Saturday, 29 July 2017

West Hollywood for Free

The Standard

Get Groovy

If hanging by the pool is your vibe, you’re in luck. Hit The Standard, Hollywood for the Wednesday night series, Desert Nights for intimate acoustics by candlelight. Shirt optional.
Taste Book Soup

Feel the word of your favorite writers at Book Soup’s free author readings and book signings, almost every night. Snap a pic to prove to friends (and social media followers) you mingled with literary giants.

Shop Fresh

Live like a local with a trip to the Helen Albert Certified Farmers’ Market, 1200 N. Vista Street, on Thursday. Stock up on local Cali produce, dairy and meat, and sway to the beat of live music and entertainment—practice those moves for the club later. 

Unleash Your Artsy

Whip out your sketchpad or camera, and don’t be shy with your questions. Get lost in the Blue Building masterpiece of the Pacific Design Center to discover architecture and interior design inspiration around every corner. Take those ideas home to make the neighbors jealous.

Get a Little Culture

Little known fact: The tiny Museum of Contemporary Art branch in the Pacific Design Center courtyard offers free admission. Find rotating exhibits of contemporary design, architecture and specialty shopping every Tuesday through Sunday.

Stroll Santa Monica Boulevard

Sunset Tower Hotel
Stretch your legs on a 1.9-mile edge and don’t worry about getting hangry or thirsty – you might trip and fall into a world-renowned gay bar and find a cocktail in your hand. Or choose a WeHo cafe where to enjoy specialty lattes and small plates.

See the Stars

Celebrity watch at Tower Bar in the Sunset Tower Hotel! You’ll catch the stars doing what we all do – you know, eating lunch. The hotel itself is an icon of Hollywood history – so explore while you’re there.
* by Julissa Rodriguez

VIDEO JUNKEE AT CARRIAGEWORKS

Taking over Sydney’s iconic Carriageworks today Saturday 29 July, Video Junkee 2017 is a new Festival from the team at Junkee Media presented in partnership with Destination NSW, the State Government’s tourism and major events agency.

The festival is a two-day celebration of creativity and innovation in video, partnering with leading platforms including Foxtel, YouTube, Netflix, BuzzFeed and ABC iview to present a series of talks, panels, screenings, masterclasses and awards.

Australian actress and star of Netflix Original series Orange is the New Black, Yael Stone will present a keynote speech taking a deep dive into the history and commodification of storytelling.

Creator and Showrunner, Raphael Bob-Waksberg, of the hit Netflix Original animation series Bojack Horseman will discuss the creation of his wildly acclaimed dark comedy and how an animation about a humanoid horse became a global hit.

For more information about this event and to purchase tickets, click here.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Helpmann Awards - the night of nights for the live performance industry in Australia

Helpmann Awards Red Carpet
The Annual Helpmann Awards were held last Monday Night at the Capital theatre in Sydney. The Helpmann Awards recognise and celebrate the live and performing arts industry In Australia.

42 Awards were presented to worthy recipients in 9 categories which included Cabaret, Comedy, Contemporary Music, Dance and Physical Theatre, Musicals, Opera and Classical Music, and Presentations for Children.,

The Red Carpet before the Awards saw many famous people from the world of theatre dressed in their glamorous finest. Black was the dominant colour, but many women (and men) brightened up the night with their glittering colourful gear.

The Helpmann Awards were hosted by Jan van de Stool and Tim Draxl. Jan kept the audience in stitches of laughter with her changes of clothing, talking, and singing. Various presenters came on stage to present the awards, with only two slight Oscar moments. A wrong winners envelope was handed to presenter Deborah Hutton, but fortunately she realised the mistake before reading out the wrong winner. The right envelope was quickly produced and the correct winner read out. The other goof was where the winner of an award was put up on the screens before presenter Joel Creasey opened the envelope with the winners name in it.

This year it was good to see several Musicals being nominated for awards and receiving them.This was unlike the year when one Musical, Matilda, scooped the pool. 
  • The Book of Mormon won Best Musical, Direction of a Musical Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw),
  • My Fair Lady won the Best Female Actor in a Musical (Anna O'Byrne), Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Robyn Nevin),
  • Kinky Boots won Male Actor in a Musical (Callum Francis), Choreography in a Musical  (Jerry Mitchel), 
  • Aladdin won Costume Design (Gregg Barnes), Male Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical (Michael James Scott) 

Capital Theatre - Helpmann Awards
Scattered amongst the awards being handed out was a varied entertainment program. Songs were presented by the casts of Kinky Boots, The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, Green Day's American Idiot, , Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, My Fair Lady and Velvet. The highlight was a very funny energetic dance called Construct with 3 dancers from the Australian Dance Theatre.

Two big awards were presented to two worthy recipients,. Richard Tognetti was presented the JC Williamson Award and Rob Brookman the Sue Nattrass Award. I really liked the way Barry Jones presented his award. He spoke with much enthusiasm and sincerity.

