When in 2015, the governments of the Mexican state of Jalisco and its capital Guadalajara began a bid to host the Gay Games in 2022, they unwittingly set the city on a path to LGBTQ-awakening.
The Gay Games are an LGBTQ-Olympics of sorts, whose mission is to promote equality through sport and culture. They’ve been held every four years since 1982 and have grown into an internationally-popular event that in 2018 brought more than 10,000 participants to Paris.
For Guadalajara, the three-year bid process signified a shift in focus for a government that had not previously engaged the LGBTQ tourism market…
Why merely relax when you can transform? The Muluk Spa at Hotel Xcaret Mexico is your gateway to the ancient traditions and healing practices of the Mayan culture. As you enter the spa’s expansive, open-air lobby you immediately connect with the lush topography of Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Excavated from a rocky hillside of this jungle region, the spa opens onto a private river that runs through the entirety of Hotel Xcaret.
For those interested in moving beyond the pampering into the spiritual, plan to visit Muluk Spa on a Wednesday when their Shaman will guide you through the complete Temezcal experience. This traditional Mexican sweat lodge, dating back to Pre-Hispanic times, is not for the faint of heart (quite literally) or those particularly sensitive to heat (your body temperature can exceed 104°F). But it is through the sweat that you cleanse of toxins both physical and emotional… (continue)
Do not throw away your shot to see the musical Hamilton… while on a Caribbean vacation…while contributing to rebuilding Puerto Rico.
On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, knocking off power to the entire island, devastating homes and landscape, and creating a humanitarian disaster on the U.S. territory.
By August 2018, the death toll had risen to 2,975. (The number of casualties has since increased.)
But while the devastation was vast, Puerto Rico has been steadily rebuilding, reopening and reviving its tourism market. In an effort to continue his support for the island, Lin-Manuel Miranda will once again star in the title role of Hamilton, when the Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning musical plays San Juan from January 12 to 27, 2019.
As expected, general ticket sales (which went on sale November 10) quickly sold-out, but limited tickets are still available through trip packages offered by Discover Puerto Rico. Additionally, premium tickets sold for $5,000 each, will raise money for Miranda’s Flamboyan Arts Fund, dedicated to strengthening arts on the island.
Puerto Rico wants visitors to know they are open for business. Remember the S.O.S. photo that went viral immediately following Hurricane Maria? The plea has evolved into an invitation and a message that we are “Bienvenidos” on the island. Catch a glimpse of the progress in the touching video below:
You can play a role in the rebuilding effort merely by visiting. Be in the room where it happens and let the theatricality of Hamilton affect you while effecting positive change in Puerto Rico.
Life moves fast. Traveling IQ is here to help you travel smart, with favorite travel essentials to keep you on track for a smooth, comfortable journey.
Rest comfortably while traveling and arrive refreshed at your destination. The Trtl Travel Pillowlooks and packs like a scarf but is designed with the internal neck support needed to hold your head in a comfortable sleeping position. It is lightweight, soft on your skin, machine washable and half the size of the old-school U-shaped travel pillow. It’s the travel pillow designed for those who value looking smart and feeling awake. Price: $29.99 at trtltravel.com
YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES
Life’s special moments are sweeter when shared. And more impressive when captured as stunning high-quality videos and professional grade photographs. The ANAFIis the first flying drone to offer a 4K HDR camera and the capability to tilt vertically with precise digital stabilization. It is also portable, easy to assemble and embedded with Artificial Intelligence and automated flight modes. From high above, the ANAFI will capture your special moments with cinema resolution videos and image rendering, even in dark or overexposed areas. Smile! Price: $699.99 at parrot.com
BE BEACH READY
A beautiful beach is a terrible thing to waste. But who wants to carry a bulky towel on every adventure? The Dock and Bay Classic Travel Towelsuse a unique microfiber blend which is super-absorbent, quick-drying and sand-resistant. Most important, the towels are compact, lightweight and won’t collect musty smells. They come in different colors to suit your style and in a handy pouch for easy carry. Price: $12 at dockandbay.com
A HAT FOR ADVENTURE
Fearless explorers can also maintain beautiful skin. The Alchemi Labs Expedition Hat blocks 99.8% of UVRays and reflects 80% of the sun’s heat waves. The hat’s moisture-wicking sweatband will keep you dry, while the dark olive green and khaki color-motif will keep you looking like an adventurous Indiana Jones…with a really good dermatologist. Price: $39 at alchemilabs.com
AN EAR FOR MUSIC
It’s a noisy world out there. With the Bose QuietComfort 35 IIwireless headphones, you can control the soundtrack of your journey. Their unique Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology constantly reacts to outside noise and cancels it with the opposite signal for the clearest sound around. And now the headphones are optimized with access to Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, for full control of your entertainment and daily managing duties. Price: $349.95 on bose.com or amazon.com
Photo from Black Panther film (Source: Heroes & Sheroes)
The badass looks of Black Panther are bringing a blast of Wakanda to Pittsburgh, before embarking on a world tour.
Currently on display at the Heinz History Center, “Heroes & Sheroes: The Art and Influence of Ruth E. Carter in Black Cinema” showcases the costumes, career and inspiration behind Academy Award and Emmy-nominated costume designer, Ruth E. Carter, the woman who helped create the cinematic worlds of Malcolm X, The Butler, Selma, Amistad and Black Panther, among others. “The exhibition is a celebration of film culture, Black culture, African culture, American culture,” said Carter.
The multi-media exhibit uses sketches, stills, behind-the-scenes media and (of course) costumes to celebrate a thirty-year career, while tackling the complicated ways in which underrepresented communities are displayed in film. “I will have to rethink ever dressing a young African-American man in a hoodie in a film ever again,” Carter said after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
“Heroes & Sheroes” will be on exhibit in Pittsburgh until December 2, before touring to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Paris, with additional cities planned.
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.
Aerial view of Los Haitises National Park in Samana, Dominican Republic
As your plane descends toward the Samana airport, you’ll see postcard-perfect views of a natural paradise: rolling hills of lush, green forests pressed against countless kilometres of pristine beaches. The Samana Peninsula, which juts from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, is about a four-hour direct flight from Toronto or Montreal, but a worlds-away tropical escape for the entire family.
Partly because of its geographical positioning, Samana has retained a unique identity from its resort-packed sister cities. Up until the Samana Highway was finished in 2009, the five-hour drive from Santo Domingo kept the province isolated even from other Dominicans. Now a 2½ hour drive from its capital and with increasing flight access to Canada, Samana is ready to welcome tourism to its unique topography and cultural history. Pack your swimsuits in the suitcase and your curiosity in the carry-on, and prepare for a combination of adventure and relaxation…
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.