Tara Pepper

Stories by Tara Pepper

  • The New Science of Cosmetics

    Though she's just 27 years old, with a flawless complexion, account manager Bianca Bailey is on the hunt for scientific skin care in the beauty hall of Harrods. When it comes to aging, Bailey isn't taking chances. She grills several statuesque assistants before settling on Estée Lauder's DayWear for £28, six times the cost of her regular moisturizer. She's not interested in the best-smelling cream or stylish packaging or something that promises to hydrate her skin. She's after antioxidants. "Who wants to look old if they don't have to?" she says.Resurrecting and preserving a youthful complexion has been the holy grail of beauty since Cleopatra stepped into her legendary bath of milk more than 2,000 years ago. But until recently, most skin treatments were dubious, pricey creams and lotions that did little more than cover up blemishes and discolorations or add a healthy glow. Others were extreme and invasive, involving injections, operations or lasers. Now a new generation of skin...
  • Hidden Treasures in Secret Spaces

    By Tara PepperVisiting a great museum doesn't have to mean enduring crowded lines of pretentious would-be art connoisseurs in bustling cities. A plethora of smaller galleries lurk near windswept beaches, in idyllic rustic villages, and other out-of-the-way locales, and many house remarkable treasures. NEWSWEEK suggests stopping by a few of the best:The striking Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, set among sweeping lawns and ancient trees on Denmark's windswept North Zealand coast, was established in 1958 to elaborate the connection between visual art, architectureand landscape. The museum houses well-known works by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, and its sculpture collection is particularly strong, featuring 13 of Alberto Giacometti's spiky, surrealist bronzes. In the park, visitors can admire other sculptures by the likes of Alexander Calder and Joan Miró, and marvel at their juxtaposition with the trees, grass and water ( louisiana.dk , €11.90).A short walk from Croatia's unspoiled...
  • The Good Life

    For true foodies, it is no longer enough simply to visit a great winery, tour an organic farm or dine at a three-star restaurant. Culinary tourists increasingly want to sample all the local treats a region has to offer, from wine to herbs to chocolate. Fortunately, quality food producers tend to congregate near one another, lured by the climate, the terrain or the shared Slow-Food mind-set. ...
  • The Good Life

    When Michelin published its first-ever guide to New York City restaurants and hotels last week, the name Nicholas Chauvin popped into my head. Chauvin was that 19th-century French soldier whose hyperpatriotism spawned the term "chauvinism." And the Michelin's coveted star list is one Chauvin would love. Of the 500-odd Big Apple restaurants covered in the guide, 39 made the list. Of the top eight--those that received either two or three stars--four are French, and two others cook in the French manner. Is this 1975? I wondered. French supremacy on the restaurant scene has been over for a couple of decades in the United States, and our collective hearts sank when the Michelins failed to recognize how New York has been invigorated by American restaurants of great confidence and skill, restaurants with dazzling finesse and a thoroughly American lack of pretension. Sure, the glamorous Jean Georges still thrills, and we're amazed at how often the chef himself is in the kitchen. But they...
  • Good Life

    To say that Dr. Steven Pratt is passionate about food would be an understatement. To Pratt, coauthor of the 2004 best seller "SuperFoods Rx," food choices aren't about anything as trivial as personal tastes. They're life-or-death decisions. Choose well, and you may ward off cancer and heart disease. Chow down on "processed crud," as he calls it, and you might as well reserve a handicapped space at the hospital. THE GOOD LIFE went grocery shopping with Pratt in California to see how he puts together his own healthy menu--and to get a sneak preview of some of the new power foods in his upcoming book, "SuperFoods HealthStyle," due out in January. Among his picks: ...
  • Making Their Own Breaks

    When Singer Gilli Moon moved from Sydney to Los Angeles 10 years ago, she flung herself into meeting record-industry execs, arranging gigs and scraping together a living. "I didn't know anybody, I didn't have any money, but I worked very hard," she says. In 1996, she created one of the earliest artist Web sites, offering a bio, pictures and an online diary she wrote; later she linked to MP3.com so people could download her songs. "That made everything possible for me, in terms of getting my music out there," she says. When an indie label signed her just two years later, she thought she'd made it. But gradually, Moon started to wonder if she couldn't do a better job of promoting herself. Three years ago she decided to break away from her record company and give it a try. Now she writes and records in her Los Angeles living room, gazing out at palm trees and her pool. Online, she arranges and promotes her tours, sells tickets, CDs and ringtones, and chats with other songwriters about...
  • The New Blasphemy

