Twenty-one tons of sand are transforming the Brooklyn Academy of Music into a day at a beach for the staging of the global warming opera Sun and Sea.”

NEW YORK — How do you turn a performance space in Brooklyn into a day at the beach?

Answer: Truck in 21 tons of sand from New Jersey in 50-pound bags and dump them out onto the floor — all 840 of them.

That’s how the production crew at the Brooklyn Academy of Music set the stage for a prize-winning opera about global warming, “Sun and Sea,” which is having its U.S. premiere this month.

Created by three Lithuanian artists, the hour-long opera features 13 singers sitting or lying on beach blankets under a hot sun. They portray characters identified in the libretto — sung here in English — by generic titles like Wealthy Mommy and Workaholic. Non-singing extras fill out the scene, building sandcastles, playing cards, walking a dog or just strolling around.

“It started from the image of a beach watched from above and the people gathered there,” said director Rugilė Barzdžiukaité, speaking from Lithuania via Zoom. “We see them in their very fragile condition because they are half-naked … just like the cosmic body of Earth which is also very fragile. And the beach is getting warmer and warmer every year. That’s how it came together.”

Once they decided on global warming as their theme, the question became how to explore that through characters who are mostly oblivious to the problem.

“We were thinking how can you write about climate change because it’s such a big and anonymous topic,” said librettist Vaiva Grainyté. “So for these characters and singers it’s like different clouds of thoughts, inner monologues about very mundane and simple things.”

But troubling hints of impending doom creep in.

An example Grainyté cites: one lady complains about messy dogs at the beach, but also mentions how she found three edible mushrooms out of season in December. “This little paradox somehow gives a hint of the disorder in nature. The feeling of the tragedy and apocalypse is very present but it’s subtle, not direct.

“There’s nothing like, ‘Oh my God, the world is about to end,’” she added.

Lina Lapelyté, who composed the music, said, “We wanted to have this very bright beach, almost too bright to believe it’s possible.

“And so the music is also very light,” she said. “It’s not heavy, quite poppy. Sometimes maybe it reminds you of a pop song that you know, but it’s actually none of the songs you know.” The musical accompaniment is provided by a recorded phonogram synthesizer.

The opera premiered in Lithuania in 2017 and was invited to the Venice Biennale 2019, where it won the Golden Lion for best national presentation.

“Rarely has an environmental message been so subtly, humorously, tellingly conveyed in an artwork,”

Nothing ruins a day at the beach like an aggressive cow.

A beach in France that’s famous for its sunbathing cows recently had to temporarily close due to some aggressive behavior from the animals. Local officials took the opportunity to remind the public that the cows are wild animals and should be given their space.

Authorities temporarily closed the beaches in Corsica, a French-owned island in the Mediterranean.

Authorities temporarily closed the beaches in Corsica, a French-owned island in the Mediterranean.

Authorities temporarily closed the beaches in Corsica, a French-owned island in the Mediterranean, the New York Post reports. The island is famous for having 15,000 cows that roam the island, including the scenic beaches.

Apparently, the animals got used to not having to share the land with people during the past year while tourists were kept away due to lockdown regulations.


One local councilor discussed the issue with local reporters, saying that while tourists laugh at the cows and think that they make for good pictures, the animals have become a real problem on the island.

Multiple people have recently been attacked by the cows, including one man who was gored in the neck on a beach in Lotu. There was also another incident where a herd of cows chased tourists down a popular street.


A 70-year-old had an extremely close call with death after a cow attacked her while she was hanging her laundry. According to Francois Acquaviva, mayor of the town of Lozzi, the animal missed striking the woman’s femoral artery by just two centimeters.

This is not the first time visitors have been attacked by the cows. In 2017, a beachgoer attempted to take a selfie with one of the animals, Travel and Leisure reports. Unfortunately, the animal responded by goring her in the face.


While her injuries were not life-threatening, the woman suffered damage to her teeth and required stitches.

Last week, I took my first international trip in 16 months. Swiping my passport at a Global Entry kiosk in U.S. customs felt odd. While I missed travel, I worried about the return to “business as usual” which has contributed to excess carbon emissions and environmental degradation from overtourism. Now more than ever, I’m looking to patronize businesses who keep these concerns at the forefront of operations.

While in Baja California Sur, I came across the owners of the beautiful Villa Santa Cruz. Not only did the couple quit their jobs in California to open an oceanfront inn on a beach in Mexico, but they’re striving to develop a farm and implement a low waste program to reduce food and trash sent to local landfills.

