Expect Stiff Competition at The Annual International Hair Freezing Contest in February. Canada.

The annual event at Canada’s Takhini Hot Pools draws people from around the world competing for the title of the world’s coolest ’do’

Tendrils of steam curl up softly from the searing waters of Takhini Hot Pools, fed by a natural hot spring located just northwest of Whitehorse in Canada’s Yukon Territory. For decades, locals have taken to the mineral water there, high in calcium, magnesium and iron, for its therapeutic properties and warming capabilities, but more recently, Takhini has become the battleground for one of the world’s most hair-raising competitions.

Known as the International Hair Freezing Contest, the friendly tournament began as an extension of the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, an annual festival held each February that celebrates winter sports like dog sledding and snowshoeing. Seeking a reprieve from achy muscles and the wrath of winter’s chill, athletes and spectators alike would soak together at Takhini. Noticing an opportunity, in 2011, a former manager challenged visitors to style their hair into frozen hairdos and take selfies. Employees would then select the wildest coiffure of the bunch.

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Where: Pingxi, Taiwan – Republic of China
When: 10 February 2017

According to the elders of Pingxi, the Sky Lantern Festival originated in the Xing Dynasty, more than two thousand years ago. At that time, bands of outlaws frequently raided the lowland villages, forcing residents to seek refuge in the mountains. Village watchmen used “fire balloons” as signals to inform the residents that their houses were safe once again and when those hiding in the hills saw the celestial flares, they knew it was time to go home. Today these lanterns have two main purposes. One: they display scribbled

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Where: New Orleans, Louisiana – USA
When: 28 February 2017 (Parades & celebrations run through 24 -28 February)

Mardi Gras is synonymous with hedonism and debauchery, and with a motto of Laissez les bons temps rouler (Let the good times roll), it’s no surprise that this is probably the wildest party in the United States. It may be a surprise to some, however, that Mardi Gras is the official final celebration before the period of Lent, the Catholic period of introspection

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Where: Venice – Italy
When: 11 – 28 February 2017

During the day, it’s fun to wander around the ancient streets of the city surrounded by people in 18th century costumes – you’ll feel as if you’ve jumped straight into Eyes Wide

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KidsNightOut-image www.worldfairs.org

Everyone knows that Keystone is run by kids. It’s not hard to see why with activities like mountaintop tubing at 12,000 feet, the world’s largest snow fort, free daily Kidtopia events, and of course, Kids Ski Free! Check out all the fun for yourself on February 20th with the first-ever Keystone’s Kidtopia Experience – featuring a free concert with Grammy winning Okee Dokee Brothers with opening act, School of Rock of Littleton, CO. It’s the perfect time to experience the amazing family-friendly activities Keystone offers every day, with some special guests!

Kidtopia is back and bigger than ever this year with activities for kids taking place daily.  It’s a festival designed just for them, a fun-filled, kid-friendly experience, but one that the whole family can enjoy!  Explore the ultimate Snow Fort at the top of Dercum Mountain, dance to live music in the plaza, have fun with arts and crafts, go Tubing for 80’s Night, Enjoy free cookies at Dercum Square Ice Rink and join in on continuing education activities on and off the slopes.  There’s always something fun going on for kids and their families! MORE

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Henry Sapiecha

Gadget Show Live Jan/Feb.2016 LAS VAGAS NEVADA USA Video report

Published on Feb 19, 2016

Yue is at CES 2016 checking out all the hottest tech coming this year. Including incredible 8k TVs as well as a whole range of VR Tech including the Oculus Rift and Vive.

Future Tec at CES 2016 – The Gadget Show


Henry Sapiecha

Adelaide Writers’ Week turns 55 This Year 2016

adelaide writers week crowd image www.worldfairs.org

With Adelaide Writers’ Week – Saturday February 27 to Thursday March 3 – celebrating 55 years on the festival circuit, it’s appropriate that a recurrent theme in director Laura Kroetsch’s fifth program is memory, with many works probing the depths and vulnerabilities of arguably our most mysterious and vital brain function.

Best known for her two short story collections, American Laura van den Berg’s dystopian debut novel The Isle of Youth features a memory disease, while compatriot Jesse Ball’s equally unsettling premise in A Cure for Suicide involves characters voluntarily losing their memories in order to avoid bad ones. Along with Canadian Patrick deWitt and New Zealander Anna Smaill (long-listed in the 2015 Man Booker Prize for The Chimes), Kroetsch predicts Ball will rate among the real discoveries for the audience.

