Monday, April 23, 2018

Get Naked All Over - Australia Naked Beach

Get Naked All Over - Australia Naked Beach 

Listen to waves lap on the beach just steps away from your beachside room. Sip tropical drinks with brightly colored umbrellas delivered to you at a moment's notice. Feel the heat while soaking in a bubbling hot tub. Savor the flavors and scents of fantastic meals shared with good friends and loved ones. Touch the stars on a beachside bonfire. Imagine 7 full days of luxury paradise on a private naked beach. 

You can do all of this ... and more ... February 21 - 28, 2019.

In GNI's first international event, we are heading from the Pocono mountains to tropical Australia - to Turtle Cove Resort near Cairns in north Queensland - for one week of private naked programming.

Turtle Cove, Australia's only LGBTI clothing-optional resort, offers four classes of rooms for the conscientious traveler - Garden view, Absolute Beachfront Suites, Coral Sea View, and Coral Sea View King Deluxe; rooms are double and triple occupancy, and will be reserved on a first-come basis; a continental breakfast is included. Lunches and dinners can purchased with an optional meal plan through GNI or guests may pay-as-they go charging meals and beverages to their room. Some beverages are included in the meal plan and additional guests can be accommodated.

Throughout the week, sign up for one of the numerous local excursions Queensland has to offer - snorkel the Great Barrier reef, hike in the Daintree Rainforest - the world's oldest rainforest, soar above the tropical forest canopy in a treetop skytram, or sit poolside with a good book, nap under the palms, or socialize with friends over cocktails. We'll work with the locals to offer some additional naked opportunities around the area for those that want to explore and see what Australia has to offer.

GNI is also planning beachside BBQ's and bonfires, dancing, buffets, and entertainment throughout the week. Once the week has ended, sign up to join us for an optional excursion for Gay Mardi Gras in Sydney before heading home or exploring other parts of the region. 

Take a few minutes and peruse the information for GNI's inaugural international event at Australia for more information before you sign up. 

Registration for GNI Australia is OPEN! Unlike registering for The Gathering, registering for Australia will be a bit different. The GNI Business Office will personally handle all of your reservations (other than travel to/from Australia), verify all of your accommodations and resort details, and guide you through the planning process. There are two ways to get started - you can print your reservation signup form here or submit your reservation signup form online. Once you've submitted your information, the GNI Business Office will contact you to discuss every aspect of your holiday in detail. Once we've confirmed everything with you, GNI will set up a personalized installment payment program for you.

There is just way too much information to include in an article so we would like to refer you to the GNI website or visit Turtle Cove's website and see for yourself what an amazing resort this is. Booking this week can *only* be made through GNI; if you contact Turtle Cove directly, they will refer you back to us. Of course, if you have any questions, you're welcome to contact the GNI Business Office anytime. 

This is a high-end travel experience comparable to other gay-related travel opportunities and destinations hosted by other gay travel providers. If you're looking for something much different from the rustic charm of the Poconos, consider joining us for GNI Australia where we will be sure that "naked" is not just an option but the norm. 

See you on the private naked beach.

And if you can't join us for GNI Australia, plan to join us for the GNI Gathering in the Pocono mountains - August 16 - 25, 2019! (GNI Australia is an event in addition to our regular annual Gathering.)

Q&A With GNI's Mr. Bare Bear 2017

Ron Burrage, GNI's Mr. Bare Bear 2017, shares some thoughts via a Q&A with the GNI BuffBuzz team. 

Where do you live currently and are you involved with any nudist or bear groups in your hometown?

I’ve recently relocated to New York City from Harrisburg, PA and am beyond excited to be in a place where there are more bears in the city than in the zoo! Both Miss Lace and Mr. GNI Leather are now my neighbors and looking forward to exploring the city together and getting more involved. We have our first “date night” on Monday! I’ll be sure to send pictures!

Was this past year your first time at camp?

Officially, yes. I had participated in the Body Electric workshop the year before and made it to the opening night of the GNI disco but did not stay for the week. The disco, and Pete from Cabin I-2 were actually what convinced me to spend the full week at camp.

Can you recall the drive up to camp and what was going through your head the first time you came to The Gathering?

My husband and I live in different states and we were meeting at The Gathering for our summer vacation. He had arrived earlier for Body Electric, so I was a little anxious to see him and wondered what our cabin mates would be like. 

Were there any activities at camp that made the experience that much more enjoyable for you?

