Off-Broadway Comedy ‘Craving for Travel’ Showcases Travel Agents Trying to do the Impossible

Facebook/Craving for Travel

Joanne and Gary, rival travel agents compete for their industry’s top honor, the Globel Prize, while trying to address their clients’ impossible demands in an Off-Broadway comedy that debuts this week, “Craving for Travel.”

The 85-minute, two-actor, 30-character comedy was commissioned and produced by Jim Strong, president of the Dallas-based Strong Travel Services travel agency.

“Travel agents are always asked to do the impossible, and this play shows how that is done, from finding the impossible rooms to making dreams come true,” Strong told the “Dallas Morning News.” “I decided to bring it to life on stage as a comedy in New York.”

From “Craving for Travel’s” press release:

With their reputations on the line, travel agents Joanne and Gary will tackle any request, no matter how impossible, and any client, no matter how unreasonable. Full of overzealous travelers, overbooked flights, and hoteliers who are just over it, Craving for Travel reminds us why we travel-and everything that can happen when we do.

“Craving for Travel” opens Thursday at the Peter J. Sharp Theater, where it’ll run through Feb. 9. Tickets are $32.50 and $49. They can be purchased at CravingForTravel.com, 212-279-4200 or the Ticket Central Box Office (416 W. 42nd St., 12-8 p.m. daily). More than half of the shows are already sold out.Written by Greg Edwards and Andy Sandberg and directed by Sandberg (a Tony Award-winning producer for the 2009 revival of “Hair”), the play stars Michele Ragusa (who also was in “Young Frankenstein” and “Disaster!”) and Thom Sesma (“The Lion King,” “The Times They Are A-Changin’”).

“While travel industry professionals may have a different kind of appreciation for it, the script is written for general audiences,” Sandberg told the “Dallas Morning News.” “Everyone can relate to travel, especially when painted in such a humorous light.”

Russian Art Museum Hosts Sylvester Stallone Art Retrospective

Sylvester Stallone
Flickr/Gage Skidmore

The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg is exhibiting a retrospective entitled “Sylvester Stallone. Painting. From 1975 Until Today,” Condé Nast Traveler reports. Apparently the museum has already showed works from everybody else.

According to the museum’s exhibit notes, Stallone planned to become an artist before he became an actor, even taking “a course in Switzerland.”

The images and characters found in Stallone’s paintings, in a way, replicate events in his creative and personal biography. But they are not portraits in the traditional understanding of the word. Frantic form and color are used in the large-scale transfigurations that breathe new life and energy into the people who surround the artist, or the celebrated actor who is the idol of millions. In his works, the subject matter reveals itself through, among other things, the title, words, letters and symbols painted directly on the surface of the canvas.

The exhibit opened Monday and runs through Jan. 13, 2014.Previously, the best known piece of artwork involving Stallone, of course, was the life-sized bronze Rocky statue that the Philadelphia Museum of Art displays at the bottom of its stairs.

Sly Stallone - Creative Ways To Go Up 'Rocky' Steps

Venice Plans Theme Park on Toxic Waste Dump Site

Flickr/Dr. Savage

An amusement park built on the site of a toxic dump might not sound all that appealing right now, but an Italian company is hoping it will eventually become a draw card for tourists visiting Venice. The theme park is planned for an abandoned island in the city which was once home to an incinerator but may soon house roller coasters and a giant Ferris wheel, among other attractions.

The project has angered the city’s residents who are frustrated that the amusement park-like many things in Venice-caters to visitors but doesn’t do anything to enhance life for the locals. One conservationist said that the city is “always hostage to tourism.”The company behind the project, however, insists the amusement park will benefit the city. Not only will the toxic island be cleaned up ahead of construction, but the venture also will lead to the creation of at least 500 jobs. They say the project will create a better cultural experience for tourists, as a large portion of the amusement park will be dedicated to installations that depict the city’s history and the ecology of the Venetian lagoon system. The rides and attractions, they say, are necessary to pay for the cultural displays.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa Just Got a Little Bit Straighter

Flickr/Neil Howard

Pisa’s famous bell tower has just lost a little bit of its lean, according to a new report by researchers. The Italian tower, which has been tilting perilously for more than 800 years, has straightened by 2.5cm (1 inch) since 2001 thanks to a massive restoration project.

The Tower of Pisa has been leaning to one side pretty much from the beginning-the tower took nearly two centuries to build and it was obvious from the start that things were a little off kilter.

By the early 1990s, the tower was leaning nearly 18 feet, and each year, the tower was tilting more and more, with the incline increasing by more than a millimeter (0.04 inches) a year. That might not sound like much, but experts feared the building could collapse all together.It has taken engineers years to stabilize the tower, which included digging tunnels under one side of the structure to give its foundation room to shift, and attaching steel cables to the tower to keep it upright. It worked, and the tower has been straightening as predicted. In fact, engineers say that theoretically, they could straighten the tower completely. That, however, is unlikely to happen. More than 6 million people visit Pisa each year lured by the sight of the leaning tower, so while locals are happy to see the building restored, they’re not eager to see it straightened anytime soon.

Haunted Hotels Are In Full Swing

If luxury horror is your thing, look no further than haunted hotels this Halloween. As rounded up in a spread on USA Today, several hotels across the country are incorporating their own tales from the crypt into their businesses this time of year. A couple examples of haunted hotels participating in the spooky season:

The Biltmore Coral Gables in Miami has been everything over the years from a speakeasy during Prohibition to a hospital ward for World War II soldiers to the murder scene of a gangster. Guests have complained of visions and other kinds of ghostly disturbances-including getting dropped off at the 13th floor form the elevator despite the button not being pressed-since the building reopened as a hotel in the 1980s.The Bourbon Orleans Hotel in New Orleans once served as a ballroom and theater, but was then turned into a girls’ school, orphanage and medical ward. Guests routinely complain of hearing voices that sound as though they belong to children.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And if you can’t convince them your hotel isn’t filled with ghosts, convince them of the opposite instead.

Halloween Destinations
More on Halloween