Men, Meet Your New Hero: Greg!

Men, Meet Your New Hero: Greg!

Over the past few months, a lot of men have been crushed by revelations that their heroes are actually very bad people. (Some women were crushed, too, but most women were spared, owing to their preëxisting distrust of the male sex.) Where could the crushed men turn? As soon as they picked a new hero, a woman accused him of horrible things, and if they didn’t denounce him, the crushed men could no longer be classified as good guys. Presenting: Greg!

Greg was abandoned in the wilds of Montana’s Glacier National Park when he was six months old. Legend has it that his mother was perfect and his father was perfect, so his genes are untainted. A pair of mated American pikas found and him and raised him.

When his pika parents died (pikas only live around seven years in the wild), it is said that Greg wandered Glacier National Park, searching for a new family. He came upon some mountain goats but found them to be too aggressive, even though they maintained a diet similar to his vegetarian one. Truly, Greg is so gentle and conflict-averse that he couldn’t stand to see mountain goats go head to head in their mating ritual. What a guy!

Greg eventually found comfort in the company of beavers. Though skeptical at first, Greg grew to love the bark and sedges that beavers enjoy as food. Greg is particularly fond of aspen bark! Beavers are monogamous, and Greg admired the respect he observed between male and female beavers.

It should also be noted that Greg never learned a human dialect. Rather, he communicates using the calls (for warning) and songs (for mating) of the American pika. He can also speak beaver, using his hands to imitate the tail-slapping that beavers employ to warn other beavers of danger. Given Greg’s lack of a grasp of human language, men deifying him don’t have to worry about him using any slurs or degrading women.

To this day, Greg lives in a beaver dam of his own construction. He has never interacted with a single human, preferring to keep his distance, much like the beaver or the pika. Even his human name, Greg, was bestowed on him by researchers who have maintained a distance to preserve his value as a scientific specimen. This is also good for men looking to hero-worship Greg—there’s no chance of Greg being tainted by other men or of Greg unwittingly hurting someone he interacts with.

From the researchers’ observations, it seems that Greg lacks the particular psychopathy that would motivate him to do standup comedy, another great sign for men seeking an idol. Another little bonus? Greg moves like his adoptive parents—with darting, rodent-like movements that are honestly hilarious. Like, it’s truly comedy in its purest physical form. HBO is considering taping an hour special from far away, so that Greg can still be a comedy god without potential exposure to the sort of fame that tends to make men abusive narcissists.

Update: A group of hikers got too close to Greg, and he assaulted one of them. It seems that he’s been trying to apologize, but it’s just a series of pika songs and water-slapping. So, honestly, a better apology than most. In any event, find a new hero, men!


via Everything

December 1, 2017 at 12:19PM

Will I Lose My Virgin America Points If I Don’t Transfer Them to Alaska Now?

Will I Lose My Virgin America Points If I Don’t Transfer Them to Alaska Now?

“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Mondays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

As a result of the acquisition of Virgin America by Alaska Airlines, we’re now just 30 days away from the termination of Virgin’s Elevate points program. So TPG reader Dan is thinking about exactly when will be the best time to transfer his Virgin points over to Alaska’s Mileage Plan

Is this a good time to convert Virgin points to Alaska? Or should I wait till that last minute before Virgin disappears forever? Do I run the risk of losing any points?

TPG Reader Dan

If you’re a regular reader of The Points Guy, you’ve probably heard us say many times that you should only transfer points when you’re ready to use them, and not before. That’s because when we talk about transferring points, we’re usually referring to flexible point currencies such as Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards, and once you’ve transferred points from those programs to one of their respective airline or hotel partners, there’s no way to transfer them back. So your best bet is to keep your flexible points flexible for as long as you can.

The same is true of transferring points from Virgin America Elevate to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. You can only transfer points in one direction — from Virgin to Alaska, not the other way around. Once you make a transfer, you can’t transfer them back, so you need to really make sure you’re ready to move the points over.

