Tablets That Let You Handwrite Notes…Digitally

PEN PALS From left: Wacom Bamboo Slate (from $130,, reMarkable ($599,, Sony Digital Paper ($600,
PEN PALS From left: Wacom Bamboo Slate (from $130,, reMarkable ($599,, Sony Digital Paper ($600, Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

THIS MAY BE the age of the paperless office, but that doesn’t mean handwriting has no place. A host of new digitizing tablets let you jot notes or sketch ideas without killing trees or wrangling complex apps. And while they’re equipped to download and transfer documents, they don’t connect to email, chat or social media so you can mark up reports without reacting to notifications. These tablets likely won’t replace all your devices—you’ll still need a way to call mom or type in a spreadsheet—but they can make written work more efficient and more fun.

Wacom Bamboo Slate

Like a 21st-century carbon copy, Bamboo Slate uses its pressure-sensitive technology to create backups of handwritten notes. When you place an ordinary notebook (up to one-inch thick) atop the tablet and use its connected ink pen, marks you make on the pad are sensed by the screenless tablet and duplicated on a linked smartphone or laptop. The push of a button saves your page so you can flip to the next; you can scroll back in time to erase notes since it records your strokes like a video. Its handwriting recognition is impressively accurate, though with my sloppy penmanship I had to make a few corrections. Teachers did always say my nines look like fours. (from $130,


As someone who enjoys writing on paper pads but hates keeping pens and markers handy, or pencils sharpened, this elegant tablet is a relief. With a few taps of the stylus you can customize its thickness and pressure sensitivity, then use it to sketch on a crisp, digitally lined e-ink display. It’s refreshingly easy to link a computer or smartphone so you can add handwritten notes to pictures or PDFs (which can also be uploaded via handy USB port). Some features, including menus and zoom, can lag, and you have to change the stylus tip after a while, but writing appears in real time as fast as you can move your stylus. ($599,

Sony Digital Paper

Consider this the Swiss Army knife of virtual paper tablets. Need to draft memos, highlight reports, toggle quickly between documents synced from multiple devices, take notes in the margins, or fill out PDF forms? You can do it all, though you’ll need to study the built-in tutorial to understand exactly how Sony’s unique stylus, touch screen and physical button interface mesh. This device isn’t as playful as its rivals, and it can’t translate your handwriting into type, but for a hairy job with stacks of digital documents it’d be my first choice ($600,

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Where to Find a Bargain in Burgundy

Where to Find a Bargain in Burgundy
Illustration: BEN WISEMAN

AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK I wander around wine shops and randomly select bottles that I know nothing about. I never pay more than $30 a bottle (my vinous risk ceiling), and more often than not the gamble pays off. Sometimes I even find a great deal, like the 2016 Domaine Lapalus Mâcon Milly-Lamartine that I bought for $15 last month.

The price wasn’t a surprise—Mâcon and Mâcon-Villages wines have long been some of the cheapest in Burgundy—but the quality was. Mâcon wine is often simple, mass-produced stuff. Yet the Domaine Lapalus was a crisp white with lively acidity and a pleasant mineral note, so pleasant I went back, bought several bottles and decided to explore the wines of Mâcon a bit more.

Mâcon and Mâcon-Villages are two of the broadest appellations within the Mâconnais district, a Burgundy subregion named for its principle city, Mâcon. This place is closer to Beaujolais in both climate and spirit than it is to the Côte-d’Or. Vineyards in the Mâconnais have never been ranked in the same way those in the Côte-d’Or are, with premier- or grand-cru status; the better wines tend to come with the name of one of 27 designated villages appended to the name on the label—for example, Mâcon Milly-Lamartine or Mâcon-Verzé. There is even a town named Chardonnay—for which the grape was supposedly named—hence Mâcon-Chardonnay.

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Chardonnay is the key grape of the Mâconnais and the source of the vast majority of its wines, including its most famous ones, Saint-Véran and Pouilly-Fuissé. The latter actually enjoyed some popularity back in the 1970s and ’80s, though most of the Mâconnais wines available stateside at that time weren’t very good.

Back then in Mâcon and Mâcon-Villages, few grape growers made their own wines; instead they sold their fruit to winemaking cooperatives more interested in quantity than quality. The appellations are only just beginning to overcome their low-rent reputation, thanks to the new generation of winemakers who have taken control of their family vineyards, with a focus on making their own quality wines.

The Mâconnais appellations got a further boost from Dominique Lafon, winemaker and scion of Domaine des Comtes Lafon, the famed Meursault estate that produces some of the priciest, most sought-after wines in the world. In 1999, Mr. Lafon went south to Mâcon and the village of Milly-Lamartine, where he bought an estate and renamed it Domaine des Héritiers du Comte Lafon.

Domaine des Héritiers du Comte Lafon and Domaine Olivier Merlin, in La Roche-Vineuse, became talent hubs over the years, nurturing and launching some of Mâcon’s best winemakers. There are many connections between the two domaines. For example, Domaine des Héritiers du Comte Lafon winemaker Caroline Gon was introduced to Mr. Lafon thanks to Olivier Merlin, who also employed her future husband Frantz Chagnoleau…who was working at Domaine Olivier Merlin when they met. The couple started their own winery in 2010 with help and encouragement from Mr. Merlin and Mr. Lafon, as well as local winemakers Nicolas Maillet, Jean-Philippe Bret and Jean-Guillaume Bret. “It’s a little world here in the Maconnais, and everyone knows each other and helps each other,” wrote Ms. Gon in an email.

