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January 3, 2014 | By Catharine Hamm
NEWBURY, England - He is a farmer, she says, and she is a farmer's wife. They are active in their community. She writes a bit on the side, her writing room only recently having been wired for electricity. On my recent visit to her home, she was warm and welcoming. Her yellow Lab, Bella, followed her closely as her mistress ushered visitors into the house. And oh my. What a house. Two hundred rooms. Forty bedrooms. Silk wallcoverings in one room, 16th century Spanish leather wallcoverings in another.
December 23, 2013 | By Mike Boehm
The American Institute of Architects has broken the gender barrier for its highest award, the gold medal. The 2014 medal is going to famed California architect Julia Morgan nearly 57 years after her death in 1957 and more than 100 years after the first gold medal was conferred. Morgan, whose most famous building is Hearst Castle at San Simeon on California's central coast, was “a pivotal figure in the history of American architecture and American women,” according to an article the AIA published on its website announcing the award -- the eighth gold medal awarded posthumously.
December 11, 2013 | By Jasmine Elist
Imagine if a woman such as the Dowager Countess from “Downton Abbey” was one of your grandmothers. And if the other -- the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie -- owned the incredibly posh Leeds Castle, where Anthony Russell grew up. “I seldom saw her because she was always traveling or fox hunting or both,” Russell writes in his memoir, “Outrageous Fortune” (St. Martin's Press, $26.99). Russell came of age listening to the Rolling Stones and learned to play guitar; when he moved to New York at age 24, he immediately fell in with Andy Warhol's crowd as he pursued his dreams of becoming a rock star.
October 26, 2013 | By Susan King
Things were starting to go bump in the night in the Houdini Seance Chamber at the Magic Castle, the private club in Hollywood that is the headquarters of the Academy of Magical Arts. Medium Misty Lee, who also appears at the castle as an illusionist, was attempting to contact the legendary escape artist and master magician Harry Houdini, who died on Halloween in 1926 at age 52 of peritonitis, the result of a ruptured appendix. "Harry, we have waited all night to see your face," she proclaimed as creepy, piped-in music got louder in the intimate room.
October 16, 2013 | By Catharine M. Hamm, Los Angeles Times Travel editor
Think of the castle depicted in “Downton Abbey” and your mind immediately springs to … barbecue? Yes, if you're a barbecue aficionado, but only for a little longer. Ever since “ Downton Abbey ” began seducing U.S. viewers with its mix of the travails of British aristocracy and the troubles of the working class, Highclere Castle , in the lush green hills of Berkshire county, has been a draw. The series is shot partly in the 200-room castle and has proved such a tourist draw that it's practically impossible to get tickets to tour the house.
October 14, 2013 | By Lauren Beale
Shari Belafonte's home is a castle. And she has just listed her unusual home in the Box Canyon area at $1.26 million, The Times has confirmed. The distinctive residence, built in 1956 and called - appropriately - the Castle, is described as a cliff-top “feudal fortress” on . Set on six acres, the 3,465-square-foot home features steeply pitched roofs, three fireplaces, a turret gym (perhaps a modern take on a torture chamber),...
October 3, 2013 | By Robert Lloyd, Times Television Critic
"Brooklyn Castle" (PBS, Monday). "I think that this is a good thing for kids to be exposed to," coach Elizabeth Vicary says in Katie Dellamaggiore's 2012 film about a fearsome and lovable inner-city middle-school chess team, "the idea that truth isn't quite so simple as right and wrong and they're studying on a level where the answers aren't really clear to anybody -- or unclear to me, and I'm very good at it. " Getting a broadcast premiere this...
August 30, 2013 | By David Wharton
The news traveled quickly, by way of phone calls and text messages, spreading throughout the sport of figure skating. The Ice Castle was closing down. The small rink, nestled amid pines beside Lake Arrowhead, had served as an unlikely mecca for skaters from around the world, turning out champions for the better part of three decades. Michelle Kwan trained there, as did Robin Cousins, Nicole Bobek, Chen Lu and Surya Bonaly. Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, the gold medal pair from the 2010 Winter Olympics, made it their home base.
August 15, 2013 | By Mary McNamara
Yes, yes, yes, even in this pause before the onslaught of the fall, there is plenty of scripted TV not in repeats and certainly, you should all still be watching the Three Bs--"Broadchurch," "Borgen" and "Breaking Bad. " But everyone needs a change of pace, so here's my first (and possibly only) All Reality picks o' the week. "Duck Dynasty": The beards 'n' bandannas of A&E's crazy-hot reality series "Duck Dynasty" are back, and if you aren't already one of the millions making the show the No. 2 cable series (behind "The Walking Dead")
August 13, 2013 | By Rachel Miller
"Doomsday Castle," the new unscripted National Geographic Channel series premiering Tuesday from the producers of the hit "Doomsday Preppers," is looking to put a whole new spin on the phrase "family bonding. " Forget board games and Sunday night dinners -- American prepper Brent Sr. and his children Brent II, Ashley, Lindsay, Dawn Marie and Michael are coming together to build a self-sufficient, medieval castle to protect themselves from the chaos that the apocalypse will bring. Although many predicted end times dates have come and gone, Brent Sr. and his family are on a mission to assure the world that there will be a doomsday -- it's just a matter of when.
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