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There's nothing like the feeling of stepping off a plane after having traveled from some godforsaken winter tundra gripped by the polar vortex into the warm, tropical air of Miami.
If you've been coming to South Beach for more than two decades, from the time it first exploded with nightclubs like Paragon, Warsaw, Amnesia, and Salvation, you'll realize that South Beach and Miami, while they may not be the wild gay nightlife arenas they once were, appear to be maturing culturally, with new cultural venues and neighborhoods. South Beach, known for its art deco architecture, is seeing a boom in restoration projects. North Miami Beach is seeing a huge surge in growth. There is still nightlife, but it's broadening. And there is so much more.
Since many of you — our Towleroad readers — live in Miami full time, or part time, or visit on a frequent basis, we surveyed you and examined dozens of replies in which you told us your favorite restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, beaches, and cultural destinations and compiled them into this ultimate guide to what's happening right now. We've also made a few tweaks of our own based on our last few visits. Thanks to all who participated!
We've taken what you told us and created a snapshot which should be useful if you're heading to Miami this week for the Winter Party Festival (today through the 9th) or any time in the near future. We'll be adding to this and we hope that you'll chime in and offer more useful advice in the comments.
If you're thinking of planning a trip, consider coming during one of these annual events our readers say are not to be missed.
The annual Winter Party begins this week in South Beach but there are many other events not to be missed throughout the year including Miami Beach Gay Pride (April 10-12 - Mario Lopez is the parade's grand marshal), Miami International Film Festival (March 6-15), The Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (April 24th - May 3), Calle Ocho Festival (March 15), Winter Music Conference (March 24-28), Ultra Music Festival (March 27, 28, 29), White Party Week (November 26-30), Art Basel (December 3-6), South Beach Food & Wine Festival (February 25-28, 2016), Coconut Grove Arts Festival (next February), the Miami International Boat Show (February 11-15, 2016), or New Year's Eve week (for fireworks on the beach, photo).
So, let's see what's up for gay travelers in Miami.
Click here for 33 Places to Eat in Miami Right now....
And here's our first of many tips from readers:
"You do not need a car to drive around South Beach, as there is a LOCAL 25 cent bus whose route goes around the perimeter. If we do not take this LOCAL bus, most of us avoid taxis and use Uber to get to our destination. Half the price of taxis, pleasant drivers, and they show up in 3-4 minutes after one calls them on a smart phone."
(inset beach photo David Jarrett)
The Human Rights Campaign today announced its support for a proposed non-discrimination bill in Utah that would extend employment and housing discrimination protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity today. HRC President Chad Griffin is pleased with the support behind the bill, including backing from the Mormon Church.
"This is an extraordinary moment for the state of Utah, for LGBT Americans, and for the Mormon Church, which, by supporting this legislation, shows a willingness to align with others on the right side of history. The desire exhibited by the Mormon Church to work toward common ground should serve as a model for other faith traditions here in the United States."
The bill, S.B. 296, is headed to its first hearing tomorrow and contains three consequential provisions. In short, the bill states employers, landlords and property owners are prohibited from denying jobs and housing based on gender identity or sexual orientation, and no religious exemptions from non-discrimination provisions will be permitted for individuals or for-profit businesses. Should Utah legislators approve the measure, the state would join 21 other states that have explicit non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, and 18 other states that have explicit gender identity protections. HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow hopes Utah legislators move quickly on the matter.
"This is a very encouraging step for all of us committed to equality. With just a short time remaining in the state legislative session, we hope for quick and positive action on this important measure."
The HRC had spurned a previously proposed non-discrimination initiative that was supported by Mormon leaders. Many critics, including the HRC, found the proposed initiative's more robust exemptions for religious organizations unacceptable.
Political drama heats up in West Hollywood. And yes, Grindr's involved.
There's now a gay erotic novel about "the dress" from the author who wrote gay erotic fiction about T-Rexes.
The Bank of Canada says that "Spocking" your bank notes is not illegal.
Can you guess which popular children's movie Jamal from Empire was in as a kid?
Mobile County, Alabama will now not allow gay or straight couples to get married.
Speaking of Alabama, following the state's Supreme Court ruling yesterday same-sex marriage has halted state-wide.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Congress yesterday. Considered a slap in the face to President Obama by some, Sarah Palin not surprisingly has a plan to use it to raise campaign money.
Did Homer Simpson solve the Higgs Boson years before scientists did? "The physicist/ author Dr. Simon Singh told the Independent he saw the solution for Higgs Boson a.k.a. 'God particle' mass on a blackboard in the 1998 episode 'The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace.' In it Homer tries to emulate Thomas Edison and becomes an inventor. Singh said, 'If you work it [the equation] out you get the mass of a Higgs boson that's only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is.'"
Psychology Today will no longer accept paid advertisements from practitioners of ex-gay, conversion or reparative therapy.
Reuters on opposition to the newly passed marriage equality legislation in Slovenia: "Two center-right opposition parties and several civic groups fiercely opposed the changes, particularly giving same-sex couples the right to adopt children. The Civil Initiative for Family and Children's Rights, which opposes the changes, said on Wednesday it would push for a referendum on the law, which is similar to one rejected by Slovenians in a popular vote in 2012. It is unlikely to succeed because Slovenia changed its referendum legislation in 2013 and no longer allows plebiscites on human rights issues."
Prince was a baller in Jr. High.
Media campaign to fight anti-LGBT discrimination kicks off in Texas with former George W. Bush advisor at the helm.
Adam Lambert is OUT's most eligible bachelor.
Luke Evans will play Gaston in upcoming live action Beauty and the Beast opposite Emma Watson.
Hillary Clinton apparently used her own internet server in addition to her own email account while at State.
A new video from the Ad Council titled "Love Has No Labels" has racked up over 1.5 million views on YouTube since it was posted a mere 24 hours ago. The video, intended to show that love is love regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, or race, shows people dancing, hugging and kissing behind a giant X-ray. On the X-ray, each of the individuals looks nearly identical. And thus the point is made: love always looks the same. It's something so inherent to all humans it's as if it's in our bones.
While the vast majority of Americans consider themselves unprejudiced, many of us unintentionally make snap judgments about people based on what we see—whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability. This may be a significant reason many people in the U.S. report they feel discriminated against. Subconscious prejudice—called “implicit bias”—has profound implications for how we view and interact with others who are different from us. It can hinder a person’s ability to find a job, secure a loan, rent an apartment, or get a fair trial, perpetuating disparities in American society. The Love Has No Labels campaign challenges us to open our eyes to our bias and prejudice and work to stop it in ourselves, our friends, our families, and our colleagues. Rethink your bias at lovehasnolabels.com.
Watch the inspiring and touching video (which is set to Macklemore's "Same Love"), AFTER THE JUMP...
Marvel’s latest trailer for May’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” has a very clear Vision in mind. Specifically, it has our very first look at Paul Bettany as the Vision, one of the three new Avengers to be introduced in the upcoming film. In addition to the cowled android, the trailer sets up the broader plot points driving the film and shows off some of more subtle super-dynamics created by the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson.)
The trailer gives us a hint of just how Ultron (James Spader) might intend on dismantling the world’s mightiest heroes: magic. As Marvel has incrementally built upon its cinematic universe with its series of Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor films, it has kept the bulk of its super-heroes relatively grounded in the real-world. Thor, for example, is explained as being an alien whose technology is so advanced that it appears to be magically-based.
The Scarlet Witch, and by extension her twin brother Quicksilver, are somewhat different. As her name implies the Scarlet Witch’s abilities have always been mystical in nature, and her introduction into the MCU could be the beginning of future magical Marvel characters like Dr. Strange, whose film is slated to be released next year. In a few key frames we get a good look at the Witch working her way into the Black Widow’s (Scarlett Johansson) mind with abilities that up until now have been non-existent in the MCU.
Other highlights of the trailer are the Black Widow’s spiffy new combat gear, an extended clip of Iron Man’s iconic fight with the Hulk in his Hulkbuster armor, and a scene in which Captain America (Chris Evans) is unable to save a pair of innocent bystanders.
Between Cap’s guilt and Iron Man’s (Robert Downey Jr.) admission that Ultron was his ultimate mistake, it’s looking like “Age of Ultron” is already setting the stage perfectly for the upcoming “Captain America: Civil War.”
Check out the latest trailer for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” AFTER THE JUMP...
Ahead of his hosting SNL this weekend, Chris Hemsworth teamed up with SNL funny lady Kate McKinnon to promote the show. McKinnon drooled over the 'Sexiest Man Alive,' asked him to do the 'Dirty Dancing' lift with her (which doesn't go so well), tricked him into letting her touch him, discussed Chris' powers as a weather god, and, most importantly, what threat he was created (in the future, then sent back in time) to fight.
The hilarious antics are AFTER THE JUMP...