There are other well known Côte-d’Or names producing wines in Mâcon, including the highly regarded Maison Joseph Drouhin. Under the direction of winemaker Véronique Boss-Drouhin, the winery produces a basic Mâcon-Villages bottling as well as two village-specific wines: Mâcon-Lugny Les Crays and Mâcon-Bussières Les Clos.

I discovered the 2016 vintage of the latter at DB Bistro Moderne in Manhattan and was so impressed by its lithe acidity and floral nose, I wanted to buy a few bottles retail. Alas, that was impossible. Raj Vaidya, head sommelier for Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group, told me the restaurant group had received an exclusive on sales in the U.S.

Perhaps the best way to sell Mâcon wines is to emphasize their excellent price-quality ratio.

Ms. Boss-Drouhin told me she particularly loves the location of the Bussières Les Clos vineyard, a high-altitude site that “gets both sunshine and air,” so the fruit ripens evenly and well. Although the Drouhins make multiple Mâcon bottlings, they don’t own vineyards there—yet. “It is definitely an area we like very much,” said Ms. Boss-Drouhin. “Unlike in the Côte-d’Or, the prices are still reasonable.”

Does the Mâconnais of today—with its fraternal-minded winemakers and affordable prices—resemble the Côte-d’Or of 50 years ago, before the wines became stratospherically priced and the top domaines were purchased by billionaires? I put this question to Becky Wasserman-Hone, an American wine exporter who has lived in Burgundy for five decades and helped bring some of its best wines, including those of Domaine des Comtes Lafon, to the attention of wine drinkers in the U.S.

Ms. Wasserman-Hone didn’t find much similarity between the two places—she noted that the Mâconnais doesn’t have grand-cru vineyards, though she further acknowledged that it has much young talent and promising terroirs. “Mâcon is news these days,” she wrote and further pointed out that her son, Peter Wasserman, is holding tastings of Mâcon wines in the U.S. to help spread the word.

I reached Mr. Wasserman as he was preparing to leave for a wine seminar in Los Angeles. He splits his time between New York and Burgundy, and has seminars scheduled in cities across the U.S. this year and next. In each he presents 8-10 wines from the Mâconnais to wine professionals, usually in groups of 20-30, mostly on behalf of the nonprofit Wine Education Council. He said he hopes to “change people’s minds on the Mâconnais,” as it has “not gotten its due and needs champions.” Audiences, he said, have been “googly eyed” at the quality of the wines.

Of the 14 Mâcon bottles I tasted, only a few were duds. By and large the wines were very good and the prices reasonable. In addition to the five featured below, there were a few others of note: the minerally 2016 Bret Brothers Mâcon-Villages ($28), the lively 2016 Louis Jadot Mâcon-Villages ($13) and the light-bodied, charming 2016 Cave de L’Aurore La Fleur de Lys Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay ($15).

Perhaps the best way to sell Mâcon wines is to emphasize their excellent price-quality ratio. Their producers have more than earned a moment of attention and praise.

OENOFILE // Mâcons Making Waves
Where to Find a Bargain in Burgundy
Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

1. 2016 Domaine Lapalus Mâcon Milly-Lamartine, $15 A light, lively and very dry “vin de soif” (thirst-quenching wine) from a small, quality-focused domaine whose wines were only recently imported to the U.S. An excellent wine for the price.

2. 2016 Julien Guillot Mâcon Cruzille Aragonite, $42 Sourced from a biodynamic old-vine Chardonnay vineyard with a limestone and aragonite (calcium carbonate) soil, this is a powerful, structured Mâcon-meets-Puligny-style white with an intensely mineral finish.

3. 2017 Des Héritiers du Comte Lafon Mâcon-Villages, $24 Winemaker Caroline Gon produces a number of Mâcon bottlings. This, her most basic one, is a textbook Mâcon: crisp and bright wine with a bracing acidity and a cool, stony finish.

4. 2017 Domaine Frantz Chagnoleau Mâcon-Villages Clos Saint Pancras, $21 Domaine des Héritiers winemaker Caroline Gon and her husband, Frantz Chagnoleau, produced this fresh, vibrant Mâcon marked by aromas of citrus at their jointly owned domaine.

5. 2016 Domaine Olivier Merlin Mâcon La Roche Vineuse Vieilles Vignes, $32 Olivier Merlin, master of Mâcon, turns out wines of purity and elegance in the village of La Roche-Vineuse. This old-vine bottling has weight, richness and a firm mineral edge.

Email Lettie at

The Party Host’s Pro Move of the Season

RACLETTE UP Simply melt, scrape and make everyone at the table very happy.
RACLETTE UP Simply melt, scrape and make everyone at the table very happy. Photo: Noah Fecks

AS THE WEATHER COOLS and the rigorous demands of holiday entertaining loom, I’m pre-emptively declaring raclette the MVP of the season. There are few meals as fun, flexible and impressive that require so little labor.

Raclette is both the name of a delicious melting cheese and a way to serve it. The firm, brine-washed cow’s milk cheese has roots in the Swiss and French Alps. Its dense, golden paste shares flavors with fellow alpine cheeses such as Gruyère and Comté, ranging from mild, grassy and slightly nutty to full-bodied with oniony, meaty and brothy tones. The slightly sticky pink rind is meant to be eaten.

