Culture

The Forbidden City at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Amidst Beijing’s dense landscape lies the Forbidden City. For over 500 years, the halls of this royal residence remained a mystery to all but the emperor, his family, and those who served him.

Solitude in the age of screens.

There were then two glowing screens atop my desk; three, if you count my yappy little phone. I was a magazine editor at the time—or, as we now say, a “content creator.” Yet I spent my days not so much creating content as reacting to it.

Through the lens.

When fashion and film unite, expect the unexpected. The Giorgio Armani brand is a long-time patron of the arts, and now the company is promoting emerging filmmakers through its Films of City Frames initiative.

Next-level narcissism.

Social media is a wonderful thing. Whether it’s toppling governments in the Middle East or helping you to keep up with your aunt’s holiday snaps, there’s no denying that it’s changed the way we live our lives forever.

An extraordinary mind.

Given the serious and slightly bleak tone of my last column, I had intended to make this one brighter. Then David Foster Wallace died, at age 46. I previously wrote about Wallace’s book of essays Consider the Lobster, but it’s important to bring his work up again. He was very likely the best and most important American writer of his generation.

Still sharp.

There is nothing stale about the historic headquarters of Faber-Castell, steps away from Nuremberg in the small town of Stein, Germany. Far from the sense that historic can imply, the stationery company’s birthplace is very much alive with its ongoing advancement of the pencil.

Stairway to memorabilia heaven.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: In ancient Egypt, a pyramid was referred to as mer; translated literally, mer means “place of ascendance”. Little wonder, then, that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland resembles a super-sized glass pyramid.

Finely tuned.

Bebel Gilberto may have grown up the daughter of João Gilberto, the father of bossa nova, but when it came to appreciating her dad’s artistry, she was a typical teenager. “He’d be playing guitar and I’d tell him, ‘I want to hear something different!’ ” she recalls, “and I’d turn the radio on.”

Sending a message.

“Many contemporary philosophers say that consumerism is the biggest ethical battle of our times,” says Sara Nickleson, associate curator at the Design Exchange in Toronto, as she walks through a sea of white mannequins just days before the opening of the design museum’s new exhibition Politics of Fashion | Fashion of Politics.