Philadelphia Celebrates The Fourth Of July In Star-Spangled Style: Tall Ships, Gay Rights Celebrations & Fireworks Highlight Eight Days Of Family-Friendly Fun

A highlight of Philadelphia’s multiday Fourth of July celebration, the fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art wow onlookers along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and all over the city. In Fairmount Park, Lemon Hill is perfectly perched for optimal viewing, and those in the know head to the lesser-known spot to watch the dazzling show. Credit: Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

A highlight of Philadelphia’s multiday Fourth of July celebration, the fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art wow onlookers along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and all over the city. In Fairmount Park, Lemon Hill is perfectly perched for optimal viewing, and those in the know head to the lesser-known spot to watch the dazzling show. Credit: Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA™

When Fourth of July rolls around, Philadelphia—America’s birthplace—paints the town red, white and blue thanks to eight days of music, exhibitions, Colonial characters and re-enactments, patriotic ceremonies and fireworks. This year, the city (through the efforts of VISIT PHILADELPHIA®) amps up the revelry surrounding the annual Wawa Welcome America! festivities with Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden, the largest sailing event in North America; and a citywide celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement.

On VISIT PHILADELPHIA®’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

Here are a few highlights of Philadelphia’s patriotic party:

When the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden pulls into port from June 24-28, 2015, visitors can watch the colorful parade of sail that includes the Gazela (pictured here) and L’Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought General Lafayette to the aid of the fledgling United States during the Revolutionary War, along with many other vessels from around the world. Ships will be docked on both sides of the river at Penn’s Landing and along the Camden Waterfront. Also on tap: live entertainment, hands-on activities and a dazzling fireworks display. Credit: Photo courtesy of Draw Events

When the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden pulls into port from June 24-28, 2015, visitors can watch the colorful parade of sail that includes the Gazela (pictured here) and L’Hermione, a replica of the ship that brought General Lafayette to the aid of the fledgling United States during the Revolutionary War, along with many other vessels from around the world. Ships will be docked on both sides of the river at Penn’s Landing and along the Camden Waterfront. Also on tap: live entertainment, hands-on activities and a dazzling fireworks display. Credit: Photo courtesy of Draw Events

  • The billowing sails of more than a dozen majestic vessels mark the arrival of the Tall Ships Philadelphia Camden festival. Docked along both sides of the Delaware River waterfront will be elegant tall ships from France, Brazil, Canada and all around the globe. Visitors can tour the ships, including the L’Hermione, a replica of the French naval ship that brought General Lafayette to America to help fight the British. Also on tap: live entertainment, hands-on activities, games and a spectacular fireworks display to close out the largest sailing event in the United States in 2015. June 25-28. Penn’s Landing, Columbus Boulevard at Walnut Street; Camden Waterfront, tallshipsphiladelphia.com
Hundreds of aspiring salsa dancers dance the day away on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Party on the Parkway, one of many events taking place during Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s multi-day celebration of the country’s birthday. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

Hundreds of aspiring salsa dancers dance the day away on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for the Party on the Parkway, one of many events taking place during Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s multi-day celebration of the country’s birthday. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

  • Wawa Welcome America! kicks off with a lively block party and wraps up with the nation’s largest free Fourth of July concert and a fireworks grand finale. In between are movies, a concert by the Philly Pops in front of Independence Hall, patriotic ceremonies, Wawa Hoagie Day and more free, family-friendly fun. Various locations. June 27-July 4. (215) 683-2202, welcomeamerica.com
Some of the top names in music have performed at the annual Fourth of July concert at Penn’s Landing. The event, which draws huge crowds every year, is a favorite during Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s multi-day Independence Day celebration. Credit: Photo by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia™

Some of the top names in music have performed at the annual Fourth of July concert at Penn’s Landing. The event, which draws huge crowds every year, is a favorite during Wawa Welcome America!, Philadelphia’s multi-day Independence Day celebration. Credit: Photo by J. Smith for Visit Philadelphia™

