This weekend: New Orleans' other huge party
It's no understatement that this city knows how to party. (After all, there is nothing understated about Mardi Gras.) And this weekend is no exception, as the French Quarter Festival kicks off for the 26th time.
The three-day festival boasts 150 live music performances, 450 musicians, 18 stages, and 60 booths for food and drink, all with a block-party atmosphere as people stroll around the French Quarter. New this year is the "Louis-Louis Pavilion Stage" along the riverfront, named for native sons Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima. (The Zydepunks, among other acts, will play there). Most of the performers are locals, and there's going to be a show for every tastejass, salsa, gospel, Cajun, funk, and so on.
Oh yeah, and there's food! Local vendors ranging from Abita beer to The Praline Connection will be serving food and drinks (see full list, with prices, here). New Orleans' art world will be represented, as well, with local artists selling their wares in the French Quarter and in area galleries.
The festival attracted 435,000 visitors last yearthat's quite the block party.
The festival is free; most food items are between $5 and $7. For more information, call 504/522-5730 or go to fqfi.org.
A few good links: Name that tune at the Atlanta airport
Atlanta airport grooving to clean music. Rewritten R&B; classics remind people to keep the airport "opening day fresh." [cnn.com] Gay travel: Tourism industry targets those less willing to give up vacations. Marketers are looking for a share of "pink money." [Chicago Tribune] Fossils await researchers at Page Museum. Start digging a new parking lot, and you might find fossils; this set will most likely double one museum's collection. [L.A. Metblog] Florence Tip: Bardini Museum re-opens! A must-see for any Renaissance art lover is finally back. [EuroCheapo] Paris 'catastrophe' means hotel prices are falling. The city's hotel occupancies are down by 10 percent, which could save you money if you're looking to go. [HotelChatter] For more travel blogs, go to Alltop.
Affordable Paris: Museums for free
Paris museums house some of the best collections in the world, but they aren't cheap dates. Entry to the Musée d'Orsay costs 8€ ($11.50), the great Louvre is 9€ ($12), and the Centre Pompidou is 12€ ($16). These admission fees can add up if you're planning to visit more than one museum, and especially if you're paying for a whole family. But there's good news: About 22 museums offer free entry every day. And the French government also subsidizes free days and nights at an even longer list of attractions. A complete rundown of these cultural freebies can be found at the Parisinfo website, and some of my favorites are listed below. Free Every Day: Entry to see the permanent collection of these museums is always free. There may be a small charge for temporary exhibitions. • Musée Carnavalet - Histoire de Paris (history of Paris) 23 rue de Sévigné, 3rd arrondissement. • Musée de la Vie Romantique (the Romantic movement, that is) 16 rue Chaptal, 9th arrondissement. • Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (modern art) 11 avenue du Président Wilson, 16th arrondissement. Free Every Wednesday Evening: One of my favorite places, Maison Européenne de la Photographie (better known as MEP), opens its doors every Wednesday night for free. Set in the Marais, the MEP is steps away from some great eating and drinking. 5-7 rue de Fourcy, 4th arrondissement. Free on the First Sunday of Every Month: Major tourist draws like the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou, the Musée d'Orsay, the Quai Branly and the Picasso museum are free on the first Sunday of every month. However, the crowds are so overwhelming that I avoid them on this day. Instead, I like take the first Sunday to explore some of these less-mobbed museum treasures: • Musée national de l'Orangerie (home to the massive Monet water lilies) Jardin des Tuileries, 1st arrondissement. • Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (hunting and nature) 62 rue des Archives, 3rd arrondissement. • Musée national du Moyen Âge (Middle Ages) 6 place Paul Painlevé, 5th arrondissement. • Musée Rodin (The Kiss, the Thinker, and other great sculptures) 79 rue de Varenne, 7th arrondissement MORE Affordable Paris
This weekend: Visit the cow-chip-throwing capital of the world
The annual World Cow Chip Throwing Contest and Cimarron Territory Celebration is a big deal in Beaver, Okla. How big? The town's chamber of commerce proudly displays the cartoon character King Cow Chip on its website. The contest, in which participants compete to see who can throw a cow chip—for those who don't know, that's dried cow dung—the furthest, doesn't occur until next weekend. Yet this weekend has plenty of pre-contest activities to tide you over. In addition to a chili cook-off and craft show on Saturday, there's a 200-mile "Poker Run" motorcycle race, where cyclists go to five checkpoints in order to make a winning poker hand. The whole community will celebrate during the week with store sales, and art show, and a horseshoe throwing contest, all leading up to the main event next weekend. The longest throw recorded in 40 years happened in 2001, when Robby Deevers tossed the chip more than 185 feet. Thinking of trying your hand? There's still time to sign up—we suggest the Frisbee-throwing technique, a favorite among competitors. The weeklong celebration recognizes early pioneers of the Beaver area, along Oklahoma's skinny strip between Kansas and Texas. Cow chips were a fantastic source of fuel for these settlers, who used them to make fires for food and warmth. Call 580/625-4726 for more info. The event is free to watch; to participate in the contest, you must fill out an application and pay a $20 fee (winners receive an engraved trophy and eternal fame).
Gear: Flight 001 has a 30 percent off sale online and in store
Flight 001 is turning 10 next week, and to celebrate, the travel gear company is knocking 30 percent off all in-store and online purchases between Apr. 14 and 19. Use promo code BIRTHDAY to save on everything from luggage and toiletry bags to games and guidebooks. The discount applies to both regularly priced and sale items, but not cosmetics. Items include on-board amenity kits, games, luggage, noise-canceling earphones, and other stylish, streamlined goods to make traveling more bearable. Here are some sample deals: The Gorillapod, which one of our readers recently reviewed, is normally $25 and now costs $17.50 with this discount. The Go Games Checkers set, already marked down from $12 to $6, is $4.20. Bonus: If you stop by any of the seven U.S. stores from Apr. 14 to 19, you can also enter a raffle for prizes, which will include freebies from the company’s SpacePak and Go Clean lines. One drawing in each store takes place on Sunday April 19, except the New York City stores which will have drawings throughout that weekend. All you need to do is come in and sign up. No purchase necessary. No entry online, only in store.