New in Queer Boston – Passport Magazine

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Boston - Pixabay

There’s a lot of action to be found in Boston these days…and certainly of the Lights! Camera!…Hollywood sort. “Amy Schumer shot I Feel Pretty here and was just dragging people into scenes off the street,” a guide for On Location Tours (www.onlocationtours.com/tour/boston-tv-movie) tells me during a Boston movie locations tour. Openly gay director Gus Van Sant also shot Good Will Hunting in the area, while Boston has also been a location for LGBT faves Legally Blonde and Ally McBeal. In fact, early 2018 saw Kevin Bacon, Jill Hennessy, Cathy Moriarty, and Aldis Hodge around for a new Showtime pilot, crime drama City on a Hill.

Location shooting aside, Boston is also seeing vibrant programs, festivals, and initiatives that promote movies, including those about and by LGBTQ folks. Besides the annual LGBT Film Festival, Wicked Queer(www.wicked queer.org), celebrating its 35th anniversary in March 2019, Autograph Collection’s 136-room The Envoy Hotel (70 Sleeper St. Tel: 617-338-3030. www.theenvoyhotel.com) launched a film-centric program in September2017 with a special screening and appearance by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The Autograph Collection initiative includes a library of indie films for hotels’ guests to stream on their TVs or iPads, and partnership/residency program with screenplay resource The Black List (www.blcklst.com), whose annual survey of the best unproduced screenplays has seen writers get launched into the Hollywood stratosphere. First time screenwriter Elizabeth Hannah’s The Post, turned into a Best Picture Oscar nominee by director Stephen Spielberg, was once on the list, while Jared Frieder, with a 2015 Black List script about a gay teenager, Three Months, went on to land a writing gig on MTV’s series Sweet/Vicious.

By Lawrence Ferber – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Boston Gay Travel Resources

Charming Queer Quebec – Passport Magazine

Author: , August 23rd, 2018

queer Quebec - pixabay

“The city is romantic, it offers a wide variety of fine restaurants, has a European flair, and, most importantly, both visitors and residents find an openness of mind, an acceptance of differences.”

We started to get nervous as a burly police officer gave us that I’m-about-to-walk-over eye. My boyfriend and I were taking a quick-kiss selfie in front of Québec City’s Fontaine de Tourny. He steps over in unison with the banging of drums from a First Nations’ festival happening across the street at Parc de l’Esplanade.

“Hey guys, let me take that photo for you,” he says, in a deep Québec accent. We pose. I wrap my arm around Jason, but keep him at justfriends length.

“Come on,” he says. “Give him another kiss, act like you like each other,” he laughs while holding up the phone and crouching like a mom taking a picture of her kids before they leave for the first day of school.

We give one another a big kiss, the officer takes the snap, and then he gives us a gentle wave goodbye. “Happy pride,” he says walking back to the festival gates.

Both of us were in somewhat of a shock by the incident and had to take a minute to discuss what just happened. Being from New York, we are programed to be suspicious of strangers, never mind a cop approaching us. It was so sweet that we savored the scenario as we stood by the cascading fountain waters.

By Joseph Pedro – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Queer Quebec Travel Resources

Japan’s Nakasendo Way – Passport Magazine

Author: , January 20th, 2018

Matthew Wexler

I’m walking along the Nakasendo Way somewhere between Hosokute and Sekigahara, Japan…in the rain. The slow, persistent drizzle has pruned my hands as I futilely clutch my five-dollar umbrella that I’ve dragged 6,800 miles from New York City. I was told that rain apparel would be necessary and I half-listened, making sure that my jacket and hiking shoes were waterproof, but forgoing what I now realize is another essential piece of gear—a sturdy umbrella.

So I simply get wet. I’ve given up on the idea that a local taxi will whisk our small band of travelers to the warm comfort of the next ryokan. The traditional Japanese inns that have served as our accommodations along this ancient trade route that dates back to the seventh century. There are blossoming cherry trees, rice paddy fields, and rolling grey clouds for as far as the eye can see, but not a ryokan in sight. I venture on, one muddy step at a time. My mind asks, “What the hell am I doing here?” And then it answers: “You’re here because there is a world beyond your own. Get out of your comfort zone.”