  • Signature events marking the 50th Anniversary of the Gay Rights Movement take place over Fourth of July weekend, with a reenactment of the Reminder Day demonstrations in front of Independence Hall, a wreath-laying ceremony at the historic marker that acknowledges the site of the demonstrations, panel discussions, a festival, concerts and more. July 2-5. Also on view throughout the weekend and beyond: Speaking Out for Equality: The Constitution, Gay Rights, and the Supreme Court, an exhibition at the National Constitution Center that tells the story of the gay civil rights movement through artifacts, photographs and legal precedents. June 5-September 7. During the weekend, visitors can delve into other aspects of LGBTQ history at exhibitions at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Taller Puertorriqueño, the National Museum of American Jewish History and The African American Museum in Philadelphia. Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6700, constitutioncenter.org; various locations for other happenings, reminder2015.org, lgbt50.org
Philadelphia’s rainbow colors shine brighter than ever during PrideDay in June, International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. A fun, colorful and prideful parade winds through the Gayborhood, Historic Philadelphia and Penn’s Landing, where food, drinks, performances and more celebrating await. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™
Philadelphia’s rainbow colors shine brighter than ever during PrideDay in June, International Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. A fun, colorful and prideful parade winds through the Gayborhood, Historic Philadelphia and Penn’s Landing, where food, drinks, performances and more celebrating await. Credit: Photo by R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia™

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THE WHITNEY ANNOUNCES INAUGURAL YEAR EXHIBITIONS FOR ITS NEW DOWNTOWN HOME

When The Whitney Museum of American Art‘s new Renzo Piano-designed home on Gansevoort Street (99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014 (212) 570-3600) opens its doors on May 1, 2015, the inaugural installation will be the largest display to date of the Whitney’s permanent collection. The inaugural exhibition, America is Hard to See, presents a distinctly Whitney narrative drawn entirely from the Museum’s unparalleled permanent collection of 20th- and 21st-century American art. This ambitious display will offer new perspectives on art in the United States since 1900, following the Whitney’s in-depth analysis of its collection of more than 20,000 works, an initiative that has been underway since 2012. The opening presentation will fill over 60,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibition space, utilizing all galleries in the building, and it will celebrate the Whitney’s extraordinary new home and the richness of American art. The sweep of the collection is echoed in the building’s magnificent multiple perspectives: the new Whitney looks south toward the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, east into the city, and west across the Hudson toward the expanse of the country.

 

The Whitney Museum of American Art. View from the Hudson River, October 2014. Photograph by Tim Schenck.

The Whitney Museum of American Art. View from the Hudson River, October 2014. Photograph by Tim Schenck.

Following this distinctly Whitney narrative will be an array of exhibitions devoted to the work of Archibald Motley, Frank Stella, Laura Poitras, and David Wojnarowicz, as well as a show of hundreds of works gifted to the Whitney and the Centre Pompidou in Paris by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner.

The Whitney has been steadily building a remarkable world-class collection of American art since our founding by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1930, much of which has remained largely unseen,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director. “This transformative moment—the opening of our beautiful new home downtown—calls for a fresh look at ourselves and is the perfect occasion for us to celebrate our collection, the essence of who we are.

Led by Donna De Salvo, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs, a team of Whitney curators, including Carter Foster, Dana Miller, and Scott Rothkopf, has conducted an unprecedented study of the collection in consultation and debate with other members of the curatorial department as well as artists, curators, and scholars from a variety of fields. Throughout this process, the team has rediscovered forgotten works and figures that will be shown alongside the Museum’s iconic treasures in order to provide a challenging and revealing take on more than a century of art in the United States. This narrative will be propelled by a dynamic sense of invention and even conflict, as artists struggled to work within and against established conventions and often directly engaged their political and social contexts. Works of art across all mediums will be displayed together, acknowledging the important ways in which modern and contemporary artists have engaged various modes of production and broken the boundaries among them.

Miss De Salvo noted, “The new building is a game changer for the Whitney and, we hope, New York’s cultural landscape. Our program—a mix of exhibitions, screenings, performances, and permanent collection presentations—will demonstrate that while the Whitney remains committed to embracing the art of the present, it can now do so against the backdrop of over a hundred years of history. Our aim is to present history and artistic production as an open, rather than closed chapter.”

 

On the occasion of the opening of the new building, the Museum will publish an expanded handbook of the collection, its first since 2002, featuring 350 artists. A companion volume will explore the Whitney’s core philosophy through essays discussing the Museum’s history and the ongoing reinvention of its display strategies and changing definitions of American art in a global context. Following is a list of selected exhibitions that will be presented during the Museum’s first year downtown.

