tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:/posts Marisa's Clips 2014-08-10T23:26:23Z Marisa LaScala tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/725677 2014-08-10T23:21:37Z 2014-08-10T23:21:38Z DVD Review: 'Need for Speed'

'Need for Speed' Is About the Thrill of the Ride, Not the Script

...In other words, this is a car movie, one made for people who love cars, and for people who love other car movies. Enthusiasts get to gawk at Marshall’s Ford Mustang GT500 and other exotic cars, like a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento or a Koenigsegg Agera R.

These cars are treated (and shot) with a lot of love. Director Scott Waugh, in his commentary with Paul, mentions that he favors practical effects over CGI, and you can tell; the cars have heft and weight to them, and the most interesting visuals in the film are done in the service of the driving scenes. The cars are also the subject of most of the Blu-ray’s features, which do everything from break down the biggest stunts to analyze the different rumbles that each car makes.

But besides just lavishing attention on the cars, Waugh loves placing them in the context of other, classic driving movies, from Bullitt to American Graffiti. In the commentary, Waugh and Paul point out many of these references (and, yes, video game Easter eggs, too), down to the tiniest background details. (A stunt coordinator and son of a stunt coordinator, Waugh also likes to give shout-outs to all of the stunt drivers and their previous films.) When Bullitt is playing in the background of a drive-in theater during one of the opening scenes of the film, Waugh mentions that he was afraid the movie would come across as a period film, since he puts in so many references to the ‘60s and ‘70s...

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.


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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/725675 2014-08-10T23:08:55Z 2014-08-10T23:26:23Z Bustle TV Coverage: 7/28/14 to 8/10/14 Recently on Bustle, I

...tried to justify bringing Agent Peggy Carter onto Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. just because she's awesome.
http://bsl.io/WKOP1e

...told Batman fans that they're not crazy for not knowing who Fish Mooney is, since she's new for Gotham.
http://bsl.io/1lXxFCR

...marveled -- in slideshow form -- that Manhattan has such a talented cast for a show no one I know watches.
http://bsl.io/1qKWJVs

...was surprised  by how normal Larry Jr. is, despite being the son of Theresa Caputo from Long Island Medium.
http://bsl.io/1nxPaJU

..got to the bottom of what Sugar Bear from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo really does for a living (besides act on a reality show).
http://bsl.io/1mn2QaS








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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/718973 2014-07-26T17:26:28Z 2014-07-26T17:26:28Z Bustle TV Coverage: 7/21/14 to 7/26/14

This week on Bustle, I...

...discovered how totally adorable The Fosters' Bailee Madison and Maia Mitchell are—and how much they really look like sisters.
http://bsl.io/Wvd2Zo

...realized that SoundClash host Diplo is behind more memes than you would think.
http://bsl.io/1sHJHYs

...got to the bottom of the big feud between Caroline and Caprice on Ladies of London
http://bsl.io/1kJfP6j

...and argued that Julia Ormond's "acting rut" was actually kind of awesome.
http://bsl.io/1oiMTXF


Frank Micelotta/PictureGroup

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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/716164 2014-07-20T15:01:35Z 2014-07-20T15:01:36Z Bustle TV Coverage: 7/13/14 to 7/20/14

This week on Bustle, I: 

...got "What's Up" by 4 Non Blondes stuck in my own head while looking into Make or Break Linda Perry's biggest hits.
http://bsl.io/1tG0jS3

...found out all the crazy stories you've heard about rumspringa are true.
http://bsl.io/UdQ32W

...looked back at the cheesy Lifetime movie that brought LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian together
http://bsl.io/1nyuJw0

...and discovered that the music behind 'Married" is by Ratatat and Broken Bells.
http://bsl.io/1mPOOBZ

Image: Prashant Gupta/FX

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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/714258 2014-07-15T12:58:08Z 2014-07-15T12:58:08Z DVD Review: 'Under the Skin'

Mysterious Aliens and Inscrutable Humans: 'Under The Skin'

...We follow Laura as she drives around the streets of Glasgow in a van, luring and seducing men into her orbit, often to their detriment. For these scenes, Glazer uses a series of non-actors in largely improvised environments; the van is outfitted with up to 10 hidden-camera setups.

