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  1. 2 likes
    Hi all. I spent a week in Astana from August 1-7 making my first international trip and first world expo. I thought the Exposition grounds were wonderfully organized; one could walk easily in between countries. Each building had an art installation in the center of their central walkway that represented energy from the wind, water, solar and the land, respectively. Food kiosks were placed along this walkway offering food ranging from cafe sandwiches to local fast food to burgers. Between the architecture of the buildings, planted trees and art installations, the area in front of the pavilion clusters was rather efficiently decorated while still maintaining beauty. The main square in front of Nur Alem featured the only fountains and flower displays across the whole grounds, however, and added nice visuals. Nur Alem is just as magnificent as it was hyped to be; eight levels offering the latest technologies and applications for future energy; the "Museum of Future Energy" as it was called will remain after the fair closes. That, along with two food courts and a concert hall, are expected to be the expo site's cultural landmarks once the site becomes a financial center next year. The first floor of the structure houses the Kazakh National pavilion. To actually enter the sphere itself, you must ride in one of eight elevators to the top level and work your way down. The flow of visitors throughout the sphere was self-explanatory, but it was possible to go to a specific floor if you asked an elevator attendant. I thought the Theme pavilion I was the better of the two thematic experiences. The multimedia show with the dozens of silver balls and copper rings was one of my favourite experiences from the entire fair and it was followed up nicely with a presentation of a future city - complete with a model. It very effectively inspired and proliferated the ideas promoted at Expo. On the other hand, Thematic Pavilion 2's most memorable quality to me was the black drop of oil used as an activity key - it was representative of the last drop of oil our species is dependent on. As for the international pavilions, most of them were nicely done. Highlights included the 'mirror wave' in Monaco, the laser infinity room in Poland, and Russia's chunk of Arctic ice. Switzerland played into an ingenious application of future energy by building a gigantic, human-powered playground full of bicycles and levers. Some pavilions used a combination of live performance with video while others were nothing more than infosigns on a wall. The queues were longest for South Korea and Germany. While the 20 minutes or so for Germany wasn't too bad, South Korea's was at 30 minutes most of the time and over 60 often! The poor Korean line attendant looked wholly exasperated every time I'd walk by. Shell's Energy Lab was very interactive and was far more accommodating to all ages than the others. You could even run around like a human hamster inside of a zorb ball generating electrical current for the building. The nightly parade through the exposition grounds was also one of the fair's highlights. The three and a half minute parade artistically highlighted each form of future energy on display while also paying homage to Kazakh culture. (I have a recording of the entire event on youtube, which I have linked here.) Souvenirs were available at each entrance and all offered the same semi-limited supply. Wares included magnetic sets of Baikonur, Astana, or the expo, a few T-shirts and jackets, ties, pens, snow globes, phone cases, pins, and various electronic accessories. They did offer Expo Passports and had rather large amounts. Expo volunteers also near the entrances gave any passerby within 50 feet multiple maps of the grounds and were rather adamant I took them. My only major issues were that there weren't any water fountains available at all (and the one I did find, on the second floor of the Best Practices area, wasn't even connected) and that only one in ten of the electronic charging stations worked. Coke offered four cubes to charge devices in and each one of the aforementioned thematic art installations could charge probably 20 devices each. However, only around 2-3 of the USB charging ports were actually wired up. I visited the Expo every day while I was there, though some days I went sightseeing in Astana beforehand. Many of the city's landmarks had been opened up especially for tourists visiting the Expo including the Nazarbayev Center and the Palace of Peace and Reconciliation. The famed Bayterek tower opened earlier in the summer after undergoing an extensive renovation for Expo. Advertising was EVERYWHERE. Every construction site had Expo wrapping on their chain link fences, the sides of buildings were lit up at night with Expo light signs, and the tricoloured logo leaves were everywhere. Astana had never experienced tourism before the Expo opened, and everywhere I turned there were people eager to welcome the world. The overwhelming consensus from the individuals I encountered was that the Expo is good for bringing international interest to the city but bad because the government stripped everyone's pensions to help pay for Expo. They are supposed to be reinstated once the event is over. All in all, Astana was an incredible city and a perfect host for an Event such as Expo. Additionally, the futurism of the city helped shape Expo to become the cultural event of year, with over two million visitors to the fairgrounds alone. Personally, I feel this expo is more memorable than the recent ones since Shanghai, but only in terms of standout architecture and exhibits. For those who have been to Yesou, Milano, and Astana, is this a fair statement? I've attached a few photos but have most of them posted in my flickr album.