The word derives from the French verb racler, “to scrape”—and there’s not much more to the preparation. Traditionally, wheels of the cheese were halved or quartered and heated fireside, and the melted cheese was simply scraped onto a variety of accompaniments; today, many raclette lovers opt for melting it tabletop, with an appliance designed for the purpose. Consider the format the Kama Sutra of cheese, with limitless possibilities for pleasurable combinations. Boiled or roasted baby potatoes and bread are standard. Cooked sausages or cured meats provide a secondary protein. And a mix of raw, roasted and pickled vegetables helps to cut through all the dairy.

You’ll find a range of raclette machines on the market, from candle-powered pans that run a reasonable $10-$25 to electric melters ranging from $40-$500. Slices of raclette can also be melted in a nonstick pan, but sitting around a table and melting with friends is a big part of the charm of the experience, so a small investment in a basic melter is a good idea. I offer a couple of suggestions below.

Several domestic producers of raclette-style cheese draw inspiration from the European originals. Vermont’s Spring Brook Farm Reading is one of our best: a smooth and dense cheese with a subtle fruitiness and a healthy hit of salinity. Most cheese shops carry either a Swiss or French Raclette, and likely an American version. Why not buy a few different wedges and serve them side by side, for a cheesy international summit?

GOOD TO GOO / A Raclette Starter Pack

THE CHEESE Not only does Spring Brook Farm offer a terrific cow’s milk raclette called Reading ($23 for 1 pound,; through the nonprofit Farms for City Kids program, its dairy operation also serves as an “agricultural classroom” for urban schoolchildren, a cause you can support by eating cheese. For the budget-minded, French raclette ($16 for 1 pound, can’t be beat. At supermarkets across the country, you’ll find the Swiss raclette imported by Emmi Roth (about $16 for 1 pound).

THE GEAR A good entry-level melter, the Boska Partyclette XL ($80, has eight individual pans heated by tea lights. Ready to really commit? Boska recently introduced the electric Raclette Quattro Concrete ($150,, a stylish model that holds a quarter-wheel wedge.

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The Best Reason to Bake, Not Fry: Flavor

AS A NEW college student homesick for his mother’s cooking, Fermín Nuñez stepped up to the stove. “I didn’t want to eat frozen food,” he said. He started simply, with rice, beans and tacos. After a few semesters, he dropped out and dedicated himself to cooking professionally.

Now, at Suerte in Austin, Texas, Mr. Nuñez is refining the basics he began with. In this tostada recipe, he calls for baking tortillas to a crisp and smearing them in a white-bean-and-leek purée laced with white wine. He tops that with spicy chorizo…

Not-the-Nobel Prize in Literature Is Announced

Maryse Conde was praised as a ‘grand storyteller’ in winning the New Academy Prize in Literature.
Maryse Conde was praised as a ‘grand storyteller’ in winning the New Academy Prize in Literature. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Maryse Condé, a chronicler of the colonial experience and its aftermath, won the New Academy Prize in Literature Friday.

Ms. Condé was praised as “a grand storyteller” whose “authorship belongs to world literature,” according to the New Academy. The Stockholm-based nonprofit stepped in to honor a writer this year after the Swedish Academy postponed the Nobel Prize in literature.

Ann Pålsson, a Swedish publishing veteran who headed the New Academy’s four-person jury, announced the decision in the rotunda of the Stockholm Public Library.

In an interview Friday, the 81-year-old Ms. Condé said she was delighted, proud—even astonished—to have won the award. She expressed hope that the New Academy might continue its work, particularly because the organization involved librarians in choosing nominees.

In a video played during the announcement in Stockholm, Ms. Condé said she would share the honor with the people of her native Guadeloupe. The island in the Caribbean where she was born “is known for hurricanes and earthquakes,” she said, “and now we are so happy to have been recognized for something else, for this prize, which I am very happy to receive.”

Author Neil Gaiman was on the shortlist for the New Academy Prize.
Author Neil Gaiman was on the shortlist for the New Academy Prize. Photo: Associated Press

Ms. Condé, who lives in France, said she likely will return to Guadeloupe for Christmas. She plans to attend the New Academy’s prize presentation in Stockholm on Dec. 9.

Ms. Condé identified colonialization as the theme that has run through all her fiction. Her intent, she said, was to tackle the questions “how to become oneself in spite of the myth elaborated through education and history” as well as “how do we erase the sequels of colonialism?”

On Friday, Ms. Condé’s French publisher, Éditions Lattès, said it was delighted by her achievement. “Her books are both literary classics and works of deep conviction. The destiny of her characters shines a light on the brightest and the darkest corners of human existence and the need to combat injustice in all its forms,” the publisher said.

In the mid-1980s, Ms. Condé sprang into prominence with “Segu,” a novel she describes as “an ode to the African past” that looks at a kingdom rocked by change. In the book, Ms. Condé writes: “What is a town? It isn’t a collection of mud or straw houses; markets where people sell rice, millet, gourds, fish and manufactured goods; mosques where people prostrate themselves; temples where they spill the blood of victims. It is a collection of private memories, different for every individual, so that no town is like any other or has any real identity.”

Although no longer writing because of poor health, Ms. Condé said she is collecting past articles and interviews for possible publication. Educated in France, Ms. Condé had a career as an academic alongside her literary endeavors and is a professor emerita at Columbia University, where she was a professor of French between 1995 and 2005.

Kim Thúy was also a finalist for the New Academy award.
Kim Thúy was also a finalist for the New Academy award. Photo: Jean Francois

In the spring, the Swedish Academy postponed this year’s Nobel in literature as it attempts to recover from a scandal over allegations of sexual assault. The academy said it would award two prizes next year. Dismayed by the news, Alexandra Pascalidou, a journalist in Sweden, mobilized writers, artists and other volunteers to launch the New Academy. The nonprofit asked Sweden’s librarians to nominate authors. The public then voted online, yielding a shortlist of Ms. Condé, Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami and Kim Thúy. Mr. Murakami withdrew from consideration, saying he wanted to focus on his writing. A jury of Swedish scholars and publishing veterans, led by Ms. Pålsson, chose the winner.

The Nobel in literature comes with a prize of more than $1 million. The New Academy has been supported by volunteers, sponsors and crowdfunding. As of Friday, the group’s Kickstarter page reflected $20,440 in pledges toward a goal of roughly $27,500.

The New Academy will close after awarding the prize in December. “Our plan was just to fill the gap” in 2018, when there was no Nobel in literature, Ms. Pascalidou said. However, she added, New Academy supporters are insisting “you cannot stop this, you have to go on.” The New Academy had just a few months to spread the word, fundraise and handle the nominations and the award. If the organization were to continue, Ms. Pascalidou said, she would work to make it more diverse, seeking nominations from librarians across the world and not only Sweden.

The Nobel Foundation said alternative Nobel efforts appear from time to time. “If they are serious and rewarding good work, the Nobel Foundation encourages efforts like these,” it said.

Emily Ringborg, who works in the main public library in Stockholm, participated in the New Academy’s selection. In the initial round of voting, she proposed Caribbean-born author Jamaica Kincaid as well as Nnedi Okorafor, a science-fiction and fantasy writer whose parents emigrated from Nigeria to the U.S. In the second round, Ms. Ringborg, who is 38 years old and has worked in libraries for 17 years, voted for Ms. Condé.

“I think anyone who is interested in books and cultural events knows about the New Academy’s prize,” Ms. Ringborg said.

Write to Brenda Cronin at

‘First Man’ Review: Sticking an Epic Landing

Watch a clip from the movie ‘First Man,’ starring Ryan Gosling. Photo: Universal Pictures

The radical notion behind Damien Chazelle’s remarkable “First Man” is this: Tell the story of mankind’s boldest adventure thus far, the Apollo 11 mission that reached the moon nearly a half-century ago, but tell it through a taciturn, emotionally closed-off hero, Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the lunar surface. And pay close attention to this man’s state of mind and spirit, as well as to the mission’s spectacular success, so the story is equally about what it means to be flesh-and-blood human while walking on Earth.

The film, which was adapted by Josh Singer from a book by James R. Hansen, stars Ryan Gosling as Armstrong. It’s an ideal match—an intensely private actor playing a tightly focused problem-solver who is, before and after everything else, an engineer. (For Armstrong the word “neat” is extravagant praise; he uses it to describe the physics of rocketry.) Astronauts have often been laconic on screen—Keir Dullea’s Dave Bowman in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Tom Hanks’sJim Lovell in “Apollo 13”—but this portrait finds humor in Armstrong’s stripped-back syntax and anguish behind his cool façade: the inconsolable loss of a 2-year-old daughter, Karen, to complications from cancer (was he always closed off, or did Karen’s death shut him down?); his painful inability to bid his two young sons a proper, open-hearted goodbye before leaving home for the moon mission. (“Does anyone have any other questions?” he asks the kids, as if they’re attendees at a press conference.)

However inward the hero may be, the movie around him is thrillingly outward, not to mention poundingly onward and relentlessly upward. For a while it’s hard to reconcile “First Man” with the song-and-dance spirit of Mr. Chazelle’s previous film, “La La Land,” but a gifted director is a gifted director, whatever the material; the same applies to the writer, Mr. Singer, whose two previous feature scripts were for the journalism dramas “Spotlight” and “The Post.” And there’s musicality in the rhythms of the dialogue and physical action, just as there is in Justin Hurwitz’s score. (For the beginning of an enthralling, and then terrifying, deep-space sequence in which Armstrong and his co-pilot, Dave Scott, dock their Gemini 8 capsule with an Agena Target Vehicle, Mr. Hurwitz has written a little Strauss-flavored waltz to salute Stanley Kubrick’s ethereal use of “The Blue Danube” in “2001.”)

Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong
Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong Photo: Universal Studios

The action begins in 1961, eight years before the flight of Apollo 11, with a stunning set piece: Armstrong, as a test pilot, struggling to control his descent from the ionosphere in a rocket-powered X-15 after bouncing, unintentionally and almost catastrophically, off the Earth’s atmosphere. There’s a concept to get your head around—not only the bounce but, as Armstrong notes, the thinness and fragility of the atmospheric layer that supports all terrestrial life.

“First Man” covers a lot of space and ground: a daunting succession of failure, catastrophe and near-catastrophe leading to the lunar landing; domestic opposition to the cost of the program; competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union that turned a scientific venture with a huge political charge into a flat-out race for international prestige. The filmmakers have been criticized for failing to depict the planting of the Stars and Stripes on the lunar surface, though the flag is visible in a subsequent shot. Once you see the film, you understand that choice in the context of a saga of human endeavor that transcends national triumph. “For mankind,” Armstrong said of the giant leap; the film declines to contradict him, while leaving no doubt that it was Americans who pulled it off.

Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong
Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong Photo: Universal Studios

The program’s cost wasn’t only fiscal; the price paid by the astronauts’ families is dramatized vividly. Claire Foy plays Armstrong’s wife, Janet, with lovely understatement; Janet adores her husband, but she fears for him, and despairs of ever living the normal life she signed up for when she married an ostensibly stable engineer. Olivia Hamilton is affectingly vulnerable as Pat White, the wife of astronaut Ed White, who is played by Jason Clarke. The cast includes Kyle Chandler as Deke Slayton, the Mercury astronaut turned NASA manager; Shea Whigham as Gus Grissom; Lukas Haas as Mike Collins, Apollo 11’s command module pilot; and Corey Stoll as Armstrong’s moon-walking companion Buzz Aldrin, who, as depicted here, is no better at keeping his mouth shut than Armstrong is at baring his soul.

During one of several crises in the narrative, Janet, usually taciturn too, lashes out at Slayton, who insists that everything is under control: “You’re a bunch of boys making models out of balsa wood,” she says. “You don’t have anything under control!” That’s both true and untrue. “First Man” is eloquent to the point of repetitiveness about the need to fail in order to succeed, the fragility of the enterprise, the perils of space exploration. Yet there the explorers are in the end, Armstrong and Aldrin on the moon.

Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong
Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong Photo: Universal Studios

“First Man,” which was photographed by Linus Sandgren, does full justice to the mission’s climax, from the unearthly power of the launch (I can’t resist saying I was there at Cape Canaveral, sitting in the grass near the lagoon when the rocket blasted off), through the precarious touchdown, to four boots on the luna firma of our planet’s pockmarked satellite. The moonscape, rendered mostly in black-and-white, though with bronze reflections on the astronauts’ visors, is as stirring a spectacle as you’re likely to see on a movie screen, and should be seen in IMAX if possible. No trees, no grass, no softness or sweetness, only two astronauts alive to the danger but improbably alive, against incalculable odds, and bound for glory on their return. Most movies aim to take us out of ourselves. This one goes to majestic extremes.

Write to Joe Morgenstern at

Banksy Buyer Plans to Keep Shredded Painting

Banksy’s shredded painting, now titled 'Love Is in the Bin' (2018)
Banksy’s shredded painting, now titled ‘Love Is in the Bin’ (2018) Photo: Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s said that the woman who won the $1.4 million Banksy painting that self-destructed after it was auctioned in London has decided to keep it.

The auction house said Thursday that Banksy’s authentication body, Pest Control, re-authenticated the 2006 graffiti-style artwork, “Girl With Balloon.” It has also been renamed “Love Is in the Bin” (2018)—an indication that the artist sees it as a new work.

The bidder who won it over the telephone last Friday remains anonymous, but Sotheby’s said she is a longtime European collector. In a statement released through the house, she said, “When the hammer came down last week and the work was shredded, I was at first shocked, but gradually I began to realize that I would end up with my own piece of art history.”

Sotheby’s said it had nothing to do with the intervention. “Were we in on it? Absolutely not,” said Sotheby’s expert Alex Branczik, posting a shredded image of the work to his Instagram account on Thursday. “Do you really think Banksy, who spent his youth stenciling walls in Bristol and dodging the local authorities, would want to collaborate with the art establishment? Come on.”

Even so, the auction house is capitalizing on the marketing bonanza drummed up by the event: It said the new owner agreed to let it display the work in its Mayfair showroom through Sunday.

Now that work has been authenticated once more by the artist, its value should remain intact—and could likely grow following its provocative auction moment, dealers said.

Banksy keeps his identity shrouded in mystery and has gained international acclaim for politically charged street art. Several of his works have been removed from buildings and sold at auction, while his 2010 documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” was nominated for an Academy Award.

“Banksy didn’t destroy an artwork” during Sotheby’s sale, Mr. Branczik wrote. “He created one.”

Write to Kelly Crow at

5 Mood-Lifting Museums

The conveyor belt of pick-your-own macarons at the Color Factory in New York.
The conveyor belt of pick-your-own macarons at the Color Factory in New York. Photo: Heather Moore/Color Factory

INSTANT HAPPINESS EXISTS. And it’ll only set you back around $35 a go. Pools of sprinkles, confetti domes, a digital cheese cave—you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking the Museum of Ice Cream, the Museum of Pizza and other similarly frothy exhibits popping up in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York were attractions aimed at children. But you’ll find plenty of grown-ups sans kids filing into these new-school museums. What’s the enticement? They’re all-immersive, begging-to-be-photographed fun houses. Most are pop-up exhibits but a few have set down roots, filling a seemingly insatiable need to feed Instagram feeds. Here, five places to chase cheer.

Color Factory, New York

After a run in San Francisco in 2017, the factory arrived in August in New York with 20,000 square feet of interactive color-themed installations. The big-ticket attraction is a dive-in pit filled with 500,000 pastel blue balls. Other top draws: the conveyor belt of pick-your-own macarons and, less delectably, a collection of fake vomit.