THE ROAD THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS

Celebrating 25 years of off-the-beaten-path itineraries throughout the country’s most picturesque landscapes, Walk Japan (www.walkjapan.com) has pioneered an exciting range of immersive experiences available for adventure-seeking tourists from all around the world. From guided tours along the coastal Izu Geo Trail to Ise Shrine and Shikoku temple pilgrimages, more than a dozen specialized excursions offer something for everyone, from the occasional walker to the experienced hiker (I’m the former). While I give myself credit for navigating New York City’s concrete jungle on a daily basis, I have a quick learning curve when it comes to the 80-mile walk that lies ahead.

By Matthew Wexler – Full Story at Passport Magazine

New in Gay Calgary – Passport Magazine

Author: , October 27th, 2017

Gay Calgary - pixabay

Music is liquid architecture,” wrote Goethe. “Architecture is frozen music.” It’s a pithy, oft-quoted turn of phrase that makes intuitive sense. One needn’t read music, let alone study architecture, to understand that rhythm, structure, harmony, and precise detail amid sweeping grandeur are common elements of the two artforms.

Another common factor: unlike paintings and literature, which are largely passive, requiring us to approach their frames, to open their covers, music and architecture reach out in our direction, playing inevitable parts in our daily lives.

Until last year, North America had no major music museum with a building befitting its subject. Then came the opening of the spectacular and stirring Studio Bell, home of Canada’s National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta (850 4th St. SE. Tel: 403-543-5115. www.studiobell.ca). It’s a deeply satisfying building to explore, seeming to unfold around you as you move through it. Like the best symphonies, it is at once majestically scaled and compellingly intimate.

What did we have before this? Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is, to me, Pei’s knock-off of his own Louvre Pyramid; it looks like an award-ceremony trophy, with none of music’s emotional resonance.

And while it might be argued that the Seattle edifice originally built as the Experience Music Project, Frank Gehry’s most garish major building, resembles a frozen chunk of 1970’s Moog synthesizer sounds, the design is untethered to any coherent vision. With no essential change to its appearance, the building was rechristened last year as the Museum of Pop Culture (aka MoPOP) and now houses a hodgepodge collection “spanning science fiction, fantasy, horror, fashion, sports, and video games.” Studio Bell is on another plane altogether.

By Jim Gladstone – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Alberta Gay Travel Resources

Venice Off-Season – Passport Magazine

Author: , October 5th, 2017

Venice off-season

One can try to describe Venice, but honestly it deserves to be experienced in person to be understood, to be felt, and to be appreciated. The city itself is a living, breathing, historical phenomenon. Every time I travel there I have to blink several times to make sure I’m not on a Hollywood movie set.

I’ve experienced this floating city made up of 118 islands during all times of the year, but by far my favorite is October through April, the off-season. Why would you consider fall, winter, or early spring in Venice? It’s less crowded, less expensive, less lines for museums and events, less heat, and no mosquitoes! It’s also much easier to get restaurant reservations and tickets to shows and recitals.

My love affair with Venice off-season wasn’t intentional, it happened quite accidentally. I made several trips in the fall and winter traveling to Venice, with my friend Bud, to do research for a new novel I am writing, Acqua Alta. The title in Italian means “high water” and refers to the annual flooding of the city that occurs commonly between September and February. I was hoping there would be an aqua alta while I visited, but that’s like going to Iceland and hoping to see the Northern Lights. It doesn’t always happen. And if it didn’t, that was okay, because I also wanted to explore the city to scout out locations that would appear in the book.

When I fly into Marco Polo Airport I hire a water taxi to get to wherever I’m staying. You can certainly ride the vaporetto, which is Venice’s waterbus. It’s inexpensive, but they can be very crowded, and with luggage it can actually be quite anxiety producing. Usually, overnight flights from the United States arrive during Venice’s morning rush hour. So I spend a little more money and hire a “shared” or a “private” water taxi online through Venice Link.