The good news is that unless you have an immediate need to transfer, there’s no harm in simply waiting for Virgin’s program to end on December 31, 2017. That’s because if you don’t transfer them yourself, Alaska will eventually do it for you. According to Alaska’s FAQs regarding this particular aspect of the merger:

What happens if I don’t transfer my Elevate points to Mileage Plan miles?

If you do not transfer your Elevate Points to Mileage Plan Miles by early 2018, all of your Elevate points will automatically be converted to Mileage Plan miles.

And yes, Alaska has confirmed that you’ll still get the same transfer ratio even after December 31, so there’s really no harm in waiting. However, if you’re looking at redeeming points for a Virgin flight between now and then, you should make sure to compare the point or mileage costs for using Elevate points versus Mileage Plan miles. Since you can redeem Alaska miles for Virgin flights, you could potentially find a better deal booking with one currency over the other (though note that all Virgin flights will become solely Alaska flights as of April 25, 2018)

As an example, let’s search for a one-way Virgin America flight between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles (LAX) using Virgin Elevate points for Wednesday of next week:

The first four options all come in at the same price of 18,998 points for main cabin seats. But if we do the same search at, we can find the identical four flights, but with much lower prices…

The same flights are only 12,500 miles one-way using Alaska Mileage Plan miles. Even better, since Elevate points transfer to Alaska at a 1:1.3 ratio, you’ll only need to transfer 9,615 Elevate points to Mileage Plan to book one of these flights. That’s nearly 50% less than if you booked the identical flight directly with Virgin using Elevate points. Also, these flights are currently selling for $404 each, so this would be an excellent redemption since you’d be getting over 4 cents per Elevate point in value.

So, Dan, don’t discount the possibility of transferring any points you might need before December 31, but also don’t transfer them before that unless you have a specific need. Thanks for the question, and if you’re a TPG reader who’d like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at

Featured image by Alaska Airlines/Bob Riha, Jr.


via The Points Guy

December 1, 2017 at 12:09PM

Tommy Emmanuel

Tommy Emmanuel

Tommy-EmmanuelI’m as often surprised when someone is a fan of Tommy Emmanuel as when someone says they’ve never heard of him. Hanging out in a music club Wednesday night with some music aficionados, we were honestly surprised when not a one registered recognition. But, if Clapton is Slowhand…Tommy is Fasthand (without the showboating). Really.

Self-described as a one-man band during his TEDxMelbourne Talk, Tommy has a singular style of guitar playing that is simply mesmerizing. During his radio concert this past Monday from the Lyric in Lexington KY (and sponsored by VisitLex), he said that his music comes from the heart…not the head. And, given his lightning fast approach to his craft, it must be so…as it would take a computer to think and react that fast.

On this Music Friday it’s a three-fer. I love his take on “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I loved Eva Cassidy’s version. And, I love Tommy’s.

“Classical Gas?” As Tommy said Monday night, “best instrumental ever written.” Listen to the original. Then listen to Tommy tear it down solo.

And, a toss off version of “Purple Haze” on his back deck? Too, too fun!

So, go see him. He’ll be in Kalamazoo tonight and the amazing Coronado Theatre in Rockford Saturday night. Then Champaign, Lincoln, Lubbock, Wichita, Tulsa, Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.



via Bill Geist’s Zeitgeist

December 1, 2017 at 11:52AM

The Getaway: Sending Out an SOS: The Rise of Travel Security Apps

The Getaway: Sending Out an SOS: The Rise of Travel Security Apps

The Getaway

Sending Out an SOS: The Rise of Travel Security Apps

Safety apps aim to offer assurance on the road.

CreditWesley Bedrosian

From transferring money to buying airline tickets, smartphone apps can be a traveler’s high-tech multitasker. But can they keep travelers safe? A new crop of apps seeks to offer that assurance.

They may be cashing in on a sense of insecurity wrought by more frequent terrorist events, including the truck attack in Lower Manhattan in October, and recent natural disasters like hurricanes.

“There are more risks now than in the past, but that doesn’t make travel more dangerous,” said Matthew Bradley, the regional director of security for International SOS, a medical and travel security risk services company. He cited the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris as ushering in the risk of terrorism to Europe that was once seen as unlikely.

