Friday, May 22, 2009

Highlights from the Times Magazine

The Times magazine online version is for me the first virtual accompaniment to a paper publication to become a more-anticipated sensory experience than the handheld copy. It is also one of the first online magazines to get me sort of excited about the possibilities of web design. Here is a sexy web experience, all without annoying flash openings, or gradually unfolding graphics that I have no patience for.

This last Sunday the summer travel issue debuted. Here, I present my virtual walk through the notable bits:

1. People travel for culture-surprise!

I wouldn't characterize the typical Times reader as the culturally blind sensualist whose travel itineraries revolve around 5 star hotels and pockets of luxury and hedonism, but apparently traveling as a motive to see culturally important landmarks is a new trend born of recession-induced guilt. Um, OK, I don't think I've ever traveled without a cultural itinerary.

However, I'm intrigued by Pinacoteca, a 'curated art travel' company, who also happens to have a visually arresting, though not entirely useful, website. (Despite the annoying flash intro.)

screengrab from a page titled 'things we adore'

2. Bvlgari spends a pretty penny on ads:

Anyone else notice that online ads for Bvlgari are suddenly ubiqu? Speaks much to the supposed decline of luxury consumerism. I say 'supposed' because not being a consumer of luxury goods, I can only take the word of the pundits.

Whatever they're doing, it's working because I a'Googled and...Bvlgari has hotels and resorts! Who knew?

3. Glasgow gets compared to Portland:

I haven't been to either city but the Times seems to have a love affair with Portland, as evidenced by multiple recent travel pieces. The piece on Glasgow names the city as a punky, anti-London with an art scene to watch for. My friend Celeste is a student at the Glasgow School of Art, which is mentioned a few times.

Celeste, in her studio
4. Everyone's a Hotelier:
Bvlgari, and also, Brice Marden? The artist, whose work T mag aptly describes as 'squiggly', and his wife, are running a hotel in the Caribbean. Clairest and I were talking the other day about a friend who professed as a lifetime goal the desire to run a boutique hotel. There certainly is something magical about a hotel-hell, I even get excited about the hokiest roadside motels (I miss my Americana in Argentina.)

The beauty of reading the Times mag, or any other pub, online, is the loop of references that reading on the Internets triggers. Your impressions of an article are not only determined by the actual content, but by the digital ramble inspired when you follow a link or search for something that piques your curiosity. Really, this is just a nice justification for the fact that I spend too much time staring at my compu.

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