Visit the Vancouver Art Gallery for Culture or To Seek Cover from the Rain

It’s not breaking news that it rains a lot in the great metropolis of Vancouver. You’ll need a Plan B if you plan on spending some quality outdoor time in Stanley Park or Grouse Mountain.

Take me for instance. Rain all day was in the forecast and I had planned on going to Grouse Mountain to play with the bears. So I postponed it until the next day (Spoiler Alert: it rained anyway).

Thus, culture was in the agenda … because it was the morning and the bars and breweries weren’t open yet and I couldn’t get illegally streaming NFL on my phone.

I kid but you should visit the local art or history museums while exploring a city. I headed to the city’s most popular destination, the Vancouver Art Gallery, to relax while it was pouring outside. Word to the wise, you can get advance tickets and not wait on the long line.

One of the exhibits at the time was Emily Carr: Into the Forest.

Emily Carr, born in Victoria, BC, is one of Canada’s most renowned modern artists. Significant as a landscape painter, this selection of artworks, drawn primarily from the Gallery’s collection, includes some of her greatest canvases and oils on paper. These works demonstrate Carr’s profound regard for British Columbia’s natural environment and her remarkable ability to depict the vitality of our dense coastal forests. 

Also on displayed was few from Claude Monet (Claude Monet’s Secret Garden), about his time in Canada.

As with most art museums, the top floor is dedicated to modern art. The problem at the Vancouver Art Gallery that time I visited, both escalators were not working. One being worked on and the other just not moving. Furthermore, only one person can get by at the time. When I finally got to the top floor, it was a lot of photos of shadows. Not fascinating.

The Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville is the Greatest Museum of All Time (G.M.A.T.)

This past weekend was the “Greatest Two Minutes in All of Sports” played out in Louisville. The other 364 days of the years in the city, you should visit a museum dedicated to The Greatest.

I love going to museums — big, small, history, art, science, halls of fame. The Muhammad Ali Center ranks up there to museums dedicated to one person — up there with the Picasso Museum in Barcelona or Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

The best athlete in the history of sports deserves a museum worthy of his grandeur.  It works as a sports museum that chronicles his achievements in boxing. It works as a history museums for civil rights in the 60s.  Pull that together and you see why Ali means so much to modern history. He’s a man who shaped the world and a world that shaped him.

What I love above the museum is how it’s laid out where you go through time with Ali, from what Louisville was like when he was born in 1942 to specific points in the Civil Right movement. The first bit of trivia I learned — he was encouraged to learn boxing when his bike was stolen and the local policeman encouraged him to fight back against the bullies in the neighborhood.

The Ali Center is fairly modern, so there are plenty of multi-media installations that go beyond the boxing world. If anything, the museum focuses more of Ali’s influence in history over his sports accolades. It’s museum for all people even if you don’t care about boxing.

I wasn’t planning on staying for two plus hours, but I found myself watching the whole “Rumble in the Jungle” and “Thrilla in Manilla” fights. There’s a portion of the museum where you can look down onto a boxing ring and see projections of interviews and fights. Even better, Samuel L. Jackson narrates a few videos along the way without cursing.

Toward the end, the museum focuses on his humanitarian efforts when he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. At the end, there a few painting by artists inspired by the GOAT.

Plan for two to three hours at the museum, which has something for everyone.

The One Thing To Do in Nashville — Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame

Nashville as Music City U.S.A. is not some tourist marketing slogan. The places lives and breathes it while being a focal point of its economy.

Music labels are moving resources from New York to Nashville (as well as Los Angeles) because of its wealth of musical talent, production know-how and industry expertise. It’s not just for country music, it’s for all genres who appreciate the city’s history.

Sure, you can hit up any number of dive bars to see the potential next big act or the tourist trap honky tonks on Broadway, but you should really get an all-encompassing experience at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Located in the heart of Nashville, it’s everything you wanted to know about country music and appreciation of the artists that made it an American tradition.

Do I like country music? Yes and no. I’m all over Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams and even some of the goofy acts you’d fine on 70s comedy show, Hee-Haw. The stuff that passes as country music — that’s just water-down country mass marketed to the general public.

Luckily, the Country Music Hall of Fame focuses mostly on the history and it’s most vital artists. Like an good museum, you start with a timeline of the origins, dating back to British and Irish musicians bring fiddles, banjos and guitars with them in the mid-1800s.

Many of the stereotypes we associated with country music — the big hats, big buckles, cowboy shirts and twangy accents — comes from early Hollywood talkies from Tom Mix and Roy Rogers.

One of the many thing I liked about the museum is that embraces the often goofy aspects of vintage country. Look for crazy outfits and a decked-out Rolls Royce fit for The King.

It also brought out a lot of forgotten artists that I remember my parents listening to like the Mandrel Sisters, Eddie Rabbit, Alabama, Kenny Rogers and Mac Davis. There’s plenty of recordings and videos through the hall.

