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Calendar for Aug. 13

Friday, Aug. 13, to Thursday, Aug. 19

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Friday, Aug. 13

Ladies Night tonight at 7 p.m. at the Verizon Center as the Washington Mystics take on the Minnesota Lynx. There will be music, games, raffle prizes, shopping and more. The party starts at 5 p.m. in Dewars Club. Tickets are $35 and must be purchased in advance. Call 202-527-7517 to reserve your seats.

Siren the 13th featuring DJs Majr and Aaron Riggins tonight at Apex, 1415 22nd St., N.W., with electropop vs 00’s Dance with lasers, fog, snow, performances and A Lanai. Must be 18 or older to enter, 21 or older to drink and there is an $8 cover.

She.Rex returns tonight at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room Upstairs, 1725 Columbia Rd., N.W., from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. This month’s party features the ladies of rock ‘n’ roll spun by lady DJs and lady bartenders serving up cheap beers until 11 p.m. There is no cover.

Mr. Charlie Rod’s Blue Discotheque tonight at Liv Nightclub, 2001 11th St., N.W., starting at 10 p.m. featuring DJ Rich Morel. Must be 21 or older to enter and there is a $7 cover charge.

The Pocket Gays are teaming up with Velvet Lounge, 915 U St., N.W., for Vacation Bible School Dance Party from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., featuring DJ Retrospect Lantern and love sets by AK Slaughter and Menya. There’s no cover and cheap drinks.

Saturday, Aug. 14

A monthly event in downtown Cambridge, Md., Second Saturday, running from 5 to 9 p.m., features gallery openings and receptions, late shopping hours with special promotions and bargains, great dining at top restaurants, musical entertainment, and more. The festivities unfold at roughly 20 different locations along four adjacent blocks in downtown. Abundant free parking on street and in municipal lots off of Gay Street and Academy Street.

Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Funkytown, a night of 70s, 80s and 90s music and video on the main floor by Ed Bailey. Doors open at 10 p.m.; $8 before 11 p.m. and $12 after, 21 and over.

Hip-hop legends Public Enemy play the 9:30 club at 8 p.m. Tickets are $35; visit 930.com for information.

Sunday, Aug. 15

The anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage is headed to D.C. with its “One Woman, One Man” summer tour. A coalition of LGBT organizations, activists and allies is organizing a counter demonstration, “The Big Commit,” to be held from 2-4 p.m. in Freedom Plaza. See related story in news section or visit the event’s Facebook page for more information.

“Bang to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer” at Bang Salon, 601 F St., N.W., from 9 a.m. to midnight only at the Verizon Center location. Proceeds go to Walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer. Enjoy free mimosas and small bites. Book an appointment at bangsalon.com or call any location.

Adodi DC will meet at The DC Center, 1318 U St., N.W., at 2 p.m. Adodi is a community of men of color who affirm their African lineage and love of men. For more information, visit adodionline.com.

The HFStival is back and the California Tortilla Battle To Break Out has been narrowed down to the top six. The top six bands will perform live for the HFStival judges at the 9:30 club. Doors open at 11 a.m. and the competition starts right away. The top six bands determined by votes are: 16 Large, Cyrenic, Eye of All, Funkmnkyz, Sons of the Radio and Vessel. The winner will open the main stage of the HFStival 2010.

Monday, Aug. 16

The GLB Youth Support Group will meet at the GW Center Clinic, 1922 F St., N.W., Suite 103, at 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 17

Join Burgundy Crescent Volunteers to help pack safer sex kits tonight from 7-9 p.m. at EFN Lounge, on 9th Street between O and N streets.

Wednesday, Aug. 18

The DC IceBreakers’ regular skating night starts at 7:45 p.m. at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex, 627 North Glebe Rd., in Ballston/Arlington followed by a social. The co-host for this skating/social is Alexandria Gay & Lesbian Community Association.

Bookmen DC discuss selections from “A Casualty of War: The Arcadia Book of Gay Short Stories” edited by Peter Burton, at 7:30 p.m. at American Foreign Services Association, 2101 E St., N.W. All are welcomed. Bookmen DC is an informal group of men who are interested in gay literature (both fiction and non-fiction).

The Tom Davaron Social Bridge Club will meet at 7:30 p.m., at the Dignity Center, 721 8th St., S.E., (across from Marine Barracks) for Social Bridge. No partner is needed. Visit lambdabridge.com and click on “Social Bridge in Washington, DC”.

Thursday, Aug. 19

The Atlas Performing Arts Center presents Summer Film Series: Gay 101 showing “Cabaret” starring Liza Minnelli and directed by Bob Fosse at the Paul Sprenger Theatre, 1333 H St., N.E., at 8 p.m. Buy tickets at atlasarts.org or at the box office one hour prior to the movie.

Cool Kid Collective at Rams Head Live, 20 Market Place in Baltimore, with Tsunami Rising and Maryland’s Most Wanted. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 on the day of the show, prices include tax. The event is for all ages.

