28 April 2019

The Garden of the Monsters

In sixteenth century Italy the nobility would often leave testimony of their greatness through the form of religious art.  Not so Pier Francesco Orsini.  He wanted to be remembered in an entirely different way – through his Park of the Monsters. He did not want his monuments to please – he wanted them to astonish.

Tucked away in Bomarzo almost seventy kilometers from Rome, the gardens are located in a section of woodland near to the bottom of the valley in which the Orsini family castle was built.  Here, after a career as a mercenary, the latest of the Orsini line settled in to a life of middle-aged Epicureanism.  The park is perhaps holds a mirror to his imagination (or even state of mind) after a lifetime of political and social turmoil.

27 April 2019

Stellar Moves: The Story of Pluto


The hottest dance group in the universe, The Planets, has eight members but they might begrudgingly allow another entry in to the team if they can be suitably impressed.  A competition is held to find the missing planet so that eight might become nine. At home, young Pluto does not think he has what it takes, but receives encouragement from his best friend, one of his satellites you might say! 

Charmingly made by the creative team of Millivette Gonzalez, Tabia Lees and Valerie Sattazahn this will have you rooting for the little guy of the solar system all over again. Stellar Moves is – and you may not believe this such is the high standard of animation - their senior thesis short film. It was produced at Ringling College of Art and Design (if you want to study computer animation in the USA, then this is always in the top three places to go). No doubt they will be inviting the trio back to give talks to their undergraduates in a few years.

The Largest Cave in the World: Hang Son Doong


Its name translates as mountain river cave from the Vietnamese and it is easy to see why. This immense cave – the largest in the world – only became properly known to the outside world in 2010. Now, thanks to filmmaker Ryan Deboodt we can take an otherworldly voyage by ground and air in to this magnificent subterranean world. It is an extraordinary spectacle.

Iron Mountain


When an iron mountain appears on the plains of your homeland then such a threat must be met with force.  So a vast army is gathered and the monstrous trespasser is confronted.  Yet what lies within?  A single warrior hold the future in her hand.  This interesting and entertaining science fiction short was created by students at ArtFX, Europe’s premier special effects and 3D animation school.

The Forgotten Battle: The Japanese Invasion of Alaska

In the early morning of 6 June 1942, 500 Japanese soldiers landed on Kiska, one of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

They took the only inhabitants of the island, a ten man (and six dog) US Navy Weather Detachment by complete surprise and quickly took control of American soil.

Today, the island is one of the USA’s National Historic Landmarks: the aftermath of the Japanese invasion can still be seen on the rolling hillsides of Kiska.

It is now known as The Forgotten Battle but the invasion caused widespread outrage in 1942.  Pearl Harbor was still a fresh memory, having been attacked on December 7 of the previous year.

Yet a Japanese military force had stepped foot on American soil – and the 500 had grown to over 5,000 men.  Although Kiska and neighboring Attu (which had been overrun two days previously) were part of the distant Aleutian Islands they were, nevertheless, American. Plans were immediately drawn up to retake the island, known as the Aleutian Campaign. The campaign would not succeed for over a year and would claim many American lives.

24 April 2019

The Rise of Casinos in Macau

Macau is today the main destination for gamblers from Asia, with a healthy flux of tourists from other continents as well. The Chinese city acts as a magnet for people who enjoy casino games and often play live roulette online, especially those who can’t legally play them in their country. Players from China, South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and other countries from Southeast Asia flock to Macau for gambling entertainment. The city acts as a hotspot for highrollers and players can afford to bet huge amounts, but is also appealing to casuals and tourists.

What does Macau have to offer?
There are many similarities between Macau and Las Vegas, the biggest gambling hubs in the world. These two cities are famous for the gambling opportunities they present to players, but also for the exotic forms of entertainment. More than 20 million people come here every year and the number is on a steady growth, so new records are expected to be set in the foreseeable future. The hotel space has also increased greatly over the last couple of years, even though it trails Las Vegas by a factor of seven.

Macau is a city of luxury and glamour, so it comes as no surprise that both the hotels and the casinos appeal to those who can afford a luxurious lifestyle. The costs are significantly higher than Las Vegas, but the city tries to offer similar forms of entertainment. A vibrant nightlife, countless shopping malls and shops selling luxury items are scattered across Macau. The main attraction remains the gambling industry and there are more than 30 major casinos welcoming an international audience.

Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel on Cotai, the City of Dreams, the MGM Grand or the Wynn look and feel different but they are all charming in their way. Recreational players and those who don’t necessarily travel to Macau for gambling, will still get plenty of action here. Visitors should observe the dress code, which can vary from casual to formal, but otherwise they can expect a fun gambling experience.

Macau is the place to be for highrollers
Las Vegas might be well ahead of Macau in comes to hotel space, entertainment and even the number of casinos, but there is one area where the Asian gambling how reigns supreme. This is the ultimate destination for highrollers, especially those who fancy no limit games of roulette, blackjack and baccarat. Huge amounts are wagered at these tables and most casinos have at least a couple of Texas hold ‘em games running throughout the day.

The audience is diverse and tourists entering one of the glamorous casinos in Macau can expect to find everything from recreational players to grinders and big spenders. Highrollers have their own VIP tables and private rooms where they can play their favorite games away from the prying eyes of regular players. The bottom line is that Macau has something to offer to everyone who loves gambling, but can also cater for tourists who seek an entirely different form of entertainment.

Image Credit

20 April 2019

When Blooms the Coffee

Forget roses or lilies…. for millions of people around the world these are, perhaps unknowingly, the most important flowers in their lives. Without them mornings would most likely be quite different.  The urge to sleep might not be foiled, the two-glasses-of-wine-too-many pounding at the temples would not be relieved and almost certainly the amount of work-based homicides would rise.  Some people might not manifest any discernible personality at all throughout the entire day.

This is the coffee flower and upon its gentle bloom civilization as we know it depends. Not only that, it’s gorgeous.

Image Chip and Andy

14 April 2019

Moving London


Moving Cities is a cross-cultural initiative created by Jevan Chowdury manifests into an ongoing collection of short films using dance to present the now of cities and it is now a year old. The purpose since 2014 is to strengthen intercultural understanding through the arts. To celebrate the anniversary the team have returned to where it all began – London – where we can witness again the bizarre and unusually harmonious relationship dancers have with cities.

The Way Home


A mouse needs a house.  And when you have a house you need things to put in it.  The Way Home is a very sweet combination of live footage and animation which tracks the journey of our new murine friend as he gathers new belongings with which to decorate his humble abode.  The animation was created by students of Liu Song, a tutor at Hangzhou Normal University in Zhejiang Province, Eastern China.

Alien Communications


How do you finally bond with the boy that you have crushed on for years? By discovering an alien probe in the woods and making sure that he’s the first person you call about it.  Yet even then the course of true love never does run smooth.  This charming and funny coming-of-age short was created by Pennsylvania based Something's Awry Productions and stars upcoming actors Evangeline Young and Luke Baxter.

Jantar Mantar – Immense Astronomical Instrument of the Maharajahs

These remarkable constructions appear to all intents and purposes as if they could have been built to create the set for a new science fiction blockbuster set on a planet light years away from Earth. Yet these are centuries old instruments, designed and used in Jaipur, India, to explore the heavens. Their production was ordered by a great Maharaja in the early decades of the 18th century and they have been in constant use ever since.

Jai Singh II was born in 1688 and at only eleven years old became the Maharaja. He was born in to a life of extreme privilege but inherited a kingdom which was on the brink of impoverishment. The Kingdom of Amber (what would eventually become Jaipur) was in dire straits with a cavalry of less than a thousand men. Yet by the time he was in his thirties he would have turned this around and built Jantar Mantra.

6 April 2019

The Century Old Color Photographs of Prokudin-Gorsky

In 1909 a remarkable project was initiated by Russian photographer Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky. His mission was to record – in full and vibrant color – the vast and diverse Russian Empire. Here, with his story, is a selection of his amazing century old full color pictures.

Just over one hundred years ago a Russian photographer, began a remarkable project. With the blessing – and funding – of the Tsar, Nicholas II, he embarked on an extraordinary journey to capture the essence of Russia in full color photographs. Many of these pictures look as if they could have been taken yesterday, with only the costumes worn by the people captured in their moment of time betraying the age of the work. The first shows two men crossing a small river.
Amung Feedjit
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