CAN’T TAKE THE CROWDS at Frieze New York, artMRKT San Francisco, Art Basel in Hong Kong or the rest of this month’s international art events? A number of travel specialists are catering to clients who want to immerse themselves in art and architecture at their own pace and in line with their own tastes. These experts, often armed with advanced degrees, can offer an exegesis on a mural in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, orchestrate a stay in an Italian Renaissance palazzo or get you into a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece after closing time. While their specialties may vary, they are all equipped to give the most veteran aesthete the thrill of a new perspective.
For Architecture in Detail
Joel Zack relishes tricky requests. For a crowd-averse family, for instance, he created a miniature version of Marrakesh’s chaotic square, Djemaa el Fna, in the garden of a private villaâcomplete with fire eaters, snake charmers, acrobats and street food. His company, Heritage Tours Private Travel, specializes in planning highly personalized cultural trips to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and southern Africa. A Columbia University-trained architect, Mr. Zack can provide access to normally off-limits treasures, such as Art Deco and Art Moderne buildings in Morocco and private Modernist apartments in Barcelona, one of them designed by Antoni GaudÃ. From $4,000 per person, including lodging, transportation and guide, htprivatetravel.com
To Have an American Idyll
Art historian Jeff Mishur specializes in “anti-whirlwind” travelâleisurely guided tours of art and architecture in major U.S. cities. Art Excursions, which he runs with his wife, fellow art historian Michelle Paluch-Mishur, offers group and individual trips. Among their most popular itineraries are an art-and-gardens tour of Washington, D.C., during the annual cherry blossom festival, and a visit to Pittsburgh that includes an excursion to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater, where Mr. Mishur hosts an after-hours reception on the terrace. Trips typically last four or five days and incorporate lectures by local docents and scholars. Accommodations and one group dinner are included, but other evenings are left unscheduled. Group tours from $1,500 per person, private tours from $180 for 90 minutes, artexcursions.com
For the Connoisseur’s Europe
Museum patrons and art history aficionados hire James McDonaugh, a graduate of Oxford University and London’s Courtauld Institute of Art, to plan trips that are cultural and cushy in Europe and, occasionally, the U.S. His firm, Art Tours, can arrange visits to private palaces in Italy; set up an after-hours dinner in the ancient Roman library of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey; or find just the right British estate for a family seeking a “Downton Abbey” experience. Every trip is bespoke, with the typical itinerary lasting a week. The company works with a group of strictly vetted art history lecturers, curators and tour guides. From $5,000 to $50,000 per person, including hotels, guides, ground transportation, site visits and itinerary planning, arttoursltd.com
To Dig Deep in New York
The Big Apple’s art world can seem overwhelmingâand impenetrable. Enter Art Smart, which helps clients navigate Manhattan’s museums, galleries and architecture. Judith Walsh (an alum of Sotheby’s
and the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and her team of art historians create private tours based on extensive client questionnaires. They might lead someone interested in contemporary architecture to the Richard Gluckman-designed Paula Cooper Gallery, Frank Gehry’s IAC/InterActiveCorp
headquarters in Chelsea and the exhibition space at the International-style skyscraper Lever House. Ms. Walsh likes to escort clients to the Met’s Chinese Garden Court, an intimate, often overlooked space that she says “connects visitors to the restorative powers of art.” She is adept at pacing tours for families and connecting art lessons to kids’ school curriculums. About $200 per hour for up to four people, with a two-hour minimum, artsmart.com
To See the Write Stuff
Yes, it’s legalâat least, the tours are. Captivated by the graffiti culture of Buenos Aires, where he studied while attending New York University, Gabe Schoenberg launched
Graff Tours to provide perspective on this urban art form. Graff Tours employs artists, historians and even a retired police officer to take small groups on 90-minute tours around New York City, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. The company also offers workshops led by graffiti artists (the paintings are usually rendered on canvas). For true aficionados, Mr. Schoenberg will lead an in-depth expedition, like a recent six-hour circuit of graffiti sites in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn via limousine. $25 per person for standard tours, $300 per person for custom tours, grafftours.com
A version of this article appeared May 11, 2013, on page D9 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Rent-a-Prof ArtTours.
Movers, shakers, players and blaggers from the global film industry have descended on the French Riviera for the Cannes Film Festival.
The BBC's Kev Geoghegan reports on the buzz films and the behind-the-scenes deals at the festival.
David Hasselhoff is the latest celebrity set to play himself in a movie which is named after him.
The Hoff is in town to promote Killing Hasselhoff, a comedy which sees a man trying to win money in a celebrity death pool by hiring a hitman to kill the Knight Rider star.
The tone of the film is, according to the film's producer, "The Hangover meets Horrible Bosses".
Hasselhoff joins the ranks of actors like Jean Claude Van Damme, Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell and, of course, John Malkovich, who have all starred in films which share their name.
Film buffs will note that the Hoff has played himself twice in films before, Piranha Double D and in Ben Stiller's Dodgeball.
The weather has not improved much, as torrential rain continue to drive people into the screening rooms.
It was, however, oddly fitting for one of today's Critics' Week films – a UK debut feature from British director Paul Wright.
Set in a small fishing village in north-east Scotland, For Those in Peril tells of a young man who is the sole survivor of a boating accident in which his older brother and a group of other local lads are lost.
Though his grief-stricken mother and his brother's girlfriend are glad to have him back alive, the rest of the town are not so grateful, viewing his miraculous survival with suspicion and anger.
It would have been better, they tell him, if he had died as well.
The film employs a mix of visual styles, including home video, and explores themes of loss and acceptance.
A central motif of an old folk tale, about the devil coming on land and stealing the children to take down into the water, gives the film an almost surrealist fairytale quality.
But sadly, it is a yarn that is not certain to leave its protagonists living happily ever after.
It looks to be another strong showing for the UK after the rave reception to Clio Barnard in the same strand of the festival yesterday.
Benicio Del Toro plays a native American in another film in competition, Jimmy P (Psychoanalysis of a Plains Indian).
It is based on the true record of an anthropologist brought into help a WWII veteran who has been suffering from psychological problems, which have been wrongly diagnosed as schizophrenia.
With Del Toro in the title role, French actor Mathieu Almaric – better known to British audiences as the Bond villain in Quantum of Solace – is the maverick analyst brought in to help him.
