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DEADLINE FOR SEPT/OCT ISSUE IS SEPT 5TH The deadline for advertising eachmonthly release is on the 5thof each monthbefore 5pm; please call our office for any questions. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily the opinion of cityXtra Magazine, LLC or its staff. Publication of the name or photographof any living person or organization in articles or advertising in the cityX tra Magazine shall not be instructed or implication made as any indication of the sexual orientation of suchperson or organization. All copy, text, display, photos and illustrations in the ads are published withthe understanding that the advertisers are fully authorized, have secured proper written consent for the use of names, pictures and testimonials of any living person, and cityXtra Magazine, LLC may be lawfully published and cause to be made and the advertiser automatically agrees by submitting said ad to identify and hold harmless the Publisher from any and all liability, loss and expense of any nature out of such publication. The DEADLINE for printer ready graphics for the monthly publication is on the 10thof the month. Using in-house graphics department of cityXtra Magazine, LLC deadline for draft design is 5thof the monthprior to publication. In the event that an ad is accepted after deadline, the advertiser agrees by submitting suchad to indemnity and hold harmless the Publisher from any and all liability, loss, and expense of any nature that may arise from any error that may be made in such ad. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part of or in whole of this publication without written permission is strictly forbidden.

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jacksonville: Riverside Dog Park


eats: Hamburger Mary’s Stick it to Chick-Fil-A


legal: Foreclosure and Loan Modification


cover: The New Normal


Xclusive: Latrice Royale


views: We Need Some Rest


travel: West Hollywood

- Gordon Nicol

- Cover Story

- David Vandygriff

- Dr. Harvey Carr

- Joey Amato


The Norm: 2952 Roosevelt (904) 384-0029

616: 616 Park St. (904) 389-6969 AJ Bar & Grill: 1024 Atlantic Blvd. (904) 805-9060 Boot Rack: 4751 Lenox Blvd. (904) 384-7090

ORLANDO Parliament House: 410 Orange Blossom Trail (407) 425-7571 ST. PETERSBURG

Bo’s Club: 201 5th Ave. N. (Jax Beach) (904) 246-9874

Flamingo Resort: 4601 34th St. S (727) 321-5000

Club Jax: 1939 Hendricks Ave. (904) 398-7451

Sporters Bar: 187 Dr. MLK St. N (9th St.) (727) 821-1920

Hamburger Mary’s: 3333-1 Beach Blvd. (904) 551-2048 Incahoots: 711 Edison Ave. (904) 353-6316 Park Place: 931 King St. (904) 389-6616 Metro: 859 Willow Branch Ave. (904) 388-7192

TAMPA (Ybor) Bradley’s on 7th: 1510 E 7th Ave (813) 241-2723 Liquid Tampa: 1502 E 7th (813) 248-6104


The Riverside Dog Park is a two-acre, off leash dog park currently being planned for the northwest corner of Riverside Park, adjacent to College Street. Approximately one-third of the property, under the Interstate 95 overpass, would be re-purposed from a Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) storage lot and added to the existing lands of Riverside Park. Through an in-kind donation from the Haskell Company, and with RAP’s support, a committee has met regularly with a landscape architect to develop a draft plan for the park. Key Features of the Riverside Dog Park:  One-and-a-quarter acre large/active breed area. This area will feature decomposed granite ground cover, an eighth of a mile walking path and a shade pavilion  Quarter-acre small/passive-breed area featuring significant oldgrowth tree coverage and bench seating  Ample on-street parallel parking will be created along with one dedicated handicapped-accessible space, adjacent to the existing JEA substation  Double-gated entries for both pet areas accessible by key fobs  A new sidewalk that will connect Park and College Streets—serving will be able to purchase a key fob at various local retailers for a nominal as a neighborhood connector  Dog Park will extend north to Annie Lyttle School property line, hope- fee (e.g. $25/yr), and funds raised through the sale of the fobs will be dedicated to the park repair, maintenance, and neighborhood preservation. fully renewing interest in the rehabilitation of this historic building A Demonstration of Low Impact Development (LID) The park will serve as a demonstration of low-impact development that protects the St. Johns River, located a quarter-mile to the east. As the park is constructed, an active effort will be made to recycle removed materials, particularly concrete, and to use recycled materials wherever possible. The active area of the park will house a bio-retention pond, featuring natural grasses and plant life that filters any park runoff before it reaches the river. Existing foliage will be preserved to the extent possible, and new plants and grasses native to the Northeast Florida region will be incorporated. Educational signage will be posted to help inform the public about this aspect of the project. A Self-Sustaining Community Resource As planned, residents will access the park via a key fob access system through the main entrance off the east side of College Street. Residents