    Omar Marzouk, a Muslim comedian from Denmark, had but one request at last month's Edinburgh Fringe Festival. "Tell me if you don't find my jokes funny," he told his audience. "I don't want to die--I'm not that kind of Muslim."Poking fun at the world's religions was de rigueur at Edinburgh's annual stage jamboree. Reason: fears that a controversial new "anti-blasphemy" law could curtail freedom of speech. The proposed legislation, to be debated by Britain's House of Lords next month, allows prosecution in cases where behavior or written material--such as a book, play or broadcast--could potentially incite religious hatred. Home Office officials say the law would not bar legitimate criticism of religion--nor comedians' lampooning of faiths--but argue that there must be some defense against speech motivated by religious hatred. With religion intruding into politics and the arts across Europe, though, many worry the legislation is a step too far.Europeans have long had laws against...
  • The Beauty Within

    The laconic opening of Zadie Smith's new novel may seem familiar to readers of English novelist E. M. Forster. "One may as well begin with Jerome's e-mails to his father" is Smith's postmodern reworking of the famously casual first sentence of "Howards End": "One may as well begin with Helen's letters to her sister." It is an elegant hint of what lies ahead in "On Beauty" (445 pages. Penguin).Fans of Smith's assured debut novel "White Teeth" won't be disappointed by her new book's equally ambitious scope. Just short-listed for the Booker Prize, "On Beauty" is about two families, poles apart in their politics and sensibility, struggling to comprehend each other in the confines of a fictitious highbrow New England university, Wellington College. Howard Belsey, a white art-history professor and his African-American wife, Kiki, struggle to rebuild their marriage after his affair with a colleague. Their liberal values and chaotic home, filled with the animated chatter of their three...
  • GOOD LIFE

    TECHNOLOGY: DRESS UP IN HI-TECH CLOTHAnyone who's worked in an office knows the uncomfortable challenge summer poses for stuffy, traditional suits. It's hard to look suave in an air-conditioned conference room when you're still sweat-drenched from a commute and, until recently, warm-weather office-wear options were limited. But now high-end men's and women's suitmakers are turning to sports and outdoor wear for inspiration, using high-tech fabrics to make smart clothes that wear well, whatever the temperature.As post-dot-com offices move away from the era's sloppy style, suit sales are up--by 13.6 percent on last year--to $2.5 billion in all, says research agency The NPD Group. In the first half of 2005, a third of men's suits and sport coats were enhanced with some sort of high-tech performance feature to control moisture, resist wrinkles or shrug off stains, according to an NPD survey. Jos. A. Banks Clothiers has developed a line of Stays Cool Suits in a two- or three-button style...
  • Of Criminals And Ceos

    For a while, Brian Blackwell seemed to have it made. His girlfriend believed the cosseted only child from Liverpool was a professional tennis player, with a $125,000 Nike contract funding his jet-set lifestyle. He hired her as his private secretary and wrote her a check for $90,000. He bought her a $16,000 car, then purchased $22,500 worth of flights for them to New York, Miami, Barbados and San Francisco. When they returned, he spent the summer at her house. One day the police knocked on her door. Blackwell's whole life, it turns out, was a lie. He had stolen $16,000 from a trust fund his parents had set up for his education and maxed out his father's credit card. The $90,000 check bounced (he had sixteen cents in his account). The Nike contract never existed. And in June, Blackwell was sentenced to life in prison for killing his parents with a claw hammer and kitchen knife.Psychiatrists from both defense and prosecution agreed that Blackwell posed a severe case of narcissistic...
  • PERISCOPE

