Connextions Magazine Issue18: Shine Up & Out

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ISSUE #18 | SUMMER 2015









Illustration: Esther Wu; Photos: Andrew Eccles and Joan Marcus



YOU’LL LAUGH. YOU’LL CRY. YOU’LL BE HOME BY 10. Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 256 W. 47th Street (Between Broadway & 8th Avenue) 877-250-2929

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Connexting CONTRIBUTORS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Manny Velasquez-Paredes


FEATURED WRITERS David Duran CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Ross Christianson Dimmi David Perry Bryan Pirolli JJ Vega Manny Vealsquez-Paredes Sarah Stanley-Evan

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Read Connextions Magazine online: Write to us: Do you have a question or comment regarding this issue or future issues of Connextions Magazine? We would love to hear from you! E-mail responses and press releases are always welcomed. All submissions become the property of Connextions Magazine. The views and opinions stated throughout this magazine are not necessarily the opinions of staff at Connextions Magazine. Connextions Magazine, LLC publishing office is located at: PO Box 242 Calverton, NY 11933 Connextions Magazine will not knowingly publish or advertise text which is fraudulent or misleading. The publisher reserves the right to edit, limit, revise, or reject any text without cause. Connextions Magazine assumes no financial responsibility for typographical errors. If any errors are found, please notify Connextions Magazine immediately. Materials in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. ISSN 2160-4347 (print) ISSN 2160-4355 (online)

Connextions Magazine Issue 17: Love Around the World, published on February 2015, featured 5 couples from around the world and their love stories. In addition to featuring an all gay hotel in Brazil and our LGBT family traveled to Denver for a quick getaway. We launched our new look and we are so excited that it was welcomed with open arms and loved by readers from across the globe.

Cover & Contents Photos by Connextions Magazine Featured Writer: David Duran Location: Puerto Vallarta The newly renovated beach club at Las Cuevas Beach features creative relaxing spaces for guests to bask under the sun and enjoy dramatic views of the Banderas Bay, and a new rustic Shack bar that offers a selection of premium beers and wines, cocktails and local bites, it’s also known as Sexy Beach. Read the article on page 22 C o n n e x t i o n s Magazine is a proud sponsor of the Human Rights Campaign family as The Travel Media Sponsor of HRC Greater New York.

Connextions Magazine is a proud member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association & National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Letter From the Editor On April 28, 2015, the US Supreme Court heard four marriage equality cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Although we don’t have a decision as of publishing date, one is expected to be announced by late June, which means that Pride Month can take on a whole new meaning! This is why I felt it necessary to publish this picture of me with Edie Windsor, the woman who started this whole marriage equality ball rolling. The LGBT community is thankful to her for being so open and a pioneer in fighting for our rights. It was her love to her wife, Thea, that catapulted our country in a wave of equality laws around the US. Love make the world go around, which is why our last issue, Love Around the World, featured LGBT love stories from 5 different countries. That issue was read as close as Mexico and Canada and as far as Australia & Indonesia. So we have high hopes for our 18th issue: Shine Up & Out, which is dedicated to summer and pride festivities. We have gathered stories from our writers about different locations across the globe, where you can spend your summer vacation. In addition, we created a list of different Pride Festivals all over the world. Take a cultural visit to Hawaii, visit Paris with the Gay Locals, Colorado on a budget, win tickets to a Broadway Show in NYC, or taste the sexy secrets of Punta Mita, Mexico. In this issue, we connexted with LGBTQ leaders from around the world to bring you the 40 Years of Pride in Tel Aviv, Israel, and one lucky winner will get to attend the full conference. We are also announcing our first ever LGBT excursion, where our readers will be able to join us for an amazing week in Tuscany, Italy. We are thrilled to announce the newest addition to our Connextions family, NYC Up & Out, which for the past 10 years has been New York City’s trusted resource for all LGBT arts, entertainment and culture. We promise to continue providing the same quality information, as we continue to grow! As usual, it is my sincere wish that you enjoy our Shine Up & Out issue and please e-mail me: to let us know how we are doing and how we can make our next issue even better! MVP

Editor In Chief


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contents 10 Travel Paris Like a Gay Local A Day with the Experts by: Bryan Pirolli

14 Travel Lite:

2 Hitchhikers in Colorado A Budget Travel Mission by: Ross Christianson

22 Punta Mita:

Sexy Beach Tasty Secrets by: David Duran

27 Tel Aviv: 40 Years of Pride

LGBT Leaders from Across the Globe Gather in Tel Aviv by: Arthur Slepian, Executive Director, A Wider Bridge

30 A View From Above: One World Observatory The City’s Miracles & Progress as Seen From Above Editorial by: Manny Velasquez-Paredes

36 In Review: It Shoulda Been You

One of the Gayest Shows on Broadway by: JJ Vega

38 In Review: Happy-Go-Yoga

Simple Poses to Relieve Pain, Reduce Stress, and Add Joy

41 Love Connextions 42 Hawaiian Mythology: In the Land of the Mo’o

Lizard Women & Vagina Mountains - Think You Know Oahu? By: David Perry

48 A World Without Color A World Without Pride One’s Greatness Lies in One’s Heart

By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes, Xioger Sandoval & JJ Vega

Join us for The Handsome Father’s Day Brunch on Saturday, June 20, 2015, in Austin, Dallas or New York City to celebrate the commitment and dedication he makes to his children. Learn more at

Travel Paris A DAY IN PARIS WITH THE EXPERTS By: Bryan Pirolli

The aroma of fresh baguettes, the waiters flittering among café tables, the all-but-too-attractive locals – there’s no mistaking it when you’re in Paris. For decades, gay and lesbian travelers from Oscar Wilde to Sylvia Beach have flocked to the city, and now with marriage equality in France entering its third year, the French capital has never been more gay-friendly. As a tour guide and owner of The Gay Locals, Paris’s first LGBT-dedicated tour guides, I might seem biased when I say Paris is the most exciting to explore in the world. But with top museums like the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, and major landmarks like Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, there are seemingly endless opportunities for the casual tourist. Shoppers will want to explore the boutiques lining the rue St-Honoré. Food lovers needn’t look much further than the rue Montorgueil. Art fanatics can browse the galleries around rue de Seine. A bit of planning goes a long way, but it’s certainly an easy city to wander aimlessly. A boat ride along the Seine is a good way to get oriented for first-timers, while returning visitors might want to check out some of the newer galleries like the Fondation Louis Vuitton or the newly reopened Picasso Museum in the Marais. When it comes to experiencing gay and lesbian Paris, most visitors head to the Marais district, a favorite place for me to explore with tourists. A former royal haunt and more recently the hub of Jewish life, it’s also the core of Paris’s gay and lesbian life. The streets are notoriously packed during Gay Pride at the end of June after the parade. Most of the city’s gay bars are concentrated within a few blocks of each other, but you don’t need to wait until nightfall to explore this district. From morning coffee to last call at the bar, let’s take a walk through a day in the Marais on an itinerary that I would suggest to potential clients looking for a taste of gay Paris.


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Like a Gay Local Morning Jump Start The Marais spans the most of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements in central Paris, just north of Notre Dame and south of Place de la République. Metro line 1 will take you to the majestic Hotel de Ville, or City Hall. Walking north from city hall up rue Beaubourg, we’ll start the morning with some caffeine. For a morning coffee, stop by the trendy coffee shop, Loustic. Friendly English-speaking service will help you pick the right bean for your espresso or latte. It’s some of the best coffee in the neighborhood. The nearby Pompidou Center is one of the most unmistakable museums on the western edge of the Marais. Opened in 1977, it looks like it has yet to be completed, but the colored tubes and pipes are actually the inner workings of the building that have been strategically placed on the outside. If you don’t visit the museum’s modern art collection, at least take a moment to check out one of the quirkiest pieces of architecture in the city (closed Tuesdays). Walk east along the rue Rambuteau to be tempted by various pastry shops, including the gorgeous creations at Pain de Sucre. You’ll now be entering the heart of the Marais. Shopping Anyone? Photo provided by: Manny Velasquez-Paredes

Wander the streets around rue des Archives and rue du Temple to explore Paris’s gay epicenter. While much is changing in the Marais – notice the Fendi, Montcler, and Givency shops recently opened on rue des Archives – some institutions remain. The gay bookshop, Les Mots à la Bouche, is still hanging on, but newer brands like Uniqlo have moved in last year on trendy rue des Francs-Bourgeois in a stunningly beautiful location. Other smaller stores have been giving way to brand names over the past few years as gentrification reaches its final stage. Names like Lagerfeld, American Apparel, and even Ugg have been popping up where old bookstores or vintage shops once stood. Once a seedy, avoidable district, it’s all grown up and polished.


Travel Paris Locals might lament the loss of character that comes with brand name stores, but an advantage is that it is one of the few districts where stores will be mostly open on Sundays. Many cute shops, mostly catering to men, are all situated here. The fetish vibe is still very much alive with leather and rubber store Mister B, fetish shop RoB, and the clearly named Rex Fetish. If leather and latex aren’t your thing, there are plenty of shops for quirky shirts, ties, shoes, and accessories. For a one-stop shop, try the BHV Homme for some easy Paris fashion, but don’t be surprised by some familiar international brands. Lunch and (of course) Dessert If window shopping has worn you out, head north to the rue de Bretagne, another trendy street full of cute shops, mostly food-related. For lunch, join the crowds at the Marché des Enfants Rouges for an alfresco lunch in one of the city’s old covered markets that has been rehabilitated in the 1990s. Numerous stalls sell various ethnic food from Japanese to Caribbean, while the more traditional L’Estaminet des Enfants Rouges has a reasonably priced and usually delicious daily menu (closed Mondays). After lunch, you can either move to one of the cafés on rue de Bretagne to relax with an afternoon jolt of caffeine or head just a bit further north to Jacques Genin for some of the Right Bank’s best chocolate. If your sweet tooth still isn’t satiated, the new shop by pastry chef Philippe Urraca, Profiterole Chérie, serves up the freshest, made-to-order profiteroles imaginable. With cream and ice-cream filled varieties, Uracca’s shop is a welcomed addition to the neighborhood. Try the classic versions or go crazy with the lemon tart or salted butter caramel versions. By this point you might need to walk a bit. Head back down into the Marais via rue Vieille du Temple towards the old Jewish center of the Marais. Turn left on rue des Rosiers to explore the old “Pletzl,” home to the Ashkenazi Jewish population during the first half of the 1900s, before World War II.


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Like a Gay Local Now it is home to many Jewish businesses owned by descendants of Sephardic Jews from the Middle East. The curious mix of traditional Eastern European bakeries and delis alongside falafel restaurants shows how even within one subculture of the Marais, there’s still plenty of variety. Continue east to the royal Place des Vosges, one of the city’s most pristine parks, to watch the locals picnic and sunbathe in the summer. Evening Adventures For dinner, there a numerous cafés to pop into for something simple, or you might want to try one of the city’s most acclaimed crepes at Breizh Café. Call ahead for a reservation and be sure to order some cider to pair with your savory crepes. In the summer, the sun will still be shining, but that doesn’t mean that nightlife can’t begin. Start at Open Café for a drink at the city’s most popular gay bar. Happy hour, from 6PM-10PM, means cheap beer and lots of locals. Afterwards, you might move on to Cox or Quetzel for a more mature crowd. Head to Spyce or FreeDJ on rue Sainte Croix de la Bretonnerie later in the night as the dance floors livens.

Photos provided by: The Gay Locals

Depending on the night, you’ll have options. Around 2AM, nightlife at Cudd is the place to be, especially downstairs in their cave bar with a pretty decent DJ and two accessible bars. It’s a bit cruisy, but it can be good wholesome fun for friends to dance the night away together. For those looking for something a bit more scandalous, Le Dépôt is the place to be. Dubbed “Europe’s Largest Backroom,” the bar houses corridors that feature little nooks and crannies and booths for all for all sorts of unspeakable deeds. Safer sex supplies are on hand, and the crowd runs the gamut, just be patient. Visit With the Gay Locals For those looking to get a little deeper into Paris, to learn about its history, discover some of its secrets, and taste some of its true specialties (beyond what you’ll find at Le Dépôt), you might want a local to show you around. The Gay Locals, Paris’s first LGBT tour guide company, will organize a private tour of the Marais including unmissable highlights in addition to lesser-known tidbits that will make the neighborhood come alive beyond the gay bars and falafel joints. Bryan & Craig, aka The Gay Locals, will organize intimate bar hops around the Marais to help you hit the best happy hours and to avoid searching the meandering streets of Paris to find where the party is happening. They know the nightlife scene and will organize evening outings, ending at one of the city’s best gay parties, especially on the weekends. Check out their website and email them for all about Gay Paris! | | @TheGayLocals 13

Travel Lite Photos provided by: Ross Christianson


Ross’ biggest desires are to learn more everyday and to teach people how to make their dreams come true. Now working in the service industry in Minneapolis, MN, Ross seeks to discover the world and show everyone else how easy it is, especially on a tight budget. Whether traveling or not, he is fun loving, outgoing, optimistic, adventurous, and a risk taker. Some of his favorite memories include skiing in the Austrian Alps, scuba diving in Thailand, and hitch hiking in Colorado. Ross has traveled to 25 countries thus far and cannot wait to experience what comes next!

A friend and I decided to get out of town for a quick getaway. After brainstorming adventures we wanted to experience, two places stuck out the most in our minds, the Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver, both located in Colorado. Neither of us had ever visited Colorado, and so our hearts were quickly sold on the idea. Next thing you know, we were boarding a plane to Denver International Airport on a budget. The following is an account of our trip with a breakdown of our expenses, and I hope to inspire your own no-excusesallowed travel-lite getaway! Let the Savings Begin! As soon as we locked in on the idea to get away to Colorado, my friend started searching flights and recommended we use Spirit Airlines. I had heard mixed reviews about it, but never used it. After some research, it seems budget travellers love it because it’s cheap since you only pay for your seat on the plane and a personal item, which must be “something like a small backpack or purse that fits entirely in the smaller size box (16”x14”x12”).” Other travellers seem to hate Additionally, I it for the same reasons. In many cases, this is a surprise to the latter group when have since traveled they are at the airport and find out they have to pay more to check bags and from Minneapolis to to bring carry-ons. Being primarily a budget traveller, I accepted the chalChicago for $30 and I lenge. have flown from MinneWe found a round trip ticket for $60, as long as we purchased the tickets at the airport! My mind was blown, up until that point, I had never heard of such a price


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apolis to New York via Chicago for just $90.


Summer 2015

2 Hitchhikers in Colorado for any flight. If I had any hesitation about going on this trip, it was gone. This is, of course, assuming you can get by on what you are allow to take as a personal bag. Immediately after we bought the tickets, we started packing. Now keep in mind we were limited to their personal item restrictions. I took a regular size backpack and had no issue getting on the plane, mind you, it was not full. We packed the essentials on a minimalist approach to 4 days of clothes, trail mix nuts, and other food, toiletries, phone charger, camera with a charger, my journal, and some cardboard (which will be explained later). The only other thing that we needed was camping gear, which we borrowed from a friend in Colorado. So, geared with just our backpacks, we were set to go to Colorado on our budget-lite getaway! Day #1 - Travel Day We were running a little late after doing some last minute laundry and packing. Our flight boarded at 1:20 pm and we didn’t make it to the airport until 12:45. Luckily the lines were small, which is not always the case. We used the check-in kiosk to avoid the Law on Hitchhiking 42-4-805 $10 ticket-printing fee, printing in advance for free Colorado Pedestrians walking or traveling in a wheelchair along and is also an option. If you think that is too expensive, upon highways where sidewalks are not provided shall walk Ryanair charges €70 (about $75 at time of publica- or travel only on a road shoulder as far as practicable from the edge of the roadway. Where neither a sidewalk nor tion), which is something I learned the hard way. road shoulder is available, any pedestrian walking or travelOur flight went smoothly and once we arrived at Denver airport, we rushed to find the bus towards Buffalo, CO. We took the AB shuttle for $13 each, our ticket also included a transfer to Lyons, which was on our way to Rocky Mountain National Park. We had a layover in Buffalo for about 45 minutes and split up to get supplies. My friend got the camping gear that we were borrowing and I went to get us some food and drinks to get us through the next few days. We were pretty minimalist about our food to save money, and finally we were on our way to Lyons. Once we got to Lyons, the rest of our traveling, with one exception, relied upon hitchhiking. Now just to clear the air, I am including Colorado law on hitchhiking and be aware that Connextions Magazine and its staff do not recommend hitchhiking as a means of transportation, but it is relevant to my story. Basically, with the exception of some municipalities as long as you stay out of the road, aren’t intoxicated, and stay off of highways excluding on ramps and exits. Each state is different though, so keep that in mind if you plan on doing it elsewhere!

ing in a wheelchair along and upon a highway shall walk as near as practicable to an outside edge of the roadway and, in the case of a two-way roadway, shall walk or travel only on the left side of the roadway facing traffic that may approach from the opposite direction; except that any person lawfully soliciting a ride may stand on either side of such two-way roadway where there is a view of traffic approaching from both directions. (2) No person shall stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of any private vehicle. For the purposes of this subsection “roadway” means that portion of the road normally used by moving motor vehicle traffic. (3) It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of alcohol or of any controlled substance, as defined in section 12-22-303 (7), C.R.S., or of any stupefying drug to walk or be upon that portion of any highway normally used by moving motor vehicle traffic. (4) This section applying to pedestrians shall also be applicable to riders of animals. (5) Any city or town may, by ordinance, regulate the use by pedestrians of streets and highways under its jurisdiction to the extent authorized under subsection (6) of this section and sections 42-4-110 and 42-4-111, but no ordinance regulating such use of streets and highways in a manner differing from this section shall be effective until official signs or devices giving notice thereof have been placed as required by section 42-4-111 (2). (6) No person shall solicit a ride on any highway included in the interstate system, as defined in section 43-2-101(2), C.R.S., except at an entrance to or exit from such highway or at places specifically designated by the department of transportation; or, in an emergency affecting a vehicle or its operation, a driver or passenger of a disabled vehicle may solicit a ride on any highway. (7) Pedestrians shall only be picked up where there is adequate road space for vehicles to pull off and not endanger and impede the flow of traffic.


Travel Lite

We learned all about his accounts of the 2013 Colorado floods. He even went as far as to point out specific houses which we’d passed by that were greatly affected, because they were only connected to the road by private bridges to their driveways, which had been knocked out in the flood and were yet to be repaired. It was surreal driving past scenes that I had only witnessed on TV just a year back. Once we got to the park, our driver mentioned that he knew the exact spot for us. By this time, it was dark out and we were so grateful that he was willing and eager to take us to a campsite that he had previously used and loved. We ended up going to Moraine Park Campgrounds in Loop A. Since it was dark at this point, we just trusted his instincts that it was an awesome sight and set up camp! My friend found firewood as I pitched the tent. After all things were organized, we sat outside by the fire, had a drink, reflected on a successful first day, and wondered what the next day would bring. Day #2 - The Hike


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Once morning came, we had the first opportunity to see our campsite in the daylight. Our driver was right, this campsite is gorgeous. It sits atop a valley and adjacent to a beautiful mountain view. Below, the elk playfully roam around, above the sun is bright and the sky is blue. We really lucked out on a great site and some ideal weather. Feeling very excited, we made our way towards highway 36 and hitched a ride into Estes Park to get some breakfast at a place Shine Up & Down | Summer 2015

Photos provided by: Ross Christianson

About the cardboard that I mysteriously mentioned earlier, we made a sign that read “ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK,” which I still have hanging on my wall as a trophy from our trip. We stood on the side of the road on the edge of Lyons heading towards Estes Park. After about 15 minutes of standing there, I was about to resort to showing some leg to seduce the passersby. Luckily for all parties involved, we were picked up before I had to do that. Our rides were two Colorado natives conveniently on their way to the park for some hiking the next day. One of the gentlemen was a bit quieter, but the driver was very enthusiastic and talkative. He basically took his role seriously and acted as an impromptu tour guide. He was very familiar with the area and spoke of the history and culture as we drove through.

2 Hitchhikers in Colorado called Claire’s, a really cute restaurant in the city, with tasty food, and electrical outlets to charge our gear. After eating, we hitchhiked from the edge of Estes Park to Beaver Meadows Visitor Center in order to get some maps and information. We were hoping to hike from the Beak Lake trailhead to hit up Dream Lake, Emerald Lake, and Lake Haiyaha. Unfortunately, we found out the shuttle that drove to Bear Lake was not in service at that time of year. As luck would have it, we got picked up by three girls, two from New Zealand and one from Michigan, they all met in school. After introductions, they asked us where we were headed. Again we lucked out because they were headed to the same spot we were and invited us to join them. Not only did we get to go on our hike, but we also made some great new friends along the way. The hike was everything we could have asked for, lakes surrounded by mountains, waterfalls, the sounds of nature, the sun beaming through trees that dwarf you, and trail views that place you far above tree lines. Halfway through the hike, we stopped at Lake Haiyaha, found a rock to sit on, and shared a bottle of wine. After spending most of the day with these lovely ladies, they took us back into town and dropped us off in Estes Park. After finding a cheap bite to eat, the two of us went back to what had become our usual spot on the edge of town to hitchhike. The guy who picked us up this time had a really interesting story about how he migrated from Florida by packing up his truck and staying wherever he was when he ran out of money. He was such a nice guy and had a lot of great stories and wisdom to share. That is one of the things I loved about hitchhiking. Without exception, each driver just let the social floodgates open and willingly shared their background, their experiences, and their feelings. People reflected upon adventures they lived, stories of love and loss, happy or sad moments in life, etc. You are in a car with someone you just met and will likely never see or talk to again, and this creates such an interesting and open social environment.


Travel Lite Day #3 - Bed & Breakfast Day After waking up on our last day at this beautiful campsite, we swiftly packed up all of our belongings and got on the road back to Estes Park. We made a sign that said “Denver” and found a ride from the campgrounds to what our driver suggested as the best spot to pick up a ride to Denver. This turned out to be the intersection of highway 7 and 36. We waited there for quite a while and many people looked at us and I could tell were thinking about pulling over, but ultimately kept driving. One couple in a black car seemed to slow down, but kept driving. After a couple of minutes, I noticed the same car coming back around, they had looped back around to pick us up! This time we met an older-by-age and youthfulby-spirit couple from Upstate New York. They were in the area for a business meeting, which they decided to extend into a vacation. How fortunate were we, because they ended up taking us all 3-hours from Estes Park to the front door of our bed and breakfast in Denver! Our bed and breakfast was arranged via This website, allows individuals to either offer their homes as hosts or for travelers to find bed and breakfasts. This is a great website for finding unique locations to stay and local hosts that can give you an experienced insight into the city. If you are nervous about staying with strangers or having strangers stay with you, it is all review based for accountability. The host reviews the traveler and the traveler reviews the host. Each bed and breakfast also provides pictures and you can exchange social networking information to check each other out in advance if you wish. Our bed and breakfast was located in downtown with a great view of the majestic Denver skyline. We had our own bedroom and were given free reign of the apartment, sometimes this does not occur, so it’s always best to research in advance the places you are considering. Since we had such a convenient location, we just strolled around downtown and got to know the area. We checked out a few nearby bars. One in particular was the Retro Room, a unique combination of salon, lounge, and grill. If you are in town, need a haircut, and appetizConnextions Magazine 18


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Photos provided by: Ross Christianson

2 Hitchhikers in Colorado ers, then this is the place for you! Since I buzz my head, I was good on the haircut front, but we definitely enjoyed some wings and beer. I would recommend a visit and let them know Connextions Magazine sent you! End of the Road This was the final day of our trip, which mostly consisted of us packing our things, navigating Denver’s thorough public transportation, and enduring our flight back to Minneapolis. All went smoothly to finish off a successful escape from our daily lives and of course, we kept our expenses to a minimum, after all that is the point of a Travel Lite vacation!

Travel Lite Summary of Expenses per Person •Round Trip Flight from Minneapolis to Denver: $60 •Bus from Denver Airport to Lyons, CO: $13 •Camping in Rocky Mountain National Park 3-Nights: $21 •Camping Gear: Borrowed from a friend - FREE •AirBNB 1-Night: $43 •Food & Drinks: $70 TOTAL COST PER PERSON: $207









Punta Mita SEXY BEACH TASTY SECRETS By Featured Writer: David Duran

David is a culinary, hospitality and travel writer who focuses on both domestic and international travel destinations for several different markets. His love for discovering cities and travel spots is evident as he is away from his favorite place and home base of New York City the majority of the time.

The Four Seasons Punta Mita is a short 45-minute drive away from Puerta Vallarta International Airport, and provides a more relaxed and luxurious atmosphere than the typical hotel in neighboring Puerta Vallarta. It will cost you, but with everything you could want out of a Mexican getaway is available on property, there’s no need to venture out to find things to do. The resort is located within an exclusive gated community in Punta Mita, located in the city of Punta de Mita in Riviera Nayarit, which is at the northernmost tip of Banderas Bay. It’s a bit sheltered within the “most exclusive” area of Mexico, but with just a short drive, guests can also reach a more authentic Mexico by visiting the towns of El Anclote, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, San Francisco and the surf town of Sayulita.

The Four Seasons brand has always been all welcoming and the neighboring extremely gay-friendly Puerto Vallarta, ensures that the area and property are on board with appreciating all their guests in the same manner. What caught our attention besides their newly renovated “sexy beach” project, new shack bar overlooking the ocean, amphibious pool servers that cater to all your needs, and the stunning vistas…were the drinks. After doing some research (testing or tasting the drinks several times - hard work!), it was evident that these cocktails were more than just combinations of ingredients; they were carefully thought out recipes that left a lasting impression.


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Photos provided by David Duran

The property itself is 17,000,000 square feet in size and is set on a 400-acre nature preserve on a private peninsula just northwest of Puerto Vallarta on the Bahia de Banderas. There are 173 rooms in total, which includes 135 guest rooms and 38 suites. Additionally, 48 private villas and 25 less private villas make up the Residence Club. The resort offers two fine-sand private beaches with access to two Jack Nicklaus designed golf courses.

Punta Mita

Secrets From The Bar We asked the masterminds behind the one-of-a-kind cocktails available throughout the resort to divulge their ingredients and tempt us. Of course the cocktails can be duplicated at home, but part of the experience in drinking these by the pool, or beach, at this gorgeous resort. Cilantro Mojito, Aramar Bar: Vodka & Sake, cilantro, mint, sugar, lime & Sauvignon Blanc Cilantro is an ingredient that Mexican cuisine shares with Asian cuisine. That’s why they decided to recreate a classic Latin cocktail with a twist by mixing flavors from America and Asia with a touch of Mexican Sauvignon Blanc. Berry Sake, Aramara Bar: Sake, strawberries, raspberries, cranberry, Hendricks gin & cardamom A refreshing cocktail made of Asian ingredients like cardamom and sake mixed with local berries to add some acidity and sweetness to the drink mix with the complex flavors of Hendricks gin. Aguachile Margarita, Bahia Bar: Margarita mix with tequila Partida Blanco and house made cucumber- Serrano-cilantro syrup One of the most traditional dishes in Nayarit is Aguachile, so they decided to represent this dish through a drink using exactly the same ingredients that result in the combination of a very complex margarit-


Connextions Magazine


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Summer 2015

Sexy Beach Tasty Secrets Photos provided by David Duran

that will take you through a wide range of flavors. Guests always define it as fresh, herbal, salty, sweet and spicy - everything in the same glass. Cora Beer, All the Bars: This exclusive blend is brewed by Minerva in Guadalajara, Jalisco for Four Seasons Punta Mita and combines the smoothness of a lager with the character of ale. It gets its unique flavor through an aging process in tequila barrels. This beer is perfect when enjoying the hot sun. The guests love the exclusivity of the beer and even the label is deeply rooted and representative of the local culture. El Burro, Shack Bar: Tequila Reposado, mint, ginger beer, lime Invented in 1941 by Spirit Distributors in Los Angeles, the Moscow Mule is traditionally made with Smirnoff and Morgan’s ginger beer, though modern recipes allow more flexibility. Served in mexican peltre mugs to create the perfect drink to enjoy the sunset at the Shack Bar. Machete, Shack Bar: Mezcal, dry chili syrup, lime, tajin, watermelon Served in a baby watermelon, this drink is becoming a classic itself due to the smoky flavors of mezcal combined with a subtle spiciness of the dry chilies and the always fresh and sweet flavor of the watermelon. Mango Endiablado, Lobby Bar: Mango, lime, chili-pineapple foam, 5 spices infused Tequila Blanco Endiablado is a combination of chilies mixed with the sweetness of the pineapple & mango. Infused with white tequila, spices to make it more flavorful and aromatic, it’s the perfect match for the flavors of this cocktail. Jamaica Especiada, Lobby Bar: Hibiscus Flower, cinnamon, cloves, Agave Syrup, 3 citrus twists, raicilla One of the most iconic drinks of Mexico is the “Agua de Jamaica”. It’s a go-to thirst quencher, so if you add some spices and citrus notes, you have an explosion in your mouth combined with the less known cousin of tequila; “Raicilla”, a spirit also made of Agave but completely artisanal. This type of mixology is what makes the Four Seasons stand out among the rest. Gin Hi Beer, Nuna Bar: Vodka, lime, ginger, hibiscus, beer In the mood for something fresh by the pool while watching the ocean waves? If so, this light cocktail with its well-balanced flavor, can assure you are going to drink more than one.


Presented By

Years of Pride June 9-11, 2015 | Tel Aviv, Israel

A Global Conference for LGBTQ Leaders The LGBT – 40 Years of Pride Conference, organized by The Aguda and A Wider Bridge, will bring together a diverse group of LGBTQ leaders from around the world, representing dozens of nations and communities, with an array of religious and secular practices, people of many races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. For two and a half days, we will gather in the heart of Tel Aviv, home to a dynamic and vibrant LGBTQ community, to inspire and strengthen each other, build our skills and networks, and celebrate 40 years of LGBTQ progress in Israel, all culminating with the ever-fabulous weekend of Tel Aviv Pride. We will also travel to the historic city of Jerusalem to tour Yadv’Shem, the Knesset, and meet key Israeli policy makers and community leaders.


To register, arrange accommodations and learn more, visit the Conference website: For questions and more information, please contact A WIDER BRIDGE By Telephone: 1-866-288-5774 x2 By e-mail:

40 Years of Pride LGBT LEADERS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE TO GATHER IN TEL AVIV THIS JUNE By Arthur Slepian, Executive Director, A Wider Bridge

Connextions Magazine is a Proud Sponsor of the 40 Years of Pride: A Global Conference for LGBTQ Leaders in Tel Aviv, Israel. We are joining forces with: The Aguda, the National Israeli LGBT Task Force A Wider Bridge, North America’s pro-Israel LGBTQ organization The World Congress of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Jews: Keshet Ga’avah Beit Haverim Groupe Juif Gay et Lesbien de France The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality The Royal Beach Tel Aviv, Isrotel Hotels Chain TLV Scene

For several years now, Tel Aviv has been lauded as one of the world’s top destinations for gay tourists. And why not? It’s a city where gay people are visible everywhere, a Mediterranean coastline of beautiful sun-drenched beaches, a vibrant and eclectic cultural scene, great food, and gay nightlife that rivals most any city in the world. At the 2014 Pride Celebration, a gathering and parade that attracted more than 150,000 people from around the world, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai said, “I am proud that Tel Aviv is the most gay-friendly city in the world.” This June visitors coming to Tel Aviv for Pride Week will be offered more than a celebration. The city will be host to the first ever global LGBTQ leadership conference to be held in Israel, “40 Years of Pride,” presented jointly by A Wider Bridge, a US based pro-Israel LGBTQ organization and The Aguda, Israel’s National LGBT Task Force. The conference, set for June 9 to 11, marks a major milestone: 40 years of LGBTQ pride, progress, and community-building in Israel. The conference participants will represent dozens of nations and communities, with an array of religious and secular practices, people of many races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and gender identities. Conference participants will get to hear from some of the leading voices around the world in the struggle for LGBTQ equality, and to discuss ways that global cooperation can make our communities stronger. A Wider Bridge and The Aguda each see that part of our respective missions is to be an active player in the global LGBTQ struggle for equality. This conference is a vehicle to move that struggle forward in a positive way. We are holding this conference in Israel because we believe the Israeli LGBTQ community has something important to add to the global conversation about LGBTQ rights. There are so many places in the world where LGBT people face severe oppression and cannot be open: Russia, China, most of Africa and the Middle East, among others. Israel is a society that is open enough to have created an environment where it has been possible for an LGBTQ community to grow and develop, and stand up for itself. This community deserves to be a part of our global conversation about LGBTQ equality. The LGBTQ community in Israel has made great progress and also faces many challenges, and these challenges will provide a backdrop for many of the discussions at the conference. Some of the issues


40 Years of Pride to be discussed include: the role of religion and faith in the movement for LGBTQ equality, LGBTQ legal activism across the globe, the struggle for transgender rights and economic empowerment, making our communities and schools a better place for LGBTQ teens, the challenges faced by minorities within a country’s LGBTQ community, and what we can learn from the United States’ success with marriage equality. M. Christophe Girard, Mayor of the Fourth Arrondissement of Paris since July 2012, will be the opening keynote speaker, and Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle, will deliver the closing keynote address. Other speakers at 40 Years of Pride include Jennifer Pizer (Lambda Legal), Karine Jean-Pierre (Columbia University), Marsha Botzer (The Ingersoll Gender Center), Vincent Jones (Reinvent Communications), James Kirchick (The Daily Beast), Rev. Dr. Monica Corsaro (United Methodist Church), Alice Kessler (Equality California), Maria Federico-Moscati (Sussex School of Law), Frederick Hertz (Attorney and Mediator), Davis Mac-Iyalla (Nigerian LGBT activist), Brad Sears (The Williams Institute), and Vince Garcia (The Point Foundation).

Connextions Magazine, is a proud sponsor of the 40 Years of Pride, and we would like to send 1 lucky winner to attend this once in a lifetime event! Winner will receive 1 (one) free entrance to all the sessions and events of the conference in Tel Aviv. To enter please visit:


Connextions Magazine


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Summer 2015

LET’S STAND WITH AMERICA’S NEXT GENERATION, SO THEY CAN STAND ON THEIR OWN. In America, it is estimated that up to 1.6 million youth are homeless each year. Up to 40% of them identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Yet, just 7% of the general youth population identifies as LGBT. The True Colors Fund is working to reduce that disproportionate percentage from 40% to none. Visit to learn how you can make a difference.

The View From Above


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Summer 2015


The View From Above THE CITY’S MIRACLES AND PROGRESS AS SEEN FROM ABOVE Editorial by: Manny Velasquez-Paredes

New York City post 911 is a stronger, gentler, and more vibrant than before. On September 11, 2001, the world was witness to what can only be described as one of the worst tragedies of our time, with New York City as the epicenter of this nightmare. However, out of this tragedy, New Yorkers got a chance to show the rest of the world that together we can rebuild and together we are stronger. Prior to becoming a New Yorker, I visited just a couple of months before 911, and I clearly remember the city’s vibe and no nonsense attitude. I remember standing near 34th Street trying to find my way and hopelessly seeking the non-existent assistance of strangers to guide me. However, this was a challenge I was begging and willing to take. This city had me wrapped around it’s roasted-nuts scents. I was high on the endless nights of the city that never sleeps. I was mesmerized by the glam and lights of Times Square and drunk on the Broadway talent and culture.

A year and a half later, I was on a plane with suitcases and boxes moving to New York! The city, as most New Yorkers call it, was calling my name. I couldn’t stay away, I needed to feel that New York vibe again. Only this time, I remember trying to get on a bus and making a line, something I had never seen before. I remember being able to walk into a Gray’s Papaya and actually be able to place an order, despite the large crowd around me. It was as if people suddenly decided to allow each other the time to speak and listen. It was definitely a gentler giant and they welcomed me with open arms. As a Travel Writer, I’ve had the luxury to travel all around the world, and I am always happy when I return home. New York started the healing and rebuilding process almost instantaneously, however, change doesn’t occur over night. Change and progress take time and miracles happen all the time. One of those miracles is getting ready unveil its brand new observatory, which overlooks Manhattan for as far as the eye can see, providing breathtaking panoramic views and three floors of innovation, pride and inspiration.


Connextions Magazine


Photos provided by: World Trade Center

I decided this place would become my home. Then 911 happened and my move didn’t. I can blame everyone in my life for prohibiting me to move, but I must admit that in the end I was responsible for myself and my own fears and insecurities. So, I decided that it was in my best interest to stay in Florida.

Shine Up & Out


Summer 2015

One World Observatory Opening on May 29th, 2016 and positioned on top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, on levels 100, 101, and 102 of the One World Trade Center building, the One World Observatory provides guests with unique, panoramic views of New York City, its most iconic sites, and surrounding waters from above 1,250 feet. Each of the three levels are equipped with the latest in innovative technology. Upon entry, guests are greeted in the Global Welcome Center, where a large video board features salutations in an array of languages, and a dynamically generated world map highlights the hometowns of visitors. Guests then proceed to a pre-show program, titled Voices, which tells the personal stories of the men and women who built One World Trade Center, and Foundations, which displays facts about the very bedrock on which the building stands. Visitors will board one of five dedicated elevators, termed Sky Pods, to ascend to the 102nd floor in under 60 seconds. Immersive, floorto-ceiling LED technology in each cab invites guests to experience a virtual timelapse that recreates the development of New York City’s skyline from the 1600s to present day. The See Forever™ Theater on the 102nd floor presents a two-minute video presentation that combines bird’s eye imagery, time-lapse shots with abstract textures and patterns to present the unique rhythm and pulse of New York City to dramatic life in three dimensions. In the days leading up to the official public opening, One World Observatory will say a special thank you to New York City by hosting multiple free preview days. (Visit for details) For more information on tickets and prices, visit 33

Photos provided by: Xioger Sandoval


The newest musical to debut on Broadway, It Shoulda Been You, tells the story of a Jewish Bride on her wedding day to her not-Jewish-but-tries-really-hard-to-fit-in-with-her-Jewish-family Groom. As the wedding day unfolds, the audience is treated to a roller coaster of emotions, which can only be expected from any wedding day. From wedding day jitters, drunk wedding guests, to mother-of-the-bride & mother-of-the-groom quarrels, all carefully orchestrated by an over the top, almost Nanny McPheeesque Wedding Planner, who always seems to know exactly what is needed before anyone realizes they need it. It Shoulda Been You, Book & Lyrics by Brian Hargrove, score by Barbara Anselmi and brilliantly directed by Emmy® and Tony Award® winner David Hyde Pierce, who makes his Broadway directorial debut. David Hyde Pierce is no stranger to Broadway, his acting credits include: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award® nomination), La Bête, Accent on Youth, Curtains (Tony Award®), Spamalot, among others, and we can’t forget his iconic role as Dr. Niles Crane on Frasier, where he earned four Emmy® Awards among many other accolades. As a first time Broadway Director, Pierce chose a great project and a great cast of actors to work with, led by the talented and Tony Award® winners Tyne Daly and Harriet Harris as the Mother of the Bride and Mother of the Groom respectively. Tyne Daly holds the record for the most Emmys won by a dramatic actress with six Emmys for her work on “Judging Amy,” “Christy,” and “Cagney and Lacey.” Tony Award winner Harriet Harris is best known for her portrayals of Bebe Glazer on Frasier and Felicia Tilman on Desperate Housewives. The cast also includes performances by David Burtka, Sierra Boggess, Lisa Howard, Montego Glover, Chip Zien, Nick Spangler, and more. The wedding day begins like any other, a nervous bride, and even more nervous Mother of the Bride, a mind-reader-like Wedding Planner, a drunk aunt and even drunker Mother of the Groom. The Bride’s ex-boyfriend, wonderfully portrayed by Josh Grisetti, whose entrance can only be described as “surprising,” forces the audience to root for him and connect with anyone who has ever been in love. Despite his attempts, the audience is witness to the reception, and witness to perhaps one the funniest performances by the Best Man and Maid of Honor in the history of weddings. Montego Glover, who plays the Maid of Honor, says she was attracted to “the script, the cast and working with David Hyde Pierce.” Glover mentions the audience is “overwhelmingly enthusiastic, involved, empathetic, and vocal! I’m continually surprised by how loud and hard they laugh, how closely they follow the story and how much they’re cheering for all these characters. I expected the show to be well received. We’ve worked very hard to make it engaging and beautiful. But I didn’t expect it to cause such a robust and uproarious response. It’s great! We use comedy, but there is a heartwarming element to this piece that really makes it endearing and relevant.” The Best Man, played by Nick Spangler, is a key player as the story unfolds. “This story is absolutely worth telling because it can speak to everyone who sees it. It transcends any one group or type of person and preaches love, acceptance, and the pursuit of happiness. I believe people leave our show with Connextions Magazine | Shine Up & Out | Summer 2015 36

It Shoulda Been You clear eyes and full hearts.” Spangler admits he’s a bit scared of his character because he “has an unbelievable load of silly and nonsensical lines of dialogue that don’t quite serve the plot of the show, but it’s simply his personality.” His protrayal of the Best Man, Greg, is extremely funny and sweet. “It’s amazing to watch from the corner of my eye as someone is wiping tears of laughter from their face and then just minutes later wiping away tears of sympathy. I was not quite prepared for the absurdly uproarious laughter we get nightly… but hey, I’ll take it!” The heroine is played by Lisa Howard, the sister of the Bride, who makes every person fall in love with her, when she pours her emotions on stage as the older, but still single, sister. Howard’s portrayal is authentic, heartwarming and fun! “She’s our hero, our leading lady,” says Glover referring to Howard. Josh Grisetti, who plays the ex-boyfriend, is also blown away by the audiences’ reactions, “I’ve never been part of any comedy that gets this huge of a response from the crowd every night. Huge laughs, oohs and ahhs, a few sniffles and tears at the end -- it’s a blast to watch! This story is very much worth telling. It comes at the perfect time, when a convention musical comedy setup can be flipped on its head and tell a completely unexpected, moving, but hysterical story. The entertainment value alone is worth the price of admission, but the underlying message about self-acceptance and the definition of beauty makes this a story that needs to be told.” No stranger to the stage, Sierra Boggess, portrays the Bride who is willing to do anything for her true love and friends. Boggess, also surprised at how much fun the audience is having says, “seriously we had no idea how much of a reaction the piece gets every night. I have never hear people laugh this much at a musical! It’s such a joy to be a part of something like that! You see how diverse this cast is and full of such awesome people with the most fun personalities to be around. All of us love coming to work to be around each other. We have a blast on and offstage.” And this great chemistry is clearly transmitted to their audiences. We laughed so hard and so loud, that it was a great stress reliever!

In the history of totally insane wedding

So, how is this love story between a bride and her groom, one of the gayest shows on Broadway? Well, you’ll have to see the show for that answer! We would not want to This deprive you of the opportunity to one takes the cake. see one of the most absolutely hysterical shows on Broadway. The tunes are catchy, the lyrics are fun and the plot has enough twists and turns to keep everyone guessing. In fact, we love it so much, we would love for you to go and see it! Connextions Magazine has free tickets available for May & June performances. If you would like to see the show, go to our website and enter our Broadway tickets giveaway: 3 Ways to Buy Tickets Online: Phone: 877-250-2929 In Person: The Brooks Atkinson Theatre 256 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036 For more information:

Emmy® and Tony Award® winner DAVID HYDE PIERCE directs an outstanding ensem IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU, the heartwarming and hilarious new musical comedy about before happily ever after.


Tony Award® winners TYNE DALY and HARRIET HARRIS star as the mothers of the bride the matriarchs of two very different families. Well before anyone gets to walk down th be hatched, secrets will be exposed and sweet, hysterical chaos will be every

In Review SIMPLE POSES TO RELIEVE PAIN, REDUCE STRESS, AND ADD JOY Connextions Magazine had the opportunity to chat with Christine Chen, Emmy award-winning news anchor and reporter, health writer and editor, multi-certified yoga teacher, and former Athletasponsored athlete, to discuss her latest book Happy-Go-Yoga. During our conversation, Christine granted us the honor to publish an excerpt from her book, and found two great poses for us, which are travel related! As frequent travelers know there are many issues to deal with, so these poses can make the travel experience a little less stressful, and hopefully a whole lot happier. Being a frequent traveler herself and in a highly stressful job, Christine sought the assistance of doctors and yoga classes to alleviate the chronic back pains she was experiencing on a daily basis. Her medical treatment included anti-inflammatory spine injections, electro-stimulus, prescription drugs, acupuncture, and months of physical therapy. Finally she attended her first yoga class, despite her skepticism, exhausted of the pain, and perhaps a bit fearful of the surgery she would have to endure, which required the doctor cutting through the front of her neck. Immediately after, she realized that yoga helped her alleviate the pain for short periods of time. Originally her spine specialists were skeptical, and thought yoga might actually hurt her more, but when they saw what has happening to her body, they decided to let her continue with yoga classes.

Happy-Go-Yoga is an easy to read and follow book. Whether you practice yoga on a daily basis or have never set foot on a yoga mat, this book will not only guide you through the process, but will even show you how you can do yoga on your everyday life. Take for example the two poses Christine wanted to share with our Connextions Magazine readers, these are great poses to do while sitting on a plane, train, bus, etc., and there’s even a pose from when you are “patiently” waiting to board, or as she calls it, “Grounded in a Good Way.” Connextions Magazine | Shine Up & Out 38

Photos provided by Christine Chen

She felt her body getting stronger, and proudly tells us how some modern medicine, yoga, meditation and a change of lifestyle have led her to an almost pain-free life. Christine also reports that she never had to endure the spine surgery! So, she decided to share her wisdom with us and wrote the book Happy-Go-Yoga.


Summer 2015

Photos courtesy of Jason Galvez

Happy-Go-Yoga TRAVEL BUDDIES: EAGLE PERCH Relieve | Strengthen | Focus | Empower | Relax


Stuck in a middle seat, your neck and shoulders are already tight, and you just started the fight. Two armrest hogs are making you feel worse. A few minutes start to feel like hours, and the dread is building for the journey ahead. Assume the perch of an eagle about to take flight and let your spirits soar (a little more). 1. Strap yourself in. Scoot your tailbone into the seat back so you can sit taller and be supported. 2. Don’t arch your back to sit up, but lift the top of your head as if it could reach the ceiling of the plane. 3. Bend your arms at the elbows and raise your elbows to the height of your shoulders (stay within your space, please). 4. Choose one of the options below: Option A: Stack one elbow inside the other and connect the backs of your hands. Option B: Double wrap your arms and connect your palms. Option C: Press your arms together, elbows to palms. 5. In all options, feel the tops of your shoulders dropping away from your ears. Move just your elbows forward slightly toward the seat in front of you without changing the height of the arms. 6. Feel the stretch in your shoulders, upper arms, neck, and back. 7. Breathe easily and evenly. Count to ten slowly. 8. Switch sides (for option C, release and repeat).

Your flight is grounded, literally. Weary, defeated, and impatient, you feel shrunken by airports, long lines, and travel stress-but you’re not mentally grounded in a way that helps you cope, so you are primed to fly off the handle at everyone. You need both the strength and flexibility of a strong, graceful tree. 1. Stand next to your extended luggage handle, a wall, or a guardrail and hold it very lightly with your right hand. Don’t lean on it or put a lot of weight on it. 2. Put your left hand on your hip. 3. Put your feet together, toes and heels touching or close together. 4. Deepen your breath in the area of the lower rib cage, expanding your ribs, like a balloon, with breath. 5. Imagine your breath traveling slowly from the earth, up your legs and spine, and toward the crown of your head. Keep breathing. 6. Slowly slide your left heel up the ankle toward your calf. (You can keep your toes on the ground if it helps you balance.) 7. Don’t grip the luggage handle. Rely more on your standing foot and draw your navel into your body. 8. Keep connecting your standing foot to the earth and feel like the top of your head (not your chin) continues to lift. 9. Keep breathing fully in the middle of your body. 10. Switch sides.

Tip: Let your eagle circle in flight. Keep the pose (options A, B, or C) as you had it, but draw imaginary small, slow circles with your elbows.

Bonus: You can also try this without holding on to anything-just balance!

About Eagle Perch: Based on Eagle Pose (Garudasana: GAH-roo-DAH-suh-nuh), Happy-Go-Yoga’s Eagle Perch helps alleviate tight shoulders, stretches the upper back, and supports blood flow to help prevent muscle cramps and stiffness. With your arms in front of your eyes, you’re forced to reevaluate your focus and concentration, which you’ll need to resist the urge to elbow your rowmates. By the way, in yogic mythology, Garuda is the king of birds, eager to help humanity battle demons (aka inconsiderate fellow travelers). Eagle Perch pages 10-11 & Grounded in a Good Way pages 20-21 of Happy-Go-Yoga

About Grounded in a Good Way: Trees, like this pose, are rooted and grounded so they can stay stable in the midst of swirling winds and rainy days. Use this active standing pose to keep your mind off negative things-like delays and crazy travelers-or do it without the luggage to stay stable while waiting in long lines anywhere. Grounded in a Good Way is Happy-GoYoga’s take on the very popular Tree Pose (Vrksasana: vrik-SHAH-suh-nuh), which tones leg muscles and helps with stiffness in your legs and hips. It also gives you a sense of balance and poise as you breath, grow tall, and focus on staying calm instead of obsessing about things that are out of your control.



For the past ten years, NYC Up & Out has been the trusted source for LGBT arts, culture, news and more in New York. We are committed in providing and improving the quality information you expect from us. Follow NYC Up & Out on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win weekly prizes. @NYCUpAndOut #NYCUpAndOut

Love Connextions 2013 saw the birth of, which launched in New York to its tech-parents and lifelong best friends Rachel Kimelman and Jordan Weiss. The duo realized that many of the existing gay and lesbian dating sites focus mainly on hookups. So they created a site where people can build romantic relationships, friendships and meaningful connextions. This progressive platform can best be described as a hub for LGBTQ people to go for dating, social networking and events. For the most part, many of the gay and lesbian dating sites that exist center on quick casual flings. LGBTQutie does so much more than the typical dating site by facilitating a connected LGBTQ community where users can create/ post events happening around them. Only 6 months after its initial launch, members nationwide were signing up. Since it exploded on the scene just over one year ago, LGBTQutie, the relationship and social networking platform for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Pansexual, Asexual, Non-Binary and intersex indidivuals, has grown to include tens of thousands of members. Of course the next logical step is to create a mobile app for LGBTQutie, which the team is working on right now. The app, which is expected to be launched in the Fall of 2015, is going to be dynamic and loaded with innovative new features. LGBTQutie members are thrilled to be a part of an inclusive dating site that offers a unique contentspecific platform, including a blog with topics relevant to our community and a user generated events page. Membership is free and allows members to view and communicate with others. There is also a paid premium membership, which includes enhanced features including video chat, advanced search functions, and more. To help users understand what other users are looking for, they are encouraged to complete a relationship readiness quiz and LGBTQuestionnaire. Sign up now to find your travel & soul mate:



As an accomplished journalist, writer and editor, David’s work appears in 19-and-counting publications, Instinct Magazine, The Huffington Post, the Edge Media Network, Connextions Magazine and among them. Covering travel, luxury, style, and adventure (with tech and science thrown in for color), David is a humor writer with a really, really, really well-used passport.

You could drive by it and never know it is there. Perched high above the fabled surfer’s paradise of the North Shore in the Waimea Valley stands the lava-stone walls of Pu’u O Mahuka, a two-acre luakini heiau, or sacrificial temple complex. A series of three rectangles, one inside the other, and with a ceremonial platform ruling over them all, it is one of the few native Hawaiian ruins to make it into the modern age practically intact. Beyond the cashing of the waves blow, the muscular walls and centuries of memory look out in dignified quietude over the Pacific. Birds tussling over a beetle is as active as things get now, but before it was abandoned in the 1800s, the site was the NORAD of northern Oahu. Built around 1600, the ali’i nui (chief) and his kahuna (priests) of Waimea commanded land and sea from this point; their reach extended across open ocean to the island of Kaua’i, 72 miles away. Today, the only regular visitor is the gardener who keeps the grounds of the temple from overgrowing completely. And yet, as I walked along the low walls, I noticed several stones, from pebbles to goodsized rocks, had been taken away, wrapped up in palm leaves, and laid carefully back in their original placements. “Prayers,” my guide told me, and I noticed they practically festooned the site. Some were very old, the leaves nearly crumbled to power, others must have been left that very day. There was even a makeshift altar on the fence ringing the site. On the way back down to the sea, I got filled in on Pu’u O Mahuka lore. Even after Oahu fell to the forces of King Kamehameha I, the heiau continued its role (but under the watchful eye of Hewahewa, Kamehameha’s own kahuna). After dark, a bonfire at Pu’u O Mahuka could be seen all the way to Kaua’i.


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Summer 2015

In the Land of the Mo’o

Photos provided by David Perry

“I would like to see that,” I mused. “I wouldn’t,” said my guide. OK, that was curious. This was a man as Hawaiian as the heiau. “Why?” He shrugged. “Things that go bump in the night.” Piercing the Veil My it-begins-and-ends-in-Honolulu vacation plans vanished on the spot. Not that I actually want to find ghosts or goblins, but the idea city-ified Oahu had a mythological landscape to explore was too good to pass up, and added an allure to a place long considered “done.” For example: I will never look at Koko Head crater the same way again after finding out it was formed by the goddess Kapo flinging her detachable vagina at it and I am not making that up. I took the Kalanianaole Highway south from Waikiki’s contented indolence, passing along the way the undiscovered inlet beaches Kahauloa and Halona (for you movie buffs, Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr got Halona sand who-knows-where in their famous romp in From Here to Eternity) and on into the arboreal eastern shore.


Hawaiian Mythology My guide told me all Hawaiian islands have a dual personality: The lush, green windward side and the arid, rocky leeward side. Modern science dispassionately attributes this to storms riding west-going trade winds running into the island’s mountains and dumping their rains, but to Hawaiians, the real story is much more delicious, the result of the epic off-again/on-again/never-again between Pele, Goddess of Fire, and Kamapua’a, the God of the Green. It’s the classic love story: When Kamapua’a first came courting, the goddess, a Type A kinda gal, set him on fire. This set off all sorts of unfortunate events, not least of which Kamapua’a dousing her so thoroughly with rain he nearly put out her world-creating flames for good. The other gods quickly averted the impending extinction level event by dividing the islands between the two — Pele would rule of over the arid leeward side of the island and Kamapua’a over the rain-drenched windward flanks. Dungeons and Dragons Honolulu and Waikiki rise on the western side of the island, and are so glitzed up that the rustic east could be another island. Or planet. Pele may have traded her grass skirt for Gucci, but enter good-ol’boy Kamapua’a’s rural realm and you sail headlong into tales of turtle-mermaids and eight-eyed pigs. But what really brings the conversations to a halt is the mo’o. I heard about the mo’o while munching a late breakfast at a huli-huli stand, a dirt-cheap roadside chicken barbeque that made me wonder why I spent so much for the same in Waikiki. Under ordinary circumstances, the mo’o is a benign ‘aumukua, or family spirit-totem, in the shape of a gecko. But honk it off and you can kiss your 15 minutes to better car insurance good-bye, because a mad mo’o morphs into a murderous black dragon with serious anger-management issues. But oddly enough, just try to find somewhere in eastern Oahu that doesn’t owe its very existence to a rampaging mo’o.

After Laniloa I found myself overlooking the panorama of the Nu’uanu Pali mountain pass, and probably one of the most supernatural nexuses on the island. It is a stunning lookout, one of the best on Oahu, with Kane’ohe Bay on side and the gouged cliffs of the Ko’olau Range on the on other. I already knew this place had an eerie rep: My father, born and bred in Honolulu, told me how cars stall on the road because of otherworldly forces. The crime? You can’t carry pork through the pass from the east because the pig is the totem animal of Kamapua’a and Pele will have none of his cooties on her territory — yup, the armed truce between the two holds to this day. Truckers shuttling foodstuffs between either side of Oahu carry blessings in the form of sacred la’i leaves to avert Pele’s disfavor, and people coming from a picnic on the eastern shore still dump any pork and even pork bones before heading through the pass. And this was on top of an even more shadowy hukai’po said to lurk in the pass. Nu’uanu Pali saw one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history; flanked by razorously gothic mountainsides, the Nu’uanu Pali is the biggest of the very few land crossings between east and west Oahu; holding it meant holdConnextions Magazine | Shine Up & Out | Summer 2015 44

Photos provided by David Perry

Mokoli’i, a.k.a. Chinaman’s Hat, a small islet seemingly bobbing off the waters at Kualoa Point, is said to be a piece of a mo’o who learned the hard way you do not pick a fight with the goddess Hi’iaka. Taking her lead, the warrior Kana took upon himself to take down every last mo’o; rocky, wave-whipped Laniloa Point is the petrified remains of his first kill. For all his enthusiasm, however, Kana may not have been so thorough; on moonless nights (and it gets dark in the eastern districts), and without some knifehappy goddess or divine hero around, the mo’o is still feared just enough for people not to get cocky.

Hawaiian Mythology ing the island. So of course it is haunted: King Kamehameha I, possibly en route to Pu’u O Mahuka, had a resounding victory over the island’s chiefs that brought Oahu under his rule…but not before he drove the enemy armies off the cliffs. Hukai’po, the ghosts of those fallen warriors and kings, are said to march on the 14th night of the new moon, a liminal time called po akua. If I was ever in the pass and saw a procession of torches with no obvious source, I was to lie down, cover my eyes, and play dead until they moved on. If that wasn’t enough, it was at another chatty huli-huli that I heard about the mo’o distant cousin, a lizard-woman known as the mo’o wahine (huli-hulis are like myth depots). Like Kamehameha, she found vertical drops a handy-dandy way for getting rid of people, and used her beauty to lure many a man to their deaths thereby. Which, no offense, sorta made me wonder about the standards ancient Hawaiian men had for good looks if reptiles “did it” for them. Herpetological women, angry ghosts, a goddess who just cannot let it go — what kind of deathwish did the Hawaiian Department of Transportation have to lay a modern road through here? I took a few photos and skedaddled before nightfall. And finished my bacon.

Photos provided by David Perry

To a certain degree, I was relieved to be back on my balcony at the Hawaiian Hilton, with its manicured “everything” and soothing familiarity. A few days later I would be heading back to my native New York, and fresh from ghost-hunting, I kicked my shoes to dislodge any pebbles wedged in the treads. Pele, you see, guards her side from all takers, and to swipe a stone from the islands is to invite her rage. I don’t know about you, but I have enough pantheons ticked at me.


Connextions Magazine


Shine Up & Out


Summer 2015


By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes, Xioger Sandoval & JJ Vega

This photo editorial aims to show what a colorless world would be like. Our world is not black and white, most issues are not black and white. “Equality” should be a black and white issue - we either HAVE EQUALITY or WE DO NOT HAVE EQUALITY - that’s it. It really is that simple! At this moment in time, we still DO NOT HAVE EQUALITY. The LGBT community is not treated equally, by laws and people, the same way that our heterosexual brothers and sisters are treated. So, if we take the topic of EQUALITY as a black and white issue, anyone with any degree of intelligence can clearly see how UNequal we are and this is why we have “PRIDE” Festivals accross the globe. The LGBT community does not celebrate PRIDE because, we are too full of ourselves, it’s not an excuse to drink and party, although some people do. On Saturday June 28, 1969, a police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village erupted and a group of LGBT patrons who were there, decided to fight back. Perhaps not realizing at the time, their fight was a wake-up call for our community to regain our rights as human beings, to be able to gather and fight for the right to be treated as equals. And this was the beginning of PRIDE. The first PRIDE march took place a few months later, on November 2, 1969 in New York City. This would become an annual reminder to be more relevant, to be more open, to reach a greater number of people, and encompass the ideas and ideals of our larger struggles. PRIDE started. But what would a world without PRIDE look like? It would look unfinished. It would be a world full of deception, fears, depression, and hostility because PRIDE means acceptance, means to be happy to be who you are, you are no longer in hiding, no longer afraid someone can out you, you are now sharing your true self with others and therefore, part of the world and part of the human race.


Connextions Magazine


Shine Up & Out


Summer 2015

A World Without Color



MAY 2015 8 - 17 Gay Pride Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain 14 - 18 Amsterdam Fetish Pride, Netherlands 16 - 17 Long Beach Pride, Los Angeles, California 23 - 24 Birmingham Gay Pride, Birmingham, UK JUNE 2015 2 - 8 Disney Gay Days, Orlando, Florida 3 - 7 Vienna Fetish Spring, Austria 5 - 14 Boston Pride, Massachusetts 5 - 14 Capital Pride, Washington DC 6 Aarhus Pride, Aarhus, Denmark 6 Honolulu Gay Pride, Hawaii 6 - 7 Motor City Pride, Detroit, Michigan 7 - 14 Tel Aviv Gay Pride, Israel 10 - 14 Key West PrideFest, Florida 12 - 14 Los Angeles Pride, California 12 - 21 Shanghai Pride, China 13 Athens Pride, Athens, Greece 13 - 14 Portland Pride, Oregon 14 Philly Gay Pride, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 14 - 21 CSD Z端rich, Switzerland 18 - 22 Gay Pride, Sitges, Spain 19 - 21 Gay Pride New Orleans, Louisiana

AROUND THE WORLD JUNE 2015 CONTINUED Gay Pride Houston, Texas Pride Toronto, Canada Skeive Dager, Oslo, Norway Vienna Gay Pride, Vienna, Austria Gay Pride Fest Denver, Colorado Stadtfest Berlin, Germany NYC Gay Pride, New York Chicago Pride, Illinois Gay Pride London, UK Gay Pride Week / CSD Berlin, Germany Gay Pride Barcelona, Spain Gay Pride Dublin, Ireland Gay Pride Paris, France San Francisco Pride, California Seattle Pride, Washington Twin Cities Pride, Minneapolis, Minnesota

19 - 28 19 - 28 19 - 28 20 20 - 21 20 - 21 21 - 28 20 - 28 23 - 28 25 - 28 26 - 28 27 27 27 - 28 27 - 28 27 - 28

JULY 2015 1-5 3-5 4 - 12 11 - 19 17 - 18 17 - 19 17 - 26 20

Orgullo Madrid, Spain Cologne Gay Pride, Germany CSD Munich, Germany Bear Week, Provincetown, Massachusetts San Diego Pride, California CSD Frankfurt, Germany CSD Stuttgart, Germany Roze Maandag, Tilburg, Netherlands

24 Jul - 2 Aug 25 Jul - 2 Aug 25 Jul - 2 Aug 27 Jul - 1 Aug

Hamburg Pride, Germany Amsterdam Gay Pride, Netherlands Vancouver Gay Pride, Canada Stockholm Gay Pride, Sweden

AUGUST 2015 Brighton Gay Pride, UK Antwerp Pride, Belgium Reykjavik Gay Pride, Iceland Circuit Festival, Barcelona, Spain Gay Pride Copenhagen, Denmark Schwules Strassenfest, Munich, Germany Manchester Gay Pride, UK

1- 2 3- 9 4- 9 5 - 16 13 - 16 15 28 - 31

Calgary Gay Pride, Canada 28 Aug - 7 Sep SEPTEMBER 2015 Southern Decadence, New Orleans, Louisiana International Bears Week, Sitges, Spain Benidorm Gay Pride, Spain Gay Days Las Vegas, Nevada Oakland Gay Pride, San Francisco, California Las Vegas Pride, Nevada Dallas Gay Pride, Texas

2- 7 4 - 13 7 - 13 8 - 14 13 18 - 19 20

Curaรงao Gay Pride, Curaรงao 30 Sep - 4 Oct

OCTOBER 2015 Atlanta Pride, Georgia 10 - 11 Outfest, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 11 Amsterdam Leather Pride, Netherlands 22 - 26 NOVEMBER 2015 Greater Palm Springs Pride, California

6- 8

(Confirmed dates by time of publishing)






















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