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Beach. Spa. Rave. Repeat.

Beach. Spa. Rave. Repeat.

 By D. David Kinney

With a bottle of bubbly on ice beside my lounge chair and the calming sound of water falling from a fountain behind me, I closed my eyes and basked in Ft. Lauderdale’s glorious sunshine. It feels like I’m a million miles away from Atlanta, but just four short hours ago I was wrestling with my suitcase at the Midtown MARTA Station.

It was an odd scene. I was riding the escalator down toward the MARTA train when a strap on my bag got caught in the mechanics. Admittedly, I was still half asleep so the ordeal took me by surprise at the bottom. Sure it was incredibly early in the morning, but I got a fantastic deal on the first flight out on Spirit Airlines. For less than $200 I flew round trip to Ft. Lauderdale on a comfy Airbus A321. You can’t argue with that.

I had never flown with Spirit and I had some initial reservations (pun totally intended); however, the airline quickly schooled me in why they’re so popular. You can choose what to pay for and what you don’t want to pay for on your flight. Some people on the plane were grumbling about being nickle and dimed… but I rather enjoyed the a la carte approach.

If you’re familiar with taking discount airlines in Europe this experience is rather similar. However, there are some key differences that make Spirit better. Unlike discount airlines found elsewhere in the world, Spirit’s website is fairly straightforward with its pricing. Yes, you will have to pay for each checked bag (which is fairly standard now) and pay for soda and snacks on board. But you also have to pay to bring a carry-on bag as well. Want to pick your seat? That is an extra charge, too.

The flight takes about two hours to get to Ft. Lauderdale from Atlanta which makes this sunny hotspot an attractive weekend getaway. When you get to the airport round up your luggage, hail a taxi and head straight to the beautiful Grand Resort and Spa (539 North Birch Road, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33304). This gay owned and operated piece of paradise is one of my favorite hotels in South Florida. It was also named one of The Travel Channel’s “Best All-Inclusive Resorts” for 2014.

With lots of great gay guys from all over the country, a clothing optional Tropical Courtyard, a sparkling swimming pool and bubbling jacuzzi, the Grand Resort and Spa has everything you could ever want at a gay beach resort. What could possibly make this oasis of vacation perfection even better? The Grand Resort and Spa is also incredibly pet friendly! If your dog or cat is under 35 pounds you can bring him or her along for the fun. Not a dog fan? Don’t fret. Pets aren’t allowed in any of the common areas.

The resort also offers five different spa packages for guests. The “Beach Essential” package is absolutely perfect for a pampered beach weekend getaway. Each person receives a body scrub, Swedish massage and an exfoliating pedicure during their stay. Have you ever experienced a deep massage after spending the day at the beach? It’s the perfect way to transition from the beach to a fun night out in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami.

Looking for a fun gay place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy some drinks? Head to Wilton Manors and check out Georgie’s Alibi (2266 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305). Whether you’re going for Sunday brunch and Bloody Marys or a good ole’ cheeseburger after hours in the surf, there is always a great atmosphere and lots of gay guys hanging out.

The food at Georgie’s Alibi is delicious, but nothing in life that tastes that good is calorie free. So grab your dancing shoes and join the always hopping crowd at The Manor (2345 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305). This two-level nightclub isn’t very far from Georgie’s Alibi and regularly features international DJs and well-known singers on their large stage.

Whether you’re dancing the night away in Ft. Lauderdale or sitting poolside at the Grand Resort and Spa, this is a great weekend getaway from Atlanta. It won’t break the bank, and there is so much to do you’ll undoubtedly be planning your next trip on the flight home.

Posted in Eats, Health & Beauty, Nightlife, Opinion0 Comments

3 Honeymoon Hotspots

3 Honeymoon Hotspots

By D. David Kinney

With all of the work and stress that comes before a wedding you’ll certainly want to pick a honeymoon destination where the two of you can relax, connect and form memories that will last a lifetime. So picking the perfect honeymoon vacation spot is crucial. Make sure your choice accommodates both of your interests. A dream vacation to Fiji may not be the best option if your partner hates the beach. Here are our top three picks for honeymoons in 2014.

