June 07, 2010

10 Picks for the Week

Sonar International Music Conference and Multimedia Art, Barcelona, Spain, June 17 – 19
It is that time of year again… This is three nights and days of cutting edge electronic music mayhem. DJ sets, multimedia exhibitions, talks, and meetings like only the Spanish know how. The Chemical Brothers, Roxy Music, Air, LCD Soundsystem, Plastikman, Dizzee Rascal, Fuck Buttons, The Sugarhill Gang, 2 Many DJs, and Pete Tong are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. If you can get to Barcelona, this is a wonderful time of year to go. Don”€™t miss all the amazing Art Nouveau architecture, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia, and the Mies Pavillion if you can get off the dance floor. You could also just go out and buy all the amazing Sonar CD compilations. The Spanish do this party scene well, a bit of Ibiza on the mainland.

Io Sono L’Amore (I Am Love)
Luca Guadagnino may be the only filmmaker in the world charming enough to convince an actress to make a movie after stalking her. After Tilda Swinton ignored a letter from him at her London home, Guadagnino approached her in Rome, where she was participating in a panel about the late film director Derek Jarman. He hung on to her sleeve, introduced himself, they became fast friends, and began a sixteen-year conversation (mostly about love) that resulted, eventually, in Io Sono L’Amore. Swinton—who also produced—plays Emma, a Russian woman who has married into the Milanese haute bourgeoisie and performed the role of Italian matron faultlessly; things begin to fall apart when Emma falls in love with a young chef, who also happens to be the friend of her favorite son. The topic is not exactly cutting edge, but the film’s genius is Swinton, whose problems play across her ghostly, stark face all the while she glides about in clothing by Raf Simons and carries armfuls of bags from expensive designer shops.

Entre Les Murs, Malherbe-Mørch, Paris, France, June 15 – 30
The itinerant French gallery Malherbe-Mørch has taken over the walls of an old printing house to present the works of photographers Brice Chatenoud, François Dantart, Alexandre de La Baume, and sculptor Pauline Hersart for this exhibition of young up-and-coming Parisian artists. Parisian born de la Baume is one to watch, he lives and works in Shanghai, playing music, and making films as well as photographs. Both his sister, Josephine, an actress and DJ, and his father, Francois, a director are well-known on the French scene.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride, Colorado, June 17 – 20
They say it’s to-hell-you-ride, but Telluride is anything but. This blues and rock jamboree is sure to be jammed with sandal-wearing Americanos, but if that’s your thing, you”€™ll be psyched to breath the fresh mountain air and catch a few live performances from Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Court Yard Hounds, Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer, the Del McCoury Band, Imelda May and more. Telluride is a beautiful old Western town that’s even more beautiful in summer than when it is covered in snow. It is festival season everywhere, so go, go, go!

Isle of Wight Festival, United Kingdown, June 11 – 13
Meanwhile, across the pond, this legendary gathering has attracted the biggest names in rock n roll: Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and The Band among others. This year’s line-up sees Jay-Z, Paul McCartney, The Strokes, La Roux, Devendra Banhart, James, Orbital, and many more. On two stages and including the Hip-Shaker Lounge, a groovy soul and funk tent, the event is undoubtedly one of the nicest music festivals in England. The UK’s Coachella, if you will, was a huge hit last year, and with any luck, this year it won”€™t rain. It is a great festival for people of all ages and tastes in music. The festival started in the late 1960s, and was the first of its kind in the U.K.

Christopher Street Day Parade, Berlin, Germany, June 19
This enormous gay and lesbian party has been booming since 1979. The seminal gay pride event is held in memory of the first major uprising against police assaults and discrimination in Greenwich Village in June of 1969, the so-called Stonewall Riots, which apparently broke out at a bar called the Stonewall Inn. While the parade certainly has a more serious, political bent to it, for many gay, lesbian and transgendered activists it is also an opportunity to get out in drag and have some fun.



Coast of Alentejo, Portugal
Alentejo offers a rewardingly under-digested corner of Portugal. This province, just east and south of the capital, has a reputation for being old-fashioned, with its out-of-the-way country inns, which are highly personalized labors of love built by former immigrants from the region. Stay at Casa da Ermida de Santa Catarina, perched on a hilltop peninsula over the radiant blue waters of a sprawling reservoir near Campo Major—or at Herdade do Sobroso, a plantation-style hotel, vineyard, and winery some 60 miles south near Alqueva. In Portel, you can take cooking lessons with the chef at Refúgio da Vila hotel. It’s precisely its resistance to change that makes the coast of Alentejo so unique and hard not to like; its signature and most charming characteristic is its lack of interest in building any global-industrial complexes with Dunkin’ Donuts.

/\/\ /\ Y /\
You can say one thing about M.I.A: That singer sure isn’t afraid of a controversy. Whether it’s her ongoing feud with New York Times scribe Lynn Hirschberg or the brutally violent, ginger genocide-based video for her most recent single, “Born Free”, which generated enough controversy for YouTube to remove it. But her new record, which is essentially called Maya but stylized /\/\ /\ Y /\, contains perhaps 32-year-old Maya Arulpragasam riskiest gambit yet—“Lovealot”—explores the mindset of impulsive youth caught up in Islamic terrorism on an eccentric electro-rap track. Pick it up July 13.

Myriam Girard Lingerie Fine
Forking over a small fortune for lingerie always seemed silly—since all you really care about is that it ends up the floor. Credit French designer Myriam Girard for introducing some expensive-looking (read: affordable without being a cheap thrill) glamour into the boudoir. Girard’s namesake collection of elegant negligees, cheeky playsuits tied up with ribbon and matching bras and knickers is crafted from Asian silks in muted shades of mauve, dusty pink and black, and is accented with traditional French Leavers lace (from the same supplier to Christian Dior). The line is only in its first season, but the styles are sophisticated, cut on the bias, and have hidden supports.

Trooping the Colour, London, June 12
The Queen’s birthday is a keynote in the calendar of royal pageantry. Troops of the foot guard and cavalry perform the custom which dates back to the time of Charles II when the colors of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle and were therefore trooped in front of the soldiers to make sure that every man could recognize those of his regiment. Since 1987, The Queen has attended in her carriage rather than riding, which she did previously. Over 1400 officers are on parade with two hundred horses, and four hundred musicians. As the clock on the Horse Guards Building strikes eleven, the Royal Procession arrives and The Queen takes the Royal Salute. After the event, the Royal Family gathers on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to watch an RAF flypast.


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