Monday, September 12, 2016

Tuscany Untouched Tours

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Tuscany Untouched Tours


Saturday: Pick up at Figline Val D’arno Station

Pick up —> accommodation
The tour will officially start when you are picked up from the Central Station of Figliene Val D’arno.  From there, we will take you to your Tuscan home away from home, a quaint apartment in a Tuscan farmhouse.

Sunday: The Casentino Valley

Casentino Valley —-> Poppi Castle —> Saint Francis’ Monastery
If you’re looking to discover a piece of Tuscany that you will forever carry in your heart, you will not be disappointed with the Casentino Valley. We’ll give you an insider view of this Tuscan gem as we follow the path of the ancient castles and villages that were developed by the Old Roman Empire. We will uncover the spiritual part of Tuscany that is all too often disregarded on contemporary tours of the region. A Tuscany that is rich in surprise and breathtaking moments awaits.
We will have lunch in Poppi, an unforgettable medieval village that far too many visitors to Tuscany completely overlook. This city is home to spellbinding stories and fascinating mysteries that are waiting for you to uncover. We will end our journey with a trip to the ancient monastery of Saint Francis of Assisi before enjoying dinner in one of the best pizzerias in the area.

MONDAY: Wine, cheese and lots of beef (the world famous Chianina)

Montalcino —-> Montepulciano—> Val di Chiana
Today, we will visit Montalcino, which is renowned for Brunello di Montalcino, a red wine that is widely regarded as one of the top three red wines in the world. You’ll have an opportunity to learn more about this wine with a visit to one of the region’s most prestigious winery and cellars.
Later, we will visit Montepulciano, a famous medieval village that is replete with Tuscan history and an area of the region that is renowned for its cultural summer festival and fairs.
Our tour will continue with a visit to the city walls, where you’ll have an opportunity to watch skilled tradesmen and women at work using traditional manufacturing techniques to shape copper in their old artisan shops. We’ll also stop by some of the characteristic enoteche (wine shops).
The day will end at one of the oldest farms of the Val di Chiana for a dinner of Chianina IGP beef, Cinta Senese pork and fabulous local wine.

Tuesday: Cooking class and local villages festivals “sagre”

Cooking class —-> Firenze —> Summer village festivals “sagre”
On the third day of our tour, you can choose between enjoying a cooking class with our wonderful Manuela, with whom you will prepare dinner, or we will take you to the train station from where you can travel to Firenze by train. From June to September we will be joining the local villagers as they enjoy their vibrant summer festivals.

Wednesday: The Chianti Region

Chianti region —> Greve in Chianti
This is a day that the wine aficionados among the group will enjoy because it is entirely dedicated to wine. We will visit a number of castles, wineries and cellars to learn the intimate story of Chianti’s famous wine. You will also get a chance to learn about and sample the region’s fine extra virgin olive oil.
Once we have sampled the delicious offerings of Chianti, we will progress to Greve, home to the most famous butcher and deli shop in Tuscany and the ideal place for you to buy the best produce of the area.
On our way back, we will stop at a family-run trattoria where you will enjoy an authentic Tuscan meal.

Thursday: La Maremma Toscana

La Maremma —> Cantina Antinori —> Castiglione della Pescaia 
Today, we will venture into the heart of the Tuscan countryside to enjoy some of its extraordinary landscapes.
We will visit the Cantina Antinori, one of the most famous wine-producing families in the world, before visiting a local farm at which you can taste the typical produce of the area. We will then progress to one of the nicest beaches in Tuscany, which is located near Castiglione della Pescaia, a wonderful medieval castle that is famous for its delightful views, delicious restaurants and vibrant nightlife. From there, you can experience a day at the beach where you will be able to walk among the locals, enjoy an Italian aperitivo, and enjoy a fantastic dinner at one of the fanciest Italian “corso” (street).

Friday: The Pratomagno mountain

Pratomagno mountain —> Loro Ciuffenna—>Gropina
Today you will have a chance to experience the exclusive beauty and mystery of the Pratomagno, one of the most fascinating mountains in Tuscany. It was here that the Australian explorer and WWI hero Herbert John Louis Hinkler crashed in his attempt to fly from England to Australia. The tour commences with a visit to the quaint village of Loro Ciuffenna and an opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of Gropina’s Roman church. We will then visit several of the tiny medieval villages that are dotted across the mountainous landscape where we will have the opportunity to taste the local produce. The day will end with an aperitivo at the summit of Pratomagno, where you will enjoy a breathtaking sunset before dinner.

Saturday: Drop off  at Figline Val D’arno Station

Breakfast —> Drop off
The tour ends with a delicious breakfast before we part ways at Figline Val D’Arno’s station

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is the world’s most spectacular celebration of LGBTQI pride and diversity. Each year, tens of thousands of international and interstate visitors come to Sydney to experience a three-week festival of over 100 events, culminating in the iconic Mardi Gras Parade and Party.

