Amusehttps://amuse.vice.com/en_usRSS feed for https://amuse.vice.comenTue, 22 Jan 2019 16:59:11 +0000<![CDATA[Art Destinations | 5 of the Best Places to Go in 2019]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/nexw7b/art-destinations-bestTue, 22 Jan 2019 16:59:11 +0000The art world can be a rarified and elite place. It can seem that a select few collectors, in a handful of elite global cities control the entire ebb and flow of the artistic universe. Amuse wants to show you that this doesn’t have to be the case – that a lot of art, and a thirst for adventure is all you need to totally soak up everything painting, sculpture and multimedia.

That’s why we pulled together this list - a group of five global art events popping up in 2019 that you will not want to miss. Consider it a calendar for the ultimate culture vulture.

Taken from The Wanderlist, our complete guide on where to go in 2019, here are our experts’ tips on where to find the best art destinations this year.

Cologne, Germany

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Photo: Courtesy of Fabrika

At the crossroads of Europe and Asia, Georgia has always been a fascinating cultural melting pot – but never necessarily famed for its contemporary art. All that is about to change though as Fabrika (a hotel art space hybrid) opens its doors in downtown Tbilisi. Find out more here.

These selections have been taken from The Wanderlist - a list of the year’s 50 best travel destinations and experiences, curated by Amuse. If you want an unforgettable trip, this is where to go in 2019.

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nexw7bClem Fiell Clem Fiell BerlinArtLos AngelesagendaCologneTbilisi
<![CDATA[Berghain of Beirut | How an Underground Bunker in Lebanon Became one of the World’s Best Clubs]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/j57xp4/best-underground-club-beirutTue, 22 Jan 2019 16:31:26 +0000“In the mid-1980s, nothing could be heard in Beirut but the sounds of missiles and bullets,” Ali tells me, “But while everyone was completely overwhelmed with the raging war, the young Naji Gebran was busy curating his own music in a small chalet with the number: ‘’B018’’ at the door. This unit turned later into a music refuge for his music lovers’ friends in the midst of their misery.”

"The area was so deserted that even my taxi driver was confused"

So begins the story of B018, one of the most influential clubs, not just in the Middle East, but in the world. Ali Saleh, the current managing partner of the club, is a calm, soft spoken guy, but his face lights up when discussing Beirut, B018 and their intertwined histories.

“At a time when nightclubs were not very common, B018 captured the hearts and minds of generations” Ali continued, “It was a musical revelation; an institution that gave credibility and put Beirut on the international nightlife map. It was also the first club to introduce electronic music, not just to Lebanon, but the region as well.”

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A view of one of the world's most hidden clubs. Photo: Courtesy of B018

“B018 was never intended to be a memorial,” Bernard tells me. “But it was a nightclub with some kind of political awareness, and some kind of honesty. No one thinks a nightclub will have any political meaning, at least architecturally. We spend our efforts on building libraries and public buildings, because this is where history is written, history isn’t written in nightclubs.

“But then I realised that [places] where history isn’t meant to be written is where things become very interesting. I realised nightclubs could be political projects, and buildings that have a great cultural charge are [arguably] more important than museums - if anything, museums are the cemeteries of culture.”

And if museums are the cemeteries of culture, then surely nightclubs, and B018 in particular, is where culture is born: Forged behind the decks and on the dancefloor, giving people new, unforgettable experiences that go on to inspire them in their daily lives.

Tom Usher is a freelance writer based in London. Keep up with him on Twitter here.

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j57xp4Tom UsherClem Fiell LebanonNightlifeBeirutadventure
<![CDATA[Out on the Piste | There’s More to European Gay Ski Week than You Think]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/vbwggx/european-gay-ski-weekMon, 21 Jan 2019 17:27:14 +0000 As the mountaintops above the French resort of Les Menuires blush peach in the setting sun, European Gay Ski Week 2018’s daily après-ski session on the large terrace of Tex Mex pizzeria hits its stride. Around 300 LGBTQ+ men and women bounce, beers, vins chauds or champagne in hand, to the funky house basslines throbbing from the sound system. Gym-pumped go-go boys on podiums tease the crowd beneath flapping rainbow banners and kaleidoscopic drag giantesses snap into supermodel shapes on stage. And then the music stops. “I want you all to send some love today to one of our family who is recovering in hospital,” says singer Tonnic over the mic.

