Ryan Gosling astronaut movie to open Venice Film Festival

First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle, also stars The Crown’s Claire Foy.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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How to Do Venice Carnival Right: A Thrifty Traveler’s Guide

The Venice Carnival, kicking off this weekend, is still the most raucous, wildly indulgent party season in Europe, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a ball.
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Jewelry Robbed from the Doge’s Palace in Venice

THE ITALIAN JOB: Venice’s Palazzo Ducale museum, or Doge’s Palace, was robbed on Wednesday morning, during visiting hours.
The theft took place during the last day of the “Treasures of the Mughals and the Maharajas: the Al Thani collection” exhibition, which opened back in September. Retracing five centuries of Indian jewelry art, the exhibit was showcased for the first time in Italy displaying nearly 300 pieces from the precious collection assembled by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family.
According to Italian media reports, two unidentified thieves stole a valuable brooch and a pair of earrings, forcing the glass display in which they were showcased. The duo blended in with the rest of the visitors and had about a minute to exit the venue after the robbery before the alarm went off. The space was then closed to permit further investigation, but the thieves were already on the go.
Italian authorities have started investigations, analyzing the images from the security cameras in the area, which show a person operating directly and putting the stolen jewelry in his pocket while another acted as the lookout, covering him.
The value of the robbery has not been quantified yet,

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HTC, Variety Celebrate ‘The Deserted’ Director Tsai Ming Lang at Venice Film Festival

Tsai Ming Lang, the Taiwan-based auteur director of “The Deserted,” one of the most buzzed about virtual reality experiments which competed at this year’s Venice Film Festival, was celebrated during a cocktail organized by Variety in association with pioneering cell phone and tech company HTC. The event, which took place on Sept. 3 at the… Read more »

Variety

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Amal Clooney Wows in Vintage 3-Tiered Green Dress at 2017 Venice Film Festival

Amal Clooney, George Clooney, Venice Film FestivalNew mama Amal Clooney is killing it with all the glam.
The 39-year-old international human rights attorney is at the Venice Film Festival to support husband George Clooney, who premiered…

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Amal Clooney Stuns in Sparkling Blue Gown on Date With George Clooney in Venice

George Clooney, Amal ClooneyGorgeous mama!
George Clooney and Amal Clooney were photographed leaving the Ristorante Da Ivo in Venice, Italy Friday. The 39-year-old international human rights attorney turned heads in…

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Matt Damon kicks off 2018 Oscars race in Venice

The Hollywood actor opens the Venice Film Festival with a film already tipped to be “a leading awards contender”.
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Former Olympian Gets Proposed To In Venice, And The Pics Are So Romantic

He said, “Yes!” 👬
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The Magic of Fall Fashion at the Venice Biennale

The romanticism of the city—and the vibrant tradition of artistic imagination at the Biennale—is the perfect backdrop for season’s most daring looks.
WSJ.com: Lifestyle

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Chrissy Teigen’s Venice Vacation Style Is Affordable…Kinda

ESC: Chrissy Teigen Vacation StyleVenice is known for its water canals, Carnival, and now, Chrissy Teigen’s incredible travel style.
Silk head wraps and printed jumpsuits? Yes please.
The model-turned-author…

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George Clooney and Matt Damon headed for Venice Film Festival

The Ocean’s Eleven stars are among the big names expected at this year’s film festival.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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Venice begins Oscar buzz with strong line-up

The prestigious Venice film festival has announced a star-studded line up which sets the tone for this year’s awards season.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Has 3 New Grand Suites So You’ll Never Want to Leave the Train

Private dining and an en-suite bathroom accompany you across Europe.

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Venice Is a Stage for Damien Hirst’s ‘Treasures’ (and a Biennale, Too)

The artist’s blockbuster show aims to open the wallets of collectors, curators and museum directors. Less obviously, so does much of the Biennale.
NYT > Arts

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A Venice Biennale About Art, With the Politics Muted

Christine Macel, perhaps the most important woman whom you’ve never heard of in the European art world, brings a fresh approach to this global exhibition.
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An Artist’s Mythic Rebellion for the Venice Biennale

Mark Bradford’s concern: How can he represent the United States when he no longer feels represented by his government?
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Goop, Net-a-porter Celebrate Gwyneth Paltrow’s Mother’s Day Edit in Venice Beach

Gwyneth Paltrow knows how to draw a crowd. The founder and chief executive officer of Goop and Alison Loehnis, president of Net-a-porter and Mr Porter, celebrated Paltrow’s Mother’s Day edit and launch of Goop beauty products on the e-tailer with a wellness-minded brunch in Venice, Calif., with designers Rosetta Getty, Anine Bing, Brigette Romanek and Lisa Marie Fernandez; jewelry designers Lisa Eisner, Andrea Fohrman, Anita Ko and Jennifer Meyer, and Erica Pelosini, Fuschia Kate Sumner, Kelly Sawyer and Estee Stanley, among others.

Jennifer Meyer and Kelly Sawyer at Goop and Net-a-porter’s L.A. brunch. 
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Guests indulged in mini-treatments from Goop’s favorite wellness pros, which included reflexology, crystal therapy from Style Rituals, manicures from organic nail-care company Tenoverten and facial massages from Face Love. Butcher’s Daughter’s fresh juices, beauty elixirs and healthy bites were served up throughout the morning.

Fuschia Sumner, Anine Bing and Nola Singer at Goop and Net-a-porter’s L.A. brunch. 
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Goop and Net began their relationship six years ago and have thrown three events together, including one last summer at Paltrow’s home in Amagansett. Thursday’s event marked the first time they’ve taken the partnership to the West Coast. Net began selling beauty and grooming products in the spring of 2013.
“This is the first one

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A Musical Handshake Spanning Centuries: Venice in New York

New York Times critics offer their impressions of “La Serenissima,” Carnegie Hall’s Venetian music festival.
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Gretchen Mol and Tod ‘Kip’ Williams Sell Venice Cottage Above Asking

SELLERS: Gretchen Mol and Tod “Kip” Williams LOCATION: Venice, CA PRICE: $ 1,910,000 SIZE: 1,585 square feet, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms plus guesthouse YOUR MAMA’S NOTES: Though the deal went down in the early summer, it’s only recently come to light that New York City-based actress Gretchen Mol and her vintage airplane flying filmmaker husband… Read more »

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In Venice, Politics vs. Photos

Mystery and intrigue may be synonymous with the city of Venice, but the latest imbroglio between politicians and preservationists there seems a little more ham-handed.

