Hippie-Inspired Pop-Up Hits Vancouver, Canada

Swallow Tail Secret Supper Club is well known for hosting lavish and unusual pop-ups. And to help welcome the warm weather, they are hosting a “Summer of Love” pop-up restaurant on June 3.

The hippie-inspired event will feature a multi-course feast of Persian delicacies, and guests are asked to wear pieces like flowing skirts, flowers in their hair, wooden beads, linen and sandals. When you arrive to the designated park, you can relax on your blanket in the sun until you hear the music beckoning you to the hidden lounge. Follow it, and you’ll be greeted with soft silk pillows for a Roman dining experience, and spiked tea made with elderflower, fir tip and arbutus bark. There will also be a wine pairing upon request.

“The energy of spring is a perfect match for the lively flavours of the Middle East,” says Robin Kort, owner of Swallow Tail Secret Supper Club. “There are so many exciting flavours: tart, spicy, refreshing, floral and sweet.”

As usual, the location of the pop-up will not be disclosed until after the booking is made.

Tickets are $79 per person. Email robin@swallowtailtours.com for more information or to book.

Austin cabin called ‘Austin Heaven’ really is like Heaven

There’s a cedar log cabin tucked away on a 20 acre plot of land just south of Austin called Austin Heaven. I first discovered the property through Airbnb. The photos depicted a gleaming hand-built cedar cabin with modern appliances. I closed my eyes for a moment to relish the scent of cedar, a scent I’ve taken enough deep gulps of in recording studios to have it imprinted in my mind. As I clicked through the photos on the listing, I became increasingly interested in this cabin and land not solely for leisure, but for my own wedding.

%Gallery-148320%I contacted Melissa, who owns the cabin alongside her husband Mike, to arrange a visit. I drove out of Austin going south on Loop 1 and as soon as the 1 became Highway 45, the scenery began to change. The sky was wider and pine needles had collected on the grounds we passed leading up to the stoplight at the end of 45. A dirt road from that intersection wound us around to our final right-hand turn, a dusty one that pulled us into the parking lot for Austin Heaven. I got out of the car and immediately noticed a change in the air; a change that I could inhale. Again with the pine–the needles were beneath my feet and the scent was pungent in the air. Pines aren’t noticeably common in Central Texas, so this landscape struck me as a rarity.

I could immediately see that the cabin was artfully constructed. Thick logs lined the exterior walls. A long and narrow porch on the front side of the cabin faced a dense tree and shrub gathering. An over-sized porch helped transition anyone exiting from the back door out onto the 20 acres of land awaiting. Sprinkled with trees throughout, the expanse of land was mostly flat and cleared at first, but it became more dense the farther back into it I trekked. Melissa led me through a path toward the property’s pond, which she told me is normally filled with water during non-drought times. This initial visit was during the dead of summer, in the peak of a drought. There wasn’t a drop of water in the pond, and that wasn’t at all to my surprise.

The cabin’s interior was sleek and simple, not overdone, but not lacking in comfort, either. New appliances in the kitchen were immediately juxtaposed against the rustic aesthetic of the cabin. A projector and pull-down screen added a nice touch to the loft and high-ceiling area. The ‘yoga’ room in the cabin was incredibly peaceful and filled with natural light. The beds in both the bedroom downstairs and the loft were plush. A claw-foot tub and vinyl record player were pleasant surprises. I was charmed by the cabin, the property, and Melissa in no time. Melissa, a yoga therapist, graciously listened to my ideas for my wedding. Her enthusiasm about my wedding ideas was the deal-maker for me. She was open-minded and flexible throughout the entire process. I was simultaneously impressed and put at ease by her.

The wedding itself, despite all of the hard work, was a no-brainer. Many of our friends had flown in from NYC or other large cities and the property itself was all the entertainment that they needed. The stars were bright in the night sky and all was quiet outside of our music and conversations. You don’t need much else when you have all that’s included with renting Austin Heaven and you don’t have to expect sky-high prices when renting the cabin and property, either. All of it can be rented for less than $200 a night (for now).

