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Tis The Season for Outdoor Concerts, Fairs and Festivals

By Jennifer Atienza

Summer is here – outdoor venues event calendars are looking plump! Everyone is gearing up for concert picnics, outdoor plays, and summer concerts – even restaurants and eateries are offering gourmet picnic baskets to take to these events. Get your hats, umbrellas, beach chairs, and picnic blankets ready!


One particular event that I look forward to this summer is the California Philharmonic’s Festival on the Green. It’s held at the Los Angeles Arboretum every summer in succeeding weekends. Each performance features a theme (Classics, Dance, and Movie themes to name a few). This event started in 1997 – a vision of Maestro Vener. The event came a reality with the help community leaders and the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department. This year is definitely special as Festival on the Green is celebrating its 10th year.

There are many events happening in other parts of the country – if you are a big literary fan, the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR is the event for you. Founded in 1935, this Tony Award Winning event is among the oldest theatre events in the country. Started by a teacher from South Oregon Normal School, Angus L. Bowmer, the festival was officially launched on July 2, 1935. Bowmer’s idea is to create a festival in conjunction with the city’s Fourth of July celebration. In 2001, the 10 millionth ticket holder was welcome. This festival is definitely one to check out!

An event that has been gaining worldwide notoriety is the Burning Man Project. Founded by Larry Harvey and Jerry James in 1986, it started as an annual fire party at Baker Beach in San Francisco. This event began with a humble group of friends and now grew to a community of 25,000 people. There are different descriptions of this event… Some say it’s Art festival, some would describe it as music festival, and others a social experiment. It is probably a combination of all these – it seems the Burning Man Project is what you want it to be or how you experience it to be. The only way to find out is to go there yourself!

Whatever you are interest in; there is a summer event for you. There’s music, arts, theatre, culinary, and many more. Definitely plan ahead and get your tickets early, as most of the very popular events sell out months in advanced. Be sure to check out the events websites to see any restrictions (such as age, alcohol, transportation, etc.), if any.

About the Author

To see a calendar of events happening this summer – music, concerts, festivals, theatre, culinary – visit The WhereWhen Project: Calendar access is free with no registration required… And if you have an event to promote, posting events are free as well.

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Venice Film Festivals

By Richard Romando

Venice Film Festival is one of the oldest Film Festivals in the World. It was first held in the year 1932. It is held every year in the later half of August or early September. It takes place at Lido di Venezia, which is in the historic Palazzo del Cinema situated on the Lingomare Marconi in Venice, Italy.

The awards ceremony is grand and elegant.

Film Festival, Venice

The Leone d’Oro, or Golden Lion, is the most prestigious award. Off late a new award has been introduced which is called the San Marco Award. This award is given for the best film in the controcorrente section. Venice Film Festival is a part of the Venice Biennale, which is a major biennial exhibition and a festival that celebrates contemporary art.

Film Festival features several sections that contain official and short feature film competitions. It also has many parallel sidebars that include programs for new entrants and other for best videos. Films compete for various prizes such as The Golden Lion (awarded for the best film), The Jury’s Grand Prize, and the Special Award for best directors. The Best Screenplay Award, known as the Coppa Volpi Award, is handed to the best male and female actor. The Marcello Mastroianni Award is given to debut or young male and female actors. President of the Senate awards the Golden Medal.

Venice International Film Festival has been held for more than 60 years and it has brought movies, stars, media, and movie moguls to Lido. It is considered second to the Cannes Festival. Over the last few years, Venice has initiated a change in focus. This festival has introduced a non-competitive section, called “Mezzogiorno” and “Mezzanotte”, which highlights 10 films each.

Many people spend their vacations in Venice and make it a point to attend the Venice Film Festival as it is worth a watch.

About the Author

Venice provides detailed information on Venice, Venice Italy, Venice Beach California, Venice Florida and more. Venice is affiliated with Cheap Flights Rome.

How to Do Venice in 48 Hours – part 1

TRAVEL TRIP VACATION – tip: Venice Carnival 2008 is Friday, January 25, 2008 – Tuesday, February 05, 2008. BOOK NOW!


By Katy Hyslop

Canals, gondoliers, romance, swaying buildings and mystery persons wearing painted masks. This guide will help you get behind the mask of Venice in just 48 hours.

Providing you haven’t spent the better part of the day trying to locate your accommodation you may find some time after checking in to do some exploring. One of the first things you will notice is no traffic. Vehicles are restricted to the last piece of solid ground near the train station, Piazzale Roma. This is where the bus terminal and public carparks are located and where your journey begins.


As you walk across the first of 409 bridges spanning the 150 canals you may wonder what inspired the original inhabitants to build their city afloat on 117 tiny islands in a marshy lagoon. The key reason was safety and protection from the marauding non-swimmer Attila the Hun. However the locals soon learnt that the centralised location was equally important in terms of European trade.

Walking the streets of Venice is an attraction in itself. The architecture is a mix of Byzantine, Renaissance and opulent Austro-Hungarian tastes. Narrow alleyways lead into decorative courtyards or twist around corners to hidden gardens. Some of the buildings have taken on a seriously disturbing lean that can leave you feeling dizzy and hoping that they remain standing for a few minutes more as you pass beneath.

There are three main street signs mostly visible with arrows pointing to either Piazzale Roma, or ‘Ferrovia’ (the train station) or towards Piazza San Marco and more often than not, in both directions. There are wider street arteries which allow the majority of crowds to find San Marco with ease but to get a real sense of Venice it is recommended to get off the beaten track.


Turn a few corners and after a few hours you will have been totally lost and found again, either ending up at the Ferrovia or hopefully in Piazza San Marco.You will notice first the campanile towering above you.

The campanile was built as a lookout and lighthouse on foundations that dated back to the Roman period. Added to and enlarged over several centuries the end result was a total collapse in 1902 and a huge international effort to rebuild it brick by brick. The logetta base relief at the base of the tower was painstakingly pieced back together after being completely shattered by the falling bricks. The climb to the top of the campanile is worth it for the view across the lagoon to the outlying islands and a great way to orientate yourself. Gallileo even demonstrated his telescope to the Doges up here.

The other obvious thing to dominate the square is the sheer number of pigeons. They are usually seen covering small children which kindly parents have doused in birdseed in hopes the birds will fly away with them. On a slightly more serious note the rumour is there is a $500US fine for anyone caught kicking the pigeons. It’s really tempting but…

Looking south out between the pillars topped by the winged lion, the symbol of Venice, and the statue of St Theodore you will see water craft bobbing about including the vaporetti, Venice’s metro system, ferrying workers and tourists from island to island. Then there are the delivery boats, fire, ambulance and police boats, water taxis and the distinctive black gondolas.

You would have seen these gliding effortlessly through the canals between the houses during your walk carrying couples and groups of tourists, propelled by striped shirted men with a long oar and quite possibly singing an opera tune.

Continuing past the Doges Palace and turning left will bring you out onto the most south-eastern edge of the square. There is yet another bridge to cross but it may look crowded with tourists looking up a canal at another bridge. The object of their fascination is the Ponte Sospiri, or Bridge of Sighs. It is an enclosed bridge linking the palace courts to the old prison. A last breath of fresh air could be gasped by prisoners at the tiny latticed window before being dragged off to the ‘leads’.


Now to head back towards the Rialto Bridge. There will be a few signs directing you towards this and again they may appear to go in both directions. The bridge is the oldest one of three in the world that is occupied by shops.

The Rialto was mediaeval Europe’s trading centre with traders from the orient bringing goods to wealthy Venetian merchants. Usury, or money lending, was also practised contributing significantly to the city coffers making Venice extremely prosperous.