Why have you banned this photo exhibit,” tweeted Venetophile and publisher JoAnn Locktov to Luigi Brugnaro, mayor of Venice, on August 14. “Are you so scared of the truth?

Yes, it is true, we are afraid of how you know how to mystify reality,” shot back the mayor in Italian.

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Photograph by Gianni Berengo Gardin, Venice

At issue is an exhibition, postponed by the mayor, of photographs depicting cruise ships that grotesquely dwarf the architecture of St. Mark’s Square and other Venetian landmarks. More than 500 ships dock there annually, flooding the city’s streets and canals with tourists. And there’s talk of dredging the city’s canals to accommodate even more.

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Photograph by Gianni Berengo Gardin, Venice

“On some days, there are seven to 10 cruises that can easily mean more than 20,000 visitors in a day for seven to eight months,” says Venice-based photographer Marco Secchi. “Venice has a major issue with mass tourism — last year there were 27 millions visitors.”

2015-08-27-1440706184-743718-gardin3.jpg

Photograph by Gianni Berengo Gardin, Venice

The new mayor, elected in June on a platform to keep the port in Venice, canceled the photo exhibition at a gallery in the venerated Doge’s Palace. It was to feature works by Gianni Berengo Gardin, who’s been hailed by the U.K.’s Telegraph as Italy’s greatest photographer. Brugnaro evidently intends to display them later, together with an exhibit of his own plans for dredging the city’s lagoon and canals. It’s caused quite the outcry.

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Marco Secchi, Photographer, Venice

If the photos do not represent your reality, let the people decide,” tweeted the San Francisco-based Locktov.

You aren’t the people,” replied the mayor. “You see only yourself and your friends.”

“Friends” seems a near-Freudian slip in wording. The city’s port comes under control of the Venice Port Authority (VPA), with former Mayor of Venice Costa Paolo its president. In 1997, the VPA set up the Venezia Terminal Passeggeri, a commercial enterprise dedicated to managing cruise ship traffic in the port. VPA, Marco Polo Airport and the local chamber of commerce all have shares in the initiative.

Preservationists and lovers of the city’s mystique would like to see the ships dock elsewhere. “The ‘No Big Ship Committee’ is asking not to ban the cruises, but to stop them at the Lido, creating a new tourism port,” Secchi says.

2015-08-27-1440706356-9666905-DSC_8173copy.jpg

Marco Secchi, Photographer, Venice

The institutions responsible for finding alternative routes or strategies for cruise ships are many, while the decision-making pathways are tangled and muddled, adds Jane Da Mosto, author of The Science of Saving Venice. “What’s clear are the strong economic pressures of the cruise lobby,” she adds.

And “the last thing they (VPA) want is for ships to dock somewhere else, because of money,” says Anna Somers Cocks, CEO of The Art Newspaper in London and former head of the ‘Venice in Peril’ fund, which has raised 10 million pounds for the preservation of the city.

Fears of another Costa Concordia disaster in the lagoon surrounding Venice run high. But there’s more: dredging the canals to accommodate more and larger ships runs the risk of stirring up detritus from a 1960s petrochemical operation. “Ships would come into the petrochemical trench, then turn into a deeper trench into the port — they want to dig it 10 meters deep from six, and 100 meters wide from 50,” Cocks says.

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Marco Secchi, Photographer, Venice

Heavy metal waste from the petrochemical industry lies at the bottom of the lagoon — it’s highly toxic, but resting quietly for the moment. “There are particles of extremely poisonous chemicals” she says. “As soon as you start digging around, you release them into the lagoon.”

The photography exhibition might have served as a catalyst for change — but the mayor’s delay unveils a different scenario. “It all has to do with what’s going to happen to the port,” she says. “People are lobbying for the protection of the city, and then there are those who say ‘You’re living in cuckoo-land — let’s make as much money as we can.'”

Which may result in some unintended consequences for a city that’s increasingly dependent economically on tourists, rather than its dwindling tax base of shops and residents.

As Locktov tweeted the mayor, it’s “not a good idea to insult the people who fill your coffers with euro.”

Not to mention unleashing deadly toxins into your lagoon.

J. Michael Welton writes about architecture, art and design for national and international publications, and edits a digital design magazine at www.architectsandartisans.com, where portions of this post first appeared. He is also the author of “Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand,” from Routledge Press.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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Luciano Benetton Brings “Imago Mundi” Art Exhibition Back to Venice

Two years after launching at the Querini Stampalia Foundation, an expanded version of Luciano Benetton’s “Imago Mundi: Map of the New Art” traveling exhibition is making a return to Venice. The new version will be open from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1 at the Giorgio Cini Foundation.
The exhibition will include 6,930 works — all measuring 3.9 inches by 4.7 inches — by both emerging and established artists from around the world.
Part of the Luciano Benetton Collection, “Imago Mundi: Map of the New Art” aims to break social and cultural boundaries and divisions by highlighting the universality of artistic language.
“Ideas, meanings and inspirations are not monopolized products, but fluid and evolving expressions born of interaction and communication between East and West, North and South, and through the convergence of cultural experience,” Benetton said. “We look to the new frontiers of art—personalities, countries, emerging languages and different cultures—to foster openness towards the world and the coexistence of expressive diversity.”
By the end of the year, the constantly evolving art project, which is supported by the Benetton Studies and Research Foundation, will have involved more than 20,000 artists from 100 countries via art exhibitions, catalogues, events, as well as the imagomundiart.com online platform.

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Luciano Benetton Brings “Imago Mundi” Art Exhibition Back to Venice

Two years after launching at the Querini Stampalia Foundation, an expanded version of Luciano Benetton’s “Imago Mundi: Map of the New Art” traveling exhibition is making a return to Venice. The new version will be open from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1 at the Giorgio Cini Foundation.
The exhibition will include 6,930 works — all measuring 3.9 inches by 4.7 inches — by both emerging and established artists from around the world.
Part of the Luciano Benetton Collection, “Imago Mundi: Map of the New Art” aims to break social and cultural boundaries and divisions by highlighting the universality of artistic language.
“Ideas, meanings and inspirations are not monopolized products, but fluid and evolving expressions born of interaction and communication between East and West, North and South, and through the convergence of cultural experience,” Benetton said. “We look to the new frontiers of art—personalities, countries, emerging languages and different cultures—to foster openness towards the world and the coexistence of expressive diversity.”
By the end of the year, the constantly evolving art project, which is supported by the Benetton Studies and Research Foundation, will have involved more than 20,000 artists from 100 countries via art exhibitions, catalogues, events, as well as the imagomundiart.com online platform.

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First Nighter: The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Outstanding ‘Merchant of Venice’ Is Screened

No one who knows The Merchant of Venice is unaware of the famous and often considered odious character Shylock’s being a Jew both sinned against and sinning. Rarely, however, have I seen a production of William Shakespeare’s play where the anti-Semitism is more acute than in Deborah Findlay’s superlative Royal Shakespeare Company account. It’s screening today (August 23) and at other times elsewhere (check local listings), and is highly recommended.

Findlay’s handling of the tricky work achieves something not often attained. Shylock’s inflexible insistence on the bond he made with Antonio for a pound of flesh were the 3,000 ducats not repaid — that’s to say, Shylock’s unrelenting stance as a broader revenge on the Christians who’ve tormented him throughout life as a usurer — is decidedly matched by his tormenters’ virulent prejudice.

These include not only Antonio (Jamie Ballard), whose misfortunes put him in Shylock’s debt, and Antonio’s swaggering cronies. They also include the usually more gracious Portia (Patsy Ferran) and even the judge presiding over Shylock’s case when it’s brought to court. At times, all of them are portrayed as nothing more nor less than leering, sneering bigots.

The extent to which Shylock (the Palestinian actor Makram J. Khoury) is so severely humiliated that it’s difficult to decide, as Findlay has staged it, whether he’s any worse in refusing to show mercy (which Portia explains is “not strained”) towards Antonio than any of the others in their steely intolerance of him. Shylock talks about being spit on by Antonio, but in Findlay’s startling literal presentation, Antonio actually grabs Shylock, pulls him inches-close and violently spits in the man’s face twice. Moreover, he’s not the only one so inured to the society’s anti-Semitic sentiments that they can’t speak the word “Jew” without wrapping it in hatred and spitting in demonstration of their disdain.

While the Shylock plot is the most discussed when The Merchant of Venice is a topic, there’s another thick tread to the play: the love stories, each written and presented here in a tone far removed from the coruscating Shylock exploration. Indeed, these seem more in line with Shakespeare’s comedies or with the late romance Cymbeline, which repeats an episode concerning rings given and surrendered against the giver’s request. (Shakespeare often stole from himself, of course.)

The most prominent Merchant of Venice love story is the one involving Portia and Bassanio (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd), who wins her hand when he chooses the correct box of the three (gold, silver, lead) offered to Portia’s suitors for perusal. There’s also the Nerissa (Nadia Albina)-Gratiano (Ken Nwosu) alliance. Then there’s the love affair featuring Lorenzo (James Corrigan) and Shylock’s stolen daughter Jessica (Scarlett Brookes), who converts to Christianity–not, as Findlay and Brookes have it, without some remorse.

Findlay sometime unflinchingly, sometimes light-heartedly unfolds the intertwined tales on Johannes Schutz’s simple yet sumptuous set. The floor thrusting into the audience is glossy brass as is the reflecting upstage wall. (The brass, looking like gold underlines that theme of corrupting money that Shakespeare worked.) Just in front of the wall is a shiny ball on a long cord. It’s pushed with some force by Ferran when she enters as Portia. Subsequently, it swings pendulum-like throughout the play, as if unremittingly reminding the audience of time’s inexorable passage.

Only occasionally are pieces of furniture brought out, as the cast members, dressed by Anette Guther in very casual contemporary clothes, go about their poetic business. Tim Samuels as Launcelot Gobbo, encountered first in the audience and engaging a patron on his right, wears a painted-on mask, but otherwise no one is further gussied up. That’s unless a red party outfit Portia puts on counts as glamorous.

You could say also say that Antonio’s face is decorated with tears. As the action begins, he’s seen in the grip of acute sadness. Explaining his woe, he immediately establishes the high quality of the acting over which Findlay presides. Khoury’s Shylock and Ferran’s Portia deserve kudos and paragraphs for the range and subtlety — and when required — blunt anger they display. Their command of the characters’ complexities is complete.

No one in the cast is less than first-rate, and that goes especially for Albina as a lovely Nerissa, Fortune-Lloyd as an unabashed Bassanio and Nwosu as an irrepressible Gratiano. Brookes and Corrigan enact their beautifully-written “on such a night as this” scene with exquisite changes of mood.

The Merchant of Venice is often considered a problem play. Findlay and associates solve whatever problem there is by memorably attacking the dilemmas head-on. Cue heavy applause.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




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An Insider’s Guide To Venice Reveals Meditative Moments In One Of The Wold’s Most Visited Cities

By Paolo Apice
Photo credits: ©Courtesy City of Venice.

One of the most visited cities in the world is changing before our eyes, swallowing up quarters and rethinking its dry land. If you’re visiting Expo in Milan, it’s also a great opportunity to visit nearby Venice and discover some of the city’s unsuspected sides.

venice1
The Cathedral and Bell tower of San Marco.

Discovering Venice
Decadent. Expensive. With little soul. And crowded. With tourists, obviously. These are the mixed blessings of the Venetians, if not of the tourists themselves, who in 2015, between Expo and Biennale, will number 30 million. There will be so many tourists, in fact, that the more than 500 tourist facilities on offer won’t be able to cope with demand. Described in this way, Venice is a stressful boat to board. On the contrary, it can be a relaxing surprise.

venice2
Gondole in the laguna.

