Catch an Expeditious App and Put It In Your Pocket!

Geolocation is integrated into Fodor's City Guide apps.

Six cities have updated wanderlusting apps from Fodor’s Travel, who has announced the re-launch of their City Guide apps for iPhone and iPad (Nook and Android versions are in the works). The free apps now integrate partner functionality from Expedia, OpenTable and Ticketmaster, and are available for New York City, Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona and San Francisco. They offer geolocation features and interactive offline maps, which are powered by developer Red Foundry’s new Fusion Platform, the world’s first network uniting app developers and publishers with service providers.

Travelers can book hotels through the Expedia Affiliate Network, make dinner plans with OpenTable, and buy show and concert tickets through TicketsNow, Ticketmaster’s resale marketplace. The geolocation features allow sojourners to see what is nearby by interest—categories include what to see, what to eat, shopping, nightlife/arts, and where to stay.

Arthur Avenue in the Bronx is a trendsetter's alternative to Little Italy in Manhattan. Photo by Paul Clemence.

I decided to take the New York City app for a test drive on my iPad, and it nailed my location quickly. I agreed with many of the “what to see” listings it put up, several of which I would recommend for tourists visiting NYC who want more than the usual suspects of places to see. One of which was Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, which my pal and architectural photographer Paul Clemence has photographed so eloquently, as the above photo proves.

Fodor's City Guide Apps Offer OpenTable Reservations.

The “what to eat” suggestions were a bit all over the place but I did ask for the best recommendations in New York City without determining a culinary style, and the fact that they could narrow it down as tightly as they did impressed me! Shopping brought up everything from Betsey Johnson in SoHo to Beads of Paradise in the Flatiron District and the Bedford Cheese Shop in Brooklyn, which I have frequented (and give the app a high five for referencing).

The oh-so-edgy tiki bar Painkiller wasn’t listed under “Nightlife & the Arts” (though I’ll admit, it would probably cause anyone who is less than an intrepid traveler to freak out when standing on the street in front of the bar’s address and see no discernable sign of a party until someone entering or exiting opened the graffiti panel serving as the venue’s door)-steamy! Pegu Club is there—excellent sourcing by featuring this mixology-driven venue, Fodor’s.

The Lower East Side has its own version of a hip, Parisian cafe for writers and filmmakers to hang.

Kudos to the travel experts for listing the Pink Pony on the Lower East Side. Any café with a mural of Arthur Rimbaud on the wall and a tagline like “Café Littéraire & Ciné Club” is high on my “kicky and quirky venues” list, which we locals pride ourselves in compiling for those times we want something out-of-the-ordinary. The Field Notes section is great—the perfect place for accumulating the lists you’d like to share with friends who will be visitng the same city or for resourcing your highlights the next time Hērmēs, the god of travel, wings you to the same town.

Sax in the City has only one request of the developers: I would like to have seen an easier search function for places by name. Those of us who travel frequently, especially travel journalists who are writing about cities, often go armed with recommendations for venues to experience. This app only allows search by previously determined categories unless it’s not obvious and if it’s not obvious to me someone using this level of technology for the first time wouldn’t likely find it. That said, these apps are definitely well worth the time it takes to download them. Off I go to Paris (if only)!


Sax & the City: the Musical

Dead Can Dance lead singers Brendan Perry & Lisa Gerrard.

Sax in the City is stuck at the computer today so I thought I’d throw a question out to those of you who find yourselves in the same situations. I’m working on the last four chapters of a book project I’ve been writing for a client for the past several years (chapter 19 is coming along nicely and chapter 20 should be finished by the end of the day).

The book is an intense one, about an American family captured and tortured in Nicaragua in the 1970s during the insurgency there. I find I need some music to get me through the tough material but when I write, it’s tough for me to listen to music with lyrics (or at least English lyrics that I can understand) because they distract my mind from the words I need to be putting on the page.

This means I’ve cultivated a number of instrumental playlists that whisk me along during the process, one of which is Dead Can Dance. I especially like their album “Spiritchaser,” but “Toward the Within” is also an excellent one.

Below is their “Rakim,” a song from the latter album. I hope it brightens your weekend a bit. I’d love to know your favorite playlists for weekends stuck at your desk (or weekdays for that matter). If you’re lucky enough to be out roaming, what’s blasting through your earphones right now?


How Deluded Can You Be?

Laurie Anderson is one with the violin

Laurie Anderson is one with the violin

Sax in the City was out and about last night, trekking with good pals Susan Wilber and Sarah Frazier to the Harvey Theater last night to see Laurie Anderson perform Delusion as part of the Brooklyn Art Museum’s 2010 Next Wave Festival. “What are the last words you say before you turn to dirt?” Anderson intoned during the hour-and-a-half-long meditation on life and language that was originally commissioned by the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad and the Barbican Bite 10 Festival in London.

In her Brooklyn incarnation of the production, Anderson held sway over the audience with her hypnotic voice; explosive visual effects; emotionally charged content and sometimes volatile, sometimes haunting music.

The petite performer shepherded everyone through a jostling journey that extended from Kierkegaard’s premise that life is more interesting lived backward to a riff on how women can always get away with playing the “crying card”; something we are due, she remarked, because we are constantly losing our last names. “Marriage, divorce, marriage,” she chanted, noting how the lost last name that once established our identities becomes the ubiquitous password. “When men pull out the crying card, it’s [pause] awkward!” she crooned.

There was an archetypal resonance to the material: “What happens when a man outlives his god?” she asks; and the performance was littered with death. “They say you die three times,” she parries at one point: “when your heart stops; when you’re buried or cremated; and the last time someone says your name.” There were tears in the audience as she careened toward the end of the performance, her last entreaty a question for her mother: “Did you ever really love me?” The visual effects were stunning—dwarfing her as she moved about the stage segueing from voice to violin back to voice.

I’ve been a fan of hers since the 1980s and still listen to her album “Strange Angels” so it was a blessing to see her perform in person.


The Little Black Frame

It’s Sax in the City here. As I’ve roamed around The Village this afternoon thinking about the adroyt salon, a theme emerged and it has me thinking that a little black frame is to an interior what a little black dress is to a wardrobe. Maybe the iconic beauty in these inspired my musings, no? Might we say this is an Academy Award-winning bathroom? I posted this from my iPhone; isn’t blogging great? (Oh, don’t worry; I’ll be pelting you with another one of my essays soon!


Oldies and Goodies: Side by Side

I happened into Olde Good Things today to see what’s in store because there always seems to be something new to see in this shop that sells antiques and “altered antiques.” If you’re a fan of patina, you’ll get a good hit of time-worn lovliness here. They have several locations in Manhattan, two in Los Angeles and a warehouse in Scranton, PA.


BeeLine II to Debut Soon

I’m at Bunny Williams’ design studio for a peek at the latest offerings in her furnishings collection, the new introductions called BeeLine Home Collection II, which she’ll launch at High Point in October. She’s been in Honduras working on the line, with which she is taking a very hands on approach, down to the finishes she’s choosing for each piece. “I’m putting together a collection that I expect to stand the test of time,” says the inimitable designer. “It will be eclectic, just as the interiors I design are.” Judging from the richness of the detailing I see in the images, the line will also have her signature warmth and gracefulness. Fans of her aesthetic (and especially those who love to visit her NYC shop Treillage) will soon be able to shop online.