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Calendar: Sept. 24

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Today (Friday)

Phasefest continues tonight at Phase 1, 525 8th St., S.E., with Hunter Valentine, Jen Urban and the Box, The Pushovers, Athens Boys Choir, Terrance Williams, Lost Boi’s, and Mzery Loves Company. Tickets are $15 for the night. More information and a link to purchase tickets can be found at phasefestdc.com. Doors open at 7 p.m. Must be 21 to enter.

DJ Jim Gade will be at Cobalt, 1639 R St., N.W., tonight with Gruff: Rock and Retro Happy Hour. From 4 to 7 p.m. rail drinks will be $1 and domestics will be $2. From 7 to 10 p.m. beers and rail drinks are $3. From 4 to 10 p.m. martinis will be $5.

Cazwell, a gay rapper and DJ from New York City, will be at Town, 2009 8th St., N.W., tonight to perform live and DJ in the main room, tag teaming with Wess in the booth. Rail drinks are $3 from 10 to 11 p.m. Doors open at 10 p.m. Drag show starts at 10:30. For those 18 to 20, the cover is $10 all night. For those 21 and over, the cover is $5 before 11 p.m. and $10 afterward.

Gigi Paris Couture will perform at Ziegfeld’s, 1824 Half St., S.W., tonight at 11 p.m. Cover is $5 from 9 to 10:30 p.m. and $10 afterward and always includes $1 off your first drink. Must be 21 to enter. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Beat the Clock at Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U St., N.W. All bottles of Miller Lite or house Vodka drinks are $1 from 5 to 6 p.m., $2 from 6 to 7 p.m., and $3 from 7 to 8 p.m.

Gay District, a weekly, non-church affiliated discussion and social group for GBTQ men between 18 and 35, meets tonight from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 1820 Connecticut Ave., N.W. For more information, e-mail [email protected].
Celebrate Shabbat services, 8:30 to 10 p.m. at the Washington, D.C. Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. Services are followed by an Oneg social.

Saturday, Sept. 25

Kyocera presents Virgin Mobile FreeFest today at Merriweather Post Pavillion. Some of the acts include M.I.A., LCD Soundsystem, Jimmy Eat World and Joan Jett & the Black Hearts.  There are no more free tickets to this event, but pavilion seats are still available for $125 and can be purchased by following the link on virginmobilefestival.com. These tickets include access to the pavilion and the full festival, donation, digital download and all service charges.

The Federal Triangles Soccer Club and D.C. United host the first LGBT fan night in the history of Major League Soccer tonight at RFK Stadium as the United take on the Houston Dynamo.

Phasefest continues tonight at Phase 1, 525 8th St., S.E., with MEN with JD from Le Tigre, Tayish Busay, Shondes, Rad Pony, Clinical Trials, Mittens, Renny Sanz, Tiik With Guts, Erin Brown and Candi Hearts. Tickets are $20 for the night. More information and a link to purchase tickets can be found at phasefestdc.com. Doors open at 6 p.m. Must be 21 to enter.

Washington Shakespeare Company presents By Any Other Name: An Evening of Shakespeare in Klingon at the Rosslyn Spectrum Theater, 1611 North Kent St., in Arlington, at 8 p.m.  WSC’s first-ever gala event will feature scenes from Shakespeare in both English and Klingon by WSC’s company and special guest, George Takei with an introduction by Marc Okran, creator of the Klingon language. Tickets are $125 for regular admission and $250 for VIP admission. These prices include admission to four more shows.

The Ladies of Illusion, hosted by Ella Fitzgerald, will perform at Ziegfeld’s, 1824 Half St., S.W., tonight at 11 p.m. Cover is $5 from 9 to 10:30 p.m. and $10 afterward, always includes $1 off your first drink. Must be 21 to enter. Doors open at 9 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 26

Crumland Farms Fall Festival starts today and runs until Halloween. The opening day will feature Frederick Rock School, Denim N Lace, Mason Vixon and Julienna Irwin, a finalist on “America’s Got Talent.” There will be prizes and games including Bovine Bingo to benefit Saint Thomas More Academy. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the event runs until 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person. For more information, visit crumland.com.

Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, D.C.’s largest mostly gay church located at 474 Ridge St., N.W., presents “An Evening of Live Jazz” tonight, featuring jazz standards interpreted and played by a jazz trio, Swing, and vocals by members of MCC’s choir. There will also be dinner and dancing. Tickets are $12 and can be reserved by calling Shirli Hughes at 202-638-7373 or e-mailing her at [email protected].

Monday, Sept. 27

SAGE Metro D.C.’s monthly meeting at the D.C. Center, 1318 U St., N.W., is today from 6:30 to 8 p.m. SAGE Metro D.C. provides support and advocacy for the aging LGBT population.

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, Sept. 28

Join Burgundy Crescent Volunteers to help pack safer sex kits for FUK!T from 7 to 9 p.m. at Green Lantern, 1335 Green Ct., N.W.

Wednesday, Sept. 29

The cast of the play “Gay: Accept Me If You Love Me” will be holding a happy hour at Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U St., N.W., tonight from 6 to 11 p.m. Some of the cast members planning to appear include Timothy Adams, Matt Ward, international top model Edith Tapia and Patrick D. Smith. “Gay” will be in D.C. next summer. All beer sales will support the theater production. No cover charge. Visit facebook.com/spotlightcomunicaciones for more information.

Thursday, Sept. 30

The Spanish Wine Society’s Inaugural Fall Wine Tasting Event is tonight at Mio, 1110 Vermont Ave., N.W., in support of HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Latino/a Community. There will be five Spanish and Latin American white wines available for tasting as well as a tasting of some of Mio’s menu items. There will also be a raffle for tours and tastings at area vineyards. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online at cherryfund.org.

GLOE at the D.C. Jewish Community, 1529 16th St., N.W., is hosting a Queer Simchat Torah to mark the end and beginning o the annual Torah reading cycle. D.C. Minyan will be having its annual Simchat Torah service tonight at 7. After the service there will be food and dancing. The even costs $10. More information can be found at washingtondcjcc.org/gloe.

College Night at Apex, 1415 22nd St., N.W., is tonight. Free admission with a valid college ID and a $5 cover charge without one. DJ Randy will be in the main hall with VJ Frenchie at the Video Bar. Doors open at 9 p.m. There will be $4.50 rail drinks all night. Must be 18 to enter and 21 to drink.

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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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