“There’s more to the event than just pornstar-bodied boys in precariously overloaded undercrackers”

For the first time in its ten-year history, the nomadic Alpine sports and social festival had suffered homophobic aggression - not once, but twice. The first physical attack on European Gay Ski Week (EGSW) guests resulted in swift arrests and charges - and thankfully didn’t cause any major harm. But the second left a guest - who'd been by himself after a party - with serious injuries. Meanwhile, the clutch of international drag artists serving as the event’s hostesses were subjected to repeated threatening verbal abuse.

“The people of Les Menuires are as disgusted as we are,” Tonnic continues. “They love our event and have increased police and security numbers. We will not stand for homophobia in any form, and will continue to show the small-minded they will not win, by celebrating our diversity and staying visible. Please, move around the resort in groups, look after each other, and stay safe.”

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"There's more to the event than just pornstar bodied boys in perilously overloaded undercrackers." Photo: EGSW

Broader affection for the event is plain to see every morning too: Families on their way to the ski lifts hoist their kids onto their shoulders to watch ‘Lunges with Lady Galore’, when the drag posse’s den mother and sidekicks – their two to four hours of make-up and outfit prep dazzlingly apparent even at 10am – lead 200 ski-ready queens in a warm-up routine to Madonna and Kylie classics. “And the après vibes spreads far beyond the venue,” says Igor. “I had to go to the medical centre after I had a fall, and you could hear the music in the surgery. The doctor was dancing and singing while he treated me.”

Personally it’s EGSW’s euphoric, easy-going sense of community that most inspires me. A generous kinship, always on the brink of laughter, that effortlessly bonds not just guests, but also locals and other visitors to Les Menuires. This is pretty unique, and far harder to create than just a mass ski trip - or a banging talent line-up.

As Carmen, a gay rights activist for more than 20 years, puts it. “[EGSW] sends a really positive message. Little kids with their parents see there’s nothing scary or wrong about men kissing men, women kissing women, or hot, flirty dancers shaking their butts in nothing but a thong, a hat and a furry tail in freezing temperatures. It’s just fun, inclusive, trouble-free good times for everyone. Life’s about love, people.”

European Gay Ski Week 2019 takes place in Les Arcs, France, from March 23-30th. Head to the European Gay Ski Week website for further info and to book packages and accommodation.

Rupert Mellor is a freelance writer based in London.

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vbwggxRupert MellorTristan KennedySnowboardingskiingFRANCELGBTadventure
<![CDATA[Surreal Madrid | The Story of the Hotel Defaced by Dalí​ ]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/yw8myk/westin-palace-hotel-madrid-reviewMon, 21 Jan 2019 11:30:00 +0000 If These Walls Could Talk… takes a look at the legendary stories behind some of the world’s most famous luxury hotels. This week, we're peeking inside the iconic Westin Palace Hotel in Madrid, which has played a glamorous and gory role in Spain's 20th century history.


The Westin Palace Hotel: The Legend

It’s difficult to imagine bathrooms as a marquee amenity. But when The Palace Hotel opened on September 21, 1912, the fact every single of the hotel’s 800 rooms had both a telephone and a toilet—making them the first hotel in Spain, and only the second in the world to do so—was big news. This fact overshadowed the hotel’s other ‘first’, which perhaps holds more weight in the annals of architectural history; the use of reinforced concrete. However, the mere presence of so many porcelain thrones meant that reinforcements had to be called in.

Someone said it was the birth of the plumbing profession,” says Paloma Garcia Gaxa, Westin Palace’s Communications and Public Relations Manager. “This is the first time they fixed the pipes in Spain, and they had to come from England because they didn’t know how to do it here. It was a pioneering moment.”

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One of the Palace's 16th century tapestries hanging away from the lobby. Photo: Joshua Mellin

The Westin Palace Hotel: The Lowdown

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 106 years later, The Westin Palace Madrid has maintained its position as a centre of life in the city. Every year since opening they’ve hosted high-end Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties (€245 and €635 respectively) both complete with dancefloors, celebrity chefs, and a reputation as the event to attend. They also host a slate of charity events and weddings throughout the year. (“Spanish society loves these classical places to celebrate weddings,” says Gaxa, knowingly.)

It’s a huge, lavish array of history and luxury for the exhausted traveller. But then again, why would you want it any other way? Naturally, Gaxa sums up her hotel’s raison d'être best. “People used to say, ‘Why stay in a hotel, when you can stay in a palace?’”

Prices vary depending on the seasons, but rooms average £190 a night. Advance booking is suggested for suites.

Laura Studarus is a freelance journalist, based in Los Angeles. Keep up with her on Twitter.