Project Campaign and Timeline for Completion RAP and other community supporters of the Riverside Dog Park expect to begin a fundraising campaign this fall and hopes to have funding, City support and necessary land leases completed in the late fall or early spring. Construction is expected to take up to two months. Opening day is slated for late spring or early summer 2013. How You Can Help  Purchase a paver. RAP is currently working on a fundraising campaign that will feature ways to honor your loved pets.  Donate to the park, Small donations make a difference as well. Donation jars will be set up at the RAP Booth at Riverside Arts Market and at RAP Headquarters (2623 Herschel Street)


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So it’s refreshing to see a business take an interest in a scandal that may have already fallen off many folks’ collective radar. Hamburger Mary’s— an LGBT-friendly restaurant chain with 12 locations in the U.S.—is doing just that by looking all the way back to last month and sticking it to decidedly LGBT-unfriendly Chick-Fil-A. Chick-fil-a CEO Cathy stirred up a sleeping giant last month. The legendary LGBT and drag-friendly chain of eaters that serve burgers with a side of sass, Hamburger Mary’s, wishes to remind everyone that it’s a place for “open minded people, a place where everyone is welcome and diversity is celebrated,” according to Hamburger Mary’s Ashley Wright. Therefore, to counter the Chick-fil-a CEO Dan Cathy’s controversial public stance against gay marriage, Mary’s if now offering a southern-style chicken sandwich while advocating diversity.” With 12 Hamburger Mary’s location in the U.S., the eatery will make a difference for equality. Hamburger Mary’s new “hate-free” southern style chicken sandwich starts with a fresh chicken breast, marinated, and battered with Mary’s secret recipe flour and spice mixture. It’s then deep-fried and served with herb mayo and dill pickles on a bakery fresh bun. A pormust respect. However, the line is stepped over when one attempts to tion of the sale of the chicken sandwiches will be donated to support prevent another individual from having the same basic human rights as all equality causes. citizens of the U.S. cityXtra Magazine contacted the Hamburger Mary’s Jacksonville Show Director, Brittany Moore. Brittany stated, “We are pleased to be a growing part of the Jacksonville diverse community and contribute to equality.” Hamburger Mary’s is located at 3333 Beach Blvd Jacksonville, FL. The press release was done the day Chick-fil-a was hosting a national support day through-out the U.S.

The original Hamburger Mary's was the brainchild of a small group of hippies living in San Francisco in the early 70's. It was founded as “an open-air bar & grille for open-minded people.”

Celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year, Hamburger Mary’s is well known throughout the LGBT community, with twelve locations nationwide (and growing!) In addition to gourmet burgers, Mary’s offers a full menu One may really wonder what the real stink is about with Chick-fil-a when of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, entrees & desserts (including deepwe all already knew the eatery wasn’t gay friendly. The really issue is when ANY business donates money to hate groups to prevent others from fried Twinkies and ‘Mary Tyler S’Mores). There are also weekly events like charity “HamBingo Mary’s,” drag shows and MaryOke. equality. We are all entitled to our opinions and differences and that we


