If you've seen the Broadway musical "The Producers," in which Hitler is turned into a drag queen, you're familiar with this chorus:

Comedy's joyous, a constant delight
Dramas annoy us and ruin our nights
So keep your Strindberg and Ibsen at bay
Keep it gay! Keep it gay! Keep it gay!

First, props to Mel Brooks for working Strindberg and Ibsen into a song lyric. Given its five-year run and historic Tony sweep, the message is clear: gay pays. It's a lesson Passport, billed as the "hetero-friendly gay travel magazine," has taken to heart. A brief flick through the magazine supports the theory that gay men are young and toned. Each, apparently, owns a Nautilus machine. If, according to a recent health study, exercise dramatically prolongs one's life, these guys should live to be 500.

Second, the gay market is a billion-dollar business, and Passport is smart to capitalize on it. The departments and features are usual fare, targeted to a niche audience: a gay cruise calendar, an all-gay transatlantic voyage on the QM2, a profile of a city with an emerging gay scene. The surprise was the choice: Bogota, Colombia, once dubbed "the world's kidnapping capital" by The Sydney Morning Herald. Judging from the array of clubs and discos, there's a new kid in town -- and at the Palo Santo Café, he's sipping coconut martinis and dancing the night away with go-go boys at the Theatron.

Frankly, the Bush Administration should be muy pleased: Gays not only gentrify a neighborhood, they encourage new business. Makes a nice change from ransom demands, the city's usual economic stimulus.

I did, however, take issue with the "VIP Lounge" blurb on playwright Doug Wright, who wrote "I Am My Own Wife" and is currently the librettist for the Broadway production of "The Little Mermaid." The show is referred to in the table of contents as a "splash." Untrue. Unless you mean it sinks. Little girls were hyperventilating at the sight of Ariel, the mermaid, but the adults were taken aback by the sets, courtesy of the Home Shopping Network. Check out Disney's other musicals -- "The Lion King" and "Mary Poppins" -- and you'll see what I mean: Two are artistic triumphs; the third resembles a bad acid trip.

But since Passport is all about travel, let's move on. Readers can choose features on food, destinations, products or globetrotting. In this issue, we explore Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands described as the closest thing Europe has to the "clothing-optional gay resorts in Palm Springs and Key West." The latter is home to the annual Ernest Hemingway look-a-like contest. Let's just hope they don't hold a nude one.

The upbeat pub, which serves readers well, opens with an editorial that's actually an excerpt from Al Gore's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. I'm not sure what it has to do with gay travel, though climate change is a universal concern. Keep up the greenhouse effect and "rain on my parade" will become the daily forecast.

But what amused me was the ad opposite -- for the New York New York hotel and casino in Las Vegas. The copy reads "The sensual side of Cirque du Soleil... and other erotic adventures." It seems an odd page spread, though I'm sure the handsome young man on the bed would be happy to fulfill Gore's final charge: "...we will rise, and we will act."


Published by: Q Communications

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