Special thanks were given to two people stepping down from their Helpmann roles - Ross Cunningham and Jon Nicholls. They have been heavily involved in staging the Helpmann Awards over many years.

The In Memoriam segment, where people from the performing arts industry who had passed way during the last year were honoured, was accompanied by the beautiful singing of the Sydney Children.s Choir.

Helpmann Awards After Party
The Helpmann Awards After Party was held at the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Sydeny, a much better location than the cramped upstairs foyer at the Capital Theatre where it has been held in previous years.

Congratulations to all this years Helpmann Awards nominees  The winners, and losers all help to entertain, educate, and stimulate Australian audiences. I can not wait to the 2018 Helpmann Awards when it will all happen again.

The full list of Helpmann Awards 2017 winners can be seen at http://www.helpmannawards.com.au/2017/nominees-and-winners/musicals

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Epicenter: 130,000 square feet of indoor sports, entertainment

Packed with a unique mix of attractions built for adults but fun for kids, the new Epicenter in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County is the San Francisco North Bay’s largest all-in-one destination for sports, recreation, entertainment, dining, and nightlife.

Entertainment options include: an upscale bowling lounge, 100-plus game arcade, two-story laser tag arena, laser maze, multi-sensory 7D adventure ride, interactive mega-play structure for kids, and toddler play area.

The sports facilities include: an arena sports center for basketball, volleyball, and more; a 24-hour, 365-days-a-year fitness center; and a trampoline park.

Kick back and watch the action in a sports bar and restaurant with two 40-foot walls filled with massive screens, multi-zone surround sound, and the ability to show up to 14 games at once. Grab pizza by the slice, nachos, and more in a sport-themed concession-style restaurant. Or relax and refuel at Starbucks.

Epicenter delivers 130,000 square feet of fun, food, and entertainment, all conveniently located under one roof.

Epicenter Sports and Entertainment

3215 Coffey Lane
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
707-708-3742
www.visitepicenter.com

YAMATO THE DRUMMERS OF JAPAN Set to tour Australia

YAMATO THE DRUMMERS OF JAPAN
YAMATO THE DRUMMERS OF JAPAN are touring Australia from 8 September to 6 October 2017 including stops in Sydney, Queensland, Perth and Adelaide.
Since 1993, YAMATO have performed in 53 countries around the world, reaching over 6 million people, making them the most prolific Japanese performing art group to tour internationally.
YAMATO are the epitome of the Japanese spirit and bring new life to the traditional Japanese taiko and wadaiko drums by paying respect to its rich history and exploring contemporary drumming styles.
Beginning with the boom of a taiko drum made from a large 400 year-old tree, performers move their whole bodies to strike the drum with a powerful surge of energy that uplifts audiences in sync with the rhythm and intensity.
YAMATO is based in a village called Asuka, known as the birthplace of Japanese culture, and the group pride themselves on their expression of the ancient Japanese spirit.
The group live together in a community and create everything themselves, including the musical compositions, lighting design, choreography, performance techniques, makeup, and props such as the bachi (sticks) used in performances. In a first for the company, YAMATO will wear outfits designed by international fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto.
YAMATO’s newest display of originality and innovation takes the form of “The Challengers” tour performing in 16 cities across Australia, offering an anthem of encouragement to all to pursue life’s challenges with courage.
  

AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES

8 September - Bundaberg, QLD
MONCRIEFF ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, 7.30pm
11 September - Maryborough, QLD
BROLGA THEATRE, 7.30pm

12 September -Toowoomba, QLD
EMPIRE THEATRE, 8pm

14 September - Port Macquarie, NSW
GLASS HOUSE THEATRE, 7.30pm

15 September - Newcastle, NSW
CIVIC THEATRE, 8pm

16 & 17 September - Sydney, NSW
ROSLYN PACKER THEATRE WALSH BAY, 7.30 (16 Sept), 5.00 (17 Sept)

19 September - Sutherland, NSW
ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, 8pm

21 September - Bathurst, NSW
MEMORIAL ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, 7.30pm

23 September - Torrensville, SA
THEBARTHON THEATRE, 8pm

27 September - Kalgoorlie, WA
GOLDFIELDS ARTS CENTRE, 7.30pm

29 September - Esperance, WA
CIVIC CENTRE, 7.30pm

2 October - Bunbury, WA
REGIONAL ENTERTIAINMENT CENTRE BREC, 7.30pm

3 October - Mandurah, WA
PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE, 7.30pm

5 October - Perth, WA
HIS MAJESTY'S THEATRE, 7.30pm

6 October - Geraldton, WA
QUEENS PARK THEATRE, 7.30pm

CELEBRATE BAY AREA TASTEMAKERS WITH EAT DRINK SF

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association's annual Eat Drink SF celebration returns on August 24 - 27, 2017. The premier annual food, wine, and spirits festival for the city was founded in 2009 to celebrate the Bay Area's world-class restaurant community. Held over four days, tastings, demonstrations, and signature events such as Taco Knockdown and Grand Tasting sessions allow chefs to connect directly with more than 8,500 food lovers and culinary aficionados. Sommeliers, brewers, and top mixologists are on-hand as well to complement delicious dishes and satisfy taste buds.

