What’s Hot in Western Australia

March 22, 2014 on 9:05 am | In Adventure Travel, Australia, Beachbooker, Cabinweb, Cruise Boats, Dine Drink, Festivals, Golf Resorts, Hotels, Mobile Apps, Museums, Outdoors, Performing Arts, Road Trips, Sailing, Scuba Diving, Spa Resorts, Sports Travel, Surfing Resorts, Webbandstand, Western | Comments Off



WA Taste Master’s adventures on film

WA’s Taste Master Rich Keam has teamed up with expert local guides to help spread the word about Perth’s amazing food and wine. Some of Rich’s culinary journey has been captured on film and features him catching and cooking fresh Rottnest lobster with local restaurateur Kiren Mainwaring, learning the art and history of craft beer making in Fremantle with Feral Brewing Co, exploring Northbridge with Beaufort Street Festival food curator Laura Mosely, and meeting up with local food blogger Whitney Ng. Rich’s journey as Taste Master in WA has come to an end, which saw him travel more than 20,000 kilometres, and visit more than 35 towns and more than 100 restaurants, bars, cafes, wineries, breweries and cider houses.
www.tastewesternaustralia.com

Pop-up dining with native ingredients
Fervor, created by WA siblings Bree and Paul Iskov, is a new and unique dining concept in the form of a travelling pop-up restaurant focusing on freshly foraged ingredients. In February, Fervor will be hosting a series of pop-up dinners around the Margaret River region – in Lake, Jewel and Mammoth Caves, and the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. Guests will be taken on an eight to ten course culinary journey where native ingredients such as paper bark, midjim berry and marron will be transformed into mouth-watering degustation plates. The Fervor concept was fuelled by a passion for native edibles and a deep love and respect for the diverse natural bushland throughout WA, and particularly the Margaret River region.
www.fervor.com.au

New hotel for Fremantle
A new hotel has opened in the port city of Fremantle, which is a 20-minute drive from Perth city. The Hougoumont Hotel officially opened in late November, and offers affordable luxury in a prime location on Bannister Street, a short walk to Fremantle’s ‘cappuccino strip’, and other attractions such as galleries, the Fremantle Markets, Fremantle Prison, gourmet dining, Bathers Beach, The Roundhouse and more. Each room combines luxurious comfort with smart TV’s, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, complimentary wine and Hors d’oeuvre’s for guests each weekday evening, personalised pillow menus, personal trainer on request, onsite parking and more. The hotel also has conference and meeting facilities.
www.hougoumonthotel.com

Lifestyle and culture

Join the pilgrimage to Albany in November 2014
The international spotlight will be on Albany in WA’s South West in November 2014 when the historic and picturesque coastal city hosts the first in a series of commemorative and community events as the curtain raiser to the Anzac Centenary period. To honour the first ANZACs, a significant program of events is planned in Albany between October 30 and November 2, 2014. Albany played a key role in World War One as it was the final departure point for many Australian and New Zealand soldiers. A commemorative event program and community events are planned, along with the official opening of the Anzac Interpretive Centre at the Princess Royal Fortress. Albany is one hour by air from Perth or a four and a half-hour drive and boasts awe-inspiring coastline, stunning landscapes, and abundance of gourmet attractions with cosmopolitan cafes and bars, slow food, markets, wineries, olive oils, and organic produce.
www.anzacalbany.com.au

New art at the Art Gallery of WA
The Art Gallery of WA, located in the Perth Cultural Centre just outside of Perth’s central business district, has opened a new exhibition of contemporary art acquisitions. IMPACT showcases a selection of the acquisitions to the State Art Collection with a focus on video works, together with sculpture, paintings and works on paper. It brings together internationally renowned filmic artists such as Jesper Just, Hale Tenger, Michael Snow and Richard Grayson with Australian artists engaging with sound and moving image aesthetics such as Gabriella and Silvana Mangano, Angelica Mesiti. It coincides with extended opening hours at the Gallery – during February, it will be open until 7pm, to coincide with the Fringe World Festival and the Perth International Arts Festival. Visitors can also take guided tours, see pop-up music performances, or visit the gallery shop and café.
www.artgallery.wa.gov.au

Western Australia to be home to the country’s richest film prize
Western Australia will be home to Australia’s richest film prize next year with film festival CinéfestOZ offering a new $100,000 prize for an Australian feature film as part of its 2014 program. CinéfestOZ started in 2008 to celebrate the South West’s early exploration by the French and the strong film making cultures of both France and Australia. Held in the South West town of Busselton, CinéfestOZ will be held from August 20 to 24, 2014. Visitors can join filmmakers, film stars and film lovers for a five-day cultural adventure with the latest offerings from the Australian film world; a French film selection, and short films, documentaries, community screenings and more.
www.cinefestoz.com

Degrees of Connection exhibition
Renowned West Australian artists Nadeen Lovell and Kimberley Kohan are exhibiting their Degrees of Connection works at Melbourne’s Tacit Gallery from February 26 until March 16. Degrees of Connection reflects the journeys of the two artists as they’ve experienced the world — across continents and time zones, seasons and cultures — being inspired by the windswept plains of Mongolia, the icebergs of the Antarctic and the tropical mystery of Madagascar, but mostly by the rugged majesty of WA’s North West — the Pilbara and the Kimberley.
www.tacitart.com.au

Food and Wine

Perth food festivals in April and May
Next May will be a culinary feast in Perth, as two food and wine festivals happen across the city. The City of Perth will again host its annual month-long food and beverage celebration Eat Drink Perth from April 1 to 30, while Brand Events Australia will facilitate the inaugural Taste of Perth festival from May 1 to 5. Together, the events represent 36 days of food and wine activities
www.VisitPerthCity.com

New chef at Cape Lodge
Michael Elfwing is the new Executive Chef at the multi-award winning Cape Lodge Restaurant, which is located in WA’s Margaret River Wine Region. Hailing from Sweden, Michael has worked for many years with legendary chef Cheong Liew at the celebrated Grange in Adelaide and has also done time at the world-famous Fat Duck restaurant with Heston Blumenthal, as well as at other European Michelin kitchens. Michael was handpicked by Cheong Liew to open his signature restaurant in Kuala Lumpur and has for the past five years been the creative force at Senses restaurant – recently nominated in the prestigious 2013 Pellegrino Top 50 restaurants in Asia. Michael’s culinary training is French and he enjoys molecular gastronomy, foraging and culinary interpretations of his Nordic heritage. Food and wine pairing is also a great passion for Michael who has completed his Professional Sommelier training certificate, and is a strong believer in using fresh local produce and creating seasonal menus that reflect a sense of place. As well as the restaurant, Cape Lodge also features 22 rooms and suites, a private luxury residence, tennis court and swimming pool, set among sprawling, manicured gardens.
www.capelodge.com.au