While the film's slow pace may put off some cinemagoers (for the first time in Cannes, a man next to me was spark out), as might its focus on their one-on-one meetings and the analysis of Del Toro's tortured dreams, it is nevertheless a masterclass in cinema acting.
It always pays to check out something different in Cannes and one of those oddities is the Russian film Bite the Dust.
Set in rural Russia, the oddball inhabitants of a tiny village learn from the TV – the only one on the village – that a solar storm is set to bring about the end of the world.
They decide to throw themselves a party while they await the apocalypse and as they do, hidden desires are unveiled, hidden truths are spoken, and a crazy old drunkard accuses the others of killing his pet cow Candy.
To say this film is a little unusual is a considerable understatement. Oddly though I rather enjoyed it.
One of those special Cannes moments today at a screening of British director Clio Barnard's Oscar Wilde adaptation The Selfish Giant.
The film tells the story of two mates Arbor and Swifty who decide that bunking off school and collecting scrap to sell to local merchant Kitten is a much better use of their time.
They make an odd couple, hyperactive whirlwind Arbor and his gentle mate Swifty – who has a way with horses, leading to an offer from Kitten to race his pony – causing a split in the lad's friendship.
Barnard and her first-time actors Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas was presented on stage prior to the screening, part of the directors fortnight.
Following the film's conclusion, they were met by a standing ovation and the theatre spotlights picked them out as they stood to accept the reception.
The boys beamed as Barnard, recently acclaimed for her documentary The Arbor, wiped tears from her eyes, competing in the pride stakes with the boys' mothers who had also made the trip to Cannes.
Fruitvale Station, a huge hit at Sundance, is based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a young black father-of-one who was gunned down by police in the Bay Area of California in 2009.
The film starts with real camera footage of the incident, for which a policeman was jailed for manslaughter.
It is that particular type of story that draws the viewer in to what they already know will end badly.
It makes the hours leading up to the inevitable shooting, during which the Oscar decides one and for all to turn his back on a life of petty crime for the sake of his family, all the more tragic.
Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer gives a strong performance in the role of Oscar's long suffering mother and Michael B Jordan, who fans of The Wire will recognise as a grown up Wallace, also impresses.
There is a lot of buzz about a British film adaptation of The Selfish Giant, directed by The Arbor's Cleo Barnard.
It tells of two boys who start stealing metal to sell to a local scrapyard before a wedge is driven between them and tragedy unfolds.
In his review for The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw has called it "a fine film, which cements Barnard's growing reputation as one of Britain's best film-makers".
Actor Tahar Rahim, star of A Prophet, and The Artist actress Berenice Bejo are in town to promote their new film, the latest from director Asghar Farhadi.
Farhadi became the first Iranian director to win an Oscar for his film A Separation. The Past is his first film in the French language.
It concerns an Iranian man who returns to Paris, four years after leaving his wife and his stepdaughters, to sign his divorce papers.
On arrival, he finds his estranged wife, Bejo, is now in a relationship with another man, played by Rahim – whose wife is in a coma.
Needless to say it is pretty high on melodrama but provides solid watchable performances from Bejo and Rahim. And Ali Mossafa, who plays the man whose return to the family he abandoned in a fit of depression, is the catalyst for some devastating truths to emerge.
The film is in competition this year, as is A Touch of Sin from China.
The film flits between several different story threads set across modern day China; a dissatisfied worker angry with the unfair share of profits following his village's sale of the mine; a man so bored of life with his wife and child that he would prefer to spend his days roaming the country endlessly; a massage parlour receptionist who has given an ultimatum to the man with whom she is having an affair.
The one thing that unites each seemingly disparate tale is sudden and often bloody violence. Gunshots to the head, eviscerations and suicides are all played out in horrifying detail, bringing to mind the westerns of Sam Peckinpah or the films of Quentin Tarantino.
The film touches on the current boom in Chinese consumerism and the clashing of traditional and modern Chinese culture and tradition.
Maybe not a film for everyone but a very powerful piece of cinema.
Former Harry Potter star Emma Watson and her young co-stars in The Bling Ring used their press conference in the Palais today to bemoan the loss of innocence caused by social networking.
The Sofia Coppola film, which has its premiere tonight, is based on the real-life case of a gang of LA teenagers who burgled the homes of celebrities such as Paris Hilton and then bragged about it on Facebook.
"I think it's amazing how self-aware people are becoming as a result of constantly posting images on Facebook and Instagram," said Watson.
"I think it's a shame that some of that naivety [is] definitely being shortened.
"That period of time when you're not self-conscious is sped up. It's just one of those things."
Watson said she had watched a lot of reality TV in order to play the part of a self-obsessed LA teen lusting after the trappings of celebrity.
"I got to do things I myself as Emma would never do," she said. "It's fun to explore a different side of yourself through a character. It gave me permission to do loads of crazy stuff."
Another documentary screening at the festival deals with fame, or rather how the chase of it can lead to self-destruction.
Particularly if you're pretending to be Californian when you're really from Tayside, on the east coast of Scotland.
The Great Hip Hop Hoax is the bizarre but true story of two lads from Arbroath who bonded over love of rap music and skating.
Talented lyricists but burdened by the fact that Scotland has yet to produce its first fully fledged rap superstar, Brains and Silibil – aka Gavin Bain and Billy Boyd – realised quickly that they would never be taken seriously if they stuck to their Arbroath roots.
But if they made up a back story of being raised in a small town near LA, they might just make it.
The documentary, which had its world premiere at SXSW this year, is a funny and entertaining look at how two chancers fooled the UK music industry and almost the whole world.
The film combines imaginative animation with interviews with Bain and Boyd, as well as those who believed that they had discovered the next Eminem.
It paints an amusing if cynical look at the way dreams are chewed up and spat out and, as the boys would probably have phrased it, how fame can turn on a dime.
French film-maker and Cannes favourite Francois Ozon's Jeune et Jolie, translated as Young and Beautiful, was the opening film of day two of the festival.
The film, which is in competition, stars the impossibly beautiful Marine Vacth as a 17-year-old who experiences her sexual awakening and her search for her identity over the course of four seasons, each marked by a French torch song interlude.
Seduced by the easy money and new experiences, she becomes a teenage prostitute, working behind the backs of her middle-class Parisian parents.