    Why? "The main reason has been severe restrictions on the types of missions they are allowed to undertake," says a U.S. defense analyst under Pentagon contract who works closely with special-forces units (he declined to be identified because his work is classified). While the Army's Delta Force and the Green Berets get the best "direct action" and unconventional-warfare missions, SEALs say they are often relegated to being VIP escorts in Iraq or to rescue missions, the defense analyst says. Making matters worse is that the Army has locked up most of the senior command.The result is that hundreds of SEALs have not re-enlisted, while others have resigned their commissions, helping to reduce the SEAL population from about 3,000 to about 2,500, says the defense analyst, citing official Pentagon numbers. Asked to respond, SEALs spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Bender said: "We can't go into the nature of our missions. But I'm unaware of low morale, and I would have to look further into whether re...
  • SNAP JUDGMENT: BOOKS

    Going Sane by Adam PhillipsMadness has always captured the creative imagination. Yet none of the great writers who explored madness--Shakespeare, Freud or William Blake--had much to say about its counterpart, sanity. Phillips, a child psychotherapist, believes the mental state is underrated and asks why happiness, longevity and wealth often feature in our aspirations, but sanity does not. He explores why sanity is considered the anodyne alternative to the creativity of derangement, and in a wonderfully lucid chapter wonders whether the state is actually a "container of madness," a pliable skin holding in our more dangerous tendencies.Pasion India by Javier Moro (in Spanish)Set in the final decades of the British Raj, this is the true rags-to-riches story of Anita Delgado, an illiterate 16-year-old Spaniard who was working as a dancer in a Madrid nightclub when the Maharaja of Kapurthala whisked her off to India to become his fifth wife. Accepted by neither the British authorities...
  • Waiting to Inhale

    Kenia de Marco has lived most of her life in constant fear of the tightening of the throat that precedes an attack of asthma. She's been getting them since she was 8, but the worst year was 1997, when she was 17. On four separate occasions, she was taken away in an ambulance and hospitalized for a week. Her doctors could never say with any certainty what was causing her affliction. Was it the stress of her father's recent death? Or mold and dust mites at home? As a precaution, they had de Marco remove all curtains and carpeting from her home--even her teddy bear. De Marco still won't travel anywhere without an emergency drug that dilates the bronchial passages. Like many asthmatics, she's well-practiced in the tricky art of emptying her lungs completely of air and breathing in deeply through the inhaler....
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    Britain: Trouble in the RanksThe pernicious rivalry between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his de facto No. 2, Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, has become a fixture of the Labour Party's nearly eight years in office. Since 1997 they've had public spats about everything from tax policies to hospital funding. Last week they were at it again. Blair scheduled a press conference at the exact same time Brown was to unveil his so-called Marshall Plan for Africa. "A coincidence," said a Blair spokesman. A "conspiracy" to deprive the chancellor of the limelight, said one of Brown's.With an election likely in the spring, the increasingly dysfunctional Blair-Brown partnership could have damaging repercussions. It isn't likely to cost Labour the election and, despite talk of dark-horse challenges from the Blairite wing of the party, Brown is expected to succeed Blair sometime during the P.M.'s third term. But the chattering classes are now wondering what will happen to Labour-...
  • TIP SHEET

    Travel: Vacationing With Verdi ...
  • Journalism Onstage

    Talk about biased reviewers. When British playwright David Hare's latest controversial offering, "Stuff Happens," previewed at London's National Theatre earlier this month, The Guardian newspaper broke with protocol and sent a stable of politicians and pundits to cover it. Their critiques of the play--about the run-up to the Iraq war--betrayed their varying political stances. "I might have said that 'Stuff Happens' is the most blatant subverting of art for the purposes of crude propaganda since that of Leni Riefenstahl," fumed Conservative M.P. Ann Widdicombe. "[B]ut there is no art involved." Col. Tim Collins, whose stirring speech to British troops on the eve of the Iraq invasion was widely published around the world, called it "thought-provoking," and wrote, "it reanimated the doubts over the reasons for war which I and millions have harboured over the past year."Hare's play, which takes its title from U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's offhand explanation for looting by U...
  • Theater: A Spoonful Of Sugar

