Musica a Palazzo

Musica a Palazzo is essentially a way to see intimate operatic performances for less than opera prices. Not only is it affordable and abounding with insane talent from the performers, it takes place in a Venetian palace.

The performances occur in various rooms of the Palazzo Barbarigo Minotto. This aristocratic residence of the past is tucked away canal-side within the San Marco neighborhood of Venice. It doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, you should plan on arriving early just to find the right building. This may be your only signal:

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But once you step inside, you step into a beautiful Baroque scene of antiquity…

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The Wedding Therapist and I came here for a special abridged performance of La Traviata. (This is another added benefit of Musica a Palazzo by the way: the fact that performances are shorter than conventional opera). Each act takes place in a separate room. Our performance consisted of approximately 25 audience members, 3 singers, 3 strings players, and a pianist. Despite the small gathering, the performance had almost all the power and emotion of the original work. The overture led straight into Libbiamo dei calici, followed by a wealth of unbelievable vocal solos and arias. The singers brought about a cyclone of cathartic misery and drama in the most beautiful tones. We experienced La Traviata as we never have before (we’ve only studied it in music school and casually listened to recordings). It was a perfect event for getting to know Venice at its core.

Not only did Musica a Palazzo enculture us and leave me full of tears, they hooked us up with sparkling wine as well.

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Some tips for experiencing Musica a Palazzo

  • As with all travel experiences, try to book well in advance. You gain access by buying a membership card (pictured as the cover photo). Right now it is 85 euro per person. This is pretty reasonable since tickets to an opera at La Fenice may cost upwards of 280 euro. 
  • Dress up, but remember it’s still not the opera. You don’t need the ball gown or tuxedo. Even the tie isn’t fully necessary, but encouraged. The dress code was semi-formal overall. A nice cocktail dress, button-down dress shirt, formal sweater, khakis, sweater-dress, casual blazer, etc.; all of these would suffice. 
  • As previously mentioned, allow yourself ample time to locate the venue.
  • If you want seats close to the performers, arrive early. Seats are not numbered.
  • Don’t bring children. Children under the age of 15 can get in for a reduced price of 30 euro. Unless they are one of those genius kids that appreciates opera and Italian lyrics, however, they will probably get fidgety. There’s not really a way to excuse yourself from the performance without calling attention to yourself.
  • If you will be out all day, consider picking up a portable phone charger. This myCharge is a great one:

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A Final Romantic Note

Venice is saturated with historical architecture and design. Every street is picturesque and visually stunning, regardless of the time of day. Between the seafood lunches and our peaceful gondola ride, I contemplated our privileges and the relativity of beauty. What I witness with my eyes, another tastes from a spring. 

As our time in Venezia came to a close, we drank our final vin brulé. I listened to music on the train and remembered watching stars in Sedona (Arizona). I recalled the experiences that led to my life with my wife, and imagined what will follow. I visualized her hands, old and aged, and thought of how beautiful she will always be to me. 

Six Extraordinary Outdoor Photographs

Six extraordinary outdoor photographs, all by five insanely talented photographers.

Before we dive in, here’s a little disclaimer: unless you’ve been studying and practicing for years, you can’t take photos like this. I learned this after I recently bought my Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera. And don’t get me wrong, the camera is a fantastic starter instrument. I quickly realized, however, I don’t know what the hell aperture or an f-stop is. Knowledge and practice is crucial. I have a newfound respect for photographers, because it really is an art.

Here are the masterworks of the pros, in no particular order:

Elias Butler | Flagstaff, Arizona

Lightning strike the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Eli Butler is there to capture this brilliance. This isn’t his only photo to feature strikes of lightning, it’s a recurring subject of his work. Not only is it amazing that he has the timing to snap these shots, it’s also admirable because monsoon season in Arizona is relatively short. This leaves a small window to get incredible photos like this one.



#Note from Steve@HMPYG: try using the discount code SANDMAN >>>

I believe that the code is good until 7/30/2017


Sarah Alvarez | Vancouver, Washington

Mount Rainier can make the soul beckon for Washington State with its beauty and elegance. A snow-capped glory in a pool of stars, this scene tantalizes the eye with nocturnal wonder.

Raul and Sarah Alvarez were previously featured in our Nine Stunning #NaturePorn Photos article. Their portrayal of natural settings is masterful. If you’d like to take shots like this, buy yourself a Nikon D750 and study for a really, really long time.