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Written by: Gordon T. Nicol Northeast Florida has one of the highest foreclosures in the entire state. Foreclosures affect people in all income brackets and all parts of town. Part of the mortgage crisis was caused by a downturn in the economy. People debate whether this was caused by the prior President or by the current President. Whatever you decide, be sure to vote this fall to make change happen. Adjustable rate mortgages are also blamed. Adjustable rate mortgages offered “teaser” rates. You could afford the initial monthly mortgage payments but not when it increased. One of our client’s mortgage payment jumped more than $700.00 a month. Part of the crisis worsened when people bought property hoping to “flip” it and sell it for a quick profit. With the economy, people were stuck with properties and couldn’t make the mortgage payments. There are other, more personal, causes for foreclosures. Your foreclosure could be because you lost your job or they cut your hours at work. Your foreclosure may be related to illness, divorce/separation, or the death of your partner. There are options you should know about. The sooner you get help the more options you will have. A loan modification is one option. The past due balance isn’t waived; it is added onto the end of the loan. The loan modification is always on a trial basis. The bank can come back and say that they don’t agree to a permanent modification. For some people, renting their home is an option. This is especially true when you can rent a new place for less than your mortgage. For other clients, I recommend that they try to sell their home. With so many properties in foreclosure this can be a tough process. When your home sells for less than you owe on the mortgage this is called a short sale. Your bank is not required to agree to a short sale. If your bank agrees to the short sale, the requirements and deadlines are pretty strict. For some clients, I recommend that we defend the foreclosure lawsuit as long as we can. That way you can stay in your home longer and save up money. Finally, depending on your

total debts you may want to discuss bankruptcy. The Federal bankruptcy laws have changed so be sure to research the new rules and regulations. Be sure to ask your lawyer to explain the means test, income test, and other filing criteria. A lot of times, we as G/L/B/T feel shame. Don’t. Ask for help. Know that a lot of your neighbors and friends are going through the same thing. Let’s help each other get through this. Did I mention that you need to vote to help change the economy? Every legal situation is different. Be sure to seek advice as you need.


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Have you been stuck on your couch, glued to the TV watching Lochte win (wait, not Phelps?) at the 2012 London Olympics? In the spirit of the celebrated sports event, NBC has released Olympic-themed teasers for several of its shows premiering this coming fall. Ever heard of an Eastern European man-woman? Sounds weird, right? Well, it could be The New Normal! These days, families come in all forms - single dads, double moms, sperm donors, egg donors, one-night-stand donors... It's 2012 and anything goes. Bryan (Andrew Rannells, "Girls," "The Book of Mormon") and David (Justin Bartha, "The Hangover") are a Los Angeles couple, and they have it all. Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed, loving partnership, there is one thing that this couple is missing: a baby. And just when they think the stars will never align, enter Goldie (Georgia King, "One Day"), an extraordinary young woman with a checkered past. A Midwestern waitress and single mother looking to escape her deadend life and small-minded grandmother (Emmy and Tony Award-winner Ellen Barkin), Goldie decides to change everything and move to L.A. with her precocious eight-year-old daughter. Desperate and broke - but also fertile - Goldie quickly becomes the guys' surrogate and quite possibly the girl of their dreams. Surrogate mother, surrogate family. Ryan Murphy serves as creator/executive producer and director along with creator/executive producer Ali Adler ("Glee," "Chuck") and executive producer Dante Di Loreto ("Glee," "American Horror Story"). "The New Normal" is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Ryan Murphy Productions. Let’s Meet The Cast …. Georgia King stars as Goldie, a young single mother who decides it's time to escape her small town life - and small-minded grandmother (Ellen Barkin) - so she packs up and heads west in pursuit of her dreams and a better life for her eight-year-old daughter in Ryan Murphy's "The New Normal." Justin Bartha stars as David, one half of a Los Angeles couple who seems to have it all in Ryan Murphy's "The New Normal." Well, almost. With successful careers and a committed and loving partnership, there is one thing that this couple is missing: a baby.

Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Ellen Barkin joins Ryan Murphy's "The New Normal," as Nana, an opinionated woman who has no problem speaking her mind. Barkin's diverse body of work spans theater, film and television with roles ranging from abusive mothers to sultry femme fatales. NeNe Leakes stars in NBC's new comedy "The New Normal" as Rocky, the fierce assistant of father-to-be Bryan Buckley (Andrew Rannells). As a New York native, Leakes is known for her no-nonsense attitude, which quickly made her the breakout star of Bravo's "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." So where does NeNe come in? "I'm Rocky, one of the gay guy's assistants," NeNe told cityXtra Magazine. "I take it very personal, honey, if you talk about my gays, honey. Only I can talk about them and I'm fabulous.” "She's very different from Roz Washington on 'Glee'; she's always in workout outfits and sneakers. Rocky wears high heels every day. This is very fitting for me because in my real life, you don't mess with my gays, honey," NeNe said, snapping. "I don't play that."