Taco Knockdown at The Pearl
Thu. August 24 at 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
This fun and irreverent competition kicks off the festival, with more than 15 restaurants competing with their interpretation of "fold-able food that pays homage to the legacy of the taco" rules. Guests get to try every taco and vote for the People's Choice Winner, with a panel of experts selecting their own.

Grand Tasting Sessions at Fort Mason's Festival PavilionThe Golden Gate Restaurant Association's annual Eat Drink SF celebration returns on August 24 - 27, 2017. The premier annual food, wine, and spirits festival for the city was founded in 2009 to celebrate the Bay Area's world-class restaurant community. Held over four days, tastings, demonstrations, and signature events such as Taco Knockdown and Grand Tasting sessions allow chefs to connect directly with more than 8,500 food lovers and culinary aficionados. Sommeliers, brewers, and top mixologists are on-hand as well to complement delicious dishes and satisfy taste buds.

Taco Knockdown at The Pearl
Thu. August 24 at 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
This fun and irreverent competition kicks off the festival, with more than 15 restaurants competing with their interpretation of "fold-able food that pays homage to the legacy of the taco" rules. Guests get to try every taco and vote for the People's Choice Winner, with a panel of experts selecting their own.

Grand Tasting Sessions at Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion
Fri. Aug. 25 at 7:15 - 10 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 26 at 12:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sun Aug. 27 at 12:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
The signature event of Eat Drink SF, each Grand Tasting features more than 30 different top Bay Area restaurants that rotate at every session. More than 70 bars, distilleries, breweries, and wineries are highlighted, pouring tastes and batch cocktails. Guests can watch culinary demonstrations and presentations on the main stage and attend a drink-focused program in the beverage classroom presented by the San Francisco Wine School. Games in the Backyard Bites zone, a resident DJ, and interactive presentations are also offered to explore. Note: VIP ticket purchases allows for an earlier entry than general admission.

Eat Drink SF is a quintessential San Francisco experience for food enthusiasts and a chance to eat one's way through the best that the city has to offer. For more information, including ticket prices, this year's schedule, and galleries from past years, please visit Eat Drink SF's website. Tickets are on-sale online starting May 23.

Fri. Aug. 25 at 7:15 - 10 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 26 at 12:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Sun Aug. 27 at 12:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

The signature event of Eat Drink SF, each Grand Tasting features more than 30 different top Bay Area restaurants that rotate at every session. More than 70 bars, distilleries, breweries, and wineries are highlighted, pouring tastes and batch cocktails. Guests can watch culinary demonstrations and presentations on the main stage and attend a drink-focused program in the beverage classroom presented by the San Francisco Wine School. Games in the Backyard Bites zone, a resident DJ, and interactive presentations are also offered to explore. Note: VIP ticket purchases allows for an earlier entry than general admission.

Eat Drink SF is a quintessential San Francisco experience for food enthusiasts and a chance to eat one's way through the best that the city has to offer. For more information, including ticket prices, this year's schedule, and galleries from past years, please visit Eat Drink SF's website. Tickets are on-sale online starting May 23.

SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW CELEBRATES 50TH AT DARLING HARBOUR

Sydney International Boat Show
Darling Harbour will be transformed into a dazzling spectacle for boating enthusiasts, both on the water and in the exhibition halls, with the Sydney International Boat Show set to celebrate its 50thyear. The Boat Show has a great history, and its reputation as one of Australia’s premier events keeps bringing the public back year after year.

The 50th celebrations will coincide with a return fully to Darling Harbour, with the Show taking up the whole of the newly built International Conference Centre Sydney (ICC), and the nearby marina at Cockle Bay. Many people have a fond association with the Sydney International Boat Show and Darling Harbour, with the area being the spiritual home of the Show since 1989.

The ICC is the perfect venue for the Boat Show and will be the biggest consumer display at the venue, with twice the space for exhibitors as previous facilities. The ICC has two levels of exhibition space, including a 5000-square metre outdoor event deck.

BIA CEO Howard Glenn expects this year’s Show to be the best yet. “The Sydney International Boat Show is a tremendous opportunity to display all that recreational boating has to offer. The 50thanniversary is a testament to the popularity of the boating lifestyle. We welcome people from all walks of life that are passionate about spending time on the water”.

Excitement is building for the Show, which will run from 3 to 7 August, with 60,000 visitors expected to explore the halls and the adjoining marina, which will showcase some mammoth luxury boats and cruising yachts. The aim of this expansive event is all about inspiring visitors with dreams of luxury and escapism, displaying some magnificent boats, as well as gear and gadgets for the perfect boating getaway.