“He’s fascinating,” she says, noting in a conspiratorial whisper that Ball also teaches lucid dreaming and the art of lying. “He’s written six novels; they’re incredibly readable and often very funny in spite of the subject matter.”

Despite the thematic thread of failing or manipulated memories, no one’s likely to forget that Adelaide Writers’ Week is entirely free – there are no ticketed events – and for the first time, many sessions will be live-streamed to participating libraries around South Australia.

Says Kroetsch, “About 15 libraries [have signed up], including Ceduna, which is way out there. The libraries will make themselves available either for their own events or as a venue, so book clubs, writers’ groups, the curious, can come along as a group, have picnics, do coffee.”

In collaboration with SA Writers’ Centre, Kroetsch’s team is also sending out writers to participating communities, so audiences will watch live-streamed sessions with a writer on hand to continue the conversation afterwards. It’s a major undertaking, made possible by an Australia Council grant, but entirely in keeping with the festival’s inclusive, democratic character.


Idyllic riverside setting

Those able to attend in person tend to return, in part beguiled by the idyllic setting along the Torrens River, walking distance from downtown Adelaide. The historic Pioneer Women’s Garden is an inviting spread along the riverbank, with Writers’ Week taking place beneath a canopy of tall trees amidst a shaded, grassy wonderland. It’s an A+ for atmosphere before authors even come onstage.

According to Kroetsch, a whopping 54% of attendees have come for 5 years or more; the same number see at least 20 sessions across the week.

She proudly cites writer and poet Kate Llewellyn, who’s been coming since 1960 – “from when she was at university, to being pregnant, to now being a grandmother” – as a typical regular.

David_Marr_writers week image www.worldfairs.org

David Marr @ Adelaide Writers Week 2015

“It works best because it’s never gotten bigger,” Kroetsch adds. “It is a boutique festival … people have always been able to come to make discoveries and the audience really likes that. You just sit under the trees, have a coffee or a wine and listen.”

As befitting a mature writers’ festival – it was Australia’s first back when it was inaugurated in 1960 – Adelaide Writers’ Week is welcoming some esteemed Australians: Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Tim Flannery and Kate Grenville are all appearing, and poet novelist Peter Goldsworthy is curating a reading bound to pull local punters:

“Two emerging, two [mid-career] and two senior South Australian poets,” says Kroetsch. “It’s a nice way of recognising the talent that’s here too.”

The strong international guest list includes British charmers Andrew O’Hagan and Simon Winchester, the latter to discuss Pacific, his ‘biography’ of that formidable ocean; French sensation Muriel Barbery, who went into hiding after The Elegance of the Hedgehog and is back now, eight years later, with The Life of Elves; and Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen, whose book The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy, examines the lives and events leading to the Boston Marathon bombing.

Kroetsch is clearly tickled to welcome a number of Australian debut novelists, such as Lucy Treloar with Salt Creek, plus emerging stars of the short story form, into such elevated company.

“We have a lot of exciting, young fiction writers coming, which makes me really happy,” she says. “People like Fiona McFarlane, and Sonja Dechian, who wrote An Astronaut’s Life. I feel like it’s an exciting time for the young writers here. We have a lot of terrific [new talent].”

Literary sci-fi will resonate with locals at Adelaide Writers’ Week

Both Dechian and McFarlane, whose debut The Night Guest was a critical and commercial success, are attracting acclaim for recently released short story collections; McFarlane neatly dodged the notorious second novel hoodoo by writing a dazzling assortment of stories in The High Places instead. An avowed fan of the form, Kroetsch’s curatorship embraces a number of writers finessing their skills in shorts.

She says: “I’ve just read [The High Places] and it is genius. Etgar Keret, the Israeli writer, is another short story standout. He’s here with a memoir, [The Seven Good Years], but his stories are just mad and huge, huge fun.

“I always say novels are baggy monsters, but stories have to be perfect.”

A number of ‘baggy monsters’ speak to all too real contemporary anxieties: the environment, violence and the corrosion of various social contracts. Kroetsch thinks American writer Paolo Bacigalupi’s literary sci-fi, The Water Knife, speaks loud and clear to an Australian audience.