I’ve learned through my travels that vacation rentals like this one aren’t always easy to find. Sometimes the accommodations are right, but the property is wrong. Sometimes the property is a dream, but the property owner is a nightmare. Sometimes the location is perfect as a standalone destination, but the destination itself is too far from anything else to make the trip worthwhile. Upon finding all of the right things in one concise package, I felt it my duty to disclose my Austin Heaven secret with you.

Secret supper prohibition-era restaurant pops up in Vancouver, Canada

For three evenings only, Swallow Tail Canada will once again be hosting their Secret Supper Soiree in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. While guests can expect a classy 1930’s-inspired underground bar, murder mysteries, transportation in a timeless double decker bus, and tastings of wines that are not available on the market, they will not know the location of the speakeasy until the night of the event.

The creators of the prohibition-era pop-up event are telling guests to meet at Pacific Central Station and from there will be picked up and taken backwards in time. To make the event more realistic, participants are also being asked to wear their fanciest speakeasy attire. Once at the secret location, a five-course tasting menu by Chef Andrea Carlson of Bishops as well as one Pims Cup and three wine tastings from local wineries will be offered.

Says Chef, Sommelier, and Owner of Swallow Tail Canada, Robin Kort, “I used to be a swing dancer, so I’m really enamored by the 1930s and that whole speakeasy era. It embodies what Swallow Tail is, too. It’s underground, exclusive, and secret. I like that vibe.”

Dates for the event are January 21, January 28, and February 4 at 4PM. Click here to purchase tickets.

The Nomading Film Festival goes west

As many Gadling readers probably remember, the first ever Nomading Film Festival took place on June 11, 2011, in New York, celebrating travelers who film and not just filmmakers who travel. The debut was a huge success, with over 200 attendees coming out to enjoy feature travel films, live performances, food, drinks, games, and win over $8,000 in prizes. Now, west coast travelers and film fanatics will be able to experience this unique festival too, as NoFF goes to Portland, Oregon, on January 28.

Winter Recess, as the event is being called, will feature the same films as NoFF 2011 as well as the premier of “One Foot”, which shows NoFF co-founder Bassam Tarazi‘s journey to Everest Base Camp. Not only should you attend Winter Recess to see authentic travel films, but also for the price, as tickets are only $9 and include a round of beer. The event will take place from 12-4 PM at the McMenamins Mission Theater and will be followed by an after party that will benefit various charities, including Teen Living Charities, ProjectExplorer, 100cameras, and the Matador Youth Scholarship Fund.

To buy your ticket, click here. For a preview of what to expect, watch this video from NoFF co-founder Joshua Wolff. And don’t worry east coasters, the Nomading Film Festival will be back in New York on June 23, 2012.

Pipilotti Rist’s innovative video installations give audiences an “Eyeball Massage”

Don’t worry, nobody will physically be touching your eyeballs. However, you will be taken on a unique sensory journey through dazzling color, perceptible images, and hypnotic music.

Until January 8, 2012, the work of Swiss Artist Pipilotti Rist will be featured at the Hayward Gallery in London in “Eyeball Massage“. Through this exhibit, viewers can see Rita’s work from the 1980’s to the present, including videos, sculptures, and installations. Spectators will see a lot of experimental video work that plays around with color, noise, and bleeds. With sculpture, Rist combines everyday objects with video and gives them life as well as a chance to tell their stories. Moreover, her art installations are not just splashes of color and pictures to look at but instead a parallel dimension that visitors will become immersed in. According to the event page, “Rist wants the exhibition to provoke feelings of energy, serenity and enlightenment, and hopes that her work makes visitors smile”.

For a preview of what you can expect check out this video. While there’s something a bit eerie and overwhelming to it, you can also appreciate the creativity behind it: