Functional Meets Fashionable How to get your money to work for you Queer Choice Awards Palm Springs White Party Travel Itinerary Man Crush March 2017 / April 2017
Kevin Truong GayLiving.ca | 1
542 Church St (416) 519-9302 fresh-burger.com
Gay Living TORONTO ISSUE #5 March 2017 / April 2017
Andrew McArthur Joey Viola Sarah Nesbitt Andre Goh William Ball Jeff Reynolds
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Happy, Healthy, Fabulous!
Resident Community Columnist @joeypurple
Spring has finally sprung! As a spring baby, I enjoy celebrating my birthday in the first week of May because Spring represents a natural, even spiritual rebirth. It’s the time of year the world blossoms around us. Many of us feel a sense of relief - the snowy Winter is in the past and we have the fresh Spring/Summer season to look forward to. The astonishing (worrisome?) thing about this past winter is how often it felt like Spring had arrived early. I went on a family vacation to Jamaica in February and in my absence, Toronto hit a high of 17 degrees celsius! I too was enjoying the sunshine with my big fat Italian family on the sandy beaches of Mammee Bay, Jamaica. We climbed the world famous Dunns River Falls and later in the week, I crossed scuba diving off my bucket list. I had to challenge myself and battle my claustrophobia but had I given up, I would’ve never been able to experience the magical depths of the Caribbean Sea. I did that for me. Now, Caribbean cuisine is absolutely scrumptious. It is generally so hearty and flavourful, to say the very least. We were staying at an all inclusive resort so I decided to eat what I like (who wouldn’t?). The deal I made with myself was that when I got home, I would no longer ignore the signs my body was giving me - my eating habits were beginning to slow me down. I feel many people reading this column could be going through something similar. It isn’t easy, getting healthy. Good, natural food is expensive and a lot of the time we eat unhealthily or indulge in treats to get a quick fix. Inevitably, our bodies begin asking us for help. But health is not exclusive to your body: your mind and spirit need some TLC, too. It’s all about how you FEEL. This being the Health & Fitness issue, I wanted to connect to readers by admitting my own problems getting healthy and fit. Healthy gay living is more than gym selfies and looking good in a 4 | Gay Living Magazine
tank top and booty shorts, and it can be quite intimidating, too. I used to feel a sense of intimidation at the gym but I learned that it’s all in my head. I am doing this for myself, not to impress anyone else. Much of the LGBTQ+ community promotes sex, so while there should be no indignity in sexuality or sex whatsoever, there is a societal mold that is placed on Gay men from the moment they step outside the closet. I remember being a teenager, my Italian genes blessing me with a full beard at 16, I grew ashamed of my body hair because media promoted smooth, chiseled, white bodies as the ideal for both Gay and Straight consumers. That’s dangerous for a teenager. It’s unhealthy. Stigmas surrounding health and fitness do not end with body expectations, either. Gay men (from teens to seniors) are subjected to discrimination with ignorant online hook-up profiles reading ‘NO BLACKS NO ASIANS’ or the infamously viral ‘NO FATS NO FEMMES’. Subsequently, the latter was proudly revamped to ‘YES FATS YES FEMMES’ - revealing a much more valued expression for our supposedly inclusive community. The prior could use the same treatment - YES BLACKS YES ASIANS! It’s a harsh reality: Gay men are judged for their appearances by their peers. The entire LGBTQ+ community is already bullied by society; do we really want to turn on each other, too? This type of behaviour leads to despondency, depression, even suicide in some cases. We’ve seen the LGBTQ+ suicide rates in North America, so why do people continue to shame one another? It’s counter-productive and we really have to put the work into fixing this, for everyone. Your mind can never truly be healthy if you’re spreading hate. Getting healthy or “in shape” is a personal choice, as it always should be with anything regarding YOUR body. Remember that nobody’s expectations should hold any weight in your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. It’s cliché to say, but you have to feel good in the skin you’re in. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, it’s human nature if we’re unhappy with what we see. It’s impossible to look perfect but we cannot shame ourselves the same way we cannot shame others. I myself am a work in progress and I’ve come to learn that changing your eating habits or appearance to please others - to be desired or accepted - is “getting into shape” the absolute wrong way.
Be you. Be happy. Be free.
Queer Choice Awards A huge thank you to all the sponsors: LGBT In The City, 103.9 PROUD FM, SoCIAL LITE Vodka, Bud Light, Alexander Keith’s, Stella Artois and The 519.
Dean Eskich Writer
Born out of the desire to celebrate Toronto’s LGBTQ community, The Queer Choice Awards hosted its inaugural awards ceremony on January 20th, 2017 in partnership with Gay Living and The 519.
Adamo Ruggiero, who co-starred alongside Toronto music icon Drake in the popular television series Degrassi: The Next Generation, did a fantastic job hosting the awards. Other guests included Hector Fonseca, internationally acclaimed DJ, who presented the Best DJ or Performer award to DJ Sumation. Fonseca performed at the official after party event at Fly 2.0.
Here are this year’s winners in no particular order: Best Bar or Nightclub: Striker Best Cafe or Restaurant: Garage Best Retail Store or Service: The Men’s Room Toronto Best LGBT Strip or Sex Club: Remington’s Men of Steel Best Barber Shop or Beauty Salon: Church St Barber Shop Best LGBT Sports Organization: Toronto Gay Hockey Association Best LGBT Art Theatre or Dance Company: Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Best LGBT Social Group: TNT Men Best LGBT Event: Best Ass Contest Woody’s/Sailor Toronto Best LGBT Instagram Account: Pierson Hayes The Random Award: Striker Best Bartender: Tristan - Remington’s Men of Steel Best Server: Hugh - Church Street Garage Best Drag Queen: Miss Conception Best Drag King: Clint Lycker Best DJ or Performer: DJ Sumation Fantastic Ally: Mamarama Fantastic Community Volunteer: Mathieu Chantelois Fantastic Community Activist: Michelle DuBarry
Toronto is home to Canada’s biggest Pride festival and many LGBTQ focused events, businesses and areas that make the city great. What was missing until now was an opportunity to recognize and honor the contributions of individual members. The Queer Choice Awards aims to bring the community together to celebrate those people and places in a fun way. Online voting began October 1st and ended December 31st, 2016. Everyone could vote once daily for their favourites. There is no panel of judges - anyone can be nominated at any point in the competition. The winner is chosen by you – the community, in a leaderboard style competition where first place takes all. Voting for next year’s Queer Choice Awards will begin September 1st to October 31 and the award ceremony will be November 29th, 2017
Think you or someone else should win next year’s award? Follow @QueerChoiceTO on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and keep an eye out for next year’s voting period. GayLiving.ca | 5
Fashion & Style
Functional meets fashionable Male Models: Jacob Farrow, Gabriel Chase Female Model: Bene Pham Photographer: Rai Allen Makeup and Hair: Jennifer Reyes Makeup and Hair Assistant: Aylin Puebla
Working out doesn’t mean you have to dress down. Men’s fitness fashion has been pretty good to us lately, with new brands and styles popping up all the time. Ditch your crummy white undershirt and throw on a moisture-wicking Under Armour tank for the gym. Go from high school to high performance. Spring mornings can start off chilly and warm up fast. A comfortable pair of form-fitting track pants or leggings will keep your muscles warm and your body cool. Throw on a light jacket with a tank underneath for those early morning runs. You invest in your body at the gym, so it makes sense to wear the right gear for maximum performance. And hey, you’ll look good while doing it. Nothing boosts confidence quite like catching an admiring stranger’s glance over in your direction. All clothes picture are from Winners.
6 | Gay Living Magazine
New Kid on the Block
Dean Eskich Writer
Dr. Peter Tebruegge, RMT, ND opened Gesund with a mission to provide the best quality healthcare in a safe and comfortable environment. Peter champions men’s health, in particular, working with Toronto’s HIV community at the Sherbourne Health Centre in addition to his work at the clinic. Gesund means “health” in German. They have moved into their new 614 Church St location, opening a new store area selling all-natural personal care products and eco-conscious merchandise. On display are various creams, body butter, hair styling products, lip balm, shampoos and more. They offer aromatherapy products and diffusers, shopping bags, and Toronto-inspired t-shirts and water bottles. A wide variety of organic snacks and drinks are also available. Almost all of their products are made in Canada in small batches. Gesund actively seeks out Canadian brands, especially Toronto and GTA-made products, to offer in their store. With a focus on smaller local manufactures not available in large chain stores. Every product they carry is reviewed to ensure the best ingredients and manufacturing standards. They research every product to guarantee ingredients are natural – and they work. “We test, and use all our products ourselves,” says Roman Konigsmark of Gesund.
