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The Savannah Historic District is a large urban U.S. historic district that roughly corresponds to the city limits of Savannah, Georgia, prior to the American Civil War.
The area was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1966, and is one of the largest districts of its kind in the United States (designated by the U.S. government in 1966).
Each year, the Savannah Historic District attracts millions of visitors, who enjoy its eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architecture and green spaces. The district includes the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America), the Telfair Academy of Arts and Sciences (one of the South's first public museums), the First African Baptist Church (one of the oldest African American Baptist congregations in the United States), Temple Mickve Israel (the third-oldest synagogue in America), the Central of Georgia Railway roundhouse complex (the oldest standing antebellum rail facility in America), the old Colonial Cemetery, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, and Old Harbor Light.

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The Barnwell-Gough House, also known as Old Barnwell House, is a house built in Beaufort, South Carolina in 1789.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It may be included in Beaufort Historic District, which is a National Historic Landmark District.

Beaufort Historic District is a historic district in Beaufort, South Carolina. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, and further was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
The historic district is renowned for its impressive collection of antebellum architecture that reflect the Federal, neoclassical, and Greek revival styles that were popular during the interwar period, along with the widespread use of tabby. A variety of homes, gardens, commercial buildings, houses of worship and graveyards are featured in the district, with some sites open for public inspection. Continuous efforts at rehabilitation and conservation underline the community's commitment to maintaining the historic nature of the district, which has attracted much acclaim and popularity from visitors and media outlets.

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Myrtle Beach is a coastal city on the east coast of the United States in Horry County, South Carolina. It is situated on the center of a large and continuous stretch of beach known as the Grand Strand in northeastern South Carolina.
Myrtle Beach is one of the major centers of tourism in the United States because of the city's warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches, attracting an estimated 14 million visitors each spring/summer/fall. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 27,109, with the Myrtle Beach-North Myrtle Beach-Conway combined statistical area population of 329,449.

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The Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens is an antebellum plantation located in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The plantation includes a large Colonial Revival plantation house (1933–35) that replaces the lost original house on the site, a number of slave cabins (which were occupied by sharecroppers well into the 20th century), several flower gardens, and the historic "Avenue of Oaks": a nearly one-mile (1.6 km) drive up to the house with live oaks on either side, originally planted in 1743. Boone Hall plantation sits on Wampacheeoone Creek in Christ Church Parish about 10 miles (16 km) from historic downtown Charleston.
While there is no photographing or filming of the house allowed on the tours, the house and grounds have appeared in NBC's television soap opera Days of our Lives, ABC's mini-series North and South (as Mont Royal) and the movies Queen and The Notebook.

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Biltmore Estate is a large private estate and tourist attraction in Asheville, North Carolina. Biltmore House, the main house on the estate, is a Châteauesque-styled mansion built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895 and is the largest privately owned house in the United States, at 178,926 square feet (16,622.8 m2) and featuring 250 rooms. Still owned by one of Vanderbilt's descendants, it stands today as one of the most prominent remaining examples of the Gilded Age, and of significant gardens in the jardin à la française and English Landscape garden styles in the United States. In 2007, it was ranked eighth in America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

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The New York Savings Bank building in Manhattan was built in 1896 by Robert Henderson Robertson with George Provot, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 7, 2000. In 2005 it became a Balducci's food market. In April 2010 The New York Savings Bank name, which had been covered over, was again visible, but by 2011 it was supplanted by the CVS pharmacy name.

131 Charles Street is a Federal style townhouse in the West Village, New York City.
It is located on Charles Street and near Greenwich Street in West Village, Manhattan, New York. The red brick Federal two-story-over-raised-basement townhouse with a dormer attic was built in 1834 by David Christie, a stone cutter, for about $2,600. The brick is laid in the Flemish bond pattern.
"These residences of the 1820s were almost all builder's, carpenter's, or stonemason's homes, and there were several blocks of them at one time. in 1899 Montgomery Schuyler, the critic, wrote that they were 'the most respectable and artistic pattern of habitation New York has ever known.'" The house was listed April 19, 1966, as a New York City Landmark.
The structure is noteworthy for containing all original window frames and lintels (except in the dormers) At least until 1971 when the property was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, the trim was white and many original interior features of the house remained. Some minor exterior changes were made during the Victorian period. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It is determined to be significant for its architecture.

