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The Week Ahead: Tourist Traps Stand No Chance

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Dave Holmes in “American Canvas,” starting on Ovation.

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Rick Kerns/Getty Images

What if you detoured around the tourist attractions when visiting a place for the first time and ventured off the beaten path? In “American Canvas,” which makes its premiere on Wednesday on Ovation, Dave Holmes focuses on the culture and history, not always mentioned in guidebooks, that make three cities distinctive. His journey begins in San Francisco, where he watches the Spidey-esque members of Bandaloop dance on the faces of skyscrapers with the help of rock-climbing equipment; traces the footsteps of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg; tosses a coin into an antique arcade machine; and samples the fare at the country’s oldest Chinatown. He also tours “@Large” an exhibition at Alcatraz, the former penitentiary, centered on freedom and confinement. Its creator, the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, considers himself to be in “soft detention,” he told The New York Times, his own passport withheld by his government.

Two-stepping, anyone? In subsequent episodes, Mr. Holmes is schooled in Lone Star traditions, including the University of Texas longhorn salute, at a visit to Austin. And how better to vent after the crush of Art Basel in Miami than with a flamenco lesson?

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