Still, car accidents and petty crimes such as pickpocketing are much more common travel threats than terrorism or kidnapping. To mitigate these risks, experts advise hiring drivers in foreign countries, carrying little cash and dressing inconspicuously to avoid attracting attention.

“Americans have a lot of tells,” said Bruce A. Alexander, a terrorism expert and the former Iraq program manager in the antiterrorism office at the State Department. “Leave the San Diego State sweatshirt at home.”

Supplementing these practices, security apps deliver incident updates in the location where a user is traveling. Notifications range from supplying country profiles before departure to alerts about disease outbreaks. Many also contain a panic button to summon assistance in an emergency.

While few of these security apps replace travel insurance, which covers the cost of a medical emergency or evacuation, many do provide a range of services designed to keep travelers safe.

Tracking users and triggering cost-free evacuations

A new app from the London-based security firm Drum Cussac, CloseCircle, which is scheduled to be available this month (December), is designed to act as a security monitor and emergency evacuation service. The app digitally transmits your location to staff at headquarters (the firm says it just uses three percent of your phone’s battery power over 24 hours). When an emergency such as a terrorist attack or a hurricane occurs where you are traveling, company employees will call, check in and advise users on avoiding risk and getting out of harm’s way. When under threat, users can also engage an SOS button that summons a response from its agents.

Unlike other security apps, CloseCircle membership guarantees a cost-free evacuation in the event of life-threatening danger. The service is backed by an insurance policy that covers the expenses.

“CloseCircle is aiming to be pre-emptive wherever possible and to actually warn members away from dangers that they may not even yet be aware of,” Simon Philips, the chairman of Drum Cussac, wrote in an email.

Terms: Annual memberships cost £195 a person, or about $260; £349 a couple; and £595 for a family of up to six people;

Tracking users on demand

Developed by Incident Management Group, a firm that specializes in the security of business travelers and individuals, FoneTrac allows users to check in at the press of a button to let the firm and anyone on their designated contact list know that they are fine. The company also monitors security developments worldwide and will send a message to app users if anything from a terrorist attack to an earthquake is going on where they are. In the event of an emergency, a panic button provides the firm your location and triggers ground support.

The app does not track a user’s physical location continuously, except in the event of a panic alert when it runs continuously, but inconspicuously, until it is physically turned off.

Terms: $15 a month for a minimum of three months;

Focusing on health and safety

Established in 2012 and available on a mobile app since 2013, Sitata sends out “Trip Alerts” that cover any potentially travel-disrupting event, other than the usual flight delays. These could be disease outbreaks, violent protests, extreme weather or transit strikes. The coverage is global and the firm uses artificial intelligence to monitor the media, traditional and social, to track events worldwide.

Founded by Ron St. John, the former director of emergency preparedness for Canada, and his son Adam St. John, the app was initially developed to disseminate public health information and expanded to more broadly address security. It remains strong in tracking disease outbreaks; the app will even inform users after they have returned from a trip if a disease such as dengue fever has broken out where they were traveling and if there was an incubation period.

“This is important because you may come home and start to feel sick and go to your doctor and forget to say you were in Brazil, which could lead to misdiagnosis,” said Adam St. John, the chief executive officer of Sitata.

Terms: Free for now, though the company plans to change in 2018 to a modestly priced subscription service;

Emergency alerts in New York and San Francisco

Currently available only in New York and San Francisco, the new app Citizen alerts users to some events that have triggered a 911 call to local authorities. This could be any emergency related to public safety such as a bank robbery, fire or terrorist attack.

If the event takes place within a quarter mile of your location, and the app is running, you will receive a push notification with the alert. Users are also able to discuss the incidents among themselves via the app, which displays a map showing where incidents are occurring.

Originally launched as Vigilante, the company quickly rebranded after it became aware the name appeared to incite citizen action. “The name didn’t match our goal which is to keep people safe and not to encourage them to intervene and disrupt police officers,” said Lea Artz, a spokeswoman for Citizen.

Terms: Free;

A smartwatch panic button

ADT, the home security company, has announced its intention to follow its customers beyond their homes with its first app, ADT Panic Response, available only on Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S3 smartwatches.

Watch wearers can engage the app in an emergency, which transmits a GPS location and connects to an ADT agent to dispatch help. The service is only available in the United States.

“We like wearables because someone who might go out running tends not to take a smartphone with them because it’s bulky and heavy,” said Jay Darfler, the senior vice president of emerging markets at ADT. In the running example, he added, the user had turned his ankle in the woods, was unable to walk and summoned help via the watch app. The company plans to launch a related smartphone app next year.

Terms: $10 a month;


via NYT > Travel

December 1, 2017 at 10:18AM

Las Vegas After the Shooting: Renewing Vows, Embracing Community

Las Vegas After the Shooting: Renewing Vows, Embracing Community

Las Vegas After the Shooting: Renewing Vows, Embracing Community

What is the vacation destination like after a gunman killed 58 people in October? Weddings and gambling go on — but there is new vigilance as well.

Signs of strength in Las Vegas.CreditIsaac Brekken for The New York Times

I was sitting at a bar near the far-flung N Gates at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, awaiting a flight to Nevada nearly six weeks after a high-stakes video poker player named Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more before taking his own life in Las Vegas. Heavily armed, Mr. Paddock fired on a crowd of 22,000 country music fans at an outdoor festival across the street from his room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the far south end of the Las Vegas Strip, marking one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history.

This tragedy did not appear to be on the minds of the quartet of women seated next to me, who were headed to Sin City to celebrate a 50th birthday. They ordered a round of tequila shots and chased them down with beer, a routine one imagined out loud would be repeated more than once during their excursion. Their unburdening of starch-collared decorum had commenced before they had even boarded the plane, suggesting that Vegas is a state of mind as much as it is a physical destination.

As for me, I was venturing to Las Vegas to assess the mood of a town that stands as America’s undisputed champion of fun and risk. It would go against Vegas’s very essence to curl up and hide; how does a place this uniquely outgoing steel itself in the wake of such a tragedy?

Touching down at McCarran International Airport, Mandalay Bay was the first thing I saw out my window. But the way I knew I was in Las Vegas was by its scent, a singularly pungent bouquet of cologne, cigarette smoke, steak and sewage. It’s not especially pleasant, but it awakens you — and nobody comes to Vegas to sleep.

Michael Hobby of A Thousand Horses raises a drink to the crowd at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country bar.CreditIsaac Brekken for The New York Times

Nobody, that is, except for those who live and work here. Jordan Peck, a twentysomething bartender at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, is one such person. Born in Utah, he moved to Las Vegas when he was 2 years old and has been here ever since. Asked what someone who works on or near the Strip does for fun, he half-jokingly replied, “Go home.”

Since the shooting, Mr. Peck’s out-of-town customers haven’t blinked. “Everybody here seems exactly the same,” he said of the tourists.

But among locals or those who witnessed the horror at the Harvest 91 Festival, the story is quite different.

I sat down at Mr. Peck’s bar and ordered a Manhattan, which he gracefully placed atop a digital gambling console. This being the Hard Rock, Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” filled the air.

Mr. Paddock committed his atrocities on Oct. 1; Mr. Petty passed away on Oct. 2. On Oct. 7, Jason Aldean, the artist who was onstage when Mr. Paddock opened fire, made a surprise appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” where he opened the show with a cover of Mr. Petty’s hit song “I Won’t Back Down.” It was a crippling confluence, and plenty profound.

Business was slow for Mr. Peck on this Thursday night, which gave him ample time to chat with his friend Renee McKinley, a Las Vegas native who works in a dental office. Today marked her first trip to the Strip (although the Hard Rock sits a few blocks off it) since the tragedy. When she drove past the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign, which became a public shrine after Oct. 1, she started crying.

Growing up in Las Vegas, Ms. McKinley said, she viewed her hometown as a soulless entity. But the local response to Mr. Paddock’s crime has called this belief into doubt.

“The way our community stepped up, it proved me wrong,” she said.

To this end, Mr. Peck pointed to how so many people rushed to give blood in the wake of the shooting that a waiting list had to be established, and how volunteers flooded hospitals — not to get treatment, but to help clean up.

This sort of embrace could be felt through fiber optics, too. Shortly after the shooting, Ms. McKinley had to place an out-of-state call to verify a patient’s insurance coverage. As she said the words “Las Vegas,” her voice quivered. On the other end of the line, the woman felt her anguish and, said Ms. McKinley, “was hugging me through the phone.”

A memorial to the victims of the October shooting at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.CreditIsaac Brekken for The New York Times

It was the weekend of Las Vegas’ Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, which, with 25,000 participants, was to be the largest public event on the Strip since the Harvest 91 Festival. Sauntering through a sleepy Mandalay Bay casino on Friday morning were a pair of guests from Florida, Terri Monken and Jenny Glew, who were in town to run the half-marathon.

They had booked their rooms in March and gave no thought to canceling after the massacre. “We’ve got to keep it going,” explained Ms. Monken, praising her accommodations and the employees she had encountered as “beautiful.”

Ms. Glew then offered an assessment that I’d hear more than once over the course of my four-night stay, theorizing that Mandalay Bay “has got to be one of the safest places” in town in the wake of the tragedy. This was true in a visible sense, as the facility has beefed up security in order to reassure guests.

Up an escalator from the casino floor is a mini-mall called The Shoppes at Mandalay Place. At 10 a.m., Leanne Nevico opened The Guinness Store. Featuring beer gear galore, hers is the only outlet of its kind outside of Ireland.

A Connecticut native, Ms. Nevico moved to Las Vegas nearly a decade ago “for a man,” she said. She’s now been married to that man for five years; the pair met playing the interactive video game “Final Fantasy II,” and she described their home south of the Strip as “a gamer’s paradise.”

Like Ms. McKinley, Ms. Nevico said it’s been “really rough” driving by the Welcome to Las Vegas sign on her way to work each day, and she has been similarly moved by the way the community has rallied, recalling scenes of Uber drivers showing up to shuttle shooting victims to the hospital for free. Ms. Nevico wasn’t working when Mr. Paddock opened fire, but her employees had to shelter in place overnight. They were fortunate to have access to an adjacent pub that Guinness’ owners also operate, whereas a friend of hers who works at a sandal store had it a whole lot rougher absent food and a proper restroom.

The day after the shooting, Ms. Nevico said, “The casino was a ghost town.” But she opened her store — which features a bar from which she pours Guinness products — at 1 p.m. “for people who were stuck.”

“A lot of people just came in to drink and to share their stories,” she said.

Ms. Nevico said she has noticed a significant increase in the amount of police and private security patrolling the Mandalay Bay grounds, and noted that the resort has been stricken with an unusually high vacancy rate in the wake of the shooting. (A spokeswoman for MGM, which owns the Mandalay Bay, confirmed as much, adding that business is slowly returning to normal.) Mandalay Bay was recently named as a defendant in a lawsuit brought by 450 shooting victims, whose lawyers claim the resort and concert organizers didn’t do enough to prevent the tragedy.

“People are more vigilant,” said Ms. Nevico, who has noticed several “rubberneckers” angling for a look at the crime scene. “I don’t know what it is we’re looking for, but we’re more vigilant.”

Patrons line dance at Stoney’s Rockin’ Country bar.CreditIsaac Brekken for The New York Times

A few miles north on Las Vegas Boulevard at Graceland Wedding Chapel, officiant Cecelia Cajueiro was preparing to renew the vows of a Brazilian couple, Fabio and Tatiana Costa, when Elvis Presley entered the building, wielding a guitar.

Portrayed by the chapel’s towering, hyperactive, pompadoured owner, Brendan Paul, the King incongruously plucked out melodies by AC/DC, Kiss and Metallica as the encore bride danced alongside him. Escorted by Elvis, Ms. Costa walked toward the altar to “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” ultimately cinching the Portuguese service with “Viva Las Vegas,” which Mr. Paul belted out on a microphone over a canned backing track.