A taphouse with a twist
Swings Taphouse & Kitchen is the latest bar and restaurant to open in Margaret River, in WA’s South West. On the town’s main street, the Taphouse & Kitchen is the latest edition to the Swings & Roundabouts family – a well-known winery in the region. Open from 10am daily, the venue serves brunch, lunch and dinner with Swings & Roundabouts wine available on tap, delivered by ‘sight glass fonts’ (a world first), and served by the glass, half carafe or carafe. There’s also a selection of ‘guest backyards’ wines, cocktails and beers, and the menu is simple and rustic, designed for sharing, and with an emphasis on fresh, local and sustainable produce.
www.swings.com.au

Swan Valley food and wine festival
After the success of the inaugural event last year, the Valley and Vines festival will return in 2014. Held in the Swan Valley, WA’s oldest wine growing region and only a 25-minute drive from Perth, the festival will see wine lovers choose from four participating boutique venues (Ugly Duckling Wines, Jarrah Ridge Wines, Carilley Estate and Duckstein Brewery) with festival goers setting their own itinerary depending on their desire, tastes and interests. There will be a 90 minute ‘session’ at each location, with a 30 minute break in between each for travel. Each venue will offer its local choice of wine or beer, and have a variety of food and live entertainment on offer. The festival is on from Saturday April 5, from 11.00am to 4.30pm.
www.valleyandvines.com.au

Manu Feildel and Stephanie Alexander added to Ord Valley Muster line-up
Celebrity chef and My Kitchen Rules judge Manu Feildel, and one of Australia’s great food educators, Stephanie Alexander will be heading to WA’s East Kimberley region in May as part of the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster. Manu, together with WA chef Don Hancey and special guest Stephanie Alexander, will host the Kimberley Kitchen on the banks of Lake Kununurra on May 21. Manu will have an A to Z of local ingredients at his fingertips, sourced from the region’s massive food bowl, showing guests how he incorporates this stunning local produce into his signature dishes. He will also host the exclusive long-table Durack Homestead Dinner held under the Kimberley night stars at the historic Durack homestead. Stephanie Alexander will conduct cooking demonstrations and food conversations on Sunday May 18 at the Moon Fair, and run garden-based workshops with children during the week. The festiva runs from May 16 to 25 and will feature more than 30 spectacular events across ten exciting days, including the Airnorth Kimberley Moon Experience with Eskimo Joe, The Waifs and John Williamson.
www.ordvalleymuster.com

Tours, attractions and accommodation

Nature-based tourism boosted in Margaret River
Eco-tourism in the Margaret River region has been boosted with the opening of the redeveloped Wharncliffe Mill Bush Retreat in Bramley National Park. The upgraded retreat now includes four new lodge rooms, three new forest cottages and 44 bush caravan/camping sites. Wharncliffe Mill also offers a nature-play space and an Aboriginal-themed meeting place, with cultural learning experiences presented by Aboriginal guides. The $1.2 million redevelopment is part of the Naturebank program, which is a joint initiative between the Department of Parks and Wildlife and Tourism WA. Read the media release.
www.wharncliffemill.com.au

Travel package to experience the Margaret River Pro
As part of the 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, Bookshop Travel has created a travel package which will showcase the highlights of the event, along with the region’s food and wine experiences. The package is a 12-day tour, and includes surf lessons with some of Australia’s finest surfing instructors, VIP access to the event, and a series of exclusive behind-the-scenes food and wine experiences. The tour will be led by Carli Ratcliff, a keen surfer and food writer who is well acquainted with the region, and Carol Crenna – a bespoke travel specialist. The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held at Margaret River’s Surfer’s Point from April 2 to 13 and is now part of the ASP World Championship Tour.
bookshoptravel.com.au
www.facebook.com/MargiesPro

Ascott opens Citadines-Branded Residence in Perth
The Ascott Limited (Ascott) has launched its second Citadines Apart’hotel in Australia. The new Citadines St Georges Terrace Perth has opened following a $5.1 million and five-month refurbishment of the former Somerset St Georges Terrace Perth. Located in the heart of Perth’s central business district, the property has 85 studio and one-bedroom apartments, with fully equipped kitchen/kitchenette, living area’s and modern amenities such as complimentary WiFi, home entertainment system and flat screen TV. Contemporary art pieces by local artists Nick Stratham and Kyle Hughes are featured throughout the hotel.
www.citadines.com

Hot deal at Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort has some all-inclusive ‘hot deals’ currently on offer. The deals are for travel between now and March 31; then April 28 to June 30. A minimum three-night package includes accommodation in a beach side dolphin unit or garden villa, daily breakfast, lunch (one course with drinks), dinner (two courses with drinks), and drinks during ‘happy hour’. Rates are from $499 for adults, $249 for children (six to 12 years) and $125 for infants/toddlers (one to five). Located at Dolphin Beach in the heart of the World Heritage listed Shark Bay, Monkey Mia has attracted schools of dolphins to its tranquil shores daily for more than 40 years, with the area famous for its kilometres of secluded crystal blue waters and pristine beaches.
www.monkeymia.com.au

Faraway Bay opens season with one-off special
Remote wilderness retreat Faraway Bay, in WA’s Kimberley region, has been on the receiving end of a spectacular amount of rainfall, leading to an exclusive ‘end of wet season’ package deal. It’s believed the rains will produce incredible waterfalls, and potentially superb Barramundi fishing. New attractions at Faraway Bay in 2014 include a rustic handcrafted wood-fired pizza oven, roasts and fresh breads, plus a fully-inclusive scenic flight over King George Falls on journeys to and from Faraway Bay. The twin King George Falls is WA’s highest waterfall, which every guest of Faraway Bay experiences up close by boat, and now also by air. The package deal offers a 20 per cent discount on standard rates, plus complimentary resort accommodation overnight in either Kununurra or Darwin. It’s valid for bookings made before February 28 for visits taken before April 30, 2014 and packages start from $3,464 per person for three nights, fully inclusive of return air transfers ex-Kununurra, all gourmet meals and beverages, and all tours and activities. Faraway Bay is a unique wilderness retreat nestled on a rocky hilltop overlooking the Timor Sea
in the remote north Kimberley region, some 280 kilometres north-west of Kununurra.
www.farawaybay.com.au

