Wacky anti-theft suitcase + Las Vegas treats

Wacky way to keep luggage safe

It’s no fun having a bag get lost or stolen during a journey.

Today we have digital trackers to help keep track of suitcases. But back in the early 1960s, one smart inventor created a wacky way to make sure a bag wouldn’t get stolen.

Good reasons to go to Las Vegas

The storms that caused flash flooding in Las Vegas have moved on, making way for the return of high (100+ degrees) temperatures and lots of sun.

Good thing. There are lots of reasons to go to Las Vegas and, soon, there’ll be one more.

Between September 5 and October 26, fans of the late actress and singer Debbie Reynolds (“Singin’ in the Rain,” “Unsinkable Molly Brown” and many others) can visit an exhibition titled “The Persona, The Person: Debbie Reynolds in Las Vegas.

The free exhibit is put together by Reynolds’ son, Todd Fisher, the Debbie Reynolds Estate, and The Neon Museum and features everything from handmade gowns and costumes to personal effects from the time Reynolds and her family lived and performed in Las Vegas. This photo of Reynolds and Liberace is also included in the show.

The exhibit is the headline experience in The Neon Museum’s second annual Duck Duck Shed, a citywide cultural, design, and entertainment festival that takes place October 4-7 and celebrates the allure of Las Vegas’ past and present with behind-the-scenes tours, exclusive exhibitions, and thought-provoking discussions.

New book unpacks the archives of Rimowa luggage

Cologne-based luggage company Rimowa has been making coveted suitcases and travel accessories since 1898.

Now the company known for signature aluminum cases has teamed up with Rizzoli publishing to create a book documenting 100 years of Rimowa’s products.

RIMOWA: An Archive, Since 1898 is filled with photographs, illustrations, and other vintage brand ephemera culled from the company’s archive.

And if you didn’t lust for this now iconic luggage before, you will after seeing some of these archival treasures.

The oversize 270-page hardcover book of Rimowa creations retails for $95.

That’s more than you’d pay for a set of Rimowa luggage stickers. It’s about what you’d pay for a Rimowa iPhone case. And far less than you’d pay for a piece of Rimowa luggage.

Snaps from a visit to an airport bag well

As part of research for an upcoming story, I spent two days visiting the ‘bag well’ at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport finding out what happens to your checked lugagge once you hand it over to your airline.

The short version: your bag travels on a freeway-like conveyor system that sends the bag to and through a TSA explosives detection machine and then back to the airline for sorting so can be sent to your airplane and loaded onto it.  The bag tag is scanned multiple times along the way to keep tabs on its whereabouts.

Here are some snaps from my adventure. Stay tuned for the full story.



Souvenir Sunday: a journey with “Luggage”

On my travels this week I’ve been toting a review copy of Susan Harlan’s book, Luggage, which is part of Bloomsbury’s charming Object Lessons series.

The slim book is travel-sized, but densely-packed and Harlan has stuffed it with stories and side-trips that touch not just on the actual history and development of suitcases, bags, trunks, carry-ons and valises, but on the role baggage plays in literature, art and films.

Remember Mary Poppins’ carpet bag?

“It contains all of her desires,” writes Harlan, and is a “powerfully enabling object” from which the nanny is somehow able to produce a lamp and a mirror (in the 1964 Disney movie) and, in the novel by P.L. Travers, everything from an apron to an armchair.

Poppins’ luggage was not only magical, notes Harlan, it gave her freedom. “She can come and go as the wind changes, which would hardly be possible with a steamer trunk,” Harlan writes.

In “Luggage,” Harlan tells us about her own collection of vintage luggage, a bit of how she and others approach packing and of her visit to to Alabama’s vast Unclaimed Baggage Center, which is not just a store but a tourist destination.

Along the way she unpacks the role and relationship baggage has to everything from home and gender to class, memory, loss and, of course, travel.

“The history of luggage is the history of travel: how we traveled, and why, and where, and what we have packed,” Harlan tells us at the beginning of this journey, “It is virtually impossible to think of traveling without luggage.”





Exhibit uses suitcases to explore ‘baggage’

Joel Ross – Room 28

Baggage Claims, an exhibition currently at the Orlando Museum of Art,  includes the work of 17 artists who have used suitcases, trunks and crates to create work that explores various meanings of ‘baggage” and “the impact of today’s vast global commerce and travel on contemporary life.”

Co-curated by Ginger Gregg Duggan and Judith Hoos Fox, of, the exhibit will also travel, to the Weatherspoon Art Museum, in Greensboro, NC (January 27 – April 22, 2018) and later to Greencastle, Indiana and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Orlando Museum of Art was kind enough to share these images from the show.


Yin Xiuzhen – Portable City, Dunhuang


Avery Lawrence – Arranging suitcases


Kathleen Vance – Traveling Landscape