Is the Dominican Republic ready for its gay close-up? It’s a slow zoom, increasingly coming into focus.
Last month, the CHIC Punta Cana, the all-inclusive resort (or “all-exclusive” as the brand boasts) hosted the second annual Caribbean Pride. For one week, the expansive resort turns into an adult playground packed with pool parties, drag shows, culinary workshops, and a slew of fitness activities—all geared toward the LGBTQ traveler…
Learn more about Caribbean Pride and how the Dominican Republic is emerging as a gay travel destination, by reading the rest of my article, published in EDGE Media Network.
Want to hang on to summer just a little bit longer? Pride Season is not yet over!
This weekend IQ is heading to the powdery-soft beaches of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, for the second-annual (my first) Caribbean Pride. Held at the luxury, adults-only, all-inclusive CHIC Punta Cana over seven days packed with pool parties, beach parties, foam parties (yes, that’s still a thing apparently) and whatever kind of party you can imagine.
There will also be shows from beloved Toronto queen, Miss Conception, culinary classes, cocktail samplings and even a broad range of fitness activities for those who… do fitness activities while on an all-inclusive gay vacation.
This summer, the cultured traveler is looking beyond the coasts and discovering a contemporary art center in America’s heartland. With the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, the city of Cleveland has commissioned more than 100 local, national and international artists to join the city’s evolving transformation into a prominent cultural center. And everyone’s invited to the party. After all, in 2014 Cleveland hosted the Gay Games, an international sporting event for LGBTQ athletes and their allies, and in 2016 hosted the Republican National Convention that nominated Donald Trump. (For the record, Cleveland voted for Hillary Clinton by 66.1%). It is the rare city where everyone is welcome, and where the moxie of its people is on par with their midwestern charm…
This summer, the contemporary art world is converging in Cleveland. Through September 30, the city hosts the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, engaging the region with over 100 programs by international, national and local artists. From traditional museums to repurposed spaces, the Cleveland Triennial is enabling art lovers to explore the city’s major attractions and travelers to revel in world-class contemporary art.
One of the highlights, The American Library by artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, fittingly displayed in the Cleveland Public Library, celebrates the diversity of the United States—never more topical than with the backdrop of the immigration debate, the President’s controversial travel ban and the recent outcry over the separation of families at the border. The American Library consists of approximately 6,000 books, each wrapped in a traditional African textile and stamped in gold with the name of a first- or second-generation immigrant to the United States. And the featured Americans will surprise you: from Leonard Bernstein to Scarlett Johansson to—yes—Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. Though the backgrounds are all different, each person shares a common bond, they are the American product of immigration.
Curious about an individual’s background?
Head to theamericanlibraryinstallation.com to research the cultural heritage that has shaped each of these Americans. I was particularly drawn to the stories of those who are actively fighting against immigration, though they themselves have greatly benefitted from our nation’s history of welcoming other cultures. For example: Ted Cruz, born in Canada to a Cuban father; or Donald Trump, whose mother is from the U.K. and paternal grandparents are from Germany.
Chances are, you have your own immigration tale. Visit the website to add your story and photograph to the expanding narrative.
Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, Miami Beach Gay Pride shifts into party gear on Friday, April 6, with a VIP Gala at Faena Forum and Pride Kick-off Party at Basement in the Edition Hotel. On Saturday, the festivities move surf-side with the all-day Beach Party Festival, featuring DJ Yazz, DJ Dan Slater and a performance by Betty Who.
Starting Sunday at noon, the Pride Parade struts down Ocean Drive and keeps the party pumping past nightfall with music, fireworks and a headlining performance by perennial pop favorite, Taylor Dayne. For a view fit for a queen, reserve a table at the recently reopened Palace, alongside the Pride Parade route.
It’s the season of resolutions–the time to plan this year’s travel, uncover new destinations and fantasize about exotic trips you may or may not ever take. But with so many “top travel lists” how do you focus your exploration? Fear not. Traveling IQ has combed the pages, clicked the links and collated the suggestions from the most trusted travel publications, to find the ultimate destinations for IQ’s 2018 Travel Top Trilogy.
NEW ORLEANS – Photo courtesy of NewOrleans.com
New Orleans leads the pack as the American city most recommended by travel publications. Celebrating its tricentennial in 2018, the Big Easy promises to make its 300th birthday party a year-long event. And you’re invited! Whether you chomp on po’boys or savor fine Creole cuisine, guzzle Hurricanes down Bourbon Street or sip craft cocktails in hotel lounges, saunter through historical walking tours or dance along with extravagant parades, New Orleans requests the honor of your presence.
