City Reading


Since 2009, StadtLesenor City Reading—has been bringing book-focused experiences each summer to select cities around Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and northern Italy. This year the project created a very neat reading lounge on historic Mozartplatz in the heart of Salzburg’s Altstadt. Residents and tourists alike are invited to hang out, grab a book, enjoy author and celebrity readings, and other cultural events. This summer, StadtLesen has already visited Berlin, Innsbruck, Bregenz, Stuttgart, Vienna, Merano and eight other cities.


StadtLesen 2014 am Salzburger Mozartplatz___


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A Booklover’s Dream


It’s not unusual for bibliophiles to daydream about chucking it all and opening their own bookshop. Now, Airbnb, Scotland’s National Book Town, and The Open Book bookstore are making it possible—if only for a week. Situated in the southwest Scottish village of Wigtown, The Open Book is a small, indie bookshop with a one-bedroom upstairs flat. For the modest fee of £150 per week —with the expectation of daily work in the bookshop—renters get a fully-equipped apartment and the chance to live out a fantasy. Here’s a clip from the Airbnb listing:

The first ever bookshop holiday / residency experience, Scotland’s National Book Town welcomes you to play-bookshop for a week or two. We’ll give you your very own bookshop, and apartment above, supported by a team of friendly volunteers and bookshop sellers to make your trip as lovely as possible. Set up by The Wigtown Festival Company, the bookshop residency’s aim is to celebrate bookshops, encourage education in running independent bookshops and welcome people around the world to Scotland’s National Book Town. The fee for your stay is low because we are a non-profit. It covers the running costs of the holiday but that is all. A laptop and WiFi are provided, plus bicycles for those who like to explore the bucolic countryside on two wheels!

The Open Book, formerly known as the Book Corner, is owned and operated by the Wigtown Festival Company, which runs the annual book festival and organizes marketing for the Book Town’s twenty or so book related businesses. Last year I covered the situation which led to the shop’s take-over and an early scheme to offer bookshop residencies for booksellers in a post called “Welcome to Wigtown”.




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Whoopsie Daisy Indeed


This week, a 12-year-old Taiwanese boy tripped on a museum display and accidently punched a hole in a $1.5 350-year-old painting. Flowers, by Paolo Porpora, is part of a traveling exhibition called “Face of Leonardo: Images of a Genius”. No charges have been filed, yet.



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A Day Without Cars


On September 27,2015, Paris is going car-free (sort of) for one day. Une Journée Sans Voitures , sponsored by the Paris municipal government, will temporarily pedestrianize streets and boulevards in the 1st through 7th and the 10th,11th and 16th arrondissements. The day without cars coincides with the UN COP21 climate conference in Paris.


Tourists will no doubt be delighted to wander the exhaust-free streets—Parisian motorists not so much.Everyone can learn more about the project at this website.

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Go take a hike


Summer may be winding down in the Northern Hemisphere, but there’s still time to get out there and take a hike, spend some time outside, and even pitch a tent. The very cool website Hipcamp —the Airbnb for campers—offers a far-reaching, searchable database of more than 300,000 campsites in the United States. The so called “landsharing” platform now covers all 50 states. Founders Eric Bach and Alyssa Ravasio have greatly expanded Hipcamp’s reach by providing financial incentives and technical help so that property owners can list their land for camping.


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Los Angeles-based artist Charlotte Price created this engaging short film for the renowned Huntington Library in San Marino, California. Here’s what she had to say about the project:

As a filmmaker, I spend many hours examining the world through a lens. When asked to reflect on the collections at The Huntington, I was instantly drawn to the 1665 edition of Micrographia, a seminal work of observations made with the aid of a microscope by the great natural philosopher Robert Hooke. As I subsequently wandered the gardens and collections, I searched for resonances in texture and form, seeking out plants and objects that suggested the exquisite delicacy of the engraved illustrations in Micrographia.

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Harry Potter Underground

Diehard fans of the Wizarding World now have an actual London Underground map detailing the landmarks from JK Rowling’s books with fictional Tube stations—except for King’s Cross and Paddington of course.


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Not so secret, but worth a look anyway

Love Home Swap, a popular home exchange website, analyzed more than 700,000 travel tips from 70,000 site members to create a list of travel recommendations. here’s the result in their “Top 150 Secret Destinations” infographic. Maybe not so secret, but worth a look anyway.



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Welcome to Dismaland


I have never been to the UK seaside resort town of Weston-super-Mare; it’s just not the kind of place that usually attracts foreign visitors. But I’d make an exception to visit Banksy’s new Dismaland “theme park”, which opens today for a six week run. Described as “a festival of art, amusements and entry-level anarchy”, Dismaland inhabits a derelict seafront attraction called Tropicana.


Banksy’s take on an amusement park features 18 fairground-type attractions created by dozens of international artists, such as Jenny Holzer, Polly Morgan, Caitlin Cherry, Damien Hirst, and David Shrigley. Visitors will find fun-filled attractions like a migrant boat ride, “Cinderella’s Castle”, carnival rides, a puppet theater, comedy shows, a program of art films, and music by the likes of Pussy Riot and Massive Attack.






Tickets cots just £3 and the whole shebang runs until September 27, 2015.






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The Twins Take Manhattan


Last August, I was fortunate to show up in Vancouver when the Brazilian street art brother act Os Gemeos was putting finishing touches on a huge installation on Granville Island. So I was thrilled to discover that “The Twins”, Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, have taken over Times Square in Manhattan with a fantastic animated art show utilizing the enormous screen lining the buildings. Running until August 31st, the synchronized production featuring some of Os Gemeos’ most popular “characters” bursts to life every night from 11:57 until midnight.





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