    At first glance it seems the big new shows hitting London's West End stages this autumn couldn't be more different. "The Woman in White," Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical, is set in an adult web of intrigue, marriage, lawyers and secrecy. "Mary Poppins," the latest offering from the West End's other theater titan, Cameron Mackintosh, takes place largely in the children's realm of polite teas, kites and walks in the park. But look deeper, and the two are strikingly similar. At the start of "The Woman in White," a wraith emerges out of a swirling mist wailing ghostly, spine-chilling melodies; her mystery haunts the play. "Mary Poppins" opens with a dark chorus of chimney sweeps and a howling east wind, which whisks the nanny--who has her own secrets--into the troubled household at 17 Cherry Tree Lane. Both bring to the stage a touch of magic, at once sinister and alluring, which exists in a world beyond the everyday.West End theaters are hoping they will cast their spell on the box...
  • CHANGE OF DIRECTION

    When British director Gurinder Chadha started work on "Bend It Like Beckham," she was determined to prove that a film with an Asian star could be a mainstream commercial success. Now Chadha is taking her inventive melding of East and West a step further: her new film, "Bride and Prejudice," due out next month, features the Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai in her first English-language role, and transplants Jane Austen's 19th-century country-house classic to 21st-century India, Britain and Los Angeles. "I wanted to show that there is an alternative to Hollywood," says Chadha. "I wanted to do a Bollywood-style movie for audiences around the world. I thought because I would be introducing new concepts and styles, it would be best to use a story that people were familiar with."Chadha's confident vision has thus far turned up box-office gold. The bittersweet "Bend It Like Beckham" became a surprise worldwide hit in 2002, grossing more than $30 million. Her next project--a $90 million...
  • TIP

    Food: The Bounty Of Summer ...
  • THE TALKING CURE

    Within a decade Ugandan villager Josephine Namaganda lost her husband, mother and six children to AIDS, which left her, at the age of 54, to care for nine orphaned grandchildren. Despite these responsibilities, she found herself profoundly unmotivated. She couldn't leave her house, she couldn't sleep, she lost her appetite. She even stopped making the brightly, colored mats that earned her meager income. She's not the only one in her village, near Lake Victoria, who's had trouble coping. Beyond Kampala, the nation's capital, brick houses give way to mud huts, then to bamboo shacks. Twenty years ago truckdrivers and businessmen drove these dirt roads through the swaying grasses and banana groves, bringing some of Africa's earliest AIDS cases. In these desolate towns, no one has escaped poverty and grief.Sadness may be appropriate for somebody who's had to bear misfortunes like Namaganda's. But what happens when sadness overwhelms hope? For Namaganda, relief came from an unlikely...
  • Classical Appeal

    Near the gaudy banners advertising "The Lion King" and "Mamma Mia" in London's West End, a new billboard recently heralded a small musical revolution. In this epicenter of middlebrow entertainment, the world's first commercial opera company, the Savoy Opera, is staging works by Mozart and Rossini, more usually heard at the rarified Royal Opera House. The Savoy's goal is ambitious, putting on performances of such operas as "The Marriage of Figaro" eight times a week, 10 months a year, for an audience more accustomed to musicals. "Opera shouldn't be special; it should be just another form of entertainment," says the company's cofounder, Raymond Gubbay. The early signs are promising. Last week a near-capacity audience laughed gamely at Darren Jeffery's gruff Figaro and admired witty Susanna, sung by Tamsin Coombs. Most important, they navigated the twists of Beaumarchais's labyrinthine plot through comprehensible English lyrics, all part of Gubbay's grand plan to demystify opera...
  • Rebellion By Design

    Nothing is ever quite as it seems with British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. When she received an Order of the British Empire medal from the queen in 1992, she looked the picture of respectability in a gray flannel suit. But talking to reporters outside Buckingham Palace afterward, she couldn't resist giving a twirl to reveal that she wasn't wearing any underwear. As a new retrospective of Westwood's work makes clear, such shock tactics are de rigueur in a career characterized by imaginative subversion. "Vivienne Westwood at the V&A" (through July 11 at London's Victoria and Albert Museum) brings together more than 150 designs from the museum's collection and Westwood's personal archive to chart the development of a prolific designer whose aim has always been to cut a swath through traditional tailoring--as well as social mores.At the exhibit's entrance hangs the huge clock, divided into 13 hours and with hands whirling swiftly backward, that stood in Westwood's first shop...
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    CHINAIt's All Part of the PlanChina's bureaucrats are at their best mobilizing against a threat, whether it's a virus, an "evil" cult or, now, an overheating economy. The country's economy grew at 9.1 percent last year and for the first time in recent history, China experienced mild inflation. Fears have grown of a boom that will end in a bust. So Beijing is taking dramatic steps to cool things down. Authorities have made it harder for start-ups to squeeze into already crowded industries by raising safety, quality and environmental standards. The People's Bank of China is curbing commercial bank loans to corrupt companies. Top leaders are calling for "efficient" rather than "fast" growth; in other words, provincial officials need to cut back on vanity projects. Morgan Stanley recently concluded that the braking measures are likely to work, because "when the leadership says 'slow down,' they mean it."That doesn't mean that Beijing will achieve its official goal of bringing growth...
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    EU: Revolving DoorsDespite promises to open their doors to migrants back in 2000, the European Union's current members are now slamming some of those doors shut. Germany and Austria are considering seven-year total employment bans on migrants from the 10 central and eastern European countries that will join the EU come May 1; Belgium and Austria are proposing the same measures for two years. Even liberal Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden are considering labor controls, albeit looser ones. Last week British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that his government might have to take action to prevent what it calls "benefits tourism" by immigrants. The EU's governments "have gotten into some kind of panic," says Joanne van Selm, a European-immigration expert at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington. Ever-closer union, indeed.The fear of an immigration invasion has been fed recently by media scare stories. Migration experts insist those fears are overblown. "Migration is the...
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    Middle EastThe Rise of NasrallahIsrael sometimes has a way of emboldening its enemies and enervating its peace partners. Hassan Nasrallah was the benefactor last week. The leader of Lebanon's Islamic Hizbullah group strutted triumphantly around Beirut's airport Thursday, greeting captives he'd forced Israel to free in a prisoner swap. Hours later, thousands of supporters cheered when he vowed to abduct more Israelis to leverage another prisoner release. This could become an even more serious concern for Israelis, as Nasrallah's stature has been growing in recent years. "There's a pattern of people wanting to emulate Hizbullah," says Rami Khouri, editor of Lebanon's Daily Star.It's no wonder Nasrallah has become a rising star in the Arab world. Hizbullah's eviction of Israeli troops from Lebanon in May 2000 through guerrilla warfare inspired Palestinians to launch their uprising later that year. Last week Palestinians recalled how their own former prime minister Mahmoud Abbas had...
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    HEALTHFlu Fears Take WingLast year's SARS outbreak terrified people around the world because of how easily the virus could jump from country to country in an age of frequent-flier travel. Now another virus is causing a flap thanks to its ability to spread via more old-fashioned means: wings.Coming on top of two new reported cases of SARS, recent outbreaks of avian flu have much of Asia on edge. Though the virus so far has had only limited success at passing from animal to human, it is of the deadly H5N1 type. (An outbreak of the same virus in Hong Kong in 1997 killed six of 18 infected people and led to the culling of millions of chickens.) And this time, experts fear that migrating birds have transmitted the disease as far afield as Japan, South Korea and Vietnam. Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand are investigating their own possible cases of bird flu. Although it could take weeks for the causes of these outbreaks to be established, many researchers are already pointing to a...
  • Periscope

    TURKEYSavagery in IstanbulWho bombed the synagogues in Istanbul? Despite initial claims of responsibility from an obscure Turkish Islamic fundamentalist group known as the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders' Front, or IBDA-C, Turkish security sources are pointing the finger at an outside organization such as Al Qaeda. The IBDA-C is a tiny group whose leaders are mostly in jail--in its heyday in the early 1990s it was known for firebombing liquor shops and for a botched assassination of a prominent Jewish businessman. It's unlikely, Turkish security sources tell NEWSWEEK, that the group has the sophistication to mount a coordinated attack like last Saturday's, which killed 24 and injured more than 300, including six Jews killed and 60 wounded.There were warnings of a possible Qaeda strike on Jewish targets in Istanbul as early as a fortnight before the attacks. Several threats were phoned in to members of the Jewish community, while recent public statements by Al Qaeda warned of attacks...

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