Entertainment

PHL Airport has a short story dispenser

Here’s a great contender for Airport Amenity of the Week: Philadelphia International Airport has a short story dispenser.

PHL short story dispenser

Courtesy PHL Airport

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)’s newest amenity is a Short Story Dispenser.

The five-foot tall, screen-less, translucent glass kiosk is now in the airport’s ‘Virtual Library’ (in the D/E Connector) and prints a free fiction story that can be read in one, three or five minutes.

To get a story, users press one of three buttons indicating which length of story they prefer and then  the machine delivers a story printed on eco-friendly paper.

The stories are drawn from a catalog of stories submitted to and edited by Short Édition, a French community publisher that developed the dispenser. Some stories dispensed are short works by classic authors such as Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf, but Short Edition says it has work submitted by 9,000 authors in its database and pay royalities to authors every time their work is accessed in a Short Story Dispenser.

PHL is the first US airport to get a Short Edition Story Dispenser, although the machines debuted a year or so ago at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris and are also installed at Canada’s Edmonton International Airport and about 150 other non-airport locations out in the world.

courtesy Short Edition
PHL has had a Virtual Library since 2014 that is designed to bring the city’s Free Library’s vast electronic resources to passengers. In addition to the short story dispener, travelers can log on to PHL’s free Wi-Fi to access the Library’s e-books, nearly 1,200 author podcasts, and other digital content.

A great airport amenity!

More holiday entertainment at airports

Many airports go all out during the holiday season with decorations and entertainment designed to make the busy travel season festive and a bit less stressful.

Here’s what’s on tap at a few airports around the country. I’ll add more as they come in.

At Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, holiday entertainment kicks off on December 20 with Ray Benson & The Barton Hills Choir performing from 12 to 1:30 p.m. The Austin Jazz Workshop performs holiday hits on December 22 from 2 to 3 p.m.  These performances are in addition to the 16 live, post-security music performances presented weekly at the airport. See a schedule of performance and locations here.

The Voices of Christmas

At Los Angeles International Airport Santa, carolers and holiday-themed entertainment are roaming the terminals through Thursday, December 21.

Dallas Love Field has scheduled live music events all through the month, right through December 30.

And at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport live music and costumed characters will be on duty passing out gifts, hanging out with travelers and participating in a daily parade from December 15 through December 24 at 9:30 a.m. with Frosty the Snowman, Sugar Plum Fairies, Santa and others marching rom the D Concourse to the Central Terminal.

 

Munich Airport Christmas Market

Munich Airport’s Christmas and Winter Market is open – so here’s hoping you have a long layover here.

For the 19th consecutive year, the large covered space between the Munich Airport terminals has been transformed into a winter wonderland with more than 40 kiosks in among 450 real Christmas trees and plenty of seasonal treats and local handicrafts.

Better yet, at the center of the market is a free ice-skating rink (with low-cost skate rentals) where visitors can try out Eisstockschiessen, Bavaria’s broom-free version of curling.

Entertainment is offered daily, except Mondays, starting at 6 pm, with a wide range of live musical acts, including jazz, swing, gospel, rock and pop bands and, every Thursday at 6pm, a DJ spins tunes for the skaters on the ice. Each Wednesday starting at 4 p.m. an evening of family-oriented fairytale performances and magic shows is scheduled.

Sound like fun at the airport? Munich Airport’s Christmas and Winter Market is open daily from 11am – pm through December 30.

Denver’s old Stapleton Airport tower gets new use

 

Before Denver International Airport opened in 1995, the city was served by the closer in Stapleton International Airport.

A mixed-used neighborhood has been growing in the space formerly occupied by the decommissioned airport, and next week a new business will open in the building at the base of the abanonded air traffic control tower building.

Denver-based “eatertainment” company Punch Bowl Social is getting ready to open Punch Bowl Social Stapleton, with six bowling lanes, foosball, darts, ping-pong, private karaoke rooms, a photo booth, shuffle board, giant scrabble, a diner and a bar.

 

 

The outside space will offer more fun and games, including two bocce courts, an astroturf lined ‘pool’, a gazebo and a beer garden.

It’s hard to tell from these renderings how much the space really includes the promised nods to the ‘golden age of flight,’ but we’ll stop by for a visit after the grand opening on November 18 to check it out.

 

Icelandair’s in-flight immersive theater experiment

Last week Icelandair tried something new: an 11-hour immersive theater production that took place on a flight from London to New York, with an on-the-ground bonus performance during a short layover in Reykjavik.

I got to ride along.

The cast was a mix of professional actors from the London theater group, Gideon Reeling, and real airline employees, including pilots, engineers, accountants, ground workers and cabin crew, who had volunteered to attend a special stage school.

The characters ranged from film stars and flight attendants from various decades to a perky party planner, a stone-faced volcanologist, a ram farmer and a pair of barefoot, beaded hippies. And the plot was built around Icelandair’s 80-year history, its can-do philosophy and themes of empowerment for women.

The show – such as it was – took place on board, as the characters mingled with passengers, telling stories about their role in what turned out to be a kooky and somewhat complicated family all headed to a party for Edda who  (spoiler alert…) never appeared.

I’m finishing up a story for NBC News about the event, but here are some snaps from the flight.