MALTA – Photo courtesy of Flickr/DRAS
Malta is stepping into the spotlight in 2018. The small island country off the coast of Sicily has a “vibe that is Mediterranean with a North African twist,” says Travel & Leisure. Already a popular European beach getaway, this year, the world’s artists will descend on Valetta, Malta’s capital, named a 2018 European Capital of Culture. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, Valetta boasts Baroque architecture, prehistoric temples and the enviable characterization as “Europe’s sunniest city,” with more than 300 days of sunshine each year.
PYEONGCHANG, KOREA – Photo courtesy of Flickr/Korea
South Korea will be on full display as PyeongChang hosts the 2018 Winter Olympics next month. Now an easy commute with the launch of a high-speed rail connecting the resort town to Seoul in 70 minutes, you can tour the Olympic village, attempt your own Triple Axel, and still make your dinner reservation in Seoul’s trendy Hannam neighborhood. After dinner, don’t forget to stroll through Seoullo 7017, the city’s new high-line park, lined with 24,000 plants atop an elevated former highway.
(These destinations were chosen from the top lists of the New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, CNN, Frommers, US News & World Report, Lonely Planet, Afar, the Guardian, Rough Guide, LA Times and National Geographic.)
Attention gay sports fans (and allies!): Miami Beach and Miami will host the World Outgames in 2017, marking the first time the sporting event is held in the United States.
Sponsored by the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA), the World Outgames–a gay-inclusive Olympics of sorts–takes place every four years in a different global city.
Included in the Miami Beach-Miami bid were proposals to host a human rights conference, a diverse cultural program, a World Outgames Village, opening and closing ceremonies, and 30 sporting events over 10 days, all under the South Florida sunshine.
Consider this your four-year warning: It’s time to squeeze into the Speedo, dust off your running shoes, or bedazzle that figure skating costume.
Before winter hibernation, New York City bears are having a ball, and you’re invited to flaunt your PETA-approved fur for a good cause. For the first time, the city’s LGBT Community Center (commonly called “the Center”) is expanding their popular gay bear dance party, Fur Ball, into octoBEARfest: “a week-long celebration of everything furry.”
The Fuzzy Wuzzy festivities kick off with sustenance. On Monday, October 1, the boys will celebrate Bear-BQ at Bone Lick Park restaurant with $3 shots and drafts, $3.50 margaritas, and 35¢ wings. Tuesday brings the Bears & Beers fundraising dinner, with unlimited food and drinks and optional VIP bourbon tasting, at 508 Gastrobrewery.
To help you find the perfect napping partner after all that food, the Center will host Bear Bating on Thursday, October 4, a speed-dating event for bears and their admirers; and then the big daddy event of the week, Fur Ball on Saturday, October 6.
Headlined by DJ Corey Craig, Fur Ball’s estimated 900 guests will take over every floor of the Center, with two dance floors, go-go-bears, and an outdoor garden. And more importantly, all proceeds benefit the Center, whose programs range from hosting arts and entertainment events, advocacy groups and family gatherings, to offering youth, recovery and wellness programs.
So let your hair down, wear your God-given fur out, and celebrate for a Grrrrrrreat cause.
Atlantic City is striking a delicate balance these days: honoring its legacy as one of America’s best-known casino enclaves while broadening its appeal with sleek new resorts, celebrity-chef restaurants, and even the AC casino industry’s first gay nightclub.
On August 9, Atlantic City will gamble on a new balancing act. At 3pm, the “King of the High Wire” Nik Wallenda—the man who earlier this summer walked the high wire from New York to Canada over Niagara Falls—will perform a high wire walk above the city’s famous boardwalk. Traveling 1,300 feet from the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel to the Tropicana Casino and Resort, Nik will balance more than 100 feet in the air without a safety harness.
Free and open to the public, the event will launch the Wallenda family’s new acrobatic show at the Tropicana, tempting fate through September 22.
Amsterdam’s Milkshake is bringing all the boys and girls to the Westerpark yard on Sunday, July 22.
Under the tag line, “For boys who love girls who love girls who love boys who love boys…” the inaugural Milkshake Festival will present five stages, featuring music, dancing, performance art, and an all-out celebration of Amsterdam’s liberal character.
As stated on their website, the outdoor festival will promote a strict “Free Love & Tolerance” policy, inviting everyone to be themselves: “Life is a party thanks to the great diversity of skin colors, religions, sexual preferences and male and female forms… Thick, thin, small, large, gay, straight, trans, travo, black or white: people are the salt of the earth and this is what we celebrate!”
So check your attitude at the gate, and take a big gulp of Amsterdam’s thick, frothy, all-welcoming blend. Confused? Don’t worry, they can teach you, but they’ll have to charge… an entrance fee of 32.50 euros (about $40).