• Air Canyon Quebec

    In past years when I have attended Festival dete de Quebec, I have stayed inside the city and just attended activities related to the festival. This year I contacted the Quebec tourism board for ideas of tourist activities outside the city.

    One of the activities that immediately jumped out was to visit Sainte-Anne Canyon. Sainte-Anne Canyon is a naturally sensational area right outside of Quebec City.  There is a beautiful park with walking trails and a few adventure sports for families who are feeling adventurous that include rock climbing in the waterfalls and a suspension bridge walk.

    There is also a new ride that just opened one year ago called Air Canyon where two people sit in a chair and take an exhilarating ride across the canyon. This was a fun activity for anyone who wants a birds-eye view of the canyon.

  • Festival d’ete de Quebec

    For the past four years, I have made the trip to Quebec City, Canada in mid-July for the largest music festival in North America, Festival dete de Quebec, that no one knows about. Every night for 11 nights the festivals hosts some of the biggest names in music across all genres.  This year headliners included Future, Foo Fighters, The Chainsmokers, Camilla Cabello, Beck, Lorde, Dave Matthews and many more. Each night over 100,000 music fans fill the Plaines of Abraham watching the biggest stage in North America.

    This is my one chance each year to actually live inside a music festival. Quebec City is a beautiful city within the walls that surround the city left over from the French/Indian war and most of the festival takes place on several stages in and around the walls of the old city.

    The festival is always in July, which provides almost perfect summer weather for those who wish to escape the heat of the lower 48 that can be oppressive that time of year. It is really the perfect summer festival destination for those who prefer a non-camping festival in one of the most welcoming friendly cities in North America.

  • Top 10 Museums in Paris

    Paris is arguably one of the world’s centers for seeing art and culture. I have visited Paris over a dozen times and during each visit, I still find hidden treasures inside the museums throughout the city. The museums range from displays of classic artists and their work, as well as writers, geology, architecture, fashion and much more. Check out a list of some of my favorite museums in Paris.

    10. Musee Marmottan Monet

    Housed in a former hunting lodge contains the largest collection of Claude Monet’s work in the world.  The museum also includes works by other famous impressionists of the time Degas, Renoir and Manet. The museum is on the outskirts of the city center so it is rarely crowded.

    9. Musee Rodin

    This museum is a charming space dedicated to sculptor Auguste Rodin. It is housed in an 18th-century mansion called Hotel Biron that the artist used as a workspace and exhibition venue until he donated it to the city of Paris with the stipulation that it be used as a museum of his works of art. The gardens around the museum contain several of his most important works and are a must see.

    The museum is home to the majority of Rodin’s significant works are located on site including famed statues The Thinker and The Kiss.

    8. Musee de L’Orangerie

    The Musee de L’Orangerie is a renowned art gallery filled with impressionist and post-impressionist paintings including the famous Water Lilies painting by Claude Monet.  The museum is situated in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens.

    7. Maison de Victor Hugo

    This small museum honors literary giant Victor Hugo. Hugo is one of the romantic movement’s most famous writers. He is best known for Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He lived in the house where the museum is located for 16 years from 1832-1848.  It is a unique view of the living quarter and art collection of the writer.

    6. Pompidou Center- National Museum of Modern Art

    The Pompidou is a unique piece of architecture inside and out. It looks like a building that has been turned inside out. Inside the building houses the National Museum of Modern Art, which is the largest museum for contemporary art in Europe.

    The Pompidou is the only museum in the world to offer a comprehensive view of modernism from the 20th and 21st centuries.  The museum is also home to many traveling exhibits that usually include unique photography exhibitions.

    5. Louis Vuitton Foundation

    Frank Gehry designed space to display art and culture. The $143 million museum in Paris was opened in October 2014. The museum was funded by LVMH and bears the name of its flagship brand, Louis Vuitton. The building will pass into the hands of the city’s government after 55 years.

