Monday, September 15, 2014

11th Annual Arosa Gay Ski Week – Europe’s favorite Winter Pride Festival

The idyllic and gay friendly Swiss resort of Arosa invites you from January 11th to 18th, 2015 to its fun-filled LGBT ski week. Since 2005, this lively and colorful week has become one of the biggest Gay and Lesbian winter events in Europe.

Our new concept, introduced in 2012, proved a resounding success:  all events took place at different locations throughout Arosa: in the new Kursaal, in the Waterworld at Hotel Altein, at the town Ice Rink and in various ski huts, restaurants and hotel lounges.  This year, for the first time, the „White” closing party will take place at top of the Weisshorn mountain!  The newly linked skiing domain of Arosa-Lenzerheide with its 225km/140miles of slopes, fantastic snow conditions, lots of sunny days, and more than 500 participants from over 30 different countries all justify calling it Europe’s favorite Winter Pride Festival!

Our many years of experience and excellent feedback from participants are reflected in the program: A welcome cocktail party with Sherry Vine & Arroba, friendship dinners (for anyone who hasn’t already hooked up with somebody at the welcome party), daily Après-Ski with DJs, and late bar nights out.  So many possibilities - so little time!  Fortunately on holiday you can turn night into day without feeling guilty, or you might miss the classic concert in the village church with Michel Dalberto and Michail Lifits, the fondue fun at the Tschuggenhütte with night-time sledging or the „Splash Pool Party“. Highlights this year will include the world-wide infamous „Downhill Costume Race“, and an impressive farewell party at the world’s highest White Party, on top of the Weisshorn at 2’653m / 8’704ft!

Ski bums and snowboarders can discover the vast ski area in groups with our team of sporty guides or take some lessons with one of the experienced teacher of the ABC Snow Sport School. Just the breathtakingly beautiful winter landscape in Arosa should be enough to convince the most resigned couch potato to chance one downhill ru n. Experienced skiers and snowboarders will not be bored: in addition to the challenging slopes of Arosa-Lenzerheide, they can even book a ski trip to St. Moritz by helicopter!  But non-skiers are not left out: in addition to extensive walking and hiking trails, the Tschugenhütte midday rendezvous can also be reached easily and pleasantly on foot!

An extended day in the mountains (don’t forget the sun cream!) can be quite exhausting. There are three good reasons to book a room at one of our eleven gay friendly participating hotels: they offer special packages where you get the Event Pass at a special rate, they are fully prepared to accommodate our gay and lesbian guests attending the festival, Event Pass holders get free entry to all parties, Apres-Skis and concerts, as well as free sun-loungers at the Tschuggenhütte during the week, plus a 10% discount for the ski pass and 20% discount on ski hire at the Bananas Ski- and Snowboard center.


Travel – how do I get to Arosa?

Arosa is at the end of the Schanfigg Valley, in Canton Graubünden, in Eastern Switzerland, between Davos and St. Moritz. Excellent transport connections enable you to arrive at your holiday destination relaxed and ready for the week ahead. It is an easy drive from Zurich to Arosa by car, and the scenic train journey is child’s play: ICE and IC trains go from Zurich Airport to Chur, where you change to the Arosa line. This beautiful, romantic stretch of the journey takes about an hour and is well worth every spectacular moment.



For all further information: www.arosa-gayskiweek.com

Monday, August 11, 2014

History Made in Las Vegas - First International Gay New Year's Eve Celebration

Guests from Six Continents Celebrate on the Las Vegas Strip


Las Vegas, recently voted Favorite American Destination by OutTraveler Magazine, is the host city for an exciting new event, Evolve Vegas NYE (New Year’s Eve).  #EvolveVegas is a 3-day gay New Year’s Eve experience that will bring men from more than 30 countries, on six continents, to the city that provides non-stop fun, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Hosted at the world famous, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Evolve Vegas NYE takes place December 30, 2014 – January 1, 2015 and offers shows, receptions, parties, dining, shopping, tours and more.  And for those who want to continue the fun, a weekend in West Hollywood, California, one of the hottest gay meccas in the U.S., takes place January 2-4, 2015.

“I am so excited, as this will be the first time in my 30 year Las Vegas career that I will be performing for an all gay audience.  Finally, I can do pop-culture jokes that everyone will get!  This night is going to be one Big Party!” says Frank Marino headliner of the Divas Las Vegas. Celebrating the 25,000th show this year, Frank Marino’s Divas is one of the most spectacular production shows in the city, and is just one of the many events included in the Evolve Vegas NYE experience.

The event will kick off with a private VIP reception, featuring Zumanity performers and champagne, followed by the sensual Cirque du Soleil performance that offers a seductive twist on reality.  Zumanity makes the provocative playful and the forbidden electrifying and allows you to leave all inhibitions at the door and let loose as this adult-themed production takes you on a sexy thrill ride full of sensational acrobatics and naughty fun.

After the show, guests will party at the official opening reception at Liaison Nightclub at Bally’s Hotel & Casino.  With unrivaled décor, a top-tier sound system and impeccable service, Liaison, the first gay nightclub in a Las Vegas Strip resort, offers guests an elegant experience with hot entertainment and DJs spinning until the wee hours of the morning.

Day Two is a free day to shop, explore the city or experience the beautiful landscapes of Southern Nevada including the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Red Rock, Valley of Fire, even Mt. Charleston which features snow skiing….yes snow in Las Vegas!
 
