Bryan Adams Opens Photography Exhibition In Düsseldorf

Bryan AdamsFor any child of the ’80s, Bryan Adams is that clean-cut Canadian rock star with a steady string of hits. While he’s not as big as he once was, he’s still making great music and going on tour.

What many people don’t know about him is that he’s also an accomplished photographer. He’s been published in magazines such as Esquire and Interview and has done numerous shows at top venues such as the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Adams takes advantage of his superstar status to get other famous musicians to pose for him. Check out the image of Amy Winehouse below. He’s also photographed Queen Elizabeth II and got that image used on a Canadian postage stamp.

Now his latest show has opened at the NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf, Germany. “Bryan Adams – Exposed” features a cross-section of his best work from the past couple of decades. Some 150 portraits of artists are included as well as numerous new works. Some of his newer images go beyond his circle of superstar friends to portray wounded British servicemen from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, like this image of Private Karl Hinett.”I took my first photos with a small camera that belonged to my parents,” Adams said in a press release issued by the NRW-Forum. “The subjects of my first film, in the mid 1970s, were concert photos of the Beach Boys, parking lot walls, my girlfriend in the bathroom, my Mom, my piano, just everyday things, but exactly the things I could see around me.”

“Bryan Adams – Exposed” runs until May 22.

[Images copyright Bryan Adams]

Bryan Adams, Amy WInehouse

A Tour Through The World’s Longest Bar In Düsseldorf, Germany

Taking advantage of a long layover in Düsseldorf, Germany last month, we took a team into the city to check out the reported longest bar in the world.

Bad news? It’s not an actual bar but actually a series of bars linking across several miles of real estate in downtown Düsseldorf.

Good news? It involves copious amounts of drinking and bar-related activities, including but not limited to: stag and hen parties, greasy food, massive steins of beer, shots and no shortage of laughing and shouting. Take a look at our trip above.

The top 50 cities for quality of life

If you don’t live in Vienna, you might consider moving there.

A new survey lists the top 50 cities for quality of life and Vienna comes out as number one. The survey, conducted by Mercer, a human resources consultancy firm, looked at criteria such as infrastructure, economy, housing, recreation, personal and press freedom, and education. Vienna certainly scores high in all that, plus it has historic neighborhoods and cool clocks. It’s just a shame the Toilet Bar had to change its decor.

The top ten cities are:

Vienna
Zurich
Geneva
Vancouver
Auckland
Dusseldorf
Frankfurt
Munich
Bern
Sydney

European cities dominate the top fifty. No U.S. city shows up until number 31 (Honolulu) followed by San Francisco (32), Boston (37), Chicago and Washington (tied at 45), New York City (49) and Seattle coming in surprisingly low at 50. Canada did much better with Vancouver at number 4, Ottawa at 14, Toronto at 16, Montreal at 21, and Calgary at 28.

Mercer actually surveyed 221 cities, with Baghdad scoring dead last. Go figure. They also listed the most eco-friendly cities, with Calgary taking the top spot.

Image of Cafe Central, Vienna courtesy Andreas Praefcke via Wikimedia Commons.

German airline to offer smoking, not non

How did this one get by me? An all-smoking airline!

Alexander Schoppmann is on the prowl for startup capital for an all-smoking airline. Once he gets the cash, he’s going to lease two Boeing 747s and run a route from Dusseldorf to Tokyo. This doesn’t do much for the few Americans who still prefer to light up, but if the Schoppmann can squeeze a profit out of this (which conventional airlines aren’t even doing), maybe he’ll export the idea.

If all goes according to plan, Smintair (for “Smoker’s International Airways) will go wheels up for the first time next year. Each plane will accommodate 138 passengers, with no economy seating. You’ll have to pay to play on Smintair, but if you have a serious tobacco jones, it could be worth the trouble – especially if you’re stuck on a plane from Germany to Japan.

Schoppmann is looking to use the upper deck as a passengers’ lounge, rather than cramming it with more seats. Smintair will be an upscale affair, so the poor and the nic-free should book their travel arrangements elsewhere. Flight attendants and pilots who aren’t interested in a smoke-filled workplace, the company says, need not apply.

The price tag is hefty: approximately $56 million. Part of this will pay for an older approach to pushing fresh air through the cabin – instead of the cheaper systems being used now. Even with the barriers, Schoppmann is optimistic. I guess the former stockbroker has some solid connections.

Cigar smokers: if you’re worried about discrimination, the hopeful founder remembers fondly the days when Lufthansa would serve a selection of Montecristos in flight.

[Via Blackbook]

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Competitours Race – Day 1 (with video)

As part of our Gadling on the Road series, Kent Wien and his wife Linda are participating as Team Gadling in the first run of Competitours, an Amazing Race like competition taking place in three different countries in Europe. Follow along each day this week as Kent documents their progress.

