Bourdain to host second Travel Channel show

BourdainAnthony Bourdain of the Travel Channel‘s No Reservations will host and executive produce a new series called The Layover which is set to premiere in the fall. The premise of the new show has Bourdain spending no more than 48 hours in a city, searching out the best experiences he can in that time.

“This is a chance to show viewers the secrets of Tony’s traveling routine: cracking open the essence of each city, getting right to the marrow of every experience, and making the most out of every moment,” Fred Graver, Travel Channel’s head of programming told Zap2It.com.

Originally called 24-hour Layovers, Bourdain says of the show “unlike No Rez, you will actually be able to do the stuff covered on the show. And unlike other shows of the genre, you might actually want to.”

“These shows are not only about finding the best of every city, but they’re filled with amazing tips and tricks for where to go, where to stay, where to eat, and how to get around — as only Tony can share them” Graver adds.
Bourdain and fellow No Reservations exec producers Lydia Tenaglia and Chris Collins will also executive produce The Layover.

No Reservations, in its seventh season, continues Monday, August 1 as Tony visits the famed Spanish restaurant El Bulli, which is about to close.

Photo: @OttaviaBourdain

Related Stories


Anthony Bourdain Chats With PopEater

Bert the Conqueror joins the Outhouse Races in Alaska’s Fur Rondy (video)

In the spirit of journeying during periods less traveled, I’ve embarked to Alaska this winter. Follow the adventures here, and prepare to have your preconceived notions destroyed along the way.



Bert the Conqueror joins the madness in the 2011 Fur Rondy Outhouse Races

I need only say the name to pique your interest. Outhouse Races. “Is this event what I think it is?” That’s the question I asked about ten minutes prior to arriving at the starting line. “Oh, yeah — it’s exactly what you think it is.” That’s the quip I received in return. This is the world’s largest Outhouse Race, and it’s held annually at Alaska‘s own Fur Rondy Festival. This year marked the 76th anniversary of the event, and it just seems to get better and better. Not only did 2011 mark the addition of Yukigassen to the agenda, but it also brought in The Travel Channel’s own Bert the Conqueror. Bert arrived in Anchorage in order to shoot an upcoming episode of his show, and in addition to participating in a Yukigassen match, he also put together a team of friendlies to race an outhouse with him.

We won’t spoil the fun for you, but suffice it to say we caught him on tape recoding an introduction for the episode-to-be as well as making a lap around the bend. We all know Bert’s quite the competitor, and he definitely put his best foot forward here in Alaska’s snow. Be sure to DVR his show, too — no telling when this episode will air, but hopefully it’ll be sooner rather than later.

Psst… missed our interview with Bert at Fur Rondy? Catch up here!

%Gallery-117713%

My trip was sponsored by Alaska Travel Industry Association, but I was free to report as I saw fit. The opinions expressed in this article are 100% my own.

NO RESERVATIONS: Bourdain to push limits on new season

NO RESERVATIONS new seasonAnthony Bourdain charges back with an all new season of NO RESERVATIONS starting this Monday. In this seventh season of the Emmy award-winning Travel Channel program, Tony starts in Haiti to uncover beauty in the dark corners of humanity, a theme promised to be delivered throughout the new season.

Calling it as he sees it, Bourdain puts a new perspective on the situation in Haiti during a visit with actor/humanitarian Sean Penn in the opener February 28. His frank, unique summations, open a never-before-seen window to the enduring devastation that continues a year later.

Regular viewers are promised a different season this year as Bourdain takes personal risks leading to a renewed sense of purpose in his journey. By taking viewers to off the grid locations that challenge him with a better understanding of human existence, Bourdain probes behind the underlying stories.

Gadling readers hooked on our new series, Around the World in 80 Hours (of Travel TV), will totally be in the right mind to glean new perspectives from the intense and evolving focus of both NO RESERVATIONS and it’s host.

In Around the World in 80 Hours (of Travel TV), Gadling’s Rolf Potts hopes to “glean five days worth of travel experiences from the glowing parameters of a single TV set and figure out what the Travel Channel might be saying about how one should see the world.”

On NO RESERVATIONS, Anthony Bourdain is back to give viewers more of his trademark sharp commentary on the world…with a twist. Throughout the season, viewers will watch a transformation of sorts in the progran’s host. In one episode, he’ll travel to Cambodia and identify a parallel between Cambodia’s development and his own maturation, seeking to reconnect with this historically rich country during his second visit.

Viewers can chat live with Anthony Bourdain during the premiere episode Monday February 28, 2011 on the Travel Channel @NoReservations.

%Gallery-117465%

The Olympics finale: A great big Beijing inspired hugfest and might

Hugs all around. If you’re near someone give him or her a hug. If you’re by yourself, just wrap your arms around yourself and squeeze. MMMMmmmm.

By the end of the closing ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing, when the credits rolled in the U.S.’s broadcast version, I was once more feeling warm and fuzzy, just like I did at the end of the opening of the games. Again, I’m a real Pollyanna sometimes.

The shots of athletes hugging each other, even if they were not on the same team, (like this photo posted on AOL) or with their hands thrown upwards in triumph–or in tears–either from joy or abject disappointment, revved up emotions–at least mine. As one of the commentators said during the closing, the games do give a sense that there is hope. Yes, we can all get along. The hugs seem to prove it.

Hugs, if you noticed, were given out by EVERYBODY–it didn’t matter the nationality of the hugger or hugee, whether it was for a feeling of triumph or in comfort. If not a hug, at least a pat on the back or a rub on the shoulders was offered and accepted.