The Show also encourages a safe boating lifestyle, and there is access to information and education regarding buying your first boat and proper boating safety. Show partners Transport for NSW hosts the Boating Safety Zone. This is a must for visitors wanting the latest information on how to make your time on the water with family and friends better.

Anyone who is interested in experiencing a world class event, in a world class location should not miss this remarkable display.

Halls will open from 10am to 8pm, while the marina will open from 10am to 7pm. Tickets can be purchased online now, if you buy online you will be entered into a draw to win a Hobie 12’ Pedalboard. Visitors wanting more information or to buy tickets should visit the website www.sydneyboatshow.com.au   

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Blue Waters Kayaking offering rentals at Lake Sonoma’s Yorty Creek

Folks who want to paddle or float away from it all can now rent a kayak, canoe, standup paddleboard, or inner tube from Blue Waters Kayaking on weekends at Lake Sonoma’s Yorty Creek Recreation Area in northern Sonoma County.

Lake Sonoma offers more than 50 miles of coastline and 40 miles of trails. The Yorty Creek Recreation Area public launch site (car-top boats only) provides a slightly quieter feeling than other parts of this large lake, because it is in a no-wake zone.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends, Blue Waters Kayaking rents single and double kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards, and inner tubes right next to Yorty Creek’s boat launch. Private tours from Yorty Creek are available on any day of the week with advance reservations.

Blue Waters also offers Lake Sonoma Full Moon Camping Tours. Their lakeside campsite is easily reached by a scenic paddle, and is equipped with camp chairs, a camp stove, grill, firewood for one fire, and fresh water. It’s also staffed by one of Blue waters’ capable and friendly kayak guides. The Full Moon tour includes a guided night paddle from camp.

Blue Waters Kayaking
At Yorty Creek Recreation Area (Lake Sonoma)
2651 Hot Springs Road
Cloverdale CA 95425
415-669-2600
www.bluewaterskayaking.com/lakesonoma

MT STIRLING HUB TO BE POWERED BY MICRO-HYDRO SYSTEM

Mount Stirling TBJ Hub Opening
The Telephone Box Junction hub located on Mt Stirling in Victoria's high country will be powered by a newly completed hydro system after receiving a $210,000 grant from the Victorian Government. 

The hub was officially opened by Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Victoria Danielle Green this week, joined by representatives of local businesses and Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management Board members.

The original hydro system, built by Mt Stirling business operators in the late 1990’s was destroyed in fires that swept through the resort in the summer of 2006-2007. Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management embarked on a journey to plan and fund the replacement of the diesel generator that had since been powering facilities at Telephone Box Junction. 

Extensive research was conducted to find the best, most cost-effective and sustainable solution. The micro-hydroelectricity system, working on water pressure generated from a turbine and nearby stream and weir was identified as the most appropriate option to power the hub with minimal impact on the surrounding environment. 

Ms Green is passionate about Victoria's Alpine areas and said of the Telephone Box Junction hub investment, "Visitors and locals alike are set to benefit from this innovative development that supports the growing Alpine tourism industry while also protecting the environment”.

The funding for the project not only went towards the hydro system but also to providing better facilities for visitors to Mt Stirling.  This included an all-weather access track from King Saddle to the Machinery Shed, a new public toilet at the Machinery Shed, new shelters, and a community information board at Howqua Gap.

Environmental Services Manager for Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management, Lou Perrin, said of the project "We are so excited to have the hydro system up and running. I've worked closely on the project from beginning to end and it has been worth every challenge. The improvements to the amenity and facilities will provide long-term benefits to the mountain and visitors alike.

"Funding from the Victorian Government has allowed us to create a truly environmentally sustainable hub here at Mt Stirling".

The hub was jointly funded from the Victorian Government’s $500 million dollar Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund and Mt Buller Mt Stirling Resort Management.

New Zealand’s 7th year participating at AFNC 2017 hailed a success

A team of 6 partners from New Zealand met with over 500 delegates at the 12th Associations Forum National Conference last week at Sydney ICC.

Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ) Australia Manager Sharon Auld said delegates at the conference kept coming back to the 100% Pure New Zealand stand over the two days. “With true Kiwi Manaakitanga (hospitality), we had a constant flow of Antipodes New Zealand Artesian water available to refresh delegates throughout the conference, as well as a special Cloudy Bay wine event on day two.” Sharon said Delegates also had the opportunity to help colour in a large scale Maori design in traditional Maori colours red, black and white, which increased engagement on the stand.

The NZ team were on hand to explain the support available to Associations for their business events, regardless of how big or small. Of particular interest was the marketing support which can be applied for through Tourism New Zealand’s Conference Assistance Programme.

The team ran a prize draw and the lucky prize winner, Sue McGrath of Australian Veterinary Association won a case of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc delivered to her door.