ARCHIBALD MOTLEY: JAZZ AGE MODERNIST
OCT 2, 2015–JAN 17, 2016

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Archibald Motley (1891—1981) was one of the most important figures associated with the Harlem Renaissance and is best known as both a master colorist and a radical interpreter of urban culture. Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is the first full-scale survey of his paintings in two decades. The exhibition will offer an unprecedented opportunity to carefully examine Motley’s dynamic depictions of modern life in his home town, Chicago, as well as in Jazz Age Paris and Mexico. Specifically, it will highlight his unique use of both expressionism and social realism and will resituate this underexposed artist within a broader, art historical context. The exhibition will be presented in the sky-lit eighth floor galleries of the new Whitney during its inaugural year.

Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is organized by the Nasher Museum at Duke University and curated by Professor Richard J. Powell. The installation at the Whitney Museum will be overseen by Carter E. Foster, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawing.

FRANK STELLA  – OCT 30, 2015–FEB 7, 2016

Frank Stella, Gran Cairo, 1962. Synthetic polymer on canvas, 85 1/2 × 85 1/2 in. (217.2 × 217.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art  63.34. © 2010 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Frank Stella, Gran Cairo, 1962. Synthetic polymer on canvas, 85 1/2 × 85 1/2 in. (217.2 × 217.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art 63.34. © 2010 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Museum will present a career retrospective of Frank Stella (b. 1936), one of the most important living American artists. This survey will be the most comprehensive presentation of Stella’s career to date, showcasing his prolific output from the mid-1950s to the present through approximately 120 works, including paintings, reliefs, maquettes, sculptures, and drawings. Co-organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Whitney, this exhibition will feature Stella’s best-known works alongside rarely seen examples drawn from collections around the world. Accompanied by a scholarly publication, the exhibition will fill the Whitney’s entire fifth floor, an 18,000-square-foot gallery that is the Museum’s largest space for temporary exhibitions.

This exhibition is curated by Michael Auping, Chief Curator, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, with the involvement of Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, Whitney Museum of American Art. Continue reading

Metropolitan Museum of Art Expands Modern and Contemporary Art Program with Launch of The Met Breuer in March 2016

Inaugural Season at Landmark Marcel Breuer-designed Building Will Feature: 
  • Thematic exhibition examining the fascination for unfinished works of art, from the Renaissance to the present day
  • One-person exhibitions highlighting the Indian modernist artist Nasreen Mohamedi, rarely seen early photographs by Diane Arbus, and a mid-career retrospective of the contemporary painter Kerry James Marshall 
  • New performance works by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer, a newly commissioned sonic experience by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams, and an all-day staging in the Met’s three locations of the U.S. premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s massive, unfinished electro-acoustic composition Klang
  • Interactive, participatory programs for all audiences connecting people directly with art, architecture, and design, across time and cultures

The Metropolitan Museum of Art will launch its first season of programming in the landmark building by Marcel Breuer on Madison Avenue at 75th Street in New York, when The Met Breuer opens to the public on Thursday, March 10, 2016. Encompassing major monographic and thematic exhibitions, new commissions, performances, and an artist-in-residence series, the inaugural season at The Met Breuer will enable visitors to engage with the art of the 20th and 21st centuries through the global breadth and historical reach of the Met’s unparalleled collection and scholarly resources.

The Met will develop and present programming at The Met Breuer for a period of eight years, following a collaborative agreement between the Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art, which was formerly housed in the building and is relocating to its new museum facility in downtown Manhattan this May. In addition to exhibitions and performance, The Met Breuer will host a wide range of educational and public programming for visitors of all ages, connecting audiences with practicing artists through art-making, talks, and activities in the galleries. A dedicated page on the Met’s website—www.metmuseum.org/MetBreuer—will be updated regularly with detailed information on The Met Breuer’s exhibitions and programs.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s leading art museums, with a collection spanning more than 5,000 years of world culture, from prehistory to the present. It presents dozens of exhibitions each year, and thousands of events and programs including films, talks, performance, guided tours, and family programs at its main building at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street, the modern and contemporary art-themed programming at The Met Breuer in spring 2016, and exhibitions and collection displays related to the art and architecture of the medieval world at The Cloisters museum and gardens, its branch in upper Manhattan. A center for art appreciation, scholarship, research, and conservation, the Met also maintains a vibrant program of publishing scholarly and popular catalogues, and utilizes new technologies to enhance the visitor experience and extend the reach and accessibility of its offerings globally.