In today’s “How to Quit Your Job and…” interview, Matt and Jessica Canepa, co-founders of Villa Santa Cruz in Todos Santos, discuss their backgrounds, the day-to-day and big picture challenges of the hospitality business, and offer tips for those hoping to follow in their footsteps.

Where are you both from and how did you meet?

Matt was born in Santa Cruz, CA and grew up in Winnemucca, Nevada, a tiny rural town several hours northeast of Reno. He went to school at University of Nevada, Reno. After graduation, he went to San Diego and worked as a bartender before flipping homes in the late ‘90s. When the homes would go into Escrow, there would be some time before the money came in for the next project, so Matt traveled. On a trip in 2001, he drove through Baja and discovered the town of Todos Santos he bought our current property. 

I was born and raised in Cardiff by the Sea, California. I attended undergrad at UCLA and law school in San Francisco at UC Hastings. In my 3rd year of law school (2006), I went on a family vacation with my parents to Cabo. They loosely knew some friends of Matt’s, so we spent a few days on the property in Todos Santos. I met Matt. Our connection was instant, and we fell in love fast. He moved to San Francisco to be with me while I finished my law degree and started my big firm job.

What were your lives like before moving to Mexico? 

Our lives were hectic. I was a young attorney at a big international law firm, commuting from San Francisco to Palo Alto, and working crazy hours. We were newlyweds, but I was never home, always working. Matt was working in construction management. At that time, around 2007, the housing market was hot, prices were high, and for us, as a new couple starting professional lives, it just seemed impossible to have any real balance in life. I knew I wanted to have children, but I just couldn’t see how it was possible to have a family and work the

James Dobson went to Brisbane to meet his niece and celebrate her first birthday.


James Dobson went to Brisbane to meet his niece and celebrate her first birthday.

OPINION: Fortunately, for the thousands, if not tens of thousands of New Zealanders stuck in Australia, they can finally return home.

I was stuck in Brisbane, but spare a thought for those in the state of New South Wales who have been left in the lurch for some time on when they can return to New Zealand.

Fortunately for me, it only meant two-weeks of lost wages. Thankfully, my sister who is living there provided food and a roof over my head to minimise my losses.

There will be a number of fellow Kiwis at home watching from their sofas and having their two cents worth.

* Live: Green flights from NSW halted due to Covid-19 outbreak in Australian state
* Covid-19: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s most difficult decision explained
* ‘Relieved’ Kiwis return to Auckland after weeks stranded in Melbourne due to Covid-19 community outbreak

I know first-hand about the opinions of Kiwis toward their fellow countrymen and women stuck across the ditch, from comments made through social media. I can assure you that they aren’t very supportive.

Nobody I know has made this trip to go and lay on a beach, to upload photos to their Instagram.

This is about much more than that. It’s about people and family. Isn’t that the most important thing?

As for my reasons for travelling, I came to visit my first and only niece for her first birthday. I’d never met her in person before because of the Covid-19 restrictions that started last year.

Another friend, who is also stuck here, came to visit a nephew who has also just turned 1.

Additionally, one of her friends came over for four days to support a friend whose child needed a serious operation. She was advised halfway through her flight to Brisbane that the travel restrictions were taking place in a few short hours time, meaning her four day trip was now indefinite.

We had no idea that these restrictions were coming into effect. There were no warning signs, alerts or anything to suggest we should be concerned.

I missed my flight back to New Zealand by 14 hours, and if I had an inkling of the restrictions about to occur, I would have taken the first flight home.

I have returned home with a slightly different perspective on the travel bubble, and compassion for those who have suffered far worst than my relatively minor setback.

On a positive note, I was able to spend some valuable time with my niece, who I probably won’t see again for some time.

What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

Miami Beach, Florida

Artur Debat | Moment | Getty Images

Interest in travel is picking up as the pandemic winds down, and cooped-up Americans are itching to hit the road again, two recent surveys have found.

Travelers are thinking about booking trips to warm and sunny domestic climes — be they Sun Belt cities or beaches and national parks — and are also more open to planning trips abroad.

Separate surveys from websites and Skyscanner, which partnered with customer engagement platform Braze and app intelligence provider Apptopia, found that Las Vegas, Miami and Orlando, Florida, are among the top destinations searched online by potential U.S. vacationers.

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Mark Crossey, U.S. travel expert at Skyscanner, said Americans are looking for short, domestic trips — 87% of trips booked at the site are for a week or less — and are favoring spots with fewer pandemic-related restrictions.

“Both Florida and Nevada no longer have travel restrictions for visitors and California anticipates its restrictions will soon lift, too,” he said. “All of these destinations enjoy warm summer weather and have plenty of activities for people to enjoy after a quiet year.”