King was a little out of the loop when it came to NeNe and her stardom. "I'm from London ... everyone was absolutely losing their shit meeting NeNe ... at the table read everyone was like, 'Oh Tony-nominated actor Andrew Rannells stars as Bryan, my god' and I felt so ignorant and a man who seems to have it all in Ryan Murphy's "The everyone was taking pictures of New Normal," but when he comes face-to-face with his NeNe going, 'Oh my god, I'm future, he realizes that there is one thing missing from going to Twitter it!' So I was gohis life: a baby. ing, 'I should take one too!'"

Bebe Wood stars in NBC's new comedy "The New Normal" as Shania, Goldie's (Georgia King) observant and opinionated daughter.

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Since then, King said she's done her homework. "I've done a little research and I'm with the goddess from Atlanta. I'm aware of these things. I'm learning very quickly. To be fair, NeNe shouldn't be offended I didn't know who she was because I just met somebody and I didn't know who he was and I was like to my agent, 'Remind me, who is that?' And she was like, 'It's Donald Trump.'"

The New Normal has already been the subject of controversy, with the organization One Million Moms calling for a boycott. Murphy said he wasn't surprised to hear about the issue but that he finds it "interesting when people take that position before they've seen it," and added, "I actually think if they watched it, they'd like it." Rannells, who's best known for his role on Girls and the Broadway play Book of Mormon, made a joke about the situation, saying he was honored to be mentioned "by first and last name!" Justin Bartha said that he wanted to get involved with the show after reading about Rannells and Murphy doing a show together, at which point he had already seen the former in Book of Mormon. "I kind of initiated it," he said, speaking very highly of Murphy: "Ryan is brilliant . . . a modern-day Oscar Wilde." Bartha added that he likes that The New Normal deals with "love real issues in a nontrite way that is also entertaining." Murphy talked about casting Leakes, whom he first cast on Glee as Roz because he had seen her "take down Star Jones on Celebrity Apprentice." He reached out to her again for this show because he thinks she's hilarious, and, as if proving his point, when Leakes was asked about the subject matter of the show, Leakes exclaimed, "I live in Atlanta, GA, and it's a very popular city for gays. We love them!" Ryan Murphy told cityXtra Magazine about the inspiration for The New Normal after Andrew Rannells had told cityXtra his character was based on Ryan Murphy. Murphy replied:

If I was much better looking and could be played by Andrew Rannells, yes. My partner David Miller and I have been talking about having a family for a year, and we’ve been going through some of that process. It’s just fascinating, and I was telling (chairman of 20th Century Fox Television) Dana Walden about it and I thought it was a really great idea for a show. But there are a lot of other characters in that show who are not based on people in my life, people who are also going through “the new normal.” Georgia King (Little Dorrit) plays (Goldie the surrogate), a woman who wants to have a better life for her daughter. What do you do when you’re pregnant and you want a date? What do you do if you’re Ellen Barkin’s character and you’ve been single for a long time and you move to Los Angeles and have a one-night stand with a 25-year-old guy? It’s a lot of different ways of looking at families and the way our society is different now, thus the title. But that was my way in, certainly, my own story. I love that experience of going into a writers' room and saying, “Oh my God, this happened to me last week, what do you think?” and then working on that experience. That show is very personal to me. Murphy praised Rannell's hair and paid him a compliment, saying, "If someone's loosely playing you, you want them to be much better looking than you." You don't have to be related to be family - different is the new normal! Premiering on NBC September 11, 2012, The New Normal.