What they offer is expertise from healthcare professionals, 100% natural and ethical goods, and support for Canadian manufacturers. They also include taxes in each price so that “There are no surprises.”, he adds. I’m given a tour around the pristine clinic, and every room resembles a mini-shrine to Toronto, decorated with paintings and photos dear to the city. Local artist Marc Ngui painted a beautiful mural spanning the storefront, which features city landmarks from West to East. “We live and work here,” he says, “We want to be the store where people come to see what Toronto has to offer.” The clinic has operated for 13 years, offering massage therapy, physiotherapy, chiropractic therapy and naturopathic medicine in an open-minded environment. Roman attributes their success to customer care, like billing their insurance company online directly after treatment, “Not many clinics offer that.” They carry natural medicine, professional-grade organic supplements, and vitamins not available at health food stores, and make custom herbal teas by combining any of 30 different dry herbs. Gesund invites people to come into their new store to try Torontomade personal care products and learn about healthy living. They welcome anyone to ask questions without judgment and bring their ideas on how to improve the community’s health.
614 Church Street | (416) 913-5170 www.gesund.ca GayLiving.ca | 7
Food & Drink
Social Lite Vodka, Where Have You Been?
Andrew McArthur Sommelier
The timing of Social Lite entering my life couldn’t be better. I’ve consulted with several personal trainers. I say consulted because none of them have ever actually trained me. Apparently to meet my goals I have to cut back or (wait for it) stop drinking. Hence, I do not have a personal trainer. I want to have it my way, a healthy lifestyle, a more fit physique, and I see alcoholic beverages included in this vision. Obviously to meet my goals of slimming down for the summer months something has to give, but completely eliminate alcohol? No. This is why I was so excited when I discovered Social Lite Vodka Ginger Lime. A local company based out of Whitby Ontario, this flavoured vodka and soda beverage may play an instrumental part in me having the summer body I want; or at least, less of the dad-body I have. Personally, I feel it is best served in a highball, over ice with a garnish of lime and if you have it, candied ginger. In a glass, it is clear with a slight haziness. As the noted flavour suggests, Social Lite Ginger Lime smells like lime with faint notes of ginger spice that tickle your nose. While the aromas are of lime juice, the flavour is more like lime peel imparting a pleasantly bitter flavour. Yes, bitter flavours are pleasant, ever try a Negroni? What keeps the bitter flavour from being too much is the subtle ginger that supports and elevates the lime. The overall effect is a drink that is incredibly refreshing. Not too sweet, not too citrusy, and the fine tiny bubbles of the carbonation make Social Lite incredibly easy-drinking. 8 | Gay Living Magazine
After working at bars for years I’ve grown to appreciate the vodka soda for what it is. It succeeds in its simplicity. The soda provides pleasant carbonation that masks the harshness of the vodka. The drink is customizable in that the drinker can request their vodka of preference which to some is perceived as adding an heir of sophistication. Ultimately, though it proves one of the most neutral beverages with the least additives. No alcoholic beverage is guilt-free, but a vodka soda is pretty tame compared to a pint of American IPA. Social Lite capitalizes on the simplicity of the vodka soda and refines it for the calorie counting consumer. I’m stocking my fridge with Social Lite. Seriously, Social Lite vodka could be the key to me actually using my building’s pool this summer. Each can is effortless to drink and incredibly pleasant. I have a strong distaste for overly manufactured flavours in alcohol and if Social Lite is anything, it is natural tasting. At only 80 calories a can and 4 % alcohol, I can easily down two or three over an evening without negating my entire workout. The low alcohol also helps keep me from making an ass of myself (an increasing problem). The reality is, every few nights after a long night working at a bar/nightclub I’m going to treat myself to a drink after work. Now with Social Lite I can do so with much less guilt and know that I’m not completely sabotaging my workout regime. Having already made great strides in finding a customer base, it is my hope that Social Lite will find itself stocked at more bars and nightclubs. It’s the perfect refresher on a sweaty dance floor and when the shirts come off you’ll thank the light carbonation for not making you bloated. For me, I still need to do a few more crunches and biceps curls, but when the summer reaches its peak, Social Lite Lime Ginger will be my poolside thirst quencher.