Experience the waterfalls of the Kimberley
The Berkeley River Lodge in WA’s North West has released its ‘waterfall package’ for March and April. The lodge is the region’s newest remote luxury lodge, and the package includes four-night’s accommodation in a luxury villa, return scenic sea plane transfers from Kununurra, all gourmet meals and beverages, and tours such as waterfall river cruises, guided bush hikes, fishing adventures and beach/bush four-wheel-drive tours. The Kimberley was recently named as the number two destination to visit in 2014 in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014.
www.berkeleyriver.com.au

New eco accommodation in Margaret River
St Allard Eco Resort is a new resort located just ten minutes’ drive out of Margaret River in WA’s South West. Set against natural forest, St Allard Eco Resort offers six chalets and a lakeside restaurant, golf course, tennis court, paddle boats and peaceful nature walks.
www.facebook.com/StAllardEcoResortMargaretRiver

Feature – The Perth Hills – a great day-trip destination

Scattered throughout the wide fertile ranges of the Darling Scarp and only 45 minutes east of Perth city centre, you’ll find the stunning scenery, meandering drives and vibrant villages that make up the Perth Hills. While the Hills are part of the city, visitors will find the region and its character townships exude a country charm and views that are simply astounding.

The world famous Bibbulmun Track starts in the hills stretching 1,000 kilometres from Kalamunda to Albany. The tree-lined village of Mundaring is one of the major towns of the Perth Hills and makes a wonderful day trip or weekender for visitors to the region. In town, you can stop off at the Mundaring Visitor Centre where you can learn about the history of the region and pick up a variety of maps highlighting the large amount of activities and attractions to be found. Just out of town you will find the vast water reserve of the Mundaring Weir and the Perth Hills Discovery Centre where you can learn about native flora and fauna. You can also picnic at any number of stunning parks in the area.

Kalamunda town centre is also particularly appealing, with its gift stores, character eateries and quaint village feel. Art, music and history play a big part here with several heritage building sites in town and the Zig Zag Cultural Centre, where visitors can learn more about the history, culture and attractions of the area. A visit to the town library will reward you with views of the largest community-built stained-glass window in Australia, and if you are visiting on the first Saturday of the month, be sure to drop in on the village market or on Sunday morning’s, the Kalamunda Farmers Markets are held, showcasing fresh produce from local farmers and growers.

Kalamunda is also a great staging point for visiting the breathtaking Bickley and Carmel Valleys renowned for their wine and local produce. Considering its Mediterranean climate of hot dry summers and cool wet winters, and with the first vineyards in the region planted in the 1880s, it comes as no surprise that the Perth Hills now boasts a well-established wine scene with each part of the hills having their own distinct wine trails for you to discover.

The Mundaring Hills Wine Trail will lead you through the forests and gullies of Darlington, Glen Forrest, Mt Helena and Wooroloo to some of the oldest wineries in the region and continuing further south, the Bickley-Carmel Valley Wine Trail touts seven wineries including some fine examples of sparkling wine made in the French tradition. Cellar doors are open most weekends and public holidays and you can set your tastebuds dancing with a good selection of wine varieties.

Visitors to the Perth Hills will also be impressed by the range of excellent restaurants and the level of sophisticated accommodation to be found. There are gracious country bed and breakfasts, spa retreats and private luxurious hideaways. While you’re in the Hills, try retreating to the national parks and the cool of the forests to indulge your love of the natural environment. The hills are blessed with a series of more than 40 bike and walk trails, as well as scenic lookouts and picnic spots.

Ten things to do in the Perth Hills

• Enjoy a picnic or barbecue, canoe or swim at Lake Leschenaultia
• Experience the beauty of the area’s national parks and State forests
• Get on the Munda Biddi Cycle Trail in Mundaring which winds through some spectacular scenery on its journey south

• Follow the Perth Hills Wine Trail to sample some local wines
• Explore the Mundaring Weir Precinct and No 1 Pump Station
• Browse through the region’s arts and crafts studios
• Take a guided spotlight tour at Karakamia Wildlife Sanctuary
• Get ‘Nearer to Nature’ with a range of outdoor activities at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre
• Walk the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, KEP Track or world-famous Bibbulmun Track
• Learn more about the colourful history of the area at the District Museum.


What’s New In The Capital Region USA 2014

January 12, 2014 on 10:24 am | In Adventure Travel, Dine Drink, Fashions, Festivals, Hotels, Mobile Apps, Museums, Night Clubs, Outdoors, Performing Arts, Rail Tours, Road Trips, Spa Resorts, Sports Travel, Spring Break, The South, Theme Parks Zoos Aquariums, USA, Webbandstand, Weddings Honeymoons | Comments Off



Anniversaries

200th Anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner, throughout 2014
2014 marks several anniversaries in the Capital Region USA, the most monumental of which is the 200th anniversary of the Star-Spangled Banner. Baltimore is the birthplace of the American National Anthem and it was here in September 1814, during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812, that Francis Scott Key penned the poem that became the USA’s National Anthem. Visitors to the Capital Region can experience The Battle of Caulk’s Field Bicentennial Re-enactment 2014(30-31 August) as well as the 1812 Fair and Re-enactment at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (21 – 22 June 2014) in Maryland; tour Fort McHenry, the star shaped fort which successfully defended the city of Baltimore against British invasion, and observe the massive flag which resides over the fort; learn about a young African American servant called Grace Wisher who worked on the flag at a major exhibit at Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture from 17 May – 16 November 2014; finally, visitors can observe the original American flag currently on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC.

Visitors can also drive the 100 mile Star-Spangled Banner Byway along the Chesapeake Bay and through historical locations significant to the War of 1812, as well as the opportunity to enjoy a number of events throughout Maryland from 6 September until 16 September 2014. For more information on events, visit www.starspangled200.com  #starspangled200

50 years since the Beatles played in DC, 11 February 2014
The Beatles performed their first American Concert at The Washington Coliseum (a.k.a. Uline Arena) on February 11, 1964, two days after their triumphant performance on Ed Sullivan. On 11 February 2014, exactly 50 years from that day, this concert will be reenacted as exactly as possible at this historic site. In the audience that night were several personalities that went on to larger visibility, including former Vice President Al Gore. Proceeds of this re-enactment concert will go to The DC Preservation League. There will be an exhibit of Photographer Mike Mitchell’s iconic photos of the 1964 concert (he was an 18 year old freelancer at the time) and a short documentary (in the midst of being produced) to be shown before the concert which will include interviews with audience members and original photos. For more information visit, http://blogs.weta.org/boundarystones/2013/10/28/beatles-and-more-musical-history-uline-arena