New Year’s Eve will kick off with another VIP party, before opening up to the main celebration at the Havana Nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip.  This event will also welcome local gays, as well as hot DJs, exciting entertainment, special guests, seductive dancers, complimentary cocktails and a private VIP fireworks-viewing from the patio of the club.

If that’s not enough, Day Three offers the Mob Museum in Old Vegas, The High Roller at the Linq, the VooDoo Zipline at The Rio, or Madame Tussauds at The Venetian. There are many more to choose from and the activity of choice is included in the package.  That evening a historical first is taking place with the private showing of Divas Las Vegas, only available to Evolve Vegas NYE guests. This energetic show starring Las Vegas’ longest running headliner, Frank Marino, features an all-star cast of superstar female impersonators who not only recreate, but almost uncannily duplicate the likenesses of stars ranging from Liza Minnelli to Britney Spears.   Guests also have the option to see Jubilee! The Showgirl Reborn, with seductive male and female dancers, rhinestones, feathers and exquisite stage productions.  After the shows, the festivities will continue at Share Nightclub, a gay ultra lounge with a hip nightclub downstairs and a private Ultra Lounge and bar on the second floor.

CONTINUE THE PARTY IN WEHO
For those who would like to extend their stay, a limited number of tickets are available for a weekend in West Hollywood, California.  Transportation will be provided on luxury motor coaches for the short 4-hour ride through the Mojave Desert, and luxury accommodations have been booked at the Sofitel Hotel at Beverly Hills, a stunning property offering elegant European accommodations and dramatic décor.  On Friday night, guests will have the opportunity to sample all of West Hollywood’s gay nightlife and festivities with special offers for Evolve Vegas NYE participants.

Shop along Rodeo Drive, visit the Santa Monica Pier, experience the West Hollywood scene or relax in your room on Saturday afternoon and enjoy a blowout party at the Here Lounge at night.  After a tasty brunch on the patio of the Sofitel, guests will head back to Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon for one last fling, or fly home from Los Angeles and start the New Year pumped up from an amazing week on the West Coast of the USA!

According to Evolve Vegas NYE Marketing Director, Donovan Kaneshiro, “Evolve Vegas NYE has been very carefully designed to provide a unique experience for our guests from the USA, as well as those coming in from Amsterdam to Australia and everywhere in between.  There has never been a New Year’s Eve event like Evolve Vegas NYE in North America, and we are excited to bring this first-of-its-kind experience to Las Vegas.”

Evolve Vegas NYE packages are inclusive of hotel, land transportation and all events.  Remaining availability is limited, book your package by visiting http://www.EvolveEvgasNYE.com, which is available in seven languages.  You may also contact Evolve Vegas NYE at donovan@evolvevegasnye.com for more information.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Perfect Beach Weekend Getaway: Sand Blast July 18-20 - Atlantic City

New York City may be surrounded by water, but hitting the beach has never been one of the city's charms, and destinations like Fire Island or The Hamptons can seem like an exclusive club unless you've got a house there. Sand Blast, the 3-day beach party extravaganza on the Jersey Shore, has developed a well-earned reputation for being one of the most friendly & fun gay events on the east coast and helped turn Asbury Park into a gay mecca. Now with its move down the Jersey Shore to Atlantic City, how will this year's blast change?

“When I first began producing Sand Blast and inviting people to come to Asbury Park we had a lot of negative reactions from people who’d see the town in years past when it was downtrodden and could’t imagine this town ever coming back again.  But one thing about us gays:  We absolutely LOVE a fixer up and Asbury Park was just that”  says Brad Hurtado, the founder & producer of Sand Blast, now in it’s thirteenth year.  "But those who did join us in those early years found a welcoming community, a fantastic beach scene and throngs of fun loving men and women aching to escape the city heat and have a big gay vacation on the shore.   This July in Atlantic City we’re giving our guests the perfect summer beach getaway they’re hungry for,” he affirms.

After building Sand Blast in Asbury Park for over a decade the move down the shore wasn't a decision Hurtado made lightly.  “Sand Blast was a key component of Asbury Park’s rebirth and gentrification and I love how gay friendly the city's become, but with only 350 hotel rooms in town and our guests filling them all we simply outgrew them.  Our guests like to come for the entire weekend and when there weren't any more rooms they would make other plans.  Atlantic City stepped in and offered us incredible hotel rates, plenty of rooms, stunning venues to party in and tons of support.  This will be the biggest and best Sand Blast ever.”

Sand Blast’s main event is their iconic Beach Party on Saturday, July 19th with music by the internationally renowned producer & DJ Joe Gauthreaux, and located on the amazing Bungalow Beach with a feel and look that is right out of Mykonos.   Sunday’s super fun Riptide Pool Party & Tea Dance will be at the outrageously beautiful Harrah’s Pool with music by DC’s Ed Bailey and Brett Henrichsen.

Their three nights of parties start with the Urge Underwear Party on Friday with DJ Nando,  Saturday night’s Deep Blue with Barcelona’s Phil Romano & NYC’s Eddie Martinez, and Sunday nights closing party, Kahuna with DJ Escape.