The result of these conditions—regular people having unscripted conversations in a natural setting without cameras reminding them they’re being filmed—should be naturalistic. However, they don’t entirely feel this way. While these scenes do feel authentic, Glazer heightens the action beyond the typical found-footage-style documentary. His images are more beautiful than something you’d expect from dashboard cameras. He also sets the scenes to a discordantly beautiful score by Mica Levi. You can feel the disconnect between Laura and the rest of humanity; everything feels distant and unsettled.

This is largely to the credit of Johansson. She’s capable of telegraphing both seduction and isolation simultaneously. She connects with the men she meets on the street, but you can tell that there’s an emotional disconnect. While there is dialogue throughout the film, Johansson is essentially giving a silent performance. The words that pass between her and the men are of no consequence to the arc of the film; they’re just to get the men in the van. The emotional core of the story—which comes more and more into focus as the film progresses—is almost entirely advanced through Johansson’s face...

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.
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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/714257 2014-07-15T12:54:59Z 2014-07-15T12:54:59Z Bustle TV Coverage: 6/29/14 to 7/12/14

This week on Bustle, I:

...explained how Welcome to Sweden is basically a lower-key Parks & Recreation
http://bsl.io/1njcLSW

...but lamented how little Amy Poehler will be on it
http://bsl.io/1rVr7fg

...speculated that Olaf will not be appearing on Once Upon a Time
http://bsl.io/U2euR7)

...reminded the world of Rising Star host Josh Groban's greatest accomplishment, his "I'm your Bieber now" tweet
http://bsl.io/1rZKh3s

...noticed what a difference a year or two has made in the life of Extant's Halle Berry
http://bsl.io/1ovtnVc

...and reminded everyone how holidays are always better if you add Muppets
http://bsl.io/1mv26Q3


Image: Getty



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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/710035 2014-07-02T20:16:04Z 2014-07-02T20:16:15Z The Daily Traveler: Rooftop Bars Around the World
Rooftop Bars Where You Can Drink In the View
When you want more than just a cocktail, head to one of these rooftop bars, where the price of a drink gets you access to some rarified scenery.

Sonny's Soda Shoppe
New York City, New York

Don't let the name fool you—you won't be heading to Sonny's Soda Shoppe for an old-fashioned egg cream. Instead, this is where a well-heeled crowd gathers to sip cocktails and check out the view of lower Manhattan and beyond. It sits atop the modern Mondrian SoHo, but the design is meant to recall a 1950s Italian beach club, albeit with faux grass turf instead of sand.

To drink: We didn't say there were zero old-time soda fountain pleasures to be had. Sonny's Blood Orange Gelato Float combines Don Julio Añejo, Chartreuse, vanilla gelato, and blood orange soda.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/709141 2014-06-30T17:55:43Z 2014-06-30T17:55:44Z The Daily Traveler: Amazing Outdoor Film Screenings

A Hot Tub Cinema? Our Favorite Outdoor Movie Venues

Who needs a drive-in? No cars are required to enjoy these outdoor movie screenings—and, chances are, the view will be as good as the film. Enjoy a sunset screening all summer long in an historic Italian piazza, on the rooftop of a cinema in Athens, in a cemetery in Los Angeles, and yes, in a hot tub.

Sotto Le Stelle Del Cinema
Bologna, Italy

When the weather warms, Cineteca di Bologna turns the city’s Piazza Maggiore into one of the most historic outdoor movie venues, with Renaissance architecture surrounding the plaza on all sides and the dome of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita rising behind the screen. Cineteca di Bologna holds 51 screenings under the stars throughout the summer, with eight nights dedicated to the “Il Cinema Ritrovato” (Cinema Rediscovered) series of classic movies. It also claims that the Piazza Maggiore's screen is one of the largest in Europe.

