Art & Music

See Cirque du Soleil—For Free

Want to see Cirque du Soleil? A single ticket to a live performance of the impossibly acrobatic dancers will set you back as much as £85 in London. You’ll have to part with S$148 in Singapore. In Las Vegas, you’ll pay $359 for a center seat vaguely close to the front of the stage. But in Quebec City, Canada you’ll pay C$0. At current exchange rates, that works out to US$0, €0 or ¥0.

And there’s no gimmick. You don’t have to win a contest, hear a sales pitch for a timeshare or creatively acquire someone else’s ticket. Anyone can show up at a Cirque du Soleil performance in Quebec City and watch it—for free.

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The Hill of Crosses

The Kryziu Kalnas (“The Hill of Crosses”) in northern Lithuania might be the world’s most spontaneous unusual man-made attraction. No one owns it. No one runs it. No one even knows how it came to be.

What is known is this: For as long as anyone can remember, there’s been a 10-meter high mount of earth near the town of Šiauliai that’s been covered in crosses.

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Museums for Orphaned Letters

One day you’re in. The next day you’re out.

Heidi Klum’s golden rule of Project Runway fashion is also the reality for the characters that comprise signs. One day you are an L or an R proudly pointing the way towards an attraction along with your fellow letters. The next day you are discarded.

Usually old signs end up in landfills or incinerators. But an especially lucky, and especially artistic, few have their letters go on display in museums. There people look at them not for any direction they can provide but for the works of art that they are.

Here’s a review of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite unusual typography museums:

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Dr. Sketchy’s School of Anti-Art

Imagine a drawing class and you probably conjure an image of a studious group of experienced artists silently sketching a bowl of fruit whilst a demanding teacher paces back and forth whispering criticism to students.

If you were to take that image and replace the studious group of experienced artists with a fun gaggle of drinkers who might not have drawn anything since kindergarten, and then were to substitute the whispering teacher with an gregerous social director, and then were to swap out the bowl of fruit for a corseted madam doing a dance routine inside a steel cage, then you’d have a vague picture of what it’s like taking a class at Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School.

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The Barry ManiLOVE Store

When it’s time to do a special something for your special some one forget about giving yet another set of shedding flowers and stale chocolates. Spot Cool Stuff recommends a fab new tactic d’amour: skip the Whitman’s sampler and use the cash to get you and your baby to Vegas. Because nothing says love like Barry Manilow, friends.

There’s a little ‘Copacabana’ at the core of every good love story (the passion! the danger! the ostrich feathers!). And thankfully, the Paris Las Vegas Casino & Resort knows it.

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Tintin Goes to the Museum

Brussels might be best known as the center of European Union bureaucracy and as the namesake for terrible tasting sprouts but it is also a Mecca for comic book lovers. Cartoons are arguably the Belgian national art form and world-renoun characters such as The Smurfs, Asterix, Blake and Mortimer— and, of course, the Farting Pig—have their origins in this tiny country.

The most influential, and perhaps the most famous, of the Belgium comic characters is Tintin, an inexplicably young journalist with an even more inexplicable of hair who, together with his dog Snowy, explores the world sans visa problems solving mysteries and engaging in swashbuckling adventures. He made his debut in the politically-tinged Tintin in the Land of the Soviets in 1929. From there Tintin’s globetrotting took him to such places as Tibet, the Congo and even the moon.

In the summer of 2009 a new museum opened dedicated to Tintin and his creator, Georges Rémi. The appeal of the museum to fans of comics is obvious. For lovers of travel and architecture there’s lots to like too.

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5 Fabulously Odd Oregon Roadside Attractions

Oregon’s natural beauty has been celebrated ever since Lewis and Clark first paved the way. With its epic coastlines, towering redwoods and undulating sand dunes, it’s no wonder manifest destiny brought Americans here.

But underneath Oregon’s beautiful exterior, lurks a completely different world. A world of bizarre, off-beat and downright odd roadside attractions that will challenge, disrupt and send askew any previous opinions you held about the state. Here are five of the best:

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China’s Amazing Snow & Ice Festival

Two phrases sum up Harbin China’s Snow & Ice Festival: Wow and I can’t feel my toes.

Each year the far northeast of China the city of Harbin holds this famous winter festival. Artisans from all over the globe come to carve gargantuan works of art out of blocks of ice and mountains of snow. The theme of the festival changes yearly but, no matter the theme, the sculptures will have you ohhing and awwing.

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