Porto, Portugal – OLD WORLD LUXURY

Portugal is a romantic slice of Europe that is often overlooked when planning jaunts across the Atlantic. Gay marriage has been legal here since 2010 and there some incredible hotels. We suggest staying at The Yeatman (Rua do Choupelo, Vila Nova de Gaia 4400-088) in Porto. This breathtaking hotel is a foodie and wine lovers paradise and one of the most romantic properties in southern Europe. Splurge on The Bacchus Suite and enjoy your private fireplace and standalone brass jacuzzi. Ask the hotel concierge to arrange a trip to the Douro Valley and discover where the region’s famous Port is made. Follow the famous drink back to the Port houses near the hotel and take a tasting tour. This is one tour you can’t miss in Portugal whether you’re already a connoisseur or you’ve never tried it in your life. Ready to explore the local nightlife? The hottest gay club in Porto right now is Zoom (Rua Beco Passos Manuel nº40 4000-385) and it is one raucous party. Expect a packed house with gorgeous guys and large, lavish drag performances.

Bora Bora – FRENCH POLYNESIAN PARADISE

Hop a flight to the South Pacific and step onto a true island paradise in Bora Bora. This tiny island is part of the French Polynesian collectivity and the flight from Atlanta takes approximately twelve hours. That may sound like a long time in an airplane, but the location and hotel we’ve picked out are worth it. Book a bungalow at Le Méridien Bora Bora and experience the ultimate in honeymoon bliss. Whether its glass floors allowing you to see the sea life below your room or your own traditional Kaïnalu canoe, Le Méridien offers a honeymoon experience like no other beach resort.

Telluride, Colorado – COLORADO ALPINE ADVENTURE

Flying into Telluride can feel as adventurous as tackling any double black diamond ski slope. Pilots have to change altitude quickly to go in and out of the airport because of the the towering mountains surrounding the city. Stay in the beautiful and rustic Lumière Telluride, a boutique property appointed with rich leather upholstery and cozy fireplaces. It’s the perfect place to snuggle up with your new partner after a day in the snow. Ask the concierge to plan an adventure on snowmobiles to see the breathtaking Wilson peak. You may know it better as the mountain peak that turns blue when your Coors beer can turns cold. Surrounded by picturesque evergreen trees and wispy, powdery snow a snowmobiling trip can be romantic and a real adrenaline rush.

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Hey Girl Hey!

Hey Girl Hey!

Holler Poodles!

I just want to take a moment to say thank you to all of my friends, family, and fans who came out to support all of the Valentine Day shows at Paris on Ponce. Your support made the event an overwhelming success and I couldn’t be happier with the result. It was so good to work with Alicia Kelly, Raquell Lord, Maya Montana, Mariah Balenciaga, Envy Van Michaels, Angelica D’Paige, Smokin McQueen and Coco Couture. We all had a great time entertaining you! Thanks also to all the people behind the scenes who made the show possible.

Mary Edith Pitts FENUXE Atlanta Gay Drag

And now for my makeup tip/trick sponsored by Atlanta Costume. Every drag queen and glam girl wants and little sparkle in their life and with Ultra Bright Powder, you can have as much or as little as you like. Ultra Bright Powder feels feather light and sparkles like miniature diamonds. Stunning applied dry on bare skin, over makeup, or blended with our Sealers for a durable, high gloss finish.

It is a colorless sparkle powder which can be used on its own or on top of a matte color to give any makeup a highly reflective sparkle. Finer than glitter, but more reflective.  Sticks nicely to the skin, but washes off easier than glitter.

I’ve used this myself and under lights it sparkles like Swarovski crystals. Clint from Atlanta Costume used it when he played Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last summer. He used it on top of Aztec Gold Lux Powder and says “I looked like a disco ball.”

Every drag queen or club kid should have this in their makeup kit. 

FENUXE Gay Atlanta Make-Up Tip

Love and lashes!

Mary Edith Pitts

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please contact me at [email protected] or on twitter @maryedithpitts

Posted in Columns, Hey Girl Hey, Opinion0 Comments

Underwood Endorses Gay Marriage In A Truly Christian Way

Underwood Endorses Gay Marriage In A Truly Christian Way

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

In light of recent events regarding the anti-gay freedom of religion bill that was vetoed in Arizona, is still pending in Georgia, and is now gaining momentum in Mississippi, we thought we’d pick up on a story that may be a couple of years old, but holds just as great importance today.

In 2012 country singer Carrie Underwood made headlines when she came out in support of gay marriage. Now, there is nothing new about a celebrity endorsing gay marriage, but the twist with Underwood was that she based her reasoning and endorsement on her Christian faith. Initially, she stated:

“As a married person myself, I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry. I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.”

Carrie Underwood then went on to say that God wants Christians to love others, and that she and her husband (pro hockey player Mike Fisher) attended a gay-friendly church.