Crossey said he expects to see Americans continue to travel in their own backyard throughout 2021, and anticipates “a resurgence in foreign trips as soon as international travel restrictions relax and popular European destinations reopen.” 

The top five destinations from Skyscanner, Braze and Apptopia are, in fact, all cities: Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. All but L.A. and the Big Apple, meanwhile, made’s own list of top 10 destination searches for summer travel, which also featured seaside spots such as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Ocean City, Maryland. The site’s survey found 61% of people plan to hit the sand at some point this summer.’s Top 10 Summer Travel Searches

Here are the top 10 searched domestic U.S. destinations in May for check-in in July and August:

  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Destin, Florida
  • Panama City Beach, Florida
  • Ocean City, Maryland
  • Miami Beach, Florida
  • Miami, Florida
  • Key West, Florida
  • Virginia Beach, Virginia


“New research shows that Americans are looking to get away this summer, and more specifically, a majority (62%) say they are optimistic they’ll get to the beach when it is safe again to do so,” said Leslie Cafferty, senior vice president and head of global communications at Booking Holdings.

“With nearly 70% of Americans looking to travel closer to home, it’s no surprise that U.S. destinations like Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, Miami, Ocean City and Destin were among some of the top searched vacations on in May for check-in dates within 90 days.”

Like Skyscanner, also found that Americans now favor shorter trips, with 54% of survey respondents saying they’d prefer more short breaks to fewer longer stays.

The White Sands in Point Pleasant Beach features 127 rooms, two swimming pools, a spa and beach access, putting it perfectly situated for visitors desperate to travel after being holed up during the pandemic.

But the hotel is in dire straits. It has eight employees. It needs at least 12 more. And workers are nowhere to be found.

“I really can’t get anybody to work,” said Christina Ranuro, the general manager whose family has owned The White Sands for 30 years. “I’ve raised my starting (wage) from from $12 to $13 to $14 to $15 to $16 an hour. And people just don’t want to come to work.”

The Shore’s tourism industry, scaled back last year due to the pandemic, is cranking back up — starting this Memorial Day weekend with the unofficial start of summer.

COVID restrictions have eased. People are vaccinated. And consumers after a year of wearing masks and keeping their distance appear ready to blow off steam.

It adds up to a potential blockbuster. But rather than relief, the tourism industry is panicking. The pandemic has upended the labor market, leaving thousands of jobs unfilled and forcing them to ask New Jerseyans — and everyone else — for something the state isn’t known for: patience and civility.

‘It’s been brutal’:NJ restaurants expect big crowds, few workers; here is what’s changed

Salty's Beach Bar, which is under construction, displays "Opening Soon" and "Now Hiring" signs as they prepare to open for the summer season in Lake Como, NJ Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

“We have to realize that a lot of these businesses are definitely going to struggle a bit, some of them very much with the lack of labor to accommodate the demand,” said Dana Lancellotti, president and chief executive officer of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, a trade group.

“So when you go to the restaurants and when you go to order a drink and when you’re you’re enjoying the activities and the tourism attractions, please remember that you may have to wait a little longer, you may have to be a little more patient,” she said. “But these businesses are doing everything they can with what they have.”

Monmouth and Ocean counties are coming off of a head-scratching year. Visitors searching for a safe respite from the disease flocked to Shore, boosting beach badge revenue for local towns by double digits, an Asbury Park Press study found.

McCann's Tavern displays a "Help Wanted" sign in preparation for the summer season in Lake Como, NJ Tuesday, May 25, 2021.

NJ beach badges:What it costs to sit on the sand during 2021 summer

But they apparently were confined to the beaches. Monmouth and Ocean counties’ tourism industry generated $5.8 billion in spending last summer, down 24.6% from the previous year, according to Tourism Economics, a research group.

Among the Shore businesses bracing for a rebound: Joe Leone’s Italian Specialties and Catering, which has stores in Point Pleasant Beach and Sea Girt and planned to open a new location in Manasquan in mid-June.

But its expansion plans are on hold, owner Joe Leone Introna said, because he can’t find 30 people he needs to staff it.

It is not for a lack of trying. Introna has placed help-wanted ads onthe internet job site  Indeed.

Two Long Beach volleyball teammates will head to Annapolis, Maryland, next month to attend the United States Naval Academy — a rare distinction that will allow them to serve their country while once again wearing the same uniform.

Mariella Vergara and Doris Chuang will travel to the academy not long after their high school graduation ceremonies for an intense six-week summer training before beginning their college education in earnest.

Getting into the academy is notoriously difficult. Only 1,200 people were accepted out of 16,000 applicants for the upcoming school year, according to a press release from the Naval Academy. That’s 7.5%. In order to get in, prospective students must also be recommended by members of the U.S. Congress and vow to serve at least four years in the military after graduation.

But for both Vergara and Chuang, attending a military academy has long seemed like a fait accompli. Chuang, a high-level volleyball player, was recruited by three academies. Attending the Naval Academy, meanwhile, has been a lifelong dream for Vergara.

“In middle school, I made it my goal to get into the Academy,” she said. “I will be the first one in my family to attend.”

But the two Long Beach residents, who attend different local high schools, have more in common than their future naval careers.

For one, they both plan on studying engineering at Annapolis, which US News & World Report has ranked a top-five engineering school.

For another, they are talented volleyball players.

The two are teammates at Apex Volleyball, a local club team in Cypress, where they met.

They also both made varsity on their respective school teams.

Vergara is 5 feet tall and is a backrow specialist called a libero. She describes herself as “tiny but mighty” and played on both Saint Anthony High School’s beach and indoor volleyball teams.

Chuang is a full foot taller than her future classmate. Her 6-foot frame helped her become a starting varsity middle hitter as a freshman at Wilson High. But she dreamed of being a setter. Determined to develop this skill, Chuang spent her sophomore year playing on the junior varsity team and taking private setting lessons.

“She’s an amazing kid with no ego,” Wilson volleyball coach Carlos Briceno said. “She was extremely driven to succeed. Because of her work ethic, she is now a legit (NCAA Division 1) setter.”

The U.S. Air Force Academy and United States Military Academy both recruited her to play volleyball — leaving her with a tough choice. Her father, she said, was initially impressed by the Air Force while her mother preferred West Point.

But Chuang chose neither. Instead, she was drawn to the Navy’s volleyball team and its engineering program.

Vergara, meanwhile, never considered another school. Her goal, she said, is to become a Navy pilot.

“Everyone in my family is in the Navy, my dad, my brother, two uncles, an aunt and my grandpa,” Vergara said. “I have loved the Blue Angels since I was a kid. It’s my

WHY IT RATES: Packages are available at any of Beach Enclave’s three destinations: the all-new Beach Enclave Grace Bay, Beach Enclave Long Bay and Beach Enclave North Shore. —Codie Liermann, Senior Editor

With 27 private luxury villas spread across three intimate, beachfront, gated communities, Beach Enclave Turks & Caicos is the ideal choice for families seeking space, seclusion and total comfort while gathering together under one roof. Beach Enclave’s exclusive villa-resort concept combines the best of both worlds; guests enjoy the conveniences of their own private home, the amenities of a five-star resort and the personalized services of an attentive, dedicated staff of butlers, concierges and personal chefs.

While each stay is customized based on guests’ unique needs and preferences, Beach Enclave recognizes that for the modern jet set family, time together is paramount. To help expedite planning and maximize vacation time, the team has utilized its deep knowledge and years of experience to carefully curate an all-new collection of three- to ten-day family packages.

Available at all three of Beach Enclave’s locations on Providenciales, the three-, five-, seven- and ten-day family packages include all of the following:

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—Luxurious private villa accommodations

—A half-day boat excursion with snorkeling and a visit to Iguana Island

—A private, family-style chef’s dinner

—A half-day of kids’ camp

—A 50-minute, in-room couple’s massage

In addition, the five-, seven- and ten-day packages also include:

—Four hours of nanny services at Surfside Ocean Academy

—Horseback riding lessons (based on four people for a two-bedroom, six people for a three-bedroom and eight people for a four-bedroom villa)

The seven and ten-day packages additionally add:

—A second half-day or one full-day of kids’ camp

Adding on to all of the above offerings, the ten-day package exclusively features the following:

—Private tennis lessons

—Custom kids’ camp at Surfside Ocean Academy

—An additional four hours of nanny services at Surfside Ocean Academy

—A second private, family-style chef’s dinner

—A dinner for two on the town (including taxi) for the parents

Family packages start at $12,912 and vary based on villa size and location. These packages are available for travel beginning May 1 through December 18, 2021, at any of Beach Enclave’s three beachfront destinations: the all-new Beach Enclave Grace Bay; Beach Enclave Long Bay; and Beach Enclave North Shore. This offer is subject to availability and blackout dates.

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SOURCE: Beach Enclave press release.

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A travel magazine rates Naples just beachy.

Travel + Leisure recently wrote that the Southwest Florida city is the No. 1 U.S. beach town to live in. The magazine cited the personal finance site WalletHub for determining the best beach towns to live in around the United States.