The film is enjoyable and was warmly received but Vacth, undeniably a magnetic screen presence, is almost a contrived caricature of the sullen poetic French teen, chain-smoking Gauloises.
While not every melancholic teen will nose-dive into prostitution, it all felt a little bit familiar.
Less successful in its execution was The Bling Ring, the new film from Sofia Coppola, based on the true story of a gang of LA teens who begin burgling the houses of celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton.
The film, which is opening the Un Certain Regard strand of the festival, stars Emma Watson in a role far removed from her Harry Potter roots.
As paper thin as its plot suggests, the film doesn't really get underneath the reasons for the robberies, other than the now oft-trodden path that obsession with celebrity is ultimately unfulfilling.
When Paris Hilton herself makes brief cameo, it just feels weird, criticised as she is – almost more so than the wayward teens – for her over-abundance of "stuff".
A few cliches – the hippy new age mum and some vaguely absent parents – offer little by way of explanation or justification for their crimes.
It is no revelation that teenagers constantly bombarded by images of a rich lifestyle which they aspire to but rarely achieve will want to take rather than earn.
Maybe the film's superficiality is the point. It is shiny and loud but has little to offer beyond its sparkle.
Tackling roughly the same subject in a completely different take and discipline, Yannick Oho – a young film-maker from London – has been screening his documentary about the summer riots in London two years ago.
When Tottenham Exploded combines dance, poetry and interviews and has already been honoured with an award from the London Independent Film Festival.
Day one at Cannes has drawn to a close and a little rain – well actually scratch that, a lot of rain – failed to dampen the spirits of the fans who lined the red carpet at the premiere of The Great Gatsby earlier.
People who booked their spaces days ago were rewarded with the sight of Leonardo DiCaprio, Baz Luhrmann and Carey Mulligan.
Written by F Scott Fitzgerald, the 1920s-set film has been soundtracked by modern artists.
The reaction to the film itself felt a little muted in the morning screening, though director Luhrmann, whose frenetic visual style employed on films like Moulin Rouge does tend to divide critics, told the BBC that he was well prepared for the worst.
"When Fitzgerald died, his book was horribly criticised," he said. "He had very mixed reviews. Some extremely cruel. Some of the grand critics called him a clown.
"When he died, he was buying copies of his own book just so some sales would register. Fitzgerald had to suffer much crueller and more ill-informed criticisms than I have.
He tried to write the great American novel. I wish he knew that he did."
Alongside the cast was Australian actress Isla Fisher, who plays Myrtle Wilson in the film.
Her husband Sacha Baron Cohen appeared on the French Riviera last year for his film The Dictator.
"I've been to Cannes before," she said. "But normally my husband's on a camel or wearing a mankini."
This evening was also the first screening of a film in competition – Heli – from Mexican director Amat Escalante.
Set in a small unnamed Mexican town, it is the story of a young father who lives with his young wife and baby, his father and his precocious 12-year-old sister Estela.
When she falls in love with a teenage police cadet and announces her plans to run away and marry, the family is sent spinning into a nightmare of violence.
Beginning with what looks like a horrific murder carried out by a drug cartel, it is a brutal film with sudden and extended bursts of violence, at least two of which – one an unbearable torture scene – caused an audible gasp in the screening theatre.
The cast are almost exclusively newcomers, which lends the film an almost sickening degree of realism.
The scattered applause at the film's climax perhaps signals that it is not a particular early favourite for the top prize.
It's day one of Cannes and some heavy early rain did not put off some lengthy queues for the first screening of The Great Gatsby in 3D.
As usual, there were the usual sighs and moans of discontent as the accredited press, segregated by the colour of their passes – which meant some had to spend a little longer sheltering under their dripping copies of Screen International – the festival's daily bible.
The film is the second that Leonardo DiCaprio, in the title role, has worked with director Baz Luhrmann, following Romeo and Juliet in 1996.
Luhrmann took some liberties with that sacred Shakespeare text and his take on the American classic is no different.
A visual explosion, his scenes of Gatsby's flamboyant parties, though set during the roaring twenties, are accompanied by contemporary artists like Jay-Z, Beyonce and Lana Del Ray.
In the press conference that followed, Luhrmann said Scott's granddaughter had approached him and said his book would have made her grandfather proud "and by the way I love the music".
As for the reaction in the packed cinema, there was a peculiar silence as the credits rolled. The film has had mixed reviews in the States.
DiCaprio excels as the doomed Gatsby, older than the teen heartthrob days of Romeo and Titanic's Jack, but he retains a youthfulness that is perfect for the man-child Gatsby, still clinging to the dream of a time past.
"It's one of those iconic American novels that's woven into the fabric of our country," he told BBC News.
Of his preparation for the role DiCaprio said: "I looked at it as not a love story any more, but as a man obsessed with a version of his past that he never got to complete, something that was missing.
"Even though this woman right in front of him was everything he thought would complete him, she was a relic of the past, she didn't really exist," he added.
Some other news from the festival – Martin Scorsese is expected in Cannes at some point to talk about his next project Silence, starring Spider-Man actor Andrew Garfield as a 17th Century missionary.
There is some excitement that none other than Mr Justin Timberlake will also make an appearance to support his new film Spinning Gold – a biopic of 1970s music entrepreneur Neil Bogart – the man who launched the careers of music stars such Kiss and Donna Summer.
Another music connection comes in the form of 1970s electro-nerds Sparks who are in town looking for funding for a musical project called The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman.
Brothers Ron and Russell Mael will be in Cannes ahead of a show they are playing in Paris.
News of British film plans: Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, David Tennant and Ben Miller will star in What We Did on Our Holiday, by the co-creators of Outnumbered, Guy Jenkin and Andy Hamilton. The film, which will begin shooting next month, is about a dysfunctional family on a trip to Scotland for a big family gathering.
There are more than 24 hours until Leonardo DiCaprio and the cast of Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby walk down the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals, yet on the Croisette outside, incredibly diligent autograph hunters have already bagged their spots, sheltering from the hot Riviera sunshine beneath umbrellas and wide brimmed floppy hats.
The streets are busy but the atmosphere resembles the last few hours before a music festival opens its gates to the public – a hive of activity where it is the workmen who are in charge.
The Hollywood adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's American masterpiece has been chosen to open this year's festival.
