20081017

Harvard Art Museum gets huge grants

Anyone who thinks they've seen everything there is to see at the Harvard Art Museum better think again.

The Cambridge, MA, museum has received a $45 million donation and 31 works by leading modernist and contemporary painters, a gift from Emily Rauh Pulitzer. She was a curator at the museum and wife of the late Joseph Pulitzer Jr., grandson of the famous newspaper publisher. Presently, she is a member of the Board of Overseers.

University officials said the donation includes painting by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, and Barnett Newman. The monetary contribution is the largest financial gift ever to the museum.

In addition, the university announced 43 other modern and contemporary works donated by the family between 1953 and 2005. Those works, never formally announced, include paintings by C├ęzanne, Monet, and Picasso.

Museum officials also said that the financial support of the Pulitzers has allowed it to purchase 92 works of art over the past few decades.

Among the latest donations is Picasso's "Harlequin" (above, an oil on canvas painted in 1918. For a full list of the donations, go here.
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Hotel boom may be a bust, except for you

A change is looming in the U.S. hotel industry that may work to the advantage of bargain-seeking travelers.

A new study by PKF Hospitality Research says demand for hotel rooms will contract for the next two years. Couple that with the forecast of a combined net increase in 2008 and 2009 of nearly 275,000 new hotel rooms compared to year-end 2007 should lead to lower occupancy rates and an improvement in rates and special packages to make up for that.

Reports by Smith Travel Research show three consecutive years of fewer accommodated room nights for the average U.S. hotel.

"Because of the extended slowdown of the U.S. economy, compounded by the negative consequences stemming from airline capacity cutbacks, we are now forecasting a 0.2% decline in lodging demand in 2008, followed by another loss of 1.1% in 2009," said Mark Woodworth, president of PKF Hospitality Research. "According to data from Smith Travel Research, this is the first time since 1988 that the U.S. lodging industry will experience two consecutive years of decline in lodging demand.

"With supply and demand moving in opposite directions, the typical hotel manager will not be able to maintain their aggressive approach to raising room rates," Woodworth said.

Occupancy at U.S. hotels continued to fall in the first week of September although room rates remained steady, according to Smith Travel Research. That means occupancy dropped 7.3% year-over-year to 54.3%. The industry's average daily rate grew 1.2% to $100.73.
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Cocktails as theater

The Enzian Theater in Maitland, FL, near Orlando, is known for its Florida Film Festival events and its status as a non-profit, fulltime cinema for first-run independent and international films, classic revivals, documentaries and select family entertainment.

Now it will be known for unique cocktails as well.

A new outdoor bar and restaurant is scheduled to debut Sunday at the theater. The Eden Bar, with a biblical Garden of Eden theme, is a 2,000-square-foot, 70-seat restaurant and bar that will feature Viennese specialties with original cocktail creations, according to a news release.

Among the drinks: America’s only Mojito served with pre-Cuban embargo rum and a Manhattan prepared with Prohibition-era bourbon.
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