One of the features of Sand Blast that makes it so popular is that it draws the circuit crowd, the sporty gays plus those who just want a beach weekend surrounded by eye candy and fun entertainment options.   Atlantic City’s historic gay beach in front of The Claridge Hotel was just re-dedicated by the city’s first gay mayor, so definitely check that out, plus the city’s gay entertainment options this weekend are plentiful and include a gay burlesque show at Scores, the hilarious beach Drag Race & Handbag Toss and the erotic Savage Men show.   And if that’s not enough, join one of the gay beach volleyball tournaments for both men and women on Saturday.


With so many hotels in Atlantic City in competition for Sand Blast the producers have been able to negotiate an amazing rate staring at $170 a night at The Claridge Hotel, which is the location for Friday night's notorious URGE Underwear Party with DJ Nando and hosted by The Maverick Men, Xtube’s Most Popular Couple, who are returning to Sand Blast for their fourth year.

Getting to Atlantic City has always been easy with hourly jitneys leaving from Port Authority direct to the shore, but if you want to ride down with other NYC boys the Sand Blast team has selected three departures on Friday (4:30, 6:30 and 8:30PM) and three Saturday morning (7:30, 8:30 and 9AM) that they’re encouraging guys to book to make the trip a gay old time.   Check out the Sand Blast travel page to book one of these $51 round trips which include free gaming and food vouches.    Guests who are staying at The Claridge Host Hotel are being offered a free party bus to Atlantic City complete with live DJ exclusively reserved for Sand Blast guests so let the games begin!

To book today, click here:
http://sandblastweekend.com/Hotel_2.html

Website:  www.SandBlastWeekend.com

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Struggle for LGBT Rights in Myanmar

By Steven Wozencraft and Chris Westling

Aung Myo Min peered over his soda with a wide smile on his face. As the Executive Director of Equality Myanmar, he recounted spending most of the past quarter century as a political exile in Thailand. Excited to be back, he hurriedly told us about the many issues facing Myanmar’s LGBT community and how they intersected with the human rights concerns of women, ethnic minorities and religious minorities in the rapidly changing Southeast Asian country.

Known to many as Burma, Myanmar has been ruled by a military junta for the better part of five decades. But since 2010, the government has slowly announced reform after reform bringing the country closer and closer to democracy.

Our team flew into Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, last month with a delegation of social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and philanthropists. We had come with the Aspen Institute, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, and the US Department of State.

As we drove through the city we witnessed the tangible impacts of recent liberalization. Billboards advertised the pending launch of the country’s first independent mobile phone operators. Newsstands were packed full with daily publications that had been, until recently, logistically impossible due to government censors. At the same time, the country is rife with human rights concerns – the government has been accused by human rights groups of systematically cutting off medical aid to the country’s minority Muslim population in the west.

Among the country’s human rights concerns are the rights of Myanmar’s LGBT population. There have been numerous reports of individuals being violently targeted for their actual or perceived sexuality. With decreased media censorship, these cases have become increasingly well documented. At the center of the discrimination is an official countrywide ban on homosexual conduct – a relic from British rule still present in many former colonies. Referred to as by its legal title of Section 377, this law has had a detrimental impact on the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country and has become one of the primary focuses of local human rights groups.

We met with Aung Myo Min of Equality Myanmar in Yangon. By collaborating with human rights advocates focused on women’s rights, ethnic minority rights, and religious minority rights, Equality Myanmar is helping to build more inclusive and secure Myanmar. “I spent decades living in as a political exile because of my human rights work,” said Aung Myo Min when we met him at a coffee shop in the city’s center. “But I have returned – there is just too much work here to be done.

Read Steve's expanded article on Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-wozencraft/cautious-optimism-in-myan_b_5432538.html

Friday, May 23, 2014

Eat your way through Copenhagen when Copenhagen Cooking opens its doors for the 10th time

From 22 - 31 August the summer edition of Copenhagen's food festival Copenhagen Cooking is being held for the tenth time and the people behind Copenhagen Cooking are busy planning the programme. Over ten days, Copenhagen's restaurants, streets and lanes - as well as some rather unusual spots in town - will be bristling with gastronomic events. More than 150 unique events will be taking place and they will cater for all tastes, whether you're into a spit roast at one of the city's central squares or a gourmet dinner accompanied by a musical piece composed specially for the dinner.

There will be both tried and tested events as well as brand new ones on offer on the festival programme, which has not yet been published. The events, Taste the World in Prague Boulevard, where a number of Copenhagen restaurants with international cuisine offer small dishes at special prices, and Nordic Taste where top restaurants from Scandinavia offer tastings at Gefionspringvandet (Gefion Fountain) and for the first time there will be a Nordic Taste Kids area.

”We are really looking forward to welcoming another summer edition of Copenhagen Cooking. This year is particularly special to us because it's the tenth time we've opened the doors to a mecca of unique culinary experiences.  Copenhagen Cooking is wide ranging and includes both popular public events as well as very elitist gastro events. A common factor they all share is that those participating offer a unique dining experience that is specifically designed for Copenhagen Cooking”, says Lasse Fridberg Bilstrup, Head of Development for Copenhagen Cooking.

When Copenhagen Cooking opens its doors for the tenth time on August 22, once again - just as during the festival's winter edition - the focus will be on feeling, under the main theme of ‘Taste of Emotions’.  The theme that emphasizes that food experiences and emotions are intertwined - interpreted freely by each of the festival's participants and event organisers.