The launch of The Met Breuer marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the Museum, allowing us additional space to expand our modern and contemporary visual and performing arts program, as we concurrently redesign and rebuild our Southwest Wing,” said Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “We believe that contemporary art is best understood as an integral part of a broader continuum of creativity—spanning cultures, eras, and genres—and this perspective will continue to infuse our activities in all three of our locations: on Fifth Avenue, at The Cloisters, and at The Met Breuer.”

The two inaugural exhibitions at The Met Breuer will be: a major, cross-departmental curatorial initiative, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible including works by some of the greatest artists of all time, ranging from Titian to Louise Bourgeois, who experimented with a non finito style; and the largest exhibition to date dedicated to Indian modernist Nasreen Mohamedi. The 2016 season will also feature an exhibition opening in July of early photographs (1956-1962) by Diane Arbus, primarily drawn from the Museum’s Diane Arbus Archive; and, in October, the first major survey in the U.S. of Kerry James Marshall, whose work asserts the place of the black figure within the narrative of Western painting.

The Met Breuer’s first season will also include performances and installations by Artist in Residence Vijay Iyer, the renowned musician and artistic collaborator. His projects will include a presentation of new work in an 18-day installation in the Lobby Gallery. Two additional contemporary performing art works will interweave visitor experiences across the Met’s three buildings: a newly commissioned sonic composition by John Luther Adams,Soundwalk 9:09, the title of which references the length of the walk between the Met’s main building at Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street and The Met Breuer at Madison Avenue and 75th Street; and the U.S. premiere of the massive, unfinished composition in 21 parts, Klang byKarlheinz Stockhausen, that visitors can hear in the course of a single day at the Museum’s three locations—its Fifth Avenue building, The Met Breuer, and The Cloisters museum and gardens. (See more detailed information on each exhibition and performances below.)

For our inaugural season at The Met Breuer, we have dug deeply into our own collection and created partnerships to stimulate new scholarship and explore themes that stretch across history, geography, and art forms. Great works of art can transcend both time and place, and our program will powerfully demonstrate that potential,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the Leonard A. Lauder Chairman of the Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Continue reading

GMCLA Announces 4th Annual Voice Award Honorees

The transgender cast and crew of Transparent, the Clementi Family, philanthropists Alan Uphold & Jeff Olde and First Investors among this year’s honorees

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, whose mission is to change hearts and minds through the power of music, announced an impressive slate of honorees for their 4th annual Voice Awards Celebration. The star-studded event will take place on Sunday, May 3, 2015, at the Globe Theater in Universal City, featuring powerhouse performances from Ty Herndon, Billy Gilman and Chely Wright, an historic moment as the three openly gay country artists take the stage together for the first time. GMCLA hosts its annual Voice Awards gala and silent auction not only to raise funds for the organization’s work, but also to honor those members of the community who advance the world, refute silence, lend a voice to the oppressed, exhibit leadership and give hope to those living under the weight of silence. Additionally, the high-profile charity event raises vital funds for GMCLA programs that encourage diversity and acceptance through the performing arts in schools across the United States. The fourth annual Voice Awards Presenting Sponsor is First Investors, a Foresters Company. Additional sponsors include HBO, Athens Services, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, O’Gara Coach Co., Amazon Studios, IAC, Collins Ave. and ACE Outdoor.

GMCLA has garnered international acclaim for artistic excellence while remaining deeply rooted in service to the Los Angeles community and beyond by promoting civil rights, tolerance and acceptance through music. Founded in 1979 during the emergence of the gay civil rights movement, critics have proclaimed the chorus “inspired,” “expressive, innovative, and utterly moving,” and hailed it for presenting “meaningful entertainment.

This year’s slate of honorees recognizes some of the most inspiring individuals and institutions that I know.  Whether it’s turning tragedy into teachable moments, rising tall amongst corporate leaders or impacting communities both locally and nationally, each one uses their Voice to create long-lasting transformation on a global scale,” said Chris Verdugo, the executive director of GMCLA.

The 2015 Voice Award honorees include:

Outspoken Voice Award – Presented to the transgender cast and crew of Amazon Studios’ hit series Transparent. The show won two Golden Globes, including Best TV Series – Comedy or Musical and Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series – Comedy or Musical.  The series stars Jeffrey Tambor as the father of adult children who comes out as a transgender woman at 70-years old.  The show features the largest transgender cast and crew of any production in Hollywood.