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yw8mykLaura StudarusKieran MorrisSpainhotelsMadridagendaif these walls could talk
<![CDATA[Best Food Destinations | Where to Go for the Best Dining Experiences in 2019]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/9kp983/best-food-destinationsFri, 18 Jan 2019 15:00:00 +0000The world teems with good food. It’s everywhere you care to look, and if you’re looking to get a true insight into the nature of a city, or a country, or a culture, then there are few better places to start than with what’s on their plate. As such, it is difficult to understand where to begin, if you’re a hungry soul seeking out the best food destinations that the world has to offer. You may be jaded from having pizza in Naples, or schnitzel in Vienna - been there, done that, gained the half-a-stone.

Well, thankfully for you, we set aside a little bit of time, and the expertise of our network of insiders, to draw together a list of the very best dining experiences you can find in 2019. Some are luxurious; some are daring; some are comforting; some feel like being a million miles away. All of them can be found on The Wanderlist - our selection of 50 unmissable travel experiences for this year; and all of them will yield memories that will last a lifetime.

Best Travel Destinations 2019 Chicago
Photo via Unsplash

Fulton Market, Chicago, USA

Much like many cosmopolitan cities across the world, Chicago’s vibrant food neighbourhood has been built from the remnants of its former meat-packing district. Unlike the equivalent districts of many cosmopolitan cities across the world, Fulton Market kicked into action while still functioning as a meat-packing district - meaning that early adopters in the area had to hose blood down from the streets before opening.

Thankfully, the area has since been sanitised and regenerated, now playing host to every conceivable kind of establishment - from cocktails that border on high art, to authentic Japanese izakayas, to Brazilian churrascarias. It is an unmissable experience, an all-American gem, and a true must-see in the Windy City. Learn more about Fulton Market here.

These selections have been taken from The Wanderlist - a list of the year’s 50 best travel destinations and experiences, curated by Amuse. If you want an unforgettable trip, this is where to go in 2019.

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9kp983Kieran MorrisKieran MorrisjapanChicagousaCopenhagennetherlandsLebanonDenmarkAppetiteRestaurants
<![CDATA[Master Craftsmen | Concocting Perfumes with Jónsi from Sigur Rós]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/nexj48/jonsi-sigur-ros-perfumeFri, 18 Jan 2019 12:00:00 +0000In this new series, ‘Master Craftsmen‘, we meet the inspirational artisans who’ve made the crafting of beautiful objects their life’s work. We look at the unique skill sets they’ve developed down the years, and ask what it’s taken to become the absolute masters of their craft.


As the frontman of Sigur Rós and a solo artist, Jón Þór Birgisson (better known simply as Jónsi) has created a career out of creating rock that seems to turn on its own logic. At times, his work has veered toward ambient abstraction (where would A Life Aquatic be without its cathartic apex scored by “Starálfur”).

In other moments, it’s an exercise in pure pop - see just about any track on his 2010 solo album, Go. But for all the devotion his singular vision has inspired, it took some familial pressure, and the announcement that his siblings were opening an art gallery/retail space, before he felt ready to share his growing skill as a perfumer with the public.

"When Jónsi's curiosity with essential oils grew, the musician found himself carrying a portable perfume-makers kit on tour, blending with 30-50 oils every night after shows"

“The only reason why I did the perfume for the store is because my sisters forced me,” he moans, calling from his home in Los Angeles. “Now you have to do one perfume and release it. Stop overanalyzing things and being so critical!”

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The ornate, typically Scandi shop interior. Photo: Ian Young

“[My sisters] want me to do something more fresh, like freesias,” he says. “I love freesias actually. I really want to do something like that. But it’s a hard thing to do, make a flowery or fresh thing without becoming sickly and too flowery or too sweet, or too soapy. I’ve basically made hundreds of failed experiments.” Whatever it is, and whatever Jónsi thinks of it, it’s likely to be as rooted in the intangible sense of Icelandic sparseness as Sigur Rós themselves.

Laura Studarus is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles. Keep up with her on Twitter.

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nexj48Laura StudarusClem Fiell Ian Young AmsterdamshoppingperfumeApparelmaster craftsmen
<![CDATA[Best Spa Retreats | Where to Find the Best Wellness Therapies in 2019]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/7xnzvz/best-spa-retreatsFri, 18 Jan 2019 10:19:55 +0000Year after year, the world we live in seems to become more hectic. As millions of us pile into a handful of global cities, we are confronted by a continuous cacophony of sights and sounds which are enough to chip away at even the calmest spirit. As technological progress explodes, we find ourselves increasingly interacting with an unfamiliar, unnatural world. Our social lives are increasingly complex, and the boundary between our work and home lives is ever more blurred. The world can seem like one long stream of notifications and blaring car horns.

