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Tim Boxer


Nina Boxer
Dan Hotels' e-Dan Club

India, songstress of salsa, at outdoor concert in Tulum
India, songstress of salsa, at outdoor concert in Tulum
Mexico Welcomes Jazz Fans
To 8th Riviera Maya Festival

OME 6,000 local music lovers packed the municipal square of the seaside town of Tulum on a beautiful Mexican Saturday night in September for a free concert.

This was a wonderful prelude to the 8th annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival that will take place Nov. 25-28 on the beach of Plaza del Carmen, located between Cancun and Tulum.

Last year this massive outdoor musical program drew more than 50,000 visitors. For all information see www.rivieramayajazzfesival.com.

The free outdoor Latin salsa and jazz concert in Tulum featured the Araya-Orta Latin Jazz Quartet, comprised of two pairs of brothers; the great Puerto Rican pianist and nine-time Grammy winner Eddie Palmieri; and India, the princess of salsa, born in Puerto Rico and raised in South Bronx where she absorbed urban street music.

Cancun, Cozumel & the YucatanResources

At a press conference at Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa, the mayor of Tulum, Marciano Dzul Caama, said his town deserves an outdoor performance for the people. "We hope this is the first of many."

Whereupon Fernando Toussaint, the director of the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival, assured the mayor, "This is the first annual festival in Tulum."

Members of the Aray-Orta said they’re making something new at tonight’s concert in Tulum: "We’re combining jazz with Salsa."

Eddie Palmieri at the piano
Eddie Palmieri at the piano
A member of Araya-Orta Quartet on guitar
A member of Araya-Orta Quartet on guitar
Festival director Fernando Toussaint, Tulum Mayor Marciano Dzul Caama and publicist BrieAnn Fast at a press conference
Festival director Fernando Toussaint, Tulum Mayor Marciano Dzul Caama and publicist BrieAnn Fast at a press conference
The people of Tulum throng the central plaza for a jazz concert
The people of Tulum throng the central plaza for a jazz concert

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Fort Worth skyline
Fort Worth skyline 
Surprise Yourself With
A Visit to Fort Worth

NE of the absolutely most interesting places in America is Fort Worth, Texas.

Once it was a famous cow town built around the stockyards where auctioneers sold off millions of tons of beef while oil barons sat on the shaded porches of their post-modern ante bellum style mansions and counted their black gold oozing from the earth.

Those folks are still there but the rest of the town has undergone one of the most startling and impressive revitalization programs in the history of America. It can now lay justifiable claim to providing the finest selection of culture for the smallest population of any city in the country.

Bass Hall at dusk
Bass Hall at dusk
On the edges of downtown, multimillion dollar museums built by world famous architects—Louis Kahn and Tadao Ando—have mushroomed like oil wells.

There’s the Kimbell Art Museum where art from Italian Renaissance masters to French Impressionists decorate the walls of galleries that are people friendly, beautifully lit and graciously staffed—not true of many world class museums.  And the delightful lunch restaurant in the Kimball is not to be missed.

Across the street is the Modern for this century’s finest art and sculpture. Then there’s the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, the Cowgirl Museum and an absolutely spectacular Science Museum with a children’s section that is the finest we’ve ever seen.

All of the museums are spitting distance from each other; park once and you can take them all in.

How can a community of less than three quarters of a million, have this kind of cultural largesse, you ask. Simple: one oil rich family—Fort Worth’s Bass family—has supplied most of the financial underpinnings and have inspired friends and relatives to pony up.

Van Cliburn competition
Van Cliburn competition
So you’ve walked your feet off around the galleries. Time to head downtown and take in a meal and a show.

One of the most beautiful performance spaces in the country is right in the center of the renovated downtown: Bass Hall. All white and gold in tiers, it matches the very best you might find in any of Europe’s legendary capitals. Their yearlong program appeals to all tastes:  From Garth Brooks to Pink Martini, to Gilbert and Sullivan plus a season of Grand Opera with the resident Fort Worth Symphony.

It plays host every four years to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition; next one in 2013. Named for a local hero, it’s one of the most important international music events in the world.

Now for some food. Pre-theater don’t miss world class steaks, particularly the filet mignon at Del Frisco’s, the finest we’ve ever tasted.  Their martinis are memorable too. 

Ferre Ristorante, steps from Bass Hall, offers fine Italian. There’s haute cuisine Mexico City style at Cantina Laredo. Reata a gentleman’s club style restaurant with a terrific roof deck called after Rock Hudson’s ranch in the movie Giant has fine steaks. Downtown is also home to the august Petroleum Club. Here’s the place to find a Texas billionaire if you’re of a mind to.

Kimbell Art Museum
Kimbell Art Museum
And despite all the culture there’s still daily cattle drives and a rodeo.

If you don’t have a friend with a Texas sized spread, downtown has a range of hotels from the big commercial establishments like the new Omni, Renaissance, Worthington, and the boutique Ashton Hotel, to assorted comfortable chains.

It’s small enough to walk everywhere. There’s a lively nightlife, particularly in and around the downtown Sundance Square.

Beyond downtown the food is equally eclectic and terrific. What’s a town without a great hamburger—especially a Texas town? Kincaid’s on Camp Bowie Blvd. where the street is bricked—yes, really—has the best, and le tout Texas can be found hanging out there at lunch.

The finest margarita in all of Texas (it has quite a kick) is served at The Yucatan Taco Stand, a very popular trendy eatery on Magnolia, a formerly old street of turn of the century office and warehouse buildings recently gentrified and beloved by the hip young professionals.

The high-end Ellerbe Fine Food just down the street used to be a ‘50s gas station. Now you could swear you were dining in a five star Napa Valley restaurant with wines to match.

The newest dining action is on 7th Street where new eateries seem to open weekly—and high rise apartments and townhouses are being built so fast it makes your head spin. On 7th try the fabulous ice cream sandwich at Sweet Sammies on Currie St. Two fresh cookies with your pick of locally made Bluebell ice cream filling, $1.75.

Inside Kimbell Art Museum
Inside Kimbell Art Museum
Best supermarket: Central Market on Hulen Street. It has a wonderful food hall, the Texas equivalent of Harrods or Whole Foods, for take out—or to lunch alfresco.

Fort Worth is also home to a very fine Botanical Gardens and arboretum with outdoor concerts in the summer.

The Zoo is one of the neatest we’ve seen with a just off the presses addition: the amazing new $20 million Museum of Living Art (MOLA). The zoo houses huge crocodiles and practically every other thing that crawls you’ve ever heard of and lots you haven’t. And yes it was funded by one of the Basses—Ramona.

Now there’s a catch:  Don’t even think of being there between the end of May and the beginning of October. It’s hotter than Hades and twice as humid. On the other hand there’re more swimming pools than Beverly Hills and the air conditioning works wonders.

So grab your Stetson! Go and enjoy but please don’t tell too many people. We want it to be our little secret. For more details visit the Fort Worth Visitors Bureau at www.fortworth.com, phone 800.433.5747.


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David Boxer Focuses On
Yellowstone, Grand Teton
National Parks

15 Mintues Magazine
To see more stunning images by David Boxer, log on to www.flickr.com/photos/davidnc82 (and add your comment).

National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for Yellowstone National ParkResources

National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for Yellowstone National Park is a must for every visitor. The map covers not only the park but also Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, plus the Continental Divide Trail. It’s waterproof and tear resistant, and fits in your pocket nicely. Be sure to carry this with you. (Amazon.com Price: $11.95)

Lonely Planet: Yellowstone & Grand Teton National ParksLonely Planet: Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks opens with a gallery of colorful pictures of the area. The rest of the book is packed with maps to guide you every inch of the way around the area. Geyser country is given lots of space, as is such activities as hiking, biking and driving. Excellent guidebook. (Lonely Planet, softcover, 313 pages, $19.99, Amazon.com Price: $13.59)

Moon: Yellowstone & Grand Teton National ParksMoon: Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks is replete with helpful maps of the two parks. Additionally, it has lots of outstanding pictures to excite you for what to expect. A section on trip planning suggests places not to miss for a one-day trip, or two days, three days, one week, or two weeks. More than that you might as well settle into a tent at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. This guidebook is extensive and impressive. (Moon/Avalon Travel, softcover, 393 pages, $17.95, Amazon.com Price: $12.21)

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