Voice Inspiration Award – Presented to the family of Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old who took his own life after being cyber-bullied during his first few weeks in college.  The Clementi family formed the Tyler Clementi Foundation in the wake of Tyler’s tragic suicide with a mission  to promote safe, inclusive and respectful social environments in homes, schools, campuses, churches and the digital world for vulnerable youth, LGBT youth and their allies.

Good Neighbor Voice Award – Presented to Alan Uphold & Jeff Olde, who have worked to further LGBT justice and equality throughout their 18-year relationship. Uphold began as a communications volunteer for Project Angel Food in 1990 and has since served more than 15 years on the boards of the Human Rights Campaign and Equality California. Until recently, he was Development Director – West for the Point Foundation. Olde is a television executive and Peabody Award-winning producer who, for 25 years, has been a passionate champion of LGBT talent, characters and storylines spanning reality, pop culture, news, comedy and scripted programming. Together, both men have served in the trenches by volunteering at LGBT events, performing community outreach and lobbying politicians for LGBT rights. They have chaired or hosted events in their home for LGBT groups including APLA, EQCA, HRC, No on 8, PFLAG, the Tyler Clementi Foundation, Stonewall Young Democrats, and numerous equality-minded politicians.

Corporate Voice Award – Presented to First Investors, a Foresters company. Since 1930, First Investors has helped everyday families reach their financial goals by offering an array of financial products and services.  They also offer unique member benefits (i.e. grants and scholarships) and allow members to participate in inspiring community activities.  Forrest Strickland, and executive vice president at First Investors, said, “First Investors’ relationship with GMCLA is a natural fit as we both share a passion for service to the community. GMCLA is a fabulous organization deeply involved in the Los Angeles community and in promoting civil rights, tolerance and acceptance. These shared values inspire us to support the important mission of GMCLA.”

Individual tickets for the Voice Awards are $400; VIP tickets are $600 and include a private reception presented by KLEAN Treatment Center on Saturday May 2 with the honorees.  Table sponsor packages are also available. To purchase tickets, please visit: http://voiceawards.gmcla.org/.

 

Diageo Brands Earn 91 Awards at the 15th Annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Diageo Named “Importer of the Year”, Includes 23 Double Gold Honors and Seven “Best in Category” Awards

Diageo spirits liquids and packaging were recognized across the board as best-in-class at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, winning a grand total of 91 awards. Of these awards, 83 were medals, 39 of which were double gold or gold. Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands across spirits, beer and wine categories sold in more than 180 countries around the world. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

In both Scotch and North American Whisk(e)y liquids, Diageo brands did especially well, with 14 brands winning multiple medals, and several being named “Best” in their category. In packaging, seven brands across Diageo’s portfolio won medals, including Mortlach Scotch Whisky and Orphan Barrel Bourbon, which were both awarded double gold. The Company was also named “Importer of the Year” in recognition of Diageo’s consistent high quality of spirits across all brands.

We are honored to be recognized by such a prestigious competition across our portfolio, from heritage brands to new-to-world innovations,” commented Larry Schwartz, President, Diageo North America. “Our craftspeople, including our distillers, blenders and artisans, use their remarkable skills every day to produce the finest spirits in the world. These awards give them, and everyone at Diageo, a great reason to celebrate.”

Commenting on the Company’s honors for high quality packaging design, Schwartz continued, “Although quality liquid is the centerpiece of any distilled spirit, the full experience is not complete without packaging. The bottles we see behind the bar and on store shelves are a critical part of our connection to a brand. I am proud that Diageo packaging designs have received the recognition they deserve.

Whisk(e)y was the standout category for Diageo, in which the Company secured 57 medals in total for high quality liquid. Numerous medals were awarded to Diageo across Scotch, Tennessee, Bourbon and Rye Whisk(e)y. Johnnie Walker won twelve medals for liquid, up three from 2014. George Dickel, Bulleit, Jeremiah Weed, Oban and Orphan Barrel won three medals each, and Buchanan’s won four, including a Double Gold for Buchanan’s Master.

