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Of Ostriches And Bygone Fortunes

Cape Town - It has been a family home, a bridal shop, and now a guest house. De Avond Rust may have had something of a chequered history, but it was none of these that lured me… It was the velvet-draped four-poster bed - something which always stirs the hedonist in me. The house dates back to 1927, when ostrich barons were rubbing their hands in glee at the prices feathers were commanding on the international markets. Although it was not one of the famous Feather Palaces, it still reflects the refined lifestyle its owners must have enjoyed. An enormous oil painting by Paul Munro, featuring a dirt road leading to a farm, a windmill and reservoir all overlooked - by rugged koppies - and distant mountains, had me sitting for hours imaging all sorts of wondrous travels - .

To enter this little bit of magic, guests walk up a pathway, shaded by a rugged old tree, and pass through a front door with stained glass inserts. In the master bedroom (the one with the wine-coloured, velvet-draped four-poster bed) a surprise awaits in the bathroom. Here guests can recline in a slipper bath and watch a large flat-screen TV set. While the emphasis is on the past, there are many mod-cons. Each suite has its own charm. The current owners, who farmed in the Vryburg area, have stamped their own mark on the adjoining enormous garden. Here they have established De Soete Inval tea garden and restaurant, which has proved highly popular with visitors - and Oudtshoorn residents.

Tables on raised wooden platforms are sheltered by tent tops, giving an impression of a series of gazebos, scattered alongside a pool crossed by small wooden bridges. Guests at the B&B take breakfast here and can place dinner orders, which are then served in the main house’s elegant dining room. There is a fascinating wall adjoining the B&B, made of rough-hewn slabs of rock of all sizes, with inserts such as wagon wheels. Being located in the middle of this peaceful town De Avond Rust is within walking distance of a variety of restaurants and shops. Many of the streets are tree-lined, adding to the charm.

Which makes his reverence for this airy 1939 getaway on the west coast of Finland a surprise. Villa Mairea, designed by Finnish modernist Alvar Aalto for art collectors Maire and Harry Gullichsen, is a sybaritic retreat with generous windows, walls collaged from stucco, wood, stone and tile, and balconies facing dense pine forest. When Mr. Adjaye visited the house, open to the public, about 25 years ago, he most admired Aalto’s mastery of spatial storytelling—especially in the open living area. "It’s clearly a room, but also not," he said. Structural columns wrapped in wood or rattan evoke trees, as do the extended balusters of the showstopping staircase. Aalto’s wife and lifelong professional partner, Aino Aalto, marshaled just a few simple furnishings, letting the interior and exterior merge into one permeable, shifting landscape flanked by slatted-pine ceilings and tile floors.

"Aalto doesn’t just frame the view, he brings the view in to you," said Mr. Adjaye. "That’s a complete invention that I continue to learn from. Start by resisting the call of twig furniture and taxidermy, and find deeper inspiration in nature. As great architects do. "Aalto was designing and choosing furniture that would be cool for the coming world," Mr. Adjaye said. He believes Aalto wanted simple profiles to lend serenity and not distract from one’s ability to perceive inside, outside, near and far simultaneously. A table hand-carved in Botswana has similar purity of line. "Traditionally, we think about interiors as being empty and then filling with furnishings," said Mr. Adjaye.

The Aaltos made space for crafts the clients brought home from their travels, but just a few. "There isn’t that much here," he said. Birchwood wares from Lapland play into the arcadian theme. "Part of the space’s brilliance is the way it harnesses transparency to create multiple layers that give it a complex dimensionality," said Mr. Adjaye. ]." Cluster several for more impact. The living room’s unified design, and that of Villa Mairea itself, impresses Mr. Adjaye. "Aalto did the door handles, the lights, the furniture. He was thinking about conviviality and friendship. It was incredible. Not many architects get that far," he admitted.

Increasingly, Mr. Adjaye designs furniture for his own buildings; several pieces have been put into production, such as this low table with an undulating base—a collector’s item and an unusually sensual form for him. "I love those bell lamps Aalto used," said the architect of the pendant lights scattered throughout. In such a pared-back space, light "creates incredible luxury from a few very simple moves." Artek, the company the Aaltos founded to produce their designs, makes over a dozen lighting styles. Mr. Adjaye has studied the staircase at length, he said. "Aalto hides the mechanics in this sort of crowding of timber that surrounds you." Such sleight of hand comes in many forms. The Gullichsens likely consulted their books more frequently than we do today. "The library has moved from being a device for knowledge to this thing that enhances quality of life," Mr. Adjaye said. "I have books I just need to have near me while I’m working." Acquire this three-volume classic.

At night, while she takes a bath, her iPad comes out. She could spend hours there on Pinterest or on Etsy. She buys bullheads and wallpaper and Moroccan rugs and duck heads and a moose head. Thank you for the dresses! Go see the movie! The curation extends to her sets. Last October, I visited her in Atlanta on the set of "Life of the Party," which was cozy and loose, like one of those Sunday-night dinners McCarthy and Falcone host. "Life of the Party" is wholesome McCarthy — a joyful, mostly bewildered middle-aged McCarthy character who returns to school after her husband dumps her. This is the kind of movie they love: no political implications, relevant only in the way it tickles them when they think of some of the lines and stunts and characters.

The sets, particularly the ones on which Falcone is directing, look the same again and again because they’re populated by people who have known one another, some of them as far back as the Groundlings. On this one: Matt Walsh, who was also in "Ghostbusters" with McCarthy, now playing her husband. Mallory, who wrote "The Boss" and appeared in "Tammy" and "Identity Thief" and whom McCarthy and Falcone had invited as a guest writer to sharpen the day’s dialogue. Damon Jones, who also appeared in both of those movies. Maya Rudolph, who has been in just about everything with her. The crew is mostly the same, too. There’s Pamela the makeup artist, who has been with her forever.

There’s Sheila, the script supervisor going all the way back to "Bridesmaids," who tells stories about the nervous breakdown she almost had trying to keep track of all the ad-libbing in the Brazilian-restaurant scene. McCarthy and Falcone think they’re going to use this new assistant director again. Once they find someone, they tend to keep her around. They do what they call "crazy checks" on the people they hire. McCarthy, or a proxy, calls around and wants to know: Do they at some point freak out and lose their temper and yell at people? Are they nice even when certain people aren’t around?

When she was training - at the Groundlings, she was taught the improv rules, to say "Yes and" and "Why not? " ad infinitum until you land at the most extreme and funniest state of play. When she’s in front of these people, she finds it easier to do that, to take it 10 levels further than a regular comedian would. The freedom and comfort allows her to strip away the natural human vanity that undermines comedy as she tries out new lines and bombs incessantly. "Vanity," she told me, "is a huge waste of time and you never get good work that way." Magic happens when you bomb so much. She learned that in the Groundlings, too.

After a coming-of-age edition this past September 14-16, the festival hosted a melting pot of over 5000 local and international festival goers from all corners of the globe. Attracting some of electronic music's finest, Oasis was pleased to welcome Ben Klock, Black Coffee, Carl Cox, Derrick Carter B2B The Black Madonna, Nastia to the festival's stages. Representing Morocco's homegrown heroes were Amine K, Monile, Polyswitch and Unes, while Avalon Emerson, Damian Lazarus, Denis Sulta, DJ Koze, Honey Dijon, Paula Temple, Powder, Sasha and Virgil Abloh blew fans away with their stellar sets. Stand out live acts included Chicago house legend Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers, unique live performer Mr. G, fast-rising star Octo Octa and German techno veteran Stephan Bodzin.

Expanding their programming beyond the music, this year Oasis welcomed an on-site museum curated by The Museum of African Contemporary Art Al Maaden (MACAAL) and an immersive creative space presented by renowned Moroccan fashion designer, Amine Bendriouich. Alongside the Moroccan Square showcasing Marrakech's local cuisine, these spaces offered an authentic glimpse into Africa's contemporary scene and the continent's rich artistic history. WIth new innovations and surprises in the works, Oasis Festival 2019 will once again provide a bespoke destination experience perfect for those with a taste for adventure, quality music and a desire to explore all that Morocco has to offer. Founded in 2015, Oasis Festival has steadily proved that it is about more than just music: it is a genuine North African experience soundtracked by world-class talent. Its carefully curated program showcases not only international but a wealth of local and regional acts, which has helped bring plenty of international attention - and new audiences to the flourishing local scene. The opportunity to explore the desert and ancient city of Marrakech and all the customs and culture makes it a must for every lover of electronic music with a passion for adventurous travel.

Backstage at the Lincoln Center, designer Mara Hoffman emerges behind a black curtain in printed pajamas, rings like amulets and half a sleeve of henna crawling up each long arm. "I got them two days ago," she says, holding up her hands to show a sienna brown tat made up of zigzags, teardrops and dots. They mirror the sequin-ry on some clothes hanging on a rack behind her. She explains - that she had someone come over to ink them in her house. An hour before her show, the print-tastic womenswear designer talked to The Observer about her bedouin-inspired collection. New York Observer: Your collection is inspired by Africa. Mara Hoffman: Northern Africa. NYO: Have you been there?

MH: I have not. It’s somewhere i would love to go. I found inspiration in Moroccan rugs and tiles and Egyptian references… Camels and pyramids. Just different ways to tweak them and put them through the Mara Hoffman filter. NYO: What’s the Mara Hoffman filter? MH: I think it’s finding inspiration from different parts of the world and retranslating them. They all go through some sort of a weirdo tweaking, to become me. NYO: So what can we expect this season apart from your signature prints? Is "the eye" going to be there somewhere? MH: There’s one reference to the eye in a beaded shawl, in the last look. There’s a lot more black, which is new for us. We’re incorporating a lot of textures: sequins, braiding and fringe work. There’s also a lot of length this season. Some layers. And a lot of pants under dresses.

It’s good to be Veronica Beard. In an era of retail contraction, the lifestyle brand helmed by sisters-in-law Veronica Swanson Beard and Veronica Miele Beard is opening up its second boutique. Their new Soho outpost at 78 Greene Street is decorated by interior designer Carolina de Neufville and features banana print wallpaper, leopard print drapes, and vintage Turkish and Moroccan carpets. The boutique will carry the brand’s full ready-to-wear collection, as well as a curated assortment of goods from Hunting Season, Lingua Franca, Ranjana Khan, Commando, Le Specs, and more. Artwork by the likes of Voltz Clarke artists like Mary Nelson Sinclair, Holland Cunningham, Natasha Law, and Joshua Webster will also be available for sale. "For our retail debut on Madison Avenue, we put so much time into creating a space that our customers would feel at home in, and their positive responses have exceeded our expectations," said Swanson Beard. "We have approached the new SoHo space in the same manner, creating a store that will feel lived in and inviting to our downtown customer. While all of our retail locations will embody the Veronica Beard lifestyle, no two stores will ever be exactly alike! This summer, the brand will roll out a full line of denim and footwear offerings, and additional stores are expected to follow. "Retail expansion is an important part of our growth strategy over the next two years," said Miele Beard.

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