400th Anniversary of Pocahontas’ Wedding to John Rolfe, 5 April 2014
The true love story which shaped American history will be marked by special programs and exhibits that explore the interaction between Indians and English Settlers. On 5 April 2014, visitors can experience a re-enactment of the wedding at the actual site where it occurred in Historic Jamestowne. For more information, visit www.historicjamestowne.org

70th Anniversary of D-Day, 6 June 2014
The National D Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, will mark the occasion with a special ceremony including an honour guard, interactive veteran’s history stations, a reunion tent, USO show, guest speakers and more. The town of Bedford suffered more loses, per capita, on D-Day than any other locality in the United States and was chosen as the site of the National Memorial as emblematic of all U.S. communities, large and small, whose citizen-soldiers served on D-Day. For more information, visit www.dday.org/70th-anniversary-events

Hotel News:

Marriott Marquis Washington, DC opens on 1 May 2014
The much anticipated Marriott Marquis Washington, DC Hotel will offer 1,175 rooms, including 49 suites, and more than 100,000 square feet of event space when it opens on 1 May 2014. Connected to the adjacent Walter E. Washington Convention Center by an underground concourse, the Marriott Marquis will be conveniently located near Penn Quarter and close to CityCenter DC and the Verizon Center. Property highlights include 54 breakout rooms, outdoor terraces, and retail and restaurant space. For more information, visit www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/wasco-washington-marriott-marquis

Opening Spring 2014: Upscale City Market at O Leads Evolution of Hip Luxury Suites
City Market at O is an upscale mixed-use development featuring restaurants and a new Cambria Suites. Located one block north of the Convention Center, the hotel will offer more than 182 all-suite rooms, a rooftop pool, and a terrace with sweeping city views. City Market at O will open in spring 2014. For more information, visit http://www.citymarketato.com

Aloft BWI Hotel and The Chesapeake Arts Center Launches Monthly Art Exhibits
Aloft BWI Hotel and The Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park have teamed up to present monthly art exhibits and Meet the Artist receptions. Launched in September 2013, the works of a new artist will be on display in the hotel’s main lobby each month. The exhibits will culminate with a Meet the Artist reception each month. For more information visit www.aloftbwi.com or www.Chesapeakearts.org

The Inn at Herrington Harbour Offers Seaplane Excursions
The Inn at Herrington Harbour has begun offering Seaplane excursions over the Chesapeake Bay. At a cost of $95 per person, the twenty-minute excursions are available on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Seaplane excursions will resume in summer 2014. For more information, visit www.offshorepix.com or www.herringtonharbour.com

America’s Newest Luxury Resort, Salamander Resort and Spa, opens in Virginia
Salamander Resort and Spa is a 168-room luxury resort set on 340 acres amid Virginia’s famed horse country and lush vineyards. The hotel opened in August 2013 and is located in the storied village of Middleburg. The resort is owned by Sheila C. Johnson, founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts. The resort features 25 acres of land dedicated to equestrian activities, a luxurious spa with private courtyard and infinity pool, Virginia Piedmont-inspired dining overseen by award-winning DC Chef Todd Gray, a cooking studio, wine bar, and numerous conference and event facilities, including a 5,000-square-foot grand ballroom and a restored, century-old Stallion Barn.For more information, visit www.salamanderresort.com

Shopping News:

CityCenter DC Opens in December 2013
CityCenter DC is a 10 acre urban hub mixing hotel space, condominiums, offices, restaurants, shops and more – all within walking distance to the convention center and two Metrorail stations. CityCenter DC is ideal for event activities, including dine-arounds and team-building. The New York Times called it a “modern-day Rockefeller Center.” CityCenter DC will open in phases beginning in December 2013. For more information, visit www.citycenterdc.com

Culinary and Winery News:

More Than 25 New Wineries to Open in Virginia in 2014
Virginia is known as the ‘state for lovers’, and is an award-wining wine region. 2014 will see more than 25 new wineries open bringing the total of wineries in Virginia to more than 250. The state is currently the fifth largest wine producing state in the United States, and Virginia wines continue to win top awards in world-wide competitions. For more information, visit www.virginiawine.org

‘A Flight You Can Look Forward To’ – Flight Wine Bar Opens in December 2013
Flight Wine Bar, owned and operated by husband and wife team, Swati Bose and Kabir Amir, is due to open in Washington, DC in December 2013. Bose and Amir will open with an approachable wine list featuring over 30 options by the glass including lesser known varietals and labels from around the world. A selection of domestic and international beers, boutique spirits and a weekly wine-based cocktail will also be on the menu. The 60-seat wine bar will also serve shareable plates designed to complement the diverse wine list. For more information, visit www.flightdc.com

Howard County Restaurant Boom Offers a Taste of the World
Howard County, a county located in the central part of Maryland, will welcome a number of exciting new restaurants in 2014 which will include flavours from all over the world. Restaurants include Facci Ristorante- authentic Italian cuisine featuring an imported wood burning pizza oven, Grille620- a modern twist on the American steakhouse, Highland Inn- a new dining experience with a focus on seasonal foods and purity of flavours, The Grille- featuring American and Mediterranean cuisine, White Oak Tavern- a tap house serving exquisite farm-to-table pub food, Xitomate Cocina Mexicana & Tequila Bar- Specializing in small plates of authentic Mexican cuisine with an immaculate collection of the finest Tequilas. For more information on Howard County, visit www.visithowardcounty.com

Attraction and Activity News:

Smithsonian Opens Newest Museum in 2015
The Smithsonian will open its newest museum in 2015, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2015. On 18 November 2013, the first two artefacts arrived at the museum, including a railway train car made by the Pullman Company in 1922, which is currently under construction on the National Mall. For more information, visit www.nmaahc.si.edu

Six Flags America Adds Two New Thrilling Rides for 2014
Six Flags America is adding two new rides in a brand new area of the amusement park that is conveniently located just outside of Washington, D.C. The new rides are the park’s ninth roller coaster, Ragin’ Cajun, a spinning coaster, and French Quarter Flyers, a family-friendly flying ride. Both attractions will be located in the festive new Mardi Gras section of the park. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com/america

American Chestnut Land Trust Launches New Trail Offering Stunning Views of the Chesapeake Bay
The American Chestnut Land Trust (ACLT) has opened a new gateway to connect people to the 3,000-acre Parkers Creek Preserve in central Calvert County along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The new 4.5-mile section of trail connects Prince Frederick to ACLT’s existing north-side trails. The trail allows hikers to experience the full breadth of the Parkers Creek natural area by continuing to a new overlook platform the land trust built to provide wintertime views of the Chesapeake Bay and the mouth of Parkers Creek. The full 6.1-mile trail is called “Prince Frederick to the Bay” or “PF2Bay” for short.