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Latrice said, “I was surprised by the new fan base from RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Well she may be surprised but we knew she was growing popular by each minute on the show. From her tearful Sashay Away to being in HIGH demand for shows, she has won over many new fans. Latrice said she does feel the pressures from being a role model to larger than life followers. No doubt she continues to maintain her pose with such grace like Grace Kelly flowing across the stage. And no doubt as said by RuPaul, “Latrice Royale, my queen, I bow to you! And I have one thing to say: Bitches better beware.” Well the Bitches have been taught a lesson by Miss Latrice Royale in the art of female illusion. And with typical grace displayed by Latrice time and time again she said, “You have changed the world of drag forever. I love and respect you so much, and thank you for seeing something special in me. Thank you.” Well boys and girls that was the end of the RuPaul’s Drag Race for Latrice but the beginning of new and exciting life. Since her departure from the show she has remained booked nearly nightly across the country and the waiting list grows for bookings. Latrice is one queen that is a role model, with flaws, still human, simplistic, down to earth, and simply beautiful inside & out. In her recent appearances through-out Florida the crowds have turned out and were not disappointed to say the least. From her dancing numbers to over the top performances, she will be the entertainer that bridges the generations. In the words of Latrice, “She is large and in charge, chunky, yet funky. Bold and Beautiful baby.” We agree 100% girl. Serving you chunky and funky is her style. She did look a bit rough around the edges in the promos from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 4, but she turned it out time and time again on the show. Both her personality and her style have shown through time and time again, and we think she rightfully won the title of Miss Congeniality. The Miss Latrice Royale was a big surprise this past season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Her voice deeper than the south just didn’t match your look. However, America fell in love with her and she is one of the true icons from the RuPaul’s Drag Race phenomenon. Even as stated to cityXtra Magazine by Chad Michaels, “You are going to LOVE Latrice, she is the seasons fan favorite and rightfully so.” Her popularity continues to grow according to, Latrice made the top 45 Vice Presidential Candidates for Mitt Romney. We guess that would be the only way that the LGBT Community would vote for good ole Mitt. So who knows what the future holds for one of America’s favorite drag queens. Romney & Royale 2012!!! cityXtra Magazine sat down with Latrice Royale after one of her shows in Jacksonville, FL and this is what she had to say. CXM: You perform mainly in Florida? LR: Pretty much. I have been here for 21 years. CXM: What is your opinion? Is Florida the South or not? LR: It has some tendencies, but I wouldn't call it the South. We have our own situation here. [Laughs] CXM: I read that you started wearing drag on a dare in the beginning. LR: Absolutely. You know friends…

could do it. CXM: That must have been quite an honor being asked to be on Drag U. LR: That was definitely an honor. I feel so blessed because not everybody gets to go into that situation. We were the chosen ones. I am glad I was able to make a big enough impression to keep going because I want to stay relevant. CXM: You know how everyone wants to have a music career after RuPaul's Drag Race? LR: Right? CXM: You are still friends with everyone from your season, correct? You didn't burn any bridges like Miss O'Hara. LR: No, not at all. I really love everyone genuinely. There is not anyone that I don't like. I keep in touch with some more than others. Ideally I talk to everyone pretty much. CXM: Did you do the Al and Chuck boat cruise? LR: I did the first little mini one. It was interesting. [Laughs] I had never been on a cruise before so I was expecting a lot of things to be different. The cruise line sucked so this next time hopefully it is a better ship. CXM: So it was not the Love Boat? LR: No. When they closed down the buffet I was ready to get off the boat. CXM: Not nice. LR: Especially for a fat girl… CXM: I love that you represent my generation because we are around the same age. LR: Awesome. We are from the old school, boo-boo. We have to school these new girls. See? That is the problem. You see why they go rogue and go raging mad? They don't have a background and have no training.

CXM: "I dare you to put on that wig!" It just stuck? CXM: People like [competitor] DiDa [Ritz] came a long way on the show, LR: As soon as I won my first little contest, a star was born and that was it. though. I saw drink tickets and a hundred dollars. Yes, honey—I can do this! LR: Real quick, didn't she? CXM:: What made you want to be on RuPaul's Drag Race in the first place? LR: I was at a crossroads in my career. I needed to do something because I was at the point where I wasn't really progressing. It is hard when you are just doing club gigs. I had to do something different, change my position and put me in a better place than I was. That is why I auditioned. CXM: Then you did really well. LR: Who knew? I just wanted a little bit of exposure and represent the big girls, of course. We haven't been fully represented properly so I thought I

CXM: There are some good guest stars, such as Robin Givens and Brittany Snow. Who are you a fan of as far as celebrities? LR: I get star-struck easily because people I have been watching on TV I have been able to meet lately—people like Kelly Osbourne and Adam Lambert. I made a little connection with Kelly when we met. That's my girl. Warm and wise, big and beautiful, Latrice is a queen for all ages. This down to earth diva has been dealt some hard knocks, but like a phoenix, she keeps rising and rising – and nothing will stop her mission to be the 15 first plus sized queen to win the title.