It goes without saying, the disco is pretty amazing. I couldn’t wait to get there every night. I also participated in body painting and spent lots of time at the pool. And of course, once I decided to enter the Mr. Bare Bear competition, there were lots of events and activities that kept me busy. Most of all, I really enjoyed getting to meet people from all around the world, share stories, beers and the dance floor! 

Who did you live with for the week? Did you know them prior to your arrival at camp?

I met most of my cabin mates the day I arrived. We had chatted a bit on Facebook in advance to help with planning/coordinating, but with the exception of my husband, I met everyone the day I arrived.  

What was it like competing for Mr. Bare Bear?

OMG. So much fun. Mr. Bare Bear 2016 told me I should enter the competition and I thought it was a good way to break the ice with people I didn’t know. While the challenges were really fun, my favorite part was collecting “point cards” as it gave me a chance to literally approach every man at camp. I was really surprised at how open everyone was to conversation – bear, otter, daddy, etc., - it really didn’t matter. Many of the people I’ve stayed in contact with are people I wouldn’t have felt comfortable approaching in a bar. The Bare Bear contest and The Gathering really broke down any insecurities I may have had about myself or assumptions I may have made about others.

Do you have any philanthropies, causes or movements that are close to your heart that you want to use your title to bring light to?

I am a member of the HRC Founder Club and have held board positions on Equality Pennsylvania as well as local community theatres. While it’s not easy to directly connect those to GNI, the value of inclusivity and helping those who don’t have the means to have a voice be heard. 

If not, what do you think are the responsibilities of someone with a title such as yours during their “title year”?

I think the most important thing any title member can do is spread the word about GNI. But, I also think that is the responsibility of anyone who has attended The Gathering in the past. This community is so special and we’re only going to be able to keep it going and flourishing through our commitment to share the love. I’d also love to talk to anyone who might be considering The Gathering but needs an extra push or dose of confidence to make it happen. (**Editor's Note: If interested in connecting with Ron, please send email here.)

What advice would you give to someone who has never been to The Gathering before but wants to come?

Go. There’s nothing like it. There is such a diverse group of men and activities at The Gathering. Truly something for someone for everyone. 

What is the reason that you have been to camp, you keep coming back, or encourage other people to attend?

My first trip was for Body Electric, which opened the door to the world of GNI and The Gathering. I had so much fun and met so many interesting people in just one night that I really wanted to come back to experience the full event and I don’t regret it. I’ll keep coming back for the people and camaraderie.  

Any words of encouragement for any guys out there who may be hesitant to attend a nudist event because of confidence, body image or self esteem issues?

As a bear who has been on a diet since the third grade, I have always wanted to be thinner, fitter, taller, etc. None of that matters at The Gathering. Truly. I also loved meeting men without any of the status elements that come into play in the real world. Everyone enters on a level playing field. And by the time your bags are to your room or tent, you forget you’re not wearing any clothes. 

I hope to meet you at the next Gathering.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Drag Queen Story Time: Meet Our Resident Queens!

Iona Mink (aka Rodd Sovar), GNI Miss Lace 2017
(Photo credit Brian Becnel)
 What is your name? Drag and otherwise?
1. Lucy Morals

2. Roux Bricque

3. Scrumptious

4. Justine Trouble

5. Matt ‘Sassy’ Slomka

6. Miss Anne Thrope, Dennis Birchall

Lucy Morals (aka Tim Gallagher), Miss Lace 2016
(Photo Credit Brian Becnel)
Welcome ladies! Do you mind sharing how long you have been doing drag?
1. Lucy: Off and on 10 plus years

2. Roux BricqueOn and off for about 25 years

3. Scrumptious: 6 years

4. Justine Trouble: A few years

5. Matt ‘Sassy’ Slomka: Other than Halloween, Started at camp 2 yrs ago

6. I don't. I only did it to be part of the event.

Do you perform at any of your local bars, venues or clubs? Or do you only do drag for GNI?

1. Lucy: Have done some for gay chorus. This year, just GNI.

2. Roux Bricque I only do drag in my living room

3. Scrumptious: Only GNI

4. Justine Trouble: Justine primarily lives at GNI. Only on rare occasions does she escape camp. GNI is her home.

5. Matt ‘Sassy’ Slomka: Only GNI

6. Miss Anne Thrope: Did drag at GNI. She's sealed away in a box in the top of the closet.

What made you start to perform in drag?

Justine Trouble (aka Brian Ballone),
GNI Miss Lace Contest 2016
(Photo Credit Brian Becnel)
1. Lucy: I enjoy the performance opportunity and the swish of a dress!

