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Rob Manser

Rob Manser

Guidetogay.com is the leading travel, news and social network for the LGBTQI community.  Join us on social media.

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London Wins 2012 World Pride

London has won the right to host World Pride in 2012. Led by Pride London with support from Visit London and the Mayor of London, London beat tough competition to be awarded the World Pride parade in 2012.

World Pride will be held in the capital during the summer of 2012, just ahead of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. Organised by InterPride, World Pride promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues on an international level through parades, festivals and other cultural activities.

London's World Pride in 2012 is expected to attract over one million visitors. The two week festivities will most likely take place from 23 June to 8 July 2012, with the main parade held on 7 July.

Visit London Deputy Chief Executive, Sally Chatterjee said:

"This is a tremendous win for the capital. London Pride is an annual highlight of the cultural festival calendar and hosting World Pride in 2012 is a proud triumph for our city. There really will be no other place on earth to be in 2012 than right here in London."

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said:

"I'm absolutely thrilled that London has won the right to host World Pride in 2012. London has one of the largest and most diverse LGBT communities on the planet and it is a fantastic opportunity to inspire cities across the globe. In an Olympic year, the eyes of the world will already be on London and the city will give an enormous welcome to LGBT people, their friends and families, for what we want to be the most colourful and exciting World Pride festival yet."

Chair of Pride London, Paul Birrell said:

"We are delighted that London was successful in its bid for World Pride. This is a great achievement for London and coming in 2012, it will be a glorious year for our city. Pride London has grown over the years to be one of the UK's largest cultural events and this is a tremendous achievement for the LGBT community."

Deborah Cox Live at Krash Nightclub NYC

We caught up with one of our favourites, Deborah Cox, whilst in NYC doing a PA at hot club, Krash... the diva took to the stage and belted out a string of hits that everyone across the globe totally loves... from Nobody's Sposed To Be Here to her new hits off of the upcoming album "The Promise" - it was a live and intimate set that you could only see in New York City.

Krash Nightclub were the gracious hosts, and the club pulled out all the stops - including very flirtatious and friendly door people, security and bar folk... all in all it was a great night out...

But instead of reviewing it in a completely biased way (it was awesome) you can check it out for yourself below in our very shaky video presentation (you will have to excuse me for the bouncy footage, but I was excited like a school girl at her prom!)





Calif. gay marriage ban becomes big money race

At least 64,000 people from all 50 states and more than 20 other countries have given money to support or oppose a same-sex marriage ban in California, reflecting broad interest in the race that some consider second in national importance only to the presidential election.

Ten days before the vote on Proposition 8, campaign finance records show that total contributions for and against the measure have surpassed $60 million, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. That would be a record nationally for a ballot initiative based on a social rather than economic issue, campaign finance experts say. It also eclipses the combined total of $33 million spent in the 24 states where similar measures have been put to voters since 2004.

If approved by California voters, Proposition 8 would overturn the state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriages by changing the state constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

Campaign committees formed to back or battle the amendment were close in fundraising as of Oct. 25, AP’s analysis found. Supporters had raised at least $28.2 million; opponents had taken in $32.3 million, closing a fundraising gap that had them $8 million behind a month ago.

The figures for each side are actually higher because small cash donations made since Sept. 30 had not yet been reported.

The measure is likely to attract more money than any race other than the billion-dollar presidential election, judging by campaign-finance data from other high-profile contests. The closest appears to be the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, at $35 million.

“I’m surprised how much they are spending because I would have thought 90 percent of the people would have made up their minds on this issue,” said Robert Stern, president of the nonpartisan Center for Governmental Studies. “But if this is a close race, that undecided 10 percent will decide the election. Every dollar, in a sense, counts.”

The money pouring into the 13 committees promoting or challenging the measure has come from prominent religious conservatives and gay rights activists, Hollywood actors and moguls, teachers and CEOs.

Individuals who identified themselves as retirees and homemakers accounted for the most donations, giving more than $11 million. Self-identified lawyers gave $2.3 million.