We arrived via train to Cologne from Frankfurt at around noon, which didn’t give us much time to brush our teeth, drop our bag off and throw up a post with video.

It was the video and post from yesterday that gave me fits. Trying to cram everything together before running out the door is a recipe for disaster, and sure enough, the browser froze, not allowing me to post anything. We finally got out the door at 2:10, 10 minutes later than scheduled and more than 24 hours after we had last slept.

I think we were running on adrenaline by this point as we raced through Cologne toward the train station.

Still I was texting with Grant, the editor at Gadling to get the first post up. He was able to work everything out, fortunately.

We elected to do the challenges north of the city. They seemed to offer more points than the scavenger hunt in Cologne, but the two cities, Dusseldorf and Duisburg involved 25 to 50 minute long train rides from our hotel, meaning we’d have less time for the challenges.

I made a shout out to everyone on Twitter, but it was Linda who came to the rescue when she looked up a few friends she had gone to school with who were living in the area.

Linda’s friend Sigrid met us in Dusseldorf with her son and we proceeded to traipse around the city accomplishing as many tasks as we could, which turned out to be everything we could do in the two cities.

Sigrid had to take her son home after just one challenge, but she proved to be a great help in pointing us in the right direction. We quickly learned to use strangers as much as possible, and I’d say we must have had discussions with over 40 people who were eager to help us along.

We sang beer songs in the world’s longest bar while drinking Alt Bier before heading off to find a statue that included references to the beer making history of the city. That proved difficult, as the locals had no idea what we were talking about.

Fortunately we found the answer in a map at the tourist board, who also had never heard of such a tribute.

We were spent. Exhausted. Kaputt.

Be sure to follow all of Kent’s posts about the Competitours race.
We went to the Japanese district to find three very odd items that aren’t related, but before we got too far, we found a fluent Japanese speaker to draw the symbols for us so we could simply point out what we were looking for.

It took a visit to a hardware store, a stationery place and a grocery store to find everything there.

We commented via video on some architecture, offering our take on the designs before heading out of Dusseldorf more than three hours later to visit the town of Duisburg.

We asked around on the subway ride about a statue in the town center of Duisburg, and a friendly person explained that this statue was rather unpopular with the locals after seeing the invoice from the french artist Niki de St. Phalle.

Finally we found a local who had the true story as to why this statue was so significant and we recorded that answer in front of the colorful piece while also discussing the contempt some had for such an expensive monument.

We didn’t stop for food for the entire day, since we were committed to finishing each challenge in the two cities. Occasionally we’d run across a team or two, and Elizabeth from another team even approached us and filmed the two of us describing the monument to beer that took us forever to find. I’m still not sure if Elizabeth knew what we had found.

We raced to our final challenge, a park that had been converted from an industrial wasteland into a recreation area and museum. Since it was 7:30 when we arrived, we could see the museum with only the lights scattered around the area. Apparently the place closed earlier than anyone planned, but we were able to walk right into the displays and get our video taken.

With an iPhone picture snapped to mark the time, we worked our way back to the station. While we were careful to walk to the park on the lit streets, all caution was abandoned as we went directly through the grassy dimly lit and occasionally forested area to the metro station.

Linda noted that this felt more strenuous than the Amazing Race because we were given the clues so far in advance that our minds were constantly thinking about how we’d shoot the next scene, make it funny and work our way to the challenge after that.

You could never take a mental break, and combined with the lack of sleep, we were approaching delirium.

On the way back to the hotel we ran into Steve Belkin, the man behind Competitours who was frantically searching for a place to make paper copies of the challenges for the next day. He looked more tired than we were, and I’m sure he didn’t sleep a wink, either.

After dinner, I went to edit and upload our 9 videos. Unfortunately, the Flip software was acting up, and I was starting to get frustrated. At one point it suggested a re-install of the editing software. Fortunately I read online about others doing the same thing and losing all their video.

I finally got six videos uploaded to YouTube directly and not through the Flip software. The last three videos I had to put through iMovie because these clips caused the Flip program to unexpectedly quit each time.

Little did I know my troubles were just beginning. Linda went to bed while I tried to upload videos by the 1 a.m. deadline. I was just going to make it, when I noticed that EVERYTHING had slowed to a crawl on our t-mobile €29 connection.

I gave up and came back at 6:30 a.m. to see if any of the manual uploads worked. Not a single video uploaded. When I tried again in the morning, the connection was much better and things started to sail.

I haven’t even looked at the challenges for Tuesday, but I’m happy to say, we did get everything done, albeit a bit late. Seven other teams were apparently in the same situation, since the standings show zero points for them as well. I suspect Competitours will allow some time for those videos to be uploaded.

And now we’re off for Tuesday’s challenges!

Read about the rest of the week: Pre-departure, departure, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 4 and day 5.