Getting the flavor of...
Dallas’ own Sistine Chapel
If you want to see the pinnacle of Italian Renaissance art, head to Dallas, said Michael Hoinski in Texas Monthly. Through Jan. 8, “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” will display massive reproductions of the artist’s famous frescoes at the former Women’s Museum building in Fair Park. Created by a Los Angeles–based production company, the show aims to make Michelangelo’s paintings accessible to the masses, without the “never-ending” lines and “insufferable neck craning” tourists experience in Vatican City. Instead of being rushed through, visitors can pore over the 34 reproductions, all “brightly illuminated and rich with color.” And unlike at the Sistine Chapel, where photography is prohibited, here it’s encouraged. “So go ahead and take that selfie in front of The Last Judgment. Put it on your holiday card and see if you can trick a few people into thinking you were within arm’s reach of Michelangelo’s masterpiece.”
Arizona’s natural wonders
When I explored southern Arizona in mid-October, “all was rust-colored rock and unrelenting heat,” said David Kelly in the Los Angeles Times. “And that was the point.” The Sonoran Desert may be the most biodiverse desert in the world, host to an amazing variety of plants, birds, reptiles, and mammals—including America’s only jaguars. At the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a slice of wild desert, I walked among elephant trees and organ pipe cacti “waving gently like desert anemones.” This “starkly beautiful” monument bordering Mexico was once dangerous, but these days, 500 border agents patrol the area. Saguaro National Park, outside Tucson, has a different feel. Thousands of saguaro cacti, some 50 feet tall and 200 years old, greeted me with upraised limbs. I hiked a trail where prehistoric petroglyphs adorn basalt rocks. After sundown, the towering cacti became “crooked silhouettes against a starry sky.”