Monday, August 11, 2014

History Made in Las Vegas - First International Gay New Year's Eve Celebration

Guests from Six Continents Celebrate on the Las Vegas Strip


Las Vegas, recently voted Favorite American Destination by OutTraveler Magazine, is the host city for an exciting new event, Evolve Vegas NYE (New Year’s Eve).  #EvolveVegas is a 3-day gay New Year’s Eve experience that will bring men from more than 30 countries, on six continents, to the city that provides non-stop fun, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Hosted at the world famous, MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Evolve Vegas NYE takes place December 30, 2014 – January 1, 2015 and offers shows, receptions, parties, dining, shopping, tours and more.  And for those who want to continue the fun, a weekend in West Hollywood, California, one of the hottest gay meccas in the U.S., takes place January 2-4, 2015.

“I am so excited, as this will be the first time in my 30 year Las Vegas career that I will be performing for an all gay audience.  Finally, I can do pop-culture jokes that everyone will get!  This night is going to be one Big Party!” says Frank Marino headliner of the Divas Las Vegas. Celebrating the 25,000th show this year, Frank Marino’s Divas is one of the most spectacular production shows in the city, and is just one of the many events included in the Evolve Vegas NYE experience.

The event will kick off with a private VIP reception, featuring Zumanity performers and champagne, followed by the sensual Cirque du Soleil performance that offers a seductive twist on reality.  Zumanity makes the provocative playful and the forbidden electrifying and allows you to leave all inhibitions at the door and let loose as this adult-themed production takes you on a sexy thrill ride full of sensational acrobatics and naughty fun.

After the show, guests will party at the official opening reception at Liaison Nightclub at Bally’s Hotel & Casino.  With unrivaled décor, a top-tier sound system and impeccable service, Liaison, the first gay nightclub in a Las Vegas Strip resort, offers guests an elegant experience with hot entertainment and DJs spinning until the wee hours of the morning.

Day Two is a free day to shop, explore the city or experience the beautiful landscapes of Southern Nevada including the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Red Rock, Valley of Fire, even Mt. Charleston which features snow skiing….yes snow in Las Vegas!
 
New Year’s Eve will kick off with another VIP party, before opening up to the main celebration at the Havana Nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip.  This event will also welcome local gays, as well as hot DJs, exciting entertainment, special guests, seductive dancers, complimentary cocktails and a private VIP fireworks-viewing from the patio of the club.

If that’s not enough, Day Three offers the Mob Museum in Old Vegas, The High Roller at the Linq, the VooDoo Zipline at The Rio, or Madame Tussauds at The Venetian. There are many more to choose from and the activity of choice is included in the package.  That evening a historical first is taking place with the private showing of Divas Las Vegas, only available to Evolve Vegas NYE guests. This energetic show starring Las Vegas’ longest running headliner, Frank Marino, features an all-star cast of superstar female impersonators who not only recreate, but almost uncannily duplicate the likenesses of stars ranging from Liza Minnelli to Britney Spears.   Guests also have the option to see Jubilee! The Showgirl Reborn, with seductive male and female dancers, rhinestones, feathers and exquisite stage productions.  After the shows, the festivities will continue at Share Nightclub, a gay ultra lounge with a hip nightclub downstairs and a private Ultra Lounge and bar on the second floor.

CONTINUE THE PARTY IN WEHO
For those who would like to extend their stay, a limited number of tickets are available for a weekend in West Hollywood, California.  Transportation will be provided on luxury motor coaches for the short 4-hour ride through the Mojave Desert, and luxury accommodations have been booked at the Sofitel Hotel at Beverly Hills, a stunning property offering elegant European accommodations and dramatic décor.  On Friday night, guests will have the opportunity to sample all of West Hollywood’s gay nightlife and festivities with special offers for Evolve Vegas NYE participants.

Shop along Rodeo Drive, visit the Santa Monica Pier, experience the West Hollywood scene or relax in your room on Saturday afternoon and enjoy a blowout party at the Here Lounge at night.  After a tasty brunch on the patio of the Sofitel, guests will head back to Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon for one last fling, or fly home from Los Angeles and start the New Year pumped up from an amazing week on the West Coast of the USA!

According to Evolve Vegas NYE Marketing Director, Donovan Kaneshiro, “Evolve Vegas NYE has been very carefully designed to provide a unique experience for our guests from the USA, as well as those coming in from Amsterdam to Australia and everywhere in between.  There has never been a New Year’s Eve event like Evolve Vegas NYE in North America, and we are excited to bring this first-of-its-kind experience to Las Vegas.”

