From Culture and Arts

The de Young Museum celebrates 10 years with a free community day

Kevin Kelleher captures the true spirit of discovering and embracing the art in the City at the de Young.
(Kevin Kelleher/Special to Wander Magazine)

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos by Kevin Kelleher

It’s kind of amazing to live in such a small, yet diverse city that’s just dripping in art. From the street art and installations subsidized by the city, to the random art formations you’ll find in alleys and our green spaces, art and inspiration is everywhere. And don’t even get me started on all of the museums in town — especially the ones that are walking distance from my place. One of the museums I’ve grown to love is the de Young Museum. Known for its beautiful, geometric look-out point that towers over Golden Gate Park, the de Young also promotes artists in residence and unique photo, art and mixed media exhibits.

The de Young celebrated its 10th anniversary of its building remodel in GGP with free admission for a full 12 hours. We spent the day — and night — checking out the exhibits, listening to live music, making our own art, and talking to artists in residence. Check out our photos of the people we’ve met along the way. Read more

ICYMI: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2015

Nadia Ibanez, 31, of San Diego, California watches Steve Earle & The Dukes close out Saturday night (Kevin Kelleher/Special to Wander Magazine)
Festie girl, in full force.

Written by Nadia Ibanez, photos by Kevin Kelleher

Some peeps (ahem, my photographer for instance) would say that I’m a festie girl. I travel throughout the state for three-day music festivals. I’ll drop almost $400 for a weekend pass to something. I don’t scoff at body paint, metallic temporary tattoos or putting flowers and ribbons in my hair. I’ll put on a flowy dress and cowboy boots. And I’ll f*cking dance my booty off with strangers in front of the main stage without skipping a beat.

As I’m rounding out my first year in the City, I’m finding about all of the annual street parties, SF-centric holidays and music festivals. The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival was last weekend and I finally had the chance to experience it for myself. Three days, seven stages, in the middle of Golden Gate Park. Oh, and it’s a totally free event. I mean…if you’re in the city and don’t check it out, you’re doing it wrong.

SF venture capitalist and philanthropist Warren Hellman came up with and funded the non-commercial festival to focus on the music, the community and the absolute beauty of the venue. The first event was held in 2001 and more than 750,000 music lovers trek to the GGP each year.

Crowds flock the Banjo and also main Stage at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on October 3, 2015 (Kevin Kelleher/Special to Wander Magazine)

Because Hardly Strictly is a non-commercial event, don’t expect to find any booths sponsored by the likes of Google, Spotify, Chevy or any other corporations hawking their brand and wares like you’d find at Outside Lands or other festivals. But rather, you’ll find groups of people bringing in their own lawn chairs, blankets, booze and food intending to spend the entire day in front of their favorite stage. The idea of “pack it in, pack it out” is huge at Hardly Strictly and it was kinda amazing to see people picking up after each other and not trashing the park like you’ll often see at festivals.

Kevin and I ran around the festival all weekend and shot crazy concert goers, musicians, free-lovin’ drifters and everyone in between. We hope you enjoy this photo gallery. Read more

Wander’s First Giveaway! Win Tickets to Westfield UTC’s Uncasked event

The Wander crew is happy to announce our first giveaway!

Congratulations to Tiffany A, who has been selected as our winner! We hope you enjoy yourself this Saturday!

Don’t fret if you weren’t chosen; there is still plenty of time to buy tickets to the event at https://ticketsauce.com/e/uncasked15. The event is expected to sell out again this year, so purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended. Each $20 ticket includes a branded tasting mug, 10 tickets for pours, unlimited food and beach games.

 

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We are teaming up with Bay Bird Inc. to give away a pair of passes to Westfield UTC’s 2nd Uncasked event coming up on Saturday, August 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Westfield UTC (4545 La Jolla Village Drive).

If you’re looking for an amazing opportunity to enjoy the great San Diego backdrop, combining Westfield UTC’s beautiful outdoor setting with San Diego’s favorite craft breweries, including Karl Strauss Brewing Company, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, Rough Draft Brewing Company, Groundswell Brewing Company, Stone Brewing Company & Mother Earth Brew Co., then this is the contest for you!

