Books

Bookmarks: Travel + Leisure's Unexpected France

Lara Killian

Travel + Leisure's Unexpected France
Nancy Novogrod (Introduction)
DK Publishing
January 2008, 192 pages, $24.95


Sandwiched between commentaries by two former Vogue editors on the fashion inspiration to be found in Paris and Versailles, and a final article on tracing the footsteps of fashion icon Coco Chanel through the capital city is a mesmerizing journey of largely lesser-known parts of France. This beautiful book is comprised of selected articles from Travel + Leisure magazine, and includes helpful itinerary planners in the way of maps and tips on what to see, plus where to eat and stay. For the more adventurous, it is a taking off point; after perusing descriptions of the myriad spectacular villages in the southern Aveyron region, I just want to jump on a plane, rent a car, and wander twisting stone passageways in hillside settlements or dream among ruined monasteries.

The armchair travelers among us can all find something to love in the mouth-watering descriptions of cuisine in various regions, and the photography is wonderful, ranging from close up shots of sumptuous four course meals (as well as rustic country bread) to glamorous chateaux atop misty riverbanks. The range of the collection is excellent, from describing the faded glory of the Ritz to the currently popular roulottes, gypsy wagons where one can spend a cosy evening surrounded by colorful decorations and simple cooking. There are also handy tips on renting a small French cottage and living like a native for a week or two, booking such an economical dream vacation being possible via Internet.

Just when my eyes started to glaze over from the unending glory of descriptions of the French countryside and phenomenal food, an unusual section toward the back of the book details the craftsmanship of 20th century artists in restoring the stained glass windows of churches nationwide. There is an entire guide to contemporary stained glass, laying out a navigable tour of highlights. Widespread desire to restore sacred spaces damaged by WWII has led to some amazing artistic efforts.

Whether you prefer architecture, dining out, museums, or attempting to live as a Frenchman for a week, this volume provides unexpected inspiration for dreams of future travel.

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Culture

Net Neutrality and the Music Ecosystem: Defending the Last Mile

Still from Whiplash (2014) (Photo by Daniel McFadden - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute) (IMDB)

"...when the history books get written about this era, they'll show that the music community recognized the potential impacts and were strong leaders." An interview with Kevin Erickson of Future of Music Coalition.

Last week, the musician Phil Elverum, a.k.a. Mount Eerie, celebrated the fact that his album A Crow Looked at Me had been ranked #3 on the New York Times' Best of 2017 list. You might expect that high praise from the prestigious newspaper would result in a significant spike in album sales. In a tweet, Elverum divulged that since making the list, he'd sold…six. Six copies.

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image