By Arthur Wooten – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Gay Venice Travel Resources

Gay Aarhus, Denmark – Passport Magazine

Author: , July 17th, 2017

gay Aarhus

Whether it’s a rainbow of revelry during Pride, or a cornucopia of cuisine and culture that has elevated gay Aarhus to international acclaim, a jaunt to Jutland is a must to make your next journey to Denmark complete.

Denmark has long appealed to those who appreciate modern design, timeless fashion, New Nordic cuisine, and hygge, an ubiquitous sense of coziness that seems to permeate Danish culture whether it’s the dark days of winter or a bright summer afternoon on the Jutland peninsula. Most are familiar with Copenhagen’s enticing cultural offerings, but scoop around Denmark’s archipelago to the northwest via rail (or boat, if you want to take a longer, scenic route), and you’ll discover Aarhus, one of Scandinavia’s oldest cities.

Founded during the Viking Age, recently discovered archeological evidence indicates that Aarhus dates back to around 770. Today, the city boasts a population of approximately 300,000, with a youthful vibe due to Aarhus University. Established in 1928, it’s one of the most prestigious public universities in the world, and with a student population nearing 45,000, it certainly tips the scale in terms of the millennial demographic.

While Copenhagen’s older sibling has in the past shied away from the limelight while the country’s capital acquired accolades and Michelin stars, this year marks a dramatic shift for Aarhus. The city was named 2017’s European Capital of Culture. With a hefty investment of € 5,760,000 ($6.2 million), gay Aarhus is in the midst of a dynamic cultural phenomenon, encompassing four MEGA events throughout the year as well as 12 Full Moon events. More than 350 artistic and cultural projects are on the program, overseen by Aarhus 2017 Foundation Chief Executive Rebecca Matthews.

By Matthew Wexler – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Denmark Gay Travel Resources

Exploring Sri Lanka – Passport Magazine

Author: , May 15th, 2017

Sri Lanka - Pixabay

Sri Lanka offers broad sandy beaches, astounding cultural and historic sites, stunning wildlife refuges, and misty hilltop tea plantations, all within relatively short and smooth-paved driving distances from each other.

Just over 30 miles from the southern tip of India, across the narrow Palk Strait, lies the island nation of Sri Lanka. This small country is similar in size to Ireland, but with delightfully dissimilar weather (temperatures generally between 75 and 80 Fahrenheit year round). Formerly known as Ceylon, the island offers broad sandy beaches, astounding cultural and historic sites, stunning wildlife refuges, and misty hilltop tea plantations, all within relatively short and smooth-paved driving distances from each other.

With its winning combination of ease and exoticism, one might assume you’d find Sri Lanka on any avid traveler’s must-go list, but this is a country that for a quarter century (beginning in 1983) suffered the ravages of a civil war between the island’s two largest ethnic groups, the majority Sinhalese and the Tamils, who represent 15% of the population.

Accusing the national government of discrimination and demanding the establishment of an independent country, the Tamils’ tenacious guerilla-style attacks and bombings kept the nation perpetually on edge.

By Jim Gladstone – Full Story at Passport Magazine

Sri Lanka Gay Travel Resources

Gay Travel: New York City

Author: , September 26th, 2015

New York

I’m seesawing on a sloop in New York Harbor, its white sail waving like freshly hung linen. Down: the sparkling water laps up on the boat and my mimosa, the color of the early-morning sun, feverishly sloshes. Up: One World Trade Center pokes its silver top above the large sail and an endless blue sky makes Downtown Manhattan look like a professionally painted cityscape sold in a Times Square souvenir shop.

A salt-filled ocean breeze whips between the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and swirls with the fresh orange juice smell from the Champagne flutes of a dozen brunch guests aboard Manhattan by Sails Shearwater (www.manhattanbysail.com). The boat’s sail turns slightly against the wind, and grants me a full view of the City. From this vantage point, New York seems different and that’s what I’ve been searching for during a whirlwind one-week trip as a New York tourist.

