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Category Archives: Hedonism

Botticelli In The Fire review: Restless and indulgent but never boring – Evening Standard

Posted: October 27, 2019 at 2:51 pm

RoxanaSilbertis making her mark as artistic director of Hampstead Theatre, one way or another. The first production she programmed met with poor reviews and controversy over casting.

Her second on the main stage is this playfully serious mash-up of Renaissance politics and pansexual modern hedonism, an example of what its Canadian writer JordanTannahillrefers to as queering history. Its exuberant fun with a sober central point but, like its protagonist, rather too in love with its own sass, swagger and cleverness.

InTannahillsimagining, Medici-controlled15th-centuryFlorence is a place of smartphone-toting excess. The bitchery and debauchery of brilliant, sexually insatiableSandroBotticelli and his gay fellow artists would makeRuPaulblush. Meanwhile, plague and starvation drive the poor towards the fiery populism of puritan monkSavonarola.

Its not an exact parallel of our age, more an analogy for tipping points where hurtling progressivism or galloping inequality result in a backlash.

The story is prosaic. Botticelli has an affair with his patrons wife while painting her as The Birth Of Venus. His ultimate punishment is to choose between his art and his beautiful assistant, Leonardo da Vinci. ButTannahillallows himself many indulgences. Venus confesses dark desires in aBritney-soundtrackedvogueingroutine. Conversely, a scene where Botticellis mother bathes him, like Mary washing Christ, is poignant.

Blanche McIntyres production has a looseness suited to the material, allowing Dickie Beaus cocksure Botticelli to show and tell us what an awful person he is. James Cotterills black box set becomes an artists studio, a squash court, and a dramatic bonfire for anythingSavonarolaconsiders decadent.

This production is never boring but it is restless and profligate with audience attention. You sometimes wishTannahill, who is 31 and works across many art forms, would settle down and tell you what he means. You also boggle at whatSilbertmight serve up next.

Until November 23 (020 7722 9301, hampsteadtheatre.com)

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Helen Maybanks

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Frederic Aranda

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Photograph by Nobby Clark

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Marc Brenner

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Marc Brenner

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Cameron Slater

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Helen Murray

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Manuel Harlan

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Helen Maybanks

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Catherine Ashmore

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Helen Maybanks

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Bronwen Sharp

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Sarah Lee

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Ellie Kurttz

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Johan Persson

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Ali Wright

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The Standout Company

Manuel Harlan

Steve Tanner RSC

Marc Brenner

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Mark Douet

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Alastair Muir

Pamela Raith

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Johan Persson

Matthew Murphy

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Helen Maybanks

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Frederic Aranda

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Photograph by Nobby Clark

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Marc Brenner

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Marc Brenner

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Cameron Slater

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Helen Murray

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Manuel Harlan

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Helen Maybanks

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Catherine Ashmore

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Helen Maybanks

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Bronwen Sharp

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Sarah Lee

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Ellie Kurttz

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Johan Persson

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Ali Wright

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The Standout Company

Manuel Harlan

Steve Tanner RSC

Marc Brenner

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Mark Douet

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Alastair Muir

Pamela Raith

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Johan Persson

Matthew Murphy

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Botticelli In The Fire review: Restless and indulgent but never boring - Evening Standard

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A New Biography of Janis Joplin Captures the Pain and Soul of an Adventurous Life – The New York Times

Posted: at 2:51 pm

Joplin made the hairs on the back of peoples necks prickle. She began playing coffee houses and hootenannies in Austin and elsewhere, and floored listeners; she had the force of an opera singer. She did a version of St. James Infirmary that unnerved people.

Joplin had an itch for emancipation. She began shuttling between Texas and the West Coast, sometimes hitchhiking. She became a well-known performer at Threadgills, the Austin restaurant and music venue, before she moved out to the West Coast for good.

Her big personality had a dark side: depression, anxiety, mood swings. She had a capacity for excess, and a nimbus of exhausted hedonism trailed along with her. She smoked, she drank people under the table and she slowly but enthusiastically turned to drugs. She was a meth addict by the time she was 22. Hey, man, what is it? Ill try it, she said. How do you do it? Do you suck it? No? Do you swallow it? Ill swallow it.

The rest of Joplins story is better known. She joined the Bay Area band Big Brother and the Holding Company, and became an international star after the bands 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. Some felt that the members of Big Brother werent on her level as musicians; she eventually went solo.

George-Warren must have needed a special database to keep up with Joplins lovers. Honey, get it while you can, she sang. She took her own advice. She was an omnidirectional sexual omnivore.

Joplin took in men and women the way most people take in the morning newspaper. She slept with sailors, musicians, fans and members of the Hells Angels. She turned tricks when stranded and needing money. She joked that one partner made love in iambic pentameter. She drove into Mexico for an abortion.

She had relationships with Ron Pigpen McKernan of the Grateful Dead and with Country Joe McDonald. Leonard Cohen wrote Chelsea Hotel No. 2 about her. She had dalliances with Peter Coyote and Kris Kristofferson, whose Me and Bobby McGee she covered. She slept with Joe Namath, of all people, and possibly, George-Warren suggests, with Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Dick Cavett. One of Bruce Springsteens early bands opened for Joplin in New Jersey. Help, shes after me! Springsteen told his guitarist Steven Van Zandt.

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A New Biography of Janis Joplin Captures the Pain and Soul of an Adventurous Life - The New York Times

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Opinion | A ghost towns testimony to the trauma of partition – Livemint

Posted: at 2:51 pm

Running like an ugly scar across 180km of this 240km-long island, the yellow line that divides Cyprus between Greeks and Turks is not just a reminder of the dark memories of a bloody episode in this countrys life, but also a reminder of how partition increases distance. In many ways, it is a mirror image of an India-Pakistan kind of conflict playing out in this tiny Mediterranean island.

Turkish troops attacked Cyprus on 20 July 1974, ostensibly to save Turkish Cypriots from ethnic cleansing. Parts of northern Cyprus were bombed out and occupied by the Turkish army. The island was partitioned between Orthodox Christian Greeks and Muslim Turkish Cypriots. In 1983, the Turkish Cypriots declared themselves a separate country. Since then, peace has returned, allowing tourists and people from both sides to cross over on day-long visas. The United Nations monitors these crossings that many Cypriots use for work or to revisit the days gone by. Many Cypriots get emotional at the thought of what has been lost in this fratricidal conflict. Graves of our ancestors are on the other side and we cannot visit them," people in Nicosia will tell outsiders.

Change is visible everywhere, except in the coastal city of Famagusta, once the busiest port of the Ottomans that supplied goods to the silk route. The Varosha quarter of Famagusta, famous for its beaches and a symbol of Hedonism, has been sealed off since 1974. This beach town is a virtual ghost townwhere no living being moves, except perhaps rabbits, cats and bats. Its known as a place where tortoises hatch their eggs. Guarded by the Turkish army, no outsider has visited Varosha, except an intrepid British researcher who slipped in stealthily. Paul Dobraszczyks account of his two visits tell us what urban annihilation looks like. A north Mediterranean Sea resort with fluffy white sand, Varosha was famous in the 1960s and 1970s for being a playground of the rich and famousElizabeth Taylor, Raquel Welch, and Richard Burton among them. Old timers in Nicosia still recall Hollywood goddesses sunning themselves on its beach. When Turkish forces attacked the island, some tourists at the resort were injured as they made a hasty escape along with about 40,000 Greeks to the southern part of the island.

Why did I visit Varosha? Ruin porn holds no appeal for me, as it seems to for many photographers and artists. Nor am I a sci-fi aficionado keen to explore the ravages of, say, a nuclear disaster. My concerns were a bit different. As a globally curious journalist who reports on conflict, I wanted to understand how fault lines in a country could lead to a self-destructive lockdown of a town for 45 odd years by an occupation army. Why was it kept this way? Could this happen elsewhere?

I have not been unfamiliar with Cypruss standoff with Turkey. The country was brutally partitioned right down the middle. Nicosias main market, Ledra Street, remains split. I was in Nicosia when this street, also known to be the hunting ground of snipers, was reopened in 2008 after 34 years.

Travelling to Famagusta requires a detour through Aiya Napa, the new Ibiza, a beach haven for the young and restless. The old port is not far from the checkpoint one has to negotiate to cross over to the Turkish side. As the European Union does not recognize this port, its cargo is mostly destined for Turkey. A short distance away from the Famagusta wall, a legacy of the Venetian occupation of this city in the middle ages, is Varosha. Its high-rise buildings, though decrepit, can be seen from a distance. As one approaches, the enormity of Turkish occupation is starkly visible. Barbed wire, corrugated iron sheets, accompanied by notices in English, Greek and Turkish warn people from entering or even taking photographs. Though it is possible to get close to the famous Palm Beach Hotel, and look at hollowed out buildings, one can only imagine what must have happened to the posh interiors after the Turkish attack.

I try to take an open road into the forbidden zone, but an angry-looking guard stops my car and tells me to turn back. Going around the fenced-off Varosha, it is possible to see inside the wind-battered houses whose occupants left in a tearing hurry, hoping to return, but never could. There are miles and miles of ruins, telling a story with multiple interpretations. Is it how nature will reclaim our highly urbanized world? Pictures taken by Paul Dobraszczsyk are a testimony that the town was unprepared for war or a sudden evacuation. There are garages full of new cars, household cupboards full of clothesall left behind, never to be recovered.

