HIP AFRICA WEBSITE
A new website aims to showcase "Hip Africa" by encouraging travelers to explore new destinations on the continent and consider vacations that don't revolve around safaris.
The site, http://www.hipafrica.com , launched with information on five cities: Lagos, Nigeria; Nairobi, Kenya; Dakar, Senegal; Accra, Ghana, and Johannesburg, South Africa.
The site bills itself as a portal for high end travel, "offering up the continent as a viable place for city breaks, great restaurants, arts and culture, and ... boutique and luxury hotels" along with cultural hotspots from art galleries and shopping to museums and escapes.
The site offers frank, practical advice about everything from street crime to drinking water and malaria, along with information on visa requirements and local transport.
Eventually the site aims to cover over 30 destinations in 20 countries.
BRAVO SERIES APRES SKI
Bravo is launching a new series called "Apres Ski," premiering Nov. 2.
The show will take viewers to the posh ski resort of Whistler, in British Columbia, Canada. The cable network calls the show a "docu-series" looking at the lives of jet-setters off the slopes.
"Apres Ski" focuses on a new travel concierge business, Gibbons Life, on a mission to redefine old-school ski vacations by offering luxury clients experiences like backcountry heli-skiing.
AVA GARDNER MUSEUM EXHIBIT
The Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, N.C., opens a new exhibit in October that also honors Frank Sinatra, whom she was briefly married to, and Omar Sharif, who co-starred with her in several films.
Sharif passed away in July. Sinatra was born 100 years ago.
The exhibit opens Oct. 3.
Gardner played Sharif's mother in one film and his wife in another. Sharif, best-known for "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago," starred with Gardner in a 1968 movie, "Mayerling," in which she played the Empress of Austria, mother to Sharif's character. In 1986, Gardner played Sharif's wife in "Harem."
The new exhibit includes artifacts, photos and information from both movies in honor of Gardner and Sharif's friendship.
Also included in the new show is a tribute to Sinatra, who was Gardner's third husband. Though their marriage did not last very long, the museum described Sinatra as the love of her life.
Gardner died in 1990. She was born and raised in Smithfield. Her movies included "The Sun Also Rises," ''The Barefoot Contessa," ''Show Boat," and "The Night of the Iguana."
Details at www.avagardner.org .
CLARK ART INSTITUTE BREAKS RECORDS
The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, broke its attendance records this summer with an exhibition called "Van Gogh and Nature" that overlapped with a showing of the iconic "Whistler's Mother."
Attendance during the 90-day run of the van Gogh show reached 170,000. The exhibition closed Sept. 13 but overlapped with the display of the painting by James McNeill Whistler, which remains on view at the Clark through Sept. 27.
The visitor numbers far surpassed an exhibition at the Clark that drew some 130,000 visitors in 2001, "Impression: Painting Quickly in France."
In a statement, the Clark estimated that visitors who came to see the van Gogh exhibition had an economic impact of $14.8 million on the economy of the Berkshire Mountains region of Western Massachusetts.