"There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about," Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) observed. Which suggests the playwright, poet and wit would have approved of the events marking the centenary of his death. In London, the British Library's "Oscar Wilde: A Life in Six Acts," through Feb. 4, chronicles the writer's social rise and fall (he was jailed for "acts of gross indecency") via letters, manuscripts, photographs and rare first editions. The Barbican Centre's display of paintings, drawings and sculptures by Wilde's friends and contemporaries (through Dec. 10) sheds light on his cultural impact, while "The House Beautiful," at the Geffrye Museum through Jan. 21, explores Wilde's aesthetic influence.
Muscovites nostalgic for Soviet-era cuisine can salivate over wax models of dishes once served in workers' and students' canteens at the Museum of Public Catering. Run by retired restaurant employees, the museum surveys Russia's culinary past. Exhibits range from pre-revolutionary crystal, cutlery and restaurant menus through wartime ration coupons to kitchenware and recipe books. Open for three hours every Wednesday, the museum also offers cooking classes and consultations for chefs. Reservations are advised; tel. +7 095 911 3503.
For Wolfgang Laib, art is organic. Instead of paint or plaster, the German artist uses a palette of milk, rice, beeswax and pollen to reflect his commitment to Eastern philosophies and natural substances. A retrospective of Laib's career mounted by the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum includes a marble slab coated with milk, which has to be changed daily by museum staff (it sours at room temperature) and cone-shaped mounds of buttercup and hazelnut pollen collected by Laib from the fields surrounding his rural village in South Germany. Laib, who abandoned medical school to become an artist, also spends part of each year in India. Through Jan. 22.
Built at the summit of the 500-m-high Lubombo mountains, which divide Swaziland from Mozambique, the Shewula Mountain camp is being heralded by Swazi authorities as their country's first community-owned tourist facility. Visitors can stay in traditional stone and thatch huts or pitch their tents at the camp ground. Part of a protected area known as the Lubombo Conservancy, the mountain camp has shared bathroom and cooking facilities (there is hot water, but no electricity). Visitors can order meals prepared by local families. Guides conduct cultural and nature tours: the area is renowned for its 100-km views and diverse bird life.