The New Zealand representatives at the 12th AFNC in Sydney on 17 and 18 July were :
  • Auckland Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira
  • Christchurch & Canterbury Convention Bureau
  • Conventions and Incentives New Zealand (CINZ)
  • Destination Rotorua Business Events
  • Hobbiton™ Movie Set
  • The Langham Auckland
  • Skyline Queenstown
  • Tourism New Zealand

SYDNEY AIRPORT WELCOMES NEW MANTRA HOTEL

SYDNEY AIRPORT MANTRA HOTEL
The new Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport was officially opened last week by the NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall.

The new development features 136 modern studio rooms and caters to business travellers looking for conveniently located accommodation close to the airport and terminals.

Minister Marshall congratulated the Mantra Group on the hotel opening.

“With record numbers flying into Sydney, new hotel openings such as the Mantra Hotel provide visitors to NSW with greater choices in accommodation location, style and price point. New hotels in key precincts play a critical role in promoting a vibrant visitor economy while meeting the needs of growing visitor numbers to Sydney, attracting first-time and returning domestic and international travellers."

Visit MantraHotels.com for bookings and further information.

Opening the 46th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations

46th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations
On 24 July 2017, the 46th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations was officially launched in Flamingo Dai Lai Resort, Vinh Phuc Province, Viet Nam in the context of celebrating the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN (8 August 1967-2017).

The meeting had the participation of more than 100 delegates from ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTOs), ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Tourism Association and media agencies.

On his opening speech, Chairman of Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan stressed that ASEAN region is endowed with great potentials for tourism development and has achieved encouraging achievements in recent years. In 2016, the region recorded more than 113 million visitor arrivals, increasing by 7% compared to 2015. In particular, Viet Nam received over 10 million international arrivals in 2016, seeing an increase of 26% over the previous year. In the 6 first months of 2017, there were 6.2 million international arrivals to Viet Nam, reaching a remarkable rise of 30%.

However, ASEAN tourism has been facing with difficulties and challenges related to global climate change, policy barriers to tourism development. Therefore, in order to maintain the tourism growth, attract more arrivals, ASEAN NTOs should strengthen closer cooperation in tourism promotion, upgrading tourism service quality, tourism infrastructure investment as well as diversifying tourism products, Chairman Nguyen Van Tuan said. Also, ASEAN NTOs should closely collaborate with relevant agencies to resolve difficulties, facilitate visitors, further strengthen cooperation with dialogue partners including Japan, China, South Korea, Russia, India and other countries, international organisations to take advantages of their technical assistance and investment for rapid and sustainable development of ASEAN tourism.

As scheduled, the meetings of ASEAN and China, Japan, and ROK (ASEAN+3) NTOs; ASEAN-China NTOs; and ASEAN-India Tourism Working Group will take place on 26 July after the 46th Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations.

The meetings concentrate to issues set out in ASEAN Tourism Strategic Plan (ATSP) 2016-2025 such as ASEAN Tourism Marketing Strategy 2017-2020; establishment of the Regional Secretariat for the implementation of MRA-TP; ASEAN tourism products; ASEAN Joint Declaration on cruise tourism; community and private sector participation.

*Thanh Tam

OUTDOOR EVENT DECK FEATURES AT THE SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW

Unique features of the new International Convention Centre, which opened to much fanfare only recently, are allowing Sydney International Boat Show organisers to really show off this world class venue.

One such feature is the Event Deck, which adjoins the Upper Level Exhibition Halls. The ICC boasts both upper and lower exhibition floors that will be fully utilised by the Boat Show.

The Event Deck is becoming a talking point for many, with the occupants of the city sky line having a bird’s eye view of activities. On arrival, the immediate impact will come from three oversized pools adorning the area.

Visitors can watch, learn and for those willing to brave the weather, try a kayak or stand up paddleboard (SUP). A host of demonstrations will run non-stop during the daylight hours of the show. Watch a SeaBob in action, learn all about SUP Yoga and fitness or you can even paddle to music. For those with young ones, have them try out a kids’ mini-bumper boat.

The Event Deck will include a huge display of sports racing boats for those with speed in their blood. Those looking for a more relaxed outlook should check out the Prawn & Oyster Bar or have a refreshing drink in the Garden Deck. Kids won’t miss out either, with a fun ice-cream parlour.

Toss in a little music from Bondi Beach Radio and there will be fun to be had by all.

Halls will open from 10am to 8pm, while the Marina will open from 10am up until 7pm. Tickets can be purchased online now, and if you buy online you will be entered into a draw to win a Hobie 10’5 Eclipse valued at $2,890. Visitors wanting more information or to buy tickets should visit the website www.sydneyboatshow.com.au

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

ART YOU CAN'T MISS AT SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Did you know San Francisco International Airport is the country's only airport with a museum program accredited by the American Association of Museums?

Next time you’re at SFO, plan a little extra time to relax and enjoy the world class art exhibits; let your imagination take flight. You don’t have to be traveling to enjoy the art. There are plenty of exhibits pre-security to enjoy, making SFO a great rainy day outing. Although it’s fun to take the free AirTrain from terminal to terminal, you'll see the most if you just stroll.