While I watched the closing, I also thought about how the performance arts of a country can reflect the cultural values of the people who live there and influence the emphasis on how the art is used.

Once again, China demonstrated the inspiration and sense of wonder that happens when people work together. The Memory Tower, the 5-story metal sculpture that scads of dancers performed on and around just like a swarm of precision bees, replicate the look of the Olympic flame and other visual wonders. Surely this was a great showing of the umph and creativity of China’s people. Get people in China organized, and there’s nothing they can’t do.

The cultural value of such performances seems to be precision and working closely together. Each performer’s moves tied to the other performers, although the performances around the sculpture, like the pop culture singers and the rock music drummers, also showed an openness to change. Women dressed in western style clothes while playing traditional Chinese instruments is an example of what I mean.

The British, from my observations, reflect something else. Britain emphasized the individuality and diversity of the people who are British citizens. The dancers around the double-decker bus were of different backgrounds. I noticed both black and white people straight off. Also, instead of the precision of the Chinese performers, the British performers took a more modern dance angle. Dancers each did their own movements, not in sync with each other, but in relationship to each other.

The result was interesting, but not fluid. The British offering was clever, like when the bus turned into the London skyline, but it looked like it was designed to illustrate what represents Britain, like soccer (football) and Mary Poppins, (the umbrellas made me think of Burt, Mary and the chimney sweeps) , more than show off Britain’s might. Although, the precision performances of the Chinese must be easier to capture on camera. The shots of the British performances were from a variety of angles and only a few dancers were captured in any particular frame. I kept thinking that seeing it live would have had a much different impact.

Britain showed off its might the most during the shots of London where Micheal Phelps was introduced to the cheering crowd there. The finale of this clip was when precision fighter planes streamed across the sky in a V-formation leaving a trail of red, white and blue smoke. People may dance to their own beat, but airplanes are synchronized. (Of course, go to Buckingham Palace during the changing of the guards and you’ll see precision.)

If the Olympics does give the host country a chance to show off its finest, I’m hoping that Monty Python and other British humor gets worked into the summer games’ broadcast in 2012.

As for the broadcasts over the last two weeks, I’ll miss the trips to China through my television screen and think that I want to go back there soon. Until then, there’s the Travel Channel, books, the Chinese grocery stores I go to from time to time, and my Chinese friends to tide me over. Fireworks will never look as good though. The Chinese know their fireworks. They invented them and have certainly perfected the art over the years.

And for the next two years, until the hugfest at the Olympics’ winter games in Canada begins, give people hugs or a comforting, or congratulatory pat on the back whenever you can. From the looks of what’s on TV, they work wonders.

For an analysis of the impact on the Olympics in Beijing, check out Time magazine’s article, “The Lessons of the Beijing Olympics.”

By the way, I am aware that the polo team guys are not actually hugging each other, but are competing. Do you know how hard it is to find an image to use of people hugging at the Olympics, even though they did it constantly?

Cash and Treasures: Digging for gems in Brazil

The last two weeks of The Travel Channel’s Cash and Treasures on Wednesday night haven’t included kids at the dig sites, a quality I was impressed by early on. Still, I continue to be hooked into this show. This week, I stuck around for the back to back episodes because host Kristin Gum headed out of the United States for points south in what worked as a double feature. Normally, the first half hour show satisfies me. The episode right after the first usually has a totally different theme.

Episodes: Digging for aquamarines, morganites and more.

What are they? Gems that can be worth beau coups bucks. Aquamarines range from dark green to a light blue, like clear water. Morganites are light pinkish. Gum found an aquamarine worth $3,000 and a morganite worth $1,481, once they were cut and polished.

Location: In the mountains and hills of Southeastern Brazil before the jaunt to Rio de Janeiro for the cutting and polishing. The first episode was shot in Governardor Valadares in the state of Minas Gerais at the Jaco Mine. The second episode was at the Rio Doce Mine near Rio Doce.

Getting to the Jaco Mine involved first taking a train and then a jeep on an unpaved road with 32 switchbacks. The bonus of the effort, besides the gems, was the gorgeous scenery. Gum was given mining tips by the mine’s owner and his son. The snaking tunnel of the mines where the walls shimmered turned up nothing, but once Gum sifted through the tailings using a large screen, she found several aquamarines. One of them was large piece that was turned into the $3,000 beauty. The others were the type you’d put in a collection and were not considered valuable.

Even though finding an aquamarine most probably will happen at the Jaco Mine, as the son said about looking for gems, “It’s gotta be hard to be good.” You’re also not guaranteed to find a valuable one like Gum did. There’s a reason why quality gems are expensive.

The Rio Doce Mine is owned by Jerry Call, an American who has mining and gems in his blood. His sister owns a mine in North Carolina with the same name. [see Web site] Gum unearthed the morganite in Call’s mine.

Even if you don’t find terrific quality gems, the variety of what can be found in Brazil is astounding. Sixty-five percent of the worlds’ gems come from here. If I heard right, 100% of the different types of gems are here.

During her digs, Gum also found tourmaline and assorted other rocks and minerals like feldspar, mica and quartz.. If you want to go mining in Brazil, the Cash and Treasure’s Web site has a link to Chang Express, a travel agent that the show recommends.

Because the focus of the show is more on what you can mine than the culture of the country where the episodes take place, Brazil wasn’t presented much more than a miner’s delight. There was drinking juice out of a whole coconut, soccer playing and eating various meat dishes that Gum found divine.

Cost of mining: $100 per wheelbarrow