Midnight Walk in Rotterdam
I was thinking of adding a RANDOM PHOTO button to the website. What do you think of that? I worry a BIT because some of my older photos are not that awesome. Or, actually, they are way way way below awesome. Maybe if I could figure out how the randomizer could be a photo in the last five years… hmmm… just brainstorming here!
Daily Photo – Midnight Walk in Rotterdam
It was only one night in Rotterdam, but what a great night for photos! The city is so artsy and has such amazing lighting. It’s almost a bit sci-fi and futuristic, as you can see from this spot. One strange thing I found about the city: at night, there was almost no one walking around. Many other European cities have people roaming every which way, but not here. Maybe it’s because I was in this area that didn’t have any bars or nightlife… I didn’t really visit that area of town… never even found it. I was just mostly aimlessly wandering and getting lost, which is a favorite thing to do in new cities!
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August 21, 2017 at 09:33AM
News: Innside by Meliá debut in China in Zhengzhou property
Innside by Meliá, the upscale urban lifestyle brand of Meliá Hotels International, has welcomed the opening of Innside by Meliaì Zhengzhou, a brand new hotel located in the Zhengdong New District of Zhengzhou, China.
The property marks the official launch of the Innside by Meliá brand in China, a milestone for the group, which recently celebrated 60 years in the hotel industry.
The new four-star hotel is the fourth Meliá Hotels International property to open in China, following the success of Gran Meliá Xian, Meliá Jinan and Meliá Shanghai Hongqiao.
The newly built property, located a three-minute walk from the Zhengzhou East Railway Station, blends seamlessly into the urban landscape. Keeping in step with the modern aesthetic of the upscale Innside by Meliaì brand, all 335 rooms are bathed in light by floor-to-ceiling windows and designed in a monochromatic palette.
“Opening Innside by Meliaì Zhengzhou puts us in the very heart of a dynamic city and extends the momentum of Meliá Hotels International in China,” said Bernardo Cabot Estarellas, senior vice president of Meliá Hotels International, Asia Pacific.
“We’re very proud because Innside by Meliaì Zhengzhou is the fruition of a longstanding partnership with Greenland, who have been instrumental our success and growth in China.”
Designed to meet the demands of modern day business travellers, Cabot added: “Our vision is an exciting one: to create a more authentic experience for today’s bleisure travellers, or work trippers.
“For them, they’ve broken away from the strictly utilitarian business travel of old, transitioning between business and leisure seamlessly; we’re confident the Innside by Meliá brand in China will enrich the experience for next-gen business travellers.”
An open-plan lobby design is complemented by Syndeo, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant.
Meliá Hotels International will maintain its robust momentum in Asia Pacific, launching six hotels per year in the region.
There are 18 hotels currently in operation and the group is expected to have over 40 hotels by 2022.
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August 21, 2017 at 08:35AM
News: Britain receives record number of overseas visitors in June
Official statistics from VisitBritian show a record June for the number of overseas visits to the UK.
There were a record 3.5 million visits to the UK in June, up seven per cent on the same month last year.
Overseas visitors spent £2.2 billion in June, up two per cent compared to the same month last year.
There was strong growth from North America in June with 650,000 visits, up 35 per cent on the same month last year.
It brings the overall number of overseas visits to the UK for January to June this year to a record-breaking 19.1 million and up nine per cent compared to the same period in 2016.
Overseas visitors spent a record £10.6 billion, up 11 per cent on 2016.
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and this continued growth demonstrates the industry’s increasing importance as a key driver of economic growth across our nations and regions.
“The tourism industry is making a compelling case to be one of the industries included in the government’s industrial strategy to ensure Britain continues to compete globally.
“We have already revised our forecast upwards for 2017.”
Latest flight booking data from ForwardKeys show that bookings for international arrivals to the UK from August to October are up nine per cent on the same period last year.
Considering specific markets, bookings from China are up 20 per cent and the US up 23 per cent.