Guests can try ten local brews while sampling unlimited bites from some of Westfield UTC’s favorite restaurants, including fresh California cuisine from Lemonade, savory grill items from Seasons 52 and comfort food from Tender Greens. To round out the afternoon’s festivities, guests will enjoy live music from Casey Turner and Nathan and Jessie, plus play fun beach games while they sip their suds.

To win: 

It’s simple really:

  1. Follow our Wander Facebook page and the Westfield UTC Facebook page. Your odds are better increased if you share the post with your friends about the contest!
  2. Comment with your name and the name of your favorite local brew by 4 p.m. Wednesday.
  3. Check our Facebook page at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 18. 

If you want to guarantee that you get to go to Uncasked, tickets can be purchased at: https://ticketsauce.com/e/uncasked15. The event is expected to sell out again this year, so purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended. Each $20 ticket includes a branded tasting mug, 10 tickets for pours, unlimited food and beach games.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from Uncasked will benefit the San Diego Brewers Guild, the local nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and increasing visibility of fresh, locally brewed beer. The SDBG is responsible for maintaining San Diego’s reputation as the “Capital of Craft,” and does this through its core annual events and public educationThe proceeds from this tournament will help to sustain these initiatives, including San Diego Beer Week, and the Rhythm & Brews Music and Craft Beer Festival.

Good luck, and we’ll see you at Uncasked!

Top Tips for Summer Switzerland Vacation Trips from an Insider: Nature, Wine and Chocolate Galore!

By Andrea Verdin
Photos courtesy Switzerland Tourism

Even though we are in the middle of our summer vacation season, the Wander team cannot stop planning ahead and daydreaming about what next adventure is down the pipeline. Coming back from the Mexican Riviera, I’ve got my mind on the next big excursion, and Switzerland seems ideal for a luxurious getaway.

People around the world have been heading to the Alps for thousands of years for jaw-dropping views and amazing experiences that cannot be had elsewhere. However, there’s so much to experience, it’s nearly impossible to figure out what to do while in Switzerland.

I asked Switzerland expert Greg Witt from Alpenwild about some of the tops tours, attractions and special events that guests should make sure to include in their tours, and here’s just a glimpse of what Witt suggested. We reached out to Witt and Alpenwild because of the knowledge regarding the Alps he could provide.

“Alpenwild is the leading operator doing hiking and walking tours in the Alps. Our most popular trip is the Haute Route, a legendary trek through the highest peaks in the Alps linking Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn,” said Witt. “It’s the most scenic trek in Europe. It connects the historic mountain resorts of Chamonix France and Zermatt Switzerland. Along the way we traverse ancient trade routes, pass immense glaciers, skirt scenic alpine lakes, and come within view of the 14 highest peaks in the Alps.”

With no further ado, here’s what Witt recommends for those traveling to Switzerland this summer.

The majestic Matterhorn
  • Book a view from the Swiss mountaintops
    If you’re looking to get 360° views and the fresh mountain air, Witt recommends the Stanserhorn Cabrio, the world’s first double-decker cable car with an open air upper deck. Another option is a new mountain attraction in Engelberg called the Rotair, the world’s first revolving gondola.

    “So like the Cabrio you get 360° views, but with the Rotair, the gondola car does the rotating as you ascend to the summit of Mt Titlis,” said Witt. “Once at the summit of Mt Titlis you can get your palms sweating by crossing Europe’s highest suspension bridge—the newly-completed Cliff Walk. On the tamer side, don’t miss the new Olympic Museum in Lausanne. Located at the home of International Olympic Committee, the newly-reopened museum explores the events, athletes, and history of the Olympic movement. It’s the most interactive, engaging, and entertaining museum I’ve ever visited—guaranteed fun for all.”

  • Eat the cheese and chocolate; sample the wine.
    If you’re planning a summer Switzerland vacation, it’s essential to eat as much Swiss chocolate as possible.

    “For chocolate lovers, Lindt will be opening a much-anticipated chocolate attraction in Zurich in 2016,” said Witt. “But for those who want to satisfy those cravings this very minute, go to Maison Cailler, Nestlé’s premier chocolate factory, for a tour followed by unlimited tastings.”

    For those more interested in food and wine, Alpenwild offers a tour called Cheese, Chocolate, and the Scenic Alps.