Copenhagen Cooking is for everyone

Other events on the programme are Cooking Kids, where children are allowed to compete in their cooking skills, the Risotto World Championships in Torvehallerne (food market) and a food walk in connection with Ecco Walkathon's charity route.  The programme also includes unique gourmet experiences at Copenhagen Airport; a pop-up restaurant that will challenge your view of the world for a few moments through taste, imagination and dialogue.

Once again this year, Copenhagen Cooking's events will be divided into a number of sub-categories, which offer unique food experiences for everyone, whether you are into large, public events or high-level gastronomy. Interested parties can find events under categories such as: ‘Nordic Summer’, ‘Gourmet experiences’, ‘Hidden places’ and ‘Kids’ Cooking’ etc.

Basically, you can find everything from a dinner at a Michelin restaurant to a culinary experience taking place in an unusual place in the city that does not usually host dining experiences.
The first part of Copenhagen Cooking's programme will be published in mid June on: www.copenhagencooking.com.

Copenhagen Cooking, arranged by Wonderful Copenhagen and a number of the city’s gastronomic players, has existed since 2005 in an August edition and since 2011 in a winter edition. Copenhagen Cooking is a tribute to the country's food culture, Nordic cuisine and our local produce. Copenhagen Cooking's summer edition takes place next time from 22 - 31 August 2014.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

PinkBananaTravel.com

Also part of the GayMonde.com family of LGBT travel-related sites from PinkBananaMedia.com


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sparkling Hill Resort Welcomes the LGBT Traveler

Nestled in the vibrant hills of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia's Wine Country, is the LGBT-welcoming Sparkling Hill Resort... Luxury on Lake Okanagan.

The Okanagan Valley has become quite popular as one of the top ten wine regions in the world, and their local Mission Hill Winery recently won the coveted International Trophy for ‘World’s Best Wine’ at the 2013 Decanter Awards in London, England for their 2011 Martin Lane Pinot Noir against the leading wineries in the world.. "World's Best Pinot Noir."  In addition, Travel & Leisure named Mission Hill Winery’s Terrace Restaurant as 1 of the top 5 winery restaurants in the world... “it is the centerpiece of the Canadian wine tourism industry and one of the most glorious dining experiences in the world.”


As such, the Okanagan Valley has become one of the most sought after locations for destination weddings, and the Sparkling Hill Resort has become one of the top resorts in Canada for hosting incredible LGBT weddings.


Swarovski crystal-infused Sparkling Hill. Astonishing. Over 3.5 million crystals infused within this modern oasis – a most remarkable hotel and wellness center with European-inspired design elegance. Nestled in the mountains near Vernon, British Columbia, and overlooking Lake Okanagan, your personal journey to whole body health and wellness begins here.



KurSpa, their 40,000 square foot European-inspired spa, clinic, and wellness center is the largest spa in Canada and shines brightly as a worldwide wellness destination. Relax, renew, and revitalize at KurSpa's seven unique aromatherapy, steam, and sauna rooms. Swim in Kurspa's serenity pool featuring underwater music and a Swarovski crystal night sky. Choose from over 100 transformative spa treatments and therapies to detoxify the body and promote optimum health. Consult with our professional team including their naturopathic physician, psychiatrist, massage therapists and kinesiologists. Or, experience the first European Cryotherapy Cold Sauna (-110°C) in North America, their signature KurSpa treatment.

Take in the stunning beauty of the Okanagan Valley from Sparkling Hill's luxury guest rooms and penthouses, which feature sweeping lake and mountain views and operable floor to ceiling glass window walls that can be opened to instantly transform your room into an outdoor oasis. Swarovski crystals illuminate fireplaces, fixtures and ceilings, lending a luminous and luxurious ambience to every space.



Sparkling Hill Resort is also home to the best fine dining destinations in Vernon, BC. PeakFine, their signature restaurant, serves a menu emphasizing the freshest and finest ingredients the Okanagan Valley has to offer. Known as the "Napa of the North" the region's spectacular wines and our own specially-curated Crystal Wines are on offer at PeakFine and Barrique & Java, their more casual wine, tapas, and coffee bar. Stunning Swarovski crystal chandeliers and accents imbue their dining spaces with glamour and elegance, and those seeking an elegantly rustic setting for private dining or special events will find it in Gernots.





Recognized as a trendsetter in healthy living and wellness hospitality, Sparkling Hill Resort is a distinctive destination for the modern sophisticated traveler. Whether planning a couple's escape, corporate wellness retreat, or incentive travel, this British Columbia resort delivers an unforgettable blend of relaxation, restoration, and wellness. Please explore their website; their entire team looks forward to welcoming you to Sparkling Hill Resort on your personal journey to whole body health and wellness.







LGBT #Hashtag RoundUp: #OutInThailand

Welcome to our first of a new series we're launching here at Pink Banana Media... the LGBT #hashtag RoundUp.  These are "social media stories" told by the folks out there Tweeting, posting their photos to Facebook and Instagram and sharing their videos on YouTube and Vine... all using a unique #hashtag and posting with a purpose!

For our first LGBT #hashtag RoundUp, we've chosen Thailand... as a destination, they've been incredibly successful in utilizing social media in their LGBT marketing outreach, starting with the work Carlos Melia (www.CarlosMelia.com / @CarlosMelia) did for Tourism Authority of Thailand (www.tourismthailand.org and www.gothaibefree.com / @ThaiGayTravel) in 2012 and 2013 and culminating in an LGBT trip in April/May 2014, bringing together a variety of LGBT travel writers, tour operators and travel agents including Out Adventures, Man About World and more.