Mr. Paul, clad in a black suit with red sapphires and no undershirt, has owned the chapel since 2003. Having cut his teeth playing in Los Angeles punk bands, he’s an unlikely proprietor and impersonator, and unflinchingly liberal.

“Every other Elvis I know is for Trump,” Mr. Paul said.

In part because Mr. Paul’s core clientele is international, the shooting down the street hasn’t affected his bottom line, he said. But it’s definitely been on his mind.

“People are just angry,” he surmised. “I think it’s because of Trump. It’s exhausting.”

West of the chapel, in an otherwise desolate neighborhood where tumbleweeds would find ample room to roll down roads, sits a funky drinking establishment called ReBar. Everything inside the bar — including the stools — is for sale, having been sourced or scavenged by the owner, Derek Stonebarger, a hip, energetic cancer survivor who heads up the Las Vegas Arts District Neighborhood Association.

A handful of Main Street businesses — a vintage clothing store here, a craft cocktail lounge there — anchor this fledgling, resident-focused scene in an area that “was always sort of a dumpy part of town,” said Jack Doré, a ReBar bartender.

“You used to come down here to buy drugs or get stabbed, or maybe both,” explained Mr. Doré, who rented a cheap studio apartment in the Arts District upon relocating from his native southeast Louisiana in 2014.

Late Sunday morning, he had ReBar’s television sets tuned to N.F.L. football and was doling out $1 Avery Real Peel I.P.A.s and locally butchered hot links to a smattering of customers.

Of the shooting, Mr. Doré said, “No one really talks about it. The first couple of weeks were pretty slow, but it’s back to normal. I don’t know if there will be a normal, though. People are wary of going out in groups. But, most of all, people are just brushing it off.”

Brendan Paul as Elvis performs during a renewal ceremony at the Graceland Wedding Chapel.CreditIsaac Brekken for The New York Times

Having hosted numerous country music awards shows, not to mention the Harvest 91 Festival, Las Vegas has become a sort of Nashville West in recent years. At the center of its local country community is Stoney’s Rockin’ Country, a spacious nightclub in a shopping mall south of Mandalay Bay that offers all-you-can-drink Pabst for $25 and line-dancing lessons before live shows.

As I entered Stoney’s to take in a performance by the insurgent band A Thousand Horses, I was asked to raise my hands as though I were passing through security at an airport. This is a milder approach than the metal-detecting wands the establishment’s bouncers wielded in the weeks immediately following the massacre, said Stoney’s spokesman Toad Higginbotham, who was backstage with his girlfriend at the Harvest 91 Festival when shots rang out.

“We just ran,” he said of his reaction to the gunfire.

Stoney’s patrons Kristi Klein and Julie Cavender of Orange County, Calif., were at the festival as well. They were also staying at Mandalay Bay in a room overlooking Mr. Paddock’s. The two friends couldn’t bring themselves to book a room there for this return trip, instead opting for The Wynn.

“The reality is we all have PTSD,” Ms. Cavender said.

Added Ms. Klein, “That’s why we’re here.”


via NYT > Travel

December 1, 2017 at 10:18AM

Travel Tips From Comedians: Gary Owen

Travel Tips From Comedians: Gary Owen

Travel Tips From Comedians: Gary Owen

Comedians, who try to make people laugh in cities around the world, know a thing or two about travel. Here are a few pointers from Gary Owen, who will be headlining the new HBO series “All Def Comedy.”

The comedian Gary Owen.CreditMathieu Young/HBO

Like anything else, travel tastes can change as one gets older.

The comedian and Cincinnati native Gary Owen used to get pumped up about exploring a city’s night life. Now, breakfast is the highlight of his days on the road.

“It’s almost like I get excited to get up in the morning, like you would if you were going to a club when you were 21,” Mr. Owen said. “When you get older, it’s about the coffee shop.”