Though Gatsby is not in competition itself, 2013 is nevertheless a strong showing for US directors, who make up about 25% of the films in the running for the coveted Palme d'Or.
Disappointingly, no British films have made the list, but the UK will be represented on the judging panel by Scottish film-maker Lynne Ramsey, director of We Need To Talk About Kevin.
Last year, Ken Loach's The Angel's Share was the UK's sole competitor. Although it lost out on the main prize to Michael Haneke's Amour, it won the Jury Prize, the third most prestigious award at the festival.
Much of the buzz so far seems to be centred on Steven Soderbergh's Behind the Candelabra, which sees Michael Douglas play flamboyant entertainer Liberace.
The film, made for US cable network HBO, also stars Matt Damon as Liberace's secret lover.
Part of that buzz comes from Soderbergh's suggestion that this could be his last movie.
Another film causing no little excitement is Only God Forgives, which reteams Ryan Gosling with Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn.
It too is in competition but, if its trailer is to be believed, it could be a little too violent for this year's jury, which is headed by Steven Spielberg.
The last gleefully bloody film to win the Palme d'Or was Pulp Fiction back in 1994.
Running alongside the star-studded screenings is the Marche du Film, one of the busiest movie markets in the world. Almost 4,700 films were presented last year from more than 100 countries.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest rise in attendance was from Asia, with China now the world's second-biggest movie market behind the US, having overtaken Japan.
Competition to find distributors will be tough, though – European countries hit hardest by the financial crisis have all experienced a drop in cinema attendance.
West Hollywood, California, deputies responded at 5:44 p.m. Thursday to a call about a possible violation of a protection order, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Friday in a news release.
They found the suspect — the 35-year-old actor best known for his role in “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” — hiding on a nearby property. He was arrested and brought to a sheriff’s substation in West Hollywood, authorities said.
The protective order was imposed after the actor was arrested following a domestic disturbance at the same address in January, the sheriff’s department said. He was then charged with felony domestic violence and domestic battery.
The actor, who was already serving probation, is being held on $100,000 bond, according to Los Angeles County jail records.
After his breakthrough role as John Connor in 1991′s “Terminator 2″ alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger, Furlong went on to play roles in a number of movies, including “American History X,” and TV projects, such as “CSI-NY.”
CNN’s Tresha Lindo contributed to this report.
Shakespeare Theatre Company, Sidney Harman Hall, 610 F St. N.W., Washington ($43-$105), 202-547-1122, closes June 2
Why has “Coriolanus” never been popular? It’s been mounted on Broadway only onceâin 1938. The last time that I reviewed a production in this space was eight years ago. Yet connoisseurs need no reminding of the immense stature of Shakespeare’s most explicitly political play. T.S. Eliot ranked “Coriolanus” above “Hamlet,” calling it “Shakespeare’s most assured artistic success.” A man I know who used to work for one of America’s best-known politicians claims that it’s one of only two pieces of literary art that tells the whole truth about politics (the other, he says, is “All the King’s Men”). And if you should be lucky enough to see Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new production, directed by David Muse and featuring a towering performance by Patrick Page, you’ll come away wondering why it doesn’t get done regularly by every drama company in America.
The scene is ancient Rome and the situation is dire: The Volscians, a neighboring tribe, seek to conquer the city. Enter Coriolanus (Mr. Page), a paragon of the military virtues who more or less single-handedly defeats the enemy. Physically fearless and noble without limit, he has only one flaw: He knows that he is a great man, and refuses to pretend otherwise. Indifferent to the praise of “the common people,” he will not “flatter them for their love,” and his adamant refusal to do so makes him vulnerable to the scheming of a pair of jealous pols (Philip Goodwin and Derrick Lee Weeden) who seek to bring Coriolanus to his knees by turning the fickle mob against him. But no sooner do they succeed in doing so than he turns the tables on them. “Despising, / For you, the city, thus I turn my back: / There is a world elsewhere,” he contemptuously informs his fellow Romansâthen crosses the field of battle to join forces with the Volscians, who hours before were his sworn enemies.
Mr. Muse has opted for a modified modern-dress staging (“suits and swords,” in his neat phrase) that eschews cheap political point-making. He’s gunning for bigger game. He understands that “Coriolanus” is not about any particular politician, or any particular war: Its real subject is pride. Is there room in a democracy for an aristocrat like Coriolanus who refuses to play the popularity game? Or is it his duty to don the hypocrite’s mask in order to serve the greater good? Shakespeare leaves it to us to decide, and so does Mr. Muse.
All of which brings us to Mr. Page, who is known on Broadway as a specialist in villainy. In recent seasons he’s done the dirty in “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “A Man for All Seasons” and “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,” in which he played, of all things, the Green Goblin. But he’s no second banana: Mr. Page is one of this country’s leading classical actors, and in “Coriolanus” he shows you everything he’s got, starting with a resplendent bass voice so well placed that he can fill the theater with a whisper, then make your seat shake. He is, in the very best sense of the word, an old-fashioned actor who has no fear of the grand gesture. You’ll be paralyzed by the hideous, red-faced howl of horror that he wrenches from his depths when his terrified mother (Diane d’Aquila) begs him not to renounce his family and his country.
The presence of an actor like Mr. Page can wash away everyone in the immediate vicinity. That doesn’t happen here, for Mr. Muse has gone to enormous and gratifying trouble to surround him with actors who can punch his weight. The cast list is a roll of honor, with the names of Ms. d’Aquila, Steve Pickering (who plays Cominius, commander of the Roman army) and Messrs. Goodwin and Weeden inscribed at the very top. Even the smaller roles are for the most part impressively filled: Lise Bruneau, for instance, catches the eye and ear as Valeria, a friend of Coriolanus’s family. And Mr. Muse takes similar care to stage the scenes involving the chorus of plebeians in such a way as to give each one a welcome touch of individuality.
A star who casts so long a shadow needs a suitable set across which to cast it. Accordingly, Blythe R.D. Quinlan has come up with a trapezoidal playing space surrounded by sliding concretelike walls that suggest an arena, then a death chamber. It is at once modern and monumental, yet flexible enough never to slow down the action. Mark Bennett’s incidental musicânow thunderous, now shimmeringâis performed by a team of percussionists who share the stage with the cast. Their physical presence makes all the difference: Not since Actors’ Shakespeare Project in Boston commissioned Bill Barclay to score “King Lear” in 2005 have I seen a Shakespeare production in which live music-making was so well integrated with the unfolding action.