Henry Sapiecha

Fringe Festival Event Adelaide 2016 is Beyond risqué

men in line shirtless art image.worldfairs.org

The shows will take over more than 430 venue spaces (up from 376 in 2015).

Even the State Library of South Australia is getting in on the action, hosting what’s expected to be one of the Fringe’s hottest tickets.

The California Crooners Club with Hugh Sheridan features the Adelaide-born, LA-based Packed to the Rafters star singing jazz classics as well as swing versions of chart hits by Justin Timberlake, Sia and Sam Smith.

“We’re asking Adelaide to go pink for Fringe and to light up pink for Fringe. We want to paint the town pink so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll start with my hair’.”

Croall’s hair colour isn’t the only outrageous thing about the Fringe.

Just when you thought it couldn’t become a bigger beast, it’s announced that the next Adelaide Fringe (February 12 – March 14) will feature a record 1100-plus events.

The largest number of events are devoted to comedy (305), followed by music (228), theatre (151), cabaret (112) and art and design exhibitions (111).

Adelaide Fringe Festival director Heather Croall image www.worldfairs.org

With her hot-pink hair, Adelaide Fringe director Heather Croall is right on brand.

“I’m leading by example,” says Croall with a laugh.

The rest of the program is a mix of circus and physical theatre, dance, film and digital events, kids’ entertainment and special events. Two new genres, magic and interactive events, are also making their debut.

Where will they fit it all in?

Sheridan’s father Denis, a swing singer from way back, will return to Adelaide to perform at a laneway bar called the Lotus Lounge.

Other Fringe musical highlights include shows from reunited American rockers Sleater-Kinney, Colin Hay, Kate Ceberano, The Black Sorrows, iOTA and Kate Miller-Heidke.

Adelaide Fringe ambassador Julian Clary is bringing the world premiere of his show, The Joy of Mincing, to Adelaide’s Royalty Theatre on February 17 and 18.


City illuminated

In his role as ambassador, Clary is encouraging visitors to take a chance on an unknown show or artist (many of whom take to the streets or roam around the Garden of Unearthly Delights to spruik their own shows before the curtain goes up).

“My motto – in life and at the Fringe – is to take some risks,” he said.

“I’m all for sticking a pin in the program and going to see something random and obscure.”

Among the not-so-obscure comedians on the Fringe roster for 2016 are Dave Hughes, Judith Lucy, Danny Bhoy, Wil Anderson and Hannah Gadsby.

Croall has also listened to the people of Adelaide who wanted to see the return of something like the lighting spectacular that was such a hit in the 2008 Adelaide Festival (Northern Lights ended up being extended for an extra two weeks and was eventually seen by an estimated 300,000 people).

Cue Fringe Illuminations – massive architectural projections that will transform seven North Terrace cultural institutions – the Art Gallery of South Australia, the South Australian Museum and the like – into canvases of light for the Fringe’s first fortnight (February 12-28).

“We want to bring back the promenade along the boulevard,” says Croall. “North Terrace is probably one of the most beautiful cultural boulevards in the world.”

Other Fringe highlights include Canada’s Cirque Alfonse, which is presenting a show called Barbu Electro Trad Cabaret.

“They are one of the most exciting circus groups in the world at the moment,” says Croall. Another circus show, Perhaps There is Hope Yet, shines a light on climate change.

Croall, who has a background in digital technology and documentaries, is also excited to debut the Digital Playground at the State Library of SA.

Australian and international artists have created works designed to be experienced with virtual-reality headsets and the Google Cube (a six-sided moving image).

Adelaide Fringe started in 1960 as a light-hearted, boundary-pushing alternative to the more serious Adelaide Festival, which debuted that year with a program featuring symphony orchestras, a medley of Shakespeare scenes, opera, drama, quartets and the like – with many of them imported from overseas.

Unbridled free for all at Fringe Adelaide 2016

Local artists wanted a platform and so the open-access Fringe was born. No curator vets the Fringe performances.

“We create a brilliant platform and everyone can jump onto that platform,” says Croall. “We create the vibrancy and atmosphere that wraps the festival. You buy a ticket and take the ride.”

Plenty have done just that. Right from the start, there was something about the subversive, naughty, freewheeling nature of the Fringe that appealed to a wide cross-section of people.



Henry Sapiecha