VisitBritain is promoting Britain internationally thought its global #OMGB (Oh My GREAT Britain) ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ marketing campaign to showcase experiences that visitors can only have here.
Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 37.6 million visits, up four per cent on 2015 with visitors spending £22.5 billion, up two per cent.
Tourism is worth £127 billion annually to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.
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August 21, 2017 at 08:25AM
China Cruises Are Packed at Lower Prices Amid Tensions With South Korea
Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas is shown in Tianjin, China in 2016. Business has been challenging in China for cruise lines this year, but passengers are still crowding into ships. Royal Caribbean International
— Hannah Sampson
The promise of China, with its growing middle class and still-healthy economy, looms large for cruise executives, who have invested in a market they believe could become the industry’s largest.
But entry into China has not been smooth for cruise operators. Natural disasters, political tensions, contagious diseases, and that age-old problem of oversupply have all shown that patience is required.
“There’s been tremendous growth during this period of time, and we’re finding that China is starting to behave more like a typical market,” Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO Richard Fain said during an earnings call this month. “Most markets have ups and downs, and we’ve seen both in China.”
This year was supposed to allow demand to catch up to supply after massive increases in capacity put pressure on once-stellar prices. Capacity growth was finally tapering off, especially in Shanghai, where the bulk of ships make their homes.
But a dispute between China and South Korea over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system geared to combat the North Korean threat led to travel restrictions for Chinese citizens. Operators with ships based in China had to quickly adjust itineraries to remove South Korean destinations and replace them with less popular stops.
There was an immediate impact: Cruise companies reported confusion among passengers and said they noticed a slowdown. The CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, a newcomer to the market, said said contracts from travel agents for new charters just stopped.
“For a good six weeks, there was nothing,” Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio said in May.
But in more recent calls with analysts, leaders of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian said the situation had improved. And, perhaps unexpectedly, passengers were still showing a big desire to cruise — albeit at lower prices.
Below are five takeaways from conversations about China that cruise executives had with analysts during earnings calls between late June and August.
PASSENGERS ARE CROWDING ONTO SHIPS
All three cruise operators, the world’s largest, said their ships have been crowded, starting with Carnival Corp. executives in June who said recent sailings had been “at very high occupancy levels.”
Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean Cruises Chief Financial Officer Jason Liberty said the company had achieved “record load factors” in the quarter that ended June 30 and expected to meet or surpass prior-year occupancies in China for the third and fourth quarters of 2017.
And Norwegian Cruise Line, making its entry into China, saw similar trends.
“Load factors for voyages in the last six weeks have been some of the highest we have ever experienced,” Del Rio said. “We look to build on this momentum with the hopeful return of sailings to South Korea at some point in the near future.”
NEW SHIPS ARE STILL THE WAY TO GO IN CHINA
Western cruise operators first waded into China with smaller, older ships, not wanting to devote new tonnage to a market that was still being tested. Not anymore.
Since Royal Caribbean International sent its nearly new Quantum of the Seas to Shanghai in 2015, cruise lines have been devoting new vessels to the market. In recent years, they’ve been building them with China in mind from the beginning rather than adapting them after the fact.
“With the Quantum class of ships, we’re giving the most technologically advanced hardware to a market that is very digitally focused,” said Fain, the Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO. “This move is a continuation of our strategy to have premium hardware in China. And that strategy is what has enabled us to gain and to hold a leadership position in the eyes of the Chinese consumers, such that today, Quantum is essentially synonymous with cruising in China.”
Norwegian Joy was christened in Shanghai in late June after what the company described as a “year-long marketing campaign,” that included TV commercials, billboards, and a sweepstake with e-commerce site Alibaba to introduce the ship to the market. Del Rio said coverage before the launch resulted in 5 billion impressions, which doubled to 10 billion after the kickoff activities.
Del Rio said the company expected the South Korea disruptions to be damaging, but the ship’s has performed better than Norwegian thought it would, given the challenge.