Coming Attractions: Jules and Jim, The Spirit of '45, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Click through to see the full slideshow at The Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Lorenzo Burlando






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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/708833 2014-06-29T20:05:18Z 2014-06-29T20:05:18Z Bustle TV Coverage

So, I picked up a freelance gig covering TV for Bustle! My first week, I... 

...geeked out about how much I loved the flawed women of Tom Perrotta
Meet Tom Perrotta's Leading Ladies

...took any excuse I could to post the "Donna Martin graduates!" video from Beverly Hills, 90210
Tag Team, Back Again

...watched a ton of YouTube videos starring my favorite So You Think You Can Dance contestant, tWitch
Catch Up with the Best 'SYTYCD' Contestant Ever

...got super-jealous of Moran Atias' Instagram account
She's Your Next Girl Crush

...and tried to figure out what the heck CeeLo's reality show is about
CeeLo Green's Reality Show Isn't Very Real

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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/707149 2014-06-24T18:31:32Z 2014-06-24T18:31:33Z The Daily Traveler: Extreme Amusement Park Rides

The Craziest New Roller Coasters and Thrill Rides in the U.S.

Screw up your courage and take a ride on one of this year's new crop of roller coasters, drop towers, Ferris Wheels, and other amusement-park attractions—if you can stand the record-shattering speeds, mind-bending loops, and heart-stopping falls.

El Loco
Adventuredome; Las Vegas, Nevada

The small, four-person cars of the El Loco allow for tighter twist, turns, and rolls. The whole thing starts with a hairpin turn that rolls into a greater-than-straight-down dive, so riders experience what coaster nerds call a "negative 1.5 vertical G"—what a normal rider would call that feeling of floating up out of your seat. Plus, the Las Vegas Adventuredome, located in Circus Circus, is all indoors, so you can't use the weather as an excuse to chicken out.

Click through to read the full slideshow at the website of the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Denise Truscello





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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/707007 2014-06-24T13:00:18Z 2014-06-24T13:00:20Z DVD Review: Winter's Tale
'Winter's Tale' Is Blinded by the Light

The love story should be the heart of Winter’s Tale, but the movie is frequently caught up in the more supernatural elements of the story, and everything is consumed in its spiritual mumbo-jumbo. For example, at least two different characters are pressed into service to explain that Lake’s horse is “actually a dog”—specifically Athansor, the “Dog of the East”—that just sometimes takes the form of a horse. This information never comes to bear in the rest of the entire movie, as Athansor never appears as a dog; it’s just magical nonsense.

It’s not just background nonsense, either; the movie goes out of its way to play up its spiritual angle. Light and its mystical properties, for example, is a major theme of the movie. Instead of just being a recurring visual motif, though, Goldsman makes sure the light is always front-and-center. This results in something onscreen twinkling right before an awe-inspiring event happens. It’s a constant primer that the audience doesn’t actually need.

The magical elements of the story come at the expense of developing real characters. By the time a second set of major characters is introduced in the 2014 timeline, Winter’s Tale doesn’t have enough time left to get invested in them as people. Instead, they become just another set of mystical objects in Lake’s quest for miracles.

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters



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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/701892 2014-06-09T14:29:30Z 2014-06-09T14:29:30Z DVD Review: Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit
Forget Boy Scout; Jack Ryan Is an Eagle Scout to the Extreme
...All of this happens in what is basically the prologue to the actual events of the film, which show how the squeaky-clean Ryan, following his injury, is recruited into the CIA, first as a data analyst at a financial firm in New York City, and then as an agent on his first field assignment to avert an act of financial terrorism in Russia. As Ryan progresses up the ranks of the CIA, though, the story doesn’t get any more nuanced. Ryan is always the most observant, most competent, most morally upstanding guy in the room. The Americans are the good guys; the Russians are the villains. It is, like its airport-novel origins, pretty boilerplate.