The current stone bridge was constructed in the 1500’s after a competition was run to find a solution to the regular problems of flooding and fires that kept destroying the wooden ones.It was successfully won by architect Antonio da Ponte. It also had to be tall enough to allow warships to pass beneath on their way to the crusades.

Depending on where you are staying or how tired the feet are it might be time to catch a vaporetto up the Grand Canal. For a fraction of the cost of a gondola trip you can take the 40 minute ride up the Grand Canal, go beneath the Rialto as well as see the magnificent mansions, palaces and plush Venetian hotels that line the banks.


Venice by night is far more peaceful as the noise of the boats going about their daily business subsides and the canals are left to the gondolas and the odd taxi. Dinner can be an expensive affair unless you know where to go. A rough guide is the further away from Piazza San Marco the cheaper, however there are some good value places around in places such as Cannareggio, Dorsoduro, San Polo and Santa Croce. Look more for osterias while some bars also serve bar snacks and light meals.

Many Venetian locals no longer live in the city due to the high living costs, preferring to reside on the mainland in Mestre. As a result there isn’t a particularly energetic nightlife after hours. There are a few jazz bars where you can get pricey cocktails. Venice’s most famous establishment is Harry’s Bar in San Marco, where the Bellini was born. This is a tasty combination of champagne and peach juice.

For the continuation of this article, click here for part 2.

Santa Barbara Film Festival Is A Great Place For Hollywood And Independent Films

Michael Connelly

Do you ever wonder why the best film festivals are all held at really great locations? Its to attract big Hollywood Players and the big money sponsors to the event.

cinema - photo by Anna Omilne

Lets face it, if you hold a film festival in an ugly industrial section of a major city, no big names are going to show up. But if your film festival is being held in a scenic and cozy little city on the Central California coast, just North of Los Angeles then chances are all the big names and sponsors will show up in droves. Such is the case with the Santa Barbara Film Festival which will take place from January 23 to February 4, 2008.

The people who are in charge of the Santa Barbara Film Festival are not bashful about flaunting big Hollywood names. Almost every page of their website has photos of celebrities or mentions the fact that many big names will be attending. The page that shows highlights from the 2007 event has pictures of Tom Cruise, Will Smith and Helen Mirren accepting or presenting awards. When they listed on the sponsor page the types of people that will be attending, celebrities is number one on the list. There is a slogan on the home page that reads WHERE THE SUN GOES DOWN, THE STARS COME OUT! And they are not talking about the kind of stars that Galileo was looking at when he invented the telescope.

Some film festivals are not as indiscreet as the Santa Barbara Film Festival about catering to movie stars and film industry executives. They all want the Players to attend their festival, but they usually keep the theme of their event focused on independent films and new film production talent. After all, film festivals are supposed to be about promoting film production, independent films and independent filmmakers first and foremost, right? In a perfect world this would be true, but the reality of the situation is that most film festivals are about publicity and making money, directly or indirectly.

For an event like the Santa Barbara Film Festival to succeed as planned they need to have some media publicity. Their major sponsors who give them a lot of money need to know that their company names will be seen by a lot of people.

Nothing brings more media publicity than big Hollywood movie stars. And when the stars show up, everyone benefits. The actors and film production people get Oscar consideration and the small, independent filmmakers who share a piece of their spotlight get distribution deals. Money is made by a lot of people in the name of independent films, everyone involved gets a boost to their careers, and the Santa Barbara Film Festival is a big success.

Events like the Santa Barbara Film Festival can still manage to honor independent filmmakers and independent films with their “Cinema Society”, which is called “an appreciation of independent and studio films”, but only after they have pampered the big Players. At the end of each day the small filmmakers can go back to their Motel 6 rooms with ear to ear grins and bright futures. The movie stars and executives can bring their awards back to their 4 star hotel rooms with a view of the azure blue Pacific Ocean on one side and a view of vast mountain wilderness on the other side. During the day they can take strolls on the beautiful beaches without their body guards and at night they can dine at world class restaurants located in town and talk about their latest career moves.

