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Wish You Were Here: Travel to some of the gayest events this summer

 

The spring and summer sun is upon us and it’s high time that you started thinking about your travel destinations ahead. But do you know how many LGBTQ events, festivals, and prides are within driving distance or just a short plane ride away? Trust us, there’s a ton.

Maybe you’re looking for steamy hot guys to bump and grind your nights and days with, or you’re looking to support a gay pride in the Southeast that hasn’t been around nearly as long as Atlanta’s. We’ve compiled and highlighted some of the gayest events and destinations around.

This year, Israel is even hosting the first LGBTQ World Conference that ends in the Tel Aviv Gay Pride! Who knew that Israel was such a gay friendly destination? Where to stay, where to go, and what to do – we’ve got the skinny on it all right here.

 

Memorable Memorial Weekend in Pensacola Florida

By Jason Mieteski

maxresdefaultLooking to get a head start on your PRIDE activities this year? Want to spend some time at the beach with a hundred thousand nearly naked sexy men, cocktail in hand? Then a mini-vacay in Pensacola, Florida for their annual (though unofficially sanctioned) Memorial Day Beach Pride is probably just what you need!

The event, which began as just a small gathering in the 80s, is expected to draw 150,000 partygoers this year. There will be circuit parties with elaborate sound systems and light shows featuring top-billed DJs, which often don’t start until 11 p.m. and run until the sun rises over the beach. These are followed by throngs of oiled and cocktail fueled gays and lesbians roaming the shoreline past crowded tents until the next circuit party begins. You can expect to mingle with muscle boys, bears, topless women, twinks and leather daddies as you stroll past full wet bars, hand dug Jacuzzis in the sand, and places to show your cock for a free jello shot.  Johnny Chisolm also hosts a series of parties at Emerald City in Downtown Pensacola, each night with a different theme: Thursday is Foreplay; Friday is Stripdown; Saturday is Sweat; Friction is on Sunday; and Monday finishes with Climax.

I spoke with newlyweds Caston and Quentin Baker, natives of Pensacola, who offered up some helpful tips:

  • Make your hotel reservations early. Hotels are HOT party spots and sure to fill up as many gay Georgians will be attending.
  • Bonelli’s, an Italian restaurant @ 1217 N. 9th Avenue is amazing; Nick’s Boathouse @ 455 W. Main Street offers excellent comfort and seafood with waterfront dining away from the hustle and bustle of the beach; and if you’re in the mood for great soul food and live music, check out Five Sisters Blues Café @ 421 W. Belmont Street.
  • In addition to the beach, club, and circuit parties, Pensacola also offers go-carting, parasailing, jet skiing, water-rocketing, a fishing pier and bicycle rentals.
  • Yes, it’s OK to drink openly on the beach, but use caution and common sense.
  • Of course, you’re coming down to Memorial Pride for the beach festivities, but don’t overlook the rest of the village. If you need a moment to gather yourself, there’s walking, riding and Segway tours that you should definitely take advantage of.
  • Be prepared for traffic! The bridge to the beach will get clogged with vehicles. The rainbow flags are flying so just relax and enjoy the show. Wear lots of sunscreen and bring an umbrella, and whatever you do, don’t park in the sand!
  • Be sure to take advantage of the shuttles running from Emerald City to the beach—this’ll keep everyone just a little bit safer.

Just remember what you went to the beach for: To show your pride and have FUN! Be sure to check out the other clubs, The Roundup and The Cabaret as well. The festivities start on Thursday, May 21st and Run through Monday, May 25th. So make your reservations and plan ahead. And whatever you do, don’t forget to bring your condoms, boys! See you there!

 

Tel Aviv: More Progressive Than You’d Ever Think

By Jonathan Bugg

tel-aviv-gayIsrael is one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of equality for sexual minorities. Tel Avivans are quick to point out that their city is less suffused with history than Jerusalem, and that that is what makes their city so hospitable to newcomers.

Tel Aviv’s vibrant gay scene is banging year-round with glittering nightlife, progressive restaurants, and busy walkable streets filled with clubs and cafés. It’s the perfect city is perfect for people who love to get out and about.