Often the traveler looks for hidden, extraordinary places. In reality, the Serenissima should be savored day by day — nose in the air. For example, “There are in Venice three magical hidden places: one in Calle dell’Amor degli Amici, a second near to Ponte delle Maravegie, the third in Calle dei Marrani, near to San Geremia Ghetto Vecchio. When Venetians are tired of the authorities, they go in these three secret places and, opening the doors to be found at the end of those courtyards, they go forever in beautiful places and in other stories.” And so ends Favola di Venezia, the 25th of the adventures written by Hugo Pratt.

venice3
Venetian Ghetto.

Among these beautiful places, even non-believers recognize the salvation of the churches. They’re perfect for those moments in which you don’t know what you want and you need time with your thoughts. “And, damn, in silence. Increasingly more difficult today,” Hemingway loved to say, bewitched by the lagoon.

In meditative moments it would be enough to enter into the monumental space of the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory, in Campo Santo Stefano. You can close your eyes and listen to the sound of the musical instruments coming from the rehearsal rooms. It’s a feeling straight from a film.

venice4
Rialto Bridge.

At only five minutes walking distance from the station you arrive in the Cannaregio district, which is, like Castello, one of the most “red” districts: popular and populous. On crowded days, at a short walk from the Ponte delle Guglie, like a charm, you’ll find tranquillity. When Venetian ladies arrange to meet here, they specify “In front of Glamour” — a clothing shop that has become a reference point even for tourists. Yes, in Venice directions always make a reference to a business. To ask for the Ponte San Giovanni Grisostomo doesn’t say much. But to ask for the Ponte dei Giocattoli (as a result of the craft that was practised there), says everything. It’s better to conform.

Walking along Cannaregio, passing through the Jewish ghetto, you can go along the sidewalk of the Ormesini and the Misericordia. There are lots of small bars to have an aperitif at or to stop and have a chat. If you stay here, in the morning go for breakfast to Pitteri, in Strada Nuova. Deborah and Barbara know everyone by name and the regulars will already be listening to Radio Venezia. Leaving, give a small offering to Ciccio Marea, the most photographed tramp in the world, who in the summer stretches out on the ground to sunbathe.

Next, take a ferry to Santa Sofia and a gondola to get to Rialto. In one of the most famous markets on the planet, the seagulls put on a show, fluttering around the fish stalls. As an alternative to a gondola, take the water bus from Cà d’Oro to Rialto Mercato: the journey is interesting when the boat is full. You can hear the Venetians swearing — they want it for themselves, with no tourists. The monologues on the comedy duo Carlo and Giorgio, the references to the site “venessia.com,” and the remarks on local habits and customs are all educational.

venice5
Ca’ Foscari.

Skipping the main route from Rialto to San Marco, and setting off in the direction of the Biennale, you arrive in Via Garibaldi: the gateway to the Castello district. Around you washing is hung everywhere. Mothers with their hair dyed improbable colors chase shouting children who often answer to Maicol, Chevin… Bars and restaurants of a dubious appearance sport fake formica, East German style. In the distance a flea market floats on the boats.

Very often whoever goes to the Biennale believes that this is all a part of it, a display. But also in Piazza San Marco there is something new to discover. At the entrance to the church, among the attendants, is Lauro. In his life he has done other things. He was one of the last teachers of the art of Venetian jewelry-making. Then one day he saw the Virgin Mary. Just like that, his life changed. You can tell him about your wish to visit the San Francesco in the Desert convent. In that case, wake up at dawn, for the life of the Franciscan brothers begins early. With a mentioned donation and polite requests, it’s even possible to spend a night in one of their small cells. It’s a mystical experience to then return to Venice, walking by night and only hearing one’s own footsteps. Return to the stench of the low tide, a calle sconta, the fish risotto in the La Madonna restaurant, to the Rialto bridge, and dinners with Tony at the Trattoria Storica, close to the Jesuits.

venice6
Aerial view of La Giudecca island.

Now we understand that in the last 20 years, the Serenissima has changed drastically. Irrespective of what people may say, it’s for the better. Silently, while extra large cruise ships and hotels with too many stars were making a racket, Venice became an enormous, singular historical center. Once upon a time, and not too long ago, the city had its suburbs in the lagoon (completely different to those on dry land, with their factories, refineries and dormitory towns). Some — Castello, the Baia del Re, Santa Marta, the island of Giudecca — were crowded and common, while others were in the shade of the real center, like Piazza San Marco, Rialto… “Long-neglected, poor, these areas ‘on the edge’ have returned to center stage thanks to urban renewal programs that recuperate buildings and spaces previously used for other things,” explains Francesco Bortoluzzi, the head of the municipality. (He, together with Michele Casarin and others, including Stefano Boeri, Massimiliano Fuksas, Aldo Cibic and Vittorio Gregotti, is contributing to an essay that will be published by Marsilio towards the end of June, dedicated to the urban transformation of the city.)

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Palazzo Ducale.

Two Cities And Water
Milan and Venice are united by Expo thanks to water and a large space in the shelter of the science technology park Vega at Porto Marghera. “Waters 2015 is the Venetian equivalent of Expo Milan, organized by Expo Venice,” explains Giuseppe Matiazzo, CEO of the organization. “Exhibitions, conventions, tasting sessions, public events, international initiatives for companies and research (amongst which the series of conventions on Planet Water): Expo offers six months to look at the relationship between water and environment, food, science, industry, society and free time.

Then there is “Oltrexpo,” which offers tourism, culture, a carefully selected welcome.” The area stretches over 50,000 square meters, overlooking the water and the car parks; the structure, by Michele De Lucchi, who designed Pavilion Zero at Expo Milan, has a display area of 14,000 square meters and will stay after Expo finishes as a site for trade fairs. And finally, there are the projects of Expo to Venice for discovering the lagoon off the beaten track — from Isole in Rete (in one fell swoop, the minor islands and the vegetable gardens of the Serenissima), to the tour of the Canottieri Cannaregio to grapple with Venetian rowing.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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An Insider’s Guide To Venice Reveals Meditative Moments In One Of The Wold’s Most Visited Cities

By Paolo Apice
Photo credits: ©Courtesy City of Venice.

