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2015: the Year Ahead

What to see, what to do and where to go


Wish Rocky Mountain National Park a very happy 100th birthday

January 26, 2015

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park may not have the name recognition of Yellowstone, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, but with its postcard-perfect mountain vistas (photo: Todd Korol/Aurora Photos) and diverse wildlife, there’s no wonder it ranks among the 10 most visited national parks in the U.S. There’s no better time to get to know the Rockies than during the park’s centennial celebrations, which mark the anniversary of its founding on January 26, 1915. Here, some vital stats.

6 Rank among the most visited U.S. national parks in 2013

9 Rank among the oldest U.S. national parks

350 Miles of hiking trails

450 Miles of streams

150 Lakes within the park

415 Square miles of national park land

14,259 Elevation, in feet, of the park’s tallest mountain, Longs Peak

78 Number of peaks over 12,000 feet in the park

12,183 Highest elevation, in feet, of the park’s Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuously paved road in the country

23 Amount, in feet, of snow that covered Trail Ridge Road after a 2011 snowfall

365 Days of the year that the park is open



Explore the future of food at the Milan Expo 2015

April 1–November 1, 2015

With the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” this year’s World’s Fair looks at the future of food. Italy’s industrial capital may be better known for fashion, but Milan has been the heart of Italian cuisine in the northern region of Lombardy for centuries—think risotto, polenta and hearty soups, but be sure to save room. With 144 countries represented, there will be plenty of food for thought—as well as consumption. Below, four stops you shouldn’t miss. (Image courtesy of Milan Expo)

1. Arts & Foods Exhibition
Curated by Italian art historian Germano Celant, Arts & Foods will be held at the Triennale in Milan from April 1 to November 1. Sprawling over 75,000 square feet of interior and exterior space, the show is a feast for the eyes, with each work exploring the link between visual art and food.

2. Future food district
Helmed by Carlo Ratti, director of the SENSEable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this sector of the fair imagines the possible impact of new technologies on the food chain. Stop by and explore an interactive supermarket and a smart kitchen.

3. Japan pavilion
Added to UNESCO’s “intangible cultural heritage” listing in 2013, traditional Japanese cuisine is presented here at the Expo as a model for sustainable eating. Sample it for yourself at the pavilion’s food court, where rice, raw fish and other staples will be available.

4. United Kingdom pavilion
This architecturally stunning hive-shaped structure was designed by Nottingham artist Wolfgang Buttress. Conceived as a virtual hive and surrounded by meadows, this immersive space drives home the U.K.’s lofty theme of interconnectivity in the global food economy.



View postwar German art at Kunsthaus Dahlem

June 12, 2015

Few buildings come with as much delicious historical irony as the Kunsthaus Dahlem (photo: Robert Conrad), a gallery dedicated to postwar German modernism. Located at the edge of Berlin’s Grunewald forest, the museum, which opens June 12, occupies the former studio of Adolf Hitler’s official state sculptor, Arno Breker, and will be the only publicly accessible art space from the Nazi era.

When he took power in the 1930s, Hitler waged a war against modern artists, declaring the likes of Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse “degenerates.” In their place, he championed neoclassicists like Breker, whose monumental nudes represented the antithesis of modernist experimentation and the height of the imperial pomp and grandeur to which the Third Reich aspired. After Germany’s defeat, the Allies destroyed 90 percent of Breker’s works, and his atelier became the headquarters of the occupying American forces’ Information Control Division.

Now, some 70 years later, the avant-garde “degenerates” are getting a bit of sweet posthumous revenge. When the museum opens this June, the debut exhibition will feature a number of sculptors, such as Hans Uhlmann and Gerhard Marcks, who were deemed unpatriotic by the Nazi regime and then went on to successful postwar careers.



Explore Renzo Piano’s bright new Whitney Museum

Spring 2015

The Whitney Museum of American Art has always felt a bit out of place. After opening in 1931 in boho Greenwich Village, the institution spent 35 years inching its way uptown, first to West 54th Street in 1954 and then, in 1966, to its longtime home on Madison Avenue at 75th Street, where it languished in the shadow of the Met and the Guggenheim. With its bleeding-edge biennials and envelope-pushing gallery shows, the Whitney became an artists’ art museum—which never exactly translated into getting bodies through the door. This year, the Whitney will see a much-needed reboot, heading back downtown to a sun-drenched new building in the hip Meatpacking District. Steps from the High Line—a wildly popular park built atop an elevated rail line—and the galleries of Chelsea, the Whitney is set to finally re-engage with its avant-garde mission and the downtown art scene that led to its creation. Here, we take a look at the new Whitney, which debuts this spring, and how it stacks up against the museum’s old home.