On the “Yes” side, Knights of Columbus, based in New Haven, Conn., is the measure’s largest single contributor so far, having given $1.4 million. Other top contributors to the Yes on 8 campaign were Irvine banking heir Howard Ahmanson Jr.’s Fieldstead and Co. foundation ($1.1 million); John Templeton Jr., son of the late Bryn Mawr, Pa., investor John Templeton ($900,000); the Tupelo, Miss.-based American Family Association ($500,000), and Elsa Prince, ($450,000), mother of Blackwater founder Erik Prince.

Knights of Columbus spokesman Patrick Korten said the Catholic fraternal organization has backed amendments limiting marriage to a man and a woman in every state where they have appeared. But none of the group’s other contributions has come close to what the Knights are putting into the Proposition 8 race.

“California is the thousand-pound gorilla when it comes to laws of this sort,” Korten said. “California is the big one, so everybody is involved in this who cares about the issue. You can’t not be.”

On the “No” side, wealthy individuals making million-dollar gifts account for all but one of the gay marriage ban’s top six opponents. The California Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union, is first, having pledged $1.3 million to fight the initiative.

Giving $1 million or more were retired New York hedge fund manager Robert W. Wilson; GeoCities founder David Bohnett; Jon Stryker, an heir to a Michigan media supplies company; WordPerfect software founder and Utah resident Bruce Bastian, and philanthropist David Maltz of Cleveland.

“I think this is a civil liberties issue, and California tends to be a bellwether state in this country and what happens there often spreads around,” said Wilson, a longtime patron of the New York Public Library and the Whitney Museum of American Art. “I don’t see any argument in favor of barring queer marriage.”

The contest also has drawn contributions from notable names in government, business and entertainment, most opposing the measure. Among them: Hollywood producer Stephen Bing ($500,000); actor Brad Pitt ($100,000); producer George Lucas and Lucas Films ($100,000 combined); director Steven Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw ($100,000); talk show host Ellen DeGeneres ($100,000); House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s campaign fund ($10,000); audio systems inventor Ray Dolby and his wife, Dagmar, ($135,000) and personal finance guru Suze Orman ($10,000.)

Nearly three-quarters of the total contributions have been from individuals or institutions based in California, with the rest from out of state or from 90 international donors, representing nations from England to Italy and Thailand to Taiwan. Nearly all international contributors opposed the measure.

The measure’s opponents received a greater share of their money from outside the state or country - 33 percent compared to the 19 percent of out-of-state contributions reported by the initiative’s backers.

Apart from California, New York ($2.5 million), Michigan ($1.6 million), Utah (1.5 million) and Connecticut ($1.4 million), are the states whose residents and institutions have invested the most in the contest. Connecticut is about to become the third U.S. state to sanction same-sex marriage.

Campaign spending on Proposition 8 dwarfs the total of $11.3 million channeled into gay marriage measures this year in Florida and Arizona.

“This is the ball game. There is no other battle than this one, with all due respect to my colleagues in Arizona and Florida,” said Frank Schubert, the professional campaign manager for Yes on 8. “If you are concerned about marriage and how it gets to be defined, this is where it will be decided.”

P!NK is glad to be a gay

Singer Pink was all business as she arrived at The Metro today to do a soundcheck for her ‘Secret Show’ tonight in Sydney, Australia.

Meanwhile, she’s barely been out of the country for a day and the punk popstress is already making headlines. She tells Aussie media that she doesn’t mind people thinking she is gay, in fact she even feels “proud” of it!!

“I’m proud people think I’m gay,” says the So What singer.“Everyone has always thought I was gay because of the tattoos, the short hair, the attitude. But I don’t care. I love to challenge people’s preconceptions.”

Pink also spoke about how gay people don’t have equal rights in the U.S., as she continues: “Loads of my friends are lesbians and it really annoys me that gay people aren’t allowed to get married in most parts of America. I’d go on a march for gay rights any time.”