Further, seven Diageo Whisk(e)ys were named best liquid in their respective categories. George Dickel No. 12 was designated the “Best Tennessee Whiskey;” Blade & Bow 22 Year Old Bourbon was deemed “Best Straight Bourbon;” and Crown Royal Single Barrel was named “Best Canadian Whisky.” In Scotch, Lagavulin 16 Year Old earned the title “Best Single Malt Scotch 13-19 years;” John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2015 Edition was awarded “Best Blended Scotch – No Age Statement;Talisker 10 Year Old was named “Best Single Malt Scotch up to 12 Years,” and Talisker Storm was named “Best Single Malt Scotch – No Age Statement.

Within Scotch, Diageo’s non-age declared whiskies fared extremely well this year, winning nine medals for brands including Oban Little Bay, Talisker Storm, Mortlach Rare Old, Buchanan’s Master, Buchanan’s Red Seal, Haig Club and Johnnie Walker Double Black, Gold Label Reserve and Blue Label.

In the Gin, Tequila, Rum and Liqueur categories, Diageo liquids also performed well, with most brands winning multiple medals. In the Gin category, Tanqueray received two medals including a Double Gold for Tanqueray London Dry Gin. In the Tequila category, DeLeon received two medals for the brand’s Reposado and Platinum offerings respectively. In Rum, new Captain Morgan White Grapefruit and Captain Morgan White Pineapple each earned medals. In Liqueurs, Grind won a medal and Baileys won medals for new flavors Chocolate Cherry and Salted Caramel. Overall, liquids from Diageo’s Innovation team won 19 medals.

Overall, liquids from Diageo’s Innovation team won 19 medals. A full breakdown of Diageo’s winning brands at the 2015 San Francisco Spirits Competition is available on the Competition website http://sfspiritscomp.com/results/browse, and all of the double gold and gold medal winners are listed below.

Double Gold:

  • Blade & Bow 22 Year Old Bourbon
  • Buchanan’s Master
  • Clynelish 14 Year Old
  • Cragganmore 12 Year Old
  • Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
  • Crown Royal Single Barrel
  • George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whisky
  • George Dickel Rye Whisky
  • Johnnie Walker Double Black
  • John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2015 Edition
  • Lagavulin 12 Year Old
  • Lagavulin 16 Year Old
  • Mortlach 18 Year Old, 25 Year Old, Rare Old, and series (packaging)
  • Orphan Barrel Lost Prophet Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Orphan Barrel (packaging)
  • Oban 18 Year Old
  • Oban Little Bay
  • Talisker 10
  • Talisker Storm
  • Tanqueray London Dry Gin

Gold:

  • Blade & Bow Bourbon
  • Buchanan’s Deluxe
  • Bulleit Rye
  • Bulleit 10 Year Old Bourbon
  • Caol Ila 12 Year Old
  • Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old
  • George Dickel Barrel Select Tennessee Whiskey
  • Glenkinche 12 Year Old
  • I.W. Harper 15 Year Old Bourbon
  • J&B Blended Scotch
  • John Walker & Sons King George V
  • Mortlach Rare Old
  • Mortlach 18 Year Old
  • Oban 14 Year Old
  • Pie Hole (Packaging)
  • Smirnoff Sours (Packaging)

2015 SAN FRANCISCO WORLD SPIRITS COMPETITION RESULTS 15TH ANNIVERSARY MARKS LARGEST COMPETITION YET

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition hosted its 15th annual competition March 19-22nd at the elegant Hotel Nikko in downtown San Francisco. Continuing its tradition of record-breaking entries annually, this year the number of submissions totaled 1580 (up 7% from the year before) from 41 states, 66 countries covering 90 classifications. Many categories of spirits experienced a marked increase this year most notably Gin (nearly triple the entries in 3 years), Bourbon, Rye Whiskey and Single Malt Scotch. The competition has mirrored, and Screen-shot-2015-04-01-at-4.45.39-PMspurred, the spirits industry’s explosive growth over the last 15 years. The inaugural 2000 World Spirits Competition welcomed 12 judges and 292 entries in 59 categories.

Founded in the new millennium year of 2000 by noted wine & spirits critic and competition director Anthony Dias Blue, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition has gained a well-earned reputation as the leading gauge for spirits trends and top quality products in the country. Noted journalists, distillers, beverage directors, mixologists, restaurateurs, Master Sommeliers, hoteliers, consultants, educators comprise the distinguished body of judges; and the continued growth of entries (more than 100 this year) annually points to an undeniable love affair with distillate products in the United States.

Always a harbinger of trends in the marketplace, the competition is considered to be the rite of passage for top quality spirits as it has 41 of the world’s top professional palates serving as judges. Forty-one international judges gathered this year with several notable judges returning to the roster, including noted spirits writer and author David Wondrich, double degree Doug Frost, MS, MW, leading NYC based mixologist Julie Reiner and writer Sean Ludford. Tony Abou-Ganim, aka the Modern Mixologist has directed the judging now for his 6th year and says of the event, “I continue to be flattered and humbled to be a part of a competition with some of the best palates in the world. I look forward to it all year and it is a great way for an established or unknown spirit to gain credibility in this business. The winners feel the impact of the competition’s results in significant ways and use the results to help build both their sales and reputations globally.” (For more information about the judges, please visit http://sfspiritscomp.com/about/judges.)

 

(A complete list of awards categorically is posted to the San Francisco World Spirits Competition website here: http://sfspiritscomp.com/pdf/S15-BestInShowWinnerList.pdf, http://sfspiritscomp.com/pdf/S15-PkgDesWinnerList.pdf and at http://sfspiritscomp.com/results/browse.)

We have always been a bellwether for trends in spirits consumption and growth. Our caliber of judges, our international reputation and professional organization of the competition helps the marketplace be assured of tremendous quality control and opportunities,” says competition director and spirits guru Anthony Dias Blue. “Over the last 15 years as we’ve witnessed this explosive growth in spirits, we also note that the further sub-categorization of aging and types of spirits is proliferating. We are in an exciting time in the beverage business.”

Top Awards Leading winners from the sweepstakes included Best in Show Un-Aged White Spirit went to Kappa Pisco ($35), Elqui Valley, Chile out of 603 submissions. Best in Show Aged White Spirit was awarded to Parce 12 Year Old Rum ($60) from Columbia out of 169 submissions. Best in Show Whisky went to Craigellachie Single Malt Aged 23 Years ($297) from Speyside, Scotland out of 497 whisky submissions (last year there were 297.) Best in Show Brandy was awarded to Gautier Tradition Rare Cognac ($165) from Charente, France out of 118 brandy submissions and finally Best in Show Liqueur went to Croizet Liqueur d’Orange au Cognac ($179) out of 154 entries. Other highlights included Best Gin, which went to Master’s Dry Gin ($39), Barcelona, Spain out of 134 entries, Best Bourbon which went to Kentucky’s Knob Creek 9 Year Old Small Batch Bourbon ($31) out of 95 Bourbons, Best Tequila went to Villa Lobos Reposado Tequila ($47) from Jalisco, Mexico and Best Vodka went to Colorado’s Woody Creek Single Potato Vodka ($32) out of 168 entries.

Awarded annually, this year’s Tasting Panel Magazine Distillery of the Year went to Kavalan Distillery of Taiwan by winning 4 Double Golds and two Silvers for their Single Malt Whiskies submissions. Importer of the Year went to Diageo North America, and the Director’s Award of Excellence went to Beam Suntory Inc., headquartered in Deerfield, IL for its excellent portfolio of spirits. Additionally, in the Packaging Competition this year there were 22 Double Gold medals awarded, the most ever. There were 143 entries presided over by 3 judges.

The NEAT Glass

The NEAT Glass

 

In addition to ace palates and exceptional competing spirits, glassware is as paramount to the high performance outcome of competition as the liquid it holds. For the first time in its 15-year run, the competition featured exclusively the NEAT glass. The new industry standard for spirits tasting, with a patented design, NEAT glasses are scientifically engineered with a compressed lip and flared rim to enhance the judging experience. “We have rigorously tested the NEAT Glass in comparative tastings with other spirits glasses,“ says Blue. “It is the only glass that eliminates alcohol burn while enhancing aroma. It showcases all the nuance and complexity that the spirit’s producer intended.”