5 Mood-Lifting Museums
Photo: Patricia Chang
The Museum of Ice Cream, San Francisco

Born in 2016 in New York, it traveled as a pop-up exhibit through Los Angeles and Miami before finding a permanent home in San Francisco. In between scoops of frozen dessert, visitors entertain themselves by jumping in a pool of sprinkles, taking selfies with a giant gummy bear and writing ephemeral messages on a wall blanketed in letter magnets.

29Rooms, Los Angeles

Launched in 2015 for the 10th anniversary fete for Refinery 29, a digital media company, 29Rooms is now a recurring pop-up affair, with installations created by artists, corporate brands and a few well-known actors. Past exhibits have included a human snow globe and a walk-in womb meant to simulate the in-utero experience. It arrives in L.A. in December.

5 Mood-Lifting Museums
Photo: The Museum of Pizza
The Museum of Pizza, New York

Through Nov. 18, Brooklyn’s William Vale hotel pays homage to New York’s signature slice. Among the exhibits are some recognizable artworks with a twist—think Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” with added pizza box and pepperoni slice—a “cheese cave,” made of silicone, a “pizza beach,” and a space for “pizza meditation.”

5 Mood-Lifting Museums
Photo: The Broad Art Foundation. © Yayoi Kusama. Image courtesy of David Zwirner, NY
Infinity Mirrored Room, Los Angeles

People line up around the block for a 45-second look at this wildly popular work by modern artist Yayoi Kusama, on permanent display at L.A.’s Broad Museum. The installation features LED lights reflected endlessly in a mirror-lined room. The museum just welcomed a second Kusama piece, Longing for Eternity, a hexagonal chamber of kaleidoscopic lights, with windows that invite you to stick your head inside. Take a selfie, join the thousands of other #infinitekusama fans on Instagram. You’re just a dot in a million there.

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Searching the Amalfi Coast for Long-Lost Family Ties

CLAN ABOUT TOWN The 11th-century Salerno Duomo, near a street named for the author’s family.
CLAN ABOUT TOWN The 11th-century Salerno Duomo, near a street named for the author’s family. Photo: Francesco Lastrucci for The Wall Street Journal

WHILE searching for our roots on a recent pilgrimage to southern Italy, my family and I realized we’d have to take the good with the bad and, at times, the ugly. In the town of Amalfi, somber posters hung everywhere on ancient walls depicting a diabolical-looking character in a black hood. Turns out he was a distant relative.

Sicardo, the brother of Prince Siconolfo—one of my nobler Lombard ancestors—was the real-life villain in “Amalfi 839 AD,” a musical then playing locally. The plot details a key historical moment when Sicardo conquered the great maritime city and imprisoned its citizens. A travel guide in our hotel called him “sadistic” and said he “physically and mentally weakened the subjugated populace” of Amalfi. The musical ends as the people of Amalfi win independence from the Lombards—stabbing Sicardo to death in the process.

A pretty dark legacy indeed. But as our quest unfolded and we traced ancestral clues in libraries, churches, city halls, an ancient village and the remains of a sprawling castle, we uncovered a far brighter side of our heritage. Our two-week sleuthing trip—undertaken by my wife and I and our two kids, two cousins and a spouse—was inspired by my Italian immigrant grandfather, who told us kids years ago that we had German bloodlines as descendants of the Lombards, a Germanic tribe that ruled Italy before the Normans. We started in Rome, at the Biblioteca Angelica, a library built in 1604 that’s tucked into a church courtyard near Piazza Navona. There, among the stacks of books from medieval times, we dug up a 1627 manuscript tracking the history of families from the Salerno region. My cousins translated the text. Leafing through several hundred delicate pages, careful not to tear them, we struck gold: detailed references to the rule of Siconolfo and other Lombard princes. Some pages included family trees, charts and diagrams.

An Italy You Can Relate To

On a pilgrimage to the Amalfi Coast to trace their ancestors, reporter Michael Siconolfi and his family find clues to their noble roots

View of Vietri sul Mare village and Salerno in the background as seen from the Amalfi Coast road. One of the author’s ancestors was Prince Siconolfo, the first prince of the Lombard principality of Salerno.
Francesco Lastrucci for The Wall Street Journal

We took a train south and rented a van to explore the Salerno province, which encompasses the Amalfi Coast (I was elected to drive along the terrifyingly steep cliffs), and based ourselves at Palazzo Suriano in the small town of Vietri sul Mare. From there, we cast out in different directions each day. One afternoon, we wandered through the remains of the medieval Castello di Arechi that sits atop a mountain above the city of Salerno, visible for miles. Prince Siconolfo lived there 1,200 years ago; he was the first prince of the Lombard principality of Salerno. The stone walls, archways and courtyards are still imposing. Through wall slots once used to guard against enemies, we saw goats roaming the grounds, their bells clanging. As we climbed the castle’s stairs, a hard rain pounded the property, and a mist rose around the fortress. I shuddered from the cold, or was it the ghosts?

Heading down to the center of Salerno, we noticed a street named Vicolo Siconolfo, after our ancestor, on a small city map. We searched the ancient section of the city near the Salerno Duomo, an 11th-century church, and soon discovered the “street” was a dark, narrow, 200-foot alley, lined with archways and grime. Drying clothes hung from windows, along with a faint whiff of danger.

View from Castello di Arechi, former home of Prince Siconolfo, the author’s ancestor.
View from Castello di Arechi, former home of Prince Siconolfo, the author’s ancestor. Photo: Francesco Lastrucci for The Wall Street Journal

Another day, we drove to Cava de Tirreni, where we met Loredana Caserta, a guide from the city of Salerno whom we’d hired to help in our research. In the weeks before our trip, Ms. Caserta ferreted out family documents in the region. Over cappuccino at the palatial Hotel Scapolatiello, she mapped a family tree. She noted that Prince Siconolfo built a tower in our family’s ancestral town that led to its name, Guardia Lombardi—“guard of the Lombards.”

Rain pounded the castle. I shuddered from the cold, or was it the ghosts?

We drove two hours up winding mountain roads to get there—a lush, grain-farming village northeast of the Amalfi Coast, and an area called Case Siconolfi, or Siconolfi houses. As we entered a town square, bells rung from the 14th-century church where many of our ancestors were baptized. A war monument contains rows of names of the Siconolfis killed in combat. We ventured into the Municipio, a tiny city hall. Guardia Lombardi town clerk Luigi DiSanto, who is married to a Siconolfi, pulled out registries of our ancestors’ birth records, written in flowery Italian script. Flipping through a book documenting page after page of relatives, Mr. DiSanto chuckled: “Tutti Siconolfi”—all Siconolfi.

Before our trip we had reached out to distant relatives in Guardia Lombardi and alerted them of our plans. Giuseppe Siconolfi, a third cousin, met us to drive to the nearby farming area where he grew up. In her home adjacent to the house my grandfather grew up in, Giuseppe’s mother, Giovanna, treated us to a glorious feast of prosciutto, lasagna, mozzarella and red wine—all homemade from the farm. Between bites, she expanded our family tree, drawing on a small piece of paper.

I asked Giuseppe’s dad, Angelomaria, how long our family has existed in Guardia Lombardi. Forever, he said, with a flick of his hand. For hundreds of years, Siconolfis have lived and died in homes passed from one generation to the next. We were struck by their simple, healthy lives, all tied to the earth—lives today that probably aren’t very different than those of our ancestors who lived in other centuries on the same hills and tilled the same land.

Searching the Amalfi Coast for Long-Lost Family Ties
Illustration: JASON LEE

We only learned about the musical once we arrived in Amalfi’s town center, and immediately bought tickets for a performance, staged in an ancient arsenal. Hooded and leering, Sicardo was a tyrant and a murderer. “I take what I want without anybody saying no,” he sang, for “our noble Lombard cause.” An Amalfitano woman cries that the murdered Sicardo “has stolen our memories.” Sword and knife fights erupted on the stage uncomfortably close to us.

The writer and director, Ario Avecone—an Amalfi native who also starred as the play’s hero—assured us he held no grudge against our family. He invited us to take pictures with the cast, including Antonio Speranza, who portrayed the murderous Sicardo character and goaded us to mimic his leer. He grinned as he pointed to us, saying gleefully in Italian: “Cousins!”

LA FAMIGLIA MATTERS / How to Trace Your Own Family Roots in Italy

DOCUMENTS: Collect photos, letters, birth and death certificates, and any military records, family trees or other documents from relatives.

INTERVIEWS: Speak with older family members, seeking stories about ancestors and how and when they came to America. Search passenger manifests at

ANCESTRAL TOWN: The most important initial step is finding the name of your ancestral town. In Italy, records are categorized by towns and provinces. In the past seven or eight years, many towns and provinces have digitized their records, so you can initially track more online. To help find more information about your ancestors’ region, province and town—including city halls, phone numbers and maps—check the site You can also contact parish churches in your ancestral town, seeking baptismal and other records (call or mail, though a trip may be needed). And, finally, seek out civil records at the Provincial Archive in your family’s ancestral province, or in the Office of Civil Records in the ancestral town.

ONLINE SEARCHES: Seek out Italian civil records. Sites to start with include or Antenati ( The sites offer free digitized records from Italy, though not every town is online yet. also has databases of Italian records.

BOOKS: Check out “The Family Tree Italian Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Family Tree in Italy,” by Melanie D. Holtz, a genealogist and owner of Lo Schiavo Genealogica.

TRAVEL: Plan your trip. Reach out to relatives in Italy. Contact parishes, libraries and city halls ahead of time for appointments. In the Salerno region, we hired guide Loredana Caserta to help with the research, at

PAYOFF: “It can bring closure to families” seeking to confirm ancestral anecdotes and history after a hundred or more years in America, said Mary M. Tedesco, a professional genealogist and founder of “And you learn something about yourself along the way.”

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Why Men Fear Wearing Color. And the Secret to Pulling It Off

THIS LOOKS ridiculous on me,” thinks Brian Madigan when he attempts to wear bright colors. It’s not that he dislikes them; he envies friends who can toss on a maroon shirt or a lemon-hued polo without hesitation or self-consciousness. “I wish that I could have an eye for the types of color they’re wearing,” says Mr. Madigan, 36, a photo editor in San Jose, Calif. But he feels far more comfortable in his familiar gray T-shirts, blue jeans and tan khakis. Better safe than startling.

