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

Nashville’s Broadway – Globetrotter Girls

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Nashville's Broadway - Globetrotter Girls

After only two trips in seven months (the least traveling I’ve done in years!), August marked the month that I finally started traveling more again. And with trips lined up every month for the rest of the year, I decided to revive my Polaroid Of The Week series.

This weekly look back at what I’ve been up to might not be a full travel article on a destination, but it’ll give you an idea of what I’ve been up to and include at least one useful tip.

To kick off my late summer travels, I flew down to Nashville, Tennessee, a city I’ve been wanting to visit ever since watching The Thing Called Love with Sandra Bullock and River Phoenix in 1993. In recent years I kept hearing great things about the city, and after only one quick stop in Memphis years ago, I was excited to finally visit Nashville and to see more of Tennessee. Because Nashville was just the jumping-off point for a Tennessee road trip, or if I want to be 100% precise I should say Tennessee & North Carolina road trip because adding Asheville and the Great Smoky Mountains to our itinerary meant dipping into Tennessee’s eastern neighbor state for a few days.

Nashville did not disappoint – even though Nashville’s Broadway, lined with honky-tonks and bars felt a bit tacky, I enjoyed popping my head in some of them and lingering for a while in those that had great live music.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

LOCATION Gay Travel Resources

Bolzano – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Bolzano - Dolly Travels

Good evening,

I finally have time to sit and write. We have been in Bolzano since yesterday afternoon, and it seems we have been going non-stop since we arrived.

We had a long train trip from Vernazza to Bolzano. If you look at a map of Italy, you will see that we came from the Ligurian Coast to northern Italy, to the gateway to the Dolomites. Actually, I have to admit, our train trip wasn’t so bad. We got a medium high speed train, the Frecciaargento from La Spezia to Florence, taking only and hour and a half, versus the usual 3 hours on a regional train. We had to wait about an hour in Florence, then we got another Frecciaargento train direct to Bolzano, a little over three hours.

Our hotel, Hotel Feichter, is located about four blocks from the train station, near the center of town. We got checked in, then took a walking tour of the town. It is a lovely Austrian-looking town, and of course, as we walked, we did not hear Italian being spoken anymore; the primary language here is German. Everything is so clean and neat. We walked down one street that had a covered portico to shield us from the sun. The shops were pretty upscale, but we weren’t shopping, we were just strolling.

Of course, for me, the biggest draw to Bolzano, is that this city is the gateway to the Dolomites. From the walkway in front of my room, I can see the stark Dolomite mountains. They are calling me.

Last evening, we walked again, and had not really decided where to have dinner. There was a big black cloud hovering over the western edge of the city. I told the kids that our dinner destination would be determined by what that cloud did. Interesting enough, we were just a few steps from a brew pub when the first fat rain drops started to fall, and within minutes, everyone was scrambling to get out of the rain.

We made it into the pub, got seated and enjoyed a traditional Austrian type dinner.

Of course, Danny had a beer with his dinner. After all, he had to try the locally-made brew.

After dinner, the rain had stopped, so we were able to walk home without getting soaked. However, about an hour after we got back to the hotel, we were treated to one of the most spectacular lightning and thunder shows that I have ever seen, complete with pouring down rain. It was so incredible, I had to open my window and watch the show. Heather and Danny told me that they went out onto the walkway in front of our rooms to watch it. What a fantastic treat…one we could enjoy from the comfort of our rooms.

Today, we visited the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, where we saw the displays focused on Ötzi, the Ice Man: an intact body of a man that was found high in the mountains between Austria and Italy in 1991. He has now been determined to be between 5,100 and 5,300 years old.

Later, we took a gondola up to the town of Oberbozen, a small resort town in the hills above Bolzano.

Tonight, we walked through some small streets, finally settling on one small restaurant for our dinner.

I do enjoy being in Bolzano, for it is an interesting city. There is a university here; it is the largest city in the northern part of Italy. There are many shops, eateries, plus parks and places to relax. Staying here is always a pleasure.

We will leave here in the morning, and take a bus for the one hour ride to Castelrotto, where we will spend four days, hopefully hiking and enjoying the outdoors in the clean Alpine air. For me, just being in the Dolomites makes me happy.

I will try to write a blog post within a day or two. It is hard to believe that this vacation is drawing to a close. What wonderful memories we will have to take home with us.