    Temporary exhibits that highlight modern and contemporary art are open to the public throughout the year. The combination of works shown includes art owned by LVMH such as works by Jean-Michel Basquiat and a few other artists. The foundation commissioned works by Ellsworth Kelly, Olafur Eliasson, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller

    4. French Museum of Natural History

    The French Museum of Natural History was founded in 1793 during the French Revolution but was established earlier in 1635 by King Louis XIII.  It combines three museums into one, including a four-story taxonomy wing, a building of skeletons and fossils and a separate structure devoted entirely to geology. There’s also a zoo nearby! As of 2017, it has 14 sites throughout France, with four in Paris, including the original location at the royal botanical garden.

    3. Louvre

    The Louvre is one of the largest museums in the world and one of Paris’s most historic monuments.  Over 10 million visitors attend each year to see the over 35000 paintings including the Mona Lisa and The Winged Victory of Samothrace.

    My favorite exhibits also include Napoleon III apartments that you can tour as well as the Department of Egyptian Antiquities of the Louvre of Paris, comprising over 50,000 pieces, includes artifacts from the Nile civilizations which date from 4,000 BC to the 4th century.

    Travel Tip: By tickets ahead to avoid long lines. Insert link

    2. Musee Picasso

    Set in a 17th-century hotel the National Picasso museum houses over 5000 works of arts by Picasso. Works include drawings, paintings, sculptures, and ceramics from every period of his career.

    The museum also houses some of Picasso’s personal art collection with works by Degas, Seurat, and Matisse, as well as an extensive collection of African art, from which Picasso drew inspiration.

    1. Musee d’Orsay

    Musee d’Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, on the Left Bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900.

    This is my favorite museum because of its vast collection of Impressionist artists including Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, Renoir and my personal favorite Edgar Degas. Degas produced amazing paintings of Ballerinas that are on display. Other famous items include Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhone Aries and Renoir’s al au Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre.

  • Fiona the Hippo

    Fiona the Hippo lives at the Cincinnati Zoo and has become an internet sensation upon arrival. Her story is the feel-good story of the year for Cincinnati. She was born six weeks pre-mature and became the smallest hippo to survive born in captivity. She currently lives in the Hippo Habitat at the zoo with her mom Bibi. Sadly, her father Henry passed away in October.

    I finally got the chance to go and meet Fiona at the zoo last weekend and was not disappointed.  It was adorable to see children line up to see the hippos in the habitat and learn about one of the great animals from the African continent.

    The zoo has also had a major financial boost from Fiona. Attendance is up 22% last year largely due to the interest to see Baby Fiona. Zoo fundraising is also way up as donors reach out from all over the world to help provide supplies to care for the zoo animals.

  • American Sign Museum

    Sometimes it’s fun to be a tourist in your own city. I visited the American Sign Museum in downtown Cincinnati in the historic district of Camp Washington.  The museum is dedicated to the art of signs and takes visitors on a journey through a 100-year journey of sign making.

    The museum is housed in a 20,000 square foot space so it’s perfect to visit year round. It is the largest public sign museum in the United States. They also offer space for parties and private events in a super unique atmosphere.

    The signage brought back fond memories from my childhood with the giant McDonald’s and Howard Johnson signage.

  • LGBTQ Rainbow Flag

    The LGBTQ flag was invented in 1978 by Gilbert Baker, a gay rights activist, army veteran, artist, and self-declared “gay Betsy Ross.”

    He created the flag for the 1978 Gay Freedom Pride Parade in San Francisco, at the request of Harvey Milk, a gay local politician who was assassinated later that year.

    The original flag had eight colors, each carrying a specific meaning. In 1979, the palette was condensed to six colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet). The rainbow is the perfect representation of celebrating diversity, community, acceptance, and tolerance.

    Cincinnati Pride started in 1973 and formed out of a political protest in Fountain Square and celebrated its 45th year on Saturday at Sawyer Point.  Over 90,000 people now partake in the day’s festivities including a parade and all-day festival.

     

  • Cincinnati Pride Festival

    June is Pride month when cities across America show support for LGBTQ rights, culture and community. It is a month-long celebration, protest and political activism in almost every major city in the U.S.

    The history of Pride dates back to the late 1960s at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in NYC. The venue was known as the rare spot where same-sex patrons could dance with each other without the fear of harassment. 

    At the time, it was fairly common for police to raid gay bars and nightclubs, especially in big cities like New York City and Los Angeles. Sometimes these raids would result in violence on behalf of officers.

    In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, the police raided Stonewall, but this time, the patrons fought back. Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans woman celebrating her 25th birthday at the time, is credited with starting the uprising.  The Stonewall Riots consisted of thousands of people and lasted for six days.  It was a tipping point in history where everything changed for the LGBTQ community. In 2016, President Obama declared the Stonewall Inn a national landmark.

    The 45th annual Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival took place at Sawyer Point on the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday. It was so much fun to attend and see the atmosphere full of music, dancing and all around positivity.

  • Cleveland Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

    At least once a year I make a trip to the Rock Hall in Cleveland. Maybe it is because I have been a rock photographer for the past decade but I also love seeing the new and special displays. In past years I have seen exhibits on Women in Rock, Summer U.S. Festivals and the Rolling Stones. The current special exhibit at the Hall of Fame is Summer of Love Turns 50.

    The museum receives over 500,000 visitors but many come from out of the area.
    It is awesome that the entrance to the Hall of Fame will now be free to Cleveland residents to allow locals to experience everything the hall has to offer.

  • Beyoncé and Jay Z Takeover the Louvre

    Beyoncé and Jay Z broke the internet with the release of their video for their new song “Apeshit” off of their collaboration album Everything Is Love. The setting of the entire video was the Louvre, the largest art museum in the world located in Paris.

    Throughout the video Beyoncé and her dancers are swaying and strutting around the museum, upstaging a lot of the artworks behind them.  “I was thinking a lot about how people – especially white people, European and American people – go to really romanticize empire, to think about genealogies of white male artists, and then we have Beyoncé, a black woman, and her husband, dancing around in the Louvre,”art historian Alexandra Thomas told TIME Magazine. She went on to call this juxtaposition “an embodied intervention of Western art.”

    There’s also some representation of black art in the video. Their commentary on black wealth resonates in the Louvre’s Egyptian galleries, where Beyoncé raps in front of the Great Sphinx of Tanis. At the end of the video shows the two in front of the Mona Lisa, with Beyoncé conveying a similar facial expression to the famous artwork.

    Personally, I love the Louvre and I can stare hours at the Mona Lisa….some call it small but I think it is an amazing masterpiece from DaVinci. I go and visit her every time I visit Paris.

  • Korea – DMZ

    Korea is a country with rich history and one of my favorite countries in Asia to visit because of its unique culture and the warmth of its people. I have visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and Joint Security Area (JSA) several times over the past 10 years. It’s a popular tourist destination and has an extreme waiver that participants must sign to visit the area. The waiver says that the government cannot guarantee the safety of visitors from hostile acts and not to make any gestures toward the North Korean soldiers at the border.

    One of the most interesting parts of the visit is entering the conference room in the blue building, where half of the room is in North Korea and half of the room is in South Korea. This is the room where the two countries have come together for meetings.

    For many in South Korea, President Trump’s recent historic meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore last week was seen as an opportunity instead of a failure. In a Gallup survey, more than 1,000 people two days after the summit, two-thirds of the population said they think the Kim/Trump meeting was a success. Only one in 10 thought it a failure.

    When we entered the building the back door of the building was closed and South Korean soldiers stood guard as we walked around the table to North Korea. The photo above shows the Republic of Korea (South Korea) soldiers standing guard at the JSA in between North Korea and South Korea in the village of Panmunjom.

    My hope is that these two countries can be united in the future with peace and families can be reunited through a peaceful negotiation process over time.