The Old Whitney

Architect Marcel Breuer, the Hungarian-born, Bauhaus-trained architect and furniture designer known for his avant-garde modernism
Architectural style A hulking Brutalist monument that looks like an upside-down stepped pyramid and is made of granite and cast concrete
Square footage 85,000
Indoor gallery space (sq. ft.) 32,000
Outdoor gallery space (sq. ft.) 2,400
Special feature The bridge over the moat-like sunken sculpture garden, which makes you feel as though you’re entering a fortress of art
Floors Five
Building Cost $1.6 million

The New Whitney

Architect Renzo Piano, the Italian architect known for works like the New York Times Building, the Shard London Bridge and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris
Architectural style A bright and airy glass-and-steel tower with an external staircase that offers views of the Hudson River
Square footage 220,000
Indoor gallery space (sq. ft.) 50,000
Outdoor gallery space (sq. ft.) 13,000
Special feature An 18,000-square-foot special exhibitions space that will rank as the city’s largest column-free museum gallery
Floors Nine
Building Cost $422 million



Remember the lasting legacy of Magna Carta

June 15, 2015

Magna Carta turns 800 this June. To commemorate the occasion, sites across the United Kingdom are turning their attention toward the 13th century, displaying the 1215 originals and working to educate the world on one of the most game-changing sheets of parchment in history. Before you hop a flight across the pond, download Jay Z’s 2013 album Magna Carta Holy Grail, slip on your headphones and contemplate which had a greater impact: the one that signaled the birth of modern democracy or the one with guest vocals by Beyoncé.

Sign Here
And here, and here, and here…

“No town or person shall be forced to build bridges over rivers except those with an ancient obligation to do so.” So says clause 23 of Magna Carta, clarifying the issue of mandatory bridge-building in the Middle Ages. The rest of the document concerns itself with matters that were of equal importance to 13th-century English subjects but have little bearing on citizens of the 21st century.

Luckily, an outfit called the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee has plotted an exhaustive, self-guided tour that provides a more immediate way to experience the world’s most celebrated bundle of calfskin parchment.

The Magna Carta Trails itinerary incorporates cities and towns that played a role in the creation of the document and consists of six distinct journeys spanning the length and breadth of the U.K. Each leg requires at least a couple of days to complete, unless you do it on foot, in which case you should have it wrapped up in about 800 years.

Highlights include London’s Temple Church, where a mob of disgruntled nobles first shook their fists at King John and demanded he stop taking liberties, and Runnymede, where the unhappy monarch eventually agreed to sign on the dotted line.



Celebrate Disneyland’s Big 6-0

July 17, 2015

Theme parks like Disneyland often get a bad rap, dismissed as repositories of mindless artifice. This view doesn’t reflect just how groundbreaking Walt Disney’s creation was when it opened in 1955. Before Walt, amusement parks were raucous, messy, crowded and strictly for kids. Disneyland proved something of a cure-all: a serene slice of Americana, reassuring, nostalgic, perfect for the whole family and impeccably themed, with everything in its proper place.

This year, the Anaheim flagship will observe its birthday with a Diamond Celebration. But perhaps Disneyland’s greatest legacy is the way that its debut forced everyone else in the theme-park world to step up their games, to snap into focus and to always strive for innovation and growth. Think of it as a Cold War arms race of roller coasters. (Photo by Bettmann/CORBIS)



Honor the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination

April 14–15, 2015

JOIN a 24-hour tribute at Ford’s Theatre, which will host a wreath-laying ceremony at 7:22 a.m. on the 15th, when church bells will ring out across D.C. to mark the moment of Lincoln’s death.

EXPLORE the exhibit “Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination,” which features items including his top hat and the contents of his pockets, John Wilkes Booth’s pistol, a program for “Our American Cousin” and orchestral instruments from that fateful evening.

ATTEND “Freedom’s Song,” a musical that incorporates the president’s actual words, plus snippets of letters from Civil War soldiers and those left back home, with a rousing score by Frank Wildhorn, the composer of Broadway hits like “Jekyll & Hyde.”