  2. 2 likes
    Great TWA shots!
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    In addition to various outdoor attractions, Montana Pavilion contained several railroad cars, some devoted to a museum of significant treasures. I chose the museum. A Wurlitzer "Military Band" mechanical music player. The bass drum at right has suffered vandalism despite its poignant plea: "Please don't touch me." The device at the top appears to be a cymbal. The art of Frederick Remington and Charles Russell were on display, among others. The glass of the painting reflects another horse-and-rider sculpture just out of sight. Memorabilia of Wild Bill Hickock, Buffalo Bill Cody, etc. Montana fish, and fowl. That's a lot of gold dust and nuggets in this case (reportedly a million bucks worth, at 1960's prices).
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    This NBC special with Edwin Newman begins in the room depicted in the first picture, with one of the coin-operated instruments playing. (Great special, too. Newman at his sardonic best.)
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    Ralph, you have brought so many long ago pavilions back to life. These wax museum shots are great for remembrance but, wow, they are creepy. And no matter how you cut it, that eighth shot, of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, looks nothing like either of them--especially Hudson who piled greased hair on his head at least a foot high. Wax museums always love the Joan of Arc theme and always present it in such inspirational poses rather than the horror show it must have actually been. Thank you for so many wonderful interior shots. My favorite, so far, is your collection of Ireland photos. They took me back fifty plus years.
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    That's correct, Wayne. I wish the Photoshop cleanup was as quick a process as the scanning was! And thanks for your kind comment; it is very motivating, since I have a lot of hours with Photoshop left to go.
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    It's still a marvel to me that the Soviet Cosmonauts landed their capsules on terra firma and not in the oceans. No deep ocean splashdowns for them. Strangely, 1967 was a very bad year for both space programs. Apollo One exploded on the launching pad at the Kennedy Space Center on January 27 killing Astronauts Grissom, White and Chafee in what amounted to a holocaust in the capsule. On April 24 of 1967, Vladimir Komorov was the first to be killed in actual space flight when his Soyuz One capsule's parachute failed to open during re-entry. Both were tragic and terrible accidents which set back each programs goals and plans. Both nations had wonderful space program exhibits at Expo that gave visitors a chance to learn that whether they were astronauts or cosmonauts, they were incredibly courageous men.
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    That's a safe statement for most desert plants.
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    As for the statue itself.... Shanghai World Expo in 2010?
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    Yes, Jim, very much so, and for me, very much appreciated.
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    With all of its challenges and incredible problems, the decade of the 1960s was a remarkable time to come of age.
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    Yes, I figured I would go with what seems to be the more common use, but you are right again (of course!) Besides, "Three Disks, oh Three Disks, oh Three Disks" wouldn't make for a good topic title.
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    If you are interested in seeing pictures from Expo 2017, I am starting to post them on my photo blog http://adventuresinarchitecture.blogspot.com/. I have been posting one photograph a day from my travels around the world since visiting Brazil as part of a Fulbright program in 2017. If you go back into the archive you can also find photos of Expo 2010 and Expo 2015. (It's a bit cumbersome as you can't just click on the place, but have to look at the list of places, note the month and year, and then scroll down and click on the dates listed below.) I plan to post Expo 2017 photos for at least two months. After some general images, August will mostly be signage and parts of facades that include text. September will have greater variety. Usually the images I post are more artistic than documentary. I do request that if you do want to use any of the images that you let me know and give a credit line. It's a bit grainy, but here is today's photo. Enjoy!
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    Tia, There were five or six small gift shops including right inside the entrances. Like Milan, there was not a lot of souvenirs to choose from. I assume that they had passports, but don't specifically recall seeing them. We did see stamping stations though. One of the items that they did have were various small magnet sets (Expo, Astana, and Baikonur). I had asked for one of Baikonur (my husband is a rocket scientist) and when we arrived back home I realized that they gave me the wrong set. Very disappointing.