In addition to its two existing trailheads – one on the north side of Parkers Creek off Dares Beach Road and one on the south side of the creek off Scientists’ Cliffs Road – ACLT now welcomes visitors to its newest Prince Frederick trailhead that starts just off Main Street in Prince Frederick. Parking for the new trail as well as maps and the sign-in area are at St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Church. It is recommended that hikers leave one car at Double Oak Farm before hiking, and then take a second car to the Prince Frederick trailhead. The trail is open from dawn to dusk throughout the year. The trail is closed during deer firearms season for safety.
For more information, visit www.acltweb.org

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum Launches ‘African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture, and Beyond’ Exhibit Milestones: African Americans in Comics, Pop Culture and Beyond showcases the vast talent and wonderful innovation that came from or was influenced by African Americans, including the important contributions of publishing executives at companies such as Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics and Marvel Comics. This special exhibit will embrace the totality of Black comics. With a significant focus on Black creators and their art, the exhibit will pull together experts, essayists, filmmakers and creators from inside and outside the world of comic books to fully explore the successes, triumphs, failures and expectations for the future of this vital component of our national fabric. The exhibit will run from 14 December 2013 – April 2014. For more information, visit www.geppismuseum.com and www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=37284

B&O Railroad Museum Celebrates Black History Month in February 2014
The B&O Railroad Museum opens a new African American exhibit that celebrates the contributions of African Americans to the railroad industry. Learn about the men and women who filled vital jobs along the B&O Railroad’s line and understand how significant social issues, such as segregation, affected railroading. New exhibits focus on African American passenger travel during segregation and chefs and waiters who worked on B&O dining cars. The exhibit runs from 1 February to 28 February 2013. For more information, visit www.borail.org

Chrysler Museum of Art Reopens and Celebrates 70 years of the Smokey Bear American Icon
The Chrysler Museum of Art, located in Norfolk, Virginia, is to reopen in April 2014 after an extensive renovation and expansion. Exhibits to mark the reopening will include 70 Years of Smokey Bear, the American icon whose motto is “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires”. For more information, visit www.chrysler.org/exhibitions/70-years-of-smokey-bear / or www.chrysler.org

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Opens Multi-media Rock Spectacular
Opening in Spring 2014 at Busch Garden Williamsburg, Virginia, London Rocks takes visitors on a musical journey that explores the roots of rock-n-roll and transforms Busch Gardens’ Globe Theatre into a rousing 25-minute live action and multi-media rock spectacular. The musical revue explores the powerful role that music plays in people’s lives. A team of more than 200 musical directors, designers, technicians and artists is taking on this ambitious Busch Gardens’ production. For more information, visit www.seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-williamsburg

The Aquarium Adventure Park opens in Virginia Beach in Summer 2014.
Appealing to outdoor fun-seekers ages five years old and up, the Adventure Park, located on the campus of the Virginia Aquarium, will feature multiple zip lines and aerial ropes challenge courses. Activities at the park are forest-friendly, requiring only human power—no motors or machines. For more information, visit www.vbgov.com/news/Pages/selected.aspx?release=1671

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Opens Exhibition of Artworks from the Palace Museum, Beijing
A new exhibition, the Forbidden City: Imperial Treasures from the Palace Museum, Beijing will open at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts from 18 October 2014 – 11 January 2015 as part of collaboration with the Beijing Palace Museum, China’s largest art museum and the largest palace in the world. The exhibit will showcase more than 180 portraits, sculptures, textiles and unique artefacts from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties. Enhanced by 3-D virtual technology, the exhibit offers an immersive experience as if passing through the Forbidden City during the height of its glory. For more information, visitwww.nmaahc.si.edu

Transports News:

New Baltimore – DC Weekend Rail Service Launched on 7 December 2013
The Maryland Transit Administration is now offering a weekend MARC train service between Baltimore and Washington, DC. The trains will make nine Saturday round trips and six Sunday round trips between Penn Station in Baltimore and Union Station in Washington. The service is expected to be especially appealing to international travellers touching down at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in Anne Arundel County. About 45-percent of BWI’s business comes from the Washington region. For more information, visit www.mta.maryland.gov/marc-train

New Silver Line Metro Extension Connects DC to Surrounding Cities
The Silver Line Metro Extension (also known as the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project) is currently well underway. The new line will connect DC to surrounding cities including the retail mecca of Tyson’s Corner, Virginia. The line to Tyson’s Corner is expected to open in 2014; the line connecting Washington Dulles International Airport is expected to open in 2018. For more information, visit www.dullesmetro.com

DC Streetcars (trams) to Arrive in DC
DC Streetcars are expected to start service in early spring 2014 along H Street and Benning Road NE. For more information, visit www.dcstreetcar.com

Virginia Launches Jamestown Discovery Boat Ride
New in 2014 is Jamestown Discovery, a 90 minute boat tour on the beautiful James River that travels around the historic Jamestown Island. All tours are handicap accessible and offer a new view of the history and beauty of the river. A website is not available at present but for more information, visit their Facebook page – www.facebook.com/jamestowndiscoverytours

To find out more about the Capital Region USA, visit www.CapitalRegionUSA.co.uk


Some Amazing Places to Catch a Film

July 22, 2013 on 7:50 pm | In Performing Arts | Comments Off



I think we all know that movies are great, and that one of the most important parts of enjoying a movie is how you view it. Watching a movie on an ancient cathode ray tube television like you had growing up will never hold up to having your own home theater, where you can watch whatever movies you want on a giant screen in your own home.  If you are looking to expand your list of great TV and movies from home take a look at SaveOnTVDirect.com for special deals on new DirecTV subscriptions. Taking a special family trip or that special someone out for a movie is one thing, taking them out to one of these one of kind theaters is a truly unique experience.

1. Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse is relatively new, as far as world-famous theatres go. But its fame is well-deserved, not just because of its programming, but because of its rules. It aims to recreate a traditional cinematic experience, featuring strict rules that you can’t speak, text, or otherwise be obnoxious during the movie. The Drafthouse also has fantastic programming, and that certainly helps. It’s a favorite of top filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro, and even Steven Spielberg.

Originally located in Austin, Texas, the Alamo Drafthouse now has around a dozen locations around the United States, mostly focused on Texas and the Southeast.