Key Mardi Gras Events:


Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Global Ambassador and international songstress, Courtney Act releases her new single, Kaleidoscope on Monday 29 February 2016.
The song, written by Act and Australia’s own Sam Sparro, is the official anthem of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2016.
The song pays homage to the gender and sexuality revolution taking place with the current generation. As more young people are embracing the fluidity of their sexuality and gender, the six clearly defined colours of the gay flag now start to create a kaleidoscope of possibilities not easily categorised.
Courtney Act captures this essence in her song and music video Kaleidoscope.
In the video Act, who identifies as gender fluid, appears as a girl strolling along the iconic Bondi to Bronte coast line in Sydney Australia, she meets eyes with a skater girl and a summer romance involving skateboarding, swimming and some vegan sorbet ensues. At face value we are looking at two girls falling in love, but knowing that Act is a male bodied person who lives life on the gender divide sometimes as Shane Jenek, the story seems less conventional. 
"I love creating stories that push limits. I aim to confuse. Having identified as a gay man most of my adult life, the last few years I have realised that both my sexuality and gender are fluid. This has been so liberating for me because I never fit into the binary of man/women or gay/straight anyway.”
“I feel more comfortable existing in the grey area and I encourage anyone who feels like the status quo doesn't represent them to join me. You may feel broken or separate but when you look through a kaleidoscope suddenly all of those broken bits and pieces create a beautiful image." says Courtney Act. 
The digital release, features an acoustic version of the track and three remixes from Aussie DJ Tanner Derby, UK DJ Jodie Harsh & US DJ Dirty Pop. The music video will be premiered on MTV Australia on March 1st and Courtney Act's YouTube channel.
"At the heart of Queer culture is revolution. The truest rebellion against a world built on categories, labels and binaries is coming from the emergence of identities that refuse to conform." - Lily Edelstein
Courtney Act - Kaleidoscope 
Official theme song of the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2016
Released – Monday, February 29

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chauvel Cinema, Paddington

Chauvel Cinema, Paddington Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras 2016
28th February SOLD OUT
29th February SELLING FAST
1st March JUST ADDED
Drag superstar, Youtube sensation, ‘accidentalactivist and comedy queen Panti, returns to Sydney for a bespoke Mardi Gras show about sex, love, politicsand sex.
In between making movies and playing a central role in Irelands recent Marriage Equality triumph, gender discombobulist Panti has spent the past two years touring her smash-hit shows to packed houses and rave reviews around the globe. 
Following a string of sold out nights in Sydney in 2014 and 2015, Panti returns to the city that has made her feel so very (very) welcome, despite the 1am lockout.
Infusing raucous stand-up with trademark polemic, Panti arrives with salacious tales about her adventures across Australia thus far, and has a thing or three to say to anyone standing in the way of marriage equality down under.
In a first for the now legendary drag superstar, Panti will create a special Sydney Mardi Gras edition of story, stand up and music for old friends and new followers in the sumptuous setting of Paddington’s Chauvel Cinema.  
Panti exclaims: “Despite an unfortunate and traumatising picnic at Hanging Rock, Australia has always been good to me. In particular, Sydney has always shown this ageing showgirl a good time, and I've been delighted to reap the benefits of the low standards of the city's amorous homosexuals. So in return I've decided to do the giving for once! I'll be bringing my old-lady glamour to Paddington’s Chauvel Cinema where I'll be passing on some of my hard-earned wisdom on life, love, and marriage equality. With glitter. It's the least I can do.”
In addition to this never-to-be-repeated theatre event, Panti will be once again leading the acclaimed Sydney Queer Irish float at the Mardi Gras parade on March 5th, with a very special message for audiences everywhere.
According to Fran Bowron Co-Chair of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras: “Panti’s participation in the Parade and her show 'Rooting for Australia' reminds us all of what can be achieved when we work together and that every journey is important.”

Presented by THISISPOPBABY in association with Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras and Irish Consulate General.
‘funny and vulgar, dignified and dishy, sometimes earnest, never acid.– New York Times
Your first encounter with the phenomenal drag queen Panti is a little like suddenly discovering a new planet in the solar system. - The Irish Times
When: Sunday 28th February (SOLD OUT), Monday 29th February & Tuesday 1st March (JUST ADDED)
Where: Chauvel Cinema, 249 Oxford Street, Paddington, NSW 2021
Time: 7.30pm
Duration: 70 minutes, no interval
Tickets: $35 + booking fees
Book: On sale now from