One of the most visited cities in the world is changing before our eyes, swallowing up quarters and rethinking its dry land. If you’re visiting Expo in Milan, it’s also a great opportunity to visit nearby Venice and discover some of the city’s unsuspected sides.

venice1
The Cathedral and Bell tower of San Marco.

Discovering Venice
Decadent. Expensive. With little soul. And crowded. With tourists, obviously. These are the mixed blessings of the Venetians, if not of the tourists themselves, who in 2015, between Expo and Biennale, will number 30 million. There will be so many tourists, in fact, that the more than 500 tourist facilities on offer won’t be able to cope with demand. Described in this way, Venice is a stressful boat to board. On the contrary, it can be a relaxing surprise.

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Gondole in the laguna.

Often the traveler looks for hidden, extraordinary places. In reality, the Serenissima should be savored day by day — nose in the air. For example, “There are in Venice three magical hidden places: one in Calle dell’Amor degli Amici, a second near to Ponte delle Maravegie, the third in Calle dei Marrani, near to San Geremia Ghetto Vecchio. When Venetians are tired of the authorities, they go in these three secret places and, opening the doors to be found at the end of those courtyards, they go forever in beautiful places and in other stories.” And so ends Favola di Venezia, the 25th of the adventures written by Hugo Pratt.

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Venetian Ghetto.

Among these beautiful places, even non-believers recognize the salvation of the churches. They’re perfect for those moments in which you don’t know what you want and you need time with your thoughts. “And, damn, in silence. Increasingly more difficult today,” Hemingway loved to say, bewitched by the lagoon.

In meditative moments it would be enough to enter into the monumental space of the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory, in Campo Santo Stefano. You can close your eyes and listen to the sound of the musical instruments coming from the rehearsal rooms. It’s a feeling straight from a film.

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Rialto Bridge.

At only five minutes walking distance from the station you arrive in the Cannaregio district, which is, like Castello, one of the most “red” districts: popular and populous. On crowded days, at a short walk from the Ponte delle Guglie, like a charm, you’ll find tranquillity. When Venetian ladies arrange to meet here, they specify “In front of Glamour” — a clothing shop that has become a reference point even for tourists. Yes, in Venice directions always make a reference to a business. To ask for the Ponte San Giovanni Grisostomo doesn’t say much. But to ask for the Ponte dei Giocattoli (as a result of the craft that was practised there), says everything. It’s better to conform.

Walking along Cannaregio, passing through the Jewish ghetto, you can go along the sidewalk of the Ormesini and the Misericordia. There are lots of small bars to have an aperitif at or to stop and have a chat. If you stay here, in the morning go for breakfast to Pitteri, in Strada Nuova. Deborah and Barbara know everyone by name and the regulars will already be listening to Radio Venezia. Leaving, give a small offering to Ciccio Marea, the most photographed tramp in the world, who in the summer stretches out on the ground to sunbathe.

Next, take a ferry to Santa Sofia and a gondola to get to Rialto. In one of the most famous markets on the planet, the seagulls put on a show, fluttering around the fish stalls. As an alternative to a gondola, take the water bus from Cà d’Oro to Rialto Mercato: the journey is interesting when the boat is full. You can hear the Venetians swearing — they want it for themselves, with no tourists. The monologues on the comedy duo Carlo and Giorgio, the references to the site “venessia.com,” and the remarks on local habits and customs are all educational.

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Ca’ Foscari.

Skipping the main route from Rialto to San Marco, and setting off in the direction of the Biennale, you arrive in Via Garibaldi: the gateway to the Castello district. Around you washing is hung everywhere. Mothers with their hair dyed improbable colors chase shouting children who often answer to Maicol, Chevin… Bars and restaurants of a dubious appearance sport fake formica, East German style. In the distance a flea market floats on the boats.

Very often whoever goes to the Biennale believes that this is all a part of it, a display. But also in Piazza San Marco there is something new to discover. At the entrance to the church, among the attendants, is Lauro. In his life he has done other things. He was one of the last teachers of the art of Venetian jewelry-making. Then one day he saw the Virgin Mary. Just like that, his life changed. You can tell him about your wish to visit the San Francesco in the Desert convent. In that case, wake up at dawn, for the life of the Franciscan brothers begins early. With a mentioned donation and polite requests, it’s even possible to spend a night in one of their small cells. It’s a mystical experience to then return to Venice, walking by night and only hearing one’s own footsteps. Return to the stench of the low tide, a calle sconta, the fish risotto in the La Madonna restaurant, to the Rialto bridge, and dinners with Tony at the Trattoria Storica, close to the Jesuits.

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Aerial view of La Giudecca island.

Now we understand that in the last 20 years, the Serenissima has changed drastically. Irrespective of what people may say, it’s for the better. Silently, while extra large cruise ships and hotels with too many stars were making a racket, Venice became an enormous, singular historical center. Once upon a time, and not too long ago, the city had its suburbs in the lagoon (completely different to those on dry land, with their factories, refineries and dormitory towns). Some — Castello, the Baia del Re, Santa Marta, the island of Giudecca — were crowded and common, while others were in the shade of the real center, like Piazza San Marco, Rialto… “Long-neglected, poor, these areas ‘on the edge’ have returned to center stage thanks to urban renewal programs that recuperate buildings and spaces previously used for other things,” explains Francesco Bortoluzzi, the head of the municipality. (He, together with Michele Casarin and others, including Stefano Boeri, Massimiliano Fuksas, Aldo Cibic and Vittorio Gregotti, is contributing to an essay that will be published by Marsilio towards the end of June, dedicated to the urban transformation of the city.)

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Palazzo Ducale.

Two Cities And Water
Milan and Venice are united by Expo thanks to water and a large space in the shelter of the science technology park Vega at Porto Marghera. “Waters 2015 is the Venetian equivalent of Expo Milan, organized by Expo Venice,” explains Giuseppe Matiazzo, CEO of the organization. “Exhibitions, conventions, tasting sessions, public events, international initiatives for companies and research (amongst which the series of conventions on Planet Water): Expo offers six months to look at the relationship between water and environment, food, science, industry, society and free time.