Ingredients 1-16 oz can of chickpeas 1/4 cup liquid from the can of chickpeas 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice
Beet hummus with boiled egg, pistachio, and brussel leaves by: Howard Dubrovsky
(depending on taste)
4 tablespoons tahini 1 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 small beet, boiled until tender and peeled Salt and pepper to taste
For garnish 1 hard boiled egg 2 tbsp pistachios
The leaves of 1 brussel sprout, blanched Lemon zest
To plate Spread the beet hummus in the regular hummus and top with the egg, brussel leaves, lemon zest, and pistachios.
For preparation Blend all ingredients, except the beet and garnish, until smooth. Separate half the hummus. Blend half the hummus with the cooked beet.
GayLiving.ca | 9
“ 10 | Gay Living Magazine
The reflection of what you see, is the image of your own creation.
MAN CRUSH Kevin Truong @alpha.numeric ZODIAC SIGN Virgo CELEBRITY DATE Maluma or Prince Royce IF YOU WON THE LOTTERY I’d get myself a pet pig and buy my parents everything GUILTY PLEASURES In a moment’s notice I will switch from RuPaul’s Drag Race to Rugrats. Also, Pizza Hut DREAM BOYFRIEND Someone who is kind to everyone can joke around with me, passionate, and dance bachata FEELING SEXY IN My grey sweat pants FOR WORK I work in the beauty industry but I’d love to save whales FIND HIM AT The gym or a frozen yogurt stand ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW I’m a baddass with a softy’s heart, promise
GayLiving.ca | 11
Drag on Fire
llustrator by day, Drag Queen by night
Dean Eskich Writer
How did you get into drag? Eve: I actually started off thinking drag queens were gross. I thought they lived in drag. Then I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix and that showed me that drag queens lived two separate lives. My inspirations were Raven and Roxxxy Andrews; I started doing makeup because of them. After a year of doing makeup I decided to go out in drag and have been doing it ever since. My illustration career started by making fan art of drag queens I liked, and I took some advice from friends to market this skill as a service, offering photo manipulation portraits for $45. I guess I got lucky, I’ve always been an artist and managed to turn it into a day job. What does your typical performance look like? Eve: Fun and upbeat. At Crews & Tangos I do 3 sets of 4 energetic songs to get the crowd excited and drinking, and getting myself drinks. At a cabaret style show, people pay more attention to the performance and I can add more nuance. At Crews, everyone’s there to dance and have fun, so I feed them with energy. I love both types of shows; I love working at Crews, the audience is so strong and always there to have a great time. It helps a performer get comfortable when the audience is there to have fun. What sets you apart from other performers? Eve: My presentation is more polished than most. I’m known for my look. I’m a pretty good host on the mic, and I’m also known for being very opinionated. I’m not a queen that just wants to get all the bookings. I’m known for saying no among my friends. It’s important to have respect for yourself and expect professionalism from others. 12 | Gay Living Magazine
What are your goals for the future? Eve: I’d love to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race. I’ve also considered moving to Chicago where the drag scene is more expansive and I can get really creative. It’s a long term goal and I’d need to change so many things about my life. I’d love to travel the world doing drag, just not right now. I’d need to find someone in the US I can marry for a green card. What’s the best performance you’ve ever had? Eve: A couple performances stand out for me. I had a show where I performed to 1 + 1 by Beyonce and did a routine based on the grapefruit trick YouTube video. I had a dildo and an actual grapefruit and reenacted the video. It was a lot of fun. What advice would you have for an aspiring drag queen? Eve: My first piece of advice: Don’t! Just kidding. Don’t do it for the wrong reasons. You have to have thick skin and be able to handle negativity that can be a part of the scene. There’s no safe zone when you’re performing. You’ll hear some outrageous comments on the stage, even very insulting comments about your own appearance, level of intelligence, rectal integrity, etc… A sense of humour goes a long way - you have to be able to take a joke. How have you overcome challenges in your career? Eve: When I first started, I wanted to be the village queen with shows every single night of the week. I was very envious of queens, especially the newer ones, with lots of bookings. Now I see those same queens fight for shows; and they can do that. I’m good with where I’m at and don’t need to have the most bookings anymore. People in the community like to brag about how many bookings they have. I just find it kind of funny. Drag to me is about passion, creativity, and fun. Not accounting. I just want to be the best performer I can be, be professional, and be a good representative of my community. Whatever comes to me as a result, I will be happy to accept. Ordering Pad Thai on Uber Eats also helps.
Home & Finance
How to get your money to work for you properties yourself to take advantage of Toronto’s real estate boom. A modest investment can earn comparable returns without borrowing large sums to buy a property.
Investment & Diversification Professional So you want to invest your money in a way that provides consistent income, does not require industry expertise or active management, and earn a great return. Most investors want their money to work for them while they do what they enjoy in life. Sound too good to be true? Higher reward does not always require higher risk. While risk has been correlated with reward in the stock market, it does not hold true for every market. There are opportunities out there that can provide stable returns for the investor that prefers a passive approach. Mortgage investments are great alternatives for investors to get a piece of the action in Toronto’s booming real estate market. It allows you to “be the bank” and lend to a real estate developer in pre-construction phase, lending them a fixed amount, and receive a fixed return over a period of time, usually 1-4 years. A typical mortgage investment of $25,000 with Landmark Capital Ltd earns interest payments of 8-12% monthly or quarterly. That’s $2,000 a year that you can earn without worrying about your portfolio going up and down. Once the term is finished, you get back your principal balance plus a deferred lender fee. Big banks have dominated mortgage lending in the past due to their ability to finance real estate developers with large amounts of capital. Retail malls are owned by massive pension funds - they know the value of real estate. Individual investors had no way of participating in the financing scheme. By pooling together the investments of individual investors, a single mortgage called a Syndicated Mortgage is created with which a developer can finance their project. You don’t have to purchase landmarkcapitalltd.com
Contrast that with investing in the stock market. You could earn 15% this year, 12% next year, then 5% the following year. You could also lose much of your investment the year after that. If you would rather someone else manage your portfolio, you will have to pay management and administrative fees that eat into your returns. A syndicated mortgage cuts down the fees you’d have to pay with other investment firms. Two main factors are driving growth in real estate prices. First, interest rates have been near 0% for the past decade and will likely increase in the near future, although slowly. Low interest rates spur spending; holding money in an account will leave you worse off than you started, after accounting for inflation. Secondly, the low supply of residential and commercial developments within Toronto is not meeting the demand. Neighbourhoods are being built, but can’t keep up with high rates of immigration to our wonderful city. Of course, price increases of 25% a year are not sustainable and a minor correction should happen. Some investors are concerned that the market is a bubble, fearing a repeat of the US housing collapse. It is not likely to happen because demand for living and setting up business in Toronto is going to keep rising in the foreseeable future. Lagging public and transit infrastructure and lack of reliable transportation in the GTA ensure that accessible locations will remain in demand and new transit construction (like the Eglinton LRT) will open up more feasible real estate opportunities. There are plenty of real estate investment opportunities available for every investor. For those who want stable investment income without the volatility of public markets, a syndicated mortgage might be what you are looking for.
GayLiving.ca | 13
Palm Springs White Party Travel Itinerary
Andrew McArthur Sommelier
I’m tired of people talking about Palm Springs and the White Party. Not because I’m bored of the conversation, but because I’m so damn jealous I haven’t been. The White Party Palm Springs takes place May 5-8th. Presented by Jeffrey Sanker it is the most elite circuit party in North America. Attracting party goers from around the globe it promises (and I’m told delivers) the best in music and entertainment of any gay event. And what better backdrop than Palm Springs. Deserts are hot, and so is this party. I’ve seen the pics, the videos, I’ve heard the stories. Now, I want to go. Sadly in 2017, that won’t happen for me. A combination of bad scheduling and the fifth anniversary of my 25th birthday mean I won’t be in attendance. So I bitched and moaned a little (a lot) until the editors of Gay Living suggested I write my Palm Springs wish list for next year. Does this mean I’m going? I sure hope so, but White Party or not, it has certainly helped me plan my next vacation to Palm Springs, and hopefully it can help you with yours. PARTY The White Party presented by Jeffrey Sanker is easily one of North Americas preeminent gay party. Spanning one incredible weekend, partiers worldwide unite to dance under the heat of the desert sun. Beginning Friday, May 5th at 12:00 pm, the party officially closes Monday, May 8th at 8:00 am. With endless possibilities, The Palm Springs White Party promises the best in entertainment. DJ list includes such names as Phil B, Toy Armada, Grind, Bret Law, Wayne G, Stefan, and Danny Verde, among others. Hosted at the Renaissance Hotel tickets range from $40.00 to $3000.00 (US$) depending on the experience and level of exclusivity you seek. This year’s event promises a performance by Belinda Carlisle and as every great party needs to be reigned over by a Queen, this year’s white party is hosted by none other than Kyle Richards of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame. You may not be able to tear yourself away from the party, or like me, you may visit Palm Springs after the event. In either case, this White Party / Palm Springs itinerary has you covered for the best to stay, eat, shop, play and do while vacationing in the Coachella valley. jeffreysanker.com FLY Air Canada Rouge if you haven’t been initiated, is Air Canada’s leisure line, transporting vacationers to destinations near and 14 | Gay Living Magazine