Her statement is worth repeating in a time where it seems many people of faith feel that their freedom of religion is under attack, and where religious groups feel the need to fight back – and the weapon seem to be discrimination and fear. Because isn’t Carrie Underwood way of reasoning the truly Christian way of going about the whole thing? Doesn’t it say repeatedly throughout the Bible that you should ‘love thy neighbor’? Even though the world is changing at a rapid pace, it is possible to fuse religion with more progressive ways of thinking – just take a lesson from Carrie Underwood.

Source: The Blaze

Posted in News, Opinion7 Comments

Anti-Gay Bill Vetoed in Arizona

Anti-Gay Bill Vetoed in Arizona

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial bill SB 1062 yesterday—also called by some a religious freedom bill and others an anti-gay bill because the legislation could sanction discrimination in the name of religious freedom. The bill was first introduced Jan. 14, and was passed by the state Senate 17-13 on Feb. 19. Subsequently it passed the state House 33-27 on Feb. 20, and was luckliy vetoed on Feb. 26.

After the Arizona veto all eyes are on Georgia, where a similar bill, HB 1023, has been proposed. So far, it looks like the support for the bill is already disintegrating, but we’ll have to wait until late March, which is when the Georgia legislative session is expected to decide. If the bill gains support of the leadership in both state House and Senate there is a potential that the bill could be passed in Georgia.

Source: msnbc.com, Politico

Posted in News, Opinion0 Comments

Delta Soars With Anti-Discriminatory Statement

Delta Soars With Anti-Discriminatory Statement

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Big thumbs up to Delta Airlines, which is famously headquartered here in Atlanta, for taking a stand against the potential passing of the discriminatory bill HB 1023, which could  give individuals, businesses and other entities, including government employees the right to refuse service and thereby discriminate against gay people based on their supposed religious beliefs.

In a statement released on February 25, it reads:

“As a global values-based company, Delta Air Lines is proud of the diversity of its customers and employees, and is deeply concerned about proposed measures in several states, including Georgia and Arizona, that would allow businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. If passed into law, these proposals would cause significant harm to many people and will result in job losses. They would also violate Delta’s core values of mutual respect and dignity shared by our 80,000 employees worldwide and the 165 million customers we serve every year. Delta strongly opposes these measures and we join the business community in urging state officials to reject these proposals.”

Read the statement right here.

Way to go Delta – and we hope that many more of Georgia’s major corporations rally with Delta on this one!

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Is SB 1062 Discriminatory?

Is SB 1062 Discriminatory?

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

Right now Arizona is considering passing a so-called religious freedom bill. The bill, which goes by SB 1062, is designed to allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs. And Georgia is right behind Arizona’s lead vying to pass the same legislation, earning Georgia a significant spot in the national debate about a similar bill named HB 1023.

These bills, that are nothing but profoundly discriminatory, are perhaps born out of fear or even worse bigotry, but the underlying truth is that they are some kind of counterreaction to how rapidly this country has changed within the past few years, where especially the topic of gay rights has been on the forefront of massive national change. The cultural hotspot is for many equal to the undermining of the freedom and ability of individuals of faith to act according to their religious beliefs. Many people of faith even feel that liberty of religion is in decline in this country.

The proposed  bill gives business owners the right to refuse service to people that offend their religious beliefs. But as it is pointed out in the embedded Anderson Cooper interview with Arizona Republican State Senator Al Melvin, the same legislation could be used to refuse service to a pregnant unmarried woman, because she, according to the Bible, is sinful. A fact that is adamantly denied by the senator, because ‘ who would refuse service to a pregnant woman?’ only underlining the absurdity of this bill.

As things stand now The LGBT status is not a protected category under federal law (although maybe it should be?), so in effect, there is nothing prohibiting business from refusing to serve any customer, including gays, in the first place. These newly proposed laws are simply codifying a right that already exists, so this is basically institutionalizing discrimination.

The supporters claim they are protecting their religious freedom, which is already protected under Civil Rights. So, these new laws are by no means providing any additional protection to people of faith, but are in fact formalizing the right of religious people to discriminate against others based on their supposed religious beliefs. And for now the main target seems to be gays!

So yes, SB 1062 is profoundly discriminatory and if the bill gets passed in Arizona and/or Georgia (with HB 1023) we have so far only seen the tip of the iceberg of the legal, social, and political absurdity of these laws.

The deadline to sign this anti-gay bill into law is this Friday.

For a more in-depth look and opinion on SB 1062 and HB 1023 please look for a full article on the subject in our upcoming Law & Politics Isuue out on March 13th.