Trying to ditch my existing biases and opinions as a ten-year New Yorker and a life-long New York State resident, I forge a plan to take off work and discover just what New York is like for an average tourist trying to take a bite out of the Big Apple. And while I enjoy seeing attractions that I’ve never actually visited, like the Empire State Building, I try to find new and exciting ways to see this thriving metropolis of eight million people. I also quickly discover that navigating and experiencing New York City is fraught with long lines, overpriced attractions, and endless schemes to take advantage of tourists, but enjoying a quintessential experience is attainable.\

By Joseph Pedro – Full Story at Passport | New York City Gay Travel Resources

Insider’s Guide to Gay Toronto

Author: , July 31st, 2015

Evan Lacey

Evan Lacey is a 22-year-old comedy writer, stand-up comedian, and avid bird-watcher. As a self-described small-town boy who moved to Toronto, Canada to pursue a performance and writing career, Lacey took a job between performance gigs at the brand-new 46-floor, four-star Delta Toronto. Lacey has always enjoyed working in different facets of the hospitality industry. When he was searching for a new adventure, the Canadian-based Delta’s history of commitment to “above, beyond, and then one step further” customer service, enticed him to apply. Lacey started working in the SOCO Kitchen + Bar in November of 2014, and he enjoys the challenges and joys that working here provides him on a daily basis. Check out his recommendations for what’s hot, hip, new, and fabulous, in always-trendy Toronto.

Where are the coolest places to go for cocktails?

Toronto is definitely a cocktail city. Bar Fancy is the trendy spot in QSW. Look for the entirely gold-plated exterior on Queen St…then follow the neon tiger-head sign down the neighboring laneway and you’ve found one of the city’s cutest new cocktail spots. It’s a snack bar that serves beer and wine but they’ll also make delicious cocktails on request. Geraldine has guest feeling like they’ve stepped back into 1940’s Paris? Geraldine will take you there. Try the Scarlett Carson with jasmine-infused gin and get transported. Come and Get It is a favorite for laid-back cocktails and snacks. There is also chain-link fencing inside, so it’s kind like hanging out in your favorite back alley, sipping liquor…without having to put everything in a brown bag and being outside.

By Paul Summers – Full Story at Passport

What’s New in Gay and Chicago

Author: , May 21st, 2015

ChicagoThe stools at Dove’s Luncheonette (1545 N Damen Ave. Tel: 773-645-4060. www.doveschicago.com) in Wicker Park are crafted of a shiny, rich brown vinyl and gleam with newness. On a bustling weekday afternoon each one will be flattened by Midwestern butts–which are arguably more voluminous during the winter months. Dee Dee Warwick’s “A Fool for Love” is playing on a record player, not on the vintage Select-O-Matic 100 jukebox hiding in the corner, which works only about half of the time.

Meanwhile, gratuitous wood paneled walls give the whole place a kind of 70s dive bar vibe and provides the requisite cue that we are deep in the heart of hipster country. But the real draw at this newly opened throwback diner from superstar chef Paul Kahan (Big Star, the Publican) is the menu whose Tex-Mex inspired standouts include smoked brisket with avocado, pico de gallo, chicarones and green chile vinaigrette rolled into a large flour tortilla, or chicken fried chicken drenched in chorizo verde gravy and topped with sweat peas and pearl onions. It is joints like this that remind the world why Chicago is everyone’s kind of town.

There is much to be excited about in Chicago these days. Yes, it’s still cold December through March (and sometimes November and April), yes the crime rate is higher than residents would like it to be (although way down overall when measured against previous decades), and yes the Cubs still suck (but does anybody really honestly care?). On the other hand, a spate of enchanting new public parks are slated for 2015 arrival (two of which are profiled below), neighborhoods like the West Loop, Fulton Market, Pilsen, and Logan Square that were quiet a mere decade ago are now chockablock with bars, restaurants, shops, and art galleries, and the city’s queer scene has gotten so big that Boystown on weekend summer nights rivals places like the French Quarter and Ybor City in terms of exuberant revelry.

By Jason A. Heidemann – Full Story at Passport Magazine | Illinois Gay Travel Resources