NEW CUBA GUIDEBOOK
Tourism in Cuba has boomed with the resumption of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S., and a just-published travel guide offers an up-to-date look at visiting the country.
"Cuba As Never Before" by Louis E.V. Nevaer, looks at not just classic attractions like Havana's rum museum and Ernest Hemingway sites, but also offers a guide to some of the newest places of interest to tourists, including the contemporary arts scene, private restaurants known as paladares and even Airbnb listings.
The book also offers advice on car rentals, tipping, cruises, flights, tour companies and private guides, and explains current regulations on travel by U.S. citizens. In addition, the book includes information on communities and subcultures ranging from Cuba's gay and lesbian scene to surfers, Santeria and Cuban Jews.
Offbeat recommendations in "Cuba As Never Before" include La Marca tattoo parlor, Arte Corte Papito's hair salon, and Promociones de ICAIC for original Cuban movie posters.
NEW ORLEANS LUNA FETE
New Orleans is bringing back an unusual art installation and festival of lights called LUNA Fete that debuted last year.
The outdoor art-and-lights event uses historic buildings as a canvas for contemporary lighting, animation and interactive video. The event begins Nov. 29 and ends Dec. 5.
The undertaking is inspired by the Fete des Lumieres in Lyon, France, which attracts millions of visitors annually. The New Orleans project was one of three similar initiatives launched last year in the U.S., with the others in New York and Boston.
A work called "The Pool" by artist Jan Lewin, in which a pool of swirling circles of light and color changes as spectators interact with it, will be shown at Lafayette Square each night of the festival.
A second work by OCUBO, a Portugal-based studio, will use the facade of the Power House Theatre at 1847 Polymnia St. for the projection of a story featuring local children along with graphics and animation, also to be shown each night of the festival.
A third work will be presented Dec. 4-5 at the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, where the artist Miwa Matreyek will present live performances integrating her shadow with animation of dreamlike scenes. That will be an indoor event with $10 tickets.
Local artists' projects will also be shown throughout the week around those three sites and along Julia Street, New Orleans' contemporary arts district.
The event is being produced by Arts Council New Orleans. Details at http://www.artsneworleans.org .
EMOJIS FOR ROOM SERVICE
The Aloft hotel in Manhattan's financial district has launched a new way to communicate with guests who need room service: by emoji.
The program is called Aloft TiGi for text it, get it.
The hotel sells six specialty kits, ranging from $10 to $30, which guests can order by texting the right emojis to a dedicated number along with their room number.
Kits include "The Re:Fresh," with toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, shaving cream and deodorant, which can be ordered using emojis that include a tub and shower; "The Hangover," two bottle of vitaminwater, Advil and two bananas, ordered with emojis for a drop of water, a pill and a banana; and "Surprise Me," promising "fun swag" and "cool stuff," ordered with an emoji of a wrapped box.
The hotel then confirms the order via text and delivers it to the room. Charges are included on the checkout bill.
Details at http://www.alofthotelshub.com/news/aloft-hotels-launches-worlds-first-emoji-only-room-service-menu/ . The hotel is located at 49-53 Ann St.