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Near & Afar: What to See, Buy, and Download Right Now

By AFAR Magazine

Jul 17, 2014

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The Find: Italy Makes a Cameo

Don’t let the very Victorian materials that jeweler Anna Porcu uses throw you off: She’s future-thinking—so much so that she has found a way to make cameos, those pendants with carved silhouettes your grandmother may have worn, fresh again. The daughter of two antique dealers, Porcu unearths her cameos throughout Italy, especially in Naples, where the most coveted ones were produced in the late 1800s. Rather than choosing traditional white-shell reliefs of fancy society women, she buys pieces with cupids or scenes of war that have been etched into amber, coral, or even lava. Back at her studio in the tiny village of Pienza, near Siena, she sets them in silver casings, then affixes the pieces to Tuscan leather bracelets. The last surprising touch? The cameos are detachable from the cuff, because pieces this unique can’t be worn every day. —ONDINE COHANE 

The Doors Are Open: Ai Weiwei Takes on Alcatraz


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, the most famous political prisoner alive, found a wildly fitting venue for @Large, his latest meditation on human rights: Alcatraz, the former jail on an island in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Ai, whose work has ranged from heavy-metal albums to nude protests, worked remotely with the prison on installations that will be showcased in a defunct psych ward and other areas that have, until now, been off-limits to visitors. The exhibition is free, but reserve a ferry ticket well in advance because it’s a fair bet they’ll sell out. —JEN MURPHY

Open from Sept. 27, 2014, to April 26, 2015. alcatrazcruises.com 

For the Flight: Travel Back in Time 

Watching Teenage (now available to download on iTunes) feels like opening lost scrapbooks from the first half of the 20th century. In the film, director Matt Wolf explores how two world wars affected teens in Europe and America. He wanted youths to tell their own stories, so he recovered home videos and narrated them with lines lifted from the diaries of flappers, free-spirited German idealists, and cross-dressing British aristocrats who came of age as everything around them fell apart. —ANDREW RICHDALE 

Your Summer Read: A Party for the Beach

When you think Scotland, surfing probably doesn’t come to mind–until you’ve read Stan Parish’s Down the Shore. In this debut novel, a working-class student struggles to ground himself while partying with his cohort at the University of St. Andrews. His trick? Connecting with the waves of East Sands beach. By the last page, you’ll want to grab a board yourself. —LIV COMBE 

This appeared in our August/September issue. Photos, clockwise from top left: Courtesy of Viking, courtesy of Anna Rose Homer/Cinereach, Andrea Wyner. Illustration: Sam Kerr

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