2. Kino International

Located in Berlin, Germany, Kino International dates back to the East Germany days. Architecturally speaking, it’s a classic of the Cold War and Soviet-influenced socialist realism (it’s even on a street named for Karl Marx). That may make the building less beautiful than a classic Beaux Arts theatre in the United States, but it has a charm all its own, and the inside evokes the Jet Age as much as any Art Deco theater. It’s also a home for major premieres, especially for art house.

3. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre

You’ve seen pictures of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, that’s for sure. At the moment, it’s called the TCL Chinese Theatre; before that it was Mann’s. But it’s always, and always will be, Grauman’s. It’s one of the older cinemas in the world, dating back to 1927. And it’s located in the heart of Hollywood, and it’s notable for that reason alone. It’s also the home of the famous handprints in stone of celebrities, actors, and directors, and the walk of stars is on the street just outside. What’s more, Grauman’s costs just a few dollars more than a normal movie ticket – as long as a red carpet premiere isn’t happening there at the moment.

4. The Arclight Cinerama Dome

Just a few blocks from Grauman’s Chinese Theater, the Arclight is one of the last of the great Cinerama Domes that were a never fulfilled promise of the future, as seen in the 1960s. The Arclight Cinerama Dome is one of the best screens in Los Angeles and the entire West Coast, and one of the largest. It’s an IMAX screen that isn’t an IMAX, and the sheer splendor and size of the Dome is worth experiencing, no matter what the Cinerama Dome is playing. It’s a classy and traditional cinematic experience that manages to be modern at the same time.

5. The Castro Theatre

The Castro in San Francisco is even older than Grauman’s – it dates back to 1922 – and it’s a unique combination of 1920s Beaux Arts style and Mexican-inspired quasi-religious architecture. It’s a veritable cathedral of cinema, inside and out. It’s decidedly old-fashioned, but guess what – sometimes that’s what you need to have a classic cinematic experience. A home theater goes a long way, but sometimes you want something just a little more magical.


UNLV Performing Arts Center Presents The Acting Company’s Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

October 3, 2012 on 11:25 am | In Las Vegas, Performing Arts, Webbandstand | Comments Off



The UNLV Performing Arts Center welcomes The Acting Company in a very special performance of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men at 7 p.m. on Sunday, October 21 in Artemus Ham Concert Hall.

Founded by the legendary John Houseman and current producing artistic director Margot Harley, the Acting Company has won Obie, L.A. Drama Critics Circle Awards and a Tony.

George and Lennie are drifters with dreams of living off the “fat of the land.”

They arrive at a ranch to work for enough money to buy their own farm. Lennie is a man-child, a little boy in the body of a dangerously powerful man.

It is Lennie’s obsession with things soft and cuddly that make George cautious about who Lennie befriends.

George often promises to allow Lennie to “tend to the rabbits” as a means of keeping him calm amidst distractions.

When the ranch boss’ wife is found dead in the barn, George is faced with a moral question:

How to deal with Lennie and the situation before the ranchers find him and take matters into their own hands.

Steinbeck’s stories about common people surviving uncommon tragedy and fate have captivated generations of readers around the world. George and Lennie will be etched in your memory forever.

Tickets to Of Mice and Men are $30-$40-$55 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting pac.unlv.edu.

Student rush tickets are $13 each (not inclusive of the facilities fee), and available one hour prior to each event, based on availability and with valid student I.D. UNLV faculty and staff discounts also are available. A $1.25 facilities fee, in addition to the ticket price, is charged on all Performing Arts Center tickets.

The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. Information about all of the season’s performances can be found on the Performing Arts Center website, located at pac.unlv.edu.

Founded in 1976, the Performing Arts Center at UNLV is Southern Nevada’s longest-running performing arts venue. Located on the north end of the UNLV campus, the PAC hosts a variety of performances each year.


UNLV Performing Arts Center Presents Acclaimed New York Polyphony Oct. 7

September 25, 2012 on 12:08 pm | In Las Vegas, Performing Arts, Webbandstand | Comments Off



The UNLV Performing Arts Center welcomes the New York Polyphony – four exceptional voices called “rich” and “natural” by National Public Radio – at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 4 in Artemus Ham Concert Hall. This dynamic group delivers refined musicianship, and a uniquely modern sensibility with a varied repertoire, ranging from medieval melodies to cutting-edge contemporary works.

In 2011, New York Polyphony signed an exclusive recording contract with acclaimed record label BIS Records. endBeginning, their first album on BIS, was released in February and features rare and never-before recorded works from the Franco-Flemish Renaissance. Featured on NPR’s Deceptive Cadence and selected as ‘CD of the Week’ by Alex Ross (The Rest Is Noise), endBeginning received a 10 out of 10 rating by Classics Today and has amassed substantial critical acclaim.
Hailed as a “stunning tour through chant, polyphony and renaissance harmonies”  (Minnesota Public Radio), their second CD Tudor City spent three weeks in the Top 10 of Billboard’s classical album chart. It has been featured on Danish Public Radio, American Public Radio and NPR’s All Things Considered.

NYP’s debut CD I sing the birth was released in 2007. The disc—an intimate meditation on the Christmas season—garnered unanimous praise. Gramophone Magazine named it “one of the season’s best”, BBC Music Magazine selected it as Editor’s Christmas Choice 2007, and Classic FM Magazine hailed it as “a disc for all seasons.”

Tickets to New York Polyphony are $35-$50-$75 and can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center Box Office at 895-ARTS (2787) or by visiting pac.unlv.edu

Student rush tickets are $13 each (not inclusive of the facilities fee), and available one hour prior to each event, based on availability and with valid student I.D. UNLV faculty and staff discounts also are available.

A $1.25 facilities fee, in addition to the ticket price, is charged on all Performing Arts Center tickets.

The box office is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Information about all of the season’s performances can be found on the Performing Arts Center website, located at pac.unlv.edu.

Founded in 1976, the Performing Arts Center at UNLV is Southern Nevada’s longest-running performing arts venue.

Located on the north end of the UNLV campus, the PAC hosts a variety of performances each year.


Eat, Drink And… Go To The Theatre in the UK

September 21, 2012 on 11:11 am | In London, Performing Arts, United Kingdom, Webbandstand | Comments Off



With The Lion King already in residence at The Bristol Hippodrome and the Bristol Old Vic autumn season just about to launch following the theatre’s extensive refurbishment, The Bristol Hotel has created a couple of pre-theatre dining offers to entice audiences to stop off en route to the two venues, which are less than a five-minute walk away.

