Architecture & art travel

Finding the roots of American music in North Louisiana

As a former musician myself, I shake my head sadly at musicians who think they’re getting the folk zeitgeist of a given genre just by listening to records. You learn folk music by listening to ...

Laguna Beach: summer means art fests

Check out Pageant of the Masters, Sawdust Festival and Art-a-Fair through the end of August.

If you want to add some art to your summer, consider heading up to Laguna Beach. A July visit here brought me within walking distance of three major art festivals: the Sawdust Festival, Festival of ...

Modern times in one of the world's hot spots: Israel

I was in Israel when three teenagers in yeshiva – Jewish seminary – had just been kidnapped. As I left the country, they were discovered to have been killed, which touched off a firestorm between ...

Kafka's Prague: surreal moments in Old Europe

Prague is a strikingly beautiful baroque city and the prime gateway for Americans into Eastern Europe. The city has intrigued me ever since I became enamored with Franz Kafka’s books as a teenager. An Old ...

Guadalajara: Tonalá, Tlaquepaque, tequila!

Visit Mexico's second-largest city in Jalisco for art, cuisine and culture.

Guadalajara is Mexico's second-largest city and capital of the state of Jalisco. It is a cultural center of Mexico, considered by most to be the home of mariachi music. A center of learning, the city ...

Macau: more than just the Asian Vegas

Beyond the glitz is a 400-year-old melting pot of East and West.

Macau has gained a reputation in recent years as a gambling mecca – “the Asian Las Vegas.” However, beneath the glitz and neon is a vibrant Portuguese-Chinese fusion culture and a former trading post with ...

Helsinki, Finland

Finnish flavors, friendly folk.

Helsinki, Finland, is considered by many to be the “gateway to the East,” dividing Scandinavia from Eastern Europe. Indeed, it spent time as both as part of the Kingdom of Sweden and as part of ...

Essential Budapest

A guide to the Eastern European city's classic treasures.

Few people are aware that Budapest is actually two cities, Buda and Pest, situated along the banks of the Danube River. Most visitors stay in Pest – it's got more to offer in terms of ...

Video: Amen the printmaker, Tanzania

Traditional batik printmaking in a Dar es Salaam shop.

I spent this past June traveling Tanzania. While in Dar es Salaam, I met a Tanzanian artist named Amen Ntangu. He is self-employed as a batik printmaker. I had the opportunity to interview him and ...

Leipzig, Germany

A change of pace in this historic, music-rich urban center.

Leipzig, in what was East Germany, was one of Europe’s most important music centers. I knew Felix Mendelssohn Barthody and Johann Sebastian Bach lived here. As it turns out, Clara and Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, ...

Meteora, Greece: The Old Master

A meeting with Father Pefkis.

In the mountainous interior of Greece near Meteora, gigantic granite outcroppings, most of them topped with Christian monasteries, point skyward like fingers tipped in prayer. They are a stone’s throw from the pass of Thermopylae, ...

Small-town Italy: Urbino

Urbino, a former center of culture during the Renaissance, has largely been forgotten by tourists due to its location in the Marche region of Italy. But, despite having far fewer visitors than its more glamorous ...

Cheap art in L.A.

Museum tour via Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner.

An old friend and his fiancee were flying into Los Angeles from Texas in July, on their way up to Santa Barbara. They were staying one night in L.A., and asked me to join them ...

A night at the (Chinese) opera

This Beijing performance art may be an acquired taste...

“Tonight we will see living national treasures!” our guide, Bao Chui, announced dramatically while poking his chopsticks around our noodle lunch in Beijing. To the uninitiated, the Beijing Opera can be either a dazzling visual ...

Wagner's Lucerne

This idyllic Swiss city celebrates the composer's 200th birthday.

May 22 is the bicentennial of the birth of German composer Richard Wagner. Although born 1813 in Leipzig, the operatic genius has a strong connection to Switzerland. Wagner – then Royal Saxon Court Conductor – ...

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