Princess Cruises, owned by Carnival Corp., held a christening ceremony for Majestic Princess in July in Shanghai. Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald said the company was excited about the ship, which was purpose-built for China.
“Majestic features the largest shopping experience at sea — high-end and unrivalled, an experience tailored for Chinese preferences and many other distinct pleasures for our Chinese and our international guests,” he said.
LONG-TERM OPTIMISM MEETS CURRENT REALITY
But new ships heading to China aren’t necessarily staying there long term, and executives have said they will adjust deployment as necessary.
Despite Carnival’s enthusiasm for the new Princess ship, it is staying in Shanghai only until the end of March and will then spend four months cruising from Taiwan. After about a month back in Shanghai, the ship will go to Australia at the end of August 2018.
“Princess Cruises is pleased to see Majestic Princess so well-received with the ship sailing with high guest load factors during her inaugural Asia homeport season,” a spokeswoman said. “This deployment follows Princess Cruises’ desire to provide our newest and best product to guests in key homeport markets. Princess Cruises remains committed to deployment in mainland China, as well as other homeports in the region, and will increase our presence within Asia as we continue to review our options throughout the region over time.”
Donald told analysts that the company always optimizes deployments and saw an opportunity for Majestic Princess in China and outside of it.
While he said he expects additional Carnival Corp. ships to move to China in the coming years, the industry still has to work on the way cruises are sold in China. Travel agents typically charter entire ships or portions of ships and then sell to consumers.
“Hopefully the fact that there is less capacity next year will create the opportunity for yield improvement in China,” Donald said. “But you can’t even guarantee that because there’s still a B2B business. This isn’t actually selling to consumers where consumers are saying, ‘Oh, if you drop the price, I would cruise more.’ It’s really a business-to-business transaction still at this stage.”
Royal Caribbean will also see capacity in China decrease next year.
During the company’s call, analyst David Beckel of Sanford C. Bernstein asked whether cruise lines were sending mixed messages.
“I’ve had a lot of questions from investors that are having difficulty reconciling the message from you and other operators and participants about the potential of the Chinese market, while, at the same time, witnessing capacity withdrawals for 2018,” he said. “Can you walk us sort of through how the two reconcile going forward?”
Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said the company is being strategic and tactical.
“I think it’s more of a looking at it as a long-term opportunity,” Bayley said. “And then, of course, year-by-year, there’s puts and takes, but we see it is a good opportunity and we continue our development.”
For Norwegian, some expectations are still not being met. Del Rio said the company had anticipated that onboard revenue on Norwegian Joy would be up to 20 percent higher than the average fleet — which he acknowledged was “a high barrier.”
The South Korea restrictions hurt both ticket prices and onboard spending, though Del Rio said there are efforts being made to get passengers to spend more once they’re sailing.
While the company said in February — before the issue with South Korea — that it would design a new ship coming at the end of 2019 for the Chinese market, executives aren’t giving specifics on where that ship will go.
Asked by an analyst about his confidence level for 2019, Del Rio said it was too early to discuss.
“We’re committed to the Chinese market,” he said. “Obviously, there have been some bumps in the road the last year or so. We’ve seen what others have done in terms of deployment in the future. We’re committed to being in this market, and like any market it will have ups and downs. Perhaps the Chinese market is a little more volatile than some of the other more mature ones, but we’re committed to being in China in the long term.”
FUELING GROWTH EXPECTATIONS
Donald, the Carnival CEO, said new ports are in varying stages of construction or planning all over China, giving cruise lines more destinations to call on eventually.
“There are quite a few ports being developed, which again reinforces the point we’ve been taking that over time: We expect China to be the largest cruise market in the world,” he said. “We’ll obviously take advantage of those. We have to build the distribution. But as you know, China often builds in anticipation of demand coming. But we are obviously in discussion with all those ports about existing tonnage that we have in the country and possible new tonnage that we will bring in future years.”