Image courtsey Library of Congress



Toast The Sound of Music’s 50th anniversary with a roving singalong

March 2, 2015

Rocky Horror fans can keep their theater-bound singalongs. In the freewheeling spirit of Julie Andrews’ nun-turned-nanny-turned-stepmom Maria, we present a citywide musical tour of Salzburg and the surrounding Alpine terrain. Celebrate the movie’s 50th birthday (March 2) with a heaping Salzburger Nockerl (the city’s famed fluffy, lemony soufflé), then make like a von Trapp kid by singing along to the soundtrack at the locations where the classic was filmed.

1 Maria and the von Trapp kids sing “Do-Re-Mi” at the baroque Mirabell Palace and Gardens, which feature the iconic vine tunnel and fanciful gnomes.

2 The nail-bitingly tense music festival scenes were filmed at the old Summer Riding School, which was built in 1639 in the quarry where stone for the cathedral was mined and later became an open-air music venue.

3 Maria gives herself a pep talk (“I Have Confidence”) in Residence Square, where she splashes her hand in the largest baroque fountain outside of Italy.

4 It’s no wonder the nuns who sing “How do you solve a problem like Maria?” are so old-fashioned: Their home, the hilltop Nonnberg Abbey, was founded around 714 and is the oldest convent north of the Alps.

5 “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” makes viewers swoon—even though the serenading Rolfe is a Nazi-in-training. The gazebo where it was set now sits on the grounds of Hellbrunn Palace, south of town.

6 If you’re going to twirl with your arms spread wide, declaring that the hills are alive, they’d better be some spectacular hills. The rousing title song was actually filmed across international borders: The verdant meadow is located in Marktschellenberg, Germany.


Experience Hendrix

Visit the (It’s ABout time!) National Blues museum

May 2015

What do John Goodman and Buddy Guy have in common? Besides having friendly-sounding names, they are both high-profile backers of the National Blues Museum, set to open this May in St. Louis. The new facility bears an unusual distinction, in that it’ll be the first major institution of its kind in the U.S. The hope is it will establish the blues as a bona fide national art form (at last), and emphasize its status as the foundation for jazz, rock, country and everything in between. There will, of course, be many chances to hear the music in interactive exhibits that honor the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Etta James and B.B. King. There will also be an educational branch, with blues used to explore subjects like geography, history and, according to their website, math—as in (we presume): If Muddy Waters says “She’s been gone 24 hours, and that’s 23 hours too long,” how long was Mr. Waters OK with his woman being gone? (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)



Watch the Women’s World Cup
June 6–July 5, 2015

Marta Vieira da Silva
Age 28
Nationality Brazilian
Position Forward
Claim to fame Dubbed “Pele in a skirt,” she was named FIFA World Player of the Year five times in a row, 2006 to 2010
Signature moves Fast, fancy footwork
Quote “We all have obstacles. Thefeeling of satisfaction comes by overcoming something.”

Nadine Angerer
Age 36
Nationality German
Position Goalkeeper
Claim to fame During the 2007 World Cup, she went a record 540 minutes without conceding a goal
Signature moves Saving penalty kicks
Quote “I try to entertain my team-mates, but it doesn’t mean I don’t take responsibility.”

Abby Wambach
Age 34
Nationality American
Position Forward
Claim to fame She holds the world record for most international goals, for both female and male players, at 177
Signature moves Diving headers
Quote “I’ve never scored a goal without getting a pass from someone else.”

Photos from Getty Images


Learn the lingo before the Rugby World Cup

September 18–October 31, 2015

While rugby may look like American football at first glance, its many rules and terms can be as bewildering as a Cockney accent. So, ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup, which will be held in the U.K. from September 18 to October 31, we’ve assembled a cheat sheet of some of the sport’s lingo, so you can at least sound as if you know what you’re talking about.

ruck (rƏk) noun A mass of players swarms a free ball and each tries to gain possession by kicking it to a teammate.

scrum (skrƏm) noun A way of restarting a game after a stoppage in play. The eight forwards from one team push against the eight forwards from the opposing team, and the ball is thrown in the middle, whereupon everyone tries to gain possession by frantically kicking one another.

try (trī) noun Similar to a rushing touchdown in American football, a try is scored when a player crosses the opponent’s goal line. In rugby, however, the victory dance is saved until after the ball touches the ground.

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