For something so formulaic, though, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is at least well done. Director Kenneth Branagh borrows from the best of recent thrillers. He throws in a Bourne-style fight scene here, a Mission:Impossible break-in-and-heist-sequence there, and some Zero Dark Thirty-like data analysis, along with a dash of his own classic, theatrical flourishes. (Branagh takes on the role of Russian baddie Viktor Cherevin, a cold-blooded killer who still makes time to talk about the novels of Mikhail Lermontov.)

With each of these sequences, Branagh changes his filmmaking style to match. The Bourne-like fistfight also borrows its director’s affinity for the shaky, handheld camera aesthetic. The longer heist scene has more fluid camera movements and quick cuts to ratchet up the tension. Throughout, Branagh makes everything sparkle: fluorescent lights of a city, reflections on smooth surfaces of modern architecture, blinking lights of a computer message. The elements of the story may be familiar, but everything looks shiny and new.

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.
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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/698154 2014-05-30T16:59:22Z 2014-05-30T16:59:22Z TV Review: Halt and Catch Fire

PC-Cloning Has Gone Mad in 'Halt and Catch Fire'
With the relationships among MacMillan, Clark, and Howe in the foreground, Halt and Catch Fire makes impressive use of its time period without treating it as an elbow-to-the-ribs joke. Sure, there’s the obligatory Return of the Jedi reference, but there are no Rubik’s cubes, day-glo colors, “Billie Jean,” or any of the other hackneyed ‘80s touchstones. Instead, 1983 appears here to be a transitional year that separates the ‘70s from the ‘80s, pivoting to the age of the personal computer, and the details designating this moment are specific rather than generic.

Click through to read the full review on PopMatters.

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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/690983 2014-05-14T13:29:59Z 2014-05-14T13:29:59Z The Daily Traveler: Urban Gardens
Beautiful Gardens in the Middle of Cities

You don't have to choose between bustling city life and serene nature. Next time you need a botanic pick-me-up, duck into one of these (gorgeous) public urban gardens—from Barcelona to Singapore, Rio to Rome. The roses and orchids are waiting...

Singapore Botanic Gardens
Singapore

Orchids have been hybridized at the Singapore Botanic Gardens since 1859, and now more than 1,000 species and 2,000 hybrids are on display in the National Orchid Garden (including one named in honor of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Vanda William Catherine). That’s just one of the dazzling sights here: There's also a Swan Lake, a Fragrant Garden (known to attract butterflies as well as visitors), outdoor sculptures and sundials, and a section of rainforest home to 314 plant species. It’s no wonder that the garden is Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site nominee.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo courtesy of National Parks Board (NPARKS)
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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/686765 2014-05-05T16:02:42Z 2014-05-05T16:02:43Z Summer Movies

With the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, summer movie season is officially underway. You can see my picks for the summer by downloading this PDF, or read the online version here.


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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/686725 2014-05-05T14:17:00Z 2014-05-05T14:17:00Z DVD Review: Lizzie Borden Took an Axe
'Lizzie Borden Took an Axe' and That's About It

Taken all together, Lizzie Borden Took an Axe is unsatisfying on every level. It doesn’t dig deep enough to make Borden a deliciously evil villain that still inspires some loyalty, like Hannibal Lecter or Joe Carroll. The procedural elements detailing the trial amount to dueling monologues from the prosecution and defense, making them more dry than dramatic. (And shallow, too: You see the hoards of press and gawkers at the trial, but their impact is never explored.) It doesn’t shed any new light on the century-old case. And the camp doesn’t go over-the-top enough to fulfill any kind of cheesy midnight-movie craving.

Click through to read the full review at PopMatters.

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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/682130 2014-04-25T14:20:43Z 2014-04-25T14:20:44Z The Daily Traveler: 10 Weird Tourist Attractions
10 Weird Tourist Attractions
An homage to Stonehenge made of classic cars. A museum devoted to instant noodles. A gnome reserve. We track down some of the world’s wackiest tourist attractions, for our amusement and yours.

