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Across America; Upclose and Personal

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Left out of South Bend at 0900 heading toward Chicago. Decided to take the local roads out of South Bend. We lasted about 20 minutes and jumped back on the highway. Chicago was as cool as could be expected with so much being closed or; museums, Theatre, Sports, and pretty much everything else, such as restaurant, semi-open at best and one of our goals for this trip is to remain ever vigilant of the Covid Beast. Neither wishing to contract nor to spread, we are taking measures such as camping whenever possible. 
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester

Saw the lingering signs of Covid and more so the protests in support of BLM. Stores still boarded up, in a high-end downtown district, The Bean and much of Millennial Park off limits. The Bean, I would imagine is a hazard if everyone is touching it for photos and a possible target for protesters. Still felt better NOT to touch the Bean. Had to have a photo of the El, the elevated train that runs through the city. One of my first editors told to try and get people in the photo. Thus, my photo of a man taking a photo of a friend as the train runs behind them.
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester

A few other things I had to see in Chicago, Solider Field, Willis Tower, Lake Michigan. I found one spot where I could literally spin around and get all three plus… add in a boat with people having a party on deck. Nice wrap to the downtown. Next stop 20 minutes north to Wolfy’s for a Chicago Hot Dot. It was worth the drive. 
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester
Photo by Brian Hester

Well feed and back on the road. The next stop, a campground that we had never been to before. It was crowded and people in the site next had the TV playing loud as we arrived. I feel old when I say stuff like that, you know what they say, “if its too loud, your too old”. Amy pitched the tent, no problems and turned out the campers next to us were the nicest people you could ever meet. They came over to offer help, lent us things we did not even know we needed. As I am typing this it’s almost midnight and they are still going strong. The man that come over to help had explained that they were from Chicago and that they were here for an annual Father Day event. They invited me to come hang out with them later, but I wanted to get photos done each day and keep up with these posts, plus I didn’t want to be rude. The group was made up of about 8 black man and I would be the only white man. With all that is going on I want to go and sit with them more than I normally would. Anyway, all done writing for now. Back in AM. 

PS: I decided to join my fellow campers after putting my laptop away. I walked over and thanked the man that had come to offer assistance. I then told them I didn’t want to be rude by joining their party, but in these times of racial tension, we all need to take proactive steps to change things, for our children and our children’s children. They were more that happy to offer me a Pepsi and a chair. Turns out they are all from Chicago and are all Chicago Bear fans. We were laughing and having a good time in no time flat. Then the ranger approached to let the know that “quiet time” had begun and that we needed to turn off the TV. We did. We talked some more. I had not had a Pepsi in years, but couldn’t have enjoyed it more or with nicer company. Maybe I should reach out to Mr. Goodell and see if he or anyone in the Bears organization will donate a dozen tix for this Bears / Giants game in September? Would be a great racial relations reunion story. I did not get to take a group photo with my new friends as it was very late and all my gear was packed up for the night. Maybe we get a photo together on Sept.9, 2020? What say you Mr. NFL Commissioner?
Photo by Brian Hester

Brian Hester is a New York City based freelance photographer covering any nature of event including but not limited to; breaking news, sports, entertainment, fashion, nature and whatever may catch his wandering eye. Since 2011 Brian, has been covering community events and high school sports for North Jersey Media Group and their successor Gannett USA Today. His clients include Rutgers University and Monmouth Athletics. ​You can see more of his work at www.brianbehindthelens.com

Family

Tech Gifts for Outdoor Enthusiasts

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Summer is one of the best times to enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends. Here are some great and various modern technologies to add offering exciting options.

GPS Devices

Our first gift option is a GPS. It is a must-have tech gift for summertime excursions. It can be challenging to navigate different locations, but with a reliable GPS, you are assured that you are heading in the right direction. There are many really good options such as the  Garmin GPSMAP 66i. It has comprehensive charting, two-way texting, and SOS features. Another option to check out is Suunto Traverse Alpha.

Portable Laptop Monitor Extender

Are you creative and have multiple things to do simultaneously on your laptops. A portable laptop monitor extension improves productivity and easily connects to all laptops. The Mobile Pixels Trio/Trio Max, is our favorite with exceptional HD displays for multitasking. The Duex Float  can easily adjust with a 180-degree rotation.

mp_trio_05

Portable Solar Chargers

A  good-quality portable solar charger will keep your gadgets charged and helps with extended outdoor travel. These portable solar chargers are an ideal option for an off-the-beaten-path excursion with few power outlets. An example is the Anker PowerPort Solar, which has twin USB connections for quick charging. Another option is the Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus.

Action Cameras

Want to make an impression give an action camera. These incredible tech gadgets can effectively record all the exciting events in high definition. are favorite is the GoPro HERO9 Black, which is an excellent GoPro action camera with 5K video and modern stabilization. With the option of twin displays, 4K HDR video, and RockSteady stabilization for fluid filming is DJI Osmo Action.

newtrio126-min

Wearable Tech

Lastly, a wearable technology that can offer various advantages like a fitness trackers and smartwatches. These presents help monitor your health, navigate paths, and measure fitness data. Garmin Fenix 6 and Apple Watch Series 7 are our picks.

Most travel lovers need the convenience of editing photos/videos, creating captivating content, and more. with a portable laptop monitor extender you have the world at your hands.

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Art

A Weekend In The Hamptons

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I started off my weekend in The Hampton’s at an event for Hamptons Social Magazine.

Ilene Smith and Roger Sichel

Erika Katz and her daughter

The event was at Zadig & Voltaire East Hampton. The beautiful jewlery by Stacy Engman, was highlighted.

Stacy Engman

We were treated to some delicious ice cream and wine.

Then our friend photographer, artist and festival producer, Roger Sichel had a showing of some of his art at at Romany Kramoris Gallery, 41 Main Street in Sag Harbor. We attended his opening

Roger is prolific in creativing experiences that span generations and genres. From creating one of New York’s first erotic film festivals with judges Andy Warhol, Gore Vidal and Milos Forman to producing rock concerts with the Doors, Four Seasons and Isaac Hayes nationwide, Roger identifies most as a cultural observer and photographic journalist. Sichel has now entered the next phase of his artistic career and is choosing to explore neo-pop mixed media, inspired by his own life, as well as current events, while simultaneously preserving the legacy of his work in photojournalism.

Ann Liguori

Ann Liguori

Ann Liguori

The next day we attended the book signing at Barnes and Nobles of  Ann Liguori, sports Radio and TV Personality. Ann is the author of a new book called “Life on the Green, Lessons & Wisdom from Legends of Golf.” Hopefully we will have her on “Live From The Hotel Edison Times Square Chronicles Presents,” because this book sounds fascinating.

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Film

Maidstone, The Hampton’s And Norman Mailer

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I use to be friends with a woman named Beverly Bently, she has since passed on. She was married to Norman Mailer. For years, I heard about the filming of “Maidstone,” that was filmed in The Hampton’s.

Roger Sichel

This weekend when my friend Roger Sichel said he was going to The Maidstone, I jumped at the chance. Finally I was going to be able to see one of the places the film took place and put the pieces together.

The hotel

The restaurant

They filmed in multiple locations. The Maidstone, itself is a hotel and restaurant that defies time.

The Hydrangeas that surround the property

Walking from the parking lot

What made “Maidstone” so interesting was that it was Mailer’s improvisational attempt to blur the line between documentary and reality. Mailer played a version of himself in the film, as a film director turned political candidate, Bentley his wife and Rip Torn was enlisted to play the director’s contentious brother. During the filming Torn and Mailer improved a brawl that ended up to be real. Torn hit Mailer with a hammer. Mailer responded by biting Torn’s ear. You can see the scene here. Part of the problem was a booze, as well as other substances that fueled an increasingly drawn out shoot in East Hampton, as Torn took method acting a step too far. Both actor’s actually had violent natures, which is highly documented.

Lounging and bikes, for the perfect summer relaxation

Inside elegant comfort

A dinning table to confer with friends

more elegance

Dinning

cozy with a fireplace

more dinning choices

A table laden with brochures and unique gift items

Longing to soak up the sun with a garden view

Besides staying in the main house, you can stay in roomy cottages and you get your own dinning nook

The adorable cottages

It was nice coming full circle and seeing The Maidstone of today. It truly was a step back in time in so many ways.

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Lifestyle

Royal Caribbean Names Meghan Trainor Godmother of Utopia of the Seas

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Royal Caribbean has named GRAMMY-winning artist Meghan Trainor as the godmother of the new Utopia of the Seas.

The duo is celebrating the collab with an invitation for fans to see Trainor name the ultimate short getaway and perform live on a 3-night celebration just days before the new vacation’s official July 19 debut. The party kicks off in Port Canaveral, Florida, where Utopia will sail 3- and 4-night vacations to Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau, The Bahamas.

Until today, July 7, at 11:59 p.m. EDT, fans can enter for their chance to join the celebration and find the giveaway’s official rules on Royal Caribbean’s Instagram channel.

On deck for the 3-night cruise is one party after the next, from a live performance on Utopia by the “Timeless” singer while at Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas to the one-and-only naming party joined by the newly named godmother. It all takes place just days before the new vacation’s official July 19 debut in Port Canaveral (Orlando), Florida.

“It’s an incredible honor to join the Royal Caribbean family as godmother of Utopia of the Seas and set the tone for the parties to come,” said Meghan Trainor. “The best part is that we get to bring that weekend energy to the stage with my family and fans. What’s better than being on vacation with the people you love and dancing to your favorite music? Let’s make some beautiful memories and get this party started!”

Kicking off the 3-night celebration, Royal Caribbean and Trainor will officially name Utopia in the company of special guests, the ship’s crew members, media, partners and 52 fans – one for every weekend of the year – and their guests. Trainor, as godmother, will join a longstanding maritime tradition when she bestows safekeeping onto the ultimate short getaway, its crew and the millions who will vacation on Utopia for years to come. Keeping the party going will be Trainor’s exclusive show in the iconic open-air AquaTheater, and fans will also be able to slip behind the velvet ropes to meet the star in person.

“Utopia of the Seas is where making the most of the weekend and every moment are more than a state a mind, they’re a reality any day of the week. This is the short getaway that’s all about celebrations, celebrating friends, family and the memories you make together,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Meghan embodies that in every way, from who she is to how she shares her music with the world, making her the perfect godmother to match Utopia’s big weekend energy. We’re thrilled to welcome her to the family and host a party of epic proportions fit for the ultimate short getaway.”

The celebration will set the tone for vacations on Utopia, welcoming adventurers to make more memories on short getaways than ever before with the first of its kind to debut with 3-night weekend and 4-night weekday vacationers. Friends and families can celebrate any occasion or just getting away their way with a lineup of experiences that brings unmatched weekend energy to the table. There’s everything from more than 40 ways to dine, drink and party, including a lineup of parties only on Utopia, two casinos and Royal Railway – Utopia Station, a first-of-its-kind immersive train car dining experience; to more pools than the days to count, thrills; show-stopping entertainment across air, ice, water and stage; and more.

For more information, please visit HERE.

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Broadway

Broadway and Vine Brings Ariana DeBose, Darren Criss, Aaron Lazar, Shoshana Bean and Alan Cumming To Wine Country

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Broadway and Vine, a nonprofit organization bringing the best of Broadway to the best of Wine Country, kicks off its 2024 season on July 9 and 10 at 7:30PM, with Academy Award® Winner Ariana DeBose (West Side Story, The Prom, Schmigadoon, Hamilton) at Carneros Resort Vineyard Lawn (4048 Sonoma Hwy, Napa, CA) in Napa Valley.

The vineyard concert series will continue throughout the summer at Tre Posti Vineyards (641 Main St, St Helena, CA) on July 25th at 7:30PM with Golden Globe, SAG, and Emmy Award® Winner Darren Criss (The Assassination of Gianni Versace, GLEE,  Broadway: Maybe Happy Ending, American Buffalo, Hedwig and the Angry Inch), Aaron Lazar (Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Last Ship, The Light In The Piazza, Les Misérables) on August 28 at 7:00PM  and Two-Time Tony Award® Nominee Shoshana Bean (Hell’s Kitchen, Mr. Saturday Night, Waitress) on September 23 at 6:30PM.

Closing out the season will be Tony Award® Winning Broadway icon Alan Cumming (The Traitors, The Good Wife, Cabaret, Macbeth, The Threepenny Opera) with the Bay Area premiere of his new solo show UNCUT at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook (1991 St Helena Hwy, Rutherford, CA) on October 13 at 5:00PM.

Upcoming performers for Broadway and Vine include Jelani Remy (Back to the Future) and Abby Mueller (Six). Additional details will be announced at a later date.

Broadway and Vine was founded and is produced by Tony Award® nominee Jacob Langfelder (Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age, Sea Wall/A Life) with a mission to provide mentorship, masterclass and performance opportunities for students and pre-professional performing artists.

The concert series is paired with world class wineries and wines including Arietta, Chateau Montelena, Inglenook, Frog’s Leap, Lloyd Cellars, Prescription Vineyards, Tansy, Titus, and more. Chefs Nash Cognetti, Jeffrey Jake, and more will showcase their cuisine in the picturesque vineyard and resort settings.   Tickets begin at $95 and are on sale now at www.broadwayandvine.org

Broadway and Vine was founded by Tony Award® nominee Jacob Langfelder (Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age, Sea Wall/A Life). Based in Napa Valley as a vineyard concert series, it launched in 2021 and quickly became a San Francisco Chronicle critics’ pick with concerts by Brooke Shields, Lea Michele, Tony Award® winners Sutton Foster and Beth Leavel, Jelani Remy, Christopher Sieber, Tony Yazbeck and more. Broadway and Vine is a 501(c)(3) with a mission to provide mentorship, masterclasses, and performance opportunities for students and pre-professional performing artists. www.broadwayandvine.org

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