Then there is “Oltrexpo,” which offers tourism, culture, a carefully selected welcome.” The area stretches over 50,000 square meters, overlooking the water and the car parks; the structure, by Michele De Lucchi, who designed Pavilion Zero at Expo Milan, has a display area of 14,000 square meters and will stay after Expo finishes as a site for trade fairs. And finally, there are the projects of Expo to Venice for discovering the lagoon off the beaten track — from Isole in Rete (in one fell swoop, the minor islands and the vegetable gardens of the Serenissima), to the tour of the Canottieri Cannaregio to grapple with Venetian rowing.

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Melanie Daniel: ‘Piecemaker’ at Shulamit Gallery, Venice Beach

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The Long Way Home, 2014. Oil on canvas, 90 X 140 cm.

Canadian-born artist Melanie Daniel, whose work is currently on view at the Shulamit Gallery in Venice Beach, has lived in Israel for the past twenty years, including seven years in the mixed Arab-Jewish city of Jaffa. Her most recent paintings, which are vivid and thematically multivarious, are ruminations on personal identity that also reflect the hybrid culture and socio-political tensions of her adopted homeland.

I recently interviewed Melanie Daniel to ask her about her background, her art and her sources of artistic inspiration.

John Seed Interviews Melanie Daniel:

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Melanie Daniel

Tell me about growing up in Canada and how it shaped you.

I grew up in a city called Kelowna, British Columbia, nestled in a beautiful valley of forests, lakes and orchards. It is extremely arid and blazingly hot in the summer (up to 40 °C) and then winter inevitably comes and outdoor life continues on the ski slopes or in the gentler woods for snow-shoeing and tobogganing. My younger sister and brother and I were always outdoors in all seasons hunting for critters and frogs, fishing in the creeks or excavating clay from the cliffs behind our grandparents’ house. We returned daily to our childhood haunts where only kids went, a parallel universe for us and our posse.

Those were different times, I realize now, and we were never supervised. Free to roam, we invented games, dares, bizarre rituals, and protocol for deep forest sport. The neighborhood creek, an all-season kid headquarters, also served as the final resting place for countless pet gerbils and lizards. At sunset, our deceased beloved pets were regularly sent downstream on blazing Viking ships improvised with popsicle sticks. On less somber occasions, being the avid pyromaniacs that we were, more than once we watched from a safe distance as the local firefighters extinguished the contraband Playboys that had started it all. My brother and his nervous friends would frequently incinerate their forbidden erotic stash once discovered by us, their older sisters, the killjoys.

Although we would have happily watched endless hours of TV sitcoms and cartoons, my parents were frequently heard saying, “shut that thing off and go outside”, which we grudgingly did. But “outside” never disappointed. It was always a place to escape into and to be happy. The dead silence of snow, the smell of cut grass, the deafening drone of cicadas in afternoons and the melancholy return of autumn and the dreaded classroom – the reliable cycle of my formative years in Canada. It has never left me.

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Wrestling Bears, 2015. Oil on canvas, 99 X 101 cm.

Why did you move to Israel and what kind of culture shock did you feel?

Love brought me to this place. Not adventure and certainly not ideology. In the early ’90’s I travelled through India and one day I set my eyes upon a curly haired, dark stranger. I was sure he was Italian. I knew nothing of Israelis. After a while, each returned to his respective country and only many months later did we commence a slow correspondence through posted letters. Email was not yet widely available. Rather impulsively, I dropped my final year of university studies in history and philosophy and boarded a plane for Israel, certain that I would be greeted by a swollen silver moon over Jerusalem. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Jerusalem was a rough city, its denizens crustier still. I returned briefly to Canada to make some money tree-planting and ultimately to figure out what to do about this man. Eventually I did return to Jerusalem, and I knew that my success or failure would depend less on matters of the heart and more about what I would do there.

Soon after my arrival, the prime minister was assassinated, later the second Intifada was unleashed, and all hell broke loose. It lasted five years and it changed everyone, deeply. Perennial engagement with mortality is humbling. I live in constant proof of the fragility of life and it’s something that follows me everywhere. And although I don’t believe that this knowledge gives me any advantages in life it has sharpened a keen regard I’ve always held for the present tense and a solid respect for the material/natural world. Communion with nature has always been enough for me and requires no further pontificating from men with snowy beards.

The culture shock I experienced here was an ongoing hiccup, lasting years. Israelis are without a doubt the most tactless humans on earth but this abrasive quality has a very important flip side. They also happen to be the most generous, candid, creative and humorous people I have ever met. I have learned much from my Israeli friends. The other culture shock was Israel’s natural landscape, the desert and its open unforgiving sky. I recoiled at my first encounter with the desert; I felt I had no where to hide. It took me many years to embrace this existential landscape as it was nothing like the towering pine giants that protected me in my youth.

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Patchwork Landing, 2015. Oil on canvas, 140 X 160 cm

Your art has been characterized as dreamlike. Have your narratives always been this way?

Yes, I think so. Even at school I was painting when the craft was decidedly unpopular and to the dismay of my instructors, I was also bent on weaving impenetrable stories into the work. For me, the paintings invent the places and characters, not the other way around. My paintings are so much about physicality which despite their reliance on narrative are still somehow resistant to language, interpretation, or even memory.

I hope to induce a sense of dislocation by being both strange and recognizable. By keeping the narrative dreamlike and just beyond reach, I let the viewer bring something of their own to the painting. The narrative can unfold once the sense of familiarity recedes from the encounter, those scenes familiar to us through the landscape genre. My art is anti-nostalgic because I don’t try rehashing actual experiences but invent them at the edge of my perception.

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Scruffy’s Emerald Secret, 2014-15. Oil on canvas, 140 X 120 cm

Can you tell me about one of your current paintings and break down some of its narrative and themes?

