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TRAVEL WATCH: DECEMBER 27, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 25

    ALSO IN TIME
Space Tourism Can't Get Off the Ground
For all their promises, the would-be pioneers of space tourism are a long way from putting you, me and our suitcases in orbit

Detour
A Bangkok salon in the true European sense of the word

Web Crawling
If you're searching for a place to take the cure in Asia, let this new website be your online Virgil

Detour

It's about visual and performing arts. It's about music and design. It's About Café & About Studio, a Bangkok salon in the true European sense of the word. Since trendy About opened in 1997 on a nondescript street in Chinatown, the renovated shop house has consistently attracted literati from the local and international art world. Curators and art lovers come for the innovative exhibitions, installations, dance performances, seminars, slide shows, videos and artist talks. Other visitors are drawn by eclectic events like roof-top garage sales, fashion shows and all-night concerts. The ground-floor restaurant, decorated with mismatched second-hand art deco furniture, serves up delicious Thai snacks and cocktails as a way of broadening the gallery's appeal. "We believe supporting the arts means expanding the audience," explains owner Meo Yipintsoi, who is the granddaughter of Thailand's major female sculptor, Missiam Yipintsoi. Meo, who earned a masters degree in visual arts administration from New York University, is doggedly determined to catalyze interactions between artists and the public. She often lets artists transform the café area into exhibition space, which makes for great shows--though it doesn't do much for the restaurant's bottom line. From Jan. 8 until Feb. 26 visitors can see a group exhibition called "transporter," featuring the work of a dozen New York artists. The exhibition's theme explores the idea of "place" through film, slide, sculpture, photo, painting, video and installation. Each artist's work invites viewers to question their perceptions of place--whether real or imaginary--in a natural or urban setting. To feast both your mind and your stomach, try About Café & About Studio, 402-8 Maitreejit Road (near Hualamphong Station). Tel: (66-2) 623-1742 or -1743.

By Jennifer Gampell

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