Thursday, October 31, 2013

Akubra luxury luggage range launched

Iconic Australian hat-makers AKUBRA, have agreed to grant DKM Blue the worldwide licensing rights to produce a new range of luggage and accessories for men and women. DKM Blue will be launching this exciting new collection in November this year.

Brothers Danny and Dorry Kordahi of DKM Blue will respect the classical feel that AKUBRA is famous for, but will add a contemporary twist to the range both in the design and the product line.   The range includes overnight bags, handbags, travel accessories, wallets and purses.  They are handsomely presented in gift boxes or dust bags and will be available through selected retailers, online and on QANTAS international flights as a duty free purchase.  The complete range is also available at

Danny Kordahi says, "This is a monumental opportunity for our company and for Akubra.  We embrace the opportunity to bring this historical brand to the modern online marketplace, to extend their brand and to build greater brand recognition within the luxury luggage and accessories arena.  The possibilities for both DKM Blue and Akubra are really endless."

The Kordahi brothers have promised that their licensing will "respect the past and look forward to the future". By respecting this auspicious past, Danny and Dorry will honour the Keir family who originated the famous Akubra hat over a hundred years ago.  As testament to the Keir name, the current Akubra Company is led by Stephen Keir IV who is the Chairman and Managing Director.  DKM Blue approached Akubra to consider taking it down a brand extension strategy and to create a collection of premium goods, which would both complement and enhance the Akubra brand.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cool: GoCycle Electric Bike

by Dolomiti
This electric bike features F1 inspired design, craftsmanship and technology. Performance is fully adjustable using blue-tooth technology and harnessed via an automatic gearbox. Light and fully foldable, the GoCycle is a great travel companion.
 How much? You won't get much change from 5 grand.

Charlie le Mindi shocking fashion show

Hairstylist-cum-designer Charlie le Mindu has built his career on all that is shocking, outrageous and beautifully bizarre.

 Covered in tattoos (he has "love" written across his right knuckles, "cunt" across his left, a pigeon asking "Where's my kebab?" on his right hand and "Gypsi King" across his eyelids—partially because of his father's background, partially because of his "mixed feelings" about the '90s band) and cheeky demeanor, Le Mindu fits right in with East London's quirky creative and club kids.

But the hairdresser to Lady Gaga, Charlie Le Mindu is perhaps best known for his ‘Naked’ catwalk shows, like this one at London Fashion Show.

Why? You'd better ask him.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thredbo celebrates 20th anniversary of the Blues Festival

You know you're onto a good music festival when the very people who form the backbone of it, the artists, call it their personal favourite. Clear and crisp mountain air, beautiful surrounds, electric village vibes and soul soothing blues tunes make the Thredbo Blues Festival one of the top events to attend this summer.

And it's the intimate nature of the festival that really sets it apart from the rest. Forget being herded around like cattle, the Thredbo Blues Festival is famous for providing a great casual atmosphere combined with an impressive line-up of talent.

Only a handful of music festivals in Australia can claim a 20 year legacy, and this summer's Thredbo Blues Festival is shaping up to be the biggest and best yet.

On 17-19 January 2014, 22 Australian artists will perform over the weekend with headline acts including the iconic Wendy Matthews, the inventive Jeff Lang, explosive Kevin Borich, super-smooth Ray Beadle and renowned Rick Price.

The Foreday Riders who have performed continuously from the mid 60's and well-known for spawning many brilliant musicians along the way will also perform together with The Mighty Reapers and a swag of new comers including Jungal.

"The 2014 Thredbo Blues is undoubtedly one of the best line-ups in any Australian Blues festival for some years," said Festival Director Stewart Wauchop.

Legendary Blues man Jeff Lang, a Thredbo Blues crowd favourite, loves this festival. "I've been coming to Thredbo to play at the Blues Festival for 18 years now. I love how it really feels like the whole town has given itself over to music for the duration of the festival. The audiences are great too, like the whole town is populated by people who love to hear live music. It's a different vibe to a typical festival and I always look forward to coming back to Thredbo to play" he said.

The combination of concert, intimate and poolside venues showcasing artists at their best will create a party not to be missed with your accommodation just a short walk home.

There is an accommodation option to suit everyone in Thredbo with all inclusive festival and accommodation packages starting from only $275 per person. 3 Day Early Bird Festival tickets are available until the end of November for only $125. Make sure you book today!

For the full festival line-up of artists, program, accommodation and ticket prices visit or call Thredbo Resort Centre on 1300 020 589.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

IWC Schaffhausen celebrates 'The Little Prince'

Inline images 1

IWC Schaffhausen celebrates the 70th birthday of the highly popular novella "The Little Prince" with the launch of two limited special editions during Watches&Wonders in Hong Kong: the Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Edition "Le Petit Prince" and the Pilot's Watch Mark XVII Edition "Le Petit Prince". With these, the Swiss watch manufacturer pays tribute to one of the best-selling books in literary history, written by legendary writer, pilot and adventurer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Since 2006, the Schaffhausen luxury watch manufacturer has maintained a cordial partnership with Saint-Exupéry's heirs and their charitable organization, the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Youth Foundation.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

South Africa celebrates Nadine Gordimer

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On Sunday September 8, 21 Icons South Africa is proud to celebrate the first artist in the series: novelist and short-story writer Nadine Gordimer. She is the fourth Nobel prize winner featuring in 21 Icons South Africa, having won the prestigious prize for literature in 1991. The other three are former South African presidents Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, who received the peace prize jointly in 1993, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who was the recipient of the 1984 peace prize. 

