Two Websites Help Plan Dude Ranch Vacations In North America and Abroad

June 30, 2016
Two vacation-planning websites that answer questions – on line -- as fast as you can ask them help take the guesswork out of where to go and what to do.

Two vacation-planning websites that answer questions – on line — as fast as you can ask them help take the guesswork out of where to go and what to do.

SONOMA, CA — Two vacation-planning websites www.top50ranches.com and www.ranchweb.com  answer questions on line about dude ranch vacations as fast as you can ask them and take the guesswork out of where to go and what to do.

The dude ranch vacations is truly one of America’s most iconic homegrown experiences. Born in the late 1800’s shortly after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, dude ranches gained widespread popularity in the 1920’s with the establishment of the National Dude Ranchers’ Association in 1926.

Today they are more popular than ever offering, among many other positives, a haven from urban, industrial and technical worlds; down-home cooking with a gotta-be-fresh flair; the joy of bonding with a mount suited to a guest’s temperament and riding ability; and always the beauty of the natural world.

“Ranch life remains one of the last authentic traditions in a landscape of technology where everything is instantaneous and ‘virtual’ in reality. A dude ranch vacation is a down to earth thing that helps us all reconnect with the natural rhythm of the earth,” explains Gene Kilgore, the world’s leading authority on ranch vacations.

Kilgore brings over three decades of passion for ranch vacations via his advisory involvement in and endorsement of these two web sites. He has visited and personally vetted most all of the properties represented, while also serving as goodwill ambassador to the ranches, bringing his knowledge of the needs of ever-more-discerning travelers to the ranchers and advising on how a business might tweak their accommodations, food, overall hospitality and activity offerings. He also helps guide businesses into the realm of hosting corporate and other groups, and whether or not their facilities and activities lend to being family-friendly.

But for the prospective ranch visitor; solo, in a group or with family, the knowledge and experience incorporated in these two online resources should not be overlooked.

Founded in 2011, www.top50ranches.com focuses on where to locate and then what to expect when it comes to the world’s top dude, guest, working and luxury ranch vacations in the United States and Canada as well as Argentina, Mexico and New Zealand.  Here in the US guests may opt to horseback ride through the stunning Tetons and relish after-ride massages; or in Colorado they can mix up horses with fly fishing for trout, trap shoot, swim and send the kiddies to a children’s program. They can assist with cattle drives and branding activities; and they can opt to just be pampered in world-class scenery. Some operations are large, offering accommodation and activities for up to 225 guests; others are small, providing hospitality to just six guests at a time. The website explains when the ranches are hosting guests, miles to the nearest airport, and the style of pampering or not that people can expect.

The site outlines special ranch offers, events and opportunities as well. For example Wyoming’s Bitterroot Ranch features a world-class riding program geared to advanced and intermediate riders exclusively and Colorado’s High Lonesome Ranch caters to an older crowd offering adult-only weeks during the summer.  South of the border, Rancho Los Baños offers a Mexican Corrida in November so that guests can experience a genuine Mexican roundup with vaqueros (cowboys), horses, cattle, lots of drives and cattle work. This all takes place on 30,000 acres in the foothills of the Sierra Madres, the Mexican Rockies, in Sonora, Mexico, just 55 miles south of the southeast Arizona town of Douglas.

This site also makes available Top50’s Concierge Service, a no-fee advice option on line or by phone for valued Top50 Travelers who seek a little extra help while choosing the right ranch for their party.

www.ranchweb.com which was founded in 1995 and regularly updated, offers an array of dude ranches in the US, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Canada. Arranged alphabetically by destination, these ranches also organize themselves along the lines of the number of guests accommodated at one time, the activities, and if they are family friendly. A multitude of activities range from horseback riding and instruction (novice to advanced,) fishing (expert fly fishing guides on site), hiking, swimming, archery, shooting, rodeos, games, cattle drives, mountain biking … and the list goes on.  Several dude ranches offer specialty themes, such as photography, art, birding, cooking, wine tasting, and father-son and mother-daughter bonding adventures. Potential guests of businesses listed on this site may also contact a Ranchweb Concierge Service for additional assistance in sorting through the myriad of options including always-changing travel options now being listed into 2017.

The expert behind each website and one of the first lifetime members of the Dude Ranchers’ Association, Gene Kilgore is the best-selling author of nine editions of “Ranch Vacations: The Leading Guide to Guest, Resort, Fly Fishing, and Winter Ranches.”  The 197-page 2016 edition outlines over 100 ranch possibilities for those looking for a romantic getaway, multi-generational and family vacation or for many other occasions. This book, which makes an excellent travel planner and guide, can be obtained online at Amazon.com at: https://www.amazon.com/Ranch-Vacations-Leading-Fishing-Working/dp/0692031804/ref=dp_ob_title_bk