And, Donald said, other parts of Asia including Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand could provide additional destinations as well as passengers for regional cruises.
“We have an overall strategic footprint in place and have strategic plans in place to take advantage of both the fly cruise opportunity as well as sourcing more from those regions,” he said.
ALIBABA PARTNERSHIP HELPS NEWEST PLAYER
Norwegian announced a partnership with Chinese online retail site Alibaba in May, but hasn’t said much about the deal.
Asked to elaborate on the relationship, Del Rio said the cruise company worked with the site on marketing leading up to the launch of Norwegian Joy but hopes to evolve beyond that.
“We continue to have discussions with them on how we can commercialize, if you will, our partnership,” he said. “We are still waiting for certain licenses that will allow us to sell our cruises directly to the consumer in China. And I think once that happens, we will be able to monetize that relationship a little bit better.”
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August 21, 2017 at 07:02AM
Trump Plan to Improve U.S. Infrastructure Is Going Nowhere for Now
Infrastructure improvement may not happen any time soon. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao is pictured here. The White House / Flickr
— Andrew Sheivachman
More than six months into his administration, President Donald J. Trump’s highly-touted plan for a $1 trillion infrastructure investment has yet to materialize.
During an “Infrastructure Week” event last week, the President signed an executive order with Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao present aimed at removing regulations governing new infrastructure projects. In particular, the order calls for a less-stringent permit process and fewer environmental regulations.
This deregulation would allow projects to start more quickly, instead of being tied up in years of red tape out of environmental and other concerns. Federal agencies would now be judged on how effectively they facilitate new projects and track costs, as well.
What the executive order does not do, however, is provide more guidance on the administration’s plan for new investment. President Trump’s budget called for $200 billion in infrastructure investment from the federal government, a far cry from the initial $1 trillion he touted on the campaign trail. The President’s budget essentially serves as a guide for Congress so that amount could be slashed significantly.
The executive order and documents that the White House released show that any infrastructure plan would rely heavily on funding outside of the federal government. This follows from talk earlier this year that public-private partnerships and tax breaks would be used to encourage new projects.
“Government will get out of the way to allow state and local governments to succeed at meeting their unique challenges,” states a fact sheet released by The White House last week. “Only 1/5 of infrastructure spending comes from the federal government, the vast majority comes from states, localities, and the private sector.”
In other words, the remaining $800 billion promised for infrastructure would have to come from unknown sources. Punting on wider infrastructure-reform legislation altogether may also be a political necessity due to the polarized state of the U.S. Congress.
The Trump administration faces other headwinds on infrastructure issues.
Last month, the President signed an executive order paving the way for an advisory council on infrastructure, which would provide advice on how the administration should proceed. But as Bloomberg reports, President Trump has now scrapped the plan after many industry leaders stepped down from the other councils he formed.
In June, President Trump also signed an executive order setting the table for airport improvements across the country, but similar to the order last week, it provides few tangible details on the administration’s plans to fix the problems that plague the U.S. air travel system.
A bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives to push forward air travel reform, which would involve privatizing air-traffic control systems, but it has been referred to committee and hasn’t been put up for debate yet.
In sum, it looks like it could be a long time before any sort of widespread initiative to improve highways, roads, and airports actually takes place in the U.S.
The press conference announcing the infrastructure executive order featured no questions on infrastructure from reporters, who focused instead on the President’s inflammatory statements on protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. Like health care and tax reform, the President’s infrastructure plans have been sidetracked by the disarray of his tenure to date.
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August 21, 2017 at 06:34AM
Skift Global Forum 2017: Facebook, Delta and More Big Brands
Sarah Personette, VP of Global Marketing Facebook, speaking at last year’s Skift Global Forum. Facebook will be present at the 2017 event as well. Skift
— Jason Clampet
Last year’s Skift Global Forum began with the CEO of Carnival Corp., the travel industry’s biggest brand, sitting down to discuss juggling multiple large iconic brands, why diversity in a workplace is a good thing, and the state of the U.S. in a politically divisive time. And while that was difficult to top, the level of the discussions over the next two days remained high, and the mix of brands broad.
We’ll be continue that range of programming this year with leaders from cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Lindblad Expeditions, and Carnival; aviation giants including Delta Air Lines, Lufthansa, and Teague; digital leaders including Facebook, and food pioneers including Danny Meyer and René Redzepi.
We will bring you their insights in one-on-one interviews, TED-style talks, and panel discussions. And as in past years attendees will have the opportunity to connect with like-minded peers throughout the day.
From fighting the online travel agencies like Booking.com and Expedia in their efforts to get more direct bookings, the state of the mergers and acquisitions scene, developments in both artificial intelligence and mobile technology, and the ever-looming threat of Airbnb, the most influential CEOs in hospitality will all be at Skift Global Forum 2017.
- Delta Air Lines CEO Edward H. Bastian
- Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman & CEO Richard D. Fain
- Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer
- Teague President & CEO John Barratt
- Noma Chef & Co-Owner René Redzepi
- Lindblad Expeditions CEO Sven-Olof Lindblad
- Lufthansa Group Chief Digital Officer Dr. Christian Langer
All of them — and more — will step up to the stage at Skift Global Forum 2017 in New York City September 26–27 to state their cases about where they think their companies and the travel industry are heading.
What Happened in 2016
To get a sense of what you can expect from speakers and the event, watch these conversations that took place at last year’s event.
Google Travel VP of Engineering
We couldn’t bring our event to life every year without the support of our incredible sponsors: Accenture, Adobe, AIG, Amadeus Airlines, American Express, Away Luggage, Button, Criteo, Fareportal, Hobo Bags, HotelTonight, ITP, KDS, Luggage Hero, Mapbox, ProColombia, Simulmedia, Smartling, Sojern, The Points Guy, Travelsify and Visit Jordan.
To become a sponsor or for any other questions you may have, email email@example.com.
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August 21, 2017 at 05:37AM
Postscript: Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis, who was both caustically irreverent and keenly sentimental,
would have been a hoot to hear on the subject of his own passing. I can
imagine him cackling out from a back-row seat at his own funeral, “Maybe
now we’ll get to see ‘The Day the Clown Cried.’ ” Whether with God or
the Devil, you can imagine Lewis giving an eternal earful while
rhapsodizing with tremolos about his own imperishable and irreplaceable
greatness. After his former comedy partner Dean Martin’s death, in 1995,
Lewis, surprisingly, spoke tenderly and lovingly of their time
together—but, then, whatever conflicts Lewis may have faced with Martin,
they were nothing compared to the conflicts that he faced with himself.
Lewis certainly gave an earful, in person, to anyone who had the
privilege of seeing him onstage, and was as tough on those who loved
him as on those who came for kicks. His approach to audience members at the 92nd Street Y in 2012 would have made Don Rickles seem like Don Knotts, and, onstage at the
Museum of Modern Art last year, he made the deeply knowledgeable and
devoted curator and critic Dave Kehr the butt of his caustic humor.Yet
he also displayed an apt measure of pride that was rooted in the
self-awareness of his own achievements. That awareness was sorely tested
by the circumstances of his life, because Jerry Lewis—who, through his
untiring devotion to the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s telethon (and
its precursors), helped to popularize the literal notion of the poster
child—is himself the metaphorical poster child for a unique modern
curse: they loved him in France.
They loved him in the United States, too, but not for what he wanted to
be loved for. Born in 1926, Lewis was a precocious comedian who was already performing
as a child. He was also a genius of childhood itself, and his timing was
impeccable: in the years after the Second World War, he caught the
innocent anarchy that was in the air, the liberating natural impulses
that went along with a time when the center of gravity was shifting
toward the young. He came of age in the big-band era but he was a hero
of the time of Elvis, a grown-up child with no latency period—and Dean
Martin, his partner in comedy, who was nearly a decade older, was the
adult who had to cope with him. The act, on stage and in movies, brought
him extraordinary popularity, turned him into one of the prime
celebrities of the fifties, made him rich and famous.
