Saturday, April 30, 2011

Crazy Queen's Day Weekend in Amsterdam 2011

We had a crazy weekend in Amsterdam over the world famous Queen's Day festivities. Queen's Day is in honor of the birth of Queen Juliana born in 1909 is the mother of the current Queen Beatrix and is always celebrated on April 29th and 30th. In the spirit of national togetherness the nation comes together and has massive street parties and open air parties all over the Netherlands to celebrate. This year around a million Dutch people and visitors swell the city and enjoy Amsterdam's raucous open-air fun. In the streets, canals, parks and everywhere in between, the city explodes as Amsterdammers enjoy the biggest street party of the year. Amidst orange-pride (the national color), live music, DJs, parties and a traditional citywide flea market, you'll find an low key and fun atmosphere that is everywhere and fun. While in Amsterdam there are tons of places to visit and explore so as to cultivate your cultural side too. The most visited place in Amsterdam is the Anne Frank House and Museum which sees over a million people annually and there is usually a substantial line but it is open till 10 pm so there is alot of opportunity to visit it. Also make time for the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam or the Dutch National Gallery where you can see an extensive and permanent Rembrandt exhibit, arguabley the most famous Dutch painters who lived in Amsterdam. So buy a little space cake and explore the city, it is a Boy Butter World Tour 2011 recommendation. 
Street and Canal Photos from 
Queen's Day 2011 in Amsterdam
All hail the Queen!
Canal Craziness
Street parties
Orange overdose : )
A Boy Butter poster catching a
passerby's attention at one of Amsterdam's famous public urinals ; )
A raucous night party in the street 
These posters are perfect over looking the Homomonument, 
it is one of the few times this poster is appropriate
Homomonument a memorial to gays and lesbians 
who were persecuted for their homosexuality.
Venetian Style buildings in downtown Amsterdam
Brendan loves Heineken 
I love Dutch architecture and the Dutch love bicycles.
Anne Frank House and Museum, one of the
most visited spots in the Netherlands.
Jewish Museum of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a stoner's paradise
A peaceful canal before the festivities
 The World War II memorial
Circus rides in the center of Amsterdam
Well at least this is another appropriate spot for a Boy Butter poster.
 A Dutch party boat passing from under a bridge in 
Amsterdam Canal during Queen's Day
Street vendors and festival goers.
Steet scene over Queen's Day
Busy party boats in crowded canals
Night time street party

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Walking Tour Through Berlin through Photos

If you cannot make it to Berlin anytime soon, please allow me take you on a little walking tour through one of my favorite European cities via my travel photos. Berlin is my favorite big cities in Europe right now especially because it is incredibly International and it is quite easy to get around speaking and reading English. The people are fun, happy friendly, educated, classy, and energetic. This is a veritable hot spot for any jet setting cosmopolitan on the go when visiting Europe. Paris and London and Madrid are great, but Berlin is all of that plus it is noticeably more affordable and friendly than those others. Berlin is incredibly flat and makes for easy walking from all the eye popping landmarks. Since World War II and the bombing There are museums and walk from eye popping historical landmark to eye popping historical landmark then Berlin is your place. The Gay scene is booming, well organized and friendly, there is an incredibly active nightlife and they turn it out every which way to Sunday around holiday weekends. The modern and present Berlin reminds me of the roaring twenties of the Wiemar Republic but much better, it's like Wiemar 2.0. Proof of this is taking a stroll down it's famous Gay neighborhood Schoneburg which was essentially destroyed by the Nazis and rebuilt since the end of the war. Shoneburg is a must do and can easily rival some of the best Gayborhoods on Earth.
 The Bundestag or the German Parliament House
 Brendan in front of Brandenburg Gate
 Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
 Brendan's hand touching the Holocaust Memorial, very powerful.
 Statue of German Literature giant Goethe
 Checkpoint Charlie, best known crossing point between 
East and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989
 Berlin Wall Art
The Red Star of East Germany Communism that failed
Brendan walking along a long piece of preserved Berlin Wall
at the site of the former Gestapo Part Headquarters ruins.  
The ruins of the former Gestapo Party Headquarters 
the tallest structure in Germany at 368 Meters highest structure
 Deutsches Historisches Museum or the German Historical Museum
Book burning memorial at the Bebelplatz in Berlin.
The plaque with a quote from German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine “Dort, wo man B├╝cher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen": "Where they burn books, they will also burn people."

Stolperstein or Stumbling Stones, small bronze cobblestone markers in front of a single person who fell victim to the Nazism. There are over 10,000 around the streets of Europe
 Old Jewish Cemetery in Berlin
 Doors of the Neue Synagogue or New Synagogue in Berlin

Monday, April 25, 2011

1998 Gay Games athletes reunite in Berlin and remake popular Boy Butter photo

In 1998 at the tender age of 19, I participated as one of the youngest athletes to compete in the Gay Games in Amsterdam in 1998.  Representing the United States I managed to win two medals in the 18-25 year age group for Men's Swimming in the 100 Meter Freestyle winning a Silver Medal and 50 Meter Butterfly winning a Bronze. Between events swimmers and waterpolo players would rinse off in a public shower area. A roving band of paparazzi snapped a photo of fellow athlete (and friend) Henri Rodenburg and I engaging in harmless homoerotic lockerroom shenanigans for the sake of the camera. This photo resurfaced many years later was used as one of the most popular and effective advertising campaign images used by Boy Butter Personal Lubricants in it's eight year history as a company. Thank the lord I am not running for public office this photo could come back.

Original Photo from Gay Games Amsterdam in 1998
 Reunion in Schoneberg neighborhood in Berlin Easter Weekend 2011
 Henri and I are forever hammy for a camera : )

Berlin's Beautiful Pergamon Museum

If you ever find yourself in Berlin, a definite must see is the famous Pergamon Museum built from 1910 and opened in 1930 it is located on Museum Island in Berlin which houses five large museums that are worth a visit. When you walk into the Pergamon you enter into the classical antiquities department and the first and largest exhibit is the Zeus Altar (180-160 BC). The altar is so large that it has a huge room all to itself and it the first row of a reassembled acropolis (ancient Greek religious temple) with an amazing frieze (sculpted band) around the base. The frieze depicts the battle between the Olympian gods against the Titans which is called Giantomachy, which the many gods led by Zeus won. Directly after the Zeus Altar you move onto the massive and gorgeous Market Gate of Miletus the entrance way to an ancient mall in Miletus, which was a Greek colony then Roman city in what is modern day western Turkey along the Aegean coast. The gate was destroyed during a earthquake in 1100 AD and was reassembled bit by bit in the Pergamon. The Altar and Market gate took twenty years to assemble and the department holds many impressive sculptures from many Greek and Roman cities of that era. The Near East Museum contains one of the largest collections anywhere of antiquities from ancient Babylonia, Persia, and Assyria. Among the exhibits is the Processional Way of Babylon with the Ishtar Gate, dating from 580 BC, and the throne hall of King Nebuchadnezzar II (604 - 562 BC). Cuneiform clay tablets document a civilization that created ceramics, glass, and metal objects while Europe was still overrun with primitive tribes. In the south wing of the museum is the Museum of Islamic Art, featuring miniatures, carpets, woodcarvings and illuminated manuscripts. The museum provides an excellent 30-minute, English-language recorded tour, which you can pick up at the entrance.

Entrance to Museum Island with Berlin Cathedral and the famous TV tower in the background
Approaching the Pergamon Museum 
Pergamon Entrance
The Zeus Altar
Ancient Greek Statue
Giantomachy Battle, Zues leading the Gods in a battle against the Giants
 Athena holding some poor blokes head, I'm sure it did not turn out well for him
Perfect Mosaic floor
 Columns that show how high the structures were in Ancient times
The Market Gate of Miletus 
More ancient greek and roman statuary and columns
The Ishtar Gate
 Kings Procession Hall of the Ishtar Gate
 One side of the walls of the Procession hall of the Ishtar Gate
 More of the wall of the procession hall of the Ishtar Gate
Video of the room containing the Market Place of Miletus
Video of the Zeus Altar