New and now: Diego Rivera; French food; Piano Guys; Alcatraz

AP News
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Posted: Mar 02, 2015 5:10 PM

DETROIT MUSEUM: DIEGO RIVERA-FRIDA KAHLO

"He carried a pistol. She carried a flask."

So reads an ad for the Detroit Institute of Arts' upcoming exhibition on the year that artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo spent in Detroit in the 1930s.

"Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit" opens March 15 and runs through July 12. The couple spent time in Detroit while Rivera created murals for the museum as a tribute to Detroit's manufacturing industry. The murals depict workers, bosses, equipment and the benefits and dangers of industrialization.

Related tours and programs are planned, including:

— "Frida: The Opera," presented by Michigan Opera Theatre, March 7-28.

—"Diego and Frida's Detroit: Bus Tour," March 21 and April 10, exploring the city from Rivera and Kahlo's perspective through themes that defined Detroit in that era.

—"Visual Biographies: Portraits at Ford House," tour of Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, April 18, May 2, and May 16, focusing on portraits as visual biographies, including Rivera's portrait of Edsel Ford.

More details at: http://www.dia.org/calendar/rivera-kahlo-detroit.aspx .

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TASTE OF FRANCE

Restaurants around the world will take part in a "Taste of France" — also called Gout de France — on March 19.

The initiative is designed to showcase French cuisine, wine and heritage.

Each participating chef will offer a menu with a traditional French aperitif, a cold starter, a hot starter, fish or shellfish, meat or poultry, a French cheese (or cheeseboard), a chocolate dessert and French wines and digestifs, while highlighting local culture or restaurant specialties.

Restaurants range from bistros to high-end eateries. Prices vary but all participants are encouraged to donate 5 percent of proceeds to a local non-governmental organization promoting health and the environment.

Some 1,300 chefs are expected to take part. For a list, visit http://restaurateurs.goodfrance.com/en/-restaurants.

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THE PIANO GUYS

They've played in Zion National Park, the Grand Canyon and now Carnegie Hall.

The Piano Guys are four dads from Utah who make music in outdoor settings and have become YouTube sensations with a half-billion views. They've showcased places like Utah's Snow Canyon State Park and Kolob Mountain, and they've also played at international landmarks like the Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil.

They play what's considered classical crossover, often blending pop songs with classical music, like "Let It Go" from "Frozen" with Vivaldi's "Winter," performed on piano and cello in Utah's Midway Ice Castles.

The shoots are complicated to set up, so they do get permission from authorities and sometimes they also get funding from local tourism agencies to offset the costs. The St. George Tourism Bureau in Utah collaborated with them on several videos and determined that traffic to the tourism website increased when the bureau was tied to a video.

The Piano Guys also play in concert halls around the world, including a performance in Carnegie Hall in New York City on March 4.

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ALCATRAZ AND AI WEIWEI

An exhibition at Alcatraz of artwork by the Chinese activist Ai Weiwei is drawing visitors who otherwise might not have toured the island prison, which is a National Park service site in San Francisco Bay.

"There has been a small increase in visitation on some of the boats in the winter season, but perhaps most interesting is that many visitors, especially from the San Francisco Bay Area, tell us that they had never wanted to visit the island before the Ai Weiwei exhibition, because they weren't drawn to the prison history of the island," said Howard Levitt of the National Park Service. Levitt added that the number of Alcatraz tickets available each day is limited, and ferries taking visitors over to see the site typically sell out much of the year, but the Ai Weiwei show has attracted a different cohort in some cases.

The exhibit, "@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz," opened in September 2014. It closes April 26. More than half a million visitors have seen it since it opened.

The show was organized by the FOR-SITE Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. It includes seven sculptures, sound, and mixed-media works installed across four locations on Alcatraz. The show was inspired by the island's history as a notorious prison, exploring issues related to human rights and freedom of expression.

Visitors to the site's dining hall are encouraged to write postcards to prisoners in more than 20 countries, and nearly 50,000 have been sent, according to FOR-SITE, which is coordinating the postcard project with Amnesty International.

Details at http://www.aiweiweialcatraz.org .