SFO Artwork is Open to the Public and Free of Charge

Although not a museum in the traditional sense, SFO’s permanent Public Art Collection includes more than 100 paintings, sculptures, mosaics and site-specific works in a diversity of styles and media by artists of local, national and international acclaim. In addition to six light artworks featured in Illuminate SF by artists Ned Kahn, Eric Staller, Vito Acconci, James Carpenter, Keith Sonnier and Merge Conceptual Design, SFO exhibits works by top Bay Area artistic talents like Wayne Thiebaud, James Torlakson, Roy De Forest, Hassel Smith and Lee Mullican, all of whom can be found in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as well as works by international art stars like Arnaldo Pomodoro and Seiji Kunishima. All works in the Civic Art Collection sited at SFO are provided by the San Francisco Arts Commission, through the City’s percent-for-art program.

Six Must-See Light Art Works Featured in Illuminate SF

Hours and availability depend on airport and airline operations. Artwork located beyond security checkpoints can be seen by ticketed passengers in these boarding areas. View the SFO art collection online and download the multi-page PDF with art map to learn more about the artworks, and the artist who made them.

1. Wind Portal by Ned Kahn – 200,000 mirrored stainless steel disks responds to air currents, creating an ever-changing mosaic of light, sculpted by the wind. You’ll find it between the BART Station and AirTrain near the International Terminal escalator.

2. Four Sculptural Light Reflectors by James Carpenter – Inspired by the construction of the Wright brothers’ first airplane, the suspended sculpture's design diffuses direct sunlight from the skylights, which reflects light up onto the opaque surface of the roof. Pre-Security in the International Terminal, Main Hall, Level 3.

3. Light Beams for the Sky of a Transfer Corridor by Vito Acconci – Sculptural beams of light from recessed lighting in the ceiling above transverse the length of the corridor. Pre-Security in International Terminal, A-G, Level 2.

4. Sky by Merge Conceptual Design – Each mirrored sphere's exterior reflects and distorts its surroundings, as subtle shifts in light and color create an optical effect inside each sphere. Post-Security in Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, Level 2. (Restricted Access).

5. Spirogyrate by Eric Staller – An immersive, interactive installation composed of graphic spiral patterns and light respond to people’s movement through space. Post-Security in Terminal 3, Boarding Area E, Level 2. (Restricted Access).

6. Ceiling Flood by Keith Sonnier – Evenly spaced blue and red neon integrate with a line of neutral light, above which a strategically placed line of neon provides a subtle “yellow glow" down the length of the ceiling. Post-Security in International Terminal, Boarding Area G, Level 2. (Restricted Access).

Expanding the Definition of What a Museum Can Be

In addition to its public art collection, SFO hosts more than 20 galleries with art, science, historical and cultural themes, including a dedicated Aviation Museum and Library as well as rotating Exhibits, so you can come today and again in six months to see different works.

Artists are drawn to the vast, diverse audience that the airport attracts; 50 million passengers pass through SFO annually, while San Francisco Museum of Modern Art welcomes an average of about 700,000 visitors a year.

Don’t Miss SFO’s Stunning “Glass Waterfall”

Completed in May 2015, the new SFO Traffic Control Tower ascends 221 feet skyward in a graceful flare. The control tower's west face features an LED-backlit glass waterfall that stretches 147’ in the air – reflecting sunlight during the day and glowing with interior lighting at night, the colors of which can be changed to celebrate important events.

Located between Terminals 1 and 2, the tower can be seen from the freeway and upon driving into the airport. To see it close up, stand in the Pre-Security Public Corridor at the base of the tower. Look straight up through the skylight glass roof to enjoy the LED light waterfall. Designed to achieve LEED Gold status by airport master architecture firm HNTB, with design partner Fentress Architects, and Hensel Phelps on the design-build team.

Learn more at illuminatesf.com.

Sonoma Canopy Tours adds ‘Tree Top Flight’

Zip through the treetops at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour on the new Tree Tops Flight zip line course at Sonoma Canopy Tours in Occidental, in western Sonoma County.

You’ll be fitted with a specially designed harness, and the zip line lets the magic of gravity do all the work. Created as a way to perform scientific research in remote jungles and other previously inaccessible places, zip lines are increasingly popular as a high-adventure way to experience nature from a truly different perspective.

A revamped version of the former Challenger course, the Tree Tops Flight soars high overhead, with faster and longer zip lines. On other elements of the course you can savor breathtaking views of the majestic redwood forest at a leisurely pace.

Sonoma Canopy Tours also offers its Forest Flight (formerly called the Classic Course) for daytime, sunset, or nighttime trips.

Sonoma Canopy Tours

6250 Bohemian Highway
Occidental, CA 95465
888-494-7868
www.sonomacanopytours.com

KIDTOPIA FESTIVAL RETURNS FOR ANOTHER YEAR OF MUSIC, MAGIC AND KIDDY MAYHEM

With electrifying live shows, music and comedy, hair-raising amusement rides, interactive activities, workshops and yummy food, Kidtopia Festival,presented by Qantas Assure returns to Parramatta Park this October school holidays, promising a smorgasbord of entertainment and activities to ignite the excitement in all on Friday 06 – Sunday 08 October, 2017.

The festival's first line up announcement features a wide range of entertainment from live bands, circus, comedy and tricks. The Kidtopia Sound Stage features Hillbilly rascal band The Pigs alongside junk percussion group Junkyard Beats and Samson from Justice Crew's Base 181 school dance team.

Brisbane's Hoopla Clique bring their acrobatic show CHORES!, exploring just how many tricks two brothers can do while not cleaning their room, teenage junior magic champions Cardistry dazzle with card tricks and magic, while comedian Dr Professor Neal Portenza brings his absurdist stand up show as seen on ABC 3's Stand and Deliver. Hit live reptile show Crocodile Encounters returns with more acts to be announced soon.

This year's event will feature the addition of an all-new performance area, with La Petite Grand presenting the world's best circus, daredevil and comedy acts with a rotating daily program inside a purpose-built big top stage. Interactive art space Craftworks will return along with Kidtopia's dedicated space for under 5's, Littletopia, and live animals, nightly films, games and amusements.

Masterclasses return with a program including workshops in Dance (with Base 181), Coding in partnership with Code Camp, Magic, Percussion skills and our ever-popular Slime, Sherbet & Giant Bubbles classes.

To encourage the benefits of keeping active, Qantas Assure – who offer insurance and a wellness rewards program – will be hosting games, a jumping castle and more in the Qantas Assure Arena. Meanwhile, parents who download the Qantas Assure App will be able to enjoy a sense of wellbeing and relax in the Qantas lounge experience that’s being recreated in the park. There will also be plenty of giveaways to reward activity tracked via the Qantas Assure App on the day.

Don't miss out on the cheapest tickets to the Festival, with Early Bird tickets on sale now. Early Bird tickets offer 50% off the final release price, with prices ranging from $10-$15 and entry for kids under 5 free. Book your tickets now!

Festival Director Cory Watson says this year’s event will be bigger and better than the last, with a program that's full of excitement for all the whole family. “We’re going all out with this year’s Festival. More amusement rides, an extra stage in La Petite Grande for incredible live performances and bigger and better world-class entertainment and interactive experiences.”

Last year’s Kidtopia Festival was a resounding success and saw families from all over NSW converge on Parramatta Park for three days of adventure and entertainment.

Kidtopia Festival, Sydney’s biggest and coolest family event specifically curated to appeal to adults and kids, is jam-packed with every type of creative and crazy fun you can think of – from amusement rides, live music, masterclasses, performances, market stalls and more, the Festival is a must for adventurous families looking for a quality school holiday experience.

KIDTOPIA

When: Friday 06 – Sunday 08 October
Where: Parramatta Park, Parramatta
More info: www.kidtopiafestival.com.au

BYROADS TRAVEL REVEALS SECRETS OF SRI LANKA

Buddha Statue Polonnaruwa Leoks/shutterstock.com
For centuries a magnet from around the world for its gems, pearls, spices and tea, Sri Lanka boasts as many secrets as treasures, many revealed on a Byroads TravelSecrets of Sri Lanka 13-day tour.

Designed for small groups, this tour – March 15-27, 2018 – begins in the capital Colombo and covers such sought-after sights as the cave temples at Dumbulla and the ancient ruins at Polonnaruwa, not forgetting the spectacular rock citadel at Sigiriya.

Led by Byroads Travel’s Steve Mortimer, who with 30 years’ experience has visited more than 100 countries, the Secrets of Sri Lanka tour passes through the scenic Knuckles Range to the old Sinhalese capital at Kandy.

The breathtaking highlands at Nuwara Eliya, in the heart of the tea growing industry, are also visited along with scenic hill town Ella, the tallest Buddha statue in the world and Ude Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka’s premier elephant reserve.

The tour also covers the much-celebrated south coast and its beaches and resorts, the highlight being Galle, a perennial favourite among many, before returning to Colombo.

The tour, limited to 16 passengers, is priced from USD3695 per person, twin share (about AUD$4860). Return air fares from Australia are extra.

Details: Phone Byroads Travel on (02) 9357 6800 or visit www.byroads.com.au

Various Activities to Be Prepared for National Tourism Year

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports will propose that 2018 be designated the "national tourism year,” with various activities to be prepared for this occasion. The proposal will be submitted to the National Tourism Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister General Tanasak Patimapragorn, for endorsement.

The tourism campaign in 2018 will focus on attracting more quality tourists rather than increasing the number of tourist arrivals. Emphasis will also be placed on tourist safety and sustainable tourism.

Permanent Secretary for Tourism and Sports Pongpanu Svetarundra said that the number of international tourists visiting Thailand from January to June 2017 was 17 million, or 2.8 million each month on average, generating 876 billion baht.