Evolve Vegas NYE packages are inclusive of hotel, land transportation and all events.  Remaining availability is limited, book your package by visiting http://www.EvolveEvgasNYE.com, which is available in seven languages.  You may also contact Evolve Vegas NYE at donovan@evolvevegasnye.com for more information.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Perfect Beach Weekend Getaway: Sand Blast July 18-20 - Atlantic City

New York City may be surrounded by water, but hitting the beach has never been one of the city's charms, and destinations like Fire Island or The Hamptons can seem like an exclusive club unless you've got a house there. Sand Blast, the 3-day beach party extravaganza on the Jersey Shore, has developed a well-earned reputation for being one of the most friendly & fun gay events on the east coast and helped turn Asbury Park into a gay mecca. Now with its move down the Jersey Shore to Atlantic City, how will this year's blast change?

“When I first began producing Sand Blast and inviting people to come to Asbury Park we had a lot of negative reactions from people who’d see the town in years past when it was downtrodden and could’t imagine this town ever coming back again.  But one thing about us gays:  We absolutely LOVE a fixer up and Asbury Park was just that”  says Brad Hurtado, the founder & producer of Sand Blast, now in it’s thirteenth year.  "But those who did join us in those early years found a welcoming community, a fantastic beach scene and throngs of fun loving men and women aching to escape the city heat and have a big gay vacation on the shore.   This July in Atlantic City we’re giving our guests the perfect summer beach getaway they’re hungry for,” he affirms.

After building Sand Blast in Asbury Park for over a decade the move down the shore wasn't a decision Hurtado made lightly.  “Sand Blast was a key component of Asbury Park’s rebirth and gentrification and I love how gay friendly the city's become, but with only 350 hotel rooms in town and our guests filling them all we simply outgrew them.  Our guests like to come for the entire weekend and when there weren't any more rooms they would make other plans.  Atlantic City stepped in and offered us incredible hotel rates, plenty of rooms, stunning venues to party in and tons of support.  This will be the biggest and best Sand Blast ever.”

Sand Blast’s main event is their iconic Beach Party on Saturday, July 19th with music by the internationally renowned producer & DJ Joe Gauthreaux, and located on the amazing Bungalow Beach with a feel and look that is right out of Mykonos.   Sunday’s super fun Riptide Pool Party & Tea Dance will be at the outrageously beautiful Harrah’s Pool with music by DC’s Ed Bailey and Brett Henrichsen.

Their three nights of parties start with the Urge Underwear Party on Friday with DJ Nando,  Saturday night’s Deep Blue with Barcelona’s Phil Romano & NYC’s Eddie Martinez, and Sunday nights closing party, Kahuna with DJ Escape.


One of the features of Sand Blast that makes it so popular is that it draws the circuit crowd, the sporty gays plus those who just want a beach weekend surrounded by eye candy and fun entertainment options.   Atlantic City’s historic gay beach in front of The Claridge Hotel was just re-dedicated by the city’s first gay mayor, so definitely check that out, plus the city’s gay entertainment options this weekend are plentiful and include a gay burlesque show at Scores, the hilarious beach Drag Race & Handbag Toss and the erotic Savage Men show.   And if that’s not enough, join one of the gay beach volleyball tournaments for both men and women on Saturday.


With so many hotels in Atlantic City in competition for Sand Blast the producers have been able to negotiate an amazing rate staring at $170 a night at The Claridge Hotel, which is the location for Friday night's notorious URGE Underwear Party with DJ Nando and hosted by The Maverick Men, Xtube’s Most Popular Couple, who are returning to Sand Blast for their fourth year.

Getting to Atlantic City has always been easy with hourly jitneys leaving from Port Authority direct to the shore, but if you want to ride down with other NYC boys the Sand Blast team has selected three departures on Friday (4:30, 6:30 and 8:30PM) and three Saturday morning (7:30, 8:30 and 9AM) that they’re encouraging guys to book to make the trip a gay old time.   Check out the Sand Blast travel page to book one of these $51 round trips which include free gaming and food vouches.    Guests who are staying at The Claridge Host Hotel are being offered a free party bus to Atlantic City complete with live DJ exclusively reserved for Sand Blast guests so let the games begin!

To book today, click here:
http://sandblastweekend.com/Hotel_2.html

Website:  www.SandBlastWeekend.com

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Struggle for LGBT Rights in Myanmar

By Steven Wozencraft and Chris Westling

Aung Myo Min peered over his soda with a wide smile on his face. As the Executive Director of Equality Myanmar, he recounted spending most of the past quarter century as a political exile in Thailand. Excited to be back, he hurriedly told us about the many issues facing Myanmar’s LGBT community and how they intersected with the human rights concerns of women, ethnic minorities and religious minorities in the rapidly changing Southeast Asian country.

Known to many as Burma, Myanmar has been ruled by a military junta for the better part of five decades. But since 2010, the government has slowly announced reform after reform bringing the country closer and closer to democracy.

