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Destination Art
4:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Marfa, Texas: An Unlikely Art Oasis In A Desert Town

In the 1970s, minimalist artist Donald Judd moved to Marfa, Texas, where he created giant works of art that bask beneath vast desert skies. In the years since, Marfa has emerged as a hot spot for art tourism.
Art (c) Judd Foundation Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 5:36 pm

This tiny town perched on the high plains of the Chihuahua desert is nothing less than an arts world station of the cross, like Art Basel in Miami, or Documenta in Germany. It's a blue-chip arts destination for the sort of glamorous scenesters who visit Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum and the drugs.

"They speak about Marfa with the same kind of reverent tones generally reserved for the pilgrimage of the Virgin of Lourdes," notes Carolina Miranda, a writer who covers the art world.

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Food
4:32 am
Thu August 2, 2012

Name That (New) Grape

Researchers at Cornell University will be releasing two new wine grape varieties next year from the university's agricultural breeding program. And they're asking the public to create names for them.

Africa
4:23 am
Thu August 2, 2012

A Diplomat's Extended Visit With Al-Qaida In Mali

Fowler notched his 130 days in al-Qaida captivity on his belt. He was held in north Africa in 2008-09.
Courtesy of Robert Fowler

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 10:54 am

For all the verbiage about al-Qaida over the past decade, only a tiny number of Westerners are actually speaking from firsthand experience. Robert Fowler, a former Canadian diplomat and U.N. envoy, is one of them.

In December 2008, Fowler and a U.N. colleague were traveling through a remote stretch of southwestern Niger, near the border with Mali, when gunmen forced them from the road.

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Music Reviews
6:09 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

The Very Best: A Band's Summer Escape With A Message

Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya and Swedish producer Johan Hugo met in a London thrift shop and soon became musical collaborators as The Very Best.
David Harrison

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 9:45 am

The high-tech pop intro to The Very Best's song "Kondaine" suggests a carefree summer party. There's Afropop uplift to the sound and Top 40 melodiousness to the vocal.

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Books
5:56 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Famous For His Hates: The Cool, Witty Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal arrives at the premiere of Alexander at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, Calif., on Nov. 16, 2004.
Frazer Harrison Getty Images

Chris Bram is the author of the novel Gods and Monsters.

Gore Vidal was famous for his hates: academia, presidents, whole portions of the American public and, most notably, Truman Capote. Yet he could be incredibly generous to other writer friends. He wrote beautiful, appreciative essays about Tennessee Williams and Dawn Powell.

He was a man of many facets and endless contradictions.

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