REVIEW: Sleaze Ball 2008 The Villains Lair

What a night - right from the early start, you knew the frocked up and fabulous crowd would make this night a pure delight.

Over 5,000 punters swished into the Hordern Pavillion for Australia' leading costume party... the theme of Villains Lair was definitely taken on board with vampires, 4,000 Heath Ledger Clowns (with one particularly stunning Joker "nurse") the other 1,000 didn't dress up at all - keeping in step with tshirts and jeans (me included, but hey - i was working!) or did the usual leather harness vibe that permeates dance parties (even from non leather folk!). Mixing in with scenic that set the mood, you were transported into a cyber-tronic lair of seediness and sexiness, flanked by four gender bending statues and banks of LED screens.

The volunteers, staff and producers made sure that everything ran smoothly for both guests and media - the one thing we missed this year was the massage people - as after a while of dancing around and taking photos - boy did we need a rub down!

The entertainment kicked off with a super-villain show featuring drag queens, Mitzi Macintosh and Tora Hymen. Although it was a cute number - the intro voiceover (which also did the DJ intro/outros all night) was far too over produced to the point you could not understand it, and was actually painful to listen too. The direction of the number was sloppy and all over the shop - you didn't know really where to focus during the number, and with several leads - it meant that most people lost the point of the show - but for plain colour and movement - it was fabulous.

The show went straight into The Potbelleez set, where they started out with their two big hits, with hands in the air - and then it was a blur of green and black after that... but thats Sleaze Ball... darker, dirtier and hazier than most events.

For most of the night the music inside was a complete let down - at times it sounded like the DJ had just decided to play loops from their GarageBand library. It was disappointing - as dark sexy music does not have to be dull - soulless or monotonous!

The Forecourt presented a bit more of a dynamic sound - with a bit more anthemic hands in the air music - with our favorites, Jake Kilby and Luke Leal being the standouts of the night... reading the crowds perfectly - to the point that people were still dancing through the downpour in the wee hours of the morning, and their sets had a great mix of deep, dark and anthemic - the perfect rollercoaster ride you expect at a Sleaze Ball.

The other item I was at odds with was the countdown clock on the screens... maybe 10 minutes before a show or other happening you could pop up the clock - to let people know somethings about to go down - but seeing it all night was kind of depressing - knowing you only had 3 hours and 15 minutes left to have fun. I would have preferred to see imagery from films and other content that would showcase the great villains of popular culture... maybe even using the scene from Superman where he flys fast around the world to change time - when Daylight savings kicked in - now that would have been cool!

The closing show starred Demi from So You Think You Can Dance, and although a great dance performance, I am not sure how it was placed for the closing number of the show. I would have loved to have seen this at 4am instead of the "bears" rubbing themselves with what looked like mud... with a more "up" number - or singer delivering a kick ass "thanks for coming" show to send punters on their way home.

All in all, Sleaze Ball can be classed as a success.

Check out photos form Sleaze Ball in our Photo Galleries.

Mr Leather Sydney: Alan Norman

We recently caught up with the winner of the Sydney/NSW Mr Leather competition - who will head to Melbourne for the national competition, Mr Alan Norman. We wanted to know why a pageant for the Leather community was still valid in todays society and what its like to be a member of a vibrant sub section the the GLBTI community.

What does winning the title mean to you?
Winning the title is an honour that carries with it great responsibility. It means that I will have an opportunity to meet a larger group of people in Sydney and surrounding regions. As a representative of the community it also provides with the chance to discover and learn more about the many other organizations in the community and - volunteer my time where possible.

How do you plan on representing sydney's leather community throughout the year?
I plan on representing Sydney’s Leather Community in a positive and non threatening light. Often the community is misunderstood - and throughout the year wherever possible at events, functions, workshops, meet and greets and through day to day contact with people I hope to be able to break down some of those misunderstandings through open and honest communication.