Although Gordimer is admired as an activist for political and social justice during apartheid South Africa (she joined the then banned ANC and played an active role in opposing the regime), she is firm that she is a writer first and foremost and that her life's work has been her writing.

And despite years of local and international exposure on the literary circuit and as a lecturer, she does not feel comfortable being photographed. "I never enjoy having my portrait shot," she tells filmmaker and photographer Adrian Steirn on set at her home in Parktown, Johannesburg. "I'm always embarrassed. If you want to know about me, you either have to know me in a personal relationship and/or read my books. I don't think you'll see it in my face. It doesn't matter what I look like and I'm the same with writers that I admire: I don't care what they look like."
Still, she consented to being photographed sitting atop a pile of life-sized copies of some of her books, under a jacaranda tree in her garden. Dwarfed by her books, the portraits reflects her tremendous contribution to South African and world literature and how, through the political and moral themes she wrote about, she placed the country's injustices, nuances, outer and inner conflicts, and their effects on people from all walks of life firmly in the world's consciousness. "There are different forms of using the word," she tells the team, "this wonderful thing that needs a capital letter: the Word. To me being a writer is a voyage of discovery. You are questioning and you're moving on to discover what the real meaning of life is."

"Nadine Gordimer is a tiny woman and the juxtaposition of her sitting on these enormous books really worked for me," says Steirn. "You've got Nadine Gordimer sitting on her own books, like something in "Alice in Wonderland" — it really is extraordinary to see."  

The portrait will be published as a poster in the Sunday Times newspaper on September 8. The original photograph, signed by Gordimer, will be auctioned at the end of the series and the proceeds donated to the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, a specialist pediatric academic and tertiary referral hospital that is being built to provide services to all the children of Southern Africa irrespective of their social and economic status.

Steirn chose the titles on which Gordimer sits with care: they are her first novel, "The Lying Days" (1953), "A World of Strangers" (1958), "The Late Bourgeois World" (1966), "Burger's Daughter" (1979) — which she names as her favourite of all her novels —and "July's People" (1981). Apart from her debut, these books were all banned by the apartheid government, some for more than a decade. And to the shame of that government, it never officially congratulated her on her 1991 Nobel prize for literature — the first woman writer in 25 years to receive it — even as it came in the heady days of apartheid already being dismantled. "Perhaps I should take it as a compliment," she says in 21 Icons, clearly not too bothered by this lack of recognition.

What she does treasure is that she received a letter from Nelson Mandela while he was in prison, smuggled out to her after he read "Burger's Daughter", which in turn was smuggled into prison for him. He wanted to see her after he had read the book, having already met her during his trial in 1962. Her request for permission to visit him was denied, though, but she was there when he walked out of Victor Verster Prison in Cape Town in 1990, and she was one of the first people he wanted to visit. A few years later she would be in his official entourage when he went to Sweden to accept the Nobel prize for peace.

She also has a deep admiration for his lawyer during the Rivonia trial, George Bizos, with whom she struck up a lasting friendship. She calls Bizos her "guru", a great friend "and an inspiration in the sense that we care about justice in the same way".
Gordimer's one big regret is that she never learnt one of South Africa's African languages and she faults herself for not doing it. "When I look back at the way I've conducted my life as a South African that is a big, big gap," she tells Steirn.

She has a deep love for South Africa and never really considered leaving for exile during the apartheid years. As she says: "I think I've been tremendously lucky in my life and I have had an extraordinary life. I don't know: Would I be a different kind of writer if I had lived somewhere else? I don't call South Africa a miracle nation, but I belong to it with all its faults and it's part of my life not just as a writer, but my life as a human being, as a responsible citizen of my own country in the world."

She has this advice for aspirant writers: "Read and write. Don't go to creative writing class. You can't be taught to write. You can be taught to be a good journalist, but you cannot be taught to be a poet or a novelist. You read, read, read so that you become aware of the power and the range of the word — and then you want to do your own little experiment."

Programme synopsis: Filmmaker and photographer Adrian Steirn pays homage to South Africa's celebrated and Nobel prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer. He shoots an "Alice in Wonderland" portrait of her as she reveals the profound love of books and writing that has focused her entire life.

Photograph details: Photographer Adrian Steirn used soft, ambient lighting to capture Nadine Gordimer sitting in her garden on a pile of giant-sized books – the titles taken from the author's own works. It speaks of her enormous contribution to South African and world literature, but also, quite playfully, reflects the wonder world that words, books and writing has always held for Gordimer. The portrait title is 'On her Word".

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Popular breakfast show host joins North Queensland Airlie race week

Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week has snagged a popular radio breakfast host to be the official MC throughout the week-long regatta from 9-16 August, 2013.

Meecham Philpott, who hosts the daily breakfast show on ABC Tropical North from Mackay, is an avid fan of Airlie Beach Race Week and sailing in general.

“I have always loved the water - a mad keen surfer, rowed in The Eight at Kings and, these days, (I’m) a committed stand up paddle boarder,” he said.