One piece, Scruffy’s Emerald Secret is a favorite of mine. It’s moodier that the others and I can identify with the bare-footed loner sitting on a tree stump, hunched over his campfire. Behind him looms this tall green patterned tree, a beautiful freak specimen. It shouldn’t be there, but it is. The man shouldn’t be there, but he is. Where is his family? Why is he alone in keeping vigil over this odd tree? This piece is one of several in a group I call Piecemaker in which I incorporate conflicting cultural motifs, embedded traditional Arabic patterns in a Canadian landscape. They can’t be fused and remain irreconcilable. Not unlike quilt-making I “stitch” together disparate symbolic forms and patterns from both of these worlds which have become part of me.

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Spellbound, 2014. Oil on canvas, 140 X 180 cm.

As you have dealt with the cultural and political challenges of living and working in Israel, how has your art sustained you?

One of the conditions of my decision to remain here depended on my ability to carve out a corner for myself, professionally. Making art and functioning competitively in that arena was a necessity for happiness and my own sanity. I started from zero and got a very good education and training in the arts. Self discipline was already established from my previous five years at Canadian universities, and I was very sure about how I wanted things to play out. Unlike many immigrants who arrive as adults, I had a huge advantage: art school was a big lingering bear hug. All of my friends, my political views, professional networks, and direct access to Israel’s cultural carotid artery were all gifted to me during those years. I would not have survived here without it.

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The Drifting Patch Tree, 2015. Oil on canvas, 190 X 180 cm

What are your interests outside of art?

My family is the heart of my life, always. Everything else falls into descending order after that. I like being outside as much as possible. As a family, we do a lot of hiking and swimming, and picnics with friends. I live a street away from the Mediterranean Sea and need to see it daily. Most days are started with a run along the sea to stave off cabin fever in my studio.

I’m an avid gardener and a member of a community garden and often get my son’s kindergarten involved with horticulture. It’s important for kids to understand where food comes from and to really see how we’re all part of a shared life cycle. They also get a real sense of pride and ownership from their hard work.

I read a lot, everything from Annie Proulx to Walter Mosley, mostly at night when everyone is asleep. Music, nonstop, but that’s when I’m painting.

Who are some artists who have directly influenced your work?

Daniel Richter: he’s the best living painter as far as I’m concerned. I can look at as his works for hours and they just keep unfolding. Violent and absurd, apocalyptic.

Peter Doig: a constant source of inspiration.

Cecily Brown: fleshy, carnal paintings that just disintegrate and then re-galvanize, pulsing. They take time to get into and you can’t hurry them. This is one of the things what makes any good painting last. Brown overdoes everything, pushes the painting to the brink and I love that .

Mark Bradford: layer by layer, he builds up a thick-skinned topography from cultural detritus. It’s like he maps out these strange mute neighborhoods replete with their own secrets and you want to scrape down to get to them.

Velazquez: bold mark-making and outbursts of sensuality erupting through thick globs of paint. He didn’t want a smooth porcelain finish but rather wanted to show us the true corporeal surface of paint. For me, moving paint around is a steady point of fascination and Velazquez always delivers the goods in that regard.

Dana Schutz: she’s madly prolific, restless, ballsy, and brilliant. I hit a wall over ten years ago and discovered Dana’s work. It was like rocket fuel for me.

David Lynch: His scenes are permanently lodged in my brain. An unapologetic storyteller of storytelling.

Sally Mann: raw, haunting and achingly personal.

Kwakiutl and Haida art and myths: I grew up with the imagery and stories of First Nations peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Masks and totems and legends are always with me even if they don’t find immediate expression in what I do.

PK Page: Canadian poet. Her vivid descriptions of fleeting moments of life hang in the air when I’m working. I just have to reach up and grab them. Here’s a title: “Deaf-Mute in the Pear Tree”.

James Ensor – He literally attacked his canvases with violent gusto, making these taut, weird and nightmarish scenes. Totally unsettling.

Melanie Daniel: Piecemaker
Shulamit Gallery
17 North Venice Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
May 21-June 27, 2015

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Mosque Built Inside A Defunct Church In Venice For Biennale Is Shut Down By City Officials

MILAN (AP) — Authorities in Venice on Friday closed a working mosque in an ex-church that was Iceland’s contribution to the 56th Venice Biennale contemporary art fair on the grounds that it was being improperly used as a place of worship.

Swiss-Icelandic artist Christoph Buechel’s exhibit inside a former Roman Catholic Church creating the first mosque ever in the historic center of Venice sparked controversy from the outset. The chairman of the Icelandic Art Center, which commissioned the project, complained that Venetian authorities “have tried to prevent its realization rather than assist in making it possible,” under the claim “that the Icelandic Pavilion is not art.” “Perhaps most disappointingly, the administration of La Biennale di Venezia … has not supported this artistic endeavor in the way that would have been expected for an organization of its stature and proclaimed advocacy of contemporary art,” Icelandic art center Eirikur Thorlaksson said in a statement.

He said the closure indicated that the Biennale, one of the visual art world’s premier events, “is not a venue for truly free artistic expression.”

Iceland chose the deconsecrated Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia for the exhibit titled “The Mosque” in Venice, which for centuries served as a crossroads between East and West and is infused with Middle Eastern architectural influences. The project envisioned a working mosque for the seven months of the Biennale, which opened May 8 and comprises national pavilions as well as a curated main exhibit.

After weeks of tensions, Venice city officials withdrew authorization for the installation citing violation of the terms, including a ban on using the pavilion as a place of worship as well as security concerns.

The Venice Biennale emphasized in a statement Friday that national pavilions are managed “in a completely autonomous capacity” by the participating countries. It said earlier that it hoped a solution could be worked out.

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Venice Biennale Arte 2015: Doug Argue’s Scattered Rhymes, a Satellite Exhibit You’ll Want to See

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On May 9th the 2015 Venice Biennale Arte officially opens to the public. Yet for the last week the Jewel of the Adriatic has been buzzing with activity. The stylish art crowd, dressed with a proper dose of eccentricity, arrived early and from around the globe. Holding envied invitations to a plethora of exhibit inaugurations and vernissage, the press, contemporary artists, patrons and the who’s who of the art world crossed ancient thresholds into Venetian gardens, Renaissance palaces, galleries and the multitude of Country sponsored pavilions to raise their prosecco chalices to creative expression.