Follow RanchWeb and Top50 Ranches on Social Media:
RanchWeb Facebook:        https://www.facebook.com/ranchweb
RanchWeb Twitter:             https://twitter.com/ranchweb
RanchWeb Instagram:        https://www.instagram.com/ranchweb/
Top50 Facebook:                https://www.facebook.com/DudeRanchVacations/
Top 50 Twitter:                    https://twitter.com/top50ranches
Top50 Pinterest:                  https://www.pinterest.com/RanchVacations/

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38th Annual Museum Mile Festival, ‘Biggest Block Party in the World’ on New York City’s 5th Avenue, June 14

June 3, 2016
NYC-MuseumMile_061014_010e2(c) Karen Rubin

Dancing in front of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum during the Museum Mile Festival, New York City © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The 38th annual Museum Mile Festival, the biggest block party in the cultural capital of the world takes place on Tuesday, June 14, 6 pm-9 pm, rain or shine on a mile-long stretch of Fifth Avenue, from 82 Street to 104 Street. The festival kicks off at 5:45 pm on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It is a fantastically festive event, with street performers – clowns, magicians, bands – plus art on the street activities..Best of all, all eight museums are open at no charge, many offering entertainment and special activities inside.

Begun as an initiative to spur the development of new museum audiences and to increase support for the arts during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s, Museum Mile was formed as a consortium by the museums that share the Fifth Avenue address. It has become one of the most popular happenings in a city known for spectacular events – some 40,000 turn out. Expect long lines and to get in about 3 or 4 museums during the course of the night.

Participating museums include:

El Museo del Barrio, 1230 Fifth Avenue (at 104th Street), New York, NY 10029, (212) 831-7272 (http://www.elmuseo.org/Figure and Form: Recent Acquisition so the Permanent Collection (on view through Dec. 4). Also Antonio Lopez: Future Funk FashionJoiri Minaya: RedecodeSarah Zapata: Siempre X.

Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue (at 104th Street), New York, NY 10029 (212) 534-1672, http://www.mcny.org/ New York’s Yiddish Theater: From the Bowery to Broadway, through Aug. 14. Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs  Cartoons from the “New Yorker (through Oct. 9). Also: Chris “Daze” Ellis: The City Is My MuseScenes from the South Bronx, 1976-82Picturing Prestige: New York Portraits, 1700 – 1860Activist New YorkGilded New York; and Timescapes (not to be missed)

The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue, (between 92nd & 93rd Streets), New York, NY 10128, (212) 423-3200, www.thejewishmuseum.orgIsaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History is the first museum exhibition to focus on the influential American fashion designer, artist, and entrepreneur; on view through Aug. 7; Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist, through Sept. 18. Also: Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Beatriz Milhazes; Masterpieces & Curiosities: The Fictional PortraitThe Television Project: Some of My Best FriendsCulture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey; for children, Archaeology Zone: Discovering Treasures from Playgrounds to Palaces

Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum,   2 East 91st Street (off Fifth Avenue) New York, NY 10128, 212-849-8400, www.cooperhewitt.org (Beauty celebrates design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body, and senses, on view through Aug. 21; Passion for the Exotic: Louis Comfort Tiffany and Lockwood De Forest, through Oct. 10. Also: Cooper Hewitt Design TriennialThom Browne SelectsPixar: The Design of StoryEnergizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street) New York, NY 10128 (212) 423-3500, https://www.guggenheim.org/ Moholy-Nagy: Future Present on view through Sept. 7. Also: But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa;

Neue Galerie New York, 1048 Fifth Avenue (at 86th Street), New York, NY 10028 (212) 628-6200, www.neuegalerie.orgMunch and Expressionism closes June 13. invites attendees of the 2016 Museum Mile Festival to visit the second floor gallery where Gustav Klimt’s iconic portrait Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) hangs on permanent display (the subject of the movie, “Woman in Gold,” starring Helen Mirren. This work is joined by a selection of landscape and portrait paintings by Klimt, and a display of Austrian decorative arts from the early twentieth century.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY 10028 (212) 535-7710 www.metmuseum.orgTurner’s Whaling Pictures is on through August 7) ; Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology is on through Aug. 14. Also: The Roof Garden Commission: Cornelia Parker, Transitional Object (PsychoBarn), weather permitting; and P.S. Art 2016: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of NYC Kids.

Entertainment includes Justin Weber Yo Yo (83rd St); Cabaret performer, Kim David Smith (84th Street); Magic Brian (87 St); Daisy Doodle’s Parties, Magic, Face painting & Balloons! (88 St); Alsarah and the Nubatones (89th St); Miss 360 (90th St); Imagination Playground in the garden, and on the sidewalk, a design activity in conjunction with the exhibition Pixar: The Design of Story (91 St)’; Mariachi Band (92 St); a Sammie & Tudie’s Imagination Playhouse (93 St).; It’s Showtime NYC, music by DJ Mickey Perez spinning Afro Latin disco (104th St).