2. Roux BricqueI was in a production of La Cage au Folles and LOVED it!

3. Scrumptious: Viv! got me drunk and put a beehive on me.

4. Justine Trouble: As a tribute to Stormy Weathers. Justine is Stormy’s biggest VIP fan. 
P.S. Stormy if you’re reading this please don’t renew the restraining order.

5. Matt ‘Sassy’ Slomka: Looked like fun...chance to perform.

6. Miss Anne Thrope: I was getting back to performing. In 2000, I did a song in the talent show. I figured I could put together another number for Miss Lace. I didn't realize that there wasn't a talent portion. But, all the contestants thought it was a great idea and we pulled together a fun show. It became very popular.

With the great success of RuPaul’s Drag Race over the years, what pros and cons do you see with drag becoming more mainstream and assimilating itself into mainstream pop culture if any?
Trixie May (r) hosts while Pickles takes the mic and Tourette
(aka Nick Roessler) stands by in awe,
Miss Lace Show 2016
(Photo credit Brian Becnel)

1. Lucy: Love that we are seeing more blurred lines of gender identity. More of my straight clients are thrilled to find out I perform and are big followers of the RuPaul show.

2. Roux Bricque There are no cons. Everyone loves a drag queen....don't they

3. Scrumptious: Sorry I'm usually drunk by the time that show is on... have never seen it ??

4. Justine Trouble: It’s going to be more difficult to find the perfect off the rack dress at Good Will though Justine’s primary resource for her wardrobe is eBay. However, bring on the newbies - what queen doesn’t love a new princess to climb over on her way to the top?

5. Matt ‘Sassy’ Slomka: It is less of a statement...more art. Also with RPDR it ups the ante for performers. People are expecting that level of talent.

6. Miss Anne Thrope: Doesn't interest me personally but, I'm always happy to see the norms challenged and opportunities open up.

A lot of queens now are traveling and performing their own shows after their stint on Drag Race. If you had your own show or book what would it be called and why?

1. Lucy: Stopping the runway. To give more amateurs a chance to perform

2. Roux Bricque Spit out that gum!

3. Scrumptious: I'd have to think about it... a combination of Karen Walker, Patsy Stone and a “Far Side” character

4. Justine Trouble: The Incontinence Tour because once Justine is flows right out.

5. Matt ‘Sassy’ Slomka: Embracing Your Sass...because often the journey to drag is like mine...a journey of self-discovery/self acceptance.

6. Miss Anne Thrope: Not even a thought really!

Finally, now that we have gotten to know you a little bit more, can you talk to us about camp? Tell us about the drag community at camp if there is one! What makes it special for you? What makes you keep coming back?

Scrumptious (aka Jim Jacobs) hosts Viv's Salsa Party 2017
(Photo credit Brian Becnel)

1. Lucy: Love the support at camp. Giving everyone a chance to try new things in a non-judgmental environment. This year will be about 24 years attending. I have been crowned Mr GNI and Miss Lace. When I see friends there each year it is like we just saw each other yesterday. The camp is a great facility too. Love this place and bringing new people to check it out and drop their inhibitions.

2. Roux Bricque: I've never actually been to GNI. I hope to get there someday though!

3. Scrumptious: GNI is the only place where I can wear my Walgreen sundresses and drink cocktails out of my purse! I also enjoy the cute men too. Oh and the scrambled eggs are out of this world! Yum yum!

4. Justine Trouble: It’s hard to say that Justine keeps coming back because Justine just doesn’t leave the camp. It’s more like you guys keep coming back to me. Justine is just so misunderstood outside the confines of camp where it’s easy to “let it flow, let it flow. Don’t hold it back anymore”. Justine just knows that she can be herself and say “I don’t care what your going to say” and then just do it! Plus Justine is proud to make her home with the hot leather men of the Pocono Eagle in the Leather Barracks. They respect her true color...yellow!

5. Matt ‘Sassy’ Slomka: Camp is a playground...try something new on and if it feels right. Go with it. You will never find a more supportive place to discover yourself.

6. Miss Anne Thrope: I don't think there is a “Drag Community” at the Gathering. It's an event for people to participate in. I go to The Gathering to see friends!
GNI's beloved, Miss Hazel, GNI Miss Lace 2012, appearing at Miss Lace 2016
(Photo credit Brian Becnel)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Yoga at The Gathering

The Yoga Team at GNI is introducing a weekend Yoga Retreat at The Gathering.

It is called 'Yoga Foundations for Daily Life'; designed for both people who are new to yoga and those that have previously practiced.

This will be a comprehensive, but not difficult weekend, that will consist of 5 practices.

Each practice will focus on using the power of yoga. We will explore breath, asana, mindfulness, and togetherness. This will be used to develop tools for combating what we have all experienced at some point in our lives: stress, anxiety, distraction, depression, and feeling isolated from the men around us.

At the end of the retreat, participants will walk away with new skills to get in touch with the body, find peace in daily life, and a new sense of connection from within, and with others in the practice.

The retreat will be lead by Colby, who teaches men’s nude classes in Lambertville, NJ.  He also offers retreats throughout the US and Central America and has a 500-hour teaching certificate.  Colby is also certified in IM=X Pilates and is an avid triathlete.

It will be assisted by Jon Poupore, who is the GNI Yoga Coordinator and the movie manager; Michael Lange, certified Power Yoga Teacher, teaches nude (and clothed) yoga in Columbus/Ohio and has been teaching yoga during GNI Gatherings since 2013; and Gene Evangelist, who has taught Nude Yoga Pittsburgh since 2004 and has taught at the Gathering since 2011, he is Marketing Director for GNI.

This rare devotion will be shared with 19 other men (class size is limited to 20).
Cost is $75.

Register for The Gathering now to reserve your spot; they'll go fast! If you've already registered, contact the Business Office to add this package to your GNI experience.
More info is on the GNI web site.

Regular yoga practices will be held throughout The Gathering as well.

Entertainment for 2018 Gathering Announced

Kinsey Sicks - For over 20 years, America's Favorite Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet has served up a feast of music and comedy to audiences at performing arts centers, music venues and comedy festivals throughout the US and internationally! Their phenomenal performance record includes an Off-Broadway show, an extended run in Vegas, two feature films and three concert DVDs, nine albums, and appearances in over 40 US states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Australia. The Kinsey Sicks' award-winning a cappella singing, sharp satire and over-the-top drag have earned them a diverse and devoted following.

Bobby Jo Valentine – Bobby Jo Valentine is a nationally touring singer/songwriter who grew up on the seaside of Northern California. His songs are both earthbound and mystical, and speak of the gentle, everyday spiritual awakenings of an openhearted life. He has been awarded Song of the Year three times at the West Coast Songwriter’s Association, and has earned a growing following of listeners and supporters with music and storytelling that is compelling and poetic.

Frank Liotti - Frank Liotti is a stand-up comic living in New York City. He just completed filming a pilot for LOGO, titled "Everyone's a Little Gay." In addition, was seen headlining at Caroline's on Broadway, and performs stand-up comedy across America. His sardonic wit and unique stream of consciousness style have won him praise in the prestigious Laughing Skull Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy Festival, the Laughing Devil Comedy Festival, the Los Angeles Comedy Festival and the Long Island Laugh Off, and he's been a finalist in every festival he's entered to date. As an actor, he has been seen playing criminals on multiple episodes of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Fox TV's Jonny Zero, Canturbury's Law with Julianna Margulies, and others. A graduate of Yale School of Drama as well as SUNY Purchase, he landed the cover of The New York Times Arts and Leisure section for the production of Cats Talk Back — a mockumentary of life as a cast member within the Broadway hit Cats — which was the winner of "Best Overall Production" in the 2003 NYC Fringe Festival. It was also performed at Yale Cabaret, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and revived in The Fringe's 2011's "Best Of" series. He also appears in the 2012 film BearCity 2.

Adam Sank - Adam Sank is one of the most recognized and accomplished openly gay stand-up comics in the country, having been featured on NBC's Last Comic Standing and The Today Show, FOX's Laughs, CBS News, Vh1's I Love the 2000s and Best Week Ever, CNN's @ThisHour, CNBC's Street Signs and truTV's World's Dumbest Criminals, along with countless appearances as both a guest and fill-in host on SiriusXM satellite radio. 

His debut comedy album, Adam Sank: Live from the Stonewall Inn, went to No. 1 on both Amazon's list of Comedy Album Downloads and iTunes's New Comedy Releases, and it plays in rotation on SiriusXM's Raw Dog channel. Adam also hosts his own weekly radio show -- The Adam Sank Show (ASS) -- every Sunday at 3PM ET at, with replays throughout the week.


Love Is In The Air: Meet Our Couples!

