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A Barking Mad Nation | So So Gay magazine

Dogs are a gay man’s best friend. They are loyal, provide love and attention and can be a great pulling mechanism. However while Britain is undoubtedly a nation of dog-lovers, recent research has reveal compared to many of our European cousins it is the least accommodating country towards small dogs. As part of animals month we’ve explored these findings further.

Across the UK pubs and bars have always been a home from home for many dog owners and a welcome pit-stop whilst out walking. However, dog food brand Cesar have revealed almost three quarters of dog owners (73%) claim they don’t feel welcome with their dogs in the majority of drinking holes, meaning pets are left in cars, outside or at home alone and hundreds of opportunities  to use your dog as an excuse to chat up a cute boy are lost.

The sentiment extends to UK café culture as only 7% of dog owners agree they feel welcome to spend time relaxing with their dog in coffee shops. The new Paws in Places campaign looks to raise awareness of the issue of closed door policies towards small dogs on behalf of all dog lovers and owners.

Abigail Stevenson, Expert in Pet care wellbeing said, “It’s clear the UK and Europe have different attitude to their dogs. In the UK we have a far more caring relationship with our pets as UK 70% of dog owners feel their four-legged friends help them de-stress and 81% count their increased fitness levels on their pets. However even with such positive improvement, it seems the UK in general isn’t as welcoming to our four-legged friends.”

Surprisingly only 6% of retailers open their doors on the British high street to dogs – the ones which do include Debenhams, Daunts, Jack Wills, Hotel du Vin, Waterstone’s, Kurt Geiger Paul Smith  –  and the result of which is that there are 5.4 million dog owners in the UK who state they would go to more cafes, shops and retailers if they felt their dogs were welcome. That’s a lot of business that retailers on the UK high street are missing out on because they don’t let dogs into store.

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Competition: Win a holiday to Miami and £1000 spending money | So So Gay magazine

Are you a bit of an interior design addict? Like to show off your handy work? Do you have a gorgeous, flat, house or bedroom you want people to swoon over? If so, take a few snap’s of your fabulous interior design and submit it to Trident, and you could easily win a holiday to Miami. Plus all So So Gay readers get the chance for an extra prize.

All you need to do is submit your photograph to Trident’s competition Facebook page, and the photo with the most votes voted by fans of the page will be the winner of a dream holiday to MIAMI for 7 days, including £1000 spending money.

Not bad for just submitting a few photo’s, eh?

Then make sure you come back and fill out the form on this page and let us know which is your picture, and you’ll eligible for the So So Gay readers’ prize.

Also, and here is the secret, you don’t have to be Mr.Interior Design to win – it’s all down to votes. Spread the word and get your friends, family and even your neighbours to vote for you and you could be in with a chance to spend seven days in heaven, with a glass of wine in your hand and your toes in the sand.

You’ve got until the end of April to do this, so get snapping.

But we like to give our So So Gay readers something a little extra:

All entrants from So So Gay will be in with a chance of winning a gorgeous David LaChapelle coffee table book. The photos submitted by our readers will be kept a special eye on and whoever has the most votes by the end of March will win… and another winner at the end of April for whoever has the most votes then.

We will be sharing So So Gay readers’ images on twitter and our facebook page to give you an even better chance to get votes and win the holiday.

So get snapping today and who knows, you could soon be packing for the trip of a lifetime.

This competition has now closed.

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So So Gay announce partnership with the Iris Prize Festival | So So Gay magazine

We’re proud to confirm that So So Gay is to be the official media partner for the Iris Prize Festival 2012. So So Gay has been covering the prize since we were founded in 2010, and we’re delighted to be able to make such a strong commitment to the prize that supports gay and lesbian film making.

Berwyn Rowlands from the Iris Prize said ‘I’m delighted that Iris and So So Gay have decided to take this important step. Our relationship has developed very organically, starting two years ago when Harry Clayton-Wright attended the 2010 festival and ended up writing a jolly review of his experiences in Cardiff. This was followed in 2011 by James Waygood attending the festival and the coverage before, during and after the festival was substantial, insightful and entertaining. It feels quite natural to me that we should now be looking at consummating the relationship in this way,’ said Berwyn Rowlands from the Iris Prize.

The world reknowned prize for short films, the only one that actually offers support for the winner to make a new film, takes place in Cardiff every October.  Iris is more than just a trophy that gathers dust or a certificate that yellows on the wall. Iris is what film makers need – funding, support and guidance.

