Sunday, June 28, 2009

Flickr Slideshow: Banksy Versus Bristol Museum

"This is the first show I've ever done where taxpayers' money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off," Banksy was quoted by the BBC as saying. "This show is my vision of the future." (Reuters, June 12, 2009)

When I first heard Banksy would be exhibiting his work in Bristol, I knew I'd find a way to get there. This opportunity does not come along too often, and for me to be living in England when it did, I knew I had to make it happen.

The National Express Coach (£18 return ticket) from London to Bristol took 2.5 hours, the (uphill) walk from the bus station to Bristol Museum took approximately 20 minutes, and the queue to get inside the exhibit was one hour! It was worth the trip, no doubt! The exhibit is FREE -- a great way to bring some business to Bristol and showcase the city as a funky, hip destination.

Banksy's work is brilliant. He conveys such strong controversial messaging using the simplest images.

"Banksy, who is rumored to hail from the Bristol area, but has never revealed his full identity due to ongoing legal complications, is mounting the show as a salute to the city, which supported his early street career," according to a PR company representing Banksy, which it said came directly from the artist, explaining why he was staging the show in Bristol.

These are three of my favorite displays. The Chicken McNuggets and fish sticks are creepy --- you can bet I won't be eating them any time soon!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution at the Barbican: Free Musical Performances

La Habana. Photo: Petra Richterova ©2007.

If you enjoy sipping Cuban rum, listening to Cuba's hottest musical talent, and watching troupes dance to invigorating drum beats, you won't want to miss out on Havana-Cultura, a series of musical events celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution. Havana-Cultura will be hosted at London's famous Barbican Centre, the largest performing arts centre in Europe!

On Saturday, June 27th, Havana-Cultura will be offering FREE pre-show musical performances by Yoruba Andabo, Changui de Guantanamo, and jazz violinist Omar Puente starting at 2pm.

The ticketed show (£10-20) is a triple bill of Cuba's finest artists, featuring leader of the nueva trova movement singer-songwriter Pablo Milanes, Harold Lopez Nussa, and Son del Tropico. The show begins at 7:30pm.

The FREE stage pre-show performances on Sunday, June 28th will include Son del Tropico, Chacon y su Timba, Charanga del Norte and Leo Duany & Tumbao Tivoli.

And starting at 7:30pm, the ticketed show (£10-20) will showcase Cuba's biggest, funkiest dance orchestra Los Van Van, and Yoruba Andabo, a company of singers, percussionists and dancers performing original West African music styles preserved since the 16th and 17th centuries!

I don't know about you, but just listening to the music by these talented, extraordinary Cuban artists makes me want to shake my bon-bon!

Hope to see you there with a Mojito in hand!!!

Click here for a map of the Barbican Centre located at Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS. Nearest tube stations are Barbican, Moorgate, St Paul's, Bank, Liverpool Street and Mansion House.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Banksy Exhibit: Bristol Museum (June 13th - August 31st)

Check out this trailer for Banksy's Exhibit at Bristol Museum! (See below)

Banksy (Robert Banks) is considered the most provocative and politically controversial graffiti artist of all time, and that's why we love his work so much!

"Banksy's stencils feature striking and humorous images occasionally combined with slogans. The message is usually anti-war, anti-capitalist or anti-establishment. Subjects include rats, monkeys, policemen, soldiers, children, and the elderly." - Wikipedia

The exhibit opened on Saturday, June 13th and will run for 12 weeks ending on August 31st. Admission is free and open from 10am to 5pm every day. Bristol Museum is located at Queen's Road, Bristol BS8 1RL.

Click here for directions.

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Some of his work may be a bit disturbing and upsetting (especially for young children), but his crafty work demands appreciation and praise, whether you agree with his messaging or not.

(Thanks for bringing this up to my attention Juan. Wish you could be here to join me at the exhibit.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No Durian, No Music, No Talking, No Littering, No Jaywalking, No Peeping and No Urinating Allowed in Singapore!