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Written Written by: by: Dr. Dr. Harvey Harvey Carr Carr Wikipedia describes anxiety (also called angst or worry) as “a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. It is the displeasing feeling of fear and concern…..When anxiety becomes excessive; it may fall under the classification of an anxiety disorder.” According to a recent series in the New York Times, "for many," anxiety "is not a disorder, but has become a part of the human condition." In reviewing the articles, I have been impressed that the primary worries and anxieties most of us experience are what the Times call "first world problems." Instead of being concerned with the daily struggle to make ends meet financially, the experience of living hand-to-mouth, or the multitude of things that create mood disorders requiring medical attention, we have become caught up in a life of angst, a life filled with suspicion that our lives are just not meaningful. Tim Kreider, cartoonist, essayist, and blogger for the New York Times, recently wrote in his op-ed piece “The Busy Trap”, “The crazy busy existence so many of us complain about is almost entirely self-imposed: work and obligations they’ve taken on voluntarily, classes and activities they’ve ‘encouraged’ their kids to participate in.”

One of my favorite scriptures is taken from Matthew 11:28 (NIV), “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” One of the reasons this teaching of Jesus is good news is that it says something we desperately need to hear: "You don't have to try so hard. You are loved and valued beyond imagination. Nothing you do can possibly make People have become entrapped in a world of busyness, not merely work- that more true." ing multiple jobs to survive financially. It is not a sense of simply ambition or determination to advance their careers or relationships. Instead, we As Christians who call Jesus “Lord and Savior”, or Jews who call him, have become a society living with a fear of what we may have to experi- “Great Teacher”, or Muslims who call him “One of the Prophets”, we can ence if we are not busy with activities. Our busyness has become a crutch take comfort in knowing we do not have to live a life of busyness and for an existential reassurance, a fence or hedge against a sense of empti- angst. I am reminded that as a Christian minister who is a type A personness or lack of self-importance and self-worth. We have developed a ality workaholic, I need to recall that even Jesus took time and “escaped” mental belief that if we are “in demand” 24/7 then our lives are fulfilling for into the desert, getting away from his disciples, for times of refreshing and ourselves and all those we are helping; our lives cannot be meaningless. renewal of spirit. And anyone who truly knows me, knows I am no Jesus!


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Written by: Joey Amato In my first visit to the West Coast in many years, I decided to venture out to the land of dreams, Los Angeles, California and more specifically, West Hollywood. In a region known for celebrities, rolling hills and mega mansions, West Hollywood is a wondrous enclave, with its own identity and a drastically different vibe than its surrounding neighbors. The most difficult part of your journey will be getting from Los Angeles International Airport to West Hollywood… the traffic in Los Angeles is legendary. But once you arrive, all of your worries seem to fade away. Check in at the newly renovated Le Montrose Suites, situated just blocks from Santa Monica Boulevard and minutes away from some of the most popular gay venues in the country. The magnificent boutique hotel offers a full-service restaurant, beautifully appointed suites complete with full kitchen, living space, balcony, flat screen televisions and luxury linens. Le Montrose also features a fitness center and rooftop pool overlooking the Los Angeles skyline, perfect for sun bathing or enjoying a late-night swim. A car isn’t really necessary in West Hollywood, unless you would like to take a trip to Malibu, Santa Monica or nearby Pasadena. Everything you need during your stay in WeHo is at your fingertips. Stop in at one of many LGBT-owned retail shops lining Santa Monica Blvd. and check out the latest fashion trends from local designers. For a delightful dining experience amongst the West Hollywood “It” crowd, head to Eveleigh, located on the famous Sunset Strip. Here, diners can feast on a variety of options. To start, try some of the wonderful “small plates,” which include: Crisp Spring Fennel with black olive aioli, Grilled Monteray Squid with garlic, lemon and olive oil or Roasted Bone Marrow with celery cress, radish and smoked sea salt. With something for every taste, Eveleigh is definitely one of the premier dining establishments in the area. The restaurant also offers a wonderful wine selection, perfect to accompany any entrée. I highly recommend the Grilled Boulder Valley hanger steak with crisp potatoes and caramelized onions or the Roasted Half Jidori Chicken with picholine olives, almonds, preserved lemon, and golden raisins. After dinner, head back to Santa Monica Blvd. to one of over a dozen gay bars/clubs in the city. Of course, the most popular of them is The Abbey. Voted “Best Gay Bar in the World,” by Logo, The Abbey is located just steps away from Le Montrose Suites. Owner David Cooley founded the venue 20 years ago as a coffee shop and since then, it has grown to the premier LGBT nightlife venue in West Hollywood with approximately 16,000 square feet of space. Drinks at The Abbey are a little pricier than other establishments, but well worth the money, especially their famous Raspberry Mojito, a drink recommended to me by many of their patrons. The bar also offers a wide selection of martini’s, old-fashioned lemonades and Caipirinhas. Dance the night away to the pulsating beats of some of the world’s greatest DJs who regularly visit The Abbey. After a night of partying, it’s time to explore some of the cultural attractions West Hollywood has to offer. Begin at the MOCA Pacific Design Center. Founded in 1979, MOCA is the only museum in the region devoted exclusively to contemporary art. It is committed to the collection, presentation, and interpretation of work produced since 1940 in all media,

and to preserving that work for future generations. The museum is about a twenty-minute walk from the hotel, but well worth the visit. Another highlight is the MAK Center for Art & Architecture. The MAK Center seeks out and supports projects which break down the boundaries between art and architecture. In addition to an ambitious schedule of events, the MAK Center hosts a bi-annual residency program for eight innovative artists and architects from outside the U.S. The famous Schindler House, at the site of the MAK Center, is considered to be the first house ever built in the Modern style. If all that sightseeing made you hungry, walk over to Tender Greens, a wonderful restaurant offering a selection of fresh soups, salads and grilled items. Try the Happy Vegan salad, a lovely blend of farro wheat, cranberries, cucumbers, hummus, beats and Quinoa. Another stand out is the Tuna Niciose salad, made with potatoes, quail egg, tomatoes and olives in a sherry vinaigrette. Just a few blocks away is Shahr Salon & Wellness, a lovely new wellness center offering a variety of salon and spa treatments including relaxing massages and luxurious facials. The property also features a private outdoor space for yoga and meditation. During my visit to Shahr, I was lucky enough to participate in a private yoga session taught by a very knowledgeable instructor who focused mainly on stretching and breath control. This was followed up by a wonderful 60-minute massage. I would highly recommend making the time to visit Shahr during your stay. A journey to West Hollywood would not be complete without visiting The Sunset Strip, a premier destination for the music, entertainment, and fashion. Some of the greatest bands in rock music got their start playing venues including The Viper Room, The Roxy and Whiskey a Go Go. “The Strip” is one of the most likely places in West Hollywood to bump into a celebrity. Those looking to spend more time with the “boys” or “girls” should head back to Santa Monica Boulevard to any one of the exciting bars which include Rage, Revolver, Fiesta Cantina, Micky’s and Here Lounge in addition to others. The drinks in WeHo are plentiful and the eye candy is as well. For more information, visit OUT Destinations is part of OUTreach Public Relations, a company specializing in LGBT marketing. Founded by Joey Amato in 2012, OUTreach PR has quickly become one of the most sought after companies for celebrities, corporations and non-profit organizations looking to target the ever growing and affluent LGBT consumer. For more information, please visit


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We are open 24 hours a day. Come over and Swim in our indoor heated pool Ease those muscles in our Whirlpool Sweat out those toxins in our steam room Build those muscles in our exercise area Enjoy a snack from one of the vending machines Or just relax and watch TV


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cityXtra News (CXN Magazine) - Aug 2012  

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