What is it about the leather culture that you admire most?
The diversity of the people. Rarely will you encounter someone on the street and immediately identify them as a member of the ‘leather culture’. Leather culture encompasses many different segments of the whole community – gay and straight.
Who knows – maybe the person sitting beside you in the office embraces the leather culture – perhaps your lawyer, the bus driver, a policeman, a teacher, a member of the clergy or maybe even the anaesthesiologist that is watching over you in the surgery. Leather is an attitude and not necessarily something that is always worn on one’s sleeve.

Sleaze Ball Sells Out & Steams Up

The 2008 Sleaze Ball - called the Villains Lair, has sold out a day before the event. During a media tour of the party venue, Guidetogay.com was given a heads up on the excitement in-store for the 5,000 revelers at Australia's premiere costume party.

Although the party inhabits a smaller footprint than in other years, the producers are expecting a vibrant and full on event for those attending. The night is bound to be full of spectacle and happenings - expect the unexpected, and our advice from what we saw this evening is - get there early. The party starts an hour earlier due to daylight savings - and the producers have some special surprises in store.

the Hordern takes pride of place in the setup - with spectacular scenic and effects that will keep revelers dancing until the wee hours. The dismissal of the Dome as a party venue looks like it will have little impact on the style and fun of this event.

Guidetogay.com's photographers will be taking pride of place at the party - so make sure you get snapped and say hi!

Enjoy the party if you managed to grab a ticket - and if you didn't check out all the action from the event right here on Guidetogay.com

Mardi Gras gets State Funding

One of the world's best-known gay and lesbian events is finally being given state backing.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras generates more than $30m for the city and state of New South Wales and in a joint statement by Mardi Gras and Events NSW, the bodies announced that the event will receive vital funding to continue the festival and parade.

The amount of money the NSW government is to pump into the event is subject to a confidentiality agreement, but it is reported to be significant.

New Mardi Gras Chair David Imrie commented:

"This is going to really enable us to grow Mardi Gras and the Parade, and ultimately lead to us producing an amazing arts and cultural festival through the entire season.

"[It’s] going to aid our sustainability, but more importantly, lead to greater growth."

Even the new NSW Premier Nathan Rees got in on the celebration by stating:

"Mardi Gras is one of Sydney’s best known and iconic events. It is a spectacular Sydney event and makes a significant contribution to our state’s economy. It’s become an international showcase of Sydney’s inclusiveness, creativity and diversity, and a celebration shared by the wider community."

Although Mardi Gras is the largest cultural event in the country - many media outlets have negitivly focussed on funding, calling for comments to be posted on websites etc, with the "unbiased" Daily Telegraph, leading the charge of negative comments...

This reporter would like to point out the amount of funding that went to the World youth Day as a one off event, and many other cultural funding activities that do not involve as many people as Mardi Gras does.... but for now - what are your comments?

**Please note - members can post without moderation - non members postings will be moderated to make sure hateful and site policies are not breached.

Australia To Air US Kath & Kim

What happens when the US gets its hands on an Aussie icon?

We’re about to find out when NBC premieres its own version of Kath and Kim in primetime on October 9.

America’s own foxy morons – the dysfunctional mother-daughter duo played by Molly Shannon (Kath) and Selma Blair (Kim) – will air alongside the hit comedies, The Office and My Name is Earl on the US network TV giant.

Channel Seven has the exclusive rights to bring the new US series to Aussie viewers and will do it toot-sweet.

“Just over 48 hours after the show airs in the US, Australians will get to see it for themselves and make up their own minds,” says Tim Worner, Channel Seven’s Director of Programming and Production.

For the US version, Fountain Lakes is sun-soaked suburban Tampa, Florida, Dipity Bix is replaced by Corn Dogs and Doritos become Cheetos.

But the heart, soul and irreverence of the Australian original will remain at the show’s core – it is sure to be noice, different and very un-ewesual!

The Americanised Kath and Kim will make its Aussie debut on Sunday, October 12, following Channel Seven’s coverage of the Bathurst 1000.

Kath & Kim Executive Producer Rick McKenna worked closely with the US producers to bring the new version to life.