 

The River Grille is promoting “three courses for the price of two” from its table d’hote menu for all those who order between 5:30pm and 6:30pm, so the price per person is £19.95, instead of £24.95. The table d’hote menu offers four or five choices per course, including vegetarian dishes and lighter options, so customers don’t need to worry about falling asleep during the performance!

 

For those visiting from further afield, The Bristol Hotel has put together a Pre-Theatre Dinner Package, which includes overnight accommodation in a double room, a late afternoon/early evening two-course meal served from 5:30pm, a glass of bubbly and full buffet breakfast the following morning; free WiFi and use of the hotel’s gym come as standard, as does complimentary parking from 4pm Friday to 10am Monday and from 5.30pm to 9.30am during the week.

 

The cost of this Pre-Theatre Dinner Package starts at £139 per room per night and bookings are being taken up until 22 December 2012.  For more details, please visit www.doylecollection.com/bristol or call 0117 923 0333.

 

Of course, guests don’t need to be going on to either The Bristol Hippodrome or the Bristol Old Vic to take advantage of these offers, they might just as easily be heading to events at any number of venues around town including Colston Hall, the Tobacco Factory or the cinema at the Watershed.  Or they might simply like to eat early – particularly if they can enjoy a great value menu at the same time!

 

***

Notes for Editors

The Bristol Hotel is located in the heart of the city, between the historic cobbled Narrow Quay and elegant Queen Square, just a few minutes’ walk from major cultural landmarks such as The Bristol Old Vic, Arnolfini, Watershed, SS Great Britain and M Shed, as well as the fabulous new shopping district of Cabot Circus.

 

The Bristol Hotel has 187 rooms and suites, which are among the largest and most luxurious in the city.  All of the rooms have been completely restyled, refurnished and re-equipped in the last few years, with the deluxe rooms and juniors suites having additional luxuries such as media hubs and Nespresso coffee machines.

 

The Bristol Hotel has an outstanding, self-contained Meetings and Events Centre with rooms for as few as six people or as many as 400.  Executive boardrooms, large breakout rooms and an impressive main suite are all equipped with the latest technology and luxurious decorative touches.

 

The Bristol Hotel is housed in a distinctive 1960s building, recognised as a prime example of the Modern architectural movement.

 

Executive Head Chef Kai Taylor has more than 21 years’ experience of high standard cookery and management in the hotel business, having been Head Chef at prestigious hotels including Copthorne Hotels, Chiseldon House Hotel and Parklands Hotel.

For more details, please visit the website: www.doylecollection.com/bristol

Jetstreams for Travel Discounts

Half Term Break for families

September 7, 2012 on 11:02 am | In London, Performing Arts, Scotland, United Kingdom, Wales | Comments Off



Theatre Breaks have offers on both theatre and non theatre packages for the October Half Term Break for families looking for a child-friendly getaway.
From The Harry Potter Studio Tour at Warner Brothers to Ice Age Live and Tommy Steele in Scrooge there are a lot of new options for Half Term this year. Of course there is always The Lion King and Wicked and Warhorse and Madame Tussauds and the London Aquarium but it will be the new kids on the block that will be attracting most attention.

Simon Harding of St Albans Travel’s Theatre Breaks says “The Harry Potter Studio Tour has put Watford on the tourist map in a way that Elton John could have never hoped to do. It has been massive this year and we are expecting demand to continue into the colder months!” Especially as family rooms are in good supply around Watford – probably better than central London!

Tim Minchin’s Matilda wasn’t around this time last year either. The award winning show is such a hit with young and old a like that it will surely be high on the list for many people heading to London next half term.

Half term’s Wembley Arena show Ice Age Live “A Mammoth Adventure” uses flying, acrobatic ice skating, puppetry and film animation to bring together this perfect slice of family fun and entertainment.

With allocation for matinee performances on the Thursday and Saturday of half term and evening performances on the Thursday and Friday our Ice Age breaks can be taken with a range of accommodation including the nearby 3 star Quality Hotel Wembley where family rooms can take up to 2 adults and 2 children and breaks including tickets and hotel accommodation for a family of 4 (based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing) start at just £220.

For more Half Term Breaks Information Contact Simon Harding 0203 2871808 or simon.harding@theatrebreaks.com


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England’s Shakespeare Country New Mobile App

August 21, 2012 on 2:11 pm | In London, Performing Arts, United Kingdom | Comments Off



A new app is available for travelers in England’s Shakespeare country, from Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwickshire to Ludlow and the Welsh Marches. “Stratford & West Midlands: As You Like It,” by Alison Plummer, is an app for iPad, iPhoneand Android.

The app is designed to help plan trips through 170 entries with galleries of 1,895 images. The app features hotels, regional food and wine, micro-breweries and drives with classic carsfor hire. It also works for biking and walks as well as gardens and properties to view, including those in the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. It covers other authors as well as Shakespeare such as J.R.R. Tolkien with places that inspired characters for “The Hobbit,” the ancestral home of George Washington and more. The “Stratford & West Midlands: As You Like It” app sells for $3.99.


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Montague on the Gardens Offers Package for Shakespeare Exhibition

August 21, 2012 on 2:10 pm | In London, Performing Arts, United Kingdom | Comments Off



The Montague on the Gardens, a Georgian townhouse hotel around the corner from the British Museum in London, is offering a special in honor of an exhibition at the museum called “Shakespeare: staging the world.”

The exhibition provides an insight into the emerging role of London as a world city through the perspective of Shakespeare’s plays, using objects, digital media and performance. It includes great paintings, jewels, rare manuscripts and performances.

For people interested in seeing the exhibition, The Montague on the Gardens is offering a package called Celebrating William Shakespeare that includes two nights’ accommodations, full English breakfast daily, two tickets to the exhibition of “Shakespeare: staging the world” at the British Museum, and a Shakespeare cookbook. The package is priced from $330 per night (exclusive of VAT) double occupancy for a minimum of two nights, and is available until Nov. 25.


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PERFORMING ARTS from San Francisco

August 17, 2012 on 11:37 am | In California, comedy, Festivals, Performing Arts, San Francisco, Webbandstand | Comments Off



SHN Upcoming Shows Include “War Horse,” “The Lion King” and “The Book of Mormon”
Formerly known as Best of Broadway, the SHN Series brings Broadway to the Bay Area with a dynamic series at the SHN Orpheum, SHN Curran and SHN Golden Gate Theatres. Upcoming shows in order of performances are:

The London and Broadway’s smash hit, “War Horse” gallops into the SHN Curran Theatre, Aug. 2-26, 2012. The powerful story of young Albert’s beloved horse, Joey, who has been enlisted to fight for the English in World War I, comes alive through life-sized puppets which bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to life.