At Amuse, as serial travellers, we are often guilty of forgetting to stop and breathe. Living largely out of a suitcase does nothing to make you feel grounded. That is precisely why we compiled this list - a handful of heavenly spas, retreats and wellness breaks which will help you stop and breathe.

Antidotes don’t have to be boring – and these destinations prove it. From bathing in lager to discovering your psychedelic inner self, they are each a sure-fire way to wash the 21st century blues away. Taken from The Wanderlist, our complete guide on where to go in 2019, here are our experts’ tips on where to find the best spa retreats this year.

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Photo: Courtesy of Les Monastère des Augustines Hotel & Spa

Digital Detoxing at Les Monastère des Augustines Hotel & Spa, Quebec, Canada

If your inbox is overflowing, the pinging of your iPhone has become a continuous background noise, and your attention span has gone out the window; it sounds like you may need a digital detox. Set in the old ports of Quebec, Le Monastère des Augustines may be perfect antidote for your computerised crisis. It also happens to be one of 2019’s buzziest spas. A former hospital, which was founded in 1639, this not-for-profit monastery/spa was initially set up by nuns of the Augustinian Sisters. In fact, some of the Order still live there. You can find out more here.

These selections have been taken from The Wanderlist - a list of the year’s 50 best travel destinations and experiences, curated by Amuse. If you want an unforgettable trip, this is where to go in 2019.

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7xnzvzClem Fiell Clem Fiell AmsterdamCanadaQuebecSpainSloveniaAntidoteCroatiawellnessBhutanspas
<![CDATA[Electric Dreams | London to Amsterdam in Nissan’s Latest Green Machine]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/d3mgzw/nissan-leaf-ev-reviewThu, 17 Jan 2019 14:30:00 +0000 With ‘The Road Less Travelled’, we aim to cover cars a little differently: putting them through their paces by seeing if they can handle a real adventure. This month, we’re whizzing across to Amsterdam - Europe's greenest city, in all manner of ways - in the all-electric Nissan Leaf EV.


Nissan is proud of its e-pedal functionality, which sits at the centre of an extensive suite of driver assistance systems found on its latest Leaf EV. When activated, it allows the driver to operate the little electric vehicle using nothing more than the accelerator pedal. Like a glorified go-kart, you can squeeze it for power and gently ease off to slow the vehicle to a complete stop.

It's all thanks to the clever regenerative braking system, which harnesses energy typically lost when slamming on the anchors, and turns it into electricity to top up the batteries - theoretically increasing the electric range as you drive.

"The journey is impressively quiet and surprisingly comfortable, with my camera-wielding colleague praising the deeply sumptuous rear seats and powerful bum-warmers"

It works, and makes motoring one-pedal a doddle most of the time, but most of this convenience is undone when it starts raining. Why? Because the driver's mind is suddenly busied with the task of constantly adjusting the wiper speed and flicking on the fan heaters to de-steam the windows, which fog up at an alarming rate.

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Footage of roaring waterfalls playing as Leon's son inspects a globe. Photo: Leon Poultney

A far cry from the tourist traps of the Rijksmuseum Museum and the stag-do messiness found in the infamous Red Light District, this side of Amsterdam proves a perfect weekend getaway. The surplus of bicycles, trams and easy-to-navigate pavements means that setting foot in a car was never really on the agenda.

A bizarre sentiment on a road trip, but this is the very real future for many modern cities. The concept of filling a vehicle up with combustible fossil fuel will likely be completely alien to my son when he reaches driving age, but Amsterdam is proof that emissions-free cities can work. And so long as he can continue to explore the world via electric propulsion, I'll be one happy dad.


Do it Yourself

Stena Line ferries from Harwich to the Hook of Holland start from as little as £59 for a small car, but it's advised to secure a cabin if you fancy getting any sleep. These start at around £40 for a single berth and rise to £125 for more luxurious Captain's Class cabins.

The Student Hotel now has locations all over Europe but a weekend stay in Amsterdam City starts at €75 per room per night. Secure the awesome Play Room for €895 per night.

A trip to the NEMO Science Museum is well worth it if you have little ones to entertain and entry is free for 0-3 year olds and costs €16.50 for everyone else.

For more information on the Nissan Leaf, go to their website.

Leon Poultney is a freelance motoring journalist based in the UK. Keep up with him on Twitter.

