Long security lines? Strip-search pat down? Rude gate agent? As modern-day flyers, we’re familiar and now accustomed to the insta-service and insta-reaction of social media. And while, we’re assuming, millions of posts a day occur about lousy service at an airport, one tweet from a Minnesota family caught the eye of someone at Southwest Airlines, enough so that the entire family was asked to deboard. The father, Duff Watson, tweeted that his gate agent was extremely rude: “Wow, rudest agent in Denver. Kimberly S, gate C39, not happy @SWA,” he told CBS he said in the tweet. But then, the airline demanded that the family leave the plane, and said that they must delete the tweet in order to get back on the plane, Southwest confirmed. Kimberly felt threatened because of the tweet, according to reports. The family was ultimately allowed to reboard.
Longstanding Foe of the Gay Community, Exxon Mobil Agrees to Comply with Obama’s Executive Order Protecting LGBT Employees
Exxon Mobil Corp. has had a rocky history with the LGBT community, ever since it was named one of the only top Fortune 500 companies without offering protections for its LGBT employees. But now, thanks to the Executive Order signed by President Obama requiring federally contracted companies to protect LGBT employees, Exxon said it would comply. With over $480 million in federal contracts just last year, the company will not know exactly how to comply by the order until the Labor Department releases its guidelines in the coming weeks. Just this May, Exxon shareholders voted down a measure to change the wording of the company’s equal employment opportunity policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity. [AP]
The New York Musical Theatre Festival is in full swing. We caught two shows this week that capture varying degrees of success in the development of new work.
As We Lie Still is a musical fantasy that follows magician Avi Leiter (Travis Stuebing as Young Avi and Michael A. Robinson as Old Avi) and his rise to fame during the turn of the century. His one epic trick—the ability to bring his assistant Josephine (Olivia de Guzman Emile) is hampered when she is mesmerized by Azriel, gatekeeper to the afterlife (George Michael Ferrie, Jr.). The show flashes forward to show Hope (Erika Larsen), the daughter that Josephine gave up for adoption at the bedside of her coma-ridden husband, Michael (Clinton Greenspan). Will Old Avi be able to cast his spell one last time?
The production, staged by Broadway veteran Micahel Serrecchia (who appeared in the original A Chorus Line and has worked in the theater for 45 years) has great moment of theatricality, mostly because of the music and lyrics by Patrick Emile. “I set out to write a musical theater piece that explored the human experience in the style of magical realism,” Emile told the Broadway Blog. “I have a great interest in stage magic and the vaudeville era, as well folklore, the supernatural, etc. I had stumbled upon the term psychopomp (the culturally and historically ubiquitous being that transitions the dying into the next phase of existence), and the story began to click together like a puzzle. Once plotted, Olivia took it into the book writing stage.”
Oxford Univerity’s all-male a capella group, Out of the Blue, show us that their hips really don’t lie as they sing and dance to Shakira hits—all for charity. Mixing “Hips Don’t Lie,” “Whenever Wherever,” and “Waka Waka,” the boys are hoping to raise money for an organization that helps terminally ill children, Helen and Douglas House. Now if this doesn’t inspire you to donate, we don’t know what will.
Check it out after the jump…
For the life of a concierge, particularly one with expertise in culinary offerings, there may not be a more idyllic locale than Australia’s Hamilton Island amid the Great Barrier Reef. Yan Martinez, executive concierge at qualia (qualia in Latin means a collection of deeper sensory experiences) would know. Born in Bordeaux, France, he has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the US and Asia. After working for a number of years for Air France/KLM, Martinez took on the challenge of opening his own business, a café in the Darlinghurst neighborhood of Sydney. He sold the successful operation in exchange for island life and now finds himself residing in one of the world’s most coveted destinations.
“Hamilton Island has gone through a dramatic change since the owners, the Oatley family, purchased the island just over ten years ago,” says Martinez. “It has become a reference among the Whitsunday Islands for its friendly and professional service, which you can experience from the time you land at our airport, as well as for its close proximity to the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef, which makes it the ideal place to holiday in Australia.”
The island offers a choice of accommodation options ranging from the family-friendly Reef View Hotel (12 Resort Dr. Tel: +61-7-4946-9999), to the five-star qualia resort (20 Whitsunday Blvd. Tel: 866-202-2590 toll-free). Martinez says that Hamilton Island and qualia are fast becoming a food lover’s paradise as the island continues to expand its gourmet food and wine offerings. In addition to the 16 diverse dining options on Island, the destination is renowned for its bespoke and unique epicure experiences.
We still have another month before the CW’s much-anticipated The Flash premieres on October 7, but details are quickly emerging about the cast and the storyline—including the addition of a gay character. Show creator Greg Berlanti is keeping the details mum about who the character will be, but speculation in the gay geek community is pointing to Hartley Rathaway (Pied Piper) who became DC’s first openly gay character. The reformed villain hasn’t been confirmed yet by show creator. That’ not the only gay tidbit from the show. Openly gay scientist David Singh, who will be played by Patrick Sabongui, who works at Central City crime lab will be in the show. We smell a GLAAD Media Award racing by. [NNN]
by Rich Rubin
I love food. This is a well-known fact. So it will come as no great surprise to hear that when I travel, the majority of the souvenirs I buy are of the culinary variety. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of going into the kitchen to prepare a meal and finding my shelves jam-packed with spices, condiments, and other goodies I’ve bought while traveling. Nothing brings back the feeling of the trip quite like the taste of the place.
What I look for are the little things, the things that will fit easily in a suitcase (or better yet, a carry-on bag) and will immediately make me think of the place where I bought them. In fact, one of my favorite things to do while traveling is to stop in the local grocery store (this is more exotic when overseas), where I’ll often find the exact same products that are being sold in the souvenir shops at half the price. Besides, it’s a great way to discover all kinds of things about the local culture. I also love outdoor and covered markets, where I’ll often find an interesting spice or tea among the produce, meats, and cheeses. Sometimes, though, I’ll find my favorite culinary souvenir when I least expect it, or when I’m not even looking for it.
We’ve all passed up that “grotesque apple” or one of those funky-looking oranges, but one supermarket chain out of France is hoping to debunk our misconceptions about these less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables that often contribute to the millions of spoiled food thrown away each year. Intermarché, the third biggest grocer in the country, created a campaign called “les fruits et légumes moches,” (inglorious fruits and vegetables), in which they marked down the price of these special fruits by 30 percent and had shoppers clearing the shelves of these over-looked pieces of produce.
Check out a video after the jump to see just how they managed to get people to purchase these guys.
Did our latest Culinary Issue get your mouth watering for a taste of Switzerland? Well, now’s your chance to enter our contest to win:
2) Three gourmet meals by three acclaimed Swiss chefs
3) Five nights at Marriott Zürich
Want to enter more than once? Refer your friends to enter, and we’ll increase your odds.
Today the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, released a video ad featuring actress Susan Sarandon for HRC’s Americans for Marriage Equality campaign. In the video, the Oscar winner states, “While marriage might not be my thing, if it’s your thing, you damn well ought to be able to have it equally and unequivocally.” “Like most Americans, Susan Sarandon knows that all families deserve to be treated with respect, dignity, and equality under the law,” said HRC’s Charles Joughin. “We are incredibly grateful to Susan for speaking out in favor of marriage equality, and for lending her powerful voice to HRC’s fight for fairness nationwide.”