Many American men occupy Mr. Madigan’s chromatic comfort zone—a style point-of-view just a few shades shy of colorblind. In my conversations with guys about their color palettes, the term “conservative” came up repeatedly as they described wardrobes heavily skewed toward gray, black, tan and white. The agenda, confessed William Bodenlos, 55, a financial adviser in New York, is “just to fit in with our environment and avoid calling attention to ourselves.” He described his style as “pretty conservative” with an “enormous amount” of blue clothes. Despite the widespread fear of color among men, there are outliers: Corporate raiders readily knot up red and yellow paisley ties, and budding junior executives slip on preppy pastel socks with their loafers. On the golf course, colorful polos are de rigueur. But by and large, the male wardrobe is more monochrome than Technicolor.

Safety has its downsides, however. A closet wholly devoid of color can make you look as repressed and stern (and out-of-date) as a character in an Ingmar Bergman film. “When you wear bright colors it can make you feel lighter,” said Sander Lak, the designer behind the hue-happy New York label Sies Marjan. “Subconsciously, color does set a mood.”

GO MONOCHROME Todd Snyder & Private White V.C. Coat, $898,; Sweater, $90,; Shirt, $695,; Trousers, $280,; Shoes, $179,
GO MONOCHROME Todd Snyder & Private White V.C. Coat, $898,; Sweater, $90,; Shirt, $695,; Trousers, $280,; Shoes, $179, Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas

To that end, his collections are laced with sartorial mood-enhancers like salmon-pink shirts and tomato-red sweaters. And in 2018, he’s hardly the only designer splashing about in the splashy end of the color spectrum. From Moncler’s cherry-red puffer jackets to Acne Studios’s petrol-blue corduroys to Calvin Klein’s yolk-yellow sweaters, current men’s fashion isn’t color shy.

“As the workplace gets more casual and is less corporatized, there is this embrace of individuality and that leads to an embrace of color,” said Justin Berkowitz, the men’s fashion director of Bloomingdale’s. Social media is also driving renewed interest in color, he added: Men are drawn to what “looks good in a picture. That tends to be color—it stands out a little bit more.” As a result, Mr. Berkowitz has increasingly seen guys gravitating toward pinks, burgundies and olives.

Still, men who are used to wearing only ignorable neutrals should adopt color judiciously. “I’m not going to be the person looking like Big Bird in a giant yellow shirt and mint green pants and some red sneakers. That’s just not me,” said Tyler Hockett, 30, a financial adviser in Indianapolis. Mr. Hockett’s understandable wariness underlies the cardinal rule of color: It’s all about balance.

GO AUTUMNAL Jacket, about $954,; Sweater, $70,; T-Shirt, $95,; Pants, about $169,; Sneakers, $50,; Scarf, $98,
GO AUTUMNAL Jacket, about $954,; Sweater, $70,; T-Shirt, $95,; Pants, about $169,; Sneakers, $50,; Scarf, $98, Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas

“Color is something that you have to dose,” cautioned Massimo Alba, a Milanese designer who uses it with Italian panache. Both in his own wardrobe and in the looks he designs, he enjoys sprucing up a solid foundational piece like a blue blazer or a charcoal sweater with a light brownish-yellow shirt or trousers. Even a light spritz of unpredictable color can have a dramatic effect. “It’s boring if you’re just [wearing] blue,” he said. “It’s nice if you have a detail.” That detail, he added, can be as small as a red handkerchief sprouting out of your pocket.

A closet wholly devoid of color can make you look as repressed and stern as a character in an Ingmar Bergman film.

When we spoke, Mr. Alba had just returned from a trip through the American Southwest where he saw greens, golds, sky blues and other natural shades in the landscape that will make their way into his next collection. Cautious of color? Let earthy tones be your guide, in the style of subtle-color fans like Steve Carell, who mixes toasty shades of brown, or John Mayer, who’s worn forest-green trousers with a sky blue jacket. “Mr. Robot” star Rami Malek recently paired a chocolate-brown suit with a light salmon polo, marrying familiar and surprising hues in a strategy that Mr. Alba also likes, calling it a “kind of camouflage attitude.”

GO FOR A POP Blazer, $745,; Sweater, $1,725, Hermès, 800-441-4488; Mr P. Shirt, $200,; Trousers, $560, Salvatore Ferragamo, 866-337-7242; Loafers, $1,450,
GO FOR A POP Blazer, $745,; Sweater, $1,725, Hermès, 800-441-4488; Mr P. Shirt, $200,; Trousers, $560, Salvatore Ferragamo, 866-337-7242; Loafers, $1,450, Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas

It’s not only the shade of a shirt that matters but also the fabric itself. “[Each] material takes color differently,” said Mr. Lak, claiming that the same shade of yellow can appear 50 different ways on 50 different fabrics. Matte cotton projects color at its purest—just think of how bright a red T-shirt can be. More-textured fabrics such as cashmere or corduroy can create a more nuanced effect. They’re less flagrant and more wearable.

Mr. Berkowitz of Bloomingdale’s particularly likes garment dyeing, a process commonly used on casual button-ups and jersey sweats, in which a finished garment, rather than the yarn, is soaked and dyed. “It de-saturates the color and makes it feel a little bit more lived-in,” he said. Washed-down hues (Mr. Berkowitz called them “dusty”) make any piece of colored clothing more approachable, be it a pair of pine-green chinos, an azure cable-knit sweater or a chippy yellow button-up. Big Bird? Not a chance.

Write to Jacob Gallagher at

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