Their adventures are told below in Social Media Storyboard format, where their Tweets... their Instagram photos and their Facebook posts are brought together to tell a unique story about Gay & Lesbian Travel to Thailand, as told through the power of Social Media and technology today.

(Click images below to view larger Social Media Storyboard image)









For a current and more detailed view, including live links to everything you see above, go to https://www.tagboard.com/outinthailand



The Interpersonal Marketing Strategy by Pink Banana Media
This type of outreach is just a small part of the Interpersonal Marketing Strategy developed here at Pink Banana Media, bringing together more traditional marketing such as banner ads, e-mail and PR, and merging that with the power of social media and #hashtag marketing.  For more information, go to:


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Traveling In Our Fabulous World - JaRon K. Eames, Extraordinaire

We have become acquainted with JaRon Eames, who is a real Renaissance man.  He has lived in New York City for over 40 years and is  a Jazz/Blues vocalist, Cable TV Talk Show host, Archivist, and Author of the new Jazz history book,  'Jazz Conversations'.

Mr. Eames was born in Baton Rouge Louisiana and attended college at Southern University.  He worked for Japanese Airlines and travel around the world and then decided to devote his life to Jazz which he has done in New York City.  He has performed around the world for the past 30 years.
 
In January of 1994 he ventured into television by producing and hosting his own cable Television show, "The JaRon Eames Show".   His Television show is now the longest running weekly jazz television show in history. It's a swinging Jazz and Blues talk show format with various guest artist each week.  Past guests includes Nancy Wilson, Oscar Peterson, Joe Williams, Anita O'Day, Little Jimmy Scott,  Dr. Billy Taylor, and even comic legends like George Carlin and Soupy Sales and so many more.  You can watch his TV show every Friday night at 12:30 AM on Channel 14 and world-wide on the Internet  at www.mnn.org.   It is broadcast around the world.

JaRon Eames is a singer who has the range and capability to smooth the  meanest person in the world.  We often listen to his CD's when we are having lunch an dinner.  His sound is so mesmerizing! He has three CD's out and any person who is into Jazz, should have them in their collection.   'Suddenly' features I'm Gonna Make it Happen This Time,  Suffering With The Blues, Saturday Night Fish plus many others.  'Sounds Good To Me' features Shake Rattle and Roll, My One and Only Love A Change Is Gonna to Come plus many others and "Romantic Classics' features  Stormy Weather, Don't Go To Strangers,  Shadow  Of Your Smile plus many others where JaRon Eames sings and Emma Kemp plays.
 
THE book, as everyone in the Jazz world is talking about is titled, "JAZZ CONVERSTION" by JaRon K.  Eames.   It is filled with  conversations with some of the best Jazz entertainers and personalities in history.   This book has over 400 pages and is a "must" for anyone interested in the Jazz world.  reviews on this book praise Mr. Eames for his ability to get the best out of all of the legends he has interviewed over the years and his ability to get the most inner thoughts out of each of his guests.  It is truly a 'labor of love' for Mr. Eames and it shows.  

Mr. Eames also  has been teaching a course in jazz history at Old Westbury University.  JaRon  hosts Sunday afternoon Soirees at his residence in NYC and you can contact him about attending those directly at  jaroneames@gmail.com    Rex Reed summed  Mr. Eames up great when he wrote,  "Your interviews are polished, professional and very informed and the book you compiled of jazz conversations is a joy to peruse".

You can order his CD's and books at Amazon.com or directly from him at  his website, www.jaroneames.com    JaRon K. Eames truly IS a person who we consider,  "EXTRAORDAINIARE".     Check his website at : www.jaroneames.com to learn more about Mr. Eames and you will become a big fan like we are.

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS  WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for  publications from coast to coast .  Members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Classic Travel Service Offers Rewards to EqualityCard Users

Partnership Allows Customers to Support Worthy LGBT Non-Profits While Booking Vacations  

Classic Travel Service is pleased to an-nounce a partnership with EqualityCard™, a Denver based credit card company that enables its business and consumer cardholders to generate tax-deductible donations equal to 1 percent of their purchases for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) charities of their choice, with no out of pocket expense. Beginning today, when consumers book hotels on classictrav-el.com using the EqualityCard™, they’ll receive a number of benefits including:

  • Noon check-in upon arrival, when available
  • Room upgrade upon arrival, when available
  • Daily breakfast for two people
  • 4:00 late check-out
  • Additional special amenity unique to each property, such as a $100 food and beverage credit or a massage for two people

“We’re thrilled to be working with EqualityCard™, a card that directs 1 percent of every purchase back to LGBT organizations working for equality,”  said Lance Stamps Vice-President of Market-ing for Classic Travel Service. “This offers our clients a unique way to donate back to the LGBT causes they care most about, and get extra travel rewards for doing so.”

Classic Travel Service is a New York City based, full service luxury travel agency, advising clients on the best places to lodge, eat and shop around the world. The company presents the most advanced online travel service befitting the luxury traveler.

“We are very proud to have Classic Travel Service as a merchant partner,” said EqualityCard™ Founder/CEO, Nick Lepetsos. “This collaboration gives our cardholders the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic benefits provided by one of the premier companies in the luxury travel business, while at the same time  giving back to the LGBT movement.”

To learn more about this collaboration visit: http://www.equalitycardproject.com/deals.html

To learn more about Classic Travel Service, visit: http://www.classictravel.com

To learn more about EqualityCard™, visit: http://www.equalitycardproject.com

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Legendary Annual Gay Getaway ‘One Magical Weekend’ Promises a Hot’n’Wet Fantasy, Orlando, June 6-8, 2014

Only at Walt Disney World® Resorts


One Magical Weekend, the legendary annual three-day Hot’n’Wet fantasy event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark and Epcot©. Brought to you by Let’s Go Play, advance tickets and Party Passes on sale now!

Limited number of Party Passes at 40% off door prices for short time.

All gay, all weekend, One Magical Weekend brings together more than 6,000 of your LGBT brothers and sisters June 6-8, 2014, for three Main Event events.

First, there is an aquatic spectacle “Riptide @ Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Waterpark” on Friday, June 6, 2014, from 7 p.m.–2 a.m. The premiere event of the week!  Cascade down the water slides, surf the tidal wave and splash away at this 52-acre world class waterpark.  Kick off One Magical Weekend with a Hot, Wet Splash and catch the waves of sound by International DJ/Producers Twisted Dee and Brett Henrichsen.

After an amazing debut in 2013 at Epcot, One Magical Weekend is excited to join forces again with Brett Henrichsen and Masterbeat to present the Main Event in Orlando on Saturday June 7th! Direct from Spain WE Party returns with their signature production, costumes, visuals, dancers and unique performance at Epcot’s World Showplace, which will be transformed into the largest mega-club in the country with 6 points of thundering line array concert sound, over 200 intelligent lights, and our 3-D LED walls...And that's just before the dancers get started! We welcome international DJs Sr. Edu from Spain and Danny Verde from Italy, hot off Winter Party in Miami.

And then Sunday, June 8.  What better way to wrap up your magical weekend than with a pint of beer in England and some tequila in Mexico, as you drink your way around the world at Epcot? After the beverages and country hopping, join a private E-Tea Dance from 5 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. with DJ Andy Ajar. Then One Magical Weekend will finish with a bang, as you watch the amazing fireworks display, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth from a private VIP viewing area.

Get your tickets for each event at www.onemagicalweekend.com.




Follow us at:
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/onemagicalweekend
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/1magicalweekend
You Tube http://www.youtube.com/onemagicalweekend
Instagram  http://instagram.com/onemagicalweekend

Win FREE tickets to all three events, just text Pink to 46246 and play the Scratch to Win game.

Contact:
billy@onemagicalweekend.com
www.onemagicalweekend.com
954.557.6990 cell


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New York City and Chicago will be the next two stops on the LGBT Travel Expo tour

Starting years ago with the first LGBT Travel Expos put on by the team at Community Marketing, this successful tradition continues, with new expos being held in New York and Chicago in 2014.

Now owned and managed by Steven Levenberg Productions, recent shows from 2013 included Fort Lauderdale as well as New York and Chicago.

For 2014, the NYC show will continue to be held at Kimmel Center at New York University. Approximately 1,000 people will be in attendance, with a new emphasis this year on younger LGBT travelers. These new mobile and social media savvy travelers are a prime target group for those interested in developing new travel patterns for our community.

Airlines, hotels, new destinations and other members of the hospitality industry will comprise the almost 60 exhibitors. Attendees will find special travel deals, find companies that are reaching out to our community and learn about new destinations.

This will be the third year for our Chicago show. Its venue, Center on Halsted, is the focal point for gay life in the city with almost 1,000 people visiting the center daily.

Sponsors this year include:

  • Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Boi Magazine
  • Global Network of Black Pride
  • MEGA Personalities
  • Columbia FunMaps®
  • PINK BANANA MEDIA
  • Go Magazine
  • Air Europa 
  • H2Internet Service
For more information, please visit our website www.glbttravelexpo.com

Social Media:
www.facebook.com/GlbtTravelExpo
www.twitter.com/GLBTTravelExpo




Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Puerto Vallarta: This Is What a Gay Destination Should Be!

By Michael Sanchez

Competition for Gay travelers has been really heating up in the past few years, with cities large and small vying for what is perceived to be a bonanza in pink dollars. It’s true that Gay folks travel more than their Straight counterparts…and often spend more when they travel. But not every place that’s competing for your vacation dollars has the infrastructure in place to truly welcome LGBT visitors. And, while true that we are as diverse as society itself, and we all have our own expectations and interests in what we want out of our vacation, the “Gay Destination” still seems to be very much in the vernacular of Gay travel. We see the evidence for this in multiple surveys that ask LGBT respondents what cities are “most-visited” or “most-wanted-to-visit.”

Building up the infrastructure to become a truly world-class “Gay destination” requires time, capital investment, and a willing partnership between city governments and private entrepreneurs. It’s more than a marketing program launched last month or last week.

A general culture of welcoming acceptance – not ‘tolerance,” – but honest, heartfelt welcoming acceptance, is obviously vital for any destination hoping to capture a share of the Gay travel market. Local government – including but not limited to the local Tourism Board – has to be supportive to the point of investing resources and having local politicians out front, vocalizing their support and welcome. And they must back up nice words with action on behalf of the local and visiting Gay community.