There will also be an array of outdoor family activities for Museum Mile Festival attendees: The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will offer chalk drawing. Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum entertainment will include Imagination Playground in the museum’s garden, and a sidewalk design activity in conjunction with the exhibition Pixar: The Design of Story.  Visitors to the Jewish Museum can create an abstract fabric design using stamps and drawing techniques inspired by imagery in the exhibition Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist and the looks on view in Isaac Mizrahi: An Unruly History. El Museo del Barrio will offer art-making for the entire family.

See museummilefestival.org for more information, and http://museummilefestival.org/index.php/map-schedule/ for map and schedule.

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Jones Beach State Park Gets $36 Million in Improvements to Enhance Visitor Experience – Just in Time for Holiday Spectaculars

May 26, 2016
US Navy Blue Angels

The US Navy Blue Angels return to the Memorial Day Weekend Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach State Park. New York State is making $36 million in improvements to the park, one of the world’s best beaches, to enhance the visitor experience © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Jones Beach State Park, one of the finest beaches in the entire world, is set for $36 million in improvements, and the first of the improvements will be on view during the Memorial Day Weekend  Bethpage Air Show as well as Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the improvements, including new Taste NY vendors, to enhance the visitor experience at Jones Beach State Park. In addition to the improvement projects, the Governor also announced a new prototype mobile app to assist visitors with parking as well as the return of the annual Memorial Day weekend Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach, Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular and the I LOVE NY Tourism Pod. The improvements and events are part of Governor Cuomo’s $65 million commitment to restore the park’s historic grandeur, attract new visitors and create new recreational facilities.

Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach
Kicking off every Memorial Day Weekend, the Bethpage Air Show at Jones Beach attracts thousands of visitors to Long Island beaches to celebrate the beginning of summer, and shine a light on military families as well as honoring those who serve our country. This year’s show features the United States Navy Blue Angels, the F-35 Lightening II fighter, the Golden Knights U.S. Army parachute team, the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds, and many other world-class military and civilian performers.
The Show takes place Saturday, May 28 and Sunday May 29 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. For more information, visit  here.

Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular 
The July 4 Fireworks Spectacular, a Long Island patriotic tradition, will return to Jones Beach State Park this summer for the second year in a row. The 30-minute fireworks display, sponsored by Astoria Bank and performed by Garden State Fireworks, will begin at 9:30 p.m.

The Astoria Bank July 4 Fireworks Spectacular has traditionally drawn an average of more than 100,000 spectators in prior years, and is included in the regular price of park admission.

This year’s program, with lead sponsorship by Astoria Bank, is supported by the Natural Heritage Trust, Foundation for Long Island State Parks Inc., Captree Boatman’s Association, Newsday, Connoisseur Media Long Island and J & B Restaurant Partners.

Prototype Jones Beach Parking Mobile App
New York State has developed a prototype for a parking app that will make it easier for people to find parking at Jones Beach. Visitors can go here on their smartphone and find parking availability for each lot updated in real-time. Additionally, the New York State Department of Transportation is working to display those parking updates on electronic signs on the Southern State Parkway and other highways leading to Jones Beach. Parking availability will also be available on Twitter at @JonesBchUpdates.

Field 6 Concession Building
Last year, State Parks completed a $2.3 million renovation of the deteriorated bathroom and dining areas of the Field 6 Concession Building, which serves one of the most popular beach areas in the park. The improvements to 1948 structure allow for booths and tables to be placed in the concession area during the off-season, creating a diner-like experience for many patrons who visit year-round.

Taste NY Café and Taste NY Bar
The Café in the West Bathhouse will be one of the busiest Taste NY locations in the state, with more than 6 million people visiting Jones Beach each year. It will feature products from more than 30 different food and beverage producers located in nearly every region of New York, including Long Island. For a complete list of producers click here.

The Taste NY Café will give visitors the opportunity to enjoy everything from local seafood and hot sandwiches to bakery items and craft beverages. For visitors on the move, it will also offer grab-and-go options such as salads, chips, drinks, and more. The Taste NY Café is the latest addition to a growing number of Taste NY locations across the state. Taste NY products are featured at more than two dozen rest areas and travel plazas along the New York State Thruway, as well as at stores, cafés, and concession stands. Additional locations are expected to open later this year.

Additionally, Taste NY has partnered with State Parks and the premier live entertainment company, Live Nation, to promote the state’s growing craft beverage industry at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater which is operated by Live Nation. The partnership features the launch of a new Taste NY Bar, which will offer a rotation of New York wine, beer, spirits and cider selections to the approximately 350,000 annual visitors of the outdoor amphitheater. The Taste NY Bar will be operational for more than two dozen events this season. It will also offer New York snacks and food. For a list of participating producers click here.

Taste NY is an initiative launched by Governor Cuomo in 2013 to promote New York’s food and beverage industries. It is overseen by the Department of Agriculture and Markets and has created opportunities for local producers to showcase their goods at large public events, such as the Great New York State Fair. The program has also opened stores at Thruway rest stops along the state’s highways and in transportation hubs, enabling travelers to buy New York State’s homegrown and homemade products. Approximately 1,100 local companies have participated in these opportunities, further linking their products and the state’s growing food and beverage market to consumers from across the globe. For more information about Taste NY, visit www.taste.ny.gov. Connect with Taste NY through FacebookTwitter,Instagram and Pinterest.