abroad. From December 14, 2016, to April 16, 2017, Rouge flies direct to Palm Springs three times a week from Toronto. Departures and returns are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. This is prime time for the Coachella Valley and Rouge is making it easier than ever to get to the party. While the economy cabin is the standard offering, I highly suggest you splurge and upgrade to their premium cabin. A definite step-above economy class, premium offers a much roomier seat, upgraded food and drinks, and much more personalized service. If you can’t make it to the desert while Rouge flies direct, take an Air Canada mainline flight to Los Angeles, rent a car (I prefer convertibles from Enterprise), and cruise to Palm Springs in less than two hours.
STAY If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Palm Springs for the White Party, you should probably consider staying at the Renaissance. It’s the official host hotel and it means that all the partying you could dream of is under your roof. However, you may wish to have a room away from the party, a haven from the noise, crowds, and partiers. I can understand this and suggest two hotels that I suspect will offer an escape from the party scene. On the high end there is Ritz Carlton which promises five star pampering and all the lux touches one could want on a visit to the Coachella valley. The Saguaro Palm Springs is I’m told, arguably the hippest lodging in one of North Americas best party cities. To each their own, but rest assured, Palm Springs seems to have the right hotel for every traveler. If visiting Palm Springs for the White Party, the obvious choice is the Renaissance Palm Springs. It’s ideal that one of the biggest
parties of the year is attached to a hotel. Party revelers can retreat quickly at any time to the quiet confines of their room or suite. Generous in size and well appointed, rooms at the Renaissance will prove to be a serene retreat for a disco nap. Two restaurants are on hand and in your downtime, hang by the large central pool. The Renaissance is also ideally situated for exploring the city when you need a break from the party. marriott.com 888 Tahquitz Canyon Way.
beyond impressed. The Palm Springs property I can imagine will offer much of the same warm hospitality and luxe touches. If your retreat from the White Party requires the most attentive hospitality, a full service spa, and impeccable attention to detail, then splurge on Ritz Carlton. I plan to stay at a hotel closer to the action, then extend my vacation by two or three days to detox (relax poolside) and soothe my over-danced muscles at the spa. The perfect end to a vacation. ritzcarlton.com 68900 Frank Sinatra Drive, Rancho Mirage. EAT Sure, you’re visiting Palm Springs for a mix of partying and relaxation but you’ve got to eat, and why not eat well. Palm Springs has long been a retreat for the wealthy and Hollywood elite. As I understand, the city itself has maintained its quaint small town feel in spite of the tourist market it serves. A positive of the wealth of the city folk is the importation of fine restaurants and cuisine. It’s not necessary to make every night out a culinary spectacle, but treat yourself, you’re on vacation after all.
If you’ve read anything about Palm Springs over the last few years, you’ve probably come across The Saguaro Palm Springs. Apart of the chic Sydell Group (think Nomad NYC), Saguaro, is a renovated 1960s motel in eye-popping colours that reflect those of desert wildflowers. Inside and out hues of pink, blue, orange and purple brighten the desert landscape and seem to proclaim Saguaro as the cities centre of cool. Balconied rooms overlook a central
Lulu California Bistro must be visited at least once. Opening daily at 8am, I expect I’ll have the opportunity to stop in more than just once be it for one of the most extensive breakfast menus I’ve ever seen or bar snacks in the late evening. I’m not suggesting that I’ll necessarily be up before 11 am, but if I am, this will be my go-to spot to fuel for the day ahead of me. The lunch. and dinner menu is no less extensive with offerings that are Italian, French, steakhouse, seafood, vegetarian, and gluten free. At Lulu, the dinning options are seemingly limitless, all enjoyed in downtown Palm Springs either outside on the patio or inside under glowing chandeliers. lulupalmsprings.com 200 S Palm Canyon Drive. Open daily from 11:00 am and serving breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays between 9:00 and 2:00, the menu at Oscar’s Café is more casual than that of Lulu (more classic American fare). Although less extensive the menu offerings seem no less appealing. Oscars strikes me as a great meeting point to launch the evening. Should one drink turn into a few and this vast indoor/outdoor venue seems to good a time to leave, then consider making your way up to Liz, the newly debuted nightclub within Oscars. Promising to revive the new wave dance and disco vibe of the 70s and 80s, Liz sounds to me like the closest one can get to Manhattans 1970s studio 54 on the west coast. oscarspalmsprings.com 153 E Tahquitz Canyon Way.
