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Flipping Out

What to see, where to stay, when to go

Photography Tony Marsh/Courtesy of Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Each August for the past 62 years, ambitious showmen have gathered in Edinburgh to tell inappropriate jokes, spin plates and generally embarrass themselves, all for your entertainment. This year is no different; the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a massive gathering of comedians, actors and dancers, is taking over the Scottish capital. From August 7 to 31, thousands of performers are putting on tens of thousands of performances. Your chances of catching every show are slim, but given the stars uncovered at festivals past (Monty Python, Hugh Laurie, Steve Coogan), it’s worth a shot. www.edfringe.com

ON AIR

The main attraction at the first Chicago Air and Water Show in 1959 was a heart-stopping performance by synchronized swimmers. Fifty years later, the stars have moved from under water to thousands of feet above it. The Air Force Thunderbirds at this year’s Air and Water Show will draw millions to Chicago’s lakeshore. And yes, the planes will be synchronized. www.chicagoairandwatershow.us

THE WURST

The German currywurst is something like the deep-fried Twinkie— a culinarily dubious concoction that people treat like a national treasure. A sliced pork sausage slathered in tomato sauce and curry powder, the dish takes a step toward international recognition this month when a group of sausageholics open the Currywurst Museum in Berlin. Exhibits, artifacts and samples will be inside. Let’s hope Pepto-Bismol vendors will be outside. www.currywurstmuseum.de

LIMESTONE COWBOY

In downtown Jerusalem, where all new buildings must be faced with locally mined Jerusalem stone, the new Mamilla Hotel has embraced the law with uncommon fervor. Not only did architect/designer Piero Lissoni use it on the building’s exterior, he incorporated it throughout the hotel’s luxe interior, resulting in ominous stone-walled rooms with soaring ceilings that look like something straight out of a medieval castle, except for the iPod dock built into the wall. www.mamillahotel.com

GROUND FORCE ONE

In hopes of returning to the days when it was known as “White House North,” D.C.’s Jefferson hotel has undergone renovations to take it from Eisenhower to Obama. It reopens with 99 updated rooms this month, but it’s Plume and Quill, a new restaurant and lounge, that will draw Capitol Hill’s high-powered suits for high-priced meals. The only downside—lobbying rules mean lawmakers have to pay their own way. Thanks, Jack Abramoff. www.jeffersondc.com

GROWTH INDUSTRY

When the Art Institute of Chicago opened the Modern Wing, a $294 million addition designed by famed Italian architect Renzo Piano, it became the second largest art museum in the country (after that darn Metropolitan Museum of Art). The new wing will house a collection of distinctively au courant 20th and 21st century works, including Robert Gober’s Untitled, a tissue box with a pipe going through it, and works by Gerhard Richter. www.artic.edu

STAT-YOU

In the four corners of London’s Trafalgar Square stand four stately plinths. Three of them support the statues of historic British figures (two generals and a king), and one stands empty. Originally designed to hold an equestrian statue that was never made, the fourth plinth has variously been home to modern art, hordes of pigeons and, coming this fall, you. One & Other is sculptor Antony Gormley’s attempt to create a living, breathing monument where sculpted bronzes might otherwise stand. Throughout August and September and into October, the plinth will be occupied by a different volunteer every hour of every day. That’s 2,400 living sculptures free to perform however they please. There’s only one rule: Don’t shock the Queen. www.fourthplinth.co.uk

CITY OF BITES

Though steeped in tradition, Paris’ iconic Palace hotels—homes away from home for princes, prime ministers, tycoons and starlets—are always up to something new in hopes of staying competitive (and at $800 a night, they’d better be). The ground floor of the Meurice recently emerged from a makeover by Philippe Starck, and sister hotel Plaza Athénée just opened a bright red courtyard covered in intensely green ivy (below), where barman Thierry Hernandez’s creative cocktails make the colors pop even more. Meanwhile, at the elegant Bristol, the big news this summer is Eric Frechon’s promotion to the three-star Michelin club. Unfortunately, his stunning creations come with regal price tags.

CALENDAR – AUGUST

15 LOS ANGELES

Party like it’s 1996 at the Love Festival, a raging techno dance party. Bring the glow sticks. www.thelovefestival.com

21–23 LONDON

Wear your cut-offs and side ponytails to the 80s Rewind Festival, where graying groupies debate the eternal question: The Cars or The Police? www.rewindfestival.com

22 GOTHENBURG

Running through the streets of a foreign city in the middle of the night is generally not advised— except during Midnattsloppet, Sweden’s 10K midnight run. www.midnattsloppet.com

28–30 SAN FRANCISCO

The Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park celebrates the Bay Area’s two favorite things: guitars and the environment. www.sfoutsidelands.com

31 RENO

Hop a ride out to Black Rock City for eight mind-blowing days of Burning Man, a gathering of art, culture and dirt. www.burningman.com

CALENDAR – SEPTEMBER

1–6 CANBERRA

Pedalers from across the world watch for kangaroo crossings as they navigate the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. www.mtbworldscanberra.com.au

3–7 NEW ORLEANS

Just west of New Orleans lies Morgan City, where the world’s best-named event—the Shrimp & Petroleum Festival—has raged for 74 years. www.shrimp-petrofest.org

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