Elias Butler | Flagstaff, Arizona

I was going to limit this feature to only pure, natural landscapes, but I’m a sucker for petroglyphs. The primitive markings are mysterious, delightfully archaic, and are representative of Southwestern native culture. Even in areas where they are preserved and featured in a touristic manner, you still experience a sense of ancient discovery that resonates within. The span of time, the larger Colossus of eternity, they dwarf you, and you’re left a lone leaf in the infinitesimal cosmos.



Frank N. Hornyak | Reddick, Florida

Bears in Florida? The Sunshine State isn’t just all gators and pelicans.

Frank ran into this furry beauty serendipitously. Like the professional photographer he is, he was fully prepared for the sighting. Frank Hornyak’s subjects are usually beautiful hummingbirds, but this deviation is a great addition.

Frank was previously featured in this #HMPYG article.

Lina Stock (Divergent Travelers) | Duluth, Minnesota

These ice formations seem unreal. This was shot in Alaska, a destination that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The expansive ice plains, towering glaciers, and abundance of interesting wildlife make way for an incredible trip.

I remember being told a brief story about a lady on a cruise ship. The ship’s destination was Alaska, somewhere this woman had never been. The ship set sail for six days, and all was relatively tranquil. Upon its arrival, the woman stepped out on deck to look upon the beauty of Alaska. She was so deeply affected, so overwhelmed, she jumped ship and plunged to her death.

So here’s my suggestion: Please do visit Alaska. Please don’t forget to take your medication with you.

 Follow Divergent Travelers on Instagram!



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Jessie Richards (#MuttCalledScout) | Alberta, Canada

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We always appreciate a photogenic dog. Scout is a majestic pooch with eye-catching features, from his gray face to rich coat. He’s a traveling mutt who is seen here enjoying the scent of fresh pine in Alberta. He has many more photos that can be mused over on his Instagram.

 

Thanks for reading! Come check out #HMPYG’s Pinterest page and follow!

Seven Nights in Cuba for Less Than $750

My latest time-killing hobby has been researching fares on SkyScanner. Though I’ve reached my quota of exotic destinations for the next six months, it’s still fun to look forward to what travels may come.

As I was playing around, I made an exciting discovery. You can book a flight, reserve a room, and eat seven nights in Cuba for less than $750. That made me, Scuba Steve, very happy.

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One stipulation (if traveling from the U.S.) is that you must venture to Cuba for one of twelve approved reasons. One particular travel allowance is for “journalistic activity.” This is an easy requirement to fill. Anyone planning to do this trip, use the contact form below and I will provide you with a super-easy journalistic assignment. #HMPYG will provide the letters and materials necessary to show that you are on assignment.

As for booking the trip and eating for less than $750, here’s how to do it:

  1. Set the search parameters on SkyScanner for the month of September. As many children are in school this month, September is a great time to book cheap airfare. I found a round trip ticket from LA to Havana for a little over $300.
  2. Search a hostel on this database. There are many that are rated “superb” for under $20 a night. 7 nights × $20 = roughly $140 for your accommodations.
  3. Eat at mid-range restaurants for about 30 CUC (Cuban convertible peso, roughly equivalent to 30 USD) per dinner. Breakfast is included with some of the hostels, and lunch can be attained with some jamon and delicious Cuban bread you buy at the market. This would leave you spending $30/day on food for dinner. $30 × 7 days = $210. Add $40 for groceries and you’re at a $250 food budget.
  4. Obtain a a Cuban visitors visa for around $60. See more information in this MappingMegan article.

Keep in mind, some hostels are as low as $10 per night. With that part of the budget cut in half, you could be treating yourself to some delectable cafe Cubano twice a day.

You would want to look good on your trip, of course. One of the best ways to look good on a budget is with shades from our awesome business partner, SunglassWarehouse 😎

What to Check Out While in Havana

Habana 61

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Habana 61 is the #1 top-rated Havana restaurant on Yelp. Servers speak English and the consensus is that the food is amazing. Some recommendations include the ropa vieja, octopus carpaccio, and chocolate mousse.

The Morro Castle

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The Morro Castle is rich with history and cultural relevance. The fortress overlooks Havana bay and guarded the city from invaders. It also held prisoners, and some were fed to sharks through holes in the wall. Its occupation bounced between the Spanish and British. As you may know from our previous article, tensions between the Brits and Spaniards were high in the 18th century. Admission is 4 CUC (4 USD).