Many Cypriots wait for the day when they can reclaim their memories and properties in Varosha. The Turkish Cypriot government wants to use the threat to unilaterally build Varosha to negotiate settlement with Greek Cypriots. Even if the Turks get Varosha, it would have to be pulled down and rebuilt as a bi-communal settlement where they can live together with Greeks. Would politics allow that?

Sanjay Kapoor is the editor of Hardnews magazine and writes on foreign policy

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Opinion | A ghost towns testimony to the trauma of partition - Livemint

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Indulging In Luxury Hedonism On The White Island, At BLESS Hotel Ibiza – – The Luxury Editor

Posted: October 24, 2019 at 10:50 am

The white island is no stranger to decadence. Yet now sophisticated pleasure-seekers visiting Ibiza have a new kind of luxury hedonism, thanks to the unique hospitality style of the recently opened BLESS Hotel Ibiza, writes Andrew Forbes.

BLESS Hotel Ibiza brings together curated elements for a hedonistic white island experience. Think spectacular infinite pools; a breath-taking beach-club style roof-top bar; destination gourmet dining; cool DJ sets, theatrical performers and live entertainment; a full-service spa; and indulgent guest rooms and suites that invite stylish selfies and envy-inducing instagrams.

I was wowed by BLESS Ibiza

Im just back from an early autumn break in Ibiza and Ive been totally wowed by BLESS Ibiza. As Northern Europe braces for cold fronts, the sun continues to shine in the Mediterranean it was the most spectacular few days of sun, great food, stylish accommodation and superb hospitality.

The second property of BLESS Collection Hotels, BLESS Hotel Ibiza brings a hip Mediterranean sparkle to this new upscale lifestyle brand, following the opening earlier this year of the flagship BLESS Hotel Madrid Hotel (you can read about my delicious experience at BLESS Hotel Madrid here).

The property opened for the 2019 season and has been totally remodelled when it was acquired by BLESS Collection Hotels. The style is contemporary, with plenty of bold, original and architectural features and elegant details. The design makes the most of the hotels size, with striking double height spaces which add a real scale to the black and white interiors, with accents of pale pink, turquoise and yellow.

Outside the terraces, water gardens and swimming pools really have the wow factor with infinite pools that drawing the eye to the Mediterranean and the horizon. There is also a stylish area furnished with large daybeds, where you can walk on fine sand and relax in the shade of palms. A path leads to the public sandy cove.

The Ibiza hotel is a resort style property, found on the relaxed beach of Cala Nova. The place felt to me to be designed as the ultimate hotel for Ibiza pleasure-seekers who also want style, refinement and just the right balance between that holiday good-time feeling and pampering tranquillity. It wasnt formal yet it wasnt loud party style either the sophisticated balance was ideal.

The Balearics, the jewels of the Mediterranean, are a pine-covered archipelago east of Spains Valencian coast. Each island has its distinct identity and style; from the sleepy rural charm of Menorca; the mature refinement of Mallorca; and the laid-back, barefoot luxury of Ibiza & Formentera.

laid-back, barefoot luxury

Ibiza, a hippy hangout since the 60s, has evolved into a sophisticated destination that combines a world-class music scene, with a bohemian beach culture as well as rural tranquillity.

The islands club scene is renowned, yet Ibiza also has a chilled, laid back feel too. Most of the island is covered in pine forest, with a coast of small coves and bays.

BLESS Hotel Ibiza celebrates this unique island vibe with Palladium Hotels award-winning hospitality. The team was impressive knowledgeable, attentive, friendly and also they were truly passionate about the BLESS Hotel. Chatting with team members in reception, at the bar and in the restaurants, the young professionals would convey their enthusiasm for the property, its new concepts and plans for the 2020 season.

Check-in was faultless. We were given valet-parking, a welcome glass of champagne; then accompanied to the room nd shown the feature and amenites. Later, as we settled in, we received a follow-up phone call to room to check that everything was perfect.

The Guest Experience Team are found in the lobby; a motivated group dedicated to making sure guests make the most of the facilities. Our signature dining was arranged by the team; as well as access to the spa; and invitations to events on the property such as the Opera in the Spa event. The team can also arrange the signature BLESS services such as having a personalised bathology experience.

We stayed in a Deluxe Seaview the terrace was really spacious and certainly had the promised sea views! The room was well-designed with a walk-in dressing room, a superb bar and refreshment area; and a smart galley style bathroom that had all the expected luxury amenities, including luxury shaving kit, hairdryer, straighteners and upscale grooming products. Thought has certainly been put into the space.

The suites are spectacular, so if you really want to push the boat out and be truly hedonistic then there are some tempting sea view suites.

Dining was a real highlight of the stay. Superb gastronomy and professional mixologist at the bar is one of the pillars of the BLESS guest experience. Good food starts from the moment you start your day.

