This weekend: A stitch in time in Lincoln, Nebr.
Quilts were once left to gather cobwebs on guest beds in people's houses. But today they're increasingly the star attractions at many museums, vying for the spotlight with other objects. Quiltmaking is being recognized, at last, as an art in its own right.
Today's shows, exhibits, and festivals that celebrate the best quiltmakers are part of a broader trend. The number of quilt-makers in the U.S. has doubled in the past decade, reports the Wall Street Journal. The reason? New tools make quilt-making easier than ever.
With 3,000 quilts (forming the largest publicly held collection in the world), the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Nebr., has exhibits and educational workshops yearround.
One such exhibit, "A Fairyland of Fabrics: The Victorian Crazy Quilt" is debuting this Friday. The special collection features 19 one-of-a-kind quilts from the Victorian era, the late 1800s and early 1900s. Lovingly called "Crazies," the quilts were made using irregular shapes and patterns with all sorts of different materials and textiles—things as varied as cigar ribbons, silk taffeta, and even shells. The resulting look is random, a clever deceit, as each quilt actually has a intricate design. In their time, the quilts were seen as the epitome of sophistication.
In addition to the new exhibit, which runs through October 25, the museum also has a display of quilts from 1870 to 1940, or the "modern age." Quilts, like other art, often reflect the sentiments of the time, and the ones in this exhibit display blocky, rigid patterns and characteristics of the colonial style.
The museum also hosts free guided tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11 a.m., including this Saturday.
33rd and Holdrege streets, Lincoln, Neb. Admission is $5; parking is free. Call 402/472-6549 or visit quiltstudy.org for more information.
Paris's best outdoor film festival: A guide
I firmly believe that Cinéma en Plein Air—one of the city's many free summer festivals—is one of Paris's Top 10 Free Events in July. I'm such a fan that I want to nudge twice and tell you how to make the most of this fun occasion. Step 1: Choose your film. More power to those who speak French. They'll have access to the full program. But don't worry if you don't! There are a number of excellent English-language films on offer, including: Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg) July 21 Into the Wild (Sean Penn) July 25 Scarecrow (Jerry Schatzberg) July 28 Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmush) July 31 Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee) August 1 Mulholland Drive (David Lynch) August 4 Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton) August 6 The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (Tommy Lee Jones) August 8 In this World (Michael Winterbottom) August 13 About Schmidt (Alexander Payne) August 14 Amistad (Steven Spielberg) August 15 Step 2: Assemble your basket. For many, these films are little more the pretext for a picnic. I like to pick up fruit and wine from the small shops on the rue Eugène Jumin (near the eastern entrance of the Parc de la Villette). There's also a good Monop' at the corner of this street and the avenue Jean Jaurès. You'll find rows of ice cold rosé, along with cheese, sandwiches, salads, chips, sweets, and other snacking essentials. For the truly lazy, there's a McDonald's just outside the park and a kiosk with snacks and drinks inside. Step 3: Strap on a strampontin. There's no admission fee to see the film, but you'll have to fork over €6.50 for the optional strampotin (lawn chair) and blanket. Save money by bringing your own blanket, but be warned that the temperature drops after sunset. Step 4: Plan your exit. Depending on the time of sundown (a bit after 10 p.m.) and the length of the film, some showings will last well past midnight. The Paris Métro stops running south from this point around 12:30 a.m. on weeknights (Friday/Saturday are an hour later). If your film runs later, you may be facing a long walk or a cab ride home. Those opting for a cab should leave the park a few minutes early if they hope to hail one before the hordes arrive. The Cinéma en Plein Air festival runs every night at sundown from July 15 to August 15 (Parc de la Villette, 211 avenue Jean Jaurès, 19th arrondissement). Entry is free.
Worth reading: The building formerly known as Sears Tower
A few of our favorite links from around the 'net this week. With name change, Sears Tower—and Chicago—is losing a sense of identity. [Chicago Tribune] Get inspired: 12 great summer vacation movies. [World Hum] Voluntouring like Angelina in Africa. [The Faster Times] 10 gadgets to make your road trip more enjoyable. [Gadling] Sneak peek: The World of Color water show at Disney's California Adventure, coming in 2010. [LA Times] Visit Harry Potter's favorite haunts in London. [Jaunted] Unesco's World Heritage list gets 13 more entries, including two natural sites. [The New York Times] For more travel blogs, go to Alltop.
Paris pizza buzz: Pink Flamingo
My love for this quirky outfit lies dormant during the cold months, then gushes anew when the weather is warm enough to eat outside. There is a dining room at the Pink Flamingo to serve you during the dark months, but the real draw is their delivery along the banks of the Canal Saint Martin. On summer evenings, both sides of this curving canal are lined with lively picnic parties. I used to bring my own basket, but haven't done that once since discovering "the Pink." And judging by the number of balloons that are dotting the banks these days, I'm not alone. So what's with the balloon? Well, they give you one in exchange for your order, then use it to locate your group for delivery. There's something very cheery about walking in the footsteps of Amélie with a helium balloon tied to your wrist. While devouring a pizza, stand next to the footbridge from which the heroine of Amélie skipped her stones. The Menu Kooky names and inventive combos are part of the program at the Pink. "La Basquiat" is topped with gorgonzola, fig, and cured ham from the Auvergne. "Le Che" features marinated Cuban pork and fried plantains. "La Dante" is surprisingly tame with fresh basil, fresh tomatoes, and mozzarella. Whatever the topping, you can be assured of a thin crust made with organic flour and sel de Guérande (fancy salt). The Bill Prices range from €10.50–16 ($14–22) and each pizza can easily feed two. Bottles of wine (with plastic cups for takeaway) range from about €13–20 ($18–25), but you could save money with a cheaper bottle from the Franprix grocery along the Canal (108 quai de Jemmapes). The Buzz The artists of IVY Paris have long been hosting their "hipnics" with Pink Flamingo pizza. French guide Le Fooding loves it, too, even though they think the name sounds like a strip parlor. Food blogger Adrian Moore is a fan of the "Ho Chi Ming" pizza (chicken, shrimp, coconut, lemongrass, and crushed peanuts) and the organic beer. And the cutesy My Little Paris site has even rendered the "flying pizzas" in watercolor. The Coordinates 67 rue Bichat, 10th arrondissement, 011-33/1-42-02-31-70, Métro Jacques Bonsergent. Closed Monday. A second Paris location has just opened in the Marais at 105, rue Vieille du Temple, 3rd arrondissement, 011-33/1-42-71-28-20, Métro Saint-Sébastian-Froissart. Closed Monday. CLICKABLES Slimming down the lunch bill at Paris restaurants 10 top Paris food blogs Paris bistro buzz: Frenchie
Photos of Rome's street artists
Creative expression in Rome isn't limited to museums and churches. It's out in the open, if you know what to look for and where. We sent photoblogger Jessica Stewart out to capture street art's various incarnations—stencils, graffiti, chalk drawings, even break-dancing. Check out the results in our slide show. Stewart moved to Rome four years ago, after completing degrees in art history and Renaissance studies, and began posting at RomePhotoBlog. Her photographs are on display through July 31 at Al Vino Al Vino (via dei Serpenti 19) and will be included in a show at Hobo Art Club (via Ascoli Piceno 3), September 11-25. I chatted with Stewart over pizza at Il Maratoneta in Rome's San Lorenzo neighborhood this spring and, more recently, traded emails to get her impressions of the evolving street art scene. What sparked your interest in street art, and when did you start photographing it? I'd always noticed stencils and posters around in the city, but my real interest started in February when shooting a series on San Lorenzo for my blog. It's an area where a lot of street artists work and afterward I noticed it became a strong theme for that shoot. From then I've been doing more and have gotten a chance to get to know many of the artists, which makes it all the more interesting. Where can tourists go to spot street art while in Rome, and what should they be looking for? All the artists I know are quite respectful of the city, so you won't be finding anything pasted up on the Colosseum—you need to go a bit off the beaten path. The neighborhoods of Trastevere, Pigneto, and San Lorenzo are all good bets for finding street art. Ostiense has some nice stuff as well, especially near the Garbatella metro station where there are many interesting painted murals, and the Jewish Ghetto has work by Sten and Lex, as well as stencils by the French artists C215. For tiny touches, check out the backs of street signs and bus stops, where many artists will place small stickers. Just keep your eyes peeled, as once you start looking you'll find examples everywhere. Now my friends (many of whom have lived here for years or are Romans) are seeing street art everywhere for the first time. It's been under their nose the whole time, but they hadn't noticed until someone pointed it out. How does street art in Rome compare with that of hubs like London, Berlin, or L.A.? What makes it uniquely Roman? I think that Rome street art is still very unknown, even in the city itself, and hasn't gotten nearly as commercial as in a lot of cities. A very small number of artists are making a name for themselves internationally already, but most are still emerging, which is really exciting. And I think the city is just starting to come around, with more events being organized and the founding of the gallery MondoPop, which features a lot of street artists, right near the Spanish Steps has brought even more legitimacy to the scene. As far as what makes it very Roman, I think you'll see a lot of pieces influenced by classic art, religion, and politics. Rome has centuries worth of masterpieces. How do you think that legacy rubs off on street artists? The influence is more obvious with some than others. The artist Lucamaleonte studied restoration here in Rome, and his pieces always remind me of the engravings or etchings of Albrecht Durer or Rembrandt. Mr. Klevra and Omino71's Byzantine-style Madonna and Child icons are other example of pieces that are influenced by the surroundings. But at the same time, I don't want to say that this is what every artist is looking at. Many, I think, subtly pay homage to Roman history, such as the Hogre stencil that with a date written on a beer bottle gives a nod to Allied bombings here in Rome in the 1940s. More often than not, however, I think people are creating their own styles. Artists have always commented on politics, religion, etc., so I think that isn't anything new. What I do think is that all the artists respect the city and are striving to express themselves outside of the established norms. How long has the Rome scene been around, is it changing, and what sort of community is there? As I understand it, around 2002, a small group began working more on stencils and posters. From there, the movement has grown, and I'm always struck by the diversity and talent I see here. There's a strong community of artists that has grown up around certain events and locations. The centro sociale Strike near Stazione Tiburtina is one haven, and certainly MondoPop's exhibits have brought people together, as well as the Stick My World exhibitions (begun by artist Omino71) that have given Roman artists more chances to work together. Some, like Sten, Lex, and Lucamaleonte work in a collective studio, while others often will go out together and paste up posters or work together on pieces. Do you have a favorite artist? I don't really have one absolute favorite, so if you don't mind, I'll give you a list of some favorites (in no particular order!). UNO, Hogre, 999, #, Lucamaleonte, Sten and Lex, Mr. Klevra, Omino71, Alice', Sone, Urka, and [X]. All completely different, but all very interesting and talented in their own ways. Most don't have websites, but almost everyone has an account on Flickr, which you should be able to find easily.