The 2012 Iris Prize Festival will take place in Cardiff, Wales (UK) from 10th – 14th October, submissions for entry are still open. 

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Editor’s note: March – Animals | So So Gay magazine

I love March. It’s the beginning of spring, it involves quite possibly the best jewish festival ever, Purim [where you are supposed to get quite drunk AND cross dress – sounds like a Friday night in Vauxhall] and of course my birthday. So I’m not biased at all. Let’s not talk about how old I’m going to be this year – you don’t want to see me cry; it’s not pretty.

What also makes March exciting, is it’s the first ever Animals month on So So Gay. Yes that’s right – there may be pictures of cats on the internet; whoever heard of such a thing? In the latest podcast, I visited Battersea Dogs and Cats home and met many of the fabulous cats and dogs desperate for adoption – there’ll be more about Battersea later this month.

We also try and settle the eternal battle of cats versus dogs, find out about the famous gay animals from around the world (who can forget Pedro the Penguin) as well as a look into the alternative world of the Furry scene.

On top of all of this we’ll share our favourite animals, though how anyone can have a favourite animal that isn’t a cute otter I really don’t know.

But March is doubly special is it means it’s time for the BFI’s 26th London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. They have a packed programme this year, and once again So So Gay will be covering as much of it as possible. Watch out for our reviews and our picks of the festival later this month.  Tickets go on sale to members today and non members next Thursday – and with an exciting program of films (including everything from stop motion lesbian toy bunnies to Kathleen Turner) this is a festival you don’t want to miss.

Have a great March – and find yourself a great Purim party and some tasty hamentashcen.

Ade Bradley
Editor in Chief

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New Dolly Parton video – and a chance to win Dolly goodies | So So Gay

Howdy, cowboys! Dolly Parton’s (very country) new video for her single ‘Together You and I’ has officially been launched to coincide with the release this week of her new album, Better Day, and the start of her world tour.

Parton’s new album (which So So Gay reviewed earlier) has quite a ‘bluesy’ tone throughout and she takes her audience on a journey of love and hope. ‘I wanted to do an album that would be very uplifting and positive, as well as inspirational,’ says the seven-time Grammy winner. ‘Times are hard all over. I think people need to feel better and I thought Better Day was a perfect title because it says “hope”.’

Post your thoughts about the video in the comments below.

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Review: Crazy For You (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) | So So Gay

Trepidation about seeing a Gershwin musical outdoors would be forgivable. It’s all too easy to imagine a disastrous school-production standard in which wooden, cheesy characters butcher a much-adored musical from a bygone era.

As it turns out, those fears would be misplaced.

Sitting comfortably on purpose-built seating in the vibrant greenery of Regent’s Park, audiences will be astounded by the quality of this production. In his role as Bobby Child, Sean Palmer engages with the audience from the moment he arrives on stage. His tap dancing abilities and impressive vocals set the bar for the rest of the cast – and they do not disappoint. The role of Bobby is perhaps one of the most demanding an actor can land, as the character juggles two very different personas for most of the show. Choreographer Stephen Mear works his cast – Palmer in particular – very well, with some creative moves that allow a fusion of up-beat modern styles as well as an appropriate tribute to the original Broadway choreography by Susan Stroman.

Crazy for You sees a young banker and wannabe entertainer, Bobby Child, escape the clutches of the family business and a frustrating fiancée to head for Deadrock, Nevada. There, he tries to salvage a failing theatre while impersonating the flamboyant and well-respected producer, Bela Zangler. David Burt is brilliantly cast in the role of Zangler. His characterisation is well considered and his comic timing is flawless.

While working to revive the theatre and town of Deadrock, Bobby Childs falls in love with Polly Baker, played by Clare Foster. Foster has an impressive CV, and is perhaps capable of bringing more to the role than she does here. At times her character becomes a bit two-dimensional, and her vocals on well-known favourites such as ‘Embraceable You’ and ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ were a little weak the evening we saw the show. Despite this minor shortcoming, her performance did not detract from an otherwise marvelous show.

The ensemble for this production never stopped. Quick changes into yet more impressive costumes are the only moments of respite offered to these dancers during the show. Taking us back to the heyday of the 1930s, the ensemble – each with their own visible personality and character – enthusiastically recreate a number of routines that leave the audience breathless.

Any limitations of staging a full-sized West End spectacular in the middle of Regent’s Park are not apparent, and the production values are as good as one would expect inside a conventional theatre. The Peter McKintosh-designed set is cleverly constructed, allowing small movements or changes in angle of the pieces to take the audience to completely different settings.

Director Timothy Sheader and musical director Gareth Valentine have produced a thoroughly enjoyable piece of theatre, which – despite the threat of bad weather – is highly recommended.

Crazy For You plays at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until 10 September 2011, at 7:45pm, with matinees at 2:15pm on Thursdays and Saturdays. Tickets range in price from £22.50 to £49.50 and can be purchased through the Open Air Theatre website.

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Russella’s back for Shoreditch Unbound | So So Gay magazine

Known to many as the creative, chaotic force behind London’s Next Top Tranny, the Fabulous Russella is back to wreak havoc as part of the Shoreditch Unboud creative festival. Based in the heart of the Old Spitalfields Market, Russella and pals will be celebrating the launch of a new book concept that explores the world of Shoreditch from those that inhabit that quirky part of town.

Having performed at venues such as Bistrotheque, the Weakest Link, the Tate Modern and even the Royal Opera House, as well as featuring on television for Coca Cola and the Friday Night with Jonathon Ross, Russella is the perfect candidate to bring an air of class and crass to such a special occasion.

Russella’s Unbound Variety Show will feature surreal performance art from Ryan Styles, chavarella bulesque from Kiki Kaboom, international circus star Stephen Williams, Britain’s Got Talent’s hula-hooping semi-finalist Marawa The Amazing, and winner of Alternative Miss World and London’s Next Top Tranny, Fancy Chance. Hackney Empire’s New Act of the  Year David Mills was also recently announced as having joined the line up.

Admittance to the show is free and booking is not required.

Russella’s Unbound Variety Show takes place on Saturday 3 September 2011, at the Old Spitalfields Market, London, E1 6EW from 7.30pm-10.30pm.

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Preview: New single by Darren Hayes – ‘Black Out the Sun’ | So So Gay

Aussie singing sensation, Darren Hayes has finally announced and even shared a link to the video for much-awaited second single from his forthcoming album, Secret Codes and Battleships. The track, ‘Black Out the Sun’, is set to be a popular hit, with haunting lyrics, smooth vocals and an incredible video.

The single is to be released on 2 October 2011.

Check out the video below, or our recent interview with Darren.

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Olly Murs – UK Arena Tour Announced | So So Gay magazine

Lovable larrikin, Olly Murs earlier today announced plans for a UK arena tour for early 2012. Mur’s presenting skills have won him many new fans through hosting The Xtra Factor and his new single, ‘My Heart Skips a Beat’ rocketed to the number one position on the iTunes charts.

The nation fell in love with Murs after losing out to Joe McElderry in the 2010 season on The X Factor. In that time he has released a number of successful singles and his debut album has just been certified as double platinum, having sold over 600,000 copies.

The 2012 tour dates are:

FEBRUARY 2012

Wed 1
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Sat 4
London The O2 Arena
Tue 7
Brighton Centre
Fri 10
Birmingham LG Arena
Sat 11
London Wembley Arena
Sun 12
Sheffield Motorpoint Arena
Mon 13
Nottingham Capital FM Arena
Wed 15
Bournemouth BIC
Sat 18
Manchester MEN Arena
Sun 19
Liverpool Echo Arena
Tue 21
Aberdeen ECC
Fri 24
Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
Sat 25
Glasgow SECC
Tue 28
Belfast Odyssey
Wed 29
Dublin O2

Tickets will be available for purchase from Friday 26 August via Live Nation.

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Broadway superstar Idina Menzel heading to London | So So Gay magazine

Avid musical theatre goers will already be well aware that US Broadway sensation Idina Menzel is bringing her highly acclaimed symphony concert to the Royal Albert Hall. Menzel, backed by the Royal Symphony Orchestra under the baton of legendary Broadway composer Marvin Hamlisch, will be not only performing a variety of musical theatre numbers, but also an array of classic pop favourites.

Menzel is perhaps best known for her performances as Elpheba in Wicked, both on Broadway and the West End, and as Maureen in the original production of Rent, for which she received a Tony nomination. Other notable performances include The Wild Party, See What I Wanna See andChess. Menzel is also a featured cast member of Glee, playing the coach of Vocal Adrenaline, rival glee club to that of the McKinley High crew.

Menzel’s ‘one night only’ performance at the Royal Albert Hall, the only performance of this concert that she is doing outside of the USA, will begin at 7.30pm on Thursday 6 October 2011. Tickets range from £35 – £75 and can be purchased online from the official website.