This year is a very special for Tel Aviv, and the LGBTQ world in general as the first global LGBTQ leadership summit will be held in this dynamic and vibrant community. LGBTQ leader from around the world are gathering from June 9 – June 11 to inspire and strengthen each other, build skills and networks, and celebrate 40 years of LGBTQ progress in Israel.

Don’t think that this is all business and no play, because this summit culminates to the ever-fabulous weekend of Tel Aviv Pride on June 12, a celebration that attracts 150,000 people from across the world. The best part about their parade route is that it ends at the beach. You should definitely bring your bathing suit (or any other kind of minimal wear you’re kinky mind can think of) because once the parade hits the beach you will be in the water in no time.

With a gay scene that competes with all gay capitals around the globe, an amazing beach, good weather, great food and other attractions in the country like Jerusalem and the Dead sea, Tel Aviv is definitely a place you should check out for your next trip.

There is one very important thing to take care of before you leave for the Holy Land; make sure that you obtain a local SIM card or you’ll never get to know the populace via Israeli Grindr (the man behind Grindr, Joel Simkhai is from Tel Aviv). Or you could just do it the old-fashioned way, and start talking to people.

One great place to start meeting people is Rothschild Boulevard. It’s one of Tel Aviv’s most beautiful boulevards buzzing with entertainment. You can grab a cup of coffee at one of the many coffee shops, or just stroll along watching the beautiful guys passing by. Think of this area as if it was the corner of 10th Street and Piedmont. Rothschild is also a great starting point to branch out into the city’s dazzling (and ever changing) nightlife.

Finally, Tel Aviv is famous for it’s neverending beach-line – It has 14km, or 8.7 miles for us dummies over here. Check out the gay Hilton beach where two things come clashing together in this little strip of beach – endless sun and hunky guys. Getting a tan in Israel is easy, but getting a full-body one is not always as easy. Rest assured, at Ga’ash nude (and gay) beach you can be as “out” as you want – and nobody cares a damn.

 

New Orleans for Southern Decadence

By: Bryan Tillman

southern-decadence-2_flickr_user-jasperfieldsAre you ready for some fun and excitement in the Bayou, well lets geaux, baby! Every Labor Day weekend, New Orleans hosts the 5th largest event in the city following Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, Essence Fest, and French Quarter Fest. This is event is known as Southern Decadence.

If you are thinking of joining the festivities of Southern Decadence 2015, this is the guide for you. Those that are looking to participate in this year’s event have many diverse options.  There are many accommodations to meet each person’s budget and lifestyle.  As an added bonus New Orleans offers some of the most exclusive and beautiful architecture in the world.

The French Quarter is the most famous, diverse and popular neighborhood in New Orleans.  Many travelers from the all over the world gather at this wonderful, historic and convivial neighborhood year after year.  If you want to be in the middle of the action for Southern Decadence, this is the place for you. You will definitely want to stay at a French Quarter hotel during your visit.  Check out frenchquarterhotels.com for some great hotel deals.

After checking into your place of stay, you will need to experience the singularly unique restaurants of New Orleans.  New Orleans has some of the best restaurants and foods in the U.S.  If you are searching for casual, classic, creole, Cajun food, Eat New Orleans is the perfect place for you.   Eat New Orleans, which is known for its “region’s unique cultural traditions” offers local dishes that are made from farm-fresh ingredients. The owner of Eat New Orleans prides himself by serving the best versions of his family favorites.   At Eat New Orleans, the seafood and seasonal produce is locally grown and fresh.  The work of local artists is featured throughout the restaurant.  New Orleans, offers other places to get your grub on such as: Emeril’s, which offers great creole dishes.  If you want to try something different, August is the place for you.  August offers a French contemporary cuisine made from local fresh ingredients.  New Orleans has many restaurants to visit, and you will not be disappointed.