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Latest addition to my travels ;-)

Edale is a small Derbyshire village and Civil parish in the Peak District, in the Midlands of England. Edale is best known to walkers as the start (or southern end) of the Pennine Way, and to less ambitious walkers as a good starting point for evening or day walks, accessible by public transport from Sheffield or Manchester and with two pubs supplying real ale and food.

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I'm back! Still trying to reorganize my emails, my calendar and my diet LOL. But I want to say this year was even better than last year, the feeling of being part of the group and well, the general comfortable atmosphere. I met a lot of old friends, new friends, and listened to many interesting panels.

Someone asked me to repost the speech I did as speaker on Saturday. People told me it was good (blushing), but probably it was more funny to hear me having it with my bad (Italian) accent... in any case I tried to summarize it here (hope you will enjoy it as well):

While I was preparing the outlines of my speech for the UK LGBT Meet in Manchester, a series of coincidences made it even more current. I realized that Maurice by E.M. Forster, the first gay novel I have ever read, was 100 years old. Maurice was written by Forster in 1913, even if, in the end, he didn’t publish, and left in his will that they could release it after his death. Forster died in 1970, and Maurice was released in 1971. The novel took inspiration by the real life romance of Edward Carpenter and George Merrill, and Forster wrote in the Terminal Note of the book that “A happy ending was imperative”, exactly like the one of Carpenter and Merrill: Edward Carpenter was a socialist poet and philosopher, anthologist, and early gay activist. Returning from India in 1891, Carpenter met George Merrill, a working class man also from Sheffield, and the two men struck up a relationship, eventually moving in together in 1898. In January 1928, Merrill died suddenly, leaving Carpenter devastated. In May 1928, Carpenter suffered a paralytic stroke which rendered him almost helpless. He lived another 13 months before he died on Friday 28 June 1929. They were happily together from 1891 to 1928, 37 years.

But I need to take a step back and to the reason I read Maurice. When I was 13 years old, I discovered the English literature, and with that, D.H. Lawrence and Lady Chatterley’s Lover; I loved that book and wanted to read everything that was good as that one. Plus I loved gay themed movie, and when James Wilby and Hugh Grant won Best Actors for their roles in Maurice at the Venice Film Festival, I knew I had to see the movie (I was 13 years old at the time); after the movie, I knew I had to read the novel, but as for Lady Chatterley’s Love, my mom didn’t think it was a right reading choice for my age… that said, I HAD to read the book and so I bought that one with my own pocket money, right as I did for the D.H. Lawrence’s one. I still own my copy (Italian translation), but once read that one, there wasn’t much else available into Italian with a gay theme. The next book was 10 years later, “Close Range: Wyoming Stories” by E. Annie Proulx… yes, that is right, we are talking of the very first edition of the novella from which Brokeback Mountain would be later adapted for the screen. Again an Italian translation, this time it wasn’t exactly pocket money, but it was still something odd, because basically no one in Italy knew about this book and that first edition had a very limited print run, and one of the few copies is probably the one I still own.

Between 1989 (Maurice) and 1999 (Close Range: Wyoming Stories) I continued to love gay themed movies, but in the fiction field I didn’t read anything else, if not a savage romance I still love, Defy Not the Heart by Johanna Lindsey. Yes, I confess, I was a Savage Romance reader, those trashy novels with almost pornographic covers. Fabio was THE cover model, you wanted a medieval knight? Fabio was the man, you wanted a Native American, a Sheikh, a Biker? Again, Fabio could be it.

In one of those novels, dating back 1989, Fabio is a medieval mercenary on the cover of Defy Not the Heart; his love interest is a black haired beauty, but to me, the most interesting character was Theo, the heroine’s best friend: Theo is gay and he even tries to seduce “Fabio/Ranulf” (and that is the reason why Ranulf doesn’t like him much), but once he realizes Ranulf is not interested, he moves his advances towards the chief of the guards. Theo is an extremely positive character, and I remember that, at the time, I would have love to read more.

Someone recently asked what if a very famous romance author introduced a gay love story in her novel, what was supposed to be the reaction of her straight readers? My reaction was, GOOD, please give me more. Johanna Lindsey is probably one of the queen of the Romance authors, she is on the level of Kathleen Woodiwiss, Nora Roberts or Elizabeth Lowell. She has a huge readership, and trust me, I don’t remember someone complaining for the character of Theo in her novel.