Private sector entrepreneurs play perhaps the most vital, and challenging, role of all. For a city to become a serious contender as a gay travel destination there has to be a diverse business and arts community able to cater to the needs and desires of a Gay community that is anything but homogeneous. That certainly means having a broad offering of gay nightlife. Not just one big Gay dance club – but also a diversity of options, for daytime and nighttime activities. That might mean great shopping; sports and outdoor adventure; art and culture such as galleries, theater and cabaret offerings; and of course, accommodations to fit a broad range of budgets and tastes.

All of this brings to mind one of my favorite Gay destinations: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta seriously has a lot going for it as a Gay resort destination. Besides being gorgeous – it’s nestled between the Bay of Banderas and the verdant green slopes of the Sierra Madre Mountains on Mexico’s Pacific coast, it boasts a bustling Gay scene centered in the Zona Romantica, at the south end of the downtown “El Centro” area. And despite the hip martini bars, pulsing dance clubs, and world-class restaurants, the downtown retains a feeling of “old Mexico” with cobbled streets, whitewashed buildings with tiled roofs, and Mexican ranchero music blaring from rustic cantinas (some of which are Gay owned and attract many of the sizeable local Gay population).

Among the popular dance clubs, Club Enter, Paco’s Ranch and C.C Slaughter stand out. These venues get busy late, so before the club, enjoy a cocktail at La Noche (go-go boys and a popular rooftop terrace); or La Margarita (busy, with music that’s just loud enough to have a conversation with friends). For a basic, friendly cantina-style bar, there’s La Cueva (as “leather/cowboy” as you can get in the tropics), Bar Los Amigos, or Frida’s. For strippers, there’s Antropology and Wet Dreams. And if you’d like something a bit upscale, Garbo’s Piano Bar & Jazz. And these suggestions just scratch the surface! There are at least 20 different options for quenching your nighttime thirst (however you may define it!)…so be sure to check the local Gay Guide (www.gayguidevallarta.com) to see what’s new and hot!


In recent years, the show, theater, and cabaret scene has flourished in Puerto Vallarta. The Palm Cabaret hosts a remarkable array of Gay-favorite talents. Recent shows have included an extended run by Michael Walters as “Dame Edna;” Leslie Jordan (Will & Grace, Sordid Lives); Coco Peru; Bruce Vilanch, and others. The Red Room at Act II Entertainment features lesser-known, but no less talented entertainers, and on the adjacent stage, Act II has produced outstanding local productions of “A Chorus Line,” and “Steel Magnolias.” The Boutique Theater recently produced an outstanding production based on Bob Fosse dance choreography, “Fosse – All that Dance” featuring outstanding local talent.

Hungry? There’s more to Puerto Vallarta than tacos and frijoles! While there are great Mexican restaurants, there are options to delight any palate. Mexican favorites include Lesbian-owned El Arrayán, offering unique regional dishes from recipes collected by the owner over many years of travel throughout Mexico; and the gay-popular No Way José! that frequently offers live music, and always offers great service and outstanding, fresh Mexican fare. Of course, you’re right by the sea, so the freshest seafood is everywhere. The local tuna, marlin, snapper, shrimp, and shellfish are on most restaurant menus. And be sure and eat like the locals at least one night of your vacation – at a streetside taco stand! Among the best in the Gayborhood is known as “Las Gueras” (“the pale girls”) at the corner of Venustiana Carranza and Naranjo. There is great upscale dining with international and fusion menus at Restaurant Trio and Café des Artistes among others. And for the best steak in town, head north to “La Marina” (toward the airport, about 15 minutes by taxi) and check out Sonora Grill in the new Nima Bay condo complex.

For daytime activities, check out one of the popular Gay day cruises. Diana’s Tours leaves the Los Muertos Beach pier every Thursday at 9:30 AM. The Wet & Wild Cruise features sexy strippers who truly do get wild while on the high seas! The Wet & Wild Cruise departs the pier every Wednesday and Saturday at 11:45 AM. Horseback riding tours in the jungle-covered mountains by Juan can be arranged any day of the week, and can be great fun for a Gay group. There is a Gay River Expedition Tour every Monday that includes zip-lining, river tubing, and a mule ride. And if all of that still hasn’t satisfied your need for adventure, you can go swimming with dolphins, go whale watching (December to March), visit the Vallarta Botanical Gardens, or just check out the local shopping scene.

The city also offers a wide range of accommodations. Most gay travelers opt to stay in or near Zona Romantica, within walking distance of bars. Here you'll find a nice mix of Gay and Gay-friendly options. If you're on a budget and seek a clean, comfortable, and friendly gay property in the center of the action, check into the 28-room Hotel Mercurio, which is just steps from many gay bars and restaurants (and just a 5-minute walk to the Gay beach), and offers compact but pleasant rooms and a youthful, social vibe – there's always plenty of frolicking going on around the pool, and the staff is super-friendly. Mercurio offers an outstanding full breakfast buffet each morning, as well as wifi throughout the property and international calling all included in their affordable rates. PV's famed Blue Chairs Resort is a six-story hotel right on the Gay beach – the location couldn't be better, but the property underwent some major management changes recently, and it remains to be seen how this will affect the quality of the place.

An intimate gay B&B with a stunning view and a quiet location in the upscale Conchas Chinas district just south of Zona Romantica, the lovely Arco Iris B&B is run by helpful owners Ran and Thom – the latter is an expert chef who whips up amazingly tasty breakfasts each morning. This elegant hideaway, just a 15-minute walk from the beach, comprises three smartly furnished units, each with sweeping bay views.