Breakfast

Breakfast is a genuine 5-star experience. Even with high occupancy during our stay out a la carte dishes were prepared and served in a very timely manner and the quality was there. I really enjoyed the Eggs Benedict. Hot plates to order include Full English Breakfast; Spanish classics like churros with hot chocolate, or tomato toast; to international favourites like avocado toast with poached egg; and vegan and vegetarian fruit and vegetable bowls.

Ruinart French Champagne added sparkle to the morning

The buffet is very generous with superb cheeses, cold cuts, and fresh fruit. Everything was beautifully presented. Ruinart French Champagne added a lovely touch, as did the sweet treats including macaroons.

The unique BLESS style is evident everywhere including with the live performers greeting guests.

We also opted for the luxury of in-room dining and had breakfast in bed enjoying the seaviews recommended!

There is a comprehensive room service menu; a pool bar; and also the impressive EPIC Infinite Lounge. This is the rooftop bar, dining, pool and sun bed area its a beach club in the sky, with spectacular views. The place is so well designed and truly makes the most of the hotels location.

There are also two signature destination restaurants.

This Atlantic Restaurant brings the kitchen of Mediterranean and Atlantic Andalucia to Ibiza, with a thoroughly modern, creative approach.

This is a stylish, light-filled, contemporary restaurant that uses Josper ovens to really enhance the flavour of fish and seafood. Its one of the restaurants that visitors from across Ibiza come to BLESS to dine, as well as welcoming guests.

Kick the night off with sharing plates of tasty fried seafood, or octopus from the grill. Starters also include salads like the classic Malagueo cod and orange salad; red prawn tartar; or gazpacho. Main dishes are stand out, including world-class tuna caught off the coast of Andalucia and superbly prepared meats.

The memorable highlight was our spectacular dinner at Etxeko Ibiza. BLESS Hotel Ibiza has quite the coup this signature destination restaurant by 10 Michelin star chef Martn Berasategui! Chef Paco Budia has recreated Berasateguis greatest hits in this extraordinary tasting menu that takes you through Berasateguis stellar career.

Highlights included:

Ensalada Lasarte a remarkable salad that dates back to the beginning of his Michelin star career in 2001.

Merluza a la brasa perfectly prepared hake.

An unforgettable deconstructed carbonara.

The palate-cleansing Esencia fra de albahaca con sorbete de lima- basil and lime sorbet.

The fab chocolate pudding Un dulce paisaje otoal

The restaurant is superb stylish; with dark wood, subtle lighting a highlight in brushed gold, creating a sensual space. Amongst the tables, in the heart of the restaurant is a Mediterranean fig tree!

Service was top-notch, with a good balance between attentiveness and privacy and friendly too.

In addition to the Rossano Ferretti salon, theres a fabulous spa. It is unusual is that its s flooded with natural light, from double height floor to ceiling windows. Its a really attractive space and as well as having treatment rooms and a circuit, there is an also a peaceful private sunbathing and relaxing area.

BLESS Hotel Ibiza is about 30 minutes drive from the airport and sits right on the shore, with access to a small sandy cove, nearby beach restaurants and also a small community of shops restaurants and other services such as car rental etc.

We have included BLESS Hotel in our guide to the best luxury hotels in Ibiza

BLESS HOTEL IBIZAAddress. Cala Nova, 07849 ES CANAR, IBIZAEmail: reservations@blesscollectionhotels.comTel: +34 971 33 03 00Web: http://www.blesscollectionhotels.com/es/ibiza/bless-hotel-ibiza

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Indulging In Luxury Hedonism On The White Island, At BLESS Hotel Ibiza - - The Luxury Editor

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Want to change careers? Be like the moth who became a butterfly – Quartz

Posted: at 10:50 am

A moth is a perfectly respectable thing to be. These winged insects pollinate plants, inspire funny memes, and rule the night like fluttery little kings, felled only by the devilry of porch lights masquerading as the moon.

But millions of years ago, one group of moths got tired of the night shift. And so they split off from the crowd and became butterflies, flapping to and fro in the sunshine and exchanging their earth-toned color palette for a vibrant array of wing colors.

Its a classic story, perhaps familiar to anyone who has made a successful career changeand a reminder that its never too late to turn over a new leaf (or to eat one, if you are a caterpillar). But what made the moths seek a different life for themselves in the first place?

Biologists have long hypothesized that the evolutionary transformation within the species lepidoptera could be traced back to the moths understandable desire to avoid getting eaten by nocturnal bats. But a new study, published in the journal PNAS, offers up a different explanation: Butterflies evolved not to escape crafty echolocating bats, but to optimize their schedules so as to take better advantage of the sweet, sweet nectar of flowering plants.