The $36 million in improvements also include:

Restoration of the West Bathhouse
The West Bathhouse, built in 1931, underwent a $16 million project to restore interior space and reestablish the open, airy connection between the pool and boardwalk that was part of the original design. The work included reopening the central bays in the West Bathhouse South Building in order to reconnect the water-to-water view and circulation from the pools to the beach. Concession spaces, including a new Taste NY Café, which will serve fresh, New York-made food and beverages, were reoriented to their historic north-south axis to allow easier access through the building and enliven the central core. New kitchens were installed to provide a wider array of menu options at the unique concession areas. It will be operated by the newly selected concessionaire, Centerplate.

The renovations to the West Bathhouse also include the addition of a new retail space and the historic vaulted ceiling that had been covered over by drop ceiling tiles was exposed. The interior improvements build on work completed last year to preserve and improve the Art Deco exterior of the bathhouse, including installing windows to match its original appearance, replacing the pool deck, and repairing the pool filtration system.

The final phase of the West Bathhouse project will be to restore and reactivate the stately second-floor Marine Dining Room and adjoining outdoor terraces to their original 1930s character, providing rentable space for catered weddings, reunions, proms and other events. The Marine Dining Room is expected to open for events by early spring 2017.

Improvements to the East and Central Malls 
Construction will begin this year on a $14 million new green, climate resilient Jones Beach Marketplace on the East Mall. The market will offer fresh prepared foods, featuring Taste NY products and will be operated by Centerplate. The market building will also house a commissary for the preparation of food for the majority of Jones Beach food concessions, new bathrooms, and offices and retail for the new East Mall Adventure Course.

The 15,837 square foot building will be elevated over 2 feet above the base flood elevation which is required by FEMA to prevent the marketplace from being damaged in future storms. Major utilities will be located inside the elevated building or up on the roof and the building itself will be located further back from the original structure so that it is kept outside of the Coastal Erosion Hazard Area. Access to the building will be from elevated terraced boardwalks starting at the height of the existing boardwalk to the floor elevation of the new building.

The design of the new terraces will include hurricane straps to help the structure survive future storm surges. The windows and doors on the exterior will be constructed using impact resistant glass. The new marketplace building will restore the Beaux Arts symmetrical plan of the Central Mall, the gateway to Jones Beach. Since 2004, the East Mall site has remained vacant when building was demolished due to structural failure. Construction is expected to be complete for the 2018 season.

View renderings of the completed market building here and here.

Other improvements taking place this year include:

  • The $2.7 million reconstruction of the East Mall Games Area will provide patrons with shaded picnic areas, new games including bocce ball and shuffle board courts, table tennis, and plantings. This area is to open to patrons in the fall 2016. View rendering here.

    · The East Mall Adventure Course, is a $1.5 million facility that will be constructed by park concessionaire Wildplay, and will include a series of ropes courses, a 40’ zip line, pathways, and small play areas in a naturalized landscape. It is anticipated to be open by summer 2017.

    · The Central Mall will undergo a $1.5 million restoration including paving, new plantings, replacement of historic signage and lighting, and reconstruction of the original fountain. It is anticipated to be completed by summer 2017.

Additional efforts to improve the visitor experience at Jones Beach State Park include:

I LOVE NY Tourism Pod
The I Love NY Pod will once again be appearing at events throughout New York State offering a one-of-a-kind experience to learn more about New York State’s 11 vacation regions. This highly interactive mobile Pod includes a green screen where your picture can be imposed on visuals from around the state, pop quizzes about the state’s world-renowned destinations, and itineraries that can be personalized and e-mailed to you right from the Pod. I Love NY ambassadors are also available to help answer questions and find great places visit.

The I LOVE NY Tourism Pod will appear at the following locations:

For more information on New York’s 11 vacation regions, visit www.iloveny.com.

“Today we are seeing the historic grandeur of Jones Beach as it was meant to be,” Governor Cuomo said. “The rebirth of Jones Beach is helping to grow our tourism industry while bringing jobs to Long Island communities, and I encourage everyone to visit one of most beautiful and celebrated seasides in New York State.”

World famous Jones Beach State Park, home of 6.5 miles of beautiful white-sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean, is made up of more than 2,400-acres of maritime environment on the south shore of Long Island and attracts more than 6 million visitors each year.

The park improvements and events reflect Governor Cuomo’s commitment to revitalizing the state park system and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor’s NY Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The Governor’s 2016-17 Executive Budget allocates $90 million toward this initiative. In addition, this year the Governor announced the Connect Kids to Parks program, which provides free day-use park entry to fourth-grade students and their families, and creates a new transportation grant program to help students from underserved schools visit state parks and historic sites.