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Travel

Quito and the Galápagos on Celebrity Flora: blog #4

Turtles, iguanas and birds abound

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Celebrity Flora

After Floreana Island we continued our tour of the Galápagos with stops first on Isabela Island, and then then the next day we continued to spend some time on a different part of Isabela Island, and then went on to Fernadina Island. Then Friday it was South Plaza and Santa Cruz Islands.

Each day there continued to be morning and afternoon excursions off the Flora. Some involved walking, and some were taking a tender around the Island. The first day on Isabela Island we had the option of a long walk and a short tender ride, or just a tender ride in the morning. They warned everyone it was a very rocky trail. I passed on that, and took the tender ride where we saw some amazing sights. Turtles in the water, hundreds of Iguanas on the rocks, and loads of birds of all kinds. Then it was back to the Flora for lunch and relaxing. We had a great lunch outside on Deck 7 in the Ocean Grill and Bar.  In the afternoon we were given the option of a short walk and swim, or just a short walk. Basically, the same thing. It only mattered as to what time you got on the tender to head back to the ship.  I took the short walk and saw tortoises up close, more Iguanas, various birds, including flamingos. We are seeing many of the same animals on most of the Island walks, but there always seems to be a new one, something a little different, and it has been so much fun. I have some great pictures. 

Then it was time for the cocktail of the day; a Margarita, served in the Discovery Lounge on Deck 4. That is the place where we get briefings from naturalists each day, and the place we meet to leave for our excursions. Dinner was at the Seaside restaurant, the indoor dining room, also on deck 4.  Then a lazy evening. They did show a movie in the Discovery Lounge, Life on Fire, about the active volcanos in the Galapagos. There are still five alone on Isabela Island.  It was Valentines Day and to celebrate the pastry chef baked heart shaped cookies. They were really good. I know because I tasted one of each kind. While I haven’t been blown away by the food in general, I think the Executive chef is maybe trying too hard to be different; the pastry and dessert chefs have done a yeoman’s job. Could just be I like sugar.

The next day’s morning options were either a short or long walk, and I did the short one. In the afternoon there was only one option, a tender ride. Then back to the ship for another cocktail of the day. This one called the Yellow Warbler, served again in the Discovery Lounge.  Before dinner there were some games, including a trivia challenge. Then dinner outside in the Ocean Grill and Bar. To eat dinner outside you needed to make a reservation and Mike and Scott did that and ten of us ate together. The evening ended with the option of another movie; Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life. There are TVs in the suites with a number of options, and if you are into the news like I am, they had the usual Celebrity channels available; FOX, MSNBC, and the BBC.

Friday dawned clear and the options were a short or long walk. This was to be a dry landing which meant you could step onto shore without getting your shoes wet. But it was not an easy walk as you were on some volcanic rock, and uneven paths. I decided to take a sea day, and stayed on the ship. I used the time to do some writing, including starting this blog, interviewing the Captain, and to relax with some friends who decided to do the same. We had lunch in the indoor dining room where they served a meal which they called Asian inspired. Some sushi and other dishes. The afternoon choices for those who wanted to head out were; a long fast-paced fitness walk, or a short walk. We did pass Daphne Major Island, and a naturalist told us about it. We could see it from our balconies on the Port side, or from deck 7 or 8. I headed to deck 7.

Then for those of us traveling with Scott and Dustin of My Lux Cruise, we got a reminder of our transatlantic cruises. They hosted a 6:15pm cocktail party in their suite. They do this regularly on the longer cruises. They had a great spread and a bartender. It was fun. Then the crew of the Flora wanted to pretend they were a bigger ship, and announced a ‘silent disco’ party in the Discovery Lounge at 9:00pm.  I was surprised at the silent disco as it didn’t seem to fit the Galapagos. But to be fair, there were many who did enjoy it. 

Now our last full day in the Galapagos will be tomorrow, Saturday, and it will be different. I will share that in my final blog, so hope you will keep reading them.

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Travel

D.C. Travel and Adventure Show to highlight LGBTQ travel

Event to take place at Walter E. Washington Convention Center this weekend

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A sunset in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

This weekend D.C. welcomes travel enthusiasts and adventure seekers looking to find their next destination. The ticketed event is open to travel professionals and consumers alike. It’s the first time the event comes to the nation’s capital.

One may wonder why LGBTQ travelers need a pavilion of their own. Ed Salvato, a consultant for the organization hosting the event, is a travel professional who is an educator in tourism, hospitality and marketing at New York University recently spoke with the Washington Blade. 

“Vendors, suppliers, destinations, marketing companies, airline marketing companies, etc. when they think of travelers the image that probably comes to mind is heterosexual couples. Maybe 1.5 kids,” Salvato said. “Most likely able-bodied, and maybe white.”

Gay travelers, however, may feel compelled to ask, “Will I be comfortable with my same-sex partner at your resort, destination, venue? Or “I’m traveling with my same-sex Latino partner and he’s a little younger, and will he be welcome at your resort?”

“The idea you know that, if I send an email or ask that the response can come across as defensive, ‘Oh, everyone is welcome here,’” explained Salvato.

Many community members may be familiar with this response. Many also may not have found the response to be true. A city or destination may come off as being liberal due to its politics. But what about that particular hotel you booked in the next town over?

