Animatronic Lyndon Baines Johnson in Austin, Texas

Animatronic Lyndon Baines Johnson in Austin, Texas

http://ift.tt/2qvKayT

Animatronic LBJ tells stories and makes jokes

President Lyndon Baines Johnson was known for his stories and his sense of humor. At the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, an animatronic version of the 36th U.S. president continues his legacy, spinning tales and reciting jokes for adoring visitors.

This talking, gesturing robotic President Johnson is a highlight of the library. Animatronic LBJ was originally created for Neiman Marcus’s 90th anniversary celebration at its flagship store in Dallas. Dressed in casual ranch clothes for that display, including a checkered shirt and a Stetson, he originally sat in a pickup truck in front of a ranch backdrop.

That was in 1997. When the celebration was over, Neiman Marcus donated the object to his namesake’s presidential library. He was adjusted into a standing position for his new home, originally made to lean on a white corral fence, from which he recounted stories just like the real LBJ. In fact, actual recordings of the former president were used in the attraction. Visitors loved it.

When the library underwent renovations in 2012, the animatronic LBJ was revamped again. This time, he was put in a suit and tie, made to look more like he had during his presidential years, and was given movement in his arms and shoulders so that he could gesture as he was speaking.

Robot LPJ was put behind a lectern to tell his tales and jokes, more accurately representing how the president would have appeared when he told the recorded stories. Behind him, an assortment of caricatures and political cartoons are hung from the ceiling. The exhibit is called LBJ Humor.

Travel

via Atlas Obscura http://ift.tt/SEYBhH

May 1, 2017 at 08:04AM

Announcing The Fellowship of the Loneliest Road

Announcing The Fellowship of the Loneliest Road

http://ift.tt/2qvBWqD

Dubbed the “Loneliest Road in America” by Life Magazine in 1986, Nevada’s Highway 50 has captured the imagination of westbound travelers for decades. In the smartphone era, its remoteness (and signal-free zones) have taken on mythical proportions. Out here, majestic mountains and the vastness of the desert shield the road from the pace of modern life. Against a backdrop of rugged beauty, the mind has a rare chance to wander, undisturbed.

At Atlas Obscura, we believe that exploration has the power to transform you, and that the more unique the experience, the more likely you are to walk away inspired. That’s why Atlas Obscura is partnering with TravelNevada to send one artist on the road—specifically, the “Loneliest Road in America.”

“The Fellowship of the Loneliest Road” will award one artist (all mediums welcome!) with a full stipend to traverse Highway 50, from Ely to Carson City—solo. In addition to airfare and a rental car, Atlas Obscura will provide the recipient with $5,000 for lodging and other incidentals. While on the five-day trip, the selected artist will be expected to create a travelogue documenting the experience and artistic process. Upon returning home, we will work together to display the completed body of work on Atlas Obscura and TravelNevada’s channels.

Fellowship applications will be judge based on three broad criteria:

  • The originality and feasibility of the proposal
  • The plan to integrate Highway 50/Nevada into the work
  • The work’s ability to be displayed on digital channels

Click here to enter.

You have until May 19 to apply. Questions? Email elizabeth.horkley@atlasobscura.com.

Click here to read terms and conditions

Travel

via Atlas Obscura – Latest Articles and Places http://ift.tt/UWqiBg

May 1, 2017 at 08:02AM

Animatronic Lyndon Baines Johnson in Austin, Texas

Animatronic Lyndon Baines Johnson in Austin, Texas

http://ift.tt/2qvKayT

President Lyndon Baines Johnson was known for his stories and his sense of humor. At the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin, Texas, an animatronic version of the 36th U.S. president continues his legacy, spinning tales and reciting jokes for adoring visitors.

This talking, gesturing robotic President Johnson is a highlight of the library. Animatronic LBJ was originally created for Neiman Marcus’s 90th anniversary celebration at its flagship store in Dallas. Dressed in casual ranch clothes for that display, including a checkered shirt and a Stetson, he originally sat in a pickup truck in front of a ranch backdrop.

That was in 1997. When the celebration was over, Neiman Marcus donated the object to his namesake’s presidential library. He was adjusted into a standing position for his new home, originally made to lean on a white corral fence, from which he recounted stories just like the real LBJ. In fact, actual recordings of the former president were used in the attraction. Visitors loved it.

When the library underwent renovations in 2012, the animatronic LBJ was revamped again. This time, he was put in a suit and tie, made to look more like he had during his presidential years, and was given movement in his arms and shoulders so that he could gesture as he was speaking.

Robot LPJ was put behind a lectern to tell his tales and jokes, more accurately representing how the president would have appeared when he told the recorded stories. Behind him, an assortment of caricatures and political cartoons are hung from the ceiling. The exhibit is called LBJ Humor.

Travel

via Atlas Obscura – Latest Articles and Places http://ift.tt/UWqiBg

May 1, 2017 at 08:02AM

10 Fun Facts About the New NYC Ferry, Launched May 1st, 2017

10 Fun Facts About the New NYC Ferry, Launched May 1st, 2017

http://ift.tt/2qoPy7y

Following a ceremonial ride yesterday with Mayor Bill de Blasio (watch our live feed of the trip here), the NYC Ferry launched officially this morning at 5:30 AM. The initial launch will cover two routes: Rockaways – Sunset Park – Wall Street, and East River, folding in the East River Ferry service into the new NYC Ferry and adding in a Governors Island stop in the summer. The whole system is operated by Hornblower.

This August, a route from Astoria to Wall Street will launch, stopping by Roosevelt Island, Long Island City and East 34th Street, along with one from Bay Ridge to Wall Street, stopping by Sunset Park, Red Hook, Governors Island in the summer, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Dumbo). Next summer, the route from Wall Street to the Bronx will be ready along with a Lower East Side route from Long Island City to Wall Street stopping at East 34th Street, Stuyvesant Town and Corlears Hook.

Here are 10 fun facts we’ve learned from our in-person coverage of the evolution of the NYC Ferry:

1. The NYC Ferry Vessels Are Made From Aluminum

Citywide Ferry Vessel under construction at Metal Shark in Louisiana. Image via NYC Ferry

The NYC Ferry fleet will feature nineteen 86-foot long aluminum vessels that can carry 149 passengers each – 128 inside, 28 in open air atop. The entire mass of aluminum used for the vessels would be equivalent to 77 million cans, although the boats are designed to be lightweight and efficient.

The vessels were constructed at Horizon Shipyard in Alabama and at Metal Shark in Louisiana, and sailed across the Gulf of Mexico, around Florida, and up the Atlantic Ocean to get to New York City, where they got their final touches and Coast Guard inspection at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. We got a sneak peek of the vessels before that inspection and took photographs and video for Untapped Cities readers.

View all on one page

Travel

via Untapped Cities http://ift.tt/16P17aK

May 1, 2017 at 06:44AM

News: China Southern Airlines places latest Airbus A350-900 order

News: China Southern Airlines places latest Airbus A350-900 order

http://ift.tt/2p0xDms

China Southern Airlines has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for 20 A350-900s, becoming the latest customer for the aircraft. China Southern Airlines now operates one of the largest Airbus fleet in the world with more than 300 Airbus aircraft in service, comprising the A320 Family, the A330 Family and five A380s.

Travel

via Breaking Travel News http://ift.tt/QS6xbI

May 1, 2017 at 04:48AM

News: Level flights go live on Vueling website

News: Level flights go live on Vueling website

http://ift.tt/2oPcBeH

Flights on Level can now be booked via the website of its sister airline Vueling in addition to flylevel.com. Customers from across Vueling’s 137 European destinations can book flights to the airline’s home base at Barcelona which connect onto Level’s long-haul network with a single ticket.