Arrivederci,
Ciao for now,
Dolly

By Dolly Goolsby – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Trentino-Alto Adige Gay Travel Resources Gay Travel Resources

Is Russia Safe for Queer Travelers? – Nomadic Boys

Author: , September 15th, 2018

Russia for queer travelers

Editor’s note. We had some trepidation about posting this, given Russia’s current role in world affairs. But sunlight is the best disinfectant, and Russia is home to an active queer community, however suppressed it may be. So we decided it was important to shine a little light on that community.

Stefan’s coming out song in February 2003 was “All The Things You Said”, a pop hit by Russian girlband t.A.T.u, who were marketed as a lesbian couple. For the video of this song, the two band members, Lena Katina and Julia Volkova, were running around in the rain dressed in school girl outfits and making out.

Obviously the band were (quite successfully!) targeting a very specific heterosexual male demographic. But despite this, the very fact that such a public homosexual image was being shown and accepted across Russian society in the early 2000s, speaks volumes about attitudes to LGBTQ in Russian society…so what the hell went wrong since?!

Just before travelling on the Trans Siberian across Russia in 2014, almost every other person warned us “you better be careful in Russia boys, probably best avoid going altogether!”

With hindsight we are so glad we ignored this advice.

Yes, we were nervous when we first touched down at Domodedovo airport in Moscow. After all, we all know Russia has a terrible reputation for LGBTQ rights, particularly in light of the awful anti-gay propaganda law passed in 2013. Nonetheless, we were absolutely fine during our travels there. We were even pleasantly surprised that there are thriving gay scenes in Moscow and St Petersburg.

This is our advice about travelling safely in Russia for gay travellers based on our first hand experience exploring the country as a same sex couple.

Is it legal to be gay in Russia?

The good news first: it is legal to be gay in Russia! In fact it has been legal since 1993. In addition, the age for sexual consent (16 years old) has been the same for both straight and gay couples since 1993, except in Chechnya. It’s also legal for a single gay man to adopt, you can change your legal gender, and gays are allowed to serve in the Russian military (under a “don’t ask don’t tell policy) unlike in some European countries like Cyprus, which has a total LGBT ban in its army!

Another surprising fact about Russia is that gay men are allowed to donate blood without any restrictions. In the UK, we are required to have 3 months of no sexual relations before we can even be considered.

By AUTHOR – Full Story at SOURCE

LOCATION Gay Travel Resources

Taiwan’s Pingxi Lantern Festival – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , September 13th, 2018

PINGXI LANTERN FESTIVAL

If you are looking for magic, you should go to a sky lantern festival. Sky lantern festivals are one of the most magical things on earth. Disney dreams will come true. We can’t get enough of them, so after experiencing Yi Peng in Chiang Mai, we travel to Taiwan to experience the magic of the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival. It’s one of the most spectacular happenings in Taiwan.

As it’s a big happening, you would think there’s a lot of information available online. Unfortunately, the resources of the Taiwan Tourism Board were limited and the blog posts we found, didn’t provide us with the right transportation-information. Therefore, we end up in the wrong town. We will not let that happen to you, so here’s the ultimate guide to Pingi Sky Lantern Festival!

WHY SHOULD YOU GO?

The Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival takes place once a year, usually in February or March, during the first full moon of the Lunar New Year. The festival has been named one of the 15 Festivals To Attend Before You Die and one of the Best Winter Trips. So, it’s a must see! At night, thousands of lanterns float up into the night sky, and with them, so do many dreams and wishes for the new year. The lanterns are released in group releases. And it’s truly like a dream come true.

WHERE SHOULD YOU GO?

So here’s where it gets tricky. The festival takes place in the Pingxi district, in New Taipei City, and lantern releases are held in the towns Jingtong, Pingxi and Shifen. The biggest lantern releases are NOT held in Pingxi old town – so don’t try to go there, like we did. The biggest event is in Shifen, where they set up the main stage at a parking area and is transformed into the Shifen Sky Lantern Square. It’s located close to the Shifen waterfall, and only a short 15 minute walk from Shifen Station.

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

China Gay Travel Resources

Nevada is Much More Than Vegas – Gay Star News

Author: , September 13th, 2018
Nevada - Gay Star News

Photo: Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

Vegas is like nothing else on Earth. And Las Vegas Boulevard, known more commonly as the Strip, is like nothing else in the city. To call the Strip iconic probably plays it down. The Statue of Liberty is iconic. So is the Palace of Westminster. The Strip is extra. 100-percent, 24-carat extra.

