Revolt at the Kasbah (Video)

View From Kasbah toward Marrakech, MoroccoView from Kasbah Omar, Anrar, Morocco- Photo: Russ Johnson

Sometimes you suffer from too much of a good thing, even the finest food.

Tell your friends you’re going Morocco for two weeks and they’ll likely lick their lips and wish they could be with you to enjoy the tasty pastilla, keftas, couscous and  tajines. So why,  halfway through our journey,  were we willing partners to a culinary insurrection.

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The Way to Shangri-la? (Video)

Gossip, Shangri-la
Gossip: Dukezong, China © Russell Johnson

The ancient town of Dukezong in Yunnan Province, China was destroyed by fire this month. More than 232 houses were lost and hundreds of families displaced. Dukezong was an historical centerpiece of a region China renamed Shangri-La in an effort to attract tourists. I shot a video that has a few scenes from the daily life of Dukezong, before the fire, and what is now still a real wonder, the wilds surrounding it.

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Topsy Turvy in New York: The Chelsea Hotel Changes Hands (Video)

Chelsea Hotel New York

The legendary Chelsea Hotel in New York City has changed hands.

Again.

Stanley Bard, proprietor of this hive of artists and eccentrics sold it in 2011. A developer proceeded to remodel, removing the art from the walls, raising the ire of residents, some 100 of them who can’t be evicted.  It just sold again to a luxury hotel developer. Some of the tenants remain, but the place will never be the same as when I revived the good old days with Stanley in 2001.

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Shooting and Sipping: Photography Lessons in California Wine Country (Video)

 

Taking pictures is one thing: lazily lifting your mobile phone and snapping what strikes your fancy.  MAKING PICTURES is something quite different. Ace photographer Joe Baraban should know. He has been making pictures deliberately, carefully setting up each shot, waiting for the right light and capturing masterpieces since the 1970s. Remember film?

We helped organize a week of shooting and sipping, a photography workshop for Joe in California’s Napa and Sonoma Valleys and Bodega, near the coast, which Alfred Hitchcock terrorized with “The Birds.” We also followed him and captured some of his tips (and antics) on video.

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Big Splash: Following the Whales Off Gloucester [video]

You wouldn’t know that whales are threatened with extinction watching this show. I am in a Whale Watching Boat on the Stellwagen Bank, a national marine sanctuary southeast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, watching a performance of hefty gymnasts: humpback and fin whales. I have spotted a couple gray whales off of the coast of California but never any this big and up close. Here, whale watching boats offer a money back guarantee. You WILL see whales. I do.

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