This “Coriolanus” belongs on Broadway. Were it to transfer there, Mr. Page would vault instantaneously into full-fledged, well-deserved stardom. Since such a move is highly unlikely, I hope that another regional companyâor Lincoln Centerâwill give serious thought to remounting it. Rarely has Shakespeare been more stirringly served.
‘The Trip to Bountiful’
Stephen Sondheim Theatre, New York
Cicely Tyson is, of course, the star of the show, but she never indulges in the kind of notice-me exaggeration to which “stars” too often stoop. Indeed, what is most striking about her performance is its total lack of sentimentality. She speaks her lines in a cracked, vinegary old-lady voice in which no trace of self-pity can be heard, trusting to Horton Foote to do the rest…
Part of what makes this production so fine is the unanimity with which Ms. Tyson’s colleagues support her magnificent performance. Cuba Gooding Jr., who plays her frustrated son, is exquisitely right, holding back his emotions until the climactic speech in which he opens his heart at last. Vanessa Williams, cast as her shrewish daughter-in-law, is boldly unafraid to be unlikable. Condola Rashad, one of Broadway’s finest young actresses, is simple and lovely as Thelma, the shy young bride whom Carrie meets and befriends on the bus to Bountiful. Arthur French and Tom Wopat are magically exact in the lesser but crucial roles of a ticket agent and a small-town sheriff. Michael Wilson’s pivotal contribution to the proceedings is, as it should be, invisible: All you see are the gracefully poised results.
Music Box Theatre, New York
In 1972 Pippin’s tale was told by a ragtag band of commedia dell’arte players, whereas Diane Paulus’s version is set in a circus tent and performed by a mixture of Broadway gypsies and circus acrobats. At the same time, she’s preserved some of the feel of Bob Fosse’s universally admired production by having the show choreographed by Chet Walker “in the style of Bob Fosse” (that’s how his credit reads).
Does it come off? Up to a point. The circus performers are sensational, but their antics overwhelm Mr. Walker’s dances, which are in any case devoid of Mr. Fosse’s sly wit…
On occasion there’s fun to be had from this “Pippin,” above all from Andrea Martin, who turns “No Time at All” into a hot-grandma trapeze act that is both very funny and very, very sexy. But I went home feeling as though I’d been yelled at for 2Â½ hours.
A version of this article appeared May 16, 2013, on page D9 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Nothing Plebeian About Him.
New York landlords Aby Rosen and Michael Fuchs have taken full ownership of the classic Seagram Building in Manhattan after paying off various other stakeholders.
The partners, whose firm is RFR Holdings, borrowed about $1 billion to refinance their debt on the building, according to filings for a securitization of the loan. As part of that refinancing, RFR took out about $224 million in cash, filings show.
In 2000, RFR and its partners acquired the black glass skyscraper designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, winning it at auction for $375 million. RFR reached an agreement two years ago to buy out publisher Peter Brant, who had a roughly 39% stake in the building. RFR tried to raise money by selling about 49% of the tower, but with an asking price too high to find any takers.
RFR then borrowed $160 million from Blackstone Group LP
and othersâwhich got a preferred equity stakeâat an interest rate of 12% to purchase the Brant stake. RFR later acquired the last 14% of the building, held by another partner, Harry Lis, who this year settled his lawsuits against RFR in a dispute related to the building.
The terms on the new loan are considerably friendlier, reflecting the low-interest-rate environment. Most of the loan carries a 3.5% interest rate.
The Seagram Building, named after the Canadian distiller, was built in the 1950s and is close to fully occupied. Its largest tenant is Wells Fargo
RFR began investing in U.S. real estate in the early 1990s. The company has purchased a number of trophy Manhattan skyscrapers, including the Lever House. The company also invested heavily in the Stamford, Conn., office-building market.
Selling in Seattle
Beacon Capital Partners LLC dove into the Seattle area in 2007 by buying up some of the city’s largest towers.
Now, it is gradually getting out.
The Boston-based landlord has reached a deal to sell the 47-story Wells Fargo Center to a joint venture of Canadian pension-backed IvanhoÃ© Cambridge and Callahan Capital Partners, according to a real-estate executive with knowledge of the deal. The sales price for the 980,000-square-foot downtown office tower couldn’t be determined.
The sale, which hasn’t been finalized, reflects a strategy by Beacon to sell off individual properties from its monster $6.2 billion portfolio purchase from Blackstone Group LP just before the downturn. That deal included properties in Washington, D.C., as well as Seattle. Rents and occupancies fell with the downturn, and Beacon restructured its debt on its 20-building portfolio in 2010.
Last year, Beacon and its partners sold a 55-story downtown Seattle tower, 1201 Third Ave., for $549 million, and a Bellevue, Wash., office building for $187 million.
Of course, there is still plenty more selling to do for Beacon. The company owns the most prominent building in Seattle, Columbia Center, a jet-black 1.5-million-square-foot skyscraper that reaches 932 feet.
The Seattle office market has been strong lately, largely due to growth by Amazon.com Inc.
However, much of that growth hasn’t been in the central downtown near Beacon’s buildings, but rather in the neighborhoods to the north, where the online retailer has its headquarters.
A version of this article appeared May 15, 2013, on page C6 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Plots & Ploys.
Story By: by Bill Chappell
It turns out that the desire to speak with Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with $610,000, will buy you a cup of coffee. That’s the winning bid offered in a charity auction for up to an hour of Cook’s time.
As we reported last month, the chance to grab coffee with Cook at Apple’s headquarters zoomed past the suggested value of $50,000 set at the Charitybuzz auction site, rising to more than $600,000 in just three days.
The winner hasn’t been identified; an earlier glance at the list of bidders suggested that many of them have companies or entrepreneurial projects they might like to discuss with Cook. The winner has one year in which to coordinate a date to grab coffee with the executive.
The proceeds of the auction, in which Cook and other celebrities are taking part, benefits the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
Perhaps to keep any would-be bidders from using the auction as a way to get free publicity, the Charitybuzz site added a note to the Cook auction requiring any bids of more than $500,000 to be authenticated with financial records.