Will van Wingerden is a freelance photographer, based in Dorset. Keep up with him on Instagram.

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d3mgzwLeon PoultneyKieran MorrisAmsterdamukcarsnetherlandsadventurethe road less travelled
<![CDATA[Best Backcountry Skiing | Where to Ski the Best Snow in 2019]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/43zgdb/best-backcountry-skiingThu, 17 Jan 2019 14:21:55 +0000“Knowledge,” as the ‘comedy’ slogan beloved of university ski trip hoodie wearers has it, “is powder”. As a cliché, it might be up there with urging people to keep calm and carry on, (and should therefore be consigned to the bin, along with any garment it adorns), but there is a glimmer of truth in it.

Finding the best backcountry skiing after a dump is all about knowing more than the next guy or girl in the lift line. It’s not about getting up earlier, or even heading towards the best lines, it’s about going places that others aren’t. After all, what good is a perfect powder field if you only get one lap before the hordes descend?

"Sure, the snow is great in Niseko, but everyone who’s ever watched a ski film already knows that"

If that applies on a micro-level in individual resorts, then it’s arguably even more important when you’re looking to book a skiing holiday. Sure, the snow is great in Niseko, but everyone who’s ever watched a ski film already knows that.

The art of finding great powder is about going that little bit further off the beaten track - heading places that aren’t swarming with other skiers who are all after the same thing. Taken from The Wanderlist, our complete guide on where to go in 2019, here are our experts’ tips on where to find the best backcountry skiing this year.

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Photo: SkiBro

St. Foy, Tarantaise Valley,

The Tarantaise Valley, home to some of the world’s most famous, and most popular, resorts might seem a strange place to recommend for skiers seeking to avoid crowds. But tucked away among the lift-linked mega-ski areas of Val d’Isere - Tignes or La Plagne – Les Arcs, is the hidden gem of St. Foy.

Of course, nowhere in France is a completely unknown, and there are large tour operators who offer trips to St. Foy. But because the lift-system here is small, the holidaymakers here tend to be families and beginners who rarely venture off-piste. Which means that for skiers at the other end of the spectrum have the backcountry all to themselves. And what the lift system lacks in size, it more than makes up for in terms of accessible backcountry terrain.

Get yourself a good guide and you can be riding fresh days after a dump. In this year’s Wanderlist we recommended engaging the services of SkiBro. They not only work with some of the best guides in the business, they’ll also make a ski film of your day, featuring swooping drone shots of your most epic descents. And who doesn’t want that for their Instagram?

These selections have been taken from The Wanderlist - a list of the year’s 50 best travel destinations and experiences, curated by Amuse. If you want an unforgettable trip, this is where to go in 2019.

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43zgdbTristan KennedyClem Fiell japanskiingNorwayFRANCEGEORGIAKazakhstanadventure
<![CDATA[Beware the Taco Beast | Meet the World’s First Slopeside Street Food Truck]]>https://amuse.vice.com/en_us/article/nep89g/colorado-skiing-taco-beastWed, 16 Jan 2019 11:00:00 +0000 A snowcat prowling round the mountain might not sound like the safest of ideas. But fortunately for skiers visiting Steamboat, one of Colorado’s most exclusive ski resorts, the creature that’s loose on the mountain is no ordinary cat. At the start of this season, they launched the Taco Beast, a burrito-and-beer-dispensing food truck that serves up authentic Mexican fare at 10,000ft.

Moving constantly between four or five pitching spots around the mountain, the Taco Beast offers a delightful range of street food; some with a slight Coloradan inflection (like the sharp, gamey elk chorizo taco).

The snowcat will be at its most active when the trail is clearest and the weather at its most inclement, but a rough patch of snow hasn’t been enough to stop this predator in its tracks, as early sightings around the mountain this winter have proved.

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The Taco Beast's fare on display, accompanied by lime and pico de gallo. Photo: Courtesy of Steamboat

At every outpost, the Taco Beast lays out a set of brightly-painted hammock chairs, which, offset against the thick, snowy peaks, further enliven the experience, giving you a shade of sunshine before your next venture down the mountain.

And unlike any other snowcat you’re ever likely to encounter, the Taco Beast can be tracked - either through the Steamboat Dining Instagram page, the Taco Beast’s Twitter page, or their appointed #TacoBeastSteamboat hashtag (although, beware of unconfirmed sightings!). So if you catch yourself with a craving for carne asada in the heart of the Rockies, keep your eyes peeled - the Taco Beast may be right around the corner.

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