SHN’s just announced 2012-13 season includes:

Disney’s “The Lion King” returns to the SHN Orpheum Theatre, Nov. 1-Jan. 13, 2013 for the first time since its triumphant 43-week run here in 2004. Winner of six Tony Awards, “The Lion King” has been seen by more than 13.5 million people in more than 60 cities across North America.
“The Book of Mormon,” winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, will play a limited engagement at the SHN Curran Theatre Nov. 27-Dec. 30, 2012. Declared “the best musical of the century,” by The New York Times, the musical features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone; Parker and Stone are the creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is the co-creator of the hit musical comedy, “Avenue Q.”
The new Broadway revival of Cole Porter’s time classic musical masterpiece, “Anything Goes,” comes to the SHN Curran Theatre Jan. 8-Feb. 3, 2013. The rewrite of the 1934 musical comedy unfolds on board the S.S. American on a trans-Atlantic crossing and features hits songs such as “It’s De-Lovely,” “You’re the Top,” and, of course, “Anything Goes.”

The spellbinding “Wicked, returns home to the Bay Area again to the Orpheum Theatre Jan. 23-Feb. 17, 2013. The untold story of the witches of Oz, long before Dorothy dropped in, “Wicked” tells the unforgettable story of two girls who meet in the land of Oz — one born with emerald-green skin who is smart and misunderstood and the other who is conventionally beautiful, ambitions and “very, very popular” as one of the show’s signature songs confirms.

For ticket information visit www.shnsf.com. Media contact: Erin Garcia, 415-551-2075, pr@shnsf.com.

San Francisco Jazz Festival Celebrates 30th Anniversary with 30 Concerts Aug. 25-Dec. 7, 2012;

SFJAZZ Center Opens on Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jan. 21, 2013

The San Francisco Jazz Festival will run Aug. 25-Dec. 7, 2012, present 30 concerts celebrating the organization’s 30th anniversary. Festival highlights include Brecker Brothers Reunion Band with Randy Brecker, Mike Stern and Dave Weckl Sept.28; “Miles Smiles” with Robben Ford, Kenny Garrett, Joey DeFrancesco, Wallace Roney and Omar Hakim Sept. 29; Sonny Rollins on Sept. 30, Gilberto Gil Oct. 2; Branford Marsalis, solo, at Grace Cathedral Oct. 5; Marcus Miler Oct. 11; Robert Glasper Experiment Nov.1; Ornette Coleman Nov.9; Buika Nov. 16; and Arturo Sandoval Dec. 1. SFJAZZ is nearing the completion of the new SFJAZZ Center, the first stand-alone performance and education center dedicated to jazz. Designed by award-winning architect Mark Cavagnero, the center will open on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 21 2013. Located at 205 Franklin St. in San Francisco’s vibrant Hayes Valley, the SFJAZZ Center will be a hub of art, music, culture and community in the Civic Center performing arts district. For information, visit sfjazz.org or call 866-920-5299. Media contact: Marshall Lamm, 510-928-1410, marshall@sfjazz.org.

San Francisco Symphony Enters Second 100 Years Sept. 5, 2012
The San Francisco Symphony’s 101st season opens Sept. 5, 2012 with two weeks of concerts of Russian and German masterworks led by conductor Semyon Bychkov. Joining Bychkov and the Orchestra is violinist Pinchas Zukerman. The second week of concerts, beginning Sept.12, is devoted to performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7, “Leningrad.”

In its Opening Gala concert on Sept.19, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas leads violinist Joshua Bell and the Orchestra in Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo capriccioso and Chausson’s “Poème,” selections from Berlioz’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and Ravel’s “Boléro.”The orchestra’s 101st season highlights include explorations of music by Beethoven, Stravinsky and enhanced concert experiences around Grieg’s “Peer Gynt” and Beethoven’s “Missa solemnis” by Thomas. He will also conduct the SFS in the first concert performances by an orchestra of Leonard Bernstein’s complete “West Side Story.” The orchestra will perform two world premieres, three U.S. premieres, three West Coast premieres and 13 San Francisco Symphony premieres and also inaugurates the new Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University in January 2013. Soprano Renée Fleming and pianist András Schiff will perform in Project San Francisco residencies. In addition to Zuckerman, distinguished guests include Joshua Bell, Julia Fischer, Lang Lang, Yuja Wang, Marc-André Hamelin, Gil Shaham, Jonathan Biss, Yefim Bronfman, David Robertson, Vasily Petrenko and Marek Janowski, with debuts by Vladimir Jurowski, Jaap van Zweden, Juraj Valcuha, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Michael Fabiano and The Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble. The Great Performers Series will feature concerts by the Warsaw Philharmonic and Russian National Orchestra plus recitals by Itzhak Perlman, Gil Shaham, Renée Fleming with Susan Graham, and Matthias Goerne with Christoph Eschenbach. Details are available at www.sfsymphony.org or call 415-864-6000. Media contact: Public Relations, 415-503-5474, publicrelations@sfsymphony.org 

San Francisco Opera Opens 2012-13 Season Sept. 7, 2012
Repertory Season Includes Three World Premiere Commissions
The San Francisco Opera Company’s 2012–13 repertory season includes three world premiere commissions slated for 2013 by Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison (“The Secret Garden”), Mark Adamo (“The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”), and Tobias Picker and J.D. McClatchy (“Dolores Claiborne”). The Company’s 90th season opens Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 with a gala performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” The Opera Ball, the Company’s celebrated signature benefit event, will precede the opening night performance at the historic War Memorial Opera House. In addition to “Rigoletto,” which features two international casts of singers, San Francisco Opera’s 2012–13 season offers Vincenzo Bellini’s bel canto gem “I Capuleti e i Montecchi” (“TheCapulets and the Montagues”); the Bay Area premiere of Jake Heggie’s “Moby-Dick,” commissioned and produced by San Francisco Opera, The Dallas Opera, San Diego Opera, Calgary Opera and the State Opera of South Australia; Richard Wagner’s “Lohengrin”; Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca,” interpreted by two casts of widely acclaimed singers; Jacques Offenbach’s “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” (“The Tales of Hoffmann”); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “ Cosi fan tutte;” the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene,” and the world premiere of Nolan Gasser and Carey Harrison’s “The Secret Garden,“ a co-production with Cal Performances. All performances are at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave. For information visit www.sfopera.com or call 415-864-3330. Media contact: Robin Freeman, 415-565-6451, rfreeman@sfopera.com.

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