Gay Travel in London

view of london from the thamesWe flew out of the States a few months back to tour Paris and London which are two places I have always wanted to see as a tourist, art admirer, and clubber. I really hate calling myself a tourist but when you are walking around with 2,000 or so others doing the same thing that is mostly what it is. Even at the Tate Modern museum of art and waiting in line for the London Eye you are mobbed in with many others there for the first time which is a neat experience.

taft modern art museum london from wobbly bridgeWe thought we needed to book our flight months in advance but because tourism was down this year the flight was not as full as we had expected. We could have just saved the interest we would have earned and booked the flight closer to August 5th when we left town. It took so long just to figure out where we were going to stay and if that hotel was close enough to the things we wanted to see.

Turns out the hotel I stayed at at Sheridan Belgravia was not really close to the clubs or things I wanted to see. It was close to some real expensive boutique shopping at places that did not do much for me. I enjoyed the quiet area though after walking around in Soho and other places it was relaxing to come back to the Sloane Square area.

If you wish to stay near Trafalgar Square which is close to most anything then I recommend staying at the Citadines studio apartments hotel which seems fairly inexpensive or the Hotel Adelphi Hotel just walking distance to Heaven Nightclub.

As you know the US Dollar just sucks compared to the EURO and is literally nothing compared to the British Pound Sterling. The British Pound really ripped my credit card statements a new one when it was finally tabbed up. I was better off using a Capital One card that reimburses the foreign transaction fees or an American Express card that only charges 2% instead of the Visa/MasterCard’s that I used. I found that going to an ATM helped out because most of the clubs took cash anyway unless you charged up a minimum of 20 Pounds or so.

So when you get online to try and find someone over in London to hang out with it is not very easy. You have to figure out the neighborhoods and kind of map things out to know where people are and if they are close to you. I mostly got online to find some people to go clubbing with or if someone knew what clubs were happening on what nights.

A few things you need to know are words like Lad and Camp. Two words that I am not used to using. I thought a camp was somewhere you walked around with a flashlight and slept in a tent.

What is Camp?  When you try and find someone to hangout with online using Manhunt.net or Adam 4 Adam you might run across “lads” that are saying they do not want boys that are camp.  I had to ask because I had no idea what it meant.  Camp means flamers or queens and they are requesting that they want someone who is more straight acting or masculine.  I prefer someone in the middle myself – someone too straight is boring and someone too gay is just too much fun.

hot boy on horseback guardWays to find guys to hang out with in London is using Gay.com chat, Adam 4 Adam, and Manhunt.net. You can also use DudesNudes.com and sites such as GayRomeo.com. I found Craig’s list to not be used as much in the UK. You will have more luck just going out and meeting people at the bars and clubs than online because online everyone seems so far away from each other and never close enough to your tube station.

Here is a previous article we wrote on gay youth in london. The best shows to see are Billy Elliott and Wicked.  Billy Elliott features music from Elton John and is a story about a boy growing up dancing… very entertaining.

A must when you are visiting London for the first time is to download this free guide which is the Official Gay and Lesbian Guide.  This was the best resource imaginable and told places to dine, drink, dance, and things you need for planning your trip to the UK.  I carried this guide with me everywhere or certain pages of what I intended on doing that day and it helped me navigate the city better than anything else.

Hurricane Gustav To Cancel Southern Decadence?

BREAKING NEWS (New Orleans, LA)
UPDATE 1: State of emergency declared in Louisiana as Gustav nears.  The hurricane has not made its way through the Cuba area but a State of emergency has been declared.  I would change plans now for Labor Day weekend.

UPDATE 2: NHC Has Gustav making landfall around 8pm (not 8am as stated earlier) on Monday but the outer bands of the storm should be there around 12 hours earlier.

Could Hurricane Gustav Cancel Southern Decadence? Looks like Chi Chi LaRue may be moving her wigs to another city as the winds blow the direction of New Orleans disrupting the big gay Labor Day festivities.

It was exactly this time three years ago that Southern Decadence was going through the same worries with a hurricane headed its way. They had no idea that it would do the damage it did to New Orleans even though the TV meteorologists kept repeating that the flooding was possible. The gays that were supposed to party at the gay version of mardi gras in NOLA either did not go there that year at all and canceled their vacations for Labor Day weekend or they went and got the hell out of town when they were told its time to leave and abandon the city entirely.

This year the 5-day cone issued from the National Hurricane Center on the NOAA website projects that New Orleans is in the track of Hurricane Gustav which could be a Category 4 hurricane. We could see a repeat of Labor Day weekend from 2005 which is three years ago tomorrow. The official National Hurricane Center track has this storm hitting New Orleans as a category 3 or 4 Monday morning at 8 am.

Remember If you have to cancel your trip to New Orleans you can always come to Austin for the weekend. There is Splash weekend going on and that is where all the cute boys are headed anyway. The storms should not reach Austin until after the Labor day festivities. Come on down to Austin and party it up with the big boys of University of Texas nearby. Better be safe than sorry!

You may not even get the chance to be trapped in New Orleans because I have read that they will not allow anyone into the city Friday if this happens.

If a Category 3 or stronger hurricane comes within 72 hours of the city, New Orleans plans to institute a mandatory evacuation order. Unlike Katrina, there will be no massive shelter at the Superdome, a plan designed to encourage residents to leave. Instead, the state has arranged for buses and trains to take people to safety.

Update #2 – JustCircuit.com just sent an email about Southern Decadence to its readers stating “Please take note: all New Orleans Decadence events will take place. Threatening weather from Hurricane Gustavo is not expected to arrive until early Monday morning.” which is accurate but you must consider that a mandatory evacuation order will not be worth the risk of going to New Orleans and being stuck at an Airport or on a bus and risking others lives who live in New Orleans.  I would advise to skip this year and return next year.

Eurodance Party Music

Some of the best club music comes from Europe.  I am glad to be going there this weekend.  Instinct ran this Music for a Eurodance party and this was the countdown I meant to put up the other day instead of the Dance like a robot countdown.  This is still some of the best all-time club mixes.   One thing missing from this list is (Take Me Away) Into The Night by 4 Strings who by the way is bad ass live.  4 Strings is on the EuroDance compilation sold on Amazon.com.

You can also buy lots of these mixes on Masterbeat.com which by far the best gay dance site online where you can buy Britney to the latest from diva Kristine W.

  1. Snap! – Rhythm is A Dancer
  2. Captain Hollywood Project – More and More
  3. Real McCoy – Another Night
  4. Livin’ Joy – (I’m a) Dreamer
  5. D:Ream – U R The Best Thing
  6. Corona – (This is the) The Rhythm of The Night
  7. Culture Beat – (Calling) Mr. Vain
  8. 2 Unlimited – No Limit
  9. Alex Party – Don’t Give Me Your Life
  10. The Tamperer Featuring Maya – Feel It
  11. Amber – This Is Your Night [Diva Alert!!]
  12. Nicki French – Total Eclipse of the Heart
  13. Ace of Base – Beautiful Life
  14. Gina G. – Ooh Ahh… Just A Little Bit
  15. Urban Cookie Collective – The Key, The Secret
  16. Electronic – Disappointed
  17. La Bouche – Sweet Dreams
  18. Everything But The Girl – Missing (Todd Terry Remix)
  19. Pet Shop Boys – Absolutely Fabulous
  20. Real McCoy – Run Away

Actually, I am not sure what is so Euro about this list.  it sounds like my list of the all time favorite club anthems from the early 2000’s (some of them) and late 90’s.  Awesome list from Instinct.  Now lets go Masterbeat!

Southern Decadence, Gay Mardi Gras

If you are down New Orleans way for Labor Day weekend then you might want to join in the fun and frolics at Southern Decadence, or as it is now widely called the ‘Gay Mardi Gras’. Events start on Wednesday, August 27th and carry on through until Monday, September 1st . But what exactly is this huge homo event?

Well, according to the official website, it started 37 years ago as a simple going away party and has since evolved into one of the world’s top gay events. It is one of New Orleans’ largest annual events with over 100,000 gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and trans-gendered people turning up for it. The city’s French Quarter gets packed out all week but it is the Sunday when the ‘Grand Marshal’ leads the parade through the streets starting at two in the afternoon. Each parade is named and themed and this year, 2008, the parade is titled ‘Decadence Goes Disco’, the theme colors are black, silver and white and the Grand Marshals will be Paloma and Tittie Toulouse.

Where Bourbon Street meets St. Ann Street on the corner is where you will find the center of New Orleans’ gay world. Here you will also find the city’s largest gay nightclub, The Bourbon, and The Parade dance club with many of the city’s other gay attractions, shops, bars and clubs within a few blocks. Expect that area to get busy all day and night long as the pubs don’t close and there is a huge amount of entertainment lined up.

Chi Chi LaRue has been the hostess for the last ten years and will be back again this august to front the festivities. Other stars appearing include: Shirley Q. Liquor, Lady Bunny, Deborah Cox, Kimberley Locke, Jeanie Tracy and Thea Austin. There are cabaret shows, outdoor concerts and dance nights with Deca-Dance XX being the largest dance event of the weekend.

Sounds like you’ll want to get in there early and the good news is that you can buy tickets in advance for many of the scheduled events. To read more about what’s going on and to buy tickets you can go to the official website: southerndecadence.net where you will also see the events schedule, a map of the area, the venues and pictures from previous Mardi Gras.

I say ‘official’ website as that is what it calls itself. So does southerndecadence.com where there is information about who is sponsoring what. For example the official beer sponsors are Bud Light and the media guide is provided by Ambush Mag. There is also a comprehensive history of the event and lists of accommodation, transport notes and much more. Both sites are as good as each other for information, I just wonder why there are two “official” sites?

If you want to hear and see what goes on right now you can log into the Tube sites and do a search under ‘Southern Decadence’ I found loads of clips this way. You’ll hear guys talking about the day, you’ll see guys flashing their dicks too and this is a good way to get a flavor of the things to come. Why, there are even some websites out there that feature videos filmed at the events, mainly street parties and club movies but every now and then you’ll get someone showing himself off. You get the impression that at the New Orleans Mardi Gras just about anything goes… and that just about everything comes off. It’s a celebration and a chance for thousands of gay folk, both boys and girls, to let their hair down.

So why haven’t you bought your tickets yet?

Pensacola for Memorial Day?

shirtless guys on boatsThe big weekend is heading this way quick and we have still not decided whether to head to Austin, float rivers, or yet finalized plans for Memorial Day weekend. Last year we went to a new circuit party in Galveston but wanted to do something different this year. The picture to the left is from Lake Travis in Austin on Memorial Day weekend a few years ago. Sorry, no pictures for the Florida beach party yet…

Pensacola is on the top of our minds for the weekend because we have never been and they have a big DJ line up. I am just worried that this town only has one gay club and its ten degrees colder in Pensacola than Austin.

Here is the DJ line up and party info for Pensacola Memorial Day Weekend-

Pensacola Memorial Day starts off Thursday night (May 22) at Emerald City with DJ Jay-R with the ForePlay party. Johnny Chisholm brings back the popular beach party Friday night called Wave from 10pm to 5am with DJ Roland Belmares or the strip off contest at Emerald City. Things get sweaty with DJ David Knapp on Saturday night at the Emerald City club til 3am then afterhours at EC Warehouse until around 8am with DJ Phil B. spinning. Sunday you can see DJ Alyson Calagna spinning Friction at the only gay club Emerald City with afterhours at EC Warehouse again DJ Joe Gauthreaux. The final party is held Memorial Day Monday when it all comes to a “Climax” with DJ Dewight Barkley.

Yoga on the Dancefloor

Circuit Noize magazine has some cool stuff in it when you are looking for the latest parties in Canada, U.S., and abroad. The latest issue has something I first thought of as a way to get over seeing your ex out at the club or take your mind off of the current drama. Or maybe a new way to dance… Yoga (maybe Diva) to the Dancefloor please…

I like the idea of bringing myself closer to the music. It is when you really feel the music that you dance the best when you feel the beats and the rhythm. That is one thing that those little blue rolls can do is bring you closer to the beats but there are natural highs you can bring out in yourself and feel the music.

The managing editor of Circuit Noize just so happens to be a Yoga instructor in NYC. Here is the Strike a pose article.

Gay Days Pool Parties

gay days pool party picI almost named the title Gay Days WaterSports but some might get the wrong idea so lets just call it pool parties or “Mighty” pool events.

Springtime always goes by so fast that we barely have time to get ready for summer. There is just not enough time for all the preparing for the fun events coming our way. One of the hottest events of the Summer include the Beach Ball at Typhoon Lagoon during the Gay Days at DisneyWorld.

Beach Ball is just one of the number of events held during Gay Days…. I learned of the Reunion Pool Party last year and it was just incredible. So incredible I had to book my hotel stay this year at this resort. The One Mighty Weekend group also plans to offer an expo area similar to the Gay Days host hotel. Check out a write up from last year and some pics to follow: Note that the pics below do not do the pool parties any justice but it gives you not even a tenth of what went on during the daytime… shirtless gay men

My favorite event of the year was a crazy rain forest of different fun at Typhoon Lagoon. The real Beach Ball. Last year I saw some of the most beautiful bodies on the planet all in one place… and we did this year but it was kind of wet and rainy. The rain kind of made it erotic though because everyone was dripping and no one had to worry about their hair.  It was one big wet no-t-shirt, wet boxer contest.

The wave pool was packed because the water was warm. I do feel bad for the party producers who will deal with the wet lighting and soaked equipment while everyone else is playing in the rain. There must have been thousands and thousands of dollars of lighting outside in the rain — with a dripping wet mirror ball. Yes, a big dripping wet ball above all the dancing boys.hot shirtless twink boys

Tropical storm Barry decided to come to Florida and intrude on Gay Days but the sun came out the next day at the pool party. This was my first year of staying at the circuit host hotel (One Mighty Weekend hotel) Buena Vista Palace. I am so impressed by the pool parties here. Johnny Chisholm knows how to do an event and do it right.

We had outside pool concerts with Billie Ray Meyers who sings that song “Kiss the rain” and many others. Even our sister who sings that Cha-Cha heels song (in which I love the Rosabel mix). The pool area is decorated with florescent flowers and fabulous energizing ornaments.  The concerts during the daytime pool parties at Buena Vista were amazing and I hope they have them again in 2008.

Too many pool parties to choose from? Here is a comparison of the pool parties during the Disney Gay Days events:

Fri June 6 – DJ Don Bishop @ Buena Vista Palace12N-6pm / DJ Ronny Boy + DJ Hazmat @ Royal Plaza ($10 / Free admission as hotel guest)

gaydays reunion pool eventSat June 7 – DJ David Knapp @ Buena Vista Palace 12N-6pm / DJ Randy Bettis (12N to 6pm) @ Royal Plaza – DJ Juan Rocha 6pm -10pm – DJ Andy Ajar 10pm – 2am

Sun June 8 – DJ Phil B @ Buena Vista Palace 12N-6pm / White Pool Party with DJ Josh Riptide 12N-6pm – DJ Seth Cooper 7pm-2am / Parliament House normally also features a pool party and many model contests Sunday. Or just skip the pool party Sunday and dive in the foam at the P-house. What goes on in the foam stays in the foam..j/k…

You can buy Reunion Pool Party tickets at CircuitTicket.com for $60 for all three parties or purchase the Royal Plaza tickets at GayDays.com. The Parliament House events can be purchased here.

Gay Ski Week

view from gayskiweekI have to admit that skiing is a sport I have only tried once and, although I remember the experience well, I didn’t actually do very much. Mind you it was in Scotland in December, in a blizzard and I had had no training. Consequently I slid downhill at great speed for a few seconds before I realised I didn’t know how to stop. After purposefully falling into a snow drift I trudged back up through the snow and fog to find the café and drank hot chocolate for the next hour while my friends had a great time. I also had a great time with the après-ski as the place I stayed at had ice skating, saunas and other attractions. But it wasn’t a gay resort or skiing holiday and if you want to get into the sport with other like minded guys and gals then you may want to check out some of the functions and events I found recently.

In North America most of the gay ski weeks (as the gatherings are called) take place in the West, in places like Aspen, Park City and Whistler. Over in Picturesque Stowe, Vermont, a popular gay ski gathering has been taking place annually for over 20 years. The Winter Rendezvous, as it is called, traditionally takes place at the end of January/beginning of February. The best way to find out more about this (and other events) that I found was to visit a specialist gay travel website and browse around. For example, I discovered that it’s not just a question of turning up to a gathering and joining in. These are popular events and you are advised to book early. Bear in mind that you will need accommodation, lift passes, equipment if you don’t have your own and that entertainments may also be provided with tickets selling out fast. The Winter Rendezvous this year features a drag show and cabaret including live singers and guests DJs. Plenty of après-ski there.

The Aspen Gay Ski Week runs at a similar time to the event at Stowe and also features extras, with plenty to do after your skiing or snowboarding activities during the day. At this gathering you can expect to find club nights, costume parties, a comedy night and a pool party. The Utah Gay Ski Week, which has just taken place, included a welcome party, social dinners and meetings and a different mountain, or collection of runs to try out every day.

I don’t want you to think that the only reason guys and gals go to these gatherings is for the evening entertainment but I just wanted to point out that there is plenty to do once you have finished you’re skiing or snowboarding. Not everyone is a good skier and I didn’t find any information about the level of expertise needed to attend these events. I assume that beginners are welcome and that like most if not all ski resorts, you can pick up some training from professionals when you are there. But having the extra entertainment makes for a great holiday for partners who don’t ski, for example, so whatever your level of ability or interest, if you like the great outdoors, snowy conditions (with warm hot chocolate and cafes as an alternative), roaring fires and great scenery then you may well want to consider a ski week as an alternative holiday.

As for other countries around the world, well, after a quick search around I found events being held in France, Switzerland, Italy and Austria. For more information and details there was a great collection of news and ideas at gaytravel.about.com (search ‘ski’).