    “We link Alpine meadows, farms, dairies, and vineyards with some of the most spectacular scenery in the Alps,” explained Witt. “Switzerland is really emerging as a gastronomic powerhouse in Europe, and it’s becoming recognized as one of the great culinary regions in Europe. The cheese, wine, and chocolate are superb. The word is getting out—you can have a great food and wine experience in the Alps.”

  • Find a travel agency that will cater to your specific wants.
    If you want a trip that focuses solely on hiking, then you need to find a company that primarily offers hiking trips. If you’re looking for a haute trip that has individualized experiences catered to small groups, don’t expect every company to provide what you want. However, Alpenwild offers a wide array of what Wanderers might be looking for.

    Dividing the cheese ceremony in the Justis valley, Bernese Oberland. Each cattle owner fetches his animals in autumn and collects his share of the cheese produced.

    “We specialize in the Alps—it’s really all we do,” explained Witt. “It’s our passion and expertise and we’ve been at it for three decades. We know the trails and towns inside out. We know the hoteliers and their rooms, the restauranteurs and their menus. Our guides are on the trails every day throughout the summer which gives us a level of expertise that other operators can’t match. And our guests get a richer, more enjoyable experience.”

    Guests who choose a summer Switzerland vacation with Alpenwild will stay in carefully chosen inns, small hotels, and classic berghotels. They are typically independently-owned inns that offer a superbly satisfying mix of a welcoming atmosphere, traditional cuisine, and authentic charm.

    “We pride ourselves in offering exclusive experiences and unique itineraries that would never be possible on other tours or traveling alone. We make cheese over an open fire with an alpine farmer, we learn the art of making chocolate truffles with a master chocolatier, and we’re hosted for winery tours and tastings by the region’s top vintners.”

    Wine tasting in the wine cellar of Gerard Raymond at Saillon, Canton Valais.

    Summer is prime time in the Alps and you’ll find a full array of hiking, walking, culinary, and sightseeing tours at www.alpenwild.com. Additionally, Alpenwild offers an intriguing variety of specialty and custom tours throughout the year—photo tours, cheesemaking, literary tripsplein aire paintinghistory toursChristmas market tours, and trips for cross-country skiers and snowshoeing.

For more information, or to book a summer Switzerland vacation, check out the Alpenwild website.

Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival launches in Los Angeles June 11

Summer season is concert season. That means that the Wander Crew is gearing up for a lot of festivals, concerts and tours in the next few months. While one of our editors is heading to Outsidelands in San Francisco, and another is covering San Diego festivals, we are all letting our Sanrio-loving selves get super excited for Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival, launching in Los Angeles on June 11.

For those of you who are unaware, Hello Kitty isn’t just for little girls anymore. We loved getting to know all of Hello Kitty’s universe at Hello Kitty Con earlier this year, and her friends of all ages came together to enjoy the fancy free fun that comes with Hello Kitty and her fantastic friends. Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival will be a great way to dive right back into that world.

Going beyond a traditional live stage show, Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival offers a unique multi-component walk-around festival atmosphere for Sanrio fans of all ages.

If you are looking for a Keroppi purse, a Badtz-Maru blouse, or even some Pochacco, you’ll be able to grab one in between the live interactive shows, photo ops, and a few Sanrio surprises. Fans are invited to put on their finest Hello Kitty gear, and enjoy all of the elements that the Friendship Festival has to offer, such as:

  • DJ-driven dance segments with KRU HK dancers.
  • Hello Kitty and friends “in concert” with both characters and live singers and KRU HK dancers.
  • Larger-than-life Hello Kitty product photo opportunities.
  • Hello Kitty temporary tattoos.
  • Lounge areas to relax and charge your mobile devices.
  • Fashion Lane – view high fashion couture pieces inspired by Hello Kitty and friends.
  • Art Gallery featuring works by contemporary artists.
  • Hello Kitty retro product and Japanese heritage displays.
  • Pop-up Mini Shopping Kiosks.
  • Hello Kitty Origami workshops.

There are various ticket options available, including a VIP Platinum Bow  experience that lets you take photos with Hello Kitty herself!

For tour date information, go to Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival Tour page. For more information about the Friendship Festival and all of the excitement heading your way, check out the Hello Kitty’s Supercute Friendship Festival website.