Our team flew into Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, last month with a delegation of social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and philanthropists. We had come with the Aspen Institute, the Richardson Center for Global Engagement, and the US Department of State.

As we drove through the city we witnessed the tangible impacts of recent liberalization. Billboards advertised the pending launch of the country’s first independent mobile phone operators. Newsstands were packed full with daily publications that had been, until recently, logistically impossible due to government censors. At the same time, the country is rife with human rights concerns – the government has been accused by human rights groups of systematically cutting off medical aid to the country’s minority Muslim population in the west.

Among the country’s human rights concerns are the rights of Myanmar’s LGBT population. There have been numerous reports of individuals being violently targeted for their actual or perceived sexuality. With decreased media censorship, these cases have become increasingly well documented. At the center of the discrimination is an official countrywide ban on homosexual conduct – a relic from British rule still present in many former colonies. Referred to as by its legal title of Section 377, this law has had a detrimental impact on the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country and has become one of the primary focuses of local human rights groups.

We met with Aung Myo Min of Equality Myanmar in Yangon. By collaborating with human rights advocates focused on women’s rights, ethnic minority rights, and religious minority rights, Equality Myanmar is helping to build more inclusive and secure Myanmar. “I spent decades living in as a political exile because of my human rights work,” said Aung Myo Min when we met him at a coffee shop in the city’s center. “But I have returned – there is just too much work here to be done.

Read Steve's expanded article on Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-wozencraft/cautious-optimism-in-myan_b_5432538.html

Friday, May 23, 2014

Eat your way through Copenhagen when Copenhagen Cooking opens its doors for the 10th time

From 22 - 31 August the summer edition of Copenhagen's food festival Copenhagen Cooking is being held for the tenth time and the people behind Copenhagen Cooking are busy planning the programme. Over ten days, Copenhagen's restaurants, streets and lanes - as well as some rather unusual spots in town - will be bristling with gastronomic events. More than 150 unique events will be taking place and they will cater for all tastes, whether you're into a spit roast at one of the city's central squares or a gourmet dinner accompanied by a musical piece composed specially for the dinner.

There will be both tried and tested events as well as brand new ones on offer on the festival programme, which has not yet been published. The events, Taste the World in Prague Boulevard, where a number of Copenhagen restaurants with international cuisine offer small dishes at special prices, and Nordic Taste where top restaurants from Scandinavia offer tastings at Gefionspringvandet (Gefion Fountain) and for the first time there will be a Nordic Taste Kids area.

”We are really looking forward to welcoming another summer edition of Copenhagen Cooking. This year is particularly special to us because it's the tenth time we've opened the doors to a mecca of unique culinary experiences.  Copenhagen Cooking is wide ranging and includes both popular public events as well as very elitist gastro events. A common factor they all share is that those participating offer a unique dining experience that is specifically designed for Copenhagen Cooking”, says Lasse Fridberg Bilstrup, Head of Development for Copenhagen Cooking.

When Copenhagen Cooking opens its doors for the tenth time on August 22, once again - just as during the festival's winter edition - the focus will be on feeling, under the main theme of ‘Taste of Emotions’.  The theme that emphasizes that food experiences and emotions are intertwined - interpreted freely by each of the festival's participants and event organisers.

Copenhagen Cooking is for everyone

Other events on the programme are Cooking Kids, where children are allowed to compete in their cooking skills, the Risotto World Championships in Torvehallerne (food market) and a food walk in connection with Ecco Walkathon's charity route.  The programme also includes unique gourmet experiences at Copenhagen Airport; a pop-up restaurant that will challenge your view of the world for a few moments through taste, imagination and dialogue.

Once again this year, Copenhagen Cooking's events will be divided into a number of sub-categories, which offer unique food experiences for everyone, whether you are into large, public events or high-level gastronomy. Interested parties can find events under categories such as: ‘Nordic Summer’, ‘Gourmet experiences’, ‘Hidden places’ and ‘Kids’ Cooking’ etc.

Basically, you can find everything from a dinner at a Michelin restaurant to a culinary experience taking place in an unusual place in the city that does not usually host dining experiences.
The first part of Copenhagen Cooking's programme will be published in mid June on: www.copenhagencooking.com.

Copenhagen Cooking, arranged by Wonderful Copenhagen and a number of the city’s gastronomic players, has existed since 2005 in an August edition and since 2011 in a winter edition. Copenhagen Cooking is a tribute to the country's food culture, Nordic cuisine and our local produce. Copenhagen Cooking's summer edition takes place next time from 22 - 31 August 2014.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

PinkBananaTravel.com

Also part of the GayMonde.com family of LGBT travel-related sites from PinkBananaMedia.com


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sparkling Hill Resort Welcomes the LGBT Traveler

Nestled in the vibrant hills of the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia's Wine Country, is the LGBT-welcoming Sparkling Hill Resort... Luxury on Lake Okanagan.

