TODAY (Feb. 1)
Studio Gallery (2108 R St., NW) has its first Friday reception for “Shadows” by Peter Karp today, featuring photographic images in juxtaposition to found objects, cutouts and geometric shapes, and “Rough/Smooth/Evolving” by Trish Palasik, a play on rough and smooth textures on the surface of figures. For more information, visit studiogallerydc.com.
Touchstone Gallery (901 New York Ave., NW) is hosting the opening reception for the exhibition “Unfiltered,” paintings by Leslie Nolan, this evening at 6 p.m. Nolan’s portraits take a glimpse into people’s raw and vulnerable lives. The evening will include wine and music by Tom Rohde playing classical, Brazilian and Spanish guitar. For more information, visit touchstonegallery.com.
Town (2009 8th St., N.W.) hosts Bear Happy Hour tonight from 6-11 p.m. This event is for people 21 and older. There is no cover charge. Later in the evening, the club will be hosting “So, you think you’re a drag queen?” to find the newest drag talent in the area. Contestants will be judged on performance ability, outfits, attitude and the ability to navigate a contest that requires them to do “ridiculous feats of drag-agility!” This will be a monthly contest. In order to participate, sign up during the drag show a month before the contest. The club will take the first six contestants who sign up. Winners will receive $200 and the title of the month’s winner. All winners are eligible for a final competition at the end of the year. For attendants of the show, the cover is $5 before 11 p.m. and $10 after for anyone 21 and older. For 18-20 year olds, cover is $10. For details, visit towndc.com.
Saturday, Feb. 2
The La-Ti-Do anniversary party takes place tonight starting at 6 p.m. at Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Ave, NW). La-Ti-Do is Washington’s only weekly musical theater and spoken word cabaret series. Attendees are asked to RSVP on Facebook and to give $5 at the door. For more information, visit blackfoxlounge.com.
A memorial for Deoni Jones, a transgender woman who was murdered last year while waiting for the bus, is being held early this morning from 2-4 a.m. The family of Jones will be holding a candlelight vigil. This will be one year since her death and it will be held at the exact place where she was murdered, the intersection of Sycamore and East Capital St., NE. Everyone is welcome to come out to show their support for the family and to continue to raise awareness on the issue of violence against the transgender community. Those with questions or wanting to volunteer, contact Amy Loudermilk at [email protected]. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.
Burgundy Crescent volunteers this morning at Food and Friends (219 Riggs Rd., NE) at 8 a.m. and again at 9:45 a.m. Volunteers will help with food preparation and packing groceries. The shifts are limited to 10 per shift. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.
Burgundy Crescent, a gay volunteer organization, volunteers today for the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation at Falls Church PetSmart (6100 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, Va.) starting at 11:45 a.m. For more information, visit burgundycrescent.org.
CODE’s “Uniform Night” is tonight from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. at Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, NW). Those in head-to-toe uniform (Army, Air Force, Navy, etc.) get in half off. Gear, rubber, uniform and leather dress code is strictly enforced. Doors open at 9 with open bar from 9 to 10 p.m. Cover is $10. Join CODE on Facebook for full details.
Sunday, Feb. 3
Metropolitan Community Church (474 Ridge St., NW) holds its weekly 9 and 11 a.m. worship services today. The church is mostly LGBT and communion is open to everyone. For more information, visit mccdc.com.
Monday, Feb. 4
The D.C. Lambda Squares holds its new dance series starting tonight at 7:30 p.m. at National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle, NW). The only square dance club located in Washington, the group invites everyone to learn square dancing in just 16 Mondays. No special outfits, partner or prior dance experience is needed. The cost is $100. For more information or to register, visit dclambdasquares.org.
Tuesday, Feb. 5
The Washington, D.C. International Food and Wine Festival starts tonight at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW). The Wine Tasting Room is free and open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m. every day of the event, which ends Feb. 9. The festival also holds signature events everyday as well as seminar series events. The festival offers individual tickets to the events as well as a combination of packages. Tickets vary from $35-$200. The signature event for this evening is the Regional Food and Wine Celebration beginning at 6:30 p.m., featuring several regional wine and food pairings that have evolved over centuries. The cost of this particular event is $95. For more information, visit wineandfooddc.com.
Green Lantern (1335 Green Court, N.W.) hosts its Safer Sex Kit-packing program tonight from 7-10:30. The packing program is looking for more volunteers to help produce the kits because they say they are barely keeping up with demand. Admission is free and volunteers can just show up. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.
Wednesday, Feb. 6
Gallery B (7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E, Bethesda) opens a February exhibition featuring photographers Howard Clark, Martin Evans, Stephen Hoff and Dave Montgomery today at noon. The opening reception is on Feb. 8 from 6-9 p.m. in conjunction with the Bethesda Art Walk. For details, visit Bethesda.org.
Foundry Gallery (1314 18th St., NW) features “Paintings After Hitler” by Jay Peterzell today at noon. Peterzell’s pastels observe the watercolors by Adolph Hitler and become an examination of Hitler’s political and sexual psychology. This exhibition is part of the gallery’s annual show of new members, including Ana Elisa Benavent, Maruka Carvajal, Meg Mackenzie and Naomi Taitz Duffy. For more information, visit foundrygallery.org.
Bookmen D.C., a men’s gay literature group, meets at Tenleytown Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave, NW) tonight at 7:30 p.m. to discuss “February House: The Story of W.H. Auden, Carson McCullers, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten and Gypsy Rose Lee, Under One Roof in Brooklyn” by Sherill Tippins. For more information, visit bookmendc.blogspot.com.
The Tom Davoren Social Bridge Club meets at the Dignity Center (721 8th St., SE) tonight at 7:30 p.m. No partner is needed. For more information, visit lambdabridge.com and click “Social Bridge in Washington, D.C.”
Thursday, Feb. 7
Howard University hosts “Birthday Suit: Were You Born Like That” tonight at 7 p.m. in the Blackburn Center (2400 6th St., NW). Birthday Suit is a series of events that highlights the way “people are born.” The first two parts of this series discussed the “History and Ideas Surrounding Natural Hair and Beauty in the Black Community” and how “All Shades are Beautiful.” Part three will be discussing whether homosexuality a choice and the LGBT community in the black population. For more information, visit thedccenter.org.
Quito and the Galápagos on Celebrity Flora: blog #4
Turtles, iguanas and birds abound
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.
D.C. Travel and Adventure Show to highlight LGBTQ travel
Event to take place at Walter E. Washington Convention Center this weekend
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
PHOTOS: Cupid’s Undie Run
Scantily-clad joggers face freezing temperatures for a cause
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)