Brad & Ben at The Gathering
Frederic & Larry, Gathering 2017

Hi there! Mind sharing your names? 
  • Larry and Fred
  • Ben and Brad
Nice to meet you! How long have you two been together? 
  • L & F: 9 years!
  • B & B: 31 years!
Beautiful! Did you meet at GNI prior to becoming a couple? If so, do you mind sharing your story? If not, what was it like attending GNI together for the first time?
  • L & F: We first met in Paris a few years before we went to our first GNI event which was NakedFest in MD in 2015. We had a great time at Ramblewood and it was a great experience being naked outdoors with hundreds of other men. We then attended our first Gathering in 2016.
  • B & B: Our first time attending together was great, and we just keep returning. It has been over ten years now!
What is your favorite thing to do at GNI; either together or separate?
  • L & F: We just enjoy meeting new people and seeing familiar faces 😀 every year. The openness of having fun and participating in all of the activities is awesome. We love the social events and the entertainment. Miss Lace (with Hazel and Trixie hosting, of course) is a lot of fun. Mr GNI Leather and Mr GNI contests are also so fun to watch (and, who knows, perhaps we will compete next year)!
  • B & B: Ben loves to swim while at camp, and Brad really enjoys the disco. 
Is there a spot at camp you find to be especially romantic where you both retreat to in order to just enjoy one another's company?
  • L & F: Laying to together in the shade down by the lake and next to the gazebo or taking a shower together outside by the tennis courts.
  • B & B: Not really, we just enjoy the energy that camp brings and attending together. 
If you could give any advice to couples that want to attend The Gathering together, what would it be?
  • L & F: Just come and enjoy...leave your inhibitions and fears with your clothes on the ground the moment you arrive. Everyone is accepting and there to meet each other and enjoy just being themselves. Attending GNI is a great way to connect with people, to relax, and to have fun.
  • B & B: Nothing to be nervous about! Just come to The Gathering and enjoy yourselves!
Picture It! Opening credits on the big screen, a movie about GNI and your experience together at camp: whats the title of the movie? Any particular song that you would play over the opening credits that encapsulates the energy of camp?
  • L & F: Since I (Larry) am a child from the 70s, the movie Meatballs with Bill Murray comes to mind because of the camp theme....and the motto of "it just doesnt matter." Who remembers that? I take that to mean just be yourself and doesnt matter what craziness is going on outside the camp. Thoughts of my French husband and our time in Europe, and my love for zany comedy, I could also see a scene of hundreds of men running across the camp singing "the hills are alive with the sounds of Griswolds" as Chevy Chase did in from European Vacation (although in Lederhosen). He used to be soooo funny...what happened? :)
  • B & B: Hmm... I guess, Natural Vacation! 😎
Thanks so much for taking some time to answer our questions! (:
Hope to see you boys this year at camp!

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Annual Mid-Winter Naturist Festival Feb 15-20, 2018

Six days of fun, growth, and community in the nude
Thursday – Tuesday, February 15-20, 2018
Sunsport Gardens Family Naturist Resort
14125 North Rd, Loxahatchee Groves, FL
(14 miles west of West Palm Beach)
Join other naturist men and women and their families from Florida and the rest of North America for the continent's first regional naturist gathering in 2018. Come for any or all of the days — it's up to you!
This nude gathering features nearly 250 scheduled activities encompassing a broad array of seminars, workshops, sports, music and dance (including nightly drum circle around a huge bonfire), and social activities. There are also a couple of off-site events, which are excursions to Haulover Beach in Miami and Blind Creek Beach in Fort Pierce, FL.

Click above for a video tour of Sunsport GardensFamily Naturist Resort

The Mid-Winter Naturist Festival is one of a series of Naturist Society-sanctioned nude events each year. Diversity is valued, and all are welcome. Pre-registration is encouraged for planning purposes, but not required. (It makes check-in quick and easy.) Proceeds of the Festival benefit The Naturist Society, South Florida Free Beaches, and Treasure Coast Naturists. View pricing and register.
Help get the word out! The Festival has a listing on Facebook. Click on Going or Interested if you will or may attend, and use the Share button to invite your friends, post the event on your timeline and in other naturist groups you belong to, and send it in a message.
Meanwhile, try Sunsport Gardens' nude drum circle, first Friday of every month from 9 p.m. to midnight. Free entry starts at 5 p.m.; visitors must depart by 2 a.m. Includes use of amenities such as the café, showers, pool, spa, and sauna. You must present your government-issued photo ID for admission. Get directions.