Tropicana

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The world-famous nightclub is a landmark in the Marianao neighborhood of Havana. Though many imitations have appeared around the world, this is the authentic original. The club has included many famous patrons, including:

  • Frank Sinatra
  • Judy Garland
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Édith Piaf
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Nat King Cole
  • Tito Puente
  • Marlon Brando

The list goes on and on. This attraction is expensive, however. Cabaret tickets may cost upwards to 100 CUC.

For a more in-depth look at traveling/backpacking in Cuba, you may also check out this article.


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John Coltrane Was the Second Coming of Jesus Christ

If you ever want to commune with God, listen to A Love Supreme with complete and undisturbed attention.

The shrill passion, intensity, resolve, and grandiosity may take your spirit to celestial heights. “Acknowledgement,” the first part, orients us to the common blue-ness found within every being of humankind. The nebula of harmony. “Resolution,” the second movement, is the fusion of stellar nuclei throughout the cosmos. “Pursuance,” the third part, an urgent call to divine consciousness. “Psalm” is a final, ineffable musical interpretation of spiritual text.

Call me a romantic, but I must say that John Coltrane is the closest figure we’ll ever have to Jesus Christ in the modern world.

Upon one interview, Coltrane identified the calling of every man and woman as growing into the “best good you can be.” Self-actualization, the uppermost piece of Maslow’s hierarchy. What Coltrane did, however, was live this experience through music. He certainly didn’t live the ultimate righteous life, but he produced music that’s a miracle every time it’s played.

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After Coltrane’s death, a congregation called the Yardbird Temple in San Francisco began worshiping him as God incarnate.

A Love Supreme, a divine response to LSD

A Love Supreme was released in January of 1965. At this time, LSD use was on the rise. In 1966, Timothy Leary stated that LSD could be of benefit to mankind, and could even cure homosexual “perversions.” Counterculturists were turning to the experimental substance to find God. A behavior that Buddha himself advised against.

John Coltrane created A Love Supreme to connect with the mysterious and divine through a way that doesn’t require chemical alteration: through harmony.

Again, Coltrane wasn’t the emanation of righteousness. God knows he did his share of heroin and LSD. But Coltrane was a savior in times of spiritual confusion. He provided the medium that was there all along, but needing the right arrangement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No musician (since Beethoven) ever presented harmony in such a way that evokes universal brotherhood so resonantly. The music from A Love Supreme was purely inspiring. It was what the entire world was needing in order to advance existentially. But, like the Gospels, many will go through an entire lifetime with experiencing a single exposure.

A Moral Decline

Coltrane later went on to produce the album Om and other bouts of cacophony. With his increasing drug use, his sense of beauty deteriorated. He died in 1967. The 1980s came later, and it seemed that the general population of America lost sight of what is beautiful and transcendent as well.

What do we have now? Crack cocaine, the grave of Leonard Bernstein, Scientology, methamphetamines, bro-country, and Rob Kardashian.

What do we have to get through it? A Love Supreme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the epic spiritual poem from the album (performed musically in “Psalm”), both in visual and text format:

Source: Ramsey Castaneda

A Love Supreme

I will do all I can to be worthy of Thee, O Lord. It all has to do with it. Thank You God.

Peace. There is none other. God is. It is so beautiful. Thank You God.

God is all. Help us to resolve our fears and weaknesses.In you all things are possible.Thank you God.
We know. God made us so.Keep your eye on God.God is. He always was. He always will be.
No matter what… it is God.He is gracious and merciful.It is most important that I know Thee.
Words, sounds, speech, men, memory, throughts,fears and emotions–time–all related…all made from one… all made in one.
Blessed be his name. Thought waves–heat waves–all vibrations–all paths lead to God. Thank you God.
His way… it is so lovely… it is gracious.It is merciful–Thank you God.One thought can produce millions of vibrations and they all go back to God… everything does.
Thank you God.Have no fear… believe… Thank you God.The universe has many wonders. God is all.
His way… it is so wonderful.Thoughts–deeds–vibrations,all go back to God and He cleanses all.
He is gracious and merciful… Thank you God.Glory to God… God is so alive.God is.God loves.
May I be acceptable in Thy sight.
We are all one in His grace.The fact that we do exist is acknowledgement of Thee, O Lord.Thank you God.
God will wash away all our tears…He always has…He always will.
Seek him everyday. In all ways seek God everyday.Let us sing all songs to God.To whom all praise is due… praise God.
No road is an easy one, but they all go back to God.
With all we share God.It is all with God.It is all with Thee.
Obey the Lord.Blessed is He.
We are all from one thing… the will of God…Thank you God.
–I have seen ungodly–none can be greater–none can compare Thank you God.
He will remake… He always has and He always will.It’s true–blessed be His name–Thank you God.
God breathes through us so completely…so gently we hardly feel it… yet,it is our everything.
Thank you God.
ELATION–ELEGANCE–EXALTATION–All from God.
Thank you God.

