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Conference Planners Seek Food Truck Experience (Actual Truck Optional)



Food trucks, once a novelty, are now seemingly on every city street corner. Lately, they’ve even been showing up at hotels and business meetings as conference organizers aim to give a group an “authentic” experience and a taste of the local culinary scene.

“It’s intriguing to corporate planners who are thinking outside the box,” said Zoe Moore, a consultant in the San Francisco Bay Area who helps event organizers coordinate the logistics of using trucks, from vendor licenses to seating.

Ms. Moore said many of her clients were technology firms in the area. “Hotels and tech companies like the trend because it gives them a variety for their attendees and the food is cool, it’s hip,” she said.

Rashad Armstead, a chef, coordinates the logistics from the truck side through the Black Food Collective, a group he founded in Oakland, Calif. It is a consortium of food trucks that is used by event planners for large groups.

“The whole dining experience is changing,” Mr. Armstead said. “They’re all now leaning more toward the whole dining experience of the food-truck scene.”

He works with food-truck operators on tailoring their menus for corporate clients. For a conference for black technology entrepreneurs last month, he created an outdoor area next to the Oakland Convention Center for 15 food trucks and tents, with added seating areas for the roughly 5,000 conferencegoers.

“The diner of this generation is different,” Mr. Armstead said. “We don’t want fancy food. We want good food.”

A food truck can also help a hotel circumvent space constraints, as in the case of the Gates Hotel Key West. The hotel bought and now operates its own truck, named the Blind Pig.

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That Banana on the Wall? At Art Basel Miami It’ll Cost You $120,000.



Remember when Morley Safer famously — controversially — asked on “60 Minutes” whether Marcel Duchamp’s urinal and Jeff Koons’s vacuum cleaners were really art? Now, in the spirit of such questions, comes Maurizio Cattelan’s (somewhat overripe) banana pinned to the wall with gray duct tape.

For three buyers at Art Basel Miami, who paid between $120,000 and $150,000 each for such pieces this week, the answer was unquestionably, Yes.

And two additional artist proofs (also bananas) are going to museums.

Needless to say, the bananas have prompted the very buzz that Mr. Cattelan has long been a master at generating (his golden toilet — recently stolen — being only the most immediate example).

“Bananas! Art world gone mad,” blazed the cover of The New York Post on Friday.

Emmanuel Perrotin, the founder of the gallery that represents Mr. Cattelan (Galerie Perrotin), said the flurry over the artwork “was totally unexpected.”

Soon after his booth at the Miami art fair opened to V.I.P.’s on Wednesday, Mr. Perrotin said the gallery installed a GoPro camera in the booth to capture people’s reactions. “You have a work like the ‘Mona Lisa,’ where everybody is coming to look at it, to take photos with it, to discuss it,” he said.

But is this a groundbreaking work, an expensive inside joke or perhaps Exhibit A in a display of income inequality?

“Cattelan is the Anti-Warhol,” said the art critic Robert Storr. “Andy insisted that the Coke you and I buy was democratic in that it cost us the same as it did Nelson Rockefeller. But obviously Maurizio has grasped that the rich will pay much, much more for a bespoke banana — bruises and all. Let ‘them’ eat $120,000-a-slice banana bread.”

While acknowledging that #cattelan was now a popular hashtag on Twitter — with people posting images of all sorts of items taped to the wall (a croissant, a lemon, Nutella) — Mr. Perrotin stood by the seriousness of the artist, with whom he has worked for 27 years. “Maurizio is a pure genius,” he said. “I see the magic happening on different occasions.”

“Maurizio’s work is not just about objects, but about how objects move through the world,” he added. “Whether affixed to the wall of an art fair booth or displayed on the cover of The New York Post, Maurizio forces us to question how value is placed on material goods. The spectacle, which has been orchestrated so beautifully, is as much a part of the work as the banana.”

Mr. Perrotin likened the artwork to Yves Klein’s “The Specialization of Sensibility in the Raw Material State into Stabilized Pictorial Sensibility, The Void,” in which the French artist sold empty space.

Mr. Cattelan first conceived of the work as a sculpture shaped like a banana, the gallery said, and brought a banana with him when he traveled, hanging it in his hotel room “to find inspiration.” He tested several materials — resin, bronze and painted bronze — before deciding on using a real banana.

The work is aptly titled, “Comedian,” and Mr. Perrotin said that it was the first new art that Mr. Cattelan has presented at a fair in more than 15 years.

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Robert Krulwich Will Retire From ‘Radiolab’ in January



Robert Krulwich, the longtime journalist and one of the hosts of “Radiolab,” the immensely popular audio program known for its offbeat investigations of big ideas, will retire from the show in January, New York Public Radio announced on Thursday.

Krulwich, 72, has hosted the show, which is produced by WNYC, with Jad Abumrad since 2005.

“There comes a time — and I think it has come — when you get out of the way and let the future come flooding in,” Krulwich wrote in a letter posted online.

Abumrad created an earlier rendition of “Radiolab” in 2002, the same year Krulwich and Abumrad met. When Krulwich came aboard a revamped version, the show was a small, seasonal venture; now it airs weekly across 589 public radio stations.

Each episode poses a scientific or philosophical quandary at the top that Krulwich and Abumrad probe over the course of the show, often leading to surprising conclusions. One recent broadcast began by asking where eels come from; another explored the secret history of square dancing.

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