Comedians We’re Proud Of: Brad Loekle | Advocate.com

If you’ve ever set sail on a gay cruise with Atlantis Events, then you may remember (or better yet, not remember) getting drunk with Brad Loekle. His racy and bombastic style of comedy has landed him a headlining spot on cruises in more than five continents.

If staying home to watch TV is more your speed, then catch him every Thursday making fun of the

World’s Dumbest on TruTV. His summer calendar is packed with shows all over the country, so do yourself a favor and get out of the house. You won’t be disappointed by Loekle.

Comedians We’re Proud Of: Brad Loekle | Advocate.com.

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PHOTOS: Europe’s 11 Best Prides for Summer 2013 | GayCities Blog

Summer’s nearly here, which of course means that Pride season is about to return with a bang.

But if you think Prides are pretty much the same everywhere, maybe it’s time to check out one (or more) these European versions, where national differences – and all those gorgeous old buildings as backdrops – add some truly unique flavors to the celebrations.

To jump start you in your travel planning, we’ve picked out the top Prides happening on the European continent this summer. And to give you a taste of what you’re in store for once you get there, we’ve

gathered a bunch of hot Europics from previous years’ events.

So enjoy the view. And Happy Pride.

via PHOTOS: Europe’s 11 Best Prides for Summer 2013 | GayCities Blog.

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Celebrate LGBT History at Key West Pride 2013

Travelers should not overlook Key West Pride, which takes place from June 5 to June 9 —particularly since the city of Key West has made its own contributions to LGBT history.

In New York, it was the 1969 Stonewall Riots that eventually initiated the tradition of gay marches in the U.S; and San Francisco is known for The Castro and Harvey Milk’s political work.

But travelers should not overlook Key West Pride, which takes place from June 5 to June 9 —particularly since the city of Key West has made its own contributions to LGBT history.

Key West has been home to lesbian and gay writers such as the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Elizabeth Bishop and playwright Tennessee Williams.  It was the first U.S. city to have an openly gay mayor.  It was even the first travel locale to reach out to the gay community. The Key West Business Guild (KWBG) organizes Key West Pride, and was started as a non-profit in 1978 to encourage LGBT travelers to visit the island.

“Key West has always been an accepting island,” said Pete Arnow, Community Liaison of KWBG.  Arnow also noted that same-sex couples have “always been able to hold hands here.”  Furthermore, he spoke about how the LGBT community and straight community have created a sense of togetherness:  “The motto [of Key West] is One Human Family.  And it truly is.”

This year, Key West Pride 2013 stays true to the motto, and celebrates another moment in LGBT history: The 10th Anniversary of the “Sea to Sea Rainbow Flag.”  In 2003, Gilbert Baker, the designer of the Rainbow Flag, created the “World’s Longest Gay Pride Flag” for Key West Pride.  When it was finally displayed, the flag covered the distance of Duval Street, which is located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Baker has been named the Parade Grand Marshall for Key West Pride 2013.  Other featured events for the 10th Anniversary of the “Sea to Sea Rainbow Flag” include a meet and greet with Baker at La Te Da Hotel, and a documentary film screening about the flag, “Key West, City of Colors.” Although there is a cash bar at La Te Da, both events are free.

In fact, Key West Pride has a number of free events.  The 6th Annual Key West Pride Film Fest presents two free films: I Am Divine, a documentary about the star of John Waters’ Pink Flamingoes and Hairspray; and deepsouth, a documentary on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Southern United States.

The Barefoot Wine Pride Beach Clean-Up is a free event that helps the environment.  Volunteers who are of drinking age will be provided with wine and appetizers afterwards.

Several venues offer events without a cover charge.  Whether it’s a women’s pool party at Lighthouse Court, 70s/80s dance music at Pearl’s and 801 Bourbon Bar, or happy hour at Alexander’s Traffic Light Party — all have no cover.

Families with children can enjoy the Conch Cruisers “Show Your Pride” Bike Ride, the Street Fair, and the Parade.

Other events vary in price from $10 to $50.  Arnow recommends that visitors “get out on our waters.”  Sailing, snorkeling and other water escapades can be found with Venus Charters, Fury’s Key West Pride Ultimate Adventure, as well as other companies on the Key West Pride website.

In the evenings, there are cabaret shows, or comedy and music like The Kinsey Sicks, known as “America’s Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet.”

Key West is “only the size of Central Park in New York,” said Arnow.  “But a lot can happen here…we invite everyone to come to Key West Pride.”

via Celebrate LGBT History at Key West Pride 2013.

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Long Beach’s Young Gay Vice Mayor on Why You Should Visit His City | OUTTraveler.com | The Standard of Gay Travel

California’s seventh-largest city often lives in the shadow of its largest (L.A.), but Long Beach’s handsome vice mayor wants you to know his city is worth coming to.

Long Beach was once thought of as the gritty little sister to Los Angeles; the Oakland to San Francisco, the Newark to New York. But the city has been on an upswing, constructing bike lanes and building green space, while the city’s large LGBT population helps gentrify formerly rough sections. Long Beach, with nearly half a million people, is renown for its diverse, raucous Pride festival, which happened earlier this month.