Bright lights, slot machines as far as the eye can see, slushies with a higher alcohol content than neat vodka; that’s what you see when you think of Vegas. Neverland on acid. Yet the City of Lights is just a single, glorious destination in Nevada and it’d be a crime not to venture out and see the state. Vegas is the perfect base from which to explore and, given the number of direct flights from the UK, the most accessible too. But first things first…

Every hotel, restaurant and casino worth its salt is situated in and around the Strip. There’s one for every budget, from the Bellagio if you’re blowing the bank (or you win big on a table while you’re there) to the gargantuan Caesar’s, to the more reasonably priced Flamingo, coming complete with a flock of flamingos in its garden. And nearly every hotel has a casino.

The rules of everyday life are suspended on the floor of the house. Servers will bring you a steady flow of free drinks and snacks (all you need do is tip), gamblers will huddle around machines and tables, smoking freely, and natural light is very hard to find, making it easy to forget the world outside.

By Andrew Gonsalves – Full Story at Gay Star News

Nevada Gay Travel Resources

Eating Out: Austria – Passport Magazine

Author: , September 10th, 2018

Austria - Pixabay

I ask an American what is considered quintessential Austrian cuisine, and you’re likely to get a furrowed brow. At roughly 32,000 square miles (think South Carolina, but landlocked), the country shares borders and cultural influences with the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Slovakia. In its heyday, the Austrian Empire was one of the most powerful in Europe, ruled by the Habsburgs for nearly six centuries. The declared war against Serbia marked the beginning of World War I, and by 1918 the dynasty was history. Nazi invasion followed and an eventual restoration of autonomy with the help of the Allied Forces.

Sitting at the epicenter of Europe’s evershifting alliances has tested Austria’s resiliency, but it has also laid the groundwork for culinary inspiration drawn from historical trade routes and centuries-old farming and agriculture industries. I recently visited the land of Wiener schnitzel and pumpkinseed oil in search of Austria’s best bites, and to taste how the country is keeping pace with 21stcentury gastronomy trends, while still maintaining its authentic traditions.

Vienna is Europe’s unsung hero for stunning Gothic, baroque, and modern architecture. It also boasts the Ringstrasse, a three-mile circular road where you can find the Vienna State Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts, and other Insta-worthy landmarks. Commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1857, it is the symbol of the city’s penchant for the finer things in life and still serves as an anchor for Vienna’s bustling and sophisticated lifestyle.

I begin my edible excursion by checking into the Grand Ferdinand (Schubertring 10-12. Tel: +43-1-91880. www.grandferdinand.com), hotelier Florian Weitzer’s opulent reimagining of several adjacent 1950’s office buildings. Its showcase restaurant, Meissl & Schadn (www.meisslundschadn.at), pays homage to the legendary namesake hotel and restaurant that opened in Vienna in 1896 but didn’t survive the city’s World War II bombing. History is reborn with classic recipes served in a dramatic setting featuring wicker chairs, tiled pillars, low-hanging chandeliers, and crisp white linens.

But it’s the sound of veal cutlets pounded into plate-size portions in the salon kitchen that gives Meissl & Schaden its signature Viennese flair. Dipped in free-range eggs then coated in breadcrumbs, the Wiener schnitzel sizzles away (in your choice of clarified butter, lard, or neutral vegetable oil) until crispy. Finished with a hearty squeeze of lemon, it embodies the essence of classic Austrian cuisine.

By Matthew Wexler – Full Story at Passport Magazine

LOCATION Gay Travel Resources

Vernazza: Beauty, Disaster and Recovery – Dolly Travels

Author: , September 10th, 2018

Vernazza - Dolly Travels

Buongiorno, tutti,

We started our morning at the Il Pirata Bar at the top of the town. This restaurant has the best pastries; all are made on the premises. Their reputation has made this small place such a popular breakfast place, that one must get there early to get a table.

While we were enjoying our delicious pastries, we began talking with the couple who sat next to us. By the end of our breakfast we were best friends. We had such a good time with them. We discussed our plans for the day, and before we knew it, we had learned far more about each other than I know about my next door neighbors at home.

Soon, though, we all went our separate ways. I love the way that travel allows me to meet such interesting people as I go along.

