Author: Becca Hensley

Stockholm’s Polar Music Prize

A guy who looks a lot like Viggo Mortensen elbows in beside me at the bar and grabs a glass of champagne. He flashes me an electrifyingly white smile and disappears into the crowd. The only kids in the lounge at Stockholm’s dramatic concert hall, survey me, decide I’m not anybody famous, and turn, giggling, to glide behind Mortensen—or his twin brother—as he evaporates into a haze of Scandinavian celebrities. Here, in attendance at the pre-concert party to honor the 2008 laureates of the Polar Music Prize, I am surrounded by Scandinavian glitterati. Later, when the lights blink and I move to my seat in the concert hall, I sit right behind two members of Pink Floyd, Roger Waters and Nick Mason, who share this year’s prize with opera diva Renee Fleming. They have performed a few days earlier and tonight they join a tuxedo clad crowd to listen to Fleming, an oratory adventure that drops jaws and brings tears to otherwise dry, rock and roll loving eyes. This is the sort of “Pretty Woman” opera moment that turns everyone into an aria fan. I am in Stockholm at the invitation of Marie Ledin to attend the festivities of the Polar Music Prize. Her father, Stig Anderson, Abba’s brilliant manager and a popular Swedish lyricist, founded Polar Records and created the prize in 1989. It was his hope to...

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Moscow: Magical Mystery Tour

For a moment I am lost in a dream. Sitting at a hand painted eighteenth century table, in a gilded Damask chair that might as well be a throne, I accept a glass of champagne from a man wearing a brocaded, gold buttoned vest, buckled shoes, and velvet knickers. Venetian mirrors reflect two white wigged chamber musicians in elaborate party dresses. Their efforts at their instruments, a harpsichord and golden harp, turn the air dense with Baroque texture. Sipping, I channel my inner oligarch and wage war with whether I’d rather be Catherine the Great or Marie Antoinette, and it’s only when I look up at the two-ton, dripping chandelier and the frescoed, cupola ceiling that I remember how Marie Antoinette died and elect instead to be the great Empress of Russia. Which makes sense—after all, that’s where I am. Russia. I reign as queen of Turandot, the Moscow hot spot that took six years to build and cost a pretty fifty million to decorate in the de trop manner of Versailles where even the bathroom is a veritable chamber of ubiquitous Delft. I look down at the Bauscher custom made plates that sit on the table, take a gander at the Chinoise style décor that surrounds me and finger the Aubusson tapestries, before opening the extra large, gold-embossed leather menu before me. Maybe its my stomach growling or...

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I am Devin Galaudet the Editor in Chief of ITKT. I am asked all the time how I did it? Was it worth? Changing my life around to make travel a priority. The short answer is yes. It was really a lifestyle choice. It hasn’t always been easy but I have never regretted it. If you are like me, you might want to explore what I did to get started.

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