Thailand’s Hell Garden
Saen Suk, Thailand
The sign that greets visitors entering this sculpture garden pretty much says it all: “Welcome to Hell.” The Wang Saen Suk’s “hell garden” depicts, in garish detail, the punishments in store for those who transgress in life. If the statues are to be believed—with impaling, transfiguration, and disemboweling all represented—the tortures for sinners are pretty gruesome, so you might want to bank a few good deeds before you visit.

Click through to see the full slideshow at The Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Amos Chapple / Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images




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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/678184 2014-04-16T15:54:27Z 2014-04-16T15:54:28Z The Daily Traveler: Amazing Observation Decks

Observation Decks with Amazing Birds-Eye Views

These incredible viewing platforms located atop soaring skyscrapers offer 360-degree views over cities like Paris, New York, and Shanghai.

The View from the Shard
London
Opened in February 2013, the main observation gallery at this Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper is 800 feet high—the tallest in Western Europe—which is enough to see 40 miles around the city on a clear day. (And, if it's really foggy, you'll be able to return for free). Can't tell what you're looking at? High-tech digital telescopes come with touch screens that'll give you information about 200 London attractions below. When you're finished, you can ascend even higher to the 72nd floor, which is open and exposed to the elements so you can hear the din of the city below.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: The View from The Shard 2014




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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/675140 2014-04-09T14:03:37Z 2014-04-09T14:03:37Z The Daily Traveler: Glass-Floor Attractions

Glass-Bottomed Attractions: 11 Spectacular Views at Terrifying Heights

Embrace the vertigo—the view from these skywalks, glass bridges, and see-through observation decks are worth it. Check out the slideshow for dizzying images of the Alps, the Grand Canyon, New Zealand, and more.

Step Into the Void
Chamonix, France
Okay, you may not be stepping into the void, per se, but this outing does require an extra bit of courage. Visitors enter a glass cube the size of a phone booth that extends off the edge of Aiguille du Midi in the French Alps. The elevation: a staggering 12,605 feet. From there, you can see Mount Blanc and other alpine peaks, the mountain climbers trying to summit—and a 3,300-foot drop immediately below. 

Click through to see the rest of the slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo © Robert Pratta/Reuters/Corbis
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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/675134 2014-04-09T13:35:59Z 2014-04-09T13:36:10Z I'm the Expert: Ask Me About Bridal Showers

Actually, you don't have to—The Daily Meal already did! They asked me for an idea for a bridal-shower theme. From the photo, can you guess what my answer was? You can read the article here (I'm the third slide).

Inspirational Bridal Shower Theme


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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/665492 2014-03-19T16:31:37Z 2014-03-19T16:31:37Z The Daily Traveler: The World's Most Beautiful Cemeteries

Cemeteries So Beautiful, You Wouldn't Mind Spending Eternity in Them


CIMITIRUL VESEL
Săpânţa, Romania

When you put the words "death" and "Romania" together, it usually conjures up images of dark, gothic, Dracula-inspired scenery. But Săpânţa's Cimitirul Vesel—or the "Merry Cemetery" in English—is actually anything but gloomy. The sky-blue graves here are marked with hand-carved, intricately-painted crosses, then adorned with an image of the person below and a poem about his or her life.

But there's no hagiography here: the poems seek to represent the true life of the deceased, and drinking problems, infidelity, and other less-than-flattering traits are fair game for Dumitru Pop, the crosses' creator.

Tour: The Merry Cemetery is often a stop on larger tours of Romania; visit romaniatourism.com for more information.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler. 

Photo: Funky Food London/Paul Williams/Alamy 
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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/665003 2014-03-18T15:30:28Z 2014-03-18T15:30:28Z The Daily Traveler: Amazing Observatories Around the World Perfect for Stargazing

Amazing Observatories Around the World Perfect for Stargazing

If Cosmos has piqued your interest in the stars, then you need to add one of these incredible observatories to your bucket list. Perched upon mountaintops and even volcanoes, these high-tech towers are perfect for studying the heavens from behind a telescope.

Paranal Observatory
Antofagasta, Chile
Chile has become a hotspot for the science, and there are at least a dozen observatories—at various levels of tourist-friendliness—working within the country's borders. Operated by the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Paranal is open to weekend visitors, who come to see the simply named Very Large Telescope (VLT). The VLT is actually comprised of four smaller telescopes—named Antu, Kueyen, Melipal, Yepun, meaning Sun, Moon, Southern Cross, and Venus in the indigenous Mapuche language—which can be used in tandem to create an interferometer that allows astronomers to see details up to 25 times finer than they could with individual telescopes.
Visit: Free, guided tours are offered on Saturdays at 10 am and 2 pm. There is no charge, but reservations are required.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Gabriel Brammer/dpa/Corbis




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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/664496 2014-03-17T00:35:08Z 2014-03-17T00:35:09Z The Daily Traveler: Inactive Volcanoes You Can Visit

Inactive Volcanoes You Can Visit

Enjoy the drama of nature's violent geological history—without the fear of molten lava—by visiting one of these extinct, inactive, or dormant volcanoes. Plus, they're all just stunning.

MOUNT EDEN
Auckland
Mount Eden, also known as Maungawhau, is the tallest of Auckland's 50-plus volcanic peaks. From the 643-foot-high summit, you can get a 360-degree panorama of the city and harbor. You can also see a now grassy, well-preserved crater, along with the ruins of a Maori settlement. Locals use this as a fitness trail, so suit up and join them for a jog to the top. Others say that the best views are had at night, with the illuminated city below.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler. 

Photo: Doug Pearson/Jai/Corbis 
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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/662384 2014-03-10T19:52:38Z 2014-04-09T13:36:39Z I'm the Expert: The Daily Meal Gift Guide

The Daily Meal Gift Guide

Quoth the editors of The Daily Meal: "To help you tackle your epic Christmas list this year, we sought the help of some of the top editors and planners in the entertaining world who know a thing or two about choosing the best gifts." Hey, that's me! Yes, this happened way back in 2013, but I'm just circling back to it now. I was approached to give my best gift suggestion for seven different types of recipients: the hostthe beer/wine drinker, the coffee/tea drinkerthe cook, the bakerthe wannabe food critic, and the traveler. Luckily, none of my picks are too tied to the holiday season—feel free to use them for birthdays, hostess gifts, and gifts you just give to yourself. 

Pictured: Fred & Friends Ninja Bread Men cookie cutters, available at Amazon.com.





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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/661607 2014-03-07T14:05:16Z 2014-03-07T14:06:23Z The Daily Traveler: What to Do After the Whitney Biennial

Whitney Biennial: What do in NYC Before And After the Big Art Show

The Whitney Museum of American Art may be leaving the Upper East Side for new downtown digs, but that doesn't mean that you have to follow. Before or after you're done browsing the museum’s Biennial exhibition—held for the last time at its current uptown location—visit these neighborhood spots for shopping, food, live music and, of course, more art.

...SEE MORE ART

The Leo Castelli Gallery
If you didn't get your fill at the Whitney, head over to this gallery, which was founded in the '50s by an art dealer who was one of the first to catch on to the likes of Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. The gallery still exhibits art titans of that era, and it's currently hosting an exhibition of works by Robert Morris, including two of his iconic felt sculptures. 
18 E 77th St (212) 249-4470; castelligallery.com.

...SHOP AROUND

Fivestory
You can find a little of everything at Fivestory: some women's fashion, some men's fashion, and some housewares—all of it from high-end, hard-to-find lines—displayed in an UES brownstone that's made to look like a scaled-down luxury department store. If you see something you like (and can afford), better snap it up, as the store prides itself on carrying items that, if not one-of-a-kind, are stocked in very limited quantities. 
18 E 69th St (212) 288-1338; fivestoryny.com.