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WalletHub Study: 2016 Best & Worst Airlines

May 21, 2016
AZ-Flagstaff_100315_04e2(c) Karen Rubin

Flying American Airlines into Flagstaff, Arizona © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

WalletHub has just announced its list of 2016’s Best & Worst Airlines in order to help consumers prepare for the busy summer travel season.

“Everyone can compare airlines based on price, but it’s much more difficult to weigh your options when it comes to other aspects of the air travel experience. WalletHub’s report therefore focuses on quantifying those aspects – delays, baggage issues, pet care, passenger comfort and more – in order to help travelers make more-informed decisions.”
Among the highlights:

  • Best & Worst Overall: Virgin America (soon to be part of Alaska Airlines) and JetBlue top the list of 2016’s best airlines, while United, American and ExpressJet are the worst.
  • Most & Least Reliable: Delta is the best airline for avoiding cancelations, delays and mishandled luggage, while ExpressJet and Envoy Air are the worst.
  • Most & Least Comfortable: JetBlue offers the most comfortable in-flight experience, while Spirit and Frontier are the least comfortable.

For the full list of 2016’s Best & Worst Airlines, visit:
http://www.wallethub.com/edu/best-airlines/20916/

For CardHub’s report on 2016’s Best & Worst Frequent Flyer Programs, visit:
http://www.cardhub.com/edu/best-frequent-flyer-program/

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2016 Travel Credit Card Studies: Save $625 Domestically Plus 11% Traveling Abroad

May 21, 2016
Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece. Travelers can save $625 domestically plus 11% when they travel internationally by shrewd use of credit cards and currency exchange © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Up to $625 in travel rewards await the roughly 75% of Americans planning a summer getaway via one of 2016’s Best Credit Cards for Summer Travel, while the 20% of people headed abroad can save an additional 11% by taking advantage of the favorable exchange rates offered by a no-foreign-fee credit card or debit card, according to a pair of studies released by the personal-finance websites WalletHub and CardHub.

Highlights from both reports can be found below.

  • Best Currency-Exchange Option: Using a no-foreign-transaction-fee credit card or a no-foreign-fee debit card is the least expensive way to convert currency, saving international travelers 10.84% relative to Travelex, 6.41% compared to banks and credit unions.
  • Best All-Around: Barclaycard Arrival Plus: 40,000 bonus miles = $400 in travel rewards; 2.1% back on all purchases when you redeem for travel; $89 annual fee ($0 the first year).
  • Best Initial Bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: 50,00 bonus miles = up to $625 in travel; $95 annual fee ($0 the first year).
  • Best Airline Rewards: Frontier Airlines World MasterCard: 40,000 bonus miles = 2 free round-trip domestic flights; 2 miles per $1 spent on FlyFrontier.com; $69 annual fee.
  • Best Hotel Rewards: Club Carlson Premier Rewards: 85,000 bonus points + 40,000-point anniversary bonus = up to 13 free nights; 10 points per $1 spent at Carlson properties; $75 annual fee.
  • Best Road-Trip Rewards: PenFed Platinum Rewards Credit Card: 5 points per $1 on gas at any station; 3 points per $1 on groceries; potential $15 membership fee.

For the complete list of 2016’s Best Credit Cards For Summer Travel, please visit:
http://www.cardhub.com/best-travel-credit-cards/

To learn more about international currency-conversion costs, see:
https://wallethub.com/edu/currency-exchange-study/21567/

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Free ‘Stars in the Alley’ Outdoor Concert Celebrates Broadway, June 3

May 21, 2016
Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway

The revival of Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway is one of the musicals up for a Tony Award this year © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

New York – This year’s Stars in the Alley will take place on Friday, June 3 at 12:30 to 2:30 pm in Broadway’s legendary Shubert Alley, west of Seventh Avenue between 44th & 45th streets (rain or shine).

Stars in the Alley is a free outdoor concert with live music, produced by the Broadway League and sponsored by United Airlines, that celebrates the end of the 2015-2016 Broadway season and adds to the festivities leading up to the 2016 Tony Awards.® The event will consist of performances from this season as well as numbers from current long-running shows.

For Broadway information in NYC as well as for shows on tour across North America and internationally, visit Broadway.org.

The American Theatre Wing’s 70th Annual Tony Awards®  will air on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 12, 2016 (8-11pm ET/delayed PT) live from the Beacon Theatre in New York City, hosted by Tony Award-winner James Corden. The Tony Awards, which honors theatre professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

For more information on the Tony Awards, visit TonyAwards.com and Facebook.com/TheTonyAwards and follow @TheTonyAwards on Instagram and Twitter.

 

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Pacific Delight Waives JFK Add-On for NYC Departures of Japan & China Tours

May 11, 2016
Japan-Pacific Delight e2

Pacific Delight Tours is waiving its $200 per person NYC add-on fee for JFK departures for its 10-day Highlights of Japan & China Escapade Experience on bookings received by May 31.