The number represented an increase of 4.4 percent, and the tourism income grew by 6 percent over the same period of 2016. The top market was China, followed by Russia and Malaysia. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports still attaches great importance to all groups of tourists and to community tourism for local people, so that they can benefit from the tourism industry, as well.

Meanwhile, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Yuthasak Supasorn said that TAT would use tourism to promote sustainable development, with the community as the ultimate beneficiary. This would pave the way for Thailand to become a preferred destination among international visitors.

As for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins in October 2017, TAT will change its marketing angle slightly, with a new concept of "Open to the New Shades of Thailand.” The concept will deepen the Unique Thai Local Experience to a Million Shades of Thailand. It will enhance the country’s image as a land of amazing diversity worth discovering further.

Regarding the international marketing strategy, TAT has segmented target customers worldwide, ranging from first-timers to repeaters, senior citizens to sports enthusiasts. It will also focus on niche markets and continue to create a brand image as a high-end and luxury travel destination.

Gastronomy tourism will also be emphasized. It is regarded as an important part of the travel through local experiences and one of the tools to add value to products and services that are based on the unique Thai culture and ways of life.

The Government expects that Thailand’s tourism revenue will reach 2.76 trillion baht in 2017. The amount is expected to increase by 10 percent to 3.1 trillion baht in 2018.

Aurora Expeditions Marks 25 Years of Antarctic Exploration

Australia’s first and only owned and operated small ship expedition company, Aurora Expeditions, is celebrating 25 years since its first expedition to Antarctica later this year.

2017 marks a quarter of a century since Aurora Expeditions first took a small group of intrepid adventurers on a breathtaking expedition to the icy continent back in 1992. Since that inaugural adventure, the company has operated over 200 expeditions to Antarctica, offering everyday travellers the chance to discover the continent’s remote wilderness and walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest explorers.

To mark the momentous occasion, the company has launched a special ’25 Year Anniversary’ expedition to Antarctica and South Georgia to pay homage to Aurora Expeditions’ founders, Greg and Margaret Mortimer, as well as the long list of Antarctic explorers and adventurers that came before, and after, them.

Over 18 days, travellers will sail from South America onboard the intimate, 54-passenger Polar Pioneer and explore the Antarctic Peninsula, landing ashore daily to walk amidst the snow-capped peaks and shorelines teeming with wildlife. In the magnificent wildlife paradise of South Georgia, travellers can expect to witness colonies of 500,000 king penguins, feisty fur seals and the wandering albatross – one of the largest seabirds on the planet.

Travellers on the ’25 Year Anniversary’ expedition will also receive a series of exclusive added extras such as a special onboard anniversary dinner, a limited-edition anniversary explorer patch, and commemorative book highlighting photographs and stories of Aurora from the past 25 years.

The expedition will be led by one of Aurora Expeditions’ original expedition leaders, Dr Gary Miller, who has been travelling and leading expeditions to Antarctica for over 30 years. Gary will be joined by a top-notch team including naturalist, historian and polar specialists.

The ‘25 Year Anniversary’ expedition to Antarctica & South Georgia will depart Ushuaia, Argentina on 27 December 2017, and finish in Santiago, Chile on 13 January 2017.

Viet Nam Festival in Kanagawa 2017 to lure 400,000 vistors

The Viet Nam Festival in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture (Viet Nam Festa) is scheduled to take place in Yokohama city from September 15 to 17, as heard at a local press conference on July 19.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Quoc Cuong praised Kanagawa Governor Kuroiwa Yuji’s idea to organise the festival on an annual basis to boost cultural and economic exchange.

Themed “FEEL Viet Nam”, the 2017 Viet Nam Festa aims to attract more than 400,000 visitors, an ambitious number that surpasses its 2015 record.

The festival will feature a host of cultural activities, including water puppetry performance, musical concerts, talks about Viet Nam and the display of Vietnamese flower paintings and lanterns.

The organising board said it will also make September the Viet Nam month in Kanagawa for further promotion events apart from the Viet Nam Festa.

Established in 2015, the Viet Nam Festa is the biggest Vietnamese festival in Japan jointly held by the Viet Nam Embassy and Kanagawa prefecture.

NEW DEDICATED TRAIN FOR THE BROKEN HEEL FESTIVAL

Visitors to Outback NSW can join all the fun of the Broken Heel Festival with a new iconic train experience offering return trips from Sydney.

Launched this week by NSW TrainLink, the Silver City Stiletto is the festival’s new dedicated train service, departing Sydney's Central Station on 7 September.

Enroute to the Outback, guests will watch the miles slip by with onboard entertainment provided by Maude Boate – Australia’s Grand Dame Queen of drag.

Passengers can also expect a fanfare departure in Sydney, plus arrive to a special platform spectacle in Broken Hill.

Tickets are $499 including a three-day festival pass, amazing entertainment, loads of giveaways and much more. With only 150 seats on offer, get in quick to secure your place.

The Silver City Stiletto will return to Sydney on Tuesday, 12 September.