Urban Art in St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg Murals

Urban art is usually associated with graffiti-ridden ghettos, not attractive beach resorts. But the LGBTI-friendly city of St Pete is exceptional.

St. Petersburg murals have spread across the city on Florida’s west coast in recent years. And the authorities have embraced this new generation’s way of beautifying the place they love.

After all, St Petersburg is no ordinary beach town. Since 2010 AmericanStyle Magazine has ranked it number one ‘America’s Arts Destination’ for mid-sized cities.

St Pete’s urban artists respect each other’s masterpieces. The murals haven’t sparked vandalism or tagging. They’ve inspired more art, with icons and themes often taken from the city’s cultural past.

And if you’re looking for free-loving, liberation-building, queer-styling art, you’ll find it everywhere.

By Tris Reid-Smith – Full Story at Gay Star News

St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Florida Holocaust Museum

Holocaust Museum - St. Petersburg

When we were in St. Petersburg, Florida earlier this month we visited the Florida Holocaust Museum which is one of the largest such museums in the country.  This year they are celebrating their 25th Anniversary.

Their permanent exhibit, “History, Heritage and Hope” is on the first floor and features original artifacts, videos and photos. It deals not only with antisemitism but also with other victim groups. The Nazis classified not only Jews as ‘the enemy” but also included Roma (Gypsies), people with disabilities, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Afro-Germans as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Homosexuals.

Holocaust MuseumThe centerpiece of the museum collection is an actual train box car that transported victims of the Nazi regime to the concentration camps. It rests upon original track from the Treblinka Killing Center as a silent tribute to those who perished on the Holocaust.  Seeing this is a VERY daunting and somber experience.  Just to think of all the hatred in the world both in history and in today’s world as well !  Everyone claiming to be a right wing Christian and or ‘born again Christian needs to visit this museum as well as everyone else in the country!  You will walk away with a new appreciation toward life. The 2nd and 3rd floor has changing exhibits of art and history.
Besides having artifacts, photos, exhibits, etc. the museum also runs several programs of outreach within the community with the aim of continuing their mission of human rights. To put it simple…… they are an excellent and outstanding organization.

They are now having a very special exhibit thru July 2:  NAZI PERSECUTION OF HOMOSEXUALS – 1933-1945. Between 1933 and 1945, 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality under Paragraph 175, the sodomy provision of the German penal code dating back to 1871.    Some were imprisoned, others were sent to concentration camps.  Of the latter, only about 4,000 survived. In 2000, fewer than 10 of these men were known to be living.  The exhibit is full of LGBT history with stories, photos and artifacts.

Holocaust MuseumFive of the survivors came forward in a documentary to tell their stories for the first time, considered to be among the last untold stores of the Third Reich. The documentary, “PARAGRAPH 175” tells of a gap in the historical record and reveals the lasting consequences, as told through personal stories of gay men and women who lived through it. including Karl Gorath, Gad Beck, the half-Jewish resistance fighter who spent the war helping refugees escape Berlin, Annette Eick, a Jewish lesbian who escaped to England with the help of a woman she loved; Albrecht Becker, German Christian photographer who was arrested and imprisoned for homosexuality, then joined the army on his release and Pierre Seel, the Alsatian teenager who watched as his lover was eaten alive by dogs in the camps. If you REALLY want to read a heart wrenching story, just ‘Google’ Perre Seel, actually ‘Google’ all of these people.

They are having a special film showing at the Museum on June 21 at 6:30. The FHM Film Series:  Paragraph 175. This event is free and open to the public! If you are unable to attend the see the movie yourself as it is at many local libraries as well as thru Amazon.com.
The Museum is located in downtown St. Petersburg at 55 Fifth Street South and their hours daily are 10 AM to 5 PM. You can call them at 727.821.0100 or visit their websites: www.thefhm.org or https://www.flholocaustmuseum.org/

We want to thank Kristen Wright at the Museum for her assistance.

We dedicate this travel column to Siegbert “Siggi” Wilzig, (1926-2003) who was a Holocaust survivor and  the Father of Sir Ivan, Sherry Izak and Alan Wilzig and the husband of our dear friend Naomi Wilzig,(1934-2015),

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Treasure Island, Florida

beach house beach two

Need to get away and have a VERY comfortable, relaxing and enjoying time ? We have found the perfect place! Treasure Island, Florida is just about 8 miles west of downtown St. Petersburg and a little over 20 miles from the Tampa International Airport.  You drive over the causeway and you are there. They have the most beautiful  beaches and the beaches are extremely wide, like a block wide! The sand is perfect.

beach house fountainWe also found the perfect place to stay….. Beach House Cabanas is owned by Eric and David Barenz, a married couple. Located at 12035 Gulf Blvd. and just a short block from the beaches, this is a ideal location. Eric and David purchased a very wonderful accommodation about a year ago and since ownership they have made it into an extra fabulous accommodation!

beach house courtyardThey know how to treat and accommodate their guests and their guests are spreading the word from coast to coast about how wonderful this accommodation is. They have one of the finest listings on tripadvisor from over 100 guests who have reviewed them on tripadvisors. Check out: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g34693-d7390364-Reviews-Beach_House_Cabanas-Treasure_Island_Florida.html

beach house bedroomThey have 11 rooms and a magnificent courtyard area in the front with a huge fountain and palm trees and a lush tropical garden. All rooms are equipped with a fridge, micro-wave and even wine glasses and an opener. Each morning they have a Keurig coffee machine (and tea) and fresh fruit, breakfast bars and muffins and of course all is complimentary.  This is a beautiful place where all the guests mingle and get to know each other.

