Michael Sam may have not found his place in the NFL (yet), but he has secured a spot on GQ‘s annual Men of the Year list. The first openly gay and drafted NFL player is in good company with Chris Pratt, Dave Champelle, Ansel Elgory, Steve Carell, and Shailene Woodley. Sam, who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams and then held a position on the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys, also is one of the six covers GQ has released.
As my partner John and I settle into a dining room at The Plaza in Seoul, Korea, the hotel’s public relations manager, Nayhe Kim, leans into the table and says, sotto voce: “I have to admit, I’m a little surprised. Do Americans really come to Seoul on vacation?”
It’s a fair question. With the exception of those Korean-Americans who visit to keep in touch with their families and heritage, most US visitors to Seoul over the past two decades have been military and business travelers. The tourism trade has focused on attracting leisure guests from within Korea and from other Asian countries.
That helps explain the fine dining options at The Plaza: Shanghainese, Japanese, and remarkable Italian at Tuscany (of all Western cuisines, Koreans have the strongest affinity for Italian—the noodle is a culinary common denominator).
Two months ago, Turkey became home to the country’s first umbrella organization working to fight homophobia in the country. “Because Turkey is a Islamic country, although not in the same league as Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq in its vehemently anti-LGBTI stance, there is still need for togetherness and solidarity among LGBTI groups to counter homophobia and transphobia that exists in Turkey, Burçin Bordanacı of the Turkey LGBTI Union said. The organization hopes to unite all of Turkeys gay community. Already, the organization has three LGBT websites and three organizations.
New Charity Release of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ Includes Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, and Ed Sheeran
The 30th anniversary of the annual release of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” will help raise much-needed funds to combat the Ebola crisis through producer Bob Geldrof’s Band Aid organization. The first release of the song, in 1984, included acts like Duran Duran, Bono, Culture Club, and George Michael. This year, in a slightly rewritten version, music celebs like Sam Smith, One Direction, Bono, and Ed Sheeran.
True Detective‘s star and Irish-born actor, Colin Farrell, made an emotional plea to his fellow Irishmen when he penned a letter urging them to support same-sex marriage ahead of a referendum in the spring. The reason for this Hollywood heartthrob’s message: his brother. “My brother Eamon didn’t choose to be gay. Yes, he chose to wear eyeliner to school and that probably wasn’t the most pragmatic response to the daily torture he experienced at the hands of school bullies,” he writes. “But he was always proud of who he was. Proud and defiant and, of course, provocative.”
The same-sex marriage referendum, the first of its kind in the world, will take place in the spring. Currently, well over half the country now supporting marriage equality (with 67% supporting a referendum allowing civil marriage)
The song “Cool Kids” has us feeling like we’re back in high school. The band, Echosmith, comprising four siblings, released their debut album Talking Dreams late last year, but their single “Cool Kids” is only know making its way through the airwaves across the country. The band formed in 2008 in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, and in just three years after their formation they were signed to Warner Bros. Records. Their first major big break was when NBC used their song “Tongiht We’re Making History” in a promo for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Check out some of their videos after the jump…
We stumbled upon the opening of an adorable throwback bar/restaurant in New York City’s West village this week. The Happiest Hour, from restaurateur Jon Neidich (Acme) and bartender Jim Kearns from NoMad, is a charmingly retro spot that serves up delicious comfort food (do yourself a favor and order one of their burgers). But, be sure to wash it down with their gorgeous Old Fashioned.
If you can’t make it to The Happiest Hour, we coerced Jim Kearns into giving us his recipe!
Stir and serve on the rocks with orange and lemon twists.
Mexico City’s lawmakers have approved a groundbreaking transgender-rights bill that allows trans* people to change their gender without a court order. The law is the first-of-its-kind for a Latin American country and the overwhelming support for the measure (42-0) signals a major change for transgender people in Mexico. “It eliminates cumbersome trials and judicial proceedings, procedures, to generate the administrative change of a legal action to which everyone has the right,” said Manuel Granados Covarrubias of the Party of the Democratic Revolution. “Their dignity is also recognized.”
Once upon a time, it would be a tremendous compliment to describe a frequently visited hotel as your “home away from home.” Nowadays, though, well-heeled, style-conscious travelers are often inspired by great design they discover on the road. Twenty- and thirty- somethings who travel frequently for work may have years to familiarize themselves with the compact chic of space-savvy boutique hotel rooms before being able to afford a cosmopolitan condo of their own.
They may covet ownership of a tidy city apartment with the cool flair of a “hotel away from hotel.”
Passport recently reached out to five notable design professionals to get their perspectives on ways in which hotels and homes are influencing each other. We also gleaned some inside tips on what hotel rooms can teach us about smart home design.
Sir Elton John, who came under fire earlier this year when he refused to cancel his Russian concerts, used his time in St. Petersburg to denounce Russia’s discriminatory anti-gay propaganda laws. The openly gay singer criticized the extent of the laws and pointed out the absurdity of removing a memorial to the late Steve Jobs because his successor is gay. “Can this be true? Steve’s memory is re-written because his successor at Apple, Tim Cook, is gay?! Does that also make iPads ‘gay propaganda’?” he told the crowd. He also asked in disbelief whether or not Tchaikovsky’s music is considered gay because the world-famous composer was supposedly gay. “Is Tchaikovsky’s beautiful music ‘sexually perverting?” “If I’m not honest about who I am, I couldn’t write this music. It’s not gay propaganda. It’s how I express life. If we start punishing people for that, the world will lose its humanity,”