The Wigmore Bar – Marylebone, London, UK
Kittens, it’s TUESDAY and spring has sprung in our neck of the woods. Time for a bright, lively LOunge that’ll get all your spirits up, if that’s the kind of thing you’re into.
With that light at the end of the tunnel getting slightly bigger each day, we’re trying to make little changes to transition back to normal life. We’ve nailed down the home maintenance. The place never looked better. We’ve been exercising pretty regularly throughout this thing, but we’ve stepped up our efforts of late because as one of us may or may not have put it, “I’m not waddling back into society in an ill-fitting outfit.” We bought a bunch of super-cute outfits that we never got to wear on our book tour and they’ve been taunting us from our closet all year as we lived, like everyone else, in loungewear 24/7. We’ve cancelled the stress-baking, put our jeans back on, and started taking more walks. If we can come out of lockdown able to fit in the clothes we were wearing when it started, we will consider it our version of Shakespeare writing Hamlet during the Plague.
But listen, that’s us. Don’t take our mild obsession and our mutual need to feel like we’re bringing order to chaos as a life directive. There are a million ways to greet a potentially semi-normal summer. Are you gearing up in any way or are you still in “I’m not ready” mode? Because to be honest, we’re not ready either. We’re just trying to feel like we’re getting ready, if that makes any sense.
Anyway, skip all that and talk about whatever! Distractions and discussion prompts below!
Inside Caligula’s Pleasure Palace, History’s Original Hype House
The new Nymphaeum Museum in Rome unearths what it was like to party in AD 41, and it’s finally open to all after a nine-year excavation.
To find Italian history’s ultimate animal house, you have to visit the Rome headquarters of the National Insurance and Assistance Body for Doctors and Dentists. Here, in the Piazza Vittorio section of the city, 13 feet under the gleaming corporate lobby of the country’s leading medical pension fund, are the restored ruins of Casa Caligula. It is a small but evocative section of the sprawling Horti Lamiani, imperial gardens that the Roman emperor Caligula, history’s most wild and crazy guy, used for his depraved blowouts during his four-year reign of prurient terror 2,000 years ago.
This spring, after a nine-year excavation, it is expected to open to the public for the first time, as the Nymphaeum Museum of Piazza Vittorio.
Indigenous Ribbon Work Always Tells a Story
Many Indigenous tribes utilize ribbon work in their designs, often for powwow regalia or pieces made for special occasions. Ribbons are sewn onto skirts, dresses, and shirts, and each color of the ribbons has a special significance to the wearer. Different tribes have different techniques of applying them, but as a whole, the colorful strips are all equally symbolic—and always tell a story. And now, a new ribbon-work designer is adding even more meaning to the longstanding craft.
Is productivity passé? Embrace the power of doing less
In the age of productivity, one writer explains how she embraced feeling better as opposed to being better
Let me reassure you that this is not yet another ode to self-care – a tribute to another regime that we pick up only to forget when the going gets tough. Rather, this is an about-face; an attempt to refocus on the virtue of dialling down, effectively stepping off the treadmill of only doing and producing. And it couldn’t come at a more appropriate time; we live in a period where productivity is next to godliness. All this makes sense because when chaos abounds, we look for certainty – and there is nothing firmer than pure action.
What TikTok Gets Wrong About Fufu
How can you “discover” a food that’s been internationally popular since the 18th century?
On TikTok, as KeithEats, Cameroonian-American pharmacy student Keith Atowo vlogs his many meals to over 270,000 followers. His feed is a mix of West African favorites and an array of other cuisines and it’s where the #fufuchallenge began. After a particularly popular video of Keith enjoying fufu with vegetable soup, other TikTok users began mimicking the dish. Within a few weeks fufu had gone viral, joining the likes of birria tacos, feta pasta, and mini pancake cereal.
But as fufu spread throughout TikTok, it carried with it misunderstandings and assumptions about West African cuisine. I watched endless videos of fufu being eaten with savory egusi soup, sometimes accompanied by enthusiastic nods of approval and other times spit-takes. On the whole, the reactions to fufu were, in a word, confounding. In the U.S., where most of the challenges took place, West African food was being “discovered.” But how do you discover a dish that has been widely internationally popular for the past four centuries?
The Royal Family posted about looking forward to “brighter days ahead” on Instagram
The royals also shared beautiful pictures from the Queen’s garden at Buckingham Palace
“Today marks the first official day of spring, as we all look towards brighter days ahead,” the post’s caption reads. “The garden at The Queen’s London residence sees much change over the course of a year. Despite its urban location, the garden is home to a remarkable array of flora and fauna.”
Anya Taylor-Joy on Life Before and After The Queen’s Gambit
The actor helped make Netflix’s chess drama a global sensation. Now she’s working with everyone you’ve ever heard of.
Isn’t the point of stars that they’re looked at? Couldn’t you assume, then, that stardom and some degree of vanity go hand in hand? For Anya Taylor-Joy, whose indelible performance in The Queen’s Gambit made it a global phenomenon, the twain have clearly never met. When we speak in January, the 24-year-old actor is in Los Angeles, shooting a highly secretive movie with director David O. Russell. All that’s known about the film is its outrageous cast—outrageous not just for the stature of its names but also for just how many names there are. My Google Alerts seem to bristle with additions each day: Robert De Niro, Chris Rock, Margot Robbie, Christian Bale, Mike Myers, etcetera, etcetera. The project will be Taylor-Joy’s 16th feature film in seven years. Still, with a lineup like this, she’s the rookie of the group. “The movie has been very secretive to all of us as well,” she says over Zoom. “And so suddenly you hear these names and you can’t really…” Pressing her palms across her sternum, she frowns in the direction of her right knee, as if trying to make sense of all this. She explains that it isn’t a matter of being starstruck, not exactly. “But you hear these titans of cinema and I’m just like, I am a child\\!” She laughs. “I am a baby. This is insane.”
Reuniting an Art Collection Once Swept Away by History
Over a century ago, Mikhaïl and Ivan Morozov assembled a singularly important art collection that survived both the Russian Revolution and the Cold War. Now, for the first time ever, it is accessible to the public, at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, in Paris.
One of the important goals of the Morozov Collection at the Vuitton Foundation is to bring Russian painters back into the narrative. “I wanted to show connections between the Russian and the European avant-garde, which I was not able to do with the Shchukin show,” Baldassari explains. “There, I did it only at the end of the exhibition. Here, each gallery has some Russian art. And the show opens with a series of portraits by Russian artists of the Morozov circle, including the brothers and other major patrons, such as Shchukin, Mamontov, and more. I wanted to juxtapose Russian and Western modern art. This will give the full Russian historical background.”
The curator also points to the galleries with paintings by Gauguin, Matisse, and particularly Cézanne. “Ivan owned 18 paintings by Cézanne,” Baldassari explains, “the densest part of the collection.
The impact of inheritance
As the boomers age, a “great wealth transfer” may be on the horizon. Will a gift from grandma save the middle class?
Inheritance is a tricky thing to talk about, a subject that wraps up money, family, and death in one impossible package. For those who receive it, or stand to, it’s wealth that comes at a terrible moment; a boon and bureaucratic puzzle; and a reminder of someone you lost. For those who won’t be seeing any family money — which is to say, most people, but more on that later — it can feel deeply unfair. Millions of people lose loved ones and suffer greatly and only find their lives, and paying off their own debts, that much more difficult.
Glimpses of Sudan’s Forgotten Pyramids
Desecrated by plunderers, threatened by floodwaters and largely overshadowed by their Egyptian counterparts, Sudan’s ancient archaeological sites may finally be poised to receive broader recognition.
11 of the Youngest Acting Nominees in Oscar History
Oscar are often won towards the end of illustrious careers, but for a select few, they have come at the very start. The youngest actor in contention for a prize in 2021 is 24-year-old Borat Subsequent Moviefilm star Maria Bakalova, and while her achievement is a remarkable one, she is far from the youngest person to be nominated for or win an Academy Award. Ahead of this year’s ceremony on April 25, and at risk of making us all feel like epic underachievers, we look back at 11 accomplished performers who secured nods—wait for it—before the age of 12.
[Photo Credit: the-wigmore.co.uk]