After your morning breakfast pick up one of their complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas and walk a short block to the beach. They are very close to shops to purchase anything that one needs.

There is a Trolley that stops directly in front of them and goes up and down the entire beach area. A large Publix supermarket is within a few blocks and there is a convenience store in their block. Within walking distance they have dozens of restaurants with menus varying from seafood, steaks, Mexican and anything else you are into.

In all of our travels from coast to coast we have never stayed in a place that is this super clean and found the owners so hospitable as Eric and David. They will make your stay on Treasure Island a remarkable memory that will last forever.

Just be sure and take some sun screen to take to the beach. As the reviews on tripadvisor express, you go there as guests and you leave as friends. Thank you Eric and David for being so professional and doing things the ‘right way’. We just wish that more accommodations were operated as professional as you operate the Beach House Cabanas.
For more information on Treasure Island, visit, http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/treasure-island.html

Check them out at http://beachhousecabanas.com/ You can make reservations by calling them at 727.201.9940 or email them at
[email protected]

Don and RayAlways remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).

Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected] and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Queer St. Petersburg, Florida

Queer St. Petersburg, Florida

It’s a hot and humid summer night in St. Petersburg, Florida and flood lights are streaming down hard upon Tropicana Field where the Tampa Bay Rays are about to face the San Francisco Giants. Every last ticket has been sold for this home game (a first for the Rays), and thousands are slipping into black T-shirts bearing the team’s signature burst. It’s a night of excitement here in sunny St. Pete, but also one of somber reflection. This is no ordinary baseball game.

Less than one week prior, a 29-year-old gunman rushed into Pulse Nightclub in Orlando (just 105 miles away) and massacred 49 people while wounding 53 others. As a nation grieved, the Rays sprung into action by creating an impromptu Pride Night to benefit the victims and families of the shooting. It included a tribute to the victims, the singing of the national anthem by LGBT choral group Una Voce, a showcasing of the Pride flag on the field, and tens of thousands of fans donning free shirts that read “We Are Orlando” in rainbow colors. It was incredible.

But this is only one reason to love St. Pete, a quirky sun-drenched metropolis whose cultural attractions, stately downtown and LGBT friendliness are often overshadowed by other Florida cities. Some facts about Pinellas County: It is Florida’s second smallest county, but home to nearly one million people and by far the densest in the state. It boasts 35 miles of sandy beaches and a total of 588 miles of coast- line. It is the birthplace of both Wikipedia and Hooters and its mid-June Pride celebration is the largest in the Sunshine State. In short, it’s an interesting place.

I begin my weekend by cruising the Pinellas Byway away from the city and toward my hotel in sunny St. Pete Beach. The tollbooth attendant greets me with a fist bump (an auspicious beginning), and soon I am checking in at the Kimpton Hotel Zamora (3701 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach Tel: 888-809-1588. www.thehotelzamora.com), a Gulf-facing Mediterranean-style resort adorned with dramatic white archways, curvy balcony rails, and gangly palm trees standing guard on all sides. I am checked in by a slender young man and his senior counterpart. I believe both are gay and were handpicked just for my arrival. I enjoy their banter as they check me in (and check me out, if you know what I mean).

By Jason Heidemann – Full Story at Passport Magazine

St. Petersburg Gay Travel Resources

Gulf Country, Florida – Globetrotter Girls

Gulf Country, Florida Everybody talks about the nightlife in Miami, Disneyworld in Orlando, the natural beauty of the Keys. What about Florida’s gulf coast though? That’s a side of the sunshine state that falls mainly under the radar, despite offering just as many exciting adventures as Florida’s Atlantic coastline has. And Gulf County isn’t just a summer destination: the prime season here is September through March. So if you’re thinking about taking a trip to Florida, why not consider the Gulf Coast? 244 miles of coastline I bet you didn’t know that Gulf County has 244 miles of glorious coastline along the Florida panhandle. What’s different from other parts of Florida’s coast? Gulf County has remained its nature – there, you don’t find an aggressive invasion of nature like in Miami for example, where barely any nature is left. Instead of man-made, artificial beaches, you can still experience true nature, tranquility and the unspoiled ocean. The stunningly beautiful Cape San Blas is home to St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, which was named the best beach in America a few years ago. Water of all kinds One thing that makes Gulf County special is that it has access to several bodies of water: the Gulf of Mexico of course, the saltwater of St Joseph Bay, the Gulf County Canal, Apalachicola Bay and river basin, Indian Pass Lagoon, and the freshwater of Chipola River and the Dead Lakes. These waters are all connected and give nature lovers access to untouched nature and wildlife – bird watching, fishing, hiking the nature trails and ecotouring is possible in all of those places.

By Dani – Full Story at Globetrotter Girls

Florida Gay Travel Resources

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