There are also many condos available for vacation rental in the Zona Romantica and beyond. This option gives you more space, including kitchen where you can do your own cooking and dishwashing, thus saving on (and missing out on) restaurant meals. Most condo rentals do not include maid services, except at additional cost.

Zona Romantica, or Gayborhood, is a compact patchwork of hilly lanes tucked beneath the Sierra Madre foothills. The neighborhood fringes Los Muertos Beach, and narrow auto and pedestrian bridges connect the district with El Centro. The relative isolation of Zona Romantica as well as its elegantly faded veneer and historic charm may very well account for its ever-increasing draw among gay visitors and bohemian types. It's a neighborhood that celebrates its insularity and diversity – everyone is welcome, but especially during the bustling high season (from about December through April), certain blocks of Zona Romantica seem at least as gay as the downtowns of Provincetown and Palm Springs.

There are a few more general attributes that further enhance Puerto Vallarta's standing. Although the city has become more expensive as its star has risen, it's still less costly than many other alluring tropical resorts. Dinner entrees at top restaurants rarely cost more than $25 and often run $10 to $15. Hotel rates, cab rides, cocktails, fashionable clothing, and handcrafted gifts also tend to cost less than those in the Caribbean, Hawaii, or California, although it's absolutely possible to find high-end exceptions to many of these rules.

Although it helps to understand Spanish, you can get by easily in PV speaking only English. Adding to its draw, this city set stunningly in the center of Bahia de Banderas (the largest natural bay in Mexico) enjoys a spectacular climate. The city is generally dry and breezy with temperatures in the 80s, the exception being the summer rainy season (generally June through September), when highs often reach the 90s (F) and humidity can sometimes be oppressive. Puerto Vallarta receives far fewer international visitors during the summer season, but remains popular with Mexican nationals, particularly from Guadalajara, a city of 7 million within driving distance of Puerto Vallarta. If you don’t mind heat, thunderstorms, and humidity, summer can be a great time to visit Puerto Vallarta and get a true “Mexican” vacation experience, and at prices well below those in the busy winter season.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Leatherpride Belgium 2014


Five years ago Leatherpride started as an experiment, today it is a hobby that has run out of control. In recent years we have invested heavily in the quality of this event. Visitors who come to Antwerp should simply have a wonderful weekend. We do not intend to be the biggest – but we do want to be the best. We are will continue to work on the quality of the event and deliver an even better customer experience.

Fetish Express

This year our tour buses will travel to LeatherPride from Berlin, Paris and Lille at a very low cost. Return fares are just €95 from Berlin, €65 from Paris and €25 from Lille. Lille is an ideal connection point for visitors coming via the Eurostar from London.
The Fetish Express coaches are very comfortable and there is no maximum baggage allowance. That’s handy if you want to bring your leather, rubber and other fetish gear. There is free coffee onboard and can also purchase snacks.





Host Hotels Include the Hilton

For the first time we present three host hotels. We added another hotel because the two official hotels have been fully booked in previous years. The price of the cheapest rooms available has come down compared to last years.
This year we are pleased to welcome a great new partner: Hilton. Hilton has a long tradition with Chicago’s annual Mr Leather International Event which usually takes place at the Hyatt or Hilton.

Second Edition of Darklands

The Darklands festival will run on both the Saturday and Sunday of Leatherpride. As well as a fetish market with various vendors, different fetish demonstrations and workshops, there will be opportunities to snack and drink with friends. Highlights include:
  • Mr Leather Belgium election (main stage – Saturday)
  • Second edition of the X-awards (main stage – Sunday)
  • Wallpaper contest by Ton of Holland
  • Rubber demos by the crew from Mister Rubber NL
  • Massages and haircuts by Toti (Mr Belgian Leather 2012) and his husband Tom.

Perverts Party Comes from Berlin

Perverts has been an iconic party for years on the Berlin fetish scene. Now the concept is coming to Antwerp. Visitors will have the same great experience, though with the Antwerp touch.

Rage is the New Main Party

For the fifth edition of LeatherPride we thought it was time that the event, which has now quietly grown-up, had a right to its own unique main party. That is Rage. There will be a number of brand new toys in the darkroom, a stage and dance floor. But the atmosphere will nothing like you have ever seen at a fetish party with large projections, LED walls, fire jets, colour lasers, you name it. All the ingredients are there to make the party pop.

Madness Pass

Events do not need to be expensive and we prove that in Antwerp. For example, a single ticket for the main party costs €20 presale. For those who want to party all weekend, there is the Madness pass. For €50 you can party on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and visit Darklands on both days. That’s a saving of 37.5% on the individual door prices for these events. And for that you also get that ‘Belgian quality’ we are so proud of.

A Galaxy of International DJs and Pornstars

Leading DJs and pornstars from around the world will be in Antwerp for Leatherpride. Join Adam Dacre, Mateo Valentine, Ale Tedesco, Nicola Antonio, Jack Chang, Mike Kelly, Manuel Carranco, Cyril G, Paris'Topher & Trippy Gonzales… and many many more.

Press accreditation: jeroen@leatherpride.be

RESOURCES:
Press pictures (credits: Fleshblack)
Graphics + Leatherpride logo
Press release (pdf)


LEATHERPRIDE:
Leatherpride online magazine
Leatherpride website
Leatherpride Facebook
Leatherpride promo video


DARKLANDS
Darklands online gazette
Darklands website


Links: