Posts in category: Feature

The Smetana Hall + Obceni Dum in Prague

Prague: Obecní dům – a Genius Loci of fine Art Nouveau

21.11.2019

Great sculptors and painters of their time have created an architectural treasure, whose masterly opulence bears witness to their genius to this day. Jan Preisler, Mikoláš Aleš, Max Švabinský, František Ženíšek, Ladislav Šaloun, Josef Mařatka, Josef Václav Myslbek or Alfons Mucha – names difficult to pronounce – were but a small fraction within the remarkable group of skillful artists involved in building and decorating Obecní dům – the Municipal House located right in the heart of Prague. Since its inauguration in January of 1912, the extraordinary building has served as a splendid stage for atmospheric concerts, grand festive balls and fancy fashion shows and is justly listed a national heritage site.

Its two protagonists – the Smetana Hall and the restaurant Francouzská – alone are well worth the trip to Prague, from whichever corner of the globe it may have to commence.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
A Camel in the Emirates: Camel Polo has become a favorite pastime in the Gulf. Copyright: Christina Feyerke

Dubai: Ever heard of Camel Polo?

9.11.2019

No extra skills needed!

Have you ever tried to play Camel Polo? If not, perhaps the time has arrived for you to muster all your courage, clamber onto the chosen Camel’s furry back and see what happens. Organisers of this entertaining pastime declare that no prior equestrian or camel riding experience is required and that this activity is nothing but great fun for virtually everyone.

Those who have made the acquaintance of camels before may find them cute or even cuddly, despite their size and their sometimes intimidating grunt issued from the base of their huge lungs. They are tender giants, really. Depending on the outcome of an encounter – and with all due respect – some rate camels (who can close their nostrils) smelly and stubborn – and they slobber. In general, the camel, a mammal, is pleasant to have – but one never knows what it’s up to next. They can be such clowns, camels! Even the classy racing variety – costing as much as a fleet of Rolls’s and trained to keep their aristocratic countenance at all times – could not care less about conventions if caught in a foul mood. Crowds cheering on grandstands have watched priceless camels stop dead in their speedy strides and abruptly turn on all four heels, only to continue their lonely run in the opposite direction, protruding lips flapping. Much to the chagrin of the helpless jockey…

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
Lindau Puppet Opera: Swanlake Pas De Deux. Christian Flemming

Lindau/Germany: Why Opera-goers adore Puppets on Strings

1.11.2019

When shapely legs are swung high during the meticulously rehearsed Swan Lake performance, they are not made of flesh and blood. Nor, in fact, are any of the lissome corporal parts belonging to the remarkable cast exerting themselves on the miniature stage of the Lindau Marionette Opera (House): they are puppets on strings choreographed and directed with an expertise and finesse that leaves every audience open-mouthed with bafflement. And that doesn’t just account for the ballet troupe bobbing their tutus in tune with Tchaikovsky’s legendary piece of distinguished classical music: there’s Mozart, Verdi, Rossini, Strauss, Bizet and Humperdinck on the programme as well.

Yet, how is it accomplished that rigid images sculpted from wood seem to display credible emotions? Carving features adaptable enough to augment the illusion of changing mien is the craftsmanship their creators are excelling at.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Niagara Falls: Delicious horror beyond Halloween

Niagara Falls Canada: Halloween 24/7

28.10.2019

The Niagara Falls represent one of the most impressive wonders of nature of our day and rightfully enjoy their reputation as an untamed – and untamable – site of awesome beauty. Reason enough for Hollywood movie producers to make this dramatic setting their filming location for ‘Niagara‘. In her role as Rose, the creepy psycho-thriller puts screen goddess Marilyn Monroe through a bloodcurdling cinematic ordeal by evil husband Joseph Cotton alias George, who desperately wants to get rid of his unloved wife. George vanishes and is believed dead, but reappears. Shrouded in a misty waterfall spray and in the presumed privacy of the Rainbow Tower, he brutally strangles Rose to death. But there is a witness …

Fictional Hollywood stories aside: what comes now is REAL! The Nightmares Fear Factory is ‘the scariest and best haunted-house attraction in Niagara Falls Canada’.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
The Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest Munich: O’zapft is’!

12.09.2019

On Saturday, September 21st, 2019 at high noon sharp Munich’s Chief Mayor – the Lord Mayor – will once again ceremonially exclaim: ‘It’s tapped!’ The Oktoberfest, a festival recurring for the 185th time, has been exerting its magnetism on the crowds since 1810. It means huge fun for regular folks, works as an illustrious place-to-be-seen for celebrities of all shapes and sizes and could even enhance or jog a career of one trade or another. And it serves as a welcome runway for the presentation of suitably traditional garb (such as Dirndl, Lederhosn or Lodenjanker) – or for a rare species of couture whose daring cross-over creations are at times hard to swallow for the more conservative. Read article

Reading time: about 9 minutes