The kids had their own plans for the day, so here I am, telling you about my day.

I am sitting at the Ananasso Bar again. Lest you think that I might do this too often, this bar sits right at the harbor’s edge. From here, I can look out at the little cove, where people are swimming. I can see the boats in the harbor and look beyond to the town of Monterosso. Over to my left and closer to the harbor is the good pizza restaurant that we visited yesterday. So, you see, my perch here, for the price of a drink, is perfect.

Today, I went for a walk up through town, past the Il Pirata Ristorante, where we had breakfast this morning. I walked up the road while following the little stream that starts somewhere up above, then flows down through the town. I remembered well, the deluge of October, 2011, where the rains came down so hard and for such a long time, that the mountains washed down into that stream, pushing homes, cars and anything in its path, into that stream, until the town was flooded with mud, debris up to the second story of the buildings.

Today, as I walked through the town, seven years after that disaster, I felt that the people of Vernazza have made a remarkable recovery. Although reconstruction is still going on in some areas: rock walls are being rebuilt, some facades of buildings still need to be repaired, life goes on as before.

As I sit here, watching the tourists, I wonder how many of them know the calamity that besieged the town those years before. I watch the people that work in the shops and the restaurants; I see them wait on the customers, and they are so kind, so patient. They are indeed lovely people.

Vernazza is one of the five villages in a unique area. During the day, the little town is filled with tourists. Many people come here to hike the trails between the villages. I honestly don’t know why the cruise ship passengers come here. When those cruise ships unload their tenders, the town is immediately flooded with up to five hundred extra people; more than the town can comfortable accommodate.

However, when evening comes; the town settles down and becomes an almost-quiet village. The people of Vernazza are resilient. They have rebuilt their town and life goes on in this little city as if the disaster never occurred.

My point in writing this blog post is to remind all of us, that no matter what life hands us, we have the choice to adapt, rebuild, and get on with things, or curl up and admit defeat. I want to pattern my life after the citizens of Vernazza: there is always light at the end of the tunnel, if I choose to follow it. Or I can let the small disasters get me down.

I am inspired by the people of the town of Vernazza.

Until next time,
Arrivederci,

Dolly

By Dolly – Full Story at Dolly Travels

Vernazza Gay Travel Resources

Hummingbird Inn – Goshen, Virginia Gay Friendly B&B

Author: , September 8th, 2018

The Hummingbird Inn

At the western edge of the beautiful Shenandoah valley near historic Lexington, Goshen Pass, and Warm Springs, The Hummingbird Inn, a unique Carpenter Gothic villa, offers deluxe accommodations in an early Victorian setting.

Antique furnishings, modern bathrooms, and warm hospitality await you.

More than full breakfasts satisfy the largest appetites. Elegant romantic candlelight dinners are available.

See the Hummingbird Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Virginia Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Las Pozas Garden in Xilitla, Mexico – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , September 8th, 2018

Las Pozas garden - Once Upon a Journey

Walking in the surrealist garden of Edward James, Las Pozas, makes you feel like you are in a totally different world. A world where fantasies and imaginaries come to life. We feel like true explorers, walking in a jungle, not knowing what we see next or where we end our exploration. It’s a place we recommend everybody going to, it’s a hidden gem located deep in the Mexican mountains. Definitely one for on the bucket list!

HISTORY OF LAS POZAS

Las Pozas garden was created by the British poet Edward James. He moved to Xilitla where he started growing exotic plants. But in 1962 frost and blizzards destroyed all of his orchids, he decided to make something permanent which the weather couldn’t destroy. He wanted to create his version of the ‘Garden of Eden’ with giant concrete sculptures. It took him 20 years from 1949 until his death in 1984, to design and build the concrete structures resembling floral elements, which costs over 5 million dollars. And yet, most sculptures are still unfinished.

Las Pozas, the Pools in Spanish, is named after the pools covering the place, coming from waters that flow naturally through it. There’s also a beautiful waterfall.

HOW TO GET THERE

The surrealist garden is located in the jungle near a small mountain village called Xilitla, in the province San Luis Potosí, Mexico. To get to Xilitla you can drive there yourself by rental car (like we did), or go by bus. It’s about an eight-hour drive from the capital. Be prepared for a long trip with winding roads. If you have time and money we really recommend renting a car. You will have the freedom to go where you want and to explore authentic Mexican places, like this place!

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Mexico Gay Travel Resources