Picasso, piquant and passionate

TRAVEL SMARTS

April 15, 2001

Picasso erotique," a collection showcasing the artist's erotic works, makes its only stop in North America in June at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The museum will add to the collection currently touring Europe and include other Picasso works as well -- more than 300 in all.

Throughout his career, Picasso drew inspiration from the subjects of love and passion. In his youth, he frequented Barcelona brothels, and those images resulted in "Les Demoiselles d' Avignon," a 1907 painting in the collection that depicts the city's red-light district prostitutes.

During his surrealist period, Picasso reinvented the human form, concentrating on erotic focal points. In the 1960's, he transformed common erotic images into theatrical exaggerations, and as he grew older, the artist's erotic figures became two-dimensional and blurry, bleeding into one.

Examples from the major artistic periods in Picasso's life will be included in the exhibition, which runs from June 14 through Sept. 16. For more information, call the museum at 514-285-2000, or visit www.mmfa.qc.ca.

IN MAINE, INTIMATE SAILING CRUISES

If big-ship cruises seem too commercial, consider an alternative that puts the emphasis on the sailing experience. North End Shipyard Schooners in Rockland, Maine, offers three-, four- and six-day windjammer cruises along Maine's coast with a maximum number of guests set at 30 and a job for each of them -- if they want it.

With so few people, guests become like members of the crew. You sail all day and anchor each night against new backdrops, sometimes near one of the state's more than 70 lighthouses or the craggy coastline that's home to a variety of sea birds. Every trip features a stop at an uninhabited island for North End's signature lobster bake.

Cruise prices start at $395 for the shorter jaunts and $755 for the weeklong ventures. Meals are included. For more information, call 800-648-4544, or go to www.schoonerheritage.com.

A fine feast in Japan

Journeys East, a California-based tour company, offers two two-week tours through Japanese villages, focusing on regional cuisine and architecture. The trips, which leave May 5 and Oct. 20, begin in Tokyo and travel north through the mountains to Nagano, where cherry trees are in blossom and where guests take part in "shojin ryori," a traditional meal that includes more than 20 vegetarian dishes.

In Gujohachiman, travelers explore the town's canals and feast on a lunch of country foods gathered from the local forest. The highlight of the trip is the "Kaiseki" feast, a 200-year-old tradition that began as appetizer-style dishes accompanying formal tea ceremonies. The feasts have since grown into full-blown, multicourse displays of Japanese foods -- all pain- stakingly arranged and presented.

Accommodations are all Japanese-style, varying from thatched-roof farmhouses in Ogimachi to hot springs resorts to traditional Kyoto inns, where all the rooms look over private gardens. The trip, which doesn't include airfare to Japan, costs $4,485.

For information on the From Farmhouse to Teahouse trip, go to www.journeyseast.com or call 800-527-2612.

A milestone in Georgetown

May 15th marks Georgetown's 250th anniversary, and its party committee is pulling out all the stops.

The celebration kicks off April 22 at 6 p.m., with a black-tie optional / period-dress fund-raiser at the Four Seasons on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington. There will be 18th-century-style dancing, along with big-band music, a buffet dinner and dignitaries ready to blow out the 250 candles on Georgetown's birthday cake. Tickets are $75; call 202-944-5295.

On May 20, a parade through Georgetown, beginning at 1 p.m., will lead the way to a second birthday bash on the banks of the Potomac River at Washington's newest waterfront park, tentatively named the Georgetown Waterfront Park. The parade starts on Main Street and follows Wisconsin Avenue to the river.

-- Tricia Bishop

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