But what Lewis really wanted to do was direct, and he learned from the
best: starting in 1955, he was directed by Frank Tashlin, who had come
up directing Looney Tunes cartoons and was by far the most original
comedy director in Hollywood at the time. Tashlin was hardly
acknowledged as such by American critics, but he was admired and beloved
by the young French critics at Cahiers du Cinéma. Lewis spoke, in his
book “The Total Film-Maker” and in onstage appearances (as in
conversation with Martin Scorsese at the Museum of the Moving Image, in
about how he learned to direct: he’d come to the studio and spend time
with the technicians in all the various crafts and departments that went
into studio moviemaking. Knowing that movie comedy is a rigorous craft
(and he spoke movingly to Scorsese about the comedic decisiveness of
inches), he became a master craftsperson.
The comic actor who directs himself with a consummate mastery of
technique—there’s a noble tradition at work, and when Lewis planned to
direct he had that tradition, with Charlie Chaplin at the head of it, in
mind. When Lewis directed his first feature, “The Bellboy,” in 1960, he
did it, audaciously, as a silent film. Well,not exactly: the movie had
plenty of sound and plenty of talk, but none at all from the titular
protagonist, a beleaguered staffer at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami
Beach, played, in pantomime, by Lewis himself. In his first feature as
director, Lewis played a grown man whom everyone called a
“bellboy”—someone who spent his day taking orders, whose maturity was a
matter of collective doubt, and whose views and ideas nobody asked for.
As a filmmaker who insisted on the personal side of his work—who was
producer, writer, director, star, and over-all boss of his productions
in the interest of his artistic conception and passion—he was an auteur
by temperament and in practice long before the word travelled stateside.
Lewis was also a radical democrat whose conception of the audience was
as total as his identification with the art of filmmaking: he understood
the lifelong reproached child, the repressed imp, the inner free person
cowering in fear and cringing with embarrassment, as the more or less
eternal counterpart of employees and family people of any age
everywhere.The terrors that he unleashed upon the haughty and the famous
(as in “The Ladies Man”), and the pure exuberance that he unleashed in
moments of secret abandon, were acts of collective liberation. At the
same time, he unleashed a torrent of repressed childhood wildness, and,
to the earnest American critics of the time, it just seemed
childish—whereas, to French critics and audiences, who were deeply
imbued with the same cinematic tradition that nourished Lewis, and who
were also isolated from the ballyhoo of celebrity and advertising and
were able to see Lewis’s work apart from the phenomena that media made
of it, recognized that he was more than the heir to that tradition;
rather, he extended and enriched it.
The French were right: Lewis is one of the most original, inventive,
and, yes, profound directors of the time. In his films of the
nineteen-sixties, he put himself through a wide range of humiliating
situations and discovered a range of sentimental triumphs, using
technical devices onscreen and off with a gleeful audacity (he actually
invented, and held the patent on, the video assist that allowed him to
see himself on closed-circuit TV while acting on camera). In the
enormous cutaway set of “The Ladies Man” and the metacinematic airplane
comedy of “The Family Jewels” and the inside-studio farces of “The
Patsy” and “The Errand Boy” and, of course, the enduring twist of the
Jekyll-and-Hyde story “The Nutty Professor,” Lewis made his mark on the
times by way of a distinctive cinematic consciousness.
Lewis’s art was both emotionally and physically self-sacrificing. He
spoke movingly of the pathos and even the shame of wanting and needing
to be onstage and on camera in quest of attention for his person, and he
wrote that “the battle within himself is part and parcel of what makes
him a total filmmaker.” He added that “it is often torture when you have
complete personal control. You answer to yourself once you get it. . .
There is no easy way to shake that schmuck you sleep with at night. . .