Who visits New Orleans and not participate in the all of the fun that Southern Decadence has to offer? After all this is the real reason why you are visiting.  New Orleans is known for some of the hottest bars and clubs in the United States.  Oz, one of New Orleans number one gay dance clubs is located in the heart of all of the decadent debauchery…. Bourbon Street.  Oz is a two-story dance club that operates 24/7.  This outgoing club has great DJs, drag shows, some would say slutty go-go dancers, plus an extensive balcony for people watching.  Don’t allow your fun to stop at Oz.  You will want to visit the many other different clubs and bars that are all located in New Orleans such as:  The Corner Pocket, a gay bar that is known for its scantily clad men dancing on the bar each and every night.  For those of you that want to visit a easy going and relaxed place, Café Lafitte in Exile is for you.  Café Lafitte in Exile is a tavern that operates 24/7.  This great tavern includes a wraparound balcony that hosts everyone’s favorite…. HAPPY HOUR!

One great perk for those who enjoy a nice cold beverage; you are permitted to drink on the streets in New Orleans.  Even though you may leave a bar and take your drink, the drink must be in a plastic “go cup”.  But please don’t carry glass containers or bottles…it’s not only ghetto, but illegal.

While you are enjoying the great food, bars and clubs of New Orleans, you simply must attend the two official Southern Decadence parades.  First, there is the float parade on Friday, succeeded by the walking parade on Sunday. Both parades occur in streets of the French Quarter.  Southern Decadence is kicked off with the official welcome party and many different contests held throughout the weekend along with the Bourbon Street Extravaganza and much more!

The 44th Southern Decadence is set for Wednesday, September 2 to Monday, September 7.

For more information about the events of Southern Decadence, visit southerndecadence.net or southerndecadence.com.

 

 

Savannah, Augusta, Charleston Travel

By Jason Mieteski

Corey Perrine/Staff Isaac Keller yells while holding hands with his partner, at the start of the parade, June 19 in downtown Augusta. This was the first public celebration for the CSRA gay community. Thousands came out to enjoy food, entertainment, and be proud of their sexuality.
Corey Perrine/Staff
Isaac Keller yells while holding hands with his partner, at the start of the parade, June 19 in downtown Augusta. This was the first public celebration for the CSRA gay community. Thousands came out to enjoy food, entertainment, and be proud of their sexuality.

Savannah, Augusta, and Charleston—a trifecta for southern gay charm during PRIDE season. But, since it’s GAY PRIDE and all, there’s sure to be plenty of decadence to be had by everyone! So, to keep that rainbow blood pumping through your veins all summer long (and stay primed for Atlanta’s Pride celebration in October), these three excursions are guaranteed to set the backdrop for a colorful season:

Augusta kicks off its festivities with Beats on Broad, the city’s largest outdoor dance party, on Friday, June 26 at the Augusta Common (836 Reynolds Street). The parade, which started with a crowd of 4,000 in 2010, begins June 27 at 11 a.m. on Broad Street and wraps up with the festival at Augusta Common. Things are sure to heat up Sunday, when all the boys strip down and get wet ‘n wild at the “Ain’t Misbehavin’” pool party at Parliament Resort Pool (there’s a $20 cover after noon). While you’re there, stop by the local clubs for drinks, drag, non-stop parties and lots of men: There’s Club Argos at Walton Way for dancing; The Edge, a sweet spot to knock back a cold brew; and Skittlez Bar & Grill, a place to grab a bite to eat, chill and let your colors fly.

The celebration in Charleston started out as a single event in 2010 and has burgeoned into a week of Pride festivities spreading from the beach into downtown. Mark your calendars for June 25 to August 1 and prepare for gay southern hospitality unlike any you’ve ever experienced. This family and GLBT youth centered Pride offers lots of community centered events, such as free movie screenings, meet and greet family beach parties, and outdoor sporting events. There’s also plenty to do for the party crowd: Make sure to hit up the city’s hottest night spot, Club Pantheon (28 Ann St.) for a night of wild dancing.  The parade kicks off Saturday, August 1 at 9 a.m. at Wragg mall, meanders through historic downtown Charleston, and ends 2 miles later at Colonial Lake. Get a spot on King Street for the best view.

Head down to historic Savannah before the Pride festival (which first took place in September 2000) begins on September 12 at Forsyth Park to take in the sights and experience the city’s rich, antebellum architecture, streets and culture. This city is unique as it offers visitors warmth, charm, and something a little quirky. Country bars, dance clubs and places to meet new people—Savannah’s got it all. You can expect temperatures to be in the 90s as you attend the all-day Pride Festival, so make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and dress lightly—Speedos, of course, are highly recommended! Afterwards, be sure to visit the shoreline or even take a quick 20 minute ride to experience the white sand beaches of Tybee Island. And don’t worry, Savannah has plenty of night life to offer. If you’re in the mood to dance the night away make a stop at Club One {1 Jefferson St.); Planter’s Tavern at Pink House (29 Albercorn St.), offers great American fare with fireplaces and river views; and for live music , comfort food and plenty of liquor there’s Kevin Barry’s (117 W. River St.). In the mood for nude gay camping while you’re there? Then the boy’s from Roy’s Hideaway are waiting on you (268 Catfish Lane).

While you’re down on the coast showing your PRIDE, be sure to meet new people, hang out with friends, show support for one another, and, most importantly, have fun!

Sidebar:

For the Long Haul Gays:

San Francisco: Rainbow flags adorn apartment windows and bar entrances in many San Francisco neighborhoods, with nearly every bar and business in the Castro catering to gays and lesbians. Pride Week is capped by the often-outrageous ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Pride Parade’ – where half a million people party in the street on the last Sunday in June.

Sidney, Australia: Host to Australia’s biggest annual tourist event – the Mardi Gras. The joy-filled hedonism-meets-political-protest parade is attended by more than half a million people. Beach life also reigns here, so boys should buff up before hitting the sand.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: There are more than 100 bars and nightclubs, gay hotels, bookshops, sport clubs, choirs and support services. Amsterdam hosts the only water-borne gay-pride parade in the world, held on the canals on the first Saturday in August.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: During Carnaval (February or March), thousands of expatriate Brazilian and gringo gays fly in to take part in the fun, with transvestites stealing the show at most balls.

 

 

Have a Gay Ol’ Time!

By Jeffery Silvey

10382608_830745103604410_4580962270932157396_oOrlando is known for having the Happiest Place on Earth, but this summer they’ll become the Gayest Place on Earth, courtesy of Gay Days and One Magical Weekend.  For the first week in June the theme-park filled city will boast sun, fun, booze, and gay boys-a-plenty for these popular and notorious events.

Since 1991 Gay Days has worked to make the tourist-focused city of Orlando friendly and accepting to the LGBT community.  An event that started out as a one-day only occurrence in June of each year has now culminated in the ultimate gay vacation spot that lasts for the better part of a week.

The Double Tree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld will host Gay Days.  In addition to being this year’s host hotel, they will be hosting three different and private pool parties as well as the 17th Gay Days Expo.  The pools will be filled with cute boys and the Expo will be filled with different vendors and agents offering products aimed at the LGBT market, giving both the party goers and the professionals a chance to network.  For those foodies out there, try Taste of Gay Days Orlando, which will offer culinary sampling from different local restaurants.  For live entertainment, catch a comedy show featuring gay comedians and then see which queen gets crowned Miss Gay Days.  To satisfy your inner kink, visit the Leather Dungeon & Demonstration Center, make sure you already have a safe word in mind!

Gay Days will be providing an endless amount of fun, but just to amp it up, One Magical Weekend will be taking place at the same time!  Hosted at the B Resort and Spa at Lake Buenavista, One Magical Weekend provides parties that last all day – even if you don’t.  Start each day off with a Therapy Pool Parties featuring two top DJ’s every day, followed by a different themed party each evening.  Feature events include the infamously steamy pool party Riptide at Typhoon Lagoon. Red Unmasked, a brand new party at Epcot Park, simply requires you to wear something red. Other epic inclusions at Epcot is the E-Tea Party as well as the option to drink around the world in the park’s different countries.

The daily and nightly events will come to an end, but that doesn’t mean the party has to.  There’s always After Parties, and since it is One Magical Weekend it only makes sense that these parties are magically called Cadabra.  Featuring two different DJs each night, these parties last until 8 a.m..  If you feel like you’ve stayed out too late, or too early depending on how you look at it, then you can always restart and recharge at the Therapy Pool Party the next day.

Gay Days Orlando is June 2 through 7.  One Magical Weekend is June 5 through 7. For more information please visit gaydays.com and onemagicalweekend.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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