PANTI is Ireland's foremost "gender discombobulist” and “accidental activist”. 
After attending art college in Dublin in the late 80’s she moved to Tokyo where she began her drag career as part of successful double act called “Candi Panti”. Returning to Ireland in the mid 90’s she became a fixture of Dublin’s nightclub scene. She ran some of Ireland’s most seminal club nights, and hosted and produced the legendary Alternative Miss Ireland pageant, which raised money over 18 years for HIV/AIDS charities. 
Panti made her theatrical debut in 2007 with the critically acclaimed In These Shoes? and since then has toured extensively across Ireland, the UK, Europe, North America and Australia with her shows A Woman In Progress, All Dolled Up, Restitched, and High Heels In Low Places.
In early 2014, Panti landed herself in the middle of a media sh*tstorm that rocked Ireland and was christened “Pantigate”. Soon after, she became a YouTube sensation when a speech she made at the Abbey Theatre about homophobia, lauded as “the most eloquent Irish speech in two hundred years”, went viral. It was broadcast around the world, debated in parliament, remixed by the Pet Shop Boys, and sparked a powerful conversation about equality.
Panti became an iconic figure for equality in Ireland, and in 2015 she played a major role in the successful referendum campaign for Marriage Equality in Ireland.
Panti’s memoir Woman In The Making became a bestseller in Ireland in 2014, and in 2015 a documentary film about her life, The Queen Of Ireland, was released in the UK & Ireland and broke box office records for an Irish documentary.
Panti has received many awards including a “Person Of The Year Award” and an honorary doctorate from Trinity College Dublin. Panti continues to appear regularly on stage and screen, and is much in demand internationally as a speaker. She can also be found in her popular Dublin city centre bar, Pantibar.
A dynamic and ground-breaking Irish theatre and events production company, THISISPOPBABY events have played to over 75,000 people in the past seven years.

In that time, the company has had fifteen sold-out theatre shows, won four major awards (including Best New Play in the Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards for Trade by Mark O’Halloran) and been nominated for sixteen more; successfully toured to the UK, Australia, USA and France; ran an alternative late-night arena at Electric Picnic Music Festival from 2008-2010; created Queer Notions, Ireland’s queer arts festival at Project Arts Centre; and regularly rips up history with performance art club WERK.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


When her show at the Sydney Opera House was announced back in November many wondered what else might be in store for Conchita Wurst whilst she’s in Australia.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras can now confirm that the bearded beauty and 2014 Eurovision Song Contest winner is making a momentous debut at the official Mardi Gras Party on Saturday 05 March, 2016.
The “Queen of Austria” hits The Party stage with Australia’s own Queen of Queens and Mardi Gras Global Ambassador, Courtney Act, for a show stopping 1am performance that pays homage to the art of drag.
Mardi Gras Party Creative Director George Savoulis said, “We’ve revamped The Party experience this year, and we’re bringing the stage into the centre of the room. Epic and high energy shows will radiate the experience outwards into every corner. Now everyone has an incredible view for the Party of the year,” said Savoulis.
Wurst and Act join a line-up that includes the top DJ’s from Australia and overseas, including: Tracy Young, Mark Picchiotti, Buck Naked, Mark Alsop, Victoria Anthony, Kitty Glitter, Maze and Masters, Colin Gaff, Seismic and Tanner Derrby. More acts are being announced in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

The only place to be after the world’s biggest and most iconic night-time parade on Saturday 05 March, 2016, the Mardi Gras Party is unstoppable, unbelievable, and totally unmissable.
The Party is where Mardi Gras magic happens, with the hottest DJs spinning across a sprawling landscape of 12,000+ fabulous party people, along with spectacular shows, and awe-inspiring performances.
Smother yourself in glitter body paint, adorn your eyes with some foot-long falsies, and pick out your shortest of short shorts – this is going to be one wild night of celebration.
Final release tickets to the Mardi Gras Party are on sale now and selling fast so be quick to lock yours in. To book, go to
Mardi Gras Party ‘16
Playbill Venues and Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park
Saturday 05 March, 2016
10pm – 8am
Final release tickets on sale now at $156.50 + transaction fees at

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Announces

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Announces
Ben & Jerry’s as Supporting Partner for the 2015 Festival.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have today announced Ben & Jerry’s as a Supporting Partner of the 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Ben & Jerry’s actively campaign on behalf of LQBTQI issues, most recently by demonstrating their support for Marriage Equality through their ‘Say I Dough’ initiative. The Partnership with Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras serves as a further declaration of support for the LGBTQI community.
Commenting on the new partnership, Michael Rolik, CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras said: “Ben & Jerry’s have shown real passion in supporting the community through their marriage equality campaign and their enthusiasm for partnering with the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras in 2015. We are thrilled to bring them on board as a Supporting Partner this year"
Kalli Swaik, Ben & Jerry’s Brand Manager said “We are immensely proud to be a supporting partner in what is one  of Australia’s largest celebrations of the gay and lesbian community. Ben & Jerry’s prides itself as a social justice company and supporting issues that affect the  LQBTQI community is at the core of what our business values.”
The partnership was negotiated by mixitup Australia, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras’ brand partnership agency since 2006.
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is the world’s most spectacular celebration of LGBTQI pride and diversity. Each year, tens of thousands of international and interstate visitors come to Sydney to experience a three--‐week festival of over 100 events, culminating in the iconic Mardi  Gras Parade and Party. For full event details and information for the 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, visit