My feeling is that, you need to read a story, and the story has to be coherent with its development; you haven’t to follow the rules, otherwise you are not writing a novel, you are writing an “how to do” text book, and they are boring! Someone asked me, what is the best book you read this year? It was not an easy question, and my answer was more, what is the most surprising book? Atom Heart, John Beloved by Luke Hartwell. This was a totally unexpected book, a bisexual teenager who gifts his body to his best (gay) friend, even if he is in a relationship with a girl; he cheats the girl, and then he cheats the guy, he instigates his own rape, and he does everything in his power to destroy himself and his life, and when he is at the bottom of the pit, he realizes that, if Nathan, his friend, still loves him, Nathan, the perfect guy, then he has to be worthy of that love, than he is John, the beloved.
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So I have this weekly appointment on Friday with my best girlfriend: when I leave the office, I enter my little car that is provided with bluetooth (she is born with that I didn't accessorize her!) and I have a 30 minute call with my friend summarizing the week. Of course this Friday I was raving about how I loved my experience in Dublin, and I realized I didn't tell you all my friends about it, and why haven't I? so here I'm and I hope you will enjoy.

Let's just start from the beginning. Long long ago in the ethereal world that is the net I met this guy, Max Rhyser. At the time Max was starting his career and was doing some modeling job. I posted about him in my Man Candy series, but like for many other models, I didn't "know" him. But Max left a comment, we started to chat, and I think we clicked. But still, I really didn't know him (if for knowing someone you mean you met him and shared personal details of your life), and so, when I visited New York some months later, I didn't tell him. I'm not sure if Max "felt" something (he is like that trust me), but right the day I was back home from NY he wrote, and when he knew I was in NY he said he would have liked to meet. So I told him, next time, but again, maybe that is what you usually say in these circumstances. But well I did go back to NY one year later, and I told him, and we planned to meet. That first meeting was a little awkward, I think both of us didn't know exactly who they were meeting and we brought along other friends to smooth the way. It was good, and now, every time I'm in NY I try to save an hour or two to Max, but I had never been able to see him perform on stage.

Just few weeks ago, I dragged along Robyn Walker to see Max's short, Chaser, at the Fringe! festival in London, that at least was a different experience, seeing Max on the big screen, but still, he was "far" and I wanted instead the chance to see him on a live performance. So when I read about Role/Play and that it was planned to opening in Dublin, in a week where I was booked for a two days conference in London, I thought, Carpe Diem, ask for two days off and take that plane to Dublin. Dublin is not a new city to me, I was in a project for some months in 2010 and spent a lot of weekdays there, but never on the weekend, so I didn't mind the chance to "live" it from a different perspective. And then there was Max, coming from NYC!

Rio Cinema

Max in Chaser

So, plane and hotel booked, I told Max and we planned to meet after the show on Wednesday. I wasn't really sure what to expect, I know Max is always busy, always in motion, but I thought, well, at least I will see the play, and whatever happens after that is good.

Russell Court Hotel

The morning I arrived in Dublin, the weather was not bad, and I was already planning my day, first two gardens, Iveagh Gardens (just in front of my hotel, The Russell Court) and then St Stephen's Green, then the Georgian Dublin (the National Library and some other place) and then the Trinity College. But already at the Iveagh Gardens it started to rain, and at the time I was at the National Library it was really pouring. I decided to go back to the hotel, sleep the rain off, and going to the Players Theater (inside the Trinity College) a little earlier, so that I could visit the college before the play. I was just there, thinking to the right shot to take of the entrance, that a voice behind me called my name. Max and his co-protagonist in the play were arriving. We exchange kisses and hugs and nice to meet you and co, and then they went their way to the theater while I continued my visit... just to almost break my ankle in a slope of the pavement (Max, I didn't tell you this :-) ), so my visiting was break short and I waited near the theater for the play to start.

Iveagh Gardens

Iveagh Gardens )

St Stephen's Green

St Stephen's Green )

Ely Place

Ely Place )

National Library

Trinity College (this was the picture I was taking when Max found me)

Trinity College )

The play was really a good surprise, short but you don't realize it. It's around the different concept of Role/Play: as D/s relationship, as a couple posing to be someone else in a sex game, as shifting in power, strong and weak, who is really the strong, who is really the weak? it has at least three different changes in perspective, all of them quite developed, and that is the reason why you don't realize it's less than one hour long. While attending the show I was thinking this would be a good plot for a movie, easy to realize with a low budget, and indeed I had the chance to talk with the author, Greg Turner, and he told me he was thinking about it. Anyway the play didn't disappoint, and I was good like that.