...GRAB SOME DINNER

Hospoda
The word "hospoda" means "pub" in Czech—and that pretty much tells you all you need to know about this restaurant. The cuisine here is "beer-inspired"—think beef tartare served on a pretzel bun, or crescent duck with red cabbage, potato, and quince—and the menu offers beer-pairing suggestions for each dish from a list of more than a dozen different brews. If your thirst for suds still isn't quenched, order the draft tasting. It comes with mugs of Pilsner Urquell served four ways, from "neat," which has no head, to "sweet," which is all foam. 
321 East 73rd St (212) 861-1038; hospodanyc.com.

...GO FOR A COCKTAIL

Bar Pléiades
You can't get a table at Café Boulud without a reservation, but you can visit Daniel Boulud's swanky bar next door for a drink or two. The mixologist here offers a far-ranging menu of cocktails, from the seasonally inspired Shiver Me Timbers (JM Gold Rhum, Ramazzotti, pine liqueur, tiki bitters, maple syrup candied walnut, and foraged pine) to the timeless Scofflaw (Cocchi Americano, rye, lemon, grenadine, as found in The Savoy Cocktail Book from 1930). Just make sure you hit the ATM before you go, as cocktails here cost between $16 and $22.
20 E 76th St (212) 772-2600; barpleiades.com.

...LISTEN TO MUSIC

Café Carlyle
Reserve a table at The Carlyle hotel's Café Carlyle for a supper-club experience, where you can knock back a martini, eat dinner, and be treated to a cabaret performance. (Fellas, jackets are recommended.) Woody Allen and his New Orleans Jazz Band have a standing engagement here on Monday nights, and Shirley Jones, John Pizzarelli, and Alexa Ray Joel all have upcoming gigs that fill out the rest of the week. If you want to skip the "supper" part and concentrate on the drinks and music, there's The Carlyle's Bemelmans Bar, named after the famed Madeline creator, which also hosts live music.35 E 76th St (212) 744-1600; rosewoodhotels.com.

...TAKE A STROLL

Central Park
For walking, biking, people watching, or any of New York City's other free pleasures, the Whitney is just a quick stroll away from Central Park. Enter at 60th St to see the newly installed cloud sculptures by Swiss artist Olaf Breuning, then head north to see sculptures dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen and Alice in Wonderland and take a lap around the picturesque Conservatory Water pond.
60th St and Fifth Ave (212) 310-6600; centralparknyc.org.

Click through to read the story on the Condé Nast Traveler's website.

Image: Olaf Breuning, Clouds, 2013, COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND METRO PICTURES
Photo: Liz Ligon, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY


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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/655753 2014-02-18T20:08:19Z 2014-02-18T20:08:47Z A.V. Club Newswire: Drink coffee like a True Detective with your own Big Hug Mug

If you're looking for a way to drink coffee like Rust Cohle on True Detective, my item in the A.V. Club's newswire will show you how to get a vintage FTD Big Hug Mug.

Click through to see the full story at the A.V. Club.

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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/653217 2014-02-11T14:04:48Z 2014-02-11T14:04:48Z The Daily Traveler: Where Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Royals Vacation

Where World Leaders Vacation

You might be going on vacation this Presidents' Day weekend, but not the kinds of vacations that President Obama, Prince Charles, and other world leaders take. These are the favorite vacation spots of presidents, prime ministers, royals, and other heads-of-state.

President Barack Obama
Martha's Vineyard

The first family has made repeated trips to Martha's Vineyard throughout Barack Obama's presidency. When on the island, they used to stay at the 28-acre Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, until the property was sold to architect Norman Foster in 2011. Last summer, they downgraded to a smaller house—but with a pool and views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/650582 2014-02-05T15:22:30Z 2014-02-05T17:32:18Z Time Out New York: Winter Activities in the New York Area

What a perfect day to post this...

Outdoor Adventures in New York

Tackle the snow with an inner tube, cross-country skis or an ice ax (yes, really) on these intrepid outdoor adventures this winter

Snow tubing

Hunter Mountain

2½ hours by car or bus

This downhill sport has all the screaming momentum you crave sans the need for skill or coordination: Just settle in and let gravity do the work. Hunter Mountain recently gave its tubing park a major makeover—it now boasts 24 shoots, each 1,000 feet long, and a new carpet lift to take you back to the top when you’re ready for another go. 7740 Main St, Hunter, NY (800-486-8376, huntermtn.com). Two-hour session $20. 

Where to stay: For a dose of kitsch, try Kate’s Lazy Meadow (5191 Rte 28, Mount Tremper, NY; 845-688-7200, lazymeadow.com; from $175/night)—founded by B-52’s singer Kate Pierson—whose suites are done up in “atomic” midcentury style.

Read the rest either by downloading the above PDF, or by clicking through to read the full list at Time Out New York.]]>
Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/648082 2014-01-30T14:04:09Z 2014-01-30T14:04:10Z The Daily Traveler: Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Trivia

Sochi Trivia: Olympic Fun Facts That'll Make You Sound Really Smart

From the craziest stops on the torch relay to the future of Sochi's newest venues, here's your guide from Marisa LaScala to this year's Olympic trivia.

Say Hello to the Newbies

A number of countries are headed to the Winter Olympics for the very first time. East Timor, Paraguay, Togo, Tonga, and Zimbabwe are among the debuting nations—and their athletes bring some of the most incredible stories of the Games with them.

Take, for instance, Paraguay's Julia Marino, who will be competing in the new slopestyle skiing event. How did she come to represent a country that's more likely to see its residents on jet skis than downhill skis? She was adopted by Americans when she was six months old and raised in ski-savvy Massachusetts—but chose to compete for her birth nation.

Then there's Tonga's Bruno Banani. If you'd checked in with him before 2008, you'd have found him playing rugby under the name of Fuahea Semi. In the ensuing years, he headed off to Germany, changed his name to that of a famous brand of German undergarments, learned how to luge, and will be carrying the flag for Tonga for the first time.

Click through to see the rest of the article at the website of the Condé Nast Traveler.


Photo © Jens Büttner/dpa/Corbis





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Marisa LaScala
tag:mlascalawriting.com,2013:Post/647111 2014-01-28T15:28:33Z 2014-01-28T15:28:33Z The Daily Traveler: Free NYC

Free NYC: How to Come for the Super Bowl and Have Fun Without Going Broke

Even if you spend every last dime traveling to the New York area for the Super Bowl, you can still enjoy a multitude of activities in the city free-of-charge.

Laugh at Your Future Favorite Comedians

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater—UCB for those in the know—is a training ground for some of the best comedians out there: Amy Poehler, Ed Helms, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, and a bunch of the Saturday Night Live performers are all alums. The theater hosts comedy shows every night of the week, and most of them cost $10 or less—and a few will cost you nothing. At the UCB's Chelsea location, you can find free shows on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, but the theater's signature free show, ASSSSCAT 3000, happens every Sunday at 9:30 pm. There, on a small stage surrounded by seats on three sides, some of the best improvisers in the area perform an unscripted show, and some big names often drop by to join in. (In the past, Lena Dunham, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and even Mike Meyers have been spotted here.) Warning: You might not need to spend your cash, but you will need to invest your time; the line starts forming in the late-afternoon, early-evening for an 8:15pm ticket distribution. If you can't stand the idea of entertaining yourself in line, you can always buy a ticket in advance for the 7:30pm ASSSSCAT—but it'll cost you $10. 307 W 26th St (212-366-9176; ucbtheatre.com).

Click through to read the full article at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Pete Titmuss/Alamy


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Marisa LaScala