 

Amen.

                                                
John William Coltrane
 (1923-1967)

Why You Should Consider Eating Donkey Meat

I’ve eaten some weird things here and abroad. I’ve downed raw shrimp in Mexico 🇲🇽…twice (one time didn’t end up so hot). I’ve had tequila shots with mayonnaise in it. I’ve eaten beef tongue tacos. One time, I even ate sushi from a college campus dining hall 😉

Nothing has compared in exquisiteness and delectability to donkey meat. Only slightly gamey, the meat is tender and delicious. I enjoyed it over some Italian bigoli (wide noodles).

First of all, you virtually can’t go wrong with any dish at a decent restaurant in Italy 🇭🇺. The ingredients are incredibly fresh wherever you go, and the chefs inherit a sense of pride that spans across countless generations. You may experience more conventional dishes like the one pictured here:

Buratta

As for the donkey meat, there are a couple of reasons you should try it.

  1. It’s delicious
  2. It’s better than the horse meat in Ikea meatballs

I do suggest that you work to find meat suppliers that support humane practices toward livestock. I actually eat meat very rarely, and try to limit my consumption in respect toward the animals. You are free to do as you wish, but it’s good to be mindful in every domain of life.

The bigoli al ragù d’asino dish pictured above was enjoyed with a carafe of wine at Osteria al Duomo in Verona, Italy. The restaurant is named so because of its close vicinity to il Duomo di Verona (Verona Cathedral). The cathedral is a must-see site in Verona. Here’s why:

The cathedral has been in existence since 1187 and features stunning work later added by artist Sanmicheli. In the present day, the cathedral is surrounded by incomprehensible quantities of delicious food.

Follow my own personal Pinterest account for more travel wonders, fat foods, and tips: Steve from HMPYG

Be healthy, be happy, and salut!


Steve Inganamort, MM, MT-BC, creator of #HMPYG and Arizona News Organization

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Six Signs You’re a Classy Traveler

There are essentially six signs that you’re a classy traveler. Classy ladies and gentlemen adhere to these important guidelines all over the world. They travel from England, China, Argentina, Russia. And, despite some ugly stereotypes, I sincerely believe a good number of Americans travel with this type of respect and dignity. Check the list, and see how you compare!

1. You tip generously.

In this day and age, there’s little reason to tip under 20%. Unless the service was truly sub par (and not just the server forgetting a lemon wedge for your lemonade), tip well. 

As a former server myself, I experienced a lot of gratitude toward people who took care of me. I remember people like Carl, the aging workaholic who would give a few extra dollars because I refilled his coffee often. It’s a classy move, and if you can afford to travel, you can afford the gratuity. If you truly cannot, consider street food, packing lunches, ordering less expensive items, or sacrificing that second glass of vino.


2. You research some basic customs and etiquette before arriving at your destination.

Courtesy of TripSavvy.com

The classy traveler knows that shoulders should be covered in most cathedrals.

The classy traveler knows that in some Arab and Asian countries, it’s rude to point your foot at someone.

Part of what makes traveling great is the consciousness you build after being exposed to other societies. It also requires a little pregaming in the consciousness department. A little research goes a long way in excursions. Know how to act, and the people will (usually) respect you for it.


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3. The hotel room isn’t trashed.

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My wife takes this seriously. Yes, you are paying for a housekeeping service. This doesn’t warrant a free pass for leaving a pig sty though. Not only is it courteous to the staff, it is helpful to other guests as well. We had to wait almost two extra hours for our room because a family left the place in disarray. Don’t be that guy.