I'm surprised there wasn't a sign for "No Breathing"

I studied abroad at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and remember my first impression of this city/country/island/state was not all too positive.

This "fine" city made front page news for the caning of Michael Fay, an 18-year-old American charged with theft and vandalism. Before leaving to Singapore, we were briefed on the strict rules and policies, i.e. no gum chewing, jaywalking, littering, spitting, etc.

To my surprise, my Singapore experience was amazing! I loved every minute of it and would recommend it to anyone, especially if it's their first time visiting an Asian country. Singapore is an Asian country with strong western cultural influences, i.e. McDonald's and Starbucks available throughout island. Although English is the official language (and language of instruction), many Singaporeans speak Singlish.

So please don't let these signs deter you from visiting Singapore...

Last, but not least....No Studying! (My personal favorite)

Photo Credit

What were we supposed to do if we weren't allowed to study? Trust me, it wasn't difficult to figure out what to do with ourselves, especially since Singapore is central to Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam! Traveling by bus was cheap and convenient!

Check out this video (below) produced by a former colleague from Norway, Kjartan. We both lived in Hall 14 and he was crafty enough to create this wonderful video to share with the rest of the students in the study abroad program!

Wedding: My Favorite 'First Dance' Video

I love it when couples don't take themselves too seriously on their wedding day. I get it, your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, but c'mon, lighten up a little and have some fun. There's no better way to entertain your guests than with a surprise like this (watch video).

The couple in this video show off their dancing skills during their "first dance" to a little bit of Jack Johnson and Michael Jackson --- the perfect combination of romantic music for your fairy tale wedding!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dare to Enter? A Funny Urinal Idea - Sofitel Hotel

Men's Toilet: No Girls Allowed! Unless of course, you're one of these life-sized gals pictured above.

I'll be sure to sneak a peek into Sofitel's men's loo next time I'm in Queenstown NZ! Fun and clever artwork indeed!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Dash of Sriracha to the Rescue!!!

Is there more to English cuisine than fish and chips? Indeed there is. There's sausages and mash, mushy peas, and kidney pies! Now doesn't that just make your mouth water? Not quite.

I don't consider myself a picky eater by any means (trust me, I had to fight with three brothers for food at the dinner table), but I'm just used to food cooked with herbs, spices and a multitude of flavors.

After living in London for a little over a month, I decided to satisfy my craving for Chinese food by ordering take-away from a local Chinese restaurant. I requested for some hot chili sauce and not only was I charged £1, but I received a small plastic container filled with hot chili OIL?! Not what I had in mind at all. I expressed my utter disappointment to Nick and we were suddenly on a mission to secure a bottle of Sriracha, also known as Rooster Sauce. Sriracha is the ultimate hot sauce that my family uses on EVERYTHING from pho and chow fun to pizzas and pate! Growing up in San Diego, a city with a large Asian community, Sriracha was readily available at restaurants and supermarkets. In London, it's a bit trickier to find.

Luckily for me, a new international supermarket opened right around the corner just last week. We walked down aisle after aisle in search of Sriracha and came across a similar looking bottle with "Sriracha" printed across the top. We were a bit puzzled because the cap was yellow (it's supposed to be green) and there wasn't an image of a rooster on the bottle, instead it was an image of a Thai Buddha. Had the product been rebranded? Is this the same thing? We decided to purchase the hot chili sauce and give it a shot.

As soon as we returned home from the supermarket, we put the chili sauce to the test! We cooked Swedish meatballs and dipped them in Sriracha sauce. Our eyes lit up and we both smiled, knowing we would never eat without it again!

Although this may not be the original Sriracha brand that my family enjoyed throughout the years, it will have to hold me down for a couple months until I return to San Diego and stock up on bottles of the original hot chili sauce!

It's been six days since we purchased the bottle, and so far we have used it on french fries, chips, pizza, sausages, tuna, sandwiches, pate and eggs!!!

If you happen to be a fan of Sriracha, check out their Facebook Fan Page and join the discussion! What other foods have you tried with it?