The special exhibit during my visit was on an unlikely Nashville artist, Bob Dylan. Many of his best known albums were partially recorded in Nashville, even during his Greenwich Village days.  Blonde on Blonde was recorded in Nashville in 1966 to take advantage of local musicians.

Your visit will end with the rotunda with the bronze plaques of the hall members. It’s newest members in 2017 included Alan Jackson, Jerry Reed, and Don Schlitz.

Plan for about three hours to explore the museum. You can buy tickets online, but there no line when I visited. Tt is worth seeing if there are any online discounts.  I also did the Hatch Show Print shop tour, which will add about 90 minutes to your visit.


The Museum of Ice Cream is Now in Los Angeles and Sold Out

To be filed under, “We CAN have nice things!” The Museum of Ice Cream, which was a pop-up in New York last summer, has found a new home in downtown Los Angeles. Dreams of ice cream do come true in the city that manufactures dreams.

While it’s unclear that the new location is permanent, tickets are completely sold out until August 15 unless you’re a celebrity. At $29 a pop, all that new ice cream money can be used to pay more rent. The location is in the gentrified area of downtown, about a 30-minute walk from the Bradbury Building and 20 minutes from Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. There’s also a sweet location of Blue Bottle Coffee a few doors down.

The museum is more of a pop art installation ready-made for selfies. The brightly hued rooms will probably give you a sugar rush more than anything. There’s a sprinkles room (or jimmies if you’re from Jersey) alongside a the banana split room with 10,000 bananas. When you enter, you get a Dove bar, which is corporate sponsorship at it’s finest.  Along the way, you get samples from local creameries Salt & Straw and Coolhaus, who sells seriously amazing ice cream. Your ticket gets you an hour in the museum, so plan accordingly.

You all can have a museum, I’ll keep my Ice Cream City in Tokyo.

Here’s actor Remi Malek taking a tour:

The Museum of Failure Opens in Sweden on June 7

Blockbuster Video. New Coke. Google glasses. My attempt climbing an indoor rock wall. These are all considered failures. Now, there’s a museum that will honor these lacks of achievement.

Located in the coastal town of Helsingborg, Sweden (motto: not Stockholm, Malmo or Gothenburg, but still awesome!), the Museum of Failure is a serious look at projects and products that didn’t last or work out. The hope is to inspire others to continue to achieve despite setbacks.

Museum of Failure is a collection of interesting innovation failures. The majority of all innovation projects fail and the museum showcases these failures to provide visitors a fascinating learning experience. The collection consists of over sixty failed products and services from around the world. Every item provides unique insight into the risky business of innovation.

The permanent museum will focus of everything from techie products like the Zune and Apple Newton to food items like the Tesco Lasagna sandwich and Coke Blak. I would like to add Zima. Look it up, kids.

There will also be a touring annex of the museum that will tour Sweden, then eventually hit Berlin, Amsterdam and Miami. Add this to the Museum of Broken Relationships and you’ve got what experts call EPIC FAIL.

Somebody Broke a Pumpkin at Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors Exhibit

To be filed under: Why we can’t have nice things. A visitor to the popular Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. smashed a nearly million dollar pumpkin. What were they doing? Taking a selfie, of course.

There’s a room featuring brightly decorated pumpkins called “All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins”. The breakage caused the exhibit to be closed for a few days. The New York Times reports that a replacement pumpkin is on the way. I guess it’s back-ordered on Amazon.

The exhibit has been receiving record crowds at the Hirshhorn, so much so that the museum is extending hours during the weekday and tweaking the ticketing. Timed tickets are released every Monday at noon for the following week, which as you can imagine, is causing people frantically get online to hope they can get there’s. They run out almost instantly.

While the exhibit runs until May 13, it moves onto Seattle, Los Angeles, Toronto and Cleveland. I aiming for April, but if I miss out, I heard Cleveland is lovely in the summer.



The George Lucas Museum Will Be Built in Los Angeles

If you wanted a place where you can study the origins of Jar Jar Binks and Willow, then keep your eyes on Los Angeles.

After trying in Chicago and San Francisco, George Lucas will build his billion dollar Museum of Narrative Art on Vermont Avenue in Exposition Park. It’s south of Downtown L.A., the University of Southern California campus (where Lucas graduated) and off the 110.

While it will contain a priceless collection of Lucas’s Star Wars and LucasFilm memorabilia, the museum will showcase his personal art collection of Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and Alberto Vargas paintings. “Once you step inside the Museum, you’ll feel that you’ve been transported to another world filled with stories for exploration. Both futuristic and timeless, the Museum will feature experiences that enhance your visit, designed to be your guide on your journey through the collection,” the website says.

The building itself does look like a spaceship docking in Naboo, but it comes from the masterminds of MAD Architects. The Beijing-born Ma Yansong is the lead designer, who studied under the late Zaha Hadid.

The plan is to open the joint on Star Wars Day 2021 (May 4th).

The city has been making a concerted effort to attract more visitors with a new football stadium to house the Rams, and as of today, the relocated Chargers from San Diego. The ultimate goal is regaining the Summer Olympics for 2024.