Some specific tips:

  • Use the trash bin.
  • If it gets full, call management.
  • Don’t flush your pants down the toilet.
  • Save the blowing of snot-rockets for the woods.
  • Wine goes in the mouth.
  • Anything rotting should be tied in a bag immediately and taken outside the building.
  • Don’t conceal vomit. Be a big boy/girl and ask for help.
  • Dogs that can handle their s— (no pun intended) are ok. Cats are another story.

4. You rock classy travel gear.


5. You keep your shoes on.

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This specifically applies to planes, trains, and automobiles. Even if you had a pedicure last week, keep those metatarsals to yourself. If you haven’t washed your feet since packing, definitely keep that funk contained.

I spoke to a flight attendant close to me, and she revealed some of the in-flight atrocities she’s seen. She spoke of the minor offenses, like people walking barefoot to the lavatory as if it were their own home. But more disgustingly, she spoke of jamokes setting their feet up on the armrest in front of them. This is not classy.


6. You have at least one black-tie affair on the itinerary.

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You don’t have to wear an Armani suit or dress like Sophia Loren every day of your trip to breathe class. But it’s good to have at least one chance to look elegant. Even after you take the dress socks off, you’ll likely remain in a sagacious mindset.

Also, don’t take this as “I need to spend a lot of money on formal wear and spend a lot of money on an expensive restaurant.” Adapt. If you’re low on cash, who says you can’t wear a tie on a picnic? Who says a tie from Goodwill isn’t formal? 

Another note: this is not a point of condescension. There are more reasons to embrace sophistication than there are excuses for disposing your own pride. I want everybody in this world to feel good. We all owe it to ourselves!


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Three-Word Reviews of 51 Performers

1. Jane’s Addiction 

Phenomenally wild time.

2. with NiN

Poor show outdoors.


3. Iron Maiden

Best metal show.


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Alice Cooper

4. Alice Cooper

Classic and wonderful.

5. with Warrant,

Not really recommended.

6. Slaughter,

Not very memorable.

7. and Dokken

Very good performance.


8. The Decemberists

Incredible Heart cover.


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9. Stanley Jordan

Mesmerizing guitar tapping.


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Ron Carter

10. Ron Carter

A classy time.

11. Deep Purple

Rocked socks off.

12. with Dio

Band was tight.

13. and Motorhead

Amped my testosterone.


13. Judas Priest

Had crowd going!

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Rob Halford of Judas Priest.


14. Talib Kweli

Not too shabby.


15. KISS

Gimmicky but rocked.


16. Neutral Milk Hotel

Dream come true.


17. The Black Crowes

Could’ve been better.

18. Ms. Lauryn Hill

Late but great.

19. with Common

Freestyle was amazing.

20. B.B. King

An entertaining night.

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A legend, R.I.P. (1925-2015)


21. Sigur Ros

Pre-recorded tracks distracted.

22. Katy Perry

Sexy pop extravaganza.

23. with Tegan and Sara

Not that entertaining.


24. Reverend Horton Heat

Guitar on point 👌


25. Santana

A Hippie Indulgence.


 


26. Colbie Caillat

Pleased the wife.


27. Stone Temple Pilots

Full of energy.


28. José González

Very well-rehearsed.

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The gifted performer, José González


29. Motley Crue

Fun and depraved.


30. Barry Manilow

Not too bad.


31. Cage the Elephant

Singer went nuts.


32. Black Sabbath (original line-up)

Surreal and unbelievable.


33. Jeff Mangum

(In 2015) Better than ever.


34. TransSiberian Orchestra

Dragged on sometimes.

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The Pixies performing in 2004


35. The Pixies

Best reunion ever.


36. Queensryche

Kind of embarrassing.


37. The Strokes

Pretty damn good.

38. with Elvis Costello

Not as good.


39. Kid Rock

Suprisingly amazing show.


40. Ted Nugent

Greatness despite arrogance.

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Edgar Winter


41. Edgar Winter Band

Jaw-dropping solos.


42. Saves the Day

A mediocre show.


43. Mindless Self Indulgence

Raucous and superb.


44. Foo Fighters

They killed it.


45. Girl Talk

A total blast.

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Reel Big Fish in Santa Cruz


46. Reel Big Fish

Many good covers.


47. Sublime (with Rome)

Sounded like original.


48. Brand New

Pretty disappointing time.


49. Far East Movement

Glad that’s over.

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Far East Movement a.k.a. “Overhype”

50. Bright Eyes

He was drunk.

51. Dropkick Murphy’s

Exciting and interactive.



Tweet us any question you have about any of these.