“It should be, ‘Oh, everyone is welcome here! What are your needs and concerns? What can we do to make you feel comfortable?’ That to me makes me want to visit the destination,” Salvato said.

The point of the pavilion can go larger than just LGBTQ individuals. It also reflects the diversity, equity and inclusion of other individuals.

Rio de Janeiro (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

“In reality,” Salvato says, “everyone travels with unique characteristics, some hidden, some not so hidden. Two Black travelers, a traveler in a wheelchair, solo women. A family coming up to me and asking where they can go for a family reunion which includes a bi-racial lesbian couple. A grandmother wanting to send her son and his husband on safari, where will they be safe and welcome? That kind of thing.”

There is also the stereotype of the gay couple being rich, white, living in an elite neighborhood in a city, and traveling frequently.

“But that’s not really the case. We’ve got a lot of ‘Chuck and Bobs’ out there. Let’s say, Chuck is an accountant, Bob is a public school principal, they live in Jersey somewhere, almost all their neighbors are straight, they may have a child they adopted together. Where can they go as a family on their vacation and feel comfortable?”

The LGBTQ pavilion will be an inclusive space. But, of course, Salvato expects there’s going to be a touch of whimsy for which our community is known.

“At a recent event, we had three bears promoting an event in Fort Lauderdale. A really cool bear event.”

As Salvato earlier explained he once saw camels as part of a vendor display and photo opportunity, this reporter was confused.

Trained bears! Indoors?

“No. Members of the gay, male bear community.”

Madrid (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Félix Alcaraz Vellisca, the consul for Tourism Affairs with the Tourism Office of Spain, explained why the country is consistently ranked one of the best international destinations for LGBTQ tourists.

“Spain is already widely known as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations on the planet, but it is important to continue communicating and explaining this to all our potential visitors. Spain is a very diverse and heterogeneous country but sometimes,” he explained. “LGBTQ travelers know only the most important spots. But we want to gradually publicize other destinations that may be interesting for LGBTQ travelers. In any case, we are happy to know the extremely positive perception that all LGBTQ travelers have of our country and the desire they have to visit us. And that’s why we will be at the D.C. Show, to help travelers to fulfill their wishes.”

Vellisca, and his organization, are also using this appearance at the pavilion to celebrate the 2026 Gay Games, which are being held in Valencia.

“The audience comes largely from the United States,” he said. “We also want to be there to communicate this event and provide information about it.”

Vellisca’s booth will also entice guests to come experience Spain through a raffle of Spanish gastronomy.

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Of course, there are also destinations which are normally welcoming centers for the community. One state in particular which some LGBTQ travelers may be wary of heading due to some recent press: Florida, which has come under scrutiny due to the “Don’t Say Gay” law. 



Many would-be tourists have stated they wouldn’t spend their travel dollars in the Sunshine State. But that’s a blanket statement that will potentially harm gay-friendly destinations and gay-owned businesses. Towns like Wilton Manors, adjacent to Fort Lauderdale, and Key West come to mind known as they are for gay guest houses, nightclubs and dining options.

Michelle Pirre, who represents the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau, will not be at the D.C. event but was at a recent New York event representing Florida’s West Coast.

“The NYC Travel Pavilion was amazing and well planned! While thousands came by our booth, we spoke directly to over 1,000 LGBTQ attendees with a genuine interest in our area,” she stated. 

Clearly she wants gay travelers to realize her destination is and continues to be welcoming. 

“We collected hundreds of names for our newsletters, distributed standard visitor guides, LGBTQ guides and so much more collateral from weddings to golf and arts and culture, we had very little leftover. Looking forward to next year,” she said.

Aaron Tabor and his husband David Ardelean, the first gay couple married in Everglades City, Fla., met in Wilton Manors. They found their way back to Tabor’s hometown located near Naples on the Florida Peninsula’s West Coast. They later became stewards of the Parkway Motel and Marina of Chokoloksee, as they are avid outdoorsmen, they were saddened to learn so many LGBTQ tourists were swearing off the Sunshine State due to the controversies coming from Tallahassee.

“Living authentically, we openly invite and affirm all of our guests regardless of their individualisms,” the couple shared. “Political theater can be dramatic sometimes, but this doesn’t need to stand in the way of the enriching travel experiences we offer guests as the gateway to the great southwestern Florida outdoors.”

Their motto is, “Fuss less, fish more!” to entice LGBTQ travelers to still come to Florida they hosted a booth at the New York show. For the D.C. event: Timothy Kelley, the Parkway Motel and Marina Manager will be on site at the booth to explain and engage visitors along with a $200 travel voucher sweepstakes along with some really cool swag give-aways. 

This is a ticketed event taking place on Feb. 24-25 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. To learn more, visit TravelShows.com and look under “Shows” to book one or two day tickets to the event.

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Photos

PHOTOS: Cupid’s Undie Run

Scantily-clad joggers face freezing temperatures for a cause

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Cupid's Undie Run was held at The Wharf DC on Saturday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Cupid’s Undie Run, an annual fundraiser for neurofibromatosis (NF) research, was held at Union Stage and at The Wharf DC on Saturday, Feb. 17.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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