NEW YORK, NY– The Orient just became a little closer for New York City residents as Pacific Delight Tours (http://www.PacificDelightTours.com) is waiving its $200 per person NYC add-on fee for JFK departures for its 10-day Highlights of Japan & China Escapade Experience on bookings received by May 31 (excludes Aug. 10 and Dec. 7 departures). Additionally, travelers who book departures Oct. 12 – Nov. 9, 2016, will receive an extra $100 per person discount.

After the promotional discounts, the program starts at $4,099 per person (reflective of all discounts factored into the price).

The Japan segment of the program takes guests on a scenic journey from Tokyo to Kyoto, stopping along the way to view amazing vistas from the vantage point of Mount Fuji (pictured right).

Passengers will also be treated to three nights in Beijing, where they will observe historical treasures including the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City and Summer Palace.

Accommodations for the 10-day Highlights of Japan & China Escapade Experience may include the New Otani Garden Tower Hotel in Tokyo, Kyoto New Miyako Hotel and Beijing Marriott Hotel City Wall. Pacific Delight reserves the right to substitute for similar accommodations at its discretion.

Air-inclusive pricing is based on travel from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and also includes all intra-Asia air and land transportation, cultural activities and performances, meals as per the itinerary, taxes, fees and the USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program.

For 45 years, Pacific Delight Tours has been America’s leading tour operator to China and Asia. Among numerous industry awards, the luxury tour operator is a proud winner of the TravelAge West WAVE Award from 2008–2016, the 2009 Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Award, and the 2016 Travvy Award from travAlliancemedia for Best Vacation Packager – Pacific Asia. The company is also a proud member of the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA).

Pacific Delight remains dedicated to providing unparalleled luxury vacation experiences for its discerning clientele. Its long-standing reputation within the travel agent community is a testament to its unrivaled quality assurance, extensive expertise and top-notch customer service.

For more information, consult your local travel agent, contact Pacific Delight Tours at 800-221-7179, or visit www.PacificDelightTours.com.

 

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7th Annual SOHO International Film Festival Returns to NYC June 9-16

May 11, 2016
soho film fest

Some of 2015’s Celebrity Attendees of the SOHO International Film Festival. The 7th Annual SOHO film festival returns to NYC June 9-16 (Photos by Champion Eye Media)

New York – From June 9 – 16, 2016 the SOHO International Film Festival #SOHO7 returns to NYC for seven days of films at Village East Cinemas located at 189 2nd Avenue on 12th Street in New York City.

Among the many titles in this year’s competition will be Opening Night Film “Coach of the Year” by David Stott making its official New York Premiere! A true story about a swim team that tries to win a state championship – without a pool to practice in – starring Harris Doran (“Junction”), Melissa Archer (“Days of Our Lives”), Hunter Gomez (“National Treasure”, “Family Guy”), James McCaffrey (“Revenge”, “Sam’), and Kevin Brown (“30 Rock”). 12-time Olympic swimmer Natalie Coughlin will also be in attendance.  The World Premiere for the French short film “Fish & Chicks” by Julie Grumbach, Elise McLeod was chosen to open the program.

Other notable films include the East Coast Premiere of “To Whom It May Concern” starring Dawn Olivieri (“Vampire Diaries”, “Heroes”), Wilmer Valderrama (“That 70’s Show”), NY Actor Robert Clohessy (The Avengers”, Blue Bloods”) and Directed by Manu Boyer;  A new documentary “Happy Lucky Golden Tofu Panda Dragon Good Time Fun Fun Show” by SOHO Alumni Carrie Preston (“True Blood”, “Crowded”); NY Premiere of Comedic Short Film “Not Right Now” by Brianne Moncrief (“All My Children”), and the NY Premiere of “EVOL: Theory of Love” by Mike Perrone starring Alexis Dziena (“Entourage, “Invasion”) Matthew Lawrence (“Melissa & Joey”, “Boy Meets World”) and Conor Donovan (“The Departed”).

This year’s record number of premieres will also bring Shamim Sarif‘s “Despite The Falling Snow” (UK) starring Rebecca Ferguson, Charles Dance, Antje Traue and Oliver Jackson-Cohen; World Premiere for the short film “The Last Hunt” (US) by Matthew Daddario (“Shadowhunters”, “Cabin Fever”) Brock Harris (*Major Crimes”, “Sam”); World Premiere of “The Hollow” (US) starring William Sadler, David Warshofsky, William Forsythe and director Miles Doleac; International Premiere of “Esoterika: Maynila” (PH) by iconic Filipino Director Elwood Perez.

“This year, is really exciting… we’ve received submissions from more countries than ever before, an even larger number of great films from women filmmakers, and a great number of LGBT films that allowed us to make a specific program for it.” said Sibyl Santiago, Executive Director and Head of Programming.  “….and we continue to be truly blessed with a super strong support from the NY Filmmaking community, which we are proud to continue to showcase at SOHO.”

The SOHO Intl Film Fest celebrates the cutting-edge of digital technology while honoring traditional forms of storytelling, encourages new and seasoned filmmakers from here in New York City and around the world to create and send in their fresh and innovative cinematic pieces.

Adding to the excitement of the event, many of the selected films will hold Q & A sessions with cast & crew members following each screening; along with panels, social events, and other networking opportunities for everyone involved. Leading figures from all disciplines of the film industry including distributors and media will also be in attendance.

The SOHO International Film Festival, which proudly carries the “Made in NY” logo from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Film, Television and Broadcasting is a vehicle to help the economy of the city, enhancing the festival’s sense of pride while boosting filmmaking and tourism in the Big Apple. They are dedicated to celebrating the art of long and short form cinema created from the latest digital technology while still embracing the original goal ‐ incredible storytelling. Founded in the epicenter of New York’s most artistic district, by Jorge Ballos in 2009, the festival is has provided a unique and powerful platform for filmmakers to gain exposure and potential distribution. SIFFNYC is committed to exhibiting domestic and international films, focusing on dynamic, visionary cinema that creates extraordinary experiences.

For more information on the SOHO International Film Festival, visit www.SohoFilmFest.com, or Twitter  @SohoFilmFest, Facebook.com/SohoFilmFest.

 

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Actor Ed Asner to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Long Island International Film Expo

May 11, 2016
Ed Asner e2

The Long Island International Film Expo will present Actor/Activist Ed Asner with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his extraordinary contributions to cinema. LIIFF Expo will be held July 13 – 21, 2016 at the historic Bellmore Movies, 222 Pettit Avenue, Bellmore, NY.

(Bellmore, NY) — This July, the Long Island International Film Expo will present Actor/Activist Ed Asner with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his extraordinary contributions to cinema over his lengthy career which has spanned decades from his work on the Mary Tyler Moore Show to recent Film/TV and Theatre work! This year’s Expo set to be held from July 13 – 21, 2016 at the historic Bellmore Movies, 222 Pettit Avenue, Bellmore, NY.

Versatile, committed, eloquent and talented are all adjectives that describe actor/activist and 7-Time Emmy Award-winning actor Ed Asner, who starred as Carl Fredricksen in Pixar’s 2009 box-office-hit UP! Asner also most recently starred opposite Joseph Fiennes and Tom Cavanagh in the Disney feature The Games Maker and Joe’s War with Armand Assante, Boonville Redemption opposite Diana Ladd and the animated feature The Nutcracker Sweet. Ed continues to do his one-man show A Man and His Prostate written by Ed Weinberger, and is set to shoot is the documentary Titanic with Frances Fisher written by Ryan Katzenbach and based on the book Titanic:  Sinking the Myths, and will next be shooting the film Waiting in the Wings: The Musical written by Arie Gonzales & Jeffrey A Johns, a short in Dallas, Texas called Closer written by Seraphine Nova & Mark Glass, a feature The Instigator written by Tom Porter & Maggie Grant in Georgia, and late spring will be going to Ottawa shoot guest star on the TV series Michael Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Asner is best known for his comedic and dramatic talent as the gruff but soft-hearted journalist Lou Grant, the role he originated on the landmark TV news room comedy The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and continued in the newspaper-set drama Lou Grant, which earned him five Emmys and three Golden Globe Awards.  Asner received two more Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for the mini-series Rich Man, Poor Man and Roots.

His most recent credits include a recurring role on the CBS series The Good Wife starring Julianna Margulies, the NBC telefilm Buddy The Elf, the Hallmark telefilm All of My Heart starring Lacey Chabert, the CBS series Criminal Minds starring Joe Mantegna, Hawaii 5-0 starring Alex O’Loughlin and Scott Caan, Mom starring Allison Janney, The Crazy Ones with the late Robin Williams, as well as Chasing Life with Marion Ross for ABC Family and the TBS primetime series Men At Work. He and starred opposite Markie Post in the Lifetime telefilm Christmas On The Bayou. Asner returned to Broadway in the Fall of 2013 starring in the comedy drama Grace opposite Paul Rudd, Michael Shannon and Kate Arrington, written by Craig Wright and directed by Dexter Bullard. He’s also been touring the country as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the critically acclaimed one man show FDR for over 5 years.

One of the most honored actors in the history of television; Edward Asner has been the recipient of seven Emmy Awards and 16 nominations, as well as five Golden Globe Awards and served as National President of the Screen Actors Guild for two terms. He was inducted into the TV Academy Hall of Fame in 1996.  Asner received the Ralph Morgan Award from the Screen Actors Guild in 2000, presented periodically for distinguished service to the Guild’s Hollywood membership.  In March 2002, he was again honored by The Guild as the 38th recipient of the prestigious Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment, presented annually to an actor who fosters the highest ideals of the profession.

With more than 100 TV credits, which include starring in the series Off the Rack, The Bronx Zoo and Thunder Alley, his numerous guest appearances also include roles in Curb Your Enthusiasm, ER, Arliss, The Practice and a recurring role on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip.  Besides commercials and numerous books on tape, he has lent his voice to popular cartoon shows such as The Simpsons, Spiderman and Boondocks. Asner’s dozens of motion pictures include They Call Me Mister Tibbs!, Fort Apache the Bronx, JFK, and the European production of Giovanni XXIII – the highest rated television mini-series in the history of Italian TV as well as the box office hit, Elf with Will Farrell and James Caan. Asner has done several Hallmark movies and was nominated for another Emmy for The Christmas Card in addition to his Emmy nominated guest appearance on CSI/NY.

Named “One of the Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” by MovieMaker Magazine, the Long Island International Film Expo is one of Long Island’s most prestigious film festivals, screening approximately 150 independent films during its weeklong run. The Long Island Film/TV Foundation, a not-for-profit, is also the foremost group providing support to the film/TV and commercial industries on Long Island, and along with Asner will be honoring several other noted professionals in the film/entertainment/media industries this year including Angela Anton (Anton News – Humanitarian Award), Robert Clohessy (Actor- Blue Bloods – Creative Achievement Award), Sal Rendino  (Actor – The Get Down/Billions – Rising Star Award), with more to be announced.

Last year, LIIFE scheduled 165 short and feature-length quality independent films from around the world, including many from right here on Long Island. Past successes have also included- films such as Michael Cuesta’s LIE starring Brian Cox and Paul Dano screened at the Malverne Cinema with its Long Island Premiere; Tate Taylor (Director of Pretty Ugly People), who won Best Feature and has gone on to act in Winter’s Bone, to direct The Help and the James Brown movie, Get On Up; Julian Adams who won Best Film for The Last Confederate and has since went on to direct Phantom- starring David Ducovny and Ed Harris, and Rick Bieber, who has LIIFE awards for multiple films including The Fifth Quarter and Crazy, also producing such notable films at Flatliners and Radio Flyer.

LIIFE honoring one of America’s most beloved actors by way of not only Cinema, but Theatre, TV, and his countless efforts as an activist- this year’s Expo is sure to be an exciting engagement July 13 – 21 as it comes once again to the historic Bellmore Movies, 222 Pettit Avenue, Bellmore, NY.

For more information on LIIFE, visit http://longislandfilmexpo.com/

 

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Topnotch Tennis Resort Offers ‘Serve, Fetch, Love’ Getaway Package for Dogs and Humans

May 11, 2016

Stowe, VT – For four-legged guests looking to perfect their fetch this summer, Topnotch Resort opens its outdoor courts to the canine family members with the new Serve, Fetch, Love package. Beyond fulfilling doggie duties as ball boy during private tennis lessons with Topnotch’s seasoned pros, the package pampers pets and owners alike with special spa treatments and more, from May through September.

The Serve, Fetch, Love package includes a minimum two-night stay in pet-friendly luxury accommodations, a choice of an one hour private tennis lesson or 1.5 hours of court time per adult/per stay, one 25-minute in-room spa treatment for canine guest, $50 spa credit per stay to be used toward services with a value of $100 or more, as well as a take-home tote bag with dog cookies and tennis balls for Fido. Offer is subject to availability. Rates start at $285 per night, based on double occupancy. Pet fee is included in price. The package is valid for travel from May 15 through September 5, 2016, and can be booked online here. Additional tennis services can be purchased a la carte.

The Tennis Center at Topnotch, an official partner of Adidas, is open year-round featuring four indoor hard courts and six outdoor courts, each with stunning views of the surrounding Green Mountains.  The resort’s top rated Tennis Academy offers more than 30 programs for all ages and levels of play, including a full lineup of lessons, clinics, private instruction, and more, led by experienced staff including Tennis Director, Milan Kubala, now entering his 13th summer at Topnotch Resort. Designed to leave guests feeling a sense of achievement and advancement in their game, Topnotch Tennis’ distinctive “Play to Win” teaching philosophy provides students an edge in all three critical areas of tennis – strategy, technique, and footwork.

For more information on Topnotch Resort and to book the “Serve, Fetch, Love” pet-friendly tennis package, visit www.topnotchresort.com or call 1-800-451-8686.

Set within 120 acres of woodland at the foot of Mount Mansfield in the village of Stowe, Vermont, Topnotch Resort blends the gracious charm of a ski lodge with the luxurious amenities of world-class resort. In 2013, a $15M renovation encompassed all 68 guest rooms, 9,000 square feet of meeting space and added a new concept restaurant, The Roost, to complement the locally sourced, full-service restaurant Flannel.   Additional accommodations can be found in a variety of Resort Homes. Amenities at the luxury boutique resort include the 35,000 square foot Topnotch Spa; the Tennis Center with four indoor and six outdoor courts; a state-of-the-art Fitness Center; and water features such as an indoor pool, a whirlpool/Jacuzzi, and two outdoor pools with mountain-views – one of which is heated year-round. Among the outdoor pursuits is cross-country and downhill skiing, mountain biking, hiking and horseback riding. One of members of the MetWest Terra Hospitality collection of boutique hotels, Topnotch Resort is a AAA Four-Diamond property.

 

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