 

Source: AJC, CNN, NPR

Posted in News, Opinion0 Comments

Gay Is The New Pro

Gay Is The New Pro

By Mikkel Hyldebrandt

There has been a lot of controversy and media attention surrounding the fact that NFL draft prospect Michael Sam could possibly become the first out gay pro NFL football player. He has proven time and time again that he can stand up for himself, that he can indeed handle the spotlight and even put most arguments concerning his homosexuality to rest. But he will not become the first openly gay athlete in men’s major league team sport in the U.S. Not because he isn’t poised to become a pro football player, but because Jason Collins, a NBA player who signed with the Brooklyn Nets just yesterday and later appeared in his first game for the team, has superseded Michael Sam.

There hasn’t been the same media attention surrounding Jason Collins’ draft (until now), so he has yet to experience how it is to have practically all the attention focused on his sexuality rather than on his game. A fact that Michael Sam himself commented on during his latest press conference:

“I wish you’d say, ‘Hey Michael Sam, how’s football going? How’s training going?’ I’d love for you to ask me that question. But it is what it is. I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player, instead of Michael Sam the gay football player.”

Regardless of the enormous emphasis on the sexuality part both Michael Sam and Jason Collins are clear indicators that times are indeed changing. Now, we have an openly gay athlete in the NBA, and soon the NFL will follow (fingers crossed!). After that, our eyes will inevitably turn to the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball to see if they too have the strength and courage to support an openly gay team player.

Source: Advocate, Huffington Post 

Posted in News, Opinion0 Comments

Emory Homophobe Joins “America’s Next Top Model” Cast

Emory Homophobe Joins “America’s Next Top Model” Cast

By D. David Kinney

Its been four years since we first learned about Adam Smith, a former Sigma Nu Fraternity member who graduated from Emory University in 2010. But we didn’t learn about Smith because of his academic pursuits. Instead we learned from the Emory Wheel that Smith reportedly stayed in Atlanta after graduation where he became abusive and violent toward a younger gay student. Now Queerty is reporting that “America’s Next Top Model” has selected Adam Smith to be part of their Cycle 21 cast.

FENUXE Gay Atlanta America's Next Top Model CWIn 2010 the Emory Wheel quoted the bullied gay student:

“At first, when I walked into the party, some people were taking pictures of me and appreciating, if you will, what I was wearing,” he said. About half an hour later, however, another attendee — confirmed by multiple witnesses as recent alum Adam Smith (’10C) — took the student’s wizard hat and began questioning him. “This guy approached me and asked why I was wearing my hat. … I said that I like the hat, just as you like your pink shirt. He then asked me if I was gay, and I said I was. He then started choking me with his elbow and put me into a head lock, and he dragged me out of the party by my neck.” After the student was allegedly dragged the approximately 10 to 15 feet from the house’s common area to the door and thrown onto the front lawn, Smith was overheard telling other attendees “Hey, this kid’s a f****t.”

Adam Smith didn’t back down. He submitted a statement in response to articles in the Emory Wheel and on Queerty arguing that he isn’t a “homophobe”:

“I do not know the individual that I kicked out of the party. If I knew his name I would have already sent him a sincere and personal apology for the incident that occurred.

I am in NO WAY at all a homophobic person. I have many friends at Emory who will vouch for me as a friendly guy and a genuinely great person.

This article paints me in an unfairly negative way. It was originally written and published without my input at all, using accounts by the Wizard and his friend(s) only. I was told earlier tonight that an article had just been posted about me online. I shockingly read it in its entirety, including that “Smith was attempted to be reached for comment but did not respond.” For the record, I received zero emails, calls/texts, Facebook messages…I am sure if anyone on the Emory Wheel staff put in any sort of honest effort to contact me they easily could have. I tracked down the editor of the Wheel’s cell phone number and called him at 2am this morning, asking how this could have happened. He talked with me briefly, wrote down a few comments, and then informed me that the hard copy of the Wheel had already been printed but agreed to add in what I had to say in the online version.

If Emory wants to bring the issue to light that the student body and/or Greek system is unfriendly toward the LGBT community, and that “instances of violence [against LGBT] have been less visible on Emory’s campus”, I think this is a cheap, irresponsible, and unfair way to go about doing it. To take this hazy, isolated incident, blow it out of proportion, and turn me into a scapegoat and slander my name is ridiculous. I think it is unprofessional reporting and would hope for some sort of apology from the Emory Wheel.