Travel

via Breaking Travel News http://ift.tt/QS6xbI

May 1, 2017 at 04:48AM

Bruce Eric Kaplan’s “Man’s Best Friend”

Bruce Eric Kaplan’s “Man’s Best Friend”

http://ift.tt/2pmi37C

Travel

via http://ift.tt/mSJ9pk

May 1, 2017 at 03:28AM

This Week in Fiction: Yiyun Li on Fairy Tales

This Week in Fiction: Yiyun Li on Fairy Tales

http://ift.tt/2oONCYQ

Your story in this week’s issue, “A Small Flame,” is about a woman named Bella, a lawyer in New York, who is visiting her childhood home of Beijing on vacation. When did you first start thinking of Bella? Did you know from the outset that the story would be about a woman returning to a homeland she’d left behind?

I just checked the first draft, and the file was created on November 27, 2016. Two things happened last November: the election, and the death of William Trevor. Like so many people, I experienced (and still experience) a combination of grief and anger and revulsion and many other emotions over the election result. The grief for Trevor, however, was hard to find words for it. A week after, I decided to write a story with a character named Bella, a variation of the name of Belle from his story, “The Piano Tuner’s Wives,” which was published in the magazine in 1995.

I didn’t know Bella at all when I wrote the first page, in which she buys and tosses away a bouquet of roses from a peddler girl. The girl outsmarts her, pocketing the money and retrieving the flowers. There was nothing elegiac or bleak—sometimes I cringe when my stories are described as elegiac or bleak—and I quite liked the unkindness and ludicrousness of that encounter. The story was then written quickly, finished within a week, driven, I think, partly by the rage over the election and partly by the sorrow of losing a master of short stories.

Bella has travelled to China with an old law-school friend of hers, Peter, and his Canadian boyfriend. Peter says to Bella, “You may not be an easygoing person, but you’ve always been fun. Here in China? It’s like you’re stoned the wrong way.” Why do you think Bella’s a different person in China? Is that something you’ve experienced yourself?

Homecoming is a tricky business. When you live in another country for a long time, you collect bits and pieces from that world. They, together with what you’ve carried from the old world, make up what you think of as your natural self. But homeland has a tendency to claim itself as the only legitimate place because it holds a person’s root. Sometimes what grows from the root—the branches and the flowers and the fruits—is dismissed. I suspect this is a common experience for those who have left their homeland. It’s an especially acute case for Bella, who doesn’t have a root, or at least one that’s known to her, and when she travels back to China she is even more adrift than when she is in New York.

I was in China a couple of years ago with my husband and our sons, and we were getting our boarding passes at an airport counter. A woman pushed in front of us and said that because it would take longer for the four of us to get our boarding passes, we should let her go first. I imagine that if something like this were to happen in America, I would say no unless the request was made under reasonable circumstances. In that incident in China, I shoved the queue-cutter away quite forcibly. My children were impressed with my physical rudeness so I must have appeared a different person to them at that moment!

Bella was adopted as a baby, replacing another adopted daughter who had turned out to be deaf and mute and was sent away to live in the countryside with her nanny. Bella grew up in privilege, yet wished instead she were the Little Match Girl: “hungry, cold, forever begging, and forever dying.” Why does that figure have such a hold on Bella?

The Little Match Girl was a household story when we grew up in China, a vivid depiction of a materialistic society and the contrast between the life of the wealthy and that of the poor. Bella grew up in privilege, and in Hans Christian Andersen’s story she would be sitting next to a roast goose, seen through the window by all the passing pedestrians as a pretty girl celebrating New Year’s Eve with her family. But Bella is keenly aware of another possibility, that in her alternative life—oh, my, one winces when using the word “alternative” these days—she would be the girl on the street corner. A self watching another self—this is why Bella is so engrossed by the story of the Little Match Girl.

Bella was a member of the English club in high school, in which the students staged plays, often based on fairy tales. Do those European fairy tales—the stories told by the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, for example—differ much from any Chinese fairy tales Bella and her classmates might have grown up with?

Once a Moscow schoolgirl, eighteen years old, sent a couple of stories she had written to Chekhov. This is what he said of one of the stories called “Fairy Tale”:

It strikes me less a fairy tale than a random collection of words like “genomes,” “fairy,” “dew,” “knights,” all of which are fake diamonds—at least they are so on our Russian soil, which has never been trodden on by knights or gnomes, and where you will be hard put to find anybody capable of imagining a fairy dine on dew or sunbeam. You should forget all that stuff: your task is to be a sincere artist writing only about what exists or what you think ought to exist, painting pictures of life as it is.

I love Chekhov’s comment. He always had plenty of good advice. However, in Bella and her peers’ case—perhaps this is also the case of Chekhov’s young correspondent—a foreign fairy tale may carry a magic that offsets reality. Even the sad and the cruel stories have an exotic beauty: a prince turned into a wild swan, Thumbelina sleeping under flower petals, the Snow Queen’s kiss, and the little mermaid’s dance. Life as it is may not be what a young person wants; life as it ought to be is perhaps not far from a fairy tale.

A heavenly princess defies the heavenly emperor’s wish and marries a human, and the couple, along with their children, are turned into stars; a young man living by himself finds delicious food waiting for him every evening— the divine power is awarding his hard work by transforming a river snail into his maiden cook who later becomes his wife. These Chinese fairy tales that Bella and her generation grew up with reflected a reality of status and pragmatism: a marriage between families with mismatched social standings ends in catastrophe; hard work brings fulfillment and makes a happy stomach.

The one figure whom Bella recalls with any real emotion is her former English teacher, Miss Chu. Bella appears to have held herself apart from her adoptive parents, her friends, and, in the United States, her two ex-husbands. Yet Miss Chu, for whom Bella cares the most, seems always to have been indifferent to Bella. Did Miss Chu have the power to change Bella’s future in any way if she’d chosen to?

Had Miss Chu not been indifferent to Bella, would Bella’s life have turned out differently? I imagine she would have found a replacement who would have remained unattainable. Miss Chu’s power seems to come with her ability to negate Bella’s existence. Few others in Bella’s world have done that.

Miss Chu used to read the stories of D. H. Lawrence to the English club, but Bella was most likely the only student really listening to them. Did you want to evoke Lawrence in this story? Is he a writer who’s influenced your own work?

I wish I could say D. H. Lawrence had not influenced my work. I read him mostly when I was a teen-ager, and I did not seek him out as a writer to emulate or as an inspiration when I began to write. But Lawrence insists on staying around and strolling into my stories from time to time. I also wrote a novella in which a retired professor, who is an obsessed reader of Lawrence, tries to remake a girl’s life according to her own will.

I reread a few Lawrence stories after finishing this story. I shuddered a little at the recognition of something persistent and undeniable. It feels as though Lawrence is a mutation in my literary genes that I carry unwillingly.

At one point, Bella thinks, “O changelings of the world: we go up and down the ladder in this circus called life, and we are more entertaining than clowns, more grotesque than freaks.” Do you think both Hans Christian Andersen and D. H. Lawrence are describing that circus of life in their work, or is there a difference between the simplicity of a fairy tale and the complex human entanglements found in Lawrence’s work?

It had never occurred to me to put Andersen and Lawrence side by side until I saw your question, Cressida! But to think about it, it may not be a farfetched idea to slip a character from an Andersen fairy tale into a Lawrence story, or vice versa. For instance, the girl who claims to be royal and passes the test because of the pea under layers of featherbeds in “The Princess and the Pea.” It’s not difficult to see her, in another setting and another incarnation, as the eccentric girl in Lawrence’s story “The Princess.” (“To her father, she was The Princess. To her Boston aunts and uncles she was just ‘Dollie Urquhart, poor little thing.’ “) And the death in Lawrence’s story “Odour of Chrysanthemums” is not any darker than that in “Little Ida’s Flowers,” Andersen’s whimsical tale, which ends with dead flowers in a “pretty coffin.”

Despite the fact that the two writers wrote for different audiences and chose different formats, the violence of life and the threat of annihilation are so palpable in their work that they might as well be a pair of twin ringmasters in this circus called life.

Travel

via http://ift.tt/mSJ9pk

May 1, 2017 at 03:28AM

And Both Hands Wash the Face

And Both Hands Wash the Face

http://ift.tt/2oOGR9G

Travel

via http://ift.tt/mSJ9pk

May 1, 2017 at 03:28AM

PageLines