Players Theatre

Role Play

After the show everything was a little chaotic, people planning where to go, where to meet, what to do... to every question I replied fine, also since I really didn't know what to suggest and there was another guy, sorry I don't remember his name, but he was really nice, that knew the city and was ready with suggestions. Max, Ryan (the co-protagonist), Jen (the stage manage), this guy (sorry! you were so nice and I don't remember your name :-( ), and me, went to a pub and we scandalized the other patrons talking about the different ways to swear in foreign languages (and no, I will not tell you what were my words!). Then we went to another club, The George; I thought I knew about it, but was not able to link the dot: I searched about it at home, and remembered The George is one of the most popular gay nightclub in Dublin, quite famous for its live drag queen show.

I'm not really for loud music, but everyone was really nice, especially Max. As I was telling to my friend, I was expecting for Max to have to do public relations, but he basically never left my side, always being sure I was comfortable or fine. I really was, and if not for the early flight the morning after (actually almost the same night) I would have stayed longer. But in any case, everything was perfect, and I truly thank Max for a wonderful night that I will cherish.

To close the experience in a wonderful way, I spent the few hours I had in London waiting for the flight to go back to Venice at the Chelsea Psychic Gardens, wonderful walled XVII century botanic gardens, and had a sumptuous lunch at the Tangerine Dream, the cafe that is inside.

Chelsea Psychic Gardens

Chelsea Psychic Gardens )

Tangerine Dream

Tangerine Dream )
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Don't Ask! Enough to know that good things happen when you least expect it...

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This is the reason why I'm not reading much these days...

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I'm back! and as promised, here are the pictures. We touched Barcelona, Cadiz, Casablanca, Tangeri, Lisbon, Valencia and Rome. Everything was good and until Rome the weather was good as well... Italy in January? do not visit!

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Since I had only 1 weekend to visit, and it rained, I was not really in the mood to post pictures this time, but in the end, I did see some nice places and so maybe I will share some of them

This is the building where I was every week day

Miami-Dade Cultural Centre by Philip Johnson (n.d.r. he is one of my Gay Classics post)

more pictures )
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First week in Singapore of the next 5, everything is fine, yesterday I was a little out, probably Jet Lag, and today I gave up after visiting the Colonial District, even if it was in plan to see also Chinatown... will do next Saturday.

In the meantime here are some shots:

This is one of my favorite, the old Bridge and the new Skyscrapers

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I know, I know, I was absent this past week, and I was in Lithuania the previous two... but again I need to take a short leave from this journal: I will spent the easter break (4 days) in Amsterdam and since there are some trouble with luggage and all, I will not take the laptop with me ;-) So see you all next Wednesday and I will post picture when I will be back home!
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So, this is my next adventure in the US: I will go (yes, I'm sure I will manage to) to the Gay Romance Literary Retreat in New Orleans on October 2011. I'm planning to take a 2 weeks vacation leave, first New York City for one week (and I will wander around the city and out of it) and then another week in New Orleans.

Here is the official website:

From the words of the organizer:

"GayRomLit is a retreat for readers and writers of GLBT romance. A gathering place to hang out with people who read the same books you do. Get to know your favorite authors in a comfortable setting, ask all those burning questions about the books you love, and meet online friends at a one of a kind retreat.

We specifically chose the word retreat, which by definition is a place of safety - a refuge for those in attendance. Unlike your more traditional Lit-conferences the GayRomLit weekend will be centered on celebrating the fiction we all love and highlighting the authors and publishers who continue to support the genre.

New Orleans is the location for the 2011 GayRomLit Retreat.

Please join us October 13 - 16 for the first of what we hope to be an annual event.

Lynn Lorenz * Ethan Day * Carol Lynne * J.P. Bowie * Amanda Young"

I will be there, and you?

And BTW, this is the hotel they chose:

Nice, isn't it?
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I'm reading a book in this moment, but I don't know if I will finish it for tonight, so probably this will be the last post before my travel starts. I will be on leave from my reviewing activity for the following two weeks, I will travel down and up, and viceversa on the East Coast (USA). I will try to post once a day, at night, about the things I see and do during the day, so if you are interested let's talk of travels for a bit, otherwise I hope to see you again in two weeks, the normal activity here will resume on September 22.
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My short trip in London was a spring break, and obviously it was a rainy one! We tried to spend as much time as possible inside the museum (beautiful costume history exhibition inside the Victorian and Albert Museum...) and the first day of sun we took the tube to see Regents Park. It's huge and all surrounded of beautiful mansion (villas), it's like stepping back in time.

by Elisa, London, 2001:

Regent's Park )


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