Further there was not any “approving reaction” from the crowd at the party for me putting this kid in a headlock and throwing him out, nor was I walking around bragging to other people that I just kicked “this faggot kid” out of the party, high five bro…Really?? This whole dumb event occurred because I was drunk and thought it would be funny to throw someone out to the wrath of the huge security guard at the door, and the most ridiculous person that naturally stood out to me was this Wizard dressed kid. I purposely egged him on a little bit, he snapped back at me, and I threw him out.

So chalk this up as me being a drunk asshole, a frat guy with too much testosterone, or whatever you want to call me I really don’t care. I just want everyone to know that that’s literally all it was, that’s the honest truth. I’m not some ignorant bigot looking to bash homosexuals, so please don’t think that. I hope the Wheel in the future will find better content to publish, rather than turning something small like this into an inflated and untruthful story in order to spark artificial controversy at the cost of an individual like me.”

Did Smith seriously think being drunk is an excuse for being violent toward another person? The actions that Smith chose to take against the gay Emory student are inexcusable. Despite Smith writing that he wanted to apologize to the abused student FENUXE has been unable to find any reporting that confirms an apology was made. We sincerely hope that Adam Smith eventually realized that his actions were wrong (and potentially criminal) and that he made an honest apology.

This was one guy acting like a huge jerk. It is true that Adam Smith was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity; however, it would be unfair to broadly paint all Sigma Nu’s as being anti-gay or homophobic. I was a member of Sigma Nu Fraternity in college and I’m an openly gay man. Additionally, there are numerous out and proud Sigma Nu brothers and alumni throughout the country. Even with all of that said… homophobia and gay bashing remains a serious problem on college campuses and especially in fraternities. It is time that this issue be seriously addressed in our nation’s schools and colleges. Bullying doesn’t magically stop after high school.

This all happened four years ago. Let’s hope and pray that Adam Smith has learned the error of his ways and has changed for the better. Either way… I’m not rooting for him. 

Posted in Opinion4 Comments

Hey Girl Hey!

Hey Girl Hey!

Holler Poodles!

I just got back from the most spectacular spa/beauty treatment ever as a treat from Fenuxe Magazine. Located in the heart of midtown at Mansley Mall, the new spa designated for the gay community is called Gay Spa Day Spa: Girl, Get Yo Body Did! Featuring half naked menszezes in scantily clad clothing (i.e., jockstraps, thongs, and/or a smile), your happy ending is both guaranteed and assured.

As I entered the building sideways, I was greeted with twinkie Michael who ushered me into a suite complete with every conceivable luxury a drag queen could want. Picture it, Sicily, 19 Aught 2, a beautifully appointed suite with what looked like a water wall feature. Upon closer inspection, the beautiful stone wall with its golden waters splashing down its slate walls seemed oddly familiar–with an acrid aroma and upon inspection, surprisingly warm and welcoming temperature. Michael instructed me it had antiseptic and healing qualities so I quickly dowsed my face in its warmth.

Michael then instructed me to disrobe and since I’m not shy, I started removing my moo moo and peeled my white-ish thong out of its cavernous confines. There I stood nude and vulnerable in front of this twinkie whom I wanted to suck his creamy deliciousness from… but I resisted.

Admittedly, I had let my grooming schedule relax since the onset of the fall and winter months. While I usually kept my carpet trimmed down to a berber or sometimes even a hardwood floor, I was sporting a full on 70′s sculptured shag resembling afro puffs and errant adornments (i.e, lint, and possibly a troll doll). Michael whipped out an industrial hedge trimmer and quickly pruned my bush and shrubs. Ahhhh, relief!!

Next up, he pulled out a belt sander and proceeded to sand my hoofs and nails down to a fine pedicure befitting a queen. Next Michael asked me if I would like any anal bleaching done, and I replied, “Why, what have you heard?” He suggested I might benefit from a thorough Cloroxing so my backdoor can be pink and bright instead of dull and brown. Although it burned like hell, I must admit, I haven’t see it that pink since i was a schoolgirl.

My final treatment was a massage that definitely provided a release. Just not the kind I was expecting. I had gotten so relaxed that I accidentally on purpose let a little gas escape. Michael fell to knees gasping for air and my eyes started to burn and I started to heave so I ran out of the spa down the pathway into the adoring eyes of my fans at LA Fitness. All together they cheered “Looking fabulous Mary Edith.” I knew then I had found my new spa. All in a days work.

Love and lashes,

MEP

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please contact me at [email protected] or on twitter @maryedithpitts.

Posted in Columns, Hey Girl Hey, Opinion0 Comments

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