“The US creative team were massive fans of the original series and have captured the Kath & Kim essence perfectly, albeit in an American voice,” McKenna says. “The new storylines are hilarious.”

The US version is produced by Ugly Betty and The Biggest Loser creators Shine Reveille Productions and NBC Universal Studios.

Creators and stars of the hit Australian original Jane Turner and Gina Riley, with executive producer Rick McKenna, are executive producers for the US version.

The Village People Get Star On Walk Of Fame

Hollywood was overflowing with costumed characters Friday as disco music fans turned out to watch the Indian, the cowboy, the policeman, the construction worker, the biker and the soldier receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Hundreds experienced a 1970s flashback as the Village People were recognized for their catchy, kitschy tunes, including their signature hit, "YMCA." Fittingly, their star at 6529 Hollywood Blvd. is a block north of Hollywood's YMCA.

The group did not perform, but the crowd bobbed to recordings of "YMCA" and "Macho Man." Many waved Village People album covers. Among the fans were entertainer Charo, singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester and former Olympic diver Greg Louganis.

"This is lovely. It's really to the point and poignant," said fan Lisette St. Claire, 50, a casting director from Valley Village. Clad in a blouse bearing the words "Got Disco?" and toting an "American Bandstand" jacket, she held a miniature mirrored disco ball in the air.

"I invented the 'YMCA' hand movements when I was a dancer on 'American Bandstand,' " she said.

Next to her, Gus Calderon was wearing a leather vest, an old military officer's hat and a shirt that read "Disco Gus."

"I called in sick so I could come here today," said the 47-year-old postal worker from Monterey Park.

Bill Davis, 60, was in his favorite tie-dyed T-shirt. He was carrying three Village People albums and two loose Village People records for the group's members to sign.

"Their music is still danceable music. It's happy music," said the retired Hollywood department store worker.

The crowd included four visitors from Wooster, Ohio, in town for today's USC-Ohio State football game. "We were just driving by and saw the crowd," said Ryan Gochnauer, a 32-year-old electrician. Although he was too young to remember the Village People craze, "I know their songs."

For their part, the Village People seemed genuinely pleased to be receiving the Walk of Fame's 2,369th star.

The group's construction worker character, David Hodo, thanked by name the group's founders, ex-members, lyricists, choreographers, agents and record representatives.

"If this were the Academy Awards, the orchestra music would be welling up right now," said Hodo, one of the group's original members.

Cowboy character Jeff Olson, who replaced Randy Jones in the group in 1980, said no one would have imagined then that the Village People would still be performing in 2008. "We're at the L.A. County Fair tomorrow," he reminded Friday's crowd.

Soldier character Alexander Briley, another original member, read part of a congratulatory letter from comedian Phyllis Diller. She joked that she remembered meeting them on "The Merv Griffin Show" and "for once I wasn't overdressed."

Biker character Eric Anzalone, who took over the role after the death of original group member Glenn Hughes, explained that the other five performers "have become my brothers" since he joined the Village People in 1995. Turning to them, he added: "It's an honor to share the stage with you."

Indian Felipe Rose, an original member, read a note to the group from former TV host Dick Cavett, who wrote that "I can still see the kids on 'American Bandstand' gesticulating" to the song "YMCA."

"What is 'gesticulating?' " Rose asked with a grin.

Policeman character Ray Simpson thanked the Transportation Security Administration agents who allow him aboard airplanes with his cop costume, which includes a holstered pistol. "When you travel with a Glock that looks real, even when it's not," you attract attention, Simpson said.

Among those watching the sidewalk ceremony was Victor Willis. He was the Village People's original policeman. On Friday he was wearing a fake police uniform that included a gun. LAPD officers assigned to the ceremony took Willis aside and quietly examined it; it turned out to be a pellet gun.

"I'm happy they're getting a star," said Willis, who left the group in 1979 after writing "YMCA" and co-writing "Macho Man." "I guess everyone is surprised when something lasts 30 years."

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