courtyard, pool, and pool bar that hosts dj’s and weekend parties. Chef Jose Garces helms El Jefe, the hotel’s Mexican restaurant that is as popular with locals as it is with hotel visitors. The Saguaro Palm Springs has long been on my hotel bucket list, and after an incredible stay at Nomad NYC (review to come), I have no doubt this hotel will exceed my expectations. thesaguaro.com 1800 E Palm Canyon Drive. I’ve had my eye on Ritz Carlton Rancho Mirage. It’s construction was delayed due to the recession but has long since been completed and promises the ultimate in luxury while in the Palm Springs area. Ritz Carlton is a bit away from the action, but all in the name of providing a peaceful retreat. A couple years ago I had the pleasure of staying at the Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain in Arizona and was GayLiving.ca | 15
Sherman’s Deli and Bakery is where you go for comfort food after dancing into the the early morning hours to the beat of Donna Summers at Liz nightclub. Channel your inner Tony Manero ( for the millennial’s that Travolta’s character in Saturday Night Fever) and shake off your hangover at this New York style kosher deli. I plan on partying in Palm Springs, therefore I require a casual spot where I can re-piece the night over a bottomless cup of black coffee. As I age my hangovers become less predictable and what food will remedy my pain varies. The menu at Sherman’s Deli and Bakery has the breadth to ensure I’ll find something satisfying. shermansdeli.com 401 E Tahquitz Canyon Way.
PLAY I have to admit, I’m guilty of not partying too hard while on vacation. It’s one of my goals to experience more nightlife when I travel. I think there’s no better place to start than Palm Springs. Rising out of the desert like an oasis of bass and strobe lights, nightclubs in Palm Springs gay village cater to the escapist goals of its visitors. I checked with friends who are White Party alumni and got the scoop on where they party in the gay village. Chill Bar is located in the village and across the street from the Hard Rock Hotel, a location perfect for high volume party shenanigans. Open seven days a week from 10:00 am, Chill Bar claims to be just that, chill. When you’ve had enough of the hotel swimming pool, Chill Bar’s large patio is a great spot to soak up the sun and rub shoulders with vacationers and locals alike. When the sun sets and the dessert cools, Chill Bar heats up in the Scorpion Room. Essentially a nightclub inside a bar, Scorpion Room is the answer for wild party revelers. With male and female go-go dancers and VIP bottle service, Scorpion Room inside Chill Bar may be my destination for ending the night on a dance floor. chillbarpalmsprings.com 217 E Arenas Road. 16 | Gay Living Magazine
Hunters Nightclub is a mostly male dominated venue. A full-on dance club and consistently ranked as the best dance nightclub in Palm Springs. My expectation of Hunters is hard electronic beats and shirtless men grinding their vacation away. This sounds like a venue I’ll want to spend at least a couple of my nights at. Like Chill bar, Hunters opens at 10:00 am with happy hour(s!) until 7:00. On vacation, I love day drinking and relaxing in the afternoon. Especially at a venue that promises a sweaty dance floor in the evening. Chill Bar and Hunters top my wish list of bars to visit in Palm Springs. hunterspalmsprings.com 302 E Arenas Road. One of my friends insists I must visit Tool Shed. I have limited experience with leather bars other than casual observation of outdoor parties during Toronto Pride. I do though understand that the leather and bear parties tend to have the most comradery. With Tool Shed seeming to be Palm Springs bear den, this may be the solo traveler’s bar of choice for making friends with other visitors and locals alike. Weekly bondage shows and leather nights promise entertainment and excitement during your visit. If you’re seeking leather clad daddies and bears, rub down with honey and throw yourself into Tool Shed. toolshed-ps.com 600 E Sunny Dunes Road.
