LONDON–JUST AFTER I ASK Daniel Brühl to spill the beans on “Captain America: Civil War,” the phone cuts out. Minutes later, back on the call, the German-Spanish actor jokes that it’s the powers that be at Marvel Studios. “I am not supposed to say anything,” he says of the film, which comes out next year. “I cannot even talk about the part, really, because I would be too afraid to give something away and then I’ll end up in the Marvel prison and I do not want that.” Read more
VIENTIANE, Laos — Marisa Darasavath has made a name for herself as one of the foremost contemporary artists in her home country of Laos. But pay her a compliment about her work, and she reacts humbly, with a giggle or a self-deprecating drop of the head.
In 2013, Ms. Darasavath was one of two contemporary Laotian artists to be featured at the Singapore Biennale. She also participated in Japan’s Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale in 2009 and has had her works exhibited in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Bali. During 2011 she did a two-month residency in Singapore through M Gallery, which is based in Singapore but has an outpost in the Laotian capital, Vientiane. Read more
LONDON–I am going to bust open a London urban legend: Americans don’t automatically fail their driving exam the first time they take it.
I will admit this was a scaremongering myth even I perpetuated before I took my exam, as I had heard from American friends and colleagues countless horror stories of examiners failing people because they hesitated when backing around a corner (which feels so illegal for American drivers who had it beaten into us during driver’s ed courses to never ever do that), or because they hadn’t checked their mirrors every 45 seconds in a counterclockwise manner. Read more
LONDON–PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI HAS a terrible cold, and it’s little wonder. The 57-year-old Polish director and screenwriter has for several months been traveling the world promoting “Ida,” his Oscar-nominated film centered around a young novice nun who was raised as an orphan in a Catholic convent and discovers, on the verge of taking her vows, that she comes from a Jewish family with a tragic past. Read more
BELGRADE–FOR ME, IT’S one of the biggest expat conundrums: to kiss or not to kiss. I grew up in the Midwest of America, where we were all about giving big bear hugs to friends, family and colleagues. But then I moved to London and I was thrown into the deep end of European kissing culture, which still remains awkward for me as it feels rather false and I have never worked out the unspoken understanding there seems to be between two people of whether the greeting should be a kiss or a handshake.
I once had a very cringeworthy exchange with a British army colonel at an exhibition opening. We had met a few times for interviews and also exchanged friendly emails, but in my mind our relationship was still on the handshake level. So when we saw each other, I went for the handshake and he went in for a kiss. It ended up being a very cloddish and uncomfortable greeting. Read more