I'm a big fan of lifelong learning. So, while I don't write about this stuff much, I always come away from these stories knowing a little bit more than I did before I started. Win.

Lee Toland Krieger enters the big leagues, gives it to us straight and wants to get paid to get fucked.

Getting Lee Toland Krieger on the line for an interview is proving difficult. The southern California-grown director has been working 15-hour days up in Vancouver for the last thirteen weeks. Krieger is stuck in pre-production for his newest film, Age of Adaline, the story of an accidentally ageless woman who becomes a recluse after watching so many loved ones grow old and die.
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That Time the Florida Keys Tried to Secede from the US by Dropping Conch Fritter Bombs

"We were the point of least resistance, or so they thought!" former Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow guffaws to me over the phone. "They didn't anticipate the publicity—or what was going to happen." In all fairness, neither had he. America's most famous food fight was a perfectly planned PR stunt with both national and international buzz—except it wasn't planned and there were no PR consultants. Wardlow had opened his mouth and the words had leapt out: The Florida Keys would secede from the United States of America in protest against the government.

Ayahuasca: Why Travelers Swear by This Trip of a Lifetime

It’s one of nature’s most powerful psychoactive plants which, when brewed into a tea of sorts, leads most users to experience profound visions, intense vomiting and diarrhea, and an almost unparalleled level of self-awareness. In the indigenous community, it’s referred to simply as la medicina, or “the medicine." In the Western world, it’s been described as everything from the trip of a lifetime and the key to self-discovery and healing, to a “diabolical potion” and even the devil itself. So how has this ancient sacred plant become the latest tourist trend?

8 Things You Think You Know About The World That Are Actually Wrong

Travel is all about learning, expanding your horizons, getting rid of preconceived notions and myths that you might have -- and replacing them with the truth. Trust us, we've learned our fair share of truths and discovered our own believed myths debunked after hitting the road. We've been set straight a few times; our favorite always being over coffee or a beer while in the midst of an intense or friendly conversation with locals or fellow travelers.

The Staggering Difference Between Average Hotel Rates and Minimum Wage in the World's Most Popular Destinations

For many, vacation is a time to indulge. It’s a bona fide excuse to treat yo’self to that room upgrade, sign up for the once-in-a-lifetime safari, or sit by the pool sipping all-inclusive daiquiris. The only thing you want to work on is your tan. With stale office walls, overexposure to fluorescent lighting, and constant desk-slumping, it’s no wonder that some of the most popular vacation destinations are escapes into the wide-open arms of nature or on top of sunny, sandy beaches.

The 15 Best Stateside Music Festivals This Spring and Summer

Every year at the end of April, thousands make the hot and slow crawl to SoCal's Indio Valley for the season's first (and arguably most famous) music festival. You might say the annual pilgrimage to Coachella is a sort of rite of passage for hardcore festival-goers and music fans. But as avid music lovers and travelers, we here at Oyster see it as something else. It's the first bloom in a whole season full of music festivals taking place all over the country. We've picked out the best ones starting now, and continuing on through the summer circuit. And yes, we've even scoped out the best spots for you to stay near each of the grounds, too.

They're Booked! Five (Real) Hotels Found in Novels

Any writer worth his weight in hardbacks knows that one of the most essential aspects of a story is setting; it sets the scene, provides conflict, controls character interaction and creates a mood. It only makes sense, then, that authors return again and again to hotels, in particular, to fill the backdrop of their stories. Why? Well, hotels are familiar to everyone and conveniently allow for all different types of characters to enter the adventure. They open up a world of dramatic possibility, and, since they are homes away from home, hotels can create both a feeling of comfort and uncertainty -- or outright insanity, depending on the author. (Stephen King's "The Shining" is quite possibly one of the most well-known stories based in a hotel.) Here's a list of real-life hotels that are so inspiring, writers had to pen them forever on the page.

More Than Marley: Visit Jamaica for a Taste of Its Emerging Music Scene

Bob Marley music might be Jamaica's most famous export, but that doesn't mean the legend's iconic reggae hits are the only local beats jamming out of stereos across the island and around the world. During the last decade or so, Jamaica's music scene -- both in the Rastafarian-led reggae and Dancehall genres -- has grown steadily. Overseas, we've seen the likes of various reggae-influenced artists (such as progressive reggae rockers Slightly Stoopid, pop-reggae singer Sean Kingston, and even the Hebrew-Reggae hybrid sounds of Matisyahu) climb the Billboard charts, but most people still only associate "real" reggae with the Marley moniker. And, although Dancehall has been around since the 1970s, it only really broke off Jamaica's shores and into the United States in the '90s, before completely catching fire in the early part of the millennium thanks to that good girl gone bad, Rihanna.

Hungry Ghost Festival in Malaysia

Festivals honoring traditions and ancestry are common in Chinese religions like Buddhism and Taoism. Outside of China, these ritualistic festivals, such as the Hungry Ghost Festival, are celebrated wherever there is at least a moderate population of ethnic Chinese residents, such as Malaysia. While some participants in the Hungry Ghost Festival may not staunchly believe in ghosts or spirits, they recognize the importance of such ritualistic festivals as a way to continue long-standing cultural traditions abroad.

Up and Coming: Verses Narrow

Recently, while Williamsburg's post-punk trio, Verses Narrow, were rehersing for their upcoming Canadian tour, the door of their practice space burst open, stopping the band mid-song. Members Aaron Nice (drums), Sal DellAquila (bassist), and Bryan Louie (guiarist/vocalist) braced themselves for a noise complaint, or to tell the next band waiting to reherse that they hadn't finished. Instead, they were shocked to find none other than Matt Pinfield (from MTV's 120 Minutes fame) standing in the doorway--looking stoked. He left wearing their shirt. Lucky for us, these busy Brooklynites shaved off a chunk of time to answer a few questions about the band's history, upcoming tour, new music video, how they spend their time in Brooklyn, and the effects of being a band in one of the most music-dense places in the world--and I didn't even have to bust down their door.
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