Last Wednesday, Save Venice, the New York based organization which has raised more than 20 million dollars to restore 400 works of art and architecture in Venice, Italy, debuted as an advocate for contemporary art. A cherished invitation to their event led me passed the Accademia di Belle Arti–Academy of Fine Arts–down a tight secluded alleyway lit by a sliver of early evening sky, and into Doug Argue’s Scattered Rhymes satellite Biennale exhibit. Off the calle and up worn marble steps, I entered the 15th century Palazzo Contarini dal Zaffo’s rectangular shaped magazzino where four aging brick walls, an ancient wood beamed ceiling and floor contrast and embrace the American artist’s four Venetian inspired oil on canvas pieces. Time and Again, Cosa Mentale, Mother Tongue and my favorite, Calle: a 91 x 280 inch blast of color, energy and light. Mr. Argue, a talented and gracious man, explained that the sliver of Venetian sky I had left in the alleyway was his inspiration for this painting. Perhaps that explains why I find Calle–Italian for alley–so intriguing.

Gazillion miniscule drops of color cover the enormous canvas like the aurora borealis weaving through the Milky Way. Calle, like Argue’s other three works on display, draws you in and holds you there to study and examine its detail only to send you across the room, never letting you take your eyes away, until you’re drawn back, once again, to discover tiny letters falling across the canvas forming the word consolations; bits of communication floating in the midst of a grand presence connect, like the night sky, to deliver a larger message.

What makes the piece all the more interesting is Mr. Argue’s technique of using the brush and medical syringes to create a constellation of texture, movement, and layers. Holding a syringe loaded with paint in one hand and standing above the blank canvas that he had extended across the floor, Argue used the palm of his other hand to shoot the color up into the air, injection after injection, and let the drops fall onto the canvas. Drops form more perfect circles when they fall freely, is what he told me.

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Born in St. Paul, Minnesota and now based in New York City, Doug Argue was twenty-four years old when he first visited Venice, Italy. Now, almost thirty years later, he describes the work he is proud to exhibit in the city that continues to inspire him–words I think well define Venice and her contemporary dilemmas, too:

“There are many different histories in the world, in both art and politics, and we often see things in the current moment, yet have no idea what lies beneath. One language is always turning into another, one generation is always rising and another falling, there is no still moment. I am trying to express this flux–this constant shifting of one thing over another, like a veil over the moment itself.”

Recently, two of Doug Argue’s paintings were commissioned for the lobby of One World Trade Center in Manhattan, and others are held in the collections at the Minneapolis Institue of Art and the Weisman Art Museum. Other pieces have been shown in solo exhibitions from Santa Monica, California to Yerevan, Armenia. Now, I expect, and hope, that his Venetian inspired pieces will find good homes, too. My “know what you like, know what you don’t like” layperson’s opinion is that Calle merits a special place–perhaps in a European or American modern art museum, where the Venetian sky can be seen by many and for many generations to come.

Doug Argue’s Scattered Ryhmes Exhibit
5 May-30 September 2015
Palazzo Contarini del Zaffo, Dorsoduro 878, Venice
http://www.labiennale.org/en/art/news/05-03.html

Save Venice, Inc.
http://www.savevenice.org/

La Biennale d’Arte di Venezia
9 May-22 November 2015
http://www.labiennale.org/en/art/news/05-03.html

Follow Marie Ohanesian Nardin
https://www.facebook.com/authormarieohanesiannardin?ref=hl

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Veneto: Authentic Recipes from Venice and the Italian Northeast

Veneto: Authentic Recipes from Venice and the Italian Northeast


Bargain Books are non-returnable.Most everyone is familiar with the enchanting city of Venice, but the Veneto region of Italy also lays claim to rich deltas of rice, olive groves and vineyards, fertile flatlands, and one of the most dramatic mountainscapes anywhere in the world. Naturally, this would create a wealth of cherished culinary traditions. The authentic Veneto kitchen merges its ancient heritage with humble ingredients, producing one of the most fascinating cuisines in Italy. Julia della Croce shares the origins of over 60 recipes as she takes the reader on a glorious visual and culinary tour of the Veneto. Belluno's pillow-shaped pasta stuffed with beets and sprinkled with poppyseeds reveals Austrian influences, while a meal of roasted turkey topped with pomegranate sauce is a sure indicator that it's time to celebrate the fall harvest. Handy lists of charming places to stay, local festivals and cooking classes, plus evocative photos of the food and countryside will inspire anyone to plan their next vacation to the Veneto. Until then, this beloved region is as close as the kitchen.
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Lonely Planet Pocket Venice

Lonely Planet Pocket Venice


“Lonely Planet: The world’s leading travel guide publisher” Lonely Planet’s Pocket Venice is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Explore the Grand Canal by gondola, admire the Basilica di San Marco, or snack on tapas-style cicheti in a Cannaregio bar; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of the best of Venice and begin your journey now Inside Lonely Planet’s Pocket Venice: Full-colour maps and images throughout Highlightsand itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential infoat your fingertips – including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Honest reviewsfor all budgets – including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Free, convenient pull-out Venice map (included in print version), plus over 21″”colour neighbourhood maps User-friendly layout with helpful icons, and organised by neighbourhood to help you determine the best spots to spend your time Useful features – including Best for Kids, Walking Tours, and Don’t Miss (quick glance at must-sees) Coverage of San Marco & the Palazzo Ducale, Dorsoduro & the Accademia, San Polo & Santa Croce, Cannaregio & the Ghetto, and more The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet’s Pocket Venice is a handy guide that literally fits in your pocket, providing on-the-go assistance to travellers who seek only the can’t-miss experiences. Colourful and easy-to-use, this neighbourhood-focused guide includes unique local recommendations to maximise your quick-trip experience. Looking for a comprehensive guide that recommends a wide range of experiences, both popular and offbeat, and extensively covers all of Venice’s neighbourhoods? Check out Lonely Planet’s Ve

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