The city’s out vice mayor and city councilman, Robert Garcia, is a young man on the move, who will no doubt be rising in the political ranks. We asked Garcia to give us five reason why LGBT travelers should make the trek to Long Beach. Here’s what he said:

1) Long Beach is home to the only park in America named after Harvey Milk. The park includes a replica of Milk’s famous soapbox, a local leaders plaza, and a pride rainbow flag that flies 365 days a year. In addition, the park is adjacent to the Promenade in Downtown Long Beach, an incredibly active open space with craft brew pubs, and great restaurants.
2) We have an incredible waterfront that includes the Aquarium of the Pacific, LGBT friendly establishments, and boat tours of the harbor. The Queen Mary is always a great destination, and the Atlantis Cruise docks from Long Beach to Mexico every Fall.
3) Long Beach boasts over 12 local gay bars and nightclubs, and numerous gay owned businesses. LGBT residents and tourists will also feel welcome in almost all local bars and restaurants.
4) The city is centrally located between Los Angeles and Orange County so every destination is only 20 minutes away. From Disneyland, to West Hollywood, to Downtown LA, Long Beach sits in the center of all the Southern California action.
5) We were one of only 10 cities in the nation who received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign City Equality Index. Long Beach has led the way on LGBT issues in city government, employee benefits and municipal law. We have 2 openly LGBT members of the City Council, and a community who overwhelmingly supports equality for everyone.

via Long Beach’s Young Gay Vice Mayor on Why You Should Visit His City | OUTTraveler.com | The Standard of Gay Travel.

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Disney Gay Day Expected To Draw 170,000 Guests

The 23rd annual Disney Gay Day is expected to draw 170,000 guests to the Orlando, Florida, theme park. Walt Disney World has never publicly endorsed the event. However, they have prepared for this weekend’s festivities by stocking up on red and rainbow themed merchandise.

Orlando’s Gay Days started out as “Gay Day” in 1991. Around 3,000 guests representing the GLBT community, and their supporters, were encouraged to visit Disney World on the first Saturday of June. The guests were asked to “Wear Red and Be Seen.”

As explained at GayDays.com, the event has morphed into a week-long celebration in the city of Orlando. The main event remains Gay Day, which is still celebrated at Disney World on the first Saturday every June.

This year Disney Gay Day is expected to draw close to 170,000 guests. In the last 23 years the event has gained international attention and support. Disney expects to make quite a profit from the influx of guests over the weekend.

As reported by the Orlando Sentinel, Disney does not display the word “gay” on any of their merchandise. However, they have stocked up on everything in rainbow and red colors. Disney World spokeswoman Bernadette Davis explains that the colorful merchandise is an attempt to “offer a wide range of merchandise items that appeal to guests of diverse backgrounds.”

Marcus Blake was visiting the park with his partner this week. As they tour the park regularly, he and his partner were surprised to find the rainbow merchandise on display:

“We kind of think it’s funny that Disney doesn’t sponsor Gay Days, but they cater to us. We were here just a couple weeks ago — and they didn’t have that shirt. But they put it out for this weekend.”

The event has sparked criticism and controversy throughout the last 23 years. They have been admonished by Pat Robertson and numerous conservative religious groups. Despite the controversy, the event is now endorsed by Orlando’s Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners.

Walt Disney World may not endorse Disney Gay Day, but they certainly enjoy the additional profits generated by 170,000 guests.

via Disney Gay Day Expected To Draw 170,000 Guests.

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Gay Days Orlando: Rainbow Mickey merchandise part of Gay Days experience – OrlandoSentinel.com

Earlier this week, Disney began to sprinkle merchandise throughout its parks with designs including rainbows, symbol of the gay-pride movement. Red tank tops with rainbow-colored Mickey Mouse heads began arriving in shops along Main Street USA a few days ago. They were paired in store displays with other rainbow items usually found in the parks year-round, such as rainbow pins and antenna toppers.

A rainbow mug can be had for $12.95; a rainbow wallet for $14.95. Mickey Mouse Vinylmations in rainbow — $12.95 apiece — were also prominently displayed.

“We offer a wide range of merchandise items that appeal to guests of diverse backgrounds,” said Walt Disney World spokeswoman Bernadette Davis.

Disney has sold such products in years past. This year’s merchandise, which makes no mention of Gay Days, was being snapped up Thursday by people in town for the event.

Chuck Stickler, who visits Disney about every six months from San Antonio, picked up a rainbow Mickey T-shirt, which went with a rainbow Mickey pin he bought years ago.

“I look good in red. Everybody says it,” he quipped, adding later: “I’m happy to see some Gay Days merchandise — well, it’s not really Gay Days merchandise, but rainbow Mickey merchandise.”

Gay Days’ organizers say they expect 170,000 people to participate in some aspect of this year’s event, which started Tuesday evening and runs through Sunday. In addition to visiting Disney World, participants have a range of planned events from which to choose across the tourism district and the rest of the Orlando area, including a Taste of Gay Days restaurant exposition, a charity auction, pool parties and other social gatherings.

Gay Days, which is based in Orlando, expanded its reach to the Western half of the country last fall with the introduction of Gay Days Las Vegas. And that inaugural event created extra buzz for Gay Days Orlando, organizer Chris Alexander-Manley said.

“Actually, we have a lot of people here that were at Gay Days Las Vegas last year. And that was the first time they had attended one of our events,” he said.

Marcus Blake and David Mendelson, who said they regularly attend Gay Days, bought red rainbow T-shirts as they toured Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of Gay Days’ Thursday agenda. It’s not often they see such rainbow merchandise in the giant resort’s stores, they said.

“We kind of think it’s funny that Disney doesn’t sponsor Gay Days, but they cater to us. We were here just a couple weeks ago — and they didn’t have that shirt. But they put it out for this weekend,” said Blake, who’s from Tampa.

Blake has watched Gay Days grow since his first visit in the late 1990s. One positive development, he said, is that the event has lost a lot of its shock value.

“The first couple of years that I came, those who were not participating in the Gay Days festivities were kind of shocked to see the large number of red shirts and what it represented,” he said. “[Now] we have friends who come here with their

via Gay Days Orlando: Rainbow Mickey merchandise part of Gay Days experience – OrlandoSentinel.com.

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