1. Disneyland Paris
Disney's Imagineers were well aware of the irony at play when they were designing the centrepiece of Europe's first Disney amusement park. After all, the ornate châteaux of the Loire Valley, which had inspired every other Disney castle, were just down the autoroute from Disneyland Paris. Even so, the 19-square-kilometre park opened in 1992 with a European-style Sleeping Beauty Castle (pictured), fuelling French critics' accusations of cultural imperialism. One even went so far as to call the place a "cultural Chernobyl" — pretty far from the happiest place on earth. But after a slow start, partly attributed to the global recession of the early '90s, the park took off with Europeans. Today it receives more visitors each year than the Louvre and Eiffel Tower combined. Now that's irony.
Persecuted Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is opening a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum on April 18. But prior to an 81-day detention by Chinese authoritie... More Persecuted Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is opening a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum on April 18. But prior to an 81-day detention by Chinese authorities in 2011, Ai's passport was confiscated, and he cannot travel to coordinate or even see his own exhibit. The Brooklyn show includes "Sacred," a depiction of his incarceration in six dioramas, in its first North American appearance. National Geographic met and spoke with Ai in Beijing where he lives.
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