 

 

America’s “Top Gun” Fighter Aces, An Endangered Species, to be Honored

A HERO’S ACTION IS ALWAYS EXTRAORDINARY

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“The ordinary air Fighter is an extraordinary man and the extraordinary air Fighter stands as one in a million among his fellows.” – PRESIDENT THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Above is a sampling of some of the Aces who will be featured in the commemorative book, Wings of Valor: Honoring America's Fighter Aces. This historical project is being created under the auspices of the American Fighter Aces Association (AFAA) based in Seattle, WA; Nick Del Calzo (Executive Producer & Lead Photographer) in Denver, CO; and Peter Collier (Book Author) in Nevada City, CA. For more information about the project and to view the Aces Gallery, go to: www.wingsofvalor.us. (PRNewsFoto/American Fighter Aces Associatio)

Above is a sampling of some of the Aces who will be featured in the commemorative book, Wings of Valor: Honoring America’s Fighter Aces. This historical project is being created under the auspices of the American Fighter Aces Association (AFAA) based in Seattle, WA; Nick Del Calzo (Executive Producer & Lead Photographer) in Denver, CO; and Peter Collier (Book Author) in Nevada City, CA. For more information about the project and to view the Aces Gallery, go to: http://www.wingsofvalor.us. (PRNewsFoto/American Fighter Aces Associatio)

America’s “Top Gun” Fighter Aces are the newest endangered species. These fighter pilots, who earned Ace status by destroying at least five enemy aircraft during aerial combat missions in both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam, are a vanishing breed and most likely an endangered species. A hero’s action is always extraordinary because it is so contrary to the basic human instincts of self-preservation and survival. For the Ace fighter pilot it was often kill or be killed.

The American Fighter Ace stands alone as an extraordinary man who has distinguished himself among the elite in aerial combat. Throughout aviation history during World War II, Korea and Vietnam these heroic pilots possessed the skill, fortitude and courage to survive combat missions and return home. To fly in combat may seem exciting and noble, but it was also extremely dangerous and deadly. All fighter pilots, regardless of their personal victory tallies, are deserving of great respect and credit for what they endured.

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact qualities that separate a good fighter pilot from a great fighter pilot; it has been said [that] “it takes a fighting inner spirit and a motivation and determination to survive and succeed at any cost, with a measure of opportunity and luck added to the mix”.

Of the hundreds of Aces who have served their country since the early days of flight, fewer than 90 remain alive today. In a short few years their historic lives will be a memory – a footnote to our nation’s rich aviation heritage; and many feels that now is the time to enshrine these aviators so that their legacy might live on. A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign has been launched to enshrine these men in a photographic book entitled, Wings of Valor: Honoring America’s Fighter AcesThe men whose images and stories will be included in Wings of Valor: Honoring America’s Fighter Aces reflect the courage and determination it takes to get no less than five enemy “kills” in aerial combat. These men distinguished themselves as Navy, Marines, U.S. Army Air Corps and Air Force pilots who had the courage to pursue their enemy with aggression, agility and precision.

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Wings of Valor: Honoring America’s Fighter Aces cover art

 

Author Peter Collier and documentary photographer Nick Del Calzo term this project as “a race against time” because of the advanced age of these heroic Aces. Nearly all of them are in their 90s. Due to their high mortality rate, other professional photographers were recruited to assure that as many of the living Aces as possible can be included in this commemorative book. Del Calzo and Collier previously collaborated on the award-winning, New York Times best seller, Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond The Call of Duty, now in its third edition. This book features similar portraits of Medal of Honor recipients and their courageous stories.

Wings of Valor: Honoring America’s Fighter Aces will immortalize the men whose incredible bravery and ACES_Logo1skill flying fighter planes is the very embodiment of the term Ace. Their images and stories are as diverse as America itself. Today, these men will tell you that they are proud Americans who are caretakers of freedom. They have been to the edge and have lived to tell their story.

It is very rare that a media project comes along that so fully conveys the human qualities that characterize America’s aviation elite. Through exceptional images and poignant stories, Wings of Valor: Honoring America’s Fighter Acesspeaks to the very core of enduring American experiences.

If there’s an elite among fighter pilots, it’s these men. It’s probably unlikely, based on the lack of today’s air-to-air combat, that there will be another designated Ace,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles “Chick”Cleveland, president of the American Fighter Aces Association. “They helped shorten the wars and saved lives. A new book is being created to preserve their legacy so young Americans can be inspired and educated about their actions. This will be America’s bookCleveland is a Korean War Ace who flew F-86 Sabre jets in MiG Alley.

As the May 3 Kickstarter deadline nears, General Cleveland and his fellow Aces are hopeful Americans will respond by pledging $10 or more to help reach the$65,000 goal to produce the book’s content and assure that these Aces will be fully recognized.  (To contribute, Go to www.Kickstarter.com, “Wings of Valor.”) Continue reading