The researchers behind the study, led by University of Florida professor and entomologist Akito Kawahara, ruled out the bat hypothesis after their analysis of lepidopteras protein-coding genes and fossils showed that the first butterflies emerged about 98 million years ago. That didnt match up with the evolutionary debut of echolocating bats, roughly 50 million years ago. So they went searching for another explanation.

Summarizing the studys findings in the New York Times, science writer Nicholas Wade explains:

The most likely agent of natural selection was the nectar being produced by the many new species of flowering plants, Dr. Kawaharas team believes. Bees evolved some 125 million years ago, and the plants produced nectar to secure them as pollinators. Because moths had already developed strawlike mouthparts, one group was able to exploit the novel food source, and evolved into butterflies. They switched their flying hours from night to day, Dr. Kawahara said, because nectar is more generally available during the day, when flowers are open.

Living in daylight, the butterflies exchanged the drab, brown livery of many nighttime moths for a rich palette of colors, useful for broadcasting amatory signals to mates and warnings of toxicity to predators.

There you have it: One gang of moths just wanted to spend more time eating the good stuff, and who can blame them? But the study isnt just about the pleasures of hedonism. It also doubles as a helpful life lesson for anyone whos weighing a new professional pursuit.

When were less than satisfied with a job, its easy to think, as the moths surely did, I must get away from these terrible bats. Maybe your personal bats take the form of a micromanaging boss, or 12-hour workdays, or a prevailing sense of purposelessness.

Its important to pay attention to such negative feelings, as theyre often a clear sign that its time to make a change. But your bats are not necessarily helpful motivation when it comes to figuring out what, exactly, to do next.

Instead, its much more productive to focus on what we want to be moving toward. Take the example of former US first lady Michelle Obama, who left the law firm Sidley Austin, and traditional law firms in general, early in her career. Responding to a question on Goodreads, she writes: I was sitting in a sky-rise office, doing legal work that wasnt fulfilling to me, and I couldnt help but ask whats it all for? If theres some part of you thats questioning your career, its important to listen to that. Our hearts sometimes know ourselves better than our minds do. For me, that meant pursuing a life of public service a path Ive been able to maintain since that major swerve.

Obamas transformation began with the realization that she didnt find her work meaningful. But the crucial thing that moved her career forward was the revelation that public service was what could provide her with the sense of purpose she craved.

For those who are still in the bat-fleeing stage of thinking, Columbia Business School professor Sheena Iyengar recommends that people mulling a new career direction ask themselves three questions: What can I do better than others? What problems do I want to solve? How do I want to be known? These queries can help us narrow down our options and focus on the pursuit of things we actually enjoy.

And as the story of the ancient moths shows, when we focus on the nectar we wish to slurp, evolution is sure to follow.

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Want to change careers? Be like the moth who became a butterfly - Quartz

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BWW Review: THE BALTIMORE WALTZ Is a Whimsical Journey Through Grief, Via Europe, at Profile Theatre – Broadway World

Posted: at 10:50 am

When I read that Paula Vogel's THE BALTIMORE WALTZ was a film noir-inspired comedy about a fictional toilet seat disease that's a stand-in for AIDS, I had no idea what to think. What does that even mean? But on watching the show at Profile Theatre, all I could think was that this bizarre, extravagant fantasy was the only fitting way to deal with a grief too deep to bear. If you need any convincing of the healing power of theatre, this hilarious and heartbreaking production, directed by Josh Hecht, ought to do it.

Vogel wrote THE BALTIMORE WALTZ in the late 1980s following the AIDS-related death of her brother, Carl. Before knowing his diagnosis, she had declined a trip to Europe with him, so after he died, she imagined one.

In the play, Anna, a single elementary school teacher, learns she has contracted Acquired Toilet Disease (ATD), an untreatable malady that's transmitted via toilet seats and mainly affects single female elementary school teachers. Her brother, Carl, hears of a Viennese doctor advocating a highly experimental cure, so the two jet off to Europe, traipsing through Paris, Amsterdam, and Munich on their way to Vienna. The journey is filled with all manner of hedonism -- art, wine, plate-licking good meals, and a ton of hot anonymous sex.

It's a beautiful fantasy, but it's just a fantasy, and as the play progresses reality starts to force its way in. What Vogel does so brilliantly is to open your heart with laughter and then release waves of sadness so small that you hardly notice them until the climax comes and you realize you turned to emotional mush a while ago. At least, that's how it happened for me.

Even with Obie Award-winning material, this play requires an exceptional cast. This is what Profile has in Jen Rowe (Anna), Dan Kitrosser (Carl), and Joshua J. Weinstein (The Third Man, read: all other parts). Rowe is sexy, sassy, worldly, and innocent all at once, while Kitrosser is kind, earnest, and vulnerable. As the drama builds, Weinstein keeps the show firmly rooted in comedy, playing a slew of characters, from a southern TSA agent to a French waiter, a nervous German bellhop, and all of the doctors. Finding the fine balance between tragedy and melodrama is no easy feat, but all of the walk the line confidently.

Final verdict: see this show. See it for the material, see it for the acting, see it for Alan Cline's imaginative projection design, whatever. Just go.

THE BALTIMORE WALTZ runs through November 3. More details and tickets here.

For a non-theatrical take on similar themes, check out The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkhai, a finalist for this year's Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Photo credit: David Kinder

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BWW Review: THE BALTIMORE WALTZ Is a Whimsical Journey Through Grief, Via Europe, at Profile Theatre - Broadway World

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Bishop Arts Theatre Center’s The Wild Party Has Sex, Drugs and a Live Jazz Band – Dallas Observer

Posted: at 10:50 am

The flamboyance and glamour of the 1920s make for an excellent canvas upon which to paint the emptiest side of humanity. Self-obsessed, alcoholic, drug-addicted, highly sexed and violent, the many characters of Andrew Lippas The Wild Party exhibit the oft-romanticized hedonism of the Jazz Era. But while we are happy to watch them onstage, they dont inspire us to be guests at their party. This is a good thing.

This jazzy piece of musical theater focuses on the relationship between two sexually hungry characters. Burrs (Nolan Spinks) is a vaudeville clown who we first see pulling a never-ending handkerchief, not out of his pocket, but straight out of his pants; and Queenie (Kristin Colaneri), who as both her vivid wig and the musicals first song tell us was a blonde. This song shows us how the two lovers meet; the next couple of tunes take us through three years of a relationship that turns verbally and physically abusive.

This is the prologue to the main attraction: Queenie, tired and frustrated by Burrs abuse, plots a massive party at which she plans to deeply embarrass the clown. How else is a woman supposed to get back at an abusive lover?

Although Burrs actions make the audience writhe, Queenies wily acts of retribution cost her any sympathy we may have had for her. She exhibits enough self-determination and sass that we know she can stand up for herself against Burrs and get out of a bad situation. That only makes it worse when she instead vengefully throws herself deeper into their dog-eat-dog relationship.

Even at this early point in the show, nobody in the audience likes Queenie and Burrs. And nor should we: They are perhaps anti-role models, people we despise so much that we would do anything not to be like them.

We would hope, then, that we could turn to some of the other characters for hope. Surely, somewhere among the wild partys guests, there is a character who is good? But no. The company of partygoers include a pair of performers who are definitely lovers and maybe brothers; a proud whore; a prouder lesbian; a loving but totally vapid couple; and, most horrifically, an innocent minor whose innocence slowly drips away throughout the party. No wonder this show is restricted to mature audiences.

Many of these characters wouldnt draw a second glance in todays society, but in the20s, they represented the corrupt of society. We would like to disagree with the social ideals of the 1920s, but with this cast of characters, its rather impossible.

A possible reason none of these characters show even a glimmer of goodness is that they simply dont get enough time onstage. There are so many characters, and each of them contributes a little something to the diverse picture the show paints of just how many ways there are to be a bad person. And because there are so many of them, none of the characters develop beyond their vices.

That being said, many of the actors seize their short time in the spotlight to show off impressive acting or a great voice. Ashley Ragsdales performance as coked-up Kate, who spends much of the play sloppily seducing Burrs, is surprisingly stirring. The character is devoted to being the Life of the Party, an empty dream that she expresses in an upbeat song nonetheless underlain with the desperation and hopelessness of a life spent partying. It takes a certain something to express, primarily, the happy lust of a partygoer, while still layering the performance with the torment of a life dissatisfied on different levels. Ragsdale does just this.

Another character, played by Jason Hallman, has scarcely a role in the plot, and has no lines (when hes introduced, its said that his tongue was cut out) but there is a moment, late in the party as most everyone has fallen asleep, when he dances across the stage wearing nothing but a white shirt glowing in the blue stage lights. His drunken, sightly stumbling (purposefully so, it seems) ballet catches the audience off guard: Perhaps theres something endearing about humanity after all. It is but a quick glimpse at beauty, but an important one.

But why would we want to watch a musical that represents humanity so hopelessly? Why would anybody want to create a piece of theater so sadistic? Maybe Bishop Arts Theatre Center wants to instill their audience with sadness and despair. But given BATCs general mission to lift up the downtrodden rather than push them down further, this work likely means something more. Under the direction of Adam Adolfo, who is also the director of marketing and community engagement at BATC, The Wild Party serves to show a very real aspect of humanity an aspect of humanity that we should want to help.

And BATC offers plenty of opportunities to turn that charitable desire into a reality. They host short conversations after the shows with nonprofits or charities around the area that can both help us realize the reality of what the musical expresses and show us how to help people afflicted in similar ways.

Catch The Wild Partys final weekend onstage Friday-Sunday, Oct. 25-27, and immerse yourself in a glamorous, terrible world of sex, drugs and jazz which also serves as a healthy reminder that you can help fix the real problems you see onstage.

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Bishop Arts Theatre Center's The Wild Party Has Sex, Drugs and a Live Jazz Band - Dallas Observer

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In a trendy Seoul neighborhood, a taste of repressive North Korea – CNN

Posted: at 10:50 am

Seoul (CNN) In a hip neighborhood in Seoul, South Koreans are getting a taste of one of the world's most repressive regimes.

There are posters of smiling North Korean women. There are banners in the style of North Korean propaganda. And there are beers that look like they've come straight from a North Korean state-owned brewery.

Welcome to Pyongyang Pub, Seoul's North Korea-themed watering hole.

Forbidden fruit

With its authoritarian regime and tightly controlled tour groups, North Korea isn't the easiest place in the world to visit. North and South Korea are technically still at war, and for many South Koreans, Pyongyang Pub is as close as they are likely to get to going north of the border themselves.

Here, you can order what regular North Koreans eat, try on traditional hanbok (dresses) that North Koreans wear, and check out household items made in North Korea, including toothpaste, cosmetics and cigarettes.

Although there are other places in Seoul where you can try out North Korean fare, this is the city's first-known restaurant that has tried to turn itself into a little slice of the Hermit Kingdom.

Both the inside and outside the bar are painted mint green, a nod to apartments and buildings in North Korea which are often in pastel colors, according to the owner Kim, who asked not to give his full name as he was concerned about online criticism.

On the other side

But there are little signs that the bar which sits alongside fashionable boutiques and bustling restaurants in the trendy neighborhood of Hongdae isn't exactly like the pubs across the border. Hongdae, a university area next to the city's Han River, is also home to the headquarters of YG Entertainment, one of the biggest K-pop labels.

For a start, the propaganda slogans on Pyongyang Pub swap patriotism for hedonism -- think "more drinks for comrades," "let's bring about a great innovation in the manufacturing of bar snacks," and "let's make a new leap forward in the construction of a drinking powerhouse."

And here, the beer is German -- on closer inspection, the Taedonggang label is only a parody of North Korea's most famous beer. (Eagle-eyed diners will spot that the characters on the bottle are slightly different, swapping "dong" for "ddong," which means "poop").

About two years ago, Kim decided he wanted to bring authentic North Korean food to South Korea. And from the moment people walked in, he wanted it to feel like North Korea -- a place that carries a lot of mystique in South Korea.

He pored over images on social media from people who work in embassies in North Korea, and consulted with North Koreans who had defected to South Korea. He decorated the place with authentic North Korean items that were smuggled out via China.

Shifting rivalries

On the spot where Pyongyang Pub now stands, Kim ran a Japanese restaurant for about seven years. But this year's ongoing trade spat between South Korea and Japan saw sales slip by 50% compared with last year, so Kim closed the restaurant in July and opened his long-planned North Korean bar in its place.

The menu features common North Korean food, such as rice with marinated tofu, sweet rice sundaes and potato rice cakes.

Pyongyang Naengmyeon, a dish of cold noodles on the menu at Pyongyang Pub.

Charlie Miller/CNN

But even before the bar opened, Kim found himself at the center of another controversy.

The law itself is controversial. Used widely while South Korea was under military dictatorship from the 1960s to 1980s, the law was designed to protect South Korea against North Korean propaganda and to prosecute spies. The most serious punishment under the act is the death penalty.

Police from Mapo-gu -- the district where the bar is located -- said that police had decided that the pub wasn't in violation of the act, although that decision wasn't finalized and they were continuing to monitor the situation.

"For it to be a violation, it must have the element of intentionally praising (North Korea's regime or its leader)," a police official told CNN. "However, it was for marketing purposes."

Nevertheless, Kim took steps to make sure his bar didn't cross any lines. He took down the portraits of two former North Korean leaders that hang in every North Korean restaurant, and switched them for pictures of United States President Donald Trump and comedian Kim Gyeong-jin (no relation) pulling silly expressions.

"It is just to induce a laugh. It does not have a deep meaning," he said. "I didn't want the bar to have a serious atmosphere."

Ultimately, Kim said, he didn't open the restaurant to praise North Korea's leaders.

"I just made it so that people could have fun and enjoy," he said.

North Korea-style propaganda at Pyongyang Pub reads: "Welcome, this is Pyongyang Pub."

Charlie Miller/CNN

The talk of the town

Still, Pyongyang Pub's theme -- and its controversial local coverage -- has already attracted curious local customers and a smattering of foreign patrons.

"It has recently become the talk of the town, so I felt like coming at least once," said 27-year-old Byeon Yoon-suk, who works at a beverage company and visited the bar with his colleagues. "I think the interior is most unique ... It's kind of novel."

And many customers were unconcerned about worries the bar could run afoul of the law.

"[The bar] never glorifies North Korea," said Kim Jin-ah, a 45-year-old who hosts a home shopping show on television. "I think you can understand it as just a parody, (something) fun."

And while the place is clearly a novelty, some people said they'd like to come again.

Pyongyang Pub, 6 Wausan-ro 19-gil, Mapo-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea, +82 2-332-3066

Sophie Jeong reported from Seoul and Julia Hollingsworth reported from Hong Kong. CNN's Kim Na-yeong, Shin Jae-eun and Jake Kwon contributed reporting from Seoul.

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In a trendy Seoul neighborhood, a taste of repressive North Korea - CNN

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Louis Tomlinson: Harry Styles on magic mushrooms? I was the sex, drugs and rocknroll one – Metro Newspaper UK

Posted: at 10:50 am

HARRY STYLESS admission about biting the tip of his tongue off during a mushroom trip came as a surprise to Louis as he was always the one being told off for being One Directions tearaway stoner.

Recalling his days of hedonism, Louis proudly boasted he is actually the natural born rebel who has done his fair bit of sex, drugs and rocknroll.

I am not going to lie. I was pretty surprised to see the whole mushroom thing with Harry. I always used to get told off for smoking joints, he said.

But anyway there are some people who want to be known as that guy wild, crazy, whatever there are some people that just are.

Spilling on his own mischief, he added: There was a good year in the band, especially when I had my mates out. I think I did my bit for the pop rock world, shall we call it that. I did me bit.

Meanwhile, Louis had a giggle at his other 1D bandmate Niall Horan, who recently told Guilty Pleasures he was the vanilla one in the band. That is f***ing funny, Louis laughed. Its a very funny thing to admit.

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WhistlePig finishes rye whiskey in umeshu barrels – The Spirits Business

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Vermont-based producer WhistlePig has launched a limited edition 16-year-old rye whiskey finished in umeshu-seasoned barrels, called The Boss Hog: The Samurai Scientist.

The Samurai Scientist is finished in umeshu-seasoned barrels from Japanese brewery Kitaya

WhistlePig partnered with Japanese brewery Kitaya, which produces sak, shochu and umeshu, to create the limited edition offering. Kitaya is located near Yame City in the Fukuoka Prefecture of Kyushu Island.

It is the sixth edition in WhistlePigs Boss Hog range, which includes expressions aged in a variety of casks such as Scotch and Calvados apple brandy.

The rye whiskey was finished in barrels that contained Saikoo, a uniquely traditional umeshu aged for 11 years.

With umeshu being an intensely aromatic spirit, it does not take long to impart deeply complex flavours, said Pete Lynch, master blender of WhistlePig.

Each barrel of The Samurai Scientist is bottled at proof. Only 90 barrels exist and each bottle notes the barrel number and proof, ranging between 120-122.

The whiskey was distilled in Canada using koji fermentation and was bottled by hand on the WhistlePig Farm in Shoreham.

The new expression is said to be powerfully complex and distinctly unique from anything WhistlePig has introduced before.

The whiskey is named after Japanese chemist Jkichi Takamine, who introduced koji fermentation to the American whiskey industry in the 19th century.

It was an honour to work alongside the team at Kitaya to bring this collaboration to life in the form of the first American whiskey finished in Japanese umeshu barrels, added Jeff Kozak, CEO, WhistlePig.

With the introduction of The Samurai Scientist, WhistlePig continues to pave the way for innovation across the rye category.

Distinctly unique

In November 2018, the industry mourned the loss of WhistlePig master distiller Dave Pickerell, who died in San Francisco.

Dave Pickerell committed to five promises for The Boss Hog, including being distinctly unique from anything weve done before, Kozak continued.

He had a thirst for exploring and trialling techniques from around the world, and Takamine was likeminded in propelling whiskey innovation across continents. This vision continues to drive us to explore beyond the limits of American whiskey.

On the nose, the expression is intensely aromatic, with cinnamon, maple syrup and toasted marshmallow. The palate brings bold notes of tobacco, ginger baking spices and savoury umami. The addition of a few drops of water reveals rye spice, oak char and vanilla.

The bottle comes with a pewter stopper representing Takamines heritage and contributions to the chemistry industry.

Bottled at 60-61% ABV, The Samurai Scientist is available in premium alcohol stores, bars and restaurants in the US, with select international markets to follow in the coming weeks.

The whiskey will launch in the UK on 1 December and will be available from The Whisky Exchange, Master of Malt and Hedonism Wines with an RRP of 600 (US$772).

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