Here are edited travel tips from Mr. Owen, who will be headlining the season premiere of HBO’s stand-up series “All Def Comedy,” on Dec. 1 at 10 p.m.

A Breakfast Worth Waking Up For

I got this breakfast spot that I really like called Snooze. And when I first started it was only in Denver and now it’s expanded — there’s a few in Phoenix and there’s a few in San Diego. I don’t know what it is, they just got the best breakfasts. It’s one of those spots that’s only open from, like, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

So if I get to Denver, Phoenix or San Diego, which probably are three of my favorite cities in general, I always look forward to that breakfast spot.

Try Cincinnati’s Other Regional Specialty

When you go to any city, look up what the city is known for. So Cincinnati is known for its chili and goetta, which is a breakfast meat, I’ve only seen it in Cincinnati — it’s pork, and there’s oats in it. I know it doesn’t sound good, but it’s a German dish, and it’s so good. In Cincinnati they’ll put it on omelets. It’s a great side meat with eggs. Instead of bacon or sausage, get goetta.

Cincinnati’s done a good job of bringing downtown back, especially by the river. I always recommend: go downtown, soak up the city. Like, if you stay in a hotel downtown, there’s so many good places to walk. We have a lot of “hole in the wall” gems — great places to eat.

Gary Owen performing in his 2017 Showtime comedy special “I Got My Associates.”CreditShowtime

Charm Goes a Long Way

I try to charm the hotel front desk people, because they’ll pretty much give you whatever you want. If you’re extra nice, they might waive a room service fee. If you go to a hotel where they have those little pantries, and if you start a nice little conversation with the guy working the late shift, they don’t even blink when you grab that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and that bottle of water.

It always amazes me when a flight gets delayed or canceled and people get mad at the person that announced it. They’re not flying the plane! They didn’t make the storm! But if you go up there and you’re real nice, and they see that it doesn’t bother you, they really work extra hard for you. But if you go up there cursing, saying “I got to be there!” and “how dare you!,” it gets you nowhere. Just start a conversation and ask about them. Just flip the tables on them. They will type so fast and try to get you where you are going.

First Class Problems (and Solutions)

This is what I really don’t get about airline food — and this is a first-class problem, I’ll admit. But you always got to pick a seat it in the middle. You don’t want to sit in row 1 or row 5, because they run out of the food you might want. There’s always two dinner options or two breakfast options. And it’s always so uneven. It’s like, “We have an omelet with cheese and bacon or a bowl of Cheerios.” And it kills me because, say there are 16 first-class seats, they do eight and eight on the meals. So if you’re in row 1 or row 5, you don’t know which way they’re going to start. That’s why I always try to sit in row 2 or row 3, where I’m right in the middle. Because if they run out, I don’t want them coming up to me saying: “Cheerios?”


via NYT > Travel

December 1, 2017 at 10:18AM

Tokyo Record Bar’s Riff on the Speakeasy

Tokyo Record Bar’s Riff on the Speakeasy

It can be hard to just shut up and have a good time in New York, where there’s always the chance that a “better” version of whatever you’re doing is right around the corner. So it might be tempting to dismiss this new riff on the Japanese speakeasy, which is situated in the basement of Airs, a bar that primarily serves champagne. Down a flight of stairs, for fifty dollars a head, guests are seated in a snug shoji-screen-lined room under a canopy of cherry blossoms for a two-hour listening session inspired by the vinyl bars of Japan, which are known to be stern—no requests, no chattering. But Tokyo Record Bar ditches authenticity for accessibility. Patrons jot down requests from a preselected index of crowd-pleasers (“Just a Friend,” “Jolene,” “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”) and an amiable d.j. arranges them into a soundtrack for a well-paced stream of izakaya-inflected bites, like caviar sushi and agedashi maitake mushrooms. The experience isn’t likely to impress weeaboos or vinyl obsessives, but cocktails like the complex Miso Dark and Stormy (shochu, miso, yuzu, Cynar) and the breezily tart Rose Spritz (umeshu rosé sake, yuzu, sparkling yuzu sake) are delicious, and it’s difficult not to be charmed by the attempt to create intimacy among eighteen strangers on a weeknight. On a recent Thursday, a dashing couple sang along to “Bennie and the Jets,” while another, on vacation from Texas, bantered with cooks in the open kitchen. (“We saw this place on Olivia Wilde’s Instagram and made a reservation.”) After patrons settled up, the hostess announced a parting gift inspired by the inevitable last stop after small-portion omakase. “We’re going to save you time and go ahead and serve you a piece of pizza,” she said. A hush fell over the room as each diner devoured a perfectly greasy slice off a paper plate. ♦


