PART OF Jurassic Park (1993) was shot in the Dominican Republic, which is also where the amber holding the ancient DNA used to recreate the dinosaurs in the film came from.
If you’re looking for amber, even if you don’t want it to reanimate a long-dead species, the Dominican Republic is good spot to visit. The country, says the 5th edition of Moon Dominican Republic, “is the only place in the world where amber is actually mined.” The DR has four kinds: yellow, red, green and blue, this last being “found nowhere else in the world.”
“It is a gorgeous stone,” says the guidebook, “worth buying unpolished—and unpolished it’s a deep royal hue.” It’s even better once it’s made into jewellery: an amber pendant, ring or necklace is “one of the most unique souvenirs you can purchase that is authentically Dominican, right from the source.”
The guidebook recommends two shops in Puerto Plata (165 kilometres northwest of Santa Domingo) from which to buy artisanal amber: Museo de Ambar (www.ambermuseum.com) and Galería de Ambar (www.ambercollection.itgo.com). The museum is in a beautifully restored Victorian building. The gem’s history is told and samples are on display in a cave that mimics an amber mine. This is where Steven Spielberg got his for the film. The museum also has a jewellery store.
For those wanting to tour a real amber mine the Community Tourism Network of Puerto Plata offers the Amber Route in Yásica Arriba. Meet miners as they work and “get the unique opportunity to buy the gems onsite…at a fraction of the price you’d find in stores.” www.popreport.com/turisopp
Five hundred years ago, the best place to see robots was in churches. Automata were used to illustrate stories from the Bible. That’s one of the revelations of Robots, on 8 Feb.-3 Sept. 2017 at London’s Science Museum. The show isn’t meant to detail the workings of the artificial creations, but to trace their half-millennium history, explaining how humans have envisaged robots through the years and what uses we’ve put them to. Included are more than 100 examples, among them Robothespian, able to declaim in Klingon, and a lifelike baby that can give you a hug. Special movie nights will cover robots in film, from Metropolis (1927) to Ex Machina (2015). There will be robot-themed sleepovers for adults and panels discussing such topics as when will robots outsmart us. www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
Isle of Wight
Tickets for the 2017 Isle of Wight Festival go on sale 1 Feb. Its origins are in the counter-culture 1960s, but after a 32-year gap it was resurrected in 2002 and has been an annual event ever since, hosting such acts as the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Coldplay, Foo Fighters and Kings of Leon. The Isle of Wight is about 122 kilometres southwest of London off England’s south coast. About 58,000 people attend each of its three main days. This year’s dates are 8-11 June 2017, with headliners Run DMC, Arcade Fire and Rod Stewart.
www.isleofwightfestival.com, a site worth visiting for its trippy hippie graphics alone.
Tickets for the 38th Festival International de Jazz de Montréal go on sale 3 Feb. 2017. The event is one of the world’s largest jazz festivals, with more than 3,000 artists performing on 20 indoor and outdoor stages across the city. (“Jazz” is interpreted very liberally here. This year’s performers include electro-swing band Caravan Palace, the folk-duo Whitehorse and the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers.) An estimated 2.5 million people attend. The festival will run from 28 June to 8 July 2017. http://montrealjazzfest.com
San Diego, CA
The San Diego Chinese Historical Museum has debuted Radical Machines: Chinese in the Information Age, looking at devices that allow the user to “type” the more than 70,000 characters in Chinese written language. The machines span the 19th to 21st centuries and come from Stanford historian Tom Mullaney’s personal collection, said to be the world’s largest. Mullaney also curates the show, on until 16 Apr. 2017. www.sdchm.org
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