. I have to sleep with that miserable bastard all the time. Very
painful, sometimes terrifying.” Physically, he took some terrible falls
and gave himself some terrible injuries; one, on television, in
gave him a literal lifetime of pain, as well as a dependence on pain
medicine that took a heavy toll on his life and his work.
The inner child romanticized childhood; though he was a wild poet of
liberation, he was also sentimental enough about childhood that he hoped
to spare actual children the coarseness of life that he experienced.He
was troubled by the public disinhibitions of the late nineteen-sixties,
and put high hopes on a chain of movie theatres that would show only
movies for children. Making the terrors of life bearable for
children—though the chain of movie theatres failed, it wasn’t the only,
or the largest, of his early-seventies ventures in that vein to go awry.
That would be the movie “The Day the Clown
from 1972, which he directed and starred in—as a German clown,
imprisoned in Auschwitz during the Second World War, who did an
elaborate number to amuse the children as they were being led to their
extermination. At least, that’s how the plot is described; few have ever
seen it in its entirety, and Lewis put it in his closet, vowing that it
not be shown.
I don’t know whether the film is as bad as Lewis himself has said that
it is. The point is that, in the early nineteen-seventies, when the very
term “the Holocaust” was hardly known and when the extermination of six
million Jews by Nazi Germany was a little-discussed phenomenon, at a
time before Claude Lanzmann made “Shoah,” Lewis took it on. He may have
been naïve to do so with a twist of comedy, he may have been naïve to do
so with such uncompromisingly direct and untroubled cinematic
representation—but he also went where other directors didn’t dare to go,
taking on the horrific core of modern history and confronting its
horrors. What childhood can there be with such knowledge, and what
comedy? The moral complicity, the self-scourging accusation of the role
of the clown in amusing children en route to their destruction, is
itself as furious a challenge to himself, and to the entertainment of
the time, as any by the most severe critic of media.
Lewis’s directorial career slowed down; his last feature as director,
called alternately “Cracking Up” and “Smorgasbord,” is the story of a
man—played by Lewis—who tries and repeatedly fails to commit suicide.
It’s one of the most poignant—and one of the most ingenious—terminal
points of any great comedy director’s career. He was in his mid-fifties
when he made the film, though he has been anything but silent in the
last thirty-four years. Rather, Lewis has been making glorious noise,
onstage. But he hasn’t been making movies, which is why the celebration
of his career and his art involved an element of mourning and of loss
long before his passing.
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August 20, 2017 at 11:37PM
Tip: This Chrome Extension Flags Carry-On Fees in Google Flights
A couple of weeks ago, we told you about a new Chrome extension that adds legroom to Google Flights search results. At the end of the post, we called for Google Flights to add a filter for basic economy. While we are still waiting for that call to be answered, the creator of Legrooms for Google Flights has stepped up to help.
In the newest version of the app, you’ll see if a fare has restrictive carry-on baggage policies right in the search results:
This is a great way to see at a glance which options to potentially avoid if you’re not loyal to just one airline.
For those without status, remember that your co-branded airline card can defeat the no-carry-on restrictions with the legacy carriers. So, seeing the no bags logo might only mean that you don’t get to pre-select your seat at this price, as your co-branded card will get you a checked bag and a carry-on bag as well.
If you’ve already downloaded the extension, it should update automatically. For those who haven’t added the extension, you can do so here. It’s a one-and-done task that takes less than a minute to set up and will change all of your Google Flights results going forward.
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August 20, 2017 at 10:06PM
Spanish Tourism Is a Lot Bigger Than Barcelona and Will Bounce Back Soon
Spanish tourism is diverse and includes islands such as Majorca, shown here on October 30 2016, and Lanzarote. Most tourists visit places like this in Spain rather than Barcelona necessarily. Visit Majorca
— Dennis Schaal
Spain’s booming tourism industry should withstand the Barcelona attacks as people become more accustomed to near-constant security threats and the killings in the popular city fail to dent the far larger beach-resort market.