via Everything

December 1, 2017 at 09:15AM

A Film About Loie Fuller’s Art Nouveau Dances

A Film About Loie Fuller’s Art Nouveau Dances

At the end of the nineteenth century, there were two basic trends in Western art, realism and symbolism. Realism took as its subject the matters of this world—the families, the money, the waistcoats and petticoats—while symbolism did its best never again to be confronted with a waistcoat button. All it wanted to see was the “Image,” a vision that lay past reality—almost past language. For many, that exalted thing was embodied in the dancing of a pudgy girl from Illinois, Loie Fuller.

Born in 1862, Fuller, like almost all American early modern dancers, had a career in popular theatre—skirt dancing, pantomime, you name it—before anyone encouraged her to move beyond that and, as a first step, go to Europe. Why did she finally take the lure? For her, as for most of her American colleagues, Europe was something out of a magazine ad. But they eventually went after it, whereupon European producers went after them. At the Exposition Universelle, in Paris, in 1900, the Art Nouveau architect Henri Sauvage designed a whole Théâtre Loie Fuller, where Fuller presented her own work and that of additional “exotics.” Isadora Duncan and Ruth St. Denis, another two innocent Americans, saw Fuller there and went away, thinking.

Fuller performed for more than forty years and came up with many different experiments, but her biggest idea, or at least her most popular one, was her first: to present herself dancing alone, in darkness, in place, in a maelstrom of fabric, which she manipulated with bamboo poles, some as long as ten feet. But that was only half of it. The other sensation was the lighting. Fuller painted her silks with phosphorescent dyes, so that as the lights changed during the performance she could take different forms: a flower, a butterfly, “The Ride of the Valkyries,” or just some fantastic, unnameable thing, shimmering and whirling. Fuller lived into her sixties and toured widely. She made a movie. She assembled a company of girls, and they put on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” full of sprites and fairies. But what remained in people’s minds was just that one fairy, from Illinois, emerging out of the darkness and leading the audience into abstraction.

In 2016, the French director Stéphanie Di Giusto brought out “La Danseuse” (“The Dancer”), a film about Fuller’s early career, starring the French actress Soko, who, with her sweet, round face, actually looks a bit like Fuller. Di Giusto has written that she was not aiming for strict biographical accuracy. So there are a number of things in the movie that Fuller scholars might want to call her up about. (Did Fuller really wrestle cattle when she was a girl? Did her father die because somebody shot him in a bathtub?) Never mind. The point of the film is Loie the Dancer. The dances were reimagined, and taught to Soko, by the Fuller expert Jody Sperling. Watching them, I felt I understood for the first time why Fuller became famous. “The Dancer” is playing at the Village East Cinema and the Landmark at 57 West starting on Dec. 1. ♦


via Everything

December 1, 2017 at 09:15AM

The Horn Virtuosos of Genghis Barbie

The Horn Virtuosos of Genghis Barbie

The horn, uniquely welcome in both the brass and the woodwind families, is a brash but finicky device: for centuries the official instrument of the hunt, it is also capable of melting lyricism. The four virtuosos of Genghis Barbie, which calls itself “the leading post post-feminist feminist all-female horn experience,” give that heritage an irreverent post-classical twist. They’ll offer an “Ugly Holiday Sweater Party” at Miller Theatre on Dec. 11, performing tunes both goofy (“All I Want for Christmas Is You”) and solemn (“O Come, O Come Emmanuel”).


via Everything

December 1, 2017 at 09:15AM