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    In his book, Hard Times, author Studs Terkel chronicles the memories of hundreds of people who lived through The Great Depression. In his interview with Sally Rand (conducted in the late 1960s), Rand describes how she came to be nude and on a horse at the Century of Progress. Rand remembered how difficult the winter of 1932-33 was in Chicago. Along with the brutal weather, banks were failing or closing to avoid failure, shanty towns were appearing in every park, unemployment was hovering near 30% and bread lines were blocks long. Rand was particularly upset when she saw a feature story in a Chicago newspaper describing a dinner and a ball at a city hotel and the accounts of the extravagant food, expensive dresses and all of the extras reserved for Chicago's elite. In the midst of a dissolving economy, the wealthy were celebrating. When the Fair neared its opening date, its success was far from assured. Thousands of locals tried to get some sort of job but they far outnumbered the available positions. Sally Rand was one of those people. She applied for work at a number of attractions but was turned down everywhere. Then she got an idea. The night before the Fair opened, Sally Rand actually appeared at one of the gates dressed (or undressed) just as we see in her the photo and on a horse. She announced she was Lady Godiva. Ms Rand told Mr Terkel, in the interview, that the men at the gate were so shocked to see a naked woman on a horse "that they just assumed I worked somewhere at the Fair." They eagerly opened the gates and as she rode in hundreds of Fair employees began to gather and follow her. Within an hour she found employment in the amusement area of the Fair where she made her fan dance one of the biggest hits of the exposition. She added that the key to her success on stage, whether using her enormous feather fans or a large opaque inflated ball, was her ability to make "the Rand quicker than the eye."
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    According to Wikipedia, the death of a current or former Prime Minister is an occasion for flying the Japanese flag at half mast: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-mast#Japan
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    Yes, I wouldn't mind meeting up at some point at the fair. I'll defenitely need a familiar language after being in the city for a few days. I'll keep an eye out for you two for sure, and if it's getting later in the week and I haven't found you I'll send you a message on here. I'm average height and will have a very short, thick beard. If you see a young American guy with lots of cameras taking photos all over that'll be me!
  19. 1 like
    This is the first of three postings on the Ford Pavilion. The long path to the Magic Skyway. Looks like a WWI parking lot. Ford's concept car, Aurora. Aurora looks really comfortable. Now there's a muscle car! The Junkyard Philharmonic, conducted by Carl Carburetor. The only music stands with windshield wipers.
  20. 1 like
    Recent photo of the Kazakhstan Pavilion (Pavilion Nur Alem) and Independence Monument. What does it appear to resemble from this viewpoint?
  21. 1 like
    We can never have too many of the Monorail.
  22. 1 like
    I'm going to share some photos from Expo 67. I'll try to give them all captions. Forgive me if I posted some of these a couple years ago. U.S. Guides were not permitted to visit the Cuban Pavilion. When my father visited, he and I went anyway. What was the big deal? and I visited it, as you can see, in my uniform. I managed to escape being found out! There were at least two guides that were sent home for various reasons. Other than the Cuba Pavilion, I was a good girl! One of the high points of my time there was giving a PR tour to Ralph Bunche and his wife and kids. What an honor! These photos were either taken by me or a friend. I'm in the Johnson photo on the escalator (far left). He had just passed my station, and I reached out to shake his hand but was nearly knocked over my security. In uniform! and still! The concert was on the U.S. day. Each nation had its own special day. I uploaded the concert that took place on that day at Place-des-nations. AMAZING! that's when I got to meet my hero Herbie Mann. Outside the pavilion, I saw the Dead and the Airplane. I have photos I took at the Place Ville Marie park. I played my flute with the best! What a summer! I should say that the Marines had all served in Nam. Many had purple hearts and most of them were pretty raw from the experience. They provided more than security for the pavilion. Well, I'll get around to scanning more as time permits. ENJOY!
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    I've been following the #Expo2017 tags closely on social media and came across this image of the Expo passport last week. I contacted the original poster (World Expo News) who stated that the organizers did not order them until very late. So far, only twenty arrived and he was unclear how many more they would get or how long they would be available. I've attached his image. I'm hoping they'll be sufficient supplies for my trip the first week in August. EDIT - I've come across a few other posts on Instagram of stamps from various pavilions already so it looks like the service is available regardless if there is a passport book or not.
  24. 1 like
    It cost a lot but was well worth it.