Travel & Culture Books: ‘Havana Blues’ (July 2021)

Crumbling pastel-colored facades line its streets, parked vintage cars evoke times past, live music permeates the air. Welcome to Havana, home to an overwhelming energy. Situated along the Straits of Florida, the capital of Cuba has been through several identities: Spanish colonial settlement, mobster rule in the 1930s, glamour of the 1950s, Cuban revolution and, most recently, a cultural renaissance. 

Havana’s bold, provocative approach to art, cuisine and entertainment—as well as the eclectic blend of African, French, Spanish and North American influences—including its range of architecture styles from the sixteenth century to the modern day, confer this epic city with a legendary status on par with the world’s greatest cities. While some of the building are in disrepair, the beauty of the baroque, neoclassical and art deco features triumphs.

The iconic Copa Room cabaret that hosted Ginger Rogers and Abbott and Costello still stands. The Gran Teatro de la Habana, built in the early twentieth century, is now home to the Cuban National Ballet. Habana Vieja is undergoing a massive restoration to its former glory. Havana could be seen as a work-in-progress, but it is more a testament to its never-ending determination to improve and progress, which might be the allure that attracts so many visitors. So take a seat at an authentic paladar (family-run restaurant) and enjoy the vibrant evolution of Havana.

Pamela Ruiz came to Cuba in the 1990s and fell in love, both with the country and her husband, Cuban artist Damian Aquiles. Formerly a location scout for photography shoots, she soon began to turn her attention to art, specifically bridging the international art world and Cuba.

Read more at Assouline

Drought: Desalination Plant Opens In California

San Diego is set to soon start supplying itself with millions of gallons a day of fresh, drinkable water, using saltwater from the Pacific Ocean, converted by a brand new desalination plant. As California’s historic drought continues, the plant will likely intensify the debate over the role of desalination may play in the state’s water supply. Special Correspondent Mike Taibbi reports.

View the Full Story/Transcript: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/desali…

Walking Tour: Manheim – Southwest Germany (4K)

Mannheim is a city in southwest Germany, on the Rhine and Neckar rivers. The baroque 18th-century Mannheim Palace houses historical exhibits, plus the University of Mannheim. In the grid-like center, called the Quadrate, Marktplatz Square features a baroque fountain with statues. Planken shopping street leads southeast to the Romanesque Water Tower, in the art nouveau gardens of Friedrichsplatz. 

Health: Hip Replacement Surgery Success Rates

The mission of COMPASS is to provide patients with access to comprehensive quality and safety data across a variety of Massachusetts General Hospital surgical specialties. In this video, learn about performance data for Mass General hip replacement surgery including its success rate and recovery and rehabilitation.

Aerial City Views: Hanoi – Capital Of Vietnam (4K)

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is known for its centuries-old architecture and a rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese and French influences. At its heart is the chaotic Old Quarter, where the narrow streets are roughly arranged by trade. There are many little temples, including Bach Ma, honoring a legendary horse, plus Đồng Xuân Market, selling household goods and street food. 

Profiles: British Artist Aimee Lax (V&A Museum)

Aimee Lax is an artist whose work examines the fragility and strength of the natural world, showing how it can be simultaneously threatening and beautiful. During her residency she has focussed on the question of the Anthropocene, looking at the burial of nuclear waste and the strange morphological effects on organisms in areas exposed to nuclear radiation. Creating works which convey a sense of otherworldliness and the uncanny, she uses clay to illustrate the dangers of the past, present and future. Engaging Ceramics Artist in Residence October 2019 – July 2020.

Aerial Views: Memphis – Southwest Tennessee

Memphis is a city on the Mississippi River in southwest Tennessee, famous for the influential strains of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll that originated there. Elvis Presley, B.B. King and Johnny Cash recorded albums at the legendary Sun Studio, and Presley’s Graceland mansion is a popular attraction. Other music landmarks include the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, Blues Hall of Fame and Stax Museum of American Soul Music. 

French Views: The Lasting Legacy Of King Louis XIV

Louis XIV embodies absolute monarchy more than any other French king. The Sun King, who ruled from 1643 to 1715, left his mark on many places in France, from Versailles to Saint-Jean-de-Luz and the Gobelins tapestry factory in Paris. Even today, his legacy lives on in all of them. FRANCE 24 takes you on a tour.