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Summer 2006 | Destination Update

Summer 2006 | Destination Update

What's happening in some of our favorite destinations around the world? It's never too late to dive into a plan

Think Switzerland is all cowbells and yodelers? Make your way to the Zurich West neighborhood. No window shutters or geranium-laden flower boxes here. Instead: rusty, abandoned industrial buildings transformed into threadbare-chic clubs and restaurants. At La Salle (Schiffbaustrasse 4; 011-41-1258-7071), a glass-walled restaurant plopped down inside a former shipbuilding plant, try horse filet with balsamico jus. Or trail svelte and scruffy diners (no sign marks the spot) to Rosso (Geroldstrasse 31; 043 818 22 54), the metalworking factory turned bistro that serves great tuna entrecote. Come Sunday, join "Schicky-Micky" (translation: "trendy") gays and dance out the weekend at the Trash Party at Labor Bar (Schiffbaustrasse 3; 011-41-1272-4402), a warehouse-style club in a neighborhood where trash glitters. The next day you can take a cleansing plunge in Lake Zurich (pictured above).

Gals wanting their share of Brokeback action can giddy-up to Calgary for the Canadian Rockies International Rodeo, June 30-July 2, the largest LGBT event in the province of Alberta. Unlike most rodeos, this one has women competing in the most dangerous events right along with the men--so this is the place to see cowgirls riding bucking bareback broncs and 2,000-pound ornery bulls. "There are often more women than men," says sponsorship director Greg Holsworth. The action really heats up after sundown when audience members camp over with competitors at the Symons Valley Ranch, a full-service RV park (403-274-4574). Tailgate and beer-tent parties rival the Friday night cabaret, Saturday Night Barn Storming Dance, and Sunday Awards Dance ($109 plus camping fees gets you entry to everything plus two pancake breakfasts and a roast beef dinner).

Journey to the "Roof of the World." The first train from Beijing to Lhasa, Tibet, opens in July on the new Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world's highest. The luxury train--featuring glass-roofed viewing cars, deluxe hotel-like suites, and an oxygen bar (to help with the higher elevation)--will complete the journey in 48 hours.

Jennifer Aniston was recently spotted shopping for her furry friends at Lush Puppy (702-740-2254), the lesbian-owned doggy boutique located at Mandalay Place (inside the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, of course). Dogs sporting cashmere sweaters, Juicy Couture, and other puppy finery strutted their stuff down the catwalk in a fashion show to kick off the store's January grand opening. In addition to wardrobe items by top designers, you can pamper your pet with dog beds, spa products, and fortune cookies.

Rumors of Chesea's demise as New York's hottest gayborhood have been greatly exaggerated. Former adult-film star Aaron Tanner has opened an unabashedly Chelsea-boy-friendly dance club, Release (212-633-6113), on 23rd Street. Not all of the area's bars, clubs, and coffeeshops are closing, moving to Hell's Kitchen, or getting shuttered by the police!

Come August, edgy Olympia, Wash., welcomes Homo-A-GoGo, a queer music and arts festival that comes only once every two years. It's a soulful six-day affair (August 1-6) with homocore roots benefiting the local Gender Variant Healthcare Project (GVHP) and featuring Kinney Starr, Amy Ray, and Lesbians on X.

July 4 weekend in P-town just got even better. David Flower's Summer Camp has been hosting its infamous boat parties and pier dances for years and on July 1 adds the new Take Flight ,which will transform Cape Air's massive airplane hangar into a mega-club wonderland. DJ Tony Moran spins from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Looking to cool off over Labor Day weekend? Get a major jump-start on the gay ski week season by heading to the Southern Hemisphere. The fourth annual Gay Ski Week New Zealand takes over Queenstown's four mountains September 2-9. Off-slope aprés-ski events include drag shows, bowling parties, wine tours, and cabarets. It all culminates with the huge White Out party, Queenstown's biggest gay and lesbian bash.

Chris Holt (a former animator with Fox's Family Guy) and his partner, Erik Nelson, were so inspired by a 2001 holiday in the City of Light that they decided to create a Paris-themed gay cocktail lounge in their hometown of Seattle. Metropolitain (1701 E. Olive Way, 206-324-0771), which opened on Capitol Hill in March, features a fountain, a wine shop, flickering lamps, and a Red Room Lounge. Oh, and a full bar, of course!

To go or not to go? There really is no question when it comes to visiting the birthplace of William Shakespeare this year. In April the Royal Shakespeare Company launched its yearlong Complete Works Festival, marking the first time that all of the bard's plays and poems have been staged at the same event. Big-name performers include Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench, and Patrick Stewart.

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