WalletHub ranked them according to 63 indicators, including “affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health and overall quality of life.” WalletHub rated 145 total cities.

The New York City-based monthly publication lauded Naples for its “unbeatable quality of life and relative affordability.”

“Located on Florida’s Paradise Coast along the Gulf of Mexico,” the magazine said in its April issue, “the town offers lots to see and do, including pristine, white-sand beaches and day trips to nearby Everglades National Park.”

Where to watch sunsets:48 restaurants with sunset views in Naples, Marco Island and beyond

Visitors relax along along the shore of Naples beach, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020.

Naples was kicking sand at other cities who rated second-best and lower, with Lahaina, Hawaii, at No. 2; Boca Raton at No. 3; Newport Beach, California, No. 4; and Santa Monica, California, rounding out the top 5.

Bonita Springs was No. 67 and Marco Island was 83rd.

More Florida love:Sarasota named one of ’10 best U.S. beach towns to live in’ by Travel + Leisure magazine

Other Florida cities to make the top 50 were Sarasota at No. 6; Vero Beach at No. 10; Destin 12; Fernadina Beach 15; Venice 17; Jupiter 21; Satellite Beach No. 24; Atlantic Beach 29; Key Biscayne 30; Stuart 31; St. Augustine 34; Key West 36; Jacksonville Beach 38; North Palm Beach 43; Coral Gables 44; Clearwater 48; and Pensacola 50.

Pandemic affects tourism:Tourism busy season not so busy in Collier County due to COVID-19 pandemic

Rated No. 2:Now for some good news: Naples lands on list of Best Small Cities in America

People like it here:7 reasons why Florida’s Naples is one of the happiest places on Earth

Naples in recent years has made various “top” lists. Last summer a report generated by Resonance Consultancy, a specialist in the destination-branding industry, ranked Naples No. 2 on its 2020 list of Best Small Cities.

And WalletHub also rated Naples at No. 1 in 2019.

In addition to Everglades National Park cited in the Travel + Leisure story, Collier County is home to other attractions including Big Cypress National Preserve and Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, a short drive from Naples.

In its latest top mark, Naples received a total score of 62.50. Here’s how Naples rated in  the categories, with a 1 top and 145 the lowest:

  • 30th for “affordability”
  • 100th for “weather”
  • 69th for “safety”
  • 43rd for “economy”
  • 84th for “education and health”
  • 1st for “quality of life”

Editor’s Note — Since the pandemic continues, CNN is not advising that people do these activities. But if you’re going to, there are ways to mitigate risks. Fully vaccinated people are, of course, at much lower risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus than people who haven’t been vaccinated. CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen advises approaching your activity decisions with that in mind.

(CNN) — With summer around the corner and more people getting Covid-19 vaccines, you may be wondering whether going to the beach is a safe bet.

Even for people who have been fully vaccinated, “nothing is going to be 100% safe, just like nothing is going to be 100% risk,” said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. However, beaches “are much safer than other settings because they are outdoors.”

Pictured is St. Kilda beach in  Dunedin, New Zealand. As the world slowly reopens, visiting beaches can be safer than traveling to indoor destinations.

Pictured is St. Kilda beach in Dunedin, New Zealand. As the world slowly reopens, visiting beaches can be safer than traveling to indoor destinations.


“We have not seen that (coronavirus) can be spread in the water,” said Dr. Ada Stewart, a family physician with Cooperative Health in Columbia, South Carolina, and the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. Whether you’re at the beach by yourself or with fully vaccinated family or friends, Stewart added, what helps reduce risk is having your own area to relax in.

Always check the regulations of the local government, public health office and beach in advance, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended. The beach managers may be requiring reservations or limited capacity. Also, plan to arrive “swim ready” by showering and changing at home first.
For times when you may have to be closer to people — like when you visit the restroom or concession stand — wear a mask, carry hand sanitizer and wash your hands. The CDC has advised beach managers to ensure there is enough equipment — such as chairs and other supplies — for visitors and that everything is cleaned regularly. However, bringing hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray or wipes would be useful for cleaning equipment yourself.
If you need to shower or rinse off at the beach, try to physically distance from others or go in when the area isn’t crowded. Bring an extra mask in case your first mask gets wet; according to the CDC, a wet mask is less effective. And don’t wear your mask in the water, since a wet mask can also make breathing difficult.

Distance yourself — on land and in water — from people who don’t live with you. Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor areas.

Coronavirus commonly spreads through respiratory droplets during close physical contact, so Wen is more worried “about what happens if people leave the beach and end up going to the bar.” Even if people are distanced in places like indoor bars and restaurants, wearing a mask