The Santa Barbara Film Festival makes it very hard for the major Hollywood people to resist. They even label it the festival that determines the winners of the Oscars because the location and the date of the event are so close to the Academy Awards.

With the film awards season now underway there you will be hearing a lot more about movies and film festivals. A lot of media attention was recently paid to the Toronto International Film Festival, which just finished up. Soon there will be a lot of attention paid to the Sundance Film Festival which is just around the corner in January, 2008.

However, there is another film festival that takes place in the middle of the film industry awards season that may not get quite as much publicity as the big three, but it will have just as many big Hollywood movie stars and Players attending. It is called the Santa Barbara Film Festival, but you may as well call it a prelude to the Academy Awards.

All of the Hollywood movie stars and film production people with films in the Oscar race will be attending the Santa Barbara Film Festival as they do every year now. This is because the people who organize and run this 2 week long event have made it very appealing to big names and sponsors by offering them awards, publicity, Oscar buzz and a really great location to hold a film festival.

About the Author

Michael P. Connelly is an Author, Artist and award-winning Filmmaker who writes on a variety of topics that effect people in their every day lives. CLICK HERE For More Information on the topic of this article

Travel Trip Vacation Tip

Golden Getaways: California Hotels from $95

How to Enjoy Mardi Gras in New Orleans

By Stephanie Manley

Did you ever want to go to New Orleans and want to enjoy Mardis Gras? Did you know that Mardi Gras is really a family friendly festival?

Mardi Gras beads - photo by Ashleigh Whitby

Mardi Gras is a wonderful way to enjoy New Orleans. You can enjoy delicious food, Mardi Gras parades, and take in the sites in New Orleans. Mardis Gras is definitely an experience that you want to enjoy at least once in your life.

New Orleans is a fabulous place to enjoy southern cooking. Seafood is a prominent flavor you will enjoy in the south. Very few places in the South offer so many wonderful restaurants in such a small place. Many of the parades are in the French Quarter, and you will find many nice restaurants in the area. Emerill’s, Brennan’s, and Copelands are just a few of the nicer dining establishments. If you want to drive a little ways you may want to consider Pascal Manale’s for some of the best BBQ shrimp you will ever have. Sandwhiches such as PoBoys, which are stuffed full of seafood are a must have in the area.

Consider taking a tour to see more of New Orleans. There are many bus and walking tours that are available. There are tours on cemeteries, ‘voo doo’-palaces, and of Southern mansions that are easy to book. This is a great way to spend the day, and take in the sites in the area. Tours tend to give out so much more information than just visiting the area on your own.

Finally the Mardi Gras parades shouldn’t be missed.

Travel Trip Vacation Tip

Mardi Gras Day in 2008 is FEB 5.
Carnival Season begins on JAN 6 (King’s Day) & ends on Mardi Gras Day. The main parades start about two weeks before Mardi Gras Day. Plan to be in New Orleans BEFORE Mardi Gras Day to see more of the festival. Biggest free show in the US.
Festival days: SAT, JAN 19
FRI-SUN, JAN 25-27

New Orleans in motion - photo by Christian Sommer
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The parades are very well controlled, and patrolled by police. There is no flashing for beads, or any other activities that are not family friendly on the official parade routes. You should get to the parade early to get a good place to watch the parade. The streets infuse with people, and if you want to be up close you need to make sure you steak out your spot. Bring a chair if you can, you will see several parades in a row from your same spot. There are breaks in between the parades, and it is difficult to stand all day. Bring something to put your beads in. Beads and other goodies are thrown in a great abundance from the parade.

Mardi Gras is a wonderful festival that can be enjoyed by everyone. Many people travel to New Orleans from all over to enjoy the area and to celebrate Mardi Gras. The food is wonderful, and should not be missed when you are in the area. Consider making a trip to Mardi Gras at least once in your lifetime.

About the Author

Stephanie writes many more articles at
She is also the editor for CopyKat recipes – you have tried it in the restaurant, now make it at home.