“But the yachts are the thoroughbreds of the blue stuff, or turquoise in the case of Airlie.”

With race week having equally as many social events as sailing races, Meech will assist with presentations and announcements throughout the week, including the popular lay day activities which will include a humorous race exclusive to the skippers.

Meecham said he is thrilled to be a part of the 24th annual Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week.

“What do I love about race week? Let me put it this way, you throw together several hundred socially excited people on turquoise water under a tropical winter sun and give them the opportunity to drive their yachts as fast as they possibly can back to the clubhouse for as many safety challenged drinks of sugar cane extract,” he said

“I’m really looking forward to Airlie race week which I am renaming Airlie beach Race AND Fun Week!”

Meech said he is also interested in taking a few of the sailing stories away with him to share across ABC local radio.

For further information, please visit

The Abell Point Marina Airlie Beach Race Week 2013 is hosted by Whitsunday Sailing Club.
Sponsored by Abell Point Marina.
Support by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of a growing calendar of sporting, cultural, regional events throughout the state.
Event partner of Queensland’s Season of Sailing.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Glenmorangie celebrates history with Scotland and Lamborghini

Lamborghinis line up in front of The Glenmorangie Distillery in Tain.
(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
Glenmorangie celebrates a history of pioneering innovation on a unique journey through Scotland with Lamborghini

Glenmorangie releases 50 rare bottles of The Glenmorangie 1963, with a toast to Lamborghini, born in 1963, on its 50th anniversary

Since 1843, Glenmorangie has been on a journey as an industry pioneer. In 2013, Glenmorangie celebrates The Glenmorangie 1963 by re-releasing 50 bottles of this rare single malt scotch whisky. The Glenmorangie 1963 is not only a sublime sensory experience but the pioneer of extra maturation for the whisky industry. Born in 1963, 2013 also marks Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary as the manufacturer of some of the world’s most sought after supercars, ‘100 years of innovation in half the time’. To celebrate these milestones, Glenmorangie and Lamborghini shared in a breath-taking and picturesque journey on 24 July 2013 through the West Highlands in Scotland, finishing the journey at Glenmorangie House where a dinner was held with a tasting of The Glenmorangie 1963 with Dr Bill Lumsden, Glenmorangie's celebrated Director of Distilling, Whisky Creation & Whisky Stocks.

Half a century has passed since the 1963 whisky was distilled and then released to the world in 1987 as the first ever extra matured single malt scotch. Since 1963, Glenmorangie has continued on a journey of craftsmanship, creativity and passion first started in 1843, using this inspiration of the past to shape future whisky creations, while Lamborghini has pioneered technology and Italian craftsmanship to become the benchmark for high performance and luxurious super sports cars. In contrast, the outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity of the West Highlands, remains largely untouched by time.

The journey started with a succession of Lamborghini’s dynamic and elegant super sports cars, including the V12 flagship Lamborghini Aventador Roadster LP 700-4, launched this year, and a range of V10 Lamborghini Gallardo models. Drivers traversed some of Scotland’s most famous destinations: stunning Loch Lomond, mysterious Loch Ness and the beautifully preserved Fort William. The drive showcased the richness of the Scottish countryside and scenery, ending at Glenmorangie House.

There, to mark this anniversary, Dr Bill Lumsden, held an exclusive tasting of The Glenmorangie 1963, after which Paul Skipworth, President and Managing Director of Glenmorangie, presented the first of the re-released 50 bottles to Giorgio Sanna, chief test driver from Automobili Lamborghini’s Research & Development department, as a gift on Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary.

“Glenmorangie recognises innovators who share our pioneering spirit,” said Paul Skipworth. “We toast Lamborghini with the very special Glenmorangie 1963 on 50 successful years – a milestone in the history of luxury super sports cars.”

“Lamborghini is privileged to have its 50th anniversary honoured by this rare whisky,” said Giorgio Sanna.

“Lamborghini is delighted to be acknowledged by an icon such as Glenmorangie, which understands what it means to be an industry pioneer.”

This joint celebration not only marks a 50 year journey for Lamborghini and Glemorangie as industry pioneers, but their commitment to an unnecessarily well-made future.

About the journey:

In four-and-a-half hours, drivers traversed some of Scotland’s most famous destinations: stunning Loch Lomond, mysterious Loch Ness and the beautifully preserved Fort William. Travel time was only broken for a sumptuous lunch at Inverlochy Castle, a Relais & Chateau property with a Michelin star restaurant.
Finally, the road stopped at Glenmorangie’s luxurious Highland home, situated on the Ross-shire peninsula. Overlooking the unspoilt shores of the Moray Firth, Glenmorangie House is the perfect haven in which to immerse in the Glenmorangie spirit and heritage and is conducive to exploring the distinguished whisky expressions of Glenmorangie, expressions that come to life at the nearby Distillery. At the Distillery, viewers can see the famous 12 stills, the tallest in Scotland, the height of which further demonstrate that Glenmorangie will go to any lengths to pursue perfection.

