot of unnecessary publications among all that we sold, and that we should have opened our own publishing house specializing in our respective passions - photography and handmade wooden furniture.The idea had been stuck in my head ever since. So when my dad died, I returned to Chile to finish the Master and founded Edicola, our publishing house, building a bridge between Chilean and Italian culture through translation and proposing Spanish titles in Italy and vice versa. How is the Chilean independent publishing scene?Alice: The country is currently experiencing a cultural fervor similar to that blossoming during the Allende government. Although the Chilean democracy is still very fragile, thirty years after the end of the dictatorship people have gone back to experimenting, questioning and gathering. The Government massively invests in culture and the results are under our eyes.Paolo: In Chile there is much more collaboration among publishers than in Italy. Four years ago, we founded a publishers’ cooperative, La Furia. We started out in seven, and today we are more than forty. In the meantime, collaborating with other organizations, we have developed and launched a Chilean book internationalization program, and participated in the drafting of the new book's law. How do you choose your authors?Alice: There are several ways to choose a book. The most obvious one is to fall in love with it as a reader. But we also feel a strong urge to follow the voice of our authors through different books and to make their new projects come true. And sometimes it’s all about building a puzzle where every book is a piece that you hope will fit in the right place at the right time. While "still believing in paper", Edicola also publishes e-books. Paolo and Alice: Ever since the beginning, we opted for publishing both the paper and the digital format. We believe in both. We are not interested in the useless diatribe over which of the two supports is never better. Books are products too, and if going out at night and writing them on the walls is what it takes to sell them (and let people read them), we are ready to do it. E-books are simply another style of publishing, with its obvious advantages both the reader and the publisher.As for our paper books, we have tried to make them as "portable" as possible: most of the have approximately the same size as an e-reader. How do Chileans see the Italian culture and authors?Paolo: They are very interested in our art, culture, and literature. Our history has earned us a lot of respect, even if the usual clichés are still a thing. In the field of literature, all the great authors like Calvino, Pavese, Pasolini and Natalia Ginzburg are quite well-known. At Edicola, we have done and will continue to do our part by translating contemporary Italian authors. We recently published our first classic: The Night by poet Dino Campana, translated by Antonio Nazzaro. What made you fall in love with Chile?Alice: In the beginning I had a bit some trouble with avocados and earthquakes. Over the last three years, I got used to both. I learned how to eat avocados like a local: perfectly ripe, with only a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt on toast, or in a salad. Earthquakes are obviously no joke, but Chilean buildings are safe and designed to withstand a continually shaking ground. And it is precisely this overpowering and yet generous nature that made me fall in love with Chile

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05.03.2018

Near Tokyo’s Omotesando, surrounded by a 17,000m² garden, stands the Nezu Museum.The museum houses the private collection of pre-modern Japanese and East Asian art of KaichirōNezu, a businessman who served as the president of Tobu Railway. Born in Yamanashi Prefecture in 1860, Kaichirōhad a keen interest in antique art from a very young age, which he never lost after he moved to Tokyo, where he became a successful businessman, a politician and a philantropist. In the capital, he was very active in collecting pieces of art and he also took on tea ceremony. Kaichirō did not see his collection as a private treasure trove, but rather a joy to be sharedwith the general public.  After Kaichirō’s sudden death, his son and heir Kaichirō II established a foundation to preserve the collection in 1940. The following year, he opened the Nezu Museum in its current location, which used to be the Nezu family residence. A great part of it, including the galleries, garden, and teahouse, were lost to fire in 1945 during World War II, but the museum was renovated in 1954 and expanded twice, firstly in 1964 and secondly in 1991, to commemorate the 50thanniversary of its founding. Opened in 2009, the new building was designed by Kengo Kuma– one of Japan’s most representative architects – and consists of two storeys above the ground and one below, covered by a large roof. The museum’s collection, which was quite large at its start, holding 4,642 works, has been expanded to approximately 7,400 pieces. These include seven National Treasures, 87 Important Cultural Properties, and 94 Important Art Objects. Centred around the Japanese and East Asian antiquities collected by Kaichirō, the exhibition includes the beautiful tea wareshe accumulated under the tea name of “Seizan”, and works by painter Ogata Kōrin and his brother, potter Ogata Kenzan. Within the large garden stand four tearooms and Nezucafé, an open-style café surrounded by glass on three sides, where visitors can sit and relax, enjoying their drink and the view. 

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04.13.2018

Open mics, slams, readings, theatrical performances: poetry is alive and kicking, and it feeds on new rituals and unexpected places. Encouraged by a spirit of cultural revenge bordering on the world of hip hop and rap music, it is bringing its moderately subversive vibe beyond traditional spaces, finding freedom in improvisation and in the vagueness of the rhymes. Although most places devoted to poetry are below the radar, there are a few institutions that still aim at making a clear statement – “this is where poetry is made”. Poetry Café, LondonIn 1909, the Poetry Society was born here with the aim of promoting and spreading the art of poetry. Today, the charity organization has over 4,000 members worldwide, a prestigious annual publication (The Poetry Review) and a rich program of readings, poetry performances, visual arts exhibitions, and concerts: a hybrid space in Covent Garden where the passion for poetry becomes an excuse for promoting all artistic languages. Walden, MilanoInspired by Henry David Thoreau’s famous novel of the same name, this new space aims at being a cultural hub, a literary café, and a space for poetry, with plenty of events, bookshelves loaded with books from independent publishers, and a vegetarian bistrot. Nuyorican, New YorkAllen Ginsberg once defined this space in the East Village "the most integrated place on the planet". It was the year 1973 and the atmosphere, despite the time and location changes, has not changed: poetry still remains the voice of minorities, the most accessible and free form of language, exclusively resulting from talent and exercise. Jazz and hip hop music concerts, which share the same vocation, share the stage with poetry slams, open mic, open mics, and readingsCafé Poesie de Belleville, ParigiIn 2016, Rodrigo Ramis, a poet and a contemporary stage actor, founded this place with the desire to create an actual meeting place for humans, a unique and protected space in one of the districts that epitomize multiculturalism in the French capital. The program includes stage-less theatrical improvisation performances and poetry readings open to anyone willing to experiment and listen. Bluecoat Poetry Café, LiverpoolBluecoat is a center for contemporary arts in the heart of Liverpool, housed in an ancient UNESCO World Heritage building. In this place that has made the history of contemporary performing arts – it even hosted Yoko Ono’s first paid performance in 1967 - the Poetry Café is a space devoted to poetry and music performances and creative experimentation. 

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04.09.2018

Why go out to go to the movies when Netflix & Co. bring the same stars, contents, and directors directly into our homes? Because the movie theatre is not just a frame, it is part of the image, of the experience, a place that has a history of its own. Operating a small cinema in 2018 is a political act, a practical form of resistance to the rapid changes that film production and consumption have been undergoing over the last few years. The good news is, someone is really doing it: here are five tiny movie theatres around the world that you should definitely know. Uplink (Shibuya, Tokyo)A temple of entertainment in the heart of Tokyo’s nightlife district, Uplink was founded in 1987 and includes three theatres including the smallest one in Japan, with only 40 seats, screening local and international independent films along with with documentaries and (a  few) box office hits. Nitehawk (Williamsburg, New York City)Founded in 2011, this unique place has set an absolute record, overcoming the last traces of Prohibitionism, i.e. the law that forbid the consumption of alcohol in cinemas. Inside its three theatres (respectively featuring 30, 62, and 90 seats) the audience can enjoy drinks and gourmet food while watching art films, documentaries, and international hitsSun Pictures (Broome, Australia)The oldest open-air cinema in the world, Sun Pictures was born in 1903 as a theatre founded by the Yamasaki family and later turned into a movie theatre. With the sea for a backdrop and the beach for a floor (before the sea barriers were built, at high tide you could watch a movie with your feet in the water), this one-of-a-kind place has really been a witness to the history of film and of Australia - a living documentary on cinemaIl Cinemino (Milan)This newborn, crowdfunded movie theatre aims at reviving the single-screen neighborhood cinema concept. Yet it’s not just about nostalgia: with 75 seats and a beautiful retro-style bar, il Cinemino constantly hosts popular and emerging directors, actors and screenwriters from around the world to talk about their work, screening films of all genres and for all ages from the early afternoon on. Le Brady (Paris)Choosing a movie theatre in Paris is no easy task: after all, this is the city where it all began back in 1895. Le Brady is one of the few movie theatres in the Strasbourg-St.Denis district, and it boasts none other than François Truffaut among its past frequent patrons. Which should not surprise us, since Le Brady has always been screening niche films along with international hits. Its smallest salle has only 39 seats where you can enjoy art films in a quiet and charming atmosphere. 
 
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