Posts Tagged ‘museum’

Travelogue: taking in the arts in Scottsdale, Arizona

Taliesin West

Taliesin West

When I think of Scottsdale, Arizona, spas, golf and swimming pools come to mind. But now, after having spent some time there, I know that art — in all forms — is just as integral to the city’s identity.

I had the opportunity to visit two of Scottsdale’s cultural centers: the Musical Instrument Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. I would go back to either in a heartbeat. Each was a unique experience that left me wanting more.

The Musical Instrument Museum, which is actually in neighboring Phoenix, houses more than 6,000 instruments from 200 countries and territories. This collection makes for hours of fun education for anyone interested in music and world culture. The upper level is categorized by region of the world, and the lower level features special collections, including an exhibit of self-playing instruments and an experiential gallery. There’s even a concert hall with live performances. Allow at least half a day here. Our two hours were not enough!

Guitar exhibit

Guitar exhibit

Chinese instruments

Chinese instruments

This fall, on Oct. 18 and 19, the museum will host an outdoor, two-day music festival celebrating musical traditions from all over the world, with musical performances, dancers, street performers and food trucks.

We also toured Taliesin West (pictured above), architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s West Coast home, studio and instructional campus. We took the 90-minute tour of the grounds and house that includes a lot of historical information from informed docents who clearly enjoy what they do.

I’ve also heard that the Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-see as well. This fall and winter, from Sept. 28 through Jan. 11, 2015, the museum will house the Donald Rumsfeld-inspired “Covert Operations: Investigating the Unknowns,” an exhibit from 13 international artists based on the idea of expansion of federal power and infringement of constitutional rights in the wake of 9/11. Given Arizona’s Republican leanings, this should be an interesting show.

So next time you’re thinking about taking a trip, especially one within driving distance of Los Angeles (6 hours by car), then consider Scottsdale. You can relax at the spa, play the links and take in some culture.

Note: These visits were hosted.


07 2014

Travelogue: Athens, Greece

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece, at night

The Acropolis in Athens, Greece, at night


So much of what has been in the news about this country lately has been negative — a bad economy, mass demonstrations, worker strikes, general ennui.

But what I experienced in Greece was nothing but nice, accommodating — and proud to be Greek — people, not to mention gorgeous views. Unfortunately, prices weren’t as low as I thought they might be (the euro was worth about a third more than the U.S. dollar). Fortunately, I didn’t encounter any strikes.

Traveling in Greece

Getting from point A to point B in Greece isn’t always a no-brainer. My husband Rory and I needed to go to a wedding in Stoupa, which is south of Kalamata on the Mani peninsula in the Peloponnese region. I thought it would be easy getting from Athens to this area since there’s an international airport in Kalamata, but apparently flights between Athens and Kalamata are inconsistent and not always available. Also, the only port that runs ferries to the Cyclades islands is in Athens.

Because we planned to travel around and because this turned out to be much harder than we thought, we went with Athens-based travel agency Fantasy Travel. Even though it was a bit tough making the plans given the 10 hour time difference between Los Angeles and Athens, the folks at Fantasy Travel took care of everything, including transfers to and from airports, rental car (which was delivered to our hotel!) and hotels. I just gave them my budget, and they made it work.

Staying in Athens

We started our trip in Athens and stayed for about three days at Central Hotel in the Plaka, the old part of the city at the base of the Acropolis with narrow, labyrinthine streets (some streets are so narrow that two cars cannot pass each other; we saw many a car backing up to let the other pass). It took us nearly the whole three days we were there to get our bearings, and we never did find a particular restaurant that supposedly served delicious lamb. But no matter; we had fun exploring!

Keep Reading


08 2013

Travelogue: Memphis, Tennessee


Elvis at Graceland

I recently visited Memphis — you know, that other music town in Tennessee. It’s a little funkier, a little dirtier. But that’s why I like it so much!

Memphis is home to Elvis Presley’s Graceland, Stax Records Museum and Sun Studio, some of the most-storied spots in all American music history. Graceland is…well, Graceland. Stax, considered the Southern equivalent to Motown, produced some of the best in soul music, including Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, and Booker T. and the MG’s. And Sun Studio was where Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison recorded. I’d say Memphis has more than enough of its share of street cred.

I visited all three, and all the tours are fun and totally worth the price of admission.

Keep Reading


11 2012

Coolest museum eatery ever: Ray’s and Stark Bar at LACMA

Ray’s and Stark Bar, now open at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is quite possibly one of the coolest museum restaurants and bars in existence in Los Angeles. Both sit across the expansive patio from the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion at LACMA, and Stark Bar is al fresco, which makes it even cooler. The food and drink are impressive under Executive Chef Kris Morningstar (formerly of The Mercantile and District) and Barsmith Michel Dozois (founder of Névé Luxury Ice). And it’s close to my apartment — score!

Keep Reading

Related Posts with Thumbnails


03 2011