About The Glenmorangie 1963:

Distilled in 1963 and originally released in 1987, The Glenmorangie 1963 was the first-ever bottling of Glenmorangie to be released from a single year. In addition, it is the earliest known commercial bottling of a whisky that has been ‘wood finished’ – or matured in an oak cast – and subsequently transferred to another cask that had previously contained an exquisite wine or richly-flavoured spirit, to provide an additional, subtle range of flavour to complement the signature character of the whisky. In May 1987, 6,000 bottles were released at prestigious retailers, such as Harrods, Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason and at legendary bars, such as London’ Claridges. Critics and connoisseurs greeted the release with applause. Today, the age and spirit of this revolutionary liquid remains intact. With the blessing of Dr Bill Lumsden, the whisky has been decanted into bottles reminiscent of the original shape. Each bottle is labelled with .925 silver and individually encased in at ‘Time Capsule’ leather-strapped box, numbered 1-50 for release in 2013.

About Glenmorangie:

Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky originates in the Scottish Highlands where, at the Glenmorangie Distillery, it is distilled in the tallest malt whisky stills in Scotland, expertly matured in the finest oak casks, and perfected by the 16 Men of Tain. The distillery was founded in 1843 and is renowned as a pioneer in the whisky industry, uniting tradition with innovation. Glenmorangie was awarded the prestigious title of "Distiller of the Year" by the International Wine & Spirits Competition and has consistently won more "Gold Best in Class" medals than any other single malt over the past six years at the IWSC. Wine Enthusiast also named Glenmorangie "Distiller of the Year" in 2011. Today, the company is one of the most renowned and innovative distillers and marketers of Scotch whisky brands worldwide and is part of Moët Hennessy, the wine and spirits division of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). Headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, The Company produces two main single malt brands – Glenmorangie Single Highland Malt Whisky and Ardbeg Single Islay Malt. Visit for additional information.

Responsible Drinking:

The Glenmorangie Company advocates responsible drinking and suggests that drinkers savour Glenmorangie whiskies in moderation and in line with recommended daily guidelines for alcohol consumption.

About Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.:

Established in 1963, Automobili Lamborghini is headquartered in Sant’Agata Bolognese in northeastern Italy. With the introduction of the Aventador LP 700-4 Roadster in 2013 Lamborghini established a new landmark in the history of luxury super sports cars. With more than 120 dealers worldwide, Automobili Lamborghini has created an uninterrupted series of super sports cars, dynamic and elegant, including the 350 GT, Miura, Espada, Countach, Diablo, Murciélago, Reventón Coupé, Reventón Roadster, Gallardo LP 560-4 Coupé and Spyder, Gallardo LP 570-4 Superleggera, the open version LP 570-4 Spyder Performante and Aventador LP 700-4.

For further information on Automobili Lamborghini and its 50th Anniversary, please visit:

About VisitScotland:
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. The organisation has three key roles:
  • To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
  • To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
  • To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow. 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland, inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond.

For holiday information on Scotland, go to or follow on Twitter: @visitscotnews .

World's longest burning lightbulb

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says an electric light bulb installed in a fire station in Livermore in California in 1901 is still burning today after an amazing 112 years' service.

First turned on five years before America got its first motorised fire engines, the bulb today has its own website and fan club, has a 24/7 monitored camera focused on it to watch that it is still alight, and draws a steady stream of curious visitors to have a look at it.

Officially recognised by The Guinness Book of Records and Ripley's Believe It Or Not as the world's longest-lasting light bulb, its longevity has been put down to it being turned on and off so infrequently (and thus not heating and cooling its filament and causing it to crack and eventually "blow.")

In fact apart from city power outages, it's only been turned off when moved from the original fire station to a new one in 1903, again (for a week) during renovations in 1937, and for a third time in 1976 when that station too was closed and the bulb moved to the present Livermore Fire Station 6 – complete with a speedy police escort to ensure its shortest-possible cool-down time.

And so it could never be accidentally turned off, causing its possible final demise, it's been connected to an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) there ever since, only going off in May of this year when the UPS failed, and it hung darkened for nearly 10 hours before bursting back into light.    

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Smartest Watch Ever?

Kreyos smartwatch
Technology is going wearable, and the smartwatch is the first frontier. The Kreyos Smartwatch connects with a variety of major smartphones (via Bluetooth) to bring the features you love — from calls and texts to emails and Facebook — straight to your wrist. It also includes voice and motion controls as well as an activity tracker, making this watch a full body experience. Grab yours in your favorite color and help the campaign reach its $1 million stretch goal!
Read More ►

Friday, July 19, 2013

Helen Mirren takes aim for new cinema release, Red 2

Deadly sharp-shooter for hire, Victoria (Helen Mirren) in a scene from Dean Parisot's RED 2.
In cinemas August 29.A Hopscotch eOne film release.
© 2013 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Pearl Lam Galleries presents Beyond Black and White: Chinese contemporary ink

Pearl Lam Galleries Shanghai is pleased to present


WANG DONGLING, Yuan Ji (2013), Ink on Paper, 96 x 180 cm (37 4/5 x 70 9/10 in.)
Exhibition Dates
21 July–7 September 2013
Monday–Sunday, 10:30am–7pm
Pearl Lam Galleries, 181 Middle Jiangxi Road, G/F, Shanghai, China 200002

Pearl Lam Galleries is pleased to present Beyond Black and White, an exhibition showcasing 18 works by eight Chinese contemporary ink artists including Feng Mengbo, Lan Zhenghui, Qiu Deshu, Qiu Zhenzhong, Wang Dongling, Wang Tiande, Wei Ligang and Zheng Chongbin. These artists are part of a growing circle in China that draws inspiration from traditional Chinese ink painting and its philosophy as well as Chinese calligraphy. The exhibition opens to the public on 21 July 2013.

The medium and technique of ink and brush plays a significant role for these artists as they seek to display the unique heritage of Chinese artistic culture in a new, contemporary context that reflects today’s globalised world. The philosophy of ink painting also plays a central role among contemporary ink artists whose energy is laid bare in their artistic creations. This energy expresses another realm of beauty that goes beyond the visual quality of the painting. This is known as Qi, or vitality, and is one of the Six Principles of Chinese Painting, established by Xie He in the 5th century. This exhibition aims to address the role of ink and its enduring philosophy in contemporary China and challenge the traditional use of the medium.

The artists in Beyond Black and White are all deeply indebted to Chinese culture and art history, using these traditions to guide their work whilst embracing a wide range of sources including Chinese calligraphy, landscape painting and poetry. Whether it manifests itself through the medium, the philosophy or the form, they all draw inspiration from the classical canon.

The exhibition demonstrates that through an exploration of China’s past, contemporary Chinese artists are able to make sense of the present: creating works which are relevant in today’s society as well as being rooted in Chinese culture’s deep appreciation for artistic scholarship. It is this combination that has led to the popularity and re-evaluation of contemporary Chinese ink painting.

Tiger Wind is a monumental cursive calligraphy work by Wang Dongling. The artist’s rapid creative process is filled with uncertainty, and the large scale of the piece emphasizes the the relationship between the artist’s bodily movements and the finished work of art, whilst driving the viewer’s own immersive experience of the piece. Wang’s monumental work breaks through the traditional rules of penmanship, form and composition, revealing the artist’s unique and distinctive style and personality.

In Wang Tiande’s installation Chinese Clothes he presents a traditional Chinese silk dress (qipao) which he has burned through to reveal glimpses of another layer of silk below covered in calligraphy. The tension between the painted and burned words and the costume is united by the traditional aesthetics of calligraphy, thus creating a deeper meaning beyond the object.

Yengisar Knife
Yengisar Knife is from Qiu Zhenzhong’s ‘New Poetry Series’. Qiu uses his unique style and subtle control of space, time and line to combine elements of traditional Chinese ink painting for his modern art. His concern is the aesthetics of the space of calligraphy as well as the brushstrokes. Qiu’s paintings aim to liberate traditional Chinese calligraphy and ink painting from its typical ideology, so as to transform its aesthetic function into something more authentic and absolute.

Feng Mengbo

Feng Mengbo was born in 1966 in Beijing, China. He graduated from the Printmaking Department of Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing in 1991. He is the currently a guest professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts and lives and works in Beijing, China.

As a leading new-media artist in China, Feng Mengbo has worked at the intersection of painting and digital media since the early 1990s, he has infused his personal thoughts, experiences and cultural memories into paintings and new media works like CD-Rom installations and large-scale interactive video game installations. Feng Mengbo has constantly combined the digital and the handmade, as well as the past and the present, in a thought-provoking and dynamic way. Beginning in 2005, he returned to painting without abandoning his deep immersion in the cyber-world, allowing him to reassess and explore traditional Chinese culture in his own unique way.

Lan Zhenghui

Lan Zhenghui was born in 1959 in Sichuan, China. He graduated from Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in 1987. Lan currently lives and works in Beijing and Toronto.

Lan Zhenghui‘s monumental paintings and striking use of black ink reflect his constant pursuit of expression and feeling. His works are “bursts of emotion on paper” and are characterized by an abstract ink-splash style. Influenced by his background in science, Lan’s aesthetic moves deftly between the realms of the rational and irrational. His brushstrokes are created by systemic body movements, which contribute to the visual and spiritual impact of the works with the swelling of muscle, blood and physical power.

Qiu Deshu

Born in Shanghai in 1948, Qiu Deshu is one of the few artists in the field of contemporary ink painting to have gained international recognition since the 1980s. Qiu studied traditional ink painting and seal carving when he was a child, however his career in art was interrupted by the Cultural Revolution when he was sent to work at a plastics factory. At the end of this period, he picked up ink painting again and co-founded the Grass Painting Society (Cao Cao Hua She), one of China’s first experimental artist circles in the post-Mao period.

In the early 1980s, he developed his signature style of works called “fissuring” (lie bian). The concept of “fissuring”, which literally means tearing and changing in Chinese, is a pictorial metaphor for the artist’s life and as his artistic career, both of which have experienced dramatic disruptions and setbacks. In these works, he applies vivid colors to xuan paper, which he tears up and mounts the fragments to a base layer, often leaving space between to create a pictorial field with the “cracks” that he feels are symbolic of life’s journey.

Qiu Zhenzhong

Qiu Zhenzhong, born in 1947 in Nanchang, He is Professor at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Director of the Calligraphy and Painting Comparative Research Centre, Member of the National Art Museum of China Expert Committee, and Vice Director of the Chinese Calligraphers Association Academic Committee.China,

Qiu uses his unique style and subtle control of space, time and line to combine elements of traditional Chinese ink painting, calligraphy and modern art. Qiu’s paintings aim to liberate traditional Chinese calligraphy and ink painting from its typical ideology, so as to transform its aesthetic function into something more authentic and absolute.

In October 2012, Qiu held a solo exhibition at Pearl Lam Galleries Hong Kong entitled “From Romance of the West Chamber to Matisse”. The exhibition included two series of works, one inspired by the Chinese masterpieces of wood-block print based on the Chinese classic “Romance of the West Chamber” and the other inspired by the Western master of modern art: Matisse. Through his use of lyrical lines, form and composition, Qiu Zhenzhong reinterprets these iconic images from Western and Chinese culture using this ancient ink brush technique, and both poses and attempts to answer questions of tradition, art and interpretation.

Wang Dongling

Wang Dongling was born in 1945 in Jiangsu. Lives and works in Hangzhou. Wang graduated from Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts (now China Academy of Art) in Hangzhou in 1981 and is now professor of Calligraphy Department of China Academy of Art, and Director of Contemporary Calligraphy Research Centre of China Academy of Art.

Wang Dongling is one of the most successful and gifted of the modernist calligraphers in China and one of the few who has for many years enjoyed an international reputation. His works were influenced by his experience in the United States from 1989 to 1992, when he served as a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota and at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Wang began developing a new form of composition that synthesizes traditional Chinese aesthetics with modernist art. Often, Wang’s works contain no decipherable Chinese characters, and have tended more towards abstract painting than to calligraphy. Wang Dongling has been enormously influential in the development of contemporary calligraphy and ink painting in China.

Wang Tiande

Wang Tiande was born in Shanghai in 1960. The artist aims to re-contextualize tradition within a contemporary framework through ink paintings, digital compositions, and thought-provoking installations. With ink paintings which reference traditional Literati concepts, Wang Tiande captures a new form of expression that reflects today’s contemporary culture. By burning symbols, which resemble Chinese characters, onto rice paper, his works evoke the essence of traditional Chinese art in a contemporary context. The burn marks are made with an incense stick, creating shapes and spaces, similar to that of landscapes, water and mountains.

Wang Tiande’s innovative approach does not dispel the significance and influence of tradition in his work; rather, he embraces traditional concepts and methods while injecting a modern perspective that is fresh and distinctly his own, recreating ink brush painting for the twenty-first century.

Wei Ligang

Born in 1964. Wei’s works can be classified into three styles. The first style takes the form of modern calligraphy with a freehand foundation and adapts the traditional rules of calligraphy creation. This style mixes conventional strokes with painterly ideas, whilst at the same time inherits the spirit of the modern Japanese calligraphic school, in trying to delineate the border between abstract and concrete. The second style utilizes experimental ink applied in an abstract manner, mixed with new materials like lacquer and propylene, with the aim to build a bridge between Chinese and Western paintings. The third style, or “Wei’s Works” as the artist calls them, are the overall result of his exploration into Chinese characters.

Although his works display certain characteristics of Western modern art forms and ideas, their most vital features are again threefold: their unreserved focus on Chinese characters, the structure of the characters, and the significance placed on the strokes themselves as opposed to the representative aspect of the picture. In all his works we can sense these features, consciously or otherwise.

Zheng Chongbin

Born in Shanghai in 1961, Zheng now lives between San Francisco and China. Throughout his career, Zheng has reinterpreted traditional Chinese art and fused it with contemporary Western Abstract art. The artist uses ink wash techniques to enrich his artistic language, constantly exploring the potential of ink as a medium, whilst also working in other media including installation, porcelain and video.

Zheng received rigorous ink brush training in the 80s whilst he also absorbed American Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism, combining them to create his own unique visual language. Zheng’s abstract works originate from his exploration of space whilst expressing a deeper metaphysical meaning not restricted by written language or representational forms. By blending Western and Eastern art traditions, Zheng’s works strive towards a harmonious balance which ink painters have for centuries looked to achieve.

About Pearl Lam Galleries

Founded by Pearl Lam, the Galleries' mission is to stimulate cross-cultural dialogue and cultural exchange between the East and West by establishing distinct and rigorous programming in each of its gallery spaces in Hong Kong, Shanghai and the forthcoming Singapore gallery.

Pearl Lam Galleries is dedicated to championing Chinese artists who re-evaluate the philosophy and perception of Chinese contemporary art, whilst also committed to presenting major exhibitions by international artists. Jim Lambie, Jenny Holzer, Yinka Shonibare and Zhu Jinshi are among the line-up of artists who will have solo exhibitions at the Galleries in 2013.

Pearl Lam Design shows works by established and emerging international designers including Maarten Baas, Mattia Bonetti, André Dubreuil, and Studio Makkink & Bey. They are invited to push the boundaries of traditional Chinese art and craft techniques and create new works that reflect their experiences in China.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Struth!: Vote for Morris. I sleep all day and do nothing.

IN his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, David Ellis says that in Mexico earlier this month, voters in local government elections were asked to choose between candidates that included Tintan the dog, Maya and Morris (cats,) Tina (a chicken) and a donkey named Chon.

And while none made it onto their councils, Morris the Cat ran such a campaign for his shot at becoming Mayor of the city of Xalapa in Veracruz State, including his own branded T-shirts, that he was invited to appear on TV, was photographed for numerous newspapers and magazines… and got over 150,000 "likes" on his own Facebook page.

His owner said he'd nominated Morris because "he fits the profile of most politicians – he sleeps all day, and does nothing."

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fangio's Mercedes World's most valuable car sold at auction: Almost US$30m

1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 Single-Seater
The 1954 Mercedes-Benz W196R Formula 1 Single-Seater breaks the following auction world records:
  • Most valuable motor car ever sold at auction 
  • Most valuable Formula 1 racing car ever sold 
  • Most valuable Mercedes-Benz
Automotive history was made at the Bonhams Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale today, when the car that took five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio to the second of his Formula 1 world titles achieved a record-breaking figure of £19,601,500 (US$29,650,095, €22,701,864).

The car becomes the most valuable motor vehicle ever sold at auction, beating the previous record of £10,086,400 set by a Ferrari in 2011.

Robert Brooks, Bonhams Chairman, said: "I have handled some of the world's most desirable and important motor cars during a motoring auction career spanning five decades, but I have reached a peak today with this legendary Grand Prix car. It was a personal privilege to preside over the sale of this vehicle, which is not only one of the most significant motor cars of the 20th century, but also the most important historic Grand Prix racing car ever offered for sale."

Doug Nye, racing historian, said: "If he were here today Fangio would shake his head and smile his slow smile. He was a humble man, originally a mechanic from a potato town in Argentina – and he never forgot his roots. As a driver, he was simply a genius. As a man he had no enemies. He was universally loved, even by those he regularly beat on track. No standard-setting sportsman could have a better epitaph.

"Mercedes has long been recognised for the world-class quality of its products and in 1954/55 they set out to rebuild their reputation for automotive excellence post-war. With this W196 and its sports car sisters they did just that... and how!"

Video footage of the historic sale of this motor car will be available shortly.

The 2½-litre straight-8 W196 – chassis number '00006/54' – was the car in which Fangio won both the 1954 German and Swiss Grand Prix races. These great victories were the first two to be achieved in succession by the frontier-technology Mercedes-Benz factory Formula 1 team in its post-war racing comeback. Chassis '00006' also has special significance as the first open-wheeled 'slipper'-bodied post-war Mercedes-Benz to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix race.

The car's innovative design also marked the successful introduction to Formula 1 of the following technologies:

• Fuel-injected engine
• Mercedes-Benz all-independent suspension
• Multi-tubular 'spaceframe' lightweight chassis design
• All-round inboard-mounted brakes
• The in-line or 'straight-8' engine 'lay-down' configuration to minimise the car's overall height
• Power take-off from the centre of the engine's long 8-cylinder crankshaft to minimise vibration

The FIA governing body of international motor sport launched its first post-war Grand Prix regulations in 1954, demanding unsupercharged engines of no more than 2½-litres engine capacity. Mercedes-Benz – who had previously dominated Grand Prix racing in 1908, 1914 and from 1934-39 – missed the first two 1954 World Championship rounds in Argentina and Belgium, but made their shattering debut in the 1954 French Grand Prix at Reims-Gueux.

Their all-new W196 cars ran there in enveloping-bodied 'Stromlinienwagen' form, instantly setting new performance standards, with Juan Manuel Fangio and team-mate Karl Kling finishing first and second in both qualifying and the race. National media and the specialist sporting press trumpeted the same simple message: "Mercedes are back!"

After the W196 cars with their enclosed wheels proved difficult to place upon the more twisty venue of the following British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Fangio requested an open-wheeled W196 variant for the following German Grand Prix on the twisty 14.2-mile Nurburgring road circuit. Mercedes-Benz reacted instantly, tailoring new cars '00005' and '00006' to Fangio's recommendation.

It was in chassis '00006' that Fangio immediately won the German Grand Prix. He then repeated the feat in the following Swiss Grand Prix on the daunting Bremgarten forest circuit at Berne – storming round at uncatchable pace in '00006' to win by 58.7 seconds from Argentine compatriot Jose Froilan Gonzalez's out-classed Ferrari. This Swiss victory was Fangio's third in four Grand Prix races, and assured him of his second Drivers' World Championship title.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sharpen up your rain protection with a Blunt umbrella

To be blunt, the common umbrella needs an overhaul – Introducing Blunt Umbrellas

It is a well-known irony that on the days you need to use your umbrella the most – the wettest and windiest – it is virtually guaranteed the umbrella will break, blow inside out or poke someone in the eye. This need not be the case, with the introduction of Blunt Umbrellas, a New Zealand company that has revolutionised umbrella design.

Blunt Umbrellas will withstand the strongest winds, with the Classic model tested to 117km/hour. With its eye-catching canopy design and unique structure, the Blunt has redefined the market and created the world's best umbrella.

Designed by New Zealand engineer, Greig Brebner, Blunt Umbrellas feature patented blunt tips that form an integral part of its Radial Tensioning System. This system redirects and distributes the effort used in opening the umbrella throughout the entire canopy. As the Blunt is opened, its additional double struts redirect the effort into the floating 'ribs' which reach out like fingers stretching into a glove. They then transfer the opening force into the blunt tips on the end of each rib. These tips then open within their pockets, evenly distributing tension right to the edge of the umbrella.

The blunt tips also have the added advantage of eliminating all pointy bits, making them safe to use in busy crowds. In addition to the aesthetically pleasing and unique canopy design, the push/pull runner system is a delight to use - no more catching your fingers on the clasp used to hold the umbrella up.

"Umbrellas are an essential accessory for us all, yet you lose count of how many you see in the rubbish bin over the course of a rainy day, or how many people you see struggling to control them in wind," says Annaliesse Cawood, Distributor of Blunt Umbrellas in Australia.

"Blunt Umbrellas have been tried and tested against a myriad of other models in wind tunnels. Time and time again, they come out on top. When you walk down the street carrying your Blunt, you know you're going to arrive dry and that is a great comfort on a grey, wet day," says Annaliesse.

Blunt Umbrella's product range can be categorised into small, medium and large umbrellas. The smaller, more compact options are the Blunt Mini, Blunt Mini+ and Blunt XS_Metro. The medium range includes the Blunt Classic, Blunt Lite+ and Blunt Lite while the large range includes the Blunt XL, Blunt Golf_G1 and the Blunt Golf_G2. The product range caters for all users, offering light and compact models, more heavy duty options and ultimate performance models designed for the golf course.

The range includes a variety of features such as UV protection, a 3M reflective coating for added safety at night and the unique eDry™ with its quick dry capabilities. Each umbrella is available in a range of vibrant colours, from bright pink, yellow and blue to striking black, navy and grey.

Prices vary from RRP $69.00-$149.00 depending on model.

For more information, stockists and to purchase online visit   @bluntumbrellas

Friday, June 28, 2013

Game of Clones: a new twist on Westarios

Photographers revel in recreating the Game of Thrones look and feel with their own interpretations.

For more images, see

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lexus driver Kenshiro "Ken" Gushi is targeting class victory the world famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

The celebrated drift champion and racing driver will pilot the Lexus IS F CCS-R contender that he drove to second in class and 32nd overall last year in a time of 11 minutes and 35.17 seconds.

Gushi said he felt confident he could go faster this year, boosted by his experience of driving the IS F CCS-R in the 2012 event and upgrades to the car over the past 12 months.

"I have had a lot more seat time in the IS F CCS-R now, which is really important in a unique event like Pikes Peak," said Gushi, who drove a Lexus LFA up Pikes Peak this week to familiarise himself with the course ahead of the practice sessions and the official run on Sunday.

"Upgrades have given the engine more power and we've got more grip thanks to Yokohama's development of their Advan tyres for Pikes Peak.

"I am feeling really good about competing strongly and hopefully taking out the class on Sunday."

The Lexus IS F CCS-R features a host of modifications from the road car to make it suitable for the demands of the 19.9-kilometre, 156-turn hill climb that finishes at the 4,300 metre summit of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, USA.

These include carbon-fibre bodywork, stripped out interior and polycarbonate windows, which combine to trim 314 kilograms of weight from the standard IS F road car.

It is also fitted with a racing roll cage bolted to a reinforced monocoque for additional stiffness, as well as racing brakes, suspension and exhaust system.

The IS F CCS-R is powered by the 2UR-GSE 5.0-litre V8 engine from the IS F, which develops 311kW of power.

The engine drives through an eight-speed Sport Direct Shift transmission with paddle shift, also from the IS F.

It runs on Yokohama ADVAN NEOVA A050 tyres fitted to 18-inch wheels.

The IS CCS-R will also carry a unique decal that features 14,000 fan names gathered via social media.

The decal is part of a collaboration between Lexus and the Tony Hawk Foundation, which helps create high quality skate parks in low-income communities across the USA.

The decal will be on display at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Fan Fest on Friday.

Lexus will follow this up by donating a new generation IS sedan to help raise additional funds for the foundation.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Extreme Holidays: Not everyone's cup of tea


Cliff camping

Sky walking in the Alps

Portal edge camping at Yosemite

Climbing Redwoods

Sitting on the Trolltunga rock in Norway

Jumping on the Trolltunga rock in Norway

British climber John Roberts in South Africa

Ice climbing a frozen waterfall

Extreme picnicking

Extreme skiing at Grand Targhee, Wyoming

Sky walking on Mount Nimbus in Canada

Tree camping in Germany

Vintage climbing photo taken from Gaston Rébuffat's book

Extreme kayaking at Victoria Falls

Blake Aldridge dives 29 meters from the rock monolith during the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series in Portugal

Climbing Mt. Wellington

On the Edgewalk in Toronto

A death-defying act by Eskil Rønningsbakken in Norway

Alex Honnold at Yosemite

Now imagine if you dropped your phone down there.

Glacier boarding

Bike trail on the Cliffs of Moher





Sunday, June 16, 2013

Cockroach and caterpillar sushi to save the world

Insect Sushi (Tony McNicol)
A selection of insect sushi. From front left to back right: sakura moth caterpillar; joro spider; privet-hawk moth larva; Madagascar cockroach; Asian hornet larvae; dobson fly larva; Japanese cicada; green tree ant larvae.
Tokyo resident Shoichi Uchiyama is the author of "Fun Insect Cooking".
His blog on the topic gets 400 hits a day. He believes insects could one day be the solution to food shortages and that rearing bugs at home could dispel food safety worries. [more]

Fun fact: It is estimated that there are 40 tonnes of insects on Earth for every human.

Image Copyright: Tony McNicol

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