SHOP I don’t shop nearly enough when I travel. I’ll window shop on Rodeo and browse Harrods and Selfridges when in London but when it comes down to a monetary exchange of goods, it’s usually booze I’m stuffing into my overpacked suitcase. I’m hoping Palm Springs can help change that. Gay Mart. Yes, that is actually the name of the store. Yes, it looks amazing! But what does Gay Mart sell? Well, according to Visit Palm Springs, Gay Mart is ‘’clothing especially for the queer in you.’’ I love it. They claim that everything is splashed with “the perfect touch of gay.” I feel like Gay Mart is going to be stocking stuffing heaven. With an extensive music shop and card
transports fearless riders over 2.5 miles to a peak in Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Did I mention it rotates? Yes, not only is this terrifying, to begin with but each car actually rotates to give you a 360 degree panorama of the valley below. It sounds like ten minutes of Instagram heaven or high altitude hell for me. The journey ends at an elevation of 8,516 feet where my shaky legs will walk through a natural history museum and observation decks, and where my nerves will be calmed at the bar. There are two restaurants, one of which promises fine dining with a spectacular view of the Coachella valley. I haven’t yet vetted the wine and cocktail list, but it’ll take something potent to get me back in the aerial car for the ride back. pstramway.com 1 Tram Way.
department, all occasions and gift-giving will be taken care of. If this place is as good as it sounds, I may have to pack an extra suitcase. 305 E Arenas Road. While the title of Gay Mart raises questions, Gear Leather and Fetish is pretty clear in its product line. Now, remember I mentioned previously that I know little about the leather and fetish community. However, one hour on Gear’s website and my eyes have been opened. Essentially, Gear is a mega-emporium catering to the inner fetishist in all of us. I can’t wait to troll the aisles and bug the staff with the million questions I have. The extra suitcase I’m bringing will come in handy because if TSA finds any of these souvenirs in my carry-on, I’ll have some interesting explaining to do. gearleather.com 650 E Sunny Dunes Road.
While I haven’t yet been to Palm Springs, I have been to Arizona a couple of times, and driving in the desert is one of my favourite vacation pastimes. I look forward to the approximately hour long drive to Joshua Tree National Park. This intersection of the Mojave and Colorado deserts is characterized by rugged dessert terrain and the as-titled Joshua Trees with their dagger-like leaves and winding branches. I’m told the camping here is excellent. If you’ve followed my writing you know I don’t camp, except for that time I was drunk and lost while cottaging with friends and crafted a tent by stretching an oversized beach towel over an upright stick and pegged each corner with empty bottles of Peroni. I don’t plan on reliving that moment on this trip. So I’ll stick to hiking, or make it an evening venture for what I can only imagine will be a showstopper sunset and intense star-gazing. nps.gov>jotr I really hope I can make it to Palm Springs soon. Ideally for the White Party next year, but if not, there seems to be more than enough to keep me relaxed and entertained for a vacation. Hopefully, these suggestions will help you plan your next vacation to the Coachella Valley. If you are going to the White Party, I’m jealous, if you’re going for rest and relaxation, I’m also jealous. Fingers crossed I can make it happen. With Air Canada Rouge flying direct from Toronto a comfortable layover-free trip is easier than ever before. I know where to stay, eat, shop, and what to do. Now, I just have to go.
DO Palm Springs Walk of Stars was founded in 1992 and recognizes those who significantly contributed to the recognition and success that Palm Springs enjoys today. Think stars of yesteryear like Bob Hope, The Supremes, and Marilyn Monroe, along with entertainers like Lisa Vanderpump. An oversized statue of Monroe nods to her famous wardrobe malfunction in The Seven Year Itch. palmspringswalkofstars.com Palm Canyon, Museum Drive, Tahquitz Canyon Way. I’m nervous about this one. Put simply, I’m terrified of heights. I step out onto a twenty story balcony and my knees go weak. I’ll have to take an uber to this site because pre-drinking will be necessary. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is a cable car that GayLiving.ca | 17
by Brian Lawrence
QUEER CHOICE AWARDS
by Brian Lawrence
CONFETTI @ FLY 2.0
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by Sarah Nesbitt
CREAM @ CLUB 120
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