The winning bid places a much greater value on Cook’s time than his annual salary reflects. When the bid surpassed the $600,000 mark, our calculations found that if all of Cook’s time were to be valued at the same rate, he would earn more than $1.25 billion in a year.
But how the times changed. As London prepared for two back-to-back mega events last year, the Queen’s Jubilee and the Summer Olympics, its hotel sector began to make some notable strides, the likes of which are still dazzling visitors. The new generation of hotels, all of which opened between 2011 and 2013, includes the work of starchitect David Chipperfield (CafÃ© Royal) and big-name designers like Kit Kemp, Tara Bernerd, Anouska Hempel and David Collins also got in on the action.
Here are our favorites.
London’s French-expat scene congregates in Frog Alley, otherwise known as South Kensington, which is home to the Ampersand, a hotel opened in August 2012. All 110 of its rooms feature one of five central Victorian themes: botany, music, geometry, ornithology and astronomy. (Each takes inspiration from the nearby Natural History and Victoria & Albert museums.) Its new patisserie area, an underground cocktail bar, a library, a game room (featuring table tennis) and a high-tech, 24-hour gym bring things up to date. Rooms, from $225; 10 Harrington Rd.; 44-20/7589-5895.
Thompson Hotels transplanted New York cool to London when it launched the modern, 85-room Belgraves in February 2012 in London’s ritzy Belgravia neighborhood near Sloane Square. Though the hotel’s designer, Tara Bernerd, is British — and contemporary pieces from local artists Miranda Donovan and Mat Collishaw hang in the halls — a combination of new leather, a spacious fitness center and a retro restaurant serving upgraded burgers, shrimp cocktails and pumpkin pie are pure Americana. Rooms, from $350; 20 Chesham Pl.; 44-20/7858-0100.
The pre-Olympics boom of luxury hotels includes this Knightsbridge property, which opened in May 2012 and eschews British florals and Empire-era chintz for a modernized 1920s look. Highlights include a handmade steel balustrade backed by a metallic wall adorned with sketches of Bulgari’s early-20th-century jewelry collections, glossy sapele-mahogany woodwork, silver chandeliers and an overall subdued design paying homage to the label’s early Italian silvercraft. Surrounded by columns and small cabanas, the 75-foot pool anchors the spa, which is composed of onyx, oak, Vicenza stone and Italian glass mosaics that lead to a vertical fireplace. Rooms, from $770; 171 Knightsbridge; 44-20/7151-1010.
The opulent Louis XVI decor and detailing of CafÃ© Royal, which opened in December 2012 and is nestled between Soho and Mayfair, is the work of British architect David Chipperfield. The grandiose property features a Champagne and caviar lounge with live entertainment, a spa and marble hammam and restored ballrooms once frequented by Elizabeth Taylor, the Beatles and Oscar Wilde. Rooms, from $530; 68 Regent St.; 44-20/7406-3333.
This opulent 294-room hotel — once home to the Ministry of Defense — reopened in the spring of 2011. Baccarat crystal, colorful flower arrangements and swirls of Calacatta Oro marble punctuate this Beaux-Arts gem, the product of a $488 million renovation. But the spa — London’s largest — is the real game changer. The four-story, 35,000-square-foot Espa Life at Corinthia spa and wellness center offers 15 treatment rooms, a monochromatic white spa lounge, a sauna encased in glass and a pool lined with steel. Guests can hit the on-site Harrods for a shopping spree and sip cocktails in the David Collins-designed Bassoon Bar before retiring to one of the seven plush suites with literary, drama or world-exploration themes. Rooms, from $500; Whitehall Pl.; 44-20/7930-8181.
Kit Kemp, founder and chief designer of Firmdale Hotels, brought her signature British style to New York in 2009 with her Crosby Street property. But she got her start here at this tidy 38-room Regency townhouse overlooking a former cricket grounds in Marylebone. Though it was Firmdale’s first property in 1985, the dwelling was eventually de-flagged. It returned to the Firmdale family (and to the Design Hotels portfolio) in May 2012 after being gutted and “Kitted” out with chic, slightly eccentric touches like handwoven Argentinean rugs, bespoke wallpaper mocking vintage botanical prints and cricket-ball doorknobs. Two additional Firmdale properties are expected to open in the coming year, another in London and one in New York. Rooms, from $200; 39-40 Dorset Sq.; 44-20/7723-7874.
Another Design Hotels member opened in August 2012 in the understated La Suite West in the underrated Bayswater neighborhood, a quiet, leafy residential area adjacent to Hyde Park that is home to some of London’s best Asian food. The discreet 19th-century Victorian townhouse lurks behind hedges that make it easy to miss. But once inside guests enjoy an elegant lobby with a minimalist fireplace, relaxing rooms with handsome gray marble tubs, black lacquer shutters and fabrics in deep violet and brown hues, all thanks to British designer Anouska Hempel. Rooms, from $250; 41-51 Inverness Ter.; 44-20/7313-8484.
© 2010 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
Dean Soto of Buena Park, Calif., was working in the aerospace field as an IT security specialist when his wife became pregnant with their second child and decided to stop working. The family experienced a significant loss of income. Mr. Soto, 29, decided to look for a better-paying job.
“At first I thought I could get another job in my field,” he says. “But after interviewing, it was clear that there wasn’t enough market demand, and my skill set was too specialized to justify the salary that I was seeking.”
While still employed, Mr. Soto launched his own IT consulting company, called Pro Sulum, so that he would have more control over his income. But after several months, his income from the business was only $350. Realizing that he wouldn’t be able to complete his transition if he didn’t make more money soon, Mr. Soto started investing in courses on launching a small business.
One such course was Earn$1K (earn1k.com), an online class featuring a step-by-step process for turning skills into side income, determining pricing, marketing your services, and integrating a new business into your life. Earn$1K aims to provide “an understanding of the skills that can earn you money, and the skills that will never make you a dime,” says Ramit Sethi, the creator of Earn $1K and the author of the blog and book “I Will Teach You to Be Rich.”
Many people are convinced they can’t afford to make a career change, but there are several strategies to make it a financial reality. Testing a new job on the side and following Mr. Sethi’s advice to become more profitable are two.
Creating a cushion of savings is another. “When you change careers, you may be out of work for a while, your income may drop, or you may encounter unexpected expenses,” says J.D. Roth, author of “Your Money: The Missing Manual.” “An emergency fund that covers six months to a year of expenses will smooth the transition.”
Obviously, creating such a reserve will require reducing your household expenses. If you’ve never created an inventory of what you’re currently spending, now’s the time. Build a spreadsheet on your computer to keep track of where your money is going on a daily basis. You’ll see patterns of unnecessary spending (your morning Starbucks run, sushi takeout, etc.) and areas where you can tighten your belt. “These changes don’t have to be permanent,” says Mr. Roth. “They just have to last as you prepare to switch careers.”
Also, keep an eye on your debt. Don’t finance anything, save just one credit card for emergencies and cut up the rest, and halt any recurring payments such as a gym membership or an online gaming account. Call each financial institution where you have debt and try to negotiate a lower interest rate.
Finally, consider enlisting the services of a financial planner who can help you manage your money and plan for your career change. You can search for advisers by specialty or geography at the Financial Planning Association’s Web site (fpanet.org), and then verify their credentials with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (cfp.net).
Write to Alexandra Levit at firstname.lastname@example.org
By JOE LIGHT
The unemployment rate for new college graduates has climbed since before the recession, prompting some recent grads to delay looking for a job.
The worst recession in decadesâand its subsequent, halting recoveryâhas particularly punished individuals short on work experience or skills. Since May 2007, the percentage of the population under age 25 who are currently employed has dropped more than seven percentage points to 45.1%, according to the Labor Dept.
The shift is part of a larger transformation in the American work force, where the country’s aging population is leading to a growing number of older workers in jobs or looking for work. With the pace of job openings not keeping up with population growth, that means fewer open positions for younger workers. Indeed, the percentage of the population age 55 and older who are employed has increased more than five percentage points in the last decade, to 37.5%.
To be sure, part of the shift is due to more young workers deciding to stay longer in school, moving on to graduate studies rather than entering the work force.
The jobs picture for recent college graduates, while lackluster over the long term, has shown glimmers of hope recently. Employers plan to hire 19% more new graduates this year than in 2010, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Employers say there’s especiallyhigh demand for graduates with expertise in technology and engineering fields.
But even among college graduates under 25, a growing number areâat least temporarilyâopting out of the work force entirely. Among that group, the labor force participation rate, which measures the proportion working or seeking employment fell by three percentage points over the past four years.
That drop in the percentage of young graduates in the labor force actually began near the start of the 2001 recession. Career counselors at colleges say that in the past two years they have seen increasing numbers of graduates opting to travel, volunteer, or get unpaid work experience rather than head straight into a tenuous job market. It isn’t clear, some counselors say, just how long many such students expect this interval between school and a job search to last.
In May, about 6.9% of college graduates aged 16 to 24 were unemployed, according to the Labor Dept., compared with 4% in May 2007.
“There’s a lot of moving in with parents, waiting it out, and thinking about grad school,” says Harvard economist Lawrence Katz. “It’s become more extreme given how this recession has been.”
Anabelle Harari, who majored in international relations at Mount Holyoke and graduated in May, says she applied for five or six jobs between January and March, but hasn’t submitted any applications since. For now, she is living with her mother in Margate, N.J., and making travel plans to see Nepal or Israel.
“I think it’s hard for my mom to accept that I’m not even trying to find a job,” says Ms. Harari, who notes that her mother is otherwise supportive. She intends to travel, take up seasonal jobs, and possibly volunteer for the next two years before looking for a full-time job or applying to grad school.
One of her Mount Holyoke classmates, Adrian Avedisian, 22, is living with her mother in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
“Everyone is talking about how difficult it’s going to be to get a job. If that’s how the competition is, I feel like there’s no use wasting my time,” she says. Eventually, Ms. Avedisian, who majored in Arabic Language and Culture, wants to find a job working for a start-up in the Middle East and hopes to finalize her plans in July. She has informally reached out to some contacts at start-ups, but hasn’t applied to a job since the beginning of May.
Being disconnected from the job market can have long-term implications on young workers’ earnings and psychological well-being, says David Blanchflower, an economist at Dartmouth College.
Last year Mr. Blanchflower conducted a study that found 16- to 25-year-olds who don’t have jobs or aren’t in school are more likely to be anxious, depressed and suicidal than their counterparts who are students or working.
“In recessions,” Mr. Blanchflower said, “everyone moves down the occupational ladder, and young people get pushed out at the bottom.”
By WILL LYONS
WITH MORE THAN 40 distilleries dotted around its valleys, Scotland’s Speyside region is a whisky lover’s paradiseâhome to some of the most famous names in Scotch whisky, such as The Glenlivet, Maccallan, Glenfiddich, Glenrothes and Glenfarclas. Aficionados have long made pilgrimages to this corner of northeast Scotland for a taste of these sweet, light, amber whiskies.
But there is more to the region than just copper stills and the water of life. With a swathe of golf courses, wild, sandy beaches, spectacular scenery, world-class fly-fishing and historic monuments, it’s an ideal escape from the demands of city life.
Running through the region is the River Spey, famous for salmon fishing. And by following its banksâby car and on footâvisitors can reel in the wild beauty of an area squared by the coastal seaboard of the Moray Firth to the north and the Cairngorm Mountains to the south. Here’s our guide to savoring a long weekend in the Highlands, with a dram in hand.
7 p.m. Land at Inverness Airport. Renting a car is by far the best way to navigate the back roads of whisky’s Golden Triangle. Despite being flanked by mountains on one side and the coast on the other, the area is fertile and surprisingly flatâthink fields of barley rather than shadowy glens. If you are traveling in spring or summer, don’t worry about getting there in the eveningâthe sun doesn’t set until after 10 p.m.
7:30 p.m. Drive 18 kilometers east along the A96 to the coastal village of Nairn. This Victorian spa town was a favorite vacation spot of Charlie Chaplin and is a good place to drink in Scotland’s clean air, wilderness and unpolluted northern light. You won’t have time to enjoy a round of golf at the town’s Nairn Golf Club (
) but be sure to fit in a stroll along the sandy dunes of its East Beach before heading south to Grantown-on-Spey, then up the A95 to Aberlour.