The Okanagan Valley has become quite popular as one of the top ten wine regions in the world, and their local Mission Hill Winery recently won the coveted International Trophy for ‘World’s Best Wine’ at the 2013 Decanter Awards in London, England for their 2011 Martin Lane Pinot Noir against the leading wineries in the world.. "World's Best Pinot Noir."  In addition, Travel & Leisure named Mission Hill Winery’s Terrace Restaurant as 1 of the top 5 winery restaurants in the world... “it is the centerpiece of the Canadian wine tourism industry and one of the most glorious dining experiences in the world.”


As such, the Okanagan Valley has become one of the most sought after locations for destination weddings, and the Sparkling Hill Resort has become one of the top resorts in Canada for hosting incredible LGBT weddings.


Swarovski crystal-infused Sparkling Hill. Astonishing. Over 3.5 million crystals infused within this modern oasis – a most remarkable hotel and wellness center with European-inspired design elegance. Nestled in the mountains near Vernon, British Columbia, and overlooking Lake Okanagan, your personal journey to whole body health and wellness begins here.



KurSpa, their 40,000 square foot European-inspired spa, clinic, and wellness center is the largest spa in Canada and shines brightly as a worldwide wellness destination. Relax, renew, and revitalize at KurSpa's seven unique aromatherapy, steam, and sauna rooms. Swim in Kurspa's serenity pool featuring underwater music and a Swarovski crystal night sky. Choose from over 100 transformative spa treatments and therapies to detoxify the body and promote optimum health. Consult with our professional team including their naturopathic physician, psychiatrist, massage therapists and kinesiologists. Or, experience the first European Cryotherapy Cold Sauna (-110°C) in North America, their signature KurSpa treatment.

Take in the stunning beauty of the Okanagan Valley from Sparkling Hill's luxury guest rooms and penthouses, which feature sweeping lake and mountain views and operable floor to ceiling glass window walls that can be opened to instantly transform your room into an outdoor oasis. Swarovski crystals illuminate fireplaces, fixtures and ceilings, lending a luminous and luxurious ambience to every space.



Sparkling Hill Resort is also home to the best fine dining destinations in Vernon, BC. PeakFine, their signature restaurant, serves a menu emphasizing the freshest and finest ingredients the Okanagan Valley has to offer. Known as the "Napa of the North" the region's spectacular wines and our own specially-curated Crystal Wines are on offer at PeakFine and Barrique & Java, their more casual wine, tapas, and coffee bar. Stunning Swarovski crystal chandeliers and accents imbue their dining spaces with glamour and elegance, and those seeking an elegantly rustic setting for private dining or special events will find it in Gernots.





Recognized as a trendsetter in healthy living and wellness hospitality, Sparkling Hill Resort is a distinctive destination for the modern sophisticated traveler. Whether planning a couple's escape, corporate wellness retreat, or incentive travel, this British Columbia resort delivers an unforgettable blend of relaxation, restoration, and wellness. Please explore their website; their entire team looks forward to welcoming you to Sparkling Hill Resort on your personal journey to whole body health and wellness.







LGBT #Hashtag RoundUp: #OutInThailand

Welcome to our first of a new series we're launching here at Pink Banana Media... the LGBT #hashtag RoundUp.  These are "social media stories" told by the folks out there Tweeting, posting their photos to Facebook and Instagram and sharing their videos on YouTube and Vine... all using a unique #hashtag and posting with a purpose!

For our first LGBT #hashtag RoundUp, we've chosen Thailand... as a destination, they've been incredibly successful in utilizing social media in their LGBT marketing outreach, starting with the work Carlos Melia (www.CarlosMelia.com / @CarlosMelia) did for Tourism Authority of Thailand (www.tourismthailand.org and www.gothaibefree.com / @ThaiGayTravel) in 2012 and 2013 and culminating in an LGBT trip in April/May 2014, bringing together a variety of LGBT travel writers, tour operators and travel agents including Out Adventures, Man About World and more.

Their adventures are told below in Social Media Storyboard format, where their Tweets... their Instagram photos and their Facebook posts are brought together to tell a unique story about Gay & Lesbian Travel to Thailand, as told through the power of Social Media and technology today.

(Click images below to view larger Social Media Storyboard image)









For a current and more detailed view, including live links to everything you see above, go to https://www.tagboard.com/outinthailand



The Interpersonal Marketing Strategy by Pink Banana Media
This type of outreach is just a small part of the Interpersonal Marketing Strategy developed here at Pink Banana Media, bringing together more traditional marketing such as banner ads, e-mail and PR, and merging that with the power of social media and #hashtag marketing.  For more information, go to: