Articles and Essays

Books and Special Projects


Art & Culture

In The Modern World: Protect and Conserve

In construction-mad Beijing, “development happens at a crazy speed, like a tsunami,” says Matthew Xinyu Hu, the former managing director of the nonprofit Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center (BCHPC). This was especially evident in the lead-up to the 2008 Summer Olympics. The government poured more than $40 billion into improved infrastructure, razing much of the traditional urban fabric of the city in the name of modernization.

The Olympics bore the brunt of the bad rap, but in truth, Beijing’s historic city center has been at risk (Read More…)

The Place: Napa Valley

It’s been a long time since California’s most glamorous wine region felt like farm country. Today, the area buzzes with Michelin-starred restaurants, new hotels and shops, and nearly 150 tasting rooms. Some may grouse about commercialization — to say nothing of weekend traffic — but this is still America’s best answer to Provence. (Read More…)

36 Hours in Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, the former imperial capital of Japan, is a vibrant mash-up, an ancient city electrified by the breathtakingly new. Cruise the futuristic food halls of a department store, gaping at the perfect fruit and glistening sea creatures, before zipping up to the traditional floor, with its kimonos and tea (Read More…)

Elle Decor Goes to Tokyo

Japan’s capital is a compelling study in contrasts—sprawling yet full of intimate neighborhoods; ancient yet up-to-the-minute. Here’s how to navigate its riches.

Read excerpted article here

That’s a Wrap

Packing up 900 pairs of glasses for delivery via the USPS is no easy task, but anything is possible with a little (or a lot of) help from your friends.

On a recent Thursday night in San Francisco’s Mission District, dozens of people congregated in the Southern Exposure gallery for a “wrapping party.” The event is like “going to an art opening, but you’re given something to do,” says Jonn Herschend, one of the evening’s hosts and a co-founder of the as-yet-unwrapped object in question: the latest issue of The Thing, an experimental periodical “in the form of an object” that goes out to subscribers worldwide. (Read More…)

36 Hours in Austin, Texas

AustinThe city’s unofficial motto, “Keep Austin Weird,” blares from bumper stickers on BMWs and jalopies alike, on T-shirts worn by joggers along Lady Bird Lake and in the windows of independently owned shops and restaurants. It’s an exhortation for a city that clings (Read More…)

Next Stop: Fine Art Meets Fine Wine in Napa Valley

Fine ArtIt was a crisp and sunny Saturday in Yountville, a wine-soaked town in the heart of the Napa Valley, and a steady trickle of day-trippers was hopping from tasting room to oak-scented tasting room, spearing Manchego cubes and sipping the latest vintages. (Read More…)

Photo Essay: Rajasthan, India

P1030804At first, I tried to resist the seduction.  I felt that there was something shameful, whorish even, in tourists lusting after color, pointing their cameras at a retreating pink sari, or a flash of red turbans. Yet over and over again I swiveled toward the colors, camera in hand, as if magnetized.  I was in northwest India for ten days, reporting a story for the New York Times about traditional arts in Rajasthan—a region renowned for its riotous visuals, and beset, as throughout India, with crippling poverty. (Read More…)

Save or Splurge: San Francisco

14savesplurge600.1ON $250/DAY

SLEEP Carved out of a 1920s hotel, the new Hotel Vertigo in Nob Hill (940 Sutter Street; 415-885-6800; recently emerged from a cinematic makeover inspired (Read More…)

The Skill Set

Indian artisans are breathing new life into old traditions.


If you close your eyes and block out the visual cues — the red ocher 18th-century buildings, the brightly colored bazaars, the monkeys scrambling maniacally over the dusty rooflines — you would still know you were in Jaipur, India. The country’s center of traditional craftsmanship has a distinctive soundtrack (Read More…)