9 p.m. There are a few grand Victorian hotels in Speyside, but for the whisky-lover there is no better place to stay than in one of the five well-appointed rooms above theMash Tun whisky bar in Aberlour (double room Â£113 per night, 8 Broomfield Square, mashtun-aberlour.com). With views over the Spey, this former station bar is a cozy place to hole up for the weekend. Call ahead and arrange for a light supper of soup and a baguette to be served in the bar when you arrive
10:30 p.m. Enjoy a night cap in the Whisky Bar. Try a whisky from your birth year; the bar has more than 46 single-cask whiskies from Glenfarclasâone for every year between 1952 and 1997.
9:30 a.m. After a hearty Scottish breakfast of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, head south on the A95 for the picturesque 20-minute journey to the Glenlivet Distillery (
). Founded by George Smith in 1824 at Upper Drummin Farm, it now produces one of the best-selling malt whiskies in the U.S. Park behind the distillery and put on your walking boots.
10 a.m. Take a stroll along the George Smith Smugglers Trail and let the beauty of Speyside open up before you. The trail is a gentle, signposted 6-kilometer route that runs from the back of the distillery and follows the River Livet past the former home of Smith to the remains of Drumin Castle, where you can take in the view from this ancient spot.
1 p.m. Grab a quick lunch in the distillery’s coffee shop and have a browse around the shop before you join the tour of your choice.
1:30 p.m. The distillery offers a free tour that lasts around 45 minutesâno need to bookâand includes a visit to the warehouse and the mash tuns, where the whisky is produced and distilled, and a free dram at the end. Drivers can opt for a miniature instead. Aficionados may wish to take the Glenlivet Spirit of the Malt Tour (Â£30 per person), an in-depth, three-hour experience that includes a tutored tasting of more than seven different variations of The Glenlivet, as well as a dram poured straight from the cask in the warehouse. If you go for this option, be sure to choose a designated driver in advance.
3 p.m. Head back up the Spey to Craigellachie, the village where the Spey and Fiddich rivers meet. Stop off at Craigellachie Bridge for a breathtaking view of the Spey. Just a short drive up the hill is the Macallan distillery
). Rich, sherried and honeyed, The Macallan is one of the world’s most popular whiskies. The distillery runs a series of small tours, the last of which is at 3 p.m. These range from Â£10 to Â£20 and booking is advised. Naturally, they end with a warming dram or two.
If two distilleries in one day feels like too much, head down the hill to Victoria Street to the Craigellachie Hotel for afternoon tea (Â£8.95, thecraigellachiehotel.com), served in their drawing room overlooking the Spey. Afterward, if you still have time to spare, take the five-minute drive to the Speyside Cooperage on the A941 to learn about the wooden casks that are used to store whisky.
5 p.m. Drive back to Aberlour and leave the car at the Mash Tun. Then enjoy the early-evening light by taking a 45-minute stroll up the banks of the Spey, returning to Craigellachie. By this time you will have earned your supper.
6:30 p.m. Start your evening with a visit to the Craigellachie Hotel’s famous Whisky Quaich bar, home to more than 750 whiskies. Ask the barman to pour you something rare.
7:30 p.m. Cross the road to the Highlander Inn (
). Popular with whisky writers and local distillers, its bar will be busy on a Saturday night. Soak up the local atmosphere and enjoy an unpretentious supper of Scotland’s most famous dish: haggis, neeps and tatties, a savory pudding of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, with potatoes and turnips, served with a drizzle of creamy sauce.
10:30 p.m. Take a five-minute taxi ride back to the Mash Tun, stopping off in the bar for a quick nightcap before the fresh air and whisky send you into a deep sleep.
10 a.m. Allow yourself a gentle start after yesterday’s excesses. After savoring a cooked breakfast at the Mash Tun, enjoy a stroll around the village. Aberlour is home to Walker’s shortbread, and their shop on the high street is a great place to stock up on Speyside’s other famous export.
11 a.m. Hop in the car and drive north along the A941 to the medieval city of Elgin, with its magnificent ruined cathedral. Make sure to bring your wallet as our destination is cashmere specialists Johnstons of Elgin. Here you can while away a few hours trying on cashmere knitwear from v-necks to luxury hot-water-bottle covers before enjoying a light lunch in their cafe. After lunch, head into town and visit Gordon & Macphail’s famous whisky shop (58 South St.; gordonandmacphail.com
). As well as more than 1,000 whiskies, and 800 wines, it stocks local cheeses and hams, and always has a selection of malt whiskies on hand to taste.
2 p.m. Head west out of Elgin to the Benromach Distillery. Mothballed in the early 1980s, the distillery was bought by Gordon & Macphail in 1994. After a refurbishment, the result is a small, boutique distillery that makes for an interesting contrast to the scale of Glenlivet. In the summer months, the distillery offers tours and daily tastings of its smooth, medium-bodied floral whisky.
4 p.m. Continuing west past Nairn, on the banks of the Moray Firth stands Fort George, an impressive example of 18th-century military engineering. This enormous garrison, still a working army barracks but open to visitors, was built by King George II to control uprisings in the Highlands in the aftermath of the 1746 Battle of Culloden. Take a stroll around its boundary walls and breathe in a bit of history.
7 p.m. Return to Aberlour and the Mash Tun for a hearty dinner of local fare, including roast salmon or Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak.
10 a.m. After breakfasting and checking out of the Mash Tun, it’s a short drive to one of the most interesting distillery tours of the weekend. Aberlour Distillery sits in a spectacular glen where the rivers Lour and Spey meet. This small, picturesque distillery offers a series of tours, including the Founder’s Tour (Â£30 per person; book in advance). This includes a tutored tasting of five Aberlour whiskies paired with locally produced chocolate and the opportunity to hand-fill your very own bottle of cask-strength whisky (Â£65).
1 p.m. If you fancy ending the weekend with some fine dining, take a 15-minute drive over to Dufftown to La Faisanderie (2 Balvenie St.; lafaisanderie.co.uk
), where chef Eric Obry is earning himself a reputation for fine French cooking with local ingredients.
4 p.m. Take a stroll around the wide streets of Dufftown before popping into the Malt Barn Bar at the Glenfiddich distillery for one final dram. Then it’s back to the airportâallow an hour and 15 minutes for the driveâand home, hopefully with some liquid souvenirs in hand.
—Email Will at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @Will_Lyons