While Barcelona is a vibrant attraction for short breaks, most of the country’s visitors head to its famous costas and islands such as Majorca and Lanzarote. Tour operators would be more concerned about a terrorist incident like that in Tunisia two years ago in which a gunmen roamed hotels shooting dead 38 people and effectively closing down the nation’s holiday sector.
“Aside from events that knocked out an entire country, as in Tunisia, travelers seem to have brushed off attacks like this,” said Richard Clarke, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. in London. “The question is whether terrorism in Barcelona will be associated with Ibiza or Tenerife. My guess is not, but we’re somewhat in uncharted territory as Spain is such a huge destination.”
TUI AG, Europe’s biggest holiday company, reports only a few calls from clients after Thursday’s attack, in which a van killed 13 people on the Ramblas avenue. “Everything is calm,” spokesman Michael Roell said. “Our core business is sun and beach, while city trips are a very small part.”
Spain has been a major beneficiary of terror-related shifts in European travel as security concerns led travelers to shy away from destinations in Turkey and North Africa. Even in Barcelona, the impact on visitor numbers may be shorter and less-pronounced than after incidents a few years ago.
British Airways reported no discernible dip in bookings after the U.K. suffered three attacks that claimed 34 lives this year, including two where terrorists used a vehicle as a weapon. Deutsche Lufthansa AG also says demand has withstood deaths including a dozen in a truck attack in Berlin last Christmas, with a recovery in the particularly sensitive U.S. and Asia markets.
Demand was hit far harder in 2016, when many visitors stayed away in the wake of the November 2015 Paris attacks, which killed 130, the Brussels bombings four month later, in which more than 30 died, and a truck attack in Nice, where more than 80 lives were lost.
Among airlines, BA’s owner IAG SA is most exposed to Barcelona, with its Vueling and Level arms based there and Spanish flag carrier Iberia operating shuttle services to Madrid. The company said it’s “too early” to assess the impact of the attacks, and that operations will continue as normal with an option for clients traveling up until Aug. 20 to rebook. Level serves four North America cities from Barcelona and discounter Vueling has about 50 jets there.
Among the 100 or so other airlines that serve Barcelona El Prat, Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier, stations 12 aircraft at the airport and serves 43 routes. Both it and EasyJet Plc, which also has a base in the city, said they’ll continue to operate their usual timetables.
The Barcelona attack marks the first major incident in Spain since 2004, though the country moved to its second-highest alert level in 2015 and Catalonia has seen a large number of terror-related arrests, according to the Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre at IHS Markit
The threat of more attacks will make for nervous times at TUI and Thomas Cook Group Plc, which have poured huge amounts of hotel capacity into Spain as people sought safe havens amid safety concerns.
“Loosing Tunisia was manageable, losing Turkey was partially manageable,” he said. “But loosing Spain as a destination would not be.”
©2017 Bloomberg L.P.
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August 20, 2017 at 09:36PM
Too Many European Airlines and 2 Other Aviation Trends This Week
Air Berlin check-in in Düsseldorf, Germany. The airline filed for bankruptcy. JouWatch / Flickr
— Sarah Enelow
Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines aviation.
For all of our weekend roundups, go here.
>>There’s more hub competition heating up in the region, but Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok manages to capture the magic and inspiration of travel: Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport Will Endure as a Global Hub
>>It seems like there is a renewed appetite among Europe’s big airline groups to reduce the number of players in the market. They may find it hard to do while fuel remains cheap, but when it starts to creep up, more deals will likely occur: European Airline Executives Still Think There Are Too Many Airlines
>>Over in Italy, no one wants to let Alitalia go. The Italian national carrier is also bankrupt, but keeping the airline is a matter of national pride. There’s no such love for Air Berlin. It’ll probably disappear, and that’ll be OK: Air Berlin’s Slow Collapse Into Bankruptcy, Explained
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August 20, 2017 at 06:32PM