WEDDING GOWNS AT THE BILTMORE
All that's missing at Biltmore is the bride and groom.
The historic Biltmore Estate nestled in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, will be hosting an exhibit of wedding gowns from the movies, and the mansion is getting some props to go with the costumes.
The front door will be decorated with draping and silk roses. The entry hall will feature a 6-foot-tall wedding cake. And elaborate flower arrangements will be on display with the costumes.
The exhibition, "Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film," on view Feb. 12-July 4, will show 40 outfits. The costumes were all used in films set between 1645 to 1935, including dresses from movies based on Jane Austen's novels "Sense and Sensibility," ''Emma" and "Pride and Prejudice." The show will also include five costumes from "The Duchess," featuring the wedding gown worn by Keira Knightley and the wedding suit worn by Ralph Fiennes, along with the wedding dress worn by Helena Bonham Carter in "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein."
The Gilded Age mansion was built and owned by the Vanderbilt family, and a related exhibit at the estate will feature fashions, artifacts and stories from Vanderbilt family weddings.
The Biltmore is also offering a variety of dining and lodging packages in conjunction with the show. Details at http://www.biltmore.com/events/fashionable-romance .
YEAR OF THE MONKEY IN NYC
New York City is getting ready for Lunar New Year.
A parade is scheduled for Feb. 14 in Manhattan's Chinatown, with a firecracker ceremony and cultural festival to be held Feb. 8. A lantern festival is scheduled for Feb. 28 in Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood, which also has a large Asian population. Details at http://betterchinatown.com/ .
The Javits Center in Manhattan will host a free Fantastic Art China exhibit Feb. 6-10 showcasing Chinese contemporary art, work by students and teachers in both Beijing and New York, a design product hall and a show about urban development and art in Changsha, Hunan Province's capital. Festivities on Feb. 8, when New York City public schools will be closed to honor the New Year's holiday, will include live performances and dance lessons. Details at http://www.nyclunarnewyear.org/ .
Other events in New York City for Lunar New Year include fireworks over the Hudson River on Feb. 6 and an Empire State Building light show Feb. 9.
Mardi Gras season is well under way in New Orleans, with numerous parades leading up to the Feb. 9 holiday. But it's not the only U.S. city known for revelry in the weeks before Lent begins.
Mobile, Alabama, has a good-natured rivalry with New Orleans over which city originated Mardi Gras celebrations in the New World. Both cities were early 18th century colonial outposts of the French, who are credited with importing Carnival traditions to the region like parades and masks.
Like New Orleans, Mobile hosts a series of parades and events; details at http://www.allaboutmardigras.com/Parades_Calendar/mobile_parades_calendar.html . The Mobile Carnival Museum tells the story of the holiday's local history and houses a collection of costumes, photos and other artifacts connected to the celebration.
In Missouri, St. Louis claims to host the largest Mardi Gras in the Midwest. Events include an annual pet parade, this year held on Jan. 31, and a grand parade Feb. 6 in the city's Soulard neighborhood. Details at http://stlmardigras.org/events/ .